Teaching Kendal to Sew

My granddaughter Kendal asked me to teach her to sew. She used my scissors to cut polar fleece and she used my serger to hem the edge. Polar fleece doesn’t fray so it doesn’t need a hem, but it was good practice for her. She is 4 in these pictures. I had her sit on my lap and guide the fabric through the machine as I ran the foot pedal and made sure we didn’t sew any little fingers. She had a lot of fun!

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Half-square Triangles

One of my favorite quilt tops is a windmill pattern using two fabric colorways. One day soon I plan to make a queen-sized quilt using white and blue. Until then, here is a tutorial on how to make Half-square Triangles and a 5″ windmill block.

Cut two 3 1/2" squares in each of two colorways.

Cut two 3 1/2″ squares in each of two colorways.

Select two coordinating fabrics and cut two 3 1/2″ squares from each. Lay them right sides together and use a ruler to mark a diagonal line. IMG_9709Sew 1/4″ on either side of the diagonal line. Cut on the diagonal line.

Trim to 3" block.

Trim to 3″ block.

Finger press the seam toward the darker color. Press with a steam iron being careful not to distort the bias edges of the block. Sew two blocks together lining up the diagonal seams with a pin.

Windmill block

Windmill block

Sew the two-block units together pinning where the points meet. Open the seam on the back side of the fabric and press to make a 5″ windmill block. Trim to 5″ square before sewing it to another 5″ block in quilt construction.

Five Reasons for Gardeners to Raise Worms

Gardeners know that if you care for the soil, you can have a great garden. It’s all about the soil. Worm compost eliminates kitchen scraps from the garbage and landfill, and puts it back into the soil. But recycling isn’t the only reason to raise worms.

Check out the guest post I made for My Personal Accent which discusses the 5 main reasons gardeners should raise worms!

5 Reasons for Gardeners to Raise Worms by Cindy Morgan

Stephen King: ‘On Writing’ A Memoir of the Craft

Fireflies and Cottonwood

This New York Times best seller will never leave my library. I’ve read it twice. I’ve dog-eared several pages that give me inspiration. I’m not a big scary book, or scary movie fan. I haven’t read a lot of Stephen King books. I have watched a few of movies based on his books, but never alone. And I usually come away with less finger nails than I had going into it.  That said… this book and the way King talks about the process of writing and where to find inspiration appeals to me. His rule: “Write a lot and read a lot.”

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Prairie Points

I’m going to show you how to make some pretty cool Prairie Points. Chose two coordinating fabrics and cut them each 3 1/2″ square.

Two pieces of fabric cut 3 1/2" square.

Two pieces of fabric cut 3 1/2″ square.

Lay one on top of the other with right sides facing. Sew 1/4″ seams all the way around. Use a ruler to draw a line and cut with scissors or use a rotary cutter to cut across the diagonal.

Cut on the diagonal.

Cut on the diagonal.

Turn the triangle right-side out being careful not to distort the bias edges of the triangle. Use something with a pointy edge to turn the point. Press.

Prairie Points

Prairie Points

You could make a bunch of Prairie Points to put around the edge of a baby quilt, or as a decorative edge on an apron pocket or bag.

…On Slugs

Slugs are gross little slimy produce-eating critters. They’re active when the air is cool and damp and seek shelter in the shade when the temperature rises. I squeal when I accidentally touch them. It’s difficult to get their slime off my fingers. Yuk! I know people who will step on them, or skewer them, or drown them in beer. I can’t do that. But, I have found that an empty dish soap bottle with one cup sudsy ammonia – filled up the rest of the way with water, squirted on the little buggers melts them down quickly. Grandma used salt on slugs. The salt, left in the slime trail on the plant leaves, caused desiccation. Sudsy ammonia is nitrogen. It won’t hurt the plant the slug is crawling on.  Try it on your slugs.  It works for me.

Japanese Maples

Angela at My Personal Accent interviewed me about Japanese Maples recently. I grew maples in my nursery for 23 years and have about 50 varieties planted around my yard. It was fun to answer her questions. She even jazzed up some pictures of my favorites for your viewing pleasure. So head on over to the link I’ve provided and take a look. 

Here’s a sample of what was posted:

Angela: How should I care for a Japanese Maple?

Cindy: Japanese Maple varieties can be weeping or upright in growth habit. The leaves can be palmate – much like the native Big Leaf maple in shape but smaller in scale, or the leaves can be dissected and thread-like. Some varieties are green, some mottled in green, white and pink, and others are shades of red or orange.

  • Plant Japanese Maples in a well-drained area. Slow draining and puddling around the tree can promote root rot. Take the tree out of the pot and place into the planting hole. Don’t disturb the root ball. Cover with soil and water well to get all the air bubbles out of the planting hole.
  • Water the new planting with B1 or fish fertilizer (which has B1 in it) to promote root growth and ease transplant shock. Water the rootball only. If you have an irrigation system, water the tree in the early morning about 3 a.m. so it has time to dry the leaves off before the sun hits them. Watering the leaves mid-afternoon, during a hot summer day, will defoliate and kill the plant. Water deeply, at least once a week, during the summer for the first growing season.
  • Japanese Maples grow in zones 5 through 8 in sun to partial shade. They like a ph of 4 to 6.5 (acid to garden loam). Japanese Maples also do well in containers on a deck or patio.

Seiryu Japanese Maple