Friday, February 16, 2018

a finished quilt


Well, I finished this nearly a month ago. My camera has the photos dated Jan 17th and I'm pretty sure that's correct.
I remember the snow was beginning to melt that day and I hurried to finish sewing down the binding so I could get some pictures before things got wet and slushy outside.



I had intended to have it finished months ago - because it was a gift for my lovely and talented younger sister, who was celebrating her 50th birthday.


I don't think she noticed it was late though - she was in Hawaii to celebrate the day. 
As she said...Hawaii five-oh  (50 -get it? - 50th birthday?)


It was a challenging quilt to put together. The actual piecing of the blocks was easy, but the hard part was trying to get the colors distributed evenly...and really just making decisions about which color to use where. 


 I did change a couple of things from the original pattern.  One thing was the border.

As you can see below - the pattern had a saw tooth border but I thought instead I'd like to go ahead and use up some of the leftovers of fabrics used in the quilt to make a checkerboard border.

Another change...see that large section of green and gold squares at the bottom of the quilt in the pattern photo below?   It's supposed to look like plowed/planted fields.
As I was putting the quilt together this section kept bugging me.  The rest of the quilt is made from much smaller pieces and I felt like these giant squares looked like an afterthought just to make the quilt longer...so I cut half of them off.


I also pieced some triangles for the mountains so they wouldn't look so much like pyramids. But then the snow covered tops nearly disappeared in the clouds.



The blue floral backing is not the best match but I wanted to use this fabric because it had such a soft and smooth hand (feel).



I tried something different when pin basting this quilt. It's a method I read about on the internet.
  I rolled the top on to a pool "noodle", then after smoothing out the backing and batting, I lined it all up and pinned as I unrolled the top.  It's a good system - everything stayed smooth and flat.


Here is one last photo that I snagged from Joy's facebook page.  I think she likes it!

One of these days, when she gets tired of building and piloting airplanes, parasailing, stand-up paddle boarding, zip lining, snorkeling, river tubing and all of that kind of stuff...I am going to see if she would like to come over sometime and sew quilts with me.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

finished a crochet project

Back in March of last year, someone dropped off bags and bags of yarn at the extension office for the Homemaker groups to divide up and take what they wanted.

Never one to pass up a freebie, I chose some yarn and stuffed one plastic bag full of skeins to take home.



And I've just now finished the afghan I crocheted with it....


I didn't use a pattern...just went back and forth with a "half double crochet stitch".  I like that stitch because it doesn't leave a lot of open areas or "toe catchers".

 I used nearly all the yarn so it's heavy.  I have to admit - I didn't count stitches and one end is a little narrower than the other.


I like to crochet and it's easier than hand sewing while watching TV with others.  The hand sewing needs more light (which disturbs the other TV viewers) and it just needs more attention than crocheting.

But, no one in my family really likes using crocheted items so I'll probably donate this. 


I found this organization online... Warm up America.  They take crocheted or knitted  items and distribute them to those in need. 

I have a couple of other unfinished crochet projects from years ago. I am going to try to get those finished up next. They are baby afghans so they should be quick to finish.















Sunday, September 17, 2017

hummingbird cake, quilting, hens & chicks


I tried out a new recipe from my quilt group's fund-raising cookbook.  It's called Hummingbird Cake.
Of course that leads to all kinds of jokes from my family about how many hummingbirds did I have to harvest to make the cake, ha ha.


I have no idea how it got this name but it's a good cake. It has crushed pineapple and bananas but the flavors blend together so neither is overwhelming.  Cream cheese frosting- which I think you could put on an old shoe and it would make it good enough to eat.
Here is the recipe...submitted by a lady from a different quilt group....



I have been doing some sewing and un-sewing.  I noticed this on my 9 patch quilt...two very similar blocks ended up next to each other ( the blue windowpane check) fortunately it was only sewn on two sides when I discovered it so not a big problem to re-work it.



I have made some good progress on the "America the Beautiful" quilt.  
Take a look at the top center (below). That's supposed to be "purple mountain majesties" up there.
 In the photo I've got some folded fabric stacked there to try out colors.


The instructions were to just cut a solid corner of fabric to represent mountains. I couldn't stop thinking that they looked more like pyramids so I decided to do mine a bit differently...using a quilt block pattern that is actually named "majestic mountains" (below). I think I will like this much better.


