Friday, June 28, 2013

Propagating Basil!


I bought this nice big Basil plant at the Farmer's Market a few weeks ago. 
 It was a steal at only $5....but I knew I could stretch that into an even better bargain!
I will tell you how in a moment....

BUT....in the spirit of "the more you know"....I thought I would share a few Basil tidbits I learned this morning....

  • Basil is a member of the mint family
  • Basil was used as an embalming and preserving herb to preserve mummies of ancient Egypt...who knew....maybe we should be using this on our wrinkles!!!
  • Basil is also known as St. Joseph's Wort
  • Basil is rich in Vitamin K and low in calories

I guess you just can't have too much Basil.....and obviously one plant isn't enough!
I have a way to solve that problem without buying more plants!




I always have a bunch of cuttings from the "Big Basil" plant rooting in water on the kitchen counter.



I think that this Fitz and Floyd pitcher is perfect for the task.


(Funny....this was a Good Will find some years ago....the $2.99 sticker is still stuck to the bottom)





















After sitting prettily in water the cuttings soon have lots of healthy roots....

















Then all you need to do is stick the cutting into some dirt somewhere.....
and like magic....multiplying plants!!!




I am already taking cuttings from the cuttings....on this plant!









These new basil plants are filling in the little bare spot left when the pesky cilantro plant went to seed!







Here are more cuttings filling in spaces in the raised bed on the deck....safe from the bunnies!







How cute is this?

I rooted a cutting from this interesting "Boxwood Basil"


 It grows in little "bushy" clumps....
when the roots formed....it looked like a little tree!


It is kind of hard to see....but I planted it next to the houses in the Fairy Garden!  
Look closely to the far upper left!

Now I have a never ending supply for cooking....if I ever cooked!!

Finally....I am lusting after this beautiful water color of a Basil Plant that is for sale at this Etsy Shop.....
http://www.etsy.com/listing/105899573/basil-art-print-of-original-watercolor
It is only $21....hmmmm....
maybe since I have been saving so much money NOT buying Basil plants...I can buy it!

Have A Wonderful Day!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sweetwater Garden Party!


“A garden should make you feel you've entered privileged space -- a place not just set apart but reverberant -- and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.”
― Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener's Education 

 There really is something about a garden and gardening that makes you feel "really rich"!
June in the Sweetwater Garden is a time to celebrate....AND PARTY!

Take a peek at the fun get together I hosted on Monday!
A few friends from school with the admonition that we WOULD NOT talk about school!
And Kudos to my "Guest Photographer" who came with camera in hand!

It was pot luck.....




I love friends who bring tasty goodies to share!!!!







Fruit, vegetables, cheese and crackers.....


Plus a "little" decadence with the desert!

My contribution was my knock-off Chicken Cherry Pasta (click here for the recipe) 
It really is delicious....pasta, dried sweet cherries, rotisserie chicken and a sweet tangy dressing!
and
look how the Fitz and Floyd Rooster Plate makes the perfect serving dish for Caprise Salad!


Yum....Yum!


Then it was out to the garden to stroll around....
These good friends oohed and ahhed in all the appropriate places....ignoring the weeds!
And the "guest photographer" only took photos of the flowers...not the weeds!
Bless their hearts!

 







The wild and stormy weather has taken a toll on the peony bushes....so they don't look quite as beautiful as other years....
 But the individual blooms are pretty anyway!



 When we were in the back woodsy area.....look who was watching us!


 Maybe this is why the chipmunk population is decreasing.....



oooh....I think Marvin will need supervision when he is on the deck...
although as you can see....he might be more than a mouthful!!!

All in all....a great time was had by all!!

The teacher in me just can't stop the informational lecturing!


And thank you all for coming to my "virtual" Sweetwater Garden Party....
just sorry you couldn't share the tasty food!

Have A Great Day!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Easy Sew Deck Cushion Shams Tutorial!

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.”
Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib

What a wonderful quote....and if you haven't let your kids (probably only girl kids) discover the enchanting series of books by Maud Hart Lovelace....you need to get to the library!  I spent more than one Summer day curled up on the lawn reading these charming stories set at the turn of the century (20th) in a small Minnesota town....pure innocence!

Now....I choose the deck for my Summer Reading....and maybe some of that is NOT so purely innocent....gasp!

Anyway....here is the way the three year old cushions on the deck chairs looked yesterday!


Not toooo shabby....but they are a little faded and have some weather stains....

Since it is Summer....I do spend a little time shopping in the fabric store....another gasp!

Looky see the fabric I found....



