Saturday, February 18, 2017

Gardening in Florida

The Sweetwater Daughter, Grandboy and I spent last weekend visiting my mom and brother in Florida last week.
Mom has the sweetest little cottage in New Port Richey.

My brother lives just down the street in another little cottage.

 Our trip was fun.....The Grandboy loved going barefoot and hanging out with "swingin'" GreatGrandma...

This post is actually not a travelogue....
It is all about the way that my brother gardens.

This is what a lot of yards in Florida look like in the winter.....

Keeping grass green is pretty difficult....

This is the front yard of Mom's cottage!

My brother is the force behind all of this gorgeousness!
He subscribes to an interesting philosophy of permaculture.
What is might ask?
"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system."

Jim is an "urban farmer".  He grows over 300 different varieties of vegetables.  He uses NO pesticides and lets nature take it's course.
He takes his harvest to the local Farmer's Markets and vends to restaurants in the area.
This is no "hobby" garden.  It is a full time job. Just like any farmer, he is tied to his acreage and dependent on the whims of the Florida climate. 

Pictures of all this goodness really tell the story the best!

Isn't this just amazing?
Doesn't it make you want to eat your vegetables?

If you are interested in learning more about permaculture, here are some links.

What is Permaculture? | Permaculture Institute

Permaculture Principles 

Difference Between Organic Gardening and Permaculture



What could be a more perfect spot for some serious "Gecko Hunting" by the Sweetwater Grandboy!

Alas....we are once more home in the frozen lands...
Those cute little toes are now encased in boots.... 

And...we can only dream of getting out in the garden!

Have A Wonderful Day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Finding Enchantment First Installment

The first month of 2017 has passed.

Regardless of your political views, there is plenty of disenchantment surrounding us.

I challenged myself to find enchantment in a disenchanted world this year.

I discovered that it wasn't so hard to do this.
I discovered it is just taking the time to look for those enchanting moments and things and RECOGNIZE them.

Here are a few things that enchanted me in February! 

Spending days with our Sweetwater Grandboy has to top the list! 
This Grandma is constantly enchanted by watching him grow and change.
When I figured out that when he walks in the door and says "BOK", what he really means is "I'm BACK".  Truly enchanting!

Disclaimer...I didn't get to keep the real copyso this is a facsimile!
Speaking of Grands.....there will be another Sweetwater Grandbaby arriving in June!

How enchanting to see the first 'photo shoot" of this precious one!

For years....we have struggled with the faucet on our kitchen sink.  It looked great.....but was such a pain.  The metal hose that pulled out always got stuck under the plumbing under the sink which meant that you had to pull really hard to use it....arghhhh!

We were watching one of those home renovation shows on TV and  spied the perfect solution for a new faucet!

Mr. S went on a mission to find a similar one.

A couple trips to the home improvement store....
An hour of plumbing....

And we have a fully functioning wonderful new faucet.

We put up with something that we used a hundred times a day.  Now that frustration has turned to enchantment.

 just ended a part-time long term substitute job in my old school.  It was an assignment to work with children identified as Gifted and Talented.  I found enchantment within the walls of the classroom.  I found enchantment using my teaching skills to engage these beautiful minds.


I am glad to be back to being "retired" once again.....

But how fun to hear a 3rd grader tell me he was going to "be ironic" when he did his poster.....


delighting in helping 5th graders explore excel as they learned how to create automated examples of exponential growth.

BTW....teaching math to these exceptional kids really had me doing my own "homework"!  Don't tell.....but sometimes I had to ask Mr. S to explain something to me!!

 I am quite enchanted by the mantel decor I came up with for this awkward decorating time of the year.  The white Haeger pottery and candlesticks are a nice bright spot.
I am also continually enchanted by the new wall color in this room .  I call it "Weimeraner Greige".

So there you have it.....some of the enchanting things in my corner of the world.  Hope you are finding your own enchantments as a counterbalance in your life.

Have A Great Day!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Trick To Make Really Tiny Bows

Chances are....
If you are a regular Sweetwater Style reader, you know that this is one philosophy heartily agree with!

I have posted a bunch of times with tutorials for making pretty bows and thrifty sources for wired ribbon.  If you want to check it is the link:  BOW TUTORIAL POST CLICK HERE TO READ IT!

I thought I knew pretty much everything there was to know about making bows.
Oh foolish me!
I have to admit that tying tiny bows with skinny ribbon has always been a bit of a challenge.
Then I came upon this clever trick for this "terrible" problem!
Are you ready? use a fork!
I went out and looked at lots of tutorials.  This is the one that I liked the best.
The photos and directions are very clear.

