Thursday, May 26, 2011

Warm Enough for Me!

My goodness! Here in New England, we say, if you don't like the weather, wait a minute! Today is sunny and warm with the 85 degree breezes blowing fresh air all about. It's a far cry from the 50 degree rains that had me dressing in layers with cotton turtlenecks.
When I get new quilting fabrics from my online suppliers, I like to prewash them. I used to do it in the washer with just a lil' Tide. And I still do that for pieces that are larger than one yard. But I have had some stockpiles of one yard pieces of bright reds, oh say, ten or twelve different ones. I swear that ALL reds bleed color!

So I've been doing just a few at a time in the big sink in the bathroom in hot water and Orvus. Then, I carry them sopping wet (in a bucket, so that they don't drip inside the house) out to my clothesline. They are so gay flapping in the breeze!

On May 30th, 1970, I got to marry my Husband Wonderful, Felix. We planned that day, which was traditional Memorial Day, so that wherever we were working, our anniversary would always be on the holiday. Little did we know that the government passed the Monday holiday law later that year. So this Memorial Day, we are celebrating 41 years of happy partnership.
We are going to plant red/white&blue perennial plants in the rock garden to enjoy our special day. And I think we will go out to our favorite Chinese restaurant, the Hong Kong Buffet, too. Here are pictures of the rock garden. Can you see that Felix has already planted the red English Daisey's? They are kinda hard to see near the big rock. The Dianthus will be the white, and the phlox will be the blue. I wish you could smell those lilacs in the background; they are heavenly!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Process

Yesterday and today, I struggled with the "No Sunshine Blues" that all of the northeast is suffering for the past ten days or so. Everybody is depressed, irritable, or sleeping all day. When my husband, Felix's car door swung too wide and barely brushed against the mirror housing of the pick-up truck in the next parking space, the owner of the truck exploded in road rage! No damage was done and Felix apologized and even offered money, but the man was foul-mouthed and implacable. He finally shuffled away, grumbling.
I feel it too. I just can't seem to get enough energy together to have the ambition to do even the things that I enjoy. I'm eating way too many cookies.
But I tried the Union Square Block from Barbara Brackman's Civil War blog.
Here is my first attempt:

I was very unhappy with how little contrast I had achieved in the corners with the green and the brown prints, so, today, I tried again. I still had two more blocks worth of that same green already cut and ready to use. But I chose a deeper hued madder print and a deeper brown print, thinking that the darker tones in the corners would do the trick. Not so!
It's better, but that green is too strong! So I tried a completely different fabric set with an indigo and medium blue. AHHHHH, now that's what I wanted to see! I'm very pleased with the last one here:
They say that the world will end tomorrow. Maybe. But I remember when it was supposed to end when I was in Foxboro High School in the late 60's and I had a math exam scheduled for that day. The world did not end, and I still had the math test. Funny, I don't even remember if I passed it!
So I guess this post is all about just going through the process.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Michelins and Missouri Stars

Although I was unable to post yesterday due to Blogger's servers being down, it was busy and productive. It was busy, as I was finally getting my noisy-but-necessary studded snow tires off my car and replaced with two brand new Michelins. I sat in the Stratham Tire Shop's waiting room thumbing through the newest Keepsake Quilting Shop's catalogue and enjoying its eye-candy. I had brought my knitting bag which had one of my French lavender sachets tucked into it. I was so glad. Tire stores STINK! But happily, I'm now road-worthy again with my 1989 Mercury Marquis. But I resent ANY money not spent on fabric. LOL!

Lordy! I went to take a picture to show you my new "Pink-walls", as opposed to white-walls, and just LOOK! A flat on the brand new tire! Sigh. I called them and they gave me a 10:30am appointment for tomorrow. But that means that Felix will need to change the tire. UGH! Friday-the-thirteenth, indeed!

It was productive because in a couple of sessions spent in the Quilt Cave down cellar, I managed to make four different Missouri Stars. I deliberately tried reversing the colors of the points on one just to see what would happen. Rectangles appeared! It was fun to try it, but it is my least favorite of them all.

