Being Prepared

Dear Readers,

I was going to feature another wedding gown this week but everything has stopped with the fires raging out of control in our valley. Yesterday in 12 hours the fires destroyed over 650 homes and businesses and with violent winds moved through and expanded into over 25,000 aces. Farms as well have been burned to the ground and the air is thick with smoke and tanker planes dropping red fire retardant liquid.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/photos-show-the-crazy-intensity-of-wildfires-raging-in-the-west_n_5f58ecccc5b62874bc171041

We were on stage 2 alert to pack and get ready to flee and deciding what to put in a small suitcase eally made us think. I chose underpants, towels, a toilet roll and family photos that have no digital backup. Most important was the wedding photo of my Basque grandparents from Pamplona, Spain back in 1920 when they immigrated to California to work on ranches and herd sheep.

I never knew them as my grandmother died at the age of 32 (when my father was 11) and my grandfather at 60 before I was born but the connection is strong as this is the only photo of them that we have. Those of you who know me can see the family resemblance.

Now some photos of our area:

The fire ran the length of the main interstate North/South freeway for the first 17 miles.

The after and the before photos:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This weekend is filled with all the homeless residents gathering at the local fairgrounds for support handing out food and supplies and housing all the animals in cages until they can find shelter. Just seeing the photos makes one so grateful to have been spared this tragedy and wishing there was more we could do for our neighbors.

As the fires move north to destroy more property, orchards, vinyards and farms we have to re-think about the climate and that things are changing for the worse every year. Our precious resources, like water are being used up to fight these fires and the firefighters risking their lives to do battle in town and in the forests.

The night before the alert call to flee (level 3) I was working on 3 wedding gowns to finish and bag up, place in the car to escape to a safer place. Yes, brides still are going ahead with their wedding plans in spite of this. You have to give them credit for delaying their Spring and early Summer plans with the Covid virus and now this…but as one bride told me, “if you can get through all this and still get married, it will last”….I sure hope so!!!

Wishing all my West Coast sewing sisters can stay safe as we watch everything go up in flames.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 49 Comments

Big Bustle

Kitty Chen Danica is a beautiful dress with a dramatic train.

  

Here are all the alterations that the bride wanted/needed.

I have to shorten straps, shorten satin layer, shorten lining layer and shorten scalloped lace hem before considering that bustle…oh no…the bustle!!!

 

 

 

The front view before any hem pinning:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The front hem pinned up with a horizontal tuck:

The satin and lining layer were sewn together so here is what was trimmed away:

The finished edge is just hand basted to keep the layers flat before the final pressing, then removed.

Let’s get started on that lace hem…you know how this goes by now…ha ha.

Always fun to have to move the border up 6.5 inches!!!

Just hanging around waiting to be re-attached:

Once the border is hand basted higher up, the excess skirt fabric is folded under and hand basted ready for try-on.

How many of you guessed that the bustle could be done with just 7 points? The folds all line up and look so pretty fanned away from the center.

As with all bustles, when they are buttoned/pinned up, the very center front skirt is pulled to the back and may look (and be) longer:

Won’t this make a great photo? Sort of like a male peacock’s tail! You can see that the satin/lining layer is floor length so once the bustle is up, the bride can move easily.

One last bit about posture…if your bride stands up very straight, sometimes the back lace fans away from the body so a small tuck will flattern it out. All stiched by hand so it can be released if the next wearer needs it.

 

Here is the side view of that gorgeous bustle.  The buttons are lace covered satin ones with a metal back for extra strength from Wawak.

See how the horizontal lace motifs all line up and create strips of their own?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final front view bustled up without shoes. The bride was happy with the length and fit.

Meanwhile in the garden…can squash and corn grow any faster than overnight when they double in size…yes, when the temps reach 106F or 41C…Mother Nature takes great delight.

The corn is shucked down to a couple layers and then microwaved and then the rest just falls away and it can be cut off the cob and frozen in little bags for the future.

I’d better get back to the wedding gowns but just had to share this naughty tomato. Happy Sewing everyone, thank you for dropping by!

