Of Potatoes and Bookcases

What do potatoes and bookcases have in common?

I just love this sweet potato print by Elise Towle Snow of Argyle Whale.

Back to the riddle…

Well as far as I know not much but bookcases can make a great place to plant potatoes.  Traditionally, potatoes are grown in home gardens in mounds.  Mounds can take up quite a bit of space and can be a bit unwieldy. Potatoes can also be grown in old tires but concerns about chemicals leaching into the soil I am growing in worry me.

Then it hit me, I had an older bookcase that would serve has a great place to grow potatoes!

All you need is a bookcase with selves spaced fairly far apart, soil, and seed potatoes. If  you are reusing a bookshelf that has paint or stain that maybe be unsafe make sure to paint a few coats of safe paint over the old paint to prevent the old paint from potentially leaching chemicals into your soil.

It is a bit late to be planting potatoes but with all the rain this is one of the first times it has been dry enough to get out in the garden. Gardeners up north can still get in on the potato fun and those in the south you have time to scope out yard sales and thrift shops to find the perfect bookcase and get it prepped.

First, lay your bookcase down on it’s side and add a bit of compost or soil to the bottom- about 2-3 inches.

This is what the space between the shelves will look like.  If you shelves are super deep add a bit more soil so that your potatoes will be a bit closer to the top of the bookcase and won’t be to shaded.

Now you need a prepared seed potato.  I cut mine in half leaving plenty of potato and two started eyes. You can cut your potato in half a few days before you plant them to give the cut side a bit of time to dry to reduce the chance of rotting.

Set your seed potato in the soil cut side down.  The compartments in my book shelf are big enough that I put on seed potato on each side.

See this is how I did it…

Then add just enough soil to cover all by the very tippy tops of the potato sprouts.

As your plants begin to grow they will look like the one below.  This potato plant  is a volunteer from a potato I accidentally left in the soil from last years harvest.

As the plant continues to grown keep adding more soil,  covering all of the plant and surrounding area with soil.  Just leave 2 or so inches of leaf above the soil line.  I keep mounds my plants until the soil is about 1 inch from the top of the compartment. As an added bonus many potato plants have beautiful flowers and lovely foliage.

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Mother’s Day

Around here the general rule of thumb is that you can plant the tender seedling like tomatoes out in the garden Mother’s day weekend. This weekend didn’t disappoint, we spent a good part of the time getting our hands dirty in the garden and spreading lots of mulch.

My seedlings made their big journey to their summer home in the raised beds.  I have lovingly coddled them indoors for 6 weeks now but they are ready to spread their leaves and grow.

The oregano is already being unruly.  I think it has benefited the most from our super saturated spring.

My sweet little ones also picked out the perfect flowers for me.  I hung the basket near the garlic patch and even got to try out the glass toadstool aqua globe waterer that Stella gave to me last year. She was so pleased with the gifts she gave both old and new.  I’m sure my beautiful plant will be pleased in a few weeks when I forget to water it!

Don’t worry not all of Mother’s day weekend was spent “working”.  We also enjoyed a lovely brunch with my family and them a “Mom’s Only” shopping trip for my mom and I.  That was such a treat, getting to shop without playing hide and seek in thhe clothing racks of the store!

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Happy New Years!

Happy New Years!

Today we are celebrating our son Elliot’s 3rd birthday & the promise of an exciting & bright New Year!  Isn’t that chandler above just beautiful? To me it looks like it belongs in a swanky ballroom where on New Years  a glamorous couple would kiss at the stroke of midnight while holding delicate flutes of champagne.

However, in reality it is in the lobby of our little local pizza parlor that my kids lovingly call “Pizza Train”. The highlight of our dining experience at “Pizza Train” is that there is a model train that brings your drinks to your table.  Little guy was so excited about his birthday lunch that he even wore his conductors cap for the occasion.

Here he is clutching the birthday note that the train brought to him.

There were no glamorous champagne moments on our New Years Eve just a bit of toy painting, some yummy snacks, and some comfy couch cuddling with my sweetie.  I wouldn’t trade our simple New Years for anything,  though.

A new year is upon us! I hope that everyone has a peaceful and productive new year full of joy and love!

What is your New Years resolution? Share yours with us in the comments.

You can read about mine over at Inhabitots!

