Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Kacey's Dresses Update: Here they ALL are!

I'm happy to say that all of the dresses I designed with the Shabby Apple Emerging Designer Program have launched! This has been a long time coming and I'm very excited about it. Response has been good so far and they are selling, YAY! I have collaborated with some great fashion bloggers and they have styled my dresses amazingly!

Cara Loren looks like an angel in "Belle de Jour" Here is a link to her fashion blog: Cara Loren's Dress To Impress Link Here:

Rachel Parcell from the Pink Peonies makes my floral dress "Bouquet" look like a million bucks! Here is a link to her look: Floral Craze with Rach

Below are all of the dresses from my debut collection. All images shown here are courtesy of Shabby Apple. To view  these dresses further or purchase please visit the Shabby Apple website link here:

This one is called "Belle de Jour":

Here is "Bouquet":

This one is "Hydrangea":

Hello "Lilac":

And "Orchid":

Welcome "Larkspur":


This is "Pacific Play"


This has been a fun ride and I'm excited to do it again someday! (When I get my dress loan paid off!!)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

How Kacey Wears It, Casual "Belle de Jour"

Here's a close up of the Belle De Jour Dress Available at Shabby Apple
Hi my fashion friendlies!
My first ever designed dress collection came out with Shabby Apple this Spring. And they are modeled perfectly on their website! But, I have been asked several times how I style my dresses and that folks want to see me in them. So here we go! I call this series of posts "How Kacey Wears It!"
Today I'm wearing
my "Belle de Jour" dress. This has been one of my best selling dresses and I must say I love wearing it too! It's a beautiful light orange, pleated chiffon. It's so feminine and flowy. You just can't help but do a little twirling in this baby! I have worn this dressed up and down. One of my favorite looks is to wear it casual. I wore it to a blog conference recently and received tons of compliments! I wore it with a denim jacket and my leopard calf-skin flats. It was a more casual way to style it and here is a peak at it.
                                                           Link to the Shabby Apple Website

This is how I wear it dressed down. I like it with my short denim jacket, pink lace headband, pink and coral statement necklace and my fav leopard print flats!

 (keep in mind when you look at my pics, I don't have a professional photographer. These were actually taken by my 7 year old daughter.)

Here I may be showing the pleats or I may be looking to see if the bubbles that I spilled on this dress in the Nursery at church today show up! This is real life people!!

These are my fav flats to wear with this dress. They are "Monogram Loafers" from VS online.

Here are some pics courtesy of (there is a link to their website at the top of this post) This dress is currently available in the orange, but was re-made in two other colors available soon! To view/purchase these or my other designs please visit

This one is called "Orchid" available exclusively at Shabby Apple!

This one is called "Lilac" and available exclusively at Shabby Apple!

This is one of my favorite dresses and this is how I style it casual. For the next "How Kacey Wears It" I will style it for a more dressy occasion.

                          Until then, hope you have a Fancy Day from "Patch-A-Heaven"!!

                                                             Loves, Kacey

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Perfect Dance Recital Hair, Bobby Pin Curl Tutorial, Episode 1

Hello Friends! Today I'm sharing my favorite way to get perfect curls for that dance recital or other
special occasion when you want your daughter's hair to look fab. I learned this technique from a good friend of mine. (Her name is Natalie, she's super hair talented!) She even made my girls hair look great using this technique when they had cut almost all of their hair off! (Bad experience with my kids finding my scissors! AHH!! It was quite traumatic!) Luckily my girls hair grows like mine, really fast!
You will need:
Bobby Pins
Hair Spray, I think the non-aerosol kind works best. The wetter the better. I like Aussie Anti-Humidity Hairspray.
Comb, (I like the kind with a point on the end)
Small, clear elastics (if you want to make topsy tails around the face as I've done in these pics )

