Monthly Archives: March 2014




Garden day

It was a beautiful morning, which started out chilly,  so we started in the greenhouse, and this is what I found.

P1010031 can you find me

Did you find him?


P1010035 toadP1010032 a bit more visableP1010038 up close and personal 

Here are closer photos.  He really is tiny, only about 1 1/2″ long

P1010034 or thisP1010033 is this my home

Do you think he is responsible for these holes and tunnels under the beds?

Wednesday, I purchased some starter plants and  planted today (Purchased because I didn’t start soon enough and wanted some greens to eat)

P1010040 new starts

P1010041 names

P1010039 celery etc

Here you see this side nearly all planted.   The celery is from last year when we cut off the celery, but left the root.  The new plants are at the end of the celery row.

P1010043 still from last year

These plants in the center are hold overs from last year as well.  Is it possible to kill Swiss chard?  This plant produced all winter long and the chickens have enjoyed a lot of it.   I was thinking of just pulling the rest out, but I may transplant it to near their yard so they can continue to munch on it.   They may actually overeat it and it will give up.


P1010044 last years kale still going

This is mostly an overall view of the greenhouse with most of the kale to my left and the celery and new plants are what you see to the right.


P1010045 kale

And the kale is still going strong, though I will start new plants this year.


P1010047 parsley

This is one of the mystery plants, but I am now thinking it is a type of parsley.


P1010046 ah herb

P1010049 herb again

Here is the other mystery plant.  I believe it to be some type of herb.   I’m showing it with the leaves where it is starting to flower as well.


In addition we planted about 4 feet of sugar pea pods in the outside garden and will replant in about 2 weeks to make the harvest longer (and in case they don’t come up)   Sometimes our peas get flooded out.   Being an optimist, I’m hoping for better this year.

And we planted some sweet peas for a bit of color.   I remember my father’s mother and my mother always had sweet peas among other flowers in their gardens.  Next I want to get some red potatoes going.

Are you putting in a garden and if so, what are you planting this year?  Yes add answer in the comments,  I’d love to know.



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Applique continued

Yesterday I think I failed to suggest that when you are done using the tube of glue, it’s a good idea to put a pin in the top to keep it from clogging with the glue.   This makes it so much easier to use the next time.   I leave the pin in there whenever I’m not using the glue.

P1010028 put pin in glue tip

After the final press, I did put dots of glue (and pressed) around the hat to adhere it to the background before taking to the machine.  In that way, the hat doesn’t move around while I am trying to sew around it.   This morning when I picked up the project, it was all ready to go.

P1010012 stitching around hat

I sewed around each of the hats.   I used a 1 width and a 2 length on the little zigzag that takes 3 stitches to the middle and 2 more back.    With this setting it takes one bite on the background and the next on the hat.  I also used a monofilament thread which is nearly invisible

P1010015 missed stitches.

As I went around the hat there were times that two stitches in a row hit the hat – no worries.   There were other times that two or three stitches missed the hat.   If only two, again – not to worry, but if I missed three stitches, I did go back, but not to remove stitches.

P1010016 missed stitches

This thread is difficult to see and so is easy to just back up without cutting the thread and start again where you missed.

P1010017 stitched down hats

Now the little hats are secured and need the poms.

P1010018 thread around circle

The circles need to be cut enough larger to be able to go around the cardboard template and be pulled together on the other side.   I ran a thread around near the edge

P1010019 cardboard in center

Then laid the cardboard on the center

P1010019 cardboard in center

As I pulled the two ends of the thread, the fabric wrapped around the cardboard

P1010021 pull up around cardboard

I then pressed it good and used a bit of the Best Press to hold it.

P1010024 glue dots

Now it was time to remove the cardboard and give it another press and some glue to hold it in place so I could sew.    A note here.   I have found trying to sew on appliques like this that aren’t secure tend to move while I am sewing.

P1010026 circle glued on

I sewed around each pom and this block is also finished.

P1010030 done hat block

One thing I’d like to caution, especially beginners on, is that life isn’t perfect and there are imperfections in this work as well.   But the block looks good from a few inches away and the stitching is secure and the quilt will take a fair amount of use without being hurt.  And the block  is DONE!



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Sew fun and applique

Today was sew fun day.  Most of the projects didn’t appeal to me,   But I did come home with a Clover Press Perfect – a take and press mat that I can use to steam my sweaters etc. on when knitting as I can pin into it.

P1000989 Clover take and Press Mat (knit block)

P1000990 clover mat

And I needed another gallon of Mary Ellen’s Best Press which is absolutely the best thing I have found for ironing and pressing.   It is a starch alternative.   It does come in smaller bottles, but with the quilting, I use a fair amount of it.

P1000991 best {ress

This afternoon I spent more time on the stocking cap blocks for the BOM which are appliqued.   To do this, I first traced the pattern on freezer paper and cut that out.

P1000992 using freezer paper

I ironed the shinny side to the front side of the fabric and trimmed the fabric to roughly 1/4″ larger than the pattern.   The pattern can be used several times.


Next I clipped the curves and corners.

P1000995 spot with glue and press

P1000999 glue spot

With the piece turned over so the pattern is now on the bottom, and I am looking at the back side of the fabric,  I used small dots of washable glue to the seam allowance – a bit at a time -turned it under and pressed.     This held it until I could sew it and will wash out.

(Use a washable glue with a small spout, both Aileen’s and Roxanne’s work well.)


