Showcasing Merit Badges

This week, I was thrilled to get a box from my dear friend and fellow farmgirl April Choate (Sister #658, sonshine4u). Enclosed were supplies for a project, a video CD, and the following handwritten letter:

Dear MaryJane and Meg,

I’m sitting on the floor in my craft room, buried by my current project of making aprons. It’s a glorious place to be! Thread bits and fabric cuttings, hissing iron and shiny shears. I’m having a blast!

The reason I’m writing has nothing to do with aprons, but it does have to do with being a farmgirl. You see, I have had this special project in various stages for over a year. In fact, I was inspired a month after I saw you in Kansas. Anyway, I finished it and can now share it with you.

I made a video tutorial for you, and have some of the supplies for you in the package. The rest, I’m pretty sure you’ll have around the farm. Open the package to find out what the fun is!

Much love,

I first met April a few years back when I was asked to be the keynote speaker at the Creative Connection Event in Minneapolis. After the event, Megan and I took a hired car and drove for about 45 minutes to April’s house, where she hosted a farmgirl chapter get-together that included Farmgirl Beer served by her husband! (I had no idea there was such a thing so I brought my bottle home in my suitcase.)


Here’s a video of the festivities. (But don’t get distracted from making it all the way to the bottom of this post to watch April’s surprise video:)

We met up again in 2013 when April hosted a Glampin’ Farmgirls on the Loose event that fell on the weekend of my birthday. I like to say I celebrated my 60th the best way possible—with my Sisters! (Read about that here and here.)

And now … here is April’s farmgirl genius video so you can see what all the henquarters cackling is about.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Wow, what a delightful morning to “attend” the Farmgirl celebration at April’s house!! This is just the sweetest video of everyone sharing aprons and telling little stories. And Bonnie had quite the Red Tractor hat on!! What I most love about this clip is that it takes a special moment in time and tells the story of a woman from Idaho who found a way to meet people, just as they are, and embrace them for the skills and love they live everyday with their families and friends. This is why we love you, MaryJane. You were the first person to open the door that ordinary women, in the home, had something important to share with the world by making it a better, healthier, and more loving place to be: one garden, one fresh backyard egg, one embroidered apron at a time! Thanks so much for sharing this.

    And that FArmgirl Beer??=D!! I love hand crafted beer, but that label is, hands down, the BEST!!

  2. CJ Armstrong says:

    Love this post! The clock is VERY clever! YAY for April! I love the apron stories video . . . every time I think of Diane making that life-size mockup of me I chuckle!
    Thanks you so much Mary Jane for all you’ve done for us farmgirls!

  3. Wow, first of all I was so excited by the music, I was soooo sure it was Jean “Django” Reinhardt, the famous improvisational gypsy musician. I inherited some live recording French 78s from my jazz musician step-father but alas they were stolen. I’ve since compiled a nice collection of Django’s work. I will have to look for Gadjo Manouche’s album from the video. The song he played “Swing 42 ” was one of Django’s classic compositions.
    April , Neat neat idea for the clock too!

  4. April says:

    MaryJane – I’m so glad you enjoyed your surprise! I hope you have fun crafting your own! Thanks also for the trip down memory lane. Some wonderful farmgirl memories!!! ~Hugs 🙂

    Lisa – The music/band was a discovery when my husband and I were in Croatia touring the famous Dubrovnik City Walls. Gadjo Manouche was a street band that was nestled into a section of where a guard might have been stationed and the acoustics were amazing. It was a beautiful moment that we will never forget. We stood there and just soaked in the amazing Gypsy Jazz! Just beautiful!

    CJ – I too giggle every time I look at pictures of Diane and “you!” Such a funny memory!!!

    Winnie – It was a super fantastically sweet occasion for all of us farmgirls. I’m glad you got to “visit” that fun event too! 🙂

    • April, what a sweet travel memory ! Many years ago, I was supposed to go to Dubrovnik by sea but there were pirates ( yes pirates!) and we had to turn back and go on to Greece. Thanks for sharing . Oh evidently Gadjo is the Romani term for a non-Romani- so I’m curious about that band’s name. I have a bit of Hungarian gypsy blood from my Grandfather’s side, must be why this music so speaks to me.

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