Monday, December 28, 2020

Grow Bag update! Spoiler Alert, my Tomatoes loved them.

Ok so I think the results speak for themselves.  I planted 10 tomatoes in Dollarama fabric bags.  I planted 5 tomatoes into the ground with lots of good soil and manure in both.  The plants in the ground made it to about 5-8 feet tall depending on the variety, with a few tomatoes on each plant.   Nothing too exciting.  I watered and fertilized them all regularly. 

The tomatoes in the bags climbed up the railing, and I wrapped them around strings on the gazebo, they grew up and over the gazebo and then folded back down.  I would estimate they got between 12-14 feet on average, and really produced nicely.  This side gets a bit more morning sun, but the in ground tomatoes get more afternoon sun.


Here's a link to my previous "Mini Grow Bags" post about making and using the fabric grow bags.  I planted up into them when my seedlings outgrew their homes in the seed trays. 

As you can see they had a nice healthy root structure when it was time to plant them out at about 9 weeks old.

I spaced them pretty closely and tied the string to the top of the Gazebo.  As they grew I pruned them to 1 main stem, and kept it nice and airy down below.  It didn't take long for them to take off. 


Here you can see them on the right side.

They grew so fast, I would take weekly pictures of them and was just amazed.

By mid July they were taller then me,
well on their way to the top of the gazebo. 

My faithful tomato guard.  He would check on them daily to see if anything was ripe.

  He was thrilled when he realized he could reach them from the deck ahahha. 

Here's a view from under the gazebo, and they're several feet above it.
Here's a shot out the 2nd story window at the beginning of August 

 You can see the roots came out of the bag and went into the ground at the bottom, I had to really pull the bags to get them out.  

So after the season was done, I chopped down the tomatoes and dumped the bags, and wow, I was really impressed with how the roots had grown.  I watered them every morning, and in the extreme heat we had this summer, I did water twice a day if they felt dry.  I had added some peat and pearlite to the mix and didn't find they dried out anymore then the one I had in the big pot, which I had to water just as often.   

The plants did great in a small pot of soil.  Normally if I grow a tomato in a pot I use giant black pots our trees came in.  So I was able to save space, and soil, and grew the best batch of tomato plants!  

I will be using them again next year for sure.  You can use any color you want, black might be nice but will heat up more.  You can also splurge and buy the actual grow bags if you want. 

You can also make your own Grow Bags of any size using landscape fabric and a sewing machine.  Here is the link to the small seedling size grow bags I made this spring.  How to make your own Mini Grow Bags

Please comment below if you have any questions, or have tried different grow bags yourself.  

Here's a YouTube video I made showing the roots in more detail.   

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Creamy Chicken & Veggie Pasta!

I wanted something cozy on a cold rainy day.  So I used what I had in my fridge.  I had a few pieces of chicken and some random veggies. The sweet potato completely broke down and became super creamy. Any kind of squash or pumpkin would have worked as well.

It turned out really good so I wrote it down, and thought I'd share.  You can adjust the times, if you do it on the stove.  I apologize for no pictures, I had no idea how it would taste, and we gobbled it up. Maybe if I remember when I have leftovers :D

Creamy Chicken Pasta! 

1 onion diced
4 cloves of garlic chopped
4 chicken thighs whole

4 cups of water

¼ Dijon mustard

2 carrots chopped

1 giant sweet potato

Fresh thyme

Lots of Cajun seasoning

pasta of your choice

cream cheese

salt and pepper to taste

grated cheese of your choice.

Put the instant pot on saute, and cook onion till soft, add garlic, and stir.  Add in your chicken, and brown them up a  bit.  Then dump in everything else except the pasta and cream cheese.  Add whatever veggies you have on hand.  Cook for 15-45 mins NPR. (depends on size and type of chicken, and how large you diced your veg). I left everything fairly large and did the full 45 mins as I had plenty of time.

Pull out chicken and set aside, turn pot back to saute mode, and add in your pasta.  I used rotini noodles.  Cook for allotted time till soft, adding any water as needed.  When they’re just about ready add in your cream cheese and adjust your seasoning.   Add the shredded chicken back in that you cleaned off the bone.  (or chicken breasts)

I served it with grated Parmesan, and hot chili flakes, and added capers to my dish. 

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Sofiona Designs -- Wild Strawberry Bralette

What a sweet bralette pattern this is.  It's just the right style for Tween/Teen Girls.  I know we'll get a lot of use out of both of the patterns.  Sofiona Designs released two bralettes this spring.  The Wild Blueberry, and the Wild Strawberry.  You can also buy them together in a Wildberries Bundle.  





I had so much fun using all my girly notions. I have some adorable Heart FOE, and Heart Sliders that were just waiting to be used. 



This went together really quickly.  Only 3 pattern pieces to cut out.  the instructions are super easy to follow, and it only took me about a little over an hour. 

Fabric and Notions are from Libelle Sewing.  I love the little heart sliders, with matching rings.  And their DBP is soooo soft. 


