Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Kombucha tea

At our last Herb meeting our speaker spoke on Kombucha tea. I never heard of this and I still don't know enough but here are a few things I learned.
Kombucha tea is a probiotic meaning "for life" containing micro organisms such as bacteria and yeast, giving health benefits to the host, which is you and me. This tea is a living food, which contains acids, enzymes, and vitamins aiding in digestion, boosting energy and strengthening the immune system.
It has been drunk for hundreds (thousands) of years.
The health benefit claims are too numerous to list.

The process to make kombucha tea begins with a starter (like when we use to share sour dough bread starter). It kind of looked like an amoeba. I'm not to sure about this.
Along with sugar, green teas and the starter you brew up the tea.
If your interested there is a YouTube video titled: Kombucha: how to make a 1 gallon batch.

A lot of the members are all ready using this, one brought in kombucha finger jello with raspberries to share. They tasted pretty good.
If any of you drink or know about this please let me know what you think.

I went to a lecture at our art museum, the speaker was Bob Friese, AFID floral designer and coordinator of Nature's Creative Edge, the outdoor floral art exhibit.
The museum brought him and his assistant in to do a Nature-Inspired art demonstration. It was wonderful, the following are a few pieces.

A large glass vase, a few river rocks in the bottom, a interesting branch from a tree and two large tropical flowers.

Bob started with a piece of drift wood and moss, two vases into the floral foam,

a few correctly placed flowers and you have a beautiful arrangement. I wish I took a close up of the green puffy flowers, they are a new variety of carnations! They look so different.

Bob carved this rabbit out of green floral foam and covered it with dried moss. A few fresh flowers and it's ready. Wish it was going on my Easter table.

This was the trunk and roots of a dead bush, he keeps it outside in his landscape on a iron pole, says it beautiful especially with snow on it.

Bob also carved these birds out of foam, covered them with moss and formed branches around them into bird shapes.
Well, that's the fun stuff happening in my life, have a good week.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Herb Conference

Last weekend I attended the Michigan Herb Conference, this "Bee" display greeted you when you came in and lets you know "Springs on the way".

They have lots of wonderful educational displays.

A large one on the importance of milk weed.

This was an interesting fact.

I don't know if this is good, it would take a lot of seeds to using as stuffing. How would the plants reproduce without them and then what would the monarch butterflies live on???

The "Herb of the year is Savory". They used the plants for center pieces on the banquet tables.
There are two types of savory, winter and summer. This is the summer variety, it is the most popular.

Little place markers made from old wooden thread spools, vintage lace and a button.
Love these.

A few health benefits from savory besides the wonderful flavor it imparts to food.

More medicinal benefits.

Winter savory is much more bush like, more like rosemary.

One of our speakers talked about gardening and crafting ideas. This is a good one. She purchased two containers from the dollar store, a plastic basket that will fit inside a plastic pot.

Take them out to harvest your vegetables in the garden, then you can rinse them off outside and just bring in the basket.

Our speaker does a lot of crafts and every year comes to the conference with wonderful "flower" purses and accessories. This was one of her apron ideas.
To make a no sew garden apron, cut up a pair of jeans only leaving the waist band and back pockets with a little leg fabric left. To use, button the waist band in back and the pockets go in front for garden tools, seeds etc.

This was her Hosta purse for this year.

Made from green polar fleece.

Last year was this wool poppy purse.

Another year was wool roses and a necklace to match.

A rose purse.

A needle felted and felt wool purse.

Necklace to match.

Knitted then felted wool purse.

Her accessory for the second day of the conference, hand made jean and fabric flowers.

Besides savory I bought a new variety of scented geranium called Sweet Mimosa. The flowers are suppose to be bright red and suitable to pick for a bouquet. We'll see this summer.