Posted in challenges | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Client Requests

After having 3 months with no brides and now that they are slowly coming back to dream about a possible September or October wedding, I am amazed that other requests have come in too.

FIRST REQUEST:

Hi. My name is Jennifer  I live in your town.

I’m looking to have a dress made for an October 2020 event.

Here is a picture of what I’m looking for:

I wrote back to her saying that I have worked on these dresses from jjshouse and they fit pretty well as you send your measurements and if she was between sizes, she could order 2 and keep the one that fits the best.

So, noticing that she can have this dress for under $200 and in any color on the planet, it makes me wonder what she thinks she will be paying to have this custom made and where is she going to find that exact lace and sheer knit and chiffon to match?

SECOND REQUEST:

Can you add sleeves and take in the side seams? I need it in 4 days.

 

THIRD REQUEST:

I have a load of formal dresses that need to be hemmed etc and I am also a seamstress and want things to be done perfectly and before Christmas. I am looking for precision altering. I have looked at the reviews of other seamstresses and they are all bad.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

At least all three now know that I only work on wedding dresses and they were given other names of seamstresses in the area. It seems better than replying back, “I’m sorry, I’m just not that crazy to start a project like that”.

Meanwhile, the tomato cage has kept the squirrels and raccoons away and this is the first harvest that Mr Mole has collected. Yes, he raised them from seed. Last year, I broiled and froze them in containers and they made the best soup! Ready to do it again today!

Just quarter them and sprinkle with garlic powder and olive oil and pop under the broiler/grill for 5 minutes. Then flip over to the skin side up and wait until the skins darken.

Second batch is nice and toasty, then off into the freezer.

 

A week ago before the Kong sunflowers opened up, Mr Mole took this photo of me with the 14 foot tall plants.

This week two blogging gals I follow made the coolest long dresses for summer.

Carolyn is amazing in her design work and finishing skills and inspires me so much!

Miss Celie worked her magic in a very special caftan that we all could wear to feel glamorous.

Next time more hopeful brides and lots of alterations but thought we all needed a break from the tulle! Happy sewing and happy summer everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 21 Comments

The Works

We have seen this Wtoo Della dress before and in fact I have worked on this same style a couple times this year already and have more of the same to come. So far all of them, no matter what size, 0 to 20 all need the same alterations to make it fit properly.

Like before, twill tape was added to the top edge of the bodice to bring the top edge curve back into the bride’s chest.

In addition to that I had to hand tack ALL the lace to the satin bodice every inch or so. The satin and lining hems were shortened and the bodice was tightened by moving the zipper over 2 inches and unlike the past dresses, this bride wanted to keep all of her tulle train and have it bustled up for dancing. So let’s get started:

Pins are placed where the lace poofs away from the tulle and satin layers.

The zipper was moved over 2 inches and hand basted for try-on.

Satin layer and lining was hemmed up in the front only.

As usual, we try a one point bustle but there are still “dog ears” of fabric touching the ground.

Using 3 points works better:

Trying out a 5 safety pinned bustle:

Even with a bustle, tulle likes to drag along the ground and has to have a little haircut:

In the end, seven points can get the whole hem up off the floot for dancing.

The bride chose lace covered buttons to match the bodice.

Ready to walk down the aisle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After 3 weeks, the latest puzzle has been completed. As you can imagine the dark spaces were a real challenge. The back side of the puzzle had letters instead of colors this time.

Now that some travel and dining restrictions have been lifted in many countries, we see the famous folks visiting exotic venues. Funny how there is always a professional photographer around?

Sometimes seeing celebrities on vacation can remind us of other celebrities. This week, Katie Price, UK Model is sunning herself in Turkey. Photos from the Daily Mail UK.

The first thing that comes to mind is another special person who likes publicity….

Caitlyn Jenner sunning herself on Celebrity Big Brother.

Spooky?

 

 

It was 103F degrees yesterday, so the plants have either gone nuts or collapsed. But the hummingbirds keep flying!

