to celebrate the publication of my new book


Our colorful 1751 farmhouse will be open to the public. On view will be many of the projects that are featured in Crafting A Pattern Home along with many other things I have made over the years.

This event will be a celebration of the handmade. I hope the day will inspire you to add some pattern and color to your home.

The event is FREE. Books will be available along with some other things I have made. For more information and directions, see the EVENTBRITE PAGE HERE. Although tickets are not mandatory, it will help me get a count to know what to expect. Hope to see you here in western Massachusetts in May.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Landscape Here and A New Book + Giveaway - Handmade for the Garden by Susan Guagliumi

FIrst off - I want to show you what our front yard and garden looks like today. I keep seeing blooming shrubs, daffodils, and more all around the web and then I look outside in disbelief. Yikes - yes that is snow. It is melting slowly everyday but it was 15 degrees here last night. The sap is running and the mud is coming - those two things happen simultaneously in western Massachusetts. We have to take the sweet with the mud and dirt. I washed all the floors on the main floor and basement of the farmhouse yesterday. It didn't last long - the people and the dogs tracked more mud in. I think I need to call a truce with the mud and just forget about it. In a month I can start again. At least having it clean for a few minutes made me feel a little better.

Onto the subject at hand..... It's funny how sometimes you run into people again in your professional life after years and years of not seeing them or hearing what they are doing. Does that ever happen to you? Yes, Facebook has made it easier to keep abreast of friends' goings-ons but that always seems to be personal stuff as opposed to professional. It was a great surprise to me that my old friend Susan Guaguliumi has authored a new book called Handmade for the Garden.

Susan and I know each other through yarn and knitting. I remember meeting her at one of the first trade shows I ever attended where she was demo-ing some kind of knitting machine.  Our paths have kept crossing over the years. I have always admired Susan's talents - she has written several books on machine and hand-knitting and even owned a yarnstore. Susan is one of those people who can do anything she puts her mind to.

Now Susan is sharing one of her long-time passions (and mine) with the world - GARDENING and the HANDMADE. Those of you in warmer climates may already be out pottering in the soil but for us here in New England, we can only hope and dream for a bit. 

Handmade for the Garden is a beautiful book - it is paper bound and chock-full of great projects for you to make for your garden or for gifts. In Handmade for the Garden - I do love that title - she shares how to make all kinds of fun things to use in your garden. From seed-starting to containers, it is all here. Illustrated by Sun Young Park, Handmade for the Garden is another great title by STC/Melanie Falick Books. The lovely photos are by my friend, John Gruen. 

I love these terracotta pots stamped with flowers. An easy project with very clear instructions.

Susan and I must live in a parallel universe. There is a whole section on how to make mosaics for the garden. Remember these pots I made a couple years ago? 

I fiddled around myself figuring it out as I went. In Handmade for the Garden, there is an entire chapter with explicit How-To. Susan has even built a wall of mosaic that is incredible. I need one! Seriously - this wall is stunning.

Have you ever fooled with hyperfufa? My sisters and I did a few years ago on a summer afternoon. Our projects imploded as we didn't have the mix right. Too bad Handmade for the Garden wasn't around then. We would not have wasted our time and money. I'll be putting hypertufa pots on my to-do list this summer. 

There are even ideas for garden ornaments - including this funky "spring" flower. It takes "recycled" to another level.

If you are a gardener, you have seen the wall pockets for annuals. Here's Susan's take on it using burlap and her sewing machine.

This book is jam-packed with instruction. That is a real plus. So many times, books like these are just pretty photos with little to no instructions to really create. Talk about frustrating. But not this one - Susan has figured it out for us and explicitly tells us how to make everything pictured. There are plenty of helpful how-to illustrations by the talented Sun Young Park. Her name may sound familiar -- she has illustrated Natalie Chanin's Alabama Chanin books and April Bloomfield's cookbook A Girl and Her Pig.

Check out Susan's blog here which has many gardening projects on it and fun ideas for making. I especially love the ideas for birdhouses. 

Here's what I have for you all today - a chance to win Susan Guagliumi's Handmade for the Garden published by STC/Melanie Falick Books. Here's how to enter...... 

Tell me what you are planning to make and do in your garden this coming summer. Are you planting something new? Are you adding a garden? Are you building something? I can't wait to hear. 

