Monday, June 25, 2012

I one the sandbox

I two the sandbox...

Our sandbox was hanging out in the front bed, which didn't exist and was simply a big sand pit. As if we didn't have enough sand coming into the house in the summer anyway, this popular hangout spot contributed to our general floor crunchiness. We vowed that this summer we would work on putting an end to the construction site look (and effects). To our credit, we've taken some good first steps with the garden beds and putting miscellaneous building materials away (... or somewhere).
So I wanted to plant the front bed with herbs and in order to do that, I needed to move the sand pit/digging area. I have big ideas about future playscapes (and of course, had inspiration from good ole pinterest, see below!) and wanted to incorporate the sand box into an area that could grow later.

I nestled it into a natural depression in the hillside, laid some garden cloth, hauled the crab and much sand, man-handled our rock pile, and viola! All Tonka construction equipment courtesy of Renee and her boys. I was worried that the kids wouldn't like it as much since it was smaller and definitely more contained than the front bed. But this new spot? It's a hit.

My sandbox inspiration

...I 7 the sandbox
I 8 the sandbox...
You ate the sandbox??!

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Remember that suitcase? Some more late night sewing. This time for my babe and my niece, only 1 month apart. Is it wrong to dress children alike when they aren't even your children? Don't answer; I simply don't care.

This is the Perfect Party Dress by Heidi and Finn. I bought the pattern (and about 5 more!) during a KCWC sale at Heidi and Finn's Etsy shop about a year or so ago. (I told you I had previous inspiration that rarely came to fruition...) I left off the front bow for a couple reasons and find I really like the simplicity of the basic dress.

This was a quick and easy sew. After the backpack, I like doing things in twos now; the 2nd one goes faster and easier and why waste that immediate knowledge? The fabric for Simone's dress is Moda something-or-other purchased ages ago and that was being saved in my stash to be used together. Well, I finally found the right project and cut into it! The fabric for Etta's dress is Amy Butler Seeds in Duck Egg with the contrast band being some loveliness that I got from Karen one Christmas.

The pattern goes up to 5T. I think these cousins will need more matchy matchy dresses, hmm?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sprucing Up: The Landscape

Sprucing up the land, Part 2: Landscaping. Darling said my posts are too wordy and that most everyone just wants to look at pictures, so I figure I'd start with food and do a separate post for our flower beds. (That's this one, see.)
We haven't really touched the front bed except to water a little bit and weed. I planted this last summer trying to feel better about everything still looking like a construction site. I choose all perennials and mostly natives, knowing we wouldn't be able to devote too much to their care. Darling transplanted a few (3?) violas. And look! All of those others are volunteers. I'm loving it. A small amount of effort last summer went a long way this spring, when things are taking off and blooming.

I found a few lupine growing in the yard and transplanted them to the east side of the house where I seeded lupine last year. Keeping it low key with some tall prairie plants over here, but I'm excited to see so many lupine and yarrow peeking out of the soil. We shall see what color they bring this summer.

Then we got some phlox and creeping oregano on the steep hill hoping they spread for ground cover. Some lovely volunteer lilies are growing by the hazelnut tree. We also have a prairie plant garden on the front little mound by the strawberries. I hope to put an herb garden on the west front bed, but that will have to wait until the concrete steps get poured (soon-ish?). That's the tour! Like my little plant helper? Me too.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sprucing Up: The Edibles

We've been sprucing up the old place. Trying to improve on our half-hearted gardening efforts of last summer and seeing if we can't actually devote a little time to the garden and land this year. The beautiful weather has helped tremendously, so we've gotten a good start.
Berries: Let's see, I ordered some weird varieties from a nursery (honey berry, Goji berry, and pink blueberry) and got some currants from the Conservation District. A generous neighbor gave us a bundle of her raspberry canes and strawberries early this spring and we ordered some more raspberries from the Conservation District. And then another neighbor gave us a bundle of new raspberry shoots! I finally found some zone 4 blackberries (from a Michigan company!) and they are in the ground now. I'm the dissenter in the family, but I love the blackberries more than raspberries, thorns and all. And just this week we found some new growth on our old raspberry and blackberry transplants. We also have a new blueberry patch starting up in the middle of the yard.
Woodland: We dug up some of the wooded area along the fringe of the yard for growing mushrooms (I got these morel "spawn" kits) and ramps, or wild leeks. We got the leeks from a farmer I work with. I'm excited for them to take, but we won't see any results (if any!) until next spring... 
Grapes: We got some grapes from the nursery (fairing poorly) and some others from the neighbors (fairing excellently). All of these new ones are planted on the south and west sides of the garage. We intend for them to grow up a trellis onto an arbor, but have no idea when that structure will actually be built. For now, we'll just concentrate on the plants (and the snake in the grapes!).
Veggies: After countless strolls, discussions, layouts, and opinions, we finally decided on a little plot for the vegetable garden. Or at least veggie garden part 1. We thought this was the most we could handle right now, size-wise, and if we want to expand we can find a different spot for part 2. It's only 16' x 18' and it's cozied up to the screen porch. Surrounded by rhubarb, asparagus, and some native pollinator plants. Darling tilled and dug and is currently rigging a permanent fence using some pipe we got from the old cabin. The kids and I hauled some wheelbarrow loads of tree cookies from the woodshed and I laid them in the sand for a little path. (Um, thanks for the wheelbarrow, Pap-pap. It's been in near constant use.) We've probably got enough to do our garden paths (between beds) with them too. I got a couple tread-strong thyme and moss plants to tuck in the voids. On Memorial Day weekend, around 10pm before the deluge, I got the last of the seeds and seedlings in. Whew. Garden whirlwind. I'm exhausted but excited. Feels like good nesting that we needed to do.