Monday, June 27, 2011

Comfort Quilt

I have all the triangles sewn for this comfort quilt. It is five feet by six feet, a good lap size.

I used a Hoffman floral, some of the scenic backing fabric which has horses, lots of green tone on tones and lots of blue tone on tones. To keep things casual I used some plaids and checks. I wanted a denim and green woods theme.

The backing is a scenic print with horses. Backing needs a good seam that is pressed open. The scenes run right along the selvage which I needed to trim off because I purposely have not washed this fabric. I do want some shrinkage to get a nice puckery effect but I don't want that selvage pulling up.
I decided to match the water ways more than the horses.

I am going to outline every triangle so I pinned inside every triangle.

I'll have one grand child for a few days and then the other but I do hope to make lots of progress as it is pretty straight forward quilting once I decide on my thread.

Long time

We have past the summer solstice. The longest day is behind us. The next calender flip shows the centre fold and the staples. The days are going to be shorter and probably go faster.

Time to get those notations on the to-do list crossed off. My rooster and I had a little talk about the job list and the labour supply which is this ol' chick and a very busy rooster. We're making some changes. pant, pant!

A long day on the riding and the push mower and I think I cut everything that need doing. I even got down the woodland path. It was a ton of work to make it but it has lots of poison ivy and the undergrowth is getting quite lush. I guess as long as I can make it through with the mower I'll keep it open.

We'll invite a scrap dealer to come so we can clean up a couple of messy spots in the actual farm yard.

My peonies had very long stems this year and the wind/rain again got them which is why my favorites are the single petaled flowers rather than the big heavy doubles. I can only fill so many vases! lol

The hostas particularly like the cooler, wetter weather. I added several more this year. The secret to less weeds is more plants. LOL I think we now have all the chickens contained so I'll lay down yet another path of flax mulch for the faeries and frogs to romp down!

The next job is to get my hoe sharpened and work my way through my long borders and the shade garden.

The bark chips did not work in this island and I also have lots of poplar tree shoots coming up. So to go with the flow, I have accepted an offering of 6' long ostrich ferns which will fill in this long island of space. The shorter native ferns I planted along the bush aren't real visible so maybe these will work better. The older poplars are actually in decline so I'm happy to see the new growth. I luv the light bark and the sound of the trembling leaves.

At the end of this long island is the grape fence that shields That Faerie Place from view. I never get any grapes and the crazy vine wants to climb UP and into the poplar trees. It is very long as well. But that is a problem for next year. I haven't gone into the whole plan with the rooster but he has at least heard the word pergola and I'll slowly enlighten him. ;^)

It was also a long night. Our second dog takes the night shift. His Great Pyrenees genes make him the guard dog. He absolutely hates skunks. He is actually pretty good at eradicating them as the rooster often finds their remains about the farm where they made their last stand. Last night's battle left Manny with a farewell present. The air coming through the bedroom window told the tale. He (and the grand kiddies) like to be in the raised bed along the house wall. This morning, after a long night shift, he decided to sleep under the open basement window. YUCK!

But the rooster has agreed to doing more raised beds. The main garden has been so disappointing these last wet years so he has been using my 'herb' garden for the favorite stuff. We'll build, oops, he'll build, more raised beds around these. And really we don't need ALL that garden space anymore. I'm all for getting the grass area reduced and this will actually be handier.

Okay, summer sun. Shine!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

If time waits for no man...

then the big bad C is very pushy.

I did not have my comfort quilt done but the thought of having one that I think will definitely rate as one of my top ten quilts brought a smile of anticipation.

So between sniffles and sewing I'll be away for a bit to give comfort to the one left behind who will think of this as the 'nothing' quilt as that was what I'd reply to her query about what I was doing. lol

But Monday morning ALWAYS comes and I'll have something to show for it.

In the meantime, I'm believing:

The sun is always shining.
It shines above on a stormy day.
Even in the darkest night time
It's just the earth that's turned away.
So if you keep those praises climbing,
You'll find life above the storm.
Don't curse the night
It's in God's timing.
Trust, endure
until the morn.

