Tag: summer

Crafts For Your Garden Or Patio

Crafts for your garden and patio.

Making things to put out on your patio or in your garden can be a joy. It is a  sense of accomplishment and you can proudly  say, “Hey, I made this!”

Here are just a few ideas:

You can paint some pretty designs on  clay pots. You can buy the pots almost anywhere, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, etc. Next, you want to get some craft paint. You can buy it at a craft store.The craft stores have a bigger variety of colors so make sure you get some nice ones. The brighter the better. Get some cheap artist brushes or whatever you feel comfortable using and last you want to get some kind of polyurethane to seal the project. I generally use the spray on type, but on some projects it is easier to use the kind you brush on. Use your own discretion. Make sure you put some old newspaper down to cover your work space and most of all, be creative. Let your imagination run free.

While you have your craft paints out, another good project is painting stones. I know that sounds strange, but trust me, the outcome is truly very pretty. Look around for any large smooth or not so smooth rock. (Not so big that you can’t lift it.) They can be flat or round, shape doesn’t really matter and in fact it can enhance the finished product if the stone is a little misshapen. Make sure to brush off all the loose dirt first.  An old paint brush works very well for this.  If the rock is truly dirty, you can wash it first, just make sure that it is very dry before painting. You can start off by painting the whole stone a good background color and then paint designs on that, or you can leave the stone its natural color and paint on that.  Once again make sure that you give it a good coat of sealant when you are done with the artwork. These look pretty in a rock garden or between flower beds. You can even use the flat ones as stepping stones.

Craft stores carry a variety of unfinished wood items for you to finish. Bird houses

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Here are some birdhouses my husband and I made for my indoor garden. Bright and cheerful.

are just one of the things carried. You can get one of these rather cheaply and paint it any color you wish. When you are finished, hang it up in a tree or on a post and watch to see what kind of bird the house attracts. You can also buy a small flat piece of wood and paint it with the color of your choice and either buy letter stickers, stencils,  or if your handwriting is good you can free hand a little saying of some kind like, “Welcome to my garden.” or “Birds only, no cats allowed.” You can write whatever you wish. Really make it your own. Seal it with polyurethane and hang it up.

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If you have children, they can help you with any of these projects. Just make sure they have on some old clothes, that you protect the work space with old newspapers and finally, have fun!

 

 

A close up shot of the birdhouses.

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How To Freeze Berries

How to freeze berries.

No matter what kind you prefer, fresh berries are a real treat. Not only are berries good for you, but they are low in calories and they taste great. Sadly, you can’t keep berries fresh year round. Freezing berries keeps them looking and tasting as if they were just picked.

The easiest way I have found to freeze berries is this:

1. Most importantly, you have to wash your berries. Put the stopper in your sink, place berries carefully in the sink being careful not to put too many in at once. You don’t want to crush them. Fill sink with enough water to cover the berries. Gently with your hands, swish berries around in the water. You may have to change the water several times to get rid of stems and any grass that may be in the water. When you see no more debris, gently lift out berries and place them in a colander to drain. You may want to place several paper towels in a bowl and place your berries in that for a while to get rid of the water. I have found that if you don’t get most of the water off of the berries, that they will get freezer burn quite easily.

2. Making sure that most of the water is gone from the berries, the next step is to place them on a cookie sheet that you have lined with wax paper. Place them in a single layer being careful not to over crowd them.

3. Next, place the cookie sheet in the freezer and let the berries freeze solid. Times may vary according to how you have your freezer set and how big the berries are. Just keep checking on them to see if they are frozen. A good two to three hours is usually sufficient.

4. Take cookie sheet of frozen berries out of the freezer and place on kitchen counter. Depending on how many berries you have to freeze, you will either want a quart or a gallon size freezer bag. A good zip lock will do. Place frozen berries in the freezer bag and zip closed. Place freezer bag in freezer.

5. Continue using this process until you are done with your berries.

Frozen berries will keep for many months and they can be used in a variety of ways. Whether you need a cup for a recipe, a handful to eat, or maybe you want to make a luscious smoothie, your berries should taste as fresh as the day that you picked them. Enjoy!

While I did write this story, I didn’t take any photos of my own at the time. I found some lovely photos online that I have given a link to.

Washing Berries

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Freezing Berries    freezing_strawberries

Summer Valance in Crochet

Springcurtains..odt-1   PDF printable

curtains 009These pretty summer valances are just the thing for you if you don’t want a full curtain.  The size is perfect at  10″ x 26″.  You could easily make these longer than 10″ by just continuing the pattern to make a full curtain instead of a valance.  I think they are perfect when you have a mini blind and just want a little color.  The little flowers that I made on the flower loom can either be added or not as you wish and can be made in any color.  I wanted lots of color as you can see by the photos. Please respect that this is a pattern that was made by me and do  not take it as your own.

