A quilted rooster

Some of the first projects that I started my quilting obsession with were pin cushions. Who knew pin cushions could be so fun, elaborate, and decorative while at the same time being functional?

Here are a two teacup pincushions that I made for birthday gifts for my mom and daughter:

photo (11)
Quilted and embroidered teacup pincushion








beaded pincushion
Quilted, beaded teacup pincushion









and the quilted rooster pincushion which was a lot of fun to create. I drew the pattern free hand and then pieced left over scraps of fabric together until I got the patchwork looked I wanted:

Quilted rooster pincushion
Quilted rooster pincushion

Quilting – just getting started

You may not know that I have ADD when it comes to crafting which means that I have supplies for many different arts including polymer clay, painting (acrylic, oil, watercolor), knitting, crocheting, Tunisian crochet, jewelry making, and my latest is quilting. I dabbled in doll making this past winter and really enjoyed the fact that I could use many different crafts to create one doll. Sewing the body and creating clothes with crochet and embroidered flowers led me into quilting. Here are a few photos from my experiments.

The dress was made for a friend of my daughter who wanted to have a doily wedding dress. We took heirloom doilies from her family and I crochet smaller ones to piece in between the larger ones and hand-stitched them on to a dress she selected from David’s Bridal. It took many hours to complete but was very satisfying and fun to do.

The doll was created by sewing and stuffing the head and body, then adding a yarn wig. I knitted the sweater to match one that my youngest daughter loved to wear when she was three and the skirt matches one that I made for her and she insisted on wearing the combination of striped and flowers to pre-school every Friday!

And here is a photo of my first hand-quilted projects.


hand-stitched quilted table runner
hand-stitched quilted table runner

Finding The Right Approach To Lawn Repair Is Crucial

If you are a home owner that is looking to take the best care of their lawn possible, you really are going to want to do everything you can to try and make the switch over to tools the pros use. Take some of the same approaches that the pros take to repairing bare spots and you will definitely end up with the kind of results you are going to be genuinely happy with. Experts know how hard it can be to tackle lawn issues and come up victorious, but their very jobs rely on finding the best solutions for these types of tasks so they are going to be more particular about just what must be done to fix things in a way that is going to impress their clients. This is exactly why you want to make sure that you do what you can to find the best results since there is just no way to get the kind of value you need unless you put in serious effort to find it.

All too often we end up not putting in as much as we should and that is a mistake because the right tools are not at all difficult to get once we understand where we need to turn in order to find them. When you are tackling something like winter lawn damage it is going to take technique and the right tools in order to get the job done right and make sure your efforts pay off. Choosing to get the info you need in order to do things right is always going to pay off for you in a big way which is definitely fantastic. It is going to be excellent for all of us once we understand just how much we have to gain from knowing we know the best techniques for lawn care. A gorgeous lawn that makes our hearts swell with pride is something both home owners and experts can agree is worth having.

So don’t settle for second rate tools or approaches when you could have the best on your side to help you get the job done right the first time. You are going to get so much from a fantastic looking lawn and once you have the pride from knowing you did it yourself you’ll enjoy it that much more. When you are looking at http://www.grassstitcher.com/ you’ll see one top level solution. You know the lawn you want is only as far away as the right tools and the right knowledge to make it look amazing.

Why you will need to Plant Trees on Your Lawn?

Tons of new subdivisions are finding trees to produce area for extra homes. Many inhabitants leave their lawn treeless just they believe it really is an extreme amount of an inconvenience to plant far more trees. You will find numerous good reasons why you want to get time to plant trees on your lawn. Outlined here are a couple of from the good reasons which will straight aid you.

1. Shade. Acquiring plenty of trees on your lawn will give you shade which could help you keeps great on the hot summer season day? The trees will even support your ac bill decrease via shading your home from sunlight.

2. Landscape designs. Trees offer a lawn and normal & inviting search. In addition they demonstrate a wonderful offer less complicated to contemplate suitable care of than your regular rose or flower bush.

3. Value. Keeping your yard looking excellent might cost a lot of funds. By planting trees on your lawn you will not likely need to plant any more time plants because the seasons alter plus they die out. A extremely grown and brought suitable treatment of tree may possibly last four as lengthy as you’ll have your home.

An excellent purpose to plant trees happens due to the fact it will support the atmosphere. We should grow more trees in order to make our environment healthy. You will discover 3 primary subsections with this.

