Friday, December 26, 2008

Fruits of Labor

Hello Everyone!

The time has come to share some photos of the gourds I have been working on for the past few weeks. I had hoped to post them before Christmas, but did not get a free moment. Well, here they are! Let me know what you think.

These have already been sold at the Christmas craft shows I attended this holiday season. The gourd on the bottom photo made with the pine straw, was my very first one. It was sold to an uncle of one of the vendors at the Farmer's Market. She told me that the gourd would either be displayed at his home in Florida or his vacation home in Asheville, NC. I'm so excited now that I'm tracking the whereabouts of my creations! I have gourds scattered about in North Carolina, Florida, Colorado,(Sky4Kat) and I just got word last week, one of my gourd birdfeeders would be going to India! How exciting!

Be Encouraged!

Plant Lady

Monday, December 22, 2008

Welcome to Our Home at Christmas

Hello Everyone!

Today I'm giving the nickel tour of "Christmas at Plant Lady's". Hope you enjoy your time here!

Santa is ready to greet you as you enter. This jolly old elf was painted by a lady near me. I wish I had her painting abilities. She knows just how to capture all the subtle expressions in Santa's face. I'm still working on learning that technique. I bought this gourd at a craft show and incorporated it into this wreath.

As you enter, you'll notice our Christmas tree. The tree is adorned with a collection of ornaments from the White House Historical Society. As many of you know, Mr. Plant Lady and I were engaged in Washington, DC on December 21, 1998, and we have collected an ornament every year since then. Other special ornaments include an angel ornament I have had since I was a little girl. She looks a little scruffy, just like me! Time and age has taken its toll! A cardinal of some sort graces our tree each year. I have several in my collection, but decided not to put them all out since my tree is becoming crowded. Next year, I guess I'll have to put up another tree! Many handcrafted ornaments are hanging on the tree. Collected from my many excursions into the woods, pine cones were decorated with holly and ribbon along with a coat of varnish. Grapevines were woven into wreath ornaments and tied with a simple grosgrain ribbon. Several glass ornaments are at home with the others as they complement each other.

The mantel is the focal point of the room as it displays the story of the REASON FOR THE SEASON. A nativity rests among greenery in the center along with a special object on the mantel-a hand turned wooden vase made from holly by a fellow in Whittier, NC that I purchased on vacation this year. The color and the grain of the wood is beautiful and there is a marking on it (a knot hole) that looks just like an eye. I think of it as being the watchful eye of God. Legend has it that holly was the wood used to make the cross Jesus was crucified on. I don't know whether or not it's true ,but it's a beautiful legend just the same. I can just imagine while Jesus was hanging on the cross, He was looking down through the centuries seeing me as I "saw" His love for me through that little knot hole in the holly wood vase that I found. Isn't it wonderful how He speaks!
Our tour concludes with dinner. The table is set and you have the seat of honor! A choir of carolers have appeared to entertain as we have dinner together. Silent Night, Joy to the World, O' Holy Night and God Rest You Merry Gentlemen will be the selections as we conclude the tour.


Mr. Plant Lady and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Be Encouraged!

Plant Lady

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The New House (cont'd.)

Hello Everyone!

Today is the day for the "after" photos of our "new" house! Instead of taking just plain old photos, I thought I'd wait for our house to be all decked out in its Christmas attire. I really haven't gone all out with the decorations this year. I usually do the greenery swags on the porch rails, but since we took the rails down, that was impossible. I think this year we will just have to live with wreaths on the picture windows and the front door.

This is the "new" window! Notice the peeling paint is now gone and the shutters are painted that fabulous shade of green called "pine boughs".
A Christmas tree lit with clear miniature lights will decorate the front yard in a planter near the garden bench and a big red bow amid some greenery will finish out the bench's decoration. A large Moravian star will hang in the entry way to our home and will welcome all visitors. We haven't decided on the final look of the front porch, but I think we will probably go with just greenery in some sort of arrangement between the rocking chairs.

The Moravian star is hard to see lit on the front porch.
I hope you enjoy the before and after photos. My next post will be some of the "inside" Christmas decorations and I will also include some of the gourds that I have been working on.