Posted in challenges | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Darts and Scallops

This Enzoani Maya gown fits the model well but not all brides can pull it off without alterations.

  

Thee main challenge would be getting all of this skirt bustled up for dancing.

The first challenge is making the bodice fit. While normally the circumference of the bodice can be taken in moving the zipper, this one needed all the excess fabric removed as darts in the front.

So I pinned out both sides:

                  

Right side thread basted to mark the new dart. The top decorative lace border will be lifted so the dart can be made and then replaced back down.

Left side thread basted to mark new dart:

The darts will be made between strips of boning. Here you can see the lace motifs flipped up and away.

While the darts will be 2 inches wide at the top down to nothing, the length is 6 inches. OK, now you might be thinking than all of this will not look right…me too. But some dresses just do not let you alter in any other way. Taking this much out of the side seams, I tried pinning them, just did not do the trick, unfortunately.

Right side dart finished with lace motifs flipped back down and hand sewn. Now if you didn’t know that this dress did not start its life with that fitting dart, you would never even notice it.

Left side finished dart

But what you would notice is the support that the darts give to the bust! Taking out 4 inches made those cups perk up!

So, just when one problem is solved, a couple others pop up. Dresses with lace overlay layers have another problem…and for those of you who write to me asking about what to look for when buying a dress…here’s one.

The lace layer is loose and does not perform properly so it makes poofs and lumps and has to be tacked by hand to the lining and lower layers as where the red pins are.

Next problem…are you long or short waisted??? Guess what happens when the bride’s waist or hips are larger than the dress? The skirt, like the nature of water, seeks it’s point of least resistance…the skirt section slides up to make a nice horizontal ridge. At this point, there is nothing to do except to actually make a seam there but the bride wanted a faster cheaper fix to cover it up.

Enter a 1.5 inch wide grosgrain ribbon…the dull finish does not draw too much attention and bridges the gap and lumps and can be hand tacked. This way the next bride , maybe taller, longer waisted can remove the belt and be back to the original.

OK…what’s left? Oh Yeah, the scalloped lace hem…how much too long is it?

Only 4 inches…

Green thread marks where all the lace motif points will be moved to after cutting all the lack border away.

Here are all the points pinned to the higher level before sewing. Did I mention that the front lace hem was over 5 yards (4.5 meters) wide. That translates to lots of hand basting before machine sewing. When brides wonder why I have to charge 3 hours of labor for this section, that’s when the photos do all the explaining.

Once the hem is sewn, the bustles have to be made. When I flip the lace layer up what do I see???

Oh Crap…the entire tulle layer is pleated and machine tacked to the lining/satin layer. Why would any manufacturer/designer do this?

Thankfully I don’t have to shorten this layer…only bustle it up with one point.

Then back to the lace layer and that huge train. Using 7 points the train will clear the floor.

And here we have the finished side view without the ribbon belt

Has anyone seen or worked on this puzzle?

It took me three weeks to complete it and the shapes were so weird.

Here are the last two pieces that fit…no they are not inside pieces, they are straight edges.

The selling point listed the fact that the puzzle had color coding on the backside and came with this diagram of the color placement…see the right-hand 1000 piece one? Looks like there are 6 color sections…now precise, how neat! This feature is supposed to make everything easier!

Once the puzzle was complete, I decided to flip it like a pancake.

Well, talk about SHOCKED! Here we have 12 different color families and polka dots and white junction lines. So much for the gridded diagram!

Wishing you all easy solutions to sewing problems and puzzles!

Posted in challenges | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Rodeo Queen

Just got a call from a desperate mother needing her daughter’s floor length gown shortened. Since there was a break in between brides, I agreed to see the dress.

Of course, it was bought online from one of the many sites selling prom and formal dresses which means it may or may not fit.

The daughter will be wearing this dress at formal events when she represents our area across the country. Rodeo queens compete in many events and when I asked her if she has a horse, her answer was, “I have 4”.

She was told the dress must have sleeves and a collar and be covered up.

