I will make these beds...  

Posted by Emily in

...so I can plant in them too!

I got the lumber for the bed frames:
The wood is douglas fir, purchased at Lowe's. My lovely neighbor and friend was nice enough to drive me there with her truck so I could get it home. I had Lowe's cut the wood to the lengths I needed to make things easier. Now it's just a matter of drilling pilot holes in the ends of the wood and using deck screws to secure them. Simple, eh?

Craftster Swaps & Magazines  

Posted by Emily

Here are pictures of the items I sent out for the Craftster Sweat Shoppe Round 13 Swap (discussion thread, gallery):

These are reversible coffee cup holders.. side 1..side 2..Here are the postage-stamp quilted potholders (each square is 1"x1" finished size); I made 5 different color schemes, but here's just one for the idea..
I really need to figure out how to mitre corners before I try that on an actual quilt! I'm glad I made these potholders because I do plan on making a postage stamp quilt much like this, this, these, and these ones. I even participated in a swap on Craftster (discussion, gallery) for squares. I am just going to go for a random look for my first one rather than try to figure out values or sort by color waves. I'm going to use this method, which is what I did in miniature for the potholders. I also swapped squares with my sister (along with her 2 sisters-in-law), who sent me squares she cut out of my grandma's clothes- that means so much to me that she thought to do that. I still owe her and her sisters-in-law their squares... I'm so late sending out that I'm sending them tons more fabric and some other things- which is just making me later! Oh well, I hope they'll forgive me when they get their packages.

I signed up for the Naughty Words Needs Friends Too Swap, which is going to be insanly fun. I have stalked my partner and I'm glad to see she makes awesome stuff, and I love her personality so it will be it fun to make her things and see how she likes them. I'm kicking around a few ideas right now and I'll be crafting probably this weekend (if I don't start sooner).

I received my July issue of Sewing Savvy and June issue of Travel and Leisure in the mail today, so I have some good reading ahead of me for the next couple hours or so.

à tout à l'heure!

Presenting... My Future Oasis  

Posted by Emily in , , ,

I decided this year is "the year" for working on my back yard. I want an outside space that is my oasis instead of a desiccated wasteland like it is now. I have 2 main goals for this year for my back yard:

1. I will have a vegetable and fruit garden in this space, which is on the side of my house:

2. The rest of my yard will have grass at minimum and hopefully flowers and shrubs. This is what the rest of my yard looks like right now:

Those two trees were actually volunteers that each rooted over from a different neighbor's yard. That's the easiest way to add foliage I must say! They probably aren't exactly where I would have planted them, but they took no effort on my part so I'm happy enough with where they are. There's also another side area of the yard, which is where the garbage and recycle containers are stored; I think I'd like to pave at least some of that area with either concrete or pavers and add a small shed for yard and gardening tools.

I have to admit I am taking the easy way out for getting grass going and the basic maintenance- I hired a guy that works for my neighbor's landscaping company to do that for me. He'll be coming out monthly to get the grass in, mow it, take care of weeds, trim the trees and such for both our back and front yard. He isn't charging me very much considering I really do hate that kind of yard work (plus both DH and I have bad allergies)- especially in the summer during 115 degree weather (it's 108 today and it's only May!!)

Eventually I'd like to expand my porch area and get a table and chairs so I can enjoy the back yard more. My in-laws enclosed their porch with a half wall and screens and added a ceiling fan, which is really nice in cooler weather. They even have a TV out there so they can watch the news and enjoy being outside while they have their morning coffee. I just might be able to convince my wonderful FIL to help us do that :)

I have a layout all planned for my garden, which will be a raised-bed Square Foot Garden; I bought Mel Bartholomew's book from Barnes and Nobles for all the information I need for that method along with Dave the Garden Guy's Seasonal Guide to Organic Gardening in the Desert Southwest for local information. I won't be able to do much in the next couple months as far as actual planting and gardening, so I'll be using the summer to build my beds (oh joy- construction in the heat!) In June I'll plant pumpkins so I'll have them for Halloween! I can't wait until I have a full veggie garden going and can pick my own salad fresh whenever I need it!

I had to take a picture of my poor panting puppy while he was following me around outside wondering why I would venture out in this insane heat; this is Milo our Miniature Pinscher:

Don't worry, he has a doggy door so he's inside most of the time!

So that's my currently-ugly, soon-to-be-gorgeous back yard desert. My front yard is desert too, but the kind with rocks and cacti, so it looks much nicer:

Well now that the weekend's over...  

Posted by Emily in ,

I'm ready for it to begin!

Story of my life :)

In other news... I received a bona fide coffee roaster for my birthday, whohoo! My DH and his mom pitched in to buy me this lovely piece of machinery:
This was of course purchased from Sweet Maria's and came with 8 1-lb packs of green coffee beans from different regions and a double sized chaff collector. This is quite possibly my favorite thing in my whole house (DH and dog not included as "things" of course).

I've only done one batch so far... which I slightly burned. Even then it was still tolerable with enough half and half and vanilla flavor added. Next time I'll be more careful about watching for 2nd crack.

It's very quite and doesn't produce too much smoke- I just parked it under the oven vent and that was more than enough, although I do think that's why I couldn't hear the beans as well as I wanted so I'll skip that until the end next time.