Tuesday, 22 April 2014

From Mama to Bubba (2): A Favourite Top Turned into a Dress

Do you remember my 'From Mama to Bubba (1)' post? Well, this is another little handmade gift from me to my little beauty even though it is not necessarily the second in terms of order. However, just to make it easy to track on the blog, I have named it as the second. 

From a top to a dress

My daughter is a happy little girl. She loves her pink and she loves her tutus. She loves dancing and singing. She is clever and energetic. I wanted to make something that I believed she would love and luckily, my mother instinct was right! 

Using one of her favourite tops, which was becoming too small for her to wear especially in the next summer months, I made her a dress. It was actually my first time type of a project with a gathered skirt. The Internet is definitely not short on turning t-shirts to dresses, nor does it disappoint one in gathered skirt tutorials. I did not actually follow a particular tutorial as I had a clear idea on what I wanted to make with that top. I simply used my common sense and current ability to sew and put it all together.

handmade frilly dress

I used a wide ribbon not only because it looks good but also to hide the unpleasant look of the joint where the pink top and the gathered skirt are sewn together. Even though my petite daughter can get in and out of the dress without much hassle for the moment, it is obvious that the dress will not last long for her as it is not flexible. I should have made the waist flexible. Well, lets take it as a note to self for the next time!

Dress with a frilly skirt

What I love about this project of mine is that first of all, it made my precious one happy and that is totally priceless. Secondly, it is an upcycling project and my daughter will get to use one of her favourite tops for a bit longer instead of having to say farewell to it very soon. Also, it is frilly, girly, handmade and my own effort for my daughter. It is also a part of a learning process too. To me, it is a win-win. What do you think?

Gathered tutu skirt

Thursday, 3 April 2014


Hydroponics: Bigger Yields – More Nutrition From Your Outdoor Garden!

About the Author: Chris Wimmer is an urban hydroponic hobbyist who uses hydroponics to maximize his 400 square foot yard and extend the short Chicago growing season. Chris blogs about his hydroponic experiences at CaptainHydroponics.com.

*Update: Capatinhydroponics.com now operates under a new exciting name and web address. Here is the new link: http://healthsmartliving.com/hydroponics/.

Incorporating the elements of a hydroponic system into outdoor gardening is the best way to ensure you get the biggest yields and healthiest most nutrient-dense fruits, veggies, and herbs come harvest time!

With indoor hydroponics, proper lighting can be a challenge from a budget perspective, but with the powerful and “free” sun shining down on your crops, bigger yields are always possible using a soil-less, automated growing system.

Hydroponic gardening

Hydroponics Defined:

Hydroponics maximize nutrient and oxygen uptake in plants by eliminating soil from the mix. Plants are rooted in an inert, bacteria free media such as peat moss, tree bark fibers, rockwool, spagnum, perlite, clay or stone.

There are hundreds of variations to the media used, but all provide a non-restrictive base for the plant's root system; where a feeding solution containing water, oxygen, and fertilizer can be introduced to the plants every few minutes via an automated watering system.

Slow and steady wins the race...

The plant's root system is “spoon-fed” what it needs, then the excess drains out of the bottom of the planter, and back to a nearby reservoir where it's held until a pump's activated via a timer a few minutes later, and the plants receive another feeding.

Soil-free keeps the root system clean and healthy, eliminates the plants wasting time searching for nutrients in the soil.  This maximizes the plant's ability to produce healthy greens, veggies, fruits, or flowers.

Soil suffocates...

Soil, by comparison can retain too much water, allowing bacteria to form (which bugs and parasites just love) and smothering the root system of the plant blocking oxygen uptake.

Calcium and salt levels build in the soil, slowly restricting its ability to uptake nutrients during the vegetation and blooming phases. The plant's root system is also forced to grow downward in search of more nutrient and oxygen-rich soil.

This means the plant has to use the energy it receives from the sun (photosynthesis) to grow a larger root system, rather than fortifying its stalk and producing seed-bearing fruits, veggies, flowers, etc.

Benefits of Hydroponics:

  1. Plants get all the nutrients they need – no wasted water or fertilizer (25% of that used in soil grows)
  2. Little if any pesticides are needed – many crop eating bugs live in soil
  3. Bigger yields – up to 10 times larger than soil
  4. Less babysitting your garden – an automated system can thrive virtually on its own
  5. No weeding – weeds need soil to grow

Crop Suggestions:

You can grow anything hydroponically but it's important to do your research beforehand. There are many guides, videos, and blogs out there which it can be difficult to decide where to start.

If you're just getting started, stick to compact plants that don't require too much space, until you learn the ropes of setting up your feeding system, maintaining a proper PH, and all the other particulars. Corn, squash, zucchini, and melons are all best avoided as they are large or create large vine systems.

Instead try these plants...

·      Herbs of all kinds – rosemary, tyme, tarragon, sage, parsley, mint, dill, oregano (go nuts!)

·      Veggies – lettuce, cabbage, watercress, radishes, peppers,

·      Fruits – tomatoes, raspberries, blackberries, grapes, strawberries

Based on your crops of choice you can then pick the best system.  For herbs and lettuce like veggies, I’d suggest starting with a simple lettuce raft. For larger fruits and vegetables, I’d suggest starting with a basic bucket system which you can find on instructables.com.