Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cajun Corner - Vol. 4, No.31

Cajun Corner – Vol. 4, No. 31 – August 19, 2012

Bon Jour!  Welcome to Cajun Stitchery’s weekly email and welcome to our family.


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Wow!  Is there some sort of record being set by all of the rain this summer here in Pensacola?  Other parts of the nation are suffering from drought, but not Pensacola.  It has been nice not having to water the garden much, though.  Florida is so funny about rain.  We had one shower where half of the deck was wet with rain and the other half was completely dry.

Speaking of the garden, our first tomato of the season has arrived. It is a tiny cherry tomato.  The tomato plants are large and lush.  Maybe we will have a bumper crop.  The cherry tomato is in our experimental garden.  It is a plant that just happened to grow on its own.  Neither George nor I remember planting it.  It is probably left over from last year.  However, we have about 4 tomato plants in another area of the garden that are “Beefsteak” tomatoes.  One of those plants I purchased as a seedling from an organic farm near Huntsville, Alabama.  I asked the owner why my tomato is lush and green but no tomatoes.  She said that Pensacola’s summers are too hot.  In order for the tomatoes to appear the temperature needs to be 85 degrees or less.  We will probably get tomatoes this fall.  I sure hope they really do grow to be beefsteak size, instead of our usual cherry tomatoes.

The yard long green beans are growing and we are harvesting them.  The bell peppers are now being harvested, as well.  The spinach isn’t doing very well, but that is a cool weather plant and it is probably just too hot for them.  Onions and garlic are also doing great.

Watermelons, cantaloupe, squash, and cucumbers always seem to have a difficult time in our garden.  I sure wish we knew the trick for growing those.

The herbs are so easy to grow and require very little care.  This year has really been the stevia year.  Those plants just keep on giving.  The apple and chocolate mint plants are thriving and are very easy to propagate.

Ginger is another star this year.  A few years back George planted several different types of ginger.  They grew. They are beautiful.  One day this year I asked him which of the ginger plants is edible.  Neither of us knew the answer.  So, George went to the grocery store and purchased edible ginger root and we have planted it.  We need to put a big sign around that plant saying “this is the edible one”.  We are still waiting for the plant to emerge.  Early this past spring a ginger plant popped up in our experimental garden.  Then another popped up.  We have no idea how they got there.  Maybe a bird dropped a seed.  Nevertheless, they seem to be thriving in their corner of the garden.

Awhile back we had horseradish growing.  We don’t use a lot of ginger in our food, but horseradish is something that we love to use in flavoring.  The horseradish grew but we never knew when to harvest.  Then it went away, never to be seen again.  So, while at the store getting the ginger, George also purchased a horseradish root and we have planted that, as well.

Enough talk about gardening.  Let’s talk about embroidery.  Lately, I’ve been trying to collect line drawings of heirloom monograms and designs.  I had pictures of designs but it is so difficult to digitize a photo when it is white on white.  My problem is that when you are looking at a photo and it is the same color, and it is swirls and vines and kind of art deco, I end up staring and saying “what is that?”  Once I digitize over the picture, I cannot see under the digitizing.  In order to see the original design, I have to go to a separate screen with the picture.  So, I came to a conclusion that practice makes perfect and I should start digitizing with simple designs and graduate to these more ornate and distorted designs. 

This week there was a rush order on a continuous hoop design.  It worked!  I believe the design was continued 9 times.  I think it turned out pretty good.  

I’m starting to get a grip on the boring needle designs and holes.  As with everything in fine embroidery, it takes time, but we can do it.

A gentleman contacted us for 72 – 144 ball caps.  The design is his fraternity crest.  I ordered the design digitized.  On ball caps the design cannot be taller than 2 inches and sometimes less than that.  A visor design can only be about 1-1.5 inches tall.  We are talking very small designs.  It is not easy to put a lot of detail into that small of a space.  We have gone back and forth with the digitizer trying to get a more readable design.  I really think that the end result is going to be that it is too small to read the year and Greek lettering clearly.  But I have seen this digitizer work miracles with a design.

George has always been my ball cap and visor guy.  I had never embroidered on a cap or visor.  We decided that it was time that I learned on the new machine, Clothilde.  It was a piece of cake.  I watched, repeatedly, a video that came with the machine about hooping and embroidery on ball caps.  This machine is so much easier than Boudreaux.   I don’t think I would even attempt this kind of embroidery on Boudreaux.  George is definitely the king of that machine.  I still need a lot of practice.