Other big news in the Sewing world, Sofiona Designs is turning 2!!!!  And to celebrate they're having an anniversary sale.    If you hurry and purchase now you can get 40% off the ENTIRE SITE.  Just enter the code SOFIis2. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Mini Grow Bags-air pruining.

We have been doing some research this year on 'grow bags' this seems to be popular on YouTube.  The theory behind it is the roots are able to breathe.  Instead of hitting the side of the pot and starting to circle as they do in traditional pots when the roots hit the side of the bag, they get airflow, and it causes the roots to branch out.  So it keeps them from getting rootbound, provides a much better root system, and the plant is better able to use all of the soil in the pot, thereby potentially being able to grow a larger plant in a smaller pot. 

I've seen several videos and was intrigued, just search 'air pruning' or 'grow bags'.  Now you can buy the expensive air pots and official grow bags if you want, or you can just pick up some reusable grocery bags from the store.  Dollarama sells a decent size 3 for $1.

My dilemma was I had some seedlings that I wanted to pot up into some 4" pots, and only have the plastic ones.  I was like why not put them right into a grow bag.  It should take up less space than my round containers.  And they also claim they can do better in a smaller pot since they utilize the soil better, due to the airflow.   So we decided to just make our own mini grow bags with some landscape fabric we had in the attic.

Now for the sizing I immediately thought of these cute little fabric bins I'd made a few years back,  I still had the pattern, and used that to get the proper size, and to box my corners at the bottom to get actual square pots.  Here's a link to those, it's a fun pattern from AppleGreen Cottage.


 I left the sides able to fold up or down as needed.  I have them quite low now, but as the tomatoes grow, I can unroll the sides and add more soil which will give them more support, and a stronger root system.  I'm really curious to see how this works if nothing else it was a cheap and easy experiment.

So we laid the landscape fabric out, and my daughter traced the pattern.  I cut them out while they were all folded to save time.  I sewed them in a long tube and cut at the proper intervals to make the bottoms, then boxed the corners and turned them inside out.  I used just the regular poly thread I had on hand.  If I was making the larger ones I might be more inclined to buy some UV thread.  I think the poly should hold up just fine in the smaller pots, since they're going to be used for only a couple of months at most, and not a lot of pressure from the soil.

April 8th, 2020

You can see I added a couple of my larger Black Cherry Tomatoes from Baker Seed Company. 

April 4th

Check out an update on my seedlings here.  
These worked so well, I used larger grow bags for my tomatoes,  and they did amazing.  Check it out here   My tomato grow bags!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Floor Pouf--Anmial Ball From Max and Meena

Welcome to the Spring Fling Blog Hop! 

  Sew Much Charm kicked off the Spring Fling with the  Spring Fling Giveaway!  A huge congratulations to the winners: Lorna P. of England & Patti V. of Texas!  Each prize package had a retail value of $191!

Let's keep the fun rolling this week with more sewing and more fun.  Sew Much Charm is now also hosting the Spring Fling Blog Hop and I'm going to introduce to you our Bloggers for the Blog Hop!

Be sure to check each day by 6AM (Central Standard Time)!  Each day there will be a blogger (or more) doing a giveaway!  So be sure to check each blog post & just comment on their blog post from this blog hop and you are entered to win! You will have until Friday at midnight (Central Standard Time) to comment away on each blog post for a chance to win! 

Monday - Sew Much Charm & Vlogger Sewing From Scratch
TPtheModestDoll22 & That's Sew Venice
Wednesday SewGr8ful & Sequoia Lynn Sews
Thursday Let's Go Hobby! & The Sarcastic Sewist
The Bear & the Pea Atelier & Wildflowers & Whimsey    

YaY it's Tuesday, that means it's my day, welcome everyone, I hope you enjoyed yesterdays posts.  My item is not super springy per say, but it was a fun project to work with my daughter on while we're all home.  Let me now present the Stuffed Animal Ball, by Max & Meena.   Make sure to comment below for a chance to win your own free copy!!!

My daughter has been wanting one of these for a while now.  Why is it called the animal ball?   That's because you use it to store your stuffed animals.  The side zipper makes it easy to get them in and out and keeps them nice and tidy while providing a comfortable place to sit.

I bought the pattern Animal Ball, floor pouf from Max & Meena, and have been waiting to have enough time.  Well, guess what???? I have the time.  I didn't get a chance to go buy any fabric specifically for this, and she does recommend a heavier weight then I had on hand.  So because of this, I made a few additions to my project to help reinforce it.

I hope it'll hold up to the 'love' I know this is going to be getting.  And Gizmo heard 'animal ball' and is trying to convince her it's his!  She was smart and put it in her room. 

This is a very simple pattern to put together.  Just make sure to prep your fabric first and get everything cut out.  We chose this super soft flannel and a pink zipper.

Like I said this pattern goes together easily.  If you are a bit hesitant about the curves you can easily put a few notches on the pattern yourself, and transfer to each piece to make it faster to line up, or just a mark at the fold, so you know where the center is.

