Gardening Phase 2

Its been a very rainy and cold April and May for Michigan. We finally had a nice weather day on a weekend and I took full advantage of it. My family and I started by hitting up my favorite greenhouse and nursery to pick out our plants for this year.

We ended up leaving with a ginger ficus bonsai tree, Bush green beans, zucchini, “trusty rusty” coleus, roma tomato, and cayenne chili pepper for gardening at our home. For my Grandma’s house we pick up a flat of white and a flat of purple alyssum flowers.

Then, like a crazy person, planted everything, at both houses, in 1 afternoon. Normally I would break this up between 2 days but the weather forecast had thunder storms, flood watches, and tornado warnings. So we had a mad dash to get everything in the ground before bedtime. The good thing though is that since the weather was horrible I had the entire day to treat my extra sore muscles.

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This is my new vegetable garden! We had added some wood fencing, since gardening phase 1, to the sides to help with keeping the critters away from my veggies. The only additions we plan to make from here is a little rain guard. The water the dripping off the roof of our home is a little forceful for these young plants.  We also plan to stain the sides so it looks pretty.

One of the green beans needed a little TLC. The stem was a bit bent over because it could not support the weight of the leaves.

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Since it did not actually break the stem I was able to get some crafting sticks and a pipe cleaner to support the stem so that it can repair itself. It very important to have the stick wrapped tight enough that it wont easily fall off, but not so tight that the stem is being crunched by the sticks. Th is trick works for most young plants.

After we planted the veggies we saw that we had 1 more spot open for a single plant. My fiance and I went back to the greenhouse early in the morning to pick out a jalapeno plant. I had just enough time to get the jalapeno home and in the ground before the rain started up.


Gardening at my Grandma’s house has been an interesting situation for me. Some days I get a lot of things done and sometimes I’m just really depressed to be there. In the end though its still very weird doing  gardening without a shadow behind me telling me that I’m doing things the wrong way.

It felt kind of silly to plant a vegetable garden in my normal veggie garden space. Instead I decided to fill in this space with white and and purple alyssum flowers.

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I felt that alyssum were a good choice for some ground cover around the Peony bush. Especially since I am not really a fan of petunias or begonias. It was a lot of working trying to figure out how much space to leave each plant while trying to fit all of the plants into the garden space. I like the end result I just hope that these flowers continue to grow instead of just die in the upcoming summer heat.

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While we were there I was able to dig out and move a Rose of Sharon bush. Last Fall, Grandpa had decided which one I should have and which one my mom should have. We had decided that spring would be better to relocate the plants to give them a little more time to grow and mature before such a drastic change. So I up-rooted mine and moved it to my home.

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I assure you it is growing perfectly fine. Last year this particular bush kept getting snagged on anything that was remotely close to it. I guess it learned it lesson because it is trying to shed the wonky parts and grow all straight and nice.

By the time the rain storm hit, I had put around 80 plants into the ground in pretty much 1 day. Man was I so sore the next few days! But now I can sit back and watch the plants grown while I try to decide on what I should make with my upcoming harvest.

Got any comments or recipes? Please hit me up by clicking the contact link.

Craft Corner

Recentlly I had decided it was time to purchase my own sewing machine. After much debate I decided on a Brother CS6000i. It has many of the functions I am already familiar with from my mom’s older sewing machine. It also has made some of the more annoying tasks computerized. Such as giving error messages when you have the wrong stitch/foot combination.When the Machine arrived at the house my Fiance decided to purchase a nice card table so I could unbox everything right away.

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And thus, my craft corner has been born! Since I’m not fully able to work on any of the sewing projects I have lined up yet, I decided on doing something else that I had sitting around, 2 small/mini puzzles!

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This first one I worked on I recieved in my Easter Basket this year. Its a My Friend Totoro stained glass puzzle. The pieces literally snap together because when you are finished,  it not only looks like a panel of stained glass the puzzle can easily support its own weight.

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The Easter Bunny also left me a cool picture frame for this to go into when it was completed. I was skeptical about how well it would look in the picture frame but I actually really like it. The solid white background makes all the details more noticable.

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The next puzzle I worked on was one that my Fiance bought me. We were walking through the clearance toys section and came across this Spider Gwen puzzle and he just had to get it for me.

