July/August Garden Update

We’ve had some hot days out here over the last month.  The garden is looking a little wilted in the photo above, but hanging in there.  Thank goodness for cool evenings!
Garlic came out in late July and is currently drying.  Looking forward to using it in my tomato sauce this year and wishing I would have planted more…Carrots are ready too!
  Random little volunteer, succulent-like plant in my vegetable garden.Wildflowers and zinnias are blooming.
Tomato plants are loaded, just patiently waiting for them to ripen…they are so late this year.  Dreaming of a bigger, south-facing garden…maybe next year if I play my cards right.
  Love weekend, wine nights while piddling in the garden.And here’s a sneak peek of a quilt I made! That’s it for now.  Have a good weekend.



Weekend Stress Relief

The last few weeks have been REALLY busy.  Took a decompression day on Saturday to spend some time alone doing a few of my favorite things…

Drove out to Sharon, CT for a hike at Housatonic Meadow State Park.  A short day hike (3.5 mi loop) with a few really great views of the Housatonic River Valley!  Yet again, I love hiking in Northwest CT.  

 Stopped for a picnic lunch along the Housatonic River and watched the fly fisherman while I sipped my post-hike wine and knitted for a bit 🙂  Forgot to take pictures.

Then headed home for the REAL stress relief – baking!  Veggies are finally rolling in from the garden, farmer’s markets, and friends.

Made carrot zucchini muffins with my homegrown carrots and some beautiful zucchini from a friend’s garden (used this recipe, but substituted local honey for the sugar and added a few tbsp of wheat germ).  Then dairy-free, whole wheat cheddar-jalapeño bagels with peppers from my garden (used this recipe but with whole wheat flour and added jalapeños and almond cheddar-style cheese).

 Also did a test run of pickled jalapeños (recipe from Canning for a New Generation), except I forgot to add the garlic – remembered it right after they went into the canner, oops!  Kind of upset about that, it was even homegrown.  Next time…now also know that when it says pack – that means shove ’em in there until you can’t squeeze anymore in, because those things sure did settle after processing!

 Loving this little canner I picked up at a garage sale a few weeks ago for $2!  Perfect for canning one or two jars without wasting water, electricity and waiting for the large canner to heat up.

And to round it all out – made one of my favorite easy dinners!  Butternut squash and kale over quinoa.  Made from my LAST butternut squash from the fall, and kale, onions, and garlic from my garden. 
Stay tuned for July Garden Update coming soon (only a few days late)!


Stocked and Ready to Jam!

  Stocked and ready to jam!  Raspberry season is here.  Jars, apples (natural source of pectin since raspberries don’t have much) and lemons (for pH) are ready to go.  Now it’s time to get pickin’!  Also, loving those flowers in the background this week – sunflowers and snapsragons are locally grown and from the Collinsville Farmers Market, then I added garlic scapes from my garden for height (see below).  Have a great weekend.


June Garden Update

Spring flowers are winding down, summer flowers are officially in bloom and tomatoes and peppers are blossoming!! 

Loving this rudbeckia that started blooming last week:

Had to take the bird feeder down for the summer so as not to attract the neighborhood bear, yikes!  Made this succulent hanging basket out of old jello molds from GW.  Probably could use a few more to fill in some of the gaps, but it’ll get there.

Have a Happy 4th of July and holiday weekend!


Cash Envelope Coin Purse

I’m a big fan of Dave Ramsey and the cash envelope system.  Using cash the last few years has really helped me to cut down on unnecessary spending.  You really don’t feel that money leaving your pocket with a debit or credit card like you do with cold, hard cash.

However, I also LOVE me a good Kate Spade wristlet – easily transitions from my work bag to a larger purse, or carry alone for a quick errand or evening out.  But I was getting a little tired of my change and multiple paper envelopes, or stacks of bills paper clipped together, shuffling around in there, and wanted a cash organizer to fit inside.  Many of the cash envelope wallets on Etsy were a bit large for my taste and wouldn’t have fit anyway…so I got to work and came up with my own!
Rather than label the slots, I used different accent colors on the front and back.  Shouldn’t be too hard to remember as I only use 4 categories: gas, groceries, eating out, and shopping (clothes, home decor, garden, etc.). I put the fun stuff, eating out and shopping, on the pink side and gas and groceries on the light blue side.  See…not too hard!  And the whole thing fits neatly inside a wristlet: Also made some tasty things to eat this weekend.  Picked 12 lbs of Strawberries plus rhubarb on Friday, and spent Saturday making lots of homemade desert…strawberry shortcake, a strawberry rhubarb pie, strawberry Danishes, and still had lots left to freeze for the year.   This next one was totally random, but turned out to be delicious.  My second to last butternut squash from last fall, fresh kale from the garden, Vidalia onions, and garlic sautéed in olive oil with a little bit of salt and pepper, and served on top of quinoa.  Also added Braggs nutritional yeast and liquid aminos.  East peasy, delicious and healthy!   

