Saturday, August 14, 2010

16 square feet

This summer instead of planting just tomatoes in my barrel containers I wanted to try something new and big.  My husband and I got a kit at Home Depot and we put together two garden boxes.  We stacked them on top of each other and filled them with dirt.  It sat that way for a long while because I was determined to try the square foot gardening that I had read about.  I picked up some small lengths of wood and made a grid like Mel Bartholomew writes about in his book All New Square Foot Gardening.


  I wanted to try some new veggies, some carrots and beans and peppers so that's what I planned along with wildflower seeds from my daughter's wedding (she gave away as favors), a sunflower plant I got at Trader Joes ( the card said I could transplant it), lettuce, two different kinds and some cucumbers.



Some of the seeds germinated quickly but as you can see some of the squares were empty. It was all very exciting - the miracle of birthing vegetables.

We soon began snipping lettuce leaves and gathering beans to eat.  I love that my kids would go out and pick the beans right off the vine and eat them.  The carrot stems were getting so long but they still hadn't grown an eatable carrot.  No peppers at all yet.

Cosmos wildflowers are getting really big.  Getting lots of beans but no carrots or peppers yet.  I noticed a baby cucumber.  That was exciting!!  The sunflower didn't make it.  I don't know why but it made me sad. 

By this time I still had an empty barrel contain next to the sq.ft. garden.  I threw some squash seeds into it.  In less that 2 weeks I had squash blossoms!

Yesterday I harvested this:


I'm a gardener.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

To Hayley

Here's how it happened.  We were at my oldest daughter's apt. and she was showing us everything etsy.  (I had an etsy shop with my cousin already called Marci's Garden  We sell handmade bags which take the place of plastic grocery and trash bags.)  This time though, daughter Summer inspired both me and youngest daughter Hayley.  By the time we got home, Hayley and I were full on crafters ready to open our own shop on etsy.

The reason for this blog is to say "How cool is it that my splendid, beautiful, creative daughter wants to share this endeavor with me?!"

Let me tell you about youngest daughter Hayley.  She is amazingly talented.  She took the photo of me on this blog.  I think I look beautifully cute.  She is interested in photography and has already sold some of her photos.  She takes clothes out of the give away pile and she remakes them into unique, fashionable, wearable items. She took a formal type dress with a sheer fabric overlay and she made a tank top out of it.  No one ever wore that formal dress but the tank top will be worn all summer.   Yesterday she took a very nice dress out of my closet which I haven't worn in years but I keep it just in case.  She remade it into an adorable new sundress by shortening it and removing the sleeves. (It's okay because we wear the same size.)  I let her try pretty much whatever she's thinking without throwing in my opinion that it probably won't work because if she tries it, it usually does work and works well!

Hayley also sews and crochets without patterns.  I taught her how to crochet and soon after she was making these adorable caps with no pattern. 

She bought a pair of slipper souls that you needed to add the stocking part.  I really wanted to say "you need a pattern to do that!"  She didn't.  She made the slippers by crocheting a stripy boot like upper part.

She is amazing, she is talented and she's only 18.  I feel honored to be working with her and I look forward to seeing more of her creativity.  You can see it too in our etsy shop

I love you  Hayley!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

A few words about my fabric wreaths

My oldest daughter, Summer, is Etsy-addicted.  She is the one who got me started at Etsy.  She gave me very good advice when I was getting started with my shop and also my blog.  She points me in the direction of must-see crafters.  She showed me one such crafter who made fabric wreaths.  I fell in love with them immediately and I really wanted to try to make one.  I googled the directions and I picked up an 8" straw frame and a wire frame.  I loved the look of the rag wreaths made by so that's the one I attempted first.  I must have done something wrong because it just wasn't looking as beautiful as her wreaths.  Maybe I cut my strips too thin and short.  Long story short - I gave up and went to the straw frame.

The straw frame intrigued me since the tool I needed to make it was a phillips head screwdriver. For my first attempt I used all the scraps of fabric that I had left over from making my son's quilt.  I cut them with a rotary cutter to 3" each and individually attached them to the frame.  At first I wasn't sure I liked the way it was going but I stuck with it.  When it was finished I thought it was gorgeous!  I showed Summer a picture of it and she recommended that I list it on Etsy because it was good.

My next attempt was a christmas fabric wreath since wreaths are mostly used at christmastime.  I used one red and green plaid fabric but this time I pinked the edges and the finished wreath was lovelier than the first.