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its a very simple 48 piece puzzle but I really like the art and Spider Gwen is my favorite.

 

Gardening Phase 1

I’m back folks!! Life has been really chaotic since my grandfather passed. Trying to take care of the lose ends and legal bits, as well as getting grandma settled in her new living situation. Amoung all the sadness and stress, I do have some amazingly good news. I got engaged to my wonderful boyfriend! We are very excited and very happy to be planning a wedding! But until wedding crafts begins, we shall have lots of fun planning out the gardens at our home.

The weather is finally starting to act like spring in my area which means I can finally begin all my gardening work. Its still a bit too cold to start my vegetable garden but it is warm enough for flowers!

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I decided to start with my smallest garden. Well miniature planter pot is a better description. My soon to be Mother-in-law got me this cute little planter with Petunia seeds for Easter. It was a complete kit that included a planter pot, dirt disk, and seed packet. All that needed to be done was wet the dirt disk, fluff the dirt, and plant the seeds.

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My next project required a little assistance from my fiance. I had won/acquired 2 centerpieces from a baby shower. There are planter shelves along the outside of our home from previous occupants. These shelves are designed for starter plants that aren’t quite ready to go in the ground yet, so we retro fitted one of these shelves to hold something a little larger than a starter pot. I am still undecided if I want to keep all the decorations in these planters or to relocate them to the front garden. I’m just glad that the flowers are outside and doing a lot better than when I originally took this picture.

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The front yard area is pretty bare so I started sprucing it up a bit with these red bricks to enclose some garden space along the front of the house. Its not much right now but once the plants start growing it’ll looks awesome! Inside the garden area I added these:

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Otherwise known as Loyalist Hostas. My grandfather had a bunch of these in his front yard until he had his driveway re-paved. I’m hoping these will sprout up and do well in this garden.

On either side of the garden space I planted these neat looking flower bulbs.

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Hopfully these will grow well. It has been raining a lot so the area I ended up planting them was heavily flooded the next day.

Thats all I have done for now. My fiance and I are working on our plans to build a vegetable garden box. We have a lot of feral/domesticated cats, squirrels, and skunks that run rampant around our house so we have to have a raised garden bed with a netted top. Otherwise there will constantly be critters in the garden

Any tips or suggestions? feel free to leave a comment or contact me!

Made in Rememberance

The past month has been such a mix of emotions and anxiety. On Februrary 20th I got the call from my Aunt informing me that my Grandpa had passed away. For me this was extra rough becuase Grandpa taught me all the skills no one else thought I should learn. Like gardening, basic electrical knowledge, how to tell the difference between tools, when to use duct tape vs when to use a bit of wire, etc. He really sparked the creativity in me because he believed that there is more than 1 way to fix a broken object.

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He lived to be 95 years old and was always being silly for a picture. I literally haven’t had time to do anything besides funeral stuff and trying to console grandma and help get her situated with her new life changes. Since things have settled down a little, and I could finally have an evening at home, I decided to make one of the many favorite meals I’ve made for grandpa, Beef Stew.

I don’t use many measurements for this recipe. This was mostly an indulgent dish for grandpa because of his health issues he had some dietary restrictions. I heavily altered the original recipe to sneak in some things that he could eat every once in a while.

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I prefer to get the pre-cut beef stew meat but if that isn’t available, such as this particular meal, I get a nice London Broil and cut it up in into cubes. I throw the cubes into a bowl and add some flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and then mix it up until the meat coated. Once coated I add a little oil, grandpa preferred extra virgin  olive oil, to a large pot and allow it to heat up. I then dump the coated meat and any excess seasonings into the pot. While the meat is browning I slice up 1 onion, 2-3 carrots, thoroughly wash 1 small bag of baby potatoes, and trim and rinse 1/2lbs – 1lbs of green beans. DO NOT USE CANNED GREEN BEANS! canned green beans will turn to mush and/or dissolve away in the stew because they are already cooked. Plus they won’t be able to take much of the flavor from simmering in the stews juices.

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Once the meat is mostly browned I toss in the sliced onion. I then let the meat finish browning and allow the onion to get soft. I also add a bit more salt and pepper to help break down the onion a little bit faster. If needed, add a little bit more oil so that things do not stick to the pot.

