Michelle Heath

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since Feb 26, 2012
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Recent posts by Michelle Heath

Welcome!  I put off my plans to build a greenhouse this fall, due to finances and uncertainty about our winter income.  So, I'm still researching and looking for new ideas to incorporate when I finally do build it.

I was able to have fresh tomatoes and green beans on November 1st this year by covering against frost!  That exceeded my expectations and I can only imagine how much I could stretch the growing season with a greenhouse.
2 months ago
I'm growing a variety of cut-short beans that have been grown in my family for generations.  I only had enough seed for a 4' row and honestly they didn't grow much for two months and I almost gave up on them. Then we started getting massive amounts of rain and they took off.  I harvested about 10 lbs for canning and a few messes to eat fresh.  Of course I missed a few on the first picking, so I let those go to seed.  Also I've refrained from picking for the last few weeks so I'll have an adequate supply of seed for next year.  They're still blooming, so I'll likely harvest a mess or two for eating as well.  So I guess it really depends on how many seed you need.
My first husband was a big guy and bought his shirts at a specialty big and tall store at around $30 each in 1990s money.  One particular shirt he never wore.  When I asked him why, his response was that he didn't really like it but bought it because I did.  At that point I said I could make several shirts for the price of that single shirt and his response was "yeah, right."  So I tore apart a stained shirt, made a pattern out of masking paper and proceeded to make a shirt.  I used snaps as I was a bit intimidated by the buttonhole process at the time.  He was thrilled with it!  Unfortunately every time we went to a store with fabric, he picked out two or three for shirts and after about a dozen, my interest in sewing was gone for many years.

As for online classes, I have learned so many techniques for sewing, gardening and other projects from YouTube videos.  We've even saved money by doing our own car repairs thanks to YouTube.  I did do an annual subscription to Bluprint/Craftsy last year when it was crazy cheap and do enjoy the more in-depth approaches.  I also enjoyed the app, which they recently discontinued, because I could download the videos and watch when I didn't have internet access.  
4 months ago

Cindy Haskin wrote: And either an ancient machine like that or a truly heavy duty modern one is nearly essential to get the needle thru multiple layers of heavy Jean material.

I agree on vintage machines.  I have an old pink Morse that I found in my maternal grandmother's house a few years ago. The motor was missing so I replaced it with one that unfortunately doesn't match, but it is a beast!  It sews much better than the modern Brother machine I have with a gazillion fancy stitches.  It's straight stitch only and my preference for piecing quilts.  I also have my grandmother's Singer 66 and a 15-91 that I picked up at a thrift store a few years ago.  Both need to be rewired and I'm anxious to try out the 15-91 as it's gear driven and rumored to be a workhorse on heavy fabrics.  
4 months ago
I'll fix a ripped seam or sew on a button, but most of my mending is on jeans.  I love jeans and when I find a pair that fits just right, I won't give them up just because they have a hole or two.  When I was a kid, grandma would neatly patch all of my ripped knees with a colorful fabric or scrap of denim.  When I bought my first sewing machine, it had a darning plate and I started using that to fix holes.  Later I was selling military BDUs and saved a few of the beyond repair pants as patches too.  This past winter I finally threw away two pair of jeans that have served me well for over ten years.  I believe each pair had been patched at least three times and some of the patches even had patches.  I contemplated patching them a fourth time, but the denim was just getting too thin.  I've recently discovered sashiko and would like to give it a try.  Fortunately I have a few pair of jeans waiting for their first mending.
4 months ago
One of my hobbies is paper mache and I've replicated objects by covering them with strips, letting it dry, and separating the form.  Unfortunately it would be uncomfortable to stand in front of a fan for a day or two while waiting for a body form to dry.  You could use the paper tape, masking tape, or duct tape in layers to replicate the basic shape, cut from the body, and then stuff with newspaper or plastic bags to sturdy it before adding plaster cloth or paper mache.  One trick is applying the first layer of tape with the sticky side out so it will be easier to remove.  For paper mache, brown paper is much more substantial than newspaper and will add sturdiness with each layer.  I often alternate between newspaper and brown paper layers on large objects.  I generally do a minimum of six layers and up to ten on large projects.  Paper towels also work well as a final layer since they can be smoothed out.  Also you will get a nicer finish if the edges of your strips are torn instead of cut.
4 months ago
I am (or was prior to COVID) a thrift store junkie.  Since the majority of our business income is from reselling items, we visited once a week when our daughter had therapy.  I started quilting a few years ago and have acquired quite the fabric stash thanks to thrift stores, yard sales and auctions.  I also disassemble cotton shirts and old jeans for projects as well and have enough buttons and zippers to last many years.  I also bought a bag of hand-sewing needles at Goodwill for $2.99 last year which contained over 150 needles in all shapes and sizes.  The nearest quilt/fabric shops are fifty miles away in towns we rarely visit, so if there's a supply I really need and can't find locally, I will order from eBay, Amazon or JoAnn fabric.
4 months ago
Aimee, I'm glad to hear you've had good luck with planting them under your oaks. Our woods are predominantly oak and yet only one small patch on eight acres. Gives me hope that they will multiply.

Devin, so glad to see you here!  Hoping you can share more ramp growing advice with us.  In particular, I'm wondering about the artificial shade you have.  Is it a slatted structure, under shade cloth, or something else?  
4 months ago
Dennis, I'm wanting to do the same this year as I have young goji berry cuttings and some ornamental cuttings that have rooted but not ready to go to their permanent homes yet.  I'd also like to try some hardwood cuttings over the winter as well.  For the cuttings that have already rooted and are potted individually, I'm thinking about sinking the pots in an established bed for the winter and maybe mulching with a layer of shredded leaves.  Most of the "recipes" I've read for a good mix for cuttings usually mention sharp sand and peat, or something similar.  Will be following for recommendations as well.
4 months ago

John F Dean wrote:I have no doubt the the flavor of the food we grow is impacted by the medium they are grown in.

In my opinion the quality is also influenced by the growing medium.