Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Beauty of Williamsburg

A visit with history and spring gardens:

Sunshine and rain and interesting trees,

Making new friends,

Dreaming of little cottage life,

Marveling at beautiful iron fences,

(and the fact that some of these homes are actually private residences - right in the middle of Colonial Williamsburg!),

Visiting cute shops and galleries,

Being amazed at the height of these flowers,

Still in amazement, as some are about as tall as a person,

Realizing that I really have a thing for chimneys and roof tops,

And fresh peach pie from the farmers' market that just happened to be taking place while there,

Moss covered roofs,


Elements coming together beautifully,

Loving weather vanes,

Wondering just how close this little fella was willing to get to us, (frightening close, actually, and that's coming from me - lover of almost all critters),

Realizing that I cannot have a ladder on top of our roof because my little people would reside up there,

Visiting Williamsburg Lodge and remembering how very much I love this simple yet beautiful style,

Thinking I really should incorporate some of this in at least one area of home,

Falling in love all over again with the colors and the needlepoint seen regularly in this decor,

Enjoying the folk art,

Finding butterflies in the carpet,

And finding little treasures like this tea that enabled us to bring a bit of our trip home with us.

Thanks for sharing our visit with us.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Going Green

Going Green is such a HUGE thing, isn't it?  Well, this post has more to do with the actual color than the 'going of green'.... although, I have been trying to learn about ways to incorporate more 'green' into our lives here at the Hearth Room.  For instance, making our own laundry detergent and soaps, natural facial cleansers and shampoos, and using natural oils as moisturizers have topped my list of must-do's lately.  I can share more about that later, but just as I was full-swing into making a facial cleanser with yogurt and olive oil I spotted this Spearmint Stripes yarn.  You may remember that it jumped into my cart...??  Anyway, it was just a great green stripey yarn to accommodate my green facial cleansing.  Not to mention that I HAD to TRY this STAR STITCH  that I read about on Jules' blog over at little woolie.  This top photo shows my little bitty star stitch washcloth in the center there.  I just did the star stitch pattern until I felt it was a good size and then did a border around it with single crochet. 

And here are all six of the face cloths I have made with Spearmint Stripes.  So far....  There are 2 basic granny squares, the star stitch with border, one was made using single crochet where you skip one ch and then do 2 sc in the next...  Nice fabric.  Another cloth was made the same way, but using half double crochets instead of singles...  still skipping one stitch and 2 hdc in the next.  The last cloth on the back right was just a very small swatch with the end of the Spearmint Stripes.  Then I bordered it around and around with sc.  I then did one border of a different green yarn I had on hand.

This is the hdc cloth.

The basic granny and the 'leftover' swatch....  Spearmint Stripes is made by Peaches and Cream, but I couldn't find a good link to it at the time of this post.  Since I found it in a Big Mart store you can probably get it almost anywhere! 

And while I was rummaging around looking for the camera battery I found this lovely packet of seeds!  I picked these seeds up last year and obviously misplaced them...  Ahem.  Well, I'm happy to have found them!  I love the packet with the cute 'Axle-like' kitty on the front.  Don't you just love seed packets?  I already have some catnip growing in pots on the patio so I'm not sure if I'll use these seeds yet.  Although, I have found my catnip to be quite mushed down and munched up lately.  I actually did catch one very adorable "Ginger" cat IN my flower pot recently...  We talked about it and I think she's opting to leave the nip alone until it's better established so she can go all-out bonkers later!  Our Big Boy, Fritz, is really a problem where catnip is concerned, but he cannot get his tubby bottom off the ground to leap into this particular pot.  Ha!  I have at least won that battle!

Speaking of seeds and planting, I had some pretty papers laid out to work on the new gardening journal, as well as this old green notebook when I spotted this pretty shadow on them.  I'm taking my time making this garden journal, as I really want to find an old book to use as a cover or to repaper and add pockets to, instead of using a notebook.  My quest for an old book continues...

