Make, Jane, make!: April 2012


Small Share

Monday, April 30, 2012

Landscaping 2012

When we bought our house back in 2005, we knew there would be a lot of work involved with the yard. Little did we know that seven years later, our landscaping would still be a work in progress.

Here's a shot of one side of our backyard with the dragon's claw Jap maple in the foreground and my husband's latest accomplishments in the background. (I'm glad that we did some essential planting when we first moved in, so that we do have trees that are starting to look mature and provide shade.)

I have to thank DH for the three beautiful raised beds that house my vegetable and herb gardens. They've been such a blessing because, even though they still require a lot of weeding and tilling, they are infinitely easier to care for than simple, dug-out-of-the-ground vegetable gardens.

Take a closer look at the rocky edging... Hubby and one of our friends moved all that drainage rock in one afternoon. I was in awe at their perseverance and endurance and more than a little worried that I would be tending to an injured husband or friend afterward.

Here's the other side of our backyard. In the background, you can see that a border garden is in the works. We transplanted some very overgrown plants from a couple very overcrowded gardens to much more spacious digs.

In the foreground is a bleeding heart (almost in bloom!) and a yucca that I think will be transplanted to the front entrance containers - after reading some horror stories on the internet about how invasive they can be :(

The crazy thing is that even though we'll hopefully have all the building and planning work done in the next couple of years... the maintenance alone will keep us busy every year afterward. This year we had five yards of dirt and four yards mulch dropped off and it actually may not be enough!

And as if we needed more work to keep us busy, this is the scene in our front yard presently - someone (probably a family of racoons) is busy digging up our grass. Didn't they get the memo that our work queue is completely full?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Around the Yard 2012

Got a chance to snap some photos of spring arriving around our house. Here is the only thing blooming right now, a tiny stand of the cutest tulips. 

I remember thinking last year that I wish I had more blooming in the spring, but then with the arrival of baby #3 in the fall, I just didn't get around to planting some spring bulbs. Next year... yes, next year there will be daffodils and more early season tulips and more galanthus and perhaps my hyacinths will finally bloom. Ahh, always next year...

There's a lot to look forward to though.

Like my two peonies which were just emerging when the snow came and caused me to run out into the billowing wind and sleet to cover them before night fell.

Or the paper birch which will soon bud and gracefully turn our sunny spring bulb garden into a shady summer perennial bed.

Or how about when a Japanese maple finally unfurls its delicate leaves?

All this happening outside and, as I type, I can see dear daughter rocking back and forth on all fours trying to do more than her usual army crawl. Change is being heralded.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring Planting with the Kids

Spring has sprung (minus the little hiccup that involved snow yesterday :P) and it's time to get planting for a new season. Last year, I started my seeds indoors much earlier in the spring and found that the seedlings were outgrowing their pots before the soil was warm enough to transplant them. So this year I waited until the warm weather seemed to settle in a bit more.

I've been saving eggshells for about a week or two to try them as seed pots. Beautiful repurpose and easy to plant... whoever thought of this first was a genius! I did buy some compostable seed pots because I wasn't sure how the larger plants (tomatoes, pumpkin, etc.) would fare in the little shells - but if they do well, it'll be all egg shells next year!

The kids had a ball filling up the eggshells and picking the seeds to go inside. I think they were tickled pink to be able to play with dirt inside the house! They chose all the seeds that came in the original packets with the piretty pictures and avoided my ghetto gathered and collected seeds from yesteryear's harvest :)

There were a few seeds that I've had on hand for more than a few years so I'm not sure that they will all germinate. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I'll be buying marigolds because those seeds looked pretty withered and spent.

Hubby has done a great job transforming our once empty backyard into liveable growing and playing space. It's still a work in progress with at least a few more years of projects, but things are really shaping up. It's a nice day today, so I'll see if I can't get a few pics to post when we go outside to play later.

Can't wait to start the garden!

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Costco Orchid Blooms On...

I don't know how this thing keeps blooming while only taking a few weeks to regrow in-between. I don't even know how many times this plant has bloomed since it was given to us. I can tell you that the stem closest to the camera is on its second bloom and the one behind has had at least three cuts/blooms on it... That's not including the time that my brother used these larger than life blooms for the corsages on his wedding day.