Knitting Needle Case

My mom has started getting into knitting and I want to make her something for her new found hobby for Mother’s Day.  After browsing several stores and Etsy for knitting needle case ideas, I must say I was sorely disappointed.  Was wanting something that would hold a variety of needle types (straights, dpns, and circular), was well made, and had a handmade, timeless look.  So…I just came up with my own!  Made a few small mistakes and learned a some new things along the way, but overall I’m quite pleased! 


For comparison, much better than my old, cheapo Michaels version that I bought back in college.  May have to upgrade soon. IMG_1007

Even better…it’s made entirely of stash fabric, which forced me to actually organize  years worth of scraps in the process.

Spring Garden Tour

First Week of April: IMG_0737

First Week of May:IMG_0884

Two Weeks Later: 

Putting in a few more rock paths this year.  All of these rocks are from the yard, crazy!  Looking good, and making a little more progress each week.

Planted two more Earthboxes this year, now up to 6 (4 tomato and 2 pepper). Also added cherry tomatoes in the red pot, and onions and shallots all across the front.  First year giving these a whirl, will see how it goes.Still need to find a home for these guys.  May have went a little overboard with starting seeds this year, and ended up with a much better yield than anticipated.  I never have the heart to throw tomato seedlings away when thinning. And a few other spring veggies nestled in containers amongst the perennials:

A few shots around the patio.  Still a work in progress.  Had to move the grill to the other side this year (per town fire code) which I am not happy about, totally messing with my patio feng shui! 


And a sneak peak of a little sewing project that’s in the works 😉

 Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!


DIY Bird Feeder

So I’ve been told that I’m due for another blogpost 😉

With all this nice weather we’ve been having, I’ve been working in the garden and spending a lot of time outside the past two weekends…which means very little sewing.  Plus the craft room is still in the process of getting reorganized.  Pictures of that to follow soon!

However, here’s a little project from the weekend.  My freebie plastic Wildbirds Unlimited bird feeder blew off the hook on the patio a while back and broke.  So, time to make a new one!

DIY Bird Feeder 


Chicken Feeder ($4 at Farm & Home)

Mason Jar (old one that I already had)

Pot Lid with a Hook (50 cents at Goodwill)

Glue (I used Gorilla Glue that Dad left in my toolbox, see warning below)

Total cost ~ $5


  1. Glue the pot lid to the bottom of the jar.  If you’re using Gorilla Glue, go easy…it expands to 3x its size.  I had a bit of a mess to clean up, but nothing a little acetone and a scrapper couldn’t fix! 
  2. Fill jar with birdseed.
  3. Screw on chicken feeder and hang outside!


Spring is finally here and my garlic is already growing like crazy!

Hope you have a great week!


48 hours in Sunny San Diego

Flew out to San Diego last weekend for a last-minute work trip.  Was only out there for two days, but had time in the mornings to explore a bit.

These last few weeks haven’t been the greatest, but the sunshine and fresh air was good for my soul.  Just what I needed!  Love love loved it and can’t wait to go back!

Saturday Afternoon:
Eating a late lunch outside at Don Chido in the Gaslamp Quarter 

Evening beer and doing some work near the rooftop pool at the hotel.  (Yoga by the pool the next morning was even better 🙂

Sunday Morning:
Foggy morning walk along Pacific Beach.  The trolley/bus ride out there was a little sketchy…won’t be doing that again.

Sunday afternoon/evening:
Spent most of the afternoon at a conference.  Had Greek tacos at Meze for lunch – excellent! 

Quick stroll through World Market on my lunch break.  Connecticut needs one of these!

Gorgeous view from the conference center

Had dinner with our students at Saja.  Can’t believe some of them will be graduating in a month, so proud of them! 

Monday Morning:
Borrowed a bike from the hotel and road along the bay for a few hours before having to head back to the airport.  Had a perfect sunny morning for it.  Can’t wait to go back!  I’m already starting my list of places to go next time 🙂

  Can you tell that I love taking picture of boats?!

That’s all for now!  Have a good week 🙂