I just got a new homemaker merit badge — lawn mower repair!
Our lawn mower was working just fine and then, poof, it wasn’t. Jason and I went back and forth over the last month about whether to take it to get repaired, try to fix it ourselves, buy a new one, or just hire someone to mow the lawn.
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My friend Michelle has been helping me in the garden this year in exchange for a share of the bounty. It has been a boon!
We dug the garden, corralled chickens, planted all the plants and seeds (on time, even early) — which I’ve never managed to do before. She keeps me on top of things and inspires me to keep up with weeding, watering, and harvesting.
It’s lovely to have a partner.
I know all my plants, she knows all her plants, but I can’t seem to remember which is a mung bean and which ones are chickpeas. And she can’t remember which peas are for shelling and which ones are for stir-fry.
I don’t think either of us remembers what tomato plant is what because we have 12 of them out there now!
We wrote it all down as we planted, but when we are out weeding and poking around, it would be so nice to just look down and know.
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They want out.
He wants in so he can do to them what he’s doing to this bucket. Chewing the crap out of it.
Since we got Bob in March we’ve been doing this shuffling act of letting him out, putting him in, letting the chicken out, putting them up, letting bob out. About 3-4 times a day.
I put up a chicken fence awhile ago, but not only was it not keeping him out (he would either knock it down or just hurdle it), they also would jump or just squeeze out from under it.
After a few episodes of Bob chasing the chickens and me chasing Bob, I knew this “solution” wasn’t a solution at all and I really needed to put up a more sturdy, taller structure.
Read the full story and see the how to after the jump…
I love toast! I was freaking *de-light-ed* in Chicago and went into a japanese toy store and saw Kawaii Toast! So cute! Love them! But I didn’t really want a keychain. Or a coin purse. I just wanted a little toast to bring me joy and hang out on my shelf.
So, surprise surprise, I made it myself! And here’s how you can too!
This year I decided move a few things around in my yard. The coop is in the corner and the chickens get their own space (so Bob doesn’t terrorize them) and instead of having the garden in a square, I’m moving it along the fence. The hope is that this will considerably open up the feel of the yard while over doubling my garden in size.
But there is the matter of the grass (weeds) where I want the garden to go.
Use a measuring tape and then mark the borders with a piece of wood or spray paint. While my guestimations were good, they were also very cock-eyed. We straightened things up with some spray paint and a measuring tape.
I cut the sod into 6″ squares with my shovel and lifted it away a chunk at a time. This is the first part of the weed free equation, by removing the grass completely, it won’t crop up again in a week or two like it does when you use a rototiller.
Covering the dirt has a two-fold purpose. One is it keeps moisture in. Two is it keeps new weeds from cropping up. Straw (not hay which has seed heads still attached) or grass clippings work great.
Dig dig dig.
Cover cover cover.
Here’s Michelle lifting the final bit of sod out of the first garden bed. The total size of the new garden is 4′ deep by 50 feet long.
And what did we do with all that sod bits? Well we tossed it onto bare patches in hopes that it would take root (doubtful). Seriously though I’m using it to fill holes the chickens dug all over the yard. Which is another reason they are now confined to a corner for most of the day. If you want to compost them, put them roots up on the driveway and dry them out before adding to the compost bin.
Now, this is something I hadn’t thought of, but there might be more steps if you live outside the midwest. I’ve taken our awesome soil for granted, but Michelle (whose helping me in the garden this year for a share of the space and bounty) kept saying “oh my gosh, this dirt is so black!” She just moved here from Texas and the soil is all clay and sand. So if you live elsewhere, you’ll need to dig in some compost and top soil before topping it off with straw or mulch.
I hope you all are having a great spring!
Way back in 2006 I wrote one of my very first sewing patterns, a little quilted pot holder. The idea was good, but even back then it didn’t turn out quite right. So, as I’ve been poking around in the archive, I came across it and decided to remake it how I had always pictured it in my mind. That and I need some new pot holders around the house!
1 – 9×9″ heat resistant fabric (silver fabric, thinner than you’d think sold in the utility fabric section).
