surprise sprouts

The seeds I planted in the raised bed are sprouting! We’ve had pretty great weather for this – warm (hot!) and with a good amount of rain (we’ve also been watering with the hose as needed, of course).

Raised bed sprouts

I’m excited to see that things are growing, anyway, though. Growing things from seed is always fun for me. I also wasn’t sure if any/many of the seeds might get eaten by critters, but so far my fence seems to be working. There are some blades of grass making their way up through the soil (I really should have mowed it lower before starting! oh well) that I will need to continue to pull out, but not a lot of weeds yet. Hooray for that!

The surprising bit is this:

Actual leaves sprouting on the thought-dead tree!

There are a couple of leaflets poking out on the thought-to-be-dead Harrow Sweet Pear tree! These were definitely not there last week, so maybe my paying extra attention to this tree (though I didn’t actually take any action aside from lamenting its inactivity) helped spur it to growth?

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a bee in my bonnet for Beatrice

I have been super slacking on posting knitting patterns the last couple months! I’ve been busy with other things, and I have a bunch of patterns waiting in the wings ready to go, so here’s the first: the Beatrice Skirt for Blythe.

Beatrice Skirt for Blythe

As ever, I always want more separates for Blythe. This skirt is made with fingering weight yarn so it takes a fraction of the time to knit that a lace weight skirt would.

Beatrice Skirt for Blythe

My own style is pretty minimalist, but I do like a little flair (flare) (punny) on Blythe fashion here and there. This skirt has just a slight flare at the hem, but I think it gives the skirt a little something extra.

Beatrice Skirt for Blythe

Find this pattern on Ravelry, LoveKnitting, Etsy, and Craftsy.

tree update!

Our fruit trees are (mostly) looking good!

First off, the Methley Plum.

Our plum stick is starting to tree

This one was just a stick when we picked it up from the Conservation District and I was a bit skeptical about whether it would grow. It’s looking great though!

Canadian Harmony Peach starting to leaf out

The Canadian Harmony Peach is also getting some little leaves and generally looking good.

Blake's Pride Pear has leaves

The Blake’s Pride Pear is also looking good! Lots of little leaves!

Harrow Sweet Pear does not appear to be doing anything

This poor Harrow Sweet Pear, though, does not appear to be doing anything. I’m not sure if it’s dead or what? It hasn’t gotten any different treatment than the others, but I suppose it’s possible it was damaged in some way before we planted it.

burning questions about a burning bush

This is the Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus) in our front yard (I believe that’s what it is, anyway).

Burning Bush

It was heavily manicured before we bought the house last year, which resulted in a lopsided appearance.

tree in front yard - think it's a Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus)

I’m generally not inclined to like heavy pruning on most shrubs – I would rather let them be what they are and just be mindful in choosing things that by their nature are what I am looking for before I plant them. However, this one we inherited, so we need to make it work (unless we want to take it out, which I hate to do as birds seem to love it).

As you can see in the top photo, it has a ton of suckers growing out of the base of the main stems, and I’m not sure what to do with it. Should I let those grow up so it can form a round-ish shrub (a shape I’d find preferable), or is it bad for the plant to let those go? I’ve heard that Burning Bush can be invasive – should I be worried about the zillion tiny seedlings that we keep mowing over in the surrounding grass? While we’re mowing it’s probably nbd, but when I eventually get rid of the grass and plant perennials, will I be constantly pulling out seedlings? Any advice or experience with this will be much appreciated!

happy home organized

K went to the Motor City Comic Con recently and picked up this sweet freebie for me!

Happy Home Designer card book

It’s a notebook to organize your Happy Home Designer amiibo cards! I have a modest collection of these cards and this is so handy to keep them! I haven’t even used all the cards I have yet – I’ve been so caught up playing Story of Seasons recently (I am SO CLOSE to unlocking Tropical and Ice Countries! Just a few more garden items to make and gotta keep cooking everything in sight) so I have been slacking on HHD.

