Tuesday, September 19, 2017

2017 Garden Wrap-Up

Well, 2017 was not a good garden year in my area, even for those of us with greenhouses/high tunnels.  I'm sure I didn't help my chances at all; we had a month between returning home from the States and getting the roof on the high tunnel, and I didn't start any seeds or work the soil in that time period.

What I planted:
  • Carrots (4 varieties)
  • Peppers (2 plants that I purchased, and seeds that decided they didn't want to come up)
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli (only one seed sprouted...)
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow squash
  • Peas
  • Purple beans
  • Yardlong beans
What I harvested:

  • So farm most of the carrots I've pulled have been too small to amount to anything.  Most of the carrot bed is still left untouched.
  • 5 peppers, which means each pepper cost about $2.
  • Some lettuce for us (we weren't proactive in going out and grabbing it for us) and enough to sell a few bags of it at the farmers' market.
  • Just one bite of broccoli.
  • Quite a few zucchini for ourselves and to sell at the market.
  • A few peas - most that got sold at the market.
  • A handful of purple beans for us and a sandwich bag of them to sell at the market.
The pepper seeds never sprouted, the yellow squash plants were quite small and only produced male flowers, and the yardlong beans never made it to harvest.  As I was pulling out the yardlong bean plants, I could see that there were 3 total flowers that had started.

What I learned:
  • I didn't care for this variety of peas - seemed like the pods were never soft/sweet enough for me.
  • I should NOT have broadcast my carrot seeds, no matter what I read on the internet.
  • I should have started fertilizing way sooner.
  • I should have started seeds indoors.
  • Even if the pea envelope says that they will be bush plants, 24" - 36" tall, don't believe them.  Those plants got so tall!
  • Don't wait too long to address your grasshopper problem.  Sevn does work.
  • Our high tunnel is way too huge and needs a lot of maintenance.
  • I would be happy with a small greenhouse.

All pics are from 9-1-17:
pepper is hiding in there.

zucchini plants about to die...

so much growing time, so little broccoli...

pea plants, near the end...

carrot tops, the tops of very little carrots.

Friday, September 8, 2017

My new custom sewing table

When I first got my sewing machine, I was sewing at the coffee table or a folding table.  When we got our dining room table, I took it over as my sewing table.  But that table, and the chairs, were way too big, and we sold it over the summer.  In looking at Pinterest, I knew what I wanted for a sewing table, but I needed some help.

You see, there are a lot of products that don't get shipped to Alaska, not even to the stores.  And I couldn't find the table tops necessary for a sewing table up here, or at least not for my price range.  So I asked my parents if they would get the necessary parts and bring them up when they drove up for a visit.  Man, table tops and table legs are nice and such a good price at Menards!

I decided I wanted a double table top, with casters, for my table.  I needed a place to store my QuiltCut 2 Fabric Cutting System*, hence the lower table top.  *It lived under the spare bed, but that wasn't very convenient and often stopped me from using it.
There's the QuiltCut!

I wanted the bed of the sewing machine to be the height of the table top, so the top needed to be cut to the shape of my machine.

So, to begin, Dad cut the legs down to make room for the casters.  The cut off ends became the short legs that hold the butcher block off of the black top.  Those little legs are all the way out at the corners so that there would be room for the QuiltCut.

Once they arrived at my house, we got out the sewing machine and drew the lines for the cutout from the butcher block.  After we bought a jigsaw (how does a man in his 40s not have a jigsaw?  come on Jeff!), Dad cut it out.

The butcher block piece that got cut out would become the rise for the sewing machine once it had a couple pieces of luan glued to the bottom.  Neither the rise for the machine are "hooked in" or anything, so it will be really easy to pull of or move if I need to sew a cuff on a Christmas stocking, or something.

The table top that Mom & Dad picked up is a nice butcher block, which I considered doing a color wash on.  I'm super happy that in the end I decided to put poly on it instead (4 coats, my Dad did the work).
the short leg to the left of the machine just slides in (it's not in place in this picture)
to ensure easy access to anything stored there

I love how the Poly brought out the grain of the wood - it just glows!

So now, I have a table specific to my machine and my storage needs!  Yeay!!!  I still want to get a storage cube or something on wheels to put under the table when not in use that can then be pulled out and my tools can set on top of when I'm sewing.  Oh, and you like my teal chair?  Bed, Bath, & Beyond.  I love it!  It comes in a ton of colors; I ordered one in peach for Rhyanne's desk.

Sew, what do you think???  :-)

storage for small rulers

room in front of the machine for my little snips

I can't get over how nicely the machine fits into the butcher block!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

July 2017 (the non-gardening post)

On a drive home from Anchorage, we saw this double rainbow...

...and this sneak peak of Mt. Drum.

The biggest thing that happened in July was that Flat Stanley came to visit us to learn about Alaska!

our backyard

Mt. Drum & fireweed

Mt. Drum
The Copper River with the Wrangell Mountains in the background
 We live very near the largest National Park, so we went to the visitor center...
Add caption

Flat Stanley learned all about fishwheels.
He liked this cache that was near the fishwheel too.

Inside the Visitor's Center is this relief map of the park.  Stan is pointing out Glennallen, our nearerst town.
As you can see, we are very close to the mountains!

He also learned about our volcanoes!
Mt. Drum, as taken from Wrangell St. Elias National Park

We were going to go on a nature walk, but I was wearing the wrong shoes...

Plus, Flat Stanley was hungry!  At least there was a sign warning not to eat the berries!

