Thursday, April 7, 2011

Here come the bunnies

Yesterday I started knitting the first bunny.

While waiting for an appointment I got both feet done.

And last night while watching a bit of TV I managed to knit most of the back. This part is the little bunny tush and arms. I'm just about to start the head/ears, then I'll only have the front portion to knit.

Bunny season is off to a good start- but soon I'll head on the the dentist for a "procedure" and since I have a real fear (not just a dislike) of the dentist I'll be drugged to get through it. (But to be honest I feel the same way about even just having a cleaning... although they mostly refuse to drug you for those) so I'm not sure how much bunny knitting I'll get done today.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Starting Seeds

The Mister and I have had a backyard garden every year we've been together (except for a few logistically difficult years like the one when we were planning our wedding).

Last year we finally built a raised garden bed and I've got to say it totally changed the way I looked at gardening. It also increased the number of projects surrounding gardening I felt I could take on.

In the past our plot was 4 times the size of the current raised bed. The constant weeding alone was too much to handle. And frankly there were whole sections of the garden that never materialized crops- the plants grew (the weeds grew too) but we never really got a harvest from them.

I think there were two issues- it was too big a space for us to realistically manage with our schedule and the soil (despite adding compost) just wasn't right.

Last year's garden was fantastic in comparison. We had almost no weeds. It took a fraction of the time to water and care for. And sure, we didn't get any of the zucchini or green peppers we planted- but not because they failed to grow. They were being swiped by something just before fully ready to pick. But it didn't really matter because we had a mountain of those from our farm share anyway.

This year I'm so excited about the prospect of the garden that I've ventured into territory I gave up many years ago and have started a few of our own seeds.

Last time I tried this it was a miserable failure. The ones sown outside never grew. Out of the ones started inside a few did ok but never really took off even though I hardened them off before moving them into the garden. It all just felt like one more expenditure of energy surrounding the garden that I just couldn't take.

Now though I have a different outlook on the whole thing. The garden bed was prepped and ready in under an hour (including planting a few rows of seeds). That's a new record!

I also started some seedlings inside that started sprouting a couple days ago!

I got a great tip from a blog I love Backyard Farming about planting your seedlings in those clamshell containers that foods are packaged in- they make mini greenhouses, and work like a charm!

For now we've only planted cool season crops. And only things we'd like to supplement our farm share with (Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower) because we didn't get enough of them last year. I hope the seedlings continue doing well. If they don't survive I'll be sad but it won't be so bad because I know the gardening season as a whole will be a lot more manageable.

Maybe someday we'll have the kind of schedules to incorporate bigger gardens and more backyard food production but for now I'm very happy having downsized to something that's enjoyable and fits with our lifestyle at the moment.

Are you getting ready for gardening season?
If so I'd love to hear about what you've planted or are going to plant.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sweet Surprise Sugar Cookies

Most of you probably already know that I like making my fair share of edible crafts, but there is one thing I've stayed away from until now.


I've certainly had the urge to try my hand at making some decorated sugar cookies. I'm constantly drawn to the amazing design work I see around the blogosphere, and have quite a few cookie sites amongst the favorite blogs I follow.

But for some reason I just haven't made that push to try it out. That is until I heard about the project that Amanda from I am baker was putting together.

If you didn't see it I'll give you the short synopsis (But you should still click over to see her amazing cookies and cakes). She put a post up saying that she would make 5 people (or families) who were in need of a sweet pick me up 2 dozen cookies each. She asked her readers to nominate someone they knew whom they felt was really in need of a cookie surprise.

After getting over 160 nominations Amanda realized that she couldn't just pick 5. All of the people who'd been nominated were going through hard situations and none were more deserving of being picked than others. But she also couldn't make and ship over 4,000 cookies herself.

That's when Amanda put the plea out to other bloggers. She asked her readers if they'd be willing to bake and ship cookies for a nominee who'd they be randomly matched up with.

I was so moved by what she had offered in the first place, and was now asking us to participate in, and touched by the spirit of so many people jumping in to to help that I wanted to pitch in too!

So I jump, piping bag in hand, and started baking/decorating.

In was some ways making the cookies wasn't as hard as I feared it might be. In others it was harder. For example, I hadn't really considered shipping. It took my brain an absurdly long time to catch on to the fact that sending cookies to someone in another part of the country meant I would not only have to figure out how to make decorated cookies... I'd also have to know how to ship the delicate little creations! I'm still holding my breath once in a while and saying a little prayer that they arrived to my nominee as cookies and not crumbs.

Thank goodness for all the wonderful tutorials out there to help me along!

Overall I'd say I definitely liked the process and will make cookies again. Most of all I'm glad I got to make them for someone who could use a sweet surprise. There really was no better reason to dive in and give this a try. I hope she likes them!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Giveaway Winners and Sugar Cookie Surprises.

Since today happens to be the first Monday of the month I should be doing my sweet of the month today. However, it's also the day I'm announcing my giveaway winners so I'll do my sweet post tomorrow... but here's a sneak peak!

I'm really thankful to all of you who entered the giveaway. I loved reading your comments on the things you liked. There are a few new projects I've found because of you that I want to try (alpacas, chickens, maybe slippers or one of the beautiful shawls).

Now lets get to the lucky winners!

The 4 randomly selected winners of the Bunny Fun Pattern are...

Comment Numbers
  • 17- Emma (E-dreamer on Ravelry) who said- Cute! I love the alpacas.
  • 1- Angelina la dawn who said- LOVE fiber trends and i've been wanting to try some needle felting for a while now! i really love their felted purse patterns. fingers crossed for this one!
  • 20- Ananda who said- Thank you for the chance to win. I've been dying to learn how to needlefelt. I would Love to try the alpacas. They're so cute!
  • 12- Knittingdancer on Ravelry who said- I love the Butterfly Garden Square Shawl or Throw Pattern by Evelyn A. Clark.
And the grand prize winner of the pattern AND a needle felting kit is...
  • Comment number 14- Emilee who said- I love the felted penguin. So cute.
Congratulations to all and thanks to Fiber Trends for their support on this giveaway. Winners please contact me with your mailing addresses and I'll get your prizes right out to you. I hope I get to see pictures of the finished bunnies!

If you didn't win but would still like to have either the bunny pattern or the needle felting kit they are available on the fiber trends website here and here.

This month I'll be doing a series of posts on my process of making bunnies from this pattern and including some of how-to's on needle felting.

So if you've always wanted to try needle felting (as a lot of you mentioned in your comments) but have felt intimidated or just haven't ventured there yet you can felt along with me!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Last Day to Enter the Giveaway!

Hope you are all having a nice weekend. After having a bit more snow on Friday Spring is back here in my neck of the woods. Phew!

Just a quick reminder that my giveaway for a knit bunny pattern and needle felting kit from Fiber Trends ends tonight at 11:59 EST.

If you haven't entered yet, there are five separate chances to win... so hop over and put your name in!

I'll be announcing the winner tomorrow.

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