Sunny CA

I have spent the last week in sunny CA and it is very nice…when we first arrived Nick and I took a drive…to the mountain…so we drove until we could not go any farther…it must be nice to pick an orange or a lemon off your own tree! But I suppose it is no different than growing apples in Wi. I seen CA’s version of a perennially garden and it was just as beautiful as our gardens but VERY different I will post more on the Road 2 CA quilt show later…I am still here for another week of teaching…in Temecula and Yuba City….




new garden photos…

what can I say….at least the roof is still on the house…I only have a little water in my basement…my neighbors had big trucks over today sucking the water out of theirs…and that is before this last storm…my siding, roof and window trim are damaged and that can all be fixed….the flowers will also grow back…at least it all looked glorious for a few days… I have proof and good memories..and I will not have to worry about the watering while I’m away in Long Beach….LB

a whole new look....


Well it finally came…the long anticipated garden walk…it was a beautiful day.  I accomplished all my projects I wanted to get done the days before: re-painting signs, making the garbage can lid bird bath, taking out all the tall daisies that the Wednesday night storm layed down and all the final deadheading and weeding.  There are about 50 pictures here for you to enjoy.  We had 570 guests come through the garden on Saturday.  That makes me feel good about sharing our house and garden for the benefit of those who have fallen on rough times.  The Emergency Shelter also helps families get a new start on life along with the life skills to attain permanent housing of their own.  CLICK ON THE PHOTS TO MAKE THEM LARGER IF YOU DESIRE.

Getting ready for Christmas at D&D Maintenace, my yearly stop…

 Every year I go to 922 Grove St. in Appleton, behind Memorial Florist on Hwy 47, just outside of Menasha.  I love the service and the unique evergreen decorations they have there.  Dave and Debbie Korth, along with their son’s, Craig, Jeremy, Chad and daughter Sheena and a whole bunch of grandkids help them with their business.

There are tons of trees to pick from, but I am really picky…I always want a tall tree that they can lop off the bottom, so I have lots of space to hang my ornaments….I never used to buy a real tree, but I figure they are cut and someone should use them, so I buy one…I love the smell in the house.  The trees I get from them never loose a needle…even when i wanted to save the tree and have all the needles fall off so just the branches were left, well it never happened that tree went to Chicago with me in April when we published our Christmas book, we put our Christmas Tree Skirt and all of our ornaments in the book on it…it looked the same as in December, just a little stiffer…besides the tree, I buy a hanging ball of evergreens for the shop, kind of like a hanging basket of evergreen, see them below…Debbie makes special order bows for me, I go in and pick out what I want and she does them up.  Here is Debbie at work….

Here is A.J. loading the cut off branches from our tree…below is the beauty after cutting off the bottom, now it is the perfect size, not too fat, nice and slim and lots of room for my homemade ornies..

The shop is now decorated with Debbies bows and the hanging evergreen ball, just in time for Christmas Open House tomorrow.  Hope you like our new parking lot!

Just after we were making cookies, our swags that will hang from the lights on our garage along with 4 more matching bows for the garland, were delivered.  They turned out GREAT! I can’t wait to hang them tomorrow.  

Mom and I made 12 dozen cookies for Open House tomorrow..

Canning tomatoes

About every other year  I make my mother come over for a day of canning tomatoes.  I love to be able to make chili, lasagna or almost anything with our canned tomatoes.  I am trying to eat healthier and this will help with fresh tomatoes that we know what all is in the jar!  I do not want to forget how to do this , so I am going to blog how…that way if you don’t have an awesome Mom like mine, you can learn too! So here goes …first you must make sure all of your jars are clean.  I run mine through the dishwasher.  If you are in the market for a new dishwasher, I just love my two drawer one from Fisher & Paykel.  It was a great descision.

