Sunday, August 13, 2017

Morning Handwork

Lately in the mornings I like to get up, and I will listen to The Bible on my kindle.  While I am listening I need to have something to do with my hands so I  started locating my hand work.

First I found my tiny hexies.  These are 1/2 inch hexies.  I was doing alright until I ran out of my mylar templates.  The company I would get them from has closed down due to illness.  Lucky for me I found another company that makes the mylar templates and they are exactly the same as the other vendor.  The Scrappy Apple Yard which is an Etsy  and Ebay store.

I have these little boxes that Jeff brought home to me a few years ago.  Perfect for my tiny hexies.

Second box.   I have been trying to group my hexies either in fabric groups (same fabric) or color groups so it is easier to add to the main piece, which is pretty much just random.

I have been making some flowers too.  They will eventually be added to the main piece. If you look carefully you will see a couple.

Once I ran out of the mylar hexies, I started looking for other handwork I knew I had.   I picked up my barn embroidery.  Jeff bought me this pattern 4 years ago at a quilt show in Sylvania, Ohio called Kaleidoscope of Quilts.  How do I know it was 4 years ago.  Because my girlfriend and I went this year, and it is held every 2 years.  Two years ago Jeff and I were traveling across the US with the two oldest boys seeing the sites.

This is the first one I started.  I really don't have a lot left to do on this one. So I started rotating these two projects once my reinforcement mylar hexies arrived, but  I got stuck on the barn for a bit and couldn't figure out a mark if it was transfer or a mistake. I needed to find the pattern.  I knew it was upstairs in the master bedroom where all of my sewing stuff had been dumped.  So I ventured upstairs to the "sewing room" armed with a flashlight and baseball bat to beat back the fabric and projects lurking there. 

While sneaking upstairs I started thinking about some of my other hand work projects. I actually found them quite easily, and no I was not attacked by my stash and all of the unfinished projects. 

I have the hand sewing for this row quilt.  I bought the kit several years ago.  I made one row, my

first real foray into raw edge applique.  I was struggling with the blanket stitch.  Lessons learned from this first row of my first project?  When you have large pieces like this cut out your fusible, but cut the center out so you don't have these big stiff motifs to work with and try to blanket stitch around.  I am surprised at how quickly this is going once I started working on it.  I have almost all of the acorn caps done.  I think I have 1 1/2 acorns left to sew down, then acorns then maple leaves....those are a bit of a challenge. 

I started looking for other handwork things, like my Christmas stocking cuff...can't find it anywhere, but I have the floss box for it.  Insert perplexed smiley here.   Maybe if I find the pattern I will find the cross stitch part.  I have my red, white and blue yo-yos, somewhere and a bigger hexie project which is like a grandmother's flower garden--I found all the templates, but cannot for the life of me find the gold for the flower centers, or the white I purchased for the background.

Update---I went on a search and destroy mission in  returned to my sewing room.  Things I located?

 My bags of yoyos separated into red, white, and blue.  I also found the plastic pencil box that I use to store my yoyo maker, and squares cut out for the yoyos. 
 I started to sew the yoyos together in 9's. Once I figure out how many squares I have of this fabric type I will go from there. 

I found my Christmas stocking cuff cross stitch.  I worked on it a bit Sunday morning before church.  Almost all of the cross stitch for the motif is done, then the outline, and finding my chart for the name, that I had made. 

I also found my larger hexie project, and the white fabric to go with it.   sorry no photos.  But I am loving the fact I have multiple hand projects to work on when the mood strikes.

The other day when I was out at the dollar store I saw a plastic basket and thought it would be a good thing to have near where I sit to throw my handwork in, probably safer than having it sit on my side table where coffee, or other things can be spilled on it.  I have a really nice covered Amish basket somewhere, but I have no clue where it is, somewhere in the attic more than likely.

Do you like to do some handwork?  A recent convert member at quilt guild has tried many different quilting techniques, but she seems to enjoy the handwork the most.  It is so neat to see people pick up handwork because it gives you a different sense of accomplishment. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Farm Funnies

I am learning to adult again.  I like that term because there are times I forget to do things that are necessary for day to day--like buying groceries.  When my milk is past the expiration date by a week or two, I think it is time.  When Jeff and I were first together, I had a hard time trying not to "do it all".  He was like that too, so we both learned to lean on each other.  In everything we did, we did it as a team.  Well as we all know there is no "I" in team, so I have to learn to be self sufficient again, since my team mate was drafted by the Angels in Heaven.

