A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: May 2013

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31 May 2013

FREE Desktop Calendar Download | June

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Happy {almost} June!  It is SUMMER!


Each month this year, I will be offering a free photo-calendar download for you, complete with dates, a seasonal, original photo and the words I will be focusing on for that month. This month?  Still focusing on pure old beauty...




Instructions: Simply click the link above and it will take you to the download site.  Click the size you want (based on your desktop size) and download.  Save the photo to your desktop or a pictures file where you can easily find it.
Go to Control Panel> Display (or Appearance)> Change Desktop Background and then retrieve the photo where you previously saved it.

Alternative: Go to the link, right click the photo and click "save as desktop background"!!  Easy!

Questions?  Just ask!  ...and make sure you come back for July's new calendar!


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FREE Desktop Calendar Download | June

Pin It

Happy {almost} June!  It is SUMMER!


Each month this year, I will be offering a free photo-calendar download for you, complete with dates, a seasonal, original photo and the words I will be focusing on for that month. This month?  Still focusing on pure old beauty...




Instructions: Simply click the link above and it will take you to the download site.  Click the size you want (based on your desktop size) and download.  Save the photo to your desktop or a pictures file where you can easily find it.
Go to Control Panel> Display (or Appearance)> Change Desktop Background and then retrieve the photo where you previously saved it.

Alternative: Go to the link, right click the photo and click "save as desktop background"!!  Easy!

Questions?  Just ask!  ...and make sure you come back for July's new calendar!


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28 May 2013

DIY Lace Embroidery Hoops -- The Trend Continues!

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DIY Lace Embroidery Hoops is sponsored by Amazon affiliate links.  
Every time you visit Amazon from my site, it helps me continue to provide free content!  Thank you!

This is SUCH a super easy project, but the lace adds a beautiful touch of whimsy when backlit.  (Have you noticed whimsy is one of my theme words for this new baby girl nursery?  I am so into anything that makes her imagination SOAR!)  Back to those hoops though...   

I found these hoops for super cheap at my thrift store's going-out-of-business sale (It was SO exciting, but SO - SO sad y'all!).  I think I bought all of them for around $1.50, including the large oval hoop I used for my butterfly mobile and a few extras that didn't make it into this project.  If you buy them online, they run about $3-5.  Make sure you go for the pretty wooden kind like this one and don't give into the appeal of the cheap prices on the plastic hoops.  Against the lace, the look will just be cheap :/

The only other supply you will need is lace.  I found mine in the remnant fabric bin at WalMart (yes they DO have great things sometimes!) for around a dollar.  I flexed my embroidery hoop art muscles on these girly hoops, using the same lace over a solid blue fabric.  This time around though, I wanted to celebrate the twinkling light that filters through the lace every morning as the sun rises through this particular window.  

All that to say -- basically you need only THREE things and about 10 minutes for this craft.  

Supplies:

Instructions:  

1. Measure lace to be an inch or two wider on all sides from your hoops.

2.  Lay the lace over your bottom hoop (with no screw).



3.  The hoops come in two pieces, two hoops that fit snuggly together.  You simply loosen that screw up top to release them and tighten it to secure the hoops.  Push the LARGER hoop down over your fabric that is OVER the smaller hoop.  Pull very tight and tighten the screw to secure.

4.  Trim the fabric around the back of the hoop.


5.  YOU ARE DONE.  How is that for a quick craft?


Ok, so you are not TOTALLY done.  You still need to hang those puppies!  Simply secure them via fishing line to a curtain rod, hooks or pins in the ceiling or any which way you can.  THEN you are done :) 

 

Want the quick and easy instructions?  Just pin the image below!


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Did you miss any of the posts in our baby girl's nursery?

DIY Lace Embroidery Hoops -- The Trend Continues!

Pin It

DIY Lace Embroidery Hoops is sponsored by Amazon affiliate links.  
Every time you visit Amazon from my site, it helps me continue to provide free content!  Thank you!

This is SUCH a super easy project, but the lace adds a beautiful touch of whimsy when backlit.  (Have you noticed whimsy is one of my theme words for this new baby girl nursery?  I am so into anything that makes her imagination SOAR!)  Back to those hoops though...   

