Thursday, February 28, 2008

You got to enlarge this picture--you may have even seen it before. But remember when my two babies were this small? Every time I run across this picture I almost laugh out loud. They were just totally passed out...have that goofy look with their eyes half open but they are really out of it. They had been playing hard!

Otherwise, I didn't start quilting till tonight...I am just doing a loop-d-loop design with 5-point stars thrown in. I should have spent more time warming up, cause some of the quilting is kind of herky-jerky. But it will hold the layers together and be fine for a baby to roll around on. It is a bit more than a baby quilt...should call it a kid quilt.

My thread started shredding before I got done--I seem to have problems with Coats and Clark thread when free motion quilting...but it was all that was available at Joann's the other day. I am going to change my needle to a top-stitch needle tomorrow and see if that helps. It also might be that I was getting tired.

Maybe I will have something finished tomorrow.

this is my new iron--I really, really like it. I hope it lasts a long time and works just the way it does now. Loads of steam, gets really hot, and gets that way quickly. I made the backings for the baby quilts tonight and even got one of them pin-basted and ready to quilt. I am so excited...since I got my Juki I don't mind machine quilting at all.

I could not take a picture without the Princess being involved; I can't do anything without she is there checking it out, no matter what 'it' is. But I still love her...and below is my boy. Isn't he adorable. The bottom picture is very typical of him and his brother. I have had cats all my life almost and I have never seen two that just lay stretched totally out so much of the time. A big part of the time, they both will have their front feet stretched out in front and their back feet/legs stretched straight out behind with their belly to the floor.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Yes, I am ready for warmer weather, with green growing things. I am ready to be outside without a coat on. I am even ready and willing to mow the yard again! I am so ready for tomatoes out of my own garden. (Yes that is tomato blooms in the second picture) And I am ready to hang out clothes again--at least when I want to. I could now but they would be coming in frozen stiff as a board. And I do remember when my mom had no other choice. I can remember her bringing in jeans that would stand on their own. But I don't remember what she did with them when she brought them in like that.

Speaking of jeans, I also remember having to iron them...I remember when almost everything was ironed. Speaking of ironing leads to todays challenges...I had laundry going and was going to make the backings for the baby quilts. I had to iron the last two borders on the last baby quilt. I ironed the first and sewed the second border on and was trying to iron it...I discover that my iron has quit. I switched plugs just to make luck.

I came upstairs and checked on the QYW forum to see what others had recommended in the past...while doing that I happened to think about consumer reports. Their tests were from a year or two past, but the highest recommended was one of the Black and Decker models...
so with it in mind plus the other two best buys recommended, I headed to our local Walmart. The shelves there were almost bare!

I decided to come home and call a few stores to see what I could did take me at least an hour to check with 6 places. Everyone seemed to be working short-handed. So it took longer....but finally found one at Sears. The one with the highest I called my husband to stop on his way home from work and pick it up for me. I just did not feel like getting back out in the cold. It did make me appreciate the fact that I didn't have to, that I don't have to hang clothes outside in weather like this, that I have a warm and safe house to sleep in....yet I can't help but be ready for spring to arrive.

Monday, February 25, 2008

These are just some of my favorite scenes from a winter drive taken a couple or three years ago. I have not been sewing or taking pictures so am resorting to old photos...hope you get some enjoyment from them. I do every time I look at them. Tomorrow I will need to catch up on all the blogs I follow--I am behind.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Quilt top almost finished

All I need to add is borders--I have chosen yellow, just haven't got them cut. I may have to go pick up some more of one of the yellows. It is an easy way out, and not necessarily the best choice but I am running out of time.

My husband was holding one of the tops up for me to try to get these pictures and The Princess had to investigate. First she is down on the floor and then she leaps half way up it! She is a pistol! There is never a door open but what she tries to run through it. Be it regular doors or if it is cabinet doors, she is the nosiest cat I have ever seen. Followed closely by Bubbie. Nothing is safe with the them.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lifelong friends.....
The woman on the left is Mrs. Hayes--and the other is my mom. Even though they were lifelong friends I never heard my mom call her anything other than Mrs. Hayes. (Also, when Mrs. Hayes referred to her husband she always called him Mr. Hayes) But that is not the point.

These two women loved to quilt more than anyone I know. And that was long before the invention of rotary cutters, and quick strip piecing methods. I would love to know how many quilts either one of them made, but especially my mom. She almost continually sewed on something. She would see a quilt she liked and sit and fiddle with it till she got a pattern made. Her template was cardboard--like what is on the back of a spiral notebook.

And she did not sit and trace around the pattern for each was made with the seam allowance included and she would layer 3 or 4 pieces of fabric together and just hold the template pattern and fabric together in her hand and cut around it...sometimes she might use one pin but more often than not she didn't use any.