There are some things I learned from Jeff, but there were other things I didn't pay much attention to.  Like the pool.  Samantha and I managed to get it up and filled, as well as the filter and pump working.  Um for some reason this year I have frogs that have determined that it is "their" pond.  Imagine my chagrin as I am floating in the pool trying to relax,  when one of the frogs decides that my chest is a great place to jump out of the water.  The frogs have been evicted on multiple occasions only to return over and over.  Yes even with all the chemicals and chlorine they continue to return.

I keep trying, but I cannot seem to get my water to stay clear, it is a bit cloudy.  I have tried everything suggested, but to no avail.  Imagine my aggravation when it is now clearing up with no assistance from me. 

I have an 8 gallon waterer for the chickens.  When I clean it, if I fill it outside of the pen I can barely lift it up the 2 steps to get it back inside--think of it this way a gallon of water weighs 8 lbs so an 8 gallon waterer full is 64 lbs to lift.  I have started to take it out of the pen, clean it, put it back into the pen, and then fill it.  On a couple of occasions the pressure from the hose has caused it to snake out, wriggling all over like a cobra, essentially soaking me, and any chicken within a 3 feet radius.  Guess that comes from using the hydrant which has better water pressure than a normal tap.  I end up leaving the chicken coop soaked, and smelling like wet feathers among other things.

                                                             The offending water hose.

The clean and newly filled chicken waterer.  This day I had a pretty successful day, and didn't wind up totally soaked, but I have made sure I wear my chicken house/garden shoes.

The flies have arrived, and of course they adore the chicken house.  I took some fly strips out to hang, which I have done in the past.  1st fly strip went up easy peasy.  2nd fly strip, the little loop broke off and it fell, I luckily had a hold of the cardboard tube so not a huge deal, but I did lose the tack.  I looked all over through the bedding, even grabbing a magnet to look.  Still no go. I stuck the cardboard end on a protruding screw.  3rd fly strip--   I have to crouch to go into the nesting box area.  Hung the fly strip up, all of a sudden it fell from the ceiling, landing on me in the crouched/squatting position under it.  It landed on my chest, rolled down my arms and hands, finally settling on my legs.  OMG if you ever get that stuff on you, it does not come off! I scrubbed with hot water and soap, alcohol, finally had to wander downstairs to the laundry sink in the basement to use the Cherry Bomb scrubber in the ginormous bottle that Jeff had brought home from work.  If I wasn't so fat, and old I would have just stripped, covered my whole body in Cherry Bomb scrub and climbed into the laundry sink to wash all that fly paper sticky off. 

I will say that fly strips do a great job if you are a fly, not so much if you are a human.  See the opening, that is the small door I crouch through to gather eggs. 

I have been doing a lot of sewing trying to catch up and be ready for my class on Saturday.  Sometimes my plans don't go exactly as I dream. 

I finished up my arcs today.

I had finished my left facing arcs a couple of weeks ago.  I have one more day before class.  I have these flying geese arcs to complete.
I have 8 of these to make and each one is 40 pieces.  The background that looks like green is really more of a Caribbean blue. 

I have a few more fabric acquisitions.

Cute chicken and chick fabric, chicken feet prints,  and a candy square.  I love candy squares, I will add these to my tumbler quilt, or to assist in making the next set of quilts I am working on.  Oh I guess I should share those soon.  Yes I started something new. 
Some fun text fabrics, and chicken fabric.  The red and black which are side by side are chicken coops. I saw the gray and thought, just maybe it would match the fabrics in my ocean waves quilt, but no such luck. 

Back to my adulting.  I have purchased 5 cards lately to send.  One to a friend who lost her mother, another a thank you note to a friend who sent me a book,  a sympathy card to my ex husband who lost his father, and one for my ex mother in law.  Yep huge fail on my part.  I know I had them in my hand, I set them down, and cannot locate them again.  When other people lived here I could at least pretend that they possibly moved them.  Now I have no one to blame but myself.   I did manage to send out one get well card to a lady from quilt guild that has shingles and she is really struggling to get well.  So I am not a total goof. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Lots of Cutting, Little Sewing

I have been doing a lot of cutting, not much sewing though, and a lot (probably too much) fabric accumulation.  Oh no she did not just say that!?!?!

