Monthly Archives: April 2016

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 … Debbie Klann!!!

Debbie Klann (#770) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner, Intermediate & Expert Level Knitting Merit Badge!

“I have been knitting since I was in grade school. I found this cute wrap scarf and some beautiful, silky yarn with beads and thought they would make a good pairing.

I worked on this on a 2-day trip with my husband to get some seed for the farm. It was an easy pattern to do and went quickly. It was nice to bring home a finished project.


My daughter found this Hunger Games-inspired cowl on Pinterest and asked if I would make it for her for Christmas. I had to research to find the right yarn … I ended up with some super-chunky baby alpaca … SO soft and warm! It was made on size 35 needles. I had to learn to do the herringbone stitch to make this. It was super-easy once I got going and I love how the stitch looks.

I was pleased with how it turned out, and so was my daughter! She wears it to work on really cold days and stays perfectly warm.


This shawl almost made me lose my mind a few times … but I learned SO much! I had to learn a new way of casting on so that I could later add the lace edging. When a pattern tells you to use a contrast yarn to do so … DO IT!!! I did not! There was no way to see the cast-on chain, so I ended up unravelling the shawl and reknitting that part. The lace edging was knitted separately and added on with a 3-needle bind-off … another new technique.

It took a lot to finally finish this, but I am so happy that I did. I love how it turned out. I know that it took at least 50 hours from start to finish. In my years of knitting, I have spent many hours knitting with my mom and friends, and have taught at least five other people how to knit. I think with knitting, you are always learning and you are always teaching each other. That’s one of the things that I love about it. And the relaxing click, click of my needles at the end of the day!”




GIVEAWAY: “Liberty Quilt, Fresh Egg Overture”

For a chance to win this beautiful MaryJane’s Home “Liberty Quilt,” tell me your favorite place to take a nap in the comments below. I’ll toss your name into a hat and draw a lucky winner sometime mid-July.


Stay tuned for more magazine-related giveaways. If you’re not yet a subscriber to my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for $19.95/year.



bike baskets

By jiminy, I love bicycle baskets.

Photo by Jill 111 via Pixabay

Now, that’s farmgirl romance.

There’s just something special about the artistry of a beautiful basket hanging from handlebars, weaving whimsy with function (a bushel of flowers adds an extra dose of fabulous, to be sure).


Poetically speaking, a bicycle basket represents that divine intersection where pretty meets practical, and the two fall madly in love.

Photo by Friedrich Haag via Wikimedia Commons

So, imagine my delight when I discovered a line of bicycle baskets that incorporates yet another strand of sublimity into the weave: humanitarianism.

Trifecta, baby.

True to its name, House of Talents is a marketplace designed to employ and empower talented people who are living in poverty in Ghana, West Africa. One of these artisans’ finest lines, as I mentioned, is bicycle baskets. Here is one of their creations, modeled by the lovely Atlanta Bicycle Chic:

Photo by Cameron Adams via Flickr

Launched by Ghana-born Kate Herzog in 2009, House of Talents is Kate’s way of giving back. Kate, whose family struggled with poverty, pulled herself up by her proverbial bootstraps. She taught herself to read at age 10, earning a degree in Economics from the University of Ghana Legon, and pursued a career in consulting and luxury resort management (read more of Kate’s inspiring story here). According to the House of Talents website, “Kate has always had the desire to give back to her community in Ghana, and after completing her MBA at the University of St. Thomas, was finally able begin bringing this dream to reality by founding House of Talents. Kate hopes that through this work, her journey will come full-circle and those she helps will lend a hand to others they encounter.”

House of Talents connects artisan groups in developing countries with consumer markets worldwide to promote self-development through economic and social advancement in rural communities and cities.

You can help by treating yourself to a bicycle basket (what better way to kick of the summer cycling season?). These beauties are handcrafted by master weaver Joseph and his community in northern Ghana. The only real challenge will be deciding which shape and color will best complement your bike …



meteor showers

Let’s talk April showers.

Meteor showers, that is.

The Eta Aquarid shower begins around April 20 and lasts for roughly a month, promising scenes like this (if you’re near Devil’s Tower in Wyoming on a clear, clear night):

Photo by David Kingham via Flickr

The Eta Aquarids, shooting stars extraordinaire, are actually blazing bits of stellar debris that rain from the tail of Halley’s Comet.

“The Earth passes through the debris left behind by the comet every year in the spring and autumn,” explains Mother Nature Network. “The spring showers are called the Eta Aquarids because they’re named for the constellation from which they appear to radiate, the constellation Aquarius.”

