I Am My Father's Daughter

My mother stayed with me this past week. We reminisced a bit and it truly brought home how much I am my father's daughter.
Dad with his faithful companion, Ben
and the wonderfully sweet citrus he could grow.
Although I grew up on a city subdivision lot with only a lawn and a couple of maple trees, dad bought the property next door soon after I left home so that he could finally have the orchard, garden and workshop he always dreamed of.

My garden in Oregon. I plant flowers in and around my veggies.
Many times dad told me that he would move to my area of Oregon in a heartbeat, where mild temperatures make working outside a joy and soft showers fall on fertile soil. Gardening, and life as a whole, is sweet here.

"Knee high by 4th of July"
Actually, our corn will surpass that this year!
Mom, however, had her parents and my sisters surrounding her and would not budge. Dad didn't complain, but instead made a Garden of Eden out of hot, dry, miserable clay and rock. Fruit trees of every type next to a vegetable garden that wouldn't quit supplied my parents, the neighborhood and my sisters with as much produce as they wanted.
One of my 7 cherry trees. We just pitted and froze 6 quarts
of pie cherries. These are left on the tree; not sure if I'll
have time to use them, so the birds will have a feast!
Dad worked hard from sunup to sundown to keep his little lot fruitful and lush. He even planted beautiful flowers for mom to enjoy, with copious watering, sprays and fertilizer to keep them growing on their bedrock.
I picked an armload of lavender for mom to take home.
She tried to grow lavender but it wouldn't bloom.
Lavender hanging in my sun room.
Dad enjoyed flowers, too. He especially liked fuchsias, which, as hard as he tried every year, would wither in their 100 plus degree heat. That is probably the time of year he would pack up and come for a visit.
Lush fuchsia baskets hang off my front and back porches.
Nobody else in my family gardens. Mom moved to a smaller home in that same town after dad died and promptly hired a gardener. The latest news was that even the geraniums on the hot deck couldn't survive due to a weird wasp that burrowed in them. It amazes me that dad was able to grow such beautiful flowers and fruit. He truely loved tending to his orchard and gardens.

My dad showing me how he stakes his tomatoes.
My other sisters enjoy visiting gardens, but admit they like living in the city and are not interested in gardening themselves. 

12 heirloom tomato plants, 2 cherry tomato plants and
10 sauce tomato plants in my garden. That's a lot of
tomatoes for just 2 people! Dad would understand.
Sigh. I miss my dad. We had so many things in common. While my siblings and mom are happily metro, my dad and I loved the countryside. I reflect my earthly father in many ways, but since I'm tending to flowers and the garden right now it is comparing notes on what strain of apples is doing well or what type of tomatoes we planted this year that I miss at the moment. 
I've been told my eyes look like dad's. I like that, since that is the window to the soul.

Rose and lavender bouquets spread joy and sweet scent
to each room of our home.
I wonder: when people look at me, do they see my heavenly father in my eyes, too? Do I reflect the attributes of God in my life as I do my dad? I will continue to strive for that.

"Summer Preserves" fabric just in time!

Just in time for making cute jar toppers for your homemade jams!
Strawberry preserves made fresh from our garden.
My strawberry fabric was cut into a square and
tied onto the jar with 6-strand embroidery floss.
My new fabric collection called "Summer Preserves" is delicious. The fruit and colors will brighten your pantry and update your kitchen for the summer into fall.
Quilted table runner
Here are some very simple projects that make great little gifts, or sew them as a cheerful gift to give yourself! 
Apron made from pre-printed panel.
Reversible/lined with green gingham
This blog will show you the steps to sew a reversible potholder that can be made in one short evening.
Potholder with matching tea towel
All of the fabrics used are from the "Summer Preserves" fabric collection which I designed, sold under the name Nancy's Cupboard and manufactured by South Seas. It's sold in most independent quilt fabric shops.

Or, you can order yardage online...click here to link for Fabric.com. You can also purchase fat quarters from Amazon.com.
Potholder with matching tea towel
To make a potholder:

layers to make potholder

Materials required and layers to sew are...
1) 8" square fabric for back, placed good side down
2) 8" square lightweight batting (I use needled cotton)
3) 8" square Insul-Bright*
4) 8" square lightweight batting
5) 8" square fabric for top, good side up
1 package double fold bias tape (or make your own to edge the hot pad)
* Insul-bright is sold as yardage in fabric shops and is a metallicized type of batting that reflects heat. It can be sewn and quilted. Do not place anything sewn with it in a microwave.

Quilt or sew all layers together
I made an 8" quilt square for the top of my potholders. It's a great way to try out a new-to-you quilt square and learn quilting and piecing. I quilted all layers. This is such a good project to learn quilting stitches and patterns on even a small home machine. (You can purchase a quilting foot for most machines for freehand quilting such as stippling.)
Trim your quilted piece to make it square. Then enclose the raw edges inside the folded bias tape and sew all around the edges for a finished product. Add a loop in a corner with the tape. I made my own binding out of coordinating fabric, the same as binding a quilt.
VOILA! Next blog, I hope to have a cute embroidery pattern for the matching tea towel. For now, I better check out the blueberry patch for the next batch of preserves.