Saturday, April 13, 2024

Sew and Sow - Well, Almost!

It was a busy and beautifully clear spring week here in the Salt Lake Valley! Everything is greening up and the trees are bursting with pink and white blossoms everywhere. I got a few pictures and things hung on the walls of our new condo (“few” being the operative word), we got the internet and cable all set up, the title company and the HOA got everything cleared up and all funds applied, and we got busy setting up the garage (Bruce) and courtyard/garden (me). Pictures later in the post. 

And I got some sewing time!! This week I concentrated on sewing blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I finished my 11 crumb blocks for RSC’s Purple March

…as well as the purple scrap column. I don’t think I’ve shown these before, but each column is roughly 4” wide and 58-60” long. I’ll just keep making these in various colors, and neutrals too, until I have enough to sew up into a decent-sized donation quilt. 

So then I moved back to yellow, April’s color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I got four 8” (finished size) blocks done. I have the stars blocks all cut out and ready to sew, as well as my yellow strings for the coming week. I’ll be in a good position to get more sewing time in next week as each week progresses and our household moving and settling chores lessen.

Our family contractor decided he doesn’t have the time or “bandwidth” to tackle our kitchen remodeling project. His late wife (our Cousin Carrie) passed away three months ago from cancer. We didn’t know if keeping busy would be a blessing or a hardship for him, so we totally support and respect his choice not to take it on. We do have a connection to an electrician, and we will start there, adding the necessary fixtures and lighting to the kitchen and two bathrooms first. It will give us time to research design professionals for cabinets and countertops. And then will come the painter, and lastly the flooring. All things in time. I hope we can be done by autumn. Time will tell.

I do have some pictures of our courtyard to share with you. It’s a much more manageable size for us than the old house was with a big patio, 8+ grow boxes, lawns, flower beds, etc etc. 

After collecting the necessary supplies early in the week, Bruce set out emptying his bins of projects and electronics and Stuff into the cabinets and built-in storage in the garage. He’s getting excited as his workshop in the oversized double garage gets set up!

Meanwhile, I worked on the courtyard. I trimmed down and dug out 3 barberry bushes (sticker-y things), with one more to go. I’m keeping two smaller ones for their color (dark red/maroon), but trimmed them nicely. I got my blackberry canes planted and the rhubarb and irises as well. Then I weeded and mulched the entire area, hung most of our metal art, and put out some decorations. But the biggest project (this all took 2 days) was filling the pots and Greenstalk vertical garden with potting soil, setting it up and testing it. It works like a charm! 

This first picture was taken through one of the living room windows, through the courtyard to the street. You’re looking east, to the mountains, which are more clearly visible when seated in the courtyard. The Japanese maple isn’t leafed out yet, but the pink blossoms are beginning to appear. 

This next picture shows the fresh mulch, trimmed barberry and garden decorations. There is drip irrigation along this side of the courtyard. Back in the corner there near the short wall is where I removed an overgrown barberry and planted the blackberry bush (bare root at this point). There’s a trellis standing along the wall there - hard to see - that will be home to a climbing rose eventually. And I’ll likely plant a few annual flowers along the front edges. 

This next photo was taken from the front door steps and shows the other half of the courtyard entry area. Yes, there’s an old bird’s nest (unoccupied this season) in the tree. Should I leave it or take it down? You can also see where I sawed off one limb of the tree that was sticking out (low and potentially hazardous) over the seating area. This side of the courtyard has sprinklers. In that front corner, I planted some iris rhizomes that I brought along from the old house. 

Next up is a photo of the seating area. We will definitely need to get an umbrella to shade this area. You can see our neighbor’s umbrella in red over the wall. The orientation of our place is such that we have direct sun in the courtyard until about 2:00 in the afternoon, at which time the house begins to create shade as the sun moves in the west. 

There was a big, bawdy barberry bush (awesome alliteration) behind the love seat that met its demise this week. It’s remnants, along with the limb trimmed from the tree, are slowly being chopped and broken up by me to add in to our weekly trash pickup. One more bush to remove - the red thing you see back in the corner. Good riddance! I don’t know what will go along that wall yet. I’ll take this year to study the light patterns and decide next year. But there is one sweet bleeding heart bush there, which makes me so happy because I had one at the old house. 

You can see the Greenstalk vertical garden there on its spinning base. There are five tiers of six pockets (10” deep) for a total of 30 planting pockets. I filled all the tiers with soil. What you can’t see is the white watering tray between each layer. The very top is the watering bowl that you fill with water. Then the water flows down to the five white trays on each tier. There are holes in those trays for the water to drip out into each planting pocket. So ingenious! I need to wait another couple weeks before it’s safe to begin planting, but I have lots of seeds - basil, cilantro, lettuce, CARROTS!!, spinach, rosemary, and more. And I’ll add some strawberry plants, and flowers as well. Our bigger Talavera pots will house tomatoes and flowers. 

Here’s a close-up of the Greenstalk. The base not only spins, but I can move the whole unit on wheels to chase (or avoid) the sun or foot traffic patterns. 

This will be an easy garden for us to maintain and scale down if necessary as we age. And the lady in charge of HOA gardening for our condo complex has already asked me to provide some of my (presumably planted) Talavera pots for the Cinco de Mayo dinner next month! 

Next week I hope to have some interior pictures to share. Many of them will be “before” shots - like my 1979 kitchen. But the process of making things our own is part of the fun, isn’t it? I hope you’ll be along for the whole process!

See you next week, friends! (And I’ll try to do a better job of answering comments next week! xo


  1. Lovely space! yes a big umbrella will probably be needed I bet. I like that container garden - good idea for a small space.

  2. Thank you for the tour! You are losing no time settling in and making the place your own.

  3. P.S. I like your purple and yellow projects, too.

  4. A nice mixture of sewing and gardening for you this week. So pleased to see your Tavalera will be a big part of your new garden, i love those pots, never seen anything like them before I started following your blog. Super blocks too.

  5. That's a really nice outdoor space, Cathy! I bet you two will really enjoy it. The Greenstalk garden is fascinating! Did you use it at the old house or get it specifically for this one? Have a great week filled with sewing, gardening, and whatever else comes your way!

  6. What a lovely seating area you have there--making it "your own" must be lots of fun--love that vertical green garden spot--nice choice....Your purple "thanks" are looking good...;)))
    hugs, Julierose

  7. Congratulations on your move! Your courtyard looks wonderful. And you know my take on a 1979 kitchen-- takeout all the time! Good luck getting everything set up just how you want it.

  8. I’m sure the Greenstalk planter will be well used. I hope it works well too, I had never seen anything like it til now! I could maybe use something like that! 🤔 Good for you on your sewing. I’m fighting with a backing this week’

  9. You are making a lot of progress and even found time to sew. Your courtyard looks very inviting and will look even better when the plantings fill in.

  10. Your courtyard space is really nice. And that vertical garden is so clever. I've never seen one quite like that. I'm glad you have been able to sew as I'm guessing it's a good stress reliever. And there is nothing quite like moving to cause stress.

  11. How fun to have a new space to call your own. Sounds like the transition is proceeding perfectly. Love your courtyard. I predict many enjoyable hours out there!

  12. You have done such a lot in your garden/seating area already! It looks great.


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