Secret Sewing, Garden and More

It seems like it has been a while since I could share with you what I am working on in the sewing room. But, alas, everything I am currently doing is a secret. And it is multiple projects, LOL!! First, I am making progress on Pachanga, but I can’t show you that yet. Second, there is a super secret project that is in the works. Then, I finished a special tutorial project for Hands2Help, but that will be on Sarah’s blog in May. I’ll be starting on another project this week that will be for Fat Quarter Shop’s Jolly Jabber blog in June, but naturally I cannot share that yet either. The one thing I can show you is the completed project of my embroidered wall hanging. The pattern and instructions will be on the MadamSew blog soon. I had two articles published at MadamSew in March. I write for them on a freelance basis from time to time and I am one of their affiliates. See my recent articles on Planning Borders, and on Thrifty Quilting, and check out their great deals in their store while you are there, like this deal on rotary cutter blades and see their Best Sellers too.

This week I got a new cookbook from Milk Street called Tuesday Nights Mediterranean due to be released next week. Part of the fun of being on their blogger list for publicity is I get freebies from time to time, and advance copies of cookbooks. This one has so much I wanted to try right off the bat, I had a dozen little orange stickies on pages with just the first look through!

I had some pork chops, and decided to try something out of my normal flavor choices with an Italian Sweet and Sour Pork. Looking at the ingredient list, I had everything needed in the pantry. The chops are pan seared, then kept warm while a quick sauce is made with shallots (or onion), vinegar, honey and butter.

The book is divided into chapters of fast, faster and fastest, with this recipe stating a time of 40 minutes from start to table. And it actually took less time than that. It lived up to its name of sweet and sour, with the honey providing the sweet, and the vinegar providing the sharper sour. The only thing I didn’t have was fresh parsley, my plants are too little yet to snip from them. So I used a bit of dried parsley for color. If you like the sharper sour taste of pickled foods, you’d probably like these. For us, next time I’ll substitute bourbon for the vinegar to get a deep smoky flavor a bit less sour. The next recipe I plan to try a shrimp and spinach risotto dish that looked scrumptious.

Earlier in the week, I got a couple of cards stamped to send for Easter. On one, I stamped the hummingbird and used color pencils to add more color to the image. On the other, a bit of recycled florals are stamped with a spring sentiment.

In the garden, I deadheaded the hydrangea, and it is leafing out nicely. I am hoping for some really nice blooms this year. I put more lime on it as well, trying to push the color toward lavendar and pink.

The redbud is beginning to bud, it should be beautiful in another week or so.

Once again this year, it appears the peach tree is blooming and promises some clingstone fruit. Now, once again, we will see if I get the peaches or the bear does. He wins most years.

This big boy has been visiting regularly, with an ear splitting gobble trying to get the attention of the ladies.

But I think he is out of luck, as this little flock of females already has one male with it. I hope I get to see the little ones this year. They have come by several days for bits of whole grain bread.

On the bird feeder, a new visitor came. This is a cowbird. I don’t remember ever seeing one before. They are called brood parasites, as they do not make nests of their own. Instead they lay eggs in other birds nests and leave the young for someone else to care for. They often take the place of the host birds eggs, pushing the others out of the nest to make room. Plus the young ones hatch quicker and grow faster, pushing the songbird’s eggs or hatchlings out of the nest. I just hope it doesn’t stay around as we have so many pretty songbirds, and I don’t want those to suffer.

I had a lovely day out earlier this week, meeting some friends for a meal outside at Champa in Hendersonville which rescued a awful start. I’d been able to have my hair cut that morning, and for only the second time in my life, I got a horrible cut. The back looked like I had hacked it off myself and the sides were not the same length. It was so bad that another stylist in the salon had to do her best to even it up, and of course in the process cut it way too short for the style. Ugh!!! Oh well, it will grow, but that takes time. In the meantime, I may wear hats more often. Only the fact that I was seeing friends and having sushi kept the day from being a total loss. My little pod of vaccinated friends made me smile, and we all got a much needed hug with a two hour lunch and chat. Downtown, the planters were full of tulips and pansies, so pretty and for a time I forgot about my hair.

Large brick planters are in each block in the downtown area, all full of tulips in pink, purple and white. Yellow pansies provide more color.

Oliver continues to stop by for tidbits, sometimes showing up on the windowsill to get our attention. I really wish he’d stay off the veranda, but it is difficult to resist that cute face when he sits up, folds his paws, and looks so hopeful. I know, I am such a soft touch.

We have a really fun outing planned for Saturday, then ham on Sunday.

What are you doing this week? Any fun plans for the weekend?

Fat Quarter Shop’s monthly specials new for April include 20% Off Laundry Basket solids the Basic of the Month, plus 30% Off Mettler Threads the Notion of the Month, plus specials on the Book of the Month and Precuts of the Week.  The Daily Flash Sale has something new at clearance pricing every day.

There is a 25% off sale at Impression Obsession for stamps and dies in their April curated category Graduation.