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Once the meat is browned and the onions are soft, I add in the carrots, baby potatoes, and 1 carton of unsalted beef stock/broth. I allow this to simmer for a few minutes before I begin adding in spices.

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After everything has been simmering for a few minutes I add in a few bay leaves, a generous amount of salt and pepper, and my special secret spice. My special secret spice is 1 cap full of ground corriander. I know its a very untraditional beef stew ingredient and it kind of sound like a large amount but trust me it’s delicious.

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I stir the spices around and put the lid on the pot and let everything come up to a boil. Once at a boil I add in another non-traditional beef stew ingredient, green beans. Adding in the green beans made this feel like a more filling meal. I give everything one last good stir and then put the lid on and let the pot simmer for at least an hour.

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Once the potatoes, carrots, and green beans are fork tender its ready to be eaten. Don’t forget to take out the Bay Leaves before serving up! If you’re feeling extra indulgent, you can add a sprinkle of your favorite cheese on top.

Treasure X Gold

In my previous Valentine’s post, I showed everyone that I had recieved a Treasure X Gold dig kit. So I made some time before bed to dig for my creature!

When you open the box you get this gold wrapped brick and a sheet of the possible things that could be in your brick. Once you take the gold wrap off you are left with your digging tool and a plaster brick.

I highly recommend digging in a bathtub or sink. Its makes clean up so much easier. Once you are set up let the digging commence!

It looks like I got a 2 headed snake creature. In each brick there is a head, torso, and tail. There is also a special item piece as well.

According to the series sheet I have strike two from the serpent raiders and serpent scales as my special item.

It was a very fun adventure. It’s also fun to know that there are different series and limited edition treasure x bricks. I was able to find some at my local store in the collectible toys/trading cards area, you can also see some available here for online purchase.

Valentine’s Fun!

Even though Valentine’s day was a few days ago, I’ve been having some technical difficulties. Now that all of that is hopefully fixed I can now share with you all my fun filled Valentine’s. Since Valentine’s day fell on a weekday we had a little gift exchange.

My significant other got me a bag of my favorite candy, a neat deadpool chimichanga blind bag, and a metal earth 3D U.S.S. Enterprise model kit. I’m saving my model kit for a different post.I also got a cute little dinosaur valentine from my boyfriend’s son. I decided to open up my chimighanga and see what awesome deadpool things were inside.

Once you open up this orange packaging you get a foil wrapped chimighanga!

Each chimichanga comes with 2 stickers, a deadpool figure, and accessories for said figure

Afterwards I found out that all the chimichangas are themed around the deadpool figure. I got the pig deadpool!!!!

After present time, I cooked up some delicious chicken fajitas for dinner. I dont really do anything special just cut everything up and cook it. I then lay everything out on the table taco bar style. Needless to say, they were a big hit.

The other half of my Valentine’s was on Saturday, my boyfriend took me out to a very delicious dinner at the Cracker Barrel. He also got me a whole bunch of those yummy candy sticks from the gift shop.

I also got another little baggie of goodies from my mom. Which included more candy and a Treasure X dig kit which I will also include in a separate post.

Until then I’m going continue to rest up. All the snow shoveling has begun to take its toll on my back.

Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie

Its been a cold and blustry winter this past month and a half in Michigan. I feel like it is time to share one of my favortie winter meals, Chicken Pot Pie. While I do have a from scratch recipe, its more difficult to do as an after work meal so this version is a little more of a dump and cook recipe. This is also a good recipe for finishing off those half bags of frozen veggies.

To start off I melt a little butter and olive oil in a pan. Once melted I add in the chicken pieces.

I let it go until its browned nicely. I don’t add a whole lot of spices until the cream of chicken is added in. After the chicken has been browned I dump in the veggies.

Tonight I had a few half full bags of frozen corn, peas and carrots, and green beans. I add them to the pan with a little more butter and allow it to cook until tender. Once tender I add in the cream of chicken soup. For my recipe I use the cream of chicken with herbs that way I dont have to go rummaging for too many spices. My family prefers a thicker gravy like consistency so I use 2 cans of cream of chicken and about 1/2 a can of chicken broth.

