Saturday, June 12, 2010

Raised Garden Bed- The Plantings

Here it is, the finished (and planted) garden bed!

I was unsure of how close I really could plant everything. I know it's said that in a raise bed you can plant closer than normal but I didn't want to crowd the plants. So in the end I may have left some "unused real estate" but I'm ok with that. I'd rather judge how the plants grow in this year and based on that, decide how close to plant them next year.

In the garden we have Tomato, Cherry Tomato, Eggplant, Cucumber, peppers (in green, yellow, orange and red), and zucchini.

We also have a farm share- so I planted only what I thought we might want more of that's why there are no lettuce or greens (we get far too much of that from the share already and it's only the beginning of the season). This could be a big mistake by the way... if it's a banner year for these kinds of veggies we're in trouble. So if I have a Tomato giveaway on the blog sometime around August you'll know we're on the verge of being buried by produce!.

In case you're wondering here's my list of materials for building the bed.

6- 2x8 cedar boards
1- 4x4x8 cedar post
32- 3 inch stainless steel screws

  • Cut four 1.5 ft long pieces from the cedar post. Those will be the corners of the bed.
  • To make the short sides of the bed cut 2 of the 2 x8's in half and use 2 pieces (1 piece on top of another) for each short side. This will give you 1 ft high walls
  • The to make the long sides and complete the rectangle screw 2 full size 2x8 boards to the posts for each side.
  • I used 2 screws to secure each side of the individual boards.

Building the bed upside down worked the best. Then we flipped it and buried the remaining 6 inches of the corner posts to hold the entire thing in place.

I was worried about the weeds and grass in the ground below the bed growing up into the nice soil we were about to fill the bed with. So we lined the bottom with 4 layers of newspaper and then filled it with the compost/soil mix. The newspaper will help to keep the weeds below from growing up into the bed and once the paper has kept the weeds down long enough for them to die back it'll break down turning into nutrients for the soil. At least that's how I hope it'll go, weeds are amazingly industrious plants- I hope they don't outlast the newspaper!

All in all I'm pretty pleased with the project. We'll see how it goes- there might be a second bed built for next season if this one does well.

If you missed my previous posts about building the raised bed you can check them out here, and here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Free Pattern-Graduation Cap Card

Last year I made a simpler version of this graduation cap card. I've refined it and created a free downloadable pattern. Below I've shown the steps to make it.

Materials: Craft Knife, Scissors, Glue, 3 Inches of Embroidery Floss. Pattern Printed on White 8.5 by 11 Card Stock.

Start by printing out the pattern sheets on white card stock. Then score across the middle of the cap, inside card, and tag with the backside of a craft knife or a bone folder. You'll also need to score where each tab meets the base of the hat band (this is shown in the top right photo below).

After scoring, cut out all the pieces with a craft knife by following the black outlines for each piece.

Make a hole in the top of the cap with a hole punch or a needle tool. There's a white spot indicating where to punch the hole.

The next step is to fold the tabs on the hat band and glue the ends together to form a ring. And set the band aside to dry.

Now it's time to glue the embroidery floss to the top of the cap. Thread one end through the hole from the outside and glue it in place on the inside (this will get covered up by the card insert- so don't worry about being neat).

Trim the thread to the desired length and sandwich it between the tag. Glueing the tag closed and the thread inside at the same time.

If you'd like your cap to hold a gift card or money use your craft knife to cut along the semicircle marked on the card insert.
Fold the inset card and the top of the cap along the scored lines. Match up the folds and glue the top of the insert card to the top of the cap (this is the side of the cap that has the tag attached), the insert will cover up the hole.

Glue only the corners at the bottom of the insert card. Using just a small amount of glue on the bottom will allow the card to flex neatly when folded. i=It will also let you place a gift card or money in the tab easily because you can slide your finder under the back side of the insert card and push the semicircle up a little.

While the top of the cap dries, add glue to the tabs along the band and glue the top and bottom of the cap together.

Last- glue the dot over the hole for the embroidery thread to finish off the top of the hat.

