Monday, June 8, 2015

De-Stashing Junk ... better know as cleaning house

Over the summer, my younger daughter Josie will be staying while she is finding a job and an apartment while getting ready to head for Carl Sandburg's welding program.

As the Father's Day weekend is coming up, so is More on 34, a garage sale that starts in Aurora, IL, and ends just outside Galesburg, IL. I, of course, am right on Rt. 34 and have a garage! Thus, in the name of riding myself of unneeded "stuff" am having a seriously cheapo garage sale in order to clear out my house and basement so that I may focus on those things I really want space for.

One of those things is books! I have like hundreds of them. And, while every time I look at them I remember why I purchased them, most often, I do what everyone else does. We go to "the Google" and search up the information that we need. Remembering this has been very helpful in minimizing my book hoard.

While I will be seriously selling off stuff I don't need any further, the second half of the plan is to take everything that hasn't sold by Saturday evening and donate it to the Salvation Army or Good Will and not bring anything back into the house.

If you've downsized from a big house to a small house, you know exactly what I mean about de-stashing your stuff. It is truly amazing what we collect and tuck away in odd corners, then forget about. Worse yet is when you have "stuff" from various grown children who think you will hold there things forever! My oldest daughter just rented her first apartment, and while it is seriously empty, we've had the worst time getting her to visit and sort the things she has stored in our attic.

It's time for a deadline!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Fully Planted

All the garden beds are finally up and fully planted. And, most of my pots are planted too.

The newest garden bed is full of more tomatoes for canning and eating. The radishes went crazy and the peas look like they may bloom at any time. Down in the last bed, green onions are coming along, and the bok choy is finally looking like real plants instead of wishes for plants.

My pots include my houseplants, pansies, petunias, coleus, tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelon. I've also got basil, sage, rosemary and chocolate mint. 
Looks like it's time for a new bottle tree!
And a revised set up for my bottle wheel. Eventually, my daughter going into welding, has plans to build a better stand from pipe. Then we'll have to consider building a new stand for my chandelier.

I've also a spot in my east-facing kitchen window where I am starting sweet potato slips to plant once the peas finish up. Just look at those roots forming!

A ginger plant has begun sprouting on my window shelf and I've just the perfect pot for it!

And, this sweet monster is waiting for June before taking his trip outside. This plant is easily six feet across. Once it gets outside, it will probably double the size it is now.

Tomorrow is sewing day. I've traced off Style Arc Barb Stretch Pants and have a nice blue fabric to use for the first test pair. I bought the pattern as a download and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to tape the pieces together. Very well thought out. Review to follow for my Plus-Size Contest.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Spring Blooms

With the beautiful weather yesterday, I took my camera out to capture the spring blooms in my garden. So many different flowers are blooming. There are pansies, coral bells, dusty miller, mums and hostas in front of the house with irises edging the outside of the fence. Inside the fence is my collection of hostas and Egyptian onions.

My early rose is sending out some beautiful blooms with more to come. I just love how that pink pops amongst all the green. Just in front of this beauty is a golden Dew Drop hosta and several pansies.

Its hard to resist their beautiful colors and smiling faces when I start buying my summer annuals. I have no talent for starting my own plants it seems, unless it comes to easy ones like squash, peas or radishes!

For which I just pulled my first real handful. I will use those later today when I make tacos. I might even use the spicy leaves instead of lettuce! And, wait until you see who I also found hiding with the radishes.

This little guy is actually over an inch long. Research says he is a Caterpillar Hunter Beetle (Calosoma scrutator). As to why he was roaming amongst my radishes, I couldn't say. But isn't he just gorgeous. The green has an almost gem like quality and it was hard to let him wander back among the radishes looking for whatever bugs he could find.

And, my irises. Since I planted them as they came out of the bucket from my old house, I am not sure how they ended up segregated. After looking at them, I've decided I need two more colors to fill the gaps between. The front corner that you can just barely see the leaves of has pale purple with dark purple edges. I think I should find some pink purple combos and maybe some yellow and purple ones. Eventually they will need to be lifted and separated, but that won't be for at least a year. Although, at the rate they are growing, it might be this fall.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

My Spring Garden

I just love spring. The flowers start popping their little leaves from the ground like babies poking their heads from under a blanket. Then they grow and flower stalks form.

I just adore Irises and have some beautiful purple ones that have followed me through three moves. Along the way some yellow ones have added themselves to the mix. The purple ones are an older variety and just smell of grapes and lilacs.

Their beautiful variety in shades of purples inspired me when I was creating a logo for my graphics portfolio.

If you should want to take a look through my portfolio here is the link LJR Creatives . I put work I've done for contests, fabric designs, volunteer work and examples of artwork created in a variety of styles.

Spring also creates a desire for fresh vegetables over who-knows-how-old "fresh" vegetables from the store. Already I have pulled beautiful red radishes and am looking forward to spring peas. Leeks, onions and bok choy are also coming along nicely. I planted seeds for yellow straight-neck squash and noticed yesterday the first leaves have sprung from the soil. I have tried to start tomatoes and peppers, but it just never seems to work for me.

In my other garden beds, Roma tomatoes planted in early May are really developing into healthy size plants. Better Boy and a heirloom striped orange are in another bed. Yes, that means 8 Roma plants, but I will be canning those into sauce for the winter. I still have another variety of slicers and the grape tomatoes that go into pots on my patio.

The next bed is planted with peppers! Sweet Banana peppers, which are long and yellow, are on one end. Early in the month, a Bunnie got up there and ate the leaves off two, but I covered them and they look like they are coming back. I planted red bell peppers just last week (we will see if I can wait until they are red, ha ha).

My last bed is still pieces next to the garage, waiting to be put together. There will be the last of my tomatoes going in there as well as some bush cucumbers. Then there will be over 10 pots of various herbs as well as beans, zucchini and more cucumbers. Plus I will replant the spring beds with more beans once the peas finish.

And, the finishing touch, each bed has marigolds planted in all the corners. Some beds have them planted across each end. There will also be pots of flowers, in addition to the sunflowers that are already coming up in places they should not. Later today I will take some pictures while I'm gardening so I can share them with my next post.

Time to get back to classwork!