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Not just a Gardening Blog - I Can Sew too!

Now that it's just way too cold to venture outside for any length of time, I'm looking forward to focusing on some of the other interests I have such as blogging and sewing. It has always been my intention for this blog to be about more than just gardening and food, and I finally feel like I'm able to start documenting my sewing adventures. I have quite a backlog what with costumes from two Dragon*Cons and several pirate parties, not to mention my love for vintage clothing and a growing collection of fab vintage patterns.

My new blue office is the result of the need to separate my sewing room from my office/computer room. For the past couple of years I had been using one room for both purposes and there were just too many things going on in that one space! It was becoming a chaotic disaster area, particularly in the aftermath of spending 2 solid months sewing 10 - 14 hours a day for Dragon*Con.

I guess I will start by going backwards...Here is the most recent dress, which I made this past Saturday.

 IMG_1736-1 IMG_1738-1


It's from this 1936 evening dress pattern that I bought several years ago at Eva Dress, my favorite online vintage pattern shop. I go there and drool over the patterns, and am on her mailing list so I can know when she posts anything new. 

Now, I have to admit that this is my first shot at sewing one of these patterns, because I was initially very intimidated by them. The instructions for this dress were literally only half a page long and un-illustrated, and I often have a hard time even when the instructions are several pages long with pictures for every step. 

It's possible I learned more about sewing than I realized this summer, but this really was a simple pattern. The instructions were very clear and concise and there were only 4 pieces. I made a mock-up in cotton first, and it went together so quickly that I was able to make the official version in less than three hours. I wore it to a Christmas party that very night!

I did leave out the trim and sash made in a contrasting fabric because I didn't have anything on hand that I thought would be suitable to go with the sweater-like knit that I used for the dress. And that knit was so fuzzy and forgiving that it was very easy to finish the edges without seam binding or other tricky finishing techniques. I expect that it would take an additional 2 to 4 hours to create this dress with the trim in a different fabric - which I fully intend to do!

I've got lots more to post, but I'd like to get better photos of some of the things I've made before I put them up. I really don't have to worry about running out of things to do this winter! So many patterns, too many ideas...and let us not forget next year's Dragon*Con!

Winter Garden Update

It got to be December pretty darn fast, I must say! I've been snuggled up in my cozy new blue office so deeply that I've hardly even noticed the outside world for the most part.

Cozy New Blue Office. Yes, that IS a map of Middle-Earth on the wall.

For instance, I knew it was theoretically cold outside because someone mentioned it would be in the twenties last week, but it didn't really sink in that it was feckin' freezing out 'til I went to get some greens out of the wee greenhouses I built and found ice between the sheets of plastic!

Which reminds me! I never posted photos of the finished greenhouses!

Here is the final version, with extra sheeting for insulation on the sides.

And here they are at night! It looks like there's a party going on in there!

They have been working perfectly so far. I have been amazed at how well everything is growing, especially certain plants that have failed previously. My chard is creating beautiful, deeply shiny green leaves with brilliantly hued stalks (I got the Bright Lights variety), and everything is just lush and thriving. I even have onions re-emerging, that I must have missed before, because they were so puny.

All of this came out a few days ago...cilantro, parsley and arugula that I had to harvest because they were starting to brush against the roof and lights. I cooked some of it up with some other mexican flavors and ground beef...with bacon on the side. Because, well, Bacon.

Today is December 13th, and we've actually had a bit of snow over the past 48 hours or so. I was just out checking on the greenhouses again, and everything still seems fine.

This is how it looks outside the plastic walls - ice and bits of snow. 

It's 27 degrees outside right now, and it was still about 40 in the greenhouses. I may need to add a bit more insulation or heat somehow, because it's supposed to dip down to the teens tonight, and it appears that the lights keep everything about 15 - 20 degrees warmer.

These guys seem to have it all under control for me. Don't mess with my garden, man, or you'll have to answer to them!


In other news, the seed catalogs arrived the other day! I am already planning next year's garden. I'm going to have to expand again to fit all the things that I want to grow! I am also thinking about starting some seedlings now to add to the greenhouses later. Unfortunately, my "sun-room" is on the northern side of the house and gets no sunshine at all this time of year, so I may have to invest in some grow-lights, or invade another room in the house that gets better light.

I am also hoping to add chickens this spring! I want two or three laying hens for fresh eggs. I'm gonna try the chicken tractor method, where they are in a mobile cage that can be moved around the yard each day. This allows them to eat fresh greens and bugs, all the while fertilizing the yard. It also prevents a lot of the negative things that people associate with chickens, like flies, odor, compacted earth, mud and filth. I will also probably build a coop for them to sleep in at night, so they will be safe and cozy. I still have a lot of research to do, and plans to create, because I suspect I will have to restructure my garden a bit in order to accommodate the hens. 

Winter is yet just begun, so I have plenty of time to plan, daydream and design my perfect Garden 3.0.


Update to the Update: It's 8:30 pm and 21 degrees outside. The low is expected to be 13. I checked the temp inside the greenhouse and it was around 30, which just won't do. I added a couple of sheets and another piece of plastic to the main greenhouse, and now I just have to wait and see. I really don't have anymore layers to add. Even if the greenhouse fails and I lose everything, I 'm alright with that. I got an extra couple of months out of the growing season, and maybe next year I will be able to invest in a proper structure. I'll see what it all looks like in the morning!