Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Tomatoes are my topic for the day ~ not the dirty part, but the scrappy part. 

In our container garden we need to tie our tomato plants up to keep the branches from breaking in the wind or from the weight of the fruit.  In the past we have tried using metal tomato cages, twine and garden wire and were never pleased with the outcome. I used old pantyhose for a few years with good results, but being retired I seldom have stockings anymore.  A few years ago I suggested we tie our plants up with strips of fabric and Viola! .....  we loved the result and have done it each year since.  Leave it to a quilter to get fabric into the garden!

We use recycled wooden stakes but each year the plants are supported with colorful strips of scrap fabric.  The pinks, purples and greens add a bit of color to our side yard.  Our tomatoes are doing remarkably well considering the inconsistent weather we have been having. 

We are enjoying beautiful weather with a smattering of storms, but overall we are having very nice days.  The painting at our old house continues.  I find it interesting how much upkeep an empty house requires.  Once again this re-enforces my belief that houses need people just like people need houses.  Once the face lift is completed we will put the old girl back on the market.  Although the real estate market is surging in other parts of the country, nothing ever changes in our area because we are so rural and have little to no industry.  The people here like it that way. 

I'm getting set up to try out some new embroidery designs.  Before that happens the sewing room must be straightened.  My order of prewound bobbins and stabilizer arrived yesterday.  I get very good service and products from  If you do machine embroidery this is a great link for supplies.  I buy all my thread from this company and have received excellent customer service.  The mini spools cost less than $1 each.  The thread quality is comparable to Madeira.  At this price I was able to buy most of their colors.  Now if I just had a rack large enough for them. 

I wish you a glorious summer day.  Until next time...


Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Our plans for a Memorial Day cookout didn't work out due to the bad weather warnings statewide and our friends not wanting to be traveling in case of emergency.  I couldn't blame them one bit.  

I did some online shopping yesterday and bought some Christmas embroidery designs that I'm excited about.  I want to incorporate my love for machine embroidery with my love of making quilts.  Maybe a holiday quilt would be a good place to start.  Until now I've just incorporated an embroidered design touch from time to time, mostly on quilt labels.

We had a visit from an intruder in the garden yesterday, a 6-foot long black snake.  They are non-poisonous, but often their bites become badly infected ~~

Hubby gave it a gentle nudge away from the hose and it raced off into the woods.  I have a serious hate-hate relationship with snakes after being bitten about 10 years ago while working in the garden.  Since then I make it a point to walk a country mile around them.  I still carry a shadow on my leg where I was bitten.  I know snakes have a purpose in nature but I want them to do their thing and leave me alone!

I will be painting in our old house in town again today.  I keep a radio on there so I can hear the weather, which changes from minute to minute.  In case of a tornado there's a basement there.  It would have to be a whopper of a tornado because guess what lives in the basement....a black snake!!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Thanks to everyone who responded to my post about shaking text.  My quilting sister was able to get her computer cleaned up and the shaking is history.  

Country living isn't complete without some form of gardening.  Everywhere I go people are asking about my garden and me about theirs.  Except for the weather, gardening has to be the hottest topic in our little town right now.

Last year Jeff and I experimented by planting our tomatoes in 5-gallon buckets and we had the best tomato crop ever...that's right, ever!  Jeff drills a few holes through the sides of the bucket near the bottom for drainage and then fills the bucket with good soil.  Then the little spindly tomato plants are gently introduced into the soil and given a nice drink of water.  After a few weeks of sunshine and water we put stakes into the buckets and begin tying the longer branches with scrap quilting fabric torn into strips.  Here's a sample of what we have so far this year ~~

This year we have 14 buckets of tomatoes and three buckets of sweet yellow banana peppers.  We also planted zucchini, but they were planted into the ground because they get so huge.

Our buckets are lined up against the garage on the south side and all they will need is sunshine and water.  The benefits of bucket gardening are that anyone can do it, even if they don't have a yard; there are little to no weeds unless you have weeds in the soil before you plant; it's easier to harvest produce if you don't have to crawl around on the ground and the buckets can be moved if necessary (for us bad storms can be an issue). 

Summer isn't summer without flowers and I'm partial to Impatiens, which do well in the tubs in front of our garage ~~

I chose orange Impatiens this year for a change.  Last year we had pink and violet.  Impatiens love morning sun but don't do well is full sun, which makes their color bleach out.  They do need to be watered almost every day in hot weather.  I was told by a follower from the UK that Impatiens don't do well there because they get too much rain. 

I have always been fascinated by Moon Flowers, a night blooming white flower that smells divine!  I tried starting them from seed in past years, but this year I was finally successful after soaking them in water for 48 hours before planting so they would begin to swell.  ~~~

I'm thrilled to finally have some Moon Flowers.  They will start vining soon and they can climb the old headboard leaning against the house.  I became enthralled with Moon Flowers after reading about a woman who lost her husband after many years of marriage.  She found that she couldn't sleep at night without him beside her and she would stay up all night and sit in the dark of the garden.  After a while she decided to plant a night blooming garden and Moon Flowers were her absolute favorites!  It is recommended that they be planted outside a bedroom window to fill your room with their lovely fragrance every night.  I love the miracle of planting seeds and watching them pop through the soil!!

