Latest Posts

N95 Mask Cover Tutorial


Want to help your local healthcare hero with N95 mask covers is a hurry? I’ve adapted the pattern my local hospital requested and streamlined the process. My step-by-step tutorial walks you through my assembly-line method. I was able to get 25 done in a day with the help of my family. I enlist my college-aged kids with clipping and turning.

Click here for the PDF tutorial: N95 Mask Cover Tutorial

Click here for the original pattern: Mask Production 2020

Click here for the surgical sheets that I used: Direct Textile

Click here for an updated mask pattern piece: Updated Mask pattern

higgledy-piggledy garden wall

DIY-garden-wallWhen I moved into our home nearly 19 years ago, I was eager to create a lush garden, but like most new homeowners with a single income and a 7-month-old baby, money was TIGHT!

I quickly became queen of the free plants. I was happy to take in anyone’s unwanted plants as they thinned out their gardens. Irises, daylilies, hostas, and liriope/lily turf where widely available to me at what time.

I had long been an avid Saturday morning PBS fan. This Old House and The Victory Garden taught me everything I knew about gardening. Of course, my friend Martha taught me a lot too. So I took my garden hose and arranged it in an attractive curve and laid out my first garden bed in my front yard.

I took all that free liriope and divided it up into little chunks and used it to plant a sweeping border, separating the garden from the yard. Darn it, hindsight is 20/20. The liriope that I was given wasn’t the beautiful little plants that behave, nnnoooo, mine was the creeping lily turf that left unchecked will take over the yard and the garden. Now that I write this I see it so clearly. I was given massive clumps of the stuff, I had to saw it into smaller bits with a butcher knife, common sense should have warned me away from this plant.

Oh well, fast forward 19 years, and I have a flower bed and a yard full of this darn stuff. So this spring I waged war on the liriope. I spent days on end, digging it up. The awful stuff weighs a ton and is a tangled mess of roots. It took forever to remove.


Once I got a dent into it, I started gathering up the old bricks that I used to border the beds in the backyard. Those beds have also fallen prey to liriope and years of neglect, so stealing from them was a great option.

I quickly ran out of bricks and used the Nextdoor app to ask my neighbors for any old bricks that they had lying around. Our neighborhood is over 90 years old, so most homes have a random pile of bricks somewhere on our property, I was able to go pick up bricks all over Bellevue. Most of my bricks came from an old path that I found buried in my backyard that first summer. Score!!!!

So, 306 bricks later I have built my sweet little garden wall that is 100% higgledy-piggledy. It’s far from perfect, but I love it, and I have gotten lots of compliments from my neighbors.

Higgledy-Piggledy Wall How To: 1) Gather bricks. 2) Level the ground the best you can. 3) Stack two bricks one way, stack two more going the other way and repeat with a 3rd or 4th stack. 4) Use a 2′ level to make your brick wall level. Fill in or remove dirt to help get the bricks all nice and tidy. 5) Gather more bricks, cuz you had no idea how many bricks this would take. 6) Repeat steps 2 through 5 till you are done.


My trusty companion, Ozzy, was there with me every step of the way. He’s just not helpful hauling bricks, either are my teenagers. But, that’s ok, I have muscles again. People ask me if my kids help me with these DIY projects, nope, I don’t ask them to help. In fact, I don’t want help this is therapy for me.


Chippy and moss covered bricks are the best! Sadly, this bed gets too much sun, and the moss has all died. No surprise there, that was fun while it lasted.


Once I removed all of the liriope and the brick wall built I filled it with a mixture of garden soil and mushroom compost.

Dirt Recipe: Mix one 40 pound bag of mushroom compost (0.5-0.5-0.2) with two bags of 55 dry quart garden soil.


Once I had my garden soil mix in place, I got to planting. I had bought two trays full on teeny perennials for a dollar each from my local garden store, Azalea Garden Center. They were yellow leafed, root bound, and water logged. Much like my bricks they were less than perfect.


I think there are some underlying clues to who I really am in this post. LOL! Even when I have the means to pay more for things, I choose to spend less and get more. I’ve always been a trash to treasure kinda gal.

I did lay down some hard earned cash for some Foxgloves and Verbascum, and various annuals. I also replanted a few things from the back yard. The peonies and lilies weren’t getting enough sun anymore and stopped blooming a few years ago. I hope that they make it, right now the peony is looking rough.


I generally go with all red flowers, so through in a whole lot of pink in the bed is a significant growth moment for me. Red has been my favorite color forever and ever. I never thought I would like the color pink so much. I blame Grace Bonney from Design Sponge and my dear friend Kerri from @MsThingSmith.

I’ve mixed in zinnias and coleuses into what will become a perennial bed. The annuals will help fill in the bed this year while those tiny $1.00 perennials fill in. I topped it all off with a thick layer of pine bark mulch, and I’m looking forward to watching it grow.


Next up, making the front porch pretty with a load of new pillows!



Make Art that Sells: May Assignment

This month’s assignment started off with roses; we were supposed to draw, illustrate, or paint roses. Really? Not a problem. My garden is filled with lovely roses. There are also roses filling up the alleys and my neighbor’s yards. Yes, I might have entered into a yard to photograph Michelle’s gorgeous pink roses without permission. She laughed when I told her that I broke in for artistic research purposes.

After sketching many versions of a rose, I opted to alter the photo’s that I took of Michelle’s pink roses in Adobe Illustrator. After using live trace to turn them into vectors, I recolor vector images with the Recolor Artwork tool. I just learned how to use the Recolor tool, and I was excited to try it out. That tool is so fun and a bit of a rabbit hole. I could play with that feature all darn day!


FINAL-COVER-Modern-June-Art-The big assignment was to combine our roses and a quote from Gertrude Jekyll to create a journal cover. Lilla Rogers always give us a long list of suggestions for us to use as inspiration, the one of which was vintage seed packets. Yes, yes, and yes!

This was the first Make Art that Sells project that I had a clear vision for, well for the most part. There were those two days when I wanted to take the 1915 rose grower catalog and merge it with a 1960’s travel poster. Those were two very frustrating days. Needless to say, I didn’t manage that.

The vintage garden catalogs and seed packets have the most amazing fonts. I love this one that I’m calling sticks, for the lack of something better. I’m finally comfortable with hand lettering.


Once I got the journal cover completed, I used the artwork to create a couple of repeating patterns that could be utilized as fabrics for all sorts of gardening surfaces. Aprons, gloves, and more! My Modern June apron patterns would look so beautiful made out of these fabrics.



I need to work on my mock up skills. I’m always rushing to get the comp completed before the deadline. I’ve promised myself to start looking into that early for the June and July project. Here is the washi tape mockup that I created, it’s fun even if it didn’t make the final comp.