Image courtesy of Till Credner of via Wikimedia Commons

Doesn’t that all sound somehow romantic?

Photo by Unsplash via Pixabay

Stargazing, you know, is one of my sweet spots …

There’s something about gazing up into a starry night sky that is deeply soul stirring. The sight of all that infinite diamond-studded darkness has the power to erase the trappings of modern life, bringing us back to a more primal part of ourselves, a part that is still exuberantly wild.

(Read more about my passion for dark skies here: Carpe Noctum—Seize the Night!)

But, back to the meteors at hand.

Rumor has it that the BEST time to get a glimpse of the Eta Aquarids show will be the crack of dawn on May 5 or 6 because the moon will be in hiding during its new (dark) phase.

If you spot them, do tell!



WINNERS!!! Giveaways: Dancin’ in the Rain

In the Apr/May issue of MaryJanesFarm, “Dancin’ in the Rain,” I led you here to my daily journal for a chance to win some special giveaways. Following, you’ll find the winners of all three giveaways. Thank you to all who participated by leaving comments, and stay tuned for more giveaways in each issue of MaryJanesFarm. If you’re not yet a subscriber to MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for $19.95/year.


The winner of my “Kathleen Shoop, Dancin’ in the Rain” giveaway (for a free copy of all three books in Kathleen’s “Endless Love Series”) is Rhonda Bowdy, who left this comment in response to “Tell me what your favorite book was in 2015.”

“I constantly have a book with me. I love to read. I read so many books in 2015. Love to read Debbie Macomber. Just finished Danielle Steele’s A Good Woman. It was great.”


The winner of my “Patch Abilities, Dancin’ in the Rain” giveaway (for a free mini quilt pattern) is Sandra Winkles, who left this comment in response to “Tell me your favorite stitching pastime.”

“I am a quilter. Love your designs; they are happy and doable in a short period of time.”


The 10 winners of my “Dancin’ in the Rain, Soil Sisters” giveaway (for a free copy of Lisa Kivirist’s new book, Soil Sisters: a Toolkit for Women Farmers), each of whom responded to the comment “Tell me something you do that makes you a farmgirl.” are:

Michelle, who said: “I love living in rural Oklahoma! My hubby and I have done so for 25+ years … while raising cattle. While some were raised for beef, many are bred and born for show calves. I am a stay-at-home wife, mom, and Grams to one feisty 1-year-old grandson! (He loves to feed cows with his Pops.) Love everything that raising 100+ head of cattle brings to my life. I enjoy living the life of a “farmgirl” and everything it has to offer!”

Kellie Eggers, who said: “Most of the things I do that make me a farmgirl make many people think I’m crazy! Longing for ducklings for my young girls on Easter, I arranged for a good friend to take them after 2 days and she had a lovely property with a pond. We were in an apartment and actually let them in the bathtub briefly. I plant absolutely anywhere I can tuck anything. I have a yearning to sew all of my own clothes and just want everything to be handmade, which oddly not enough people can relate to.”

Catherine Harris, who said: “Thank you so much for the chance to win this extraordinary book, I am so excited and praying I win! My “farmgirl” life began early as a child, when my father got me a calf. What an experience I had with her raising her! The farm gave me a relationship with my father that I will hold close to my heart forever and ever! I now have 16 chickens; 7 of them are baby Marans. I love to blog about this amazing life I have on my piece of heaven, #harrisfarms. Two years ago, my life took a huge turn. I was diagnosed with MS. I went from “corporate climbing” back to my roots of “farmgirl.” I am thankful for this turn in my life because I see the world now! I am excited to hopefully add goats and a cow to our little adventure one day. Please feel free to visit my little blog and again thank you for this opportunity, I hope I win!”

Annette, who said: “I raised three kids to love the farm life. My dh died when they were teens. Because of the aftermath, I couldn’t give them much except some old buildings and the love of a farm life. Today, as young adults, all three have soil in their veins and are actively involved in various agricultural endeavors. I can’t even explain how happy I am to see my son rubbing the soil between his fingers; another son whose smile you can’t wipe off his face, all because he gets to run a combine; or my dd, who is learning so much about vegetables. I did it and I am proud of myself.”

