Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fabric Maverick

I didn't notice it at first.  Since the drought had so dreadfully scorched our yard and wilted our flowers, I didn't like to spend a lot of time outside.  It was just too depressing.  I gave the flower beds an obligatory daily watering and thought about other things, not paying attention to their progress (or lack thereof).  But a couple of weeks ago, the drought broke.  We've had regular, steady rainfall, and temperatures have fallen from the hundreds into the low eighties.  And...things have been happening outside.

Somehow...miraculously...the scorched, crispy, completely dead lawn started to regenerate.

Plants that were long-dead suddenly showed new life, like this creeping geranium.

Some plants had already gone to seed and are hopeless this year, like the yarrow...

...but plants that I diligently cut back, like my zinnias, are blooming wonderfully again.  All zinnias will come back if you deadhead them, which make them great for bouquets.

My green zinnias...

And my multicolored mixed zinnias...looking great!

My nasturtiums have rallied...

And my cosmos are going strong.  In April, I'd planted all pink and white cosmos along our walkway.  Immediately after, we got a downpour, and I was afraid that the water had pooled the seeds.  I decided to plant over the ruined beds with orange cosmos.  As it turns out, BOTH colors bloomed.  You wouldn't think that pink and orange were complementary, but you just can't go wrong with cosmos.


Unbelievably, I had two cleome plants that sprang to life.  Cleomes are also called 'spider flowers', and they're wonderful flowers to have at the back of a bed.  They are pink and white explosions at the top of a tall stem.

The long stamens thrust out from the heart of the flower, inviting bees in.

The bees seemingly glide in on their tummies, down the long stems, like out-of-season sledders.  It's quite charming!

Speaking of bees, we still have swarms of honey bees and carpenter bees...

...lots of wasps...

...but, happily, a few of these little guys, too.  I caught someone hiding behind a plant stem yesterday.

Always glad to see grasshoppers!

I've been doing a lot of baking lately...two loaves of pumpkin bread, a chocolate layer cake containing four full cups (!!!) of sugar, and a cherry chip layer cake with 7 minute (marshmallow) frosting.  Thankfully, we had gatherings to take everything to, so we suffered from only minor sugar overload.  I was so busy, though, that I neglected to take photos.  I'll move onto a craft project completed last month!

My nephew was turning two, so I turned my attention to making a colorful card.  I got some inspiration from Pinterest and headed to my craft room. 

I used my Martha Stewart ornament paper punch turned upside-down to cut out lots of circles from scrap paper.  The upside-down ornaments looked just like balloons.  I quickly attached string to each balloon and bound them together at the bottom.

I let the string hang down below the edge of the card for effect.

Voila!  A balloon bunch!  I really enjoyed making it, too.

I also made his birthday gift this year.  I took the idea from the Purl Bee:  The Purl Bee's Fabric Memory Game

I encourage you to check out their website for more detail!

I loved the idea of making a fabric memory game, because you had the sensory bonus of using soft fabric pieces, and the recipient could match fabric squares based on colors and shapes.  He's only two, so he can start with 4 squares and try to match up colors, and gradually expand.  I think it's a great learning tool.

This was my first sewing project with my new machine! 

First, I gathered twenty different prints and cut each pattern into two 2 1/2 inch squares (making 40 total squares).  I cut 80 3 inch squares from light-colored felt, and from fusible interfacing, 80 3 inch squares and 40 2 1/2 inch squares.  Phew!

Next you have to fuse the 2 1/2 inch interfacing to the fabric pieces.  Also, the 3 inch interfacing to the 3 inch felt pieces.  I'd never heard of interfacing before but apparently it's a special type of fabric applied to other fabric with an iron that 'stiffens' the piece to give it more stability and weight.


Next, I cut windows into the remaining 3 inch felt pieces and pinned everything together.

Now for the scary sewing part!  I carefully sewed around the square once...

...and then again.

Once I got done with the cutting, the sewing went by really quickly...even for a novice like me!

Of course, all the squares had untidy edges, where the fusible interfacing peeked out.  I took some sharp scissors and gave the pieces a good trim...

...and they were done!  Colorful, soft squares with all sorts of different patterns and colors, and all securely sewn.

Hooray for conquering my sewing fears!

Have a great, fear-conquering, try-something-new week!


  1. Amy (Chafey) DouglasAugust 14, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    Jaime, I always look forward to reading your blog posts. Your photography is beautiful, and your crafting and baking ideas usually end up on my own to-do list. LOVE the fabric memory game idea...can't wait to dig through all of my fabric scraps to make one for my niece. Thank you for sharing your endless creativity!

  2. Thanks so much! My heart hasn't been in the photography this year because of the drought, but I'm feeling more inspired now that things are 'greening up'! Oh, I'm glad you like the fabric memory game - I thought it was so cute. I love the Purl Bee's website, too. They have a lot of great ideas and I positively drool over their textiles!