Happy Home Designer card book

I’m really pleased with this – and super surprised that it was free! Thanks, K!

plated

Plated

Plated: Weeknight Dinners, Weekend Feasts, and Everything in Between by Elana Karp & Suzanne Dumaine

This is a cookbook designed to work as building blocks as you improve or develop your cooking skills. It was written by the purveyors of a food-delivery company (also called Plated), which was founded with the goal of helping anyone be able to create meals they could be proud of without having to do the meal planning and shopping themselves. These building blocks start out with the equipment one should have on hand (with second and third lists detailing nice-to-have and awesome-to-have items), lists for stocking one’s pantry, info on knife skills, and a short list of rules for the kitchen. After that, the book moves on to basic recipes for components including spice rubs, marinades, dressings, sauces, condiments, and infusions. I can see these component recipes being quite handy. Finally, we hit the actual recipes for meals, starting with weeknight dinners. These ostensibly take less time to prepare. Then comes a chapter called Great for Leftovers, which gives not only the initial recipe but instructions for how to use the leftovers. We move on from there to make ahead meals, weekend feasts, dishes appropriate when serving a crowd, side dishes, and desserts. There are a lot of great-looking recipes here and the book itself is put together to be aesthetically pleasing. Not every recipe includes a photo of the finished product – many offer an artful photo of an ingredient instead. This may be frustrating for some cooks but it makes for a cookbook that feels different from many others.

Full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books

FOs for a friend

This weekend I attended a friend’s wedding shower and was so happy to present to her a gift that I mostly made myself.

dishcloths for Sarah

I created these four dishcloths using two patterns available on Ravelry. I picked colors that go with the kitchen items that were on their registry. Personally, I always appreciate a gift I can use, and I find these dishcloths so handy to have around the house myself (I use them for almost any cleaning purpose).

Dishcloths and organic detergent

I packaged them in a basket along with some earth-friendly detergent made with aromatic herbs – who doesn’t love the fresh scent of lemon verbena! You can’t see it in this photo but the second bottle has a green label that also matches the dishcloths. I hope that she and her soon-to-be husband find them useful!

Mary’s apple blossoms

Last fall we planted this apple tree in memory of K’s grandma, and I am so thrilled that it seems to be doing well!

Firefly Cottage

It is a Braeburn, one of the varieties I especially like.

Firefly Cottage

Just look at those blossoms! So beautiful!

Firefly Cottage

They really stand out against the lovely green of the yard (though I’m not a big fan of grass, it is nice for this purpose).

Firefly Cottage

Just beautiful! I am really hopeful that we will get to eat some apples from this tree this year.

fairies

So recently K found this note that our neighbor kids wrote to the fairies, and I sort of fell in love with it!

How adorbs is that?! I decided almost immediately that I wanted to put together a basket for these kids and deliver it to their house as from the fairies.

Fairy basket

K and I went to Target and found all the things they were looking for! We had a few moments of quick googling when we realized we had no idea what sizes were appropriate for the shirts, but got it sorted. We also felt like Total Olds while trying to determine what the exact type of Shopkins requested were. We finally just picked a couple that looked different from each other and called it good.

Fairy basket

I put it all together with some natural-looking raffia and a basket from Goodwill, and wrote up a letter from the fairies. I bet fairies would use Gwen Frostic stationery, wouldn’t they? I wish I would have had some more variety in the flowers I had at hand, but you know, I also bet fairies would not be judgmental about dandelions. I snuck it over early in the morning on Sunday and waited, checking the window to see if it had been picked up yet. Mid-morning it was gone! I had a sudden series of fears that the parents would be upset with it – maybe they don’t want to encourage a belief in fairies! Maybe they would just take the stuff out of the basket and give it to the kids without the letter! Maybe they would be annoyed that their kids’ every whim was indulged by an unidentified person and donate it all to Goodwill! Later in the afternoon, though, I saw one of the kids running around outside wearing the TMNT shirt! And it looked like it fit perfectly! So perhaps it all turned out just fine. 🙂 Regardless, it was a fun thing to do and I hope the kids all enjoy their goodies.

estate sale cuteness

This weekend I ventured out to a few estate and yard sales and found a couple of cute things for barely any bucks.

Estate sale haul

This is most of what I got – I also picked up two bushel baskets which I didn’t bring inside yet. This is in hope that we will have fruit to store in the basement!

I will likely make this scarf into Blythe clothing, and stacked are a bunch of brand new in plastic greeting cards.

Estate sale haul

And check out this wee basket and thread spools! The spools are a bit out of scale for Blythe but super cute and were in with the basket so I got them as a package deal.

Estate sale haul

Finally, this adorbs embroidered brooch. I often use a brooch to hold a handknit scarf in place, and this is perfect for that. I think it’s just so sweet!