Star Sand

Just when you thought you knew about the world …

Photo by Geomr via Wikimedia Commons

Look closely.

That’s star-shaped sand, my friend.

Look a little closer, and you can see its splendid starry points:

Photo by Okinawa Soba (Rob) via Flickr

Okay, scientifically speaking, these little lovelies aren’t actually sand. They are the tiny, empty shells of ocean protozoa called Baclogypsina sphaerulata.

Say that three times (or even once).

When the micro-creatures die, their exoskeletons are washed ashore amid grains of actual sand on only a handful of beaches on earth, and they’re all in the vicinity of Okinawa, Japan.

According to legend from Okinawa’s Iriomote Island, the “sand” stars are Hoshizuna, the fallen sky children of the North Star and the Southern Cross. Long ago, the tiny stars sprinkled into the sea of Okinawa, where they were killed by a sea serpent and continue to wash ashore as miraculous star-shaped particles of “sand.”




Period Panties

Period Panties.

I wonder if, when you read the phrase above, you pictured “time of the month” or “historic” undergarments (do comment).

In fact, I was referring to the former.

Time of the month, that is, not …

Photo by Marshall Astor Food Fetishist via Wikimedia Commons

Sheesh … bye-bye, historic bustles.

Moving right along, it’s no surprise that the modern world is all about hustle now rather than bustle.

And as the world of fashion has modernized, so have underthings (albeit a bit more slowly than the average runway ensemble).

And, with today’s tendency toward putting ALL subjects on the table, it is no surprise that enterprising women have put their minds to building a better mousetrap.

Somehow, that doesn’t sound right when referring to underwear. Maybe I should avoid idioms here.


Plainly speaking, a trio of women in New York City has, in their words, “reimagined feminine hygiene products to provide support, comfort, confidence, and peace of mind.”

A lot to ask from undies?

The gals at Thinx think not.

They report that 80 percent of American women have had accidents during, and have expressed anxiety about, their periods …

(you’re nodding, I’m nodding)

… and they set out to change all that.

Yup—with underwear.

But not just any underwear.

Thinx “period panties” are truly innovative.

In short, they’re extraordinarily absorbent, antimicrobial (via embedded silver, not chemicals), so low-profile you won’t see them through clothing—and they’re pretty.


These panties are designed to fully replace panty liners, eliminating a lot of waste and discomfort as well as leaks, and they can be used in conjunction with tampons or menstrual cups on heavy flow days.

What’s more, Thinx are helping girls in need of much more than peace of mind while wearing white pants.

According to Thinx, 94 percent of girls in Uganda report having problems at school due to menstruation, and many drop out of school entirely as a result.

“We see a world where no woman is held back by her body,” the Thinx team declares. “We will work proudly and tirelessly until every single girl has an equal opportunity for the brighter future she deserves.”

Here’s how they’re doing it:

You buy a pair of “period-proof” THINX undies (and relish the results, even in yoga pants). Meanwhile, Thinx sends funds to their partner organization, AFRIpads, which trains Ugandan women to sew and sell reusable cloth pads, creating entrepreneurs in the process.

Watch this video for the full monty … er … the whole shebang?

Check out savvy suggestions for “building a cycle set” and saving money on multiple pairs of Thinx at

floral art

If you’ve caught yourself dreaming of spring and feeling just a little confined

Photo by PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

(don’t feel guilty—it’s perfectly normal this time of year)

… the wondrously whimsical floral art of Seattle artist Bridget Beth Collins is certain to soothe your savage winter spirits.

And if your spring dreams haven’t yet sprung, beware.

This might just rattle the cage door:

Explore more of Bridget’s artwork on her website,, where you can also purchase prints of her collages.

diner lingo

I’ve always gotten a kick out of diner lingo and hate to see it go the way of the dodo, ya know?

Photo by Kenneth C. Zirkel via Wikimedia Commons

Hoping to do my part in preserving this cute ‘n’ cheesy (wink) café chatter,

I created a—you guessed it—QUIZ to test your food slang savvy.

Have fun figuring out these phrases (the answers are posted at the end), then call them out with gusto in your own kitchen. The kids will love it.
1. All hot
2. Battery acid
3. Birdseed
4. Bubble dancer
5. Cluck and grunt
6. Cow feed
7. Cow paste
8. Eve with a lid on
9. Fish eyes
10. Frog sticks
11. George Eddy
12. Houseboat
13. Italian perfume
14. Make it moo
15. Mike and Ike
16. Moo juice
17. Nervous pudding
18. Radio
19. Sea dust
20. Shingle with a shimmy and a shake
21. Vermont
22. Walk a cow through the garden and pin a rose on it
23. Whistle berries
24. Yum-yum

1. Baked potato
2. Grapefruit juice
3. Breakfast cereal
4. Dishwasher
5. Eggs and bacon
6. Salad
7. Butter
8. Apple pie
9. Tapioca pudding
10. French fries
11. Customer who doesn’t leave tips
12. Banana split
13. Garlic
14. Add milk/cream to coffee
15. Salt and pepper shakers
16. Milk
17. Jell-o (or, better yet, Giggle Wiggles—one of my Chillover recipes!)
18. Tuna salad sandwich
19. Salt
20. Buttered toast with jam
21. Maple syrup
22. Hamburger with lettuce, tomato and onion
23. Baked beans
24. Sugar

Zentangle Quilting

With a brand-spankin’ New Year upon us, it’s the perfect time to explore new creative frontiers while honoring artistic traditions that have led us this far.