Have a wonderful week.

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Taken from

Huey Pierce Long, Jr. (August 30, 1893 – September 10, 1935), nicknamed The Kingfish, served as the 40th Governor of Louisiana from 1928–1932 and as a U.S. Senator from 1932 to 1935. A Democrat, he was noted for his radical populist policies. Though a backer of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1932 presidential election, Long split with Roosevelt in June 1933 and planned to mount his own presidential bid for 1936.

Long created the Share Our Wealth program in 1934 with the motto "Every Man a King", proposing new wealth redistribution measures in the form of a net asset tax on corporations and individuals to curb the poverty and homelessness endemic nationwide during the Great Depression. To stimulate the economy, Long advocated federal spending on public works, schools and colleges, and old age pensions. He was an ardent critic of the Federal Reserve System's policies. Charismatic and immensely popular for his programs and willingness to take forceful action, Long was accused by his opponents of dictatorial tendencies for his near-total control of the state government.

A leftist populist, he was preparing to challenge FDR's reelection in 1936 in alliance with radio's influential Catholic priest Charles Coughlin, or run for president in 1940 when Franklin Roosevelt was expected to retire. However, Long was assassinated in 1935; his national movement faded, while his state organization continued in Louisiana.

Long expanded state highways, hospitals and educational institutions. His governance has had critics and supporters, debating whether he was a dictator, demagogue or populist.[1]

  1. Mulch your flower beds and trees with 3" of organic material - it conserves water, adds humus and nutrients, and discourages weeds. It gives your beds a nice, finished appearance.

    2. Mulch acid-loving plants with a thick layer of pine needles each fall. As the needles decompose, they will deposit their acid in the soil.

    3. The most important step in pest management is to maintain healthy soil. It produces healthy plants, which are better able to withstand disease and insect damage.

    4. Aphids? Spray infested stems, leaves, and buds with a very dilute soapy water, then clear water. It works even on the heaviest infestation.

    5. Compost improves soil structure, texture, and aeration, and increases the soil's water holding capacity. It also promotes soil fertility and stimulates healthy root development.

    6. Look for natural and organic alternatives to chemical fertilizers, such as the use of compost. Our use of inorganic fertilizer is causing a toxic buildup of chemicals in our soil and drinking water.

    7. When buying plants for your landscape, select well-adapted plant types for your soil, temperature range, and sun or shade exposure.

8. Landscaping your yard is the only home improvement that can return up to 200% of your original investment.

9. Plant trees! They increase in value as they grow and save energy and money by shading our houses in the summer, and letting the sun shine through for warmth in the winter.

10. Think of trees and their locations as the walls and roofs of our outdoor rooms, when you are planning their locations and sizes.

11. Grass won't grow? Find an appropriate ground cover for the exposed earth and fill the problem space, creating an interesting bed shape.

12. Plant vines on walls, fences, and overhead structures for quick shade, vertical softening, and colorful flower displays.

13. If gourmet cooking is in your plans, organically grown herbs make wonderful landscape plants. They flavor foods, provide medicinal properties, and offer up fragrances. And most thrive on neglect.

14. Shade gardens are low maintenance - they require less watering, slower growth, and fewer weeds to fight.

15. Everyone loves flowers! Annuals are useful for a splash of one-season color. But since replacing them each year is expensive, concentrate them in just a few spots.

16. There is no need to work the soil deeply when adding compost or soil amendments. Eighty five percent of a plant's roots are found in the top 6" of soil.

17. The best organic matter for bed preparation is compost made from anything that was once alive, for example leaves, kitchen waste, and grass clippings.

18. Dig an ugly hole when planting a tree or shrub. A hole with "glazed" sides from a shovel will restrict root penetration into the surrounding soil.

19. Planting from plastic containers? Carefully remove the plant and tear the outside roots if they have grown solidly against the container.

20. Think of mulching as "maintaining the forest floor": add 1" to 3" of compost or mulch to planting beds each year.

21. Natural fertilizers, compost and organic materials encourage native earthworms. Earthworms are nature's tillers and soil conditioners, and manufacture great fertilizer.

22. Bare soil should not be visible around a new planting. Always cover with a layer of mulch, any coarse-textured, loose organic material.

23. Think "biodiversity". Using many different kinds of plants encourage many different kinds of beneficial insects to take up residence in your yard.

24. Organic pest control is a comprehensive approach instead of a chemical approach. Create a healthy biodiversity so that the insects and microbes will control themselves. Using natural products and building healthy soil is the best long-term treatment for pests.

25. Weeds? Spot-spray with common full-strength household vinegar, on a sunny day. It's an organic weed killer that's safe for you and the environment.

26. Mulch! The rain and irrigation water runs off the land, eroding and depleting your unprotected soil.

27. Residential users of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides apply more pounds per acre of these chemicals then farmers do. As these pollutants run off, they harm aquatic life and contaminate the food chain. If you keep your soil healthy, you won't require chemical fertilizers.

28. Some mulching benefits are protection of roots from the sun's heat, and protection of plant crowns from winter cold.

29. To prevent diseases and pest infestation, avoid piling mulch against tree trunks. Spread mulch out as far as the drip line.

30. For effective weed control use a layer of coarse mulch 3" or more in depth. Some hardy grasses may need to be rooted out for successful removal.

31. For a good start, water the ground thoroughly before and after applying a mulch cover.

32. Use plants in your landscape that are either native to your area, or were imported from areas with similar climate and soil. They require a lot less water and care, and won't die off in the winter.

33. Compost is what happens when leaves, grass clippings, vegetable and fruit scraps, woodchips, straw, and small twigs are combined, then allowed to break down into a soil-like texture. Use it instead of commercial fertilizers.

34. Formal gardens are for you if you love symmetry. They work best around a focal point like a fountain, sculpture, specimen tree, or group of plants.

35. Some flowers, including sweet peas, iris, foxglove, amaryllis, lantana, lupines, clematis, dature, poinsettia, and oleander, are poisonous.

36. When buying annuals or perennials, select plants that are budded but not yet in bloom, so their energy the first two or three weeks in your garden will be directed toward making larger and stronger plants with better-developed root systems.

37. To increase water conservation, look for drought-resistant plants. Usually these plants have silver leaves, deep taproots and small leaves. Succulents are also able to withstand dry weather.

38. When planting, take into consideration the plant's size at maturity. Layer by height and bloom time for emphasis and constant color.

39. Soaker hoses deliver water directly to the base of the plant, reducing moisture loss from evaporation. Early morning is the best time of day to water.

40. Compost balances both acid and alkaline soils, bringing PH levels into the optimum range for nutrient availability. It contains micronutrients such as iron and manganese that are often absent in synthetic fertilizers.

41. Avoid frequent, deep cultivation, which can damage plant roots, dry out the soil, disturb healthy soil organisms, and bring weed seeds to the surface where they will germinate.

42. Use the least-disruptive and least-polluting protections against a pest. Try the following methods as applicable: first physical removal, barriers, and traps; next, biological controls; then, appropriate botanical and mineral pesticides.

43. Red, orange, and yellow in your landscape will draw the eye and bring objects closer. To make a small garden feel larger, place warm colors in the front of the space and cool colors in the back.

44. Cover street noise - sound pollution can be minimized by the use of water features, such as a waterfall, or a pond with a fountain jet. Wind chimes also help, as can bird feeders that attract songbirds.

45. Newly planted trees need supplemental water to avoid transplant shock, so water deeply on a weekly basis throughout the growing season. 

46. Give order to your garden by defining the boundaries with fences, stone walls, or hedges. Include paths for movement.

47. Less than 2 percent of the insects in the world are harmful. Beneficial insects such as ground beetles, ladybugs, fireflies, green lacewings, praying mantis, spiders, and wasps keep harmful insects from devouring your plants. They also pollinate your plants and decompose organic matter.

48. Plant newly purchased plants during the late evening or on a cloudy day. They have a much better chance of surviving if planted during cloudy, rainy weather than dry, sunny weather.

49. Compost introduces and feeds diverse life in the soil, including bacteria, insects, worms, and more, which support vigorous plant growth.

50. Bright light washes out the cool colors, blue, green, and purple. They are best used in shaded areas for maximum impact.

C’est tout, mes amis

Peggy Henshall

Cajun Stitchery

(850) 261-2462

P.S.  You are always welcome to stop by and look at all of the catalogs and pass some time with me, cher.

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