Thursday, July 31, 2008

Beyond Redemption...

I changed quilts on my livingroom wall, this morning. About once a month, I take down the old and put up a new. Of course, they really aren't new, are they? This one was salvaged from my Aunt Shelia's rubbish bin. So glad I nabbed it. She thought it was beyond redemption- and in some respects, she's right. The edges are frayed and even the top and bottom borders are missing almost entirely. The worst is the backing. An old sheet that has turned transparent with age. Many of the pieces have busted open revealing little balls of cotton batting...So no, this isn't a quilt for the bed on a cold winters night. But it still makes me smile. It is hand pieced and hand quilted and obviously loved in its day. Its bright and cheery. Simple and charming. It still has a purpose.
On the other hand. This sweet little Singer makes me a bit sad. It is from a treadle machine. It was rescued from a barn. It's previous owner must not have cared much about it. It is full of rust, and even with copious amounts of oil, I don't know if it'll ever recover. Sweet William says it'll be a nice winter's day project. I suppose it still has a purpose- the decals are elaborate and some of the best I've seen. And it lets people know that a sewer lives here. Some one that likes old things, even if they aren't perfect. Who is, anyway?

Scissor Coaster...
Try saying that 5x, really fast. Julia knit me this adorable wash towel(it's too pretty to be called a rag.) I've resisted using it, because it is so pretty and such sweet thoughts come from it. I am very hard on dish rags. Dishes for 10 people... well, those rags get plenty of hard milage. So I've kept the towel in the quilting room- so I could admire it, of course. Then here I sit with a pristene sewing machine straight from 1941 and I don't want the scissors to scratch the wood or the paint job... that towel slipped right into place over the bobbin winding peg, and its a perfect match for my scissors. The peg keeps it from sliding all around, and there's no clattery clunk, every time I set the scissors down- which is often 'cause I've been paper piecing. My snips hang around my neck. I love anything that has a practical use. Thanks Julia!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Friendship tree...
Michele was sharing her Celtic tree and so I thought I'd show you my friendship tree. A dear friend made this for me for my birthday- 11 years ago. Most people think I only like brights and batiks, but I have a soft spot for anything primitive. And it goes so well in my primitive farm house. And trees... there's something so comforting about them. Does anyone else have a tree they'd like to share? it can be fiber, or it can be a real tree. I'd love to see it!

Birkies for Michele...
well, yeah they are a bit grubby, but I wear them ALL the time. Four years old, and still going strong. The other two pair are just plain- blue mules and brown sandals.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Random Monday...

so how was your weekend? I can't complain about mine. It was a good one. It's always good if I get some sewing time in! I made these little pocket papers for Darcie and the girls. Gotta get them in the mail. The girls will be headed back to school in just a few weeks, I'm thinking. Some adorable notebooks will come in handy. I'll let them sort out who's who's. These are more of the paper peicing that I've been piddling with. On my "new" sewing machine. Works like a charm. John has commented that he can't even hear the thing running from his sewing station. I think I need one of those long tables like schools have - for sewing lessons! I could set up all my kids with a machine. Now that sounds like fun.

No, I don't have a shoe fetish...I think. I usually only wear my Birkenstocks. I have 5 pair. No, they aren't all frumpy- I have confessed to being "frump girl" but my Birkies are really cute. I have a leopard print one with orange roses, and a blue pair with brown roses, and even a red pair. I just want my feet to be comfy. But then my friend from Oregon spent the weekend and her shoes were just adorable and it got me to thinking... I've been wanting a pair of espedrilles... these are quite comfy, despite the 3.5" heel- and I think the trick to them being comfortable is the wedge heel- and I feel so girly!! They are a pretty peachy color and shot with gold. Very very girly. My husband did have a little panic moment when I walked out of the bedroom with them on- he didn't see them at first and he thought he'd shrunk! I'm his height with them on. I do have a thing for shorter guys. And I know you all will be commenting on my blue toenails. I love all the fun colors that are "in" today!! Purple, green, blue, chrome...I just love that! Who says you have to use red or pink?

And the doily I made for my girls. Their bedroom is pink and green. Julia gave me the pretty variegated thread- it was tiny(30 weight.) It wasn't half bad to work with, actually. I thought it would be much more difficult. I did have to wear my reading glasses, and it was an adjustment, but it went very well, and you can't imagine how delicate it is. And Amy, your pattern is in the mail. Every body have a great day!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Be still my heart!!!
Lookie lookie!!!! My neice stopped by for a little visit, this afternoon. She saw my old Singer machine sitting on the piano- from a treadle machine that I use as a stereo table. Then Rosemary begins to tell me about this cool old machine she saw. It was in a cabinet and it was black. My ears pricked up, I can tell ya. I made a call to that sweet man of mine- could he stop in at the thrift shop and see if it is still there? "Anything for you, sweetheart." Don't I have a wonderful man? So after work he stopped in- both of us pretty sure it would be gone. I figured if it wasn't there, it wasn't meant to be mine. But there it was!! It is such a beauty. Bill couldn't wait to get it in the house, but had to open it up in the driveway! Not a speck of rust on it, the finish still a high gloss, and it looks like it was never used- I'm gonna remedy that! The wiring needed replacing- which sweet William did in no time, and now I am whirring away on a gorgeous, mint condition(1941) Singer 201!!!!!!! The motor barely makes a sound. The cabinet is gorgeous, with burl wood and curved legs. I had mentioned to Rosemary that I would have paid her back for it if she had bought it. But Rosemary hates shopping(weird, I know.) and she didn't buy it. I did. Or rather Bill did- I owe him, big time. $30 bucks!!!!! Now how am I going to sleep knowing that machine is out there waiting for me to come out and play?

Friday, July 25, 2008

My little clone...

she stood right by my elbow as I crossed my eyes and sewed up this little number. There are 49 teeny tiny pieces in this 3.5" block. Sandy threw down the gauntlet and challenged me to a duel. I don't think she really thought I'd do it! But I've been diggin' tedious things here lately. After one false start, it went very smooth. I also took the easy route and used solid konas- so if I sewed one upside down- who would even know? With the border, it sizes up to 4.5". Paper-pieced, of course. It's an itsy bitty wallhanging for Sandy- she has been very generous with her swimming pool.

...One of my latest doilies. It's called "bramble" and it's my new favorite. I am sending it to my sis, Laurie. Her son is getting married next week and I think the mother of the groom deserves at least one gift, don't you?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Picnic cake...
now bear with me. I know this cake looks a little funky, even on a pretty china plate and doily. But it tastes spectacular. Just wait until you find out what makes it look so...unusual! When I was a little girl, we had picnics on Memorial day and Labor day. Usually at a county or state park. Mawmaw would bring this cake and I loved it. I am so glad that I have the recipe to share with you. It's one of those things that tastes even better than I remembered. I'm not particularly fond of bananas- the texture kinda throws me off. I like them if they are still pretty green and very firm, and just a scooch sour. So once they start to ripen, I pop them into the freezer- peel and all- until I have enough to make this cake or banana bread- but the family likes this cake best.
Mawmaw's Picnic Cake
  • 1 1/2c. sugar
  • 1/2c. butter
  • 2 beaten eggs

Combine and beat well.

  • 1 1/2c. flour
  • 3/4t. salt
  • 1t. baking powder
  • 1/2c. buttermilk- with 1/2t. baking soda stirred in
  • 2t. vanilla
  • 1 1/4c. mashed banana(about 3)
  • 1c. nuts- optional(my kids resist anything with nuts.)

Stir in by hand.

Grease a 9x13" pan. Place 34 large marshmellows over the bottom of the pan. (Mawmaw would space hers out perfectly so that every piece of cake had a little toasty marshmellow circle in the middle. I just dump the marshmellows in the pan. Minis work fine also.) Spread batter over marshmellows. Bake for 45 minutes at 350*. Cool and eat- warm is good, too. No need to frost it because the marshmellows have formed this wonderfully sticky, toasty top!

Thanks for walking down memory lane with me!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My corner of the world...

welcomes you. My Mom took this picture while she was here- she bought herself a new camera. This is a very popular space for me, the corner of my couch. And yes, I am "Nines, the human pretzel." I don't know why I have the urge to wrap myself into a knot when I sit down, but that's what I do! Making a pink doily with cream trim- perfect for my friend's new bedroom. Sitting under what Flylady would call a "hot spot." I call it the flaming inferno. That pass-through is where people stash things and it is almost always piled high with...stuff. Things that don't have a home. Typical of almost every horizontal space around here. But see, if I turn my back on it, it doesn't really exist. Yes, my world is a magical place!

Speaking of doilies... Some one asked if I would sell them...hmmm.... I don't know. That might make something I do for the fun of it, more like work. Ya know? But I'm all for sharin' so if you think you need one, let me know. I'll see if I can't crank one out for you. I love making candle mats- small doilies to place under a large candle- like the Yankee ones. This might be doable gift for others. I made several for my friend, Donna- she collects Willow Tree figurines and I thought they'd be sweet under them. These I could probably get done in a timely fashion for other folks. Whatcha think?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A few more...

Thought I'd show you a few more of the doilies. I have several more in the works. It's kind of fun to work on a couple at the same time- keeps it interesting. It's kinda hard to do that with quilting- makes too big of a mess. But with doilies, ya just grab another ball of thread. no mess, no fuss. Ya like my peekabo buddy up there? He's such a peanut! Has to get in the picture. Julia, that bottom doily("coriander") was made with that thread of your mom's. A brand new doily that's already vintage! See why it's my favorite doily- so far? Rather like quilts- the one you just finished gets to be favorite for a while.

I think dd, Eva, has an internal alarm clock. Goes off each morning at exactly 5:30am. Yes, I know, a perfectly respectable time, I'm just more of a 7:30am kinda girl. I took them swimming at a friend's house a couple days ago and they had a complete blast. But it was very sunny- it is July, donchaknow- and despite several coats of sunscreen, she has sore shoulders. So at 5:30 the past couple days she wakes me up to slather on a new coat of aloe. She goes right back to sleep and I am wide-awake. exactly wide awake, but I can't get back to sleep. No biggie, I'll just have to squeeze in a nap later in the day.

We have a two-hour-nap-break in the middle of our day, between 1:30-3:30. It is one of our most favored traditions. I can't imagine raising 8 kids without it. As they get older, than they can use that time to read. The older kids love the quiet, and the younger ones climb into bed with no fussing. It gives us all a chance to recharge our batteries so that our early evening hours are peaceful and sweet. So if ya call during our siesta, don't expect me to answer the phone. I'm very protective of nap-time!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

a few more...
and Julia, yours is in the envelope. Going to town tomorrow, so I'll pop it in the mail then.

Pocket paper...
I had a thought... a creative thought... and well, wow, that was nice.

My Sis in law, Joy, always carries a little spiral notebook in her purse- not too big, not too small. I have no idea why I decided to cover these little books. I'll blame Darcie because she is the one who started me on journal covers(I'm pretty sure I have made at least 50!)... and those caramel bars(how could she get me craving such yummy goodness- not enough insulin in the world to fix that sugar rush!)...and crocheting(10 doilies doesn't sound like a lot) again. I'm tellin' ya, that girl is dangerous! Poor Darcie, she gets blamed for everything! that's what happens when you're the baby!

But aren't these little notebooks adorable? I dug out an old paper piecing pattern that I was too overwhelmed by the tiny scale to ever actually do. But one little square in a square was do-able. Those tiny pieces are about the width of a match stick. Used some of my crumb stash up. They were a lot of fun to do and I'm thinking...again...that I might make some more. I made four of them, but Joy snagged her's hot off the press, so no picture of her pretty green one. The orange one, well you know it has my name all over it! The red, white and blue one...hmmmmm...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The One and Only...
Friday morning, I paid a visit to my friend Sandy. She is a crazy quilter just like me. We talked quillts for an hour or so and then we went to Ivanhoes for lunch. I had never been and it was quite an experience! They are famous for their icecream and their fruit. Funny, huh? So I had their "chicken salad." Two BIG ice cream scoops of really great chicken salad- Sarah, I don't think you'd go for it- it had lots of yummy stuff in it- like pecans and pineapple and celery. It was excellent. But the funny thing is how they serve it. On top of a boatload of fresh fruit! Enough fruit for 6 people- at least 4 cups, maybe more. Incredible. I ate the chicken, but I barely made a dent in all that fruit! I didn't get to try the famous icecream- I was just too stuffed- but they have 100 different sundaes to choose from. When I saw the waitress' T, I just had to have one! Isn't the color edible? So if you are ever in Upland, you should try Ivanhoes. You can't miss it- it will be the place with a packed parking lot and even a line out the door if you come on the weekend!

Monday, July 14, 2008

"With blackest moss the flower pots were thickly crusted one and all."
Who can guess where that quote comes from?
I made this little improvisational piece(thanks to the Hedgehog) a while back and I even quilted it, but then I wasn't sure I liked it... so it stewed a while in the cupboard... it's more appealing to me now- that, and I added the buttons. And I just used some binding scraps. Felt good to be sewing, again. This was my first attempt at "light and airy." The pots are my favorite part of the whole thing- and they are NOT light and airy. But it was a fun little thing to do. And it looks right smart on my quilting room wall- though it might move to over the kitchen door. I think I'm gonna go out to the quilting room and see what trouble I can get into. You all have a great day.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A sweater in July...
May sound a bit...unorthodox, but it's very light weight. I have all of the components done and now I need to pull it together. I have the shoulder seams and the sleeves sewn together. Then I think I'll finish the openings with some single crochet and some shells. It's a bit too big, but I think it will work. My first peice of crothet clothing. the sleeves don't have the best shape, but at least I won't have to worry about it binding under my arms!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Play on words...
Having 6 sons, you gotta embrace all things manly. Like armor. My boys love the stuff. So this is my latest paint project. I used stencils I bought at Walmart and just threw them up there- the kids helping decide what words to use and where. They love standing in front of the steps and reading them out loud. I think me and the girls are gonna need a spot somewhere for the "Fruit of the Spirit." Just sayin'.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Windowpanes Vest...
Just a quick post on my way out the door. And don't give me a hard time about not being able to see my face- my eyes are tired these days and I didn't want everyone saying, "Nines, you look tired." It's the vest I wanted to show you, not my tired eyes.
This is the Windowpanes Vest by Rag Merchant. I started it last...September, I think. Finally finished it up, last night. What a journey into boredom and tedium! The end results are worth it, but it involves a whole lot of sewing. Down the vest and then across the vest. And I might be a Maverick quilter, but I resist using glue on anything and that was what you were supposed to use to hold the blocks in place while you sew them down. Too much of a traditionalist, I suppose. If you're all hung up about getting everything straight ya better glue. I am not so tightly wound and so I just pinned them in place- with a whole lot of shifting going on. It's based on a man's shirt and then just bound all the way around with a button under the arms to hold the front to the back- I used two buttons because my vest is longer than theirs. All in all, I am lovin' it. Hey! I get to wear my favorite batiks and hand-dyeds. And it matches everything! Gotta run, you all have a great day.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Must be in a Red mood...
what do'ya think? Mom and I have been having an high ole time makin' doilies. It's like a game I play. See, my friend, Sandy, lets me borrow her Crochet Magic magazines and I copy out the easy doily patterns. But then I return her magazines... and I am left with the patterns, but no picture... see? Like a game, picking out the doily, not knowing what the end result is gonna be. This one is for my son's sweetheart. She'll like the deep red color.
I'm diggin' on Joss Stone these days. Good R&B tunes. Bought all three cds. My fridge died. Quietly in it's sleep. I don't see why it couldn't have breathed it's last while my Dad was here- an air refrigeration specialist, that he is. Must have been having mercy on the poor man. I bought an old one from Bill's store. A frig not a poor man. Much smaller than mine. The frig, not the man. I think we all need to learn to scale down during these difficult economic times. But 10 people sharing a moderately sized refrigerator... it ain't gonna be pretty. And I just bought some more wild salmon... maybe there's room in the outside freezer. And no icemaker or water dispenser. I am such a spoiled brat.
I did sew some the other day. It's a secret project, so no pictures. Which is a good thing as I was on Benedryl while I pieced it... not a point on it to my satisfaction. I kept thinking I shouldn't be peicing while woozy- but I couldn't seem to help myself. It wasn't like there was a warning, "Do not operate sewing machine while taking this medication." I think I will put a label on it that says, "It'll all quilt out." And it most likely will.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Goings on...
Things I've been doing...
  1. Crocheting. I've finished a doily and I am almost finished with another. Then I started a sweater- a first and with no pattern, I'm not sure it will work out wearable. The yarn is wonderfully soft and called "denim ombre" It'll look great with jeans. It's a nice change from the tiny little doily hook- i'm using a honkin' huge K hook.
  2. I've been acquiring red and white fabrics for a redwork quilt. Sandy has been doing the embrioidery on the machine for me and I plan on piecing little borders for the squares. Some of these fabrics came all the way from Oregon.
  3. My parents visited. the mower is running- along with a couple weed whackers. that's a very good thing. My dishwasher never ran so good as it does now. All thanks to my Dad. the garden is tilled and looking very healthy. New green beans are planted- for the third time. Hopefully third time is a winner. My Mom did laundry and laundry and more laundry. Welcome to my world.
  4. We had a 4th of July picnic at my Sis in law's. I made a cherry cobbler- big shocker, I know. But no one else made cherry anything and I was surprised by that. The cobbler was a huge hit and disappeared in no time. I also made baked beans and potato salad- 'cause it was a picnic, right? And 5 gallons of lemonade. My oldest set a big fireworks display in the front yard and we had a singing. It was a grand day.
  5. Today, I'm tired. Imagine that? So I crochet a little and "rest my eyes" a little. Read a little. Rest my eyes a little more. You get the picture. I might get up some gumption and go sew a little, but don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Life's just a bowl of cherries...

We've been busy working with some of the summer's bounty. Aren't those cherries just beautiful? And sooooooooo tasty! We made 6 batches of cherry freezer jam. And the rest of the cherries we froze for pies and cobblers. Three of the boys did all of the picking and the girls and Grandmother helped me with the seeding. It was light work with so many hands.

Grandfather cut down the big Elm tree from the front yard. Here on the prairie, we hate to cut down a tree- there are so few that can survive the winds, but this one fell victim to a big gust of wind a few weeks ago and it was so pathetic looking... it just had to go. It'll make good firewood, this winter. John was playing among the fallen limbs and yep, he fell on his face. Kooky kid. He'll survive.