March 30, 2011

New Spring Project On The Horizon

I've been buying fabric. I buy it with projects in mind and then never get around to making what I intended EXCEPT for this fabric. I fully intend to make new spring pillow covers for my front porch chairs sooner than later so be on the lookout. This happens to be a really inexpensive way for me to freshen up my outdoor space on the front porch each season. $25 for four new covers with embellishments and all. I can't beat the savings even if I were to find some really great sales at an outlet store somewhere.

I've also got some exciting news. My workspace was featured today on Tatertots & Jello so I must say that made my day and brought a smile to my face and I definitely needed that so thank you Jen at TT&J.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

March 29, 2011

Seedlings - 4 Weeks Old

Thyme Spent in The Garden

Hello, I wanted to pop in to let you see my "grow-my-own" progress. I love seeing the subtle changes in each plant variety each day as they mature but you can really see major changes when you look at them from week-to-week.
The Coleus-Versa is starting to show it's color variations in a big way. I've got 15 of these little beauties all doing quite well.

Here's the Petunia-Bacopa blend. I love how both of these plants grow so well nestled together.

The Wave Petunias in White and Salmon are getting some size to them.

These wee sprouts are Ground Cherries. I've read that they produce small yellow/orange fruit that look like tomatoes but taste like strawberries. I'll let you know once I see the fruit first-hand and taste them.

The Gourmet Rainbow Peppers, Yummy Peppers and Jalapeno Peppers are starting to show some size.  They take a bit longer to germinate than a tomato seed does. I hope they produce a lot of beautiful, fruit for me this summer.

There are probably at least 70-80 tomato plants growing in my little greenhouse. Eight different varieties that I can't wait to harvest. They are getting pretty big and I think I may have to transplant them into larger containers soon. Maybe I need another greenhouse. This planting stuff is so much fun!

Are you going to grow anything this year from seed?

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

March 24, 2011

New Small Business Website Snapshot

Here's a snapshot of my, latest and greatest, graphic design project. Still a few tweaks to come but for the most part it is complete. You can visit the site by clicking here. Watkins has been a wonderful company to work with and based on what their clients say they're a fabulous company to have working for you. If you have a corporate space, business or residential area that needs to be pristine don't hesitate to give them a call or shoot them an email.

If you're in need of a small business or organization website, blog or etsy banner or my absolute favorite print work visit my site here. I'd love to put an estimate together for you.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

March 22, 2011

Seedlings - 3 Weeks Old

Thyme Spent In The Garden

Today at The Nester she is hosting a link party about taking risks. This greenhouse and seed starting supply purchase was a risk for me. My thoughts were, "If this doesn't work out, I've just wasted a sum of money and I'll have to buy the plants from the nursery anyways." So far so good my seeds have sprouted and they're on there third week. If things keep going as planned I will save money. Have you taken any risks lately?

It seems as though the only things I'm able to post about lately are my graphics projects or my plant starting venture. Once I get my graphic design projects crossed off, making my clients happy, I will be back posting at full capacity. (smile) Until then, here are a few photo's from my little green house.
Look at all of my tomatoes. They are coming along quite nicely. What are those pieces of newspaper doing amongst the plants you ask? Well, a few seeds haven't germinated so I went ahead and popped a few more in. Tomatoes do not need light to germinate and I read in a tomato growing guide to cover them with newspaper. So there you have it.

Here's a close-up of a couple tomato plants.

 ... and an heirloom cucumber plant. These grew really fast.
Note to self: Plant a little later in the spring for growing season 2012.

These are the Coleus Versa. If you look closely you can see some of the leaves already showing color.

And last but not least my sweet little Baby Petunia, Bacopa mix. They are tiny right now but when they reach full maturity they will be cascading, waves of fancy color. That is my hope anyway. I've got a few more plant varieties in the green house. Maybe I'll share those next week.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

March 16, 2011

Package Design and Worship

I'm going to give you a sneak peak at one of the graphic design projects I've been working on.

Tyrone Powell, Worship Leader Extraordinaire contracted me to design the packaging for his newest project, "Present Day Thirst". You will be able to purchase his CD from his website, in the very near future.

Here is a snapshot of the cover as it stands now.

I have had the privilege of knowing Tyrone for about 8 years now and being part of an amazing worship team for roughly five of those eight years. I truly miss every minute and I truly miss my fellow worshipers from that praise team. One of them has gone on to heaven to be with our Heavenly Father. When you sing and worship with people there is a connection that takes place and I believe you are forever joined to those people. I guess it's because you share common experiences. Whatever the reason I am truly blessed to know each one of them.

The following YouTube video was posted by Tyrone and I'm passing it along to my readers. The sound isn't fab but it's a small snippet of my time on that team and I will forever be grateful. You can see more of Tyrone on YouTube just by typing in his name on the YouTube site.


Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

March 15, 2011

Spring Is Upon Us - Seedlings

Thyme Spent In The Garden

I took this photo this past weekend because I loved the way the sky looked. The spring and fall sky share similar characteristics and I always love the contrast of a dark sky against the wood line.