I spent some time trying this out.
I am always a bit challenged by "puzzle directions" but this was pretty simple.

I have lots of ribbon.....
I wonder what I can stick bows on!
Any ideas?

Have a wonderful day!
Link Parties
A Cottage Market

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Goodwill Love

Sweetwater Style is all about thrifty shopping and Goodwill is definitely one of my favorites.
In fact, I even have a tab called Goodwill Hunting that gives tips for shopping this great thrifty source.

I realized that it has been a while since I shared some of my "finds" at the thrift store.
That doesn't mean I haven't been to Goodwill on a regular basis! In fact, I try to get there at least once a week.
I usually go on Wednesdays and join all the other "seniors" for the 25% discount day!
Or...I take a load of donations and use the 25% off coupon that you get with your receipt!

My latest trip to "Boutique Bonne Volonté" (that is Goodwill for the uninitiated) was pretty successful.

That sweet Fitz and Floyd canister is a perfect addition to my growing collection.  Almost everything here is a Goodwill Goodie!

The copper pot/vase was another great find.  I am thrilled to have it to add to the baker's rack display.

Remember....Bar Keepers Friend is a wonderful copper polish that will keep all of this stuff gleaming.

Those cute little wooden hearts will soon get a coat of copper spray paint and be a "classy" addition to the display. 

I am really thrilled with these two skeleton leaf prints.  They are in perfect condition.  They are framed in the perfect frames with a taupe mat that matches our new family room paint color.
What a find!

Yup....the "Boutique Bonne Volonté" price was hefty at $14.99.....but still a deal compared to the list price from Kohl's!

I am waiting for delivery of a floating shelf for over the television in the family room....

Won't the pictures look nice leaned against the wall on the shelf?

Oh yeah....and the media cabinet that the tv sits on was a "Boutique Bonne Volonté" deal too...$20!

It is only 2 days until the next Goodwill Senior day....Can't wait to see what is "in store"!

Have a Wonderful Day!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

No Sew Tailored Bedskirt Tutorial

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a new comforter set for the guest bedroom. It isn't fancy schmancy...just a "bed in a bag" deal from Target.

The price was right.
So  into the cart it went.

When I got home....
I took the bedding out of the bag.

It looks great

The print is nice.
It is an update that still works with the paint color in the room.

The texture of the fabric is really soft and smooth.

I was super happy with my purchase.....until....I unfolded the bedskirt.
That is....if you can call a sleazy, lightweight piece of gray fabric a skirt!
There was no pleating or gather to the thing.
It hardly covered the edge of the bed and gapped at the corners.
I knew I would have to upgrade this in short order.

I purchased of 3 yards of this great looking gray upholstery fabric at my favorite fabric outlet store.
It cost $10 a yard.
I wanted a heavy weighted fabric so that the bed skirt would look almost like the box spring was upholstered.

If you are a regular reader, you know how much this seamstress loves a "NO SEW" project. This is a perfect example.

I started by laying the fabric on the box spring and sort of playing around with how it would "turn the corner".  I realized that if I mitered the corner, it would look like upholstery.
I measured the height of the box spring and added 6 inches.

2 inches for the hem
4 inches for the part at the top to attach to the box spring.

I cut two long pieces of from each side so that the finished selvage was along one side of each piece. That way it would have a clean look without having to finish it.

The two long pieces were sewn in the center with a simple seam.
*disclaimer.....somehow one seam still seems to rate as a no sew project.
If you don't have a sewing could actually use stitch witchery to adhere the two pieces together or use a simple hand baste.

I used fusible web to hem the lower edge.  This is a case where "no sew" is better than stitching.  The fused hem will stay completely flat with no stitches to show.  The important tool here is the iron.

Once the long strip was hemmed, it was time to attach it to the box spring.

I used simple straight pins.
I pinned down into the box spring every 4 inches or so.

 Straight pins aren't the best thing to use.
They tend to get pulled out over time.
I wanted to get this project done.
I didn't want to wait until I had some upholstery screws.


I have some of these nifty little guys coming from Amazon.

They were only $6

They screw into the surface and won't come I will replace the pins with them when they arrive.

Getting the skirt pinned to the bed was a 10 minute project.
Mitering the corners was also simple and makes the clean wrapped look I was after.

Once this was done....we put the mattress back on the bed and made it up with the new comforter.
I think the tailored look and quality fabric on the skirt elevates the look of this typical "bed in a bag".

And the best part was "ALMOST NO SEW"!

Have A Creative Day!
A Sunny Simple Life