Monthly Archives: October 2017



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GIVEAWAY: “Seamwork, I’ll Be Home”

Thank you for dropping by my Raising Jane Journal to participate in my giveaways! We’ve chosen a winner for this giveaway already (click here for details), but don’t be afraid to leave a comment anyway. I love reading them. And stay tuned for more great MaryJanesFarm giveaways.

In the Dec/Jan issue of MaryJanesFarm, on newsstands Nov. 7, you’ll find a feature about a great website and online magazine called Seamwork ( Seamwork is all about designing and creating your own wardrobe, piece by piece, with approachable patterns that match both your style and your schedule.


A monthly membership to Seamwork offers patterns, hacks, ideas, and inspiration to help you craft the clothes you want to wear. For a chance to win a FREE one-month, premium Seamwork membership, tell me about one of your favorite sewing projects in the comments below (I recently taught my grandgirls how to use an electric sewing machine and they made doll blankets–I loved every minute of it). I’ll toss your name into a hat and draw a lucky winner sometime mid-December.

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

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Young Cultivator Merit Badge: Table Talk, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,466 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,836 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 Farm Kitchen/Table Talk Intermediate Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, I spoke to Andy’s parents about letting him come over once a week for a month to, uh, well, do my dishes.

I know, these badges rock, am I right?

No, in all seriousness, it is a skill that kids these days need to learn, and well, if it happened to coincide with the breaking of my dishwasher, hey, that’s just a happy coincidence. Can I get an amen?

And it’s not just a skill for girls and women, as this 1930s poster from the Illinois State Employment Service implies …

1930s poster from the Work Projects Administration Poster Collection, via Wikimedia Commons

So, each Friday evening, after my date night with Mr. Wonderful, Andy trudged over and we got to work. I now call him Mr. Wonderful-in-Training.

Dishwashers have been around oh, for a long time now. Feel free to Google how long, but it’s safe to say this generation of American kiddos have not lived without them, and while some have the chore of loading up or unloading said machine, the majority have probably never had to do a sinkful by hand.

This is where I came in, chickadees. There’s an art to hand washing dishes, if I do say so myself. And really, it’s kind of soothing and therapeutic. (Not that I want Fridays back. I’m enjoying the little respite.)

First, a little organization. Mr. Wonderful-in-Training was all set to toss (and I do mean toss; the kid has a wicked curve ball) the entire dinner’s worth of cutlery, plates, pots, and pans, into the sink together. I explained that he needed a method to his madness: like, any method. Preferably one that didn’t mix steak knives with my good china.

Jackie Cooper, 1955, NBC Television via Wikimedia Commons

So, into the bubbles went all the forks and spoons on the right side. Steak knives and any other knives into the left. (Keeping them separate cuts down on nicks and pokes. Get it? Cuts down? Ha!) Then we gently set down the plates, which of course, had been rinsed. You can scrape supper remains into your composting bin, or if your dinner has been doggy friendly, straight into your mutt’s mouth and into his tummy.

Rinsing depends on your sink, naturally. If you have two sides, one little person can wash, while the other rinses on the other side. If you’re blessed with three pint-sized servants offspring, the third can dry and put away. It’ll be a rugrat brigade!

After the plates and cutlery were finished, we added a bit more hot water and another squirt of soap, and also the pots and pans and serving dishes. I had made ribs and mashed potatoes that first Friday, so we had a lot of tough, sticky, starchy, things to work on. Mr. Wonderful-in-Training was up to the challenge though, and by the time he was done, everything was (mostly) shiny and spotless. My sponge had to be thrown out though; Andy used some serious elbow grease. Must be all those curve balls he’s been working on.

Now, if you’re going to help your whippersnapper earn this badge, I’d say there’s a magical age for it: between 4 and 11 is my bet. For the shorties, get a stool that’s sturdy. If you want to make it even more fun, add some gloves in a colorful print, some sponges, and a yummy smelling dish soap.

Voila! Clean kitchen and ever-so-moisturized children will ensue.

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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 … Cyrie Wilson!

Cyrie Wilson (Pixiedustdevil, #6941) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner Level Dyeing for Color Merit Badge!

“For the presentation part, I let the 9-year-old neighbor girl “help” me dye some fabric for a doll. I explained what kind of fabric to use, what to use for dye (tea in our case), how to boil the tea water, turning the fabric, then how to set the color.

I dyed a poly-cotton bed sheet to make doll skin. I filled a pot and used 40 tea bags (30 green tea and 10 hibiscus tea). The longer the fabric sat, the darker it was. I put Mason jars full of water on top of the fabric to keep it submerged overnight.

I can say that while it did turn out ok, I wouldn’t use poly-cotton again; it doesn’t take color well.”

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