Stuff in the Garden

First, an overview of the sun garden. Its a rather messy jungle this year. A lot of the petunias were volunteers, which I am enjoying a LOT. But some of the plants just look messy–either I need to move some of these plants to other locations or just delete them. Feel free to chime in with advice and/or opinions.


Next: what is this plant? I waited and waited for it to bloom. It was a nice sturdy looking plant, but took forever to bloom. I’m not sure why I bought it last year. Could it have been another color and then reverted to white this year??


Close-up of the blooms:


I love this petunia–appropriately named “Apple Blossoms.”


The squash blossoms always amaze and surprise me–so huge and beautiful in the early morning. They almost look like a daylily!


Speaking of which–look at what surprised me!


I am loving these fringed daisies! I bought two 4 inch plants last fall, and they are already pretty big bushes!


A new plant! I need to get something for it to climb on. I was told it will die at first frost. My plan, if I am so organized, is to pot it up and take it to my mom’s house in the bay area for the winter.


And, I got another of my favorites–a morning glory. Lets hope it does a little better than last year’s plant, which refused to bloom most of the summer.


What are these plants called? I like them when I see them other places. But in my garden they are messy and unruly.


Caught in the act!


“What??? I was just SNIFFING them!”


And that’s what’s happening in the garden this week. If you are a gardener, be sure to spend some time just enjoying your blooms. I find that I spend a LOT of time looking down at the dirt–does it need more water? does it need to be broken up? are there too many weeds? And then I remember to stop and look up. Ahhh. That’s what a garden is all about!

A Day to Remember, Part 2

And so it was on! The thing I worried about the most was my hands!! They would be doing close-up shots of my hands, since I would be demo-ing the embroidery that I do on my quilts. My hands are not my best feature. Add to that that I garden, and well, I’m old, and they just weren’t looking good. When I went to the beauty shop to get my hair cut, I asked what they could do to make my hands look 20 years younger. So I got scheduled for two manicures a couple of weeks before the show was scheduled. Those were my very first manicures in my life (and probably my last.) I thoroughly enjoyed them, especially the wrist massage. But man, that is a money and a time suck! And honestly, my hands just want to return to their natural state the day after the manicure.

Both Ricky and Alex gave me some little hints about what I should talk about. And about a month before the show, the producer called and we had a really long chat. She was very interested in my weight loss, so we talked a lot about that. She asked all kinds of questions about my quilting, my motivation, my dog showing days…everything. Oh, and the best thing? She used to be a producer on The Oprah Winfrey Show!! So we had that in common–I told her about how my day would end at 4pm. Time to watch Oprah!

After she called, I felt more secure about what I was going to do and say on the show. I was pretty organized about setting up a series of teaching samples. And I went through my quilts several times to choose which ones to take with me. I ended up taking fourteen of them so that they could choose the ones that they thought would be best for the show.

Besides my hands, the other thing I worried about quite a bit was being “the healthy quilter.” You know, most people think that that means the Thin quilter. Or at least that’s what I think they think : ) Anyway, it kept me accountable. I went regularly to the gym to work out, and that made me feel good about myself as I headed down to the Bay Area.

And before you knew it, the day was here. Oh, one thing I didn’t mention. The show’s headquarters are in Denver, CO. But they go on location fairly often to do shoots, and they were going to be in the Bay Area, which was one reason they asked me to be a guest at this particular time.

As it turned out, we talked briefly about my weight loss and healthy living. And then we talked about everything else in the world–quilts, travel, the spiritual connection with my quilts, and dogs. I can’t say enough good things about the producer, Shelly. She is just a very real, genuine person. She is very easy going, which keeps everything very calm on the set. But at the same time, you can tell that she knows exactly what she is doing and is very confident in that. All of which makes everyone else calm.

They did the shoot at the Alden Lane Nursery, in Livermore. It is one of my favorite nurseries, and I have been there quite a few times. It was a really fun place to be. They often have quilting events at this nursery, so it was a natural place to do this. They did my segment in a greenhouse–very cool. And they brought in a bunch of plants for atmosphere.

