Tuesday, February 15, 2011


This past Saturday I had a fun day out with my friend Anne. She is expecting a baby in May and I am making her a baby blanket and a little bunny poppet. I wanted her to pick out the flannel for the blanket, so we headed to a quilt shop in a nearby town. We came across the cutest puppy fabric and Anne knew it was the one.

I must admit I was delighted she chose it because these are some of my favorite colors. I even bought some extra fabric to have on hand for other blankets. I think the dachshunds could go well for kids and adults alike.

This a gift I made for my other friend Sam's little girl, Claire. The stitching on the bunny poppet was a little more primitive than what I normally do but that's what the pattern called for.

While we were at the fabric store, I had to check out the books. I couldn't resist this one on Cath Kidston designs. I love practically anything Cath Kidston.

I haven't been getting in my sewing room much but I can dream about future projects I'd love to make from this book, like these padded hangers:

Or this lovely jewelry roll...The only problem is I don't have much jewelry so I'd have to find some other use for it.

And for those of you wondering what was in those green Valentine packages from my husband on my previous post, here they are. I was delighted to get this seed sprouter starter kit. My friend Merry got one of these a couple months ago and I immediately wanted to get one but was too cheap. I really do like alfalfa sprouts on my sandwiches! I was amazed my hubby actually remembered what I'd said! He usually doesn't have the best memory.  

And here's the rest of what was in that box—a bunny with the cutest crocheted pink and cream slippers (made in Denmark of all places), a vintage tablecloth and napkins, and a tiny original oil painting on a wood block with a tea theme. I think my husband must actually listen when I visit shops and remark about something I like because these seemed familiar. I don't like to buy things like this too much because they just seem frivolous but I must admit, they sure do make great gifts!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! I hope the day is treating you well. I awoke this morning to find a delightful array of goodies from my sweetheart, who had already left for work. They included this beautiful pink leather-bound book, a handmade sock monkey, and a lovely little pink miniature African violet! Are you detecting a theme here? My hubby knows I love all things pink and I'm so touched that he took the time to find these wonderful gifts for me.

I've loved Alice's Adventures in Wonderland since I was a kid. Make the cover pink and I love it even more!

I'm drawn to the charming illustrations within almost as much as that pink cover. It's a truly beautiful book.

Those of you who are regular readers of my blog know that I am addicted to African violets. Ever since I fell in love with violets, my husband always brings me those for Valentine's Day instead of cut flowers. The miniature varieties are especially hard to find in my area and the fact that my hubby found a VARIEGATED miniature violet made me positively giddy! It's only about 2 1/2" in diameter. Just look at that sweet little bloom. 

My husband also left the Valentine goodies (below) on the settee in our parlor. I think I'll wait to open those until tonight. It will give me something to look forward to! I certainly feel like a lucky girl today. What a sweetheart of a husband I have.

Monday, February 7, 2011


The latest barrage of snow here in central Iowa hasn't taken the steam out of my spring planting plans. Each year, I look forward to exploring the many seed catalogs that find their way into my mailbox. One of my favorite seed companies is Renee's Garden. I've always had good luck Renee's seeds, which feature many time-tested heirlooms and open-pollinated varieties. She selects her offerings based on their great flavor, easy culture, and exceptional performance. I just received a wonderful package filled with her seeds including the ones pictured below. The packets feature the most charming watercolor portraits. Check out those colorful tricolor carrots in the upper left by clicking on the photo!

I've been a garden writer for 12 years and several years ago, I had the pleasure of writing a profile on Renee and her bustling seed business for Garden Shed magazine in 2000 (below). To learn more about Renee's Garden seeds, click this link. While you're there, check out her online catalog where you can order any of the seeds pictured above and many more.

Come spring, I'll be planting my seeds in my kitchen herb garden conveniently located just off our kitchen, of course! Here are some scenes of the garden from years past. Our bee skep is surrounded by purple salvia, cheerful pansies, and fragrant purple sage. We encourage volunteer seedlings like the dill sprigs you see here to grow wherever they can. The garden beds are mulched with cocoa hulls that smell like chocolate!

Our small kitchen garden is a mix of casual and formal elements. The beds are lined in brick from the local brickyard and bricks that we excavated from our yard when installing the kitchen garden (During our excavations, we found some old horseshoes, too, which wasn't surprising given the fact that the home's original owner back in 1885 owned the first livery stable in our tiny town). I love the carefree form of this carpet of silver thyme and lemon thyme that spills over the boundaries of the brick-lined beds. To save money, my husband installed the entire garden by himself and I got to do the fun part—the planting!

I hope these photos will get you in the mood to try some seeds this spring! I'll share more photos of the garden in later posts.