Sunday, July 31, 2011

Landscaping 101: Our New Tree!

Moving on in our landscaping project, we planted a tree! I'm just as thrilled as can be with this as I've wanted a large, beautiful tree with intense fall color in my front yard for 16 years! I finally have one and I'm just tickled! This tree is small now but will grow 3-5 ft per year and turns bright red in the fall. Autumn Blaze Maple is it's name!

The tree was going to be the last thing we did in our project after our rock and planter work was done but we got caught up in the moment. It was kind of like when you go to the shelter just to 'look' when you're thinking about getting a new dog and you end up bringing one home the same day. The same thing happened when we went to 'look' at trees. We found one and just had to bring it home!

The days this month have just been downright scorchers so G decided to wait until dusk to plant our tree without the blazing afternoon sun on him.
And to work he went.

Still working as the sun sets.

Mixing compost...
adding fertilizer...
..and putting some stakes for support.
2 hours from start to finish and our tree was in it's new home!

The next day we gave it another good soaking and admired it's beauty! (I will mention that, in hindsight, G feels we should have planted the tree about 3 feet further from the house and closer to the center of our yard, but I think it looks just fine!)

A nice addition, don't you think?

There's something else very special about this tree. In 2006 when our pup Candy died, we had requested her ashes. We had always meant to do something special with them but just couldn't figure out what, so they've been sitting on our bookshelf for 4.5 years. When Kayla died last month we decided not to obtain her ashes but instead I had saved a Ziploc bag full of her hair from the last few times I brushed her. Before placing the tree in it's hole we put Candy's ashes and Kayla's hair in first, directly under the tree. Kayla lived her whole life in this house and Candy lived about 11 years in it, so it makes me happy that a part of them will always be here even if someday we move away.

See also:
Landscaping 101: The Beginning
Landscaping 101: Power Tools

New Project Tote!

I'm just so excited about my new project tote for my crochet that I have to share! Since I just recently picked up my crocheting hobby again after many years, my stash of yarn is quite small but I know how quickly it can grow. With the help of my friend Christie, I now have all my crochet supplies, projects, hooks, etc organized online at Ravelry but needed to organize them, physically as well. I was planning on browsing Esty for some helpful organizers when I came across this adorably bright, inexpensive, totally me...tote! I found it at Target in the back-to-school section along with some pencil cases.

I didn't set out to find a project tote at Target but when the boys and I were browsing the school section in search of cool erasers, I saw these pencil cases and thought "those would be great for my hooks"!At $1.99 each, I snatched up three of them. I haven't found a use for the cute one with the owl print but I loved it so much, I just had to have it!

I thought I would use the clear one for my crochet hooks.

And this one with an extra pocket in front is perfect for my circular knitting needles, DPN's, stitch holders, guage, etc.

On to the tote! After finding the pencil cases, this tote just caught my eye! It appears to have a plastic look to it but when you touch it, it's quite soft and sublte. It's light-weight and seems very well made and I just knew I could make it work as a current project carrying case.

The front pocket is deep and has plenty of room but for now I only need it for my scissors, tape measure and current hook. It could be used to store a phone, snacks and wallet, too.

The main area will easily hold my six skeins of yarn and my afghan the size it is now with room to spare. As my afghan gets larger, It may not be able to hold all 6 colors of yarn but It just may if I do some creative cramming.

It has a padded pocket for holding a laptop but it can also hold my zippered hook cases or even some crochet books or mags!

A cute little apple embelsihment hanging on the front for hanging keys or just to look cute!

And finally a pocket on both sides for holding water bottles! $24.99 I do love a bargain!

Totally off the subject of totes but on the subject of owls...I found this iron-on transfer at JoAnn's the other day and I'm now on the lookout for the perfect sweatshirt or t-shirt to iron it onto! I think it is just the most adorable thing ever and I'm just loving all the owl- themed items I'm seeing everywhere these days! Love, Love, Love cute owls in all shapes, sizes and colors!

Landscaping 101: Power Tools!

The first thing to be removed in our yard was this pine tree that was planted by me in a poor spot many years ago. If you care to know why it makes me sad to see this tree go, you can read about it HERE. Despite my sadness to see this tree go, it was a necessary step in our landscaping project for obvious reasons.

Enter new power tool #1- The Chainsaw (lithium battery-operated no less)! Why do something with a hand saw when you can do it much quicker with a power tool?

