Carrots for Daisy

In a few days we will be headed out of town to our Granddaughter’s 10th birthday party! I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since she was born…and even at three she was a cutie! By now, at age 10, she’s turning out to be quite a lovely young lady!

Anna at three!
Ready for the first day of 4th grade!

Of course, we can’t go visit the family without something special for our Grandpuppy…Daisy!

Daisy resting after a busy Christmas Day!
Ben and Daisy.

We used to bring assorted toys and chew bones for her to play with, but we’ve been asked to substitute healthy snacks…which turn out to be raw vegetables! Who knew! At Christmas time, I brought a few huge carrots just to see what she would do with them. She loved them!! They were better than a giant rawhide bone! So today, I got a bag of carrots cleaned up and ready for her.

These should keep Daisy busy for a while. She should be set with fun snacks for several days! Maybe she’ll think it’s her birthday too!

Please comment or email me directly at

Autumn Door Quilt on Wood

This week I was determined to choose a new quilt block that I could paint on wood. I wanted something different and colorful for Autumn. I enjoyed painting my first two blocks and you can see them below. If you want to read how I made them, click on the link under each picture.

For the Autumn block I wanted something totally different. I pulled out my favorite book for ideas:

This book organizes quilt block designs by the grid they are based on:

And followed by pages and pages and pages of sample blocks! Thank goodness there is an index, by names, of all the patterns. I usually start by just browsing through the book. So many choices!

I ended up choosing this block:

This was based on a 4 x 4 grid.

Next to the picture was a number and the name was in the list to the left.

I really liked how different the block was and figured I could make the flower in orange, which would make me think of all the autumn flowers I see right now. I don’t think it matters that it’s called a “Lily”–I can call it anything I want!

Making the Sample Block

I like to start with a 3″ x 3″ tiny canvas. It helps me visualize the layout on a small scale. I don’t worry about making mistakes or erasing pencil marks. When I make this sample, I can decide if I like the colors I’ve chosen. It’s much easier to throw it away and start over if I need to.

I can see the extra internal lines are not necessary and distract from the pattern. I do like the orange and green.

Making the Full-Size Block

Step 1: I pulled out the 12″ x 12″ piece of 3/8″ plywood that Bert had cut out for me and sketched out the pattern with a pencil.

I did erase the internal lines because they will show through the white and orange paint.

Step 2: I flipped the wood over and painted the back and edges white just to protect the wood from the weather.

Step 3: I painted the first coat of orange and green. I can still see the internal lines so a second coat is necessary.

I used a fine point marker to outline the basic shapes. I like it!

Final Step: I will spray both sides of the block with a clear acrylic spray so it can handle the weather on the front door. Finally, Bert will attach magnets to the back so it will stick to the front door! Yea!

I think this block will be cheerful this fall and will show through the screen door well. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Please comment or email me directly at

Garden Update August 23, 2022

Thanks to the dry August, I think autumn has decided it’s time to make an appearance! In the last three days we finally had a storm track right over us and we ended up with almost 2″ of rain! The grass will be happy. We’ve been able to keep the few plants left in the garden watered, but I think most of the plants were just ready to get on with fall weather.

Here’s where we stand in the garden today:

The last planting of radishes. This is the raised planter, but somehow some munching insect took bites out of the radish leaves. I probably have two dozen radishes in the refrigerator so I’m set for a while.
The strawberry plants keep trying, but really no actual strawberries made it. the yellow/orange cherry tomatoes have finally reached their limit…so did I! Most of the tomatoes have split and rotted, so that plant will be dispatched shortly. I still have 2-3 dozen in the refrigerator so I’m good for now.
These are the planters that had the shell beans, the cucumbers and Delicata squash. Everything was removed and cleaned up two weeks ago.
The shelled beans, from left to right: Painted Pony beans, Cranberry beans, a baking bean and Calypso beans.
The chick peas were cute and tiny and a complete pain in the neck to shell! I ended up with several cups of tiny peas. Not sure if they’ll cook up into anything worth eating. Very disappointing. Who knew there were two varieties of chickpeas. The ones on the right are the ones I’m familiar with.
I finally solved my dilemma of wanting chickpeas by ordering some online from the Palouse Co. in Washington. I’m determined to try making hummus sometime.
The main garden is pretty empty now, with just carrots to harvest. We’ll dig them up as we need them. Last year we dug up the last of the carrots for Christmas dinner!
Carrots are looking good!
The lavender looks pretty good and will probably be fine for any wandering bees until the first frost.
I had already picked the lavender that I wanted to dry and put it in a paper bag. I pulled it out to see how it was doing. It needs a little more time so I laid the bunch out on a tray and will let it continue to dry.
The Echinacea flowers are letting me know that fall is coming…they are already looking pretty sad!