US addresses only. Julia will pick a random number (she is my Random Number Generator!). As always, please leave an easy way to get a hold of you..... A word on that - if you don't leave an easy way to contact you, I skip to the next person who does leave me e-mail address, Rav id, blogger id so if you want to win and get a free book, make it easy for moi.

Contest ends 11:59 p.m. on Sunday evening March 23rd.

Spring is coming. I can't wait. What about you? 

Contest is over. The winner is: Anonymous said...
We moved to an older house with a very plain garden, so we're adding on-- shade trees, fruit trees, herbs...looking forward to it! :) Rav ID: bookaholic13

I have contacted her via Ravelry. Thanks everyone for entering!


Anonymous said...

For the Garden book: I have a new garden since we built a new garage, it's a private corner and I see it from my sewing room. I plan to add more herbs, FINALLY get a stand of hollyhocks and plant some milkweed seeds for the butterflies.

Jeannine aka jeanninesims_1999@yahoo.com
Ravelry id: j9knits

Carol said...

I'm gluing pennies on a bowling ball for a new garden orb!
design55@ everestkc.net

Pammie said...

My neighbors gave us some beautiful camillias to be planted in memory of loved ones recently passed - which we will be planting as soon as the weather warms up a little bit - thank you for the opportunity to win this beautiful book, Kristin !
pmcfreeburn at gmail

MicheleinMaine said...

Oh, this book sounds so much fun! I love inexpensive and creative ways to have fun in the garden. Love the burlap sack idea!

My task this summer is to make a stronger, deer-proof fence (not terribly exciting). I also hope to plant more tomatoes and sunflowers and reseed some hollyhocks.


Patty said...

This book looks like a real treasure! I'm hoping to find a discarded wood door with a window to lean against the shed and "doll up" with a wreath, climbing plants, etc....:-)

Cozy Knitting said...

Every year I begin digging grasses out of the front garden bed. The first year of the garden it was beautiful. It is the bed I plant bee and butterfly flowers. Well, this year, I am removing everything! Down to the base of clay. A long way down. By hand and foot pushing the shovel. I am tired of digging out grasses. I may not have much in the garden this year, but hopefully I can control the grasses better. Johnson Grass has long rhizomes, and they are hard to get out. I do plan some dye plants that are annuals. I want some pretties in there.

Anonymous said...

My garden needs a lot of help. I plan on planting a lot more, moving things around and attempting to bring much more color to my backyard.

The book looks so inspiring!


JackieLemon said...

We are planning on putting up wall pockets with succulents. There is lots to do In the garden, but like you, in Buffalo we are still digging out. Supposed to have a bit more snow tomorrow.

beth said...

What a wonderful book! I am hoping to redo a section of my terrace garden and plant more shade happy perennials. It just isn't working well for veggies. I'm also going to plant a couple of cut flower beds this year.


Suzanne said...

I have always wanted to customize the pots I use...love the ideas you shared from the book. I may finally have a use for the old china and pottery I have stashed.

Ravelry ID: suzymarie

Anonymous said...

I am not sure what to do in my yarn as it really isn't a garden. Plus I have a dog and cat. My husband started a wall because our backyard slopes downward and we were going to terrace the backyard then plant things on different levels. Unfortunately that wall stopped and he has never gone back to working on it. I think it is far more work than he expected and being the perfectionist and finding the "right" rock has turned into well, let's just say the dog has a REALLY big hill that he sits on and surveys the entire neighborhood because that is how big the pile of dirt is, and being a sheltie mix, he is the center of attention.

My ravelry id is short and quick. It is Patty (I am the one in Maryland)

alwaysjoyful said...

When the warmer weather FINALLY arrives, I plan to divide perennials in my side yard and fill in more bare spots. I started some container gardening and will add to that. I would love to add handmade touches to make the area really special.

Robin L Bergman/ Robin Originals said...

I cannot wait until spring, and I am also looking at remaining piles of snow here in MA.
I have already been packing my garden, have my seeds ready to start... I'm planning to make more raised beds this season with loads of kale, sorrel, heirloom tomatoes, herbs, edible flowers, and waiting for my first batch of rhubarb. I've been saving broken pottery for years for a rainy day to make mosaics. Maybe Susan's book will get me going! I just need more hours in a day! :)

Robin L Bergman said...

Planning my garden, not packing! Phone auto-incorrect!

Diane said...

