Historic Garden Lima Bean … Sieva Carolina Baby Limas

This wonderful and hard to find bean was grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. According to their website, “Lima beans were a hot-weather favorite of Thomas Jefferson, who sowed them yearly from 1809-1824. Monticello’s gardener, Robert Bailey, saved seed of White Carolina beans in 1794. Also known as Sieva, this variety is small and delicately-flavored. Originally from South America and grown by Virginia native tribes, lima beans were also called “bushel,” “sugar,” or “butter” beans in the 1700s.”

Very happy to be able to offer this year at CherryGal.com. Its been several years since it has been available in organic form. SIEVA CAROLINA LIMA BEAN, also known as Carolina Butter Bean, is a Southern heirloom with excellent flavor and dark green 9′-10′ vines. Sieva Carolina bears even during extreme heat, which is why it is a native in this Southern region. Pole habit. 60-75 days.

Limited Supply so don’t wait!

Get Your 2018 Gardens Started …

A wonderful DISCOUNT opportunity for your 2018 garden. CherryGal.com’s 2018 Organic Heirloom Seeds are now available! I gather rare and unusual selections of organic heirloom vegetables, herbs and flowers for your garden, all packaged in small sizes and prices for the home gardener. Here is just a sampling of my 2018 offerings!

Rare and unusual seeds such as the French Crystalline Ice Plant, much prized by high end chefs for its unique presentation and flavor …

Beautiful garden flowers such as the Mother of Pearl Shirley Poppy….

Ed’s Red Shallot, the only shallot you can grow from seed!

Filderkraut Cabbage, huge pointy heads up to 10 lbs each, so sweet and flavorful they have their own festivals in Germany.

Morado Purple Corn, a popular South American treat for making of ChiChi Morado drinks during holidays.

North Carolina heritage varieties such as Sieva Carolina Pole Baby Lima Beans – a truly rare variety grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.

All manner of heritage vegetables and an enormous range of culinary and medicinal herbs!

I will also be offering selected herb plants and strawberry plants, as well as decorated Fit Of Pique Garden Pots and Strawberry Jars in the Spring at the Farmers Market beginning in April.

But to get you started now, I am offering a special discount of 20% off any Garden Heirlooms order over $50. Just use the code SeedStart2018 – and you can use as many times as you like until it expires January 10.


Deborah Phillips



Shards of grief

Buttons of joy

Jewels of friendship

Glass through image

Color reflects and resonates but

Form, form is everything

Images sing

Glue … of life … love

Broken, yes.

Truth, yes.

Rearranged, with purpose.

Rearranged to harmony

Mastic of Faith

Holds tight

Framed but not bound

Living a new life

Beauty for now

Fodder for tomorrow

To be taken up


With purpose and love.

– Deborah Phillips, 2017

Purple … 2018 Color of the Year

Fit Of Pique Six Sweet Kitties

Purple’s back baby! I have always loved the color but shied away from it until I turned 60. Then I figured, I’m old enough to wear purple now ha ha!

Well, a shade of purple — Ultra Violet to be exact, which is a purple highlighter shade — has just been named Color Of The Year by The Pantone Color Institute, the trendsetter for fashion and style in clothing, homes and even food!

Several weeks ago I wore a shade of purple jacket to church and my priest remarked it was “the royal color.” I hadn’t thought of it that way, but politely demonstrated my “royal wave.” To me, the color — in all its shades and tones — represented a flamboyance. Which is why, in my long years in corporate fashion hell, I never wore it. But now I have some version of it in almost half of my closet, including my underwear drawer.

A wonderful article in today’s New York Times lays out the history and composition of the color, from ancient times to today. I recommend it – a quick read which will enrich your understanding of purple and all its cousins.

If you are interested, the Fit Of Pique frame illustrated here, Six Sweet Kitties, utilizes two shades: Lavender Lustre from vintage gilded Noritake Made in Japan porcelain, and vintage Purple Transferware by Maastricht, a Dutch china company. One of my favorites!

Fit Of Pique Six Sweet Kitties


Art vs Craft Debate Redux

Fit of Pique “Flower Dog”

Is it “Art” or is it “Craft” and what defines each?

Remember the classes we took in high school decades ago? I do. “Arts & Crafts” tended to attract the girls, while “Shop” attracted the boys, though some of the items made in Shop would have qualified, in my opinion as art, and some of the schlock produced in art class was, well, schlock. I have seen a lot of crafts which were just that — functional items made by a process specific, usually in wood, ceramics or glass. But just as Tiffany made craft art, and Warhol made the ordinary extraordinary, the lines are not straight and true.

I have had many call my Fit Of Pique mosaics “art.” To the extent that they are an expression of some inner emotion or spirit, even though made with the usual materials associated with craft, I would have to agree. Picasso said, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”

But it is not a comfortable tag for me. It feels rather pretentious. “Art” to me is an oil painting, such as my mother used to create, requiring extraordinary skill as well as expression that is unique. My Fit Of Pique pieces are functional — a photo frame, box, mirror — which might assign them to the craft category. Yet to me, they are more. Much more. In fact, though I sell them, parting with each is emotional for me.

There are certainly some who feel it cannot be art unless the maker is starving or coughing up a little blood. And certainly how others perceive an item or its maker is an important gauge. I remember when I painted my first oil painting — a still life of an apple and knife on a soft cloth. I entered it in my 7th grade’s “Art Contest” only to have the teacher eliminate it because it was, in her opinion, so obviously a Paint-By-Numbers production which was prohibited (it was not). When I came home in tears, my mother let that teacher have it! But the impact on me was severe. That “art” teacher had quelled the spirit. I didn’t attempt “art” again for years, until a drawing class at the Corcoran drew me out once again in my twenties.

I would prefer to think of my Fit Of Pique pieces using the Swedish designation of  “ArtCraft,” with elements of both in each piece. Some are certainly unique and artistic, such as the Flower Dog frame shown above. Others are more craft than art, but still beautiful, such as the Playing Cards box shown below.

Fit Of Pique Playing Card Box

Fit Of Pique Playing Card Box (Interior)

So, does that make me an “Artist” or a “Craftsman” or an “ArtCraftsGal” — I vote for the latter. But let me know what YOU think. And please visit my Fit Of Pique section at www.CherryGal.com to see all my artcraft mosaics.

Bone Broth for Health

Want to reset your GI system or grow hair or treat joint degeneration or arthritis or fight wrinkles? Make natural bone broth! It is really so simple, especially with a crock pot. I have always been concerned about commercially produced beef broth, since the marrow, like the liver, accumulates toxins in the cow’s body. If a cow has been raised in unhealthy conditions, their marrow will not be healthy. That is why I was excited about our local https://www.fiveoaksbeef.com/ which raises healthy grass-fed cows and sells all natural marrow bones.

Bone broth is so easy, especially with a crock pot, and is a wonderfully aromatic choice to have cooking on a cold winter day. Start with healthy marrow bones, which you bake for a half hour at 350. Then put in your crock pot with onion, celery, carrot, garlic, bay leaf and parsley, and fresh filtered water and you are in business! (Doug & Linda Knudson of Five Oaks say that some add a little apple cider vinegar to the water to help draw out the minerals in the bone.)

And finally, though I never give other types of bones to my dogs, once your broth is done, the remainder marrow bones are excellent, non-splintering treats for your pooches.

The health benefits of bone broth are truly remarkable. Here is an excellent well-researched article by Mercola on the subject of bone broth with interesting history! Enjoy! https://articles.mercola.com/…/23/nourishing-bone-broth.aspx

New CherryGal.com is here!

My web guy has been telling me for months I had to do this, and being the frugal (i.e., poor) businesswoman that I am, I resisted. And resisted. AND resisted. But finally Google pushed the urgency because they changed their security viewpoint and I was forced to do this “update.” It’s more than an update. Its a totally NEW website, with all sorts of bells and whistles which I am just beginning to learn. But for the moment, it works quite well at processing orders and I am even able to offer a discount if you hurry and purchase $50 or more in CherryGal.com items, you will get $10 off. Just use coupon code at checkout NEWWEB. What could be simpler. Hope you do … this update cost me a LOT! 🙂

The “new” CherryGal.com is here!

Wonderful day with my new booth at the Warrenton Harvest Festival!

Fit of Pique Mosaics featured!

So happy with my new larger booth!

One of my favorite customers inspects a FOP mini pot with cat grass

I had a wonderful time with CherryGal‘s new larger white booth at the Warrenton Harvest Festival! Great feedback and sales of my new Fit of Pique genuine pique assiette mosaics line which were featured. I had frames, mirrors, boxes and garden pots. We also had Lucky Like organic and all natural premium biscuits, CherryGal’s Organic Do It Yourself Gin Kits and gift vases of Paperwhite Narcissus. I made new friends and new customers! So I will continue to produce my Fit Of Pique and other special CherryGal and Lucky Like items, which are all available on my website, CherryGal.com and in my Etsy shop. I am also open to commission requests that are color and/or theme based. These make unique and wonderful gifts! And after a few customers suggested it, I am considering creating a Fit of Pique pique assiette class event locally, where you will be able to learn the art and create a frame, all supplies included. Let me know what you think about that idea! Thank you everyone for your friendship and patronage! Looking forward to seeing everyone again at the Spring Festival in April!


I have written before about the Autolyse method for Sourdough Bread baking. Yesterday I realized I had been neglecting my starter “Audrey” quite badly. She had developed a really impressive top layer of brown “hootch.” I poured that off and spent the day refreshing her every few hours until she was once again bubbly and beautiful! Then I scooped a couple cups and got to work making my dough.

I haven’t made olive bread in some time and since I had a half jar in the fridge decided that would do just fine. The thing I love about autolyse baking is that it is not regimented, but rather a relaxed method, relying on your touch, sight and nostrils to achieve your final product. You take a wet shaggy dough and instead of kneading it to death with a lot of flour, you use your bench knife to give it several turns on a floured board and return it to its rising bowl and box every half hour or so.

So I can go about my business, which lately is creating as many Pique Assiette frames as I can in preparation for the upcoming Harvest Festival in town. And just check on the dough, folding it with a little fresh flour on the board, doing this over and over until it is at kneading stage. Then I give it a couple of kneads and risings overnight, shape it (give it a half hour or so to do a final rise) slice the top and bake it.

The Autolyse baking method suits me too … you start with a 500F oven, put the shaped loaf in pouring a half cup of filtered water in the bottom of the oven and turning the heat down to 450. With Olive Bread, it takes 3 “steam shots” and about 45 minutes to achieve a nice “ear” and brown crust and “thumpable” finish. Cooling now, and soon to be “Chompable.”

Autolyse Sourdough Olive Loaf