More Pages Coming Soon!

Thursday 24 April 2014

Blogging and Sowing

My work in progress this week has been my blog! I'm trying to complete some pages including an "About Me" and photos of my quilt finishes and quilts in progress.

Nalia's Love Blanket
Including the knit blankets that our community has made for our friends who have been affected by cancer or other life threatening illness. I was involved in sewing together the first 3 and the women of our island have gone on to make at least six more! It has been a great way to send warmth and healing energy to someone who is going through a hard time.

I am writing tutorials on traditional skills (canning, making candles, brewing beer and wine at home, hide tanning) gardening (how to prepare a bed, planting tips, using mulch and cover crops) and keeping dual purpose animals like chickens, goats, and rabbits, which can be used to prepare land for planting crops and also provide fertilizer to the garden and meat for the household.

I guess that makes this more of a farm blog than a quilt blog, even though my blogroll is all quilters.

I have a passion for making quilts but I am still a beginner. Living off the grid and growing food for the last eight years, I have learned a lot along the way. There are so many beautiful quilters out there and hundreds of great tutorials, but what is much less common is good information relating to homesteading and self-sufficiency. I hope to fill the gap and maybe inspire others to grow their own, buy locally, and learn about how to survive away from corporations and processed food.

I started as a suburban teenager who ate fast food and didn't know squat about nature, armed only with an independent spirit and willingness to work hard and learn. Living off the grid means that we supply all of our own electricity, water, and heating. This is often hard work but is very satisfying and I wouldn't trade it for a high paid job in the city, no way.

Good Morning!
Gardening is also more work than grocery shopping but well worth it in food quality.


Strawberry Plants

And a nice bed, fertilized, turned to a fine tilth, and ready for some snow peas which are soaking overnight.

In the meantime I have really enjoyed meeting quilters through the online community of quilt blogs and I am continually inspired to try new things.

Thanks for teaching me how to quilt!!


  1. Love that blanket and look forward to reading more about the 'off the grid' side of your life. Would be great to get some backfill on the story if you felt like it too, how you've managed to get from that teenager you were to where you are now.

  2. I take a little bit of offense at the comment "I didn't know squat about nature". What about all those trips to Papa's mountain? The hikes, playing in the creek, catching bugs and maybe a baby rabbit (yes, we did), playing in the barn, not to mention the garden (interestingly enough, I came across that photo of the three of you standing beside the scarecrow we made just yesterday), digging in that special spot behind the barn for worms to fish with. We always planted things in the spring - if nothing else the flowers we put in the ground were abundant. We had a wild muscadine vine growing in the back yard that we picked fruit from and more than a few tomato plants. Azaleas by the dozens, daffodil bulbs, and the trees we planted - including the beautiful magnolia that you climbed so often; not to mention it's gorgeous blooms and the red seeds you kids liked to play with so much. Oh, and GrandDaddy's garden - we ate veggies out of it every time we visited (and most often brought some home too). That scar on your forehead is from a fall you took as a 2 year old on a hiking trail at Kennesaw Mountain. I took you kids on those hikes when you were probably too little to even be there out of the baby bjorn (it wasn't called a baby bjorn, but I had something just like it that predated most). When you fell, I had to hike the 1 1/2 miles back to the car, holding my shirt to your head to stop all the blood that was spewing and dragging Ty behind. If you think hard enough, I believe you will realize you knew more about nature than you thought. Now living off the grid?? That's another thing.

    1. I have deep love and appreciation of nature and gardening that I've had my whole life, in large part thanks to you, mom. What I should have said was that when I started gardening, I was starting from scratch and I didn't know what I was doing. When people asked me what kind of plants and trees grew in my homeland, I didn't know. This was purely from my own ignorance, because I hadn't thought to pay more attention. I am sorry that you felt it was directed at you in any way. In truth, even cultivated gardens are going against nature because we are putting chosen crops in place of the wild plants that belong there. And yet, my garden gets bigger every year. There is a difficult balance between civilization and the natural world and I think we struggle with that universally - especially as young people. I am so sorry that I offended you. One of my favorite memories from childhood is sneaking into the neighbors yard and picking berries - I now know that they were wild trailing blackberries! They are still my favorite.

    2. Like I posted - I took "a little bit" of offense - not enough for you to apologize for :) . You had a wide exposure to nature your entire life - gardening from seed to fruit - not so much. (Differentiation between nature and gardening noted here) I will readily admit most all of my plants were purchased from a local store. I did try to start some plants from seed, but was never very successful. I so admire all of your hard work and the knowledge you have gained in your quest to be self sufficient. To bad my Grandmother is not alive, her young life was much the same as your lifestyle (except it wasn't by choice). You come from a long long line of farmers. Papa's family were wheat farmers in Kansas for generations, in addition, all the family food was grown on the farm too. Granny spoke many a time about going outside to pick which chicken would be dinner that night. She told of wringing its neck and getting it ready to cook. GrandDaddy grew a gorgeous vegetable garden every year and much of his plants were started from heirloom seeds from his elderly family members saved year after year. I know you remember some of Papa's gardens (and his beautiful okra plants, those crazy pumpkin vines that grew forever and ever, as well as those fabulous gourds he grew (I still have one of them). It is most definitely in your genes!! All that sewing - well, I'll take full credit for that :).

    3. I believe farming is in all of our genes, except perhaps for her Royal Majesty the Queen of England?

  3. Heh, love your community's blankets, are those squares recycled from sweaters or where they knitted? Great post, keep it up, you might want to sometime read all about our chicken raising adventures.

    1. The squares are all knit or crocheted 6 inch squares and were sewn together with yarn. A few of them are decorated felt. It is amazing how the squares can all form a beautiful blanket even if no color scheme was chosen!

  4. I forgot to mention my Grandpa Jones (he died when I was 6), but most of the memories I have of him involve gardening. He had the biggest blueberry bushes ever and would sing the same little ditty every time he picked the berries which seemed to be every time I visited. He also specialized in strawberries - beaucoups! I should share stories about him more often, he seems to be mentioned so much more seldom than the other grandparents - maybe because he died so young and way before all the others. I don't have a lot of memories of him, but the ones I do are very special. I only have one picture of him.



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