I sat and calculated how many 2 1/2 inch squares I needed for my ocean waves quilt, and started cutting them out.  I then calculated how many groups of 2's I needed and sewed them together.  See that empty spot in my shoe box?  Well it is now completely full with 2 1/2 inch squares, and 119 which are sewn into twos.  I actually ended up cutting all the background fabric up for this quilt.  So if I dispose of about 8 yards of fabric I can purchase more right?

I don't know why I put off making my bag lady block for the month for so long.  I mean I can put this together in like 30 minutes.  Sorry for the picture the outside is more of a green.  But see the center hummingbird?

My girlfriend's mother was recently placed in a rest home, and my girlfriend's SIL basically boxed everything from the childhood home and told her take what you want.  Problem is when someone boxes everything up you have no clue what they would consider important, what they would consider garbage and dispose of or junk and give to charity.  Since I recently had to participate in the ritual I understand her pain, and frustration.  Anyway when she heard I was looking for manly fabric for charity quilts, and because she had been in the military when she was younger, she started pulling fabric for me from her mother's stash.

Simple pattern, not floral, kind of manly colors and it is 3 yards!

I don't know if you could see, but it was from Woolworth's, and it was 69 cents a yard.  It is nice heavy 100% cotton and it was stored well, no sun fading or anything.

As to acquisitions--

Barbara from Wont to be quilter recently showed her seam guide she used for her machine to mark her 1/4 inch mark.  I have been using painter's tape, but I thought I would give this a try, so I ordered one.    

Just piecing it is alright.  If I am matching points, and stuff it doesn't work quite as well because I pin, unless I pin backward.  Maybe there is a learning curve.

Some fabrics I was auditioning for a Christmas project.  The two browns were too dark.  The light may work. 

A bundle of low volume fabrics from Pink Castle!  Forty fat quarters! I think it gives me quite the variety.

The next 2 pictures are the fabric for the Quiltworx project called Cattails in the Meadow which I showed in this post.  The fabric used in their quilt was Timeless Treasures Reclaimed West made especially for Judy Niemeyer who designs the Quiltworx patterns.  Of course I am always a day late and a dollar short.  This line was first offered during Fall Quilt Market in 2014.  GASP!  3 years ago!

I have 2 more pieces which I am awaiting their arrival, poor lady was on vacation and was stressing, I told her no worries, just mail it when she gets home.

I have procrastinated to the point where I am under the gun to get my quiltworx quilt arcs and flying geese units done, and I only have 2 days.  I guess we all know what I will be doing. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

August Memories

August is always a busy month around the house.  August 5th was Jeff's birthday, and he always insisted he should get a birthday month, since when we married I created what her termed the triple threat to his manhood.  Our anniversary, Valentine's Day, and my birthday all within 31 days!  Also August was the month we  met, a week or two after the end of the fair.  I may not remember the exact day, but I do remember him talking about going to the fair every day because he had taken that week off for vacation, and his birthday. 

I have been told I should do the things we loved to do together, and one of our favorite things was to go to the county fair.  We always went on Thursday because that is ladies day, and Jeff loved that he only had to pay $2 for me, and it was tractor pull night.  I jumped in our old truck and headed to the Monroe County Fair at about 1 pm.  The weather had been kind of iffy all day, thunderstorms and rain off and on all day long.   I ran into a friend from the quilt guild and we walked over to the domestic arts building to see how people placed.  Only 2 ladies from guild entered quilts--and one of them was not me.  Sorry I didn't take any pictures.  Soon we parted company and I decided I would like to enjoy some fair food.  Jeff and I always got Butterfly fries (spiral cut potatoes deep fried with cheese, bacon bits, and sour cream).  Afterward I walked through the barns, I love to see the 4-H kids and their livestock, then wandered through the exhibits.

The antique tractor club has a display, but my favorite are these little hit and miss engines.  Later on in the day they actually fired them up and I love the sound they make. 

While this is not the above engine it is similar, so you can see how it worked and hear the sound they make. 