At the front part of the driveway, I hung a new bird feeder in a low branch of the thornless Honey Locust tree that I planted here years ago. Off and on, I got visitations from two male goldfinches and one female. It was so hard to get their picture! Even with the camera on telephoto-setting, I couldn't get close enough to see them. If you look very hard at the left side of the feeder, you can just make out the olive color of the female.

On the last one, he is up in the tree, just above the road. Just a dot of yellow, but he's there! Just across from that sight is the tulip bed in its glory. It makes me think of the colors of the Carolina Christmas quilt that Bonnie Hunter did as her 2009 mystery.
Even the sandy edge of the road looks like her neutrals. I see the world in quilt-colored glasses!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunny But Cool

It was chilly and windy today, in spite of the abundant sunshine. I did my 15 minutes of sitting in the sunlight to ward off Seasonal Affective Disorder, but wanted to be indoors for the warmth.

Today was definitely a goof-around day! I goofed around putting some sashings on the second row of Chain of Faith. I goofed around and made a new French lavender sachet. I goofed around making a few blocks of my gaggles of flying geese as leaders and enders. I goofed around making two purple string blocks. I even goofed around cutting out all the pieces for a little green & cream Missouri Star block from the Civil War blog of Barbara Brackman. When you add up all the goofing around, it was a good day!
I had a ball drifting from one project to another, almost like grazing. If I spend too much effort on only one goal, it gets stale and I get bored. Then it feels like drudgery. Goofing around is much more fun!

As you can see, I was just beginning to piece the Missouri Star when Felix hollered to me downstairs to come up for supper. I dropped it like the proverbial rock and headed upstairs for baked chicken legs and tortellini & cucumber salad. Yum! Now to watch Jeopardy!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pansy Basket Stained

My new basket looked too new and raw. So I decided to stain it. I used #230 Early American by Minwax. The rich chestnut brown looks so appealing to me. I snapped a shot in between rain showers. I'll show the before and after.

I want to take a basket weaving class with Peg Mastey to learn how to make one of my own handiwork!

Just Before the Rain

I have been happily working on the Chain of Faith quilt that Jo Kramer presented on Moda Bakeshop. Yesterday I finished piecing the sixteen blocks. Yippee! Now I am ready to do all the sashing and cornerstones, which is a considerable task. But just before it rained last night, I got Husband Wonderful (Felix) to snap a picture of me laying out the blocks.

It was almost dark because we waited until the wind died down. This is a very low contrast pattern. But I love it!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Happy May Day!

Since May first was a beautiful Spring day, I did a couple more blocks on Chain of Faith and then took myself out for a Sunday drive. I went to see an old friend, Peg Mastey at the Heritage Herb Farm over in Canterbury, which is two towns away. Peg has the loveliest handmade soaps and sachets in her shop in a fine old New Hampshire barn. She sells selected annuals and perennials but her plants are extra healthy and locally grown to be robust in this climate. But best of all, she will sit and chat with you and is a champion of the lost art form of conversation.
Because I knew that Peg loves antiques of all kinds and has a special fondness for old baskets, I took my recent ebay treasure for her to see. And on the drive over there, I had to pass by the Dawson Farm where Mrs. Dawson was selling cut daffodils for 25 cents a stem from a card table set up by the road. I bought two bucks worth to bring to Peg. Now, that is carrying coals to Newcastle! For Peg has lots of daffy's in bloom all about her acres by the Merrimack River. But I had guessed the truth. She does not CUT any for the table, LOL! So she was delighted to have some for her pretty vase.
She was also thrilled to inspect the old basket, too. Eastern Tennessee is supposed to be it's homeland of origin and Peg was amazed at the hand-drawn bentwood oak handle and the oak splints. She weaves baskets herself but said that she doesn't have the hand strength to weave oaken splints, even after they have been soaked overnight in water. Peg gave me her opinion that the basket is worth at least $75. Boy, that made me cheer! I had paid $20 with $10 in shipping fees.
I bought some pansies for my deck planters and a "Berries'n'Cream" scented mint plant. I wanted to buy one of Peg's reed baskets to take them home in the car. She was reluctant to sell me a basket, saying that I should sign up for a basket-making class. Finally, I got her to let me take one for $24, but I made sure that she signed it. Here is the new basket.
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