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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Birthday Quilts Are BACK!

Birthday quilts are back on the calendar! And aren't we happy? You betcha! This is our group, the Amazing Quilt Babes (less one). Each year we have chosen a day for our own very stitch day, and the others give their time instead of presents. Even though that day isn't our official birthday, it becomes an Amazing birthday because our friends are helping us make a special quilt. The "birthday" girl this time, is Carol, on the right of the picture. She has fallen in love with Kaffe Fassett fabrics, and this is the result of our morning sewing!

Last year, Carol had us help her with a French Roses quilt for a friend who had liver cancer. We all fell in love with the fabrics she used, so she "kitted" up enough for us all to make one, too. This is Shirlee's (left) quilt with Carol (right). When I have my French Roses completed, you'll see some of the same fabrics, but mine will be king size for my bed! Shirlee chose to back hers with flannel, and it will be a yummy reminder of the happy summer come this winter as she curls up to sew!

At the end of the day, stormy weather has us outside taking pictures instead of inside taking cover!
This is what is known as the leading edge of the storm. See the anvil shaped cloud?
And it is sure a good thing that I've finally gotten my big board set up (on a sofa table rather than an ironing board). Clyde has declared this his favorite spot to sleep while I sew! Isn't his smile sweet?
If he grows any longer, I'll have to order a wider board for sure!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A HOT summer day

First, before I forget (again!) - several of you have asked about the bottles in the vegetable garden. They are there for no other reason than they are "pretty" and I think they are sort of quirky. One of my quilting buddies started this idea with a Wine Garten of bottles near her gardening shed, and I've adapted it to my garden. Silly, but I like it.

I also wanted to thank everyone for sharing the name/s of the 1930's quilt from an earlier post. I'm still not sure if any of them are exactly correct because the quilt I have has the points squared rather than star points as in the quilts named: Pontiac Star, Arkansas Snowflake, Danish Star, Czech Star. I can't seem to find a picture of Hummingbird, so I don't know about that one. BUT, even though, this quilt might not be any of those, you DID help me identify one of my Grandmother's quilt patterns that I have stored away in the closet.

I usually sleep in, but this morning my neighbor down the road called and told me to run outside and look to the south. She wouldn't elaborate further, so dutifully I ran outside in my nightgown, hair standing on end, and looked to the south. What to my wondering eyes did appear (oops wrong story) but a hot air balloon landing. At our other house almost 13 miles due west and a little to the north, we saw hot air balloons every day when it got so terribly hot as it is this week. They would float across our property, both launching and downing. It's nice to know we will have the pleasure here at this house too! I just don't think I want to get up at 7 AM to see them, though, today was nice.

What's on my design wall today? ONE LAST CLIENT QUILT!!!!! Yay! Then my sewing time will be mine! Don't get me wrong - I LOVE doing these for my clients but it's even better when I have my time for my OWN quilts!

These are an assortment of blocks that were done in 2008 for her wedding memory quilt. Some are painted on with Tulip paints, some are cross stitched, some are machine embroidered, some are hand embroidered, and some are photo transfer. This is the cousin of a client of mine from last year who had the same organizer of the blocks.

Here's the first quilt from this family. She chose batiks for the setting, and the backing.

Cowboy is a neighbor's dog who has adopted us as his own. He sleeps on our front porch when it's raining or extremely hot. He brings us his deflated basketball to play with anytime we are outside. He follows us around, no matter what we are doing. Even though I don't usually like big dogs, this guy has won my heart. When he comes over, he leans his head on my leg as if he is saying "I love you". He has such a gentle spirit that you can't send him away!

Every ball we've ever gotten for him is soon deflated, which makes it great for tug of war, but not so great to have laying around in your yard. When we moved some of my shard work to the new house, there were several bowling balls waiting to be made into gazing balls. I just left them outside the garden shed, and Cowboy found one that apparently he loves. The best thing? He can't deflate it! He will play for hours rolling this around our three acres, growling under his breath and pawing it around. When he's tired, he lays down with it between his front legs as if to say "It's mine!"

Those of you who have followed my blog for the last few years know that I have a quirky sense of humor in the garden. I had a Crazy Dog garden at the last house, complete with Mr. Crazy Dog. Until this past week, he's been at the "spa" getting rejuvenated while I prepared his quarters for him here. Doesn't he look grand guarding his new digs with his new dentures, and stain? I glued back all his broken parts with Gorilla glue, repainted his features and stained his body with floor stain. This little garden is right outside my stewdio window where I can hear the fountain and watch the birds. You might have to double click the photo to see him a bit more clearly.

I'm sure the next post will have a lot more quilts in it. I hope to have the client quilt off the wall today, and start on the next one for me! This weekend is also a stitch day with the Amazing Quilt Babes here at the house, so you KNOW there will be quilts from that shindig!

