May Gray 2019

Some happenings in May..

Me Made May! It’s been so inspiring to see so many #memademay creations on instagram. I’m really jealous of everyone who has a handmade wardrobe to wear throughout the month. I was able to contribute three items to this months sewing challenge.

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Firstly I made my mom the Vera Slouch Bag by Sotak Patterns. I LOVE this bag. It’s my second one, and I fully admit that while making it I thought about keeping it for myself! But I sent it to mum and she loved it.

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My second #memademay was the Agave Skirt from Deer and Doe Patterns. I used a gorgeous Nani Iro linen from Cotteneer and a simple muslin lining. Due to this skirt being asymmetrical, I had a hard time getting the pieces to line up. I ripped out ALOT. In the end I’m pretty happy with it - and the fabric is stunning!

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And my last minute third #memademay is the lovely Belladonna dress from Deer and Doe Patterns. For this dress I used a beautiful linen/cotton from Blackbird Fabrics. I jumped on this linen as soon as I saw it posted online, and I’m so glad I did because it’s so perfect. I initially intended it to be for a different pattern but when I saw it in person I realized it would be perfect for this dress. I absolutely love it.

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Other happenings in May… POTATOES!

Potatoes might be my favorite thing to grow. This was my first time, and I bought a few seed potatoes from Irish Eyes Garden Seeds late last year. I quickly learned that buying seed potatoes is COMPETITIVE. Most of their potatoes were sold out by the time I looked. I managed to get three varieties - organic elfe, russet norkotah and organic purple majesty. I made a homemade potato bag out of landscape fabric and planted the seed potatoes in January, watered and watched them grow! As leaves popped up, I covered them with more and more soil. Here is a really great guide to growing potatoes from one of my favorite California gardeners: Homestead and Chill.

In late April the leaves started to die, and after it seemed like most of them had perished I waited (rather impatiently) another 2 weeks before harvesting. Then, we dumped out the bag of dirt and went on a potato treasure hunt! We ended up with 40 potatoes, from 9 seed potatoes. Not bad! We promptly sliced some up for dinner and agreed they were the best potatoes we’ve ever had. Sadly, I don’t think we can grow another round, since it will get warmer here shortly. But next year I’m already planning on making more landscape bags for even more potatoes.

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Other happenings in the garden - some flowers started to bloom. I planted a Marigold variety which turned into stunning blooms, as well as my little patch of buckwheat.

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My wildflower square is growing like crazy - and we had one purple poppy bloom this month, but I’m sure everything else will be blooming shortly. My favorite part about these stunning purple poppies are the small dots of purple on their leaves - which seems to distinguish them from their more well known orange siblings.

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And finally, what’s for dinner? Southern Italian food! This past month I’ve been cooking from Katie Parla’s Food of the Italian South. We managed to eat our way through 12 recipes. Our favorites were the Ciatielli con Pulielo (Cavatelli with tomato and wild mint pesto), Pollo alla Potentina (Potenza style chicken with herbs and wine), Patate Raganate (homegrown! crispy potatoes with onions and parmiagiano reggiano), Brodetto di Pesce alla Termolese (Termoli-style fish soup) and the showstopper Focaccia Pugliese (olive and tomato focaccia).

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I loved cooking from this book. My mother’s side of the family is from the Naples region so it was fun to discover all these southern italian dishes, and see a few I already knew! All in all, it was spectacular!

That’s it for May!

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Superbloom 2019

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Thanks to all the rain we had this past winter here in LA, the mountains turned extremely green and everything has been blooming out of control. We’ve been to the poppy fields in Antelope Valley numerous times over the years, but this year with the excitement over the super bloom it seemed impossible that we would make it there.

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As fortune would have it, we both ended up with a day off on Good Friday. We decided to risk it, hoping that many would be out of town, and did we luck out!

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The hills all around us were covered in orange. It was so bright it looked as if someone sprinkled orange dust everywhere. I’ve always found poppies to be really hard to photograph, especially when there are so many. I found a lot of my shots were blown out, and I did some major editing afterwards in Lightroom to bring down the exposure and tone down the orange just enough to get definition back into the flower.

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Another highlight for me is all the other wildflowers mixed in amongst the poppies. I wish I knew their names, but this year I found a few purple flowers, some yellow and the most stunning of all, a bright white ball of petals. When I saw this flower I immediately knew it was something special. It looked like your typical blow away weed but the light really hits this flower in a spectacular way and it stood out to me from a distance. Upon a closer look each petal looks like a perfectly striped bow. 

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Next year I will definitely be looking for blow wives seeds to add to our garden.

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