* Weight reduction people are born and also the world grows there is much more urbanization happening. What this indicates is more and more forests are now becoming destroyed to develop space for metropolitan areas and also to provide developing materials for houses. By planting trees on your lawn you aid exchange people trees that have been lost.

* Trees also assist clear the atmosphere of co2 which keeps the atmosphere healthful to breathe. This aid in preventing climatic adjusts if you are considers unsafe chemical compounds from the air which will ruin our ozone.

* Wild birds will even find trees that you merely plant a nice cozy home. Due to all of the deforestation progressively more wild birds are seeking around for houses by supplying them one you enable them to thrive. Currently being an extra benefit it may be great to sit down on the porch and pay attention to the wild birds sing at evening.

Bruschetta Recipe

Organic Roma Tomatoes
These tomatoes were grown organically in a raised garden bed.

Tomatoes and fresh basil from the garden make delicious Bruschetta. Here’s a delicious tomato recipe that you and your family are sure to love:

Fresh Tomato and Basil Bruschetta Recipe

1 loaf crusty Italian bread, sliced 3/4-inch thick (about 16 pieces)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups fresh, chopped tomatoes
2 Tbsp chopped basil
4 cloves of garlic, chopped very fine
1/2 tsp salt
1 oz. shaved mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

Mix the olive oil, tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt and cheese. Spread butter on the slices of bread, then spread the mixture over the slices of bread. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and broil for 3-5 minutes or until cheesed are melted.

It’s Monarch Butterfly Season

 on thistle
on thistle

I’ve noticed Monarch butterflies are visiting my gardens and have always found their story quite fascinating.
See why here.

As gardeners, there are many ways that we can not only encourage Monarchs to visit, but also ensure that we don’t contribute to the reduction of these beautiful insects.

Organic gardening methods greatly reduce the destruction of the habitat that Monarchs favor. Using environmentally friendly pest and weed removal methods goes a long way in preserving Monarch’s natural habitat. Also by encouraging native plant growth in our yards and gardens, such as Milkweed which is essential for sustaining Monarch butterflies.

If you’ve ever come upon a flock of Monarchs clustered in the leaves of a tree, it’s a wonderful sight to see them take flight and fill the air with their graceful beauty.

You can even adopt a – what a great gift idea, and it includes an adoption kit as well.

Getting Rid of Pesky Japanese Beetles

It’s the time of year when Japanese Beetles find there way into your garden and they can create devastation in no time if they aren’t dealt with quickly. While they generally don’t eat dogwood, forsythia, holly, lilac, evergreens and Hosta, they’ll eat darn near everything else. These beetles feed on flowers and fruits making a skeleton of the leaves by eating the green parts and leaving the veins. Adults are most active from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on warm summer days. These voracious pests prefer plants in direct sun, so shady areas are usually less damaged.

Adult Japanese beetles are one quarter to one half inch long with copper colored wing covers and a shiny metallic green head. Between the green head and tiny tufts of white hair along their side you’ll recognize them easily as they happily munch on your roses.

The bacterial spore, sold as ‘Doom’ or ‘Grub Attack’ is generally used to control these pests. Using a hormone lure in your yard simply attracts more beetles to your yard. Put the lure somewhere else a hundred yards away encouraging the beetles to go elsewhere. Unfortunately, reducing the beetles in your yard will not reduce their attacks in succeeding years. These beetles are great fliers and can travel upwards of ten miles from where they hatched.

Handpicking is also effective on your prized plants – drop the beetles into a bucket of soapy water to kill them. There is some data that suggests hand picking is as effective as spraying noxious chemicals and you know you have killed the beetle when it drowns in your soapy bucket. One trick is to hold the bucket of soapy water under the plant and then shake the plant. Beetles will fall off the plant right into the bucket and you’ll get more beetles if you do this in the early morning before they start feeding and flying. Several birds (grackles, cardinals, meadowlarks) feed on the adult beetles so encourage birds in your yard.

If you decide to use a lure, place it at least 100 feet away from your garden. Lures like the Tanglefoot 300000665 Japanese Beetle Trap attract beetles and if you place one in your garden, you’ll have all the neighbors beetles visiting as well. Find a neighbor who doesn’t garden to host the lures and traps.