Mrs. Hayes was a neighbor until I turned 5 or 6, and then she moved a few miles away. It might as well have been 100 in some ways. My mom nor dad drove--dad couldn't because he had muscular dystrophy and had not the strength in his legs to use a clutch. Mom was too nervous to drive. Till my brothers had their own cars, they always had to depend on a neighbor to take them to the doctor or to the grocery.

When there was finally a vehicle in the family, we still didn't do much visiting. Maybe go see Mrs. Hayes two or three times a year at the most. By the time I was driving, she lived in a town that we sometimes shopped in and every time we were there, we stopped if we had a little bit of time. Probably once a month.

And almost every time we stopped, I would have her drag out all her quilts and quilt tops and show me...she never seemed to mind at all. Her and mom would talk quilting and talk about old times. But you never got far with Mrs. Hayes for when she told a story, she told all the tiniest details...if she mentioned a name she would tell who their mom and dad were, who they were married to, etc etc. But I would give anything to be able to relive a little bit of that time.

My mom passed away in 1996, on February 20th to be exact. Sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago, and others only yesterday.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

These pictures were taken by my is the one and only time popcorn bloom happened during the 19 years I worked here. That is when all the trees bloom at the same time and every bloom opens at once....I had broken my leg and had on a walking cast so it was definitely too wet for me to get out in the orchard. It was absolutely one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever in my life witnessed. And wonder will I ever see it again.

I set and looked trying to decide if I know which rows of trees these are--I think the row on the left is red delicious and the row on the right is yellow delicious. As long as I worked there and as many trees as I had to climb down out of, you would think they would each and everyone have a name.

I will try to change subjects now...think I have just been missing the place and I for sure miss my boss. He passed away last year after a long----I don't know the word. He had a major stroke and was never the same. It happened in 2001, he lost his ability to walk, talk, eat. Yet his face just glowed with happiness when we were all in the house at lunch and talking and laughing. When he was well, it was always very entertaining...

He always sat and told tales of his childhood, or else told stories on his own children. Or tales of when he was an insurance salesman. I would give anything to have recorded the conversations. He has made me laugh till I was literally sick from laughing so hard. His daughter-in-law and I can still get to laughing over tales he told us...and they were all true is what makes them even funnier.

Now, to what is currently's another cold, cold day here in the midwest....I don't think it got out of the 20's the entire day. Of course that is not cold compared to some. Knowing that does not make me appreciate it any more.

I did sew quite a bit today on the baby quilt tops. I should have had them done but kept getting detoured by little things. For one thing I paid to download Norton 360 to my computer last night. Nothing is ever simple for me and this literally took a couple hours to do it. And it was NOT that it was slow to download. At first would not accept my name, email, etc. Had to go back and start from scratch more than once. Then I had to un-install some things. You name it, it will happen to me.

Then today every time I got on it seemed like the connections were taking so long. So I would fool around and look...found one article that stated that it did not support the
Firefox browser...don't know what the heck that means exactly. Finally wrote the tech support and I think it means basically that I have to have internet explorer as my default web browser to get the live updates. I had never changed that. And I haven't done anything different really, but it seems to be working better tonight. So maybe it was ISP having problems....

Hopefully tomorrow I will have pictures of the finished tops to post....if nothing else happens.

Monday, February 18, 2008

More from the orchard...
This first picture is Grand Prize plums...yummy!

The rest of the pictures are scanned in photos...the orchard I worked at was small. The owner went in business with a friend not far from the orchard. There we raised these beautiful blackberries, as well as strawberries, raspberries, watermelons, cantaloupe, pumpkins, decorative gourds, and we raised tomatoes one year. Oh, I forgot we had blueberries bushes that started baring fruit.

We planted these peach trees the first year I worked there year round. I don't remember how long it took to get this crop of peaches and nectarines...not very long at all. Out of probably 8 years it was the only crop that survived our harsh winters. Both my boss and the other guy had health issues; these trees along with five(eta: I don't know why I wrote five--it was more like 10 or 12 ) long, long rows of peach trees that his daughter-in-law and I bud-grafted were bulldozed out. The strawberry rows were plowed out...a sad but happy time for me in so many ways. The strawberries all had drip irrigation, and were planted on small ridges covered through the plastic film that has become popular here in the past years. The drip tube was buried in the ridge under the plastic film layer. One of my many jobs was to get the irrigation going once spring rolled around. The ground was almost pure sand so irrigation was a must. That was the chore that I was not going to miss. The first patch had 50 rows of strawberries that were 400 feet long, then we added to them each year. The rows added were 800 feet long though. I do miss working on the irrigation at all...the only way I survived it was to look at it as one giant puzzle!

