Monday, April 30, 2012

Free At Last!

Yes! I truly have finished the last of the second set of Sister's Choice blocks! So I'm free to start something new!
The two quilts will each be set as 6 blocks by 7 blocks for 42 blocks per each, a total of 84. I've had fun doing them off and on for two years. Now I'm glad to show the last three done.

Over the weekend, I celebrated having these last blocks finished by engaging in a fun but fast diversion. I had been cleaning up around my trusty ole' White and discovered a handful of perfectly nice flying geese leftover from the Windmills of My Mind quilt's border.
What to do? I played and made some lovely Evening Star blocks out of random scraps. But I desperately wanted to finish something right away! With scraps of high loft polyester batting and an old fat quarter or two as backings and a dip into the basket of binding's leftovers and soon I had four potholders. I love them! I still do not know how I made the loop from the binding. I did it 4 times and it was slightly different each time. LOL!

The flying geese were finished at 2"X4" so the potholders are about 8 1/2" square with the binding. I'm planning on selling them for $6 for one, or, two for $10, at my yard sale. If no one will pay me that much, then I'll give them out at Christmas for presents to all my worthless relatives. LOL! Let me know if you want to buy one, I have paypal.

I also stopped in at Keepsake Quilting on Saturday and found lovely Civil War selections in the outlet store. I am horrified by this picture's coloration, the red has photographed as magenta when it is actually rich turkey red with stripes of pin dots of cheddar.
 The floral is a Faye Burgos that looks lovely with the turkey red, so I just had to have it! So now my allowance for April is all gone, but so is April, too!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Goofing Off

Monday I mailed off my Yellow 2 1/2" strip sets for the washed swap group, They are a wonderful group and the washed section is hosted by Subee, while the unwashed section is hosted by Judi. I've been doing a swap a month with them in the strips. Here is what 100 (10 sets of ten) yellow strips looked like before I mailed them off to Indiana.

The snack sized zip baggies are just perfect to hold the twice-folded half width strips! I had a hard time coming up with ten different yellows or golds or cheddars, but I had just bought some cheddars and prewashed them, so it worked out.
We have enjoyed a week of lovely spring days that are just too nice to be in a basement sewing. The fresh air police insisted that I go goof around outdoors. I was so happy to see my Red Dynasty tulips actually blooming! That meant that the whitetail deer did not eat the buds of all the blossoms as they have done in the past. I put out the clumps of Matthew's hair from his haircut and also laid down my dried eucalyptus sprigs that I had bought decades ago from Pier One Imports.
The yellows  that you can see are the little double-headed "Tete a tete" daffodils with a few dandilions cheering them on. I love dandilions! Felix hates them and tries to keep them mowed before they go to seed.
They are so hardy and cheerful with that bright yellow!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sewing With My Scissors On

As a huge Bonnie K. Hunter fan, I have truly embraced working with leaders and enders as I do my piecing. It means that I send through an ender to push my block unit out onto the other side of my sewing machine, where it is ready to be clipped free to sew upon it again.

As I work the Sister's Choice blocks, I find myself NOT bothering to set down my scissors in between passes. It was hard to photograph this but here is work being pushed through while the scissors were still in position on my right hand.

I know that it looks awkward but it really works for me. It sure does make this 62 year old quilter feel like a very naughty first grader to have those scissors held wide open as I use my fingertips to flip pieces into position and to push them under the needle. Saves lots of time! Do any of you guys do this, too?

Over the weekend, I stopped off at the local feed store where I buy my wild bird seed.
Christine and Buzzie run Valley Dam Feed in Barnstead, New Hampshire, just off Route 28. About a month earlier, I had called Christine to order some replacement chicks for my dear neighbor friends, Alfred and Ilse.

There are 6 New Hampshire Reds who will lay brown eggs, and 6 Americanas, who will lay fancy colored eggs such as green and blue. I had a flock of laying hens here myself for 10 years, but I got sick of winter chores with them, so I do not keep them since that weasel or raccoon cleaned me out. Never did figure out which it was, but no matter, it was the last straw for me!
Ilse is only 80, so she has more patience than I do. Alfred, at 86, had a senior moment and left their henhouse door open one night last month. Yep, you guessed it! Probably the same damn weasel. All their hens were slaughtered and only the rooster survived. So now, with these baby chicks, they are back in business. The little ones sure are cute!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Waxing Philosophic

Doing my piecing teaches me both patience and self-discipline. I do one step at a time and often, it is very repetitive. I like that.
It isn't boring, because it can be very freeing to allow my mind to wander while I am sewing little pretty bits of colored cloth together. When I was younger than 62, I needed projects that were finished instantly so that I could feel the rush of success very soon, like within a day or two. Now I work on projects that take me months to complete and I must defer that final gratification.
Now I set small, reasonable goals for the day so that I can feel great about small increments of success. I'll tell myself to just make two blocks for today and be pleased with that.
Sometimes when folks have visited my blog, they comment on how busy and productive I am. That feels a little strange to me, because although I value their compliments, I feel like a slacker sometimes. It takes me some inner strength to put away that kind of negative self-talk and be very happy with whatever I DID get done that day.
Here are yesterday's Civil War reproduction Sister's Choice blocks:

I hope that they are as fun to view as they were to make!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Too Hot, Too Soon!