Within minutes the tree was a lifeless pile of branches. The whiskey barrel it was planted in still needs to be uprooted and I don't think that will happen without the aide of some sort of power tool.

G teaching the boys all about the coolness of his new toy and some rules of safety!
Now, what to do with all those branches??? We could bundle them up with string and set them out for the trash, or

Enter new power tool #2 - The Wood Chipper! G got a awesome deal on this barely-used chipper on Craigslist.
It smelled like Christmas with all that pine going through the chipper!

And in no time, our tree was reduced to mulch. Well, not all of it yet because the bag won't hold our entire tree but once we get our planter done, we will fill it with this mulch and chipper the rest of the tree.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Landscaping 101: The Beginning!

We are embarking on a landscaping project at our house right now and this is what it looks like in the beginning! Ugh! This will be a do-it-ourselves project so we'll see where it takes us.

Admittedly, we've let the weeds get a bit out of control because why pull weeds when we need to do so much more. We are not going to do a major overhaul but we are hoping to remove that pine tree and do some sort of planter in front of our bay window, replace that old gray rock along our driveway with new rock and some nice plants/flowers and some sort of edging. Some weed control in our lawn and our driveway. And finally, a new tree! Wish us luck...G and I have different opinions of what we want so hopefully we can end up with something we can both live with!


I want to mention that this post was created in Feb but never got published so here it is...quite late! On to embroidery....The only type of embroidery I have ever done in the past was cross stitching. Just before Christmas of last year (2010), I thought I would try my hand at some stitches other than the cross stitch. So I purchased a couple of books in addition to receiving some for Christmas.
Lots of fun ideas in the Doodle Stitch books pictured above. I instantly fell in love with this cute little pattern and jumped right in to make my first embroidery project containing so cross stitches...

Not perfect, especially at this close-up view but I love it all the same!

My second project was made for my friend Christie that had admired the pattern in one of my books. It's not perfect either but she has it displayed in her craft room and that makes me proud!

The above projects were all I've done so far with the embroidery aspect of crafting and I have now moved full throttle into crocheting! I have completed one afghan and will be posting pics of my newest one soon!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Butterflies, Pawprint and Stitching Therapy!

It's been 1 month now that Kayla has been gone and I thought I'd post about some of the things that have given me comfort while my heart heals from her absence.'s butterflies...specifically yellow Swallowtail butterflies. Right after leaving the vet for the last time without my pup, the first thing I did was go on a long walk by myself on the bike-path where I walked Kayla everyday. Shortly after I began my walk, a Swallowtail butterfly fluttered right up to me almost running into my face. I've seen butterflies many times in my life but there was something special about that one that made me feel comfort....a sign you might say that Kayla's energy was still with me. I've continued to see at least one but usually many more yellow Swallowtails fly across my backyard and on the bikepath every single day since then and I think of Kayla every time :)

Later that same day, G and I met up after my walk and spent the afternoon drinking coffee, shopping and reminiscing with both smiles and tears about our sweet pup. While looking for some votive candle holders, G spotted these and asked me what I thought of them (not knowing of my butterfly encounter earlier on). Well of course I loved them! A sign, I tell ya! We bought two of them and whenever we light up our battery operated votive flames, I think fondly of my two pup angels, Kayla and Candy(The pup that inspired the creation of this blog in 2007) !

While shopping for cross-stitching patterns one evening, I came across this one and just had to buy it! I hope to work on it sometime soon or maybe save it for a mid-winter project when there are no real butterflies to enjoy.

Next, there's the subject of Kayla's pawprint from our vet. They asked me if I wanted a memorial pawprint of Kayla and of course I said yes. When I went to pick it up, I was pleasantly surprised because I thought it was going to be an ink pawprint on paper, hehehe...this is much better. I thought it was nice but I knew I could make it so much better. So with a little paint, decoupage, silk flowers, beads and of course some butterflies, I turned it into this...

On the back, I wrote this...

And finally, I've been crocheting again! During Kayla's last week while I was spending a lot of time sitting by her side, I had this desire to crochet an afghan. I've been crocheting as far back in time as I can remember but I haven't made a blanket for a loooooong time. So, even though Kayla is not with us anymore, I find it very therapuetic to crochet this blanket that I started when she was still by my side. She always loved my afghans (and quilts) and she even had a few of her own.

At some point in the near future, not sure when yet...I will start her scrapbook. I've already started it in a sense by going through my photo archives and tagging her photos but WOW, I took a lot of photos of that girl in 13.5 years!!!!