Friday, April 25, 2014

Letting off steam...

Ya know I am pissed when there are two blog posts in one day!!!

Do you know what this is???

This is a garden dibber or dibbler.  They quickly make perfect, even holes for transplanting seeds, small bulbs, onion sets and plugs. 

Once my ground is ready to go ..... I can go punch, punch, punch down the row making holes and dropping in my plugs (transplants). The holes are small enough that watering will push the soil in place around the plant.

I have an old dibber .. made from a shovel handle.  It works great.  But the ground is wet ... and the soil sticks to the cracks and crevices of the dried wood.  A dibber with a stainless steel tip would work great in the situation we have right now.

So I ran to the two garden centers we have in town.

First one did not have one. But they knew what they were. Forgiven.  Even though a young man wanted to sell me a bulb transplanter.

Second one .... didn't have a clue.  Not young employees.  In fact, one was a manager.

I understand that I am easily pushed over the edge.  We are all on a learning curve.  I don't expect everyone in a specific industry to know everything.  I do expect some knowledge in the store.  And four employees had never heard of dibbler / dibbers.  Or even pointy things that make holes in the garden.


The one pictured is from Burpee's website.  Now I don't consider Burpee's to be an obscure English gardening company.

The over-the-edge-moment came with the following words ... I can look online and see if we could order one for you.

Without hesitation, first thing out of my mouth was ....... I can do that.  

(Where is that sock????  I need that sock!!!)

I wanted to buy locally ..... but seriously, Amazon knows what I am looking for and will deliver it to my door.

So if you own a garden center, work at a garden center or have friends that work at a garden center .... this is today's quiz for your employees.  What is a dibber or dibbler?

But you don't have to worry about me coming in to quiz you .....

Amazon .... here I come!!!


Over the last year or so ..... I have been sewing quite a bit.

I have made 4 skirts and 1 dress for myself.  I have fabric for another dress in the stash along with wool for a split skirt.

And it is fun to have skirts and dresses in my wardrobe again .... something other than basic black!

But its not what I wear ... day in and day out.

And if sewing is important to me ..... it needs to be part of my every day life.  If I want to practice what I preach .... I need to wear clothing made here in Iowa.  In my very own little sweat shop .... right on my kitchen table.

So .... let me show you .... Every day wear for Miss Eff.


Lots of sweatshirts.

This gave me some much needed practice sewing with knit fabrics.   I shortened the sleeves but need to shorten the body with the next one.

Super easy pattern by Kwik Sew ...... nice big pouch in front for carrying my camera, gloves, eggs and even a kitten at times.  I can stuff clippers, garbage and chicks in there!!!

It is a really nice, plush sweatshirt fabric .... really soft.  And the cost was under $11.00 ... not counting the price of the pattern.   I also bought some "Glow-in-the-dark" pink fabric.  If we have another winter like this last one ..... Honey will be able to find me when I sink into a drift!

And lookie ....lookie .... there's a hoodie!!!!

OK --- I'll go work in the garden now.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Don't Ya Jes Love it???

I know its a surprise ..... but I have a thing for chickens.

Sort of.

I really don't want my house filled with plastic chicken statues or any more chicken dishes.  I need no dishtowels with printed chickens (but I will embroider a dishtowel or two!) 

And after working on wallpaper removal .... there will be NO chicken wallpaper.

My dear sweet Honey still married me after unpacking box after box after box of "Bride in the Barnyard" dishes.  Commonly known in my family as ... the chicken dishes.

But fabric???

Oh .... that's another matter.

Yesterday, this cutie arrived.

Imagine this with yellow rickrack.  Yea ... it will be cute.

I'm not sure which apron pattern I will make with this ..... it might have rickrack.  But it could have crisp white bias trim all around it. 

These two fabrics will be used for a Church lady apron.  They are very primitive and cute together.

Although there is one apron all ready in the Summer Kitchen in this fabric ..... the magic disco ball in my memory, convinced me that I needed more.

And then there is this AWESOME fabric that may have a difficult time leaving my house.

I love love love this fabric!!! 

Did I tell ya that I love this fabric???

So why do I love chicken fabric so much?????????

Maybe it is because of the new residents in the coop.

Or maybe it's because of this little ditty from 1971.

