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Archive for May, 2010

An Idyllic Day…

Hi everyone – it is good to be back home again after our little mini-vacation. I have much to share with you – mostly quilty things. Having gone from 4″ of snow and freezing temperatures about 3 weeks ago to a gorgeous 70° day that we are now enjoying, I find that some time was needed to simply adjust to the change and embrace my surroundings. Somehow, a miraculous thing has occurred – it is now early summer in our part of the woods & the gardens have exploded overnight. This morning was spent putting in the last of the vegetable seeds and preparing the raised beds for transplanting much too tall seedlings. The pleasurable task of playing with herbs – my favorite – was next on the list. Each little plant was savored as it was placed in the proper position or weeds that had encroached into the thyme patch were pulled.  So with that area somewhat under control again, I am taking a break to catch up on my journal entries. As there has been a lot of activity in recent weeks, it is probably best to backup to May 13th. One of my stitching groups met on that day. It had been a while since all of us could be together so there was much to share with each other. Quite some time ago, I posted an image of a beautiful black floral fabric.

And I also talked about the fun of “bartering” – so from this yummy fabric – my friend, Barbara Jean made this fabulous Block Carrier Case…this is the front side with closure ties…

This is the back side with a nifty storage pocket…

This is the carrier case fully opened… lay your appliqued or pieced blocks flat and simply fold up the sides and tie the case shut for transporting…no wrinkles, no folds and everything is secure…how neat is that!!

This is our stitching foursome…Barbara Jean holds my end of the bartering – she asked me to do up a Gail Wilson pincushion kit – tucked inside was a matching scissors case….I love the concept of bartering – it is a win-win arrangement!!

To the right, holding another lovely Block Carrier,  is Kathy – she is our resident expert hand piecer and walked me through Hand Piecing 101. You should see her tiny stitches! ( I am almost done with my hand pieced center medallion and will show that later.)

Kathy pieces most all of her quilts by hand – completely…this is a wonderful basket quilt she recently finished and had just received back from her favorite Amish hand quilter…all it needs is the binding.

I have to say, hand piecing is such a gentle approach to quilting…it is relaxing, portable and the finished block seems to have a softer look to it. On the other hand,  being behind on Friendship/Exchange blocks for my guild, it was great to sit down at my dear Bernina and quickly put together 3 blocks of varying designs…

It is now mid afternoon and I am watching Mr. and Mrs. Goose with their 5 goslings quietly paddling about the pond – the fragrance of lilacs drifts in through the open doors to the deck…soft, peaceful music coming in off the satellite…what shall it be, to the sewing room for some quality time or perhaps a little nap?? Both sound enticing…what would you choose?? Hoping you will come back soon for a visit – there will be more Show ‘n Tell and visits to some Illinois quilt shops that I would like to share with you.

Whatever your favorite way of piecing – by hand or machine…

Always take time to stitch…

Pat

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Now, not those kind of melancholy blues…but the soft blues we begin to see in May and early June…hints of a summer sky filled with puffy clouds and watching Jacob’s Ladder quietly beginning to bloom…

Finding a new little patch of Forget-Me-Nots in the garden – somehow they seem to pop up unexpectedly each Spring where there was none before. As a gardener, you smile and say Thank You for such a sweet surprise.

Meeting friends on a chilly, windy day at a cute shop – The Secret Garden, we spied this adorable birdhouse – in the softest blue…just waiting for a new tenant.

And  blue gazing balls which stood guard by the decorative arched trellis – covered in fairy lights and just beckoning you to enter…

Oops! Don’t get soaked from that blue hose!!

I must be in a “blue mood” this week – our master bath is newly colorwashed – a soft aqua blue, dry brushed with a hint of vanilla, and a simple border around the ceiling in echoing tones. It is my new favorite color! But difficult to photograph – maybe later…

This is our Kelsie – the junior puppy of our 3 girls…she is a Blue Merle (bi-blue – no sable) and has one blue eye (and a lot of attitude!)

A while back I talked about receiving some gorgeous fabric from Canada…designed by Robyn Pandolph and featuring roses with touches of aqua blue…the plan was to start the quilt later this Fall, but of course, I couldn’t wait.  It has been a long time since hand piecing was part of my quilting process and I needed a little refresher course from a friend who is an expert at this technique. I am slow, but we are taking a little trip this coming week and there will be some relaxing time to work on the center medallion. I hope to share my progress with you on my return along with some more quilty things you might enjoy hearing about…a completed eagle and more Borealis blocks.

That is about it for now. The day was spent cleaning and stocking the RV for the season and the tired  legs need to be elevated before they turn blue.

I will close with one last Blue note…a favorite vintage blue crockery bowl…

Wishing you a week filled with your own soft blue tinted days – the kind that make you smile.

Always take time to stitch

Pat

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May 8, 2010…Northern Wisconsin…

There is just something a little odd about this…don’t you think?

Pat

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When you live in a log home, there are certain things that require “routine” maintenance…buying log caulk by the case, chasing woodpeckers away (and why would they choose logs vs. the woods that surround us?? Of course, this is the same bird that hammers away early in the morning on the metal casing that covers part of the wooden electrical pole on the side of our road – not all that far from our bedroom window…but I digress.) AND the biggie – having the logs power washed, stained and resealed every 5-7 years. It is now May, 2010 and that time has rolled around again…oh joy! Our log guys showed up at 7:30 this morning and went right to work…

What fun this is for them when it is 35 degrees and the wind is picking up…

Those white bottles? All the cleaning solution they went through…but they were very efficient and will be back in another week or two for the next step. Fortunately they finished this first stage before this happened…

This is just wrong…but it is May and it is Northern Wisconsin so we have learned not to be surprised…

What are you going to do…you can’t mess with Mother Nature…so you head out to the potting shed and bring out the burlap “blankets.”

If you are the parents of 5 little goslings, you hunker down and make sure the little ones are all warmly gathered under Mom’s wing while Dad stands guard.

You can watch the snow fall from a warm cozy loft…and wonder if you are really seeing things…

And you can remember just a few days ago that it was warm and somewhat humid and you dreamed of chasing rainbows…

As for me, I plan to sit in front of the fire tonight, with applique work in my lap and feel my eyelids grow heavy…I hope to be back in a few days to show you my eagle – he is just about ready to land…

Have a great weekend – stay cozy if you are “Up North” like us and if you can sit out on your deck or patio – have a cold one for me…I think our deck days are still a ways off.

Pat

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Thought I would drift away from the smaller 9″ applique blocks I have been working on the last couple of months…there are 5 more to go. When completed the 14 blocks  surround a center that features a folk-art style eagle. This will be my first official appliqued eagle – a motif that most traditional applique fans encounter sooner or later. The eagle is so much a part of applique designs from the 19th Century. Visit Antique Quilt Dating for some interesting background information on our American symbol as applied to quilting (Go to ” Quilt History” on the right & then click on “Patriotic Quilts Through Time”) So, without further ado – and remember, dear readers, be gentle…this is afterall, my first eagle and he has not quite landed yet…

The dark square is the next area to be appliqued – you can barely see my white basting threads outlining the shape to work on…I am growing very fond of this method – basting from the back. I promise in the next showing, he will have his legs attached, shield will be in place; arrows gripped in his left claw and he will be holding the olive branch in his right claw. Tradition dictates that the olive branch is held on the right side if we are at peace…if only that were true now.

During May of 2009, I wrote about picking violets for violet jelly. Because our weather has been on the dry side this Spring, our little violet patch has been slow to develop. Look what my dear neighbor surprised me with this afternoon…she found a large patch at the edge of her shady woods – just up the road from us.

You can see what I will be making tomorrow! And rest assure, this kind lady will receive some jars of jelly to enjoy. If you would like to know how I make this special jelly go to my Archives for May 31, 2009 titled “Springtime on the Porch.” Scroll down midway for the recipe.

I just looked out our upper windows – we have a great view from the loft where the computer is located…what a peaceful evening….the water on the pond is like glass. You can hear the Spring Peepers still singing. The darkening sky is streaked with deep blues, a tinge of lavender and pink and all the grasses and trees are turning an intense green. We have four (correction! FIVE)  new residents to our pond also…little goslings. They just returned to their nesting area on the island – settling in for the night with Mom while Dad keeps watch. The babies must be tired as today was their first public outing (that we can tell) and they covered a lot of territory. Hoping to get a close up photo of the new family in the days ahead but they tend to be shy.

For those of you who like vintage things, in future postings, there will be images of some of the bowls I collected a number of years ago. I love bowls! To display, to use, to wonder who owned them previously (like the vintage needlework tools I shared earlier). What ingredients were whipped, mixed, stirred or beaten…was there an eager child standing nearby waiting to lick the batter or frosting. Or was there a precocious little girl who waited until the bread dough had risen and then pinched off just enough to cause collapse?? Won’t mention any names here…but this vintage set of Pyrex bowls belonged to my Mom and that big yellow bowl always held bread dough :0)

Mom & Dad received this set of graduated bowls as a wedding gift in 1943. We have the same identical set, also received as a wedding gift in 1966. Mom & Dad’s are quite a bit heavier but the colors remain true. Mom can no longer handle them because of severe RA in her hands so she passed them along to me. We use them all the time and have stored our own set away for now. I like that connection to Mom and always think about pinching bread dough…

Have a good week – enjoy your days to the fullest and

Always take time to stitch…

Pat

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