When I sat down to write the quilt guild’s meeting recap for June, I had all kinds of bells and whistles proclaiming loudly that QuiltCon (our biggest gathering) registration is just around the corner.  That was before.

That was before people lost their lives in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  That was before a gunman became a soundbite for political candidates or the issues of gun control came to the forefront once again.  I don’t want to talk about that.  I want to talk about love and goodness.  I want to talk about reaching out to a city reeling and letting them know that we are there for them.

When quilters create, they channel love, pride, hope and protection into every stitch.  We endow our work with all of the emotions that we have for the recipients, hoping that the fragile cotton will magically provide shelter from every danger.  Our hands cannot always be there to stroke the hair of a crying child, or embrace a sick friend – so we give of ourselves, our creativity and our blessings imbuing the threads of our quilts.  Orlando needs us.  They need an arm around their shoulders.  They need that touch that says, I am here.  They need to know that we condemn the actions that led to so much loss.  They need to hear that love wins.  My quilt guild is currently collecting blocks to make a quilt that will be shared with a survivor, the family of a lost loved one or with one of the many first responders.  Any additional quilts will be shared with the community.

My daughter has repeatedly declined to begin quilting.  Sewing even doll clothes holds no interest for her.  When she saw me gathering the fabric and patterns for the blocks I intend to make, she silently sat.  I had no idea what she thought.  We discussed the shooting at dinner and I thought that perhaps she was mulling it over in her mind.  The second time I asked her if she wanted to sew, though, she looked directly at me and said she wanted to help.

The world is a scary place for me right now.  My children will be out and about in this crazy place and I will not always be there to protect them.  For today, I accept that this small gesture is waht I can do.  I can teach tolerance and thoughtfulness.  I can stitch together cotton hearts while I stitch together, in my daughter, some kind of awareness of her fellow man and their struggle.


If you want to contribute, please see this message from the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild.




Pantry Challenge 2016

pantry challenge 2016
Welcome to Pantry Challenge 2016!  We were so impressed by how well we did last year that we decided to see if we could break our record of 45 days without buying groceries.  I think we might have done better last year if we hadn’t been so stringent about the fresh items.  This year, on our last big trip to the store, we were more thoughtful.  We talked over where we thought we had gone wrong – or at least struggled the most. Continue reading “Pantry Challenge 2016”

Blue Apron Garlic Herb Shrimp Review

blue apron garlic herb shrimp


If you have been following along, you will know that I received my first shipment from Blue Apron last week.  Blue Apron is one of several meal kit delivery services that hope to ease the burden of deciding what to make for dinner and going to the grocery store.  I spoke a bit about why I decided to try Blue Apron out in the first of a four part series.  This post will deal specifically with the preparation and consumption of our first meal: my Blue Apron Garlic Herb Shrimp review.

Continue reading “Blue Apron Garlic Herb Shrimp Review”

Is A Meal Delivery Service Right For Me?

blue apron delivery


You can’t help but notice the helpful ads popping up on social media.  Happy couples cooking side-by-side, prepackaged meals delivered straight to your door, delicious ingredients packed especially for you… It’s mighty attractive, I admit.  As a confident cook, I acknowledged the niche of people who this might serve.  I didn’t think that I was one of them.  I absolutely LOVE grocery shopping.  In the early days, Keith and I would make a date of it.  Seriously.  I enjoy the selection, the scooping, the squeezing.  I would feel cheated if someone else did that for me.  I also have an extensive cookbook collection that I use frequently.  If I truly wanted to spice things up, I know where to look and how to find something that is new and exciting.  So, no thanks, meal delivery people!  I was fine.

Then I saw this.

Continue reading “Is A Meal Delivery Service Right For Me?”

Can You Save A Frostbitten Fern?

Here's Fern earlier this summer... Lush, green and happy.
Here’s Fern earlier this summer… Lush, green and happy.


Because I am cheap frugal, I don’t like to spend a fortune on outdoor decor for our deck.  I want to be able to see when we are out there at night, preferably without a horde of mosquitoes, and I want it to look reasonably pulled together.  I am almost 40 years old and half-assed just isn’t a style I want to have anymore.  Which begs the question, can you save a frostbitten fern? Continue reading “Can You Save A Frostbitten Fern?”

You Can Call Me Queen Bee

queen farina hive Cheralee

Somewhere in Utah, Queen Cheralee is working hard.  She is attended by hundreds of her daughters, and is busy populating the combs of an adopted Queen Farina hive.  I know, because I put her there.  When the dreamy pictures of Queen Farina’s operation popped up on my Instagram feed, all I could do was sigh.  It was just so lovely.  When Gina and Aubrey, the owners of Queen Farina, posted that you could adopt a hive and name a queen – I was smitten.  You can call me queen bee, okay?  Continue reading “You Can Call Me Queen Bee”

New additions to the flock

Duke, our Black Copper Maran rooster... He was a chick that was incorrectly identified when we bought only females.
Duke, our Black Copper Maran rooster… He was a chick that was incorrectly identified when we bought only females.

I never envisioned myself chicken mistress to a more than one breed of chickens.  I saw no reason for there to be any new additions to the flock.  Australorps, with their constant large brown egg-laying quality pretty much met my needs.  They are efficient with their feed, do well over winter, are calm (mostly) and have a beautiful green sheen to their black feathers.  Our sole broody hen, Momma, was an Australorp.  Losing her to the foxes last year was a blow.   Continue reading “New additions to the flock”

Spring Giveaway!

Tag a pic of yourself with a flamingo #springISontheway it's a spring giveaway!
Post a pic of yourself on one of our social media accounts with the tag #springISontheway! We’ll send you some samples of our product line launching later this year!


In honor of my very first photo contest entry, I am launching a spring giveaway!  Post a photo of yourself on our Facebook page, our Instagram feed or here in the blog comments of yourself with a flamingo!  No, it doesn’t have to be a REAL flamingo (but extra points if it is)… Add #springISontheway and I’ll send you a nice sample of the products we’re launching later this year.  Remember, post anywhere with the hashtag and tag me, @cheralees to make sure I see it.  That’s it!  We’ll keep it open until the first day of spring, so post before 12:01am on Friday, March 20, 2015.  That day, we’ll pick the best pic and send a gift basket of goodies!

I saw this fellow at the San Diego Zoo in November.  I was clicking away and thought he was asleep.  Lo and behold, when I uploaded the photos at home, I saw that he had peeped back at me!