25 thoughts on “Secret Sewing, Garden and More

  1. I enjoy your blog, always look forward to the read although I seldom comment. We have similar interests and I have purchased several items due to your influence. Sorry you had a bad haircut. I would suggest a regular stylist to go to every two months that you like and stick. My stylist has become a considered friend over the years and we look forward to our visits. I hope you and your husband have a blessed Spring week-end. We are cold in East Tennessee but the sun will be shining!

  2. lynn bourgeois

    Good morning Carole, You are busy and productive. I can feel the energy in your words. Seeing all the green growth and the beautiful flowers in bloom, encourages me that soon we will enjoy the same. My husband took his power car to the golf course yesterday, ready for when the opening happens,( probably the end of April), but hope springs eternal in the hearts of avid golfers. A neighbour says he hears the peepers, but I have not yet, hopefully soon. Happy Easter .

  3. Linda Dupler

    Glad you could get together with friends. On Saturday the 3rd my husband and I will be celebrating out 50th wedding anniversary. My daughter had a little get together with my sisters at a local eating place. First time I will see my one sister since last May and my other sister since the beginning of Dec. All of us had out shots.

  4. Rhonda

    Your wall hanging is gorgeous! I used to do hand embroidery many years ago, I remember working with my grandmother as a child. She did beautiful work.

    I’m going to try to get some sewing in this weekend, I am working on a brightly colored 2″ block quilt and going to add 2″ sashing between 8″ blocks.

    We’ve been working on our front lawn all week, an hour or two every day after work. It’s now ready to seed. We lost a tree because of the derecho last year. When they came to remove it they rutted the lawn with their equipment and then tried to tell us in would bounce back in the spring. I’ll keep further comment to myself 🙂

    I also tried a new pork chop recipe this week, garlic ginger glazed – it was delicious. I enjoy looking through the Milk Street magazines that you sent to me but I must confess I have not tried any recipes yet. I need to do that, so many look so good!

    We are inundated with a large flock of starlings. They are aggressive little pigs. I was told to take the feeders down for a few days and they will move on. That’s really hard but I’ll be putting the feeders back up tomorrow and see what happens. I’ve continued to put peanuts out for the crows, chipmunks, and squirrels and I left finch socks hanging in the tree out back. I have not seen many of the starlings hanging around.

    I planted tulips and daffodils last fall and it’s exciting to see them emerging. I also put in a few more peony bushes so I have a larger variety of blossoms and I’m very excited, though I don’t expect them to bloom much (if at all) this first year. I’ve potted up a couple dahlias that stored over winter and I have transplanted almost all of my seedlings into 4″ pots. I won’t plant until mid-May here and I’ll be sharing with friends and family. Tomatoes, peppers and lots of flowers. I love this time of year!

  5. Connie Wolfe

    The wall hanging is very cute. I think that it will bring a smile each time you pass it as well as some satisfaction that the dip into using your embroidery machine was a success. My “street legal” day is Tax Day after having the second vaccination this week. So, Easter dinner is just for two. Ham, potato salad from the Instant Pot and a broccoli casserole are planned but I don’t know what dessert I will prepare for the two of us. Happy Easter to you and your Sweet Baboo.

  6. It’s nice to get out again, isn’t it! I love seeing your garden. It shows me what mine will be doing in about a week. This week I got my 2nd Moderna shot & ran some errands. I’m keeping up with my 5 weekly/monthly projects, including Scrap Dance, Pachanga. I can’t wait for the next clue! Today I’m donating blood at the American Red Cross-a Power Red Donation which helps twice as many as a regular donation. There is an urgent need for blood. It doesn’t hurt & they give you juice & cookies when you are finished. I think I’ll make your squash casserole to go with our ham this weekend. Happy Easter!

  7. Happy Easter, Carole! Your wall hanging turned out beautifully—a real mood-booster for this spring of hope. And what is it about a woman’s hair?? I see men run a comb through their hair (or shave their head) and they are off and running, while I fume and fret if things aren’t going well in front of the mirror. We are getting bolder about getting out and about, as we are just about at the 2-weeks after #2. Can’t wait to see our kids and grands pretty soon. We have always had an egg hunt in the back yard for the kids, but this year, as well as last, it will be just the two of us: ham steak, baked sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and lemon meringue pie. Holding out hope for a dining table full of family Next year!

  8. Julie

    Gosh those pork chops look tasty! It will be so nice to see the red buds bloom again, I love to see all the flowering trees usher in a new growing season. I have cowbirds too. I try not to think too harshly about them, they’re doing the best they can to raise their children. Adopting out was a good strategy when they were transient following a herd of free roaming cattle. Not so good when they’re parasitising songbirds. We have loss of habitat for the songbirds all across their summer & winter ranges & the cowbird’s versatility works in their favor. Sorry to hear of the bad haircut after waiting so long. I guess the stylist hasn’t had enough practice. I had just switched back to short hair when the shutdown hit, now I might leave it long. I enjoyed the extra insulation over winter.


