DIY Fleece Tie Blanket

Yesterday we were snowed in up here in the hills, so while little man played trains, I made the hubs a super soft fleece tie blanket.  I have made many of these and given them as gifts and kept some in our home.  They are always loved and enjoyed!  There are so many DIY step by steps out there in cyberspace, but here is mine.  I hope my tips learned from many trials and errors save you some headaches!

List of Materials:
1.5 yards of solid fleece (2 yards for adults)
1.5 yards of pattern fleece (2 yards for adults)
Fabric scissors (make sure they are VERY sharp)
Small piece of cardboard

1. I usually cut a template out of cardboard, 6 inches long on each side and a 1 inch wide guide for the strips.

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2. Lay the pieces of fabric just how you want them, evenly one on top of the other.

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3. Next, your going to want to trim the sides.  Make sure they are straight and even.

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4. Then, using your 6 inch square cardboard guide, cut a 6 inch square from each corner.  I like to use these nice squares of fabric for rice bags.  Makes wonderful hand warmers and Jamberry Nail applicator tools.  (P.S. I know a great Jamberry consultant if your interested in non-toxic nail wraps!)

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5. Now you want to cut your 1 inch strips, using your 1 inch guide. All the way across one side of the blanket.  I cut and tie an entire side before moving onto the next.

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6. There are multiple ways to tie your knots. I like this simple clean loop knot.  Over under thru the bunny hole kinda style.

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7. Cut and tie all four sides.  I also like to wash the blanket before giving it away, so it is clean, smells nice and I feel like it binds the knots together tightly. Thats it!

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Have you made a fleece tie blanket before? any tips to share?

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Seed Starting in Rockwool Plugs Hydroponically

There are so many different ways to grow your seedlings for hydroponic gardening.  No one way works better then another, you just need to decided what works best for your situation.  We are growing in an Omega Garden Volksgarden, which uses a rockwool cube as the growing medium.  We could simply have germinated he seeds between soaked towels, in Jiffy peat pellets, clay growing medium, or rockwool plugs.  Most of these methods require you to transplant the seedling, which can cause shock and the plants might die.  We went with the least traumatic method of rockwool plugs.

Rockwool Plugs

Visit this past post for a step by step guide to starting your seeds in the rockwool plugs.

Here is a day by day look at our first batch of hydroponic seedlings.  We have planted, bush beans, cherry tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes, Russian kale, red lettuce and arugula.

Day 1:

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Day 2:

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Day 3:

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Day 4: by tomorrow we will have the majority of the plants breaking the surface of the rock wool and we can remove the cover. This will allow them fresh air and room to grow tall. If we leave the lid on we run the chance of rotting the tender baby plants or growing a mold.

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Day 5: Look at those crazy tall beans!

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Day 6: I just cannot get over the beans lol

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I will continue to update the pics as the seedlings progress, in about a week we should have enough height to transplant them into the Volksgarden unit.

[Disclosure: Salty Suburban Homestead is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. We receive a small commission whenever a product is purchased through these links.  Thank you for your support!]

The Beginning of Our Hydroponic Vegetable Growing Adventure

I have been wanting to write this post for a LONG time now.  We decided on venturing into Hydroponic Growing almost a year ago and just now were able to make it happen.  First, we needed to save some funds to purchase the Hydro unit.  The hubs experimented with a few build your own ideas but none seemed to live up to the potential of our chosen unit, the Omega Gardens Volksgarden.  The Volksgarden outshines its competition in almost every aspect; it is built durably to last, fully automated and easy to operate, produces strong rapid results in almost 1/3rd of the time, and provides clean, local, year round produce.

Volksgarden

Being a large investment we needed to make sure this was a priority and something we really felt passionately about, which it was and we were.  After procuring the funds and purchasing the unit, we needed a home to set it up in.  Then the waiting game to finish the new house ensued.  FINALLY! We were able to start our seedlings and build the unit.

First, we had to choose plants that not only would perform well hydroponically, but that our family would enjoy eating.

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We decided on bush beans, cherry tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes, Russian kale, red lettuce and arugula.

