Summertime on the "Wanna Be" Farm

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So, I haven't been blogging very much lately, but that is because there is a lot of summer stuff going on around here. 
I taught the girls to make clover chains last week. I was thinking about it and I wonder if that will become a "lost art" one day...
When/if the kids get their small list of chores done, they get a chance to jump into the new pool. Lately, they had better hurry up because we have been getting thunderstorms every day.
The rain is good for the garden, though.  The peas did GREAT this year- best ever!- and I have been busy freezing them. (We have 23 quarts of shell peas and 20 quarts of snap peas so far!)  I might start a blog series this summer on how I freeze and can our harvest from the garden.
The lettuce is abundant, too. It doesn't freeze, so we are giving it away to anyone who will take some!
The green beans will soon be ready, too.  I am going to learn to pressure can them this year because we used up so much freezer space already on the peas and beef.
My 2yo "helped" to plant something in the garden, too! Any guesses as to what this is?
I will give you a hint...
The girls love picking wild raspberries, too. Unfortunately, one of them got chigger bites all over her cheek and neck from picking them. We are breaking out the bug spray or tea tree oil or something next time.
Oh, and people always ask what these tall plants are...
They are what we like to call "asparagus trees" and it is just what asparagus grows into when you stop harvesting them.  It is good for the root structure and for encouraging them to spread. Now you know. :)
We have had some additions to our animals around here. I sent my husband to my in-laws' farm to pick up my son and get milk and eggs. Instead, my son comes home with 10 of these!  They are really making me mad because they are free ranging everywhere.  Our Ameraucana chickens have not been laying well, but the rooster keeps his hens in line and they stay away from our house, pool, flowers, garages, etc.

Also, two more kittens showed up last week. (A big ol' sarcastic "yippee" for that. I can barely open my door!) They did not look very healthy, but our mother cat adopted them and has been taking very good care of them.

We recently celebrated Grace's 2nd birthday, too! I made really pathetic-looking kitten cupcakes and a crock pot chocolate lava cake that was a big hit!

The week before her party I went on an ice cream making frenzy, though. I have a Kitchenaid ice cream maker (love it!) so I did a batch or two every day. I made vanilla, coffee, chocolate, mint chocolate chip, raspberry, cheesecake, and strawberry cheesecake. (If I got the recipe online there is a link there.)

I did a little bit of sewing this past weekend- I love hiding in my room with the AC whenever I can get away with it, so I will post about that stuff later.
So, what have I NOT been doing? Well, I am not weeding my flowers! Gravity is not my friend.  I did waddle out there to take a few pictures...

I hope you are enjoying your summer so far! What have you been up to?

Puffy Petal Flower Tutorial

This week I made something special for my baby girl!  I am sharing the full tutorial over at Fireflies and Jellybeans next week, but here is a little sneak peek...

I made some fabric flowers with five petals to match the fabric and embellish her outfit a little bit.  I have made fabric flowers before, but after playing around for a few minutes, this just seemed like an easier way to do it.
Cut a piece of fabric 8" by 4" and fold it in half, right sides together.  Make a template 1" high by 1 1/2" wide and trace on five curves- keeping them tight together to create a scalloped edge.
Sew along the lines you drew, trim around the scallops, clip the curves, then flip it right side out.  It won't lay perfectly flat, which is fine and gives the flowers more poofiness anyway.  Sew a long basting stitch along the bottom about 1/4" from the raw edge.
Pull the thread to gather the petals together.
Sew it by hand to a small circle of felt.  You can pull and shape your petals a little better in this step.  The stitches do not have to be pretty- no one will see this. Then sew a button on top and attach it to your project, a hair clip, or a headband!  (Of course, the button is a choking hazard, so consider yourself warned.)
So pretty and cute! For the larger flower, I sewed each petal individually, which gave me more control over their shape and made them longer, but it wasn't as fast. 
 

Make sure to check out my tutorial over at Fireflies and Jellybeans!  I will update this post with the link when it is up!

UPDATE:  You can see my CUTE Sweet Summer Halter Top tutorial HERE!

Kelsey's Quilt

I don't believe I have ever shown off one of my quilts on my blog, but I am also a quilter! (Actually, I learned to sew quilts before anything else.) After a really tough Spring semester my sophomore year of college, I sold back all the books I could find from the first two years, went straight to Walmart, and bought the only sewing machine I could afford. That summer, I taught myself to quilt.I made baby quilts for my nieces and nephews, but the pre-quilting era kids have been skipped. So, for the girls, I have been making larger quilts for their 12th birthdays. Kelseyโ€™s was just a bit overdue. I started it in April of 2009 and I just finished it. The piecing went really quickly! Basic nine patches in light blue and lilac, set on point with a cream background.

(The backlight from the window doesn't show this off the best.)

See, it took so long because I like to hand quilt motifs on the open squares. This intricate flower one was totally my own design and each block varies.

I like how the colored thread stands out against the cream fabric.

I put a few butterflies in there, too. I really punished myself with this one, and it would sit for months at a time with me having no ambition to work on it. However, I use washable crayola markers to draw on my quilting lines and after nearly 2 years, it didn't want to wash out! It took a lot of washing and soaking and OxiClean to get most of it out.

This is a terrible cropped in picture, but I designed a little motif to put her name in it that coordinated.

And of course I mitered the corners, too. I handstitch my bindings on around the back. (And that is some of Baby#5 under the green shirt there- makes a nice photo prop!)

I try to embroider a special message on the backs of these, and this one included Isaiah 40:8

The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.
So there is my first quilt show-off. Expect more of these because I am trying to catch up on some new baby nieces and also trying to use up lots of quilting stash before I move my sewing table and hubby sees how much I have jammed in there! :)