I have one more birthday present to tell you about...this one from my parents.  They gave me a strawberry pot planter and some big Hens & Chicks for it and even a bag of soil to fill it up.


They have some Hen & Chick planters like this and these are the Chicks they have removed from theirs. Just enough to fill up my planter with room to develop more Chicks.


Little Miss Deer is still hanging around the yard.


We have had trouble around the house with one thing working when it shouldn't ...the toilet, and another thing not working when it should...the wifi router.     Two of life's necessities!

The toilet problem was easily fixed with a new flapper...but even with a new router, something is still wrong with wifi...specifically streaming Netflix.  The next step is to contact Netflix and/or the TV maker, Vizio.


And, I've started separating more recyclables. I thought cardboard boxes were my main recyclable item but I have found we have a large amount of plastic items that have the recycle logo on them and also a surprising amount of junk mail and catalogs that also meet the criteria.


I am collecting the separated items in the basement so I have the added bonus of climbing stairs a couple more times each day when I take stuff down there...some extra exercise!

Since our garbage pick up doesn't offer recycling service all this stuff will have to be taken to the recycle center. If I dispose of these items there and divide food scraps between the compost pile and the crows...that leaves me with very little for the garbage company to pick up...leading me to wonder if we might be able to cancel with them completely. That would be a nice savings!
I'll need to try it like this for a while and see how it goes.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

while the cat's away...


My husband was out of town for a few days and things got pretty wild around here....


Well maybe not really wild.  
I had fabric and quilt stuff strewn throughout three rooms, and it stayed that way for a couple of days.
Usually I keep this type of mess in my sewing room, but I really needed to spread out for this quilt.

Each block is different so it's hard to visualize what fabrics and colors will end up next to each other in the finished quilt.  That's why I've been avoiding working on this one for ...oh...two years or so.


So, I was able to lay the finished parts out on the floor and place small stacks of fabric along side them until I was happy with my choices.   I went ahead and cut fabric for several of the houses and buildings. I'll sew those then take another look at the layout.

Hopefully I won't have to create such chaos next time. My husband will be suspicious if I say, "Honey, aren't you ready to take an out of town trip again?"

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My parents had their annual Fish Fry.   The fish is always so good and there's plenty of it...


And lots of sides...hushpuppies, mini peppers, deviled eggs, potato salad, broccoli slaw, corn cobbettes, Texas slaw....baked beans were there too...and a bag of chips!



After taking the food photos I laid my camera down and forgot to take any more photos at all. Sheesh!
Next time we're all together we need to be sure to get a group photo.

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There has been a small deer up around in the yard all by herself.  Something must have happened to her mother.

She doesn't seem very alert to danger - no adult deer to clue her on what to watch out for.
I think she is still a baby, you can see she still has spots.
At least she is eating well. She likes my Portucula - just the blooms actually, and doesn't like Marigolds at all. 



Hummingbird has been sitting on his swing (that the Sasquatch made).  He is guarding the feeder from all other hummingbirds. 



I don't know if you can make out the photo below. I took it through the window and screen.
Friday when it rained all day, there were several little finches finding shelter on the upstairs window ledges.  I'd never seen them do that before. Surprised me to see them there.


It looks like the one on the left would like me to invite him inside.  Poor waterlogged little birdies!










Wednesday, August 23, 2017

eclipse, birthday, other stuff

A guy stopped by and asked if we wanted that stump from the fallen pine tree removed.
We were just going to leave it and wait for the hollies to get big enough to hide it, but he quoted a good price and we told him "yes".

Even before he returned a couple of days later with his stump grinder - another guy stopped to ask about grinding it.  I guess that would have continued over time if we would have left the stump there.


He did a nice job and only took about 20 minutes.  Easier to mow now.

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Unrelated...
One day, when I was home alone, I heard a noise at the front door.  I glanced out at the driveway, expecting to see the mail lady's car, since she sometimes puts packages out front.

Hmmm, no car in the driveway and the noises continued.  Weird!  Is someone trying to break in?
I looked through the peephole in the door.  No one there...but the noises continued.

The bay windows are angled out in a way that I can see over to the front porch easily.  I slowly took a little peek out there and...Crows!   What on earth?

They flew as soon as I snapped the photo and then I could see what they had been doing.  Picking off big flakes of paint where it's peeling on the threshold.  
Gee thanks.   And thanks for the scare.



You are probably tired of eclipse talk by now.   I had planned on just sitting outside during the event...watching the light change.  But I got caught up in all the hoopla and decided to make a "viewer" at the last minute.  A "camera obscura".   
A long cardboard box with a pinhole in one end (in an aluminum can panel) and a white sheet of paper in the other end.  On the side - a hole to put my head in.


As soon as I tried it out, I could already see the edge of the moon moving over the sun.


After I got past the initial excitement, I started thinking " Gosh, what if someone drives up and sees me standing here with a box on my head?"


"Or even more embarrassing...what if they would see me standing here blindly taking a photo of myself with a box on my head!"


It was sort of hot in there too, and I found I could see nearly as well just by looking through the hole without putting my head completely inside.


I took a quick photo of the sun without looking.  Can't really see anything like that.


The light was very unusual, just for a short while and I did notice a drop in temperature.  The birds and squirrels were unfazed and continued visiting the feeder as usual.

A profound happening really, and makes one think of how vast the universe is and how we take for granted that things will carry on as usual.



A change of subject now. Of course I have to talk about food.  I was all happy when I saw this new product at the grocery.  Low carb pizzas!  Only 8 carbs total per pizza.  The crust is made from chicken and parmesan cheese.  Microwavable or bake in the oven.


I really was expecting it to be "real good" like the name says.  When I took it out of the microwave I got a whiff of chicken and I began having doubts.

It was not real good.  The crust was a big let-down. Unpleasant texture mostly - but chicken tasting too.  I just ate the toppings and threw most of the crust out for the crows (it was probably just a little better than those paint chips they were thinking of eating).
Oh well.


On a better note - we celebrated my birthday a little early this year.  If you don't mind me bragging a little, I will show my gifts...all good!

First, from Chopper, a ruler for quilting...2 1/2" wide, a very common size for cutting shapes for block making, and a book of quilt patterns.  Every quilt in there is one I'd like to make.  I was tempted to put away my current project and get started on one of these immediately!



Next, from the Sasquatch...a little Hen & Chick planter he fixed up using a brick that he drilled drainage holes in and then arranged colorful pebbles around  the 3 Chicks planted there.

Awwww...cute!

And from Lonnie...a new sharp spade. I haven't had one like this before. Looks perfect for getting in tight places.  Also, an Amazon gift card...time for me to do some online shopping!




Before I go, I just want to show a few photos of my Hyacinth Bean Vine.


It's one of my favorites with the multi toned leaves...


The blooms and the purple vines...




Then later there will be the fleshy purple seed pods.  I will let them dry on the vine this fall for seed to plant next spring.



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

around the yard

August is one of my favorite months.  The angle of the sun changes a little...still warm and bright but not as glaring and merciless as in July.  The nights are a bit cooler.

I realize once again that I will not win the race to get the yard and flower beds all nicely groomed so that I can just sit back and enjoy the season.
But really, doing the outdoor work is how I enjoy summer.

Here's the flower bed just off the back porch.  That purple heart vine is huge this year.  It didn't die back completely in the mild temperatures last winter, so it had a good head start in the spring.

That's Sedum and Portucula near by.


Here's looking the other way.   Zinnias in the foreground.  I really like Zinnias and made a note in my garden journal to plant more next year.


Pink Zinnias and yellow Marigolds.  So gaudy...but appealing to me.



Last summer (or the one before) I noticed some Purple Passion Flowers (Maypop) blooming in the field next to our property.  I tried digging a couple of  the vines and moving them to our yard. They promptly died, but I needn't have bothered...

Like every other weed growing over there they ended up coming up in my flower bed anyway.

I left one to grow and I hope I haven't created a problem for myself. I sort of have a feeling it might try to take over the area now that it has a toehold.

Pretty blooms though and there are a lot of the little passion fruits too.


Black Eyed Susans...so reliable and long blooming.


One lonely Purple Coneflower there on the left. I want to get a fresh start of those next spring too.



I keep plugging away on my 9 Patch quilt.  I'm considering that red fabric at the bottom for the outer border but not sure if is the "right" red.    It has a gold print in it so it coordinates with the gold background, but my mind's eye thinks it should be a darker, truer red.


Oops! One of these things is not like the others!  That's what happens when your mind wanders.


At least I noticed it before I sewed it up into the quilt!