Little House… in the City

Where have I been lately? Apparently in the 1800s.

Our life is looking a little bit Little House on the Prairie these days. For one thing, our garden is suddenly thriving! We started (well, actually we started the seeds indoors months ago) with this about a month ago:

This year, we’re doing a Square Foot Garden. Jon built the bed, we started most of the plants as seeds inside, and we planted them and hoped for the best! In the little red pots are bell peppers. Now, about a month later, our garden looks like this:

The squash plant is going crazy, the peas are happily climbing their net (after I spent several hours spread out over several occasions wrapping their little tendrils around the threads), the beets seem happy, the carrots actually need thinning, the beans are blossoming, and the lettuce and chives are hanging on. The eggplant seems happy and so do the bell peppers in their little pots. We also have a pepper patch for the hot peppers across the yard to keep them from cross-pollinating with the bell peppers:

Jon made the pepper bed out of an old bookcase. We also got inspired to make a little “terrace” garden for herbs and more peppers:

And we have more herbs going on the windowsills:

Not pictured is the tomato patch (we have two baby tomatoes already!) with 14 plants, and the cukes, cantaloupes, okra, eggplant, tomatoes, and strawberries which are planted along the side of the house. I’m hoping when all these plants start producing veggies and fruit, I won’t be missing my CSA from Charleston as much anymore!

The other component of my Little House on the Prairie life is that I’ve started sewing. I’ve been wanting to learn how to sew so I can make myself some cute summer dresses and maybe stop lusting after the ones I see from Anthropologie, which I can never afford (though I occasionally indulge when they’re on sale half off). I took Foods and Clothing class in high school, so I wasn’t entirely unfamiliar with how to use a sewing machine, but we only made aprons, boxer shorts, and pillows, so I’d never made anything I could wear in public. My mother came to visit, and I told her about my sewing wishes, and she bought me a cute little Janome machine that isn’t at all intimidating, and helped me make my first-ever skirt, a simple circle skirt that didn’t even have a waistband or pockets:

I made a second skirt entirely unsupervised, and used the leftover fabric to make pillows for our porch swing: *ignore the fact that I appear to only have one foot.

Feeling brave, I got myself some more fabric, a more challenging skirt pattern, and made myself a skirt with pockets and a waistband, just in time to wear to the Wizard of Oz themed birthday party of one of my favorite four year olds:

Though I made the size indicated by my measurements, the skirt is a little bigger and sits a little lower than I’d like. I’ll be making at least one, maybe two sizes smaller next time. It was definitely a learning experience, and I had to rip out some seams, cursed the gathers a few times, and ended up with a wonky zipper in the back. But, I’m learning! And it’s still wearable, even if Michael Kors would tell me it looks “Becky Home-Ec-y” if I were a contestant on Project Runway. I’m going to make at least two more skirts before I attempt a dress, but I’ve got 5 dress patterns on the way thanks to an awesome sale this weekend. I’m really enjoying making my own clothes, and aspire to one day be half as cool as my new blog crush, Gertie, of the New Blog for Better Sewing. Last night I turned the red rose fabric into another circle skirt, and practiced some better seam finishes and tried a hand-picked zipper for the first time. I’m still figuring out fit, and might need to get a book on the subject.

Between the gardening and the sewing, some friends are asking what my next pioneer-ish move will be. Churning my own butter? Canning? I’m thinking maybe knitting, but that will have to come after the sewing. I’m supposed to be working on my Master’s Comps reading list, after all!

7 Replies to “Little House… in the City”

  1. Love this! There are so many little sundresses and skirts that I would love to make but I have residual fears from childhood projects gone bad. Perhaps it is time to conquer those fears…


  2. That’s so cool (both the garden and the sewing). I took a sewing class in middle school too, and we made similar stuff – a bag, pillow, and the final big project – boxers (which were about 3 sizes too big because we didn’t actually believe the pattern size was accurate). Was it hard to pick it up again? I would love to design my own clothes … and spend less at Anthro. :)


  3. @Cutecheapstuff: YOU CAN DO IT! I really think the key is not being intimidated by the machine. If you can do that, and accept that your first creations might be “Becky Home-ec-y,” you’re golden.


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