How Time has Change

Actually, I am the one that has changed a lot this past few years. As an example, I used to garden all around our 2000 square ft + home. Now, I just have a few feet of gardening space and it’s just enough space for me to manage.

Although we live in the city, we are lucky enough to have wooded surroundings and with store bought seeds I’m able to attract wild birds to my yard and even Chipmonks, I never know if I have more than one of them coming to our bird feeder since I cannot tell one from another.

I enjoy watching the birds come and feed while sipping my morning coffee. Yes lots of things has changed for me but my love of nature, trees, birds and other creatures will never change.

SUMMER DRESSES

I have been looking for a specific style summer dress that is very simple and comfortable to wear but to no success so I decided to make my own. Luckily Walmart is selling 2-yard bundles of precut fabric for $4.00 per bundle. Some of these bundles were made out of stretchy cotton shirting fabric so they are perfect for the summer dress that I have been looking for.

I wanted a specific style so that the neckline and armholes matches my sport bra which I prefer wearing to regular bras. The bra strap will not show when I wear the summer dress. Below is the photo of how I laid the pattern over a striped fabric so that it creates a “V” effect on the front and back center of the dress.

As you can see in the photo that I only used the torso of the front and back pattern. I used my yardstick to shape and determine the length of skirt.

This summer dress is also comfortable to use as a sleepwear.

From Doily To Table Cloth

I decided to keep on crocheting and turn this doily into a table cloth using a pineapple crochet design.

One completed pineapple motif completed and another is starting.

I continue to work on this pineapple table cloth. I’ll have to order another cone of this blue cotton crochet thread size 3. Can’t wait to get this done.

Exploring Graphics Apps

 

 

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So, I was looking for a design program that will help me in designing crochet chart patterns.  I have not been sucessful!  There are all kinds of Apps but none available for manipulating crochet stitches.  But this one app called “Concepts” got me interested in working with.  I see possibility of my being able to use this app to produce a crochet chart pattern.  So far,  I am able to arrange things anywhere I want to on a canvas without difficulty, as you can see on the photo above.  I really like this app.  This app is more suited for architectural and interior designs, but maybe it can be used for other creative pursuit as well!

Another  artsy App that I found interesting is called “Assembly”.  I love it for its capability of letting you insert text in the style of your choice on any photo you select.  It comes with pre-made stickers that you can use.

How To Start Lemon Grass Indoor

Winter is a good time to start lemon grass plant indoor.  First, you must select a lemon grass from a grocery store that has main bulb or root bulb intact like the ones shown on photo below.

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Fill a clean flower vase with tap water halfway and put the bulbs in.  Put the vase with the lemon grass in a well lighted area preferably under a bright fluorescent light.  It will take almost all winter months for the roots to grow.  Change the water in the flower vase every week.  Rooting solution is not necessary for the roots to grow, just make sure there is sufficient water in the flower vase until the weather is warm enough to transplant it in a flower pot and put outside.  After the roots grow, some leaves will follow.  The leaves might be pale and wispy due to absence of sunlight but it does not take long for lemon grass to grow thick leaves once it is planted outside when the weather is good and warm.

I immensely enjoyed my lemon grass that I started indoor and I had abundant harvest and plenty to give away to friends!  See how the bulbs turned green on photos below?

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One thing I would not do related to lemon grass is – I would not plant it in the ground.  It is a very tough plant to dig out!  It is best to plant it in small to medium size flower pot that can be easily taken inside during Winter.  It cannot be left outside because it cannot survive cold weather.

This is a very easy plant to grow but watch out for those razor sharp leaves!

Harvesting Lemon Grass

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Now that the weather is cooler and I know that the temperature will drop at any time to where tropical plants will not tolerate,  I have made a decision to harvest my Lemon Grass and keep them in my fridge to use in my cooking this winter.

Before starting this task, I put on denim pants, long sleeved shirt and gardening gloves to protect my skin from the sharp leaves of these plants.

I would say that harvesting Lemon Grass is labor intensive, at least for me.  I need the physical exertion so I did not mind this rigorous activity.  I planted all my lemon grasses  in big pots this year due to having learned through my friends experience that planting lemon grass in an open field is not such a good idea.  It was almost impossible to dig the whole clump because of the dense sturdy roots it sends down through the soil underneath it.  The photo below shows just how dense the roots are!F1132580-A78F-4C09-860F-ED01FD5A5BE7.jpeg

The technique of getting the root ball out of the pot depends on what kind of pot the Lemon Grass is planted on.  The photo above shows that I used a black nursery pot to plant the Lemon Grass in and it was easy enough to get the whole root ball out.  All I have to do is tap the sides and botton of the pot then shake the plant loose and it came out easy.  If the plant is planted in a pot that has a water reservoir at the bottom of the pot, the water reservoir tray has to be removed first and the roots that extend to the water reservoir tray has to be clipped before I can successfully remove the clump out of the pot.  See photo below.

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Once I cut the roots that extend to the water reservoir tray,  I can tap the sides and bottom of the pot and shake and pull the clump out of the pot just like I did for the one planted in the black flower pot.

