Friday, July 25, 2014

Good Fences Make Good Dogs

I've mentioned before that our pups Shadow and River follow us everywhere and most of the time that's not a problem.

Sweet and innocent faces right? Except when they're not so innocent. When I want them to stay in the yard they don't seem to agree. I've told you about this before and the lengths we've gone to to keep them where they belong. Sometimes I just want to take a walk all by myself without the mighty squirrel hunters. Sometimes I don't want these two scaring every deer within a 10 mile radius.
I submit to you the very latest in cattle gate extension technology - the Cattle Gate 10,000. Able to repel leaping German Shepherds and determined Border Collies. Available in front and back gate models.
As a bonus this amazing gate will also keep deer out of your garden and grand kids under the age of 8 where you put them either inside or outside the fence. This is a limited edition product and NOT available in any store. Put your critters and your kids where ya want em!

What's that you say, "Necessity is the  mother of invention?" Damn straight!

Until next time,

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

State Fair Quilts

 So, last time I was telling you about our family visit to the California State Fair and I left you just as I was entering the quilt exhibit hall. The crafts exhibit halls at the fair grounds are airy and well lit, a beautiful space and I was surprised at how few quilts were on show. Those that were displayed were all exceptional. Unfortunately, as was true with all the exhibits throughout the fair the signage was terrible - tiny and unreadable. I have no idea who made these beautiful quilts so I'll just show them and say to the makers that you all did wonderful work.

I believe that this was the grand prize winner but as you can see the signs are very small so I can't swear to it. The big surprise is that this quilt is entirely done by machine embroidery in the hoop!  Here's a close-up. Hours and hours of work and meticulous attention went into this beauty. Don't fool yourself into thinking that the embroidery machine does all the work when creating something like this.
 There were about 30 quilts or maybe less on display and I took pictures of those that caught my fancy. See if you agree.
I'm a sucker for a simple pattern done well.
Old trucks are all the rage in pictorial quilts right now and this one is done particularly well.
I believe this is a Laundry Basket Quilts pattern which mixes batiks and traditional fabrics, I love the look of this combination.
Speaking of batiks hows this for a twist on tradition? Such a cool modern vibe on the traditional basket quilt.
My secret's out, I seem to be drawn to batiks right now.
Another simple pattern done well but the real star of this quilt is the quilting itself.
Absolutely breathtaking quilting with each zigzag section quilted differently and all the white areas quilted differently. Not a bed quilt but a show piece for sure. Stunning!
This applique quilt was HIGH in the air. So cheerful. I love the varied backgrounds, I wonder who Tilly is? One lucky girl I'm thinking.
Just to give you some idea of what I mean by HIGH in the air.
Zooming in, don't you love the wonky set of these applique blocks? That's what sets this quilt apart from the rest.
That's it for our State Fair quilt show. Hope you enjoyed some quilty inspiration and congratulations to all the fair participants.

Until next time,

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

State Fair Winner

 The whole family trekked to the California State Fair this past weekend to take a gander at our grandson's 2nd prize winning entry in the Industrial and Technology Education category. 

He's being a good sport and halfheartedly posing.

I'm including photos of his design and the signage because I have no clue about this and no idea of how to explain what it is. Josiah is entering his senior year in high school and winning prizes in industrial design. Wasn't it just yesterday when he was learning to walk?  I cannot believe how time has flown.
Who doesn't love a giant cockatoo?
As a rule we are not fair going folks. I hate crowds and I'm not a fan of heat and believe me when I tell you Sacramento in July is HOT! Still, when going to the State Fair one must partake of all things fairish so we all got into the spirit and forged ahead. All of us love animals so of course the barns were a must see on the list.
What a disappointment. The horses were all in their stalls due to the heat, the dairy cows were wilting in the shade, no sheep or pigs at all and more goats than you would EVER want to look at and I like goats. About 10 dispirited chickens were sitting in cages with no signs to tell us breeds. In fact there were no signs anywhere to tell us anything, the animal exhibit was a bust!
On to the garden displays. There was an emphasis on our very severe drought so lots of container gardening and the containers were beautiful but not much else was on show. Sigh...

