Feeds:
Posts
Comments

In the background this summer, behind and amongst all the other projects I’ve been working on, whether shared on the blog or not, I’ve been attempting to finish up my son’s photo-a-day baby album.  The last time I posted on my blog about this was when he was about seven months old!  You can see all the posts related to this album by clicking HERE.

I have to say, I’m proud of myself for how well I kept up with the daily documentation in this album.  By the time he turned one year old, I had a card written for almost every single day, and I had photos chosen, if not printed, for each of those days.  However, I wanted to do more with the album than that.  There were a lot of huge, big, and smaller events, celebrations, and moments that I wanted to highlight with extra inserts, and that’s what I’ve been working on this summer.

I thought that after the thrill of success with my China album in Finish-it-February, I would be able to hit the deadline of my son’s third birthday in late June, but this project is quite a bit bigger…

in progress: B's photo-a-day baby album

Throughout June and July, the two binders that compose this album project have been out on my craft island, surrounded by extra cards, embellishments, and notes.  I had some of my extra photos printed already, but the vast majority of these extra inserts needed to have photos chosen and their configurations planned.

I’ve been going through the album page by page, methodically noting where I need additional “stuff”.  You can see in the photo above that I’m making notes on tiny scraps of paper and slotting them into page protector spots, or even sketching out whole inserts and attaching them to one of the rings as a placeholder until I have the photos printed…and I even need to get my hands on some more page protectors.

I am about 3/4 of the way through the album with this process, and I have prepared over 100 4″x6″ prints so far– and many of them are a collage of more than one photo!  Once I’ve gone through the entire album, I will place my order with Persnickety Prints, and then I’ll go back through the album again to finish all of the pages.

The other bit thing I need to do to finish the album is to add title cards for each week (with the date) and in the case of most weeks, I also need to add a filler 3″x4″ card.

Maybe I’ll have it finished by my son’s fourth birthday!  Let’s hope!!

In lieu of a garden this year, we’re container-growing bean plants that my kids started in a library class.  When last we saw the plants on the blog, they were tiny but fast-growing!

I’ve been keeping a bit of a photo record of them over the past month or so…Believe me, this is nothing scientific– just a photo whenever I remember to take one 🙂 It’s fun to see how the plants have grown.

bean plants today!

June 6

the bean plants today

June 14

the bean plants today

June 16

the bean plants today

June 29

 

the bean plants today

…and we spied flowers on June 29, too!

The kids were SUPER delighted to harvest their first beans on July 9.  We got three– one green, one purple, and one yellow (a wax bean??).

harvested our first beans today!

First harvest! Three beans on July 9

Every day when we come home and get out of the car, the kids now rush over to the bean pot, which is just outside the garage, to check to see if there are any new beans for harvest.

2017-07-13 12.33.11-Edit

Sometimes they are a little bit over-eager (we’ve lost a vine or two to vigorous and non-traditional harvest methods), but I love how excited they are to pick beans– and then eat them!  They’ve decided they like them best when they are cooked, so I will heat some water in a tiny frying pan to blanch the beans for the kids.

 

2017_06_25_blendedthankyous-Edit

This idea has been marinating in my brain for a while… I’ve had this red-rubber cling background stamp (Hero Arts “Chinese Thank You”) for years! (It is actually the only large background stamp that I own. ) I got it as a free gift with an order I made at Two Peas in a Bucket way back when I was in graduate school.  I’ve used it a few times, and it is quite beautiful.  I remember asking one of my Chinese friends to translate it for me– she told me that it says things like “Thank you from the heart,” “Thanks,” and expresses a feeling of being honored and of gratitude.

Recently, I wanted to make a really special thank-you card, and I thought it would be the perfect time to try the finger-blending technique again.  This time, my main inspirations were a rainbow snowflake card by Kalyn Kepner for Paper Smooches and this gorgeous and gigantic set of cards in a post by Jennifer McGuire.

I simply white heat-embossed my background onto white cardstock.  I’m so grateful to Husband for getting me a Mini MISTI for Christmas!  It definitely helped me make sure that I had a good impression with the embossing ink for the powder to cling well.

Then I got out my colored pigment inks and went to town, using just my index finger to add and blend the colors.  Yes, I certainly could have used blending tools, but I don’t have enough for all of my colors, and my finger easily cleans off with a baby wipe to be ready for the next color!

