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At the end of last year’s garden, I was pretty discouraged and frustrated.  As I considered what to do this year, I realized that I would have to put in a significant amount of work to squirrel- and deer-proof (or even just make an attempt, since those animals are particularly wily and persistent about garden theft) and to “heal” the soil.

And so, I don’t think I’m going to have a real garden this year.  Aside from the years that I was moving right in the middle of the summer, this is the first garden season in ten years that I have deliberately decided not to plant one.  It’s a little sad, but really, I’m kind of glad to have a break this year.

However, you don’t think that someone with a blog named “Vegetablog” could actually go without trying to grow *something,* do you?  I couldn’t resist trying to plant some old seeds in a pot that I’ve had on my kitchen counter (it occasionally held herbs).  I tried some old lettuce seeds (from that first garden in 2007!) and while some of them sprouted, nothing has thrived.  So I added some Tiny Tim tomato seeds (from 2008 and 2009) and I just noticed that they were sprouting at the very end of May.  So perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, I will have a miniature tomato plant growing by my kitchen sink.

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It’s not pretty, but it’s functional.  Ish.

I took my kids to a library class in mid-May, and the theme for the series was garden science.  One of the activities was to make something that the teacher called “window greenhouses:” a zip-top plastic bag, into which we dropped some bean seeds and a wet paper towel.  We taped them into the window to watch the seeds sprout.

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The kids’  window greenhouses on the day after our library class. 

I was pleasantly surprised how quickly the beans started putting out roots. …I was amazed to see that there were roots on the third day! I think I was just as excited (maybe more?) than the kids.

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Day Three: Do you see the little root?

We watched more and more roots appear, and then a couple of them put out their first leaves. At this point, we needed to open the bags so that the trapped moisture wouldn’t rot the leaves.

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Day Seven: roots, and even some leaves starting.

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Day Eight: Definitely leaves starting!

Look at how big that one sprout is!  We've had these for a week now.

Day Nine: time to start planting these beans

Look at how big that one sprout is!  We've had these for a week now.

Day Nine: It was so amazing to see the whole process.

Since it had been so much fun to watch the beans sprout, I decided we should plant them in a pot outside– so the kids helped (more like watched) me fill one with soil and plant the seeds (with the paper towel, to which they had attached themselves with the roots).  V did drop one of the seeds into the pot, but otherwise, they were surprisingly hands-off!

At this point, the weather turned nice and sunny and warm, and so these beans really showed their speedy growth. On the day they planted them, the beans looked like this:

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Beans right after we planted them

The next day, we played outside for a couple of hours. At the beginning of our time outside, the beans on V’s side were just barely starting to lift the soil to poke through, and by the end of the time we were out there, they were absolutely above the soil. It’s amazing and so fun to watch.

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The beans in the pot, one day later!

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I really hope the squirrels and other beasties spare our bean pot so that we can watch these plants grow!

In my previous post, I shared a pair of monograms I made as baby gifts for a friend of mine.  I wanted to have a special card to go with them… and thankfully the May sketch challenge from Scrapbook and Cards Today popped up in my blog feed right when I was looking for some inspiration!

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I looked at the sketch for a bit, and then I put it away and used my impressions of it to make this card (and–spoiler alert!–two more!).  I made a template from scrap cardstock so that I could piece together the sunburst pattern.

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I collected up some pretty pink patterned papers (they are girl babies, after all!) and pieced them into this sunburst.  I stitched along the edges of each wedge, and added a piece of doily.  The join between the sunburst and the vertical strip of patterned paper is covered by wraps of crochet thread, and I added a 3-D specialty sticker as the focal point of the card.

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And I loved making this card so much that I went on and made two more–this time “thank you” cards!  But this time, I turned the design on its side.

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For someone who has a penchant for pink, I used the same set of papers.  This time, I stitched down the center of each wedge, and laid the long paper strip across the bottom side and stitched it down.  I used a sentiment sticker and some enamel dots to finish off the card.

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As I searched in my scrap drawer for my pink pieces, I kept coming across little bits of limey greens, and I couldn’t help but make another card with them!  This card was made exactly the same way as the pink “thank you” card, and I even had the perfect shade of enamel dots to finish it off.

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These two monograms are for some dear twin girls that will arrive soon!  I was so happy to be able to make them for their sweet mama, who is a good friend of mine–we go back to when we were both two years old!

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I’d never made a “C” monogram before, and when I finished with it, I decided to redesign my “A” so that it would coordinate better with its counterpart.

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My friend had requested this particular color scheme for the letters, and I knew the colors of her nursery to choose the background paper, which is a lovely silver pattern from a Making Memories wedding collection.

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The monograms are framed in my favorite double mat frames from Michaels (I had to search high and low for a pair of these white ones– Husband was awesome and picked them up when I put them on hold at a store close to where he works).

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These were made with much love and prayer.  Best wishes to you, my friend, and your sweet girls!  I am so happy for you!

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I have a quick little post today to share another card that I made from the simply adorable Space Cadet stamp set from Paper Smooches.

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Even though it’s fun to make elaborate cards sometimes, most often I am drawn to the clean-and-simple style, and that’s what I did here.  I used colored pencils on the stamped image and added a bit of Glossy Accents on the spaceship window, stripes, and rivets.

