Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Rain, Horses, and sewing, Oh My!

It's been awhile and I've been busy so I'll try to get everything up to speed.  So let's see Since April we've survived heavy rains, which washed out the road, filled up the pond, and left us without electricity for a day. Not too bad, others went without for a bit longer. The county has had tons of work to get the roads back up to par so Hubby placed a couple of rods with surveyors tape around our wash so that people wouldn't drive off into the hole, especially at night. It has since been fixed.

'lil Bit just loves to have fun and often it is at our expense. One of her favorite things to do is go under fences. We use temporary fences to be able to rotate the horses from one field to another. But if 'lil Bit gets it in her mind to eat in another, under she goes. And then she laughs at us. Between her and the deer we repair the fences several times a year. Don't you just love that grin?

In the sewing room:  The borders on these two quilts. I just pieced the same scraps as I used for the blocks for the main border on the top quilt.

For the second quilt I pieced the skinny first border using the scraps. Good thing I didn't want a larger first border. Then I used a dark green for the outer border. Seemed to fit the best of what I had on hand. Still not crazy about it but I have a lot of trouble with liking my own scrappy quilts. I do like the one about much better. Oh well... one of these days maybe I'll learn to let loose.

I also did some embroidery work on a RR block. This shows just my part. The block then got mailed off to the next member of the group. The buttons are a mix of vintage buttons that a niece gave me. The Dorset buttons I made. Those are the crochet covered buttons. First covered in silk and then a crochet "snood" made to fit over them. I really enjoy doing those. And that dragon fly, not my best one but I still love that little bugger.

What I've been working on: "Trail Mix" from Better Homes & Gardens Scrap Lovers' Quilts. My quilting buddy, Kathy D. and I worked on each step together, even though we are miles apart. (Isn't email a wonderful thing?) I really have a ton of trouble working with a ton of different scraps, especially those of different colors. Kathy's quilt is a gorgeous mix of colors and turned out so bright and sparkly. Mine on the other hand seems more subdued. Yes I know it's because I kept my fabrics in the blue families. I just have to have some control. lol... Anyway, this pic was taken a bit back before the squares were sewn together. I now have all the rows sewn and most of the rows are stitched together. Just a few more and I'll be ready for the borders.

I've got several eye spy blocks for Hoot's quilt to post but since this is getting long I'll post them later. Along with a canning/freezing/jelly making update. Despite the rains, or maybe because of them, the garden is doing pretty good! For now I'll leave you with these words:

"Just because you cleared a wall going north doesn't guarantee you'll clear it going south."
All I Need To Know I learned From My Horse
Pamela C. Biddle and Joel E. Fishman

Friday, April 17, 2015

Just catchin' up

Seems like I am way behind. Not just on this blog but on a lot of things.  Oh well. Maybe that's what retirement is all about... never having to be caught up. There's not a lot happening here---

The iris are blooming. They are one of my favorites and over the past several years we've bought several iris that are not just your normal, run of the mill, find them in every yard iris. We've picked up several re-blooming ones that hopefully will provide more than just a bit of show. Of the others that we've bought, most are bi-color. Here's pics of the start of the blooms. The light purple is one that my maternal granny gave me when we first moved here. That's been 20+ years.

The swallowtails have been out and about adding color to the yard and flower beds.

 And speaking of flowers, we have a new flower bed. And a "landing" under the water faucet. We've wanted something under that faucet for a long time because it gets so muddy there. Knew what we wanted it was just the gettin' round-tuit. Still need to get trellis panels behind the beds to hide the under deck area. And that deck really needs cleaning off. Shouldn't be using it for storage anyway. lol....

Grass is growing and one day last week while Hubby worked on a lawn mower we let the horses in the back yard. They sure enjoyed the fresh grass. 'lil Bit kept getting past our temporary fence but all we had to do was call her by name and she would turn around and go back under it. She is just too smart for her own good. Ginger twisted or sprained a hind leg this past week but the vet thinks she'll be okay in a few weeks. We did separate her from the other horses so she doesn't make it worse playing around with them.

And last I'll close with the last two quilt tops in the making. They both need borders. I decided I have to do something about all the scraps in tubs and the folded pieces that I really don't have plans for and so I decided to try scrap quilts. I've always made quilts that were pre-planned and then bought the fabric specifically for that quilt. Most times I bought more than was needed. You know, for the just in cases. So there's lots of small amounts of fabric in tubs and boxes. It needs to be used or gotten rid of. So use it I say. Here's the first top. I finished this part of it a couple of weeks ago and then couldn't decide about borders. Maybe this weekend... I'm not real crazy about it but maybe the borders will help it out some.

This next one I have worked on this past week. Got the blocks finished up yesterday and then stitched them together today.  I like it much better, maybe because it's a more traditional pattern. I also worked at trying to coordinate the hst's with the center strips and squares. I'm sure that didn't hurt one bit. It is Shoo Fly from "The Big Book of Nickle Quilts" by Pat Speth with Charlene Thode. There are several more patterns in this book that I want to try. I think I probably need to get a few of the Phd's finished up before I start something new though.

I've got a few more blocks on Hoot's quilt made, will try to post them in the next day or so. And there are several other cq blocks that I need to take pics of and post. Maybe I just need to set aside a day for that.

I don't think there is much more to say tonight so I'll leave you with these words:

"When in doubt, ride with your instincts."
All I Need To Know I learned From My Horse
Pamela C. Biddle and Joel E. Fishman

Monday, February 23, 2015

Playing Catch Up

I had wonderful intentions of posting once a week. I guess I should consider myself doing good to post once a month. Lots to catch up on so let's get started.

First off, you'll notice a couple of new link pics (buttons) on the sidebar. One is for "The Giveaway Roundup". This is the new home for Missouri Mel's Giveaway Roundup where tons of giveaways are posted. Yep! All in one place. The second is the CQJP2015 link. Decided to do that again this year, but I'm just getting a button here for it. It had been so long since I had done the last link button thingy that it has taken all afternoon/evening to get those two posted. Geesh! I have got to post more often.

Now on to what's been happening here at the end of my road. In January the oldest Grand had to have a costume so she could dress as Mrs. Garfield, first lady to President Garfield. Mimi to the rescue.  Dress, jacket, slip with bustle and metal "hoops", jabot with cameo, embroidered purse with a lace hankie and the hat. Got it all made and it only took about three weeks and one fitting. Yeah!!! That's a win and a finish.

Then I finished up my part of the black/black blocks for the CQ4N group. This first one isn't finished. It goes to Rita so that she can do her magic and then it goes on to Tatyana. I stitched the paisley in the upper right corner on the embroidery machine, then appliqued it to the block and added bead work to it. Then a seam combo down toward the bottom right corner. My new thing for this block was the Dorset buttons. They were woven over a metal button form normally used for covered buttons. I enjoyed doing those and will probably do more of them as needed.

The second block was Rita's. There wasn't a lot of room left to work on this block. The other girls had done a fantastic job with it. I added Rita's initial in padded stem stitch (my new thing for this block) with some silk ribbon iris and some bead work.

Next I have a few more of Hoot's quilt blocks made. I didn't get it finished in time for Christmas but since he is not yet 5 the quilt will still be appropriate, maybe more so this coming Christmas. So I have it pulled out where I can do a bit of work every little bit. I have all the backings cut and the pattern designs drawn out on them. I also have all the "things to spy" cut and spent last Saturday at Joann's looking for an "X". Finally hubby found a piece of flannel that had a xylophone on it. The alphabet will be complete. Yeah!!! So here are the next blocks. (Nope, not working them alphabetical order, sorry.)

And a Finally.

  I finally got my bobbins cleaned up. This is what they looked like. Plastic boxes with small dividers. Each little space holds three bobbins. But keeping them neat and not having thread hanging out and getting caught was for the birds. So....

I used this...

Got it at the local farm store but the hardware store would probably have it also. Cut the tube into short pieces that are just the height of the inside of the bobbin. Cut the short piece of tube "up the side" and then slip it over the bobbin....

and now I have this! Yah! See the extra little pieces of tube. Ready to go for when I find the odd bobbins that I am sure to find. There will be one in a project that still needs handwork. One with a doll dress that still needs snap/buttons. One with... well I am sure that there are several laying around somewhere. There always is...

And last, princess dresses for the grands...

and those girls do love their Grandpa!

So for now, remember...

"On unfamiliar terrain, stay alert for surprises."
All I Need To Know I learned From My Horse
Pamela C. Biddle and Joel E. Fishman

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cold and wet... but warming up...

Well hello there. Not much happening around the place right now. It's been cold but is starting to warm back up. Warm enough that Du and I had a bit of a workout this morning. He is such a smart horse that if I can figure out how to teach something he picks it up really quick.  I'm thinking of starting him on Agility Training. I've got to look into it a bit more. He looks so sleepy here. Trust me he's just thinking up what kind of trouble to get into next. Breakfast is over and in just a moment he'll be turned loose into the pasture for a day of frolic and grazing.

Back sometime in October, my mom gave me this little plastic bag of dahlia tubers? She had bought them to put out in her flower beds but they were taken over by grass hoppers before she could get it done and they were just laying around taking up space and collecting dust. So I brought them home. This was October and the planting directions for my zone says to plant in March so I laid them on on the back of the desk. A couple of days ago I had some odd reason to pick up the bag and darn if the things hadn't started sprouting.  Well I know that January and February are going to be our coldest months and just couldn't put the outside, they would freeze. So I brought in a pot and planted the poor things. Maybe now that they are in a happy place with sunshine coming in the window and a regular watering they'll be okay until I can safely put them outside. Now to figure out where to put them. And am I going to have to dig them in the fall? I know that's not happening so I'll have to find a spot that protected to some degree.

In the sewing world these past two weeks have been busy. The oldest Grand needs a costume so she can be a presidents wife. Lucretia Rudolph Garfield to be specific. So I've been making the dress and slip for her. Tomorrow I take it to see how it fits before finishing. Since the Kid took the Grands to Disney World during Christmas break I've also made the Snow White dresses for their 18" AG dolls. Hopefully that will be a happy surprise. I'll try to get pictures tomorrow and post later.

I have also worked on a couple of cq blocks that had been set aside since before Christmas. Slowly getting back into the hand work and I am loving it.

Well that pretty much catches me up for the last couple of weeks. I am sure that I left some things out but if they become important, well I'll just add them later. So I will close on this bit of equine wisdom:

"Graze in the same spot for too long and you'll end up with a mouthful of dirt."
All I need to Know I learned From My Horse by Pamela C Biddle and Joel E Fishman

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy New Year!

New Year, new try at this. Since I use this basically as a "what's happening in my life" type thing and my life is typically very boring, there hasn't been a lot to write about. But that's gonna change. Not my life (I hope) but the writing about it. I spend a lot of time with my horses and sewing, but not at the same time. So why not write about those things and whatever progress is being made or not.

As for this week, not much time has been spent at the barn other than for feeding. It has rained off and on for at least the last three days. The barn cut up, his name is Du Dritter Lite, told me tonight, in his little horsey voice, that he thought we ought to install a swimming pool. There was enough water to fill it, he thought. And did I have any idea when it would quit? humpf... as if I were the weather man. Not a clue when it will quit but it is supposed to get quite a bit colder I think, sometime in the next day or two.

As for sewing, I would love to call this year the Finally Finished year. Pull out all those unfinished projects and complete them. We'll see what happens there. I do have a start. Several unfinished doll garments have been tossed in a basket and are now sitting beside the sewing table. They have high hopes of being completed this year. I have a baby quilt that my mother started for "The Son" and then gave to me to finish for a friends first child. Well "The Son" is now in his 30's the friend's daughter is getting ready to graduate from high school and the quilt is still not finished. I think it's about time don't you. Maybe I'll drag it out and add it to the basket.

I joined CQJP 2015, after finishing up 2014 barely. I need to grab the button for that and put it on the side bar. (Maybe tomorrow....)  I decided this year to attack it a bit differently. I am going to piece my blocks ahead of time so that each month all I have to do is the magic. Like that's not a lot. So today, I got the backings cut for all 12 blocks and pieced the first one. I have been saving these blues and greens in a tub and pulling the trims, beads and such for several months. Since they are all together I'll just go ahead and use them. I'll also start pulling all the trims and such for the other blocks as I piece them so that they will be sorted and ready to stitch.

I'll post a finished photo when I get all the magic done. I'm still thinking about the colors for the other eleven blocks. As an art major I love working with color theory and so I may just pull those out of the hat and work like that. I'll just have to wait and see what I fabrics I find to go together.

Also, this past week I worked on a couple of dresses for the Grands 18" dolls. The Grands were taken to Disney World as part of their Christmas present and so I am making Princess dresses for the dolls. Well, the slips are made and the first two of the dresses are about half way there.Can I count the slips as a finally finished?

Today I received an order of  5" squares of  Moda's Roses and Chocolate. I spent part of the evening looking for a pattern that will use them to their best advantage. I'm thinking a lap quilt for my mom for Christmas. Maybe if I start now I'll get it finished in time. I have at least narrowed my choices down to one or two and will look and see what is in the fabric bin to help fill in or see if I need to order something else.

Well since it is "Finally Friday" and it's nearly over, I'll leave you with this bit of cowboy wisdom.

"Never squat with your spurs on".