We're also growing a few herbs, mostly Basil (for my special pesto) and Thyme (for luscious baked chicken).  I haven't found any Rosemary yet but we enjoy it also.  Rosemary and Thyme come back almost every year, unless we've had really hard freezes.  Try stripping the little needles off Rosemary stems and use the stronger stems as skewers for chicken breast, pineapple, green pepper and cherry tomato kabobs.  When I do this, I dry the Rosemary needles and use it all winter. 

Whether you plant a 'proper' garden in your yard or prefer the ease of container gardening, I wish you a bountiful harvest this year.  If you choose to set out plants or begin everything from seed, it's all great! 

I wish you all a wonderful Memorial Day weekend ~~  stay safe!

Friday, May 24, 2013


I was just notified by one of the blog followers that when she tries to read the blog or the comments that the words on the screen shake.  Has anyone else had this issue?  When I click onto the blog everything is fine.  Please comment if you have this issue or know what could be wrong.

Thanks so much!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


After a night of severe storms we were able to check our property and all appears well, except for several large limbs down and some tomato plants that need some TLC. 

My thoughts, prayers and well wishes are going out to those who lost their loved ones and homes in the tornadoes of yesterday in Oklahoma and Kansas.  This is an unfathomable tragedy. 

We suffered major tornado damage in 2009 when our town was hit by a Derecho, a combination of hurricane and cyclone that rarely happens.  I guess it was the 'perfect storm'.  We are still dealing with the damage to our property four years later. 

I plan to make a few utility quilts for those who everything they owned. 

Monday, May 20, 2013


This is the time of year when I find it difficult keeping up with everything  ~~  the family, friends, yard, garden, quilting, etc.  Mowing our property is almost a full time job.

The hummingbirds are eating a quart of food per day now and they swarm all over my hair whenever I go outside.  I really think they know who feeds them!!

This morning I went to our old house and began painting the dining room.  I think I will finish trimming around the windows tomorrow and hopefully get the old woodwork painted on Wednesday.  Then on to the large living room, followed by a bathroom and small bedroom.  Bathrooms are deceptively tricky to paint, with all their gidgets and gadgets to paint around and behind!   I will try to take some pictures during this adventure.

In short, I've been neglecting my blog because I'm pulled in so many directions right now.  I know everyone understands being too busy.  This is the generation of the overly occupied.

I wish you all a beautiful early summer and promise I will make an effort to keep in touch better.

Peace & Blessings ~~~~  Barb


Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Mother's Day was very enjoyable this year.  I got calls from my daughter and both grands and enjoyed talking to everyone so much.  My grandchildren are young adults now and have a lot of interesting things to share. They are both taking college classes, as is their mother (my daughter) who is studying at the Aveda Institute in Albuquerque.  We have a lot of excitement in our family right now and everyone is doing very well.  Hubby cooked dinner for me and even washed the dishes!

I have been working on a quilt for my grandson for his birthday in July and have it prepped and ready to go the my quilter.  I think he will like this, as it's made from southwest prints as a reminder of his trips to visit his Mom at the ranch in New Mexico.  I'm not going to show the quilt until he receives it, but here are snippets of some of the fabrics, which are from the Rising Sun collection by Moda.

I'm very enthused about quilting again after a few weeks of not wanting to sew.  I took a few smaller items to my quilter, Reggie, last week and should have them back in a week or so.  She was covered up with quilts waiting for her magic touch!

Until next time, I wish you all the best....Barb


Monday, May 6, 2013


It should comes as no surprise, but it's still raining today.  Last Thursday I brought in our tender garden plants (tomatoes, peppers and petunias) and held them on the island in the kitchen until this morning.  They have been moved temporarily to the baker's rack on the patio for a drink of rain water.  Even if the rain stops today it will be several days before the soil is dry enough for planting.

Meanwhile, I have been working on small Jellyroll Race quilts for the PICU at Cardinal Glennon in St. Louis.  These were made from some 3-inch strips in happy summer colors.  The nice thing about making quilts for kids is that they love bright colors and the size of the quilts make them very manageable. 

These bright little quilts made with summery seaside prints have been nice to have around on the dark rainy days.  The quilt on top is ready for quilting.  The one on the ironing board just needs the outer border and it will be ready also. 

Wherever you are I hope there is plenty of sunshine in your life!!

Until next time I wish you loads of Peace & Plenty!

Sunday, May 5, 2013


It was a very slow week.  Hubby left for his hunting trip Thursday morning and was back home Thursday evening.  The weather was horrific and he didn't feel like fighting with Mother Nature.  Our weather turned very cold, windy and in general miserable. This year will be remembered as the year several states had snow in May.

Very little got done in my sewing room this week.  It rather looks like a bomb went off in there!  I will spend an hour or so today tidying things up so I can sew again.  Part of the issue is that I run our company from the same room.  Sewing is always spilling over into the company area and vice versa.   

Today will be another lazy day if I have anything to say about it.  Breakfast will be an easy batch of french toast with fresh blueberry syrup and bacon.  Dinner today will be Chinese Sesame Chicken with rice and egg rolls.  I think weekend meals should be as easy as possible.

Wishing all of you a peaceful and enjoyable Sunday.