Saturday, May 30, 2009

Quilting Today

I read Mary's blog almost every day. She inspires me with her quilting -- she quilts on the longarm almost every day and practices the new things when she can. I'm about 3 years or maybe more behind her...not as adventuresome in my quilting, but trying to get there.
This quilt is just 16" x 18" and actually is Kris' quilt that she gave me. I pulled a backing yesterday and threw it on the machine today and jumped right in with a little meander with a three petal flower thrown in there. Dawn Ramirez' DVD - Pajama Quilter was originally my inspiration along with Mary. I'm giving this one back to Kris and let her bind it!

In reading Mary's blog, she showcased a quilt her mother made for her that was quilted by her sister, Deb. I hadn't been to Deb's blog in a while, so I went over there and was totally in awe of what she does with a longarm! Wow, some tiny little all-over feathers as fill in. I will never be that accomplished, but boy, what an inspiration her work is.

So, I grabbed a backing fabric and threw my appliqued tree on the longarm and filled in the background with the tiniest stippling I've ever done. Now, keep in mind, this is my first attempt and I realized after I started that I should have set my stitches at least at 12 per, and didn't want to go back and pick stitches, so did the whole thing at 10 per. Also -- I have carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand (had surgery years ago on the left), and when I finished one section, my hand was so numb I couldn't press the stop button! vbg I still don't know what I'm going to do with the border -- maybe just stitch in the ditch between the borders and call it good. Anyway -- it's not great, but I feel pretty good about it anyway and feel really good about just jumping in and having a go at it.

I quilted one other little quilt today for Kris and just freehanded some little pumpkins in with a little's a small Halloween quilt.
So, obviously, I spent my day quilting and it was wonderful!

JR seems to feel better after having an upset stomach earlier today.
I spent some time rockin' on the porch this afternoon, reading a book - so nice.
Getting inspiration from other quilters.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday's Doings

I spent the afternoon playing with some friendship star blocks. They are only 6" blocks, and I want this wall hanging to be a ltitle larger, so I added the rail fence blocks. Still contemplating placement and thinking about borders -- I may have to break down and buy a good red or blue to add a border -- we'll see....

It was nice to spend the afternoon in the sewing room -- even though we had a beautiful 80° day outside. Maybe tomorrow afternoon I can spend some time on the front porch.

While I was fixing dinner tonight, Bill was just sitting at the island in the kitchen waiting for dinner to be ready! He spent all day working on the running board for his truck that broke a couple of weeks ago. Ford doesn't make them anymore, so he's fashioning his own -- he did this for the one on the driver's side a year or so ago and it looks like factory installed, but it takes him awhile! Here, he looks like he's pondering life - or maybe giving me the evil eye for snapping his picture!

Accomplishing a great deal in the yard so far this week. It's nice to enjoy the fruits of my labor -- no weeds and pretty flowers and a cob-web free rocker to sit on!
Phone calls from the kids - always good to hear from them.
Touching base with Kris after a busy week -- it feeds the creative spirit!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Today in Pictures

Wednesday and Thursday the temps were in the 80's. Today -- not so much. It was about 70°, cloudy and quite breezy this morning. I had originally planned to do some weeding down by the road, and then power wash the front porch, but instead Bill got the pressure washer out and I did the power washing first. These are the after pictures. You'll notice we have a large Jack in the Pulpit and a Fern growing through the front steps (as we do every year!). I'm all for letting wild flowers grow wherever they want.
This is a shot of the right side of the porch -- there's a swing and a park bench on this side, along with my porchrocker.
This is a shot of the left side -- only Bill's porchrocker on this side!

The view from the porch looking at Bill's garden across the drive. We have an abundance of trees and shade, so the garden goes where the sun is. In front of the garden next to the road is my flower bed -- with lots of hybrid lilies and perennials such as coneflowers, yellow yarrow, black-eyed susans and hollyhocks.

This is a view of this side of the driveway and one of the flower beds closer to the house -- this one has not been weeded yet! The beds next to the road and on this side of the drive have many different colors of daylilies, peonies from Bill's mother's house that I have transplanted twice and my fern peony.
This shot is of the center flower bed nearer the house. I did weed it today. It contains more daylilies, some resurrection lilies that will bloom in July, a clump of Virginia Bluebells that came from the original Talbott homestead in Polo, IL, where Bill's aunt lived, and some hostas, tulips, hyacinths and one of our hummingbird feeders. As I was planting impatiens in the back the other day, the hummingbird came to the feeder there and took a drink not a foot away from me. He looked at me as if to say, "hurry up with the flowers, lady"! And today I noticed he was checking out the petunias I planted in the hanging baskets on the front porch.

