Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wedding DIY: Burlap Tablecloths

If you're like my mother, your first thought about burlap being used as wedding tablecloths is skepticism.
Especially when the plan is to couple it with a lace runner.
Lace and burlap? Really?
But I had a vision.
Plus my goal was to use things for the wedding that can be used later in my every day life.
I use burlap in the garden as a windbreak for the corn,
so I figured whatever I didn't use and/or the used tablecloths
could be used in the garden.
Or to transplant shrubs, etc.
So, on to the wedding part of things....
First, you need your burlap.
I had 21 tables 12 feet long to cover so I needed a large roll.
Don't go to wedding suppliers for burlap!
 I went to Gempler's online and ordered a roll.
 It was much cheaper.
Remember to get the 10oz weight, it's best when using it for decoration.
So once I had my massive (and heavy) roll of burlap,
I had to cut the pieces I needed.
  We determined we wanted about a 3" overhang on the ends so we needed each tablecloth to be 12'6" long.

It took a couple of days to cut them all
(mostly because we had to work around work and other obligations)
 After cutting the burlap,
it was time to attach the lace.
I ordered my lace through Battery Operated Candles
they had the size I needed (9" wide) at a decent price.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time for shipping.
It took a few weeks for the amount of lace I needed to come in to fill the order.
When ordering, remember that the rolls of lace are not continuous
so you will have small scrap pieces.
You'll need to determine how many runners you can get out of each 10 yard roll
(speaking from experience- I had to order more last minute- and the company was great getting it to me in time).
When attaching the lace to the burlap, you'll need to find the middle of the burlap (in this case 20")
and the lace (4.5") and line them up so the lace is in the middle of the tablecloth.
Then it's time to attach it.
I originally planned to stitch the lace to the burlap.
I scratched that idea and went with hot glue for speed.
I glued the bottom edge of the lace to the burlap then glued the sides down.
You won't need to glue along the entire side,
just every few inches or so depending on how the lace is laying.
At the end, run glue across the bottom end again and attach it.
I don't recommend using a high temp glue gun to do this
as you will end up with burns and blisters.
You need to press the lace onto the burlap and glue does come through a bit
so stick with the low temp gun.
Also, the glue will come through the burlap,
so don't do this on a nice table.
I used a plastic tablecloth to cover the work area and just rubbed off the glue pieces afterwards.
And it's much faster if you have another person helping you.
Big E kept and eye on the position of the lace to make sure it was still centered
so all I had to do was glue.
It went pretty quick that way.
All in all, I was highly pleased with the finished product.
I'm saving some to use in the future for family cookouts.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Busy Weekend

It was a busy and productive weekend around here
for a change.
There was an abundance of produce on the counter that needed some attention.
And by abundance I mean
there was stuff on the counter.
Our harvests this year have been nothing like last year
and that's disappointing.
But I digress.
We have bugs decimating our cucumber plants
so I made sure I used the ones I managed to harvest.
I made 1 quart and 3 pints of refrigerator pickles.
Sadly, these won't last long.
You can find the recipe here.
Then I had a bunch of beets to contend with,
so I pickled them.
We'll see how they taste,
but at least they look pretty.
I also managed to can 2 quarts of green beans.
Hoping to save the cucumbers,
and hoping that the tomatoes on the vine
ripen soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wedding DIY: Banner Making

I decided that since the wedding was on Flag Day,
we should go with some sort of patriotic decor though I didn't want anything too over the top.
And because the wedding was held at a state park,
I wanted something that would fit well with the setting
(nothing too frou-frou).
So, after checking out ideas on Pinterest
(if you don't Pinterest you really should, really)
I went with making a banner out of fabric pennants.
To start, pick your fabric.
Then decide on the dimensions of your pennants.
Ours were 9" wide by 11" long.
Make a template out of cardboard by first drawing a line the width of your pennant
in this case, 9".
Then find the center (4.5" for mine)
From the halfway mark,
draw a straight line 11" long.
Then draw a straight line from each end of the 9" line to the point of the 11" line to make a triangle.
Use your template to trace the pennants onto the fabric
Then you start cutting out the pennants.
I used pinking shear to prevent the fabric from fraying
since I didn't have the time or the interest in sewing hems.
But if you are so inclined or don't have millions of feet of banner to make,
that's an option.

It's good if you can get some cheap labor.
Note that we traced the template on the back of the fabric.
We also used regular pencils.
This way none of our lines would be seen on the good side.

