Garden and Apron Updates

So both the garden and the apron are coming along, and I have lots of pictures (compared to past posts, at least) today, so bear with me!  In order to get pictures on here right now I have to take them with my phone, then upload them to Facebook, then save them to my computer, then upload them here, so they are not super high quality right now.  I did find my little camera when I moved, though (the big camera is not something I want to risk at my garden!), so hopefully eventually I can figure out how to use that instead.  I used to have a special USB port that you could insert the camera memory card into, but I would have to look through my stuff to see if I can find that.  Anyway, enough about that, on to better things!

 

So I will start off with the apron.  I am using all 100% cotton that is technically sort of intended for quilting, but I already had it on hand and I wasn’t about to go buy more fabric when I already have a huge plastic bin full of it.  I did go out and buy a pattern because I haven’t made an apron before and I didn’t want to mess up my pretty fabric.  I also did have to get bias tape (I know you can make it, but I wanted it in solid black and I only have solid black fragments, and it was cheaper just to buy a couple of packages of the the double folded kind than to buy black fabric, not to mention a huge time saver, since cutting strips and pressing them perfectly would have taken me probably days).  The one downside to that kind of tape is that it is much stiffer than I would have liked (since it is partly polyester), which made doing the corners on the top part of the apron somewhat difficult, and they didn’t come out as crisp as I would have liked.  I also ended up taking a bit of extra time to sew the tape a second time closer to the edge, since I was using a contrasting thread (purple, if you can’t see in the pictures) and I thought it would both look nice (which it does) and also help stabilize the edge more (only time will tell).  Anyway, here is a picture of my materials.

 

Apron Material

The pattern I am using is the second from the left, though it may end up being the far right if I can’t puzzle out the instructions!

   Unfortunately I started off by making quite a few mistakes.  First of all, while it says “Size A” which I’m assuming stands for “adult” on the outside, on the pattern paper itself it says “Miss” so I’m not sure whether it is actually adult sizes or not.  I went with the large, and since it’s just an apron I’m hoping it won’t really make a difference anyway.  Then, when I was cutting out the pattern pieces I unfortunately had not read the instructions first or I would have remembered that patterns sometimes have notches that stick up from the main cutting line that you should not just cut straight through.  I also would have not cut the patterns out exactly before attaching them to the fabric, instead I would have just cut out the general shapes, then pinned them and cut them, thereby achieving a more accurate cut.  Again, since it’s an apron I am not super concerned about it, especially since the mostly dark, somewhat busy patterns of the fabric should help disguise some mistakes, and the bias tape around the edges should hide uneven cuts.  I didn’t have enough of any one color to do the entire apron in one pattern, so I made each skirt tier a different color, as well as the waistband (the top is the same as the bottom skirt tier).  Here is a picture of the pieced together skirt draped over a chair.

Skirt

For some reason you can only see two tiers in this photo, but there are three.

  Basically so far I have all of the pieces cut out, the bias tape sewn on all the pieces that need it, and the skirt stitched together, along with the top being basted to the waistband and the waistband stitched to the skirt, but that I will probably have to redo, since I think I am reading the instructions incorrectly.  I don’t know if it’s just my pattern illiteracy or if I am actually doing it incorrectly, but at this point I am kind of thinking of abandoning the pattern and just putting it together in a way that makes sense to me (and potentially adding another layer to the waistband, as it just doesn’t seem sturdy enough to me).  If that fails, I will probably just strap the top part of it altogether (I hate to think of how the shoulder straps are going to go on).  Here is one last picture of the apron.  I am hoping to finish it either way sometime this weekend, since I have borrowed my mother’s iron and she is bound to notice sooner or later (sssshhhhh!).

Attaching the bias tape

Attaching the bias tape to one of the skirt tiers with my beloved (though rarely used up to this point) sewing machine.

  One more thing I forgot to mention – I did everything up to this point at my mother’s house, but had brought the extra sewing materials with me, including the instruction manual to the sewing machine, not noticing that apparently I had grabbed the Spanish version of the manual…thank goodness for diagrams!

  Now on to the garden!  I know this is a long post, but it just made more sense to me to do one long post than two smaller ones, especially since I would probably lose motivation and only do one post.  So last week I actually started work on my garden.  Right now all the work consists of trying to get rid of all the weeds.  Since my new job is one that takes place in the evening to late night hours, what I have done both times I’ve gone to work on the garden is just stay up all night and go to the garden as soon as the sun rises.  This has pros and cons.  The pros are that it is much cooler, there aren’t any other people on the roads or at the garden, and it is very peaceful, but the cons are that the bugs are super active, and it is extremely wet in the mornings.  The first time I went out there to work on my plot I also didn’t know the code to unlock the gate or the shed, so had to hop the gate and hike in, and then I had no tools/wheelbarrow.  I also remembered my boots but forgot my gloves (no joke when you’re pulling up corn).  I also work short sleeves, which came back to bite me literally when I woke up the next day with a large spider bite on my arm (but hey, it’s near a university, maybe it’s a radioactive spider…too bad there are no skyscrapers to swing from in Florida…).  So I worked for about a half an hour pulling up dead corn and eggplant as well as some colossal weeds.  I also put down one strip of weedblock fabric to try to start killing the weeds under it.  Here is a picture.

Garden last week

Mine is from the weedblock back to the grassy path.

  So today I wore a long sleeved shirt and remembered my gloves but forgot my boots.  And I didn’t realize that apparently it rained last night, because there were huge puddles everywhere.  I was at least able to get into the shed so I took a wheelbarrow load of the stuff I had pulled up last time and went at the rest of the weeds with hedge clippers so hopefully they will dry out in the sun over the next few days.  Here is a picture of the garden as I was leaving today (sorry about the lens flare, I probably should have taken the picture from the other side).

Garden after rain

As you can see, it was a boggy mess.

   Obviously I still have a lot of work today, and I will probably have to suck it up and go out there while it is sunny at some point so I can get the rest of the pile of pulled up stuff and rake the dirt flat before laying out the rest of the weedblock.  I am trying to take it slowly, however, since it will be a while before anything can really be planted anyway, and I know that if I go out there and try to knock it all out in one day I will only end up never wanting to go out there again.  I am in talks with my financial planner (otherwise known as my mother, because I am an impulse buyer whereas she is a budget stickler and right now I need the discipline) about what seeds to buy but at this point I am planning to start a few things indoors in August to see how that goes.  I have never started seeds indoors before, but would like to try it.  I will probably be starting some broccoli, tomato, and pepper seeds indoors, depending on what my financial planner says regarding the gardening budget.  Hopefully if these crops do well I will be able to save the seeds and not even have to buy more next time (at least on the tomatoes and peppers, I have no idea how one saves broccoli seeds).  I am also eager to try some things I haven’t grown before, such as corn.  The other gardeners seem to only grow tomatoes, etc, in the spring, but all my research indicates that they can have a second planting in the fall, so I am probably going to try it.  I am also going to try sprouting some branches from my current cherry tomato plant (the graft I mentioned in a past post was a complete failure) to see if I can get some transplants of that without all the waiting (amazingly it is still producing despite all the heat and wet, but it is kind of yellow and gross looking now so I would love to get some healthy new shoots).

  Congratulations you made it through the longest post ever!

 

 

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