Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer Lovin'

Tis the season for fresh veggies and I am in love.  My little square of heaven is producing a bountiful crop and is the best garden I've had in more years than I can count.

My garden had a late start due to my foot surgery and recovery time.  This spring was warm and beautiful and many vegetable crops were planted early.  Some folks were already eating radishes before I had my seeds out of the paper bag. 

One sunny day my brother, Larry and his family helped me sow the seeds.  Michael, Carly, Jane, Larry, Rick and I headed out to my back twenty foot square field.  For the past few years Rick and I have been building raised beds.   Rick got the backhoe and filled the bucket with good black soil and added it to the existing boxes of soil.  We all grabbed a shovel and worked the soils together.  In a few short hours we had butternut squash, carrots, swish chard, spinach, green beans, and mesclun seeds in the ground.  The plants also got their toes in the dirt - tomato, both sweet grape and celebrity, sweet peppers, broccoli, and brussel sprouts.  Michael did an awesome job of watering everything daily until all the plants were well established. 

I soon realized I needed at least one more spot for sweet potatoes.  In the past Rick fashioned my raised beds out of re-purposed lumber from the farm.  But, since Rick was in the thick of field work and fighting off kidney stones,  I didn't want to ask him for help.  Consequently,  a big box lumber yard got my money for a prefab raised bed.  I filled the square with a nice mix of soil, etc and my sweet potato plants had a new home.

As the lazy(?) hazy days of summer passed, giving my garden spot a drink became a daily event.  The days were so hot and dry, they plants were quite thirsty.  I also took my sacks of shredded paper and tucked the plants in bed with a nice coverlet.  The combination of raised beds, mulch and dense plants made the task of wedding almost non existent. 

Pule, Carly, Michael in front of our little piece of heaven.
As autumn approaches the fruits of our labor are readily apparent.   When the time of day arrives for meal preparation, we scamper to the garden and choose the ripe veggies, lay them in my basket, wash, cook and eat.  There is nothing finer than eating food I have grown immediately after harvest.  It was so worth any effort we put into it.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galations 6:9

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I live at Sew-N-Sow Lane E or Sew -N-Sow Lane N.  Perhaps if you have visited me you noticed our street signs.  Sewing, or is it sowing? Rick and I ordered them years ago with Christmas money.  So what do they mean?   What is it that I do?   Here's  a multiple choice question.  You have one minute.  Ready, Set, Go.

A.  Sewing - the art of cutting apart fabric and putting it back together in a new piece.  Used to create items.  Or as the dictionary states:
sew  (s)
v. sewed, sewn (sn) or sewed, sew·ing, sews
1. To make, repair, or fasten by stitching, as with a needle and thread or a sewing machine: sew a dress; sew on a button.
2. To furnish with stitches for the purpose of closing, fastening, or attaching: sew an incision closed.
B.   Sewing to complete something
sew up Informal
1. To complete successfully: Our team has sewn up the championship.
2. To gain complete control of; monopolize.
3. To make sure of: campaign strategists who were trying to sew up the election results.
a needle and thread or with a sewing machine.
C.   Sowing - scattering of seed, to spread over a large area
sow 1  (s)
v. sowed, sown (sn) or sowed, sow·ing, sows
1. To scatter (seed) over the ground for growing.
2. To spread (land, for example) with seed.
3. To strew something around or over (an area); distribute something over.
4. To propagate; disseminate: sow rumors.
To scatter seed for growing.

