Friday, August 26, 2011

Sprucing the Heck out of Friday

blue.spruce

Ever since I started blah-blah-blahing about the mess I am making in the front yard, I have patiently worked little by little to transform roughly 1500 sq ft of former grassyland into mulchyland. Its been over a month now since I began the process of killing grass with plastic sheeting, pulling up said plastic (whilst holding my nose), cutting and layering cardboard over the dead sod, shoveling 10,000 lbs of topsoil (one shovel at a time) over that, and finally laying 15 cubic yards of mulch over that (that was me + a shovel too (I am 5lbs lighter and super strong now)).

That blue vintage iron bench would be my cherry on top. The bench is Demacopoulos family vintage, as in, I grew up with it on my back porch. Now its blue. And is inspiring lots of plant choices for the whole garden. A few things that I learned about this process is that you absolutley HAVE to avoid any slits or cracks in your cardboard or by golly those little crabgrass stinkers will creep right though. Though they are weakened though, and easy to pull, but I've gone back in and layered over various spots with more cardboard (take THAT, underground grass crime ring). And if you should run out of cardboard its really fun to go dumpster diving at your local recycling center. I'm not sure its legal. That's the fun part.

I'm sorry that so far I have not offered any real photos of the process. There were scenes of what looked like a cardboard quilt all soaking wet that were such a sight of girl-gone-green satisfaction that I was so close to changing completely out of my mudwoman gear to go and get my camera. But people. It has been some exhausting work. For someone who has been in the habit of running about 8-10 miles a week, I have skipped that all together for the past few weeks to save energy for the shovlin'. (How much more interesting can this post get, right?) Anyway, I knew that I would regret not having those mid progress photos. Sigh. I reserved today, my first full day alone in this house in what seems like a decade to buy a few "bones" ~ as in some small trees/shrubs to position here and there. I am barely scratching the surface of what I hope for all this mulchy happiness to be in a matter of a few years, but I am just really glad to be beginning the fun part. I bought a drooping Blue Spruce (above), two very boisterous Princess Lace Hydrangeas, and four very springy looking late blooming English Laurel bushes. Where's the rest of that garden piggy-bank? How did my whole garden budget get eaten alive by mulch, dirt, and a few prissy plants? Cuss. Anyway. This is to be a gradual process and I am saving most of the planting for late fall and next spring once the layers have marinated.

Now then.

In what-I-do-for-a-living news: I've created a needleworks page that has info about all that stuff, plus a slide show, plus a fancy downloadable look book. I also have the two new patterns sneaking a peek on my sewing page, which are (FINALLY) at the printers. Sheesh. Summer.

In what-the-heck news: I have wasted the past year worrying that my dear daughter could get mugged, lost on the subway, or worse (not really) blow all my money at TopShop, when I should have been worrying about natural disasters like Earthquakes and Hurricanes. In fact almost exactly this time last year I sent her out of the tornado ally of Tennessee to Brooklyn where she was just down the road from a tornado. Now this all could mean one of two things: either I need to get better and more specific about my worrying; or it doesn't pay to worry. Not sure yet. I will report back when I'm 108 years old.

Have a good weekend pals, Anna


40 comments:

  1. Anonymous4:25 PM

    She's in Clinton Hill. Don't worry. It's not even in an evacuation zone. I'm on the other side of the hill closer to the water, but I'm not worried either.

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  2. Have a happy weekend Anna
    Kate
    x

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  3. Anna, the link to the tunic is broken. Me thinks.

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  4. Oh my! I just pulled loads of weeds from the cracks in my cardboard. And you're right, it does come out a bit easier. But it's still annoying! I'm trying to make some space for new flower beds. It's always nice when you can add those special touches. The bench is such a lovely color!

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  5. Anna Maria Horner! I see you took my advice to keep on being awesome seriously. I love your chair. Also, the Art Student Tote?! I want it now! I have to make it in Loulouthi immediately. Thank you, AM! oh and I'm very excited to see those garden pictures when it cools down a bit outside!

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  6. Oh, worrying is what mother's do ... you can't help it. (From one worrier to another.) I am sitting here battening down the hatches in Pennsylvania - we're worried about torrential downpours and flooding and wind damage. I hope your daughter fares well and that it isn't as bad as they're saying on the news. Your bench looks likes it's going to need some Anna Maria Horner cushions on it real soon.

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  7. oh boy! I love the whole card board to garden method! I sometimes even get all the leaves in my yard raked into a long pile line and mow over it again and again and use that awesome stuff as mulch!! works like a charm to add nutrients and all the colors of the leaves is really pretty (at least for a few weeks!)- it's another good gardening work out too! Looking forward to seeing more of your mulchy paradise!

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  8. Lisa, I think I fixed the likerdoodles- thanks!
    xo Anna

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  9. I hope your new plantings don't get messed up by the hurricane! I really dread it here in Connecticut.

