June 2019 WIPs

Sorry friends! We’re already mid July and I’m barely getting around to sharing my June works in progress with you. Let me start off with some gardening updates as I have lots to share with you there.

GARDENING

We started the summer off with very mild weather. We almost reached 9″ of rain for the month compared to only 2″ in June 2018! So, as you can imagine, the garden was pretty happy. I’ve been introducing my cats to the back patio as they were raised as indoor cats. They know to stay within the boundaries of the patio, but every once in a while, curiosity triggers in and Petey will slowly start to stray away. He gets mad at me when I round him back in with some meows of disappointment. They discovered how comfy the patio chairs are and Neko will often lounge on them to bird watch with comfort. This time, she allowed Petey to join her. I was also able to harvest 3 more strawberries. I probably won’t see any more until the Fall.

The flowers I planted in the Spring have been doing quite well! I’m very bad at keeping up with watering, so the rainy June has been very helpful. I love the vibrancy of the Indian Blanket wildflower and the sweet pink dangling flowers of the Begonia.

I was so excited to find out that the Luna Red Hibiscus that I planted in the Spring also started to bloom. I was worried this plant wouldn’t make it due to the windy weather we had. The foliage was constantly getting torn by the strong winds and storms. But luckily, as you can see, she was resilient and bloomed!

Some other existing flowers that I’ve had in these beds showed off some of their blooms as well. Purple coneflower was just starting to bloom. I was only able to capture the soft colors of the newly formed coneflower. My Big Red Salvia gets bigger every year! She grows almost as tall as me with her flowering stalks. This doesn’t say much I guess… I’m only 4’11” 😀 Still, this beauty captures the heart of the hummingbirds who are passing through.

The tomatillo plants produced a lot of tomatillos! Hundreds of them! But unfortunately, they are smaller than a cherry tomato. Still, they are very sweet. I have a few bowls of fallen tomatillos that I want to roast and turn into a sweet and tangy sauce. There have just been too many to keep up with. I know for a fact, our residential possum stops by during the night to snack on them. The zinnias took off during the summer days and they continue to produce lots of flowers for me! I’ve been able to cut a few and display them in a vase of water on the patio or indoors. The last photo, of the burgundy zinnia is my favorite. Only 1 plant of the seedlings I kept are in this colorway. There are four different varieties and I mostly have pink ones. The red one is my second favorite.

STITCHING

I started to work on Pumpkins Thieves by Madame Chantilly at the end of May, which I continued to work on in June. I was able to finish the balloon’s flag and worked down into the carriage. Completed the cute little witch, variegated pumpkins, and the scaredy cat! This is such a fun project and I can’t wait to get back to it.

I also made some good progress on Christmas Dollhouse by Natalia Luneva. I had started the kitchen last time I worked on this and was able to complete it! I love the soft colors of this piece and I love the fabric too. The fabric is 32 count linen hand dyed by Colour and Cotton. The color is called tea leaves and it has a very soft green mottled look. I shared my progress on Instagram and the designer commented on my post! She offered to send me a finishing tutorial and I gladly accepted. I can’t wait to finish stitching this so I can follow her fun finishing tutorial and show you. It did cause a slight dilemma on the placement of my stitching on the fabric, but luckily I will have enough room and it should all work out nicely.

Slowly making some progress on my lunchtime stitching project, Journey of the Ark. I’m slow to work on this as embroidery triggers my tendinitis to inflame. I need to get some finger grippers, which will make pulling the needle through easier.

QUILTING

No actual quilting this month, but on a quilting related topic, I was asked to photograph our June Quilters Guild meeting. Our speaker was MJ Kinman and she shared her beautiful gem quilts with us and gave us an insight into her process. MJ even reached out to me to see if I would share the image below of her since she really like it!

Lastly, I decided to check out my local quilt shop and fabric audition some options for the backing of the Rifle Paper Co quilt that I was commissioned to create for a co-worker. Hopefully we finalize a choice so I can complete this quilt at the end of the month while I’m on vacation.