If only every orchid I bought could be like this [sigh].

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fabric Easter Eggs with a Secret Pocket

Here's another fun Easter egg project from Sew, Mama, Sew! The fabric eggs themselves are nothing revolutionary, but the little secret pocket is so sweet and really adds a element of fun to the whole project.

The eggs were super fast to make and because they require so little fabric, they were another great use for my pile of scraps! Sweet.

Unfortunately, partway into making my eggs I remembered that I have no more craft batting... and being Good Friday, I had no way of obtaining any either. For a brief moment, I actually considered whether any of our pillows could be sacrificed... luckily for our home decor, I suddenly remembered that we had a soft teething toy/ball (a project from when the first-born was a baby) that was falling apart and destined for the scrap pile anyway.

Two identical ones for the boys and one girly one for the girl.
I guess I could have also filled these eggs with some bean bag fill, but the thought of one of the eggs bursting from overplay and scattering tiny styrofoam pellets all over the floor had me shelving that idea very quickly.

I filled the secret pocket with some M&M's wrapped in a tiny bit of foil (I wanted Mini Eggs, but you can't have something you forgot to buy!) and put one egg under each boy's pillow. In the morning, I'm going to tell them that the Easter Bunny visited them overnight and hid eggs all over their room... wonder what they'll think?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Eggstatic about Easter Headband

It's a beautiful Easter weekend and I wanted to make something bright and sunny to cheer up my baby girl's outfits. So voila! The Eggstatic about Easter headband! My inspiration was this pretty pleated headband from Jess @ Craftiness is not Optional.

This was a super simple craft which is great because I didn't want to spend too much time making something that will get two or three wears at most before the weekend is over. First pick some coordinating felt (yea! using up felt scraps!) and cut out some eggs of various sizes. I find that pastel colours best convey the Easter egg feel.

I "decorated" my eggs for Easter. The large white eggs have a zig zag detail (ricrac would be great here, unfortunately I only had burgundy coloured ricrac and ruddy red ricrac just doesn't say Easter). The zig zags are cut from yellow felt using my pinking shears and sewn onto the white eggs.

The light blue eggs have a polkadot design that was made by using a screw punch randomly over the surface of the eggs. And the pink eggs have a simple heart cut out.

Originally I was going to sew the eggs to fabric tube and thread a wide elastic through the tube to form the headband. However, with all the see-through parts on my eggs, I found that I needed a headband with a bit of panache since it peeked through the eggs.

The only thing I had lying around the house that fit the bill was this hot pink ribbon. So I pinned and sewed the eggs to the ribbon and then attached a bit of elastic to the ribbon to complete the band. And here is my mini model in her Easter outfit:

Eggstatic about Easter Headband in action.
Are little girls ever anything but cute?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mosaic Easter Eggs with Mod Podge

Recently I was wondering about when fabric scraps become so small and useless that you have to throw them out. And I was just about to purge my scrap basket (which had somehow expanded to a scrap basket and box) when I saw this lovely craft at Sew, Mama, Sew!

At Sew, Mama, Sew! they used Mod Podge Sparkle and much prettier and more coordinated fabric scraps than I did. However,when you're crafting with four and two year old boys... you don't worry about pretty.

My younger son tired of the craft as soon as he figured out that it was a sticky hands project (funny how all toddlers go through a no-"ticky" phase). My eldest son surprised me by sticking with the craft for a good half hour before eventually getting frustrated with his ever stickier and sticker fingers, which made it difficult for him to pick up and paste the small scraps onto the eggs. So as usual, mommy got to finish off what the children left behind.

It would have been nice to have cardboard or paper-mache eggs, since the plastic eggs were a bit slippery and had rough edges where the two halves separated... But since I went shopping for the eggs on Thursday - beggars can't be choosers.

All in all, it was a fun craft to try and we'll definitely do it again next year. I hid the finished eggs in the boys' room just now as they were sleeping. It will be their warm-up for the big Easter Egg hunt in the morning :)