Monday, March 31, 2014

Coffee & Chocolate Palate Cleanser

I really needed something a little less sweet to work on after an entire month of baby quilts so I rummaged around in the scrap bin and found these bits left over from this quilt I made two years ago for DIL Liz from the pattern Strips With a Twist by Patti Henderson offered at our local quilt shop which is now out of business.

These fabrics are pretty far from baby and I love the rich browns and contrasting black. I don't have anything left of this fabric but what you see. It looks like enough to make a table runner with the addition of some border fabric if I can find something to blend. I searched for a contrast in color but something that would match the mood of these slightly off beat fabrics.

Found it in the batik bin! I like mixing batiks with regular cottons although others might think it's a no no. The quilt police are on a lunch break today so here goes.

The biggest concern I have is that I have only one yard of this batik which if I measure oh so carefully will just squeak by for the borders and backing. Which do you think is best - the 3" top border or the 2" bottom border? It's not really a fair question because I went with the 3" border all the way around even though it made my squeaking by thing so much harder!

I have the perfect variegated thread to quilt it! Isn't that gorgeous? You know how I love me some variegated thread and I'm using it in the top and bobbin. 

That's as far as I've gotten for this Design Wall Monday but I feel pretty refreshed after this taste of coffee and chocolate. What have you been up to this week? Check out other designs at Judy's Patchwork Times. 

Until next time,

Friday, March 28, 2014

Twilight Miracles

After all, I don't see why I am always asking for private, individual, selfish miracles when every year there are miracles like white dogwood.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The blossoms flicker in the twilight like fairy lanterns. They seem to float without anchor, magical and ethereal. So delicate that a touch on a perfect white petal will turn it brown, so for a moment the forest gives us this pristine wonder.

Until next time,

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Baby Quilt But No Barn

Val's Quilting Studio
Tuesday Archives #4: Baby & Barns

Val picked baby quilts and barn quilts from the way back machine this week, see what I did there Peabody and Sherman fans? I don't have any barn quilts but I certainly have baby quilts in the archives. When I read through the older posts though I was disappointed that the posts were sketchy at best so I decided to write a new post about my favorite baby quilt project from two years ago.

This Peter Rabbit quilt made for my grand daughter Paige was sewn with so much love. I machine embroidered the blocks with characters from Beatrix Potter's stories and used fabrics I'd been saving for years for just this project. 

These stories were favorites of my son when he was young and I wanted to make them part of his daughter's memories too.

Paige will be 2 years old this June and will also be a big sister by the time her birthday rolls around. I hope her Peter Rabbit quilt will always remind her how special she is to me.

Be sure to follow the link and see everyone's baby quilts and I'm sure there will be some barns too!

Until next time,

Monday, March 24, 2014

Whooooo's In the Sewing Room?

I'm happy to report that would be me! I gladly took myself upstairs on Saturday to work on arranging and sewing together my embroidered baby animals in pajamas blocks. When last you all saw them they looked like this...

My original idea was to sew them together with a sashing of 1 1/2 inch solid squares but the more I worked on that the more blah the whole thing felt. Those little squares were just so distracting and busy. Not at all what I wanted. Out came the seam ripper and with some re-imagining on the design wall this is what I came up. Now this owly little darling is a flimsy!

Much cleaner and more contemporary looking I think. Now days nurseries tend to be a lot less cutsy so I think my DIL will appreciate this design better as it tones down the babyishness (I know that's not a word but it's what I want to say) of the whole thing. I have no trouble arranging them asymmetrically but I know some people just can't do it. Where do you stand, can you put those blocks off center or not?

This green polka dot is from my stash and will be perfect for the binding! Shop your stash there's great stuff in there waiting to be rediscovered. I have a wonderful soft white minky for the backing or maybe a fleece. The girls at Needle Nellies at our Wednesday meeting will help me decide.

That's it for Design Wall Monday. What have you been up to?
Linking to Michelle's Romantic Tangle, Let's Make Baby Quilts Challenge

Until next time,

Friday, March 21, 2014

Absent With Cause
A couple of months ago I mentioned that Chris and I belonged to an organization called the Flying Doctors and I've had a few questions from readers since then. We just returned from a two day event in Fresno working in the dental clinic where Chris acted as an interpreter and I was a general volunteer. We had a great time and in our two days the clinic served probably 400 dental patients. Men, women and especially children who do not have access to dental care due to poverty. Since I was on the dental side I have no idea how many medical patients came through the clinic but I do know there were a lot of folks lined up when we showed up each morning at 5 AM.

Chris is preparing for a trip to Mexico in May and I'm excited to work again in an upcoming clinic in Thermal, California.

Los M├ędicos Voladores (LMV; the flying doctors) is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization that helps improve the health and well-being of the peoples of Mexico and Central America through the provision of no-cost, high-quality healthcare and health education clinics in rural villages in northern Mexico (northern Sonora and Baja), El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras; and among migrant labor populations in the Coachella Valley of the southwestern United States (southern California). Since 1975 LMV has offered more than 230 short-term medical, dental, optometry, and other healthcare clinics, treating over 7,000 patients per year.

To find out more about the Flying Doctors go to Become a volunteer have the adventure of a lifetime! 

And, just in case you thought I was all selfless and stuff, I have to confess I've just returned from a fun filled family vacation to of all places... Las Vegas! Chris and I met our oldest son and his family in the desert and had a fabulous time hanging out with the kids by the pool and soaking up the sights. I didn't pull a single lever in the four days I was there! That must be some kind of record. I did however eat a lot of fabulous food and I might have had a cocktail once the kids were in bed. I took a lot of pictures of quilty inspiration which I'll be sharing because Vegas is all about opulence and I saw quilt ideas everywhere.

Until next time,

Thursday, March 13, 2014

We Is Friends

Every morning at exactly 10 AM rain or shine this little girl shows up at our back gate.


This is Annabelle, 50 lbs. of fun and River's BFF. Annabelle lives down the road and is an only child. She met my fur girls when she was on a walkabout in the neighborhood and they where outside with us on our daily chores. They all hit it off right away as she and River are the same age, still in the puppy young dog stage and Shadow could care less about their teenage antics.

This is Shadow, all she wants to do is chase the ball. This is her please throw the ball look. Please, please, please! How can I resist? The trouble is I've already thrown it for her for about 20 minutes and I've got chores to do. She would chase that thing until her heart gave out I swear! Sorry Shadow. 

Meanwhile River and Annabelle are doing a whole lot of running and wrestling and general shenanigans. 

Don't worry about Annabelle. She may look smaller but she's all muscle and they're well matched. River is very soft mouthed and I usually have to tell Annabelle that she's the one being too rough and give her a time out! After about an hour everyone has had enough and Annabelle stands by the gate again. Time to go home! I open the gate and she trots towards home. So long Belle see you tomorrow.

River had fun and got some of her extra wiggles out. All dogs are ready for their morning nap. 
By the way, most folks here in the country just let their dogs roam free and they wander far afield. Not all of them are as friendly as Annabelle and we have had quite a few run ins with packs of aggressive dogs. Our own dogs are never off our property off leash and are never off leash on our property unless they are with one of us. There is a county ordinance here that dogs worrying livestock may be shot on sight and many have been so I'm not taking any chances. River and Shadow just want to be with us and River will scale ANY fence if she sees us to get to us. For that reason look at the fencing we've put up to protect these two fur kids.

River was actually jumping these to get to her dad if she heard or saw him in the fields before we extended the gates. Please take care of your animals and be a good neighbor.


Sugar would like to know what all the fuss is about? I'll tell you all about Sugar the wonder chicken in another post soon.

Until next time,

Friday, March 7, 2014

Personal Photo Challenge - Words & Letters

This month's photo challenge is an exciting one for me. Coming from a family of educators words and letters are everything to us, our bread and butter so to speak. Words have power, weight. Words can convey so much more than perhaps we might even have intended.

As I thought about what I might want to photograph I had only to raise my eyes to the wall behind my desk. Every day for the last 13 years this little note has peeked out from behind pictures of my children and grandchildren telling me that I am loved. Written by my eldest grandson when he was small it makes me smile daily. Now that's powerful affirmation!

I decided to go into town to see what else I could find. Most of you know I live in a very small mountain town with one street and a stop sign. There are the usual signs for the gas station and the small market but right along the main street is the Georgetown Pioneer Cemetery. There in plain view are words written in stone meant to last for the ages.