Phyllis Mogensen Kochert, who said: “I am a born & bred farmgirl, e.g. my farm heritage goes back to Denmark on my dad’s side. I am the oldest of 8 kids who worked the family farm in southcentral Idaho. I still live in the same county with my husband (an Indiana farm kid), and we own 97 acres of lava rock interspersed with sand & loam. Mostly, I garden in raised beds due to lava bed beneath. It is so satisfying to eat a meal that is mostly homegrown, organically of course. Our load of compost from local dairies is coming soon. I love to plan my veggie garden on paper first, then use it for reference during the season. We also plant food & cover crops for wildlife (deer, pheasants, waterfowl, etc.), cooperating with Idaho Fish and Game and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Yay, farming!!”

Alicia Winkler, who said: “We farm on a small scale. I do my best to raise as much food as I can for my family. It brings me joy and my family is healthier! 🙂 I love learning to preserve new items every year. I am always learning!”

Terry Steinmetz, who said: “I was not raised on a farm, but my grandparents owned one and I lived only 3 miles from them. I loved to go to the farm and check everything out. My grandfather taught me to drive his tractor, ride the combine & hay wagon. He shared with me how the soybeans and wheat grew, what the farm needed to sustain itself. I also love the barn and especially the pigs. Chickens and I did not get along, especially my grandmother’s prize rooster. He attacked me many times before Grandma rescued me by wringing his neck when she caught him jumping on my neck! I even raised a couple of ducks. Farming to me also is about the picnics, family dinners, fresh veggies & fruits, and sitting in Grandma’s favorite apple tree—when I didn’t get caught! I learned many lessons on my grandparents’ farm for which I truly am glad. My hubby was raised on a couple farms, too. We have 40 acres and do a garden, apple orchards, rhubarb & asparagus. And then on the back of the place is where my glamper sits and I enjoy going to it each each day. Life is good! A farmgirl even if only in small ways and big dreams!”

Denise, who said: “I grew up on a farm. A chicken farm. My dad was great at what he did raising those chickens. We never had problems with people knowing there was a chicken around because he kept the coops clean and we had many happy, healthy hens for all those years. He is 90 now and lives with us. I glean much from him about taking care of our hens and about gardening. We always had a big garden and with free fertilizer right in the hen house. I enjoy learning all I can about gardening. I feel like I am getting part of my childhood back, as I was the baby of my family and I was born later in my parents’ life. I enjoy all the memories we are making now, as well as the ones from my childhood. I have always considered myself a farmgirl.”

Becka Gagne, who said: “I have been farming on a small scale for over 20 years and love the rituals of the seasons … The season of dreaming and imagining is coming to an end and the season of seeds is opening! Organize, sort, order and start! Trying to figure out a funding plan that will get my dream barn built over the next couple years …”

Laurie Scott, who said: “We live in a country suburban atmosphere. I enjoy getting my raised beds ready for planting my veggie garden. My 8-year-old granddaughter also enjoys helping Nana with planning and planting and watching the seeds grow in their different stages. I have been doing this for many years with my granddaughter. It’s a great learning experience for us. I also have fruit trees that bear us fruit. Love the idea that might near all our fruit and veggies are homegrown and pesticide free/organic. My children live close by and I share my harvesting with them. I live in Texas, so I can plant almost year-round and what I don’t share, I can.”

Congratulations, winners!!!

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 … CJ Armstrong!!!

CJ Armstrong (ceejay48, #665) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning an Expert Level UFO’s Merit Badge!

“For a variety of reasons, I just don’t have many UFOs left sitting around waiting to be finished. That generally isn’t my style anyway, but because of health challenges and other things I’ve been purging, recycling, and cleaning up my project room.

During the summer of 2011, my daughter and I had the privilege of going on the “Women of the Wild West” road trip which took us through Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. We met many farmgirls along the way, enjoyed a lot of activities and adventures, and ended our journey with a stay at MaryJanesFarm B&B and a Farmgirl Tea Party.

I had made memory books for both of us to take along. We asked each farmgirl we met to write a short note in the books and we also made notes, etc. I had taken a lot of photographs, had some prints made, and have been carrying this project around in my project case while glamping or traveling, hoping to get time to work on it. I also had included scissors and adhesive products and other embellishments to finish the book.

This project required sorting, selecting, and cropping photos as well as mounting them in the book and making journal notes to correspond with the photos.

It has taken well over the required 30 hours to complete.

Photos of this project are included in the UFO thread in the Stitching and Crafting section:

I’m so glad to have this project finished and be able to enjoy the book, looking back at the photos, reading the notes, and smiling at the fun and fond memories of this wonderful trip with my daughter.”