I'm going to update you on my little greenhouse venture and I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised.

The really tall seedlings are lemon, heirloom cucumber. They will produce round, yellow fruit that are supposed to be great fresh or for pickling. Time will tell. I'll keep you informed.

Here is my sea of tomato seedlings. I planted the following heirloom variety: Giant Oxheart, Brandywine, Pineapple, Mortgage Lifter & Aunt Ruby's German Green. I also tried these hybrids: Viva Italia Hybrid, Chocolate Cherry & Burbee Supersteak. I love tomatoes. We eat a lot in this household between homemade salsa and a variety of salads and pasta dishes. I plan to learn how to can this year so I can have an entire winters worth of my own homegrown tomatoes for my family.

I also purchased arugula, spinach, eggplant, squash, beans, yummy peppers, jalapeno peppers, gourmet rainbow peppers and sweet pea seeds. I'm considering trying to grow broccoli as well.

Now onto my flower starters. I spend lots of money each spring filling hanging baskets and window boxes with my local nursery purchases. While that's good for the local nurseries it's not great for our pocketbook. However I believe that it's well worth the money spent but I thought I'd try my hand at starting a few flower varieties myself.

Here's the start of my outdoor flowers. I really hope I have success with growing my own. My husband will be thrilled at the cost savings if this works out. I always add sweet potato vine to my hanging baskets but was unable to find seeds for them so I may still have to purchase those. I started three varieties of petunia's a white, a salmon and a fuschia. The fuschia is combined with bacopa which is a small, white, trailing, flower.

I also started 15 Coleus Versa (which means they should be good in the sun and in the shade). Coleus are the beautiful, variegated, multi-colored foliage that you see in landscapes and pots. They can get up to 2 feet tall and really full and lush. I'll probably add these to my porch pots and landscape. The colors are a mixed bag so we'll see what I get.

I also saved seeds from my vines last year.

These seeds are from the purple hyacinth bean vine. The seeds remind me of little chickadees. I'll be planting several of these. Some for my yard and some for the Ashland Strawberry Faire. Our Community Garden is taking root this year and we are raising money for things like compost and wood to build raised beds. A portion of the garden will be used to grow fresh produce for our area's Food Bank. We will be selling plants and baked goods so come out and see us on June 4th.

I also harvested Moonflower seeds. Don't they look like little kernels of corn? I will do the same with these, plant some for my yard and plant for our booth at the Ashland Strawberry Faire.

I love working with plants. I'm still learning but what better way to learn than hands-on. If you're considering starting some of your own plants go for it! It is very gratifying to watch them sprout.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

March 9, 2011

My Workspace & A Sweet Way to Display

Winsome Wednesday

I'm sharing a few pictures of my workspace as it is currently. This room happens to be my favorite room in the house as far as the decor goes. It's even higher up on the list since my new office chair arrived. I've got bare walls but not without a plan. There are some gorgeous, original prints from an artist friend of mine that I have to get framed and they will fill the wall space on each side of my office cabinet quite nicely. I also want to install a chandelier and build some white shelving for the wall to the left of my desk. I keep thinking that maybe purchasing some larger bookshelves might be a better option because I can take the shelves with if we move. I also read that built-ins don't really add much to the value of a home when considering resale. However, with built-ins I can add shelving across the top of the doorway and I can't achieve that with bookshelves. Decisions, decisions, decisions....

Here's a close-up of the beautiful chair I spotted in Ballard Design at the turn of the year. It works so well in my space with its whitewash finish and soft, buttery, camel colored leather with nail head trim. It makes me happy to have my tush resting in it each day. Don't you just love my lifestyle models. I couldn't have found any better from a modeling agency.

I thought I'd share a sweet little project with my readers. I purchased this simple wooden tray at a craft store. It happened to be on clearance. I then re-sized and cropped a photo of my two oldest children and had it printed at a local print shop on a heavy, white stock. The "Making Memories" verbiage is a copper colored vinyl that I ordered from Uppercase Living®. I made sure to order it with the adhesive on the top of the letters. Then I headed to my home improvement store and had them cut a piece of plexi to fit the tray. Tip: Bring your tray in and have the person doing the cutting, measure the tray too. That way the measurements are correct and it may save you extra trips to correct a mistake. I put the vinyl lettering on the underside of the plexi so I could easily clean the top of the tray and not worry about the letters peeling up. Voila... an instant keepsake and a way to display family photo's a little differently.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

WhisperWood Cottage

p.s. I'm excited to report that my "Front Door Decor" is featured at Sugar and Dots today! Check it out!

March 8, 2011

Starting Plants From Seed - Just Add Water

Thyme Spent In The Garden

My garden order from Jung Seeds was delivered Saturday morning. I was thrilled to see those boxes sitting in my entryway when I returned from a day of outlet shopping with a few of my friends.

This is my first year starting plants from seed aside from herbs, lettuce and vines. I'm really anxious and nervous because it's all trial and error and if it doesn't work out then I just wasted moola and I don't like waste, especially in this economy.