See ya Monday.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Let them eat grass!

I am often advised to let the sheep graze the lawn so I don't have to mow.

Everyone seems to have seen the bucolic pictures of sheep grazing on a manicured pasture surrounding a fine, old stately home. What they don't see is the deep ditch that landscapers hide in a dip which keeps the sheep in the pasture and not nibbling in the flower beds. There is a fancy name for the ditch that escapes me but it is found in Great Britain and surrounds the castle grounds. ;^)

When the boss ewe heads off to the pasture she follows a path that every sheep following her will step in. This is only about six inches wide. I have to pay attention to stay in it. It'll be hard as a rock. If she thinks there is something to hop over, every sheep following will make the same hop, even if the frog or whatever is long gone. When they get out to the pasture they fan out but they are grazers and eat on the move. They nibble and shuffle ahead, nibble and shuffle ahead. When the old ewe decides it is time to head back they begin to follow her back to the home pen where they will have water and then lay down to chew their cud. It takes many trips over the pasture to to reduce it to anything that looks low and uniform. They do prefer new growth and when someone finds something, makes a sigh or smacking sound and all the rest hear the rumour; they run right over to discover the newest delicacy. If they were on my lawn all the new buds would be slurped up, nibbled at and gossiped about. But I would be left with clumps of their least favorite veggies and all the dessert would be nowhere to be seen. BTW, they don't like dandelions. The kicker is that they would leave behind little pellets of concentrated fertilizer that would make the grass grow even more. :( That is why they are called sheep of the golden hoofs!

But we have eliminated a lot of grass cutting by fencing more of the land around the farm yard. We are waiting to put the wire on the fence posts just behind the backyard and past the chicken coop. The area where the granaries, sheep sorting pens, and general work area is located can be grazed by the sheep. You can see that they will be coming pretty soon. If they were left there for a very long time they would eventually get it all down pretty close to the ground but hopefully the new wire will be up and they can mosey over to give the chickens something to look at!

I am making progress on the triangle quilt and my little helper and I will be off to buy the backing. Oh, I do hope she likes fabric stores better than being a little shepherdess!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Time waits for no man.

I'm impressed that I actually really wanted to finish this veranda quilt. Usually I want to charge into my next bright idea. But more like I thought I could stop cancer with a delayed deadline.

What a devilish disease.

So I set aside my basted quilt sandwich and began my blue/green/flowers/horses triangles quilt. And no, I can't just sew random triangles. Never thought I was a control freak but rather than randomly sew triangles I am working two rows at a time to get a good placement. A good and generous 1/4 inch seam allowance and pressing even rows to the right and odd rows to the left is making for good positioning for those points. At first I thought 'yikes' but I am in the 'zone' and it is looking good!

Now if the grass will just slow a bit....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I've been thinking, AGAIN.

Grey skies, stumbles on life's paths, and the yearly calendar at an halfway point...

This makes me reflective.

Clean slates, blank pages can be paralyzing.

Award winners can be intimidating.

"And just what have YOU accomplished today???", can be demoralizing.

Friends are helpers and encouragers along the way.

A blank canvas in real life is a rarity. Often we have something that must be incorporated in whatever we are endeavouring to do so begin, with a spot, a line, a border, an idea, a constraint, a challenge, a tear. Even the calendar isn't blank, there are numbers, a grid, a name.

The great masterpieces showcase a finished work. They do not show the process, the revisions, the serendipitous 'mistakes', nor the frustrations in bringing the vision to fruition. Comparisons are a deadly game to play. It is better to look at examples of fine work in alternative expressions of art. As a quilter I could benefit from looking at books on photography.

A day filled with satisfying accomplishments does not always involve major strokes through a long list of must-do's. Lunch with a friend does not show the early laundry, the prep for supper, the replaced button, the survey call, the wandering sheep, the phone chat with a 1 year old , the aha moment for the current creative puzzle, etc., etc., etc.

I have learned a lot since I began blogging and reading blogs. I'm thankful for this community.

It is a matter of honesty in one's heart. Have you honestly done well today?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Seek and ye shall focus!

I didn't realize that seek is another word for focus. Focus was last year's word. If you seek (focus) you will find and find is this year's word. Neat!

I am 'finding' that I cannot focus well on doing 5 different hobbies a week. Five things work but I'm better at tangents than 'here a little, there a little'. Not only have I dropped a couple of balls; I seem to have lost one! lol Now I really need 'to find'!

I'm seeking to make this quilt for my friends.

I'll have to go back for more of this backing fabric. I could make a pillowcase from this 1 metre piece as the horses are perfect but I need to match the horses with 2 long pieces for the back.

I've always wanted to do a triangles quilt and I'm quite liking how this is progressing. I've sewed a few triangles together. I'd rather not lay out the whole thing and troop back and forth for pieces so hopefully I can get a good scattering of everything. I'm a little stumped as to how to press the seams but I'll have it figured after I sew two rows together. I also have more greens to cut then I can get into 'tangent' mode and really make some progress.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Living Green

Yikes, we had frost yesterday morning. How's a girl to get a tan?

But I needed to spend a day puttering with all things green, (and not grass).

I've never had so much bad news in such a short time that I can really appreciate the planting and tweaking that comes from some garden work.

The poor shade loving plants were in need of some shelter so I'd bought a few tall plants. I planted 3 hollyhocks which I've had before but they have almost died out as their corner has gotten wetter and wetter. But look at the height on those peonys. whoa

I have an affection for light, feathery, branching small trees so I decided I need a tall shrub that has the lacy effect. I'd like a multi-stemmed Amur maple so I hope this sprouts from the base a bit. You can see it to the left of the tall stake. It'll only grow about 20' and shouldn't pose any threat to the house but I really want the house to kinda sink into the landscape rather than sit up and wave at all the passersby!

I have one ivory dogwood and if I got 2 more then they would add the lightness that I desire in this pink and yellow themed bed surrounding the front south east side of the house. The stakes with the pots on top are where I'd put them and then a nice hardy rose beside the old tree stump. But definitely a fragrant one! I'm learning to smell the roses!!!

Edit: I am getting many multiples of uploaded photos and then great spaces in my blog lately. Sorry. I do try to 'fix' them and sometimes I can and sometimes I can't.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Springing into action.

I'm stalled at the front veranda but that is okay. Some Rooster work needs to happen to the veranda as well as the front entrance area. It has an official designated spot on the summer work list.

I washed things down and found the best placement for the rug and few pieces of furniture.

The spring quilt top is done and I do have the backing for it. I'll use the leftovers for runners, placemats, pillows, etc.

As soon as the weather cooperates I'll begin painting the furniture and decide on the permanent arrangement to the left of the front door.

I've also served notice to my farmer that he can no longer 'store' stuff in our "Welcome to our Home" entrance. Here's hoping! ;^)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Little Jobs Big Jobs

There are always things to do but where we live here in central Canada the weather which is normally hot and sunny for most of the summer has begun a wet, rainy, cloudy trend. So when we have weather that is conducive to yard work we drop everything to take advantage of it.

As you can see from the grass under the bigger tractor, the grass likes cold and wet!

After the grandson went back home and was safely out of the way we tackled the ash tree by the house. One part had split off during a wind storm 2 years ago and fell across the walk. The tree was a single trunk when planted but another trunk grew and when we took away the downed one the other was fine. You'd never have know of the other. But now it was banging on the roof! And the wind has been very fierce lately.

My rooster works safely. The problem is that he is a farmer not a wood chopper. So to make sure it would go where we wanted he used the tractor, on a long rope, to apply some 'coaxing' for where we wanted it. He thought he'd hooked it okay but he does have one front wheel in my flower bed. Why am I NOT surprised!!! ;^)

Not ideal but it was okay. Not on us, the house nor the hydro line! The flower bed? Well, it's not a heavy wheel!

