Archives for posts with tag: garden

I only got to play a little bit this weekend.  Many hours of it were spent at my Father-in-Law’s house ripping out vines and weeds that were threatening to overtake his yard, and had almost swallowed his back shed. When my Mother-in-Law was alive, their garden beds were beautiful, starting with seas of bulb plants, then roses, dahlias, all sorts of color.  It felt good to help get it back into shape.

I did have time to play around with different configurations of the half-square triangles I made the other day. Here are a few of the block designs I was trying out. I wasn’t worried about which color combinations to use for these, just playing with the designs.




When we first moved into our house about 10 years ago, there were big scraggly half-dead bushes in the front that covered the porch windows.  We ended up pulling them out using shovels, a chain attached to a pick up truck and a chainsaw to cut the roots which had grown into the foundation of the house. I’m sure out neighbors thought that crazy people had moved onto the block. We had always planned to replant the front, but there were so many other projects needing to be done that it kept being put off.

I finally made a start by trenching the border and laying rocks to mark the edge. There has been a lot of discussion about what to use, but because the exposed part of the foundation is stone, the rocks were chosen over bricks, wood or pavers. I will eventually put some bushes out front as well, but for now have just planted some flowers to fill it in.  Mulch may arrive this weekend.

There are plans to do the same on the other side of the steps, but that will wait a few weeks. Over the past weekend, while unloading the rocks, our gas meter which sits alongside our very narrow driveway was bumped by the truck tire and started leaking. When the gas company came out to fix it, they also put in an order to have it moved to the front of the house so we would not have that happen again. (I am actually surprised it took 10 years for it to happen, and am glad that I wasn’t the one driving!) They will have to dig up the exact spot where the other bed will go, so I figure I will let them do the work and save me the digging.  Digging and hauling stones is a workout!

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I did not get to see my mom on Mother’s Day, so instead we had lunch today.  It has been a habit of ours for years to go out to lunch on a different day near Mother’s Day so we can enjoy a meal out without the restaurant being too crowded, and wanting to move people in and out quickly.

I took along the pot of crocheted african violets I had made her, but I also stopped to gather and arrange a large bouquet of irises that were just blooming. I took a flower arranging course a few years ago and it was really helpful in learning the different ways to arrange flowers. I use the techniques a lot when i pick flowers from my garden–although they never look professional, they still look a bit better than my old method of just plunking them into a vase or jar.

This weekend the frost date will be past here in Philadelphia, so it will be time to get planting. I usually put in a lot of vegetables, but this year I think flowers may take center stage.

I sometimes see a new craft project I want to try but I don’t feel like investing in specialty tools. This has been my feeling about metal stamping.


My husband is a toolmaker, and so works with metal for a living.  He has a set of letter stamps that he uses at his job to stamp steel, so I asked him to bring them home so I could borrow them.

My first attempt (not pictured), was on cheap metal spoons I bought at the dollar store.  They were 2 for $1, so I figured it would be an inexpensive way to practice. I don’t know if it was the curve of the spoon, or the metal being particularly hard, but the stamps barely made an scratch on them, and when I tried hitting them multiple times, the stamp moved making a blurry barely-a-scratch impression.

So on to plan B. I remembered I has some aluminum flashing in my ‘miscellaneous’ craft box, so dug out a strip of that I had cut for some project in the past. I thought it could make a cute plant marker if I cut it down and mounted it on the wooden stakes I also seemed to have in the ‘wood and cork’ craft box.

The metal is either too thin, too soft, or I need to try to hit on a firmer surface than the wooden work bench I used.  When the stamp was hit, it pulled the sides up and basically wrinkled the metal. At least you can see the letters this time though.  I’m going to try some new techniques, and if it is still looking wonky, I may invest in some stamping blanks. Metal stamping may have won the first two rounds, but I am determined to make a come back.

It is hard to believe that it was only a couple of weeks ago I was still looking at snow on the ground and thinking that spring would never get here.  This weekend, spring arrived! All the trees and plants went from brown to budding and blooming in no time at all. I think they were happy the cold seems to have finally decided to depart.


Some sights at Morris Arboretum

On Saturday, my husband and I took advantage of the weather, and the fact that a local arboretum was having their cherry blossom festival and headed there early. It was so nice to see color, and grass, and flowers starting to come to life everywhere.  I took along my camera and had some fun playing with the zoom lens. It was such a nice day, that when we got home I tried to sit outside and crochet and it was actually too warm to do it. I don’t like working with yarn when it is too hot because I’m afraid of messing up the yarn with, well, sweat and stickiness. Instead, I did a little bit of yard work, pulling up some more of last year’s debris and moving a couple of hostas that were in positions where they were crowding out odd parts of the garden.

On Sunday morning, I relaxed in the morning and continued working on the pillow back.  I was having more of a “this single crochet is taking forever!” time of it, but I did manage to get to the half way point in the pattern, so I have crested the hill and only have 31 more rows to go. When the day warmed up, inspiration and the desire to be outside hit me and I started a project that has been on my to-do list for years.  I began building a flower bed along the front of our house.

It is going to have a slight curve to it, and I ended up using an old garden hose to get the curve to the shape we wanted, then spray painting along it so that my curve wouldn’t wander too much when I was digging out the grass.  I’m lining it with large stones.  We had about a half dozen of them on the side of our house from a previous project, so they got moved into place. Hopefully more will be acquired this week so I can finish the bed, and start planning what will be planted there.

Busy weekend, but it was the kind of busy that resulted in a happy kind of tired. It’s also nice to spend time with the neighbors again after a long winter of hibernating.


I did start the back panel of the pillow today. It is going to end up being 63 rows of single crochet. I got through 11 of them, so a good start. Before sitting down to work on it, I did something I have never, ever done before. I put some plants in the ground before the frost date for my region. A small rebellion, but there is was.

Growing up, we always had a backyard garden. I think my mom hoped if we helped grow the vegetables, we would eat them. It did not always work. We also had a flower garden which I seemed to like much better. That frost date was ingrained in me from before I can remember.  Each year, I have seen the plants show up in nurseries at least a month early, and watched people loading flats into their cars and held off. That voice in my head repeating the frost date always won out.

I don’t know what happened this year, but I wanted to put some flowers into the ground. And I wanted to do it today, a good many weeks early.  So off to the store I went.  I came home with not too much in case we do get a freezing night again: a couple of red geraniums, two small sets of marigolds in yellow and orange and some herbs jumped into the cart too. I have a small herb garden right outside of my back door, and really miss being able to pop outside to snip some when I am making dinner. I can’t grown them inside during the winter because I have cats who must eat any and every plant that enters out house and I haven’t found a way to wall mount a planter indoors yet.

I put the flowers in the back-corner garden where I will be able to see them every time I look out into our back yard, or leave the house.  And some basil, oregano, tarragon and rosemary are tucked in along the back of the house.

I’ll admit, I did check the 10-day weather forecast to see what overnight temperatures are predicted, and the rest of the seeds and plants will not be purchased until it really is safe, but boy, did it feel good to get dirt under my fingernails.