Once the clump is out of the pot, I used a shovel to remove the dirt surrounding the plant and at the bottom of the plant.  See photos below.F1132580-A78F-4C09-860F-ED01FD5A5BE7

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Then I separate each plant by pulling each plant apart from the clump until all are separated from each other.  See photo below.

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The next step is to cut the leaves off each plant with the use of sharp scissors and also clip the roots with the use of sharp limb clipper.  Then remove the dead or dried leaves.

Wash the individual plants thoroughly using rubber gloves or disposable gloves to protect hands from cuts as the edge of the leaves and stalks of the plants are sharp.  Spread the cleaned plants on a dry towel.  See photo below.A2DC321E-BA6F-431F-95CA-ED46D8C0796C.jpeg

Once the plants are free of excess water from washing,  put them in a big plastic bag and place inside the fridge.  See photos below.

 

The photo on the left shows young plants which I will use as seedling for next year.  The photo on the right shows mature plants which I will use for cooking and give away to friends.

How To Clean Bitter Melon Seeds

The Video shows how to remove the gelatinous coating of Bitter Melon 
seeds.  

Part of Fall season gardening activities is gathering seeds for next planting 
season.  Some seeds are easier to collect than others as they come out dry but most
of them are coated with some gooey substance that has to be removed from the seeds.  One
of these seeds is the Bitter Melon seed.  Each seed is coated with a brightly red 
gelatinous substance.  I surmise that this substance attracts ants which eat the sweet,
mushy substance but leave the seeds alone and usually some of the seeds will sprout in the 
the coming year but very late in the season so it is best to collect the seeds instead of 
leaving them in the ground.  The seeds need to be cleaned and air dried at room temperature so
so that mildew or fungus will not harm it.  When they are very dry they can be wrapped 
in dry paper towel then placed in a plastic bag.



Lemon Grass

Since I planted Lemon Grass on my back patio, I have not noticed any gnats or mosquitoes hovering over me when I’m outside.    Maybe it’s too early to tell.  I would know more about it when the temperature drops down to a cooler one at the onset of Fall.  I’m really very pleased at how my Lemon Grasses grow so well in containers.  These are started from three single plants last winter, which I bought from an Asian grocery store.  I chose ones that have visible intact bud at the base of the plant and stuck them in a flower base half filled with water.  I kept them under flourescent light in my bathroom winter through spring.  They developed roots and leaves all through these two seasons in my bathroom and even produce pups or young plants around them.

When the weather was consistently warm this year, around May or Jun, I transplanted them to flower pots.  As you can see from the photo above that they almost fill up the pots that they are planted in.  It is very sensitive to cold weather so it has to be placed inside a garage or unused room inside my house.

WARNING:   THE LEAVES HAVE SHARP EDGE AND IT CAN CUT SKIN VERY EASILY.

 

How To Make A Short Blouse Longer

I have this blouse that I like so well, but  I wish that it is longer, so I decided to add a lace trimming at the hem.  See photo below.

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I found a lace fabric at Walmart and decided to use the scallop selvedge as the new hem.

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Like this.  See photo below.

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Step 1:  Measure  the width of the hem.  Divide this measurement in half this should give the the length (yardage) of fabric.  Note:  There will be lots of extra fabric since only portion from selvedge is to be used.  Remember that the fabric comes folded.  If the blouse is stretchy, add 3 to 4 inches to the yardage to allow for the stretch.

Step 2:  The lace fabric being folded,  match the scallop at each eadge together evenly using a straight pin to hold the fabric together, placing the pins all through the selvedge.

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Step 3:  Decide the length you want to add to the hem. Measure from the widest part of the scallop and mark the length with a straight pin, repeat this through out the selvedge.2F8DC87D-AB3E-4393-A096-4ACB6EAC3F12.jpeg

Step 4:  Cut 1/2 inch away from marked area straight accross the selvedge.

 

 

Step 5:  Sew the side seam of the lace fabric, right side together, using matching thread.

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Step 6:  turn the blouse hem wrong side up; lay the raw edge of the lace, wrong side up also over the hem and pin. Keep pinning blouse hem and lace together at about 3 inch interval all around.

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Step 7:  Leave 1 inch unsewn from end of the lace; use zigzag stitch to sew the lace onto the turned hem of the blouse.

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Step 8:  Leave 1 inch unsewn at the other end of the lace also.  Put machine needle and presser foot up and remove work from sewing machine.  Pin each unsewn end onto the blouse hem.  Mark the area where the two lace ends met with a pin, this is the start of the side seam of the lace.  Remove the previous pins after marking the side seam.   Align and pin together the two unsewn ends of the lace starting at the marked place, down to the scallop  hem.  See step 5.  Cut away excess fabric leaving 1/4 seam allowance.

Step 9:  Lay the lace over the blouse hem and continue to sew the unfinished gap overlapping half an inch on previous stitch and ending in a half inch overlap also.

Tada!

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Enjoy the refashioned Blouse!