Saturday, June 23, 2012

Gardening: The Urban Farmer

My husband has a bit of a green thumb. Okay, he's slightly obsessed with urban farming! I know, I know! It's all the rave! However, being that our "nest" is part of this blog title, I can write about our budding farm, right??

This is what our garden looked like during Year 1 (3 years ago):
We grew some herbs...

We had a tomato plant...

We grew one eggplant...

Some flowers...

We grew a lot of lettuce that year...

We had a pond...

We grew about 30 green beans

Being our first attempt at gardening, we were pretty pumped! But with each Spring, my husband has managed to improve his gardening skills. Three years later...

Our snap pea plants have prevented me from buying them at the store for weeks!

 Our Italian green beans started from seed and are now huge!

(Yes, they're over 7 feet high... and growing!)

 Our tomato plants in April...
Our tomato plants now! (They are soon going to tower over my 6'4" husband!)

 Our squash plants...
 A ripe beet...

 (From the left, clockwise) Our watermelons, tomatoes, cantaloupes, peppers, cucumbers, jalapeƱos, eggplants, more peppers, spicy basil and other herbs)

From this year alone, we've been able to collect quite the harvest! Here's some of what we've picked:

Carrots and Squash


More squash, cucumbers and purple Italian green beans

Here are a few of my hubby's harvest yummies:
Some roasted beets (with roasted beet leaves)...

Wild arugula atop prosciutto and peas...

Canned spicy carrots!

This is just the beginning of this year's bounty! Has it always been a cost-effective way of buying produce. No way! Is it time-consuming? Heck yes! 
But my husband loves it and we can rest-assured knowing where our produce is coming from! (Plus it tastes better!)

Thinking of starting a garden of your own? 
Rule number 1: Be patient! 
It's taken my husband three years to learn from his mistakes and improve his gardening knowledge. Each Spring he keeps a record of his learnings for the next year, and each year he's gotten better!

Rule number 2: Have a plan!
Don't plant too much your first year. When planting something, consider the light source throughout the day, how big the plant will get (including whether it will cast shade over those around it), and research any ailments the plants are likely to get (so you know what to look for).

Rule number 3: Put in the time!
Gardens require a LOT of attention! Be ready to put in time 3-4 days a week (between gardening, feeding, pruning and weeding.)

Rule number 4: Buy plant food and fertilizer!
Yes, you need them. Yes, they will improve the quality of your plants. Yes, you need them!

DIY Homemade Baby and Children's Bedding

Okay, I'm endeavoring to create my own bedding for the kiddos (which I encourage every new mother to at least try!!). I previously wrote about baby choosing unique baby bedding in another post, and I've decided to make my own!
First off, the kids will be sharing a room for at least the first year, so I wanted their bedding to match. Second, I wanted to create something in the style of Eric Carle (without buying Eric Carle bedding from Pottery Barn... tempting, but no!)
(Pottery Barn's cute Very Hungry Caterpillar bedding, $180 for the set.)

So, I scoured the virtual world for fabric sites that could offer some inspiration. Being a huge fan of, I went there first and found these designs by C'est La Viv (who also has a blog!):
This will be used for the border of my sweet boy's quilt. (I'm going to cut out fabric sea creatures and sew them between the "waves.") ($18/yard)

This will be used for my boy's quilt also (as patchwork "wave-like" chunks in the center of the quilt). ($18/yard)

This cloud design will be used in the center of my daughter's quilt. ($18/yard)

I'm going to use this swatch as a monogram for both bed sets. ($5)

I also found these designs on Spoonflower:
This design is by Nadja Petremand. I was going to put panels of it around the cloud design to create the illusion of rainbow rain drops falling from the clouds. ($18/yard)

This design is by Patty Sloniger. I was actually going to use it to create air bubbles (coming from the creatures' mouths) and maybe a few creatures as well! ($18/yard)

Next, I found actual Eric Carle fabrics at! This site offered fabrics at a much better price (around $10/yard) and offered the option to buy partial yards as well (which Spoonflower doesn't offer).

This will be used to create actual rainbows on my daughter's quilt.

This will be the border of my daughter's quilt.

This design will be the primary background of my son's quilt.

My son's quilt will have an Eric Carle ocean theme, 
(from A House for Hermit Crab)

whereas my daughter's quilt will have an earthy Eric Carle theme.

(from The Tiny Seed)

The fabrics are on their way!!
Here are my initial designs:
For my daughter

For my son...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Spring and Summer Bridesmaid Dresses

Finding the perfect set of bridesmaids dresses isn't easy. I love the trend of having bridesmaids wear slightly different dresses, and a bride should always be conscious of the dress' wearability post-wedding. (Having your bridesmaids get a dress they'll never wear again is just bad karma!)

I looked to Modcloth to find some cute inspiration for bridesmaid dress frustration...

This little number is called "Luck Be a Lady," ($75) and it's a neutral little piece that offers a complementary cut and a lot of opportunities for accessorizing. This way, each of your bridesmaids can make it her own and still look part of the posse.

This spring dress could also give way to some individualized accessorizing! Labeled "Elegant Engravings Dress," your ladies can pick this one up for $85.
What I don't like about Modcloth is that, 1.) their cutest styles always sell out, and 2.) you can't search by color. It would be awesome to be able to search by color to offer bridesmaids a variety of dress styles within a similar color scheme. 

So, I moved on to Anthropologie (a more expensive option). What I love about Anthro is that they offer a variety of dresses along the same color-scheme, so your ladies can each find something they love that can still be part of an ensemble look.

Anthro Dress #1: Novella Strapless Dress ($158) 

Anthro Dress #2: Stone Harbor Dress ($128) This little number is also available in black!

Anthro Dress #3: Smocked Mini Dress ($148) Also available in black!

I then moved on to Urban Outfitters. They really cater to the late teen/early twenties crowd (in that a lot of their dresses are small and short), but you can usually find a few options here.

#1: Cope Linen Contrast Trim Dress ($59) Pro: It comes in 3 different colors. Con: It's linen and likely to wrinkle.

#2: Thistlepearl Vicotrian Lace Dress ($59) This also comes in ivory!

#4: Pins and Needles Slit Back Dress ($69) Also available in red. This is a great option for individualizing with accessories!