You can thank me later for that ear worm. :)

Chick-A-Boom! Chick-A-Boom-Boom-Boom!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Searching for the glass ......

There are "the glass is half full" people.

There are " the glass is half empty" people.

Me?  I'm just trying to find it.

I used to make list after list after list for the things I had to do in the garden.

Ordered snapdragons
Laid out snapdragon row
Planted snapdragons
Fertilized snapdragons
Mulched snapdragons

And listing everything was helpful.

And depressing.

Cuz the list never ever ever ends!!!

So no more lists.

But you get to see the boring posts about what has gotten done.

Wanna know why???

Cuz just looking at the little bit of progress makes me feel better.  

Almost like crossing it off the list ..... if I made one.

Clean ... mulched and some planting done.  New ribbon on the wreath and cup is clean and shiny.

This is one of my favorite focal points when it is planted and ready to go.  But it is now cleaned and mulched and ready for the arrival of rudbeckia .... in approximately 10 days.

So SOMETHING did get done.

And Honey did find the glass.

It now has a cold beer in it.

Drinking it ...... one more thing off my list!

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Little Shady ...

Over the past several years, we have lost several trees.

Some were lost during storms.

Some were lost to disease.

Some needed to come down for safety reasons.

I love the intimate coziness that trees and shrubs give a property.  A sense of antiquity.  A sense of endurance.  A sense of time.

A sense of home.

It is time to start replacing some that were lost. 

Since cutting down the huge maple in front of our house ........ the front of the house has looked naked!

It needs enclosure ... privacy ... and some serious style!

This is a Royal Frost birch.  We are really excited about it.  We had a beautiful Crimson Frost birch that unfortunately didn't survive a move to a different location. 

I can re-arrange my house.

I can re-arrange my garden decor.

I can even re-arrange my gardens. 

But I really should leave the trees alone. ;)

Yea ..... that may not happen.

This is a contorted filbert  .... commonly known as a Harry Lauder's Walking Stick

I love this shrub .............. BUT it is a magnet for Japanese beetles.  It never looks healthy.  It is growing outward and downward so it difficult to clean, weed and mow around.

It also doesn't scream "Victorian Farmhouse"!  And I want to hear that!  OK -- the house needs subtle reminders now and again.

So it will be replaced with a Limelight Hydrangea standard.

I may just plant two.

Cuz screaming in stereo is always better!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mad about Plaid .... and some really cute aprons.

I love plaid.

I fell in love with my husband because he wore a red plaid shirt.  Seriously.

I am totally hooked on plaid.  It has become a joke that every shirt I buy Honey is plaid.  Specifically, red plaid.

I am convinced it all stems from my irrational crush on Norm Abrams.  Love a man with power tools!

But back to the plaid........

New linen garden skirt.

No ... it is not red.  It is magenta and peach.  And I love it.  Even though it will always be wrinkled.  Really wrinkled.  Matches my skin. 

Welcome to AARP membership!

And then -- I have been trying to find an easy shirt to make and wear in the garden.....

This shirt is super comfortable -- easy to make.  I love the poly linen for its easy care.

But I am not quite pleased with its fit .......

I swear this is why women quilt...... you don't worry about fit!

But the sewing turned out nicely .... and I really like the overcast stitch on my machine for finishing seams.

So those are two new projects for the 52 projects in 52 weeks.

These are for the Summer Kitchen!

The Church lady aprons have been growing wings and finding new homes!!!!! 

So get them while I have them .... I may not have the time to sew in the summer so if you see them ... buy them. 

I will no longer hold merchandise more than 24 hours or until the next day we are open.

But you have to look at these cute fabric combos......

Yea ....

It is in the Summer Kitchen now.  It may not be for long. 




Cute.  :)

I'm just sayin' ..........

Equally cute.

The Summer Kitchen will be open Friday and Saturday from 10-3.

I'll be the dirty one.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Cleaning House ...........

You didn't think I meant ......???

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Seriously .... I need a live-in maid in here.  Someone to pick up loose threads, stash wayward yarn, organize floss boxes. They must realize that roving is not a dust bunny after attending a Grateful Dead concert.  Yea ... my hobbies have a tendency to explode!

But I digress.

Outside is a WHOLE different story!!!