Did you read my post about Favorite Baby Crochet?  Did you see this book called Little Crochet?  This sweet baby toy ball pattern is in Little Crochet.  It is so pretty and stripey I had to try it.  There is a bell inside the ball to add even more interest. 

Actually, I put a couple different sized bells inside a plastic Easter egg and put it in the center of my stuffing.  It makes nice little jingle sounds whenever it's tossed about.  Sweet P loves it.  And it's great to have a ball that Young Man can toss with her that I don't have to worry about her getting knocked out by, lol!

This was really fun to make and very easy.  I used some of my Knit Picks yarn on hand...  It's the Shine Worsted yarn I'm using for my Ripple, (yes, the Ripple is still being hooked on occasionally!)  I truly LOOOOOVVVE that yarn!  It is Pima Cotton and Modal.  Scrummy, yummy, soft.... Um.  I'll try to remember to get a new picture of the Ripple to show you soon. 

I have to share this in case you haven't seen it:  This was one of the recent Knit Picks catalogs and it is so GORgeous.  See what they did there with the yarn on the cover?!  Yarny Flowers.  You know I love that!  They look like little marigolds to me.  Or maybe they could be a field of poppies?

And speaking of kid things, we had a little tea party here at the Hearth Room recently...  I was actually participating in a 'virtual' tea party online at Splitcoast Stampers and the kids and I had a little tea party of our own prior to that.

They had big fun making tea in various pots and serving up fish crackers on Sweet P's little tea set.

For the 'virtual' tea party I had a hard time deciding what type of tea to make, so several pots got brought out...

Ultimately, it was Earl Grey that won out to accommodate my lemon apricot crepes with mozzarella.  Yum!

So I've been very domestic around here, as usual.  Laughing to myself... When am I not domestic?  I'll have to really ponder that and consider what classifies as non-domestic in my world...

Anywho, just laundry and picking up, and bits of crochet time mixed in where able.  School is winding down which allows me more wiggle-room for working in bits of fun with yarn.  The house is feeling cleaner and it feels good to be ahead of the chores some days.  You know that feeling you get after you rearrange all the furniture in a room?  Well, I did that yesterday, so I feel like I have a new bedroom.  Same old stuff, different location, good clean feeling.

Oh, that awesome RED star square above?  I'm in love...  it's still in process of becoming something great, (I hope), so I'll be back with more REALLY soon on that.  Just as soon as I can remember my original inspiration and design!

Have a lovely day, friends!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gardening Efforts

I LOVE clover.  I do...  There is something very homey and comforting about it to me.  I feel the need to go get a pet rabbit or guinea pig each time I step out into this patch of clover.  I'm a little nutty about things like this, too.  Like each time our lawn gets mowed, I'm saying, "Hey, don't cut my clover!"  I like to skip it and only cut it every other week so it's gets nice and thick.  It's just so pretty.  No, I'm not rushing out to get a bunny or pig.  Not just yet, anyway...  But I am enjoying my clover patch just the same.  And my family is totally used to me.

Our very rustic looking, fairly unloved 'courtyard' patio does have some little bits of color around the edges now.  This space is a really neat little area just off the Hearth Room.  It adds loads of personality to this old bungalow, but whoever was here before didn't give it much love or care for it, so it looks a bit shabby.  In a way, I like the feel of the cracked paint and such.  This is where I started to keep the potato grow bags, but quickly found that they would make the patio a very dirty place, so they had to go.  Lots of room for more containers of tea-sipping herbs and flowers though!

Young Man's indoor garden:  As a science project he had to plant a few different seeds to see if they were dicots or monocots.

That, my friends, resulted in a few extra corn plants, a bean plant and a sunflower for the garden! 

So outside they went and off the kitchen counter!  I really hope these plants in particular grow just so Young Man can see his planting efforts come to fruition.

See how happy Mr. Bean is now that he's in the garden?  Good job, Young Man!