This is what I'm starting my seeds with. They are Jiffy 7 seed starters. Just add water and they expand. The little pucks of seed starting mixture are self contained in netting that will dissolve when planted in the earth. I've learned that when starting seeds you need a sterile potting mix. The other options for starting your own seeds are to purchase plastic pots along with a bag mix. The upside to that option is that you have the pots forever but you need to sterilize them each planting season. If you're going to start very few seeds that's probably the best, cost saving option. If you want to start a lot of seeds there is the option I'm showing or you can also purchase peat pots. With peat pots you need to buy a sterile potting mix as well. I opted for these Jiffy 7 seed starters. The nutrient rich, sterile, potting mix is already in place and that saved me some time.

Then I had the dilemma of where to start the seeds. I purchased this little greenhouse that was originally going to be placed on our deck but after reading about seed starting I quickly realized I needed lots of warmth.

So the greenhouse sits right in front of our back door where it can get as much direct sunlight as possible. Some seeds don't need direct sunlight to germinate and some do. It's really important to read each seed packet carefully. I made the mistake of planting all my seeds the exact same way and then I read one of my flower seed packets. It read, "sow seed on top of soil" it needs direct sunlight to germinate. They happened to be $5 for 8-15 seeds and I had 4 of those. I got a little "sowing happy" thinking they all needed the same thing. Not so! Hard lesson learned. Here's where the anxiety comes in. I hate waste! Now, do I take a chance and hope they germinate anyways or do I hurry up and order some more so they sprout and grow in time for my front porch containers this spring? That is the question of the hour. I think I'll be ordering some more. Timing is of utmost importance when growing your own. The plants need to go in the ground by a certain time in order to harvest by a certain time. What must farmers go through every year?

I ordered a wide variety of seeds. I didn't want to go easy on myself with this being the first year of truly gardening and starting my own plants from seed. Why would I do that? I needed to do this in true "Jenny fashion", all or nothing! That's how I roll! It's who I am, it's in my genetic makeup. Just ask my handsome hubby! He'll tell it to you straight!

I ordered seven varieties of tomatoes, five of which are heirloom. Three different types of peppers, yellow squash, heirloom cucumber, eggplant, arugula, corn salad (it said gourmet, and sweet and buttery, I hope it is), spinach, a variety of flowers and then with this order I received a free packet of ground cherry seeds. They say they grow like a tomato but are sweet like a strawberry. I look forward to giving that a whirl.

I pray this is a gratifying experience and that I don't give myself an anxiety attack worrying about each little seed. Stay tuned. I'll be sharing my failures and successes with this gardening endeavor.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

March 3, 2011

front door decor

It has been a while since I last posted. I've been busy with a handful of graphic design projects and when I try to blog and take care of client work I get really stressed. I've still got some print jobs and a web project I'm working to complete but in the meantime I thought I'd pop in and share my new door decor with my lovely readers.

Remember this post? I shared with you some of the elements used to create my piece de resistance.

To make this twist on a wreath I purchased a large, three dimensional letter and wrapped the entire thing in 3-ply jute using hot glue, making sure to pull tightly. I didn't want any loose jute. Loose jute wouldn't be good. I'm sure you would agree.

I fashioned some little birds out of fimo clay. There needed to be two little birds, one to represent my handsome hubby and one to represent the lady of the house and that would be me. The small nest was created using jute, twigs and green moss and I stitched it onto the lovely branch that I found on one of the walks I take with my kidlet's on nice, sunny days. The three, little, wooden eggs and the barn wood frame were purchased at a local craft store and then painted pale blue. I don't think I need to explain why there are three little eggs but just in case, each one is a stand-in for my GREGARIOUS children.

I was lucky to find wide ribbon that matched the paint exactly and it is attached to the back of the frame using hot glue and staples. I used the bright, apple green, grosgrain ribbon in the piece because it coordinates with the bistro set on the front porch but it also provides a nice pop of color and an additional touch of whimsy.

The welcome sign is actually three pieces of textured, card stock layered one on top of the other and then stitched together using my sewing machine. The three layers will provide stability when the wind starts to blow. I attached safety pins to each corner and then to that some more jute so it could hang nicely from the little tree branch. The letters are actually black vinyl leftover from my days as an Uppercase Living® representative. That was short lived. I don't do well with home show sales. I hate pressuring people to buy stuff and home business sales require aggressive measures in order to be successful.

The letters are actually cut out of a plethora of individual words. Patience I tell you, patience but doesn't it look like the birds could have actually put the sign together themselves using individual letters from the local newspaper. LOL They also stand out much better than an ink jet print would have. All in all I'm happy with the final product. I wanted a fun twist on a traditional wreath and I think I succeeded in delivering just that.

On a side note: There's Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine's Day and then Girl Scout Cookie Season. Just to list a few stumbling blocks to weight loss. I know you can relate. I'm just saying my New Year's resolutions don't begin until after Girl Scout Cookie Season.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.
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