Back in Business

For a few weeks now I have had issues with my website and the blogging page. Hopefully, this is in the past and if there are any other kinks maybe they will be minor.  I have missed blogging on a regular basis. There is so much going on here I feel like I have to type fast to get it all in.

Painting continues in all areas of the house, partially because I purchased two gallons of paint that were either the wrong color or wrong finish.  So instead of wasting them I decided to use them in different rooms.  At this point the kiddos guest room is painted and Andrew is installing the floor.  The cabinet that will house their books and toys has been chalk painted.  Bedding has been purchased.  If the floor is finished today, the furniture will go in tomorrow.  Yay!!

The floor is going in and looks beautiful with the wall color – Aleutian by Sherwin Williams.

Guest Room #1 (the first room I started) is on hold because Andrew is living in it.  However, I finished painting the crib ends that will become the headboard and that is almost ready to be installed.

Primer – then the semi-gloss

The hallway painting is almost finished.  The banister is a huge job and I am still working on the primer coat.  The doors and trim have all been primed so we are close to being finished with that.

Needs a little tweaking like outlet switch plates but I love it.

My coffee center is finished.  The walls were painted with Alabaster by Sherwin Williams and the shelves were stained with Medium Walnut Danish Oil.  Not only does it look great but it frees up my kitchen counters. The Pioneer Woman has some pretty mugs that would look so nice there (I just adore her products).  Things in the kitchen are beginning to feel more organized.

An antique coffee grinder finally has a home.

We received these Oma and Opa coffee mugs as gifts. The larger ones are from Taz.

This wooden bowl gets moved from room to room. Pumpkins and fall foliage bring the outdoors in.


Steve and I bought this bakers table in Hillsville, Virginia at least 20 years ago.

The cats have their own kitty cafe. Here is Apollo snacking. The first wooden bowl Steve made is their food bowl.

The electrician was here to install the panels in the workshop. Duke Power should be hooking us up to electricity soon.  The boys have purchased woodworking tools and have several prototypes ready.  We are preparing wooden serving trays to give away as promotional items to Fall church festivals.  And the list goes on and on…

Taz and Breezy seem to be getting over the crud which we have been giving each other back and forth for a month.  Runny noses and coughs are no fun.  Maybe the Elderberry Syrup I made helped make us all feel better.

Pictures are so much better than words so I hope you get an idea of what we have been working on.  I am glad to be back at work and am looking forward to sharing more Passion Flower Farm with you.

Share the passion,




Hello Again!

More than a week has gone by since the Alzheimer’s Walk to Remember in Greensboro, NC.  It was a great experience attended by so many personally affected by this disease. My dad and I made a poster to honor my mother and he carried it almost the whole way (we did the one mile walk). My dad’s knee has been bothering him since he climbed down a steep hill to pick a flower and had to climb back up on his hands and knees.  It was a purple Dutch iris – purple is the Alzheimer’s color, and Dutch iris grew  in their garden in New York. The iris is a spring flower. Our grief counselor said we should look for signs from my mother and I guess this was one of them.

We have all been suffering from a lousy cold and the cough just hangs on forever. I ordered dried elderberries for a recipe Sarah has for a Homemade Elderberry Syrup which is supposed to be a natural remedy for colds and the flu. I need to get going on that one.

Andrew and I have been coming up with some ideas for our online store. Some of the prototypes are really neat. We just have to figure out how to make them in a way that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. He is at a woodworking show in Hickory today and I know he saw a lot of things that excited him.  It’s wonderful to be excited about what you do for a living.  We are thinking shelving, frames made from repurposed woods like wormy chestnut, custom sized frames for those special gallery walls,  unusual wreaths and tableware.

I love repurposing items. A while ago I pulled Sophie’s old baby crib out of the scrap metal pile and decided to use the two end pieces to make a queen sized bed headboard. Sanding and painting is still going on but today should be the last coat. The paint I am using is Rust-oleum Flat Soft Iron.

I am getting up now to put another coat on it. Then making our Elderberry Syrup and Homemade Potato Soup.

Until tomorrow,




Yesterday something happened that I wanted to talk to my mom about.  I received a catalog from Country Curtains saying that they were going out of business. My mom and I have purchased curtains from this company for 30 years.  We devour the catalog and talk about the beautiful fabrics and which room we need to buy curtains for. I would call her and ask if her catalog came in the mail, and then the decorating would begin.

I still have the first curtains that I ever purchased from this company in 1981.  My bedroom curtains are Country Curtains that I purchased in 1986.  When we packed up my parents home so many of the curtains had their label.  We loved this company.  I am so sad they are closing.

My mom passed away almost three months ago and I still get that urge once in a while to tell her something.  However, yesterday was different.  I definitely felt a loss and the hole that her passing has left in my life.  Plus I realized that everyone grieves in their own way.  I am quiet and internal.  I avoid conversations about my mother and don’t care for people to show me sympathy.  Knowing my mother would want me to carry on gives me purpose.  So I do.

My dad needs something different.  He cries. He tears up when a memory is brought up.  He needs to talk about her and about their life together. He gave up the life he knew with her last November, and in July he lost her too.  So today I called Hospice of the Piedmont/Triad and asked to enroll him into grief counseling. It is another one of the services that Hospice provides to families.

This Saturday is the 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Guilford County, NC.  My family and I are walking to honor my mother.  Hopefully, money we raise will help find a cure for this horrible illness.

So now, I am opening my catalog and ordering some curtains that she would have liked for my guest room.  Miss you mom.





Baking and Painting

My back and legs are feeling the strain of the last few days. I have been painting.  The wainscoting in our playroom now has a coat of white primer.  My coffee center in the kitchen has a coat of white primer and my shelves are getting ready to be stained.  The stair banister has a coat of white primer as does the french door going to the dining room.   Little pinkish spots of terra cotta that were bleeding through the gray paint in the hallway have been painted over.  Yes, I have been painting.

Nothing makes a change in a room like paint. The room looks fresher and cleaner.  A painted room means something was accomplished.  Something or some things can be crossed off my list.  However, this was just the primer.  More painting ahead.

On Friday I took a break from all this painting and made Pumpkin Bread, which was delicious.  Everyone has their own favorite recipes and this was one I hadn’t made before.


Pumpkin Bread Recipe

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 T water
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup raisins (I used dried cranberries)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Turn into 2 greased 8 x 5 loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

I added a pinch of ground cloves just because I love the smell.



I also started a new Sourdough Starter.  I had gotten busy and didn’t feed the last one in time and it went flat.  Easy enough to start a new one which is what I love about my recipe.


Sophie and Conley were in Raleigh yesterday participating in the Autism Walk which is something they commit to every year.  The Greensboro  Alzheimer’s walk is this coming Saturday. Our team is growing and we are all excited about the opportunity to honor my mother in this way. There are so many great causes.  Pick one and dedicate yourself to it.

Family dinner will be a little different this afternoon.  My kitchen is torn up so we are getting pizza and eating at Zac and Sarah’s.  He has a hockey game tonight and we are going to watch him play.  Taz and Breezy will be there to cheer for their daddy and that will be fun to see too.

Enough of a break – I need to iron curtains and put them up.  Have a great rest of your Sunday!



Russian Tea

When I first moved to North Carolina in 1980 I was totally oblivious to southern traditions and customs and recipes.  All my life I lived in New York with German parents who came over in the 1950’s.  Moving to the south was like moving to a different country, and I struggled with everything.  Where was the corner deli with the hero sandwiches? I missed my bagel with butter for breakfast, Italian ices in the summer and creamy hot chocolates or cappuccinos in the winter. I was lost.

The weather turned cooler (below 70) and everyone began to talk about Russian Tea.  I was not a tea drinker so it held no interest for me.  However, once I smelled its spicy smell and tasted it I was hooked.  I make batches of it beginning in October and give away mason jars with the mixture every year at Christmas.

Russian Tea Recipe

  • 1/2 cup Tang
  • 1/2 cup Instant Tea
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 3 T. presweetened lemonade mix
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • (I usually double or triple this recipe)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and store in a jar with an airtight lid.  Add 2 tsp (or more to taste) per cup for hot tea.

Sophie already put her order in for a jar – its sitting here waiting for you….





Book Club


Our family made its own little book club – there are usually 5 or 6 of us reading the same book at any given time.  We choose our books based on dates of birth – Sophie is first because she is born in February, Sarah is a July baby and so on.  We had always skyped our end of book discussion which was difficult sometimes with everyone’s crazy schedule.  Tiffany lives in Oklahoma now so there is a time change and Gloria works Saturdays so we really struggle to skype our meeting. The last several books we read we did a text meeting – the facilitator would put up the question and we would text the answer based on our feelings on the book.

We have read some great ones that we loved like The Time Traveler’s Wife, Tuesdays with Morrie and The Book Thief.   I loved Girl on a Train and A Man Called Ove.  We all struggled with Wuthering Heights.  Sorry Tiffany!

Our latest book is Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah.  We have really dropped the ball on this one. School started, everyone got busy and after about 2 months we are still not finished.  Sarah returned her copy to the library unfinished.  Gloria bought her copy and is determined to read it and I am on chapter 14. These young girls with their busy lives are beginning to cramp my style – I need to connect with people while reading.

I just heard about a Global Book Club.  Its called Big Library Read.  This program is facilitated by Overdrive, and is a reading program through the library.  Readers throughout the world  can read the same eBook at the same time without any wait lists or holds.

I went to the Archdale Library because I just could not figure out how to get this eBook onto my I phone  – (I am of the typewriter generation – it takes me longer). Matt Shaw, Library Manager, and Rebecca Fleming, Asst. Manager explained the program to me and actually downloaded the Overdrive  app onto my phone for me and set me up.

The book beginning October 12 is The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti.  The website is where you will get a glimpse of the book, and an interview with the author. There is also a Discussion Guide and Author Letter available.  I also love the idea of downloading a book for 21 days and not having to drive to the library or buy another book.

What kind of books do you like to read?

September Give Away

The first Passion Flower Farm Give Away winners are:

Ellen Dale, Lancaster, SC

Joan Brady, Fort Mill, SC

Our third winner has not responded to me yet.  The email address begins rlarue…….  Please email your contact information  to so that I can send you your cloths. Continue reading

Chalk Paint is Wonderful!

Steve and I built some of our own furniture when we first were married. We built a sofa out of framing lumber and a twin mattress, a breakfast nook table out of a barrel and a hutch for the dining room. This hutch eventually was crackle painted and put in our kitchen. Remember crackle paint? Continue reading

September Give Away

Three winners have been chosen for my September give away! I am in the process of contacting these winners and will announce their names once they have given me permission.

I am working hard on an October give away. Details will be coming soon!

Thanks again for reading.