Seed Catalog Frenzy

Seed catalogs start filling my mailbox shortly after Christmas. I've learned to order from them early to get the best selection. Pen and paper in hand, I have hopes and dreams of perfectly planted garden beds and a pantry filled with fragrant fruits and veggies as I make out my order on frozen January evenings.

Here are links to some of my favorites along with a little seed catalog trivia...

Did you know that seed catalogs are the most widely-read garden books in the world?

Seed Savers Exchange

The first mail order seed catalog was introduced in 1834.

Territorial Seed Company

Seed companies that have been operating for a century or more include Ferry Morris Seeds (1856), Park Seeds (1868), and W. Atlee Burpee Seeds (1876).

Burpee Seeds


Swan Island Dahlias

Breck's Bulbs

It was the advent of the postal service, mail order houses, and their reasonably priced seeds, made it possible for more people to plant flowers. Prior to that time only the wealthy could afford cut flowers in their homes.

Multiple Catalogs...One-stop Shopping!

Sweet Garden Dreams!

January Party

What do you get a mother, sister or friend that has just about everything and doesn't want another dust collector? A bit of time and a taste of spring in winter!

As a dark and cold month, it is nice to have a colorful, spring-like tea party in January. A friend is having a benchmark birthday this Saturday, crossing over from one decade to another. What better reason to have an indoor "spring" tea?

You Are Invited...

Bring Spring Indoors

Every age likes to make a wish and blow out the candles.

It's All in the Details
Tea Cookies for Party Favors
The Party Favor Box
A Pleasant Birthday Gift

Don't forget to tell everyone to dress for tea!

Under the Cloche

Cloches involve two things I love; glass and gardening. (I'm an amateur stained glass crafter) I love to decorate with cloches all year.

Other than starting seedlings in the spring and placing Christmas ornaments in them at the holidays, here are a few other cute uses...

Sunday Brunch with Friends
(notice the cute birds on top of the cloches)

Cake Under Glass

Moss Garden

Sewing Treasures

Winter White

Favorite Garden Items

Sometimes cloches can be hard to find, especially unusual shapes or ones with fancy tops. I find most of mine at a small nursery/gift shop nearby and sometimes find them at spring bazaars. Here is a link to one of my favorite places to order cloches and bell jars:

Quilting Through 2011

Quilting has become popular this past decade. From art quilts with hand painted fabrics to new spins on old fashion quilt blocks of pioneer days, it is a fun and creative outlet. I plan to have various quilt patterns on this blog throughout the year. Most will be simple and can be made in a day.

To start off, I wanted to show you a project by SSI that I think is darling. SSI (South Sea Imports, a division of MMFab) offers an array of updated quilting fabrics. I'm partial to their fabric for three reasons; it is very high quality 100% cotton that I have used for many years in various sewing projects, they include great patterns and ideas to use with their fabric and, I just signed a contract as one of their new fabric designers!

A lot of SSI fabric collections come with free projects; from full sized quilts to aprons with matching potholders.

This project will be perfect to make for my new grand niece born only a few weeks ago. 
Baby Quilt

Wall Hanging

The Fabric
There are also matching pillows for this fabric. This is the link to complete patterns and directions.
You can purchase their fabric at most quilt shops and large fabric/craft stores.

Winter Light

Sad to put away the sparkling lights that cheered the house during December? This year I just couldn't pack my little clear rice lights away with the rest of the holiday decor. Instead, I tucked them among bushes, in dark cupboards and around pinecones in a bowl on the drysink. On timers, they turn on at dusk to greet me after work and then turn off automatically at a set time so that I don't have to remember to turn out the lights at bedtime. I highly recommend this to anyone that lives alone or has the task of lighting and warming the house before anyone else comes home.

Fill bottles or jars to brighten a dark kitchen corner

Pre-lighted twigs add icey sparkle to winter arrangements

Twigs purchased with lights on them

Battery operated, timed hurricane lantern that flickers like a candle
The latest battery operated candles look real when the light is dim. I use candles that have built-in timers; they turn themselves on the same time each day, then turn off after a set number of hours. These are great on bookshelves and on a bathroom vanity.

Battery operated candle with very tiny icey beads that catch the light.
Electric Candle Warmer
The latest candle warmers will start melting fragrant candles from the top while emitting a soft light. The fragrance starts almost immediately, and it is safer than lighting candles. However, the bulb can get hot and, like any appliance or hot wax item, they should not be used without supervision.

Here's to you and keeping the new year warm and inviting for your friends and family!