This week continues to be a rollercoaster ride of temperatures. Monday it was 90, Tuesday it was 70, and today was a more seasonable 65. Felix has been too busy to get to spraying the orchards of our hobby farm and everything was popping open today. Yet there is a possible frost tonight! Yikes!

Here is what it looked like today:

 Raven is already scratching and I found a dog tick on ME! EWWWWW!!! We keep a "Tick Jar" which is a small glass jar with a little kerosine in it and drop any tick we find into the jar with tweezers. Ugh, they are so horrid.
 These are the new Juanita variety of daffodils that just got planted last fall. Their trumpets are supposed to be bright orange but they grew to be a little washed out, colorwise. I still love them and don't mean to complain, it's just that mine never look as nice as the ones in the Breck's catalogue. LOL!
These are all Rose Nectarines in full blossom. If they are frostbitten there will be no fruit at all this year.

When I was at the Walmart pharmacy, I spotted this bargain 100% cotton quilting fabric in the remnant bin that was almost 3 yards!
I am thinking about using it on the Scrappy Houses sashing. It's kind of a go-with-everything dark neutral. I have an ancient Cranston VIP that is a nice deep green that would work too. Not sure yet!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Landlubber's Paradise

Today was such a perfect Spring day that it was hard to think about it being the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. I watched one of the miriad TV shows about it and felt glad that I was safe on dry land. I wandered the farm with the camera and had an inner squeal of delight at each of the daffodils that are blooming!

It seemed criminal to be indoors at all with the 60 degree temperatures and really no bugs yet. But my piecing was calling to me. Here are the next batch of Sister's Choice blocks done yesterday and today.

I also called my dear friend, Wanda, in Florida, who is still quilting after having suffered two major strokes and has lost the use of the left side of her body. She makes string quilts with the help of her husband who ties them. She admitted to me that cutting strips is very difficult for her.
I think that cutting strips is great fun, so I spent an hour digging through bags of scraps that had come from my guild's auction night and cut about a peck-sized basket of mixed strings for Wanda. I even got them all packaged up and labeled and was ready to go right down to the post office to mail them out immediately. Then I experienced a "duh" moment to realize that it was already afternoon on a Saturday! So they will hafta wait until Monday morning.
Tonight is the Gilmanton Community Church Italian Supper and I hope to get there in time to feast upon somebody's homemade lasagna! But I will leave you with one last flower shot. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Every Kind of Weather Day!

"If you don't like New England's weather, wait a minute", goes the old saw. Well today that was so true! Mild sunshine, soft breezes, huge clouds, quick showers, even a brief burst of pea-sized hail were all experienced today.

Those are some pictures of the hail on the deck.
Last night I had a lovely time at my guild meeting and showed Windmills to a nice round of applause. I really enjoy that positive feedback. Only a quilter can appreciate another quilter! So when my guild shows approval, it really means something.
On the way to the meeting, I had stopped off at Walmart for a couple of things and was excited to see that they had already put out some annuals. My marigold seeds never germinated this spring, so I bought a couple of six packs and a dusty miller. They just look so cheery! I even bought one to put into the guild's door prize raffle just for fun.
At $1.78 for a six pack, who could resist spreading some joy? I will need to watch the nightly forecasts for the next six weeks to be sure we do not have a killer frost. It is not until Memorial Day that the danger is past.

I also fielded a couple of easy dog calls as the Animal Control Officer. When it is Spring, all the village family dogs all seem to decide to go out for a romp in the woods to find the decomposing remains of whatever died over the winter and is now thawed out and stinking. So Felix & I become the clearing house for the lost or found hounds.

But the most fun I had today was poking along on some more Sister's Choice blocks. I got four done and pressed today. There are 19 that were done from way back whenever, so that's 23 made out of the 30 that I need.

It felt good to go back to working on something that needs finishing because it let me pretend that I have some self-discipline. LOL!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Finishing Up a Flimsey

Everybody in the quilt world knows that a flimsey is another name for an unquilted pieced quilt top. When I finish one, I can't wait to brag about it here on my blog because for me it is a milestone. I love to share the fun with you and hear your comments.
This one is the Civil War "Windmills of Your Mind" top. Since you have seen it last is has grown to a large couch potato throw at 64"X75". Here is just the flying geese on with that crazy 3/4" coping red strip:
I put on a matching coping strip onto the outside edge of the flying geese, but alas, when I tried to spread it out on the driveway to photograph it the wind was a gale!
I learned that it takes just as much time and effort to put on a little skinny border as is does to do a regular sized one. Here is a picture taken indoors to show the second red strip.
Then I put on a big bold indigo blue border today and I'm loving how it looks!

I had to snap this quickly because it is windy again today. Doesn't it look almost like an oriental rug?

Raven wishes that Matthew was home from college to throw the tennis ball in the back yard. Oh well, chasing squirrels will have to do! LOL!
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