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  10. We are so landlocked here that we aren't even getting any rain for the next week or so....but there is a breeze out there today (thankfully) that is definitely coming from the Carolinas! batton the hatches! be safe!
    xo,Anna

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  11. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [27 Aug 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

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  12. You need the Don't Worry Flow Chart :)

    http://www.rasdroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Chart_oKsGl.png

    I'm in Richmond, so bits of Irene should be arriving shortly, but I don't think we'll have it too rough here. Have a good weekend!

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing your needleworks look book with us! I always love seeing those, which is rare as a consumer. So many inspiring photos in there to get me going on stitching again!

    I was wondering if that butterfly stitchery will be available as a pattern? Really love how that looks!

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  14. LOL! You're terrifically funny!

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  15. Anonymous7:37 AM

    Wow! Looks like you've had to reprint the Ruthie Clutch and Multi-Tasker Tote patterns - due to selling out no doubt. Love the new covers! And Juliana's unmistakable nails holding the clutch. Bon weekend!

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  16. Bad news, girl. You'll still be worrying when you're 108! I know, 'cause I'm almost there. ;-)

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  17. Awe some one said such a mean thing, here that I didn't want to come back and look at it. I deleted it. But they hate me because I replaced grass with mulch. I remember using phrases like "i hate people who" in the 5th grade. Anyway, mean person, I have more than 2 acres of grass. So I guess there will be plenty left for you if I just plant some flower beds? Okay? Is there some sort of moral ratio of flower beds to grass? Cheer up.

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  18. Anonymous10:43 AM

    I saw on BBC Gardeners World Europe yesterday someone sowing some kind of Eastern European rye to cover bare earth through winter and advertising its goodness for keeping out grasses and weeds and fertilising at the same time in spring. Soil for gras is good, pavement for grass is not good for birds and bees and butterflies, relax, you are still as earthfriendly as before. Maybe for weeding sake you should consider some wintersowing too.

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  19. Thanks for the tip recent Anon. commenter :) What do you mean by "pavement for grass"?
    And regarding the winter sowing of rye, do you mean as a ground cover amongst the flowers and bushes in lieu of mulch?

    thanks, I love learning new things :) I will look it up!


    xoAnna

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  20. I live in Brooklyn, and can say this about the past week: we hardly felt the earthquake (especially those who happened to be on the subway at the time), and NYC Office of Emergency Management is doing an admirable job of enforcing precautionary measures that will hopefully minimize any damage. Not that that is stopping anyone in my house from worrying, but ... well.

    I'm spending my day cooking and sewing up some receiving blankets, and feeling rather glad I have no other public responsibilities. My thoughts are with the First Responders, hoping they're able to stay out of harm's way.

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  21. Don't worry...I think you raised her right. She'll take shelter if need be ;)

    I once removed a bunch of grass by renting a sod removed. Crazy tools, but they really work! Then blast whatever crops up with straight vinegar, and you can't go wrong!

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  22. Hi Anna, to plant a winter ground cover will give you control over what grows in that empty soil. But you will need to deal with those plants come spring. They can be pulled out or rototilled in to the soil. My best source for new plants is to ask friends and neighbors that have perennials that you admire for a cutting or chunk of the roots to plant in my yard. Perennials need to be divided anyway.
    Happy Gardening.
    Kathy

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  23. Worrying is a mother thing--at least, my mum does it all the time. But I hope she is safe.
    Also, we {me & mum} were in Amsterdam earlier this week and went into a brilliant quilitng shop called Bird Blocks--where she stocked your books! That really excited me.

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  24. Bridget8:14 AM

    I am in love with that art student tote. So awesome. Can't wait to make it!

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  25. Please put something under the "legs" of your swing to help keep them from rusting.
    what bossy readers you have !

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  26. Mary Jo, thanks for the advise, just today I was thinking that I might set some flat stones under all legs...

    bossy is fine~ angry, offensive and mean-spirited is not :)

    xo, Anna

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  27. I'm very much a late comer to your blog, but I'm so glad I found it! I am in love with the colourful felt garland and am going to make one as soon as go and buy some more felt! Thanks for a lovely read and many more to come!

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  28. Your writing always slays me! You have such a way with words, I guess you could write about portapotties and it would be fun :)
    My husband is a dealer of all types of grass seed...I'm very allergic to grass...go figure...tell 'ol anonymous ROUNDUP is a fun toy. I've always wanted to spell out a message in a neighbor's yard LOL. Find out where anon lives ;)
    no...i wouldn't...

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  29. Do you know when the art student tote pattern will be available. I want to buy it. Yesterday.

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  30. hahaha Erica- :)

    It should be ready from the printers any day now- stay tuned! The suspense is killing me !

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  31. every bit of that post was FUN! keep up the blah-blah-blah. lovin' it.

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