The Farmer’s Daughter Debut Event

It seems each month passes by with greater speed. We have lots on our plate this year and we are prepping for the debut event of The Farmer’s Daughter. I was asked to vend wool at a local quilt show. We will be attending the Peninsula Piecemakers Quilt Guild Show in Poquoson, VA, April 7 and 8, 2018. I have been busy, busy, busy dying wool and have nearly 70 yards ready to go. Yes, that’s likely overkill but it’s a beginning. Then I will be adding an Etsy store to sell my wool. It will be listed under FarmersDaughterWool. And so it begins.

Last week I participated in a lovely workshop with Tricia Travis from Texas. She is well known for her rugs of antique postcards. I thought she would be perfect to help me begin The Farmer’s Daughter rug. The design is from a vintage trading card which I happened to find on After 3 days the farmer’s daughter is hooked, although she is consulting with a plastic surgeon to fix the nose a bit. Now on to the rest of the rug….I’m thinking this will be a long term project.

And to make life even a little more interesting we are doing a total kitchen remodel… appliances, cabinets, counters, removing a wall and a window. Yes, it will be a mess for some time but the end result will be worth it…hopefully. I’ll post photos as we go along. We have been thinking about this project for several years so we should have it the way we want it.

Then the icing on the cake is our lovely daughter Dana has been accepted to Virginia Tech for a master’s program in clinical mental health counseling. We are so proud of this girl. She will be start her classes the beginning of July so that means along with planning her undergraduate graduation events we have another U-Haul in our future! Seriously, we need a frequent mover punch card!

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Closing 2017, Opening 2018

It’s hard too believe yet another year has passed us by.  Today is Charlie’s first day back to work and I have begun the Christmas decor tear down….always a chore.  Christmas was grand with both our daughters home this year.  Dana volunteered to work on Christmas Day so we opened gifts on Christmas Eve.  No one protested this change from our Christmas morning gift opening.

Gifting 3 quilts this year made my sweatshop on the 3rd floor a swirl of activity.  I was so happy to put the final stitches in the third quilt on Dec. 23!


“Antietam” Made for Billy Lyon


“Eagles” Made for Kristen and Rich


“Let’s Go Caps” Made for Charlie

All of the quilts were longarmed on my Gammill Vision 18.  I have stitched about 10 quilts on my Vision and getting more comfortable and confident on each one.

My word for 2017 was Create and I feel good about the things I created and completed this year.  10 quilts, 6 pinkeep/cushions, 4 wool applique mats, 3 hooked mats/rugs, 15 books read, a healthier lifestyle averaging 138 min/ week of exercise and limiting the white in my diet – yep, white potatoes, pasta, rice, bread.  It’s a good start but only scratches the surface of items on my “to do” list.

I struggle with finding a good word or theme for 2018.  I could easily repeat the theme, finish what you started.  (Charlie loves that one!) But I think this year I should use “conquer.”  At first I didn’t like that word thinking it referred to overcoming by force.  Then I thought of the word conquer in terms of taking control.  There is much I’d like to conquer… my fear of failure in starting a small home business;  technology and computers; clutter – be it papers on the counters and desks, piles of recipes to try, digital photos, photos for scrapbooks, closets to be cleaned, possessions of my own or those passed down to me, scattered thoughts in my mind, unfinished creative projects; 15 extra pounds of weight.  Yep…I think conquer is my 2018 word.

Conquer – overcome and take control of (a place or people)

  • sucessfully overcome (a problem or weakness)
  • climb successfully
  • gain the love, admiration, or respect of (a person or group of people)
  • vanquish, defeat, subdue, reduce, overcome by force or strategy

I have some big 2018 goals…big, at least to me.  On the top of the list is getting “The Farmer’s Daughter” up and running.  I have been toying around for the past few years starting a small home business.  In the next month or so I will be launching an Etsy shop with hand dyed wool for rughooking and wool applique.  Some friends, as well as Charlie, have been encouraging me to do this for some time.  This past year I found myself with “extra” time on my hands…if that is possible.  Usually that was when Charlie was on a business trip and I was home alone.  Most of the time I would spend the day cooking in the dye pots.  It’s cooking recipes with zero caloric outcome. My business expectations are low (refer to my fear of failure) but it would be nice if I could fund some of my travel expenses to quilting/ rug hooking retreats, classes, and camps.  My version of a Go Fund Me page.  And as my confidence grows on longarm quilting I will start quilting for others…this, too, is a scary thought I need to conquer.