If you chose, "D", all of the above you are correct.  Congratulations. 
 Sewing is has been a hobby of mine since I was twelve years old.  My first project was a pair of  bright pink and white striped pajamas.  My older sister, Audry, was an avid seamstress at the age of nineteen and decided to share her love with me.  I still remember stitching the crotch seam all the way to the hem of the pants and her laughter as she saw my "lovely work".  I mastered the task of ripping out quite early in my career.  I managed to complete them and wore them until they were beyond rags.  
   Two years later I entered high school, and all freshman girls were required to take  Home Economics class.  When it came to sewing skills I was sure I had them all.  After all, I HAD made my own pajamas two years earlier, and a quilt for eighth grade history class.  So I cut my out my sleeveless dress using a pattern. Yes, I said dress, I made a dress.  Back in those days, slacks were not allowed as part of our dress code.  It was skirts or dresses.  But I hurried through, thinking I knew what I was doing.  It was a pitiful dress.  The facings were bulky and didn't lay neatly and smoothly.  I was sure I would never wear my atrocity.    Final grade: C minus.
  That was the last C minus I ever received in my life.  It was a slap in the face and a wake up call to reality.  There is always something new to learn.  And so the quest to educate myself was instilled down deep.  No matter how much knowledge I have acquired, there is always more to discover, ways to hone my skill.
   Stitching my own clothing became a hobby of mine.  Without the funds to purchase fabric, my mother and I went to  thrift stores and purchased old skirts.  I took them apart, using the skills instilled in me by Audry, and remade them into new stylish items.  By the time I graduated high school I was making my own jeans, tops, etc.  By then, the dress code changed to allow slacks.  Dresses became a thing of the past for me.
   My first major purchase after graduation was my own sewing machine.  In college I used my skills to earn extra cash by doing mending for the girls on my floor.  I continued to sew for the pure pleasure and graduated from my own clothing to my family's things, for marriage and family came quickly in my life.  During those early days of our marriage my sewing contributed to the family budget.  I created everything from our underwear to jackets and everything in between.  I used to say I only bought our socks, shoes and winter coats.  I learned the art of finding bargains and could squeeze a family of six clothing needs out of six hundred dollars per year.
   My love of sewing never waned and I am moving back into designing and creating my own clothing and my grandchildren.  As my embroidery business slows down, due to my choice, my sewing will become more prominent again.

I also like to sew things up, in the sense of finishing projects.  I have lots of things I love to do, decorating my home with items of meaning to me, quilting, gardening, cooking and sometimes cleaning.  I get a great deal of satisfaction in a project completed and well done.  

Lastly, I love to sow.  Jesus called his disciples to be fishers of men, to sow his seeds of love and devotion to Him as the walked their journey of life.  Taking the knowledge instilled in my  walk on this earth and sharing it with others brings me joy.  Sometimes I haven't enjoyed the 'education' I have been given, but as I finish my course, I see the ways I am asked to sow for the Lord.  
   NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) comes to mind.  I spent yesterday afternoon sharing this wonderful organization with strangers at a health fair.  Sowing the seeds of understanding to the hurting.
   CEW (Christian Experience Weekend)  I have received many blessings as I worked these weekends, sowing the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and reflections of them working in my life.   
   TEC (Teens Encounter Christ)  A weekend for high school seniors.  I have spent more of them with youth than I can count.  I always come away feeling so awesome to be used to sow the seeds of faith with our next generation.
  And last, but not least, is sowing seeds of faith and love in everyday situations.  The brief conversations with check out clerks, customers, family, friends are an opportunity to sow the message of our Lord, without preaching.  A touch, a smile, an understanding nod, to listen to them with all my being, is a way to spread His message and for this I am grateful to be a part of His plan. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Knock on my kitchen door

Here's a photo of a dream kitchen.  I used to think it was mine, but am having second thoughts.  When it comes to remodeling the kitchen I think this one has too many doors.  I have a great problem with flat surface disease and open door policy.  In other words, if there is a counter, I feel a great need to fill it up.  And if there is a door, I have a tendency to leave it open.  Luckily for me, Rick has flat surface disease as well, but my door habit drives him up the wall.  So maybe I should have all open shelving for my new kitchen.  I can envision clear jars with black labels and all my staples lined up in neat rows.  One or two flat surfaces for food preparation and baskets for the incoming and outgoing mail.  And speaking of food preparation...
    Rick and I are different.  There is a book called, "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus."  Well, when it comes to food likes/dislikes it must be the case.  Rick and I are opposite on food preferences.  When we said "I do" years ago the two became one.  It works well, he eats the meats and desserts and I eat the fruits and vegetables.  We have a balanced diet.  The only trouble comes in when I don't get enough protein with my half of the meal and he doesn't eat enough veggies and rarely any fruit.  But the real problem arises with the fact that what I enjoy eating, he doesn't like and what he likes to eat, I can't due to food allergies.
I just found out two days ago the homemade spaghetti sauce I have been feeding him for thirty years, he doesn't really like.  Good grief!   I guess I will make two meals each time.  One for him, one for me.  Day two someone will always have 'planovers.'

Monday, August 20, 2012

Waste not, want not.

I enjoy spending hours in my sewing room.   According to my husband, Rick, I cut fabric apart in little pieces and sew it back together.  And it brings me a great deal of satisfaction.
My roots are anything, but luxurious, so I have a tendency to save every scrap if the measurement is at least one inch by 4 inches.  That's enough to insert a splash of color on any given project.