As you can see, Bert tidies up the garden as things finish so the final clean up doesn’t take too long. I’m ready to put all the canning supplies away for now. All I have to do is look at my shelf of canned foods to see how the summer went…pizza sauce, 4-bean salad and pickle relish. The memories of meals with fresh green beans, tomatoes, salads with fresh lettuce and radishes are there too! So that was our garden for 2022! Thanks for sharing the journey!

Please comment or email me directly at

Making an Eye Cream for Dark Circles and Puffy Eyes

Not enough sleep? Allergies making you look like you didn’t get enough sleep? For a while I’ve wanted to try this recipe for an eye cream. I had seen various brands of specialty eye cream for sale but somehow the cost seemed extreme. when I stumbled upon this recipe on one of my favorite websites, I thought I’d give it a try ( This author has many DIY recipes that are easy to follow and she provides good supporting research on the ingredients used. Many of the products I make started with one of her recipes. Check it out.

For this eye cream, the cost of the ingredients made a good case for just ordering something already made. However, where would be the fun in that! I’m always trying to find and use products that have the least amount of chemicals and artificial ingredients. The older I get, the more sensitive I am to various products I use. Plus, if I can make it myself, I’ll be able to make more if I need to. That makes me smile!

This eye cream begins by making a coffee-infused oil, similar to the infused oils I’ve made with calendula and lavender flower buds, except it took longer because I couldn’t simmer it on the stove and be done in one day. This recipe required me to soak coffee grounds in rosehip seed oil for a week, shaking the jar every day.

I put the jar on my desk so I could keep an eye on it and finally today I strained out the grounds. No small task! The grounds had made a thick sludge on the bottom that I could barely scrape out. Next time I’ll use more oil (and possibly substitute Sunflower oil, which is less expensive) so I can keep it loose…maybe even open the jar and stir it up with a long-handled spoon.

After pouring out as much as I could to strain out the oil, I ended up scraping the grounds, filling the jar with soap water and dumping the slurry outside. I didn’t want that oily mess going down the drain.

Pretty disgusting!

I lined my strainer with cheesecloth and poured the oil through it. When it finished draining, I picked up the cheesecloth mess and threw it in the garbage.

Then, I strained it twice more, finally using four layers of cheesecloth to filter out the last of the grounds.

Finally, the grounds are gone!

Now, I was ready to use this coffee-infused oil in the recipe for the Eye Cream. Here is the recipe:

The beeswax, rosehip seed oil and coffee-infused oil melted together first.

It didn’t take long to melt the beeswax. Then, I added these oils and stirred them in:

Using a disposable pipette I filled the lip balm tubes (sorry, forgot to take a picture!)

When they were cool, I labeled them and made the ingredient cards to go with them. I’ll have to figure out how much information to put on the back of the card. I’d like to include the last two paragraphs of the recipe on the card:

Hopefully, I’ll find some willing friends to test the cream with me to see if it actually works!

All the ingredients are available on Amazon…I did pick up the ground coffee at the grocery store. Give it a try! Enjoy!

Please comment or email me directly at

Make a Holder for a Roller Ball

It seems I’ve been making several items that are dispensed with a roller ball…from perfume, to nail serum, to serum to soothe bug bites. I thought it would be easy to pull out my notes on making a roll ball holder to protect them. The notes were in the folder with my sketch of how to make a lip balm holder, so I pulled them out.

While the lip balm holder was pretty simple, and I managed to make a bunch at the time, the instructions were sketchy. Back in April of last year I did a post about it and had taken pictures so the instructions made sense ( At the time, I also made a few roller ball holder for a friend for her essential oil business.

However, when I pulled out the notes for the roller ball holder the instructions were VERY sketchy so I spent all day trying to reconstruct how to make them. In the end, it isn’t hard but things had to be done in a certain order or the finished product looked really messy. (The first attempt ended up in the trash!)

This time I took lots of pictures while I made the second one. When I was finished, I tossed my original notes and will file a copy of this post as my new instructions! Enjoy!

Directions to Make a Holder for a Roller Ball

  1. Assemble Materials:

1 – 11″ x 2 1/2″ Cotton fabric: Outside fabric

1 – 8″ x 2 1/2″ Cotton fabric: Pocket fabric

1 – 3 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ Cotton fabric: D-ring strap

1 – 3 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ Thin batting

1 – 3/4″ D-Ring

1 – small carabiner clip

2. Sew batting piece to wrong side of outside fabric, lining it up with the center fold. Stitch in place.

3. Fold D-ring strap fabric, long sides to the center, and stitch edges. Insert strap through the D-ring. Stitch close to the ring.

