Monday, July 28, 2014

Lost in 1929

It is October 29, 1929.  Herbert Hoover is the President of the United States, and the stock market has just crashed.  DH grandmother is a mere girl of seven years.  This house is almost 70 years old, and  is a truck farm.  Most of the people that live on this one horse track road are relatives.  We are Midway farms we are partway between Carleton, Flat Rock and Rockwood, Michigan.

I began reading the book 1929 Jonathan's Cross by M. L. Gardner a couple of weeks ago.  It was a story about a set of three friend that ran a brokerage firm in New York City , and the way their lives, family and others around them changed right after the stock market crash.  The drastic changes  in their lives from living in splendor and moving to squalor.   I will admit that I was sucked into the time, and their lives, their highs, and lows and that true friendship means carrying the load for your friends during hard times as well as the good times.  I discovered that it was a series, and look forward to reading the next.

I continue to be lost in the past trying to discover why the nearby city of Monroe was called Floral City.  I have been pouring through old documents online through general  I have been to the local library.  I am now a card carrying library patron.  I also visited the Monroe County Historical Society Museum, even visiting the document archives there and inquiring.  There is no definitive answer to the question.  I have discovered 3 answers which were the three that the historical museum provided me too.

1.  The Native American Lotus blossom is abundant in the local rivers and marshes.

 I am sure you probably would be more aware of it in the seed pod form, which is used for floral arrangements.    Interestingly enough these lotus blossoms were almost totally eradicated from  rivers by the locals because they "clogged up" the waterways for boating and recreation, but a move in 1990 began to re-established the natural flora and fauna to the area reintroduced the lotus.

2.  In 1852 a steam locomotive entered Monroe after passing through 2 1/2 miles of marshland .  This train was the inaugural run  of  the new Michigan Southern Railroad's Chicago to Buffalo- train/steamship line.  Upon entering the city of Monroe there was a large banner which stated "Welcome to Floral City" and 50 little girls in white dresses and sashes had covered the tracks in flowers. 

3.  Many of the settlers brought their native plants.  It is rumored that one of the first white settlers in the area Francis Navarre brought the first cuttings of pear trees and planted them along the River Raisin in the 1750's. During the 1850's the Monroe area had many large nurseries and provided many of the fruit trees for vast orchards of western Michigan.  There were several nurseries in the area that provided all of the fruit and vegetable seedlings for much of Eastern Michigan and Northwestern Ohio.

Why all this research?  I was given a fat quarter of this batik for a challenge quilt for the Monroe County Quilt Guild Quilt Show in October.
Use this fabric to depict why Monroe was called Floral City.  Yep if you look at the calendar it is July 28, 2014 and I have not even started yet, and all entries for the show must be submitted by September 1.  Hmmm I don't think I even have a quilt ready.  I better get a move on!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Word Gets Around

What is it about summer that if you are busy normally it is even crazier? 

I discovered that one of DH friend's wife was part of the Monroe County Quilt Guild.  At the last Monroe County Quilt Guild meeting she asked if I had any extra machines I would be willing to sell, she heard that I had a lot of machines.  Do I have any extra machines?  Unfortunately at that time I didn't but I told her I would keep an eye out for one. 

A few days later DH brought this home.
Not only was there a machine.  There was a case, and all of the accessories.  I sewed with it, adjusted the tension, checked that the cams worked.  I called and left a message that I had a machine if she wanted it.  She was thrilled to have it.  It is for her sister who is very ill and her sister was ecstatic about hearing that she had a machine which would be delivered in the next few days. 

A couple of days ago, another one of  DH's friends stopped by with a bag of stuff.  For me!  What was it?  It was boxes of machine parts.  One of their friend's wife collects antique needle cases and needle cards.  People send her boxes of stuff, including all of these machine parts.  She heard I collect antique machines so she sent these to me.  

Isn't that cool?!?!  There is a buttonholer, a zigzag attachment, ruffler, piping foot, blind hemmer, and a bunch of other attachments. 

I have done a bit of sewing, but not too much.
This is called the 10th star from Quilter's Cache.  You can find the pattern here. It took me a couple of days to paper piece the corner blocks.  Ugh!

I have made a few connector blocks also.  
I am working on a new version of the snails trail/ monkey wrench.  We will see how it works out since I am kind of just winging it.

I see on the news that many places throughout the US are either having extremely high temperatures, or a lot of rain.  We are having neither.  Mid to high 70's but no rain, but they keep saying it will rain, and it doesn't.  When I go to water, the wind is blowing and it is just kind of crazy.  So my garden looks pretty bad. 

Today I decided I would deep water my plants.  The buckets which we have been using are just the thing.
The buckets have a few holes in the side a few inches up from the bottom, and a bit further up.  The tomatoes were planted around the buckets and caged. 
The plants look like this now.
Yep in that tangle of plants and weeds, are the buckets and tomato cages.   I threw plant food into them and filled the buckets up.  While they were filling I picked.

Sugar snap peas

Zucchini and summer squash
and tomatoes!
Guess I will be blanching these and getting them ready for when I can.  They are not as big as the ones last year. 

I think zucchini bread is in order. 

I am almost finished with my training.  The last couple of days I have been running some of the bus routes, to the far flung corners of the district.  I am getting much more familiar with all the back roads, and because of that I finished early today.  When I pulled into the driveway DH truck was at the ancient Aunt and Uncle's house.  He was not home, and so I instantly knew that there was some sort of emergency.  I called DH, the Ancient uncle has been having some breathing problems so DH took him to the emergency room.  They are keeping the Ancient one overnight.  The MIL will be staying with the ancient Aunt. 

The girls are getting big.  I now let them out to free range, because if I walk outside with a little dish full of dried corn, they will follow me anywhere.

This little lady found the fish flies/mayflies which covered our garage a few weeks ago.  She is in chicken heaven obviously since she actually lays in the pile to eat.  I love their fluffy behinds!  They remind me of a dress with tons of crinolines underneath. 

Does summer seem to be flying by to you?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Barn Finds!

I spent a couple of very busy days this past week.  Unfortunately not a whole lot of sewing.

I cleaned the girls' coop.  Went to the feed store cause those girls can eat! 

Pulled a huge wagon full of thistle out of the gardens, then helped DH till. 

Picked raspberries, and tomatoes. 

Saturday morning we went to the farm auction at the 25th Annual Southeast Michigan Antique Tractor Show.  Nothing spectacular at the auction, a few tractors, some guns, this and that, but then there was a row of things which were from one families barn.  Crocks, an old iron bed, a Hoosier, a couple of old phonographs, some old chairs, cupboards, sideboard,  pots, pans, clothes and this.

 The cabinet actually has the original Singer pulls which are nickel. 

The majority of the time I can identify a machine, just by looking at the tension.  The serial number shows that it was made in 1886.  She isn't a vibrating bobbin, she actually has a flat bobbin, but there is no bobbin case like the other models I have seen.  The treadle even still has some of the gold leaf on the casting under all those years of barn dirt.  Oh did I mention she is a coffin top?

After we got this we came home and the grand kids, and youngest daughter came to help stack wood.  We put up all the split wood that we had which was about 4 cords.  Now we have room to split more. 

We then took the kids.  All 4 of them back to the tractor show.  They saw tractors, played on the playground at the park, and we stayed and watched the fireworks.
Have you ever been to see fireworks where you are only about a football field away from where they are setting them off?  Nothing like living in a small town! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Trash or Treasure

DH has been busy at work finding treasures to bring home to me.  Almost on a daily basis there is something that has been reclaimed. 

These two girls are donors because they are so far gone.
Boxes of sewing machine parts including a Kenmore buttonholer?
Chairs, the youngest daughter called dibs on them because a couple of hers for her dining set are cracked.  They sure don't make furniture like they used to. 

Yep there were also some folding chairs which come in hand during family get-togethers.
Desk it has really nice lines, is not broken, or cracked, is well made. 

Sewing machine cabinet drawers- While I do not cotton to destroying a cabinet to use the drawers or legs to make something, sometimes it is all just too far gone. The treadle sewing machine was thrown into the dumpster at DH work, and the wood was completely smashed, the treadle parts broken, but the drawers survived, and the machine was one of the two above which was brought home for donor parts.  I think they may get cleaned up and used for "shadow" type boxes on the wall. 
 I love this sewing machine table.  I can't tell if someone made it into a sewing machine table or it was a table and parts were missing.  Unfortunately the machine was too far gone to fix.  We saved the motor and I love the design of the table I think I am actually going to put a new solid top on it.  I think I would like to use it as a console table. 

A crib spring which DH painted, well John Deere green of course.  It is being used as a trellis for my honeysuckle.

How about an old garden gate?

It has a pretty top and is being used as a trellis for my climbing rose.  DH is to keep a look out for another one for the other rose. My roses are looking a bit iffy, I think they need to be dusted and fertilized. 

DH found these little things lying around where there was a drawer that had broken and spilled its contents at work.
This little wood box is full of needles.
This I have absolutely no idea what it is. 
While not old how about reusing?
A horse trough where there is lettuce, romaine lettuce, and spinach to keep it safe from the predatory bunnies.
 An old wash board, the top is cracked the washboard part is glass.  I think it may go as yard art near my partially buried wash tub which has a new ground cover flower planted to look like it is spilling out. 
 DH repainted this nice little bird bath for the little feathered fiends we have around our house.  We have a little finch which either fell out of its nest or is hurt.  Lately he is living by the garage, but occasionally he wanders over to the deck and sits on the steps and all the other finches come by and sing and chatter at it. 

Speaking of old stuff.

These are Dresden plate blocks which I sewed when I was young, some were sewn by hand, some were sewn on a machine.  The needle that I used was even in the box too.  These blocks were made by me at least 40 years ago. 

Look even way back then I had a thing for gingham! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


I was ready to sew!  Really I was.  It was not going to rain until later in the day, everyone was at work, except for me, and after a pretty stressful weekend was looking forward to some sewing time.  But before I decided to sew I was going to work at putting a bit of wood into the woodshed.

I wandered out to the garage, gauged the humidity and decided to check out my flowers and veggies before I started to see how bad the weeds are.  Yep definitely needed to weed, but I also wanted to check my plants.  In my horse trough I finally had some things showing up through the weeds.

Merlot leaf lettuce.
Salad bowl lettuce.
The Romaine I planted has these green and red splashed leaves.
I have more blooms on my honeysuckle.  Oh the scent is lovely.

I decided it was a bit too muggy and there were some raindrops so I was not going to stack wood, and went to close the garage door.  The remote had quit working and the door is pretty light so I just push it up and pull it down.  There is no handle.  I pushed against the door and it came partway down, and stopped.  I grabbed at the seam and tugged a little and it would not budge.  I pulled really hard and it came slamming down with my three fingers on my right hand in the seam.  Oh my it brought tears to my eyes.  I remained calm and pushed the door back up with my left hand and slowly walked into the house to get an ice bag.  I did not even say a curse word.  The fingers hurt, but I can still move them, there is no bruising, waiting to see if the fingernails are damaged which will be yucky! 

I finally wandered in to sew.  It wasn't easy to cut but I did manage to make this block called The Best Friends.  DH says it reminds him of a pineapple. 

I also worked on some connector blocks which you can see here.

They keep saying rain, but I have not seen more than a drop which isn't a whole lot of help to a big thirsty garden, or flower bed.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Thankfulness and Gratefulness

I am so thankful for so many things lately.

I started training for my new job, and it is nearby so I can run back and forth to work for a week on less than 1/2 a tank of gas.  I have finished the book training, now I am working on the skills training. 

Our garden is doing well, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, zucchini.

I even got a handful of raspberries!  Yum.

We got a good rain Sunday morning so I didn't have to water!  

The youngest daughter and her four children came to play on Friday.  We played outside almost all day long, there was only a short time that we were in the house to eat lunch, and watch a movie while they were digesting and headed back out the door. Later after DH got off work the oldest daughter and her two daughters came.  We played outside, had a pizza picnic and played some more until the fireflies were making there appearance. Sorry no pictures were were too busy playing. But my raspberries can attest that they were here.  The grands picked it clean!

 DH is a mechanic and I was having problems with my vehicle.  My little SUV is old but it is paid for, which is very nice.  The steering control arm and linkage needed to be replaced, but DH after looking at it and was convinced that he was not going to be able to do it without removing part of the coolant lines, a couple of the brake lines, drop part of the axle from the frame, which would mean he had to replace part of those lines, and they are hard lines which need to be bent into a configuration and they are expensive.   In his estimation it would take about $500 for him to fix it, just in parts so just not worth it.  He worked on it Saturday and he only had to loosen a couple of things, no fluid lines had to be removed, or loosened, and he decided to push backward instead of forward and he had it fixed in about 1 1/2 hours instead of the 2-3 days he was thinking, and the part which was fixed was only 1/10th of his original estimation since no fluid lines had to be replaced.

After I complained that I had run out of the orange fabric for my block,  I was digging through a pile on my table and I found 2 small squares which were just big enough for me to finish the Rolling star block.

Finally our biggest thing to be grateful and thankful for, for both our youngest daughter and I are our family and friends who responded to our urgent prayer requests, and the answer to those prayers early Saturday morning.  The two oldest boy's father was in a terrible motorcycle accident on his way to work late Friday night.  While he is not always our favorite person because of some of his choices, we always want the best for him. His accident was extremely sever and he will never fully recover, but he is still alive for which we are thankful and he did not receive any head trauma even though he was not wearing a helmet. 

I am off today, the forecast is for rain, and storms and DH is at work so I can have some time playing catch up to the group sew along, and then the possibilities are limitless. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Failing to Plan

Have I mentioned how much I despise paper piecing.  Love the results.  Hate the waste. 

I have been procrastinating making this block from Quilter's Cache called the Rolling Star.

I printed the pattern out weeks ago and made sure the template was the correct size.

After my training this week I would putz a bit in my sewing room, and finally committed to making the block. 

I knew what fabrics I wanted and also knew I was unhappy with this block.
So I figured if I took this block apart I might have enough fabric to make at least part of the block.
I started sewing and this is as far as I got.
Then I started to worry.  See the pinkish one?  That is my background fabric for my connector blocks as well as my blocks.  I started out with 3 yards which I thought should be plenty.  But after getting this far on just one quarter of the rolling star I started to panic about the background. 

So I cut a bunch of parts and made a couple of the connector blocks and cut some extra parts for the connector blocks.

I finished up the one quarter.  Finally.  Still not a fan of the waste.  Too small to even get 1 inch squares from.
Made a 2nd quarter of the block and put them together.
To only discover I do not have any more of the orange.  Which really bummed me out big time.  Luckily I found the fabric, it is Robert Kaufman Artisan Geoscapes 3 Crystal Sunburst. I will have to order it. 

This is all I have left, not enough to do another block.  After that tactical error I decided I better make sure I have enough of the green.
Yep I am good there.  Guess I will put it to the side and work on something else for a while. 

Now I am looking for a new monkey wrench block. I am not a fan of this version.  Does anyone have a better version or any suggestions for using a lime green, orange, and my pinky orange background?  The block should finish at 12 inches or 12 1/2 inches with the seam allowances.