2017_06_25_blendedthankyou_blue-Edit

2017_06_25_blendedthankyou_orange-Edit

2017_06_25_blendedthankyou_purple-Edit

2017_06_25_blendedthankyou_green-Edit

I had a lot of fun making color combinations, and in the end I had four backgrounds.  I heat embossed my sentiment onto colored cardstock strips to pop up on the background with foam, and then I added some iridescent sequins for a bit of sparkle.

2017_06_25_blendedthankyou_blueclose-Edit

2017_06_25_blendedthankyou_orangeclose-Edit

2017_06_25_blendedthankyou_purpleclose-Edit

2017_06_25_blendedthankyou_greenclose-Edit

I mounted each card front onto a white cardstock base, lining up one edge flush with the card’s edge, and leaving a white border around the other three sides.  I love, love, love how these turned out!

This card ended up being a very straightforward one, but I love how colorful it is.  I sometimes forget that I have a little stash of pre-made card embellishments (many of them generously handed down to me from other crafters).  When I went to work making this baby card, I had a little look through my box and found this gorgeous “Welcome Baby” embellishment.  It’s layered with tulle, stitched with green thread, and glitzed up just a teensy bit with tiny golden yellow rhinestones.  I knew it’d be perfect.

2017_06_10_babycard-Edit

I have no idea what company produced it, but I found some Jillibean Soup papers that complemented it perfectly.  I popped up the “Welcome Baby” card on some foam and layered it over strips of polka dot and floral papers.  And since this card was meant to welcome a sweet baby girl, I just had to add a pink grosgrain ribbon with a perky bow to top it all off.

2017_06_10_babycard_close-Edit

2017_05_31_finishedjuniper04-Edit

Looky!  I got to test another pattern for Blank Slate Patterns!

This time I worked with the Juniper Jersey pattern, which is a sporty, casual knit top:

2017_05_31_finishedjuniper03-Edit

For this version, I used some medium-weight pink interlock knit with some floral jersey knit that a friend gave to me (recognize it??).

 

I think this is a really great pattern lots of potential for pattern mixing and creative color combinations.  In fact, you could even use this pattern to refashion an oversized T-shirt.

2017_05_31_finishedjuniper05-Edit

I really like the V-neck on this top and the topstitching details.  It is a really fun and fast sew.  Check out the pattern HERE on the Blank Slate site!

2017_05_31_finishedjuniper07-Edit

Well then!  Just like that– it’s July!

June flew by for me.  Even though it was filled with so many good things, I felt a bit like I was being thwapped with sticky black orbs like Mr. Incredible (remember that scene from The Incredibles?  If you want a reminder, here’s a link to a clip; the part I’m talking about starts around 2:17).  But in this case the black sticky orbs were good things– they just expanded and filled up my entire month.

That being said, I’ve also been busy with some projects in the few spare minutes I’ve gathered here and there.  I’m hoping to get back onto a more regular posting schedule, and I’m going to start by sharing this maxidress I made by modifying the Blank Slate Patterns Texana Tank!

It took a couple of muslins, but I managed to figure out the best fit for the Texana tank on my body (turns out that even though my straight-up measurements might suggest it, I don’t actually need to make the bust adjustment).

2017_06_14_texanatankmaxi03-Edit

Once I had my pattern established, I traced the bottom half of a ready-to-wear maxidress I own to connect to the waistline of the Texana pattern.  From there, it was a pretty straightforward sew: I made a placket according to the pattern instructions (Melissa’s video is a great help!) using some coordinating black cotton with a tiny white polka dot, and I had the buttons on hand.

2017_06_14_texanatankmaxi04-Edit

The dress fabric (floral jersey knit) was given to me by a friend, and it had been on my mind to use for a sundress as soon as she gave it to me.  I’m so glad it turned out so well (thanks M!).

 

 

 

 

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.

2017-05-30 08.22.17-Edit.jpg

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.

2017_05_19_windowgreenhouse-Edit.jpg

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.

2017_05_20_windowgreenhouse-Edit.jpg

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.

2017_05_24_windowgreenhouse03-Edit.jpg

Day Seven: roots, and even some leaves starting.

2017_05_25_windowgreenhouse-Edit

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:

2017-05-30 11.19.32-Edit.jpg

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.

2017-05-31 17.21.11-Edit

The beans in the pot, one day later!

2017-05-31 17.21.19-Edit

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