Where does the time go?

I know I’ve asked that question many time before – but really!  Here it is the middle of March – how does this happen?

So what have you been up to?  Things have been pretty busy here.  I’ve decided not to put in a garden this year.  I spent so much time and money on last year’s garden, and I only got to harvest a few watermelon, 3 very tiny tomatoes and some beans.  The deer ate the rest.  I’m sure my neighbors will be sorry I’m not putting in the garden – the deer ate my veggies and left theirs alone last year!  I was going to put in a bunch of herbs, but since I’ll be traveling over the next few months I decided that wasn’t a very wise choice either.

I’ve been quilting up a storm – and yet now accomplishing much.  I’m working on 2 baby quilts now, Baby Boy is due in April and Baby Girl in May.  These little ones aren’t part of my family, but their Mums are special.  The first weekend in March my Mum and I met my Texas Sister in Dallas for the Dallas Quilt Show.  We all had a good time, and discovered a new restaurant.  If you’d like to see some of the quilts featured at the show, stop by my quilting blog, Quilt Gecko.  We also found a wonderful place to have breakfast, Cafe Brazil.  YUM!  While there I “test drove” all of the long arm quilting machines that were there.  I fell in love with Crown Jewel by Babylock.  When I got home I found a dealer in Shreveport and yesterday Friday I paid them a visit.

The shop, Shreveport Sewing Center (link is to their FB page) has the CJ set up so I got to see it again.  I spoke at length to the lady in charge of it.  I want it so much, but the price tag is WAY more than I want to spend.  I went back yesterday and spoke to them again.  A young man (14 or so) was there and he put a quilt on the machine and quilted it.  They rent the machine out at only $30/hour.  So, I’m going to rent time on the machine to do my quilting and we’ll see where that goes.

In April I’ll be going to San Antonio to visit Chelsea and then to San Diego/El Centro to visit Steph and family.  In May it’s back to San Antonio for Chelsea’s graduation (Master’s degree in computer science) and then to Georgia to celebrate grandson Gabe’s and Heather’s birthdays.  In June I’ll be heading out to Nashville for a yoga retreat.  I just LOVE being retired.

And I’ve decided to close my soap business.  There is too many things going on in my life and you can’t run a business when you do a lot of traveling.  I’ve got all my soaps on sale for $3/bar so if you are interested head over to the FB page or Etsy and stock up.  The business will code at the end of March.

Yesterday I stopped by one of the home improvement stores and boy was it CROWDED!  Apparently the shops have in the spring plants.  So I headed over to my favorite nursery, Ellis Pottery, and had a blast.  They have a huge space that is enclosed where they have their palms and other tropical plants.  It is my favorite place to be (if they put a comfy chair in there I’m not sure I’d ever leave).  I love these type of plants and while looking at them I thought it would be a great idea to get my back (east facing) porch in shape and have my own “palm house”.  So I did.  Here’s the result:

My Happy Place!!

 

How does you garden grow? (Mine, not so well….)

I think overall I’d have to give my garden a “D” this year.  I was late getting the seeds planted in the ground, I messed up and put my top soil on the bottom and the compost on top (even tho I tried to mix it up, didn’t do a wonderful job), we had a hard late frost, and I had a family of deer feast off my plants – and I live in the center of town!  The beans did well – overshadowing my basil; the watermelons are doing wonderful as are some of the hot peppers.  But the tomatoes were a failure, I only got 1 spaghetti squash (the bugs got the rest), the potatoes didn’t work (the deer ate the flowers) and I got about 4 cucumbers before it got too hot for them.  Lettuce didn’t even pretend to grow!  Carrots and radishes sent up little shots of green only to whither and die.  I had better luck in the desert!  But the herbs did really well (ok – don’t count the cilantro that bolted – ok?) and the roses are gorgeous.  Here’s some photos:

Basil

Purple basil (“hiding” under some beans”

Now the lettuce comes up

Morning glory, watermelon and tomato (aka deer food)

One of the lavenders

Lavender and Rosemary

Roses!

Next year I think I’ll rely on the Farmer’s Markets for produce and expand the herbs and roses!

Quilting with my Sister

A while back one of my sisters and I went on a weekend bus trip to several quilt stores in north Texas.  It was a lot of fun, and very inspirational.  We decided to sign up for a paper-piecing class, and finally we got to go yesterday.  To say it was fun would be a great understatement.  We had a blast!  The instructor was good, our fellow students were a lot of fun, and the project was enjoyable.  I only finished one of many blocks, and now that I am home I am looking forward to getting busy on the quilt.  Pictures will be coming soon.

Today, after getting home from my sister’s house, I got inspired with soap making.  I’d been wanting a citrus-sage soap, but the blends I’d been playing with weren’t just right.  But today I think I hit gold.  I made a custom blend of essential oils; lemongrass, sage, orange, cedar and petitgrain.  I think it smells heavenly.  I had infused organic olive oil with annatto seeds which is supposed to color the soap some shade of yellow.  The soap “batter” in the mold was a bright yellow-orange, but I’m sure it will change after it goes through gel.  So I’m looking forward to seeing it tomorrow when I un-mold it.

I also made some coconut soap – not only will it smell like coconut, but it has coconut milk in it and unsweetened coconut flakes.  I’m anxious to see it after it is un-molded as well.

Finally, I made up a big batch of Tattoo Butter.  It’s a whipped body butter made up of organic cocoa butter, organic shea butter, almond oil and with Vitamins A and D added.  It is supposed to help skin heal after a tattoo.  No color or scent was added.

Tomorrow I’m going to go out to my garden and take some photos.  The garden was not a huge success, except for beans, watermelon, hot peppers and herbs.  The deer have returned to nibble on the few plants still flowering.  At least someone is enjoying it!

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

The Garden

So it’s been almost 2 months since I posted photos of my raised garden “beds”.  It’s been fun seeing what would and wouldn’t grow here.  All of my lettuces and most of my peppers failed.  I believe that is because we had a hard frost the very end of April.  Those plants that had large seeds are doing pretty well.  My lawn was mowed last week, and as you can see, it needs it again.  But that has to wait until next week.  And, much to my dismay, deer have found their way into my garden and are enjoying potato plants and the blossoms on my tomatoes!  Drat!!  Anyway, here’s a few pics so you can see my mess!

26 May

To the left are beans, peas, potatoes, mustard

 

In the right box not much was coming up so I set a pot of mints in it and put a geranium in the front.

 

The tower where climbing flowers are supposed to grow

 

Rosemary, lavender and at the end – tomatoes

 

Today!

Beans and peas

Potatoes with munched tops

Watermelon gone crazy!

Can’t remember what the plant is, there are supposed to be sweet peas, morning glories and moon flowers growing up the structure. See the freshly disturbed earth? Kitty potty! 🙁

Zucchinni isn’t doing as well as the watermelon!

Tomatoes, some blossoms eaten but the deer didn’t get them all!

First Rose!

Been under the weather and today when I went to my back yard the roses really needed to be watered! But this beauty was there to great me! Even with all my head congestion I can smell her. It’s from David Austin’s St Alban’s rose bush. LOVE it. The little bush is loaded with buds and I can’t wait to sit out there with them in full bloom.