 To begin, hair should be clean and dry. You will use a little water and a comb to make any topsy tails around the face. I like to do one in the middle and one on each side of the face if I'm leaving the rest of the hair down. Our other favorite way is to do topsy tails in the back too, (so basically all the way around the head and that leaves the hair on the top of the head not in a topsy tail) and then keep the curls up top for more of an up-do. To make a topsy tail: take the small section of hair into an elastic close to the scalp, then make a part in the hair on the side of the elastic closest to the scalp and put the ends of the hair through the part and then pull it tight. Once all the topsy tails are in, then you take small sections of hair, comb all the snarls out, spritz generously with hairspray all down the length of the hair section, (you want it quite wet with hairspray only, no water), then using your fingers roll the hair from the ends up to the scalp, (so it's a perfect, circle curl) then pin down in place with a bobby pin. When starting the curl make sure to keep the ends in the circle smoothly so they turn out nice. Repeat until all hair is up in curls. Spray amply with hairspray and leave in as long as you can. If we have a recital or pictures I like to get these in as soon as possible and leave all day. It works best if you have them in at least 2 hours. If you have them in less than 2 hours I would add heat to the equation by putting her under the dryer (if you have access to one) or blow drying until they are warm. If you have 2 hours or longer, heat is not necessary. When it's time to complete the hair-do, take the pins out one by one and use your fingers to separate each curl into multiple curls, use your fingers to wind the hair around and keep the perfect ringlet. Once you have done this with all the curls, spray with hairspray and there you go! This method holds better on my kids' hair than using a heated curling iron and I think it makes prettier curls than sponge rollers. (We only had 2 hours today for them to stay in and we didn't use heat. If you leave in longer or have shorter hair, you can expect bouncier curls!) Hope you enjoyed this tutorial today. Happy Curling from "Patch-A-Heaven!"

This is what the curls look like all pinned up.

Here's a shot of the back all pinned up.
Here is the end result, all curls were let down, separated and sprayed with hair spray.

These pictures were taken for our dance pictures. We will do an up-do for the recital and show that in a separate tutorial later so stay tuned!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Simple Floral Centerpiece

Hi friends! Things have been a little crazy around this little "Patch-A-Heaven" lately, but I think I'm finally getting a handle on it! We got 7 new lambies yesterday, and all of the others we have had for a few weeks are doing well. I have gotten the first crew trained to the feeder "machine" and they are on pasture and grain! (This makes my life a whole lot easier!) We are working with the "show lambs" they are coming along, but still pretty wild little buggers! The kids have had lots of school projects to be completed and I have finished up my Banking on Women business course, YAY! It was so great!! I have been working on some other blog posts, but am having some technical challenges so those will air soon. Today I wanted to share a simple floral centerpiece made by my 5 year old. My youngest and his baby friend were outside playing and they thought taking the daffodil blooms off was really fun! My five year old felt bad because then the flowers would die. So pretty soon she came in the kitchen to show me this!

She said "Look Mommy, it's one of those center thingys!" Now this may look really simple, and it is. And that's why I find it so awesome! It was made completely by my 5 year old and then shown to me.
I love to see my kids start to appreciate and create beauty around them. Hope this "Center Thingy" brightens your day! Happy Mother's Day!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

How to Plant Tomatoes, Garden Tutorial

Hi All! I'm back with another garden tutorial. Today is all about tomatoes! There's just nothing better than a vine ripened tomato, picked fresh out of your own garden!! (I'm warning you though...once you've had one like this, you will have a really hard time eating the ones from the store ever again!) I am pretty much ruined. I can't eat store bought tomatoes because I know what" real" ones taste like. Get your green thumbs ready, cuz here we go!

To plant tomatoes you should have already prepped your soil. (if you need some hints on this you can pop on over to my first gardening tutorial on this blog, here's the link: How to Plant Your First Garden, a step by step tutorial) I talk about how I prep my soil for planting.

 Back to planting tomatoes: You will want to obtain some good looking tomato plants from a local nursery (or if you want you can start your own, either in your house with grow lights or in a green house.) When you get your plants it's important to "harden them off" this means gently expose them to sun, warm and cool temperatures before planting them in the ground. (Some nurseries may harden them off for you, but make sure and ask, nothing worse than going through the work of planting, just to have your plants get stressed and die because they aren't used to the elements!) When started in a green house under perfect conditions they haven't been exposed to the elements, like rain, wind, sun etc. so it's important to put them out in the elements then take them in and back out again for a few days to get them used to things before planting. It helps them be ready to withstand Mother Nature and get off to a good start.
To plant:
 I dig holes with a hoe about 6 inches deep (the depth will depend on how big your tomato plants are when you buy them) and place the holes about 3 feet apart. I like to use black plastic as a mulch around the tomato plants for 2 reasons, one: it helps generate heat (which tomatoes like, so they grow bigger, faster) and two: it cuts down on weeding. (Anything that cuts down on weeding is a good thing right?!) Here are some pictures to walk you through planting your tomatoes. Remember that tomatoes are tender and don't like cold/frost so they should be planted after the threat of frost has past. (I live in Utah, so here we generally say to plant after Mother's Day.) You can plant earlier (here) about April 10th if you use "Wall of Waters" around them. (These are like mini green houses that are made of plastic and fill with water to protect from the cold.) Tomato plants should be planted deeply. (A tomato plant will make roots out of the stem wherever it is planted so I usually cover with dirt right up to the first branches.)