And finally, this is the big bed to the left of the front porch, standing on the porch looking out. I weeded part of it today after washing the porch. It has a ton of daffodils, which really spread out a lot this year, lots of different types of tulips, lots of different hostas and a host of annoying weeds -- including garlic mustard which has become quite invasive the past couple of years --- the woods are full of it. I made some progress on this bed, but the daffodil leaves are no where near dying back yet, so no hurry to finish this one.
I've spent three days working outside this week and decided that I'm going to relax and enjoy this holiday weekend. I may spend some time on the front porch reading and I hope to spend some time doing a little quilting.
I hope you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend doing whatever you like to do, also.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Before & After

JR is a pure bred Jack Russell Terrier. The breeder said he had a "broken coat" which meant that he has long, wild hair. I can't remember off hand exactly when we got him -- either 2000 or 2002. We got him as a puppy. It never occurred to me to have him groomed, because we've never had a dog that needed regular grooming. We give him a bath and cut his toenails and brush him and take him to the vet for shots and whatever.

Anyhow, for years I've been fighting his shedding, difficulty in bathing him, and picking up leaves and stuff that cling to his coat when he comes in from outside. And, finally, it occurred to me to have him groomed -- I told the groomer to make him look like a real Jack Russell (she wasn't even sure he was a JR until she clipped his coat yesterday!). so, here he is in all his glory -- looks like a completely different dog and he wasn't real happy about it at all yesterday, but he's getting used to it and so are we. I'm looking forward to not having to clean up after him so much!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Spring Has Sprung

It's been really busy around here, although I'm not sure what I've been doing that takes up all my time. Haven't been doing much actual sewing, but have been spending time in the sewing room. I finished quilting these first two quilts and they are now in the stack to be donated or given away. I just used the Bubbles pantograph on both.

This was just a panel I've had in stash and I added borders and quilted it. It's a cute kids/baby quilt.
This third one I put together one afternoon -- always planned on doing a broken dishes quilt, so I made a small one. I haven't quilted it yet, but plan to play with circle templates and do a small Baptist Fan pattern.

I did manage to finish spring cleaning the entire second floor. YAY - that's done. My washer died and in the process leaked water all over the first floor (my laundry is a closet in the second floor hallway). Needless to say, after we replaced the washer, I got to shampoo the carpet in the hallway for the third time. Now that the second floor is finished, the first floor looks much dirtier, so I will be starting on it this summer, hopefully to finish by Christmas.
I managed to wash windows outside and put our screens up, but will be redoing those on the porches when I clean the porches -- I'm hoping to spend more time outside this summer working around the house and in the gardens. The house cleaning will be done after the outside work or whenever it rains -- which has been quite a bit this spring.
Kris and I are still getting together to sew when we can, but she's been doing a lot of substitute teaching and tutoring, so our time has been somewhat limited. I did spend a couple of days prepping my applique projects so I can grab and go when we get a few hours. And this week I have started cleaning out my fabric cabinet -- it was so totally messy I literally could not find anything. I have two shelves straightened and two more to go. I want to make a red/white/blue quilt for the 4th and couldn't even pull fabrics for it from the mess.
This afternoon we have a funeral to attend, but I am looking forward to coming home and doing quilty things the rest of the weekend. Well, I may go to "The Pec Thing" on Sunday -- a weekend antique/flea market show in Pecatonica, IL. They have it every spring and fall and it's a great thing to walk through all the booths and even the exhibition halls at the fairgrounds. I'm not looking for anything in particular -- but I love to find little antique things or something to put in the garden.
So, that's basically what's been going on around here -- obviously it's been ages since I posted or even read many blogs.
The trees and flowers are all bursting into bloom or already bloomed and are leafing out -- everything is green. Seems like it happens overnight -- brown landscape one day and beautifully green the next.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

My son made me cry on Mother's Day. We had a nice visit with all the kids early this afternoon and because our Daughter-in-law's birthday and Bill's birthday are also this month, we celebrated everything today. Here's our two grandsons playing. Will is sitting in the baby rocker that was Steve's when he was Will's age -- 40 years ago (and those are Steve's legs in the picture with Will).

We exchanged gifts and had cake and then they all left. I took a nap (we had a wedding in Milwaukee last night and I was done in). Then Bill decided to take me out to dinner tonight, so I went upstairs to get ready. There were two envelopes on the dresser in the bedroom, addressed to Dad and Mom. Mine was a card with a recorded message and the song "Lean on Me" played after the message. Steve recorded the message -- and yes, I cried -- what a sweetheart I raised. It's nice to know he turned out so well -- and so did our other two. In this day and age, I think we're lucky in that respect. Thanks, Steve - I love you too.

I haven't updated my blog in ages and have been busy doing lots of stuff, so I'll have to spend some time this week getting caught up. Not tonight, though.