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Archive for March, 2010

A New Tote Bag!

Can a quilter ever have enough tote bags??? With all the styles and sizes available out there, you could have one for every day of the year! When you have 2 dear friends  make one for you as a surprise gift, that is icing on the cake! Check this out…I think it is a Sue Spargo pattern…

Not only did I receive this wonderful creation, but it was filled with all kinds of treats…a tiny pincushion, journal, pieces of batiks and someone’s been in the kitchen making treats…

Just when my cookie jar was so empty too…haven’t opened the ChocoVine yet but the latest word is that  it is very smooth going down…chocolate and wine – life is good. Oh, did you notice my precious box of Dots?? My friends know me well…Thanks Chris & Kathie – you are sweeties :o)

Thought I would try to include a photo of the first row of “sunset blocks” I have been working on for the Borealis quilt. A lousy image – very distorted,  but maybe you can tell somewhat how the colors are working out…good thing I am using batiks though – when you are paper piecing, it is often like rubbing your tummy and patting your head (or is it the other way around??) You always get the reverse of what you think might show up. This row is supposed to represent “sunset” moving from East (darkest) to West (lightest). Not sure where I am headed with this…definitely an experiment…

That is about it for now…a busy week coming up with PT, my knee doctor’s evaluation 6 weeks after surgery (hope my progress makes him happy!), our monthly Liberty Ladies quilt history group which I don’t want to miss and finally Easter dinner preparations.

AND – our temperatures are supposed to hit 72!!!!!!!!!! Spring in Wisconsin – gotta love it!

Have a great week and…

Always take time to stitch…

Pat

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Playing with color…

When starting a new quilt project, particularly one that differs greatly from my normal “comfort zone,”  the first challenge is always with choosing colors. I had posted a while back about beginning a quilt called “Borealis” and showed a completed first block. The color combination worked out well, IMHO, so onto the 2nd block. In the meantime, I got this hair-brained idea about what the finished piece should look like. The pattern shows 2 versions, both of which struck me as being somewhat busy or even jumbled. Whether or not I am wrong, my tendency is always to a somewhat more controlled approach. It may mean that my quilts are considered boring by some, but we all have different tastes and that is what makes quilting a never-ending source of discovery. Back to my hair-brained idea…I am trying to think ahead and create blocks that represent more “sunset” colors at the bottom and then work up to the darker, cooler Aurora Borealis colors towards the top. So this is the first of the “sunset” blocks and now I have one block for the top and one for the bottom. All I need to do is fill in the gazillion pieces in between…

We will see if there is a method to my creative madness…the color theory looks good on paper but will it turn out okay in actuality?

Have also been working on my Block #5 for our Liberty Ladies project…in the evening, after a “good” workout at PT and with ice on the knee, the eyelids grow heavy and I find myself drifting off for a little snooze by the warm fire…so it took me a while, but #5 is finished and #6 is being set up…the applique is going a little smoother now that I am no longer using pain meds.

It has been a quiet week, a few set backs in getting the knee to bend and straighten, probably due to overuse during the day but have started off this Monday with progress – a bend of 100 degrees and straightened to 4 degrees. We have taken a few strolls around the house looking for signs of new Spring growth and peeking into my closed up potting shed…soon, very soon…my first seed order has arrived and am anxious to get some lettuce seeds started in flats. That can’t come quickly enough as the packages of lettuce in the grocery stores don’t hold up very well – I feel like it is just throwing $$$ in the trash sometimes.

We have had deer crossing in the south field and our resident geese have settled in nicely – all the ice has left the pond and the first merganser arrived last week. We await more ducks as they head towards their northern areas for the season. Blue wing teal, wood ducks, mallards, pintail – such a nice variety. Sometimes they just do “touch and go’s” and other days they linger overnight. We feel fortunate to have their presence, even for a short visit. The Welcome sign is always up…

I will close this with a couple of images – part of my older scissors group.  There are 2 scissors holders also made from sweetgrass. These have all seen much use and I like to wonder about the lady who used each one of them…did she quilt or was she an embroiderer? Did she sit in the evening by her own hearth and feel a sense of peace as she stitched? What was her day like? Did she have a big family or was she alone? Was she happy? Such a sense of connection…

The strange looking pair with four places for fingers are “teaching scissors.” The teacher would place her fingers through the outside loops while the child would have her/his fingers in the inside loops…the teacher would make the motion of cutting, instructing the child how to do it by themselves when using traditional scissors.

Wishing each of you a good week and pleasant days…

Always take time to stitch…

Pat

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Thoughtful Thursday…

I will be asking for more feedback from you today – not about a quilty item, but a kitchen item… first  though…

Good morning all…what’s on your mind or agenda today? Hope you are having the same warm, sunny day that is taking place here in Northern Wisconsin. The weather folks say Winter will make a reappearance this weekend, but for now it is Spring!