Here is the back with a cut out:

The front after having trimmed all the tulle layers by 6 inches:

The satin skirt fabric was covered in tulle and appliques. The skirt was full circle satin and a lining attached at the hem edge.

You know the type…to shorten it, you reach inside a side seam in the lining and grab everything to haul it out, stitch the new hem line, trim and then shove it all back inside and seal up the side seam. After I explained this to the mom, she said she did not want me to do it that way…really?

Yes, really.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, I asked her how she wanted it shortened the 5-6 inches. Well, she wanted is all just folded under as it might be cheaper…sure, hand stitching a circle skirt to the lining would NOT be cheaper or faster but, hey, I have to do what I am asked. So, after pinning the whole hem up, I re-pinned the original hem edge up and attached it to the lining. Guess what happens when you attach a larger circumference to a smaller one???

Can you say …pleats and tucks and lots of labor? Can you say bulk? Well, the mother said she thought it would be OK as no one would be looking at the hem anyway. She also said the next girl could just let the hem down and be happy….never mind that the tulle layers will have been trimmed off by 5-6 inches so letting the satin skirt down would just look weird.

In the end, I agreed to do it her way and started making a second appointment for her and she says…”there won’t be a second appointment, we need it tomorrow.” I take a deep breath and tell her to come back in the morning and bring a check. Then she says she wants to add some bling to the lace motifs and I found some dark blue sequins and put some in a bag for her to try an glue on. The little bag is hanging from the right sleeve.

Amid all the chaos of the virus openings and not openings and protests in the streets and more bad news hitting us, maybe it is a good thing that rodeos remain the same…encouraging young girls to compete in something that does not require a bathing suit, fake teeth, fake hair and showing way too much skin to be judged by old white men at a desk. The mom showed me a rehearsal video of her daughter going through her paces on her horse and carrying a flag at the end…it was a bit of good cheering up!

So what is going on in the garden? After Mother Nature dumped a week of rain on us, she came back with a week of 90-100+ temps so the flowers and veggies have gone nuts.

The first dahlia to open up:

Our butterfly bush/tree with red crocosmia flowers:

 

Yellow Calla Lilies and blue agapanthus.

 

 

The fly bag is really jumping with lots of visitors who cannot escape.

 

 

 

 

 

Remember the little bean plants? Well the scarlet runner beans have reached the top of the netting and the bush beans and Lima beans are on the move.

 

 

The corn is ripping away too with lots of sunshine and heat.

Our lime tree is happy with baby limes and the purple leaves are the Canna lily ready to produce hot orange flowers. The pot in front has more calla lilies and to the right is the end of the Lupins after making a real good show of deep purple flowers. We are saving the seed heads to plant next year.

Our Magnolia tree finally made the huge white flowers that smell like lemons.

Thank you for dropping by and many thanks to those of you who have sent emails about your bridal successes after following this blog. The whole reason for having this blog is to share techniques and possible solutions to problems that happen in my part of the world.

Posted in challenges | Tagged , , | 24 Comments

Too Much Tulle

How about this gown for a real fairy princess look? It has a Grecian touch too with the Petersham ribbon straps that wrap around the body as many times as you wish.

Willowby Virgo

 

In the beginning, I thought all I had to do was the hem which was attached to the lining at the lower edge so to shorten it, you sneak inside a side seam of the lining and pull everything out, stitch and trim and then stuff everything back inside and close up the opening.

We even tried a bustle…seven points to capture all that embroidered tulle into something more manageable for dancing.

But after seeing the first photos, the bride decided that she wanted a more “closer to the body” look and could I remove all the fluffiness at the waist caused by all the layers of gathering???

Sure thing…what that involved was pinning out as much as 20 inches per vertical seam for the 7 panels. Stitching the full length from the waist to the hem and train was labor intensive enough. Of course, my mind wants my mouth to ask, “If you wanted a tight waisted dress, why did you choose this one?”