There's always the food! Funnel cakes and potato tornadoes, that greasy, fried fair food never disappoints.

Tomorrow I'll show you the prize winning quilts from the fair. You didn't think I'd go to the State Fair and not visit the quilt display did you?

Until next time, 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Did Someone Say Embroidery?

Val at Val's Quilting Studio has a fun linky on Tuesdays designed to revive older posts from our blogs that our newer readers may have missed. Every week features a different theme and the idea is to link up an older post you may have to match that particular theme. This week the theme is elephants and embroidery. I have no elephant quilts at all but if you've been around here for any length of  time you know I LOVE embroidery! My love is a little bit different though - I love machine embroidery and I use it a lot in my quilts. 

Just a few of my embroidery projects...

Halloween Project w/embroidery

Oh, look I found an elephant!

A baby quilt with baby animals in pajamas.
Safe Have a wildlife quilt for my teenage grandson with embroidered animals .

Classroom wall hanging for my DIL.

Beatrix Potter theme baby quilt.

Table runner with reverse embroidery.
I used to love to spend my evenings with my embroidery hoop but my hands just can't take it any more so my sewing machine allows me indulge my addiction to making beautiful pictures with thread. Thanks Val another fun linky/walk down memory lane.

Until next time,

Friday, July 11, 2014

Cookie Goes to Jail and Someone Has a Birthday

I may be spending all my time indoors slaving away but the critters on Dogwood Lane are going about their business and getting into a fair amount of mischief as a result. It has been unbelievably hot and egg production is way down. The hens are spending most of their time trying to stay cool by laying around in the deep shade. All except Cinnamon and Cookie, those two took a notion to go broody and commandeer as many of their sister's eggs as possible and sit on two nests all day and night!
Cinnamon looking all innocent before the broody incident.
Cookie on the left trying to avoid her mug shot!
Each day when I would go out to collect eggs they would BITE, growl and hiss at me. I had to wear my leather gloves to pick them up and evict them from the premises. ENOUGH! Those two are going to jail!

Having a hen go brooding is a bad idea for number of reasons. If I had a working farm it would be great to have some dedicated hens who wanted to be moms, it would eliminate the need for incubators and brood lights and all the fuss that goes with hatching and raising chicks. Remember last year at this time when I allowed Mrs. Gold to hatch a clutch of eggs? You can read about that here and here. But I don't have a rooster anymore ( RIP Silent Bob ) so no fertile eggs for them to hatch and I already have 15 chickens, I DO NOT need/want any more. 

During the time that these hens are all hormonal and broody they only leave the nest to eat and drink once a day so they loose weight and don't lay eggs. It can be extremely stressful for them with no pay off at the end. If they had fertile eggs the chicks would hatch after 21 days and mom would go about her mommy business but these girls could sit forever and just waste away. So, off to the clink they go. They have to be on a wire floor with no nesting material in sight, uncomfortable and no eggs for them to obsess over. 

We have a separate area that we call the hospital wing which is fenced off from the main hen yard, that's where we set up the jail. I left the gate open so my miscreants can have visitors.  Every couple of days I let them out to see what they will do. If they run right back to the nest and sit down it's back to jail they go. Cinnamon stayed in her cell for 5 days before she gave up. Cookie is still in solitary. I feel bad for her but this really is for her own good.

We've been so busy that we almost forgot to celebrate a birthday. Our darling granddaughter Paige and our fur ball River share the same birthday. How could I forget you ask? Well, you may remember that we had a new grand baby in there and the whole kitchen thing. So before I forget again - Happy Birthday River!

River at 8weeks
My gorgeous girl!

I'm back to the massive clean up. Hope your summer is going great.

Until next time,

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Piece of Nonsense

I was recently cleaning out the guest room closet looking for something I was positive I had stored there when I came across some long forgotten boxes. Inside was a treasure trove of pictures from my high school days, most importantly the letters that Chris had written to me while we were dating and the hundreds of letters that he and I exchanged while he was in Vietnam. Oh, I'm so glad that I found those! Even though I cannot bear to re-read them I don't want to lose them.
Among the photos and letters was this very faded picture of me at 16, all dressed up for my Junior Prom. Very Mad Men don't you think? I loved that dress. I can still remember the way it felt when I slipped it on. The beautiful turquoise silk chiffon, the taffeta under skirt, the shoes dyed to match, hair carefully done up in a flip. I can't for the life of me remember the name of the boy but he drove a Hudson and the dance was at the Sheraton Hotel. Because I attended an all girls school it fell to me to ask him to the prom and I was a nervous wreck in case he said no. I was very shy in those days.

There was also one example of my writing from those long ago times. I used to write all the time when I was a kid filling dozens of notebooks with stories and poems but this is the only thing I've ever found so far from that that time. Titled "A Piece of Nonsense" I found it slightly unnerving since it's a prediction of what I then imagined I would be like when I reached old age. In fact when I reached 68, one year away from my present age. I have no idea how old I was when I wrote this. Those of you who know me personally can judge for yourselves, just how accurate was my teenage prediction about my old age.

A Piece of Nonsense

When I am old and grey and sixty eight I'll be very tiny and have little faded blue eyes. I'll dress as any little old lady should. In conservative house dresses with a tiny flower pattern. How I wish I had lived in the 19th century when old ladies were very greatly respected, if only because they had reached such unbelievable maturity. I've always been a romantic. I've always wanted to live when young ladies wore long gowns and weren't allowed to "put up" their hair until their coming out party when they were eighteen.
Can't you see me as I would have been? Very small, with hair down to my waist and dressed in a pale yellow gown with lace at the hem. Somehow my romantic self appeals to me much more than my modern self.
But, I if lived then how could I have taken off my shoes and walked barefoot on the warm sidewalk or cool grass? These, after all are the things I love to do so I suppose I really wouldn't want to change my place in time. It is uniquely my place, my niche in time.

I was very young remember, as we all were then, unexposed to much of the harshness that teenagers these days see everyday. Have you ever had a chance to revisit your much younger self? What did you find?

Until next time,

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Big Reveal!

Remember, I told you that all the kitchen mayhem was going on while I was in San Diego enjoying the excitement surrounding the birth of our granddaughter Eve? Every night at 7:00 PM without fail Chris and I would check in to go over the day's events, I would recount the latest funny thing that Paige had said and done and how well Eve was doing and Chris would fill me in on the progress of the renovation. Let me just say right here that that man of mine is a saint! Without question no one else would have told his partner to go off for three weeks while he shouldered the burden of this task! There was daily drama surrounding the counter installers not showing up when they were supposed to and then showing up in the late afternoon and staying until 9:00 at night! Yikes, I would have been a wreck no question! I won't keep you in suspense any longer - here's the finished product.
Island where stove is inset.
The tile installer Dave and his helper Lance were masters of their craft and brought my vision to life from very wobbly descriptions and sketches. Thanks Dave!
Once I returned home the clean up began, the walls have all been painted and the cabinets have been revived. The past two weeks have involved a lot of work on ladders and countless buckets of soapy water.
Just gaze on this new sink! Deep and wide and wonderful
I know, I know, I can hear you squawking, "Show us the floor already!" As my darling husband said in his email to me - Behold!
The entry tile in progress
The finished entry
The kitchen floor and River are a match!
There you have it. The major work is done and I LOVE the way it looks. The smooth counters without any grout are a wonder, so easy to clean and the light color brings so much brightness into the dark space. The floor is more beautiful than I envisioned and I think it matches the lodge style of the house perfectly. It looks so much like stone that it's amazing and so easy to clean. You must know by now how I'm always looking for ease of maintenance. I'll be sharing some DYI tips soon on furniture refinishing and other stuff we're doing but that's it for now.

Until next time,