We are also taking the plunge and doing a total kitchen remodel in our house.  It should begin sooner rather than later.  This is a project we have discussed for a while and this year we are doing it.  I will be conquering a lot in this process…fear of making bad decisions (choices of counters, spending too much money), clutter…OMG my kitchen clutter, this is my chance to take control!  Chef Jekyll and Sous-chef Rhonda, our good friends who visited and cooked in my kitchen last year, made me keenly aware that there is too much “stuff” (they may have used a different word) in my kitchen.  How many knives, kitchen gagdets, mixing bowls, sets of dishes do you really need?  Things will be boxed up and labeled with Dana’s name so she can begin her adult life with my extra “stuff.”

And as in all the previous years, I need to conquer my laziness at blogging as well as getting the word out about The Farmer’s Daughter.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

“Believe in Yourself, Push your Limits, Experience Life, Conquer your Goals and Be Happy.” Oh..and Let’s Go Caps!



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Quilts for Akhil and Cyrus

We have family that live on the west coast and unfortunately we don’t see them often.  We were however lucky enough that Bob and Nadia came to Washington DC a few years ago to work for a short period of time.  During that time Nadia was pregnant with twins and became high risk during her last trimester.  Akhil and Cyrus made their appearance a little ahead of schedule and celebrated their 4th birthday last month.  The family has returned to the sunny state of California but they are always thoughtful enough to invite us to the boys birthday party each year.  We haven’t traveled there yet but I did send them these quilts as gifts.


I used Kaffe Fasset striped fabrics and different quilt patterns for these bright and happy quilts plus I sent them my very favorite children’s book, “The Quiltmaker’s Gift” by Jeff Brumbeau.  I hope the boys have many years of enjoyment with these quilts…hugs from their family in Virginia.

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Reading in 2017

Here's a quick list of books I have read (or listened to) so far in 2017. I have subscribed to for a number of years. I like listening while hooking, sewing , driving, cooking, cleaning, walking….that old one stone, two birds thing.

"The Awakening" by Kate Chopin
"Rabbit, Run" by John Updike
"The Art of the Deal" by Donald Trump
"On The Road" by Jack Kerouac
"Lilac Girls" by Martha Hall Kelly
"Truly Madly Guilty" by Lianne Morarity
"Born a Crime" by Trevor Noah
"The Last Original Wife" by Dorothea Benton Franks
"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Steven Covey
"All Summer Long" by Dorothea Benton Frank
"Hillbilly Elegy" by J.D. Vance
"My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry" by Frederik Backman

My goal has been to complete a book a month and here are 12 so far this year with several months to go! It's nice to meet at least one of my yearly goals.

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Spring and Summer Recap

Many months have passed and it's taken me being stuck on a long airplane flight to update my blog. Why won't I make the time to do this? Then when I do, it's a monumental task. And now I'm trying to do this while flying the friendly skies with Charlie. It's a mini vacation to a reunion of the 17th Tactical Fighter Squadron. The "Hooter" Rejoin (patch was a snowy owl) is in Colorado Springs….new territory for me. I'm excited to see my first Air Force family – most whom I have not seen in 30 years.

Projects I've completed over the past months….

Strawberry pincushion, pattern by Cardiff Farms

Hooked Bee skep, pattern by Be Kreative (on etsy)

Pineapple Wool Mat by Cardiff Farm

Magic of Christmas – This is the quilt top that I completed following Lisa Bongean's blog. I understand she is putting these patterns together into a book. Her quilt shop is Primitive Gatherings. The setting I used has a wide border and I am planning to appliqué a red vine with holly leaves and berries…so not technically a completion. 25 6 inch blocks and some of them tried my patience. Lisa advises starching fabrics before cutting the pieces and I'm a believer!

