Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Last night was my monthly quilt night with my girlfriends. We gathered at Cathy's house for dinner and lots of laughs. How pretty is her dinning room and what a contrast in quilts, the one on her wall she paper pieced and machine quilted.

And the one on the frame she is hand-quilting.

When our son was going to college in New York he would walk to school, along the way he found the greatest stuff in the garbage cans, one being this woven prayer rug. I don't know a lot about them but the center design on this one could be a tree of life.

And it might be dyed with natural dyes, indigo and madder root or cochineal. The fibers have a lot of wonderful shading like natural dyes.

We had a great loss this past week Miss Tigress was hit by a car and died.
Everyday when the boys came home from school she waited on the porch for them. Whenever they went out to play she followed them. We live on a very quiet road with lots of little boys all around the same age. Well, they were all out playing and when kitty tried running back home across the road a jeep driving way too fast hit her. She made it home and died on the porch as all the little boys watched her. It was soo sad, we all miss her. Even our neighbors cat who she played with everyday still comes over looking for her.

I hope you all have a Blessed Easter.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

National Quitl Day/ Herb Society

Last Saturday (March 16) was National Quilt Day, I spent the day playing with my friends at Quilt Guild gathering. Some were working on charity quilts and some on their own projects. This is our head Leprechaun showing how to take 3 yards of 3 fabrics and cut them just so and end up with fabric to create 3 different baby quilts.

This is how they work up, a simple pattern but if you use fun fabrics they make cute baby quilts. Every year our members make 350 or more different style baby quilts that we donate to different charities in our area to hand out to their clients. They really love them.

Some of the girls worked on yo-yo quilts and some stitching on crazy quilt blocks.

Every other year our guild donates a hand-made crazy quilt to Tempting Table,. a charity that supports breast cancer research. Different members make a block for the quilt.

Another charity our guild is involved with is making washable menstrual pads for women in third world countries. Having this "kit" enables the girls to be able to go to school and not miss because of their period. Most women in these countries have no pads or way to take care of themselves during this time of the month.

The kits come with panties, pads, wash cloths all in a fabric bag. Everything is washable and will last for quite awhile.

Carla was working on a antique reproduction of a quilt she saw and photographed. It looks like it's at least a hundred years old!

Martha working on a lap quilt.
(Deb H. this is the Martha the nurse).

Kay working on pillows to match the quilt she made for her daughter.

One lady is making a series of light house blocks. There is a pattern for these and includes all the light houses around Michigan.

There are a lot of them.

How cute is this pin cushion?

And this wool one setting in an antique tart tin.

From National Quilt Day to Herb Society meeting last night (how I love my groups).
Rita was our speaker last night talking about herbs she uses in her Mexican dishes.

Lots of different peppers, spices like cumin and black pepper corns which she grinds up with her mortar & pestle, oregano, garlic and cilantro. Something I've not seen before was dried tomato paste in cubes. (in the red box).

She also cooked up a banquet for us using all those different herbs.

Frijoles Charros (cowboy beans) with pinto beans, bacon and lot of spices.

I love this, Catus Salad.
1 jar of cactus drained
1 package of queso fresco crumbles (Mexican cheese)
1 large tomato
1/2 bunch of cilantro
Mix all ingredients. Enjoy with tortilla chips or crackers. Can also be eaten with tortilla shell as tacos.

Rice with saffron, cumin, garlic, onion  and bell pepper.

Candy made with goats milk.

I love these little cloths Rita made, years ago she lived in Mexico and had a little grocery store. When the store wasn't busy she would embroider on dish cloths. This one has her married and maiden name embroidered on it.

She made a series of these, this one says Tuesday sewing!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Herb and Garden ideas

Last weekend my girlfriend and I went to the Michigan Herb Conference. What a breath of Spring it was. As we walked in we were greeted with this beautiful display of topiarys from my favorite vender.

New this year were lavender topiary's.

Chartuse moss in a hypertufa planter.

This years displays were all about the Herb of Year Elderberry. In America it's not too widley used, but in Europe they know all it's benefits. We are just begining to appreciate the health benefits and use them.

It truely is Nature's Medicine Chest!

Every year these two fibre artists make wonderful needle felted accessories to wear to the conference.
I always look forward to seeing their new creations.

This year there's felted elderberries in among the flowers.

One of our speakers was Kirk R. Brown (horticulturist, garden communicator, playwright and actor).
He was the program for the banquet portraying John Bartram: The Kings Gardener.
John Bartram lived in the mid 1700's and was one of the first naturalist to collect different plant species in America and send them to England for the King. He was good friends with Benjamen Franklin. Their is so much history on this man it's hard to write it in a few sentences.

One of his accomplishments was to publish the first plant catalog with 1,123 plants in it in 1754. No glossy plant pictures, just a plant list.

Of course Elderberry was included.

When he shipped the plants to England they had to be boxed up to keep the mice and rats on the ship from eating them. They were stored in the Captians quarters for the journey as the Captain always had a cat.

The center pieces for the tables at the banquet were "Bartram's Boxes" filled with plant specimans and a reproduction drawing of Mr. Bartram  in a old bottle.

Also included was a "scroll" listing all of the plants in the box.
Great centerpieces!

A huge hanging ball of herbs was auctioned off.

My favorite speaker was the owner of Souther Exposure Herb Farm in Battle Creek, Mi. He brought along lots of new gardening ideas. Here are a few.
This first is a concrete stone made by building a wooden frame, lining with plastic (sprayed well with PAM for anti-stick), then quick drying cement is poured in and finally pressing in the vinyl mat to create the design. After pulling out the matt, let it dry thourghly and take out of the box. This is the first porject I want to make this spring. A stepping stone for my gate.

Next dryed hydrangeas sprayed a cranberry tint, tucked in a basket with little lights throughout. This would be a beautiful centerpeace thoughout the Fall and Winter.

Vintage birdcage with a candle and plant inside.

I love, love this also, an old minnow bucket with a stran of little white lights tucked in. I can see this on an outdoor glass picnic table. At night the glass would reflect the lights.

Lots of ideas here, but what I wanted to remember was next Fall after finishing using the different heirloom pumpkins for displays, put them away in a corner of the garage (so they stay cold but don't freeze), in spring cut the tops off, fill in the hole with good soil, water and set in your garden. The seeds should send out vines through the top and hopefully you will get some pumpkins!

Add a "green" roof to a bird house. Make a frame around the roof, add a layer of gravel then soil and plant. A good plant to use for the hot summer would be Hens and Chicks, they don't need a lot of water or attention.
I know this blog is getting long but were nearing the end. (He had 33 creative garden ideas!) 

Back home with my treasurers, two rosemary topiariays for gifts, and some new herbs for the garden, golden sage, lemon thyme and tri color salvia.

Of course a jar of elderberry jam, and read the lable it says LIFE! How could you pass up that. And a bag of dried elderberrys I'm going to make lots of muffins.

A cute honey jar made in Spain.

A new marble motar and pestle for my dye studio to use to crush up cochineal and madder root.

And my favorite buy this little stump planter with it's own little door and filled with moss.

And when I got it home out popped mushrooms and a little girl leperchaun,

 sitting on a spool of thread, with a thimble hat, buttons and a strawberry needle keeper.

I wish you all "the Luck of the Irish" this weekend. I will be fixing the traditional Irish dinner for us,  remember on St. Patricks Day we all have a little Irish in us.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo