It was an absurdly snowy April here in Colorado, with multiple snowstorms delivering 12″ or more, and then 8″ more on May 1st!. There were also numerous beautiful days with temperatures in the 60s and 70s, so I’ve been hauling my plants in and out. I’ve also acquired quite a few additional plants since I last wrote an update on my little container garden.
Veggies: I started lettuce, green onions, cherry tomatoes, and poblano peppers from seed. I also purchased a “bush Goliath” tomato start after realizing that my tomato seedlings would be cherry tomatoes, because I am not that fond of cherry tomatoes! The cherry tomato seedlings are really thriving, and I think they’ll be big enough to move outside soon. The lettuce and onions are already outside.
Herbs: The concept of fresh herbs on demand is one of the most appealing parts of having a container garden. I am usually cooking for one, and only cook a few times a week, so I often only need a sprig of mint for a cocktail or a handful of cilantro in a recipe, not a huge bunch. I hate throwing out food because I couldn’t use it up quickly enough, so the ability to step out onto the patio and cut just the amount that I need will make for a much happier sometimes-chef this summer. I unsuccessfully attempted to start spearmint from seed, and got tired of failing, so I purchased a spearmint plant from the farmers’ market a few weeks ago. Over the past few weeks, I’ve also acquired Genovese basil, rosemary, sage, and thyme, all from the farmers’ market. I am planning to start cilantro seeds soon.
Flowers: Flowers aren’t a huge focus for me, but I want to have some color in the garden along with the veggies and herbs. I purchased a gerbera daisy plant from Home Depot a few weeks ago because gerbera daisies are one of my all-time favorite flowers. I have been struggling to get some columbine seeds started – I understand that they need a cold start in the fridge, but I’ve tried several times with different lengths of time in the fridge, and nothing is happening. Columbines are my favorite flower (I have a tattoo of a columbine, and it’s the state flower of Colorado) so I went ahead and purchased two varieties of columbines from the farmers’ market. One of the columbines has bloomed, but the other hasn’t bloomed yet. I’ve started several varieties of zinnia seeds and they are growing quickly! And last weekend I purchased a large peony plant at farmers’ market. It hasn’t bloomed, but the greenery alone is very striking and attractive.
Seriously, it’s been a lot of snow…
I always have 4-5 books on the go: often two fiction books and a handful of non-fiction books. I was organizing my living room and stacked up all the books I’m currently reading, and I realized that it provides a pretty good snapshot of what’s on my mind these days.
From top to bottom:
Blog Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho. Obviously, blogging is something I’m very interested in, and this book is a great primer on developing a methodical approach to blogging. It also highlights the many different types of blogs (personal blogs, craft/lifestyle blogs, blogs to promote a business, etc.) through case studies and interviews with successful bloggers.
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. I haven’t started this novel yet, but I need to start soon because my family is having a “book club” when everyone convenes in Maine for our annual extended family 4th of July reunion and this is the book! I’ve never read any Barbara Kingsolver, but I’m really looking forward to getting started and to discussing the book with my cousins, aunts, and other family members.
Grow Great Grub by Gayla Trail. This is a great book about growing organic food (veggies and herbs) in a small space or a container garden like mine. It is equal parts inspiration and practical advice, which is perfect for me, because I can’t do one without the other. It’s been very useful as I pick which plants I want to attempt to grow in my container garden.
Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach. Of all the books I’m reading right now, this is probably my favorite. It’s a cookbook, I guess, but it’s so much more than a cookbook. It’s a very personal story of one woman’s development as a home chef, from her early adult life when it was just her and her husband, through the “new mom” years, and finally to the “family dinner” phase of her life. I am not a great cook, but everyone has to start somewhere, and I appreciate her candor in describing the struggles that she and her husband have had in the kitchen, not just the successes. She has obsessively written down every single dinner for 14+ years, and my probably-undiagnosed-OCD self can appreciate that kind of commitment to record-keeping. I also love her blog, which is where I recently discovered a fantastic dark and stormy recipe.
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. This book has received a ton of press recently, and the phrase “leaning in” has become synonymous with women committing to their careers and fighting sexism in the workplace. Many of the women in my office are also reading this and we are planning a book club in June to discuss the book. It’s been an emotional read for me, because although sometimes I struggle with whether I want to stay in my corporate job, reading this book makes me feel indignant about all the subtle and not-so-subtle ways that women are disadvantaged in the workplace (and all the ways we hold ourselves back). I think that all working women AND men who care about equal rights and about work-life balance and families should read this book. I’m only halfway through, but it’s definitely changing how I approach certain interactions with my co-workers.