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May 2019 WIPs

I can’t believe we’re already in June, halfway through the year! May was definitely a busy month in hindsight. I’m very happy how productive I was in gardening, stitching, and quilting. I hope you look forward to reading about all my works in progress!

GARDENING

I would like to start with an update on my seedlings. The Chinese Cabbage seedlings have continued to grow in nicely. I’ve been struggling with some bugs eating them and I’ve been treating them, but we have received lots of rain this month and it’s a little hard to keep up with the bugs. Some challenges I faced early on in May, were my transplants wanting to flower too early. Some ideas that I have on why and what I can do next time is to fertilize my seedlings earlier on in their indoor growing to produce more height and foliage growth. I think the small peat moss pots and late fertilizing kept my seedlings on the short side. Once they were ready to go outside, they were too small and ready to flower. I trimmed off all of the flowers to encourage more outdoor growth and I am seeing improvements.

My tomatillos started to really take off in May too! One of the transplants is outgrowing the other and I was worried this would keep them from cross-pollinating, but luckily they are both producing little tomatillos. These too started flowering too short, but I didn’t want to trim down the already short plants. Luckily, with all the rain and mild temps, the tomatillo plant has really flourished, put on more growth, and has lots of little tomatillos! I can’t wait to harvest them. I’m so proud of these little plants. The stems are thick and strong and I’m amazed these came from the teeniest of seedlings.

My strawberry plant from last year is doing quite well. I had only a couple of leaves survive the winter, but as you can see it has come back strong. The birds don’t bother the fruit and I was able to eat these two beauties at the end of May. The tomatillo plants are in the same bed and taking over the space quickly. They may begin to shade the strawberry plant, so we’ll see if it continues to produce in June.

Garlic was harvested at the end of May and they are currently curing in the shed. I didn’t plant has many as I usually do, so this was a small harvest. Regardless of how small the harvest, the smell is still amazing! I love garlic!

I shared some growth from my oakleaf hydrangea last time and check out the blooms they produced in May! I planted this last year in the Fall and was so surprised to see them bloom for me this year. I am struggling with those little pesky green beetles and they have eaten all the flowers by now. I won’t get to see the flowers transition to the maroon fall colors, but happy to see the plant doing well overall.

The garden was full of blooms in May. The clematis was full with buds and slowly one by one they began to open. Look at those vibrant colors! They didn’t fill in as full as I have seen in the past, but I was late to trim the old growth down this spring. With all the rain, my ajuga is full of lush new growth and I’m loving the purple and variegated green colors on the foliage. My new pink guara also has been blooming all month and my zinnias that I started by seed are starting to bloom now too! Pictured below is a shorter variety. I’ve yet to see my California Giants bloom, but they are coming for June!

As I was cleaning one of my flower beds and trimming off the leaves of the faded Spring daffodils, I accidentally cut my gladiolus stalk down! I was so upset with myself!! I did not plant these, but they mysteriously sprouted for me last summer. Do you think the squirrels planted them? Or maybe from the previous owners, but we’ve been living here for 6 years now. Anyhow, I quickly took my stalk to a vase of water in hopes that I would still get to see it bloom. In about 4-5 days I was surprised to see that it did! Look how beautiful they are! These two blooms came in at the end of May. I now have 6 blooms.

Here’s Petey helping me out with the soaker hoses that I added to the flower bed. I hope to do better at keeping my flower beds watered in the summer. I have been postponing the chore since we’ve had so much rain. For some reason Petey was obsessed with the soaker hose material and he made himself a little nest ❤

STITCHING

I kicked of May with a staycation for stitching and quilting. Mom joined me for a couple of days and we accomplished some good hand sewing progress. Mom worked on some hand applique and I picked up The Ones You Love by Teresa Kogut. Look at that sweet face ❤ The fabric is 32 count linen by Colour and Cotton in the color Cornflower.