Here in Gulf Coast Florida the azaleas will need trimming, beds need cleaning, leaves need raking!! I have not had any luck with tomatoes and am determined to grow an appropriate variety -- it could be in a pot. I always have fresh herbs going in pots as well. My back garden is kind of secret, not many know it is there, it is such a respite and retreat from the frazzles of modern life.

Margo said...

I got 2 new knees this winter and I can't wait to get in my flower gardens and work. Last summer I couldn't do anything so I hope I will be able to move and rearrange flowers. And hopefully make some fun new pots for the porch.

Unknown said...

Hi Kristin! Living in Texas we are already planting, flowers are blooming and trees are budding. We are building a new garden this year. We've started seeds, we just need a place to plant them. Mainly veggies, peppers, cucumbers, and tomoatoes. This book looks awesome. I bought a cement/hyperfufa pot filled with succulents that someone molded in a small loaf pan. It's so cute. I want to make some myself. This book would come in handy. Thanks! My email is grantsmom11@gmail.com.

Kristin said...

As an artist and master gardener, this book is right up my alley. I'm looking forward to spring. Gonna update the landscape in my pond area. Would share this book with my mom . Thanks.

joheintz@hotmail.com said...

I plan on painting bricks for a path in my woods garden--after seeing ideas in the book I think I need to paint some pots too.I like to plant new colors of sunflowers.
I would really enjoy the book.

Auntie Shan said...

"U.S. addresses only" -- as in "Under Snow"??

It really is getting ridiculous, isn't it? Granted, we haven't had any additional snow in over a week or more. But the thermal effects of SUNshine can only "evaporate" and/or "melt" so much when the temps are well BELOW "FREEZING"! -- Then again, I do much prefer a "control"-melt of the Glaciers rather than the Rain! - [which we're expecting tomorrow...ugh!]

Meanwhile, I'm almost thinking about drilling down a yardstick to where our Crocs usually surface..? Actually, make that TWO yardsticks...

hlmauera said...

It sounds like a great book and with a new house, I'm looking for good and fairly inexpensive ways to jazz up my yard.

Lisa Morton said...

We just put up a greenhouse last fall and we're starting to plan what we want to grow aside from lots of greens this summer. Always an experiment at 10,400 ft (we also still hve lots of snow)! I also have plans to plant some flowers in an old clawfoot bathtub.

Anna Conway said...

Planning on building another 4X4 planter box.

Cate said...

We didn't have much luck with our little garden last year, so we'll be trying again, with netting around it because the squirrels in our neighborhood won't leave the garden alone. That is, if the snow ever leaves! We've still got snowbanks at the end of the driveway that you can't see past when backing out. Anyway, this book looks like the inspiration I could use -- I'm especially intrigued by the mosaic wall - it looks beautiful!
ctashton at colby dot edu

Anonymous said...

We moved to an older house with a very plain garden, so we're adding on-- shade trees, fruit trees, herbs...looking forward to it! :)

Rav ID: bookaholic13

Robin Allen said...

I do "que serĂ¡ serĂ¡" landscaping. Whatever will be will be.

carol said...

I would love to have that book! I'm planning to grow grapes on an arbor we put together last fall.

Corina Sahlin said...

My friends are getting married on our homestead this August. I want to make my garden pop this year - a stunning cottage garden! I would love to decorate some lovely flower pots and fill them with annuals!

tjf said...

The book looks like fun.:) I've only had a garden for a couple of years and mostly, I try to keep things alive. I'll be rearranging things for this year - hopefully making the tomatoes and squash happier than they were last summer. I definitely want more herbs this year, too.

Tricia (tfankell6@gmail.com)

Anonymous said...

I'm always looking for ideas for the garden. A couple of shutters from cabinets in the house have become 'screens/backdrops' for areas of the garden. I just hinged them together and stand them at an angle.
We lost a cast-aluminum, round, red patio table to a large limb during an ice storm. It now has a straight edge so I tipped it on its side and another backdrop that plants can grow up and through.
I'm HelenMatheyHorn on Rav

christie said...

This year I'm expanding my garden! We are, for the first time, starting our garden from non-gmo, organic seeds. I'm so excited and can't wait until the snow is gone and the soil is warm!

christie said...

Oops no contact info - my comment should be above about my non-gmo gardening foray.


Anonymous said...

Oh Julia please pick me!!! I have LOTS on my to do list for the garden this summer! Seeds are just coming up in my office under the lights. We have a pergola to build over our deck, raspberries and strawberries to plant, some trellises to build and much more. I would love some new ideas!


aggie325 said...

