Saturday, July 19, 2014

Halloween related stuff: Yes I know it's only July. (Crafts, shopping, and related thoughts)

I saw Halloween merchandise in a store yesterday.
And I got really excited!

I was in Michael's, looking for supplies for an altered art project for a swap I'm participating in, and saw that there were some random bits of Halloween merchandise on a few end caps around the store. Not a lot, but enough to get me excited. Because Halloween is my favorite holiday. And knowing it's coming up means that the weather *will* eventually be cooling off. Which is even more of a reason to get excited.

Usually I'm happy to wait until the beginning of September before thinking much about Halloween though. But I had a reason to take notice this year.

The main reason why I was looking around in Michael's was to find supplies for an altered Halloween themed shadow box swap I'm participating in. You take a shadow box with compartments (or take the open kind and make compartments in it) and decorate the individual compartments. Some are deeper and have more objects in them. Some are shallower and use more scrapbook or papercrafting kinds of techniques. Mine is going to be on the shallower side I believe and a blend of papercraft and objects. The person I'm crafting for wants something Goth and spooky/creepy/scary. I had an idea and went through all of my craft supplies and pulled out everything I thought would work with it so I can go from there. I also ordered a few key pieces of creepy embellishments for it, and they should be here next week. I've got about 6 weeks to finish gathering supplies and putting it together. There are a couple very specifically Halloween things I want to use on it and I will just have to wait before they show up in stores. But things like colored paper, paint, inks, etc... can be bought whenever, so I figured I might as well pick up what I need as I can find it that way I'm not rushing around like mad trying to source it all and put it together at the last minute.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Blueberry harvest #1 for Spring 2014

These are the first blueberries of the year from my blueberry bushes. The amount picked came to just over a pint. There are about a pint and a half left on the four bushes, waiting to ripen (by my estimate at least). 

I grow the Rabbiteye type of blueberry bushes. I have one each of four varieties: Climax, Tifblue, Powderblue, and Premier. This picking had some berries from all the bushes. Two of them had some berry loss when we had a very hot weekend while I was sick and I wasn't able to go out and water. Since I grow them in containers, it's important that I keep them good and watered, so missing a couple of days during a hot and dry spell was enough to cause the bushes to drop a lot of berries. 

Last year I had a big problem with birds eating the berries when they were ripe, before I had a chance to pick them. But I had a suggestion from a member of a message forum I belonged to, to put out pinwheels to scare the birds away. Well, I didn't have pinwheels, but I had colorful wind spinners that worked just fine at keeping the birds away from the berries. As well as the cherry tomatoes planted next to them. 

I was asked to make a batch of blueberry muffins, so I will be doing that for sure with half of these berries. The rest I'm going to be enjoying as-is or mixed in with some yogurt. Maybe I can find some good low-sugar and lower-carbohydrate recipes to try when the second half of the berries ripen. Maybe some kind of baked crumble with a whole grain topping and sweetened with xylitol or something? 

I'm just happy to actually have enough berries to do things with this year. The previous year the birds got them all, the year before that, the bushes were still too immature to produce much.