See you later!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Family, gardens (and yes!) Quilts

Sometimes, it seems as if I will never get back to the stewdio to sew!

We've had a lot of family company over the last couple of weeks due to my FIL's 80th birthday. No two people arrived or left on the same day, so it made for interesting meals, trips to the airport and plans for who was going to use the car on which days. This is a picture of my BIL, Brett,from Oregon after a long family day!

This past week, I've finished projects for clients and I've driven back and forth between the LQS (40 minutes away) three times. The LQS is closing July 1, which is sad, but I am happy for the owners who will be able to spend more time with their new grandchildren.

So besides company in and out with all that goes with that, we've also been working in the garden between severe weather, trying to get everything done. Here's the garden, and we should soon be harvesting squash like crazy! My grand daughter Kaitlyn loves it, so we planted a lot for her. I wonder if squash is related to bamboo as it seems to grow as we stand by it... Did you know that bamboo can grow 36" in 24 hours? Wait until you see how much that zucchini has grown in the next posting! I am going to wait until Wednesday to take another picture of Kaitlyn in the same spot, so you can see!

Here they are just one week later:

Here's the garden shed (which still needs to be painted) and part of the garden. We had to re-do just about everything 3 times because the rains kept washing everything away. We finally got smart and built some raised beds to plant in. Next year, we'll have double that!

Here is one bed of tomatoes, which are also a big favorite on our summer table.

And my "drunken" green beans (because of the pretty wine bottles marking the rows).

We've done our best by going green at this house as much as we can. We purchased two recycled totes that were used to hold soap for the car wash in a previous life, then "plumbed" them together with a spigot for a hose to the garden. That's 550 gallons of free water! In one inch of rain, and our size of roof, 400 gallons of water is available for reuse! Isn't that just great?

We are making our own grass mulch this year for the garden, too. You can see part of it in the garden beds around the zucchini plants in the above picture. Of course, that required and investment of real money for a lawn sweeper. Hubby mows in one direction, then I drive along in the other with the Gator sweeping in the other. By the time we are finished with the three acres, we have a LOT of grass clippings for the garden. Want some? LOL!

We decided we would go back to making our own compost, too. Instead of purchasing a new composting bin which are really quite pricey, we are constructing a bin from a recycled large trash bin we bought at a garage sale. We drilled 3" holes in the bottom so it can make contact with the earth for the worms to crawl into it, and more holes along the side for air exchange. We can't just have a "heap" because of the rural location of our home - lots of animals would root through it, I'm afraid.

So - no quilting/sewing for me except for client's quilts. I have one more to do before I can get to my own. In the meantime, please enjoy one of my friend's quilts. I've been invited to play with the BAG Ladies (Bohemian Art Group) of which she is a member. She also is going to have a new book (YAY!) out with the Kansas City Star books next month on her landscape/trees methods. Her name is Jane Kennedy and she is from Lone Jack, MO. Isn't her work just wonderful?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Where to start?

Gosh! Has it really been since the end of May since I posted here? I guess so, since my calendar has advanced without my looking!

Now, how do I start to get caught up? I think I will post just a few topics at a time, and then I hope to STAY caught up. Getting our new yard and garden put together between the rainstorms, and then the heat has taken up a lot of my spare time. I've also taken a few client projects, so I'll share them first.

The first one is a 1930's quilt with an unknown pattern. Does anyone know the name of it? I would really appreciate knowing it, if you do!

When it came to me, it was heavily soiled from storage. Here's a picture of the worst of the discoloration. It's on the edges on the left side that appear to be brown/beige.

What fun to soak a BIG quilt top in the bathtub!
This is the water after an 8 hour soak in Restoration. It's wonderful to find a product that actually does what it is supposed to do! The brown edges are almost white again!

I am going to repair the corners on this quilt using a vintage dresser scarf I found at an antique shop that matches the background fabric closely. Then I am going to add borders, and make a backing so the client can have it hand quilted (not by me).

This is another old quilt that I made a backing for the client. It's pretty fragile in many areas, and I recommended that it be used for display purposes only. I think she is going to tie it and then bind it.

This is the center of the quilt (without the final borders) of some embroidered blocks by my client's mother. I love the green swirly fabric she chose for the sashings!

Now after all this hard work, how about dinner? My son worked for the school bus company last year, and for Christmas they gave him a 19.5 lb. turkey. Since he doesn't have a freezer big enough, nor did he want to cook a turkey, I did. He and his girls came over for dinner, and we had a gobbling good time! Thanks, First Student!

Here's my son, Bryan and his girls, Kaitlyn (left) and Victoria (right). Aren't they sweet?