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I popped up the spaceship and its flame on a rectangle of star patterned paper above the sentiment.

It was so fun to make these cards that I made myself a set: I have some on hand right away to send a cheery message to someone who might need it.

 

I was so excited to be selected as a pattern-tester for the Blank Slate Patterns’ new Barton shorts!  I’ve always wanted to be a pattern tester: I find the process of developing a pattern to be fascinating.

So in about a week, I made four different versions, and I had so much fun. Something about working under a deadline is exhilarating for me (as long as it’s not that way every day!) I find that I am more efficient with my time, and it is so satisfying. Even more satisfying was that this time around, I literally had everything on hand that I needed to make all four pairs!  Fabric, trim, elastic, thread.  No trips to the fabric store to break my momentum! Yippee!

In this post, I’m going to share my two final versions!  They were both actually made from extra fabric from other projects I’ve made.

These shorts are ridiculously comfortable, and in my opinion, they are super cute!  I love the lace-trim version (I was assigned the 3″ inseam, lace-trimmed variation for my testing– the pattern includes two inseam lengths–3″ and 5″, and both a hemmed and trimmed version!!).  I don’t usually wear elastic-waist shorts for everyday going-out, but these are not at all sloppy looking.  They look casual and trim, and I really love them!  And the best part of all– they are a very quick sew!!  The fabric selection took the longest (of course), and once I had that figured out, I estimate that I could make these in 2-3 hours per pair.

First up: my comic book shorts!  These are made with the Barton pattern pretty much as-is, but I did make a rise adjustment in the front so that they fit my body better.

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Do you recognize the fabric?  It’s extra from when I made my comic book dress!  I also used some vintage bias tape with a lace edge to trim the shorts.  The bias tape came from a large stash of trims that were my Grandma’s.

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Oh yeah, did I mention that there are pockets?!!

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For my next version, which is probably my favorite (so far), I used some excess lightweight denim from a strapless sheath I made a couple of summers ago.  As soon as I saw this in my scrap stash, I knew I had to turn it into these shorts… and I was just able to eke them out!  I made the waistband and the pockets from a blue batik (also from my stash), and I trimmed the shorts with some heart-shaped lace– also from my Grandma’s collection.

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For this version, I also adjusted the front rise (the same as for the comic book shorts), and I also made these with a slightly decreased thigh circumference for a slimmer look.

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And pockets!!  The interior of the pockets is the same batik cotton as the waistband.

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These are seriously the perfect casual shorts.  SO easy to make– and I imagine that there will be more! 😉

Find the pattern at the Blank Slate Patterns website HERE!

Near the end of April, my kids and I were watching crafting videos during lunch (as usual).  We came across a video from Jennifer McGuire (one of our favorites), in which she created rainbow backgrounds for cards using colored cardstock scraps.  My daughter (age 5.5 years) was intrigued, to say the least, and honestly, so was I!  She suggested that we make those cards, too–which is a frequent refrain, though not always possible.  But today, it was completely possible!

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I sliced up some cardstock scraps into strips of varying widths and presented V with a bundle of them, along with two halves of an 8.5″x11″ sheet of paper, pre-coated with adhesive.

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During her quiet time, she worked away at adding strips of cardstock to the under-layer of paper, and at the end, she had enough striped backgrounds to make four cards!

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She used two of the backgrounds to make cards for her Bible study teachers.  She wanted to mimic some of Jennifer’s designs, and so I cut out some butterfly designs that she chose, using my Silhouette SD– the base layer is vellum, and the detail is plain white cardstock.  She decided on the arrangement and wrote her notes inside.

Vivian's finished paper strip cards

We have lots of paper strips left, and I am looking forward to making more– with V, and also making some myself!

 

…or “watching the fireworks show in the Magic Kingdom”

Earlier this week, I shared a layout I made waaaaaaay back in January.  Well, I started this layout the very next day, and due to my other commitments in “real life,” and my inability to commit to gluing down the elements of this layout (ha), I didn’t finish this one until mid-March.

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My main difficulty was actually the journaling.  I loved this moment– my husband and I watching the fireworks show from a spot in New Fantasyland– but I didn’t know how to capture it in words.  I tried, and in the end, I’m pretty happy with the result…and I hope that in the future, I will remember the feeling of being there when I read the few words that I wrote.

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After several Disney layouts with busy backgrounds, I was craving a calmer, plainer background, and so I pulled out my trusty white cardstock.  I layered papers, die cuts, and a transparency piece around my photo, and added a little bit more at the bottom of the page to balance everything.  Surely something this simple shouldn’t have taken me two and a half months to complete!

But finally, here it is, photographed and shared on the blog 🙂

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Supplies:
patterned paper: Shimelle Starshine “Hubble,” and scraps from Shimelle Starshine 12″x12″ paper pad
cardstock: American Crafts white textured
embellishments: Shimelle Starshine ephemera, Bella Blvd washi tape, Studio Calico wood veneer stars, The Paper Studio enamel dots
alphas: Shimelle Collection Fitzgerald Thickers gold glitter foam, Glitz Designs Uncharted Waters gold teeny alphas
other: doilies, Scotch ATG, Therm-O-Web foam adhesive, Project Life 0.3 black journaling pen, roller date stamp, machine stitching