After the soups have been added I reduce down to a simmer and start on the biscuits. I normally go for a refrigerated tube of whatever is on sale and sounds tasty. While the pan is simmering away I set up the biscuits to bake.

It’s important to not cook these all the way through, because the biscuits will be going back into the oven, but you still want them to look a little golden. Once the biscuits are ready, pour the pot pie mixture into a greased pyrex dish and top with the biscuits. I like to flip my biscuits upside down so that the bottom will get crispy.

Once everything is set, I pop the dish into a 400 degree preheated oven for 10 minutes. Sometimes its more, sometimes its less, it all depends on what level of crispiness you prefer your biscuits.

And here it is fresh out of the oven! After allowing it to cool and thicken up a little bit its ready to be eaten. I like to add a handful of cheese to my bowl before digging in!

Snow Day!

“I found winter!” That was my wake up this morning from my boyfriend as he was trying unbury my car. I knew it had snowed but I wasn’t expecting this much as well as dropping temperatures.

After a hair raising adventure to get some food we decided to just stay in and be cozy the rest of the weekend. While we were out driving in the snow in search of food, we found this cereal.

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It tastes like a weird red velvet cereal. It wasnt as crunchy as normal Cap’n Crunch but it was delicious! After a quick bowl I busted out my movie marathon collection.

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I’ve always wanted the whole Studio Ghibli collection but, it’s a little pricey as a boxed set. So I started buying them one at a time from Walmart. After Kiki’s Delivery Service we took a little break from the movie marathon.

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Nothing says “good clean fun” like tequila and juice. I dont really use measuring devices for cocktails unless it’s a very specific recipe. I just pour until it looks like enough. This particular concoction is lime juice, tequila, and ruby red grapefruit juice.

New Year New Projects!

Now that the holidays are finally winding down, I can finally share some of my works in progress. Many of these are presents from Christmas or projects I’ve had around and haven’t been able to do much about completing it.

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First up is my current list of  plants for my upcoming gardening bonanza. I was inspired a bit by the arrival of Jung Seeds & Plants book. I love flipping through the pages and seeing new and interesting seeds for sale. I am also a little bit more excited to start planning now because my boyfriend has agreed to build me a fancy raised garden bed this year. He also has given me run of the whole yard so I will be planting a lot. This also does not account for what I may also be able to plant at my Grandparent’s house this year, but I suspect it will be similar to last year’s arrangement, as well as the regular tending to the other plants already in their yard.

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I also have this adorable Woodland Creatures knitting kit! I actually got it a while ago but because I have never knitted before I’m a little nervous about starting it. The kit comes with a booklet of 12 patterns and vague-ish instructions for each creature. The kit only contains enough yarn for the fox and the doe. So I’ve been studying up on the language and techniques needed to get my cute little buddies assembled.

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This is my new diamond puzzle that my boyfriend got to me for Christmas. I haven’t had an oppertunity to work on it as I need to first flatten out the canvas. It should be flat enough in another few days to start working on it. I’m really excited because I’ve seen pictures of this particular puzzle in its completion and its really pretty.

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This is the pattern for my new cross stitch pattern. 2 years ago I had a really elaborate peacock cross stitch that I was diligently working on it for a year and a half before I realized I made a major error. As in the only way to fix it would be to undo almost half of the piece. Its been sitting in a box since then. So I recently got the urge to cross stitch again but I needed something new. The yellow in the pattern are the stitches I’ve already added to the cloth.

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Its looking pretty good so far. Its a lot slower progress than I’d like but I’m definitely not in a rush to finish this. I just get extra excited when it starts to look like something. lol

I have been researching for my next mythical creature, the manticore. I have several ideas but none have really been to my liking yet. I immediately think about one in an attack posebut I feel like its too ordinary. I’ve also thought about drawing one in a more restful/sleeping pose.  I’ll keep playing around with it more and we’ll see what turns out to be the best one. Any thoughts or suggestions are much appreciated!

I have also started to brain storm some ideas for a new banner and thumbnail icon for Katagi’s Kreations. I love my little dragon but I need something a little different. I really want soemthing that better portrays my blog’s theme.