Annual Garden Tour Fundraising Event

2011 Annual Garden Tour Fundraiser Event for Fraser

My daughter invited me to attend an annual garden tour fundraising event put on by the organization that she works for. There is never any convincing needed to get me to go along on a garden tour, and I’m especially glad I didn’t miss out on this one. It was a wonderful opportunity to see beautiful private backyard gardens, while contributing to a very worthwhile cause. Fraser is a non-profit organization that offers support and care for children and families that have been affected by autism.

There were 12 gardens on the tour this year, all of them located in St. Paul, Minnesota. We didn’t get started until afternoon, but were still able to take in five of the gardens before the garden tour ended. We were treated to a beautifully landscaped backyard living space at the first home, complete with an En plien air artist.

En Plein Air Artist creating a beautiful painting in acrylic
A Black-Eyed Susan is the inspiration for this artwork

The objct d' art

A babbling water feature offers a cool, refreshing centerpiece in this garden.

The second stop featured gardens that placed third in the 2007 Saint Paul Blooming Gardens Awards and includes perennials and annuals arranged into formal gardens. Included in the setting is a retaining wall garden and a large fountain centered between pathways made of pavers and walls of vegetation.
Veriegated Hostas, astilbe and impatiens are cool and comfy in the shade

White picket fence and arbor invited us to stroll through the outdoor garden rooms.

Pink roses are fragrantly sweet, attracting honeybees and hummingbirds.

Stone steps take us to another outdoor garden room, a perfect place to relax and share a cool beverage in the summer heat.

Roses enhance the black wrought-iron gate.

The third stop was a family garden that included annuals, perennials, and herbs. The front sloping yard is landscaped with a dry stream bed and rain garden for environmentally friendly water drainage.
Through the Garden Gate
The Pathway Leads Through a Wooden Garden Gate

Mixing herbs and vegetables into the landscape are a practical method of gardening.

what is a river bed
Dry stream bed prevents erosion by directing excess water runoff.

Our fourth stop was at the 1889 Victorian home of co-owner of Tangletown gardens who displays his artistic abilities and green thumb on a flourishing garden canvas.

Tangletown Gardens Minneapolis Minnesota
Artist and co-owner of Tangletown Gardens maintains a living space that is like no other.

Garden Path
A lush variety of greenery decorate the garden path.

Large Koi swim through the channel of water back and forth to a larger pool of water.

Koi Pond
Large Koi Fish add to the feeling of a tropical garden.

water plants
The contrasting colors of foliage and ceramic pots work really well together.

mother & daughter
My daughter took advantage of the many photo opportunities too.

The final stop of our tour was the St. Paul Hotel English cottage-style gardens which have been maintained by a full-time gardener since 1994. The gardens include hundreds of summer annuals, topiary trees and tree roses.
rain garden
A terraced garden around a city drain doubles as a rain garden, filtering run-off before it enters the city drain system.

plant a garden
Flower gardens include annuals to add color and summer blooming perennials along the walkways.

Saint Paul Minnesota
Saint Paul Grill street entrance

The scent of Summer Phlox drifts through the air and reminds me of my grandma's vast garden flowers.

pictures of flowers ferns tulips
A collection of annual flowers adorn the entrance to the grand Saint Paul Hotel.

Sweet Asylum make a perfect edge to the gardens bursting with color.

This ended the annual garden tour and it was time for a cool refreshment of fresh squeezed lemonade and peach, berry cobbler. We are already looking forward to next year when we will get an early start so we can take in all of the gardens on the tour.

Top 10 Perennials for Summer Gardens – My Pick

Blue Delphiniums
Blue Delphiniums

As much as I love the ability to walk barefoot through the back lawn to my raised bed gardens and pick fresh, pesticide-free peppers, tomatoes, herbs and whatever else I’ve decided to plant in any given year, I love perennial flowers even more.

What is it about perennials that enthralls me the most? Certainly the longevity of the plants is at the top of the list. I have irises and peonies that have been passed down through several generations on both sides of the family. Deep red peony blossoms that are fragrant beyond belief – unlike many of the hybrid flowers on the market these days (which brings me to the second reason – the heavenly smell). Memories of strolling barefoot through my grandmother’s flower gardens, carefully tiptoeing along the limestone paved paths as summer breezes carried the sweet scent of garden phlox through the air.

Here are my top 10 favorite perennials and the reasons why I like them:

Irises – One of the hardiest plants you can find that require very little care other than keeping them free of borers. They come in hundreds of colors and you can even create your own with a little practice.