On another note, I would like to let you know about a new blog that a friend of mine has started. He is thirty years old, a twin, and has had two kidney transplants in his life. He has had many surgeries as a baby and has come a long way since then. He loves God and wants his life to be a inspiration to others. Sometimes he gets depressed as he waits for word on a new kidney from the transplant lists that he is on. He would like to "talk" through a blog with others who may be going through similar situations and to share encouraging words. If you get a chance, please stop by and share some of God's love and encouragement. Take a look into Corey's World! He will be an inspiration to you as much as he is to me. Drop him a comment!
I would enjoy hearing and seeing some of your Christmas celebration ideas! Some of you have already posted some Christmas photos. Keep 'em coming!
Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Friday, November 28, 2008

The "New" House

Hello Everyone!

Well, it's about time I returned to my blogging! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and were sufficiently stuffed with all that turkey, stuffing, ham, candied yams, green beans . . . should I go on? Mr. Plant Lady and I celebrated THANKSGIVING with his mom, brother and sister-in-law and nephew on Thursday. My daddy joined us as we had lunch, then went home to watch those ball games that are a tradition on Thanksgiving. We had a great day of fun, good food and fellowship with grateful thanks for every blessing.

Sunday, my family will celebrate all the blessings God has given us at my daddy's with a similar menu. Here we go again! How can one resist?

As promised, I will tell you about my NEW (not really) house. The painting is done, the shutters are back on, the rocking chairs and bench are repaired and repainted and the Christmas decorations are beginning to spring up. The brick house was originally trimmed in white with dark green shutters. Selecting a new color palette was an easy task. I had in mind a small change in shades. The white was replaced with a shade called "Woodrow Wilson White", which is a fancy name for off-white. Doesn't that sound better than just plain, old off-white? The dark green shutters were replaced with a paler green called "Pine Boughs". Sounds foresty, doesn't it? We are very happy with the results! What do you think?

Notice the peeling paint. Imagine what it looked like all over the house! It was about time for a facelift! My next post will include the "after" photos with the house all decked out for Christmas.
Mr. Plant Lady has just a few more finishing touches on the outside decorations.
Included in this post is a glimpse of our Christmas 2008 Christmas tree! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hurry! Hurrry! It's a Giveaway!

Hello Everyone!

Lynn at is giving away three beautiful dolls. Scoot on over to her blog and leave a comment about why you would like one of these dolls. She and her mother make them and her mother takes them to bazaars! They are wonderful and would make a cherished Christmas gift for a little lady!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Wonderful Day

Hello Everyone!

It's been a while since my last post. I've been busy trying to tidy up our newly painted house. Many of you may remember that all the painting was to be completed after our family vacation, but alas, that was not to be! Rain delayed the painter and it was finally finished a few days after we got back. Stay tuned to see our new (newly painted, I should say) house before and after its face lift!

Halloween has come and gone and Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner. So much to do, so little time to do it! This past Sunday was jam-packed with an assortment of events to command our presence. First, we had a Veterans Day Recognition and the Dedication of a new flagpole at our church. The Cub Scout Pack did a memorial wreath laying ceremony at the new flagpole and a representative from our congressman's office presented us with a flag that had been flown over the United States Capitol commemorating our church's 100th anniversary. A couple of days before this, we received a call from the Sunday School superintendent at my dad's church. His church was going to present him with a plaque for being the oldest male member in the church and for his 50 + years membership and his service as choir director and for building the fellowship hall many years ago.

The service was to be a surprise and I had to round up the whole family to attend. I could not round everyone up on such short notice, but my sister and brother-in-law were able to make it as well as Mr. Plant Lady and myself, although we had to leave immediately after the service to rush to the flagpole dedication at our church. We got back to our church about five minutes before the flagpole service began!

After a quick lunch, we rushed to the annual Veterans Day Parade in a nearby community in the county. Marching bands, fire and rescue units, a float with WWII veterans and other veterans along with many churches who made homemade floats of which ours was one. Families lined up along the roadside of the parade route. A section of the road was closed off by the NC Highway Patrol for the duration of the parade. Everyone enjoyed themselves as evidenced by the smiles, laughter and waving of hands and arms! Our church float was an equipment trailer filled with chairs back to back and lots of people waving and throwing candy to the crowd. Our church flag waved proudly along with our mini American flags. We had a wonderful day!

After the parade, we came home and took a Sunday afternoon nap! The perfect end to a perfect day!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

You Asked For It!

Hello Everyone!

Several of you have asked for the recipe for the Green Tomato Relish I entered in our county fair. If you remember, I could not find my recipe, but I have since received a copy from my friend. I had to promise her that I'd immediately put it in my recipe box upon receipt!