    Always enjoy your post. This one full of interest and beautiful pictures of the animals. The secret projects, looking forward to knowing what they are.

  10. Brenda @ Songbird Designs

    I love how your wall hanging turned out, Carole! Good to see little Oliver and the birds – big and small! Have a happy Easter! We are going to church with the kids and I may go with them to my SILs family for lunch, not sure yet. Unfortunately Gary has to work Sunday evening, so he won’t be able to go.

  11. Rosemary B

    Lovely photos. Those turkeys are crazy. My kitties would enjoy watching them from their various viewing perches.
    Bad haircuts.
    My hair cutter LEFT ME… he retired in 2009 and moved with his sweet wife and daughters to Myrtle Beach. Lucky him, unlucky me.
    I have short hair and I was very happy for him to always give me the perfect hair cut.
    Now I have learned to cut my own hair… it does not always look good, but if it does, I have myself to thank, if it looks bad, oh well. My hair is short and I cut it in a pixie cut. It is not easy.
    The crazy thing? over the past 12 years, people, strangers, have come up to me and said they love my hair cut😂😂😂😂😂 not kidding. I always say thank you but never tell them I cut it bc it is just really too bizarre to cut your own hair. Anyway, it works, until I can’t do it anymore and then I will have to endure bad haircuts.
    🍒🔻💛🌸🌷🌷🌷 Happy Friday I am getting my covid #2 today

    1. Linda B

      Good for you…my husband has cut my hair for 20 years. He just cuts the back straight, and I trim up the sides and bangs. And I cut his. Actually, he does a better job on my hair than I do on his! (:))

  12. Patricia Evans

    Sorry about the bad hair cut. But in the scheme of things, not something to get your feathers too ruffled about. It will grow out. I don’t really have a hair style, just keep it shoulder length, but the bags do need trimming regularly. Not sure what I will make for Easter dinner. With just the two of us, I don’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking. We had snow here yesterday that flattened the poor daffodils. I did cut a nice bouquet for inside before the snow arrived.
    Happy Easter.

  13. Happy Easter Carole. It is fun to catch up and see what you are working on as you are able to show it. The wall hanging is lovely. The bird house and flowers seem like you and your life on the mountainside, feeding the birds and tending the gardens. My goodness the color in that female turkey is amazing. You have Oliver trained to visit you! Looking forward to our little trip to Littleton NC this weekend and hoping to see some of those signs of spring that you have.

  14. Oh, lucky you to be on Milk Street’s blogger list. I was so tempted to get that cookbook, but my cookbooks are overflowing the shelf, so I resisted. I’m sorry about the haircut, but thankfully our hair grows out. 🙂 Such pretty flowers, and your wildlife is always fun to see!

  15. Joan Sheppard

    Thanks for all the tips – you are so productive! Love the Milk Street books. Beautiful wall hanging and so glad to see all the “pets”. Our garden is “thinking” about blooming, no buds but the tulips are green, the hibiscus is “fuzzy” trying to make buds, In zone 5 I’m just glad not to have snow!
    Thanks, j

  16. Jean McKinstry

    I cut my own hair for years, when I was a lot younger, yours will grow, and a hat will cover the back. The lady needs to retire gracefully!!! Love your garden tales, and an outing, what a delight that would have been.

  17. Oh dear, so sorry to read about your awful haircut, guess you wont be going back to that salon again. Meeting friends must have made you a little happier. I loved seeing your Turkey photos, do they do any damage to the garden? And that lovely little squirrel, so cute.

  18. Mary

    You must feel like you’ve been let out of prison! Going for a haircut, good or bad, having lunch with friends – you’ve been dreaming of that for a year. And being able to step along the street to see all the lovely tulips and pansies while you walk. What freedom!!
    Still haven’t had my shots yet but we have been enjoying much more freedom here to be able to mix and mingle fairly easily.
    Enjoy your Easter fun! :))

  19. Madame Sew really does have some good deals! Love seeing all of the flowers and trees already blooming! We are planting our potatoes tomorrow, and I have several flats of seedlings now. The jalapeños are not behaving, but everything is looking pretty good. I even have some flowers started, and today discovered that I have 3 hyacinths emerging, as well as the min8 daffodils…very exciting! I hung the laundry on my new clothes line today, and finished a dress!

  20. Rita C.

    Ugh, nothing worse than a bad haircut. I used to lament that with short hair, I’d get a good cut only about every 3rd or 4th visit. Last June I got the worst haircut after the initial COVID period of not going at all. It made me just want to grow my hair out, and that’s what I’ve done. It’s taken almost a whole year. So glad you could let it go by the sheer joy of reuniting with friends. Happy Easter, Carole.

  21. Rosalind Martz

    Your cards are beautiful.
    We have about 3 toms strutting their stuff around a large group of hens. Last count there were 30 of them. Those toms have great looking tails when fanned out.
    Hope you have a happy Easter tomorrow.

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