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Monday, March 29, 2010

Catholic Sister's Wool Felted Dolls for My Little Sister are Ready to Go!




These two little girls are all done and ready to be shipped to Wisconsin where my little sister will be turning 50 later this month. My how time flies. She and I are both gramma's these days. In fact her little grand-daughter is just about the age she was when my Mom or Dad snapped a black and white photo of us on the front steps just before our first day of school one year. I don't have the picture but I could picture it for the most part in my mind, enough to make dolls from memory. They don't have to be picture perfect, the little Norske Sosteren weren't perfect either,it would have been impossible to do all the fine embroidery of a lovely Norwegian bunad traditional skirt and vest set. The dolls were instead made with a simplicity about them that I like and so did their recipient.

Well, now I have no more obligations before but to get my garden in and prepare for the wedding in May--which go well together. I've decided to get out my smallest clay pots, clean them, possibly white wash them a little and plant them with small succulents or mosses. Then I will wrap them each with a strip of burlap and some raffia to match my daughter's wedding theme and use them for table decorations. I am not sure anymore if I will try to fashion vines into table decorations too--because the vine is time consuming to deal with and I still haven't finished covering the 7 foot tall double wedding arch that is the main feature of the wedding. I also want to paint some cute signs for the wedding and more for my house and garden too.

Also among my painting projects are my big 6 gallon pots that are sitting on the porch with drainage holes drilled in them, waiting for me to give them black or dark green coats so they may go out to the garden and hold veggies. My cold frames are getting pretty crowded so I need to get that done soon.

I've decided to be somewhat consistent with my gardening and landscaping efforts. Perennials will go in the ground, annuals will go in pots. This will go for veggies, herbs, flowers and vines. I've begun to pot up some of my baby annual flowers. I could start putting them outside now--I'm still a little nervous about weather so maybe I'll keep them on the porch or near the shed so they can be overnighted inside if a bad cold spell shows up. Its the season where gardeners need to keep an eye on forecasts.

My beds are going to be more consistent too. I am using lots of rock in my beds near the garden, especially in the shady areas. I had been also using odds and ends of landscape timber pieces--mainly leftover chunks from building the house and decks, or slightly damaged pieces I bought for $1 each at Lowes. Well--I decided to take those to the back yard and use them to build up taller beds along the perimeters of the yard and driveway with landscape timbers only for a cleaner look.

In the garden area I will use a combination of mossy logs and stones. Hubby has cut down lots of trees and I could line quite a few beds easily for my herbs and perennial flowers and my baby shrubs etc. This will give a more natural look to the area where our pond will be too. I like them because some have very interesting shag bark, and many are covered with lovely moss or lichens. I can let them decay into my perennial beds and feed the soil and replace them with more rocks or logs as needed.

Behind the pond (future pond) I want to plant a screen of some sort--perhaps with Rose of Sharon and flowering ever green shrubs. This will hid the big black plastic veggie pot garden from view when we sit in the shade and look out at our pond. Instead we'll only see pretty stone and log lined beds and a hillside that we hope will be covered in mown grass eventually. This is the area behind the shed that my Mom-in-law's crew are planning to turn into a guest cottage when they come. Hubby says eventually he wants to put a small deck there and a door so the occupants of the cottage can come out and join us for a view of the pond, or maybe sip their morning coffee there alone. Perhaps we will move our fire ring there? We shall see.

In the front yard we shall have decking, but also some parking areas and our 'vineyard' of Catawba grapes that are native to our neck of the woods, near the top of the hill, then perhaps some flowering trees and shrubs and a rain garden or a few of them, leading down to our little stream.

Dreams abound, money isn't so plentiful as dreams--so we're doing this in little bits at a time, using all my 'frugal ninja skills'. Hubby does hope to rent a backhoe/shovel thing so he can arrange all the post-construction dirt in the proper places and improve drainage to prevent erosion and dig our pond. We think this will be done in April--as soon as we can spare enough cash and he can take a week off. So that should be done by the wedding! Not much else will be though, just garden planted.

I bought a piece of sod. It was $5.98 and I think its maybe 4 feet long by 2 feet. (my guess) Hubby had wanted to sod the backyard and I guess I thought I'd give him a realistic look at how that would work. Its a budget buster! I think it would be at least $100 to do a small area of our backyard. Its sure nice lushy stuff--but we could use the money for at least 10 other projects--so we'll have to use seed. I will use that piece I think as a sort of grass welcome mat in front of the shed for my Mom-in-law, this way there won't be any dirt tracked into her 'house'.

Meanwhile I'm still making my own grass plugs, as well as moss plugs in the shade garden, and I will also seed the back yard again. This time though I need to find a way to keep it from washing away like it did before. It all ended up growing near the bottom of our hillside--very nice and green beneath the septic field--but not exactly where I wanted it. I remember putting straw by it, and then having a little wood chip path arranged and BAM! it became a sort of grass seed/wood chip lava flow during one of our many torrential down pours the past year. We certainly do get the rain here.

Well, its a new place, we've got lots of bugs to work out. I am glad I began the garden with all the plants I had started while we were renting. Its great to see the perennials coming up now, many times multiplied from what I started with. Every little bit I did has increased for me. Yeah!

Of course here and there is a shrub or something that didn't make it--no matter. I bought many of those clearance priced damaged plants at Lowe's and I made a habit of stapling the receipt to the plant tag and keeping it in a basket. I put new tags near the plants so I would recall what they were. If I see a dead one I can return it within one year for a full refund--even if I bought it damaged on clearance. This year I need to return my little dogwood tree and one holly plant and one Russian sage. I think that may be all. I saved a huge amount by buying those 'poor dears' most of the damaged plants are coming back just fine. Some weren't really damaged they were just done blooming. I love to look at the clearance racks when I go there. All my pansies were bought that way last year, and my impatiens, and many other plants. My knock out roses were only $5 each, and they look like they are going to be great this year and my azaleas were less than $2 each.

I also love their clearance mis-tint paints. I always check those. I just painted my garden tools strawberry pink using a clearance price $5 gallon of high quality severe weather exterior paint. Now my tools are all bright pink and very easy to spot if I misplace them while working in the yard--and I still have lots of the paint left. I've also done some flower pots and old wood furniture in clearance paint, and using both clearance paint and Lowe's rebate program my son's bedroom is going to be painted free. (almost felt a little guilty for that one--but it was legal--and I've spent many thousands at Lowe's since we bought this house-- all our insulation, drywall, supplies etc.. I guess I deserve some freebies.) Can you believe they will give you $5 back on a $5 gallon of paint if you send in the form during a rebate sale? Who'da thought?

My little friend and I love those frugal deals! Now that she will be unemployed I can't wait to hit the rummage sale circuit with her for baby stuff this spring. I hope we'll get to find out early if we're having a Jacob or a Leah, cuz nowadays there is very little 'neutral' baby stuff. When we had our babies there were lots of things you could buy that would go either way--I guess now they just assume that you know. Mom-in -Law and I were lamenting about that cuz we wanted to buy something baby for daughter and both ended up buying the same white 'onesies'.

Wow--we just had an electric surge--weird. it is raining--for which I am happy since it means no watering the garden--but I don't think its raining so much that I should lose power.... hope not!

Guess I'll be working on the wedding arch today, and planting more seeds.

Have a Pokeberry Day!

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