Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial Day weekend

Remember and appreciate all that has been given for us.

I have no special plans for this weekend.  Don and I will try to get some garden planted in between cloudbursts.  Wish us luck with that!

I will continue to make Bear Paw blocks. I have 99 made with 45 left to go.  HOWEVER, I realized yesterday that something was terribly wrong.  I was using up the background fabric at a very fast pace, and I began having concerns that I may not have purchased enough.  First thing yesterday morning, I got out my yardage calculations, and right away, I saw that I'd forgotten to double the amount of background fabric called for.  Yes, indeed, I only had 2 yards and I need 4.  Thank goodness for technology!  I called the shop and spoke with the gal, Christy, who remembered the fabrics I'd chosen on Tuesday since she was the one who did the cutting for me.  And she said there was another 2 yards on the bold. She promised she'd put it in today's mail, so I should get it on Tuesday or Wednesday.  

Don't tell anyone, but I have set a goal to have this king size quilt finished by the time I arrive in Maine on June 16 so I can personally deliver it to it's new owner.  I really like how the blocks are coming together.  I'm using lots of scraps and pulling fabrics from my stash for the various colored claws, and I like the overall effect.  Wish me luck in getting it done by my self-imposed deadline.

The third thing on the weekend agenda is to entertain my daughter, Jo, when she comes home for a visit on Monday.  If it stops raining long enough, we'll do some cooking on the grill to make a nice meal for her. Always love it when Jo comes home--and the other kids as well, don't get me wrong!--because she has a joyous laugh that just fills the house!  Can't wait to see her.

So, that's what it looks like for this rainy weekend here in Wisconsin.  However you spend your time this weekend, I hope you enjoy it very much.  Take some time to think of all the people--civilians and soldiers as well--who have died in the many, many wars that we've been involved in. These people sacrificed in the name of freedom and should never be forgotten.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Irises and Bears' Paws

Just a short post today since I'm determined to get better at blogging as things happen rather than letting it all pile up on me.  

First off:  Irises. I have yellow irises in my little flower garden. These are plants that I rescued from the wilderness that called itself our back yard when we moved to this house 2 1/2 years ago. I dug up what I could find in the weeds and stuck them in a cleared out section of the flower bed.  A you can see, they are thriving!  I think I'll be moving and dividing some of them after they finish blooming.  I just might get around to weeding that bed if it ever stops raining!

On Tuesday, I took a road trip--by myself--to beautiful Northern Minnesota, to the Hingeley Road Quilt Shop in Floodwood, MN, about 30 miles west of Duluth.  Don't know if I've mentioned this but when I was in Maine, my daughter's friend asked me to make her a king sized quilt with a fishing/cabin/northwoods kind of look.  We emailed quilt patterns--she decided on a Bears' Paw pattern--and fabric ideas. I've been to Hingeley Road a couple of times in the past and knew they carried A LOT of outdoorsy themed fabric so I linked her to their website. She chose A Lazy Afternoon for her focus fabric and I just love it!  

A Lazy Afternoon 35673 472 Scenic Multi, Wilmington Prints

Although I know Hingeley Road carries good quality fabric and the manufacturer has a great reputation, I still hesitated to order on line. I like to see and feel the fabrics that I buy, if for no other reason than to compare the size and scale of the designs and the actual colors in the prints.  So, off on a road trip, one of my favorite things to do!  When I got there, I realized that other prints in the Lazy Afternoon line were scaled such that they wouldn't work with the focus fabric, so out came plan B. The border print in the collection was perfect for this quilt, so that was also purchased too.  

A Lazy Afternoon 35674 407 Fish Allover Light Blue, Wilmington Prints

I usually don't purchase backing fabric before the top is completed, but in this case, I decided to get it now rather than have to return some time in the future.  I chose this fish print but in a darker blue background.  I calculated that I needed 10 yards, and there was 10 yards and 2 inches left on the bolt that I'd chosen for the backing!  Luck was with me that day! When I got home, I put it in the washer and not a bit of the dark blue dye escaped from the fabric!  Whew!

Yesterday, while listening to thunderstorms and torrential rain, I labored away in the sewing room and made up a sample block. I'm using the focus fabric for the palms of the paws, and each paw will have a different colored set of claws, using fabrics from my stash.  I found a nice sandy looking tan fabric from Stonehenge for the background--it looks a little more yellow in the picture that it actually is--and I laid the sample on the pebble printed fabric I chose for the sashing between the blocks. I think I'll use squares of the focus fabric for the sashing posts when I get to that part.  

Anyway, I emailed this pic to the gal, and she's very happy with it.  If she likes it in the yellowish photo, I know she'll like it when she actually sees it!  After I got approval from her, I went ahead and sewed my brains out and managed to complete 30 of the 144 paw sections that I need for the quilt. Oh, when I finished yesterday, I thought I'd accomplished quite a bit, but now I see that I still have 114 more to go. That's depressing.  But . . . "A journey of a thousand steps . . ." So, I'll be in the sewing room again today to get a bunch more done.

I made a second stop while on my road trip the other day, to Elly's Sheared Sheep in Chetek, WI. This shop not only has a good selection of quilting fabrics, but an abundance of yarns as well so I'm in double trouble when I stop there!  I went there to get the blocks for this McKenna Ryan (MR) project, "Home Tweet Home".  Sorry, the website won't let me copy the pictures so you'll have to check it out yourself.  Anyway, I had volunteered to teach a mini workshop in my guild on the McKenna Ryan technique. I've done a couple of these projects in the past, but unfortunately have given away most of them. I was going through my collection of MR patterns and realized that somewhere along the line, I'd purchased the finishing kit for Home Tweet Home, but none of the blocks. So, I've got them now and will use one of them to demonstrate how these things are created.  I really like the completed wall hanging and will have it--when finished!--hanging in my sewing room.

The only other thing I want to share today is just a little bit of what's happening in town as we plan our 3rd "Quilt Tour" event, November 12, 2016.  This is a fundraiser for the local domestic abuse program and it's like a garden tour except it's a number of quilt shows located at the various churches here in town.  Somehow, I got involved in the planning of what's turning out to be a quilters' weekend, not just the Saturday quilt tour.  We want to draw more people to Menomonie to take in a variety of activities in addition to the quilt tour.  So, ideas are flowing out of our collective heads including a keynote speaker, barn quilt tour, classes including a barn quilt class, a play called, "the Quilters," and MORE!  I'm so excited about it! In addition to drawing more people to the quilt tour, all of the additional activities will be generating funds for the domestic abuse program as well.  So who knows how much this weekend will generate for this very worthy program!  

I'm excited about making the Bear Paw quilt, working on McKenna Ryan, AND the quilting weekend!  I can hardly "bear" it!  So, I think the best thing to do is go outside now that it's quit raining for a bit, and do some weeding and flower planting to settle me down.  

Sunday, May 22, 2016

May Time is Gardening Time


After such a cool--downright cold some nights!--and rainy spring, we in NW Wisconsin are finally getting the sun and warmth that we dream about all winter.  So quilting will take a back seat to gardening for a few months, but rest assured, it won't be forgotten completely!

Don spent yesterday working with the 15 year old neighbor boy to build low planter boxes to cover the rock mulch that came with the house in a EVERY ONE of the planting beds around the house and pool!   This is the first one they completed next to the deck. They filled it with black dirt, covering the 6" plus of stones that are in there.

This is the corner between the new planter box and the steps of the deck. I know, just what you want to see on Sunday morning--dirty rocks--but bear with me. I've been seeing them every day since I moved here 2 1/2 years ago. It's time to cover them up with some nice plantings!  Actually, in this little triangle, Don will clean up the rocks with a hose and I'm getting a large, very large, pot to set in there and fill with flowers for the summer.

On second thought, maybe I should make up a wagon like this one to put there instead. I think it's cute. Lori Kennedy of The Inbox Jaunt posted it today.  I already have the old Flyer wagon that we got for our son back in the late 70's, we have a number of large rocks scattered among the stone mulched planting beds--stone on stone must have been the rage in the 70's.  And I have assorted pots that I can use for the flowers.  Yes, indeed. Much better idea than shelling out upwards of $100 to get the pot and all the dirt and all the flowers, when I have all these things here already!  

Flowers, Vintage

I also put my vegetable transplants out in the sun yesterday to harden them up.  I'd started them in the house in our grow light system and for the past several days, I've had them out in shady and then semi sunny areas and yesterday came the real test. Were they tough enough to handle a full day of sunlight?  Indeed they were!  They even camped out overnight and were bright and perky when I saw them this morning.  I have a number of tomato plants, bell and jalepeno peppers, a dozen broccoli, some brussels sprouts and an eggplant.  These will all be going into our community garden plot over the next two weeks, I hope.

While Don was building planter beds, I made a run to the local nursery and picked up some seed potatoes and onion sets. I love, love the taste of my home grown potatoes and we usually grow enough to have them for Thanksgiving dinner.

We don't have a good storage area for them so, any longer and they grow long sprouts and look like Medusa!

Image result for medusa

While I was at the nursery, I decided to get some of the flowers I need to plant my 3 hanging pots and 3 large pots that I keep near the front entrance of the house. Here, the flowers are on the front steps waiting some attention from me. That's my job for this morning.  

This afternoon, Don and I will be heading to the garden plot to get it ready for planting and to place the 2 fences we use for climbing green beans and snap peas.  We'd like to get the potatoes planted if we can as well as some onions and the snap peas.  

So, it looks like a busy day for me outdoors. Oh, I forgot to tell you of my good luck yesterday.  But I have to back up a little. I got the results of my bone density test and I need to do some work on getting my bones back in shape.  I think I mostly need to increase my exercise--from extremely little to anything's-better-than-that!  I've been taking a walk the past few days, through the neighborhood where there are numerous garage sales going on, including one at my neighbor's.  On the way home, I notice that she had something leaning against the fence that looked suspiciously like a quilt hanger. As I got closer, I saw that it's a 5" quilt rack to put up on the wall, so I popped in there and snapped it up for $5!  I have the perfect place for it in my sewing room/spare guest room, and I can't wait to get it hung and ready for a quilt.  But I have to make the quilt first, but wait, I have to do the gardening first!  What to do?  

Friday, May 20, 2016

Making up for being so lax at posting

Whoa!  I didn't realize it's been nearly a month since I last posted!  So much has been happening in my life, I don't know where to begin.

I think in my last post, I was getting ready to fly to Portland ME to spend a week with my daughter and granddaughter while Tessa had surgery.  (She did very well, thanks for asking.)  Yes, I did that, with no complications on either flight--thank goodness!--except I had 3 hour layovers in Detroit both ways so I got well acquainted with that airport.  Although I had a smart phone and a Kindle Fire with me, I chose to people watch instead of playing games or checking Wastebook, as my blog friend Marie refers to it. So interesting to see so many different people hurrying on their way to somewhere or from somewhere.  I did pull out the embroidery I'd worked on while at Tessa's and managed to get it finished after I arrived home.  BTW, embroidering on muslin with batting behind worked out just fine and I won't hesitate to do this again.

I also worked on making some AG doll clothes while I was in Maine. Some dresses:


Tights are made from women's knee high socks--so quick and easy.

Only one twirly skirt although I have fabric for several more. I'll make a coordinating T shirt for this skirt.

I also made a pair of slacks to go with this sparkly gray and black sweater I'd knitted before.

When I got home, Done presented me with the clothes rack he'd made to hold the AG doll clothes. It works like a charm! And it only took a length of PVC pipe and some connectors!

I spent 2 afternoons making 4 more blocks for my Farmer's Wife quilt.  The first 3 took about an hour to make--paper piecing is not my strong suit, although I'm getting better--I think.  

This block, Bride, however, was way more intricate than the others and when I finished with it, I realized I'd spent 2 1/2 hours making it!  Fortunately, I like how it turned out or I would have been screaming!

I've been working on the quilting of this table quilt that I made as a guild challenge a few years ago and never got it quilted up.  I've finished the center of the quilt and only need to do the border. I think I'll stitch some feathers in the border to keep that skill alive and well.

I also finished piecing and quilted up this throw quilt that I'd intended to send to a fundraiser in Northern MN where my college friend is active in a shelter for homeless families.

 I finished the quilt and decided to pretreat it in order to get out the pattern markings that I'd done.  Well, one pretreatment and laundering and the marks were still there. Second pretreatment--with Oxy!--laundering and the marks were still there. You can see on the pic below how the mark shows up on the white where I missed the line as I stitched.

Finally, I went on line and discovered that the Jelly pen that I'd used is permanent on fabric and is intended for use on paper. There's no way I will ever get those marks out!  Damn it all! I'd even tested the pen on a scrap of fabric and scrubbed it and most of the mark came out on the test.  But not on the quilt.

What to do? What to do? My husband, bless his heart, generously donated the throw quilt I'd made him last year, seen below. I washed it up and it'll go out in today's mail.  I really like how this turned out and I hate to see it go, but I know it's for a good charity. Besides, now I have a reason to make another stack and whack as I've been wanting to do. Meantime, he's happy with the marked quilt--it will do just as well keeping him warm on cold winter nights in the TV room.

So, I've been a busy, busy lady. I know I 've done more things, but enough for one post. I'll try to be better at posting as things occur, but I'm sure you know how life can be. Now I have to get that quilt to the post office!