DSC02330Gather up all your necessary equipment as follows: Pressure canner, canning salt, funnel, big ladle, paring knives lids, rims  and jars and jar grabber for taking out hot jars from the canner.  We made two kinds of tomatoes: Stewed ( with green peppers, onions and celery) and then just whole tomatoes alone in the jars.  So if you want to make stewed tomatoes, you will need some green peppers, onions and celery.  

DSC02331Cut or chop your green peppers, onion and celery  then add a little water and simmer them for a bit to soften them a little .

DSC02334While that is simmering, dump your tomatoes into the sink and rinse them to get any dirt or bugs or junk off of them.  

DSC02335Then place them into a roasting pan with boiling water to scald them for a few minutes.  The skins with break.  Do not leave them in too long or they will become too hot and mushy to handle.  

DSC02337Transfer them into a sink of cold water.  You will then remove the center stem and all of the skins,  Cut then in quarters and place in a bucket. Do this until you have all of your tomatoes cleaned, scalded and peeled and cut.


DSC02340Add fixings for stewed tomatoes if desired to pot of cut tomatoes, stir…

DSC02341Looking real good right now!

DSC02342add about an 1″ or two of water to the canner.

DSC02346add a teaspoon of salt to each jar

DSC02344using a large funnel (get it at fleet farm) scoop your tomatoes in the jar- i used small mouth jars for the stewed tomatoes and wide for the whole.  You would use your hands to pack the whole tomatoes.

DSC02345fill jars almost to the top and leave a half inch of space at the top not counting the lid rim.





DSC02350carefully wipe of the top of each jar- so the lids will seal properly

DSC02347Place lid and ring on jar

DSC02348place 7 jars in canner, place cover on  and place the “jimmy” that is what I call the pressure gauge, on 10lbs of pressure

DSC02349I place the burner on HIGH until the “Jimmy” starts to jiggle.  I then turn it down a little.  The “Jimmy” does not have to jiggle constantly.  Once the canner start to jiggle you need to let it pressurize to 20min.  After 20 min.  turn off heat and let the canner release its pressure.  When it is all out  it will allow you to open it.  I have to admit Mom taught me how to cheat and hold a long meat fork on the pressure gauge until all of the steam is let out.  This helps if you have lots of canning to do and don’t have time to wait, but I am sure this is not recommended anywhere and you cannot hold me accountable if something happens to you when you are doing yours.

DSC02351When all of the pressure is released from the canner open the lid and lift out your jars with the canning tongs.  

Place hot jars on a protected surface.  I used towel on the kitchen table, double folded.  The jars will ting when the lids seal.  

DSC02352Here are our 84 jars!  It took us from 10am to 7pm when the last 7 were processed.  We have 31 stewed tomatoes and 53 whole tomatoes.  I think we will be set for awhile.  We did this last Wednesday.  My uncle brought us over 2 bushels and this is how many we ended up with.  Now I will remember how to do this and maybe you will now try it yourself!

Hey…here is a pic of my Mom…on our boat this her “Jackie O” sunglasses…she wore them long enough that they are back in style now..


Holy MUM!

DSC02496Hey what do you think of this mum!  It is about 4 feet across…It is huge.  I just had to show it to you all.  I have been getting ready for Fall Market in Houston. Here is a quilt i am hand quilting.  I am using the stripes in the fabric as quilting lines.  So this goes pretty fast.

DSC02353sorry about the flash…i is pretty harsh.  This is my dancing with the stars entertainment…I have been having a rough time with some personal issues so I am kind of in a funk. This hardly ever happens to me so It is kind of a weird feeling.  But we are not solely in control are we?   Sorry I have been away for a while… I have lots to blog about so as things are looking better and I will post more often.  Below is another quilt using my new fabric line…Mary Klein is quilting this for me, I know i should be quilting it myself but there is lots to do.  More to come later and good by…time to piece, I have 24 blocks out of 42 done….I can do 4 in an hour…I do not think I will get done tonight! I will show you that one next time…DSC02328