Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December Monthly Moos {Update On The Winter Wheat}



I don't know what kind of weather you've been having where you live, but here in Middle Tennessee we've been having some crazy warm weather.  It's not all sunshiny days because we've had RAIN, RAIN and RAIN.  As well as some tornado threats and flash flooding.   But in between that we've had amazing sunshine and it sure does seem strange to be outside in short sleeves, bare legs and flip flops!  




But the weather has been very good for the winter wheat and clover that we planted in the Flower Garden back in October.  (If you missed that post, you can read it here.)




The clover came in really nicely too and is spreading and thickening.  




So, as I mentioned in my Monthly Moos post back in October, the wheat and clover will act as a "green manure" to the field, adding necessary nutrients.  In the spring we will till it all into the soil.  The clover especially adds nitrogen to the soil.  




Eldon has also been getting loads of manure from the local Livestock Auction yard where he is stock piling and composting it.  That will also be spread and tilled into the soil in the Spring.




We did not dig up our Dahlia Tubers this Fall... we covered them heavily with straw and plan to experiment and see if they hold over well in the ground.  There are varying reports on whether they will make it through the winter; but if they do that will be great next spring!  




I loved going down to the flower garden today and walking around, thinking about what a wonderful summer my daughter and I had in our Flower Farming.  I had to stop and smile at the mason jar the little girls left hanging... just waiting to be filled with flowers in the summer!


Our seed catalogs have arrived in the mail and we've begun pouring over the different flower varieties and planning the garden.  We've got all sorts of notes to go over and  decisions to make.




It's hard, in these unusually warm days, to keep from getting over-excited and think that winter isn't going to come this year!  Even Belle can hardly contain her excitement in the sunshine! 
 (And when the camera comes out, she gets hilarious!)


Happy New Year friends!


P.S.  There is still time to enter my give-away here.  I'll be back to announce a winner on Friday.  


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Twenty-Sixteen Is Almost Here... And A Giveaway!




I love sewing simple little home-made things for gifts and this week I made potholders and crochet dish cloths to share with a few friends.  




I love this bright colored happy fabric by Lori Holt called Bake Sale.  It is just right up my alley with the bright colors and designs.  It is one of her older fabrics and is hard to find now.  I'm lucky that my local quilt shop still had a few prints.  


Here is a very basic little step by step on how I made them:




I cut 2.5 inch wide strips of the four colors.  (You can cut them any length that you desire.  I believe mine were 10 inches.)




Sew them together randomly.  Be sure to use an exact 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Press the seams open.  Trim any uneven edges.




After you press the seam allowances open, cut your piece into 2.5 inch wide strips.  




Lay out your strips and randomly sew four of them together in an exact 1/4 inch seam, carefully lining up corners.  (For some reason I missed a picture of this step, but you can see the sewn together strips in the picture above.)  This will give you a pot holder top that is 8 inches square.  


Next you will cut a backing fabric about 9 inches square, just to give yourself a little lee-way when you sandwich the pieces together.  




Now you will sandwich everything together for quilting:  start with the backing piece (wrong side up), then a layer of Insul-Bright, a layer of quilt batting, and your pieced top (right side up).   See the picture above. 

  (You do not have to use the Insul-Bright but I have found that it really does make for heat resistant potholders.)




Pin the four layers together carefully.




Now you can machine quilt them.  I chose to quilt along each seam about 1/4 inch from the seam.  I use a walking foot on my sewing machine that works real well for this.  It keeps puckers to a minimum.  




I didn't take a lot of time and get things perfect as these are potholders that will hopefully be used and aren't just for pretty.  So, my stitching is not perfectly straight!  




Trim your edges getting everything square and straight.


And then sew on your binding.  And.... I'm so sorry, but can you believe I did not take ANY pictures of the binding?  I think that was the day we were having tornado watches all day long and my sewing was happening in between all that weather mess.  




But my biggest tip on the binding is to be sure and cut it on the bias.  It really does make a difference!  And after machine sewing my binding on the front side and folding it over, I like to hand sew it in place.  It just makes for neater binding.




I made a big stack of them, using different fabrics for the backing and binding.  




I love the cheerful colors!




Then I made simple little home-made tags and tied them up with twine.  It made for a very quick and fun last minute gift.    I also crocheted one of my dish cloths from the pattern that I came up with (the ONLY thing I know how to crochet!) and put that along with the potholders.


So now for the giveaway!  


I'm offering one reader this little set of two potholders and one dish cloth!    All you have to do is comment below telling me your kitchen colors and I will choose a winner on New Years Day!  




Happy 2016 from the bottom of our hill!  


Friday, December 4, 2015

My Happy Place



I've been doing a lot of sewing the last month.  

And as I sit at my machine in my wonderful Craft Room I have been reminded again of something I've known for years.

When I have a sewing project to work on, I am at my happiest and most content.

Sewing makes me very happy!




All my little sewing tools, piles of fabric and projects in motion make me happy.




Hand quilting tiny little one-inch squares makes me happy.




The first of November  Eldon and I took a little vacation to South Alabama and as I usually do when we are going to be in the car for hours, I took a hand sewing project.