So, without further hesitation, here it is:

Green Tomato Relish ( A Family Recipe from the Wilhelms, given to my friend Susan)

12 green bell peppers
12 red peppers
20 medium green tomatoes
12 onions
6 cups sugar
3 pints white vinegar
1 Tablespoon each mustard seed and celery seed
2 Tablespoons salt

Grind vegetables in food processor. Pour boiling water over ground vegetables and let stand 10 minutes. Drain and add sugar, vinegar, seed and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer 30 minutes or until thick. Fill sterilized jars and seal. Process in a 10 minute hot water bath.

*****This recipe is for a large batch. It can be adjusted as needed. Try this one if smaller quantity is needed.

9 large green bell peppers
2 large red bell peppers
18 medium green tomatoes
3 large Vidalia (or any sweet) onions
Other ingredients do not change (USE YOUR OWN JUDGEMENT WITH VEGETABLES)

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Let me know how you like it!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Let's Try This Again . . .The Results Are In

Hello Everyone!

Many of you have noticed that you can't receive my last post, "The Results Are In". All except the title was lost in cyberspace. I spent a couple of hours typing and reviewing and then posting, but Blogger did not autosave and I lost everything except the title and the message saying the post did not exist. Needless to say, I wasn't very happy about the situation!

I was going to let you know about the results of my entries in the county fair.

First Place (Blue Ribbon) Largest Sunflower
Large Gourd Variety - Apple Gourd
Dishrag Gourd (Loofah)
Small Gourd Variety - Bottle Gourd
Gourd Collection
Best Useful - Martin Gourd
Sunflower - Dried Seed
Halloween Craft (Carved Apple Gourd with Jack-o-lantern Design )

Second Place (Red Ribbon) Okra
Corn Shuck Doll
Green Tomato Relish
Dried Okra
Christmas Tree Ornament (Miniature Gourd painted as Santa)
Peas (Dixie Lee variety)

Third Place (White Ribbon) Painted Gourd Ornament (Sunflower Bouquet)
Tomato Juice

I did not enter as many items as I usually do. Our vacation was scheduled for the same week as the fair, so I did not have enough time to do as much and I had to rely on my dad to pick up my entries when the fair was over and I did not want to put him to too much trouble. I think it was a successful year and I am thankful for that which God has blessed me. All of these entries were gifts from Him and I did my best to use them for His glory!

I've had a couple of requests to share my Green Tomato Relish Recipe and I will in a future post.
It is delicious!

Our family vacation went well with a few minor exceptions which I will post about later. Many of you know that we were having our house painted and were expecting to return to a "new" home but the weather did not allow for that. It should be finished by this weekend, hopefully.

I will post some "before and after" photos as well as my Fall decorations. I mentioned that we will do a "Trunk or Treat" at church providing a safe alternative to the traditional Halloween goblins and things. I haven't decided the theme of our "trunk" yet, but I know I will probably carve some pumpkins and display some gourds and other fall decorations. If any of you have ideas, please share them with me. I need some ideas.

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Love A-Fair

Hello Everyone!

Today is the day that I have to enter all the hand painted, handcrafted, homemade this and thats in our County Fair. The date has creeped up on me and I am not able to enter as much as I usually do. I guess I've been "on the road" too much this year!

Gourds, gourds, and more gourds are the majority of entries this year. Most useful, small variety, large variety, best decorative, gourd collection, and a few others are just some of the categories that I have placed gourds for judging. I am especially proud of a gourd vessel woven with seagrass that I made within the last week. Whew! My fingers are sore from the experience! I'll let you know how it does as well as my other entries.

Green tomato relish was a new experience this year! A friend gave me the recipe for the most delicious relish I have ever tasted. Wouldn't you know that I lost it! I had to guess at the measurements of ingredients and I believe, it is better than that she gave me! (I'm not really bragging, am I?) Well, anyway, I entered it and some tomato juice (made from my own heirloom tomatoes). Several other items were entered as well and I will post a complete list and let you know if they won any ribbons. Last year, I had the second largest amount of blue ribbons in the whole fair and won an extra $25! I was so excited!

You can have a love a-fair with county fairs and I would like to encourage you to enter something in your county fair if you have one. Those of you with children should have several projects with them during the year and enter their "creations". It is so much fun and I'm sure they will all enjoy it!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A New House and a Family Vacation

Hello Everyone!