Here are all 7 panels (20 inches wide) removed and displayed for her to prove I really did do the right thing. She will also get to take these home. Funny how I get asked if I ever refuse or lie about doing certain alterations. Is this something other seamstresses do regularly? Cheat?

With extra fluffiness removed we have a flatter waist area but still a very long train of tulle.

Front view:

Side view:

The result is just what she wanted and she can decide what to do with all that ribbon and how many times it needs to be wrapped around her waist.

As my early summer brides keep postponing their nuptials, there is a gap in the altering schedule so I can get out into the garden to manage the growing season and weeding. With 2 or 3 brides to finish this month, some of the most complicated dresses, it will be nice to have a little break knowing that I have 6 brides for August and 8 booked in for Sept.

For those of you who like garden photos, here are some I took yesterday. “Kong” variety sunflowers planted from seed and are supposed to reach 10-14 feet high.

Watermelons and lettuce and tomatoes and more lettuce:

  

Raspberries and “Chianti” (5-8 feet) sunflowers:

 

Blueberry bushes and an up-close view:

 

Corn and transplanted asparagus:

 

We are still self-quarantining and wearing masks and with hair salons still closed, we are both looking wild and woolly. But being isolated moles, it is not a big issue. I wish you some good sewing time especially for those of you who have mentioned that you have lost your sew-jo. Be kind to yourself, enjoy the weather and nature, pick up a new book or finish a puzzle…thank you for spending time with me!

Posted in challenges | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

Bead and Sequins…Oh My!

You would think after all these years, I would have learned the hard lesson of saying no. Every time I get a request from a friend to take on a wedding dress from BHLDN I end up regretting it BIG TIME.

The first issue is the lining and outside fabrics are really incompatible. The lining is stretchy polyester knit and the outside fabric is thin chiffon intensely beaded by hand in India and weighs a ton. As the lining is stretching around the body and the bride says she feels “comfy”, the chiffon is being tugged southward to the floor and growing.

This dress looks elegant but is filled with problems.

 

Some of the features that are the selling points like “no construction” in the bust…really? As in, bring your own “perky” boobs because we didn’t add support or any boning nightgown?

Next is the “looser fit” at the waist…this means you will not get this sucker to cling to your waist if that is your best feature.

The hips have the heaviest beading and give a definite horizontal line just where most brides don’t want or need it.

Finally the hem…can you see that the skirt and hem are made up of 8 godets heavily beaded vertically on either side so shortening this will require removing more beads?

Let’s get started!

At the first fitting it is obvious that the circumference at the bust is 4 inches too large and the straps will need to be shortened and moved more towards center.

The labor to remove the beads and sequins will total 2 hours just for this area. I find that every bead and sequin has been attached with a backstitch so there is no chance to pull a thread and remove them easily. Every sequin has to have the individual thread snipped and removed. The straps will also need bead removal. The bride wanted every bead and sequin saved.

So, simple so far…inside is another story. The entire zipper has chiffon binding on both edges:

As I start to snip threads, I find that the thin chiffon binding strips have been sewn with FOUR rows on each side. Then the zipper has also been attached with 2 rows of stitching next to the teeth each side. Here is what we have and what we have to re-attach later.

The way is now clear to hand baste the zipper back into place for the second fitting.

Can you feel the knit lining stretching and the chiffon screaming…”please don’t do it”? I warn the bride that making chiffon that tight will cause the back princess seams to be stressed and cause drag lines at her waist…she humors me by sitting on a chair to feel the final circumference. I’m holding my breath as this is the point when pins pop and bend and she was happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the second fitting the bride decides that the center back has to cling to her skin so another 2 inches (total) are removed near the waist, beads removed and the zipper moved over and basted again.

More sequins to remove:

 

Ready for machine stitching and the excess fabric will be trimmed away and re-bound with the chiffon strips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What about the straps? Beads have been removed and marked with red thread for the new placement.

 

 

Moving down to the chiffon hem…pins mark the final length.

How about removing more beads? Add another hour of labor and then make a narrow hem like the original.