Keep the tension loose when quilting all the layers together or it will pinch the fabric too much
An earlier version of this pattern was published in November of 2006 on the Craft Leftovers Blog. Here I’ve remade it, updated the pattern instructions, and added more photos of course!
Step One: If you are working from a pile of scraps, piece them all together so you have two 9×9″ squares. Now don’t be lazy and go ahead and press those seams as you go. You won’t be able to show off that pot holder with pride if it’s all lumpy.
Step Two: Layer all your pieces together like so: Contrasting fabric right side down, batting, heat resistant fabric right side up, main fabric right side up.
Step Three: Pin layers and stitch two intersecting lines. Sew two more sets of intersecting lines like so:
It’s helpful to do a basting stitch (long straight stitch) around all four sides to hold all the layers in place.
Mark out the second set of lines by measuring 3″ from the center line. I used a quilting ruler that just happened to be 6″ wide. Lucky me!
Step Four: Sew on the bias tape. Now you’ll do this just like the edging of the quilt:
A: Pin to one side, right sides together, and stitch.
Just make a little pleat to turn the corner.
Flip the bias tape right side out and it will naturally want to wrap around the edge.
B: Turn over the edge, pin in place, and stitch again. Done.
I opted to stitch this last step up by hand, but you can use a machine just as easily.
Just about every day Jason asks “so what’s for dinner?” to which I reply: “umm, I’m not sure, let me look it up”. And then I rifle around until I get distracted, and then 2 hours later when it’s about dinner time and I’ve forgotten to take out the chicken to thaw and Jason’s like “what’s for dinner? I’m hungry” and then I’m like “crap”.
Taking the lead from Average Jane Crafter, I’m posting our meal plan from now on to eliminate all of the above synario. I started out with a dry erase board that I had purchased from the $1 bin at target or some such place. It became frustrating pretty quickly because I had to scrub the dry erase marker off with a scotch bright pad – not so “dry” erase-able.
My next idea was to take a cue from my sister and make a dry erase board from an old vintage frame. She did this for my wedding, but with chalk board paint and it worked great. But after snapping the glass in half and reading pretty bad reviews of the paint, opted to go a new route – use what I already had a pile of in the basement.
I just sharpied the days of the week onto this fine chalk board my sister made and I was all set. Here’s how it came together. So easy.
Remove the glass from the frame and paint it with 2-3 coats of the chalk board paint. Let it dry thoroughly between coats.
Use a metallic permanent marker to write the days of the week on your board. I do this to save time. When I’m chalking in my meal plan I just wipe it down and write in the recipes.
One of the draw backs of the chalk board vs the dry erase board is that the chalk can be a little frustrating to write with. But, while working on the chalk boards for the wedding, I found that a sewing chalk pencil works great. Or even better, one of those fancy chalk holders that have the small sticks of chalk in them. Until I get my hands on one of those again (it got lost in the post-wedding shuffle), I’ll make do with just sharpening my chalk in a big crayon sharpener, haha. Works well enough.
What does HFLL and EDF and 125 BVSC stand for? Three of my go to recipe resources: High Flavor Low Labor, Every Day Foods, and 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes.
Of course here’s the part where Gregory discovered the chalk.
And that he could pick it up in his mouth and run off with it.
I’m pretty lazy, so for me, I didn’t want to fuss with writing in the days of the week each week when I could just do it once and be done with it. Plus I like the way the silver looks. All you need to do is “squirt” “squirt”, wipe it down and I’m all set to write in next week’s plan — which I’m still working on.
Happy Crafting and Meal Planning (which is hopefully then followed by cooking)!
I made Molly a cat hoodie quite some time ago. Jason and I thought RapCat (checkers’ commercials) was just too ridiculous and therefore, pretty funny. We invented a scenario where RapCat was Molly’s secret lover and it was a long standing, pretty bizarre, joke. We even joked about Molly wearing RapCat’s hoodie, you know, the blue and blue one. We laughed so hard about it…. and then I made one for her and we laughed some more. And the really funny thing is she doesn’t mind wearing it at all!
Now I know that a lot of cats would have serious objections with any kind of hoodie being put on them, even if knit with the most love. So some other ideas for the hoodie – Big Panda Plushies, A willing stout puppy dog (a little pug maybe?), you get the idea.
