Powerscourt, Ireland.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The First Thing I Ever Made

I wanted to do a sewing project and post the step by step process, but it's been so nice and sunny here, that I haven't had a chance to make anything new. I'll copy a journal post I did for another site and you can follow the first thing I ever made.  I've actually gotten a little better, watched some more tutorials and had some practice, but here's my rookie project.

I decided to teach myself to sew because my son has a long torso and short legs.  This means that pants that fit in the waist are like 4-6 inches too it's ridiculous to roll them up.  In November 2010 I ordered  sewing machine off Overstock.  I wanted something very basic and easy to use, so I chose the Janome 3/4 size Hello Kitty version.

Wow....sewing with this is super easy!  I think that the reason I didn't take to sewing before is that when I was a child, I was using temperamental machines and I didn't really know how to operate them.  I read the manual and watched a number of clips on youtube and then I was off.   I started by repairing all of our pillowcases that had holes in the corners (pillow covers have zippers that cause wear over time, particularly on high thread count sheets) and moved to closing the pockets in my dress pants, then on to my son's hems.  All super easy!

In my research, I saw that there were some pretty cool things that looked pretty easy.   Other than youtube, is my best resource.  This bag, however, I didn't find an pattern for. 

I used the bag in the background as a general guide--I'm cutting out: 
-body of bag--17x13, 2 linings and 2 dot fabric
-bottom of bag--17x5, 1 lining and 1 dot fabric
-sides of bag--13x5, 2 linings and 2 dot fabrics
-straps--30x4, 2 of dot babric, 2 blue ribbon
-Ribbon to finish the top

Here is my fabulous Hello Kitty sewing machine....mid stitch in sewing a strap!

And here it first real sewing project.  It turned out ok if you don't look TOO close.  My sewing isn't 100% straight and I made a classic rookie mistake.  When I sewed my bag to my lining, I initially had it right, but I second guessed myself and sewed it together wrong....and since I used a zig-zag stitch so it wouldn't unravel, I think it would have ruined the bag if I tried to pull it out.  I was planning on finishing the top with the blue grosgrain ribbon, but I was going to use one inside and outside.  Instead, I had to fold one in half.  It looks ok.  I gave this to my SIL, Kim for her birthday and she seemed pretty pleased with it.

I'm pretty happy with my first attempt to make something and can't wait to move on to other projects.  I encourage you all to take up really is less complicated than you might think and youtube has a bounty of information!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday in OB (Ocean Beach)

The weather people in San Diego are ridiculous.  Amongst their favorite things to talk about are the "Microclimate Forecasts."  As much as I poke fun at them for their antics, we got a first hand dose of their microclimate today.

We picked up Max from school in Point Loma which is on the San Diego Bay where it was sunny and in the low 70's. My husband suggested we go to the beach.  As we're driving over the hill , we see the fog rolling in.  In less than a minute we went from sunny and 70 to heavy fog with temps in the low 60's.....hello microclimate!

This is Newport Avenue, the main street of Ocean Beach.  It is so foggy that you can't even see the Farmers Market set up on the next block.

Now Max wasn't going to let a little "micro-climate" fog (or 50 degree water temp) effect his ability to have a good time. 

Finally Max realized how cold the water was and decided to take time out to write in the sand.

Now we're back in Point Loma where it's sunny and in the 70's.  Gotta love the San Diego microclimates!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Growing Some Food in San Diego--Jumping Right into this Blogging Thing!

San Diego is an amazing place. We live on the West side of the San Diego Bay in the Point Loma neighborhood of La Playa and we get about 300 sunny days a year.  It really is paradise.  One of the best things is you can grow food and flowers pretty much year round.  Vegetables take much longer to mature in the winter and spring months, but getting fresh tomatoes in February is a real treat! 

Today I did some work in my front gardens.  I was thrilled to find our first sugar snap peas of the season...a whole 11 of them!   OK, so we ate a few.  They are so sweet and crunchy! 

This also made me realize that it was time to get to work on our main Spring-Summer garden.  We live on a hill, so due to water run off patterns, seedlings do much better than straight seeds.

So to get started on our big garden, I started some seeds that will be transferred into the main vegetable garden sometime next month.  In years past, the birds determined that we had the avian version of "Hometown Buffet" in our yard and I began to wonder why my starts weren't, well....starting.  After I figured out the birds were partially to blame, I came up with this cover to give my seeds a fighting chance.  The white containers are all tomatoes, the yellow are onions an pickling cukes.  The round guys have melons, squash, tomatillo, slicing cukes.

The white containers on the left are tomato seedlings I transplanted from the clamshell mini-greenhouses.  The remaining clamshell mini-greenhouses contain pepper starts and herb (basil, cilantro, thyme) starts.

I am a great fan of reusing and repurposing items, so the clamshells from my Trader Joe's blueberries make the perfect mini-greenhouses.  The tricky thing is to keep them moist enough to germinate and remember to transplant when the seedlings begin to brush the top of the clamshell.  The tomatoes are recent graduates!

This is the edge of one of our vegetable beds.  I love the flax and sweet pea flowers...they are so bright and cheery.  If you look closely, you can see some potato plants in there.  Potatoes and carrots are things we grow pretty much year round.  Generally, I tend to grow potatoes in containers because they're much easier to find.  I don't bother with seed potatoes.  If one of my spuds or a grocery store spud decides to grow eyes, I just cut them off and plant them in a pot.  They have such nice big leaves and when they die have potatoes!

So my first blog post is done.  I hope you've enjoyed reading about my random adventures in San Diego!