When attaching the zipper I found the center of all three pieces, and then made sure it all lined up.

 Then just sew the sides up, and follow the instructions.  I chose to use a 1/2" seam allowance instead of the 1/4", because I know how badly this fabric frays and I wanted to give it a bit more stability in my seams.  I also serged the seams as well, to combat the fraying.

I pulled the fabric taut and topstitched down each side of the zipper so we shouldn't have to worry about any fabric getting caught in the zipper later.  Kids can be pretty rough on zippers.

Another tip I have is if you're using directional fabric put a clip a the top of each piece after you cut it, so that when you're attaching the sides you don't forget and sew one upside down (don't ask).

To further reinforce these seams that will have a lot of force on them I decided to top stitch each seam down, make sure to do this before you attach your final sections together to make it easier.  As I said it's totally optional, but I'd rather reinforce it now then have to go in and make repairs later.  I ended up doing two rows of top stitching on each seam, and around the top and bottom center sections. 

It was nice to share my sewing with my daughter and had her sew up a few of the seams as well, she's still terrified of the serger though. She enjoyed the ironing and thought it was satisfying to see it smooth out.  Home Ec at it's finest.

Now about the size.  This is pretty big!!! hahahaa  I am so glad used the small size.  I can't even imagine how big the other sizes are, definitely would work for an adult.  I didn't see any actual finished measurements online, but noticed in the group how big most of them were.  So I have stuffed it and we've sat in it, and I'll give you the basics on the size small.    If you want it even smaller you can increase the seam allowance, or print the pattern off at say 90% or something. 

It's a perfect size for your average pug or 10 year old though :D

Leave a note in the comments with more ideas of what you could store in your Stuffed Animal Ball, or what you'd use it for, and you'll be entered to win your own copy!!!!!,

Other things you could fill it with to use for storage ideas:

Winter clothing, snow pants, jackets, mitts
Summer beach towels
Extra linens
Holiday linens 
Fabric scraps
Baby clothes you just can't part with.

                             And the winner is Julie BEE!!! 

Thursday, March 5, 2020

My first Paper Peiced Landscape Mini Quilt.

Wow March already and I haven't blogged in ages.  I have posted on my Instagram and FB accounts, but I prefer to spend my free time sewing, rather than typing I guess.

So I'm writing this post because this project has been a  LOOOOONG time in the making.  I can't even recall when I started this project.  I'll have to look back through my pictures and see what I have.  This has been a true labor of love because I had to learn many new techniques just to make it.  I had to learn EPP, regular paper piecing, applique, and throw in a bit of landscape quilting.

My inspiration was this picture.  I'm still really proud of this make.  This was my most advanced pattern to date.  I started sewing to make cute dresses for my daughter. I started with the basic pillowcase dress, and slowly they became more involved.  When I made this dress I was really blown away with how it all came together and that I'd actually made it.  I'd fallen in love with this fabric and had been waiting for just the right pattern to come along.  The Cecily Rose (currently in retirement) from Pollywoggles Patterns was a hit.  AND it's reversible!!!!  

It was also one of my first actual photoshoots, and I fell in love with this shot.  So I decided I wanted to immortalize it as a quilt.  But in order to have it come together as I was picturing it my head I had a lot of homework to do.  I took a class on English Paper Piecing, at The Sewing Cafe.  I had been hearing a lot about EPP as it's called in the sewing community, and it intrigued me.  I'm not usually much for hand sewing, I love my machine, but sometimes it's nice to have something I can do while riding in the car, or watching the kids play out front so I thought why not.  So from that class, I got my tree, that I appliqued on the quilt. 

Here is a shot of the backyard, the tree on the right is a Crab Apple and it's lovely in bloom, hence the colors I chose in my applique tree.

The section with my daughter was total trial and error I printed the picture out and drew on it and cut it and really just ended up free handing a lot of it. I'm happy with how it came out.  I got to this point, several years ago, and it's been hanging off my bulletin board ever since.  I wasn't sure how to finish it, I'd lost my vision so to speak. 

Fast forward several years and I was talking to my husband's Aunt on Family Day and she talked about this amazing quilt she's wanting to make.  And some of the squares she mentioned would be really cool for landscape quilt techniques, so I mentioned that to her.  And when I did it reminded me of my poor Lil quilt hanging on a pin.  Then a few weeks later Heidi of Pollywoggles was making a color-blocked hoodie, that reminded me of a landscape quilt as well.  So I pulled the dang thing off the pin and decided I'd just finish the thing once and for all so I can actually enjoy looking at it. 

 Now my skills have changed since I started this.  I feel the fabrics are a bit busy now (but I was using what I had on hand).  I would have done things a bit differently if I was starting now.  But I'm still in love with this picture, and this dress (which sadly doesn't fit anymore, but it still one of my absolute favorites)

I couldn't decide if I wanted to hand quilt the entire thing or not, but I decided no, it wouldn't get finished and end up sitting and waiting for a few more years ahahah.  So I machined quilted it but did hand-stitched the binding, and hand appliqued the tree on.