Yipee! We are getting a new house! Well, not really, but we are having our house painted, - a job long overdue! We are having the trim painted a really pretty shade of white (off-white) with pine green shutters and doors. I'm so excited! I can hardly wait until I can post the pictures of our "new house".

It has not been painted since we bought the house back in 1999. The paint was beginning to peel and the storm windows needed a good cleaning along with the picket fence in the back. The painter married a former classmate of Mr. Plant Lady and he is working on the house in the evenings after work and on Saturdays. He is giving us a real good deal and he does a great job!

Next Friday we will travel to the mountains on our "family vacation". We have not had a "family" vacation since our first year of marriage. Mr. Plant Lady's mom, brother and sister-in-law and their son and sister will be going with us to Cherokee, NC and the surrounding area.
We are renting a nice cabin for a long weekend. I'm so excited because it has a hot tub and a pool table. I will enjoy the hot tub and I'm sure the fellows will enjoy the pool table!

I will try to keep you updated on my adventures with the "family". It's sure to make "adventurous" reading! Ha! Ha!

I'm hoping that I will return from the vacation to a "newly completed" house! I'll keep you updated.

Be Encouraged!

Plant Lady

Friday, September 26, 2008

What A Difference A Day Makes! Pictures

Hello Everyone!

What a difference a day makes! Notice the blue skies!

Bodie Island Lighthouse and Jockey's Ridge

House used in the film "Nights in Rodanthe" and Old Coast Guard Station

Bodie Island Lighthouse and Orville and Wilbur Wright Memorial
Part of the Orville and Wilbur Wright Memorial - Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
Hope you enjoyed the photos!
Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Deja Vu . . . All Over Again!

Hello Everyone!

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that when storms come at night, the rest is uneasy and the darkness and winds are your companions throughout the night - then comes the morning!
And come, it did today!

As I said yesterday, we left for our trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was a five hour drive for us and the trip was one of those non-interstate ones , you know, the ones that are slow and cumbersome. All went well with the travel but the weather wasn't going to cooperate all the way. The closer we got to the Outer Banks, the stronger the winds became. The sky became gray and angry and the sun refused to show its face.

Crossing the many rivers, we began to notice the whitecaps - wind driven water that looked like the ocean! As we crossed a large river, the seagulls could not make their way back to the shore to safety. Many of them were blown into the bridge railings and they lay dead on the road. I thought about the scripture that talks about God knowing when every bird falls from the sky! What a comfort that God knows!

We continued our journey and stopped for gas at Nags Head. One of the other motorist told us that they were trying to get to Hatteras and they were turned back because one of the roads was being bombarded with waves and that the Cedar Island Ferry had been closed for the day!
I must admit this news scared me! What were we going to find at Kitty Hawk, our destination?
Winds were gusting and the waves that were visible from the road looked ominous. Our journey continued through Kill Devil Hills, then on to Kitty Hawk. We found the hotel - the Hilton Garden Inn - waterfront. ANY other time, waterfront would be celebrated, but not in a Nor'easter!

We checked in and carried our luggage up to the room. We had a reception at 6:30 pm with heavy hor'doeuvres so we did not need to go out for dinner. As the evening progressed, the weather worsened! Our balcony has an ocean view, so I stood out on it to take some pictures of the surf. By the way, I forgot to mention that the reception was supposed to be on the pier house of the hotel, but it was moved because of the strong waves. The pictures today are of the waves as seen from the fifth story balcony of the hotel. You may be able to see the pier house (white bldg) in the photo. I'm glad the reception was moved to the hotel ballroom. I can't imagine eating shrimp and thinking I might be swimming with one any minute!!!

About 1:00 am, I was awakened by a LOUD "BOOM!!!!" I jumped up and all was dark except the emergency lighting! The power was out! Mr. Plant Lady continued to sleep. How could he sleep at a time like this, not knowing what had happened? I told him I was going to make my way down to the front desk to find out what had happened - he wanted to go with me. I, personally, think that he was afraid to stay by himself, don't you? Well, the elevators were out, so we went down five flights of stairs to the lobby. Four or five guests had the same idea and we were told a transformer has blown out. That was the source of the "boom".

We made our way back up to the room and opened the sliding glass door to let in a breeze, well actually a gust!! The room was becoming warm since the air was out. Once I saw the fire truck and power company trucks driving around the property, I returned to bed, only waking again three times to check on their progress!