Next, we had to pick a seed starting method.  We chose to start the seeds in a round rockwool plug that would then be inserted directly into the square rockwool block.  We purchased a starting tray, somewhat like this, to start the seedlings in.  Light and humidity are important for fast germination.  We have one large florescent and two smaller blue/red lights currently on ours.  Along with the lights, we set up a heat mat with temperature control to keep a constant 75 degrees.

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Besides water, plants need nutrients to grow.  We went with a three part Flora type.  Because of the process involved in extracting the nutrients, these products cannot be labeled “organic.” However, we are willing to look beyond the label and read up on the process and feel safe knowing we are feeding our family a safe, nontoxic product.

The rockwool needs to be soaked in the nutrient solution before your can plant the seeds.

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After soaking in a 5 gallon bucket for 1-24 hours, you can lightly shake off 10 percent of the liquid from the rockwool and place in the tray.  We used a small pipette tool to create a 5mm deep hole for the seeds to rest.  Using tweezers, we placed 2-3 seeds in each hole and covered slightly to create a cocoon.  The Volksgarden holds 80 plants but the tray only 78, so we will have at least 2 empty spots until we purchase another tray.

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We then made a home for the seedlings in the basement, under lights.

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Depending on the seeds and set up, the seeds will take 12 hours to 1 week to germinate.  We did have some bush beans starting to open the first night.  Next post, we will discuss the Volksgarden its self.

Have you ever tried to grow produce hydroponically? Or any other alternative growing method?

[Disclosure: Salty Suburban Homestead is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. We receive a small commission whenever a product is purchased through these links.  Thank you for your support!]

Renovation Update: Kitchen Progress and Closets

Last we left the kitchen, the cabinets were just starting to emerge from the boxes.  Now, only a week and a half later, it is almost complete and fully functional! Check it out:

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The appliances were delivered and installed, the only thing not working yet is the dishwasher, it needs an outlet.  Even the ice maker in the freezer is producing! The subway tile back splash is being put up this week and the walls are being painted this weekend. I cannot wait to make our first meal in this kitchen.

We also installed custom closets for the bedrooms, pantry, bathroom and hallway.

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Did you design your own closet set up? What works best for you?

Renovation Update: Couches, MORE Foam and Kitchen Cabinets

JW and I have been up at the house almost every day, accepting deliveries and moving in boxes.  We are so close to being done that the hubs has been spending some nights there to get the last of the projects done after work.

Here is what we had added in the past week or so:

Our couches and mattresses have been delivered, they dont look like much now but I was super excited to have them at least IN the house!

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The hubby needed a quick temporary shower curtain in order to use the shower, notice the zip ties? stylish lol

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More foam! it never ends, here is the cut portion of the attic.

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Here are the kitchen cabinets in the boxes after delivery and half way installed, can you smell the yummy food that will soon be made in there? I sure can!

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Later this week our appliances are being delivered and early next week the granite counter tops. So exciting!

Renovation Update: Finished Flooring, Bathroom and Basement

Here are some new pictures from the house!

The bathroom is functional, so we can say goodbye to the porter potty, yay!

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The shower head and faucet have also been installed.

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The plumbing is complete in the basement and we even have a slop sink.

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If our house had a brain this would be it.

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The floors are complete here is the master bedroom.

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The door to the sunroon has arrived and looks great!

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So much going in, so fast, getting excited now 🙂

Renovation Update: Painting and Hardwood Floors

Today we have color on the walls in the living room, entrance way, hallway and playroom.  Also, the hardwood floors are going down in the remainder of the house!

Light lavender for the livingroom walls to go with our grey furniture and purple accent chair.  My father-in-law was nice enough to not laugh at my choice in color and did a great job with the painting.

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Silvery grey walls for the entrance way, hallway and playroom.

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Hardwood floors going down in the hallway.  The hubby is helping to put this down, pre-finished and installed with just some staples.

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We chose a light blue for the master bedroom, a green for JWs bedroom and teal for the kitchen.  Once those have been painted I will post some pics!