I just ordered my seeds last night for my garden and have plans to make large mosaic pots for my screen porch. This book looks like it's packed with ideas...crossing my fingers!

katherine said...

Book looks wonderful! I love your blog, we live on a small sheep/organic produce farm in PA! I love your colorful house! Anyways I have big plans for a garden fence - the lovely picket looking kind with a gate. We had deer sleeping in our tomatoes last year and eating our beans. Got all our seeds and set up grow light shelf - almost ready to start our seeds. We are done with our lambing season, doing a bit of maple syrup and now are moving right into mud season!! Have a wonderful spring!
Katherine at djs47@windstream.net

mn_bird said...

I can't wait for spring, either. I'm late with getting some of my seeds started. The onions, shallots, and leeks just started to germinate. It's wonderful to go downstairs and see green.

This year, I have one "have to" project. The 2 raised beds in my yard are falling apart. They need to be replaced.

We would like a fountain in our yard. They are so expensive at the garden centers. My hubby and I are handy. I was thinking earlier this week that it might be fun to try and make something.

Lastly, I would like to make some mason bee houses for my yard and community garden plot.

I wonder if I'll accomplish any of this, get distracted with other projects, or just too busy with the general gardening and growing of things?

minnbird on Ravelry

mn_bird said...

Oops! I'm minnknitter on Ravelry.

Tracie said...

Hi Kristin:

This year my daughter and I are going to plant as many heirlooms as we can find. Our plan is to start some of the easier vegies from seed: beans, cucumbers, squash and purchase seedlings for our tomatoes, and eggplants. We will also be growing carrots and lettuces by seeding right into the garden. I can't wait!!

Tracie Nixon
rav id: tracienix

Kathleen C. said...

We bought our first house this past Summer, so my plan for our yard is to do nothing... I still don't know what's there now! I am so looking forward to this Spring when I expect to be constantly surprised by bits of color, fun and beauty.
Once we hit late Summer then I will have seen the yard in all of it's guises. Than I will know what I can add (or take away) to make it my own. Then... watch out!

Kathy said...

We're going to have to do a lot of replanting this year as we've had a lot of winter kill. We live in the middle of Philadelphia and our yard is a cement slab behind the house. Nonetheless, we have all kinds of containers and our backyard appears lush by late spring. I'd love to get more ideas from Hand Made for the Garden!

ravelry id: KEP

Joy said...

Planning on planting vegetables in pots on my upper deck to discourage squirrels and rabbits from eating the produce just as it gets ripe. Also will try to get rid of a wild blackberry that has big seeds and little flavor. Every year I try to grow sunflowers with little luck, guess I will try again this year. This book really looks great.

Anonymous said...

This will be my second spring/summer in our condo. I have limited growing potentials, but just enough to satisfy the planting itch. I plan to continue landscaping the front patch as well as have fun with containers and hanging planters. Oh, snow, please melt away!

Laura from beautiful West Michigan
lerounds on ravelery

bookagent said...

I'm planning to make mosaic stepping stones with my granddaughters. But I also love the look of the pots. Maybe both. thanks for the giveaway, the book looks fabulous.


merrilymarylee said...

This spring and summer I will be dividing, dividing, dividing all the bee balm, day lilies, and other perennials which have overstepped. That, I hope, will give me space for a bit of garden art.

Shing Hsieh said...

My garden has really matured and this is the year of movement. Time to separate bushes that crowd each other like siblings in a pushing match! Wish me luck. I'd love some fun projects to intersperse between the back breaking work. :-)

My email is shing.hsieh@comcast.net

Lisa said...

I'm planting sunflowers this year. All varieties.

Leigh Wheeler said...

I'm adding raised beds for a veggie garden.

Bonnie said...

What a lovely book! Thanks for hosting the giveaway. I have three small raised beds for vegetables. I'm also going to try (again) to plant some sunflowers. The birds and squirrels keep eating the seedlings before they have time to get established!

Suzanne Wilsey said...

A lovely book! I'm putting more white hydrangea and hellebores in my green-and-white side garden!

Beau said...

My Yukon Gold seed potatoes arrived as did some Cha-Cha Chive plants from Cooks Garden. Take a look at the chives .... They are quite different.

In the next few days I will be planting lettuce, spinach, beets and 1015 sweet onions. [1015s were developed by Texas A&M. Similiar to the Vidalias from Georgia and the Walla Wallas from Washington.] I love to pick my salad in the spring - from the garden to my plant with nothing but a quick rinse.

When it warms up, I will be planting some herbs, cukes, etc.

Anonymous said...

My husband is the "gardener" in our household BUT #1 son is getting into the action and daughter-in-law of #2 son is really into this new adventure for her! Gotta love the family that gardens together -- :0)

adodds said...

I want desperately to redo my patio and replant the lavender between the slate stones. What I have now is overgrown and weed filled.

Anonymous said...

I'm slowly cutting back on my pottery business and I've been saving broken work that I would love to put on planters and make garden art with.

Casey said...

Here, in Minnesota, we start dreaming of garden season in January, when the first gardening catalogs arrive. I still have 15" of snow covering everything,but can finally see pavement, yeah!I'll be planting and pruning as soon as I can reach the soil and the fence line.

Jen said...

I went down into my Sleeping Garden (we had very little rain so far this winter, I was expecting everything to be dead) .. and lo.. the kale has burst into action and sent out many blossoms... which I'm happy about because I like to save their seeds.
Love your blog !

wlknknit said...

I love the look of this book. The idea that flowers were used to stencil flowers on the flower pot really appeals to me!
As for my garden, I am a glutton for punishment, so I'm adding another bed, from removal of grass on up. It will have the 3 Sisters: corn, squash and beans. I've wanted to do this for years, and now I finally will :).

Anonymous said...

I will be planting my very first veggie garden! Can't wait, still waiting for all the snow to melt too :-)
Thank you for a chance to win the lovely book



Anonymous said...

I certainly do need this book. Growing up in Chicago, I had a killer indoor green garden. Now I live in a tiny apartment on the west coast that is constantly fogged in. Too many failures to add up attempting plants other than an ivy plant (not that I have anything against ivy plants). My goal this summer? I want to plant a fern that will actually "live" on my teeny tiny patio. Doesn't sound like much or that is should be so hard.....but it would be a major accomplishment for me.

Love your blog,
Bordergirl on Ravelry

Anonymous said...

I love potted flowers so most of my planting will be in pots of all varieties. Love to plant in an assortment of repurposed objects old boots, pots, kettles anything that will hold dirt. Want to make some mosaic pots it looks like so much fun to do. Also want to try my hand at the concrete pots. So many things so little time. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this gorgeous new book

peggy / pegmac on ravelry

Anonymous said...

Such a fun book! This year I am trying more veggies and less ornamentals, along with lots of basil; planning a new trellis for a climbing rose.

My rav I.D. is funhobby

Anonymous said...

Each year I say I will reclaim my one sunny flower bed but the vegetable garden demands my attention. This fall I spent lots of time ripping out plants that are too enthusiastic and rangy. This winter the very rustic trellis that my husband made years ago utterly collapsed. Now I really have to deal with this garden or I'll have flopping roses and clematis all over the ground. This looks like a fun book. I really need some inspiration. gnlmutti@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Kristin, we've been raising sheep and pigs and now it's time for veggies! They terrify me, so hubby is in charge of the garden. He's been out there doing...stuff...to get it ready. Looking forward to kale, leeks, herbs, potatoes and more. Thanks! Janya

Susie Delozier said...

I just sent my husband to the farm store for sunflower seeds. I have never planted them before but they are my favorite flower and I think the time is right. I would love a copy of the book to share with my mom who is an avid gardner. She would enjoy it and maybe we could make some of those fun things together.

Susie at susiedelo@gmail.com


Anonymous said...


I would like to use PVC piping to build a netting frame for berries or greens to keep out the woodchucks. Or I would like to build a trellis/arbor for climbing plants out of old branches.


Denise said...

I have one pot of mint, but this year I want to add other herbs in pots.
flgirl1987 AT yahoo DOT com

hardworkinggrandma said...

I want to plant some Heirloom tomatoes this year. We are still to cold to plant in Iowa too. I cant wait, I love gardening and canning.
I love that you live I
On a farm with sheep. Have you thought of shearing and having your fleece made into yarn? I've wanted to do that for years. My husband is not so keen. Evelyn. My email is eno50@iowatelecom.net.

Jane said...

We created five raised garden beds last fall and are eager to start planting a variety of vegetables and flowers. I'm sure this book could give me many creative ideas. Thanks for the opportunity.