They filmed four segments–Show and Tell, two different teaching segments, and the “After Set.” I had told Shelly that the After Set was one of my favorite things on the show. They don’t always include it, and I don’t know if she included it on my show because I liked it. But I was really happy they did that. The after-set was when we talked about Ricky’s and my history with show dogs. We had a great story about a flood and the cocker spaniels (it really is one of the most dramatic things I’ve lived through.)

I was a very bad blogger. Even though I brought my camera, I forgot to ask someone to take pictures during the filming. So these are mostly shots I got after the whole thing was over. Sorry….

The set for the demos.

The set for the demos.

I was actually cleaning up my demo samples here.

I was actually cleaning up my demo samples here.

Alex and Ricky getting ready to film another segment.

Alex and Ricky getting ready to film another segment.

The crew out in the nursery to film another short segment.

The crew out in the nursery to film another short segment.

And then the day was over. I had already planned to stay overnight and go home the following morning. But all I could think about was that I wanted to go home and sit with my doggies. So the next morning, I woke up, looked at the clock and saw 6am, and thought, I’ll get a good start on the drive home. But after I got dressed and ready and packed, and was heading out the door, I glanced at the clock and saw that it was 5:36. Oops. Thank goodness Starbuck’s is open at that time. And this was one of the best parts of the trip– I drove straight to the gym, had a fantastic workout, and then went on home, where I sat with the dogs and watched some of my cooking shows, and thought about what I really wanted to eat. Some baked chicken, corn, and mashed cauliflower, that’s what I wanted. I guess I really am The Healthy Quilter.

I don’t know when my show will air, but it probably won’t be until sometime next year. You can become a member of The Quilt Show for free, but if you want to watch the new shows every two weeks, you have to pay an annual subscription fee. Once my show airs, they will give me a special code, and anyone who wants to can watch the show!

A Day to Remember

There is so much to write about this day that I have delayed writing this post. I don’t know how to start. Shall I start at the end and go backwards, like that famous episode of Seinfeld? No, I don’t think I’ll do that. That episode was a little confusing to me.

I think you all know I blog occasionally for The Quilt Show as “The Healthy Quilter.” The Quilt Show is hosted by two very well-known personalities in the quilt world–Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. It so happens that Ricky is a very old friend from another world. Over 30 years ago, when I was a “famous” cocker spaniel breeder, Ricky bought a dog from us, and I showed her for him.

One of our most well-known dogs, Max, on the cover of the American Cocker Review magazine.

One of our most well-known dogs, Max, on the cover of the American Cocker Review magazine.

Me showing Ricky's dog, Vanilla.

Me showing Ricky’s dog, Vanilla.


Another of the Cocker Spaniels I owned and showed.

Another of the Cocker Spaniels I owned and showed.

(And yes, I know you will all be interested to know that that is me at my lowest adult weight–about 125 pounds. I did not learn how to eat and maintain that weight loss. I remember thinking “I can’t even eat 4 string beans without gaining weight.”)

I ended up in Wichita Falls, Ricky’s hometown, and we were very good friends for a few years. And then I went to nursing school, graduated, and moved back to California. The end.

Only it wasn’t. About ten years ago, when my best friend dragged me into the world of quilting, I started hearing Ricky’s name. What the what? He was a quilter now, and a pretty famous one at that! It wasn’t until about three years ago, when we were attending the same quilting event that I went up and re-introduced myself to him. And a couple of years later, after hearing about my “healthy living blog,” he invited me to be “The Healthy Quilter” on TQS blog.

I got to know Alex through taking a workshop from her. When I showed her a couple of my current quilts, she was very complimentary and asked if I would like to teach, and if so, would I be interested in being on an episode of The Quilt Show–a bi-weekly internet “television show” about quilters.

The quilts I showed Alex:



I thought about that for a while. I have taught in a lot of different areas of my life, and I do enjoy teaching. But it is hard work. Did I want to devote time to doing that?  Eventually I decided that I would like to try, and I talked to Alex again about how to go about doing that.