After this wreath I made 4 more wreaths in this way.  I love the finished result so much and I have been lucky enough to sell a few on Etsy.  So thank you to RagHearth for your inspiration and to Summer for your guidance and encouragement.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A very loved quilt

A very loved quilt

       Etsy jewelry artist, Sarah Hood said, "Make work you love and list it!  Well, I LOVE making my rag quilts.  Even when I was not making them the right way, I still loved the whole process of making a quilt.  When I wake up in the morning, before I get out of bed, I think about which quilt I'm working on, I look forward to sewing it and I feel happy.  Recently, I made the prettiest quilt I have ever done ( in my opinion).  It was also the hardest because I used fleece in between the flannels instead of more flannel.  It took a long time to clip the seams.  (Let me take a moment here to thank the best seam clipper in the world, my daughter Katie Rogers!) I have enough material to make a similar quilt and even though it was hard, I can't wait to jump in and do it all over again.  I fell in love with this quilt as I was laying it out and layering it and sewing it.  Katie fell in love with it as she clipped it's seams.  This is a very loved quilt.  We both wanted to keep the quilt instead of listing it but I decided that since she is leaving for college next month, I would give it to her as a going away gift.  She's happy and I'm happy it will stay in the family.  I love every quilt I make and I love that I have been able to sell them through Etsy.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Even though I love fabric I struggle with colors
and patterns and perfectness.  I have
 been trying to use up all the fabric that I bought
over the years and never did anything with.  I only
buy when nothing else will do.  Some of my
favorite quilts have come from flannels purchased
long ago.  The Moon and Stars and the  Baby Blue
Whale quilts came from fabric that my daughter
Katie purchased to make a quilt for her then boyfriend. She got 2 rows done and broke up with him.  I disassemble all the squares and matched the patterns with some other fabric that I had and two of my favorite rag quiltys were created.

  I had a bunch of orange flannel from something I had planned a long time ago, probably something for Katie since her favorite color is orange.  I also had some plain cute baby print flannel with yellow zebras, blue elephants and orange lions.  I matched it with the orange and thought it might work until I saw the finished quilty.  I thought it was Ugly!!! It's sitting here next to me, right now and I still can't warm up to it.  I don't know what I'm going to do with it.  I may donate it.

When I lay my quilts out the pattern and positioning has to be perfect to my eye and most of the time I am pleased with the results.

I have had to make a few trips to the fabric store and those times have been where most of my struggles come from.  First I'm like a kid in a candy shop with all those fabrics.  I use my eyes and my hands to decide on just the right fabric.  I bring in the square I'm trying to match and I agonize over the decision of the perfect complement.  It's much easier when I bring my daughter Hayley.  She has a good eye for color.  When we have made the perfect fabric choice for the next quilt and I get that excited feeling of not waiting to start it, I know I will be happy with the results.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I love fabric

I didn't realize I loved fabric so much  until I started making my rag quilts.  After I buy my fabric, I slice it into either 9 or 10 inch squares and I pile it up all around me.   Looking at the neat rows of fabric squares and touching the softness of the flannel stacks gives me a wonderful, rich feeling.  If I could decorate with flannel stacks I would.  I keep my stacks color-coded in a big plastic bin and I love digging in to find just the right color combination for my next quilt.

First Blog - My three mistakes

I have been sewing for a while and never considered myself a great seamstress.  I've learned that I like straight seams, clean line patterns, bright colors, especially greens and pinks.  When I first discovered rag quilting I fell in love with the design and look.  My cousin taught me how to make one and I made a bunch for everyone in my family.  Unfortunately I did not make them very well.  Sorry Family!  I made 3 mistakes.

     1.  I only used 2 slices of flannel fabric instead of 3
     2.  I did not sew the "traditional X" to secure the slices of fabric
     3.  I cut the seams way too big -   so big that after 6 years they still haven't frayed nicely.

I wish I could take those quilts back and replace them with the quilts I am doing now.  All my quilts now have 3 slices with an X and are super fluffy!  I also double stitch the perimeter which give the quilt a very finished look.  I've learned to cut the seams to less than 1/4 inch.  I've been pleased and proud of my work.  I still don't consider myself a great seamstress but I'm absolutely positive I can make a beautiful rag quilt.

one of my first rag quilts