This is what it looks like when I head out to garden or weed or seed around the Hearth Room.  I love this little gardening cart.  It's holds all my little tools and gloves and  has a nice little knee cushion so I won't ruin so many more pairs of pants!  And Sweet P. likes to ride on it like a wagon, so it's fun for all!

I tote around my seeds in plastic baggies, my big Organic Gardening book with dirt on every page, pages torn out of magazines with fab U lous gardening ideas and inspiration, and my little gardening notebook where I keep track of what I want to plant, when we planted, when I need to plant what again, fertilize, and where I draw out our garden plan.  This is a must have for Hubby.  Whenever he's heading out with seeds saying, "Hey, I'm going to plant ______, where do you want it?"  Check the plan, Honey...  We are doing some 'Companion Planting' which is a wonderful idea, but way too many details for my brain to retain, so it needs to be written somewhere!   I'm now in the process of making a new Gardening Journal since this one is running out of room.  I'm working on a loose leaf notebook approach this time.  It's a fun new project and I'll share more about that soon.

So I mentioned I moved the potato grow bags...  This side of our garage is just off the kitchen and it was quite naked.  Since we hadn't decided what to plant there in the way  of permanent landscaping, it became a wonderful place to garden.  It is now the home of the potato grow bags.  I also added bags with carrots and scallions.  Our garden is very rocky!  Not at all a happy place for tubers, etc.  So hopefully these will help us to have some tuber/tap root success!  I'll keep you posted.  I've also tucked in lots of other seeds in this space, so hopefully it will be looking very different very soon!

Ahem, did I mention that I opted for burlap bags?  Well, here's the thing:  I've seen those fab U lous grow bags in gardening mags and catalogs.  They seem like a great idea to me!  But I can't stand the idea of paying for a fabric bag, or at least not what they cost, when I'm trying to 'reduce, resuse, recycle and SAVE'...  I mean, isn't that partly why I'm trying to grow food?  So I thought I'd try good old burlap bags, and after a little google-ing, it seemed others have done it, so why not?  These are supposed to be some kind of chemical free burlap (sorry, can't remember the details), and so far the taters seem to be happy.  It's time now to unroll the sides and add dirt!

A very happy, rain-sprinkled cabbage.  See my rocks?

Yep, Hubby often is waiting for me to do a project, but I have to get my camera first!

He so often provides me with every reason to have my camera.  Good Husbands need no wheelbarrow.  Need I say more?  The dirt got where it needed to be and I did not have to move it!

He made these very nice raised strawberry beds for our garden a few weeks back.  It was so exciting to add our beautiful, dark dirt and start filling them with berry plants.  See Hubby in the background? Empty trash can on top of tractor, heading back to reload....  Makes me laugh so much, but it was effective!

These are ever bearers, but I'm thinking it would be nice to have some June bearers for jams, etc. 

Young Man is quite interested in ridding our property of those pesky black widow spiders.  I'm in total agreement, although I'm not sure the machete and bullwhip are what it will take.  The first thing we will be doing is moving those rocks, or burying them at least.  Less habitat, less population.  I hope.  Then on to step 2:  Cedar oil.  Any other suggestions?

And for what seems like 100 times a day, we track our garden and yard into this kitchen door.  The sign of our gardening efforts, right there on the kitchen floor.  I love my Bona Mop. 

 I'm also really loving the shades of Spring Green.  In fact, I happened to walk by an end-cap in the Big Mart the other day that had the coolest green self striping yarn and it jumped into my cart and is becoming washcloths as we speak!  Then the worst thing of all happened the other night.  I went to a local grocery store and found some really cool kitchen things like little glasses and lunch plates in the SAME green color.  It's tempting me to add a few glasses to the Hearth Room.  Then they will need more self striping green yarn for coasters.  I'm really hoping all the glasses are gone when I go back for groceries next time.

Happy growing to you!

I love your comments...