What a lot of greenery! I was going to haul limbs away with my lawn tractor and wagon and my dearie offered his big toys. He said it was a 3 hour job and we only went over by 30 minutes. That was probably when I had to gather myself from the ground where I was sprawled because I'd made a fast short cut under the willow and schmucked my forehead into the tree! For heaven's sake!!!

A lot of my plantings at the corner of the house were plants for shade. I'm sure they are quite worried. I need to think about their dilemma. Mind you, it has been mostly grey and overcast so they should just chillax. I need to finish up some trimming.

So I have a Rooster job done. I have a trip to the nursery planned. I also had about an hour of sun this morning and we are back to grey. Do I hear sighs from the hostas, foxgloves and Solomon's Seals???

Friday, June 3, 2011

When Life Gets in the Way

I need to move a new project to the top of my list of five. My friend's diagnosis is "nothing we can do". Well, I'm a quilter, there is something "I can do!".

It'll need to be big enough to wrap him and his wife. It's for him, and then for her. Denim blue, green growing things and the fragrance of flowers.

When life gives you scraps, make quilts.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Finding the Rhythm

I have a few shrubs and a group 0f 15 hostas to plant. They'll go into That Faerie Place. This picture is from last year so I'm hoping for bigger and better this year. This shade garden is my absolute favorite of all I do.

I'm finding it a bit difficult to figure out the weather. We had 2 days of summer weather and we are back to very cold, wet, and lots of rain. My farmer has decided to forget about seeding as it is late and we are spending too much time looking out the window and counting calender days. We've lost a couple of productive years doing this so...

The sun was out and I quickly stripped the top of a gateleg table that was used daily while I was growing up.

I may not do the legs as they are worn and match some worn chairs that I'll put with it.

It needs some structural reinforcing but it is real handy on Sundays for extra seating.

The expected rain is holding off so I'll quickly do my planting and then it'll be back in the saddle to tame the grass that seems to thrive on cold and wet! VBSigh

Hopefully we can find the rhythm that will lead to a productive summer. The trick is lists for sunny days and lists for rainy days AND keeping a sunny disposition no matter what list we work on!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Can't see the trees

That's because they are sideways. ;^(

I wanted to make a quilt that kinda looked like you were looking through a clump of trees. No sky or ground, just trunks. I had changed the colours in the veranda so that quilt wasn't needed so I made a runner to ' get it out of my system'.

I took my runner to sewing class and brought home a couple of giveaway fabrics. On checking them out when I got home I see that I wasn't even close to what I'd envisioned.

But in the interest of 'doing my own thing' I plugged away on my new colour palette for the veranda. A tree in each block.

The more 'trees', the more I felt like I needed an axe. LOL

Here is what I learned:

I needed many more prints. This was a stash quilt and I think the print fabrics were a give away to which I added mostly tone on tones or solids.

I think I need to work with either all solids and TOT's or all prints and 1 solid. I don't seem to appreciate the old rule of 1 large scale print, a couple of medium prints (geometric), a solid and an accent.

I also need to remember that the quilt shrinks, particularly up when I am sewing it all together. I wanted this quilt square or at least long looking. It is 5 feet by 5 feet 6 inches. awk!

It is good to push the colour palette, but not too far. I left the few trees in the light brown but quickly saw the backgrounds didn't work so I only had to rip out the first one I'd sewn into a row.

And I need to stay home but I have NOTHING for a backing. I persevered to stay on top of this project and not have another ufo but a whole cloth coordinating print is gonna be preferable to spending days on piecing some kind of backing and nothing is looking at all promising.

Now I need to add that bit on the bottom corner, square it up, find a backing and get it quilted. I'm leaning to straight lines, more trees. Not a real crowd pleaser but I learned a thing or three! AND- it is kind of an outdoors quilt, a lawn blanket!

But I think I like it best- SIDEWAYS!