Thursday, February 25, 2010

Seed Swap, a Good Ending.

Well, the Des Moines Seed Swap, organized by your favorite little hippy, went really well.
About 20 people stopped by to visit, swap seeds and eat banana bread. There was a nice mix of new gardeners and old gardeners and Franklin gardeners and Downtown gardeners. One of the gals from the Franklin Gardens, Donna, got seeds donated from Seed Savers Exchange. So, everyone left with more seeds than they came with.
I taught a couple of people how to save tomato seeds. I don't think they quite believed me when I got to the ferment-them-on-your-counter stage. I got to share some of my knowledge of seed starting too. Hopefully some of it will stick.
One of my good friends, and a fellow seed saver for several years now, Brian, stopped by and shared some of his peppery goodness and knowledge.
Of course, it just makes me sadder to leave this great city. :-(
I've got a great new job, but we have to move. So, in 3 weeks we'll be packing a truck and heading 5 hours NW to Sioux Center, IA. The seed swap turned into my last act as a Des Moines gardener.
I'm going to miss these crazy Des Moines gardeners. The Franklin gardens with the poor drainage and brave mice, and the most beautiful tomatoes I've ever eaten. I'll miss the crazy thievery at the Downtown plots, the bits of brick and cement still in the dirt, and the tastiest sweet corn ever roasted.
Hopefully this passion, grown here in Des Moines, can find root in a new community. New gardeners to meet, colder winters to cheat, and lot's of new veggies to eat. :-)
I'll have to be on my toes to get a good spring garden started in time! Wish me luck!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The cycle of the year continues

Well, I have seeds sprouting in my seed area. Nothing too exciting, just some herbs, Basil, Catnip, Chamomile, Borage, Cilantro and White Sage. Why these you ask? 1. I had seeds for them in my seed bank, 2. It's a nice mix of culinary, medicinal and pollinator attractors. I won't start veggie seeds for another few weeks, but this marks the beginning of the spring seed starting for me, which caused my mind to turn to my food storage.
Every week now I'm washing and storing more and more empty jars. Here's the round up of what's still in storage for my family to eat on that I put away last fall.
1 Butternut squash
1 Acorn squash
5 Quarts Peaches
4 Pints Tom soup
2 jelly jars of Zucchini relish
3 Q Roasted Tom sauce
5 Q Tomatoes whole
8 P corn
4 Q Apple Sauce
2 Q carrots
2 Q green beans
3 jellies
5-6 cups of dried veggies
Dried herbs remaining include sage, lemon basil, lemon verbena, lavender, basil, kale and stevia.

A quilting kinda weekend

Mom and I (and Rowen) went to the Quilt shop-hop over in the Amana's this weekend. Wow were there some cool quilts. I got some great ideas for presents to give to the women on my mom's side of the family, cute little needle holders. Mom bought a pattern/kit and I peeked at it over lunch. I don't know if I'll wait until I can use her pattern or whether I'll just wing it with what I remember.
I bought some fabric of course. Found some awesome flannel in a bright blue to finish the wall hanging that I posted about last week. Found a bunch of the fruit/veggie print that I've been pining over for months. The veggies will be made into market bags and the fruits will be made into lunch box bits. The lunch box is still in the planning stages, but I want to make at least one for me to take to work, and another for Rowen. If Dave decides he likes it and wants one, that'll be three. I might make one to give away too. I'll use that cute fruit print, and some of the PUL that's leftover from diaper making.
I also learned how to do paper piecing, which was totally new to me, and looks awesome! I feel vindicated now for my little box full of 2" or larger scraps. Paper piecing will use those cute fabric scraps so they won't go to waste. The way I figure it, most of my fabric probably comes from Asia, that's a long way to travel to get to my project table, the least I can do is use every last scrap. Paper piecing will also progress my hand-sewing skills. The traditional quilt made by paper piecing scraps is Grandma's Flower Garden, example above.
Projects in the pipeline right now:
Shirt for salsa dancing. Coming along nicely, I have the back and the front bodice pieces hemmed together. A couple more seams and I'll do the first try on.
Rowen's footie pj's and wall hanging. Also coming along nicely, I think it'll be no problem to have at least one of them done by his birthday party next month. Maybe even both, depending on when I go back to work. I got the back cut out last night and some letters to applique? his name on the front.

I have a birthday party coming up for a 1 year old girl, and a wedding for an old friend. Both of which I'm planning to sew for. Either a bag with her name on it or something stuffed and fuzzy for 1 year old Aubrey. Wedding present ideas include a napkin set or potholders.
Lots to do, but at least it keeps me busy!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Years resolution fun

So, one of my resolutions this year is to get better at my sewing and quilting. To that end, I've started some footie pj's for Rowen, as clothing is definitely my weak spot with sewing. I had to steal a bright blue zipper for my mother, and I messed up the cutting out of the fabric, I meant for the front to be all stripes and the back to be all bugs, but oh well. I cobbled it together yesterday. All I need to do now is find some tube knitting for the cuffs and collar, and sew the little booties onto the legs. It's still big, he won't fit into these until Summer or Fall I think. So, I have time to figure out the whole tube knit thing. (And time to find some in a color to match this craziness!)
Then, to try something new I whipped up a bright quilt top out of some flannel scraps leftover from the pj's.
This project was great, because I was actually using scraps, and it was fabric that was too cute to throw away or toss into storage for a 'someday'. I just started cutting strips, then I made up a block that used those strips. Nothing really fancy, it's probably not even a block that has a name, but I kinda like the results. I was inspired by the log cabin block, but mine didn't turn out anything like it. :-) Hopefully I'll have this turned into something useable soon. Not sure if I'll make a wall hanging out of it or try and turn it into a pillow or what. It might depend on how hard it is to find matching flannel/fabric.
It was nice to work on a new quilt, I've been trying to finish up my first quilt this winter. As a first quilt goes, it's not bad, but there's definitely a lot I learned in the making of it, and things that I was able to do differently with this flannel one, because of that learning. It made the whole process much more enjoyable.

On a related note, I have 14inches of scarf knitted! I think I've really got the hang of the knit stitch. I can't wait to learn the next one.