Here is a recipe to make your own Herbes de Provence made from dried herbs for cooking.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Snowman Sampler quilt

Our temperatures here for the next two weeks are going to be in the high 40's! Yea, Spring is just around the corner. Before it's gone from sight and mind I wanted to share with you a couple of new blocks for my friendship Snowman quilt. The first block from my girlfriend (photographed on my antique quilt) Jody.

The next, I embroidered this cute snowman skiing from a pattern from Crab Apple Hill.

These are all the blocks for far, some appliqued and some I embroidered.  Next Christmas, my quilt bee will have another snowman block exchange.

This is the next block I'm going to embroidery for my quilt. Another design from Crab Apple Hill. They have the best designs with many different quilt patterns available.
This one is so cute, who would ever think to design a snowman hanging candy canes on a clothes line!
See you next week, I'm off to the Herb Conference this weekend, leaving winter behind and dreaming of Spring.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Starry night

Our local Art museum hosted a painting class titled " Starry, Starry Night, happy hour painting".
All of us beginners were going to recreate Vincent Van Gogh's painting?? in 2 hours:)!  You have to laugh at that but with a glass of wine and wonderful appetizers we were ready to have fun.

Our teacher gave us a few basic instructions some acrylic paint and off we went.

It was very relaxing, playing with paint and canvas (which I had never done)  but not nearly enough time for me.
I could have used a couple more hours to finish.

A class picture on the marble steps of the museum.

My picture. You can see I loved painting the sky and ran out of time for the little village and fields.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Winter memories in wool

When our grandsons moved to Michigan, I traced each ones foot-print and hand-prints on to a wool tweed fabric planning to make their mom a cozy "moose" quilt for winter. Finally, after 3 years the quilt is almost finished. The hand and feet turned into cute moose heads with black buttons sewed on for eyes and nose,

I cut out wool felt snowflakes to scatter around on the quilt. Three of the snowflakes my friend Mary machine embroidered on the boys names.

Before they moved here they would come to visit wearing these hats and mittens. They had to be on the quilt!

In between all the applique I hand-embroidered in wool snowflakes, couching them down with shimmery thread as I machine quilted the top.
A few more hand stitches on the binding and it's ready for mom.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


My good friend had a hip replacement last week (she's much older than me! just kidding Laura), and with Valentines day on the mind I made her a quilted mat for her table. This is a very simple pattern, I've made quite a few over the years.

A quick run down on how it's made, I made a plastic hexagon template to cut out the fabric.
This is so easy I made two mats at once.

Cut out the strips that surround the hexagon,

sew the first three on,

cut off the excess fabric and sew on the next strips. Keep doing this until your happy with the size.

I then layered it with batting and a back and machine quilted it in the ditch.
A fun cheery little piece.

This would be great with any fabric.
If your interested in the dimensions e-mail me and I'll send them to you.

The grandsons have been busy making their school Valentines boxes. They had so much fun.
A card and candy eating monster box.

A Valentine robot.

And of course who wouldn't think a football field Valentine box!

The boys also made all their Great-Grandparents cards.

My own personal quilted Valentines from years ago. I made this wall hanging with marbleized fabric hearts and three dimensional  rose buds in the middle 90's.

This little wall hanging with lace doily hearts I made in the late 1990's.

(Is yours up Donna?)

In the early 90's while on a quilt retreat at my friends cottage we visited an huge old house turned into a (spooky) antique shop. I bought this skeleton key and lock and made this heart for it.

Shifting gears to Natural dyeing next summer.
One of my favorite natural dyes to grow is Cosmos flowers the orange ones. They give the most beautiful color and Eco prints and are not light sensitive. I heard there were Chocolate cosmos flowers and for the past three years I've been trying to find some. Last year I could find the plants at $5.00 a piece! They are a very small flowering plant and a annual! That was a little much. This year though I found the seeds on Amazon. I'm ready to begin planting and dyeing but that will be awhile, with about 12 inches of snow on the ground and more on the way it's just a dream. I'll let you know how they do in July!

This is the shipping label where the seeds came from if your interested.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo