Decisions: To the Garden or the Sewing Room?

Each day I struggle with this decision.  Gloriosa lilies or Swiss batiste?  Weeding or smocking? Roses or lace?  Lately, more often than not, I have chosen the garden over the sewing room. Very soon here in Florida it will be too hot to do anything outside but suffer. Now is the time to garden. But still, my sewing room calls.

Okay, so I have done a little sewing on the spa wraps for Laurel’s spa-tacular 8th birthday party next week.  But mostly, I have sewn at night. I finished the first wrap in the wee hours this morning.


spa wrap all


Because there are 9 party guests,  I still have 8 to make.  These are not difficult, but the sequence of steps is important.  Now that I have that figured out, the  rest should go together fairly quickly. Then  10 matching doll wraps must be made.

That makes 20 white towel projects, more than enough to qualify for White Wednesday at Faded Charm.  Check out this beautiful site.


A wrap close


Except for the velcro and the 10 white bath towels, all the materials were on hand.  Each wrap will have a gingham ruffle, but the ribbon may be lime green or aqua or red.  This should make a dent in my ribbon stash.

Spring in Florida is always a glorious time, but with the drought and cool weather, it has come later this year.

For those readers who are gardeners, the remainder of this post is a tour of my yard and a peek at this Florida spring.


It took several years to train this jasmine to climb up the tree. Now, it climbs a few feet each year.  We need to edge the driveway.

It took several years to train this jasmine to climb up the tree. Now, it climbs a few feet each year. We need to edge the driveway.


The sweet, heavy scent of the Confederate jasmine covers the wrought iron porch rail and climbs up several palm trees.  Its perfume is a constant distraction when I try to get anything accomplished in the house.


jasmine rail

The perfume from the jasmine is just heavenly.


Bob and I often sit on the porch after dinner and enjoy the scent and the mild spring weather.  I just planted purple torenia in the little pots on the tables but they aren’t blooming yet.


front porch


My Knockout roses in the front did, indeed, knock themselves out at Easter, as seen in this photo with grandchildren Robert and Laurel.   But today they are nearly flowerless as they quietly grow the next flush of blossoms.  Now they need rose food, deadheading and more pruning.  That takes time away from sewing.




Our bougainvilleas froze to the ground this winter.  They required a lot of careful pruning–they have vicious 2″ thorns– and training the canes back up against the trellis.  I doubted they would recover from the freeze, but in just 3 short months this is how it has grown!


bouganvillia red

This bougainvillea is just outside my sewing room window and at one end of the back porch.

I look out at these beauties as I stitch in my sewing room.



Another frozen bougainvillea at the other end of the back porch.


This one also froze and recovered beautifully.  Our kitchen table is just inside the window on the left.  So we look out at these when we are eating.


Tausendschon climbing rose

Tausendschon climbing rose


I love antique roses like this climbing Tausendschon.  They are disease resistant just plain tough.  There was a row of trellis above the garage fascia board for the rose to grip. But just before the rose came into full bloom, a powerful, windy storm blew it and the trellis off the roof.  It bent all the way down to the ground so I was afraid the canes would break before we got it back in place.


garage rose side

A birds’ nest is tucked in the canes, just under the overhang.


Bob used the loader on his tractor to lift the canes up while I pulled ropes.  Then he climbed on the roof and tied to big screws he put up there. It was a little peaked looking for a day or so, but then it was just fine. But a lot of buds were lost in the collapse.

About two weeks after we got the climbing rose tied back up, I reached up to cut a few sprigs for use in the house.  A furious mama bird flew out of her nest and squawked at me from the Surinam cherry hedge nearby.  Didn’t she pick a lovely spot for her home?

In the bed below the rose there are/were poinsettias.  I just pruned them and have the cuttings potted in the shed.  They will grow back quickly, but it surely is a barren and ugly bed now.


Bob built this for me many years ago. I love spending time there.

Bob built this for me many years ago. I love spending time there.


Little Gem Magnolia tree When this Little Gem Magnolia tree was planted 6 years ago, it came just to the top of the breakfast porch screen.  It has really grown.

Little Gem Magnolia tree 


When this Little Gem Magnolia tree was planted 6 years ago, it came just to the top of the breakfast porch screen. It has really grown and blooms profusely.


magnolia blossome 2


The side yard still needs a lot of work.  The white Mandevilla that climbed over the arch froze so we have replaced that.  Fortunately, it grows quickly.


side yard gate

I love the glossy leaves and white flowers against the black iron. The one on the left is coming back, but it is spindly.


side yard swing


I’ve still got to plant the pots on the tables with white impatiens and plant some around the oak tree behind the chairs.  The children loved to swing here but the seat is too short and their legs are too long.  Bob has to shorten the ropes.

Usually, the planters on the walkway between the garage and the wash house are filled with coleus.  But this year the garden shops didn’t have the colors I wanted so I am trying caladiums.




