Tuesday, March 17, 2015

We Have a Winner!

image source
 It's official! Ohio Lori is the winner of my 3rd Blogaversary Giveaway! I sent her an email and I hope to hear from her soon so I can mail her prize. From Lori's Blogger profile it's looks like she doesn't have a blog herself but she does follow many interesting quilting sites so I think she'll like this prize.
The prize - McKenna Ryan art quilt kit
Thank you so much to all the kind folks who participated in the party this year, I only wish I could give each of you a gift. I do send out a virtual hug to all my faithful followers new and old. You make my day each and every time you leave a comment and continue the dialogue we have going. I love this exchange of ideas.

I continue sewing away on the Fern Creek Sampler.
All the rows are now complete and pressed and not one of them is the same length as any other! My new storage racks have assumed a duel purpose as hanging/design wall additions. Pretty nifty.

See the second row on the left? Those two light triangles really bothered me and that row was super wavy. That's the fabric that was sent in the kit but I don't like it. So, after this picture was taken I decided to take it apart and put in two triangles that were more on the tan side and hopefully correct that wave. Well... easier said than done. I got the tan triangles in, no problem. But that wave just got worse and worse. The more I fussed the worse it got. There are a lot of bias edges to deal with and this is not really quality fabric here and I think when I originally made this row I may not have been as exact as I may be now. Anyway, this entire row now resides in the trash can! Sometimes you just have to let things go bye, bye and move on. Just like a bad relationship we were not jellin' and this could only end in heartbreak. I'm starting to put this together with black connecting strips as called for in the pattern. We'll see how that goes.

Until next time,

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Visiting Grandkids er...Dogs

I confess I miss my grand kids. I haven't seen the littlest since Christmas and I'm jones'n for some Grammy time so look who I have to fill in the gap.
Smiling doggie face!
This is Lullaby. She belongs to my middle son's family. Those of you who have been readers for a while know that Dogwood Lane Farm is really Dogwood Lane Farms because our son Zack and his family live on the next property down the road and we share much of the same animal chores and garden activities. Zack's two boys are our oldest grandchildren, all grown up now in fact. One is in college a few hundred miles away and one is a high school senior. I catch glimpses of that red headed boy now and again but he's a busy kid in his senior year. My other five grandchildren live in Southern California and we travel to see them several times a year as time and money permit. We have a trip planned soon but in the mean time I make due with fur kids. Some days it's a regular doggie daycare around here!
LaLa is a cross between an Australian cattle dog and some other herder of unknown origin. She is what we refer to as a Mar-Val box puppy, that is rescued from a box in front of our local Mar-Val super market. She's about eight or nine years old, no one can remember and the kids named her because they used to sing her to sleep when she was a baby. When she's here she's queen of the yard and goes unchallenged.
This sweet faced girl is Luna. She's also a rescue that Zack brought home from a tree nursery/ranch. The folks that had her were going to put her down because they could not break her from chasing their live stock. She's a border collie x cattle dog and it's in her blood. They had no fences to keep her away from the animals and no inclination to train her. She is the sweetest girl and so affectionate. 
Zack's a sucker for a spotted dog ever since we had a rescue puppy named Algebra when he was a kid. We got Algebra from the local shelter and she was sick from the beginning. After enormous vet bills we couldn't save her and Zack has always loved spotted dogs since then.
Shadow & Luna
Whenever Luna is here she hangs out with Shadow since they're both of the same temperament, energy level (semi-hyper) and size. They chase each other around the yard until they about give out, lots of barking is involved.
Shadow & River on the move
A chase game is going on here involving all four dogs but I could only get two of them in the frame.
River is the largest dog in the pack but since she's also the youngest she defers to all but Luna. Luna is the most timid so she holds the bottom position. They all get along wonderfully well and enjoy their play dates. Whenever I walk down the road I tell Shadow and River lets go to Zack's house and they dash for the gate separating our property, ready to play.

Still, not a very good substitute for grand babies but it will have to do for now.
Times running out for the Blogaversary Giveaway so don't forget to click over and leave a comment for a chance to win! I'm drawing the winner in four days!

Until next time,

Monday, March 9, 2015

Filling In The Blanks

If a pile of trimmings is any indication then I've been very busy this week on the Fern Creek Sampler. If you remember this is the UFO I decided had marinated long enough and is now at the top of my To Do list. I need at least three more rows added and then I can start putting this together.
This is the block that makes up the next row and as you can see it's a fussy little thing that has a million points and finishes at 6 1/2". As I'm sewing this I have a wonderful tool that is indispensable, my dental pic.
Each of these half triangle squares is only 1 1/2" and they really need to meet as perfectly as I can make them. The dental pic is my helper to keep the fabric secure under the needle and save my finger from being sewn into my project!
This extreme close-up shows you how close to the needle I can get with it. As you can tell I've had to re-sew some seams for better accuracy, a threads breadth makes all the difference sometimes. And, yes I did clean my foot and needle. Yikes, this old fabric is shedding like a dog! I got the dental pic at a sewing trade show last year and I recommend it to everyone, it was only about $1 and well worth it, far better than any stiletto I've tried.
I love chain piecing - so satisfying.
Two of the three needed rows completed. I really like the chevron for it's pop of color.

I did not like the overly complicated pattern of the next paper pieced row in the directions so I used the same fabric provided and pieced a simple churn dash block. That's as far as I've gotten. I think I may need one more row before I can start assembly. I'll have to think on it.

Linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Don't forget the Blogaversary Giveaway. Click the link and leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. I'll draw the name on March 15.

Until next time,

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Yes, But Does She Sew?

As a matter of fact I do sometimes sew. In between cooking, cleaning, gardening and as we've seen organizing I have managed to get in a stitch or two.
Diving into that hideous sewing room closet turned out to be mixed blessing because now I know exactly how many UFOs I have. Let me just say I realize that it's too many and I've taken a vow to whittle this number down in the year 2015. For instance these two boxes labeled BOM contain everything I need to finish, the Blogger Girl BOM I started in 2013. I need to make the connecting blocks for this one, lots of nine patches if I recall. I ran out of steam on those around June of 2013. The actual blocks are complete and they are lovely. I truly like this one and want to get her done and maybe even on my bed.
This box contains a machine embroidery project that was offered through a quilt shop and required me to drive an hour each way to pick up the monthly instructions, get help and work on my own to complete. Boy was that difficult and time consuming. I was a machine embroidery novice and in way over my head when I started this but I did learn a lot. I may or may not complete this one.
Here's one I really like too! The colors in this are gorgeous and as far as I can tell I have everything cut out and labeled. I was going to work on this on a retreat but I just couldn't concentrate and so put it aside. I have two of the blocks done, not sure how many there are all together but aren't they pretty?
I'm definitely going to finish this one.
This is another project I have all cut out and ready for piecing. The pattern is from this book, Scrap Basket Surprises by Kim Brackett. So many great scrap projects in this book, seriously. I have all I need ready for this pattern named "Kitchen Sink."
But the project I'm tackling first is the one that has been marinating longest. The project that has been buried the deepest and for good reason I might add.
A BOM row quilt from the Stitchin' Station in Sisters, Oregon started in 1999 called "Fern Creek Sampler". You read that right 1999! The instructions and fabrics for each row were sent out month by month and I kept up pretty well for the first nine months as you can see, in spite of the pitiful and poorly written instructions and my lack of experience. Then I just gave up. Not one of these rows came out to be the same size as the next and nowhere in the instructions was there a finished block size given, I was frustrated and confused and then there was paper piecing thrown in, eeek gods!
In my search of the web I found only one photo of the quilt so I know that at least one person was able to wade through and finish. It's for sale for $1,980 and I say more power to her.

I will not be completing this exactly as directed but I will finish it by gum and by golly!

Don't forget the Blogaversary Giveaway. Click the link and leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. I'll draw the name on March 15.

Until next time,

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spring Cleaning Tips

I know, most of the country is buried in snow and has cabin fever but here in Northern California we're looking at cool, crisp and somewhat sunny days and I'm thinking about spring cleaning. Those of you who aren't there yet can file these tips away until that snow starts to melt.
I have quite a few of these type of woven shades in my house. I love them because they let filtered light in during the summer months when our our Sierra sun can be quite brutal. They do collect a lot of dust though and after a while vacuuming just doesn't cut it. Our solution is to hang them outside suspended between two ladders and hose them off. I don't use any soap or cleaner because I don't know what that would do to the cords. Oh my goodness, you would not believe the dirt that comes off with just plain water! 
Once that's done we tip them on end to be sure the water runs out and let them dry completely in the sun. By the end of the day they're ready to rehang. I have had these professionally cleaned and that required me to take them down and haul them to the cleaners where they did essentially the same thing and charged me $25/each. Yikes! If you have this type of shade try it on just one and see how it goes before you commit to your whole house full, I do not want to be responsible for ruining your decor! 

Tip #2 involves washing your windows and it makes such a difference I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner. One day I was sitting at Starbucks enjoying my latte and observing their windows being professionally washed. The cleaner swiped on his solution and swiped it off, all with a squeegee and done. Light bulb moment! Off to Home Depot I went and bought my professional window cleaning supplies.
This stuff will change your life! One swipe on, one swipe off and done! Any brand will do I'm sure. It has something to do with breaking the surface tension on the glass and preventing streaks. I have a lot of windows so I can get pretty excited about something that makes window cleaning easier. I also use it for glassware but in that case I rinse with warm water so there will be no residue. Mirrors sparkle too. Amazing really. If you already knew about this stuff why didn't you tell me?? Any other spring cleaning tips you've been keeping to yourself? DO tell the rest of us, we would like to know.

Don't forget the Blogaversary Giveaway. Click the link and leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. I'll draw the name on March 15.

Until next time,