Monthly Archives: July 2016

Furniture Makeover Merit Badge, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,050 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,044 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

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

For this week’s Make It Easy/Furniture Makeover Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I was enjoying my new, upcycled, one-of-a-kind nightstand so very much, I figured I was more than ready for the next project.

I cracked my knuckles, rolled up my sleeves, paused the latest episode of whatever was on the DIY Network, and got down to business.

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Marvelous Monarchs

We know pollinators are precious.

And we know that, among pollinators, monarchs are particularly marvelous.

Not only are their delicate wings dressed in a daring, dashing fashion reminiscent of tiny sky tigers, they use those fierce little wings to migrate hundreds of miles each year.

Like I said, marvelous.

Photo by Jiuguang Wang via Flickr

“But have you ever seen what exactly millions of monarchs in Mexico looks like?” asks Treehugger’s Melissa Breyer.

Admittedly, few of us have actually witnessed this famous phenomenon. So, to bring the monarch’s marvelousness into focus, up close and personal, filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg created a short film for all of us to, well, marvel at.

“I’ve seen photos; they’re lovely. But this short film, ‘Wings of Life,’ offers a glimpse into this phenomenon that is nothing short of magic,” Breyer shares. “[Monarchs] fill the sky like paper in a tickertape parade; clouds of confetti, orange and fluttering. They sleep on the branches of oyamel trees, sometimes in numbers so dense that they break the branches. And to see them all together, as shown in the film, is a thing of unforgettable beauty!”

See for yourself, and feel your heart take wing …

P.S. If you’re a Midwest farmgirl, you may be able to help monarch butterflies on your property.



Winner!!! Giveaway: Humans of New York Stories

The winner of our Humans of New York Stories giveaway is Sara Kitchen, who said:

“This reminds me of another wonderful and touching book that featured the cowboy and western way of life along with photos and stories which I can relate to. All so piquant, heartwarming, beautiful, poignant, and yet nothing flowery woven into the fabric of our daily lives is something full of shared life experiences with the understanding of how individual lives can bring to gladden and lift ourselves through a book such as HONY. It helps us see the goodness in people.”

Congratulations, Sara!

And the original post was:


Have you heard of Brandon Stanton? How about Humans of New York, or HONY, as people like to call it in these modern days of BFFs and LOLs? HONY defines the most beautiful aspects of our current social media craze. A year ago, I shared a glimpse of Brandon’s story. Brandon spends most of his time on the streets of New York, photographing and telling the stories of people he meets there, which he then shares on his blog and Facebook.


What began as a photo census in 2010, whose purpose was to chronicle neighborhoods and communities through the faces of people who lived there, has now grown to a well-known presence on the Internet whose posts reach more than 15 million followers each day. Last year, Brandon traveled to 12 different countries in collaboration with the United Nations, was invited to the White House to interview President Obama, spent a month in Europe documenting and sharing the story of Syrian refugees, and was named as one of the 30 most influential people on the Internet by Time magazine.

It seems that people are very interested in hearing compassionate tales about the lives of their fellow people. I know it’s my favorite snippet that passes through my Facebook newsfeed. And even though the posts are often short and sweet, I am usually in tears hearing the personal stories of so many. It is always good to be reminded of different perspectives and what people are surviving and accomplishing each day. So, I’ve been so looking forward to Brandon’s latest compilation of beautiful photos and stories of his subjects in book form! Once I’ve read it front to back and then back again, I plan to adorn my coffee table with it for all others to peruse, should they have a few minutes.

And since I can’t have you all over for tea alongside my coffee table and copy of HONY, I’m giving away a copy. Tell us in the comments section below what touches you most about the HONY story and we’ll randomly choose a winner sometime soon.




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 … April Tovar!!!

April Tovar (Dreamer42, #7038) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning an Intermediate Level Herbs Merit Badge!

“I planted 2 herb pots for outdoors on my patio, as my garden space is small and full. I also planted a 3-potted herb pot in my kitchen window. I planted basil, sage, cilantro, and parsley. I added a green onion to my herb pot even though it’s not an herb, but the bulb starts came from my great-grandparents’ farm back in Michigan, which has recently sold outside of the family. The onions are the only part of the farm I have left.

Looking good so far! This is the 3-plant pot in my kitchen window. The middle basil plants were starts I rooted from my mother-in-law’s plant; the other two, basil and parsley, I planted from seed. I have already harvested basil for my basil lemonade and the cilantro for enchiladas.”


Young Cultivator Merit Badge: Rethink Your Space, Intermediate Level

he adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,050 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,044 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

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

For this week’s Make It Easy/Rethink Your Space Intermediate Level Young Cultivator Badge, I steeled my frazzled nerves with a nice cuppa chai with extra whip and sprinkles, and marched on over to my neighbor’s house, otherwise known as The Den of Fear and Trembling. No one calls it that but me, but that’s because they’ve never been inside Andy’s bedroom.

After he and I earned our Beginner Level merit badge in cleaning his room (you bet your patootie I earned myself one, too!) I needed some time to recover from my trauma (I was getting PTSD flashbacks and tremors), but now I was ready. Ready to supervise Nora earning her own Beginner Level badge, and ready to move Andy onto Intermediate.


“Okay, comrades,” I said, swallowing down the last of my liquid courage and licking the whip off my fingers, “Here’s the deal.”

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