CO 68 sts with CC; join in the round and place marker at beginning of round, being careful not to twist stitches.
Work 2X2 rib (k2, P2) for 5 rows.
Change to MC, St st until piece measures 6 inches from cast on edge.
BO 12 sts – right armhole, k10 – front stitches, BO 12 sts – left armhole, k to marker – back stitches.
Back stitches only:
Row 1: Turn work, purl to BO sts – left armhole (34 sts). Row 2: Turn work, k1, k2tog, knit to last 3 sts, ssk, k1.
Repeat rows 1 & 2 three times total. Break yarn.
Front stitches only:
Rejoin yarn at the front section so you start with a knit row.
St st 8 rows. (there are more rows on the front than the back to accommodate the upturn of the neck on a feline.
Knit to end of front stitches; turn, cast on 8 using cable cast on, turn; k back stitches; turn, CO8 using cable cast on, turn; join in the round, k5. Turn, pm, purl 1 round to marker.
Row 1: Turn, k1, ssk, k to 3 sts before marker, k2tog, k1.
Row 2: Turn, purl to marker.
Repeat Rows 1 & 2 six times total — 12 sts decreased (42 sts remaining).
Change to CC, repeat rows 1&2 three times — six stitches decreased; 36 sts total.
K12, pm, k12, pm, k12, turn. — Place Markers used are the same as placed in the neck section.
Row 1: Purl to one stitch before marker, m1, p1, sl marker; purl to marker, sl marker, p1, m1, purl to end, turn.
Row 2: Knit all, turn.
Repeat rows 1&2 six times total (48 sts).
Purl all one row.
Knit to second marker, remove marker, ssk, k1, turn.
Sl1, purl to marker, remove marker, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 1: Sl1 purlwise, knit to stitch before gap, ssk (one stitch from each side of the gap), k1, turn.
Row 2: Sl1 purlwise, purl to stitch before gap, p2tog, p1, turn.
Repeat rows 1&2 until all stitches have been worked. The last row you work will not have a k1 or a p1 after the ssk or the p2tog.
(K2, p2) to end. Pick up and work stitches continuing 2×2 rib along neck line, down one side and up the other, end with a p2, pm and join in the round.
Repeat (k2, p2) to end of round for 2 rounds. BO in pattern. Cut yarn, weave in ends.
Switch to dpns if necessary and pick up and knit 34 in CC color around one leg hole, pm, join in the round.
Knit 13 rounds.
Decrease 10 sts evenly by k2tog.
Knit 6 rounds.
Change to MC, (k2, p2) to end of round, repeat for 4 more rounds, BO all stitches in pattern.
Repeat for second Leg. Weave in all ends and slip on your kitty.
I think Miss Molly will enjoy it this win- ter for running outside (we walk with her outside in the morning, it’s too cold in the winter and she gets all stir crazy). Maybe some kitty booties will be in the near future too!
I was going to write up a how to on making a matchbook notepad for today, and then I realized that “hey, this feels familiar”. A quick search through the Craft Leftovers archive and I found this sweet little tutorial (circa 2008) on how to make one for drawing – and just about any other purpose for that matter. So, without further rambling, here’s the tutorial I promised you on Wednesday. Enjoy!
When trying to think of a title for this little matchbook style sketch book, not really sure why, the song by Eddie Murphy came into my head. Oh you know the one… so Drawing all the time, you have to say it three times like “Party all the time” maybe even sing out like “My girl wants to draw all the time, draw all the time, drawwww alllll theeee tiiiiime!” Hahaha. Okay, seriously though, these little books are so easy to make, quick, made from things most peole have on hand. They make wonderful gifts, stocking stuffers, letter stuffers if you like to send packages like I do, and the covers are such an open canvas for any kind of embellishment. You can also use paper that would normally go into the recycling bin to fill it too!
And really, they aren’t just sketch books either, you could make little “To Do” books or little “Idea Books” “Think Books” “Write Books”. You get the idea. Very free form indeed.
Winter is always the season of weaving for me. With my overly large floor room, it’s the only time of year that I’m okay being tucked into my basement studio for hours shuttling back and forth. I turn on the space heater, bring down a pot of tea and put it on my candle warmer. [...]