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Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Arlene Woods!!!

Arlene Woods (Whirlwindwoman, #7241) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a Beginner Level Backyard Farmer Merit Badge!

“I have 15 laying hens. (Started out with 18, but a hawk was killing them.) I finally learned how to butcher a chicken! One of my friends showed me how to do it without the boiling water—just butcher them like we do the rabbits! So much easier.

I feed my girls organic grain and they free range for insects and have pasture.

We have enjoyed the large brown eggs and good meat that we know is healthy. My son wants to add Russian meat rabbits this year and we are doubling our flock to include a heritage breed. (Right now we have a hybrid – Golden Comets.)”

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Young Cultivators Merit Badge: Weaving In and Out, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,328 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,420 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 Stitching and Crafting/Weaving In and Out Intermediate Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, Piper, Andy, and I stepped up the ante. Now that we were pretty proficient at how to braid and make our own friendship bracelets,

photo by Nina Helmer via

we had to branch out and …

make another using a different material this time and give one away.

Seemed simple enough. Aww, naiveté, thy name is Jane …

We already had enough friendship bracelets to adorn most of the neighborhood (and in Andy’s case, the local football team), but we were fresh outta yarn. We pondered and pondered: what else could be braided?

Well, that was a loaded question for Lil’ Miss Pipes.

“What can’t be braided?” she rephrased, in delight.

Umm, turns out that became a list.

Things That Cannot Be Braided:
• Rocks
• Granola bars
• Chicken feathers
• Beef jerky
• Sticks of gum
• All the electrical cords behind the entertainment cabinet (but only cuz Dad says no)
• Toothbrushes
• Dog’s ears (but only because they won’t sit still long enough)
• Kitten’s tails (see above)
• Forks
• Spoons
• Knives

And how do we know these items aren’t braidable, you might ask? Because we didn’t attempt them, naturally … sigh.

The next list seemed more fun (not to mention, more applicable).

Things That CAN Be Braided:
• Yarn
• Ribbons
• Shoelaces (not while people are wearing them, though. Not nice, Andy)
• Some flower stalks or long grasses
• Strips of cloth or lace
• Rickrack
• Your mom’s purse straps
• Your dad’s belts
• Curly ribbon on packages/gifts
• Headbands and hair ties
• Curtain tie-backs
• Fringe
• Shirt sleeves (Don’t ask. I think they were making homemade strait jackets or something.)
• Fruit leather (sticky, but worth the flavor combination)
• Licorice sticks
• Dental floss
• Bungee cords
• Bread dough
• Embroidery floss
• Men’s dress socks or girl’s knee-highs

I think the list would have gone on all day and night, but we needed to get crackin’ on actually accomplishing a few completed bracelets and then gifting them. This likely would have led to another list, but I snagged the pencil from Piper. Sheesh, if there’s a badge for List Making that kiddo would be Chapter Leader in no time.

photo by Bunches and Bits {Karina} via

There are approximately 7.4 billion people in the world right now.

We have nearly enough friendship bracelets for everyone.

I’m. Not. Even. Kidding.

photo by Diane Industrialart Purdie via

Piper and Andy picked out the very best, the most beautiful, the one that took the most work and time, the one they treasured out of them all, and they gave it to …


Don’t be jelly of my fruit leather, hollyhock stalk, dental floss, and ribbon bracelet, my farmgirls. It is one of a kind, yes, but you too can have a priceless symbol of your neighbor kids’ affection. Just teach them this badge!

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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 … Hadassah Schaap!!!

Hadassah Schaap (Farmerette of Heidi Schaap #3752) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning a Beginner Level Entrepreneurial Spirit Merit Badge!

“I dreamed about my business, chose a name, and put it under my pillow. My mentor (Mom) taught me how to write a business plan using

After deciding what I’d like to do, I presented my business plan to my father and he approved it.

I researched how to set up an Etsy business and set up my home page. I transferred money from my savings to buy sewing fabric and necessary items. I printed off business cards. I had to learn about fees, shipping options, etc.

It was nerve wracking to put all that work in wondering if anyone would place an order, but it was great practice for future online endeavors.

I launched my business on Etsy! You can find it here.

It has been wonderful so far! I’ve made plenty of sales, received two 5-star reviews, and been asked to create a custom order for a new product. I am learning more every day and appreciate having a way to create income from our family’s homestead.”

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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 … Debbie Klann!!!

Debbie Klann (debbieklann, #770) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning an Expert Level Community Action Merit Badge!

“To get more interest in participating in our fair, I worked with the local paper in getting the fair premium book ready to print with the contests that our family was sponsoring. I also spent time getting those premium books out to people that wanted to enter items and helping those that had never entered anything before. People were surprised by how many different categories of things could be entered and it got a lot of new people excited about participating!

We also had a group of young farm wives all encouraging each other the week before fair, getting baking down and produce ready to enter and entering the different food contests. We really worked hard to get the word out to enter and have fun!

For my own personal challenge, I decided to enter ALL of the bread entries! I started early in the month and put things away in the freezer. I wanted to see LOTS of things entered on the shelves in the building! I also entered some quilts in the open class building next door. I had debated on doing so but was really glad that I did, as there weren’t very many and the ones that I took down there really helped to decorate the empty space. Between working at the fair and all of the time spent baking, I put in far more than the 15 hours required for the Intermediate and Expert level badges. It was time well spent! I saved several premium books to start planning ahead for this coming fair. This is a picture of all of the baked bread entries before I took them in to enter. I also shared a bit with my online chapter about this experience.”

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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 … Heather Hayes!!!

Heather Hayes (#6831) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner Level Quilting Merit Badge!

“1. If you don’t know how to quilt, learn. I already knew how to quilt; I started quilting about 17 years ago. I have taken several classes and attended multiple quilt meetings, spent time quilting with friends, etc.

2. Pick a simple pattern like a doll-sized quilt that will help you learn the basics, even just sewing squares together. My first completely finished quilt was a Log Cabin quilt that I made for my queen size bed. It took me 8 hours to cut and piece it.

3. Learn how to add a backing and batting and do simple quilting stitches to hold everything in place. Finish your quilting project. There is a three-hour minimum time investment required. A little quilt I cut, pieced, and quilted on my own with no help it was a crib-sized windmill quilt. (Still twitching from the prairie points.) This winter, I tried a new pattern and made a quilt for my husband for Christmas 2016. It took 12 hours to cut out, piece, and finish the quilt.

4. If you already know how to quilt, teach someone how to quilt the beginner project. The summer of 2015, I taught at my daughter’s American Heritage Girls summer camp and I taught eight girls how to quilt. Each girl completed a small snack mat. Then together, they made a bandana quilt and sat in a circle as they quilted the quilt together by tying it with embroidery thread.

All of the projects were finished, though my quilt closet is full of a lot of UFO (UnFinished Objects), but this past year, I have picked back up and completed 6 quilts so far. The girls’ quilt projects from camp were so special to me, as they each had their struggles to learn new skills and they each overcame them and had a mat finished to take home. They were so proud of the work they had done. I had girls aged 12-15, and my own daughter was in the group. She was very happy with hers, as she also had used fabric that she had dyed herself in the mat.”

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