Recap of Summer Vacation 08

It’s hard to believe summer is almost over. The end of August is just a few days away, as is Labor Day weekend, which always seems like the last hurrah of summer. It feels like just yesterday I was getting excited about sprucing up our gardens and spending more time outside. I had a ball over my summer vacation, so I wanted to share with you my fabulous list:

I watched my brother compete in his first half-marathon.

I spent a week in Chicago for a work-related conference, which was great fun, meeting people from all over the country.

We spent a week in Destin, Florida for our seventh wedding anniversary. It was the relaxing beach vacation we were hoping for.

We planted eight new trees in our yard, more flowers and a vegetable garden.

I watched my brother and cousin compete in a triathlon.

We spent the 4th of July weekend at my parents’ beach house in northern Wisconsin, boating and biking and enjoying the outdoors.

We went to Art Fair on the Square and Concerts on the Square. (lots of events in Madison are held on the grounds around the Capitol building)

We hosted twenty people from my family at our house for a family reunion.

I spent a week with my sister and family at the beach house again, with more outdoor adventures such as hiking and swimming, yet you can’t leave out cooking and baking when there are two or more women from my family together in the same house (we all enjoy the domestic parts of life).

I spent another weekend with my family one last time before my sister moves to China. (boo hoo)

I read a bunch of books, all of which I would recommend, including The Road by Cormac McCarthy, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg, Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larsen, and Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. I’m almost finished reading Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, which I highly recommend.

I was much more creative than anticipated. I made portable cushions, a fabric beach ball, a tablecloth for our kitchen, curtains for our kitchen and for my sewing room, flower pincushions, a lunch bag with iron-on vinyl lining, and a garden quilt. (if I knew how to make one of those photo mosaics, I would have included that here, but you get the idea.)

I participated in a placemat swap, which was great fun, although I was sad that I never heard from my partner. (I wonder if she received the set I made for her? I wonder if she liked it.) Still, I was happy with the six placemats and matching napkins I made for her.

Oh yea, I bought lots of fabric too. How could I resist – there were so many wonderful new fabric collections – Midwest Modern, Drawing Room, Farmers Market, Garden Party, August Fields, Pop Garden – that came out this summer and so many convenient etsy shops to order from. I know, you understand.

My favorite parts of summer vacation were the adventures and the quality time spent with family. Thanks for stopping by. Cheers for Fall – I’m looking forward to beautiful sunrises, cool evenings, changing leaves, hiking in the woods, caramel apples, and more.

Spring Progress

After spending a week in Chicago for a conference, it was so nice to come home. I noticed everything is really starting to grow and fill in now in our garden. I also noticed the progress Dave made while I was away. Here are three new Rushmore Arbor Vitae trees he planted along the back fence. They look like they have always been there.

new trees

We have a large, fenced-in backyard, and some days it seems like a big empty field to me.

looking through the crab apple

One of the best features in our yard is this large flowering crab apple tree, which looks like a giant bouquet this time of year. It also provides nice shade and privacy for the patio.

Crab apple bouquet

We are on a mission this year to fill in our backyard with more trees, shrubs and flowers. I love these Emerald Arbor Vitae trees for their bright yellow-green color and their soft texture.

new emerald Arbor Vitae trees

And we have made a lot of progress with the completion of planting six trees so far.

Dave planting the Emeralds

This was my contribution, some of my favorites plants in the garden – hens and chicks and sedums.

hens & chicks

We found this cute little wooden doll bed on a neighbor’s curb one night before trash day, and we brought it home, thinking it would make a great planter in our garden. Perfect for these lovelies!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot that I filled the strawberry pot too! It’s growing like crazy, and already looks more full than this picture from a couple days ago.

strawberries in the strawberry pot

Next on our list – shrubs to fill in in-between the new trees. So far we have added a couple knockout roses and a Miss Kim lilac, but we need to find a couple magnolia trees, snowmound spireas, viburnums, weigelias, and hydrangeas.

Thanks for stopping by to see the progress on our garden project! Check back soon for more planting updates.