Monday, October 30, 2006

Like it...

or not, I have quite a bit of this fabric. Apparently, I liked it enough to buy it...twice! It all started when Sarah and I went to a little quilt shop in Pendleton. They had this fabric on the clearance table. Hmm... wonder why? ohh, I do like it. It was half-off and so I bought a few yards. I remember Sarah rolling her eyes. About 6 months later, it was still on the clearance table. Hmm... wonder why? Ahhh... I still like it. It was half-off the clearance price so I bought the rest of the bolt. Now I have a tub half full of this fabric. About 8 yards. It is a rather large print- and I think it is one of those unusual civil war reproduction fabrics. I have always been a sucker for brown and turquoise, but I don't have a clue of what to do with it- that funny green is really hard to match.

If it isn't too late to show my pincushions, I thought I'd share mine. The little crow is the one I take with me when I am appliqueing and only need a few pins- and there is a little "under-wing" to hold the needles. The chicken I made from Darcie's pattern- I admit to feeling a bit... queasily guilty, every time I stick her with a pin! (I used to rotate the dolls I slept with- to keep from hurting any of their feelings- such an emotional pushover!) I thought Finn would especially like my rocking chair pincushion. It is quite old and needs some repair work. Those pins are permanantly embedded into the "cushion." It must be sawdust- but it is hard as a rock and you can't use the pins after they have been dulled by it. I have some real vintage fabric that I'll try to get around to replacing it with a little bean bag. The little lace pillow is covering a silk pillow and the tomato is my favorite standby. The rulers- my mom got me the 6" square- I can't tell you how much easier it makes making postcards- I have made about 35 in the last couple days- getting ready for Xmas. The Kaleidoscope ruler I treated myself to- I think my mom needs one!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Retreeeeat!!!! When I was a little girl, my sister and I used to go up on the mountain behind our house and pick blackberries. It was a pretty good hike and once we were there, we would head into the brambles... if you don't know about blackberries- well, they grow on briar canes. They are really quite vicious. They recommend that you wear long-sleeved shirts so that you don't get scratched, but then the briars snag you and you can barely move. My sister went down into a particularly thick patch of blackberry canes. Deeper she went, until I couldn't see her from up on the ridge behind her. Occasionally the brush would move, and then, eventually, one quivering hand came out from the green leaves, with one finger pointed into the air, a faint cry of, "Retreeeeat!" floated up the mountain. Sometimes you got to know when to get out of a sticky situation.

Well, I hollered my own little, "Run away!" chant yesterday! I had this huge mess in the quilting room. The tables were all covered and the shelves were all disheveled. Fabric had exploded and settled on every horizontal surface. Time to retreat and regroup. The power was out all day- high winds. And so I cleaned and organized and sorted and reclaimed. Ahh... now doesn't that feel good? Well, it should, anyway. Oh you guys know me, I am not one to need a clean slate in order to muddle through. If I waited until I cleared a space, I would rarely get the opportunity to create. And when everything is so clean and neat... well, I just don't feel at home. I am conditioned to mayhem and confusion! I took it as a challenge to make something after all that cleaning. I did find 2 of my favorite pieces of fabric in the process, you know! And I had this new 45* ruler... and there it is. It fills in a blank space on the wall that was buggin' me- I don't do "places to rest your eye." Close your eyes, if you want to rest them!

The following pix is of my bedside table- I didn't clear here, can ya tell? I just thought it was a funny sight. Maybe I have a problem. Well, water bottles on the bedside table are better than candybar wrappers, right? I look like I have that malady suffered by that girl in "Signs." (Remember her need to have water all around- hers was always contaminated.) I am reading this book about water- and our vital need for it and I guess, I am taking it all to heart. After every 10 bottles of water, I am allowing myself a sugar-free orange juice. I guess I really need a wastebasket by the bed. Or maybe a trash compactor.

PS Mom... Maybe you should
reconsider and give that picnic on Mars
another chance. I found that if I cut the
corner triangle considerably larger
than the pattern says and square up
after sewing- much much easier than
trying to find the center if those wedges
to place the center of the triangles.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Floating from the past...

No, silly, no ghosts here! Bill will sometimes say, with tongue in cheek, "No good deed goes unpunished." But ya know, sometimes good things happen when you least expect it!

I had a ton of errands to run one day, last week. I made 7 stops and I was really beat. I looked in the back of the Jeep and noticed 2 bags of fabric that Tanya- at the quilt shop- had been bequeathed for charity. My friend Jeanie, had been telling me how her preacher had asked her to start a ladies' sewing circle to make quilts for their Heart to Heart program. I understand that this is for unwed mothers. She was buying all of the fabric, herself, and then I thought of the fabric in Tanya's basement... So the two things came together. I was so tired, and I thought of waiting to deliver it until another day. But I hated the thought of her being able to use it and not having it... So I dropped by her house, like Santa, with these 2 big garbage bags on my shoulders. As always, Jeanie was so thrilled with her surprise and says, how she was just thinking of me- and there sat a bag by the door to prove it! In this bag were all these wonderful undies of her Mom's. Jeanie is one of those timeless people and I really couldn't guess how old she is, but I know she has a grandson in college. These clothes have to be over 100 years old!! Jeanie said that she couldn't think of anyone who would appreciate her old things more...than ME!! I was blown away!! In the top picture are a pair of bloomers- see the buttons on the bottom of the left garment? And a really delicate and beautiful petticoat- which I wore to church, Sunday! No kidding! Under my skirt- but I had to keep lifting up my hem to show everybody!! Probably a Bible verse about that kind of thing!! (It went beautifully under a "new" skirt I had found at Goodwill. Jeanie said that her Mom always said, "It's not what you have... it's what people think you have!!" I laughed so hard!) And a chemise. There was also a nightgown- with lots of little tucks and a gorgeous piano scarf of real battenburg lace. Needless to say, I left Jeanie's considerably more energized!! I am thinking that I will crochet-cover some wire hangers and line up all the pretties down the length of an 8-foot quilt rack that is hanging on my bedroom wall. Could be kinda romantic. I plan on painting the walls a dark color- eventually- so that'll set them off nicely, eh?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Keeping Mom busy...

My Mom and Dad have come for a short visit. I've been showing her how to make postcards. She has made at least 8, herself. I don't know how she can be creative in that mess she's made!! Giggle. That's the way it is- things start to pile up and at some point you need to put it all back so you can figure out what you have! I think she's having fun. My Dad has given my furnace a complete check up and cleaning- a job which I figure would have taken an hour seemed to stretch to a solid 3 hours as he was busy talking and explaining each peice of mechanics to my 2 oldest boys. I am wondering if he is going to quiz them today and have them dissassemble the whole thing and put it back together!! (Dh Bill is determined to put off firing it up for real until November. Which is funny, because he is the coldest natured of all of us! And it snowed just a tiny bit, today. We baked a turkey and that kept the house toasty. I suppose that as long as we are using the oven often and long, we might be able to keep the heating bills down! Of course, we'll also be adding lots of fat to keep us warm. I don't think that is a viable solution; ) Dad also has a weedwacker back in tip-top shape. See? We'll break anything just to keep the repair man happy!

These are 3 of the 4 slates that my Mom painted and gave to me to sell at the craft show in December. The pictures really don't do them justice. It was dark and gloomy most of the day, and I had to snap the pictures at an angle to keep the flash from reflecting and hiding the actual painting. The colors and the detail are amazing! These slates used to be on an old friend's barn roof, but he gave a bunch to my Mom and she paints them up- leaving lots of the natural slate still showing. My Dad put a really nice clear coat on them so they are outdoor friendly, too. I have one in my living room that she painted a few years back and Sarah has one she painted for her- blue, of course. I know I will have a hard time parting with these. And what kind of price could you put on them? I have no idea about that. I'll need to do some shopping "research"... yeah, that's what I'll call it!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ding-dong, the Witch is Dead...

Confession time. I despise Halloween. I didn't used to hate it so. But I clearly did not think out the quantity of children that I have and the number of costumes to round up. Usually, when I hear that some one would like to have a large family, someday, I just like to point out that they better like to cook, 'cause you do a whole lot of that with a large family. But I guess, I might need to say, "Hey! Make sure you like sewing capes!" Whoda thunk? I used to make a lot of costumes in high school and college... and it is one of those activities that leave me feeling frustrated. I want things to last longer and be useful for more than just one night! So I am sewing, sewing, lots of black fabric. A few ruffles of lace, some satin, A cape that needs sleeves- I point out that it isn't a cape if it has sleeves. But it all got done. Finally. The only good thing about Halloween is that their costume party came a week early this year! Now I can put up my feet- put the witch to rest until next year! I just don't get into the plastic pumpkins- love the real ones, the fake spider webs-hate the real ones, or all the cheap junk that gets piled in the yards and messes up a perfectly beautiful scene of changing leaves and such. My own yard looks way too much like that on an ordinary day- can't imagine why any one who choose to do that to their yard! One or two pumpkins should do me- maybe a few corn shocks... a hay bale. But please, nothing cute. Cute... it just isn't something I'd do, voluntarily. But the kids love it, and so it is all worth it!

But aren't the kids cute?!! Abe loves the Phantom of the Opera. If I pop the soundtrack into the stereo, he will lay down in front of it and listen to the whole thing. Quite an attention span for a 3 year old. The big boys were cowboys(Dan was a silly cowboy- in case you didn't guess from the stick horse. And his hair is a wig- Bill says , "Now you know why we keep our hair short- scary!") and the 3 younger boys were... well, I am not sure. They are big fans of Lord of The Rings, so I am sure that is where they found their inspiration. Each year I ask if they wouldn't mind being something... nicer... like anything that doesn't involve armor and swords. Every year I get the same blank looks. What fun would that be? The girls were a ballerina- "a modest one" and Little Bo-Peep- see her crying over her lost sheep? They had a great time at the bonfire and Bill just looks at me and smiles- knowing what a trial all that sewing was and how much the children enjoyed every minute of their big evening. Next year, I'll try to keep that in mind just a little more.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Happiness is...

30 postcards done before the kids get up! I had already stitched the "tops" of these postcards, so they just needed mounted and bound. But still, it took me a couple hours! The goofy Halloween print I won as a door prize at a quilt show. Not my thing, but kinda cute. In a very remote kinda way. I sure didn't want it in my stash for another year. I just fussy cut them, appliqued them down, sewed on some fiber frames. We have a lot of college kids here at church and I figure they might like getting a little something in the mail. I know I did when I was in college. The homespun stuff... well, what do you do with a fat quarter of fabric with barns and pumpkins and scarecrows on it? I admit to being puzzled. I teamed it up with some homespun that I had left from a project I worked on last week. With the black and the red framing... I kinda like 'em. The African-esque cards I love! I found some of these fabrics on clearence at a LQS. I remember a friend of mine- who used to live in Africa- had a lot of copper in their tourist art, so that's what I did and I really like the effect. Out of all the metalic threads I have used, the copper seems to be the least tempermental. I used a whole spool on 10 cards. You can't really see it in the pictures, but it is a nice change from the gold.

Well, I have bunch of productive things to do- rather than just playing in the quilting room! My Mom and Dad are coming for a visit, Sunday. It has been a long time since they have been here and I need to get my spring cleaning done. Better late than never! Maybe I'm just early. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Sunday, October 15, 2006


... The guys were practicing their lumber jack skills, yesterday. Nothing like a little demolition in the morning to get the guys in a good mood. We had this huge electrical pole in our yard since we bought our house- it had been set there to help keep vandalism down- our house had been abandoned for several years before we bought it. Well, dh Bill and I figure that if we wanted bright light shining in our windows at night we'd move back into town. So we had it removed right after we moved in- but the post remained. I was trying to figure out a way to fit it into the landscaping plans I had, but honestly, a 25 foot post isn't the easiest thing to disguise. Turns out some friends needed a new one by their barn- in time for their Autumn weenie roast. So down came ours. The boys had spent the morning digging out around the pole, Bill took the chain saw to it and the boys pulled it down. I thought this was a funny picture of the guys- both boys are considerably taller than their dad, but Bill had placed himself on the tallest side of the pole, and on his tippy toes- he's still the top man!

The lamp on my piano makes the quilting on this quilt show up so pretty, don't you think? Some people were wondering what random Baptist fans look like, and here are what mine look like- they just sort of go in every direction and are a lot of different sizes. It makes a nice texturing effect.

Post Script...
You guys would not believe the wails of "Foul" arising from this last post!! First, we had to measure all the boys and their Dad. To be perfectly honest, I have to say that I was mistaken. Dan is only 1/2" taller than his Dad and Joe is only 2 1/2" taller than Bill. The term "considerably" was called into question and I am now confessing that I was using an inaccurate term. Maybe "slightly" would be more appropriate. The boys are slightly taller than their Dad. I still maintain that Bill is standing on his tippy toes. He says that I needn't point that out as the picture is blurry. But we are all about being completely accurate, here, right? Bill is a faithful reader of my blog- even if it is mostly about quilts. It's nice to have such a supportive spouse...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

He Loves Me!!!!!!

He loves me, he loves me!!!! I just couldn't wait until morning to show you what appeared in my quilting room while I was at work, today!! I helped Tanya set up for a quilt show in Greenville, Ohio, today. A very cute town. I didn't get home until after 6:00, and then the older boys had an evening outing and I needed to make them some cookies to take with them- peanutbutter with peanutbutter chips. Yum! And so it was about 7:00 when Bill asked me if I had found anything in my quilting room... I said, I was trying real hard to not even go out there, this week, because I was under a no-sew rule... but now, I was too curious not to go out there... and I confess to sewing- just a tiny bit. This Electro-Grand was sitting on my sewing table in it's original box!! Oh, what a delight to open it and see that gorgeous blue color!! It is in excellent condition- the chrome could use some attention with some fine steel wool, but other than that- no a speck of lint. Made in Japan. 1950's, I figure. Looks a lot like my Singer 301. It didn't run, at first, but after some fiddling with the screw that moves the motor further away from the wheel, and oiling it from top to bottom- runs beautifully and makes a very straight stitch. I plan on replacing the belt, soon. The cord looks great and I bet the extention cord is the same one they bought with the machine. It reads Electro-cord. Way cool, huh? And you know the best part- other than it's beautiful and runs great? It only cost $4.99 at Goodwill!!!! How could he go wrong?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It's a so-so, no-sew day...

and since I've promised myself not to sew, until Friday, and some of you have shown an interest in my wheat endeavors, I thought I'd share a little more. I promise to post a quilty post on Friday. In the mean time...

These are my everyday rolls. The children prefer them to sliced bread and even make little sandwiches from them. I do make loaves of bread, but this is the hot bread that we eat with our meals. I used to only make bread for special occasions- like when I wanted it real bad, or holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. That was before my bread-making liberation. It's like liberated quilting. See? It's still a litttle quilty around here. My friend, Mary, set me free and I have just sort of run with it. You know how, with regular quilting, you have to adhere to a very strict pattern if you want all of your peices to came together properly? And I always thought that bread-making had to be that way too- follow strict rules and recipes or else- a fate worse than death... Yucky bread. But it doesn't have to be that way!! It's improvisational bread-making and oh so much fun! Below is a picture of my wheat mill. People seemed pretty curious about it. The brand is Magic Mill. The wheat goes in the little hopper in the top, you flip the switch, a terrible ruckus emanates from it, and the grain slowly gets ground into flour- which is collected in the aluminum pan underneath. There is a dial there that adjusts for the coarseness of the wheat. It takes about 1 minute to grind 3 quarts of flour. Plenty for a jelly roll pan of rolls. Simple. Some one asked if I would recommend this mill...hmmm... I like it. It works. Having said that, there are annoyances that if I were a richer person, I could pay to do without. The machine is quite dusty- it shoots a fine powdering of flour out the back vent. This is diminished by placing a damp rag over it while operating and really, with 8 kids, what's a little more dust? Kerchoo! And getting to the flour, once milled, you have to remove the top white motor and it is quite heavy and held in place by these little buttons that need to be pressed simultaneously and I'm a girly girly and it can be a struggle, sometimes. Plus, when you set the motor part down on the counter- more flour everywhere. BUT, BUT, BUT... it is a great little machine and I think it would be a wonderful place to start if you are not sure if this would be something you would stick to over the long run. You don't need another handy appliance just collecting dust in the cupboards. Dh, Bill, bought this one for me on Ebay for $70, plus S&H about $100, total. The nicer, fancier mills, run about $350-500. I'd recommend the Whisper Mill and anything by Bosch. I plan on upgrading, eventually, and giving my Mom mine, but I am saving my pennies for a dining room- so I can share more bread!

You'll notice the 1-cup measing cup and the teaspoon by the mill? That's the equation for bread. For each heaping teaspoon of yeast, add one cup of hot water- if my 3 year old will wash his hands in that temperature of water, than I know it isn't too hot. (I'd highly recommend buying your yeast in the jar- that way you can decide how much you want to use instead of trying to figure out what to do with the portion they give you in that little packet.) Really, that's all there is to it. To start off, try this:

  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 spoon of yeast

Now, you add the things that you like in bread- get to know what you like and what makes it what you like. Have you ever seen the variety of bread in the supermarkets? There are no wrong choices here. Maybe this will help.

  • Sweet stuff- like honey and sugars make yeast feel loved.(higher and lighter and of course, sweeter)
  • High-fat things- eggs and milk and oil make bread feel cozy(moist)
  • salt- well, that gives savor
  • fiber- wheat germ and flax and sunflower seeds and oats- makes you have to chew more
  • Time- makes everything better

So here's what I like. Some honey- no don't measure, just think about the amount of bread you'll be making. 1 cup of water might make a 9x9" pan of rolls. So how much honey do you think you would like drizzled over those rolls? That's how much you add to the dough. A handful of oats and about half that of flax and wheat germ. Because I grind my own flour, I don't use any oil- there is already lots of those good oils that the Dr. is always telling you that you need more of in there! And then I start to add my flour maybe a cup, and a heaping spoon of salt. Stir, and add enough flour to make a thin batter- like pancake batter. This is the fun part. Set the pan on the counter and walk away. No timer, no schedule. Come back to it when you want- 30 minutes or when you get home from work. It can set overnight so there's fresh bread in the morning. It'll keep and just get better as it sets. When I am in the mood and my day allows, I return and add an egg and enough flour to make a soft, sticky dough- about 1/2 cup at a time. This should be soft and gushy- how's that for a technical term? I knead the bread until it pushes back some- about 8 minutes. Put it in a bowl with a little oil and oil the top- let rest for an hour or so, pinch off my rolls- easy does it here- it doesn't like to be messed with after you've kneaded it, but it'll only make your rolls kinda tough- they'll still taste good. Put them in a pan and let rise until double in size, maybe 30 minutes. Bake at 375* until browned on top- about 25 minutes or so. We brush ours with butter, so you don't need to butter them at the table. A word about flour...

Well, I don't know why this is, but you can't use whole wheat flour, bought at the store, like you would home ground. It is too strong-tasting (bitter) and it tends to make your bread very heavy. So most recipes that I have seen, recommend 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white. The way I make rolls, would convert easily to this- even all white flour- but lets call those rolls what they are- cake!

And I wanted to mention a bread cookbook that I love. It is, Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads. That's it on the shelf behind my mill. Yes, it is a tome- 750 pages. But filled with breads from across the country(he's a native Hoosier) and all around the world and even though I don't know him personally, I figure he can't be bad as he loves bread as much as I do! He even has a chapter on making your own adobe oven! But mostly it it just full of recipes, with great instructions, for bread. All kinds. You can do this, it couldn't be simpler and so much better for you... see? I'll restrain myself from a sermon here. Try it! You'll like it!

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."

Monday, October 09, 2006

I think I need a bigger couch...
The sun was streaming through the window and I just couldn't resist. Dh Bill leaves for work at 3:30am and so by 9:30, I feel like I've been up half a day- which I guess I have! Evabeth found me first and then Bekah and then Abe... Believe it or not, I think we all actually dozed. Like four cats in the sun. That's one thing off my list- and one thing I wouldn't mind doing again!
That's 200+ pounds of wheat. Darcie was asking about it and so I thought I'd share a little bit. I drive about an hour away to pick it up- after I've already ordered it. I store the grain in those 5 gallon buckets in that cubby over the cellar stairs- Bill made me a very nice lazy susan that will hold all 3 buckets. ( I need to finish the drywall and paint those walls, don't I? I don't think it would be a big project...hmmm.) The drawers in my kitchen hold the wheat that I use, on a daily basis, and the leftover flour that I have already ground. Along with all the other stuff I bake with. The drawers are right under my long counter where I do all my mixing and so it is very convenient to not have to drag everything out and then put it all back- I just open the drawer, pop off the lids and I'm in business. Close the drawers and I'm done. I also bought cornmeal- which my wheat mill does not grind happily, and dark rye- which is simmering for a few days to make rye bread, the cocoa was a steal at only $3 for 2 pounds- and since I bought 20 pounds of cake flour- I see a few chocolate cakes in our future. The rest is rolled barley- like oats, barley malt- it's kinda floury but sweet and you'll never be the same once you add it to your chocolate chip cookies, and oats and some goodies for my folks. (Tapioca and lemon chips-like chocolate chips, only lemon. Doesn't that sound good in sugar cookies? My Mom does cookie ministry. giggle. She cheers people up with cookies- It would work for me, how about you?) Oh, and there are 2 different kinds of wheat there, Hard and soft. Hard is for bread and the soft is for cookies, and biscuits and such- no gluten in the soft and that makes for very flat bread! That's what the hard looks like- the soft is... not so hard! Aren't I just the Little Red Hen? But I'd share with my bread, honest.

All Work and No play...

makes Nina a dull girl. I realized last night that I have been, maybe, overdoing it a bit. Not that I've minded, but I was taking some Tylenol when I realized that I had emptied the bottle in only 2 weeks. hmm... I could blame my headaches on the changing weather, but it might be the work load's been a bit heavy. Here are the last two weeks' accomplishments- in the sewing room.
  • 8 quilts quilted- maybe not a record, but a decent amount of work considering that 4 of them were fairly large.
  • Postcards made on a daily basis- not too many, but I'd say 25, total.
  • 2 skirts, 2 vests and 2 jumpers- for the girls.
  • 12 blocks set with borders and cornerstones- my homespun baskets.
  • 2 chicken pincushions. One wound up being big enough to hold 5 lbs of rice!! Scratch that- no pun, intended. The next one was a more reasonable size. 3.5" original block does the trick.
  • I made one of Darcie's thready neck thingies. Hmmm... mine looks a tad like a morphed baby octopus. Not saying I don't like it, just... this is one that needs to go larger.
  • Got a label on the Quilt of Valor.
  • And, finally, I finished the borders on my bones quilt- and, while not a Halloween quilt, it does have a skull on it- "and my dad was a piano mover, so..."

My Bones quilt is quite large- I had to finally lay it out on the ground and Daniel was sweet enough to climb on top of the van to take a picture of it for me. A generous queen-size. See, Tonya? Monster letters, about 11" tall. For those of you who weren't here for the beginning of the sweeping saga of my bones quilt, it came from a song by Little Big Town, "You got bones in your closet, you got ghosts in your town, You're running scared 'cause you know they're out there, just waitin' for the sun to go down." My bones were the blocks that didn't have homes, practice peices or blocks that didn't fit with what I was doing. Just orphans. I had so many that they were threatening to overflow my closet and something just had to be done with them! And now they all have a home. Hope they can get along as one big happy family.

Blogger just ate my pictures! Grrrr... Well, it's just too late to start over with them. So. I guess tha-tha, tha-tha, tha-that's all, folks!

As I was saying...

Dontcha just hate it when Blogger interrupts a perfectly coherent thought? At that event, I took to my bed and now that I've slept a couple hours, I'd like to start what I finished. er... finish what I started. If I can remember where I was going... sheesh! maybe not enough sleep, eh? If I tamper with the time setting, I should get this to appear after the other post with the Bones quilt. That's Dan the Man on the van. He took that picture of my bones quilt for me. The boys can give me a hard time about holding quilts up for pictures. Apparently, a little quilt can become quite heavy when being held above your head. Who knew? But they always come through for me. I tried having the bones quilt held up, but with the wind, the already barely legible lettering was lost as it wrapped itself around the guys legs. So then we laid it out on the grass, but it's too big to get into the frame... So I stood on a chair...nope, still too big... so I stacked a chair on a chair... Joe, says, "Mom how are you going to explain this at the Emergency room?" You know, they always ask how you incurred your injuries. Well, even that wasn't high enough. So it was Dan the Man on the van. Not bad.

On a cool note... Remember this black and white quilt that I quilted for Tanya? It won a blue ribbon at the quiltshow this past weekend. That is very satisfying. "First, do no harm." I figure I didn't mess it up too bad if it won a blue ribbon. Wow, maybe I am a quilter.

This is just a postcard that I've done up. I think I have about 100, now.

So, here's a list of things that I hope to do this week. Determined to rid myself of the headache. If this doesn't work, I'll have to see the chiropractor, I suppose.
  • No sewing on the quilting machine or the sewing machine. You should have heard the boys scoff and laugh when I told them my aspirations to stay away from the quilting room. They don't seem to have much faith in my ability to refrain from sewing. Well, they did catch me sewing on binding, today, but it was by hand, I protested! And Denim Friday doesn't count!
  • No throwing my back out while picking up the 200 pounds of wheat I ordered from the bulk food store.
  • Lunch with a friend.
  • Take a nap in the sun with my sweet little bits. It's supposed to snow on Thursday, so I need to soak up the warm sunshine while it's still here.
  • Set up for the last quiltshow of the season in Greenville, Ohio. I'm not even gonna think about unloading the 250 pound libraries...
  • Weed the flower garden. I know it's close to being done with, but it always makes me feel better to have that all squared away and I think I need to get outside more.

A nice relaxing week... goodness, slaving over that quilting machine is starting to sound like a breeze...

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Day's Doings...
It being Friday, first things first. I quilted up another denim quilt. This one is Jacob's and since I couldn't sleep last night, I was able to get the backing pieced and the batting measured and cut, all ahead of time. Cut down the quilting time to about an hour and ahalf. This quilt has a particuarly sentimental block for me. The center block is the bib from a pair of overalls belonging to the man who performed our wedding. No, he wasn't wearing them during the wedding! Not that I would have minded. I actually made sure that there is a block from those overalls in every one of the denim quilts- just for good measure.

Our local guild had it's quiltshow this weekend and, I can't say why, but I wasn't rarin' to go. But I stopped in for a little while. I was surprised to see 4 quilts there that I had quilted. Aren't those fibers beautiful? You see, I keep trying to get it in gear and whip up a nice fall quilt- I am so inspired by everyone's leaves and pumpkins and gourds and ghoulies... but I just can't seem to find the energy to start another big project. So I thought, "I'll just make a wallhanging." But I just stand there in front of the stash... completely uninspired. I saw these fibers at the quiltshow and thought, "ooh, cool." Kinda inspired there. Kinda. Love the colors. Then the lady sitting there reads my mind and says, "Some things just need to be owned by us." Yep, I just needed to own these. Maybe for postcards, maybe for a necklace. And at $3, it was a no brainer.

I crocheted this little bag for my camera. It measures about 4x6". Isn't that an odd little coincidence? Postcards are 4x6" Maybe my complete sphere of creativity is now doomed to be contained in a 4x6 inch space. That's a total of 24 inches... Nonsense, surely. The camara just needed a 4x6" bag! Let's not look for signs where none lie. And yet... when a wallhanging feels like a big project... Ok, I might have a little problem here.
Bushels of Apples, Soybeans and corn, and airing dirty laundry...

in that order. Aren't those a lot of apples? I hadn't planned to quilt in the apples as they are appliqued and sometimes... well, it's just best to let 'em be. But these are great big apples, and so quilted they were. I decided to quilt each apple in a different texturing pattern. I think there are something like 44 apples. Hope Aunt Isobel likes them, 'cause you know what they say, "One bad apple spoils the bushel."

The yellow field is soybeans. I had to stop and wait for a train to pass the crossing near my house the other morning on my way to work. The fields were such a lovely yellow color that I just had to get out and take a picture. I figure there are people out there who have never seen a soybean field in October. Before long, the beans will lose all their leaves and they will be these bronze spikes with seed pods on them, ready to harvest. If you look very closely in the exact center of the picture- that's my house- in a field of corn and the roof of my laundry room is that tiny white dot.

About 2 months ago, one of my dryers decided that it was tired of starting up. Can't blame it, really. It had been through the wringer- no pun intended- for a number of years- it was "harvest gold" to give you an indication of how many years. 30, I think. Well, last night the second dryer decides that it is tired of pulling all the weight around here and when I got up this morning, Bill's work clothes were still wet. oh bother. Turns out it was only a broken belt on the drum. This evening Bill did a little handy man work and it is up and running, again- better than before, because now you don't have to prop the door closed with a strip of metal threshold! He took the door catch out of the first broken dryer- along with it's perfectly good belt- and put them in the second broken dryer- which isn't broken, anymore. And to top off that perfectly thrilling story, he bought me a "new" dryer that is only 25 years old.=) So I am back in business, laundry wise. The children had moved all of the dirty laundry out of the laundry room so that Bill would have room to work on the dryers and that is why you are being treated to the dubious pleasure of seeing one side of that room! So, I showed you mine and I'd like to see yours, please.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Half way through the week...

and not so much to show for it. Here is a picture of the last show quilt that I quilted for my friend, Tanya. I love the big, chunky Batiks- just bricks of different sizes. And then she criss-crossed it with silk ribbons. And at the intersections, we made little pebbles out of Angelina fiber and I appliqued them on before I quilted it with some flowy flowers and pebbles in the borders. I think the pattern was in a book about dots... sorry, I just can't remember the exact name. The Muncie Quilt show is tomorrow through Staurday.

I am still not halfway through that king-size quilt. And I slept on my shoulder wrong, so it is going to be slow-going, today. Wish me luck and have a great day!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Been a busy girl

...this past week. First, I was determined to finish Abel's quilt. Check. Then I wanted to get one of the boys' quilts quilted. Check. And didn't it turn out cute? I figure that if I do one quilt every Friday, I'll be all caught up in only 6 weeks. Not such a long time, really, when you consider that they have been in a bin for... 6 years! And I took some one's advice here- sorry, I forgot who suggested it, but I found the neatest novelty prints for the backings. 6 different prints- and all on sale since it was the end of the summer! $2 a yard!! How cool is that? This one is Paul's. I just did a meander over it, so that I could avoid all rivets and zippers and flatfelt seams. I haven't strictly meandered in a coon's age- how fast! The whole top was quilted in only 2 hours. Next, I got Aunt Isobel's quilt on the frame- no small task considering the square acreage involved!! 106x106." Now that's a decent-sized quilt. I'm about 1/4 of the way through it- no sprint, this, but rather an all-out marathon. But I need to be finished by Friday so I can do the next denim quilt!

And last, but certainly not least, Bill and I planned our anniversary celebration for Friday night. Sarah, you will be amazed at how entertaining the local environs can be when Bill applies himself. He calls me at about 2:00 in the afternoon to make sure I'll be ready to leave by 4:00. Kinda early, I think, but then, am I going to complain about more time on a date? Hardly. So I get all dolled up- yeah, it takes a while these days. I even straightened my hair- mom teases that most women try to get theirs curled, while I spend hours straightening. But it is a different look, and after 19 years... well, ya have to make an effort to still be appealing, right? We agree on Texas Roadhouse to eat. Bill worried that it was too casual, but I was starving and it's my favorite, so... Food was great and the service was great. We stuffed ourselves- shared a 16oz steak and fries and oh, had chicken for an appetizer, and I'm pretty sure there were 4 baskets of rolls served- told you the service was great! We were giddy by the time we rolled out of there- good and stuffed- not miserable- though we should have been. But it was too good to regret. Bill starts driving North. I promise to not ask any questions. We drive for about 30 minutes until we come to a flashing yellow light- the "town" of Redkey.

I suspect that there are towns like Redkey all over the US. Used to be hoppin' little towns near railroads, but with the highways and all- just mostly ghost towns, now. Bill makes a right and drives about 2 blocks, "Oops! Must have missed it." I had to bust out laughing, 'cause what could he have possibly missed? Run-down houses with run-down, empty storefronts? So we swing back around and drive up the road again. "Oops! Must have missed it, again. They said it was here." OK, so I asked for a hint of what we are looking for- maybe I can help. "Hmm..." says he, "This must be it." It was... well, I honestly can't describe it. I want to be fair. At first perusal... it looked like a ...saloon. Yeah, that's what it looked like. "Are you takin' me to a Rodeo?" "No," says Bill, sadly, "Sorry." We are out of the car and on the deserted sidewalk... "Are you takin' me to a club? My Mama's gonna be mortified." A club in Podunk, no less. He says nothing. I'm getting worried, but I have complete faith in him. This will be fine. But then he opens the door... Ah, ambiance, that's what this place has. Lot's of ambiance. There was a very tiny "lobby." I hesitate to call it that, 'cause it was just so small. Smaller than my bedroom. And there was a tiny little window with bars over it- and a lady behind it. She was smiling, a pleasant smile. Bill gives her $40. She hands him 2 tickets, no change. I blink R-e-a-l S-L-O-W. What in the world, er, in Redkey, Indiana, could cost 40 bucks???!!! No way could this be legal. We proceed through another set of doors into another "lobby." Smaller than the last. Some guy is sitting there with a Hawaiian shirt on, ready to take our tickets and stamp our hands. "First time?" he asks. What gave us away? Bill looked real cool, but I wasn't missin' a thing. Like where the exits are!! He points out that there is a restaurant through this door and a bar beyond that. Says where the restrooms are. I smile and make a dash for the closest one- I did have 4 glasses of iced tea with my dinner. I must say that I have never seen 2 toilets in such close proximity in all my life... and the mirror frames looked like... yep, sequined trim from Joann's. I come out and Bill is laughing at my expense. "It isn't a club... it's a theatre." No kidding. The Key Palace Theatre. Now, the only thing palatial about it is... hmmm... there were some red velvet drapes behind the drums. It seats 230 people and I had the time of my life. I just love blues and soul and Bill found out about this, admittedly, hole in the wall, theatre that has just great blues!!! How cool is that? Lee Roy Parnell was playing. LIVE!! With his band!! (His new album, "Back to the Well." is great and I have probably played it 100 times- love the repeat option on my cd player!) Oh, what a blast we had!! Bill had to go check out the restaurant- I was just too stuffed to even contemplate it- he comes back with a "Zeke's Monster Burger." I roll my eyes 'cause didn't we just consume an entire month's allotment of red meat? He said he had to try it. Ate the whole thing. Lee Roy started playing at around 8:30pm and played for a good 2 hours- maybe more. Have I mentioned what a good time we had? And I would never have made it through the front door(I admit to a case of the willies) without Bill's courage and commitment to our relationship and love of the blues!!
Rise up Lazarus...

That's the name of an old Bluegrass song. Patty Loveless sings it now. I always liked it because it wasn't a bit sad- rather happy and joyful.

I finished the quilt, as you can see. And yes, I think it did make things better- having it done. I quilted it in a random baptist fan design- no templates or patterns- just lots of little arcs- I love Laura Lee Fritz quilting. I got the binding on and everything in time for his birthday- September 30. And it is now hanging over my piano and looks very nice with the yellow walls in the living room.

""All things work for good." has become my favorite verse.

Sarah told me that they would,

but when the nights turn cold,

And the leaves turn rust and gold...

that's when your memory hurts...

I'm looking forward to leavin' October behind."

~Sons of the Dessert