The knit lining will be hemmed and stitched with my coverstitch machine…Lordie, this is the only easy part!

 

One fortunate thing with this dress with no boning or means of support for the bust…Tear-drop bust pads were attached to the lining to help smooth out the wrinkles and the bride was thrilled that she could bend forward and feel secure.

 

Mr Mole found this photo of a 1914 Irish wedding dress and I am so glad I didn’t have to alter something like this!!!

For those of you who love seeing veggie garden photos…here are some from today. This is a lemon drop squash…we are not sure how big they will get…maybe the size of a tennis ball?

A baby butternut squash:

Bush beans, pole beans and Lima beans with sticks and poles to discourage cats from using the soft soil as a toilet.

Who doesn’t like corn in the summer? With 20 plants, we should have a nice crop.

Last photo…I have mentioned our blue tailed skinks before and this year we have families of them either running over rocks or sunning themselves. This little creature perched itself on a rabbit statue. They eat bugs in the wild so fingers crossed they remain throughout the season.

With over 8 weeks in quarantine, we all long for more freedom and a haircut but it is still pretty scary out there with so many people refusing to wear masks to protect each other. Just this week 3 children under 10 years of age were tested positive in our town so the risk is still there for ALL AGES!

Posted in challenges | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Making Two Pieces Work

Once in a season, a two-piece gown comes into the sewing room. Normally it is when brides travel way out of town with their entourage for a 3-day hunt for the perfect wedding gown.

Here we have a classic example:

Catherine Deane bodysuit made out of acetate and spandex.

 

 

Combine that with a heavy multilayered tulle skirt. Here is one I found on eBay.

Let’s start with the skirt…first thing the bride wanted was to have one of the 3 layers of heavy stain removed to make it lighter. I think the skirt alone weighed over 10 pounds so removing just one layer didn’t do that much. The waist band was 4 inches too big…no problem for a seamstress right? Wrong! Detaching the band and tightening up all the gathered tulle layers, (3 of them) and then coming up with a way to hold all that on a small waist should be easy. Can you see that the hook is hanging on by a thread and there is also a clear plastic snap? How many poor brides have tried this skirt on before??? Hundreds?

My first attempt to tighten the waistband involved moving the zipper over 2.5 inches total to the pins the FIRST TIME.

After the first try-on it was obvious that more needed to be taken out to fit snugly.

Left side with final 4 inch total pinning and green thread being the new zipper edge.

Right side with pins holding pleats flat.

Left side (under flap) with pinned zipper face down:

Left side lapped with zipper pinned:

Inside of lapped side with all the excess fabric to be trimmed away:

Hand baste the lapped side down in white thread:

Machine stitch the lapped side and cross over to stitch up the under flap:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lining was pinned the same amount of the satin and will be trimmed away and used as a mirror image pattern for the other side.

Excess trimmed and pinned read for hand sewing:

Excess waistband folded under. You know I hate cutting away any fabric that might be needed later:

Moving along to the top…that zipper needed to be moved over one inch each side. After removing the zipper early on, you can see the previous seamstress in the factory trimmed away lots of zipper tape near the top:

Both sides were really jagged and raveling so the edges were sewn and stabilized:

The bride wanted two new additional straps made to match the original one and moved more toward the center back to look “modern”. There was no fabric to use so I lucked out when I found that the hanging tags were actually the same as the straps…how lucky was that?

The only problem was that they were too short so I added tabs at the end so they could have something to attach.

Close-up of the new strap added in front:

 

 

 

 

 

Once the zipper was moved a total of 2 inches, the lining is folded under and hand stitched. Thread knots mark the position of the new straps to be hand sewn on.

A blurry photo of the new straps and the missing hook and eye at the top and the skirt not properly pulled up covering the back waist: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toss in some teardrop shaped bust pads and hook and eye with the final try-on photo with shiny wrinkles and double straps. Sadly after all this was done, the wedding that was scheduled to be in Europe on a wind swept cliff overlooking the Atlantic ocean was cancelled due to the Corona lock-down. Maybe by the end of this year, she will be able to have a nice reception after getting married in the forest in hiking clothes with a solitary minister.