Emily's Sampler Rug – to welcome the newest member of the Martin family.

Crazy Basket Mat and Crazy Pineapple Mat by Buttermilk Basin

Basketcase Quilt – I started this quilt early this year to commemorate the retirement of my sister-in-law from the public school system. The pattern name is Basketcase and I thought it was a fitting title for 30 years of students.

Jeanne's Lucky Stars – very special quilt to me personally.

"A woman wishing not to be forgotten signs her name to cloth."

I recently finished this quilt that will always have a special place in my heart. Years ago my mother, Jeanne Martin (Ivy Hill Farm), passed on to me a quilt top, scrap squares of fabric, sewn by my grandmother, Pauline Shuff Brown, on her Singer treadle sewing machine. Alas, I'm not a quick thinker, but eventually I get an idea. I decided to use the scrappy squares as the quilt back and make a quilt top out of reproduction 1930's fabrics since my mother was born during that timeframe. Unfortunately I never finished the quilt before Mom passed away (refer back to the I'm not quick comment). But recently I put the final stitches on it. "Jeanne's Lucky Stars," but really I'm the lucky one with great loving memories of them.

Floral Footstool #2… and now there are two!! Stool legs for number 2 coming soon! A Cindi Gay design

Williamsburg Welcome – This is my workshop project with Norma Batastini. She comes to our hooking group every summer. I had a variety of original designs I wanted her advice on so I selected this "easy" pattern to work on….little did we know it was anything but easy. Who knew hooking apples would be so difficult? My original designs took a back seat this year but the will return next summer when Norma returns. I dyed many of the wools in this project.

That's enough to digest at one time and it's time to move on to the next flight. There's more to share but until next time or next year?

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2017 – Bullet Journal

Three months into the year!  Wow!  Time flies!  After the 2016 election I have done only the basics on the computer.  It was news television, social media, and technology overload for me.  So I sort of pulled the plug but I continued to be productive in my happy place at home.

My themes for 2017 in the “playhouse” (my sewing studio) are:

1- Finish what you started. (Work on projects in progress)

2- You have enough. (Work from your stash of fabric and wools and purchase things that allow you to complete something in the works.)

So far I have been largely successful but I do find myself straying occasionally.  I have started several monthly / weekly projects this year and only one is a completely new project with new materials.

I have returned to my old ways of organizing my schedule.  Back in our Air Force days (with 2 young daughters) I kept a Dayrunner planner.  My daughters referred to it as my brain and that was totally what it was.  Without it I was lost.  In recent years I used my icalendar on my devices.  Nice that it all syncs …phone, computer, ipad…but getting that look ahead was difficult, some events were hidden if there were multiples for the same day.  Not that I’m all that busy these days but it seems like when it rains it pours.  One week is open and the next is jam-packed.  So the middle of last year I started my own style of planner in a 99 cent composition book after reading someone else doing it on a random blog.  I started feeling back in control!  Last year I also started keeping a project journal too…tracking my quilting, sewing, hooking, wool projects…start dates, completion dates, and some occasional journal entries.  Then I read about bullet journaling.  Pretty simple and retro stuff…similar to what I did “back in the day” with everything in one place.  So I have been bullet journaling for a few months now.  So far so good.  I still use my icalendar and sync to my devices but this method allows me to combine everything in one place, calendar, project journal, exercise & task tracker, meal planner, grocery list…it’s my brain, once again!  Little did I know but there’s an entire community of “bullet journalers.”  Just goggle it.  I now have a Pinterest board for journaling.  Naturally the journal bloggers are totally over the top!!  Some of the things I see are truly works of art or so intellectual that I haven’t a clue what they are about.  Yet some things I have been able to incorporate into a usable form for this “lady of leisure.”

Here’s my brain:


It’s a tablet size Lechtturm 1917.  I ordered if from Amazon and it’s pricey enough that you don’t want to make a lot of mistakes.  You could use a plain composition book and I may indeed go back to that more budget friendly option.  This one is dotted as opposed to ruled paper and that just allows me more options for page setup.