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. This beast of a novel was given to me by my boyfriend on our very first date, more than 9 months ago. I’ve picked it up and put it down several times, because it is long and challenging, but it is also quirky and wonderfully entertaining. To me, it seems like the American answer to Ulysses by James Joyce (another quirky, wonderful, long, and extremely challenging novel that I read in college).
Any suggestions for other good reads?
Last week, the Supreme Court heard several arguments related to marriage equality and the constitutionality of Prop 8, and the Human Rights Campaign encouraged supporters of marriage equality to change their Facebook profile picture to a red and pink equals sign, symbolizing a belief that love is love, and hatred has no place in our culture and especially not in our laws. An astonishing number of my Facebook friends changed their profile pictures, along with almost 3 million other Americans. I was happy to see how many equal rights supporters I counted among my friends, and as people posted many creative variations on the logo, I couldn’t stop thinking about how the logo really ought to be a quilt!
I couldn’t bring myself to start yet another quilt, having so many unfinished quilts in the works, but I designed a little patchwork equality logo. (And then promptly ruined it with an attempt at free motion quilting, but that’s another story.) I did some improv patchwork with my pink scraps to form the equals sign, and floated it in solid red.
If anyone wants to recreate this, here are the sizes of the pieces I cut:
Solid red: two 2″ x 8.5″ strips and two 2″ x 5.5″ strips (for the outer ring of red), one 1.5″ by 5.5″ strip (in between the pink strips)
Pink improv: two pieces of crazy patchwork cut down to 2.5″ x 5.5″ each
I would love to see other fun variations on this block!
I think it will eventually be a potholder. Potholders for equality!
I am linking up to Freshly Pieced Work in Progress Wednesday.
I am still in love with my little garden. I’ve started transplanting the tomato and poblano pepper seedlings to larger pots, and the tomatoes are really taking off. They are starting to look like real plants, not just baby seedlings!
I gave up on my original onion seedlings and tried starting some new seeds. So far, I’m still having the same problem: the seed casing is so heavy for the tiny little stem that it loops over. Any advice for a gardening newbie on what to do with these onions?
I also started more lettuce seeds and and another type of mint, and I’m trying to get some columbine seeds going but they are proving tricky. At this point, I only care about successfully growing tomatoes and anything else will be a bonus!
I am a big fan of “window shopping” on Etsy. I can spend hours dreaming of all the handmade and vintage pretty things I would fill my home (and wardrobe) with, given unlimited budget. I’m trying to cut down on the “things” I bring into my life right now, so it really is window shopping at this point. Still, given my current obsession with my little garden, and all things vegetables, it’s hard to resist these pretty things!
1. I am obsessed with this bowl. Obsessed. I might have to break the budget for this one.
2. This print makes me crave pizza. I’m very excited to make gluten free pizza with tomatoes from my own garden this summer!
3. This advertisement for a farmers’ market is so strikingly graphic.
4. I love this tea towel with gardening accoutrements!
5. These seasonal veggie tea towels are so happy colored.
6. I have a magnet on my fridge with the Eleanor Roosevelt quote featured on this print. It’s one of my favorites: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
7. This print featuring canned tomatoes is lovely. And anything in a foreign language is very hipster, no?
8. How many tea towels do I really need?
I started this quilt more than a year ago, and then got busy with other things. I often get bored with a quilt once I’ve designed it, and that’s what I think might be happening with this one. All the fabric is cut, and the only design choice left is which strips are used together to create each block, so it doesn’t feel as exciting as the color/fabric selection process. I think I’ve been away from it long enough that it’s starting to feel more interesting again, and I made a few blocks over the past few days. I am using this modified bento box tutorial from Film on the Fridge. I’ve made four of a planned sixteen blocks so far. The blocks will be cut into quarters and rearranged to make blocks looking something like this:
I think once all the blocks are done and I get to cut them apart and rearrange them and sew them back together, I’ll enjoy making this quilt more!
I must admit, designing a quilt for a boy is a lot of fun, but I am a little bit worried that my nephew will outgrow the robot theme quickly. I am planning to piece a quilt back using scraps from the non-robot fabrics that he can use as the quilt front when he gets older. I am going to start alternating sewing these bento box blocks with making some improv blocks using the scraps. I think that will help me with my boredom, too!
I used a Google Docs spreadsheet to keep track of the fabrics I used and which pieces I would use them for (and how much the fabric cost). Does anyone else do this? Am I completely OCD?
I am linking up to Lee’s Work in Progress Wednesday.