                                

Last week Mr. Mole bought a jigsaw puzzle for me. As I spread the pieces on the table to find all the straight edge pieces…I slowly realized that the photo on the lid did not match the factory sealed puzzle inside. Mr. Mole searched the internet to find the real photo, printed it out and sealed it in a plastic sleeve.

Lots of activity going on the garden this week with transplanting all the rest of the tomatoes, beans, squash, onions, eggplant, peppers and watermelons pictured below.

Stay safe everyone and happy Mother’s Day to all who get to celebrate today!

PS. Lynn has found her wedding photos of her 2 piece dress with no zipper. What a romantic dress:

 

Posted in challenges | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments

Plans Postponed and Plants

This year has started off badly for 2020 brides. Having worked on a handful of early Feb and March weddings, everything stopped once the state quarantine ban went into effect.

I have 4 dresses hanging here with the postponed dates also hanging in the air. Lord knows what happens for the 6 June brides I have already booked in…things may be delayed for them as well.

So as you already know, I have switched over to cranking out masks to donate to medical facilities and rest homes. But I have discovered since my 70th birthday came and went 2 weeks ago, my body does not like to sit at a sewing machine for 5 hours straight attaching binding and wires to those little masks without kicking up a fuss the next day. Mr. Mole reminds me that even though I think I am still 50, my body knows different.

I have had to make myself go out into the garden and get to work transplanting, building new netted cages and move established plants like asparagus plants into new beds along with planting new seeds and seedlings into newly fortified beds. Mr Mole has started all our plants this year from seed and we hope to be totally self-sufficient all summer into the first frost in December. Last year, the butternut squash lasted all winter on his workbench in the garage and we just finished cooking the last one last week.

A wander around the back yard and inside the garage might give you an idea of what we have been up to the last month in lock-down.

First up…harvested Swiss chard from under cover:

Spinach plants started outside from seed last Fall and the asparagus bed:

Two new walk-in cages to stop birds and squirrels from eating cherries:

Third new cage to keep critters from eating the tomatoes and a back bed for climbing beans and the familiar raspberry bed:

Swiss chard planted outside from seed last Fall with more seeds planted this week:

The small wooden greenhouse overflowing with squash plants and tomatoes:

Plastic covered greenhouse filled with climbing runner beans, more squash and tomato plants:

In the garage more beans and squash plants and a sad pepper plant that survived the winter in the garage hoping to make a recovery once it is planted out:

One sunny afternoon I was able to organize the potting shelf according to size:

A view from my sewing room window…the new blue fence that was supposed to be stained dark grey by our handyman…hmmm…Mr. Mole says it looks Mediterranean…he also says it will fade…OK.

To compliment this whole venue is the piece de resistance, a simple plastic bag filled with non-toxic fly attractant that you keep filled with water. Normally this is sold to owners of horse stalls but we keep one hanging at the back corner of our garden to keep pesky flies off our patio. The bags come in two sizes…20,000 dead fly capacity and this jumbo 40,000 fly size.

Believe me, at the end of the summer this bag will be filled to the top. As we are the only people in our neighborhood to not have dogs and the droppings that attract flies, I feel this is a necessary item to keep germy insects off my drinks and body.

Not knowing how long this self-isolation will remain in tact, I will continue to make much needed masks and wait to hear from any brides who will risk it all. Our schools will be closed until September and so far we have only 50 cases of the virus under mandatory lock-down.

Our governor responded quickly with restrictions which has proven to keep the hospitals from being overwhelmed with virus patients so it has been worth a month to refrain from dining out, getting haircuts, massages, facials  and the occasional fancy coffee. Bookstores are closed, National Parks closed, theaters and wineries…anywhere folks gather to enjoy good weather and conversation.

I hope that you are staying safe and not going stir crazy…one good thing I saw reported today was the fact that so many animal shelters have run out of adoptable pets…that is something to cheer about!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments