Irvine Ranch Conservancy Native Seed Farm

Irvine Ranch Conservancy Native Seed Farm


Here in California we all know about the Poppy Apocalypse at Lake Elsinore but did you know right here in Irvine there is a native seed farm where you can help out and learn about poppies and other native wildflowers?

It’s free to participate, check out the Irvine Ranch Conservancy for more information how.

At the seed farm native plants are planted and their seeds are collected to be planted back in the wilderness.

Because of that, plants should not mix at the farm, and today’s task was pulling out flowers that had trespassed onto the wrong rows.

So, that is why we had full blessing to yank out poppies and dissect them as long as they were growing out of bounds.

I learned about the different stages of a poppy. So much more happens after it has bloomed. Once the petals drop, the ovary matures into fruit (looks like a green bean) and inside are all the tiny poppy seeds. Right now they are green because I pried it open, but normally it will dry out and the seeds will be black. Exactly like the poppy seeds we buy at the grocery store, except those come from India. The fruit pods will naturally pop open and seeds are flung many feet into the air to spread.


Gardening: Fruit Trees

Gardening: Fruit Trees

Besides the super bloom, guess what else the rain brought? A ton of fruit in my backyard!

Today I picked loquats. Fun fact. The Chinese name for loquat is “枇杷” and the pinyin is pípá. When Kate Middleton got married and the media had a ton of coverage on Pippa Middleton, my mom couldn’t understand why the world was suddenly going crazy about loquats!

A couple weeks ago I picked grapefruit. Had to be careful because to avoid them dropping on me because they’re pretty heavy.

Now the grapefruit tree is blossoming.

And in a few weeks I’ll be picking guava!

Also in a few weeks there will be my favorite – figs! I’m giving them extra water because I want them plump and juicy!

Sewing: Simplicity 8743 Cutting

Sewing: Simplicity 8743 Cutting

It’s a bit daunting working with 4 ply silk just because it’s white and expensive. One smudge or cutting error equals $$$ wasted so I used tissue paper, fresh rotary blades, thin silk pins, fabric weights, and lots of time to slowly cut out my pieces for Simplicity 8743.

The aftermath! All pieces are wrapped in tissue paper to avoid dust until I’m ready to sew.

Hiking: Quail Hill

Hiking: Quail Hill

Just some photos from a hike this morning at Quail Hill! Very short and easy loop. Mostly just a walk, but still very nice with all the flowers and greenery.

Sewing: Simplicity 8743 Muslin #2

Sewing: Simplicity 8743 Muslin #2

I made another version of Simplicity 8743! I wasn’t happy with my first one because the pleats and side zipper were very sloppily installed. I decided I needed to practice those parts a bit more before committing to my real fabric.

Here it is! Also, do you notice that it might look a little fuller…?

Netting! I also added netting this time, per the instructions. I left them out initially because I thought it was unnecessary, but in the end I do enjoy the extra poof it gives the skirt.

I slip stitched in the lining to the zipper. I know there is a way to do it by machine, but sometimes a little hand sewing is nice when you need precision.

I also did the notched waistband, which you can’t see too well in the photo.

Please excuse my white serger thread… I didn’t feel like changing out my thread for the lining of a practice project, especially when I would need to switch it back to white immediately afterwards.




Sewing: Iron Cleaning

Sewing: Iron Cleaning

It’s not a fun job, but it is necessary, especially when you’re about to work with white silk: cleaning your iron. So much gunk on it! Mainly it’s from fusible interfacings when I accidentally iron over a glue patch. Definitely don’t want that transferring to good fabric.

I used a mix of toothpaste, vinegar, baking soda, and a razor blade to make my iron shiny and clean!

Hiking: Cedar Grove Park and Jeffrey Open Space Trail

Hiking: Cedar Grove Park and Jeffrey Open Space Trail

Not so much of a hike, more of a walk. I came out to Cedar Grove Park to scout it out as a potential location for my engagement photos.

My requirements were that it needed free, easy parking that stayed open until sunset. Many parks in Orange County close at 5pm, which did not work for our goal of having sunset photos.

The small grove of cedar trees make you feel as if you are in the Pacific Northwest, not Orange County.

I also enjoyed the “unkempt” look of the park. Wild growth is good!

You think you’re in a forest… but you’re not.

Lavender in bloom.

Good shade.

Even a nice bike path with wildflower on the side.

Then I drove over to Jeffrey Open Space Trail in Irvine. Also a very nice park with plenty of parking.

Lots of trees.

But I felt these trees with their shade may make it difficult to find good lighting.

The open space was nice, but I felt it was too manicured for me.

I’ll take grass that is not mowed that often, please!

Still beautiful though, just not for us.

Well paved bike path.

Bonus bridge!

Again…. too well kept for me. In the end I went with Cedar Grove Park in Tustin.

Knitting: Brooklyn Bridge Cardigan Fronts

Knitting: Brooklyn Bridge Cardigan Fronts

I have started knitting the fronts of the Brooklyn Bridge Cardigan! I’ve got a lot to pay attention to (i-cord, increases, decreases, and a lace chart) so it takes a lot more concentration.

But I am getting more and more used to it as it comes along, so it’s not such a big headache anymore at this point. Feels like routine.

The back, with its endless stockinette, is done!

Sewing: Simplicity 8545

Sewing: Simplicity 8545

My beautiful dress for my engagement photos! Step 1, cut out fabric!

Step 2, piece all the major parts together.

Step 3, reconfigure the serger for a 3 thread rolled hem.

Step 4, insert a zipper.

Step 5, get ready to wear it and take photos…!