Sunday, February 20, 2011

Indoor Gardening for Dummies

A few years ago, we were in the kitchen store in the Fargo mall.  I spied an aero garden, basically an indoor hydroponic growing system, and examined it with interest.

I told Wesley that I would like to buy one.  But, we were too busy that day to really check out the possibilities. 

I forgot about my comment.

He didn’t.

This year for Christmas, Matthew & Wesley carefully picked out three Aero Garden units.  One for Matthew, so he could grow catnip for his cats.  Two for me, a little one for herbs, and a big one for lettuce or tomato plants.

So far, our crops have been an outstanding success.  A couple of times a week, we harvest a delicious blend of lettuce, enough for two or three servings.  The catnip is growing like a weed. 

Wait, I think it is a weed.  But, Matthew is happy because his catnip plants are much taller than my herbs or my lettuce.

And, my little herb garden is flourishing.  Italian Parsley.  Genovese Basil.  And the Oregano was doing really good until the cats decided to eat it.  They must have discriminating palates… they haven’t touched the catnip plants but they are eating my oregano.

herbgarden herbgarden2

Last week, I harvested the herbs, and made four little cups of savory fresh herb butter, using a recipe from (here).  We’ve been enjoying it all week, on baked potatoes, French bread, whole grain toast… mmmm!


Herb Butter

  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic cloves
  • 4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Mix together well.  Store in fridge.  Use the mini plastic Glad cups with lids to package the butter… they are the perfect size for a gift. 

In addition to the fresh parsley, I also added some fresh basil from my garden,  a few of the surviving oregano leaves.   I accidentally used crushed cayenne rather than crushed red pepper flakes (I thought they were the same thing).  The cayenne gave the butter a delicious spicy heat, but it might be too hot for some tastes.  Next time, I’ll try the red pepper flakes.

Does anybody else have an Aero Garden?  What are you growing~

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Next Cabin Award, Feb 27, 2011

The next Cabin Award will be announced in 2 weeks.

In celebration of the success of our weekly bundle promotion, that day’s winner will get to chose from any of the active bundles posted in the category.

Find the weekly bundle category: here.

A few tempting choices:

Five yards of Primitive Gatherings Tea-Dyed Muslins:

Hoffman Batik Fat Quarter Bundle and Fat Quarter Cut-Ups Pattern Book:

Two Moda Honey Buns and the book “Honey Buns” by Design Originals.

Please remember, weekly bundles are subject to availability, and can be removed at any time, depending upon our inventory.  So, if you want one of these bundles, it’s best to order now.

The Cabin Award winner will be offered their choice of a weekly bundle that is in-stock on the date of the award.

Happy Quilting!

Cabin Award Winner: February 13, 2011

As promised, another special prize this week.

But, first a warm welcome to all new blog Followers.  More readers are joining every day, and we’re delighted with the response. 

The only way I have to choose Cabin Award Winners is from the list of Blog Followers.  Click here for more information.

This week’s award: a Sunkissed project pack, including 3 patterns, assorted yardage, and a few zippers for the Pack & Go bags.  Total prize value, between $50-60.

View Sunkissed Patternssunkissedlogo

This week’s award goes to Lori.  I just sent you a message that includes a code to redeem the award. Please reply to promotions@dakotacabinquilts with your shipping information.

Happy Quilting!

Business File Tote… it helps if you read the pattern!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the Business File Tote pattern (find it here):


This is a great pattern.  With perfectly fine instructions.  If you read them :)

I started this handy tote on a Sunday afternoon.  With a deadline of having it done that evening, so Wesley could take it with him to his trunk show at the Black Hills Stock Show.

The steps are simple.  Make a handy side pocket:



Create an outer bag (the bag is boxy, but when I folded it flat for the photo, the corners look angled.  In “real life”, they are not angled, just square:


Create a nearly identical liner, with the SAME dimensions, except the BOTTOM seam is sewn at 1/4” rather than 1/2”.  This is where I didn’t read the instructions.  I sewed the side seams and the bottoms seams at 1/2” for the outer bag, and at 1/4” for the liner.

Assemble the bag, using a layer of canvas for interfacing.  I used a sturdy Pellon  that Wesley ordered for the floor mats. 

Oops.  My liner was 1/2” larger in all dimensions than my bag, and the Pellon was so sturdy that I could not ease in anything.  As a result, the faux binding that wraps around the upper edge was all lumpy, because the liner was just that much bigger than the outer bag.  The liner was supposed to be 1/2”  longer than the bag but the same width.

Crap.  Other bad words.

It was 10:30 pm. My bag was nearly done. Unfortunately, it looked like it had been sewn by a Third Grader.

Enter my husband with a seam ripper.  He ripped out the necessary seams, and by then it was nearly midnight.

We went to bed. 

Rose finished the bag, according to pattern instructions.  It is beautiful!


And useful.


Notice the matching file folders?  I used fun contemporary fabric from Michael Miller.  Find them here.  



The file folders sit in this little plastic frame, available at office stores or online.  Here’s the Amazon link.

Our employees made me feel much better.  They said I did a very nice job picking out the fabric, and matching the prints to my file folders!

I share this story with you, not to discourage you from making this project.  Just to state the obvious… it is very helpful to read the pattern instructions.

Happy Quilting! 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Google Chrome

Have you heard of Google Chrome? 

I just discovered it, and I LOVE it.

A fast new internet browser (like Internet Explorer, or Firefox), but sooo much better!

Click here to learn about it.

Click here to install it.

Then, sit down at your computer with  a hot cup of coffee.  Turn off the phone.  Think about your favorite things,  and tools you need to make your life easier. 

Create a personalized iGoogle  home page, using your favorite theme (I chose “Spring Flowers”), a variety of fun apps and tools, and some useful gadgets. 

My tools? A calculator, a “To Do” list, a clock and a calendar.

My passions?  A quilt photo app, inspirational quotes, and beautiful photography.

Add some news, some weather, and a wikipedia search bar.  Perfect.

I particularly enjoyed the colorful labpixies options, found here.

The result?

My homepage:


Each one of the rectangles is like a little quilt block, you can rearrange them, stack them up (with the compound gadget), add and delete to your heart’s content. 

See that empty area bottom middle?  I can either rearrange the existing elements, or find new ones to fill in the space.


Try Google Chrome… It is fun, easy, and will transform the way you think about the internet.  I promise.