I am totally in love with this pattern...and the colors look great with the brighter flowers we planted this year....

I thought I bought enough to do a box cushion for the bench AND the 2 chairs.....but ALAS...I was short by a couple of feet!










So on another fabric store jaunt.....I found this print!

I actually think it is more fun to have two different patterns with the same color wave.....









The first project was to make one of my ALMOST NO SEW box cushions....check out the full tutorial for these Here Almost NO SEW BOX CUSHION TUTORIAL.


I purposely bought a smaller cushion insert so that there is room on the sides to put down a drink....and have some place for a plant or two.

There is fabric left over....maybe for pillows....or placemats....hmmmm...projects for another day.

Now on to the tutorial for the Deck Cushion Shams!

I decided to make shams that will easily come off to be laundered!

Step 1:  Cut the fabric....wouldn't you know it....I only bought 2 yards because it was a little spendy at $10 a yard....I figured that would be enough.....but it was NOT long enough....
It was plenty wide with 6 inches to spare on the side......







Step 2:  Solve THAT problem by stitching a piece of the extra fabric onto the end to make the length go around the cushion.








Step 3: Make the ties.....I serged 8 long strips.....2 for the top, 2 for the sides for each cushion.  These are stitched into the side seams.  I used the old cushion to determine the placement of the ties.

 


Step 4: (Optional)  I wanted to make sure that when I wash the cushions, the edges won't fray.  So I used my serger to finish all of the edges.

If you don't have a serger....don't bother with this!






Step 5: Lay the old cushion down and fold the fabric around to meet in the middle.  Fold the extra fabric in on one side to make a nice tuck on the back.


Step 6:  Pin the ties on at the right spots and mark the width of the seams on each side.

Step 7:  Turn right sides together and pin everything nice and flat and secure.  You will have a big rectangle with the flap overlapping and the ties on the right side of the fabric facing in.

Step 8:  Use some sort of tool to make sure that your seams will be straight....something I have learned from thinking I was going to be able to "eyeball" a straight line and ending up with crooked, puckered seams....arghhhh....So take this advice!!!  I actually draw the line with a pencil!!!!



 





Step 9:  Stitch the 2 side seams along the pencil line.....yep the whole project only takes 4 straight seams....







Step 10:  Turn it right sides out.....flatten and press well...pushing the corners nice and sharp.



 









Step 11:  Insert the old cushion into the new sham.....using the nice open fold over in the middle of the back.  You will need to do a little pushin' and shovin' to get the old cushion to lay flat!



























Step 12:  Put the new cushions on the chairs and tie them on.....












DONE!!!!

Maybe Step 13 should be to pour a drink for yourself and tie one on!!!!



Marvin thinks I made the bench cushion "Just for him"!!!!


Project cost.....$30 with fabric leftover for placemats or pillows....
Time.....2 hours
Payoff....bright cheery cushions and a new cat bed!!!

Have a Great Day!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Thrifty Quick Summer Powder Room Face Lift!

The Powder Room at Sweetwater is NOT one of my favorite rooms!
It is tiny, tiny, tiny!
But....it is nice to have....small as it is....so enough of my first world problems!

Look at these gorgeous photos other people's  Powder Rooms!

http://st.houzz.com/simgs/9f71a74c0d90ede8_4-6791/contemporary-powder-room.jpg

http://www.housebeautiful.com/cm/housebeautiful/images/9s/red-bathroom-sink-mirror-0710-bathofthemonth-04-de.jpg
Oh, My....wouldn't these be fun to have?


Alas....not on my priority list....
so...instead.... I spent $20 and an hour or so and gave the  Sweetwater Powder Room a little Summertime Face Lift!

The paint color in the room is a nice neutral green that goes with lots of colors....

I decided I was in the mood for bright and bold!

I found three new bright colored hand towels at HomeGoods....(that was the entire $$$ spent)!







 This watermelon colored towel  set the theme....


 But....

It is the bright paisley printed towel that is really fun!










YIPPEE!  There are finally some Peonies to enjoy in the house....just the right color...don't you think!
The ceramic vase is also a great color.....
And....The Paisley Covered Candle Jar was upstairs....and just HAD to join the towel!



I found some watermelon themed prints and framed them with frames and mats from my "Stash"!


This metal GoodWill wreath is a cheery circle of Zinnias.....I have had it for years.....never fails to find a spot on the wall each summer!


A Sweetwater Challenge for you.....I bet you have STUFF at your house that will brighten a room and keep YOU from lusting after those expensive decorator rooms....GO FOR IT!

Have a Great Day!
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