To create a gift from leftovers, is relaxing, yet challenging.  This weekend was an opportunity for me to have a blast.  My granddaughter, Lauren, is celebrating her fifth birthday this week.  According to her mother, she needs nothing!  After a recent conversation with Lauren, the decision was made to give her a purse. 

Lauren's favorite color is purple, so I dug through my treasures.  I found the perfect pieces.  Remnants from my great niece's lavender and green quilt fit the bill.

 The largest piece was a great size for the exterior and and lining, all in one.

  Interior and exterior pockets were formed with coordinating scraps, along with the handles. 
Even the zipper came from the "perhaps you can find a use for this, Mona' box. 
 A three by three inch block became an "L" so all would know this was created just for Lauren.  

The hardest part was figuring out how to put the entire creation together.  Buying a pattern was not an option for me when I decided to create my 'silk purse out of a sow's ear'.  It was early Saturday morning and stores had not even considered opening up.

A wallet is an absolute necessity to a young woman with a purse.  It took less than an hour to stitch a trifold, with a spot for bills, coins and favorite photographs.

  A package from a set of pillow cases made the ultimate sacrifice as it was cut apart to form picture windows that fold out upon opening.

I finished the final hand stitches on Saturday evening around the campfire with relatives.  

I am excited to wrap her 'one of a gift' and watch her face as she unwraps a 'grammie gift of love.'

Sunday, August 19, 2012


S -Sewing - one thing I never tire of doing is creating things with my machinery.  Do a little bit each and every day, even if it is only for 10-20-30 minutes or so.  This is in addition to the items for customers.   First project - baby blanket for a new great nephew,born in May.  Next item will be finish the wedding gift for last month.  Watch for photos of completed items.

T- Technology -  I love to learn new things to do with technology.  I have several programs I wish to learn.  Spend an hour, two or three each week to until both are easy to operate.  First one to master is Home and Landscape.  (Maybe a remodeled kitchen is on my horizon)  Next will be a tablet for designing. Then find a new one to learn.  Continue to challenge my brain.

R- Research - I have a curious mind.  Spend a some time each day learning about a topic that interests me.  A half hour would be good.  First topic - wildflowers for Iowa and how to do manage.   I love the idea of small gardens at the end of each of our lanes to greet everyone who comes to our little piece of happiness.

U-  Understanding.  Never can have enough of that.  Spend time each morning reading my daily scriptures  and devotionals as I enjoy my morning brew.

C-  Clean.  One of my downfalls.  I am not normally a neat and tidy person.  I have to work very hard at overcoming my 'Flat surface disease'.  Spend a few minutes each day cleaning up after myself.  First place to tackle - my sewing room.
T- Teaching.  I have learned lots of things as I journey through life.  Blog about them, work on your writing ideas.  As I put my fingers to the keys, I learn more about myself and my goals in this life.  Journal daily.  10 minutes at the end of my day.  Blog on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  Monday- sewing project completed during the previous week or new technique learned.  Wednesday - Health related.  How am I doing with keeping the temple of my body?  Friday - Spiritual writing.
U-  Underwear, socks, towels, jeans, t-shirts and sometimes dress clothes.   Dirty laundry is part of life, part of running a household.  Wash, dry and Put Away the laundry once a week.  No more baskets in the front room.  Period.  Maybe I should check into a laundry closet for us...?
R-  Reading and/or relaxing.  If I wish to work on the craft of writing, I need to learn about the great ones before.  Spend time each day doing some of both.  My goal is to strive for 20-30 minutes before I retire for the night.  First book(s) Kristin Lavransdatter - the trilogy and then return them to their owner.  Next book:  Wedded to War.

E-  Exercise.  As middle age spread is catching me quickly and my lack of stamina has become painfully apparent, I need to find a routine I can adhere to, happily.  Goal - Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday - aerobic exercise of some kind.  I think I will try using my elliptical in the basement and watch Andy Griffith tv shows.  In between, walk, walk, walk.  Park my car as far away from the door when in a store parking lot, walk to the mailbox for mailing letters and getting mail, and last but not least, go to the farthest bathroom in the house when mother nature calls me.  And speaking of her, drink lots of water so she comes often.

There, now I have set up some extra STRUCTURE for my life.  Follow my blogs and see how I am doing as far as keeping my goals.  I figure, school has just begun in our area, so young people are getting structure back in their lives after  lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are over.  It's a great time for me to get some STRUCTURE  back in my life.

Wish me luck, no, wish me structure, stamina and determination to follow through.  Till next time.