I am thinking about our pair of geese who have settled into our pond once again and will no doubt be raising another family soon.

I am thinking how fortunate we were to see a beautiful pair of eagles again this morning – perched high in one of the trees. My husband was preparing to cut firewood and before starting the chainsaw, he could actually hear them “talking” to each other…

And I hear our red-wing blackbirds calling out as they balance on the remnants of last season’s cattails around the pond…

Our 3 shelties are spending much more time outside “helping”  with yard chores…they are so exhausted by nightfall …love that country fresh air!

A while back, I asked for opinions about the Bendable Bright Light which attaches to your sewing machine…You provided valuable info and like everyone said – you will wonder how you did without it! I absolutely love mine. Now I have another question – this is kitchen related…sort of.

Have you ever used a French Press Coffee Maker? Your thoughts – pro or con? I am tempted to purchase one for our RV…Why? On recent trips through Canada and Alaska, as we entered higher altitudes, my trusty Gevalia 2 carafe brewer struggled to work correctly. It also requires power to work. If I could just heat water on our gas stove and then process through the French Press, life might be easier? I recall having coffee prepared in one of these years ago in Australia – excellent taste!  Happily, we are beginning to plan for another “Trans-continental journey”  later this summer…back through my favorite Rockies, BC, a side trip into the Northwest Territories, the Yukon and on into Alaska…rugged terrain indeed and all accomplished of course – Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise!

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this little gadget – I love my tea, but so need coffee in the morning to get me going…Is a French Press Maker the answer? Let me know!!

Have a good day – and…

Always take time to stitch…

Pat

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A Patchwork of Days…

Hello everyone – do you have a cup of tea or coffee ready? I have so many piled up thoughts in my fuzzy brain, it may take a while to sort everything out. They will definitely include some quilty thoughts!

My spirits are rising again as our sunny day reaches into the 50’s. Most of the snow is gone which has got to be a first in many years…mid March, bare ground and daffodils poking up through the mulch – what a sight. There is a soft warm breeze from the south and I have a few windows open in the sunroom. You can hear the trees moving in the woods in our upper field and the sound whispers – Spring is on the way…be patient.  Large surface cracks are appearing on our pond which announces that ice will be breaking up soon. The first geese have arrived and are scouting out possible nesting areas. Is that “Fred and Ethel” returning as in the last 3 seasons…and recently spotted – a breathtaking pair of eagles roosting in the trees.

My knee rehab continues and I have received permission to use a cane – “in moderation” – what does that mean? So much easier negotiating around the house instead of with a walker…moderation…smoderation…let the games begin! Hoping the miserable back spasms I have experienced are on the way out. They were worse than the knee surgery.  I am ready to celebrate like someone left the gate open (words on a recently received card.)  Speaking of cards, I just have to share another card from a dear stitching friend…she has a real fondness for Sock Monkeys and is aware that I own a vintage version (1960’s?) Can you find the tiny little guy in the card?

Being a quilter also, she so thoughtfully included exquisite pieces of reproduction fabrics – so dear to both our hearts and a true prescription to aid in healing…

Also recently received is this gorgeous book from my good buddy, Connie…what an added treasure to my quilting library. Jinny Beyer just personifies all that is classic in quilting. There are enough inspiring blocks to last 4 lifetimes!

My Mom’s birthday pillow is ready – hope she likes it! It was nice to use some of my squirreled away pieces of lace and old mother-of-pearl buttons.

And Block #4 in our Liberty Ladies group project is complete…this is the same one that I labeled “Drug-Induced” applique…even Mary Ellen Hopkins would admit to needing a jet plane instead of a galloping horse to say “it looks good from here.” On to #5 and hopefully better results…

I invite you to visit a new blog – a very special young lady, Jena, has just started her photography related site…her images are from the South Central part of Wisconsin and she also has started to share some of her favorite quotes. See her at Nature of Jenagraphy. We look forward to seeing new images from Alaska next month as she will be visiting our son, Dave.  Welcome to Blogland, Jena!

Thank you for sticking with me through these pieced together thoughts…I must share something that has touch our little rural community in the past week. I have frequently mentioned how we are blessed to have many Mennonite neighbors around us. A young couple who lives just up the road from us had the joy of welcoming their first son into the world in November. Shortly after his birth they received the devastating news that he had Spinal Muscular Atrophy and would not live beyond a few months. Sadly, little Alex passed away last Saturday morning. My neighbors and I were able to visit with him and hold him for a while back in February. He had a smile that lit up the world and I truly believe he touched so many lives during his brief journey here on earth. Please hold his parents, their little boy and all of our  babies gone too soon in your prayers. If you have the opportunity, go to www.smafoundation.org to learn more about this disease and what is being done in the way of research.

I wish you a good week ahead, filled with sunny days and soft breezes – give your children or grandchildren an extra hug and tell them how much you treasure them. They are such a gift.

Pat


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