Once they are cut out,
you need to figure out your pattern
(if you have more than one fabric print or more of one type of print than another,
it helps to lay things out visually)
Our banners were 74 feet long,
so the only area we had at home to work on them was the driveway.
That only works if the wind isn't blowing. 
So on to Plan B.
Luckily Big E has a friend with a large 70' X 100' barn
and we managed to work out the pattern there.
Big E wanted to try to determine how many pennants we needed using math
instead of needing to lay everything out.
While that would work in some cases
 (where you have a simple pattern or the same amount of fabric in each type)
it didn't work in our situation because
I'm a visual person who needs to see how things look.
Plus, we discovered that our original design plan wouldn't work because we didn't have enough 
striped fabric.
It took some playing around with the pieces to make a new pattern.
(math can't help you here)
Once the pattern is set,
it's time to glue the pennants to the twine.
I used a thick twine I picked up at Hobby Lobby
and hot glued the pennants to it by folding over a small amount of the top of the fabric.
I suggest not having a baby underfoot who
thinks playing and pulling on a pennant is great fun.
If you want a more polished look,
you can sew the tops of the fabric to provide a space to feed the twine through.
I wasn't doing that,
and the hot glue worked out just fine.
Here is the finished product.

Here is a shot with the banner in the background.
I was very happy with the results.
The simple banner went well with the rustic look of the park pavilion.
And those who weren't sure about the idea at first
ended up loving it. 
The total cost for making two 74 foot banners was about $70.
(and there was extra fabric I didn't need).
I'm hoping to use all the fabric for some sort of crafty project
that I can have to remember the day by.
Maybe a quilt.
Once I learn to quilt.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What's For Dinner?

Last night I decided to make something different for dinner.
Spying the ginormous 1foot + zucchini on the counter, 
I opted to try out a baked stuffed zucchini redcipe I spied on Pinterest
(if you don't Pinterest you really should, 
I've used many many many ideas from there from recipes
to wedding ideas to crafting to gardening...)
Unfortunately, because this was spur of the moment, 
I didn't take step by step photos like I normally would.
But because I had so many requests for the recipe, 
I figured I'd blog it without the usual photos.
Fresh out of the oven
Zucchini- I used one giant one,
the original recipe called for 3 small/medium zucchinis
1 medium onion chopped fine (or half, depending on your preference)
2 cloves garlic minced/pressed
2Tbsp sour cream 
1 Roma (paste) tomato seeded and chopped
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp butter
meat of your choice- I wanted to use Italian sausage but had to use ground pork.
Original recipe calls for bacon but really anything could work here.
seasonings- I used Caribbean Jerk seasoning I made myself and salt and pepper
(as with the meat, anything goes here, salt and pepper, thyme, Italian seasonings...)

Preheat oven to 375°
cut your zucchini in half lengthwise
using a spoon, scoop out the insides of the zucchini leaving a small edge around the sides
Place scoopings in a bowl for later.
Cook your meat, drain off the grease
In a skillet, cook onion and garlic in the butter until translucent
 add meat and seasonings to the onions and cook together a couple of minutes
chop up the scooped out zucchini into small pieces
mix sour cream into the chopped up zucchini
add meat and onion mixture and tomatoes to the zucchini
mix well
(I also added some cheese to the mix)
stuff the hollowed out zucchini halves with your mix
top with the grated cheese
bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes
I sprinkled more grated cheese on top after removing it from the oven
This recipe can be altered and changed to suit your personal preferences.
I have plans to use Italian sausage and mozzarella next time for an Italian themed stuffed zucchini.
I also would like to try the bacon. 
Got any ideas? Let me know!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Garden of Weedin

We finally had some time to work in the garden this weekend.
It's no longer the "Garden of Weedin'"
Our corn is growing- sort of.
Some didn't come up at all.
We staggered the plantings-
2 rows, then planted 2 more rows 2 weeks later, etc.
Hoping this allows us to use what we harvest rather than
having 50+ ears to deal with all at once.
The pumpkins are growing like crazy.
Unfortunately, I discovered some squash bugs in the garden.
These things are my nemesis.
They single handedly killed the pumpkins and most of the zucchini and squash last year.
I have a plan though.
Here is one of our 3 potato plants.
I don't recommending deciding to order potatoes
and wanting to make a potato tower 2 weeks before your wedding.
We just planted them in the ground, so I don't have too much hope of potatoes this year.
The beans love the trellis.
I have green beans and black beans growing here.
The cucumbers needed a little help with the trellis.
For the future, I plan to use strips of wood to make more climbing area
for the vines.
The peas are doing well. 
We harvested a bagful.
And I ate several pods.
The zucchini has been producing for a couple of weeks now.
It's delicious.
The squash bugs think so too,
We pulled beets, zucchini, squash and peas.
This photo doesn't show the huge bucket full
of squash and zucchini.
There was one tomato, but those mother cluckers got to it before I did.
Bertha was checking out the produce being offered.
She and Martha Stewart got to the one ripening tomato before I could.
 I have tons of green tomatoes.
I'm thinking of trying to fry some up- something I've never cooked or eaten.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

First Haul

Picked these snazzy zucchinis and a couple of Pony Express Paste tomatoes last night.
There's tons more nearly ready for harvesting.
If only we could get a little rain.