Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Busy Bees Buzzing in the Basil

Say that three times, fast!
I went out to take a look at the garden this afternoon. There were lots of these small creatures in the garden. Yep, the bees were out enforce, busy working away, doing what they do. I had thought about getting outside to pull up most of the basil that spread like crazy all over in the back. However, I did not make time earlier in the summer to get out there to do so. Thus, it is quite overgrown with basil. The bees love this stuff. They always have every year.

So, there is a lot of basil out back. That means there are a lot of bees out there right now. It seems to be the more prolific plants growing this year. Here is a narrow view of these flowers. Sometimes I wish I had a video camera. I would take some footage of the garden and the bees to really show what it looks like. These still shots don't show the full scope of the beauty of the flowers and the number of bees present. It's hard to see them all in a still shot. With the addition of movement they become more easily visible. They are buzzing and flying throughout this whole area. It is fun to watch all this activity. The garden is so alive with movement. Can you see the bees here?

How about now? I photoshopped a circle around the three bees I could pick out in this shot. This is just a very small view. If you saw this area in person you would be just as fascinated with it as I am. The photo shows just the larger bees. There are several breeds, much smaller than these, as well. Such a variety of things to observe.

It's a tomato jungle out there!
We planted lots of tomatoes this year. I picked up a few plants at the local garden center. I also planted the extras that my son and his wife didn't fit into their garden. Here is an image of several plants packed together in my raised bed 'Square Foot' garden plot. I followed the instructions about planting one tomato into each 12"x12" square area. The amount of growth on these plants makes them seem really tightly packed together. I'm not sure how we'll possibly see into and reach into these tightly knit plants to find all the fruit as it comes ripe. Even up close I can barely see through the leaves. Hopefully the red color of the tomatoes will make harvesting easier. They're still green so the tomatoes blend so well with the leaves.

The ones you see here are vines that were left to sprawl along the ground. I ran out of tomato cages and didn't want to invest in any new ones. It isn't likely we would plant this many next year. These tomatoes are doing very well. Lots and lots of beautiful green fruits. I am really looking forward to some ripe red tomatoes. We absolutely love eating tomatoes.

I need to take a look on-line to see if I can freeze tomatoes or tomato sauce. If I remember correctly, I believe I read tomatoes need to be canned under pressure. My pressure cooker isn't that large so it would take forever to do this many plants. I need to do a bit of research into preserving them. If I can do hot water bath canning I could probably manage that. Freezing the sauce might just be faster, if that would be a viable choice.

My other flowers are doing well out on the patio. I saw today I need to get out there and do more dead-heading. Here's a look at the ones in the larger of my two chicken planters.

Okay, off to take a look on-line at tomato preserving techniques. Hope your summer is going along as well as mine.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fabric Basket With Grommets

I know. It has been a month since my last post. I can't say that there's any particular reason for that . . . just haven't been here to post. I could say I've been out there, busy, living life. But there really hasn't been all that much new and exciting going on around here. It seems like a lot of the same thing. Maybe I haven't posted this past month because life seems so homogenized for me right now. One day is very much like the next.

So, got to shake it up a bit and find something a bit more exciting to do! I'm working on it . . .

I will mention that we had the opportunity to visit with our son and his wife early last week. Samantha came over to sew with me - a first! And Josh accompanied her. He visited with his dad, upstairs watching tv for part of the time, then came down to the basement to see what we were up to in my Sewing Studio.

Sam and I made up a pattern we used from a photo of this little container I saw on-line last year. I requested permission to post my instructions on my own version of this project from Sue over at PerpetualPlum's Weblog. I'll post my FREE instructions when I hear back from her that she doesn't mind. Meanwhile, if you like this idea you can go visit her and jump ahead with making up your own version.

Here's another view without the stuff inside. I'll post more a bit later on.

I spent time this past weekend photographing all the different quilt projects I've been working on. All the UN-finished quilt projects. I need to have a FIU (Finish It Up) month here for August. I want to wrap up all these projects and be ready to start in on some new fall projects in September. So that is my goal from now through August 31st. I photoshopped, cropped and color corrected the FIU photos and will post them here to my blog later today or tomorrow. Got to run for now . . . Ciao!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Scraps and Dryer Sheets

I thought I'd pop on over here to my blog first thing this morning. Must be some 'meeting of the minds' going on . . . some cosmic info . . . passing from one person to the next. I have recently found the same string quilt show up in three places. First I log onto Facebook to peep at the new chatter and follow Terri's link to her blog. What do you know? It's a string quilt made from dryer sheets. And so cute, too. My thought went immediately to a conversation that took place last week at a local quilt shop about saving scraps and using them up. A woman at the quilt shop was talking about making a scrap quilt with fabric strips and old dryer sheets that she hangs onto.

First off, saving scraps is cost effective. It only makes sense to me. I've always saved my quilt scraps. After all, those scrap quilts cost me $9.00 a yard for fabric just like any other planned quilt. Unless, of course, someone gifts me with their scraps because they don't like to deal with them. And by the way, that is how I've come across some of my scraps. Thank-you to all my friends who have gifted such.

Amazingly, the very next blog I click onto . . . lo and behold . . . there is another post about making a scrap quilt with dryer sheets. Susan's blog features a wonderful, bright and cheery version. Obviously there is a trend going on here. It could be lead because of somebody's blog post earlier this year on this subject and these quilters are getting to the point in their stitching to show off their creations. It could be a response to the sagging economy and quilters realizing those scraps are good fodder for quilt projects. It could be a conviction to reduce, re-use and re-cycle in our quilting studios. And probably it is a combination of all these things. Afterall, quilters and artists are resourceful. In my opinion scrap quilts are lovely and well worth the time to make.

This particular pattern sounds easy. Use an old dryer sheet as your base and sew the strips to it aligning them from one opposite corner to the next. By the way, if you peek at Terri's blog, she says she's written up the instructions on making this quilt and will have it posted soon. I'm sure it will be worth your while as she is very good at producing clear how-to instructions, usually accompanied by good photographs. I'll be watching for it myself.

I've still got lots of scrap strips left over from the spiderweb quilt I have been working on. Perhaps I'll do something like this string quilt.

One of the more recent projects I have worked on is this string quilt, my spiderweb quilt. I have only two more blocks to sew for mine. Then I can finish with joining them to make the quilt top. Most of them are sewn together already. That is until I realized I needed to make two more blocks. Somehow I miss counted, or got mixed up on how I was sewing them together, or something. Anyway, when I was browsing through my drawers of scrap strips I came across more of the deep red color fabric for the 'kites'. You can see in this photo I resorted to using two different colors of fabric on some of the blocks. I didn't realize there was more hidden way back under some scraps. I know . . . it pays to be more organized. {Grin!} My next step for the completion of this quilt is to get those two blocks done and sewn into the rest of the quilt top.

Several days ago, prior to the weekend holiday, I was working on joining together blocks into quilt tops. I will soon have on my hands four more quilt tops with three more soon to follow. It has been a long time working on quilts with no finished results. That is because I have been bouncing around from one project to another and not completing any of them. My goal this summer is to get those projects wound up and completed. I want to clear the slate for more NEW quilting this fall. And just think, all those new quilts will mean we and other family members will be alot warmer this coming North Dakota winter (at 40 degrees below!) under nice warm quilts. Yeah! Yay for us!