Posted in Holidays, crafting, family, weekends | 2 Comments

{this moment} Pony love

{this moment} A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link here to your moment and join in at Soulemama.

(I’m not sure who was prouder.  Stella for riding her first pony by herself, or me her former horseback riding instructor mom!)

Posted in Autumn, Children, family, local, memories, weekends, {this moment} | 2 Comments

Another Chapter

Today begins the third decade of my life.  In thirty years I have accomplished so much and have ended up on a path I could not have foreseen.  Life is truly amazing, though sometimes we are too busy and to caught up in the moment to fully appreciate it.

My mother called me last night and we chatted about my birth. I love hearing about our birth story. She recounted how she went into labor on Sunday morning and how I didn’t make my appearance until over 48 hours later.  I’ve never been particularly punctual, at least I have been consistent in this throughout my life.

I was born the day Ronald Reagan was elected, she blames me for not being able to do her civic duty that day.  I pointed out she should have had the forethought to vote via absentee ballot. In turn she points out that I was five days overdue. I guess she wins.

I enjoy hearing about how my grandparents came and visited me.  She remembers the small details about who held me and in what order, and even tells me the story of the quarter found by her mother in the hallway of the hospital.  I still have that quarter, in its special envelop with my grandmothers careful handwriting on it

In fact, while I was working on this post my mother called  to tell  that at this time 30 years ago my father went with me down to the NICU where I stayed for 3 days. I was ornery from the start, the nurses couldn’t keep an IV in me.  She recounts the bili lights, the numerous attempts and sites for IVs, and the little gown I went home in.

I need to write these memories down because eventually one or both of our memories will begin to fade, though I suspect that birth stories are one of the last memories that grow dim.

This is a meaningful and true birthday tradition for our family.  I have started the same tradition with my own daughter, our story is very different but it is ours.

The flowers above were picked by Stella when m mother took her out shopping. They are so perfect.

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! We hope that everyone has a safe and magical evening!

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Wands, helicopters, toys oh my!

The shop is hopping this morning!  A flotilla of helicopters are in the works.  A huge box of toys bound for my wonderful editor is packed and awaiting its chauffeured ride to the post office.  You know that the holidays are not to far off when we have a heap of wands ready to go!

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{this moment} Fall Fairy

{this moment} A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link here to your moment and join in at Soulemama.

I hope you have a fabulous fall weekend (or spring for those of you in the southern hemisphere)!

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Fabric Acorn Tutorial

One of my favorite little bits of autumn are acorns. I love acorns in all sorts of fashions, from these sweet felted acorns from Sewn Natural

to this lovely acorn necklace (which is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry) from Bulls Eye Beads

The kids and I enjoy collecting acorn tops during our nature walks and park outings.  We have amassed quite the collection so I decided it was time to do some acorn crafting.

All you will need to make your own cute fabric acorns is:

acorn tops

stuffing such as wool roving or poly fill





First you will need to trace a circle on you fabric.  The size of circle you will need will depending on teh size of your acorn caps. I used medium sized caps and made a 3.5 inch circle. You might want to play around with some scrap fabric to find the perfect size for your caps.

Next cut out the circle and then add a running stitch around the edge of the circle.

Now add a bit of stuffing to the middle of the circle.

Next draw the thread around the circle closed and secure the acorn body with a few stitches across the top.

Find the right acorn cap for your new acorn body.  When you find the perfect match add a bit glue in the cap and secure the body to the cap.  Allow you caps to dry and then decorate away!

Add them to your autumn center piece, put a few in a wreath or just add them to your nature table. I’d love to see the acorns you make, please feel free to link to an pictures you take of them in the comments!  HappyAcorn Making!

Posted in Autumn, Tutorial, crafting | 9 Comments

The last of the apples

Last week we enjoyed our yearly Autumn visit to the picturesque Anderson Orchard. For the first time we went at the end of the season and only Golden Delicious were left on the trees. I have to say though that the Golden Delicious surely lived up to their name and were miles apart from their grocery store bought cousins.

Little arms? No problem!

At the orchard they also grow chestnuts.  Unfortunately, we were too late for chestnut season but we did happen upon this chestnut burr.

A snapshot that perfect sums up the beauty of an Indiana autumn afternoon.

Posted in Children, family, local | 2 Comments