I found these hoops for super cheap at my thrift store's going-out-of-business sale (It was SO exciting, but SO - SO sad y'all!).  I think I bought all of them for around $1.50, including the large oval hoop I used for my butterfly mobile and a few extras that didn't make it into this project.  If you buy them online, they run about $3-5.  Make sure you go for the pretty wooden kind like this one and don't give into the appeal of the cheap prices on the plastic hoops.  Against the lace, the look will just be cheap :/

The only other supply you will need is lace.  I found mine in the remnant fabric bin at WalMart (yes they DO have great things sometimes!) for around a dollar.  I flexed my embroidery hoop art muscles on these girly hoops, using the same lace over a solid blue fabric.  This time around though, I wanted to celebrate the twinkling light that filters through the lace every morning as the sun rises through this particular window.  

All that to say -- basically you need only THREE things and about 10 minutes for this craft.  

Supplies:

Instructions:  

1. Measure lace to be an inch or two wider on all sides from your hoops.

2.  Lay the lace over your bottom hoop (with no screw).



3.  The hoops come in two pieces, two hoops that fit snuggly together.  You simply loosen that screw up top to release them and tighten it to secure the hoops.  Push the LARGER hoop down over your fabric that is OVER the smaller hoop.  Pull very tight and tighten the screw to secure.

4.  Trim the fabric around the back of the hoop.


5.  YOU ARE DONE.  How is that for a quick craft?


Ok, so you are not TOTALLY done.  You still need to hang those puppies!  Simply secure them via fishing line to a curtain rod, hooks or pins in the ceiling or any which way you can.  THEN you are done :) 

 

Want the quick and easy instructions?  Just pin the image below!


Pin It


Did you miss any of the posts in our baby girl's nursery?

23 May 2013

Want fruit? Scrape and Wack the Tree!

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After hard pruning, heavy fertilizing and spraying insecticidal soap, there is one more step to  revitalizing our old apple trees.


SCRAPE and WACK.

Sounds mean, but the old books say it works. We are going to try it, but we are going to try it gently. No use killing the trees after all the work we've put into them, now is there?

First things first, we need to gently scrape the bark. Some recommend chicken wire, some recommend an old hoe. Basically, get something metal and gently scrape away some of the oldest bark. Why? You are ridding the tree of little insects and eggs that have built up over time. If you start to get to the white or green living flesh of the tree, you've gone too far. Just give it a scraping or rubbing like you would a kid after playing on the beach. You don't want to rub their skin raw, but you want to get as much sand off as possible.


Secondly, you get to hit the tree. You know how you kind of wack your kids to get the sand off of them? Ok, no? Well, you know how in Scandinavia they make you jump into ice cold water then hit you all over with branches to get your blood moving and "invigorate" your skin? Still no?

OK, well they do and that is what you are going to do for your old apple tree.

Give it a good whacking along the trunk with a stick. Wake that old girl up and get her ready to produce some fruit!

Questions?  Just ask!

Want fruit? Scrape and Wack the Tree!

Pin It

After hard pruning, heavy fertilizing and spraying insecticidal soap, there is one more step to  revitalizing our old apple trees.


SCRAPE and WACK.

Sounds mean, but the old books say it works. We are going to try it, but we are going to try it gently. No use killing the trees after all the work we've put into them, now is there?

First things first, we need to gently scrape the bark. Some recommend chicken wire, some recommend an old hoe. Basically, get something metal and gently scrape away some of the oldest bark. Why? You are ridding the tree of little insects and eggs that have built up over time. If you start to get to the white or green living flesh of the tree, you've gone too far. Just give it a scraping or rubbing like you would a kid after playing on the beach. You don't want to rub their skin raw, but you want to get as much sand off as possible.


Secondly, you get to hit the tree. You know how you kind of wack your kids to get the sand off of them? Ok, no? Well, you know how in Scandinavia they make you jump into ice cold water then hit you all over with branches to get your blood moving and "invigorate" your skin? Still no?

OK, well they do and that is what you are going to do for your old apple tree.