4. Fold down the top edge over the batting, apply D-ring strap and stitch to the folded edge.

5. Finish the opposite edge of the outside piece by folding the edge 1/4″ and stitching.

6. Turn the outside fabric piece right side up and apply pocket piece with folded edge toward the D-ring and the raw edges at mid-fold of the outside piece.

7. Fold the outside fabric right sides together, matching the hemmed edges. Stitch around 3 sides, leaving the edge near the D-ring open for turning.

8. Trim corners. Turn right side out.

9. Top stitch around all four edges. Insert roller ball into pocket.

10. Attach carabiner clip.

So that’s how to make a roller ball holder…in case you want to make one yourself! See the link above for the instructions to make a lip balm holder.

Please comment or email me directly at

Review How to Make a Memory Bear

Recently, I was asked about how I got involved with making memory bears; and then this morning, Facebook reminded me that one year ago I posted the story with instructions about making bears. If you did not have a chance to read that post, I thought I’d post the link to that story. (

Making memory bears is more about saving a memory than creating a fancy stuffed bear. Almost any stuffed pattern can be used…it’s the fabric that matters. This could be from a favorite shirt, pajamas or bathrobe worn by a loved one.

This is the first set of memory bears I made from a young mother’s bathrobe. Really touched my heart!

My first bears were made with a simple pattern. Then I chose a different pattern that gave a little more shape to the bear. I love being able to add a little heart button to the foot of a bear, and simple buttons for the eyes and nose keep it looking homemade. I have had to be mindful to ask if the bear will be used as a toy by a small child considering the risk of a child choking on a loose button. Sometimes I have had to use no buttons at all so it’s safe.

Please enjoy a few of the many pictures of bears (and dogs!) I’ve made over the years and see the instructions how to do it yourself. It has been a while, but I have fond memories of making memory bears. Enjoy!

I adapted a pattern for a stuffed dog so I could honor my daughter’s dog Otis and his best friend Max. Bert also stamped “dog tags” with their names.

Garden Update August 10, 2022

Thanks to the ongoing heat and lack of rain, the plants in the garden are maturing faster than I expected. I know it’s been only 11 days since my last update on the garden, but things change that quickly. While we’ve been able to keep the actual plants watered, for some reason they have just decided it’s time to wind down. Mother Nature seems to have her own timeline.

I’d say the radishes were my most successful crop! I’ve just replanted the sections on the right with 10 more seeds in each.
The ones on the left are almost ready!
We continue to eat yellow cherry tomatoes even though the plant looks like it will fall over at any time!
The strawberry plants are still trying…we may get a few of these to eat!
The 4 kinds of shell beans have drooped. Most of the pods are getting brown. The only green plants are weeds!
They don’t look like much but…
…they really are looking great inside!
These empty beds had the Delicata squash and cucumbers.
The squash now have tough skin so they’ll keep for a while. Only a few misshapen cucumbers were left (sorry, no pictures of the cucumbers).
The garden up on the hill is looking sparse.
The Echinacea are still looking pretty good. The bees are happy!
The chick pea pods are brown and crunchy. Had to get this picture before Bert cut them off.
Bert collected the chick pea pods and will leave them out today in the sun to dry some more. He’ll store them in the shop so they can keep drying while I start shelling them.
I’ve been collecting the pods over the last few weeks and now they pop open very easily. I was concerned they were beginning to look moldy so they were picked today.
My collection of chick peas so far!
Every day we pick a few tomatoes. (See the earlier picture of the tomatoes on my kitchen table.)
This second planting of carrots are struggling with the heat…but the weeds are happy!
The row on the left had the last planting of green beans. I pulled the plants yesterday. The row on the right is the first planting of carrots. We’ll leave them in the ground and eat them all fall. They are about 4-5″ long.
This is the last picking of green beans.
The lavender is still attracting the bees. There are a few carrots on the left trying to grow. I think the lavender plants don’t like them nearby!
This plant has survived the deer munching on the top, but it keeps trying!

So, that’s the tour the second week of August, 2022. Mother Nature has ruled the garden this year. I wonder what kind of winter we will have…maybe less snow? We can only hope! Enjoy!