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I used Lily Sugar N’ Cream yarn in the colors of Cornflower and Yellow for the valance.  A variety of different colors were used to make the flowers.  You can of course use any colors that you wish. Lily makes so many beautiful colors that it is hard to pick a favorite.  They also make beautiful variegated yarn as well.  You can look at all the different colors of yarn and get patterns too at their web site :

http://sugarncream.com/

I used a size K crochet hook to make this pattern.

Abbreviations:

Ch: chain

DC: double crochet

slst: slip stitch

SC: single crochet

The directions are as follows:

Chain 80

Rows 1 – 14:  DC in third ch from hook. Ch 1, skip 1 ch, DC in next ch. Repeat across. Ch 3, turn.

Repeat this for the desired length that you want.  14 rows will get you a 10″ length.

Row 15 or the loop row.

At end of row 14, change colors if you wish. This is where I changed my color from yellow to cornflower blue.

Chain 1, sl st in first DC from row below. Chain 15, sc in same st.  *SC in ch 1 space, (SC in next DC, Ch 15, SC  all in same space) repeat from * across to the end and fasten off. Weave in loose ends.

Now you can add your flowers that you made on the flower loom.  You can get one of these flower looms at any craft store such as Michael’s or AC Moore or Amazon.  The directions come with the loom and are very easy to follow.

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Bloom Loom from Amazon

Since this is my pattern, please feel free to use it and even share it with others.  I have only one request and that is that you link back to me and give me proper credit.

 

I was not paid for this article by Lily, Michael’s , AC Moore or Amazon.

 

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Summer

 

The first day of summer always reminds me of when I was a young teenager.  We lived in the country with fields of flowers, flowing creeks and gardens full of fresh vegetables. It was a good summer day when no chores needed done and I was free to wander and dream till my heart was content.

I remember that day with fondness and I wrote this poem.  I hope you like it and that you can dream along with me. Let it take you back to a day where you could take some time and just dream.  Here is that poem (Memoir)     field of dreams

FIELD OF DAYDREAMS                                                            

Walking slowly along in the coolness of the tree-lined dirt road, I could already smell the wild flowers. The sweetness of the wild roses and the spicy aroma of the Queen Anne’s lace greeted me with the breeze.

I stopped and leaned against a tree and closed my eyes. I could see the flowers in my mind… flowers in every color of the rainbow. The gentle wind brushed against my face like a feather, and I opened my eyes.

I started walking again. Just a few more steps and I would be there. I turned the corner by the old barn, and there it was. The sight always took my breath away. The field was ablaze with color. The golden-yellow of the black-eyed Susan, the reddish-orange of the wild poppy, and the delicate blue of the cornflower were remarkable.

I was headed for the stream that was on the other side of the field. Little by little, I made my way through the tall grass. The grasshoppers jumped out of my way as I passed by.

Stopping occasionally to pick some daisies, I could hear the faint sound of the gurgling stream. I walked closer to the sound, and I could see the sun glistening off the water like diamonds.

Arriving at the stream, I sat down in the cool grass and began making a necklace out of the daisies that I had picked. I had been working on it for some time when I heard a noise at the edge of the field and looked up to see what it was. I could hardly believe my eyes. A deer and her fawn had come out of the woods to eat, and I watched them in fascination. After a while, they returned to the woods.

I lay back in the grass and looked at the sky. The puffy, white clouds were drifting lazily along. They were taking on different shapes as I watched. I could see a horse carrying a rider. In my mind, it was my knight in shining armor coming to carry me away.

The harsh cry of a crow startled me. I got up and looked around the field. I could see the garden on the other side of the road. The corn was getting tall, and the tomatoes were starting to get red. Both would need to be picked soon.

I heard the screen door slam shut on the back porch. My mom would be calling me soon for dinner. It was time to go. I gently tossed my daisy necklace into the stream and watched it float away.

I headed back through the tall grass toward the road. The aroma of fried chicken was drifting toward me in the breeze. I knew there would be buttery mashed potatoes and a crisp salad on the table as well, and I hurried my step. I would be back tomorrow for more dreams.

 

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Lava Lamps

What is it about a lava lamp that attracts a person to watch in complete wonder? I have always been fascinated with them since I was a teen and made my way into my first Spencers Store at our local Mall. There were plenty of other things there that caught my eye, but none of them as much as the Lava Lamps.

While looking around on E-bay a few months ago, I saw them and decided why not. I got my first Lava Lamp!! I was so excited the day I got it that I almost dropped it.  Silly I know, but what can I say.

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This has given me a sense of going back to a time when things were much simpler. When you could leave your doors open in the summer and let the cool breeze come in. When you could sit outside after dark and not be afraid.

I love my Lava Lamp. Try one and see if it doesn’t do the same for you. We all need to dream a little.

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