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Hodgepodge from The Geranium Farm

Debbie Sharp Loeb, teacher by training but full-time mom to a disabled son, craftsperson, bead artist, great cook, creative homemaker & terrific spotter of cool new products for everything under the sun, presents Hodgepodge: recipes, household hints, stories about children, friends & relatives, cool stuff, music, & much more.

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Monday, April 30, 2007

Haircuts and Birds

Good morning, Debbie,

First and foremost, I want to thank you from the very bottom of my
humble heart (or the heart of my humble bottom as my neighbor used to say) for your column. I check it nearly every day for new additions. Your piece regarding the scraps of fabric in the suet holder for nesting material reminded me of something I'd not thought about in years. When my sons were young, we spent many days at my in-laws' resort. Since I usually cut the boys' hair, we would do so outdoors where the hair could fall wherever and it mattered not. My youngest had beautiful platinum blond hair and lots of it, so when I cut his hair, there were many, many little piles of it around the area. It stood out from the grass and one day while we were cutting, he was awed and delighted to see the little birds collecting his hair for their nests. It was also quite comical because they would collect said hair very methodically, picking up bit after bit of 1" long hairs which resulted in what appeared to be a lovely silver moustache
protruding from either side of their beaks. Tom's hair has darkened now that he's in his 40s, but whenever I see photos of him as a youngster, I think of those little birds nestled in nests
woven with silver hair. We love birds and love hearing of people like you who share with them.

Bless you and yours,

Karen M. Johnson

...and the following after I requested to post Karen's email:
"I'm delighted you enjoyed the hair-in-the-nest story. Today that son is a 6'4" 250# body builder and is still fascinated with the birds and beasts.
I love "Hodgepodge" and hope you'll be there to teach us, delight us, and make us laugh and cry forever."
Hugs ~ Karen Johnson

Friday, April 27, 2007

No Needle Turn Applique

This is an easy way to do applique where you don't have to do needle turn.
You need no-melt mylar from your local craft store or quilt shop.
Cut the finished size of the applique piece out of the mylar.
Cut your fabric a little larger and place it face down on a firm ironing surface. (Of course you don't have to have a small travel iron. I just find it easier.)
Spray a little spray starch into a bowl and using a paint brush and "paint" it on the edges that are to be turned.
Then iron in the edges toward the center being sure they are pulled tight to obtain the shape of your appliqued piece.
When they are all pressed into the center give it a good all over press.
You can the pop out the mylar form and use it again.
You can put you applique pieces in place with a little bit of washable glue stick in the center (not edges). You won't have to contend with your thread getting caught on pins being used to hold things in place.
This had been demonstated on "Simply Quilts" although I don't remember if it was used on this particular quilt. This quilt was on that show.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Posy Pot Quilt

This is my new quilt project from the book Patchwork Picnic
by Suzette Halferty and Nancy J. Martin
(Quilts and Recipes for Year-Round Entertaining)
I'll have to make 12 of these squares with 3 each of pink, blue, yellow and green pots.
More to come in time.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Earth 911

The mission of this website is to make everyday Earth Day. It will give you community-specific resources to improve the quality of life. By calling 1-800-CLEANUP or by using the Web site, you can access several sections of community-specific environmental information at no cost to the user or taxpayer. You simply enter your ZIP code at Web site and it will easily guide you to information about:

Recycling Centers
Green Shopping
Energy Conservation
Household Hazardous Waste
Kids / Environmental Education
And dozens of other resources
(The toll-free number will also give you this information.)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Buying The War

Perhaps of interest to you Bill Moyers Journal that "pieces together the reporting that shows how the media were complicit in shaping the "public mind" toward the war, and asks what's happened to the press' role as skeptical "watchdog" over government power."
Also discussed is the "lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, the government's claims about weapons of mass destruction and terrorist ties to Saddam Hussein that went mostly unchallenged by the media."

