Archive for September, 2019

Poll: Favorite Trick or Treat Candy

You can answer this one of two ways – what candy you choose to distribute to deserving trick-or-treaters…or what candy you selfishly hoard and eat all by yourself.

Because we both know the ANSWER IS THE SAME.

Thanks for taking the poll!

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It’s Good, Yah. Yah, It’s Good. For @BevieBJones

I’m dying. LOL.
Grab your bowl of cereal and enjoy!

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, audio version

I imagine most of us know the Disney cartoon based on this famous story by Washington Irving, but have you ever read or listened to the original version?

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a short story that was published in 1820. The setting is Tarrytown, New York, which is near the Hudson River. I worked in that town once, and I can tell you it is beautiful in the fall. There is an old Dutch graveyard there, and it is reputedly where the infamous bridge of the story was located. I visited there once in October and enjoyed a quiet, autumn afternoon there; the foliage was stunning. Now, Sleepy Hollow has a Halloween festival and I imagine it is more crowded and less tranquil!

I bought this beautiful version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow at Barnes and Noble. I enjoyed reading it, although it took me a little time to get accustomed to the elaborate, though often amusing, prose. But I was glad to read it in it’s entirety. Also, isn’t the binding gorgeous?

Here are two audio versions I found on YouTube to share. The first is a simplified and abridged version that is read at a slower pace. It is intended for early English learners, but I think children would also enjoy this version. I like it, as well. It is produced by Voice of America. Take a listen…

The second version is a Librivox reading of the original, unabridged story. Since this is in the public domain, you can download the file from the website (link in the description) for free, if you like. This version is nearly an hour and a half long, If you are pressed for time, maybe you could listen to the story in the car while commuting or traveling, or while making jewelry, knitting or doing some routine task.

Let me know what you think of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

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Fun stuff to do this weekend in NoVa Sept. 27 – 29

Saturday, September 28

Sunday, September 29

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A 3-minute animated short on autumn

low light photography of dried maple leaf

Photo by Vlad Bagacian on

Fall is here and I am glad. I love fall.

Here is a sort little animated film — no words — about autumn. It’s hard for me to describe, but if you watch it, I think you’ll like it.

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Make an autumn bracelet

fall stone jewelry

I have two main hobbies – collecting rocks and making jewelry, especially bracelets. Stretchy bracelets are easy to make and easy to wear. I picked out some natural stones in fall colors to inspire your own creations.

Here are some stones that remind me of fall…

Mookaite is a jasper stone that comes in a variety of colors, like mustard yellow, burgundy, cream and plum. It is opaque. The colors remind me a little of Washington’s favorite football team! Mookaite comes from Australia. Some associate it with stability. You can buy strands of mookaite chip beads and nugget beads at Michael’s craft store.

Carnelian is an orange to crimson stone. It is translucent. You can buy nugget beads of carnelian at A.C. Moore and other stores. Some believe carnelian is an energizing stone that can make you feel creative and confident.

Citrine is a pale yellow to golden yellow stone. It is translucent. You can buy chip beads or nugget beads at Michael’s, and larger nugget beads at A.C. Moore. Some believe citrine fosters happiness and attracts financial prosperity.

Tiger eye is an opaque, caramel brown and dark brown stone. You can buy chip beads and round beads of tiger eye at Michael’s and A.C. Moore. Some think tiger eye has protective qualities and can relieve anxiety.

Here are some sample project ideas…

For this mookaite bracelet, I used a strand of mookaite chip beads and a strand of tiny, faceted, glass beads in a bronze tone, both from Michaels, and simply interspersed them. Chip bead bracelets are a little more time consuming because the beads are so small but I love the look.

For this carnelian and citrine bracelet, I strung 14 carnelian nuggets, 2 gold daisy spacers, and 5 citrine nuggets. I purchased the beads at A.C. Moore. This was a fast and easy design to make.

For this dainty bracelet, I made of pattern of 4 mm tiger eye beads, 6 mm sunstone beads and tiny, faceted glass beads in a pale golden hue. I bought all three bead strands at Michael’s.

Time to make: 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on complexity and experience level.


  • A pair of scissors.
  • A ruler or measuring tape to measure how long your beads are (you’ll want to make a string of about 7 inches, more or less, depending on wrist size).
  • A good light source and reading glasses, if you need them for close work. I get my reading glasses at Dollar Tree.
  • A roll of stretchy clear elastic cord, e.g., Stretch Magic, .5 mm to .8 mm. You can find this at Walmart and crafts stores. Craft stores often offer 40% off coupons and you can use that to buy your stretch elastic.
  • A small to medium binder clip. You use this to clip onto one end of the elastic as you are stringing beads so the beads don’t fall off.
  • Jewelry glue or E-6000 glue. You use this to put a dot of glue on the knot you make in the bracelet to give it extra security from breaking and falling apart.
  • Assorted beads in fall colors. For this project, I used real stones, fresh water pearls and glass beads, but you could use any type you like.
    • Michael’s often sells their beads for 40% to 70% off retail (regular retail is usually about $3 to $10 for a set of strands).
    • I like the 3 for $10 stone bead strands sold by A.C. Moore.
    • JoAnn Fabrics beads are beautiful and go on sale frequently. The cream colored pearls in the first picture above are from this store.
    • Walmart offers small packets of beads for 98 cents each in their craft section, often in seasonal colors. Sometimes these packs get marked down to 3 cents a piece! I have found some beautiful glass lamp work and interesting acrylic beads this way.
  • Spacer beads, such as gold, bronze or silver tone daisy beads, balls or other metal beads.
  • If you like, metal charms to add onto the bracelet for interest. Walmart sells a darling set of 6 woodland-themed, silver-tone charms that would look well on fall bracelets.
  • A sheet of white felt to work on. This will keep your beads from sliding off your work surface and provides a blank “canvas” for colors, like the one in the photo above. You can also select a sheet of felt in your skin tone, if you prefer. Individual felt sheets are sold at crafts stores for less than a dollar.
  • Containers to hold beads. You can use bowls, a muffin tin or a plastic deviled egg platter to keep beads separated by color and design. I love using my Dollar Tree egg plate for this project!
  • Optional: a lidded container with compartments for your leftover beads (or just put them in plastic resealable bags).
  • Optional: a bracelet bead design board with different wrist widths. Sold at craft stores and Walmart. Look for the gray, flocked one. They cost less than $3 from Fire Mountain Gems and about $5 at Michael’s and Walmart. It’s handy when you’re making bracelets for friends with different size wrists and it helps you arrange your beads, like a palette.




  1. Sort some of your beads into cups, on your felt or on your design board to design your bracelet and arrange the beads.
  2. Cut about a 10-inch length of elastic cord.
  3. Pre-stretch the cord a bit.
  4. Clip the binder clip to one end of the strand so the beads don’t fall off.
  5. Slip on your beads in your desired pattern. Add metal tone spacers, pearls charms, or contrasting colors of beads for interest.
  6. Measure your strand to about 7 inches (depending on wrist size).
  7. Slip the beads to the middle so that both “empty” ends are about the same length. Carefully remove the binder clip while firmly holding both ends.
  8. Tie a square knot three or more times. Alternatively, tie a surgeon’s knot.
  9. If desired, add a dot of glue to the knot and let dry overnight.
  10. Trim excess cord with scissors.

This video demonstrates this technique:

Alternatively, I like this no-glue technique because you cannot see the knot at all. However, although this technique makes a sturdy, nice-looking bracelet, it does not work so well for smaller hole beads, such as are found in freshwater pearls. You would need some tiger tail/wire strand for your “needle,” such as Beadalon 7-strand beading wire. I recommend using no thicker than .5 mm beading cord, since you will be doubling the strand through the bead hole. I found that if I watched this video carefully and paused it, I could manage the steps of this more complex knotting process…but the results were beautiful!

Do you make bracelets? Do you have any tips to share? Write them in the comments, please!


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September Flower Garden Tips

Do you have a flower garden or maybe a container garden? If so, you’ll want to check out these tips from your friends at Merrifield Garden Center. September is a good time to…

  • Take cuttings of your tender annuals, such as basil, begonia, coleus and geraniums. Root them in water or potting mix to grow indoors over the winter.
  • Replace summer annuals with asters, chrysanthemum or pansies.
  • After you plant fall flowers, apply weed preventer to the landscape beds to prevent chickweed, bittercress and other weeds from taking over.

You also might be interested in these free, upcoming gardening workshops.

Fall and Winter Container Gardens. Saturday, September 21, 10 am – 11:30 am. Merrifield Garden Center, Fair Oaks location.

The Pollinator-Friendly Garden. Saturday, September 28, 10 am – 11:30 am. Merrifield Garden Center, Fair Oaks location.

I think I’ll go to the first workshop. I spoke with a Merrifield gardener about planting pansies when you don’t have a yard. She told me that pansies like sun (my patio is sunny) and they would do well in a container. The important thing to remember is to keep the soil moist (if there has not been rain) because plants in containers can easily become too dry.

Pansies provide fall color well into the winter, she told me. After the first frost, they die back, but they come back for an encore in the spring, which lasts until about May.

I also asked about the mums in pots. A few times, I have bought a plastic pot of mums from Walmart and put them on my patio, but they never seemed to last very long, so I asked why. She said it was because mums actually do better when taken out of the pots they are sold in and planted in the ground.

That’s the nice thing about Merrifield Garden Center. There’s always someone around to ask advice.

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Etsy Fall Faves You Didn’t Know You Wanted

Happy Autumnal Equinox! Today is the first day of fall and we get about 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of nighttime.

I say we celebrate! Let’s have pumpkin spice lattes and wear flannel shirts (okay, maybe not, it’s supposed to be 90 degrees today!) Well, let’s think about those things.

And in the spirit of fall, I roamed Etsy and found these wonderful autumnal things. That you didn’t know you wanted. But now you do. You’re welcome!


Come back tomorrow and I’ll show you how to make some fall jewelry.



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Fall Finds at Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrell Autumn wreath

Biscuits would be enough.

Biscuits would be enough to make me want to visit Cracker Barrel.

But the old-country-store-style chain, with 645 stores in 44 states, also has a gift area, with a variety of fun, seasonal gifts and treats. And fall is no exception! I visited Saturday and took some pictures of items I thought you would enjoy.




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Tips for lawn care in September

Happy Friday! I figure many of you will be working in your yards this weekend, so I thought I would share these lawn care tips from your friends at Merrifield Garden Center.

September is a good time to…

  • Repair those unsightly bare patches in your lawn by overseeding. How to: aerate the ground, put down seed, and topdress with compost.
  • Fertilize newly seeded lawns with seed-starting lawn food.
  • Fertilize established lawns with with lawn food.
  • You will want to fertilize your lawns 2 to 3 times between September and November.
  • Prevent winter weeds from germinating. How to: apply a weed preventer to your lawn if you are not putting down seed.

To learn more, read “Turf Tips: Seeding and Fertilizing Your Lawn.” And check back in October when I share some tips about dealing with fall leaves.


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