Here's what I found as I wandered...

Let me just say that I have always had an affinity for graveyards. Not the modern day graveyards that most of us are familiar with where our recently deceased family members are interred. These seem rather sterile and cold to me. You are not allowed to erect monuments in modern graveyards because those make the lawns too difficult to mow. No, I love an old graveyard full of monuments erected to defy death and the passage of time. Some are heart breaking in their messages of grief and loss but I have always loved imagining the lives and stories behind those messages. Morbid maybe, but I prefer to think it's just the history major in me.

 A Personal Photo Challenge 
Be sure to visit the Personal Photo Challenge to see how other bloggers interpreted this challenge.
Until next time,

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sour Mash Is For The Birds

Not the drinkable kind, THAT I like. In fact I'm the only girl I know who likes her whiskey neat -  but I digress. I got off track here pretty quickly...

This is what you get when someone who shall remain nameless (whose name starts with Chris) leaves an entire half gallon of milk out on the counter over night. Accidents happen but I certainly don't want a entire half gallon of dairy to go to waste especially when I have a flock of hungry hens to feed. Oatmeal to the rescue! Enough oats to make a mash plus some outdated buttermilk I had as well. Whenever the girls see me coming with a bowl or the pan I keep on the kitchen counter for kitchen scraps, which I collect each day just for them, they rush up to greet me squawking and jockeying for position to be front of the line. I'm a chicken mama queen I tell ya.

 See Sugar right there eying me? She loves her treat as much as the next girl but she also loves to be petted and wants to know when I'm gonna give her some attention. "Sorry Sugar, I'm not picking you up today. Have you seen the state of your feet?"

The yard is a muddy mess because of the rain (glorious, blessed rain) we've had. This mash will be so good for the ladies. Evidently some folks are hesitant to share scraps and leftovers with their flock but I've never had a problem with doing this. Everything I know about chickens I learned from my Aunt Sissy. I spent summers with her and Uncle Bud on their dairy farm in Madera, CA. It was my little girl job to feed the chickens and collect eggs daily. She always told me that if we could eat it so could the ladies and with a few exceptions this has proven to be the case. Of course, now I have the internet to refine my knowledge but I mostly stick with what I leaned from my experienced Aunty.

Just like little kids these two get to lick the bowl when I'm done.
Chris and I spent the entire day yesterday off the hill taking care of financial matters. Then we treated ourselves to a late lunch/early dinner (just like old people). The meal turned out to be mediocre and then I made myself car sick on the ride home by looking at my phone while riding on the winding road home. Ugh, so glad to get back home and spend time with my critters. I'm off again to see the tax man today so I'm going to treat myself with some retail therapy once that chore is done I think. What do you do to reward yourself for doing an odious job?

circa 2011 The ORIGINAL Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop

Until next time,

Monday, March 3, 2014

More Than Embroidery

Yes, most of my time in the sewing room in the past week has been spent on embroidering those baby animal in pajama blocks but I have been doing other things, really I have.

While digging around searching for fabrics I found these flannel fat quarters perfect for a small quilt. I quickly got to work cutting them up into 2 1/2 inch strips and sewing those strips together. I was able to work on this little project between thread changes on my embroidery blocks. I have some flannel in the stash for some borders and the backing so baby June will have a cuddle qult to drag around.

I also managed to finish the LAST TWO animals in PJs blocks and I have to say that these designs fro Embroidery Library have sewn out just perfectly. I can't say enough good things about the digitizing from this company. Some of you had some questions about what stabilizer, threads etc. I've been using.

I used a 90/14 needle with two layers of Floriani medium weight tear away stabilizer. The first layer was hooped with the fabric and the second layer was floated under the hoop. I starched the fabric before hooping with best Pressed. each of these embroideries has between 35,000 to 48,000 stitches. I'm pleased that there's minimal pucker.

Now that all nine are don eI can get bust assembling the quilt top. Golly, with each taking about three hours of sewing time I've got almost 30 hours in this project so far and I haven't sewn a block together yet!

It's Design Wall Monday so that means visiting Patchwork Times.

Until next time,