When the morning finally came, daylight flooded the room and we were still safe! Power returned about 7:30 am and I ventured down to see about getting some breakfast. I'm glad I thought ahead and took the stairs again, because the power flashed off again and I would have been stuck in the elevator!

Breakfast was great! Crispy fried bacon, sausage and scrambled eggs with toast, grits, hashbrowns, and a tall glass of tomato juice! Yum!! Yum!!

I'll keep you updated on my continuing adventure. I just hope it doesn't include any more stormy weather.
Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

On the Road Again!

Hello Everyone!

As in the words of the famous song by Willie Nelson, "I'm On the Road Again!" This time it's to the Outer Banks of North Carolina! Once again, I'm following Mr. Plant Lady as he attends meetings related to his service on the local Resource and Conservation and Development Council.

We will leave tomorrow morning. I have a stop planned to get some reeds and seagrass from a basketry supply store that's located about an hour away. Fortunately, the store is on our way to our destination. I'm excited about going to the Outer Banks again! The last time we were there, our destination was Ocracoke. It was one of the most relaxing trips that I have ever taken. Our hotel provided bicycles for us to explore the little island that is only accessible by ferry. Kitty Hawk, our destination this trip, is famous as the Birthplace of Flight. Wilbur and Orville Wright took the first flight from some of the sand dunes located there.

I will have my laptop with me and I hope to be able to post some pictures of my adventures in Kitty Hawk.

Keep us in your prayers as we travel.

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Monday, September 22, 2008

Come With Me!

Hello Everyone!
It seems like it's been ages since I last did a post. Looking at the date of my last post, it's been over two weeks! I've been on an adventure to the mountains of Virginia with Mr. Plant Lady and haven't slowed down since!

Mr. Plant Lady serves on a Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D) and their regional meeting was held week before last in Wytheville, Virginia. I accompanied him and participated in some activities that were planned for spouses.

Our trip began on Wednesday morning. We hoped to leave around 6:00 am but did not get to leave until 11:00 am! We hoped to take a leisurely drive, stopping as we saw something of interest, but with our late start, we only stopped once, at a Farmer's Market in Virginia.

When we arrived in Wytheville, we checked in at the hotel and then went over to the conference center for the registration. After picking up our schedules, we went to a nearby Sagebrush Steakhouse restaurant for dinner. I ordered a Southwestern chicken entree and had some of the most delicious soup, a poblano pepper and white cheddar soup. Delicious! After dinner we turned in for the night because we had an early start the next day.

Thursday morning arrived and Mr. Plant Lady had meetings all day. I took him to the conference center and I explored Wytheville. My first stop was at a Goodwill store. I found a great black and red throw for $1.00! I plan to use it at Christmas as a table cloth for a small table I have. It will go well with my black and red table runner that I use on my dining table. Next, I went to a local department store hoping to find just the right outfit! No such luck! I had a turkey sub at the local Subway restaurant for lunch and then went back to the hotel.

After a short rest, I went to the conference center where I was to meet with other ladies who had signed up for the Wreath Workshop. Around ten other ladies and I boarded a van and went to the Beagle Ridge Herb Farm where we fashioned a wreath from dried herbs and natural materials collected from the woods. On the return trip back to the conference center, we saw several deer and wild turkeys. What an adventure!

Thursday night, Mr. Plant Lady and I went to the Log House Restaurant, a colonial tennant house that had been restored and turned into a restaurant. I ordered a chicken dish that was one of Thomas Jefferson's favorites. It had chopped tomatoes, mushrooms and olives along with some type of cheese. Delicious!

Friday, we took tours of the area. Mr. Plant Lady took a technical tour relating to his service on the council - a stream bank restoration tour and I took the Blue Ridge tour that included the Mabry Mill, the Blue Ridge Music center located on the Blue Ridge Parkway and shopping at an Appalachian Craft Center in Galax, VA , where I purchased a great mosaic-like gourd with a fish design and a gourd birdhouse I thought was cute! A wonderful day of sightseeing!

Friday ended with a pig pickin' and some lively local bluegrass music. We had a wonderful evening that ended with a silent auction in which I bid and won two items - a hand-turned tulip poplar bowl made in Kentucky and some "Green Grillin" Natural Hardwood Charcoal made from Appalachian Hardwoods from a sustainable forest project in the Appalachian Mountains.

We had a wonderful time and I took lots of photos for you to see!
Come along with me and enjoy the sights of a foggy Virginia morning!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady