Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Some of my postcards...

Here are some of the post cards that I have been playing around with. I've made about 45-50 different ones over the past week or so. Some have my hand-dyed fabrics- my favorite, but I have also been playing with more traditional fabrics and even been working on some Xmas-themed ones. Just noodling, as my Aunt Isabel would say. She asked what I do with the post cards- I told her, I mail them! Actually, I am hoping to sell a few at the local luminara in November. There is a big parade with Santa and such and then a craft show. Just local folks with their little projects. My DS, Jacob, makes beaded earrings and bracelets and usually does quite well at the show. So I thought we'd get a table- only 10 bucks- and see if we can sell a few things for some extra Xmas money. I think I'll keep the postcards that I have and just make some duplicates of ones that I like or think that others will like.

I actually did some quilting, tonight after work. I haven't been able to use the machine in over a month and it was a lot of fun to get in there and burn up the thread. My Sis-in-law has been doing some quilting. She lives somewhere else during the school year and is only home in the summer, so she uses the machine then. That's kinda like an forced sabatical for me. She had quilted the center of a quilt (using the circle-ease) and needed help with the borders. I McTavished and had it done in no time. Now that is fun. How easy and yet satisfying.

I have some company coming this weekend. So, housecleaning will have to be done. I'll be glad to get it taken care of. Sometimes ya need a little shove to tackle those annoying jobs that ya keep procrastinating on. No "embracing the mess," this week. The company involves 5 beautiful girls, so I am sure to have plenty of help from my five young men! I even caught them straightening their rooms before bed without a word of "encouragement" from me. Hmmmm.... I think I may need to invite these girls on a monthly basis.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Guess what I did, today?

I had to get up an hour early... no, so I could make a few post cards! That was fun. See what I am forced to do to get my sewing time in? I used some very traditional fabrics that my neice-in-law had given me. I just sat there staring at them for the longest time, but I think I came up with a few designs that I like well enough to make a few more. Then it was back to the grindstone...

Picked about 20 gallons of tomatoes and got some of them canned. It was a slow-start kinda day. So much to do just to get ready to can. First, the tomatoes have to be picked- that took me about an hour and then the kitchen has to be cleaned. Now, that is another subject, but I'll revisit it in a bit- took me about 1/2 an hour. Then there are jars to be washed. I had thought that I would store our jars in the old shed out back. The cellar gives me the willies. It seemed like a good idea at the time... but then the roof fell in and the jars are just filthy. So they have to be scrubbed and it takes a while 'cause I have inordinately large hands and they just don't fit down into those jars. Yeah, I could use the wide mouth jars, but then I'd have to pay an extra 25 cents for a box(12) of the wider lids. Nope, I'm not that desperate, yet. But I am starting to scrounge around the corners of the house for any misplaced jars. Think there are some in the barn. Will it be enough? Might have to fork over the 25 cents for those wide mouth lids... At any rate, I didn't get the first batch perculatin' until nearly noon. So I have my work cut out for me, tomorrow. Tonight is a girls' night out and we are having dinner and a movie. I think we are seeing that "Lakehouse" movie. And I have been saving up my points for coconut shrimp. Yeah, I'm one of those "points counters." Feel like some kind of off-season olympic judge- all foods have a point value- only reversed 'cause the fewer the points, the more I like it.

Oh, I nearly forgot. the messy kitchen. Well, as I was canning the tomatoes, my neice stops in to lend a hand- she is very good at just watching what you are doing and copying it. She observes that canning tomatoes is a lot messier than green beans. "Yeah," I said, "but you gotta embrace the mess." It hits me like a real, live, epiphany. That's my mantra from now on. Embrace the Mess. Now doesn't that sound like a lot more fun than fighting and wrestling with it? Of course it does. OK, one could say that I've, apparently, been doing a lot of embracing around here. But I really haven't- I've been fighting it all the way- I'm just being soundly beaten, that's all.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


in the flower garden. I am always meaning to get a picture of it in the morning when the light is best... but then I forget. I like to sit out there in the evenings and let the misquitos feast on my ankles. Just kidding about enjoying the misquitos. They haven't been too bad, this year. They are having their hey-day, now. The crickets are loud and you can tell the summer is waning. And still so much to do.

I worked, today- my usual girl-Tuesday bit. We have been running like crazy to quilt shows and I am happy to say that we have the rest of August and all of September at home. Shew! I usuallly just help pack and occasionnally set up. Then, you have to unpack. Yuck! Does anyone enjoy unpacking? But we finally got everything put back in it's rightful place! Wow! Does that ever feel good. Now we are preparing for Fall classes. I wonder if any of you have any ideas for quilty-type classes? Topics you would be interested in investigating further? Hmmm? I'm listening and the ladies of Muncie, IN, would be very grateful.

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More Nubbins...

... Here are some post cards that I've made using some of my nubbins. I have been having one headache after another with the blog and so I have been pouting in my quilting room. Just refusing to come out, more or less. At least in the evening when I am more inclined to write. I'm just too busy during the day and I usually unwind in the evening/night by writing. But when nothing works like it did a couple of weeks ago... I am really just too tired to sit here and fiddle with things. So I throw in the towel and stomp away to the quilting room. Can't say there's much I can't work out of my system down there!

I got to thinking about those little bits of fabric... and threw them on a postcard. I like it. The butterfly, I just like the sparkle from the Angelina fibers. I've been saving my metalic thread snippings- nubbins in their own right- and have been putting them with the Angelina to a very nice affect. I have discovered fast2fuse for the base inside the postcards. I had been using timtex- but it was kinda bulky and the fast2fuse, well it fuses. Makes it easier to work with. And iron-on pellon- what a life saver that is! Makes the decorative stitching look decorative instead of a mess. They are nice small projects that...get me over the blog woes.

I didn't mean to leave everybody hanging over Bekah's stitches. You know how kids can be. Do yours build these ridiculous deathtraps- all in the name of having fun? I really try hard not to interfere- they can be quite creative and I don't want to be some kind of hypochondriac. I know I might be 'cause this is the first stitches in any of my children. 8 kids under the age of 17 and no stitches or broken bones. Now don't you think that says something? I'm not sure what it says, exactly. The boys have all had their head lacerations, but nothing we couldn't tape up. Bekah fell off the top of the slide and cut the inside of her thigh on the ladder. Looking back, it was rather amusing the chain reaction of screams when the four youngest saw the blood. And they really aren't the type to panic. No serious harm done. 7 stitches and since Bekah wants to become a dr., she just looked at it as a learning experience. She told the doctor who sewed her up that John(age 9) had told her she had to be 10 before she could become a dr. She says that she'll be taking them out, herself. Save me a trip to the Dr. so that'll be fine with me. (We had 8 different Dr. appts last week. 1 dental, 7 optical.)

DH and I had a date earlier this evening. After a movie, we went to an old-fashioned drive-in. That was a lot of fun. Had a slaw dog- lots of horseradish, Dad. Very good. Hot dogs are funny that way. Different according to your location.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Weekend News...

Every Saturday night, I get a letter from my Dad. Full of his week's goings-ons. You know, like the crow he shot and hung, spread eagle, over the garden fence. Farmer MacGregor would have been proud. Or the snake he shot while it was poaching one of his birds' nests- don't mess with his baby birds. Or, on a less violent note, the 500 pounds of gravel he moved from point A to point B. His letters always end with a few words of wisdom. Being good and doing good and using your brain. Thought I'd make this a little return note to the folks at home, since the weekend is slow, blog-wise.

Mom, here is that dragon fly fabric I was telling you about. Isn't it pretty? I think it'll go well with the other blues you have for Jon's quilt. I was able to get 2 yards. I have been on a post card jag, here lately, so maybe a 4x6" piece will be missing when I mail it to you...

Papa, look at that corn!! Yummy stuff. (My Dad is the quintessential corn fan- that's why he shoots the crows. He even pickles corn. I don't know how it's done, exactly, but I remember, as a child, that it involved a 50 gallon trash can and skimming mold off at regular intervals. blech! But he says it's quite tasty. An acquired taste, no doubt. Very sour.) I have frozen a total of about 55 quarts. None pickled. Why ruin perfectly good corn? And tonight was the last of it. Glad to have it done and over with, although, to be truthful, I rather enjoy it- my feet are the only ones that complain. I also canned the first tomatoes- a small basket. 25 quarts. But it is a start and with the corn being done for, I have time on my hands. While waiting for the last batch of corn to cool, I sat down to a bowl of corn and a sliced tomato from the garden. The ox is worthy of his hire, eh?

Bekah's stitches are looking appropriately gruesome. Every time I change the bandage, she smiles a goofy grin and says, "That looks wheeled." Weird. I told her she was like a quilt now, all sewed up. She says, "Mom, I don't have stitches all over me!" Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 18, 2006

Well, now that we have that straightened out...

maybe we can get this blog back on track. It's a long story how I got off track. Maybe I'll break it all down some day... Nah, I really don't want to go there and I think you can safely say you don't want to go there either.

Here is the center of that little hand-dyed wallhanging I was working on when we last spoke. I'd like to say that I have made all kinds of progress on it, but... I can't. I did get all of those tiny little squares sewn together for the border since you guys were intent on scaring the snot out of me with the thought that a child might decide to shuffle my deck of carefully matched colors... Thanks guys. Nothing like a little well-placed panic to motivate the procrastinating quilter in me. But alas, that chain of tiny squares is still strung together like so many paper dolls. Been meaning to get back to it. But the garden has been calling. I've been calling it a few choice names, myself. First beans and then corn and now tomatoes. How come corn isn't called "corns." Just a question that occurred to me. I get all philosophical when I'm elbow deep in tomato juice.

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It's the font size, dummy!

If I type in the smallest, most infinitessimal size... Maybe that will blog small enough to actually fit on a page. I have had the font actually overlap itself. On a normal size setting. Blogging loses it's blush when you feel like you have to drag the thing along with you! Ok, it's me being dragged, but it ain't nice.
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Experiencing technical difficulties...
Been missing you, but what's a girl to do? I have a feeling that even this post won't end up legible or where it ought to be. Which leaves me annoyed and making another post card. Been making a lot of post cards.
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Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Darcie says that we enjoy the process as well as the project... And I know she's right. So here's part of my process...

Laying by my lovely Featherweight is 96, 4-square units- waiting to be sewn up. That's 384 little 1 5/8" squares. They are going together for the border of my hand-dyed wallhanging. That's so my walls will look cozy. The pile next to those baby squares is my "nubbins." When I was a little girl, I would watch my Grandma cut out biscuits- with a glass. She was a great biscuit maker and a superb gravy maker. (Whenever anyone compliments me on my gravy, I think of her and I sure wish I had some of her gravy. I think gravy deserves it's own food group.) When she was finished with cutting the biscuits out, there would be these tiny bits of dough left over- from in-between the circles. She would gather them all up and gently press them into a "nubbin." A big crusty biscuit. Aunt Karen always called "dibs" on the nubbin. That was fine by us kids- we always liked the soft, fluffy insides, best. But if my Aunt Karen were still with us, I might have to wrestle her for that nubbin. Adults do strange things like that- claiming they like and even prefer the heel on a loaf of bread and that the chicken wing is their favorite piece. "Yeah, right," I remember thinking as a child. "You keep telling yourself that and you might start believing it!" Skeptical little thing, wasn't I? Now, the "nubbins" make me happy. These nubbins on my sewing table are what's left after trimming and squaring. No, I won't be throwing them away. I save them in a nubbin box. When I have enough, I make a nubbin pillow. Now these pillows do not resemble my grandma's fluffy biscuits. These are more like mine. Little chunks of lead. Not the kind of pillows you teasingly swing at a family member's head- not if you want them to remain conscious! They are quite solid nubbin pillows, and have a nice old-fashioned feel to them. The kind you might have found at Grandma's.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Another Quilt Saved...

from the depths of a basement. My Mom found this quilt in my Aunt Shelia's basement. Covered in sawdust and destined for the garbage. It is in need of a good soaking in maybe some Oxyclean or some such stain-lifting potion as there is a huge water spot on it- at least I hope it is a water spot. The red dye has eaten through the fabric. But still quite a nice quilt and I am tickled to have it living in my house. What's that Irish song...? "Ach, there's always room for one more..." Of course they were talking about people and not quilts...but around here, that's true of both.

On a more personal front, I haven't left the house, except for church, in nearly a week. Been playing alot. We canned 21 more quarts of beans and then, the corn come on at the last minute and there were 6 bushels gleaned... at 4 pm. Hardly the ideal time to be processing corn. But the boys were real troopers and we had all 6 bushels in the freezer in only 4 hours. Pretty cool. Had a regular assembly line of shuckers and washers and cutters and stirrers. And one pepperer too many, but nothing we couldn't fix.

I have been dreaming about this color wheel thing I am hoping to do with my hand dyed fabric. I am pretty pleased with it- so far. I am thinking it will be a wallhanging- which always leaves me conflicted. I like wallhangings. Whenever I see one on someone else's blog, I think, "I'd like to do that." All the quilts that hang on my walls are large, full-size quilts. I have huge walls and they seem to fit. I do have a couple smaller, wallhanging quilts... but they were all gifts. People somehow think I like quilts. Go figure. But I have a very strong sense of the practical and it runs through my mind, "Who would that keep warm?" But I am going to stop at a wallhanging with this one. It looks good vertical.

Now, I am working on a fabric book of the children. Got 5 of them printed up and now the printer is giving me grief. Well, I'll work with what I have. I have been wanting some mindless hand work to do and since I can't find my giant crochet hook... this will fit the bill. I used a light weight stabilizer on the back of the photos- to keep the dark batik from showing through and to give them some body. I am stitching the photos down with a running stitch. I would show you, but then I'd have to kill you. Ok, not really, but I know I do have a hard time sharing projects that aren't finished. Silly I know. My DSister was always one that would break your knuckles with the wooden spoon if you dared to taste something she was cooking... I'm not that... what is that? Anyway, I just can see it in my head and sometimes I figure you probably can't. Not that you are deficient- far from it. I really don't expect anyone to see things the way I do. But I guess that is just part of my personality where I want to be understood. Ya don't have to agree, just try to understand. I am thinking I might do some bead embellishment and put some fibers together along with some lightweight batting to give it a quilty look. Maybe use the paintstiks. I'm liking it, so far.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sweet William's birthday...

Today is DH's birthday. 41 yo. I don't know why he didn't just hold at 39, like I have every intention of doing. We met in college, and that was that. It will be 19 years in September, that we have been married. I've known him for 21 years, and he grows more wonderful with each year that passes. (His hair is a bit short in this picture- he shaved his head a couple weeks ago. My brothers and even my brothers-in-law are all bald and Bill was being a sport by joining them in the hairless ranks. He's always so much fun.) Guess what he is doing on his birthday? He is building me a chicken tractor. What's that? It's a very cool contraption that allows you to move your chickens from plot to plot- so they can eat the grass and bugs and fertilize the grass and then you move it- once a week or so, so everything stays nice- and they are still protected from the coyotes or the neighbor's German Shepherd as the case may be. (Got pretty hot around the collar when I saw him running down the road with one of my chickens hanging from his mouth. It's about 1/2 mile to the nearest neighbor. But I had a good laugh when I see, a couple days later- the apparent pillow explosion in their perfectly manicured yard- they knew he done wrong! Took them quite a while to pick up all those feathers.) He is always building me something. I feel like I'm married to some kind of carpenter genius, sometimes. His little inventions are always very practical and are rarely a bit decorative. Suits me fine. But when he takes the effort to add something decorative to his efforts- I just melt. He made me a vanity while I was away in Tennessee. When I got home, he was away, helping some one move, and the house was so quiet... I make the bathroom my first stop- don't you?- and I just ended up standing there with my hand clapped over my mouth- bawling my eyes out. He had built me a huge vanity(about 7 feet tall)- a dresser of sorts with drawers on one side for my hair stuff and such, and a drawer in the middle for my makeup- a huge mirror on top, with lights, and hooks on either side to hang my blow dryer and curling iron, and all my necklaces. And then there are these huge whimsical hearts cut out down along the sides. Bekah looks at it and said, pointing to the hearts, "This means he loves you." He must. He even provided a stool to sit on and nothing makes me feel more girlie or pampered than to sit at that vanity and put lotion on my face, do my nails, and just take my sweet time at doing nothing important. I'm pretty sure I tell him every day how much I enjoy that little corner.

How did I get on that when it's his birthday? Well, he's just so sweet and thoughtful, that's how. He wanted 2 cakes for his birthday. We have a family tradition where you can request anything for your birthday dinner. He wanted 2 cakes, nothing more, nothing less. So I was up pretty late, last night, making 2, 3-layer chocolate cakes with vanilla buttercream filling and chocolate icing. We've eaten one, so far. We all took a good nap- sleeping off the sugar. The kids and I filled a box with all of our spare change and dollar bills so that he can buy himself that pig he's been wanting. He was tickled "pink."

DS, Joe, had 4 wisdom teeth removed, yesterday. Adding insult to injury... he lost 10 pounds at camp last week and now he's on a liquid diet... well, he has discovered that chicken broth, doctored up with enough pepper, isn't half bad when you're starving and jello makes a decent dessert. We had to save his piece of cake. His face is pretty swollen and he slept in the recliner in our room, last night. Poor baby.

I spent some time in the quilting room, yesterday- pacing the floor while DS was at the dentist. Got it all picked up. I found some chenille, and am making some pillows for the TV room. I have 16 sampler blocks done. I want to get started on my fabric book. oh, and did I mention I have 10 gallons of beans sitting in the fridge, waiting to be canned? Tracey is all chatty about her blackberry jam and syrup and she's torturing me. There's nothing I like more- maybe black raspberry jam. But we just don't have that around here. Maybe I need to hit the road and see if I can find some on the road sides, somewhere... Like I need something else to do.