Give it a good whacking along the trunk with a stick. Wake that old girl up and get her ready to produce some fruit!

Questions?  Just ask!

22 May 2013

Need to Spray? Wait until a RAIN! | How to Revive an Ancient Apple Tree

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Yesterday, we talked about pruning your apple trees to create a vase.  Today we are going to talk about how to make apples look like this:


...instead of this:


Those green apples were the result of our first year of apple tree reviving.  We were able to actually GET apples and they WERE edible (perfect for homemade applesauce!), but they had lots of dimples and brown spot and many, MANY of the apples on the tree shriveled up into little brown balls and were very sad indeed.  The problem?  Pests and disease.  Fruit trees are one of the most susceptible plants to both pests AND disease and  so even in organic gardens, they often need the most help via chemicals.  The first step is to try a basic insectcidal soap to coat the tree with oil, killing soft bodied pests and minimizing disease, but some times stronger chemicals might be necessary, especially in fighting off problems in an old apple tree.

Aside from spraying, we continually round up any of those little brown apples and diseased bits and throw them in the TRASH (not the compost).  Removing them is the very best thing we can do for our tree!

If you DO need to spray, the best time for insecticidal soap and horticultural oil is AFTER a rain when the leaves have water inside and the air is moist outside.   The oils work best when they DRY SLOWLY, so humid and cloudy conditions are best.  HOWEVER, rain itself will wash the oil away, so DO NOT spray BEFORE a rain.  Sunny days are also a no-no because the spray will evaporate before it is able to do the work it needs to do.

So WAIT for the rain and spray AFTER it comes!

Wait until the rain has ceased, but the humidity still hangs in the air.
For this reason, it is best to spray in the morning or evening when the sun's drying rays are not around.

Questions?  Just ask!

Need to Spray? Wait until a RAIN! | How to Revive an Ancient Apple Tree

Pin It

Yesterday, we talked about pruning your apple trees to create a vase.  Today we are going to talk about how to make apples look like this:


...instead of this:


Those green apples were the result of our first year of apple tree reviving.  We were able to actually GET apples and they WERE edible (perfect for homemade applesauce!), but they had lots of dimples and brown spot and many, MANY of the apples on the tree shriveled up into little brown balls and were very sad indeed.  The problem?  Pests and disease.  Fruit trees are one of the most susceptible plants to both pests AND disease and  so even in organic gardens, they often need the most help via chemicals.  The first step is to try a basic insectcidal soap to coat the tree with oil, killing soft bodied pests and minimizing disease, but some times stronger chemicals might be necessary, especially in fighting off problems in an old apple tree.

Aside from spraying, we continually round up any of those little brown apples and diseased bits and throw them in the TRASH (not the compost).  Removing them is the very best thing we can do for our tree!

If you DO need to spray, the best time for insecticidal soap and horticultural oil is AFTER a rain when the leaves have water inside and the air is moist outside.   The oils work best when they DRY SLOWLY, so humid and cloudy conditions are best.  HOWEVER, rain itself will wash the oil away, so DO NOT spray BEFORE a rain.  Sunny days are also a no-no because the spray will evaporate before it is able to do the work it needs to do.

So WAIT for the rain and spray AFTER it comes!

Wait until the rain has ceased, but the humidity still hangs in the air.
For this reason, it is best to spray in the morning or evening when the sun's drying rays are not around.

Questions?  Just ask!

21 May 2013

Want Apples? You Need a Vase! | How to Revive an Ancient Apple Tree

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Yesterday, I brought out my good old-fashioned method for making applesauce, but there is a journey to actually getting those apple trees to PRODUCE said apples. Over the next few days, I will be sharing you my best tips for growing apple trees and share a little of our experience over several years reviving two ancient apple trees.


First things first -- old fruit trees won't produce very well unless the are pruned and have good air circulation.  Ideally, the best time to prune an apple tree is in late winter/early spring, but if you are dealing with an old tree that has a bunch of clustered branches crossing in the interior of the tree, late spring will work!  That tree needs to BREATHE!