They were leggy when I planted them, but the new growth is standing up nicely.


orchids 2


My daughter gave me this orchid almost 5 years ago and it has never bloomed.  Suddenly, this spring, it sprouted four flower shoots, from 3-5′ long!  The tiny yellow orchids are just gorgeous.


orchids 2


The next time we have guests, I am going to put it in a more prominent place, where it can be seen more easily.

Then there are the gloriosa lilies and white bleeding hearts, passion vine  and so much more.  But I’m sure you’ve had more than your fill and are ready to get off this cyber tour bus.

This post is an effort to explain why the blog posts have been behind schedule.  My spade will soon be put down and the needle will be picked up.   Then I’ll be holed up in the sewing room for the summer, just like a bear hibernates in the winter.

I hope you are having a beautiful spring in your area.

12 responses to “Decisions: To the Garden or the Sewing Room?

  1. The spa wrap is just adorable, what a sweet Nana you are! It’s probably better to get the gardening done while you can. I face the same decision; I should garden in the morning when it’s cool, but I never want to until the afternoon. Then I have to slather sunscreen on and work in the heat. Your garden is lovely, although I do draw the line at bougainvilleas. The one lime tree and the few roses I have left have enough thorns for me.

  2. Thanks for the sweet comments, Cynthia. Aren’t we lucky to live in a climate where we can grow things like limes and tangerines? We live in paradise.

  3. Janice, I love your spa wraps! Those girls are going to have the BEST party. And please share the name of that embroidery font, with the ric-rac and the hearts.

  4. I love those spa wraps! You are a wonderful grandma and are making wonderful memories for both you and Laurel. I enjoyed the tour of your beautiful lawn. I don’t garden any more. I used to grow daylilies and had over 200 varieties, but the beds just got too hard for me to keep. We have bermuda grass in our yard and that stuff just spreads like crazy. I could work 8 hours a day out there and still couldn’t keep up with it. So finally I just gave up and mowed all the lilies down. Makes me sad to think about that day. But it was killing me. And besides, I had no time or energy to sew!

  5. I’m sorry you gave up gardening, Merry Gay, though I surely understand. I love daylilies! On our way to teach at one of the earliest Martha Pullen schools with my friend Mary Hale Hoffmann, we stopped to visit her grandmother in Montgomery, AL. “Nonnie” was president of the local daylily society and had a gorgeous garden filled with hundreds of daylilies. She had one, a cultivar I think she called it, that she had developed and named for her first grandchild, Mary. Her deep South dining room table was set with lovely china and a daylily in a tiny vase at each place setting. It was so pretty. But sewing generates pretty things too, and they last longer.

  6. Jo, the rick rack font is a combination of designs. The original font, rick rack jelly bean, is from one of my favorite sites, 5 Star Fonts. I removed the beans and added hearts that I extracted from a Zundt Designs Valentine design, a bouquet of tiny hearts. I’m making up another rick rack monogram with butterflies, and one more with tiny flip flops. Fun!

  7. You are a wonderful grandmother Janice, those spa wraps are beautiful. I know Laurel is enjoying sewing with you and the fact that you can help her create beautiful things. I loved the tour of your yard, it is beautiful. I too struggle with gardening or sewing and lately the gardening has won. My FIL passed away recently and I would love to try to transplant a cutting from his magnolia tree; what is your secret? Did you use root tone? Thanks.

  8. So I’m not the only one gardening instead of sewing! In Alabama, you have to garden early or fight the heat, just like we do in Florida. I’m sorry about your FIL’s passing. A tree is a really meaningful remembrance. Our baby magnolia was just a seedling we spotted under the tree. It was less than a foot tall when we transplanted it, so it will be a lonnnnnng time before it has any size. But it’s fun to watch. Our magnolias are blooming now. When yours are, if you can reach any seed heads that come after the flowers, let them dry and plant the seeds. Ours just volunteered, sprouted up in a bed of dense monkey grass. So with a little TLC, a seed should germinate easily. Good luck. And thanks for your compliments, Betty. I do appreciate it.

  9. I’m not only gardening this year and loving it, I’m painting… I save my sewing for nights! I love the spa wraps! They turned out cute!!! You home looks lovely, I loved visiting you!!! Miss you!

  10. I loved the pictures of your vegetable garden on your blog. It looked like a how-to picture in a gardening book. Chocolate is the only thing better than garden fresh vegetables. Lucky you!

  11. Thanks for the info Janice, the tree is in bloom now so I will watch for the seeds and try my luck; I thought about taking cuttings and try to root them but when I read about how to do that I decided not to try it, LOL. It is so hot here already but I am determined to get the gardening finished so I can sew. I am having serious withdrawal from my sewing.

  12. Hello,
    I love the spa wraps you made! Unfortunately I am not very crafty and wondered if you could share how you made them, as I’m planning a 5th b-day spa party for my daughter.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!! 🙂

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