The end of winter is tough in the country.  Garbage sprouts from the ditches.  The gravel on the lane was pushed into the yard as snow was plowed.  The seed heads from flowers that we left for the birds are brown and dried.

Everything is dismal, un-kept, disorganized and old looking.  And not old-looking in a good way!!!!

It is clean-up time.

I try to start at the end of the lane .... the first place customers will see.

I had a very rude awakening last year to the importance of this small act.

A customer drove 20+ miles to shop at a local business.  They had been customers of the business but at another location.  When they pulled in the lane of the business ..... they saw garbage, clutter and total disorganization.  They quickly backed out .... drove away and stopped here.

They told me about their first impression.  Wow!  Was that an eye-opener for me!

It is hard to get everything ready for spring .... particularly when the weather is .......winter-like!

But on Saturday, we started.

I started at the end of the lane.  But the wind was blowing the dirt and dust into my eyes.  And I was certain it was going to blow the new mulch into the field!

There is always someplace to work that is out of the wind!!

I moved up the lane to our first two fence rows.

The big digger is happy with a new bed of mulch.

And then ..... the urge to re-arrange sets in.

If I just move this over here .... I think that will fit there.

30 years of interior design suddenly rears its "let's pretty this" head!!!

Yea .... I am re-arranging the garden  ........................again!

A couple of weeks ago, this tuteur was going to be smoke in the wind.  I was going to burn it.  Its legs were rotted.  I was getting rid of the raised bed -- the clematis that it was supporting died 3 years ago!!!

Due to high winds and then a burn ban, it just didn't happen!

And suddenly .... I want new!!!

But as I bleed money (it is April!)  the tuteur on the burn pile came to mind!  And with a little cutting and a little straightening and a few sweet pea seeds.......... I should have a new look!

The new dark red "Indiana" lilies in the bed won't hurt either!!!

Now to shop my barn ....................................

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I get by on crazy!

It is April and I have decided that sanity is over-rated. 

I take deep breathes.  I try to figure out where I am suppose to be.  And remember what I am suppose to be doing.

I tell ya ........ teaching three classes a week sounded so smart November!!!!!

Last week I taught three sewing classes.  Saturday, I taught canning, homestead business and beginning herb gardening.  This week, it has been 2 sewing classes and a jam making class. 

I do have a voice and I've made it through all the classes ..... but I have to admit, I have been drinking sugary, caffeine-fueled drinks to fire up the old gal!!!!

But it hasn't been all work........ I have gotten to sew a bit.  I have several projects .....a-l-m-o-s-t done.  So close I can smell them.  But it is always all over ........when the bobbin runs out!!!

I can show you a finished project, though.

Thanks to a couple of my wonderful customers .... I need to re-stock the church lady aprons.

Here is a close up of the fabric combo.

The difficult part about sewing ..... is restraint. 

Yes ... I admit it.  I can not go into a fabric store to buy thread without buying fabric. 

True story. 

I have tried and tried and tried.  It is totally impossible to do.

Because of that fact  .... you get to look at future church lady apron combos.

Chicken print!  Tiny .. sweet ... primitive.

1930's reproduction fabric!  Love this funky combo!

And finally, this ..............

Pink ... green ... 1930's reproduction.  SWEET!!!!  And it looks like spring!

Now comes the BIG decision .........

Which do I sew first??????

Thursday, April 3, 2014

In search of spring .........

Well -- March has come and gone and I have yet to see that lamb! 

Today ... it is cold, damp and blustery.  We have finally melted away the last trace of snow in the yard ..... but dirty brown is all that exists.

So I went searching for a little color to put me back in the pink! 

And I found it in the Summer Kitchen.

This tea towel reminds me that it IS spring.  I go out and look at it daily.  If you buy it and this weather doesn't change ... I may be at your house, looking at it!!

Just jokin'!


The rain today reminds me that .....................


But honesty in blogging wants me to inform you ...... they will be LATE May flowers.  Maybe early June.

Blooming predictions are not my strong suit. ;)

This Easter basket is brimming with spring color.

If the sun doesn't warm things up soon ........ I'm going to have to knit up some of this!

The Summer Kitchen will be open on Friday from 10-3 so maybe you can get a spring-fix!

And yes ............ I do have lots of these!!!

The eggs.

There is only one tea towel!