Hey there, is anyone interested in another Invite Your Partner swap in a month or two?
Here's how it works:
In this swap, you can contact anyone and ask them to be your partner. It's almost like a personal swap, but with a group, and a killer gallery! You will have to sign up with your partner. That is, you must contact your potential partner via pm and you both must mutually agree to be partnered together.
As partners, you will choose if you want to have a theme, if you want to post stalk each other and be surprised, or if you want to request from each other things you have admired in the past. You should also agree on quantity. In the past, the suggestion was one "large" (time consuming and/or valuable) item, and a couple of "small" (quicker to craft) items that you know your partner will like.
All of you fabulous gardeners, it's time for this year's Great Garden Challenge! Post pictures of your gorgeous tomatoes, giant zucchini, delicate flowers, raised beds, cornfield, rooftop container garden jungle - whatever you've got!
-This challenge is open to all Craftster members.
-You must be posting your 2011 garden, prior years are not eligible.
-Each participant may enter just one time (but you can post multiple things in your one entry).
Are you confused about whether something you've crafted belongs in the General or Reconstructed category? Here are some tips to help you figure it out. If your item started it's life as something completely different with another purpose than what you transformed it into, it's considered Reconstructed. If you have painted, reupholstered, decoupaged, embellished, decorated or resurfaced an item that still has the same function as before, it's considered General. It's also considered General if you have constructed something from your craft supplies, like a new lampshade to replace an old one.
Using this definition, here are some things that would fall into each category:
General Building an ottoman from scratch Reupholstering a chair Decorating a lamp shade with scrapbook paper Creatively painting a book case
Reconstructed Tearing the guts out of an ottoman to transform it into a storage bin Making a tote from a tea towel Making craft storage from a record holder Sewing a pillow from a T-shirt Making a lampshade from gummi bears Turning a book case into a gerbil habitat
If you want to post a jewelry display or holder, that goes over in the Jewelry and Trinkets board.
If you're still not sure where your project goes, send a PM to one of your Home Sweet Home moderators (MissingWillow, pixieval, photojenn) for assistance figuring it out.
You'll need to start a new topic on our challenge board to make sure you can receive votes. Look in the upper right hand corner of http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?board=406.0 for the blue tab that says NEW TOPIC. Click on that and you'll have your own separate entry so folks can vote for you!
Thisbirdsabsurd is my partner in the Make A Friend swap. This is a three part swap whose first package must focus on the sender vs. the partner. One of the items I found in my first package was something that she thinks smells good, a vial of satsuma fragrance. I have never heard of satsuma before but agree with her, it smells fantastic! I decided when I opened it that I would use it in some way to make her something for package number two. Since we raise bees, we've got beeswax for crafting. I decided to make her some solid perfume using the satsuma fragrance. I searched online for a locket that had some sort of opening in the top so the scent would be able to escape and found this lovely filigree one. The idea is that body warmth will release the scent and it opens if she wants to apply the scent directly to her skin.
Here is the locket I selected. It came in a set, so I have others that I can play with for Christmas gifts. It will be fun to blend some scents!
There are just three ingredients in the perfume. Equal amounts of beeswax and a carrier oil. I used sweet almond oil, which I have on hand for soapmaking. I used a teaspoon of each for this project. In retrospect, it was too much (but now I have some satsuma perfume of my own)! I started with about 25 drops of the fragrance oil, tested it, and ended up adding an additional 20 or so.
A makeshift double boiler! An old pan heating water and a small glass jar to melt the ingredients. This didn't take long at all. When it was melted and scented, I just poured it into the locket and left it alone to harden. I checked on it after about an hour and it was solid.
After that, it required some basic jewelery skills to add a few charms and put it on a chain. I covered an altoid tin to send it in. If you make one, please PM me, I wanna see!
We harvested the first of our Spring honey this week. Our bees are doing very well in the little bee yard we've set up by our pond. We've seen a bear in our back yard, thankfully it's never made it down to the hives!