On your local PBS station air dates:
9:00pm Wednesday, April 25
1:30pm Saturday, April 28
3:30am Tuesday, May 01

Friday, April 20, 2007

Kids and Breakfast

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but did you why this is especially important for kids?
Kids who eat breakfast do better in school having more energy, focus, concentration, and better eye-hand coordination. They will have fewer behavioral problems and are more likely to meet their nutritional needs overall. The best bonus is they'll have an easier time staying at a healthy weight.
If you can't get them to sit down to breakfast send the kids off with a plastic zip bag filled with things like nuts, raisins, and O's cereal. Add orange slices, low-fat granola, cheese and crackers, sliced apple, sandwich cookies filled with peanut butter...or anything else reasonably healthy that you know they'll eat, whether it's a "breakfast food" or not. Even a chicken sandwich on whole wheat is fine.

You should aim for three things:

Plenty of fiber and protein - it will keep kids full and energized until lunch.
Minimal sugar - too much can send their energy soaring up, then crashing down before the morning's half over.
Some healthy fat, especially the kind called omega-3s - turns out that kids who eat more of them do better on short-term memory tests than kids who eat more saturated fat (like butter, bacon, sausage, pastries, full-fat milk and cheese).

One easy way to get good omega-3 fats into your kids: sprinkle walnuts or almonds on their cereal. You can also hard-boil a batch of omega-3-enriched eggs. So when you have a hectic morning you can give the kids and yourself an egg and some whole-wheat crackers in a plastic zipper bag and you'll all be good to go till lunch.

Don't forget oatmeal. Kids who eat oatmeal remember things better and pay more attention. Oatmeal is digested slowly, supplying the brain with a steady stream of energy.

This and more from: Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children by pediatrician Jennifer Trachtenberg

This is a summary of an article: Top 5 Reasons Breakfast Is a Must for Kids
Posted: Thursday, Mar 01, 2007, 9:19 am PST on RealAge.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Quilting a Nest?

Over a period of time I saved tiny scraps of fabric, bits of yarn, and thread from various projects for nesting material for the birds. Now I put it into a suet holder next to a bird feeder and I'm going to keep an eye out to see if the birds find it. It'd be kinda cool to see nests around the yard with bits of fabric from quilts I've made. If I can get a snapshot of a bird snatching a bit from here I'll post it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Two Locker Hook Rugs Are Now Done

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

We Mourn the Loss

Bereavement in their death to feel
Whom We have never seen—
A Vital Kinsmanship import
Our Soul and theirs—between—

For Stranger—Strangers do not mourn—
There be Immortal friends
Whom Death see first—'tis news of this
That paralyze Ourselves—

Who, vital only to Our Thought—
Such Presence bear away
In dying—'tis as if Our Souls

- Emily Dickinson

In memory of those killed at Virginia Tech.
Written so long ago, yet sadly speaks to how we feel today.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Dotti's Place - Household Hints and Tips

My friend Diane had sent along this website awhile ago and I thought you'd enjoy some of the useful information it contains.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Copy Machines and Privacy Issues

This is something I didn't know and I bet you didn't either. For the last 5 years copy machines have hard drives. What does this mean to you? Well, anything you're making copies of will be stored in the hard drive of that machine. The information remains stored there unencrypted unless the machine has such a feature. So what happens to your stored info when that machine is replaced or sold off?
Newer machines are promoting an encrypting feature and some recent ones have a "virtually shred" so nothing can be recovered.
This is something to think about the next time you make a copy of something, like your tax returns.

To read more:


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cute Times Three

Here's some pictures of those sweet little triplet boys with the quilts I made them.
To see the original posting of the quilts go to:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Living to 100

"The Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator uses the most current and carefully researched medical and scientific data in order to estimate how old you will live to be. The calculator asks you 40 quick questions related to your health and family history, and takes about 10 minutes to complete.
Most people score in their late eighties... how about you?"

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Barbara's Easter Bunny Cake

and the directions for last year's Bunny Cake go to:

Monday, April 09, 2007

I'm Back...

We were away for the week in Florida.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Hedgehog Thanks You . . .

. . . and I thank you as Hodgepodge celebrates a second birthday.
I couldn't have done it without you,
my wonderful readers, contributors, and the whole Geranium Farm family.
I wrap my arms around you and give you one big collective hug!

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