April 5, 2010

Solar Power

This hasn't happened in a long time. A first of the season, really. I spent the whole, entire, bright, beautiful, sunny, warm weekend outside — except for the time i spent making a quilt sandwich in our basement. Yes, you read that right, "quilt sandwich" (hold the mayo). Didn't turn my computer on once. Not once! I feel solar-ly recharged, ready to start the week, but achy all over from working out in our garden. The nicer it gets outside, the harder it is to stay inside. You know how it is.

Our garden is really small, but we've managed to make use of every square inch of it (well, almost). A couple years ago, we built raised beds to extend the growing season for our veggies by a few weeks — in fact the lettuce, spinach and beets are coming up already! Here's my new bumper sticker:
Anyone have any good kale recipes?? (eh hem...Jocelyn?)

Most of our garden is dedicated to flowers...oh, and raspberries — wow do they ever spread fast! Something we really like to do is to grow native species plants because they're the most sustainable and don't require using fertilizer or pesticides, and they're not invasive. But some of the best benefits are that they attract birds and butterflies and help maintain small-scale biodiversity (like keeping the honey bees and ladybugs happy!). Here's a great site if you're interested in finding plants that are native to your area. Ok, stepping down from my compost pile...

So while we certainly did plan on which flowers we wanted to grow, we didn't know that we would also be planting magic and inspiration, but it blooms prolifically! Over the weekend, I was reminded of this. You see, some of the patterns from Verna were inspired out there. Here are two that are blooming right now. This is our magnolia tree:
That inspired this:
And this is our hellebore (also known as Lenten Rose):
That inspired this:
Wonder what will catch my eye this year?
Hope you had a very Happy Easter!


  1. I'm starting my Verna quilt kit that I ordered from Fat Quarter Shop, today! yeah! I sure love it!

  2. Zuppa Toscana soup is AMAZING with kale. We put LOTS of it in ours.

    Here's the recipe:
    6 ingredients:
    - ground sausage - browned very well (I like it to get those little crispy edges); italian sausage is recommended, but breakfast sausage will still taste great
    - chicken broth (the Pacific or another natural brand in the box tastes best) -- I use 2 quarts
    - russet potatoes (about 6 medium?) chunked; skin on is fine -- number of potatoes depends on how hearty you want your soup
    - kale -- I use LOTS of kale, because it is a super veggie
    - crushed red pepper (use to taste -- I start with about 1/2 teaspoon, sometimes add a little more)
    - heavy cream - 1/2 pint (again, this amount sometimes changes)

    Brown the sausage -- add it to the broth with the potatoes boiling. When the potatoes start to soften, add the kale (the kale requires less cooking time, but more won't hurt it -- the color just isn't as bright green)
    Add the hot pepper (the longer it cooks, the more spice it will give to your soup)
    add the cream and simmer a little longer

    Serve with french bread and salad

  3. and I love the flowers and drawings! they're gorgeous.

  4. Hi Kate!
    So great that the weather is getting better and you're able to enjoy nature... I wish I had my own little garden but for now I'll have to be content with my square inch garden aka little balcony. Last time I inspected my pots I discovered that the strawberries survived the hard winter!
    I also enjoyed the magnolias this weekend, your Verna magnolias, that is. I started the quilt originally intended as a gift for my best friend & I now know I'll have to order some more Verna b/c I already know I won't be able to part with this one (neither does my partner...) ;o).
    Have a great week!

  5. Love the flowers...so fun to see the inspiration behind the beautiful fabrics! I'm taking my "Jelly & Jam" Verna quilt to be quilted tomorrow...can't wait to get it back!

  6. Holy-Magnolia batman!
    Verna is at my house right now. She's a very good house guest. She really brightens up the place!
    IzzynIvy Jana

  7. you are amazing! i love how you take real stuff and create your designs! a.maz.ing.

  8. Thanks for sharing the photos & gorgeous resulting art :) I'd love to see photos of your entire garden!
    I'm still new to kale, but isn't it good? My friend said to try making kale chips, so that's next for me http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Baked-Kale-Chips/Detail.aspx

  9. I love all of it!

    However, I might have a hard time getting that bench in my backyard!

    Oh...and my Little Person would start to climb on it...like a tree!

    Thanks for the inspiration

  10. Pasta with lentils and kale. It's fairly quick and easy.


  11. I love the kale salad they do at chef's table. something with sesame oil -- it is so good! I haven't figured it out yet, but if you do, let me know!


  12. It's funny you mentioned Kale, I totally love it and unfortunately I'm the only one so a lot gets frozen. I love to put a little water in a pot with any type of canned tomatoes, dried onions and some red pepper. Makes a great tasting soup with a bit of rice or whole grain pasta added. It's a good one to add whatever veggies you have leftover in small bits and freezes well. Another thing with kale is to steam some and then saute in a bit of olive oil, a small bit of butter/marg. and whatever spices you like. It's amazing added to scrambled eggs, on top of a salad or in pasta/rice. Sorry so long, but I want to say I love the pics on your inspiration for Verna.

  13. Loving the insight of your fabric designs! Of Course I loved Verna and I am excited to see the new line coming out!! Your color choices for Verna were a nice change from everything on the market!! I will look at your new line and try to see what inspired it!! :) Kate, you are so talented! Keep up the great work...


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