This sign was from 2016,, but we felt it would just be safer to head out.
Thank you Wrangell St. Elias National Park!
Next stop was the Klutina River.  A much better color than the Copper River.

Later in the month we stopped at the Matanuska Glacier.
Again, Stan learned a little something there...
This is the view in the opposite direction from the glacier.  Do you see the rainbow?
There was a day when Flat Stanley stayed home and Jeff & I went to Valdez...
It was the day we photographed the Little Kitty Quilt, the Farm Fun Barn Quilt, and the Big Bear + Little Bear Quilt.
Worthington Glacier

Worthington Glacier

Horsetail Falls
a view from the Valdez Civic Center

Monday, August 14, 2017

Big Bear + Little Bear Quilt - Finished!

Honestly I've had so many family members adding babies to their families this year!  Three cousins this summer alone!
Big Bear + Little Bear Quilt
Thompson Pass, Alaska
the wind was blowing the quilt against Jeff, but he was happy to have his feet/legs hidden...
After my cousin Erin announced her pregnancy, her mom started pinning ideas for baby quilts incorporating some Native American designs (part of baby's heritage).  When I saw that, I knew that I had the perfect fabric for a baby quilt for her!  And click here to see the quilt that my aunt Loretta made for her new granddaughter!
I dd not use the totem pole fabric in this quilt.
I had purchased this Big Bear Little Bear fabric through Massdrop about a year and a half ago because my director at the time was expecting (you can see that finished quilt here).  I had plenty of fabric left over, plus some other pieces I had ordered, so I just had to find a good layout.

I looked on Pinterest for a Plus Quilt, and found this FREE pattern from For the Love of George (link here to show her some love).  I downloaded the pattern which was very easy to use and following it produced this lovely little quilt!  I didn't have enough of each color to follow the pattern exactly, but I was able to fill in (mainly around the edges) with other fabrics.  Honestly, there might be 15 or 16 different fabrics there...

Some things I really liked about this pattern:  She tells you where to place your fabrics, depending on how many different ones you have, and is very specific on how much fabric you need what sizes to cut, etc.  Also, she has a coloring page if you want to create your own design.  AND she has this pattern for queen size.  I just might end up using that...

Worthington Glacier
I did add a brown border on the outside, the same color as my binding, because I knew I would be long-arm quilting it on my friend's machine.  From the first time I used her machine I learned that it is helpful to have a border on the quilt for long-arm quilting; if nothing else, it allows a bit that you can cut off when you trim it.  Plus, I do like the look of a wide binding, and this border gives that allusion.
Mile 61(ish) of the Richardson Highway, facing North.
For the back I purchased more of the Kona solid brown (I think it's Chocolate) but I didn't buy enough!  As I was making the backing (the day before going to my friend's to quilt it), I realized that I didn't have enough fabric to make the backing as big as one should for long-arm quilting.  Luckily, I did have a piece in my stash that worked well.  It's a fabric that looks like old world maps.  The color was perfect and you can even find the US on it (including Alaska).
bad photo, but you get the point...
the all-over quilting pattern is hearts, and about 1/4 of the hearts have a swirl coming off of them
I think that swirl looks like the heart is flexing; be strong baby Ellie!
The quilt got to my cousin's house prior to baby's arrival, so we had time to chat a bit about it (I love that texting exists!).  I was so happy to hear that they liked the quilt!  I've been able to see pics of my newest cousin, who has now arrived, and has the adorable name Ellie!  Oh, I love it!  Enjoy your quilt, Ellie!  Make sure your momma introduces us before you're super big!

I called this the Big Bear + Little Bear Quilt, to incorporate both the name of the fabric and the name of the pattern.
Worthington Glacier
Big Bear + Little Bear is my seventh quilty finish of 2017.  Whew!  :-)

Linking up to:
Moving it Forward
Main Crush Monday
Love Laugh Quilt
Funky Polkadot Giraffe
Freemotion by the River
Sew Can She
Needle & Thread

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Farm Fun Barn Quilt - Finished!

I wish I had the space for a big huge fabric stash like I've seen on Instagram (and the funds necessary!), but I don't.  Which is totally fine!  That means that I know what fabric I do have!  Which means when I found out that my cousin Daniel, and his wife, Bethany, were expecting again, I knew that I had the perfect fabric for a quilt for the new baby!
Horsetail Falls
After making the Farm Fun Quilt for my cousin Sarah's baby, I had plenty of fabric left over.  Farm Fun for another farm family?  Yes Please!  Plus, since Sarah and Daniel are siblings, their children are cousins, and the cousins would have coordinating quilts!  Yeay!

I wanted to try a new quilt pattern for this quilt, and since the fabric was already 10x10" square, I decided to try my hand at (what looks to me like) a barn quilt!  I cut the squares in half and arranged the triangles so that the darker colors were inside with the lighter outside, and a great green blender to fill in and show off the design.
no green blender added yet
I like to use my design wall to test out patterns before sewing pieces together.
With that completed, I knew that I wanted to make a rectangle, not a square quilt, so I used pieces from the jelly roll (2 1/2 inch strips) on the top and bottom.  It reminds me of the quasi-athletic look that was big in the late 90's and I love it!
Thompson Pass
Hopefully Baby (and big brother Luke) will enjoy the quilt, especially finding all the fun farm things in the fabric, like the eggs, tractors, chicken wire, milk, etc...

Farm Fun Barn Quilt is my sixth quilty finish of 2017.
mile 61(ish) of the Richardson Highway

Linking Up:
Kathy's Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt
Moving It Forward
Main Crush Monday
Funky Polkadot Giraffe
Freemotion by the River