Here is a row of holes dug with a hoe and a tomato plant placed in each hole.

Then I gently hold the tomato plant up while I fill the hole with water.

I like to use a watering can, because a hose running all over just makes a mess! Plus if you are 5 it's much more fun to use a watering can.

Now that the hole is filled with water, use your hands to push dirt back into the hole, burying the tomato plant all the way up to the first branches.


Now gently, but firmly push the dirt down with your hands like this.

Here is a "planted" tomato

Once you have all your tomatoes planted, it's time for the black plastic. I unroll it and place it over top of the tomatoes so they are down the middle of the plastic. Then I cut "X's" out of the plastic with a knife and gently pull the tomatoes through the plastic.

Here I am cutting the "X" (make sure not to leave the plants under the plastic too long, it gets hot under there!)

Here I am pulling the tomato plant through the "X" gently and then I fold the triangles of the "X" under so only a small amount of dirt is showing.

Once you have all your tomatoes pulled through the plastic, stretch the plastic out flat and cover the edges with dirt or large rocks. (The wind will blow it away if it's not held down in some way.)
Then when the tomato plants get bigger and need support you can just push your tomato cages through the plastic to support them. I water them daily at first, until they start to take off then taper the watering to deeply once every week to two weeks when they are producing tomatoes. I just put the hose on low (so it doesn't dig a big hole) and put the hose end in the hole in the plastic and let it slowly soak. Then I move it to the next one. (This is how I prefer to water, you could also use a soaker hose and wrap it around the plants before covering with plastic if you wanted to water that way.)

Gardening makes me happy!!

It's a family affair here on "Patch-A-Heaven" Gardening is so great for kids! Even small children can help and learn to garden. Great way to teach them where food comes from.

Many hands make light work!

 And this is what these little plants will produce when they grow up....

How 'bout them tomatoes?! Canning anyone?!!

Hope you are enjoying these gardening posts, give me a shout out if you are! And hope you are bravely planting a garden this year! (It's so worth it!)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to plant your first garden, a step by step tutorial

What my early "unsexy garden" looks like. Ron likes things growing all together (he says it's sexy) , I like neat rows. To each his own!

So you want to plant a garden, but you don't know where to start? Well, I'm here to help!! I am just a normal person who has been successful at it, this tells you that you can grow something you can be proud of too! I have been growing my own garden for about 10 years now. I have taken classes and read books and am always learning! The art of growing things is always a challenging and exciting thing for me! It is something that gives me joy. It allows me the opportunity to work and sweat, tend and care, then reap the benefits of a beautiful harvest that just makes it all worth it. All the while giving me the ultimate feeling of satisfaction because I made it. (With God and nature's help of course!) I'm certainly no expert in gardening, but I am a normal person who gardens and harvests a bountiful garden each season and thought I would share what I have learned over the years. I will do a series of garden posts this season. (Watch for tomato planting next!)

This post was inspired by my attendance at the recent SNAP Conference here in Utah. One of our keynote speakers was Ron Finley who has done an amazing job of creating gardens in urban Los Angeles. He has taken vacant lots or weedy park strips and turned them into beautiful, lush gardens to feed the people of these LA neighborhoods. All the while fostering a love of gardens, vegetables, helping and teaching people. During his speech at the conference it became apparent to me how many people don't grow their own food and that they get overwhelmed and just don't know where to start. So this is why I have decided to share with you how I plant my garden. My type of gardening is tilling up a spot of ground, preparing the soil, planting and watering. Please keep in mind that there are a lot of different ways to grow gardens and opinions are many on this subject. I'm going to show you what I do. And my hope is to inspire you to give it a try for yourself!

So the first thing you need to do is figure out where you will be growing your garden. Do you have ample land (like myself) where a large garden plot is not a problem? Or will you be putting in raised garden beds/square foot garden or will it be in pots outside your apartment veranda? And then, how do you plan to water this area? I sprinkle until all the seedlings pop through the ground and then I soak after that. (I don't like to sprinkle once the plants are up, it makes them unhealthy and it wastes more water I think.)

