Monthly Archives: October 2015



A Day at the Junkyard

To some folks, it might be the junkyard, but to us, it’s mistitled and should be named the treasure yard. Check out the squirrel hanging above our heads—clearly a treasure for someone. He made a good mascot for our excursion.

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Looking for inspiration for new projects for both the magazine and our Sisterhood newsletter, Kristi, Cassi, and I decided to venture to the local salvage/treasure yard. I also ought to introduce these two officially. Cassi is our new Marketing Assistant, but really, she’s family, as she started out as our nanny years ago. We’re just happy we snagged her again when she graduated this past spring. And Kristi’s official title is Editor’s Assistant. What that really means is Kristi is my right hand farm hand. We work hand-in-hand on most projects, and there isn’t anyone I’d rather do it with.

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Our local salvage yard is acres of goodies. We searched high and low for a few tin-man parts (watch for him in an upcoming magazine issue).

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And for your own inspiration, here are few piles I couldn’t help but take a quick snapshot of. I’m sure we can come up with something to create from these treasures.

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In fact, I already have a plan that requires a pile of springs … every farmgirl needs a pile of springs!

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Origami Merit Badge, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,691 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,460 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/Origami Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I began to see paper in a whole new light.

Little bits of trash that rustled through the alleyway? Origami would be-s.

Gum wrappers that mysteriously find their way into the bottom of my car? Paper cranes waiting to happen. Spearmint scented cranes, no less.

Photo by Michael Day via Wikimedia Commons

Wadded-up manuscripts and doodled-on sheets of lined notebook paper? Origami babies.

I collected and smoothed out used tissue paper, I hoarded paper grocery sacks, I bought stacks of scrapbook squares at yard sales, and I even began eyeing my trees with a gleam in my peepers (was there a paper-making badge?).

I was hooked. I loved having something to do with my hands when I misplaced my knitting needles or was stumped on my Great American Novel or couldn’t find the remote control. It gave me something to do when I was waiting in the coffee drive-thru lane for my Organic Almond Latte with Whip. Plus, it was fun making something out of nearly nothing, and I gotta say, my neighbor kids thought I was a genius. Forget balloon animals: origami brings a grin to everybody’s faces. (And they don’t pop or fly away. Score!)

To earn my Intermediate Level Origami Badge I needed to make:

  • Three different kinds of animals
  • Three different kinds of shapes
  • Three different kinds of flowers

Photo by Caroline Gagné via

Only nine in all? Pshaw! Why, I could do that, no problem. I turned to Pinterest for some how-tos and inspiration, and naturally, I tumbled right down a bunny trail of distractions.

Pinterest can be detrimental to an easily distracted gal like Yours Truly. I tell myself to look for origami pandas and I end up baking an Oatmeal Cake with Pecan Glaze. I sternly get back to looking up origami swan nests and I find myself entertained for hours by mustache designing. I go back for origami stars and I binge watch gifs of kittens.


It’s a problem. These badges seem to take forever … maybe it’s me.

Me and my addiction to wine-cork art notions.

Double sigh.

Anyway, after finding some totes adorbs origami puppies (and also learning how to French braid a poodle, but that is neither here nor there), I finally folded my last crease. I had done it:

  • An origami Dalmatian, a duck, and a dinosaur
  • An origami heart, a star, and a box
  • An origami tulip, a lily, and a pansy

It’s not every day you can add all that to your arts and crafts resume, chickadees.

(And learn to build a fairy house out of wine corks. Not to mention, the DIY plastic surgery. Though I may rethink that one).




Today’s Recipe: Caramel Apples


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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 ( #1350) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning an Expert Level Quilting Merit Badge!

“I have learned at least three new techniques and patterns, taught more than 5 other people how to quilt (by hand), and completed a quilt that took more than 50 hours to finish.


I made a log cabin quilt-as-you-go quilt using light and dark plaids (it’s for my godson). Because it was not quite long enough, I added a large piece of plaid to one end, then did another round of strips to finish it. Upon looking at it further, I realized that my large piece required quilting, so I hand quilted soccer balls on it using a paper pattern. I think I got all the traces of blood off the back of it. Needless to say, my hands are tired, but I am finally done.”





Art Abandonment

I love art. I also love random acts of kindness, like the post-it note pay-it-forward phenomenon happening at a pizzeria in Philadelphia. So how about this group of kind-spirited folks who go by the name of Art Abandonment? They are coupling guerrilla art with RAOKs in a beautiful way. Instead of grand installations of art for the public eye, the members of this group make individual pieces and leave them for others to randomly find. I absolutely adore the idea that I might stumble upon a creative token that was left behind simply to brighten my day.

monster art via

The man at the helm of this endeavor is Michael deMeng, who’s been abandoning sketched napkins and charcoal drawings for the past decade in Eugene, Oregon. He says the idea started when he posted a few pictures of his abandonments on Facebook and friends who saw them starting encouraging him to create a group that might connect like-minded abandoners. That move gained momentum, and now Art Abandonment is happening all across the globe; the current membership of this particular group on Facebook totals around 25,000 people! The group is open to everyone, and even if you never create a single thing to abandon, it’s such a great feel-good site to browse.

heart art via

Traditional pieces of art like painting and drawings abound, but members also abandon jewelry, pottery, garden and home décor, books and zines, and even rocks! Whole families are getting involved (I noticed a clay figure created and abandoned by a 7-year-old) and abandoning their art in libraries, parks, restaurants, subways … anywhere there might be a flow of pedestrian traffic. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sad and tragic news of the world, visit the Art Abandonment Facebook page for a pick-me-up. And if you want to join in, you’ll find all the details on the Facebook page as well.

Art Abandonment cards via

It’s a nice reminder that there are good people doing good things all across the world.