Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Sherrilyn Askew!!!

Sherrilyn Askew (Sherri, #1350) has received a certificate of achievement in Outpost for earning a Beginner Level Knotty Farmgirls Merit Badge!

“I learned to tie a square knot (used most commonly to tie two ropes together), two half hitches (used most commonly as a quickly tied fastening, as it will hold forever without loosening), and the bowline (commonly used by sailors, as it never slips, jams, or fails, and it is easily and quickly untied). Each knot is used for a wide variety of applications, for which I listed the most common one.

Using these knots, I then build a tree swing in one of our maple trees.

I was a kid during the ’60s and ’70s, so I learned to do macrame. I have tied a lot of knots. Later, I learned how to tie a wily horse to a hitching post (he used to let himself loose). I still use knots almost daily to secure my stitches or a load in the back of a vehicle. My favorite loop is the “figure 8.” It doesn’t slip or twist and is used by rock climbers as a point to attach themselves to a line.

The swing took nearly an hour to get up. I might be able to tie a knot, but I am lousy at throwing a rope over a branch. After much swearing and sweating, I did get both ropes over the branch and secured (20 ft up), and the swing secured to the bottom. The first kid hopped on and nearly hit the ground. I hadn’t thought about that nylon rope stretching. After about an hour of swinging and adjusting the swing height, we got that rope stretched out and the swing positioned. They were both up at 5 a.m. this morning to go swinging in that tree. The tree is no longer lonely.”




Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Wendy Kay Skovo!!!

Wendy Kay Skovo (WendyFlower, #4700) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a Beginner Level The Secret Life of Bees Merit Badge!

“I watched the trailer at VanishingBees.com. I have planted borage, fennel, calendula, lemon balm, chamomile, clover, and other bee-friendly flowers. I’ve read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and watched the movie. I own the DVD and try to get people to watch it with me.

2014-04-15 11.55.48

I’ve been in love with honeybees a long time. My mom kept bees for a while. Bees are one of my obsessions. I’ve taught a workshop on building top-bar bee hives. I have had 3 attempts at starting a hive. UPS killed my first package; my second try was a small caught swarm that didn’t make it through the winter; and my third package of bees had a queen that died, and by the time I realized it and replaced her, there wasn’t time to put up enough stores for winter even with feeding.”



Embroidery Merit Badge, Expert Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,929 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—8,474 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Stitching and Crafting/Embroidery Expert Level Merit Badge, I took advantage of some down time (that’s what I call it’s-too-hot-to-go-outside-and-it’s-too-hot-to-turn-the-stove-on) and got out my collection of embroidery floss. What’s floss without needles naturally? so I got those out as well.


And of course, what are you going to do with a bunch of thread and needles and nothing to stitch them to, right? so I crawled into my linen cabinet.

Yes, literally.

It’s a really deep cabinet, girls.

And somewhat unorganized, I confess.

Ahem. Is there a badge for closet organization?

I admit to being something of a pillowcase hoarder, but today is the day where my irrational love of rectangular shaped cotton covers was finally going to pay off. By golly, I had a place to put these puppies now and it wasn’t the back of the closet with last year’s Halloween decorations, 12 rolls of wrapping paper, a set of curlers (for my hair … not the sport you see at the Olympics), and a case of toilet paper bought from one of those warehouse club places that will last me until approximately April of 2064.

Anyway, I seem to have gone off on a bunny trail there. My point was this: I had recently rearranged my living room to include a lovely window seat. (Talk about needing a badge for that one, am I right, girls? I’ll be covered in badges in no time.) Well, really, it’s an upcycled set of cabinets, turned on their side and placed strategically beneath my large picture window. But if you didn’t know better (pretend like you don’t know better), you’d say the architect was a genius.

Why, thanks. *blushes*

And as we all know, window seats are made for pillows. Or pillows are made for window seats. Or something. All I know is, I had an awesome place to sit and nibble cookies and people watch, and I needed some cushions to do so in comfort. My pillowcase collection was about to be put to good use!

Of course, it wasn’t as simple as all that. Just pulling a stack of fabric niceties out of your closet isn’t going to earn you a badge – sorry to disillusion you. No, this badge was all about embroidery, remember? (Why you keep getting me off track with all this talk about toilet paper and Olympic sports and architecture is beyond me. Try to focus!)

My plain, slightly boring pillowcases needed a makeover, and I had just the floss, needles, hoop, and nimble fingers to do it. Since I knew this windowseat would be excellent for reading novels, I used some of my favorite quotes to decorate my pillows. You can print out fonts and iron them on, or use stencils, or just free write them with a pencil.


Here are a few things my friendly pillows have to say as I snuggle in with them. Can you match the quotes with the novels?

I am so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers.

To live would be an awfully big adventure.

I wish I’d done everything on earth with you.

You have bewitched me, body and soul.

Let’s begin by taking a smallish nap or two.

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.


Answers: Anne of Green Gables, Peter Pan, The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, Winnie the Pooh, Harry Potter.



Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Courtney Robbins!!!

Courtney Robbins (#4840) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner & Intermediate Level Crochet Merit Badge!

