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Next Year’s Garden – Today! Onions

I know for many people, growing things in the garden is strictly done on the ‘what costs me a lot in the store’ aspect or ‘specialty things that I can’t get locally’ aspect. So, there are a lot of people who will grow 6 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes, but who won’t grow potatoes or onions because, after all, “I can buy a 50 pound bag at the store for $xx – it takes too much room to grow enough.” Or, “I don’t have room to store” or some other reason.

And Aunt Toby is here today to tell you this: It’s worth it. (more…)

You Can Do This: Fix the Umbrella!

One of the great annoyances of life is not having an umbrella when you really need it. Another one is to open it up and find out that, damn, one of the attachments at the edge has broken off, or is missing, or has rotten out or something else. We’re not talking about damage like the picture at the top. that’s a total blow out and although with some manipulation, you might be able to get all the ribs back down, I’m not sure that anyone can turn it back into a usable umbrella. (more…)

More Mommy Sewing

Once I got started looking for non-preggo patterns (I should trade mark that) that can work for the ‘in process’ moms, I got more and more ideas, which I thought I’d pass on. One of the advantages of using a regular pattern is that ‘post arrival’, you will still have clothing that fits, looks non-maternity and cute. Here are a few I found today – these are from vintage sites but they are not ancient history fashion-wise; you’ll be able to find ones in the current pattern catalogs that look pretty similar. (more…)

Mommy Sewing

The home sewing ‘market’ has changed a lot in the past 25 years: large numbers of independent pattern designers, some of whom specialize, smaller numbers of local fabric stores (which in the old days used to be staffed by people who actually sewed more than quilts), sewing may (or usually may not) be taught in Home Ec in junior and senior high schools nationally. A lot has gone ‘by the way’ – on the other hand, the Internet has spawned a huge Renaissance in personal sewing with sites and blogs and fabric stores. It’s enough to make you dizzy. (more…)

Oh Sheet

The sheets supposedly chosen as being the finest (whatever that means – ‘best quality? Most comfy? Hardest wearing? No clue) in the world are supposedly made by Thomas Lee. They are 500 threat count pima cotton. best sheets They cost $239 regular/ $179 on special. That’s one fitted, one flat, and two pillowcases.

Now, it’s not that Aunt Toby and the DH are willing to sleep on burlap sacks. A good closely woven cotton (ok, perhaps with a bit of poly in it) sheet set is a joy to sleep on (more…)

Aunt Toby Takes A Cooking Class

Anyone who knows me knows that Aunt Toby reads and participates in probably more blogs than she probably has time for, but what the heck. One of them, Fab Over Fifty has a site associated with it (interestingly enough, also called, which always has lots of terrific contests and giveaways (plus great articles about what women over fifty years of age are doing, creating, running, operating, challenging, combating, changing, winning and so on). I usually don’t enter contests but I did enter the one to win a free cooking class with Jyl Ferris, she of . (more…)

Overwhelmed with tomatoes?


Garlic Update

As you might recall, Aunt Toby found some lonely little lost forgotten garlic plants last year and scrubbed out a little area and planted them.Second chances And promptly forgot them until they came back up in the spring. One of the wonderful thing about garlic is that they really are like potatoes, since you can’t see exactly what is going on; you have to just keep them weeded and watered and hope that you get something good when they are ready to dig up. (more…)

55: Keep Your Eyes on the Thermometer

I know for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s still summer (for my readers fro the Southern Hemi- file this away) and it’s rather difficult, especially given the temperatures experienced this summer, to think about winter, but it’s out there. And for those of us for whom winter has, ahem, a ‘special meaning’ (as in it can get so cold that you’ll freeze the insides of your nose), soaking up the warmth is really nice.

But it is coming – get over it. (more…)

Curtain(s) Up!

There are probably as many ways to install shades and curtains on a deck or pergola as people can dream up. The basic making directions are here : I’m going to go over some ideas that I got AFTER I made the decisions that I did:

Adjustable shower curtain rods. You can find these to fit spaces between about 40” and 72”. So what I could have done would have been to have either put grommets into the top of the shades and then used shower curtain rings (and goodness knows there are a zillion different types of those; I could have found some to match the pergola, even). OR, I could have gotten those humongous curtain grommets (JoAnne Fabrics has them, as do other curtain supply houses), put those into the top of the shades and strung the adjustable shower curtain rod through those. The upside of that would have been that the shades would have been like curtains and could be opened or closed at will. Neato. (more…)

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