Monthly Archives: July 2017



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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 … Sherrilyn Askew!

Sherrilyn Askew (Sherri, #1350) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning an Intermediate Level Mosaics Merit Badge!

“I made a larger mosaic piece (larger than the last one). I am making a series of stepping stones that are being installed in our hummingbird garden (currently under construction). My daughter is helping me by making a few stones as well. We need them as paths to get to the spigot which is in the garden, and to be able to get at the weeds in the beds. It’s a pretty big garden.


The first one I made, my partner “helped” me with, so I had to take a wire brush to it when it dried to get the concrete off of the tiles. The second one, I lectured him about leaving it alone and letting me do it, so I only had to brush the edges to soften the concrete corners a bit. Since I made it on the 4th of July, that is its theme. My daughter and her friend made stones that day as well. I love the way they all turned out.”

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Young Cultivator Merit Badge: All Tied Up, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,428 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,782 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/All Tied Up Beginner Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, I had Piper and Nora over for the afternoon. The last time I kid-sat for these two little whippersnappers, we had had an arts and crafts day, and well, let’s just say my living room will never be the same. Not to mention Piper and Nora’s laundry.

Artists are messy. I’m sure Van Gogh’s mother was beside herself on laundry day. Right?

photo by LearningLark via

Anyway, I couldn’t just ban arts and crafts altogether—I mean, that would be cruel and unusual punishment for two little farmgirls who love to create. So, we came up with a fabulous idea: earn a new Merit Badge, and design our own artist’s smocks to cut down on the mess of future art projects.

Note to self: making a mess while creating your answer to making a mess is … a messy paradox. Maybe I should’ve bought smocks for them to make their homemade smocks in. Ah well, live and learn, Janie my girl.

You can use a premade smock and do your decorating from that stage, or if you’re feeling super crafty and DIY-esque, you can make your smock from all sorts of things you likely have lying around the house:

  • Pillowcases are the perfect size for most artistic munchkins. Cut a hole in the top for the head, and two smaller ones at the sides for their arms. Hem the holes, or use bias tape, to avoid fraying.
  • An adult-size T-shirt also makes a great smock for littles. Cut off the sleeves if desired.
  • A terrycloth towel (size depends on size of child; usually a large-ish hand towel is best). Attach a loop of ribbon for placing around head, and tie two more ribbons at the side for tying around waist.
  • If you’re wanting a smock just for a day and don’t mind tossing it in the trash when your epic art afternoon is through, use a paper bag. Follow directions for the pillowcase smock above. These are nice for an entire classroom for a one-day art project.
  • A man’s or woman’s button-down shirt put on backwards makes a great smock.
  • Recycled denim overalls make great smocks. Keep the straps and the front part, and cut off the legs. These are extra nice because they’re sturdy, and they have pockets.

photo by Elaine via

Once you’ve decided what kind of smock you are using, have your wee farmkid decorate. Piper chose puffy paints, and Nora chose her button collection because she had recently learned how to sew on buttons. Other ideas for decorating your new smock:

  • Handprints. We don’t recommend using red paint, though. Kinda looked like a crime scene … ahem.
  • Tie-dye.
  • Fabric markers or paint.
  • Iron-on patches.
  • Simple applique with shapes and embroidery floss.
  • Ruffles and lace for hems.
  • Pockets.
  • Rick-rack.

By the time an hour or two had gone by, we had puffy paint in our ears and buttons between our toes, but we had two gorgeous and one-of-a-kind smocks for our next art project.

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Parklet … said just like it sounds: park-let.

And, like other words with the diminutive “-let” suffix …

booklet, piglet …

it means the miniature version of its root word, park.

So, parklet = tiny park.

The cool thing about parklets, though, is that they’re not just small-space parks (that’s more the territory of the parklet’s cousin, the pocket park). A parklet is more of a pop-up type of park that may just, well, pop up in unexpected urban places. Often, it’s little more than a spiffy sidewalk extension that provides a bit of greenery and/or sitting spaces for passersby.

Photo by San Francisco Planning Department via Flickr

“Parklets are intended for people,” says Wikipedia. “They offer a place to stop, to sit, and to rest while taking in the activities of the street. A parklet may be thought of as permanent, but must be designed for quick and easy removal for emergencies or other reasons such as snow removal without damage to the curb or street. As initially conceived, a parklet is always open to the public.”

In 2010, San Francisco began the world’s first parklet project—five pilot projects in four neighborhoods around the city—conceived by London-based designer Suzi Bolognese. This is one of the originals:

Photo by Salty Boatr via Wikimedia Commons

Since then, parklets have started popping up in cities around the world, like this lovely 2016 installation in Lodz, Poland:

Photo by Zorro 2212 via Wikimedia Commons

If your city needs a parklet or two, you might be just the gal to get them going. For ideas and how-to tips, turn your local planning department. But first, you might take a peek at Seattle’s handy Parklet Handbook, which details the application process as well as requirements for designing, permitting, building, and maintaining your parklet. It includes expected timelines for each phase of the project and estimated costs. You’ll also find tips for assembling a team and funding your parklet. The handbook is specific to Seattle, but it’ll help point you in the right direction.

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