Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Dangers of Free Stuff!

I am a hoarder. I am a packrat. I am able to see a use for everything. Sigh. It's a curse. Well, anyway, I went to pick Matthew up at the Gilmanton Recyling Center where he works and discovered that someone had given up on their beekeeping. Two hive boxes and a cover and a queen-excluder and a base had been left at the free room. I was very excited. I loaded them all into my back seat and came home with them.

Felix, Matthew, and I all drove over to the local honey farm to talk to Ben Chadwick, who, as it turns out, is the local bee inspector. Now, mind you, twenty years ago I had taken a bee keeping course. I dropped out because it was too hard and too much of a commitment to try. Ben said we need to go again and that we had already missed the season to start a new colony. We should be thinking of next April. I have such mixed feelings about it all.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Two Day Yard Sale

Here in New Hampshire, we have yard sales. But when I lived in Connecticut for 17 years, they were called, "tag sales." Other areas call them garage sales. No matter what you call them, they are a huge undertaking!

For me, there is a lot of emotional effort that goes into what part of my hoard I'll really ready, willing and able to let go of. The worst stuff is gifts that although I don't use, I feel obligated to keep because a friend or relative gave them to me. I feel like I'm supposed to keep it forever.

After 40+ years of collecting too much stuff, when I do set things aside to be moved on, it feels like an insignifigant effort because I'm doing one item at a time. I'd much rather wave a magic wand, thank you, and have a whole room become suddenly barren!

Saturday and Sunday the weather was clear, sunny, and quite warm. Okay, it was too damn hot! LOL! But with Matthew and Felix's help, I filled our driveway with stuff to be sold.

 I hope you notice in the picture above that my cashier's table has three baskets of quilty items; natural sachets, potholders, and catnip mice. The mice sold best! The sachets sold but a few. And the potholders got the most compliments and fondling but I did not sell a single one!
It was too hot!

Now I'm glad it is over!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Saponaria Smiles

My Saponaria or soapwort is in full bloom and it always makes me smile at the little rocky patch in the dogyard!
When we had the sit'n sew, I asked Cindy if I might take home one baby quilt and free motion quilt it and bring it back instead of tying it. She agreed, and I did a simple meander on all those psychedelic flowers with a wavy scroll on the turquoise gingham border. I like it! I teased with the group that this baby will awaken from it's nap and say, "Groovy, man, let's smoke some reefer!" The fabric is so 1960's retro!

I have a question for those of you who may know plants. There is a lovely weed with yellow flowers that grows on the edge of the lawn. It is not buttercup, but I have no idea what it is. Do you know it?

Also, on Mother's Day, I got a real thrill when my never-ever-had-a-blossom, 17 year-old wisteria vine produced a single flower! It was the only one, but it BLOOMED!!!!! Wheeeeeeeeee!!!

All last year, I fertilized it with a super phosphate once a month from April to September, and it paid off! So I'm fertilizing it again this year, too.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Very Special Birthday!

Over the weekend, we enjoyed a lovely family celebration of John Abraham's 85th birthday. John is Matthew's father and he lives at the Epsom Nursing Home two towns away from us. Matthew had three of his five sister's that were able to attend and we all went out to the little Circle Restaurant for cake and coffee. Matthew's older sisters came from Tennessee and Maryland, and John's brother, Fred, flew in from Arizona, so it was really special!
On a quilty note, I have been doing lots of prewashing and hanging cottons on the clothesline in all this good weather but alas, have no pictures. But I did get all 48 quadrants of my Mother's Day grief quilt made and laid them out on the driveway. I wanted to be sure that the apricot colors were nicely distributed and I'm very pleased with how it looks!
Don't forget that you can double click on any photographto see it larger if you like...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Baby Threads and The Sew & Sews

The organization known as Baby Threads who distribute quilts and such through the Lakes Region General Hospital and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital had accumulated a big bunch of sewn patchwork baby quilt tops. Cindy Brown, of our Belknap Mill Quilter'sGuild, is in charge of our Comfort Quilts for the sit 'n'sew group known as the Sew & Sew's and she is a tireless worker for charity quilts! 
She put out a call by email and a bunch of us came together to press the quilt tops and backings, sandwich them with batting, stitch them like a pillowcase and turn, and tie them with pearl cotton.
 Cindy is seated here in the blue top.

We had a ball at the craft rooms of the Taylor Community Woodside building and I do not know exactly how many quilts got finished, but the stack of folded quilts was about 3 feet tall.
In no particular order, I'd like to give credit to Sally, Linda, Susan, Judy, Sharon, Susan, Donna, Margy, Brenda, Jean & Anne. We worked and laughed and chatted and then took a break for fabulous soups, salads, and sandwiches at the Woodside Cafe. The second week of June, we decided to go on our annual group fabric shopping expedition to Marden's Department Store in Sanford, Maine, about an hour away.

When I got home, my sore ankle really hurt, so I was glad to rest!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Calico Nickel Catnip Mice

This recipe for making Calico Catnip Mice for your cat or cats to enjoy is entirely original; I made it up and it is my own! It is copyrighted by being presented on this blog. You are welcome to use it to make as many as you like to use or to sell but the design is mine. Thank you for respecting that!

First, start with a 5" cotton square:
Flip it over so that the wrong side is up and fold one corner in towards the center about two thirds of the way:
Next you are going to fold the whole thing in half with the RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.
But before you sew it, I want you to take a doubled folded hank of cut-off selvedges and add them inside the SHORT seam, so that your mouse will have a playful tail.
I used a nice generous two strands that were about 8" long when they were folded over.
 Tuck them inside with the folds being caught into the short seam after you sew around the corner.
Be sure to backstitch for strength at the pointy "nose" end where you begin stitching. Sew down to the corner and pivot and continue to stitch the tails into place. Can you see the two folds sticking out in the picture above? That is a very short seam. Be sure to backstitch that short WHOLE seam so that the tails are sewn in doubly.
Once you are done stitching, turn the mouse right side out, using a chopstitck or blunt closed scissors to push the tiny triangluar nose out all the way.

Sorry this is a different fabric, but you can see that it makes a place to fill the mouse with the catnip. I placed my dried catnip into a clean and very dry used soda bottle so that I could pour it easily. Some is going to spill but it smells nice anyway.
I put in about a generous tablespoon of catnip.
Next, center the tail's seam in the middle and sew the whole thing closed, but backstitch the whole seam for strength. Here are some extra pictures:

These are lots of fun and quick to make, just don't stress out over some spilled catnip flakes!
After you make a bunch, put them into a plastic bag to keep them fresh for six months to a year and bring them out when you need one.

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