For a long time I've wanted to experiment with English Paper Piecing and so I chose hexagons (nicknamed hexie's)  as my first project.   I was hooked the first 30 minutes in the car!  That seven hour drive went by in a blink.

 And the nice thing about a little hand-sewing project like this?  You can still talk and keep your husband company while he drives!

Learning new sewing techniques makes me happy.




I think I mentioned in my last post that my parents drove out from New Mexico for about 10 days.  My Momma and I happily sat side by side on the couch sewing away on our own hexie projects - mine tiny and hers big.  And we talked and laughed.

Sewing with my Momma makes me happy.  




My grand-girls love to sew.  Jilly (who is seven) has her own little sewing box here at my house and she always has a little project she is working on.  That is usually the first thing she does when she comes each week.  My Mom loved sewing with the girls.

Watching my grand-daughters learn to sew makes me happy.




Making sweet little projects and sending to friends and family makes me incredibly happy!




When my parents drove off and the tears were streaming down my face, I came in the house and picked up some of those darling little hexie's and began a project I've been wanting to make for ages.  And as the happy sewing project began to unfold before my eyes, my sadness faded away.  

And I'm so thankful for that.


Friday, November 27, 2015

November Monthly Moos {My Month In Pictures}




I've been thinking lately about all the hundreds of things that have been taking up my days and all the things I could tell you about.  

Like the late Anniversary trip that Eldon and I took to Point Clear, AL where we stayed at the most amazing resort with the Bay on three sides of us...




where we played Croquet while watching the boats and dolphins in the Bay...




and rode bikes along the Marina and the Boardwalk...




And we said, "That is the best vacation we've ever had and we're going back every year"!   Then we came home to our beautiful farm and said, "Why would we ever want to leave our Hilltop anyway"?  Smile! 




And then my parents drove all the way from New Mexico and we had a wonderful ten days.  Dad and Eldon built fence during the day and shelled pecans and walnuts in the garage in the evenings.




Mom and I worked on our quilting projects and other fun sewing things like this.  
(While we talked, laughed and enjoyed being together.)




And this!  (The reveal on this darling project will come soon!)





And I made and mailed out this precious little gift to a sweet friend (more on that later too)!




And I sewed and shipped out my many custom Essential Oil bag orders as quickly as I possibly could.  (And discovered that the USPS has THE greatest online shipping set-up ever!)




And of course spent wonderful days making memories with my grand-girls.  




And cooking for Thanksgiving... and eating the yummiest Tiramisu I've ever made.  
(Just you wait... tutorial coming on that soon!) 




And I've discovered that we have these amazing winter flowers growing on our farm... Frost Flowers!  (You can read my blog post about them on MaryJanesFarm here.)


And now.... it's almost December.   


I hope your November was filled with beautiful days, memories with family and friends, and projects that make you happy!


Saturday, October 31, 2015

October Monthly Moos {Getting Ready For Spring... In The Fall}




I think most of you have heard me say many times that Fall is not my favorite time of year.  But I feel like this view from our front porch has changed my mind!  I actually love Fall... what I don't really like is that Winter comes very quickly after it!  Smile!




It seems like this year in Middle Tennessee the Fall colors were more vivid and more beautiful than previous years.  But maybe I just needed it more this year so I was looking closer!  

Eldon has been getting the farm ready for winter by mowing all the hills and pastures.  Things were looking pretty dry after a few weeks of no rain and after he got all the mowing finished we had two solid days of rain.  The farm is green again!  What a great way to go into Winter!




The biggest job that really needed to be done before winter sets in is the Flower Garden.  We had an early freeze the middle of October so our garden was completely finished.  (Another reason I dread Fall maybe?!)  After 3 months of gorgeous flowers, it was very sad to drive down to the flower garden and see it looking like this.  




Eldon took his small John Deere tractor with the little bush hog and completely mowed down all the dead plants.  




It made it much easier to look at!  I'm not kidding you - those dead plants were just too sad for me!  




Then he took off the bush hog, put the tiller on and tilled it thoroughly. 




It took a few passes to get it tilled in.




Then we purchased some Winter Wheat and Clover seed. 




Poured it in this handy spreader hooked up to the Ranger.




And I got to do the easy job of leisurely driving around the garden disbursing the seed... just in time for a wonderful rain!  

The wheat and clover should grow all winter, creating what is called Green Manure.  The clover is very high in nitrogen and when tilled back into the soil in the spring it will make for a more nitrogen rich soil.  The wheat will also put nutrients back into the soil and will help in weed and erosion control.   

So see?  We are already getting ready for Spring!  Yay!!!  


And in other news...




I took a trip to Colorado to visit our son and daughter in law (and had the best time ever)...




... and then I had a wonderful vacation in Estes Park, CO with two of my best girlfriends...




... and came home from that trip to girlfriend company from Washington ....


And now it is time to settle in and take the advice of my very dear friend, Luanne... embrace winter!!  I have a lot of sewing to enjoy!  


P.S.  For all of you that ordered Essential Oil bags from me... THANK YOU!!!  It has been so much fun choosing fun colors, sewing bags and getting them in the mail.  I'm hearing over and over that they are for Christmas gifts and what a great idea.  Feel free to read about them here and contact me via email at redfeedsack@gmail.com if you are interested in having one made for yourself or for a gift!