Here we are gathering up the honey supers to bring into our kitchen for processing. A honey super is the shallow box where bees store honey in beeswax frames of drawn honeycomb. We always leave one super per hive for the bees. It's what they eat over the winter. Anything above their super is ours.
They store honey in drawn beeswax honeycomb and cap it with beeswax when it's full. A super full of honey is very very heavy.
We use a knife to remove the beeswax cap that keeps the honey stored. The beeswax cappings get melted down. I use it for crafting candles, soap and solid perfume.
We have a small extractor, which is just fine for our operation. It's basically a plastic tank that holds two uncapped frames which are spun via a handle crank. Centrifugal force spins the honey from the frames into the bottom of the extractor.
From here, the honey is strained into a holding tank. From there, it's ladled into jars. If you look carefully, you'll see newspaper spread on our kitchen floor. It's potentially a messy job.
The best comb gets set aside for comb honey. Instead of uncapping it, we cut it into chunks to fit into a jar. Here is some cut comb waiting for honey to be added to the jar.
The finished product, ready for the Farmer's Market! We'll harvest again towards the end of the Summer. Our sourwood trees are just starting to bloom so the next batch will be sourwood honey, a local delicacy. Any questions? Ask away!
I planted English peas twice this Spring, and the deer came in and ate every single one of them. I have big plans for my garden this Summer and refuse to battle both the bugs and the deer for my plants so I started doing some research. The most promising solution I found was an invisible fence. The premise is if you stretch fishing line between posts, deer can't see it. When they walk into it, they freak out and run away. We already had T-posts just sitting around, and I raided my husband's tackle box.
Here's a close up of the fishing line in front of one of our garlic beds. Please excuse the weeds. With all the work getting our garden in, we haven't had a chance to get the weed whacker out between beds yet.
The posts are set about 15-20 feet apart, and the line stretches horizontally about a foot off the ground, again about 5 feet off the ground, then in a criss-cross pattern between posts.
Here's a wide shot showing how we've got all of our beds protected now. It's been 3 weeks since we installed this and have had no problem with the deer since. It's too late to replant the peas, but the beans and soybeans are all sprouting unmolested, and all of my transplants look great!
In anticipation of the royal wedding I made my best milking goat, Hermione, a fancy hat to wear on the day. Alas, I believe her invitation must have been lost in the mail. Poor dear! We'll just have to celebrate it here.
It's a hoop house, actually. My genius husband built it for us from a kit. It's got an interior raised bed. We've been enjoying lettuce, spinach, carrots and beets all winter.
One of my requirements when we were deciding on the size was it had to be big enough for a table. We've hosted luncheons and dinners out there. Today, the table is holding my tea, cucumber seedlings and the season's final daffodils.
I've had cut organic blue seed potatoes drying out there for a few days. They're now ready to go into our garden bed.
We supplement our raised bed gardening with a lot of potted plants. Tomatoes, hot peppers and cucumbers mostly. For those of you who don't have the ground space to garden in, try some potted plants this summer. We load our back deck with them. I make my own potting mixture. It's mostly garden soil, the kind you can get in bags at the garden center. In a large container I add in some compost, a little peat moss, a few handfuls of vermiculite and about 1/4 cup of Soil Moist crystals to help the pots hold moisture.
Today, I potted up tomatoes. To cover those drainage holes in the bottom of the pot, I put in a layer of skirting. That's the scrap fleece leftover from shearing. It acts both as a barrier and helps with fertilization. You can also cover those drainage holes with a bit of broken flower pot, fabric, packing peanuts, any number of things.
On top of the skirting I put a trowel of my potting mixture. I tear the bottom of the peat pot that my tomatoes have been growing in and set it in the pot. It's important not to touch the stem of a tomato. Just touch the peat pot or the leaves if you have to.
When you pot up a tomato plant, it's important to plant it as deep as you can. Just leave the very top leaves showing. By doing this, the plant will develop more roots along the buried stem and will give you a more vigorous plant.
We use the greenhouse as a season extender. We'll keep our potted plants in there under protection until our last frost. Then we'll use it again at the end of the growing season for our plants when the first frost is predicted.