What do I have in mind, you wonder?

Well, you may remember how I told you about Zentangle, the addictive art of zany (yet so very Zen) doodling.

Image by Trinity Verlag in der Scorpio Verlag GmbH & Co.KG via Wikimedia Commons

(If this doesn’t ring a bell, hop over to this post.)

True to form, each time I swirl and squiggle lines on paper, I find myself fantasizing about fabric, which inspired me to poke around a bit into the idea of Zentangle quilting, and wouldn’t you know it?

It’s a real thing.

And it’s just as neat-o as I’d imagined.

Just look at Quilt Zentangle Style! on Pinterest (warning: you might start drooling).

Since I have a feeling you’re already itchin’ to start stitchin’, I gathered up this little list of goodies to get you going:

Book: Tangle Stitches: For Quilters and Fabric Artists by Jane Monk

You can buy it on Amazon, but you can’t “look inside” like you can on many other books. Here’s a video flip-through to preview the wonders within:

Video Tutorial: Zentangle Quilting by Machine

Blog Tutorial:
Zentangle Quilt Tutorial from Zany Quilter

Share your results on the Farmgirl Connection to inspire the rest of us!

MaryJanesFarm Review

Look what we found …

Jennifer Prior, of Flagstaff, Arizona, is sharing her ultra-cute excitement about our magazine.

Thanks, Jennifer!

Visit Jennifer’s blog, My FlagStaff Home, to follow her adventures.

quilt romance

Grannie sits in her oaken chair,
Firelight flits o’er her silvery hair,
The silent children around her sit,
As she pieces her patchwork coverlet …

The Chimney Corner by Joseph Clark via

These lyrics from a traditional song called “Patchwork” are among the gems tucked in The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt by Carrie A. Hall and Rose Good Kretsinger. Originally published in 1935, this oldie but goodie is the kind of book that sentimental quilters covet.

It’s neither glossy nor glitzy. It doesn’t knock your socks off with colorful photo spreads or tutorials. What it holds are sweet scraps of history.

Some woman sewed these points and squares
Into a pattern like life’s cares.
Here is a velvet that was strong,
The poplin that she wore so long,
A fragment from her daughter’s dress,
Like her, a vanished loveliness;
Old patches of such things as these,
Old garments and old memories.
– Douglas Malloch

Peppered with tidbits of poetry and prose, the book features hundreds of black and white images of full quilts and patches with the name of each pattern, making it a handy guide for modern quilters seeking to identify the patterns of an antique quilt.

“Over a period of years, Mrs. Hall has accumulated a collection of more than 1,000 quilt patches, both antique and modern, showing practically every design and motif of design ever created in America,” the book’s jacket reads. “This collection, which she has entrusted to the Thayer Museum of the University of Kansas, formed the inspiration for her book.”

Who knows? You might even discover a spark of design inspiration from yesteryear.

Although it’s out of print today, you can still pick up a used copy of The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt from many an online bookseller for under $10.

The sun has such a pretty quilt,
Each night he goes to bed,
It’s made of lavender and gold,
With great long stripes of red.
And bordered by the softest tints
Of all the shades of gray,
It’s put together by the sky,
And quilted by the day.
– Laura Coates Reed

Photo by Anna via Wikimedia Commons




While this may sound like some sort of neologism meant to convey, say, surprise or delight, it is actually the pronunciation of:


Oh, gee …

Don’t worry if you’re coming up empty on definitions because duodji isn’t an English word–not even close. It actually hails from a remote group of nomadic people called the Sámi who herd reindeer across the far northern reaches of Scandinavia.

Photo of Sami family at spring (Easter) celebration by Mortsan via Wikimedia Commons

Duodji refers to any number of handcrafted items made by the Sámi that are both aesthetically beautiful and useful (clothing, accessories, household items, and tools). Traditionally, duodji crafts were divided into men’s and women’s work. Men used mostly wood and antlers as well as other bones from reindeer when crafting items like this salt cellar:

Photo by Christopher Forster via Wikimedia Commons

Women incorporated leather and fur in elaborately stitched items like these marvelous mittens:

Photo by Thorguds, via Wikimedia Commons

Traditional colors incorporated in duodji are red, green, blue and yellow:

Photo by Duodjiinfo via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Christopher Forster via Wikimedia Commons

“Duodji represents cultural continuity with our ancestors,” explains Ellen Marie Jensen, author of We Stopped Forgetting. “There are creative and functional adaptations over time, and the individual duojar has room for individual creative expression. Duodji is both functional and beautiful.”

Doy-gee, I surely agree.