When we first moved into our home, we had two old apple trees that were literally just masses of branches.  The apples that year were weak to say the least.  Over the next two years, pruning was top of our to-do list.  This year, we are almost there with this tree closest to the house.  We have taken out 3-4 medium-large branches each year and now we have a nice open middle of the tree -- the "vase".  Pruning more than this might have harmed the tree, so be ruthless with pruning, but stretch it out if the tree is really bad!


See the 6 branches that all face outwards, forming a vase?  
Every branch in the tree now grows outwards so the leaves can get to the sun and apples will grow!
Bring on the blossoms!


Questions?  Just ask!

Want Apples? You Need a Vase! | How to Revive an Ancient Apple Tree

Pin It

Yesterday, I brought out my good old-fashioned method for making applesauce, but there is a journey to actually getting those apple trees to PRODUCE said apples. Over the next few days, I will be sharing you my best tips for growing apple trees and share a little of our experience over several years reviving two ancient apple trees.


First things first -- old fruit trees won't produce very well unless the are pruned and have good air circulation.  Ideally, the best time to prune an apple tree is in late winter/early spring, but if you are dealing with an old tree that has a bunch of clustered branches crossing in the interior of the tree, late spring will work!  That tree needs to BREATHE!

When we first moved into our home, we had two old apple trees that were literally just masses of branches.  The apples that year were weak to say the least.  Over the next two years, pruning was top of our to-do list.  This year, we are almost there with this tree closest to the house.  We have taken out 3-4 medium-large branches each year and now we have a nice open middle of the tree -- the "vase".  Pruning more than this might have harmed the tree, so be ruthless with pruning, but stretch it out if the tree is really bad!


See the 6 branches that all face outwards, forming a vase?  
Every branch in the tree now grows outwards so the leaves can get to the sun and apples will grow!
Bring on the blossoms!


Questions?  Just ask!

19 May 2013

How to Make Homemade Applesauce

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We have a few ancient apple trees in our backyard.  The apples have a slightly sweet taste, with a bit of a tart bite to them.  The problem is that we have not figured out how to care for the trees well enough to keep the apples from being damaged by bugs and birds.  The result is a bunch of apples that don't look very good, but have wonderful taste.


What to do?

Make applesauce!


See how beat up these apples are?  They are absolutely perfect for making applesauce.  In fact, if you are buying apples to make your own homemade applesauce, you will want to ask the farm or orchard for the "seconds".  Those are the apples that have fallen off the trees, apples that fell off the apple cart, or simply apples that aren't perfectly round and unblemished.  They cost less, but make applesauce that tastes just as good!  If you are purchasing apples, try to purchase apples that have a sweeter taste such as Gala, Fugi or even Red Delicious.  You will want to stay away from super tart apples like Granny Smiths.


Give your apples a good rinse and scrubbing, then cut them into big chunks. 
It is not necessary to get rid of all blemishes, but it is a good idea to trim off damaged parts of the apple.  
You don't want to be boiling any worms!


Get all of the apple chunks into a giant bath of water in a large stock pot and put the heat on high.
When the water starts to boil, reduce the heat to low-med and let the apples simmer.
When you can easily stick a fork into them (like boiling potatoes!), they are ready.
Drain them and allow the apples to cool a bit so you won't burn your hands.



Once your apples are cool enough to handle, but still warm enough that the skin peels off easily,
remove the larger peels and put aside the "meat" of the apples.

I ended up using the glass top from a decanter to push the apple meat through a small handheld strainer.
All of these tasks would be much easier with a food processor or juicer.  It can be done with basic equipment though!
I reserved most of the juice from the apples for homemade cider, while straining the pulp into my applesauce bowl.


When you have strained all of the juice and meat of the apples, you can compost the skins, add a little cinnamon and perhaps a bit of sugar to your applesauce and you have a delicious homemade treat!


With your leftover juice, simply add cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of honey to taste and simmer on the stove to concentrate the flavor.  
Strain off any solids and you will be enjoying fresh apple cider along with your applesauce.


Now run out and get some "seconds"!
There is no better way to celebrate the cool air of the coming fall!

Questions?  Just ask!


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