You can write a note, slide in a gift card or money if you'd like, then I like to add a tiny drop of glue to close the card and hold it together tightly until the grad opens it.

This is my very first pattern- So if you make this card I'd love to know how you liked it or if you have any suggestions on improving the pattern. Thanks!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Brilliant BBQ Cupcakes!

Yesterday I saw these brilliantly decorated cupcakes (although from reading the recipe I think they're really brownie cups) from Family Fun featured on one pretty thing.

Since Joanne and I just did a Father's day edition of Cupkins on Monday I just had to give a little shout-out to these.

What a fantastic idea! (Click here to get the how-to).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Raised Garden Bed Progress

On Saturday I finished building the raised bed.

Here it is with 3 sides (this is the point that I ran out of screws and my wonderful hubby went to pick up more). Lucy was supervising the entire construction project from the lawn (she's way in the back of the picture sitting in the grass).

Once I had the last screws needed to finish the 4th side hubby went to pick up a trailer full of organic compost/top soil mix and was kind enough to fill the raised bed for me when he got back!

Again Lucy supervised the entire project (she's good at that).

I intended on planting right away- but we had a tornado warning which is something kind of rare here. The clouds were threatening and thunder was in the distance so decided I better not temp Mother Nature. We've had a series of very strong storms lately all of which could easily have destroyed new plants.

Here it is filled with dirt all ready for plants. Is it weird that I'm really happy about having a wooden box filled with dirt? Seriously, it makes me really happy every time I look at it sitting there in the back yard. I've been wanting a raised garden bed for a while but it was just one of those projects that kept getting put off for other things. Another thing crossed off "the list" feels good too!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cupkins: Chocolate Stout Muffins

If you've been a reader for a while you probably know each month Joanne from Ready, Set, Craft! and I collaborate on something we call Cupkins. (If you're a newer reader here's how it works: We pick a theme, then Joanne makes cupcakes I made make muffins to go with the theme we've picked.)

June is going to be a special Cupkins month- we're doing two themes! Today is for Father's Day and then later in the month we'll do 4th of July.

For Father's Day recipe I've made Chocolate Stout Muffins. Perfect for Dads who like chocolate (and maybe also the occasional adult bottled beverage).

Here's how to make them:

First you'll need to get a bottle of a chocolate stout you like. I used this one.

• 1.5 cups of flour
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon of salt
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/3 cup of non-fat milk
• 1/4- 1/2 cup of the chocolate stout
• 1 large egg
• 1.5 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1/3 cup applesauce
• 4 oz baking chocolate
• 1 bar dark chocolate

Chop about 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chunks and set them aside.

Put all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, then add the applesauce, egg, oil, milk and beer. Stir just a few times until the ingredients start to combine. (at this point you still have to melt and add the baking chocolate so don't stir too much or you'll get tough muffins).

Melt 4 oz of baking chocolate in the microwave

mmmm- doesn't that chocolate look good. I always, always want to eat some of the baking chocolate when I'm melting it. It's not fair that it tastes so bad- but still looks just as good as regular chocolate!

Once the chocolate is melted, add it into the bowl and stir until all ingredients combine. You can also add in your chocolate chunks at this point.

Bake at 375 until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean (I made 6 oversized muffins and mine took about 20 minutes.)

Once the muffins are cool. Melt a little more of the dark chocolate and drizzle over the top.

At this point I'd usually give you a nice shot of the whole batch of muffins. Except that... between the time I made them in the evening and when I was going to photograph them in the nice outdoor morning light not mentioning any names (cough, cough my husband, cough) ate them. He says sorry blog readers.

So I guess that means they came out alright... and my taste tester assured me that they made both a good midnight snack and breakfast treat. At least I had 2.5 left to photograph! (yes 2 and a half, the one cut off in the back of the photo is only half a muffin- see). Good thing I woke up when I did- if my husband had been left alone with these much longer I may not have had anything to photograph!

Now head on over to Joanne's blog (by clicking on the cupkins logo below) to check out her adorable Chocolate Banana Dad Cupcakes.

Thanks for dropping by and enjoy the day!
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