This year is the Bicentennial for Monroe County Michigan and there was a special exhibit made to celebrate.  There was a list of all the century farms, and pictures of their homes.  Our farm can't be a century farm because it was not 10 acres or more, even though it is over a century.  They did have some cool maps.   I loved the old plat maps. 
See the N Todd?  That is the plot of land that Jeff's great, great grandparents owned in 1901.  I have found deeds for much more land prior to that to the west, it appears they sold it off 20/25 acre plots for quite a few years before this map was created. 

Now my house has a build date of 1860, and it is interesting that there was a map there from 1850 but the land did not belong to the family at that time.  I also have letters from Jeff's great, great grandmother's sister inquiring how the build of the house is going which are dated from the 1880's so I am going to say that the construction of this house was long and arduous.  The great aunt's house next door was the original settler's cabin.  If you crawl under you see the huge posts and beams that it was built on. 

I sat and people watched, and soon it was time for dinner.  Of course I had to have a turkey leg.  That was Jeff's favorite.  The first year we took the boys they were 3 and 4 he asked them, do you want a turkey leg, they told him no we want corn dogs.  So he got them corn dogs.  Which they devoured, then proceeded to massacre Jeff's turkey leg, because that was good too.  Sorry no pictures of my food. 

I was undecided if I wanted to go to the tractor pulls or not.  The past few years they have had more trucks pulling and no big tractors (picture a modified tractor with four 8 cylinder engines to run it).  These are called super stock.  Heck if you are interested check out the NTPA Pull 101.  Anyway so Jeff hadn't really wanted to go, he liked the super stock, and at one time there were old tractors that pulled too, but they no longer did that either.  Imagine my delight when I heard that there were super stock, but they also had some antique tractors that would pull too.  So I decided to pay the $10 to go. 

These are the legacy tractors, some of the original tractors which were built to pull back in the 70's.

 Those white pipes are their exhaust stacks.  Yes that was the rule they had to be that long!
 That box on the front is a counterweight to keep the tractor from flipping over. 

 This one when it was revving up had flames shooting out of that big curved tube in the front.
 Another with the tall pipes, it is interesting that certain manufactures were known for having good rear ends for pulling (the back axle). 
Overall the fair was fun, I was sad Jeff missed the old tractors he would have loved it. The kegs on the front if this one are full of lead for counter weights. 

Saturday would have been Jeff's 51st birthday.  I had it suggested that we have a small birthday party for him.  I got up early on Saturday morning and put flowers near the spot on the corner where he was killed.

Samantha put balloons up, but I haven't been able to get a good pictures.  I hit the traffic light at the wrong time, too much traffic, or too dark. 

I also made his favorite dessert home made coconut cream pie from scratch.  I coat the pie crust with semi sweet chocolate so it is kind of like having a Mounds bar.

It had also been suggested that I write a love letter to Jeff, attach it to a balloon and release it.  Basically a love letter to my loved one in heaven.  I decided I would give the boys a chance to write letters too.  Everyone got into the act.

Green, and gold stars with letters attached ready to go.  I couldn't find yellow starts, and it is hard to find latex balloons anymore that they will fill with helium.

Soon they continued to float up and away until they were only tiny specks up near the clouds.  Finn insists that Jeff is on the clouds watching him.  :D

Saturday night a girlfriend and I went out to dinner at one of Jeff's favorite restaurant.  She had never had middle eastern food, so it was fun to take someone with me to experience something new, much like Jeff had taken me long ago.  Oh and she loved it! 

Finally the original urn I ordered for Jeff just did not work out.  It was art deco looking, stained glass, which was green and yellow, almost the colors of the old John Deere advertising, not the iconic green and yellow we know now, but it was not made well.  By the time I had a chance to talk to the funeral home about returning it, his insurance had paid for the urn.  So he has been sitting in this plastic box on my dresser in my room.  I decided it was time to find him a more permanent home.

I will admit that when I opened it I sobbed for quite a while.  Have I put his ashes in it?  Not yet.  Will it be buried soon, not likely.  I would like to have us buried together in my family cemetery in Northern California, up in the mountains.  Jeff fell in love with the area when we visited two years ago.  He could not get over the mountains, and the color and clarity of the water in the nearby river.  Jeff actually had been talking about selling our house and farm when he retired and buying a place there.  Since that seemed to be where Jeff's heart wanted to take him, and being my ancestral lands my heart has ties to that land, I think it will be a perfect place for our hearts to rest for eternity when I pass on too.