“To earn my Beginner level badge for crochet, I thought I would try my hand at some MaryJane slippers! This pattern was a little complex for what I was used to, and the first time I tried to make them, I was camping, without help from my go-to crochet expert (Mum) and without electricity. I crocheted in the company of my soon-to-be sister-in-law while we were at camp, and as she knitted away, I crocheted away. After 10 hours of crocheting the soles and body for these slippers, I realized they were way too big! Huge, actually! I left camp feeling a little frustrated that I had spent all that time on these slippers that could fit my boyfriend!

I was determined to figure out this pattern, so every night after school for a few hours, I restarted them. Eventually, I figured out what I was doing wrong and managed to finish two even slippers! It took me another 10 hours to complete the darn things and a little extra time to pick out the perfect wooden buttons.


My MaryJane slippers are awesome! They are a perfect fit and really comfy and cozy on my feet. I used gray and yellow yarn, so they have a really beautiful contrast. The wooden buttons are a nice final touch and I am proud that I didn’t just give up on completing them! I truly learned a lot through my struggle. For this pattern, I had to learn how to follow an intermediate pattern, practice my ch, dc, and I had to learn how to dc2tog. I also had to learn and practice my patience!!

Here is a link to the website where I found the free pattern (for personal use only).

To earn my Intermediate Knitting Badge, I wanted to try something a little more challenging than a cowl on my circular needles! My boyfriend’s sister shared a really awesome knitting pattern with me that was for a cowl/shawl that was inspired by Katniss Everdeen from the new Hunger Games movie. I fell in love with the pattern and thought it would be a great challenge!

The pattern worked up in 3 sections. The first section was created like a sash/sling and I had to learn how to do a new stitch called the herringbone. This was challenging and I took it out and restarted several times!! After a few days of restarting, I finally figured it out and then had to switch the project over to circular needles for the second section. I had to practice my knitting in the round, and took on the new challenge of also picking up stitches, which I had also never done before. For the final section, I had to switch the project to smaller circular needles and finish it in the herringbone pattern.

For this project, I knitted in the company of my boyfriend, who was probably getting just as frustrated as I was listening to me grumble!


All of my frustration was worth it, though, and I stuck through it! My Katniss cowl came out awesome! It is so beautiful! I even spent extra time in my studio at school creating the perfect handmade ceramic buttons to give it its final touch. The cowl is super-neat and unique, and I have received so many compliments on it. This project made me so much more confident in my knitting, and I feel ready to take on a project like a sweater now … I just need to save up and buy some gorgeous yarn for it! I also am planning on making another one this fall to give to a close friend for Christmas.”

Self-sufficiency Merit Badge, Expert Level, Part II

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,892 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—8,416 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Farm Kitchen/Self-Sufficiency Expert Level Merit Badge, I was really, really enjoying my food dehydrator. I mean, I was in love with the little miracle maker. My tummy full of yesterday’s beef jerky, I moved on to some vegetarian options. Pineapple, “sun”-dried tomatoes, apples, banana chips, peas, and plums. Mm! And don’t forget mangoes, papayas, peaches, and kiwis. Dry your own teas, make your own soup mix, gosh! The possibilities are keeping me up at night with hunger pangs (or they would be, if I hadn’t stashed some dried nectarines in my nightstand).




P.S. Don’t have a food dehydrator? You can try setting your oven to a low temperature. But some ovens don’t go low enough.

Here are some of my favorite recipes:

Homemade Dried Onion Soup Mix (although I usually use it for other things besides soup: casseroles, sprinkled atop steamed veggies, in meatloaf or burgers, or as a base for other soups)

  • 8 t dried onion flakes (why, dry your own, of course!)
  • 1 1/2 t dried parsley (again … do I even need to say it?
  • 1 t onion powder, and turmeric
  • 1/2 t each celery seed, sugar, salt, and pepper

Store in a Mason jar or Ziploc bag.


Citrus Mint and Licorice Tea

  • Zest of 2 lemons and 2 oranges (remove with veggie peeler, then chop)
  • one 3-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
    • 1/2 small fennel bulb (can substitute whole star anise, but if you do, add the anise in at the last step)
      • 1 cup tightly packed mint leaves
      • 1 cup dried cranberries or apricots

Dry your zests, ginger, and fennel until dried. Dry the mint as well (you can put them in together, but the mint will be ready the quickest). Crumble the mint when cool enough to handle and steep with hot water (about 2 T per 1 cup water).


wasabi peas

Photo by GuillaumeG via Wikimedia Commons

Homemade Wasabi Peas

  • one package frozen (defrosted) or fresh peas, dried nearly completely (let them be a little chewy still—we aren’t done drying them yet
  • 2 T white rice vinegar
  • 4-5 T wasabi powder
  • 1 t mustard powder

Toss the nearly done peas with the mixture above. Return to dryer and finish drying. Eat alone as a spicy, yummy snack or add to your own Gorp mix, trail mix, or popcorn.



Chocolate-covered Dried Fruit

  • assorted dried fruits that go well with chocolate (Is this an oxymoron, Jane, my girl? Doesn’t EVERYTHING go well with chocolate?)
  • dipping chocolate (dark, milk, white—whatever floats your boat)

Dip cooled fruits in warm chocolate. Let dry (if you can you have more willpower than I) on wax paper. These are most excellent for gifts. Like, a gift to me from me. Happy Tuesday, Jane … you know, those kind of gifts. The best kinds.

Your Key to Happiness

Hey Winnie,

Here’s my skirt you asked about …


with matching book cover …




matching tatted necklace …


and matching apron. So farmgirl!



photo of the day