Once you have decided what kind of garden plot you will use. Then next thing is to make a plan. What do you want to plant? Is the area where you live conducive to what vegetables/fruits you want to plant?(For instance, if you live in Randolph, Utah where it is super cold and the growing season is short, planting a melon that takes a long time to grow is not a good choice because chances are good that it will get cold before you get melons. What things will your family eat? You will want to plant what you know your family will eat and then if you have room, experiment with some new veggies/fruits that your family hasn't tried yet. (I can guarantee you that they will taste better from your garden than at the store because you have picked them at their peak of ripeness and they are fresh!) This year we are trying Artichoke and Rhubarb, we haven't grown these before.

I have a few favorite brands of seed for some things and then others I don't mind what brand they are. For instance, I cannot grow any other kind of corn on the cob than Gurney's "Gotta Have It Corn!" The reason is, it's my favorite! It has an amazingly sweet flavor, even when it's past prime, it still tastes good and every time I have tried another brand, I always go back to the Gurney's because it tastes better! (to me) And then I love "Sun Sugar" cherry tomatoes, they are like candy. (These rarely make it into the house to be used in any recipe because we snack on them straight off the plant. They are sweet like candy!)  So I get two "starts" of those Sun Sugar tomato plants at a local nursery. And then I get lots of other randomly branded seeds from IFA and some from Gurney's.

So you will need to obtain your seeds. This can be as easy as a purchase at Walmart, your local feed store like IFA or specialty seeds stores such as Gurney's ordered online. I get all my seeds ordered early in the year (like February) and then plan what needs to be planted first. I have a small greenhouse here on "Patch-A-Heaven" so I can start my warm weather plants like tomatoes, peppers, melons etc. inside so they are seedlings when Mother's Day comes around. Where I live (in Utah) you cannot plant tender things like tomatoes, corn, peppers, cucumbers, melons, beans etc. until after Mother's Day. This is the general rule where I live because if you do, you risk a frost that will kill what you have planted. (You can work around this rule a few ways also, such as using "Walls of Water" or other protective coverings around the plants to protect them.) So the next thing I do is separate my seeds into 2 boxes, one for early planting (like peas, lettuces, spinach, beets, carrots, onions etc.) and then the after Mother's Day stuff (like squashes, cucumbers, beans, corn) And then I like to plant seedlings of tomatoes and peppers with the "Walls of Water" around them in my garden about April 10. (However, it is now the 26th of April and I don't have my tomatoes in the garden yet. It has been extra cold and wet around here the last few weeks so I have been waiting for it to warm up so I could till the ground and get them in.) Today was the first warm day we have had so I've been out tilling today getting things ready.

Once you have your seeds, you need to prep your soil. I have a large plot with no beds. So I do one of two things to prepare my soil with the proper nutrients needed to grow healthy plants. I either use old composted manure (about 2 inches spread across the top of the ground) this requires manure by the dump truck load. So last year I did several dump truck loads of manure. This year I went the commercial fertilizer route. I use a formula recommended to me by an expert gardener by the name of Gordon Wells. He taught a series of gardening classes in our area a few years ago. I use his formula which is 1/4 quart ironite and 3/4 quart 16-16-8 Garden Fertilizer per 180 square feet. He told us to use a quart bottling jar, fill it 1/4 full with Ironite and then 3/4 full of 16-16-8 and that will fertilize 180 square feet. My garden is 5,250 square feet to I need approx. 22 quarts of 16-16-8 and 7 quarts Ironite. I mix all of this together in a wheel barrow or bucket then sprinkle on my garden using a seed spreader. Then I till it into the dirt using a rototiller. So I choose to rotate my fertilizer every other year, one year I will do the dump truck loads of composted manure and the next year I will do commercial fertilizer. I like this because it gives a good amount of organic matter with the manure and then a higher amount of Nitrogen with the commercial fertilizer.
Preparing your soil is one of the most important things you will need to do. And what you do will depend on what kind of plot you have. The more organic matter you can add, the better. When I say organic matter I mean things like grass clippings (without chemicals used on the grass!) leaves, a cover crop tilled in (something you grew to then till in to give organic matter back to the soil), peat moss etc. For example, I had several green weeds growing in my garden today before I tilled it. Because they had not produced seeds yet, they are a good thing to till into the dirt because they will break down and give organic matter to my soil. (I just like to remove really big pieces like corn stalks and let them break down in a compost pile instead because things this big make it hard for small seedlings to pop through.) Your soil needs several nutrients to grow healthy plants, the most important ones I need to add for my Western Soil are: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium and Iron.