Please comment or email me directly at

Two Recipes to Cook Delicata Squash

We have been watching the progress of our first attempt to grow Delicata Squash. Bert planted seeds under grow lights back in the spring and carefully transplanted them into the garden in late May. We did not really know anything about growing or cooking the squash so this was an experiment for the season.

We planted only 6 seeds. We had no idea how big they would get, but from the size of the first few leaves, I knew they would be BIG!

We watered frequently and held our breath!

We had to keep directing the vines back into the fenced area while the squash grew. It was fun to watch.

While we waited, I did some research about when to pick them and how to cook them. Eventually the skins turned the right color and hardened. They were about 8-9″ long. They almost fell off the vines last week, so it must be time!

Recipe #1: Roasting Slices

The first recipe I found was a simple roasting of slices. The directions said to cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and slice them in 1/4 to 1/2″ slices.

The flesh was about 3/4″ thick and the skin could not be peeled off when raw.

I put the slices in a bowl and drizzled oil on them, then added salt and arranged them on a cookie sheet.

I roasted them at 425 degrees for 20 minutes; then turned them over and roasted for another 15 minutes. They were supposed to be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

They tasted good but were a little hard to eat. The rind was still tough so we had to sort of nibble on the inside. They were hardly thick enough to cut off with a knife. So…moving on to another recipe!

Recipe #2: Stuffed and Baked

Bert suggested we use them like we would a sweet pepper, stuffing them with a hamburger/rice mixture and baking them in the oven.

We prepped the squash like before…cut in half and scooped out the seeds.

Then we assembled the stuffing:

1 1/2 lb. of hamburger, cooked with onion, garlic, salt and pepper

1-2 cups of cooked rice

1-2 cups of cooked tomatoes (or canned)

Italian seasoning

We mixed this all up and stuffed the squash shells:

I covered the pan with foil and baked it at 350 degrees for an hour. This made a very tasty meal! The squash was soft enough to scoop out of the shell while we ate the stuffing. I will consider this recipe a success!

Delicata squash is not as sweet as Acorn squash, but it made a pretty dinner. It would have been good with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top, before or after baking (if you can have it). Enjoy!

Please comment or email me directly at

Time to Get Back to Making Greyhound Coats

I’ve spent most of the summer with my focus on the garden and a few skin care experiments. In the Spring, when I last thought about making fleece coats for the greyhounds, we had not yet turned on the air conditioners. I got discouraged because working with fleece when it’s hot is not fun. Luckily, the dogs were not facing cold weather so I didn’t feel any pressure to produce. Now that my canning is done and the rest of the garden is just needing maintenance, requests have come in that Nittany Greyhounds needs coats! And now, I’m ready to get back in the groove!

Here’s a picture of a dog in a coat I made a while ago:

It makes me happy to know that I can make something that will make their lives easier (and warmer!)

First, I had to dig through my fleece to see what colors I wanted to work with next. I ended up with two pieces of fleece, purple and a light-colored plaid. Both can be lined with white fleece.

The purple fleece I had just enough to make two coats…one large and one small. The plaid fleece had been used last year to make one coat…so I had enough to make three more, one small and two large.

Next came the challenge of prepping my work space. When I’m not actively sewing, my machine table seems to collect “stuff” like ironing that needed to be done, supplies that didn’t quite make it back into storage, etc. Sort of like having a treadmill handy that you don’t use all the time…pretty soon it’s extra closet space!

I found my sewing machine!

Next, I had to make sure it was ready to go, so I found the tools and took it apart to clean out any fuzz I had left behind.

Looks pretty good now!

Now to think about what I needed ready to start sewing. I checked that I had new needles, my name labels, Velcro and string tags. I use the tags to indicate a small or large coat. It’s hard to tell which has the large neck unless you compare one with a small. It’s just easier to label the coats.

For double layers of fleece I like to use a #16 Jeans needle.
My labels show folks how to contact me if they need a repair or want another coat. I try to offer them only through Nittany Greyhounds.
I buy Velcro wholesale on big rolls…saves money and I can get it 2″ wide.
I pin a tag on each coat.

I set aside the first day of making coats to just get them cut out.

I will make all of the coats the same color at the same time…assembly line. That way I don’t have to change the thread color in the middle of a batch.

I sew all the straps first.
Then all the neck pieces.

And then, one at a time, I’ll make the body of a coat and put it all together.

Today I managed to finish the first coat. Tomorrow I should be able to finish two more. It’s so easy to get distracted with other projects, so I’m glad my canning is out of the way. I just have to keep thinking about keeping my greyhound friends cozy this winter! Enjoy!

If you’d like to know more about how we developed the pattern for the coats, see

Please comment or email me directly at