Peonies – another very hardy plant that is available in a multitude of colors. The size and smell of the blossoms are heavenly. A fresh bouquet will brighten any room. Very romantic too.

Blanket Flower – these are low maintenance, bright and cheerful and do well with little water. They make a great mid-summer colorful addition to the garden.

Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) – bright and compact, this winner will attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. It spreads easily but is not invasive.

Black-eyed Susan – similar to the blanket flower, this compact daisy-like flower adds sunny color the mid-summer to fall garden. It can easily be reseeded and is hardy and low maintenance.

Coneflower – This is a daisy-like flower also, but is taller. It adds height to the garden and is great for attracting bees and butterflies as well. The roots are used in the natural cold remedy echinacea.

Hostas – Talk about hardy! Hostas will grow in the shadiest area you can find. The number of options and selection of colors and varigated leaf choices is almost unlimited.

Delphinium – these are not so easy to grow but when placed in the proper location they produce the most romantically beautiful spiked blossoms. The colors of blue and purple simply can’t be beat.

Creeping Phlox – This is a low creeping ground cover that flowers in mid-spring. I love the way it drapes over a rock edging. It’s works wonderful as a rock garden border.

Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata)– A mid-summer bloomer that will attract many friendly garden visitors too. Traditionally a tall spikey plant, it can also be found in 18-20″ heights with white, purple, or pink blossoms.

Finally – the thing that I love most about perennials is how easily they can be shared with friends and family. Plant exchanges are a popular way to increase the variety of plants in your garden. Perennials need to be thinned out every few years, so it’s a great opportunity for you to offer to share your garden favorites with others. Younger family members are sure to love a shoot from Grandma’s favorite peony bush or Aunt Mary’s purple irises. If only these treasured heirlooms could talk – think of the family history (and secrets) they could share!

What to Know About Raised Bed Gardens

Raised gardens are becoming quite popular. As more people find themselves renting property or living in high rise apartment buildings, they have little or no access to garden space. There are many reasons why using raised gardens are desired over tilling the soil for those who wish to have smaller gardens and are limited on space in which to do so. At the same time, those who desire bigger yields are often dissatisfied with the limits of raised gardens. The choice is ultimately yours but I will try to point out some of the pros and cons of this type of garden so that you may decide for yourself.

Plants need air as much as they need good soil and water, and that is often difficult when planted in garden rows as soil becomes packed down with the frequent traffic that is necessary to properly maintain a traditional garden bed. By using a raised garden, which is designed to be worked from without rather than within, there is little fear of compacting the soil around the plants. At the same time many lifelong gardeners feel the inability to walk around in their gardens is a disadvantage in itself and prefer to be able to do so. This is often a matter of preference rather than practicality but a valid opposition just the same.

You can actually plant more plants in the same amount of square footage in a raised bed because there is no need for rows. You should also be aware that plants in raised beds often tend to grow larger than plants in traditional garden rows. That being said you should resist the urge to over plant within the raised garden bed, as this will eliminate that slight benefit. Many traditional gardeners have seen the results of overcrowding in these beds and feel that their way of doing this is much butter.

One huge benefit to raised beds for summer gardens in areas that are nearly saturated with excess moisture is that raised beds allow much better drainage than traditional row gardening. This is one thing that the average gardener will not argue with unless he lives in an area in which this isn’t much of a problem. Most gardeners in the south though, where there is a great deal of humidity and moisture will agree that proper drainage is a problem.

Raised beds are much easier on your back. By being above ground, raised gardens offer easier access for planting, weeding, planting, and investigating for signs of pests. Another great thing about raised gardens is that they are not as quick to cool as the earth, which renders them more productive and with longer growing seasons that most gardens that are placed in the ground.

For those who have unusually shaped yards or growing areas, raised gardens allow the opportunity to have a beautiful summer garden in almost any shape you can build the box for. This means you are not limited to rows, as many gardens tend to be and that you have a few more options for aesthetics when planning and growing your summer garden.

The downside to raised summer gardens is that they are difficult to dismantle and nearly impossible to till. This means you must do all the working of the soil by hand and many gardeners do not fully appreciate the beauty of that process. The most important thing however, is that you choose a summer garden system that works for you. You may find that combining the two provides the best results and is a great use of your time or that you prefer one over the other. There really is no wrong answer only the one that is wrong for you.