Next, I put some progress into Purple Martin Apiary by Shakespeare’s Peddler. I’m stitching this on 40 count Lakeside Linens. I took a good amount of time clearing the black fabric of kitty hair and as soon as I set down my project there was a furry foot on it. I was able to finish the red beehive this time around.

I picked up Pumpkins Thieves by Madame Chantilly at the end of the month and am still working on it now to finish the week. I will have more to share with you in my June update, but below I was able to finish the flag, witches broom, and the start of my little witch. I’m stitching this on 32 count Vintage Maritime White by Lakeside Linens.

During my lunchtime, I’ve been working on this Journey of the Ark embroidery. I finished up the trees and birds and will continue onto the sheep and bottom border.

On the sewing side of stitching, Mom and I took a class together and made our own leggings! The class was my mother’s day gift to her and we had a great time. The knit fabric we used was from Cotton and Steel.

QUILTING

Progress on this next project has been ongoing since the end of 2017! I was commissioned to make a king size quilt for a family member and it has been a huge wip. On May 1st, I finished the quilt top! The top measures 108″ x 90″ and consists of 1,080 squares, 2,430 half square triangles, and 540 quarter square triangles . Are you blown away yet!? Here she is, the Moving Mosaic quilt by Amy Ellis. I’m currently in search of the perfect backing fabric.

As soon as the top was done, I picked up my next commission. This Rifle Paper Co. quilt is for my co-worker who’s been waiting for me to finish the king size quilt so I can work on hers. Made almost entirely by the Wildwood fabric line, we went with a simple patchwork design to show off the cute prints. I added two 1″ borders around the patchwork and finished the top with a final 5″ border. This was a very quick project. I’m ready to look for backing and get this quilt quilted asap!

That sums up my May! I hope June is just as productive. Until then, happy stitching and happy gardening!

February 2019 WIPs

February has come to an end and March has already begun. 4 more weeks until our average last frost date and I’m ready for spring! I have some gardening wips and if they prove successful, I will share them in my March update.

For the first week in February, I picked up an old project. In 2016 I joined in on the Beeutiful QAL hosted by Pamela Morgan for the Moda Bakeshop. As of last year, I had completed up to block 10 out of 20. I was able to start and complete block 11 – Bee Industrious.

Here’s my finished block. I thought my fingers would be use to all the stitching, but embroidery definitely puts more work on the fingers than cross stitch and they became sore during my progress.

During the second week of the month, I picked up Where there are Bees by The Prairie Schooler. I’m working on a Prairie Schooler at least one week a month for the #averyprairieyearSAL. I’ve completed the bottom portion of the chart.

Meanwhile, on the weekends, I have been working on my king size quilt commission. I’ve been piecing together the Moving Mosaic Quilt by Amy Ellis. For the king size quilt, it takes 30 18″ blocks and I finally finished piecing the last block! I’m so excited to have these stack of blocks complete. My next tasks is the press them and sew them together.

For the last week of the month, I worked on Purple Martin Apiary by Shakespeare’s Peddler. This chart was designed exclusively for Jen’s Stitching Niche on Etsy. I’m stitching on the called for fabric using called for floss. It’s 40 count Black Forest by Lakeside Linens. The floss is all Weeks Dye Works. With such a high count, it’s very slow stitching for me. I use a clip on light with magnifier to see what I’m doing. I’ve accepted that it will be slow stitching and I still love the delicate design.

I’ve also continued progress on my lunchtime stitching project, The Ones you Love by Teresa Kogut. I’ve managed to finish stitching the hat and made a start on the snowman’s face. The fabric is 32 count Cornflower Blue by Colour and Cotton. It’s always difficult to capture the true color of this beautiful blue fabric.

My mom discovered a closing local quilt shop and told me about a great deal on a floor model serger…so I bought it! I really enjoyed using the serger at the skirt class we took back in December so I was eager to get myself one. I can’t wait to work on a garment project and put this serger to use.

Happy about another productive month! I hope you enjoyed reading about my progress. I’ll end this post with a lovely hellebore update. Until next month, happy stitching!