Once you have your manure or fertilizer spread on the top of the plot, till it into the dirt using some kind of rototiller. And then use a rake to smooth out any high or low spots. Then you are ready to make rows. I can't make a straight row to save my life! (Ask "Handy Husband", every time I hang something he will come in and say "You know that's not straight right?") Straight and level are not my strong points. So I like to use two stakes, one at the top of the row and one at the bottom, then I tie a string (you can use baling twine, jute, any kind of thin rope or string) tied to the stakes and the line runs in between the two stakes. This string line helps with two things. It helps me make a straight row and it also marks where the seeds should be watered and where they should pop up. These stakes and lines should be left in the garden until your seedlings pop through the soil. Then they can be removed.

Once the two stakes and string line are in place I use my trusty hoe and hoe a row about 3-4" deep along the side of the string line. This is the row I plant my seeds in. Once I have sprinkled the seeds I cover them with dirt. And then I use my feet to gently stomp on the row. This presses the dirt onto the seeds. Then I give it a good water with the hose. I prefer to only water the row where the seeds are planted instead of a general sprinkler because I like to conserve water and I like to discourage weed growth! I water the furrow row created by my feet. Water well everyday (unless it rains then nature does it for you) until the seeds make seedlings (small plants popping through the dirt) once the seedlings have emerged then I will dig an irrigation furrow row right next to them will water them in the furrow from that point on. I don't like to water with sprinklers, I feel it wastes water and gives plants water diseases. I like to deeply water at the dirt level.

A couple of other pointers: Read the back of the seed packet. It gives you all the information you need to plant that seed. Like how far apart to space the seeds, how far apart to plant the rows, how long it will take to germinate and then how long to maturity, and how much dirt to cover that type of seed.

I want to give you small amounts of information to get you started, but not overwhelm you! So today, all I got done in my own garden was the fertilizer, and a small area of the plot tilled. (I ran out of gas in the tiller and only had room for one row.) But that's okay, it will be there tomorrow and I will start again. I actually prefer to plant my garden this way, a little at a time. Then I don't feel overwhelmed by it. So I will finish tilling an area tomorrow morning and then make more rows and plant and water. Then I will do my tomatoes. I will do a separate tutorial for them. And I will continue doing small plantings until it is all in and then the fun begins of maintaining it! Watering and weeding. But I find it very therapeutic! Don't be afraid to try a garden. It's really not difficult, you just need to start somewhere! Happy Planting!!

This is what a quart jar filled with 16-16-8/Ironite looks like.


This is the fertilizer mixed and ready to spread over the dirt.


I spread all the fertilizer on the dirt by walking and spreading evenly over the entire area. Then tilled it in with my Tiller.


Dirt should look pretty like this when tilled. (You can't till if its too wet, I use the "shovel test" dig into the dirt with a shovel, if it sticks to the shovel, it's too wet, wait a day or so for it to dry out.)


Here I have 2 stakes and a line tied in between them. I will then make a row next to the line to plant seeds.

Here is the row hoed. Here is where the stakes/line helps you keep it straight! It's now ready for seed sprinkling.

Here is an example of the back of a seed packet. Read those instructions to know when to plant, how deep to cover seeds, how long it will take to grow etc.
After I have sprinkled the seeds into the row, then I use my feet to push dirt over the seeds and gently stomp over the row to push everything down.

Here is a row that has been stomped.

Now the row needs a good watering. I just use a hose and hand sprinkle water over the row until it puddles like this. Water daily (unless it rains) until the plants pop through.
Here are some peas that have popped through.

Sometimes I find surprises of the good kind! Here is a little patch of Cilantro that popped up all by itself from seeds that fell on the ground last year. I picked it (before I tilled) and we had it on tacos.
Here is another surprise that popped up, some lettuce. Notice how many different colors of green are present in a garden. So many hues to add beauty!
Here is a pic of a pea plant and a garden stake/line.
Here is my notes from Mr. Wells gardening class so many years ago. I still refer to it and his great book.
This is what I call the "Garden Bible" I refer to it a lot too!

Say "Hello" to my little hoe. This is where gardening becomes physical activity!!

Our new Artichoke plant. I'm excited, this is a perennial!

Those funny looking green "tepees" are "Walls of Water" they protect tomatoes while there is still chances of frost. Which were I live can happen until after Mother's Day!

So this is how I plant a garden. I hope that I have been able to show you that you can do it too! Start small and break it up so you don't get overwhelmed. But, try won't regret it!!