Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Spot of Gardening

Despite several gloomy days (with or without drizzle), the plant life in Post Falls has come to life as only Lady Spring can make it do, and our little place is no exception. Just two or three weeks ago, we began to see baby leaves on The Guardians, the Dryad's Throne, The Cottonwood and the Other Poplar, and now, with a bit of welcome sunshine now and then...well, see for yourself!

The Guardians, seen from back yard
The Dryad's Throne

The Cottonwood

The Other Poplar (behind The Cottonwood)

Snow-capped Mt. Spokane, seen over the back hedge

 God has provided several loverly new flowers to pretty up our yard and fill in the gaps in the flowers beds we put in last year. The H family down the street gave us a bleeding heart, and as you can see from the pictures, it's happy just sitting in the pot! Eventually we plan to continue this little bed all the way around the front of the house and around the corner, to help soften it up, hide the blank wall on that side of the house, and to disguise the cats' fenced-in yard a bit.
 The snow-on-the-mountain (or is it snow-in-Summer?) Mrs. H gave us last year is growing nicely and will probably fill up the whole bed by Summertime. The bushy plant in the picture is a Johnson's Blue Cranesbill, which is looking decidedly less leggy this year. There's a pink cranesbill on the left end of the bed, and we bought a Jacob's Ladder to fill in the spot on the right end. No pix yet, but I'll try to get some when they bloom.
Mom and I were so thrilled a couple weeks ago to find these beauties at Lowes. Pansies are some of my favorite flowers (apart from roses and violets, of course)—so cheerful, so dainty, and they come in so many colors! Seriously, I don't recall ever seeing an ugly pansy. The only downside, of course, is that they're annuals, so you have to plant them year after year, although sometimes they do come back. We had one lone pansy of the dozen or so we bought last year come back from the root, so we said no more pansies and started looking for primroses instead. We had some in California and had great success with them. Well! Not only did we find some at Lowes for about 60 cents apiece (no one else in the CdA area had them anymore), but we found these perennial pansies also! It said so right on the tag: “Columbine Viola—Mounding perennial.” Awesome!
Columbine, with Veronica behind
We also picked up a columbine, which I've been wanting for quite a while now.
But we'll have to wait 'till next year to see what colors of primroses we got, as they were all done blooming when we bought them.

Last year we put in a big flower bed—with some help from the H family—along the side wall of our work building (picture below). As you can see, there's a lot of blank wall there. Boring. So we got some delphiniums to hide it...eventually. Right now they're only about 18” tall and just starting to bud, but if all goes well, by Summertime they'll turn into six-foot-tall spikes of blue and purple and lavender. :-D Again, pix coming when they bloom.
Summer 2011

We also bought an Oriental poppy, a red geum (which looks a bit like a cross between a peony and a rose with different leaves) and a couple (mystery color) Canterbury Bells. But our gardening endeavors didn't stop at planting new flowers—we also moved several things around. Like putting the smaller plants in front instead of in back, and moving the GIANT 'mum to the back of the bed where it wouldn't overshadow the smaller plants. :-P We also potted several flowers because they turned out to be Barbie-pink instead of the soft baby-pink or blue we had hoped for. We just don't go in for a lot of hot pink. One has already found a good home (one of Mom's adult cello students!), and I plan to make a sign and set these “Free Flowers” along the roadside for anyone to adopt who wants them.

(Yaknow, I don't tend to realize how lacking in photos I am until I start writing up my posts....)

