New Blooms!

Just a short post to share the newest blooms in the yard.

First blooms on my flowering cherry! The tree is full of buds. I’ll share a full picture next week.


The lilac is doing well. It got a bit rangy, so the recommendation was to prune one half at a time, as lilacs don’t really like being pruned that much and might not bloom if you are too harsh. I pruned quite a bit last year, but left the highest branches alone. The reward? A big bloom WAY UP HIGH! This is well above the roofline. So I will prune those high branches after its done blooming this year, hoping to get some blooms down to the level where I can see and smell them!


And the New York lily of the valley! In case anyone missed it, I call these “New York lily of the valley” because my blog friend Lori sent them to me. It makes them extra special.


Have a great weekend. Hoping for some springtime weather for EVERYONE!!


Scenes From the Garden

Every day there is something new to discover in the garden. Isn’t that one of the most fun things about gardening–exploring to see what is coming up, what made it from last year, new volunteers, Oh, what is that little plant?!

The first sighting of my "New York Lily of the Valley!"

The first sighting of my “New York Lily of the Valley!”

This has been the best spring I can remember. I still hold my breath a little, because we used to get freezing temps in April and May. I haven’t allowed myself to buy any frost-tender plants yet. But it looks like its just going to continue on being spring.

The tulips have enjoyed this unusual weather. Best tulip year ever!

The tulips have enjoyed this unusual weather. Best tulip year ever!

New buds on the trees–anticipation!




More frequent trips to the nursery!

A new variety of coral bells.

A new variety of coral bells.

I tried to get a nice picture of Noah after his bath. He insists on patrolling the yard when I am out there. When I am not outside, he sleeps 24/7.





And he finally stopped. Not in the most picturesque place….


And our latest big project! We needed to get this last Japanese maple in the ground. Last year it did not do well in the heat.


MLG had the idea to cut the bottom off of the pot–it looks like the pot’s buried, but its just the rim. I think its a very cool effect! Plus, this gave me a place to plant MORE GROUNDCOVERS :) I love ground cover. Here I planted lemon thyme, armeria (new to me,) and in the shade some of my beloved corsican mint.


Take time to enjoy the springtime. And for my friends in the cold east, my best wishes that you will soon have your own spring to enjoy!

Some Exciting News!


I am re-blogging this post from my quilt blog. I thought some of you might be interested in my “other life.” Enjoy!

Originally posted on debby quilts:


Two years ago I had the opportunity to do an exhibit of my Housetop Quilts at the Oak Hills Church in Folsom, CA. Since then I have worked on two new series of quilts, The Psalms, and The Signature of Jesus. And Monday, I delivered 25 quilts to Oak Hills. They will be on display until Easter Sunday, April 5. Anyone is welcome to visit and view them. Of course, the gallery area will be open every Sunday morning, from about 9am-12noon. And you can also visit during the week, Tuesday through Friday. Just call the church office (916.983.0181) to make sure the gallery is open. (The gallery is in their very large sanctuary lobby.) I will be at the church this Sunday, February 22, sitting and demonstrating my handwork. Fun!


I can’t say enough good things about this church. They have encouraged me to be an artist, and have provided an opportunity…

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A Tale of Two Muffins

Yesterday I tried a new recipe that had caught my interest. A while ago, I bought a bag of cashew meal at Trader Joe’s. This recipe was a “paleo” recipe ( for Paleo Pumpkin and Carrot Muffins,) so it called for almond flour as its main ingredient. I knew I could substitute the cashew meal. I ran them through the recipe calculator, and they came out to 260 calories each (I made 6 large muffins.) A bit higher than I like for my breakfast, but not out of range. The weird thing was, they were “paleo” but they only had 7 grams of protein, and 33 grams of carbs! Fats were 13 grams and fiber came in at 3.5 grams.


It was a moist, tasty muffin.

But then I thought about my recipe for “Very Light Banana Muffins.” Honestly, I like it better. I knew they were 135 calories each. But I didn’t know the stats, so I ran that recipe through the recipe calculator–they have 7.8 grams of protein and only 18 grams of carbs. Fats are 4 grams, and there are 2.4 grams of fiber.


This kind of thing is just interesting to me. I know other people would prefer the first muffin, probably because of the higher fat content. But over the years, my tastes have changed, at least a little bit. And as I learned so long ago at Weight Watchers, even the little changes make a difference.

And They’re Off!

Well, its that special time of year again. That time when hopeful Americans are off to the gym or the pool or the trails or the bikes. Whatever their hopeful choice of exercise–they’re there. It makes it very inconvenient for me at the gym for a week or two :)

Even I am not immune from this exercise boost. I didn’t really slow down in my exercise, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas day, but I did play a little fast and loose with the sweets, starting at Thanksgiving, and going straight on through my birthday season and ending at Christmas. I found, once again, that I cannot have sugar on a regular basis. It always leaves me wanting more, even though I don’t feel as good when I am eating it. So the day after Christmas, all the leftover goodies were either given away, thrown away, or put safely in the freezer.

Since then I have been (relatively) sugar free. Three days after Christmas I weighed the same thing I did before Thanksgiving, so I kinda think I didn’t actually gain any weight during that extended time of indulgence. But, my weight is still at the higher end of where I like to stay, so I am being very mindful of my food choices throughout the day. I started using Loseit to log my food again. I think its the most user-friendly site–its actually fun to log my food on it.

I also went to the grocery store and loaded up on vegetables. That wasn’t even my original intention when I went to the store. Its just what I naturally gravitate to when I want to eat healthier and lose a little weight. I made this Vegetable Tian that Lori talked about. Oh my goodness, this is so yummy. A little higher in calories than just plain vegetables, but you can have a nice sized serving for 140 calories. Isn’t it pretty?


And I have been mindful of getting in a good amount of exercise each day, whether at home or at the gym. I don’t exercise to lose weight (although I think that wishful thinking is always there.) I exercise to keep my metabolism working, and to remind me what is important to me (living a healthy life,) and honestly, I exercise to feel good. For just a little bit after each exercise session, everything seems to work a little better :)

Mr. Monk has a hard time exercising nowadays. A friend of my mom’s gave this doggie stroller to her, and she passed it on to me–we took it out for a spin yesterday.