Sunday, June 19, 2011

Veggie Seedlings

Growing plants from seed is a wonderful thing.  After spending the winter pouring over seeds catalogs and waiting for warm weather, it is just so exciting to be able to get my vegetable seeds started in the greenhouse and finally plant them in my garden.  The process that I use requires a few steps of transplanting before the plants go out to the veggie garden.  I start the seed in seed trays, which have long skinny slots for the seeds.  I use a very light and fine seed starting media.  Then the tiny seedlings are planted into cell packs which are about 2-3" square.  Then they are potted up into 6" pots to grow for a while until they are large enough to plant outside in the garden.

Camera phone photo of my seed packets.  I lay them out like this to organize them according to sowing times.
My first little seedlings popping up out of the seed starting media.

Pepper and tomato seedlings ready to be transplanted.
Pepper seedlings transplanted into cell packs.
Tomatoes stepped up into 6" pots.
Basil, dill, and Brussels sprouts stepped up into 6" pots.
This year, I used Organic Mechanics Container Blend Potting Soil, which is a company owned by my friend Mark Highland.  Their soil is certified organic, peat-free, local, and earth-friendly.  The Container Blend is contains compost, pine bark, coir, and worm rice hulls- no peat!  I can attest that this soil is soooo much better than regular potting soil.  The plants are more vigorous and seem more able to fend off pests and diseases.  Great product, Mark!  Check out Mark's Blog for more info.

Organic Mechanics Container Blend Potting Soil

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yoga Mat Bag

I have been making very simple bags to hold yoga mats.  They are really quick and make great gifts for yogis.  The bags are 31" long and 15" deep, with two 30" straps.  I only show photos of the outside of the bags, but I included a 10" x 7" pocket inside each bag.  I find the pocket really handy to hold my car keys while I'm in a yoga class.  Also, the bag is deep enough to hold your mat as well as a water bottle.  The first bag I made has a ribbon on each side to tie it closed, but I found that this really isn't necessary.  I used home decor weight fabric for the outside, and regular cotton quilting fabric for the lining.

Two of the bags with yoga mats inside.  You can see the ribbon tie closure on the green bag, but I excluded this from the other bags because I didn't think it was necessary.

My roommate, Amy, modeling a yoga mat bag we made for her sister, Gretchen.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wooden Soap Molds

My dad made me wooden soap molds to replace the cardboard boxes that I have been using as molds.  They are 11" x 3.5" and 2.75" deep.  They worked perfectly for a 10-bar batch of soap.

Wooden box with a lid.
The lid on the wooden mold helps to insulate the soap while it is curing in the mold for the first few days.

I line the box with freezer paper before pouring the soap into the mold.  The wing nuts enable me to take the sides off when removing the freezer paper from the soap.  I can also take one of the short sides off in order to slide a little out at a time and use the mold as a guide when cutting the soap into bars.  Have helped me make my cuts more even and straight.
The latest batch of soap- Lemon Eucalyptus with Honey and Vitamin E.  A little more evenly cut than my other batches, but I still need some practice cutting them the same size.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Garlic Scapes

I had the opportunity to try a new type of vegetable that is considered to be a delicacy.  Garlic scapes are the unopened flower buds of garlic plants.  Farmers will remove the scapes before blooming to encourage the plant to push more energy into the bulb, which is the part that we normally harvest for cooking.  I simply cut the scapes into 5" pieces and sauteed them in olive oil.  They tasted like garlicy green beans and were very crunchy and delicious!  Here is an article about garlic scapes with a more involved recipe.  I'll try something like this next year when it is time to harvest the scapes.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Kona Charm Pack Challenge

The May challenge for the Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild was to make a quilt using a charm pack of Robert Kaufman Kona Cottons "Bright" (these are all solids) and any additional fabric that we chose as long as it was only prints (no extra solids). 

Check out entries for the Kona Solids Challenge from members of the Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild and other Modern Quilt Guilds.

I had a charm pack of Keiki for Moda's Tweet Tweet that I wanted to use and I thought the bright, bold colored prints would work great with the solids.

1 charm pack of Kona Bright and 1 charm pack of Keiki Tweet Tweet

I used a pink and green leaf pattern for the backing and binding
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