And now, Gentle Readers, pictures of the blouse I hinted at last week—I call it “Sea Breeze” because of the color-scheme. This is what it looked like before:
Again with the crummy photos
 As I mentioned last week, my Mom made this dress for herself back in the '80s, re-using the fabric from a costume from her Ballet company. She used McCall's 4122, View B. When I was about fourteen or fifteen, she gave the dress to me, and I wore it for a while, but it never really hung well on me. Sometime after I graduated from high school (give or take a year), I noticed that the print of the dress blended beautifully with some jade-green poplin in my “stash,” which was slated to be made up into a vest and capris. The rest, as they say, is history.
...about five years of history. Mostly this poor thing sitting around in boxes, all cut up or half-finished, waiting for me to get my lazy bum in gear and sew. And by God's aid, I have finished it—hallelujah!
And this is what is looks like now, as of last week:

Close-up of print
Back view

I don't know if it shows in the picture, but there is a circular “yoke” in self-fabric at the neck. I used Butterick 5348 for that and the white muslin lining. The neck of the blouse is gathered and “sandwiched” between the yoke and the lining, with the yoke turned under and top-stitched down. The rest of the blouse was cut from a pattern I drafted several years ago, based on a Vogue pattern (the number of which I've forgotten now). The sleeves are the original dress sleeves (that was why I drafted the bodice pattern in the first place—I wanted a peasant blouse with set-in sleeves, and I didn't have one ready-made).
The “waist” (Empire height) is gathered with elastic, which Mom showed me how to stretch as I stitched it to the fabric (after she very kindly marked it for me). In order to give the waist a little definition, I cut a strip of the capris fabric (the vest idea is out) and sewed it into a thin, topstitched ribbon, hand-sewing it to the front of the blouse, leaving it loose in back to be tied. This was so the elastic would have plenty of room to stretch.
The next step is to alter the matching capris, as they're a bit too wide in the waist and in sore need of side-pockets. Sure, it'd be easier to make a casing and put elastic in there, but I prefer fitted trousers to gathered ones. Plus cutting them down will allow me to cut a tab in the sides for the pockets to attach to, whereas I couldn't do that with them as-is. Clear as mud, right? ;-)

Today Mom and I had a little fun. This past week we've been looking over our sewing projects and making lists of notions we need for all of them. Today we headed out to Jo-Ann's and Hancock to get them, so we'll have them when we're ready to start on those projects. We found pretty much everything we needed (Mom found a few things at the CdA Hospice Thrift), so we're pretty much set to sit down and sew, sew, sew!
Which brings me to a rather miraculous happenstance....

My camera turns things blue!!!
For several months I've been drooling over this purple/lavender Paisley at Jo-Ann's, but I wasn't sure it was really my color (too pinkish, perhaps). But I have this pair of reddish-purple capris that have nothing to go with them, and lo and behold, the Paisley blended pretty well! The fabric looked a bit faded next to the capris, but I didn't pay much mind to that, especially when Mom did a color-test on me and said there wasn't any change in my complexion from the fabric to my Chinese Blue blouse (one of my best colors). So I took it up to the counter to be cut, asking for a yard and a half. That ought to make a nice Summer blouse, wot? But when the lady started measuring the fabric, there wasn't enough. However, there was another piece of fabric under it—and much richer-looking, to boot. What do you know—there was exactly 1 ½ yards, plus an extra 6” left on the bolt! God be praised! It looks equally smashing with purple or lilac (and I do have a pair of lilac/deep-lavender capris in the works), and I'm so thrilled with the color-scheme. I don't recall ever seeing it that rich/deep before. Is that a God-thing, or what? :-D

With Purple Capris (and color closer to real life)
Don't know exactly how to make it up yet, but definitely something simple, without a lot of details, to let the fabric speak for itself.

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless, and enjoy the sunshine!


  1. Oh, wonderful! Your stand of trees have such personality - I like their names:) I just love the pansies! —so cheerful, so dainty.

    The Sea Breeze blouse makeover is beautiful! What a great summer piece. I can't wait to see what the purple paisley will emerge as...
    Thanks for sharing!


  2. Trees! Pansies!! Spring!!!
    *happy dance*
    I love your tree's names, and pansies are my favorite flowers. I'm also quite fond of violets and geraniums. Actually, I'm just fond of flowers in general;)

    I must concur with Kellie - the Sea Breeze blouse makeover is beautiful!


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