And then one day a few months ago, I got a call from Ricky. Would I like to be a guest on The Quilt Show? Would I? As I said to Shelly, the producer, I am their “Number One Fan” (LOL–think Kathy Bates in Misery.) The Quilt Show started right about the time that I got rid of my television, so it was my only “tv show” for a while, and I really looked forward to every new episode.

To be continued…

Sophie says "Harumph. Those fancy schmancy dogs don't hold a candle to my majestic nobility."

Sophie says “Harumph. Those fancy schmancy dogs don’t hold a candle to my majestic nobility.”

I Bought Another Diet Book

I bought another diet book. (Disclaimer: this is not a book review.) As I virtually thumbed through this book on my Kindle, the question that kept running through my mind was “why?” Why did I buy another diet book? What was I looking for? I’ve been dieting and/or maintaining for almost 10 years now. Did I really think I would find something new?

Was I looking for the magic bullet, just like the rest of America? If I just do this or that, I can eat whatever I want and still be thin and fabulous.

But what I really think I was looking for is reassurance. Reassurance that my thinking is not wrong. That I am doing the best I can. That it is okay to eat what I eat. Its okay that I am not as thin as the “American ideal” (haha–that’s a funny one, isn’t it? In our all-powerful country, a huge percentage of us are obese, but our “ideal” is borderline underweight.)

This book provided that reassurance.

There are so many voices out there on the inter webs yelling at us that their way is the only way. That their way is the best. If only you would eliminate this or that food, you would be cured of all your aches and pains and you would be thin and rich (okay, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration.) I admit it–sometimes I get lost in the melee. I start to doubt myself. I wonder if what I have learned over the years is true. This book provided a voice of reason, backed by the author’s solid scientific background and years of experience in the weight loss and weight loss maintenance field.

Maybe another time I’ll review this book, but for now I’ll just tell you that I recommend it. Its chock full of good and true helpful information for the person who wants to lose weight and maintain that weight loss.


A Different Kind of Before and After

I had to scan a lot of photos for an upcoming project (I’m actually just happy that I finally know how to scan.) And I found an old picture from when I first moved into this cabin.


Here is the cabin now.


And a bonus recipe idea–one of my sewing ladies served this at lunch last week. The combination was DELICIOUS! Okay, so the original had arugula, watermelon, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette. My version has romaine, watermelon, laughing cow lite, and low fat balsamic vinaigrette. You choose–both ways were delicious!


I had it for dinner with one of my ham and cheese muffins. A delightful meal!


Recipe Review: Zucchini Marinara Bake

Its that time of year again–everybody who has a little space is growing a few zucchini and tomato plants, right? Or you might be like I usually am, and hope that your friends and neighbors will share the bounty with you. Anyway, if you like those two vegetables, this is a wonderful no-fail recipe (in my humble opinion : ) ) I was a little surprised at how the baking dish was filled to the brim, but decided to trust my own recipe, and sure enough, it did not boil over. I just love the flavor combo in this recipe, and I love that you can have a great big serving for 200 calories, and I love that you still get a little treat of cheese and pasta every few bites!


(Zucchini Marinara Bake, pictured before baking)

A serving of this with a side of chicken or fish makes a fantastic dinner.


NOT in the Garden

Across the road (its still my property) there is a place where MLG and I dump all the weeds and rocks that we don’t need in the garden. Oh, and J. the contractor also dumped a ton of dirt and rock over there when he was putting in the foundation for the studio. Its actually made a nice little turn-out over there on that side of the road. And last week, as I went over there with yet another bucket of weeds, I spotted something different.


These are the things that always amaze me. I pamper my garden plants with water and fertilizer and tilling the soil. I watch them carefully, and agonize if they get knocked over or eaten on by bugs (or squashed by big-dog-feet.)


And here, with nothing but our junk soil, rocks, and weeds, a lone sunflower grows tall and strong.


God will always be a better gardener than me.