P1010002 small tip

P1010003 Roxanne's tacky

I then turned it over and checked to make sure it fit the pattern okay.   It received a final press and was taken to the machine – to be continued tomorrow.

P1000997 all pressed



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Aurifil BOM

Today I caught up on the Aurifil Block of the Month.   These blocks are very basic and fun to make.    Each month this year she has invited a guest to create the block.  This particular BOM is one that still has all the months on-line, so you could still join if you wish.   (Often they take the old one down as the new one goes up)

P1000986 Aurifil bom



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From Head to Toe Block of the Month (BOM)

I walked into the studio this morning and as it was too cluttered for me to work, I started by folding and putting away some of the fabrics.

P1000975 sewing mess

Then I spied this box of bags on the floor.   These are the BOMs that I want to do this year.   The artist puts together a block for each month, and if one actually gets each one done by the month , one will have a finished top by the end of the year.   Since I am now two months behind, I decided to end the cleaning and start on one of these BOMs.



From Head to Toe A knitter’s Gifts by Denise Russart  is one of the BOMs I planned to do.

head to toe 76x96


I pulled out the fabric and finished the March block as it was straight piecing.

P1000978 a knitters's gifts socks

The February block is applique, so is only pinned together so far.


P1000977 A knitter's gifts hats





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P1000675 hanson closer

The electric Hanson Spinner is wonderfully small and portable.  It is a dream to spin on and will go as fast or as slow as I wish.

P1000967 black angora

The black wool here is from one of the Angora rabbits.    It’s a bit tricky to spin as it doesn’t have the little hooks on it that wool fiber has.   So it needs to be spun thin and with lots of twist so that it will hold together.   After spinning, it will need to be plied with another spun fiber.   I’m thinking I’ll use either alpaca or wool as pure Angora is too warm for our area.


P1000968 spinning the angora

I was going to show you dog fur being spun, but it is hiding from me at the moment.



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Delightful day of rest

The dogs believed there was something to protect us from at 3 AM.   You know what that does to the rest of the night’s sleep.    However we were protected from whatever and so slept in a bit.

We had an invite to our daughters and son-in-laws place for lunch as his parents are here visiting from Florida.    His dad makes an awesome stir fry which we had with the potato salad we brought for lunch.  Then it was time to walk off the meal.   We went to Seward Park on Lake Washington for a good walk and what did we see?     This young one.

P1000969 young eagle

It’s a lovely park with this nice wide, paved road for bikes, skates, walkers, whatever — beside the lake.


And here is a photo – just in case, you’re interested – of Paul Allen’s Helipad boat on Mercer Island in Lake Washington.

P1000973 Paul Allen's Helipad

After this lovely day,  it was back home to feed and water the farm creatures



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Lemons or lemonade?

Remember the jeans I was embroidering on Sunday.   Today, I tried again and the machine shifted twice throwing the pattern off and making a mess of what I was trying to do.   The pattern takes 2 hr. 20 min for a sew out, and next time I will use a simpler pattern.  The jeans weren’t worth the added hours it would take to remove the bad embroidery as they were only $15 at Costco and that  wasn’t enough money to let ruin my day.    So what to do?

I took them off the machine to the cutting board and will have a new pair of shorts for summer instead of a long pair now.    And I have the other leg to use for making a pair of doll jeans.

Life is short and lemonade sweet



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Greenhouse Springtime planting


LOOK!     The banana trees I feared were frozen are returning!  See the little shoots.   I have 4 pots that I replanted last year from the tree I had and they all are sending up new shoots.   Of course without heat in the greenhouse, I’ll not have bananas, but it’s fun anyway.   And yesterday and today I took my knitting out to the greenhouse and sat and knitted a bit.   The weather in there is humid and warm like Hawaii.   So pleasant.

P1000964 seed oplanting

Today was another beautiful day.     We had a lovely walk in the park and worked on planting a few seeds.   A bit difficult to see, but those are seedling trays    I planted lettuce, several varieties of tomatoes, cabbage and will plant more in the next couple days.    I need to plant lots of seeds, because I’m not great at getting seedlings started.

P1000965 picked chard

And just look at all the Swiss chard I picked that is still growing from last year.   I will pick kale tomorrow.




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What a lovely day!!.   The sun is shining and not even a sweater is needed outside.   When I went to the kitchen, these lovely blooms greeted me.    Did they read the sign?   They bloomed at Thanksgiving and now again.  I love it!

P1000952 cactus plant

Look how stunningly beautiful each blossom is!

P1000949 c actus side

P1000951 close up cactus

And when I went outside, this is what I found.   Apparently these chickens had each claimed a pot in which to sit.

P1000953 chickens in pots

After lunch we went to the store – to get more babies as we need more eggs for our small clientele.

P1000954 polish bantams

P1000956  hopefully silkie bantams

The first are Polish bantams and the second are hopefully silkies.   They weren’t sure nor were they sure of the sex of any of these.   So all six of these will be a big surprise.  I am looking for some little silkie girls.   The Bantams are just for fun.



P1000957 bantams and austrolops

This bucket has the Silkies and the black Austrolorps

P1000958 wyndottes and arocanas

Here are the (black) Wyandotte and the Araucanas (sometimes called Easter Egg chicks)  I’m all ready for a fun summer.   Somewhere I want to find time to tame these chicks so they are more friendly adults.