I had to walk the row to the end and feel the end of the irrigation line to see if water was reaching the end. As many times as not, it wasn't. So then I would walk back and every so often dig down to find the plastic drip tube. When I found where the water was, then I had to figure out where the leak was--sometimes it was easy to find cause there would be a big, noticeable wet spot. But lots of times there were numerous places where mice had chewed, or maybe a deer had bounded through and the hoof sunk deep enough to cut the line. No, repairing irrigation lines is not my favorite job.

Sampling the fruit was never a chore--one of these peaches would not be a bad thing right now! Since I worked there, fruit bought in stores just never tastes quite as good. And apples are never as good as when you reach and pick one and eat it!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

At the orchard....
I know this is not exactly a fruit scene, but I do love this picture....when it is enlarged I just feel fall when I look at it.

The apples below are Arkansas Black--notice the little critter on the one. These spiders sort of jump--and they love Fuji apples! You might see one or two here and there in the orchard, but there are always more on the Fujis than all the rest of the orchard combined. Anyway, Arkansas Blacks are a gormet cooking apple, the taste will vary with how much rain we have had, and they are the hardest apple I have ever seen. I know I have NOT seen half the varieties, but believe me this is a solid apple. The people that tried them at the orchard seemed to either love them or hate them--no in between.
Now this picture below would probably be in the top ten favorites that I have ever taken...don't know if it that the picture is that good or if it is because I LOVE these apples--they are Blushing Golden. They are such a full rounded flavor...and so juicy. It was after the harvest one fall, and I was cleaning out under the trees--using a weedeater, etc. I was back in the farthest corner from the house and getting so hungry, but didn't want to stop before I finished. I found one of these apples, ate it, and have loved them ever since.These apples are EarliBlaze--an early cooking apple. We used to could count on starting picking them around August 20th. The past few years what few they have left is usually picked right around August 1...these are not necessarily a favorite apple of mine. I just like the picture.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


I am now qualified to give a good example of frustration. As anyone who has been reading this for a while knows, I have a couple baby quilts I need to make. I have been having a hard time getting motivated to do any of it though. But over the past week or so I have started...and while both tops should have been done in a couple days, I have been dragging my feet and had a couple other problems thrown in.

I decided the other day that the time is NOW to get them done. So yesterday and the day before I devoted a big part of my day to them. What happened the first day was all my fault...I made six blocks, and went down that night to do some preparation work for yesterday only to discover I had sewn the wrong red fabric in two blocks--even with my road map I messed up. That was frustrating enough--I spent a while ripping out the wrong fabric and I did sew in the correct fabric.

Last night I was working on the last four blocks, on the last round of strips, and when I pressed one open, I noticed that the previous color I had pressed was scorched! Looked bad! How did that happen? I had not left the iron setting on it at all, I had merely gave the strips a quick press to press them open. I had no idea if it could be washed out...thought I would give a little rub with a damp cloth. The fabric TORE!

The fabric was used in four blocks, two strips to each block. I ripped it out of every one of the blocks, and am contemplating ripping out this other fabric. I am just so disgusted. It is fabric from Joann's and while I thought it was cheap, I thought it was a step above some of the really cheap fabric. But I would hate to make the tops and them fall apart once the quilt is finished. But the other color is on the edge of the quilt and I don't know if there would be that much stress on it or not. What do you think?

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Indiana sunsets...scanned in from old photos. I hope I haven't posted any of these before. I think I have only thought about it but never actually done it.

Fabric arrival

The above box came in the mail yesterday from Thousands of Bolts--not with my boy cat in it of course, but with the fabric pictured below. The fabric pictured directly below is going to be the backing for the baby quilts. And the other fabric is just to add to my stash.

I must say that the service from Thousands of Bolts was excellent....I thought shipping a bit high but I got 15 1/2 yards of material for a total of $67, which includes shipping. I didn't so much mind the shipping--I ordered Sunday, got a call from them Monday asking about the 7 yards of fabric I ordered. They had a 6 1/2 yd piece and a yard piece, and could I work with that or did it have to be in one piece, and they would give me the 7 1/2 yards for the 7 yard price....I didn't even have to think about that and said yes. I got the fabric yesterday--so you can bet when I need something again I will think of them.

Of course, those prices were not as good a deal as a $1 a yard that Laurie and her TSB(another Laurie) found. But it is still not bad when compared to most quilt shop prices.

Well back to the basement for me--I have been sewing some today and it feels good. Hopefully I will get a lot done today.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It's cold here in the midwest...
Also, I have started to edit the comments. I had one on here that was only a link to a porn sight. Another one I could not connect to, but have a feeling it was something like that. So, when you make a comment, it may not immediately show up. Why in the world someone wants to put stuff like that on a sight light this is more than I know...but just don't want it showing up here in any fashion if I can help it. So I hope you don't mind baring with me on this.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A little something for nature lovers and for quilters today...

This is one of Mama Squirrel's babies from the past summer. She and her babies can be seen Here Just scroll down to June 10th I think it is. Mama still comes to be fed and so do the babies. It has been sleeting this real fine mist a little bit today...everything is hungry and cold. If it is Mama Squirrel she will come running from across the street or down the street when I call her...this is her baby because it knows my voice, and perks up if I peck on the window. It knows to stick around for food. Mama will also come up on the back porch and hang from the storm door letting me know that she is hungry...she will sit with me at the picnic table or I can sit on the edge of the porch and she will sit beside me and eat....but she will not allow me to touch her still. Though she still feels entirely free to grab my hand and pull it to her to see if there is anything in it.

Now to quilting, this is one of the best hints I have ever heard for quilting. I thought taking pictures would be the best way to show what I mean. I am not sure where I heard it first, but it is NOT something I thought of. And I have seen others do something similiar but they don't carry it this far. I have seen people mark their rulers by sticking post it notes on the top side of their rulers, but the very best thing is to use at least a stack of three post it notes and stick on the under side of the ruler on the exact line you want to cut.

When you have your fabric layered, and after you make the first squaring up cut, you just butt these up to the fabric. You can feel them meet almost, and for sure see easier. And you don't make near as many mistakes cutting the wrong size.

I have to have a 2 1/2 inch square but for my current project, I found it easier to use my little 4 inch ruler marked this way because it is easier to hold on to than to hold the little 2 1/2 inch ruler without moving it.

If I am cutting across the width of the fabric, I will use at least three stacks of post-it notes on the under side of the 24 inch ruler. And if it is bigger squares, I use what I feel comfortable with to get the exact size I want.

And this is one of the blocks I have you can kind of see what I should be doing instead of playing on here.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sewer Problems--not fun We have had a time tonight. I had planned to sew today, but instead had to run errands to pick up animal food and a few other things at Walmart. And then by the grocery. I came home and decided to clean out the had lots of odds and ends in it that needed to be taken care of.

So, since my sewing machines and all that is all in the basement and I never made it down there...I didn't know there was a problem till my hubby got home. He had gotten so dirty at work, that he went directly down there to take his clothes off and throw them directly in the wash.

There was a huge puddle of make a long story the end we found that the actual sewer drain was not draining. He had to go to the chiropractor tonight, came home and we ate a quick supper, then ran to a Harbor Freight store and just bought a rotor rooter. We decided since we have this problem every so often, instead of paying to rent a machine and have the chore of getting it up and down the basement stairs, we would just buy one and it could stay down there.

There were tree roots in the them out. Then cleaned up the huge puddle down there. I always take bleach water after that and scrub down the whole floor...then dry it again. NOT fun.

But I am so thankful to have a husband who is capable of taking care of things like that and I don't have to live with them till we can call someone in. .

I actually know how to do it myself--just not sure I am strong enough to do some of it. When you feed the coil of the rotor rooter through you have to hang on to it or it can really whip back out and cause some damage. It is too hard for my tired brain to explain right now...and I still have dishes to do and need to finish that load of clothes.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Something just a little bit different...I took this in the summer...a bit past 10:00 p.m. No flash--had the camera on a tripod with the shutter open 30 seconds. There was a light on on the outside of my house, but it is probably 25 feet from where the sunflower was, and is directed more to the outside of the yard--this flower was on the opposite side of the yard. I kind of like it...

Friday, February 8, 2008

A typical fall sunset on a Midwest farm; I was not sure if I was in Indiana or Illinois when I took this. It was the time of day right before dark...I really liked the way this one turned out though to me the way the sky is makes it look slightly out of focus.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

For those of you who might like old, old pictures of the United States, try THIS is a link from within the American Memory Homepage, which is from the Library of Congress. I can spend hours and hours there sometimes...sometimes I just like looking at the old photographs. There are a lot of repeats, but it is still worth going through them. And there are links to letters, journals, and all kinds of things from the American Memory page/Immigration Expansion sections.

I cannot imagine living in the close quarters that our ancestors lived in. Imagine living in the sod houses...I bet they were cooler than the average house today without air conditioning. But I just cannot imagine anything positive otherwise. And don't you know the tractor had to be one of the greatest inventions of all time for farmers?

Oh, for all you quilters, look HERE to see the quilt on Teddy Roosevelt's bed in his cabin in North Dakota. You can click the picture to make it larger....and there are is even a section on Quilts and Quiltmaking in America 1978-1996.

That is all for now....I hope you enjoy at least one of these links.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Another barn: two views. I also removed the color from the second view. I love black and white pictures. The last year or two I shot film, I almost always had B & W in one camera and slide film in the other. I took this a week or two ago...another barn from Parke County, Indiana.