The front of the journal has several pages of just lists…on this page my goals and themes for the year and a good foods list.  Gentle reminders to help keep my priorities straight.

I also have lists for recurring tasks, a future log (overview of major events in 2017), my 2017 book list, my 2017 completion list,  my “want to do” project list, a home to do list,  my personal medical information.  Each month also has a monthly overview followed by a set of weekly pages.


Here’s an example of this week’s page.  On the left side I have each day listed and a list of events…it’s a pretty light week…right now. I put a box with each event then color in the “bullet” when complete.  Then a list of what’s coming up next week.  The right side is my “to do” tasks, projects, notes that I use for my personal thoughts and then at the bottom a weekly tracker.  I set my tracker up for weight, blood pressure (I’m on meds with a strong family history), pulse, an apple a day to keep the doctor away (I am a farm girl!), daily apple cider vinegar (maybe grasping at straws with this one!), exercise (type and number of minutes) and I try to be creative every day.  The tracker really does keep me focused.  The last few years or so my blood labs have clearly indicated I need to control my environment.  I signed up for Cooking Light Diets, have a goal of 120-150 minutes of real sweaty exercise each week and I hopped on an apple cider vinegar kick.  Good results so far too!  Weight down by 10 pounds, cholesterol number dropped 90 points and my big focus was my triglyercides which dropped from 211 to 82!  At my last follow up doctor appt the comment was, “whatever it is you are doing, keep it up!” I must admit though that after these lab numbers came back, well, I let go a little…need to get back to the tracker!


This is my meal planner and grocery list.  I use the Cooking Light menus that are sent to me, tweak them to suit our tastes and needs and use this…a piece of heavy card stock with decorative tape and sticky notes.  I used to do all my shopping for the week at one time and have found that led to a lot of wasted food.  Our schedules seem to be constantly in flux so now shopping for 2-3 days at a time works best.  I’m also working on a “Go To Recipe” page.  These are health conscious recipes that I’ve tried and were deemed keepers to help make meal planning quick and painless.

Perhaps this is a system for someone who has too much time on her hands but it is working for both my husband and myself.  Staying organized and focused on what’s important has been good for both of us!

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Hurricane Matthew

Mother Nature with hurricane Matthew threw us a curve ball and my highly anticipated rug hooking workshop had to be cancelled. Our teacher, Cammie Bruce, was unfortunately in his path and her home was evacuated two days prior the workshop. Unfortunately we had to cancel ( but it will be rescheduled) our 3 days of rug hooking and instruction but fortunately for Cammie, her home was spared. Much of her small, quaint, resilient town was flooded and now in the long process of recovery.  
Because I have tons of projects in my queue, I picked out a Cammie Bruce design to work on…after all I had the time blocked on my calendar. So I invited the workshop group to my house and some of us hooked anyway.

“Tulips and Lollipops “. These are Cammie’s hand dyed wools too…lovely soft, vintage colors.

And here are some of my fellow “hookers” doing their work on my back porch…it was a lovely fall day!
Hockey season has started meaning there will be lots of travel on I-95 in the coming months as we watch our Washington Capitals. This is our 9th season of tickets, each year we say it’s the last…but it’s not! This means I need handwork for the car. I’m in the quilt assembly stage for My Crazy Life by Primitive Gatherings. It’s a wool appliqué on cotton flannel quilt that we started at the beginning of the summer. Each week we received 4 blocks and I’m happy to say I was able to keep up with them…the assembly now is slowing me down…lots of handwork….perfect for hockey season. I have the blocks sewn into groups of 4 and am now adding the black wool “pumpkin seeds”. 

The edges of the seeds will have a modified feather stitch as well as all the seams of the flannel background. I changed some of the blocks to truly personalize the quilt and reflect my childhood years in 4-H, raising pigs and apples on my parents farm, my years of patriotic service as a military spouse, and a beehive to represent the work I did with the BIG 22 Fighter Squadron (Stingers) spouses and 388 Fighter Wing in Utah. I think the quilt will be lovely and very different for me with so much hand work…not a typical crazy quilt but one that will definitely represent “My Crazy Life!”

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