Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2010

How A Quilter Survives…

Another busy week – of which two days were without power. We were hit by those very high winds and driving rains that made the national news. On an earlier blog,  I wrote of the measures that must be taken when living in the country and the power goes out…here we go again…bathtubs filled, generator on, stocking up on bottled water, hunting for flashlights, and on and on…

Soup heated on the old camp stove set up in the garage…

One of a number of cans brought back from Canada – Habitant Soup can sometimes be found in our area, but only the small size…and I know it is probably a mind thing, but somehow, the large cans from North of the Border just taste better! Maybe it is the French labeling!!! If we had been asked to declare how many cans of the Habitant or the amount of rocks we brought through Customs, we might still be sitting there…and we won’t talk about all that chocolate…

At any rate, once everything was set up and provisions made for an unknown length of time to be sans-power, my husband settled in with a book and I picked up my newly basted applique quilt to work on – Not feeling guilty at all either and enjoying the warm, cozy fire. We are two people who don’t usually sit down much during the day, so it took a little getting use to.

Some of you inquired as to what I accomplished at our Retreat last weekend. The stack of finished blocks (turned to the wrong side in the photo) will go into a Christmas gift, so can’t show or talk much about that at the moment. Let’s just say, it was a good feeling to complete the 30 blocks during the weekend – sewing the rows together will go quickly now.

Photos to follow down the road…(and that is correct, I do mostly try to avoid being in front of the camera…it is a way to deny thinning hair, losing height and seeing body parts no longer in their previous positions!!)

My Elizabeth’s Pride applique quilt also got basted…probably my least favorite step in the journey of making a quilt. Normally I would pin baste, but with the right hand problems now, old fashioned thread basting is called for. Bending over a low table is not my idea of great fun, and it took all afternoon to finish the process, but visiting with friends and walking by the snack laden counter area, nearby, helped to get the job done. I have begun by first quilting around the edges of each applique and then will do some accent quilting before background cross-hatching. A slow process for me and there will be no land speed records set, but eventually it will be officially a “quilt.”

And another day spent with people who love to applique – one of the stitching groups I belong to…

BJ with her appliqued top composed of Friendship blocks from our guild…always special, particularly since 2 of the members who contributed to this are no longer with us. A reminder to always sign your work – “When this you see, remember me…”

A lovely Fall appliqued quilt – finished! This also belongs to BJ…

Close up of the machine quilting – the swirling lines compliment the Fall leaves…

And Kathy’s 4 block red and green piece – a WIP…

Thought I would share a couple of photos with you – remembering that we have a travel trailer and dream of owning a new 5th wheel someday…after seeing this “motor home” which was parked at Nueske’s Meats in Wittenberg, Wisconsin, do you think we should reconsider?? The detail on this vehicle is so much fun – a true RV for the Northwoods, complete with mounted deer head. Hey, don’t laugh – it even sports a washing machine!  Although I think it may serve to store a different variety of “suds!” What else could a camper ask for??

That is about it for now…another week quickly gone…how did you spend your days? I can never imagine being bored…

“Far away – there in the sunshine, are my highest aspirations…

I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them and

Try to follow where they lead…”

(Louisa May Alcott)

Have a week filled with sunshine, dear friends…and

Always take time to stitch…

Pat

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Views From A Retreat…

We arrived from all directions – and followed the sign…

Down a sun dappled Northwoods road…

To the site of our guild’s Annual Fall Retreat…cars packed with Berninas,  Pfaffs, Janome’s, Vikings, (not the Purple Kind – this is Wisconsin, afterall!) Featherweights – all makes and styles…

and projects packed in tubs and bags…

Treats to share…

And comfy clothes and cozy slippers…

We cut fabric, sewed and cut some more. basted and quilted and accomplished much…

Little wallhangings for a touch of Autumn…

A Quilt of Valor in progress…

One of the many Downy quilts being made across the country to soothe a child while in the hospital…

Baby quilts…

Embroidery with Dresden Plates – both miniature and large…(Crabapple Hill pattern)

A stack of completed blocks for a secret gift…

A charm quilt growing row by row…

And a tote bag…

A  quilt in progress with reproduction fabrics…

A friendly little spider…

Gradated rings in wool…

Using the Twister ruler – for a good tutorial visit Moda Lissa

Tablerunners took shape and quilting options discussed…

A fabric bowl being constructed…

We won’ t say who, but some ladies got side tracked on their way to the Retreat…stopped at an Estate sale and came away with this vintage beauty…

Note the long/short buttonhole stitching around each Dresden Plate and the embroidery in the center circle…

We visited and caught up on each others news…of families, recipes, how are ‘ya feeling? Shared recent photos of Baptisms and a 2 year old who had a great time with a tube of toothpaste… Heard of summer vacations and grinned at a hat made from socks purchased in Banff Provincial Park…

A whole weekend of sewing with good friends…each meal was prepared for us and no dishes to do!

We could have stayed all week…

to

Always take time to stitch…

Pat

Read Full Post »

Quilt Batt Question…

Good morning all…a quick query as to what batt you prefer for hand quilting…keeping in mind a couple of things.

The quilt will be displayed on the wall and is only about 45 X 58. I have two batts on hand – Mountain Mist Light

Hobbs Heirloom Cotton

I have used both in the past but the Mountain Mist light was long ago – do you feel the batting holds well when the quilt is displayed on a wall – does it tend to sag? All my experience with Mountain Mist Light has been with quilts laid on a bed.

So what would you choose?

I don’t normally go with horoscopes, but today’s seemed appropriate…

“Stay lighthearted. Don’t worry if you’ve made the right choice.

Whatever you do, you’ll learn from it.

Just make sure you follow through and have some fun in the process.”

While I wait to hear your  response and comments, I am off to finish packing –

This weekend is Fall Retreat…good times!!!!!!!

Pat

Read Full Post »

These are quiet days at Taylorsoutback…and this past week has brought a loss to our family with the passing of my Aunt Mary. Memories have come flooding back of summer trips to Wisconsin before actually moving here. Camping, fishing and a dining room table laden with so many good things to eat, you could never see the surface. Through her, I was introduced to a shore lunch by Wisconsin and Canadian lakes when we vacationed together.  And I can still see large buckets of tiny smelt and being told how to deal with them.  On a warm summer day, we gathered in front of the TV at Aunt Mary and Uncle Sonny’s house and watched in wonder as Neil Armstrong took that first step on the moon’s surface.

She came from a generation that took great pride in her home which was always immaculate and cooking for family was a way to show love.  Sadly, a long struggle with emphysema took its toll. I wrote of our family reunion earlier this summer –  and now 5 sisters remain in my Mother’s family.

So, when someone is preoccupied with other thoughts and memories, it seems as though a person moves from one task to another – never lingering very long on anything in particular.

Work on the front garden pathway has progressed with the addition of top soil and repositioning of stepping stones…more to do this coming week. The hands and shoulders need a little break…

The six raised beds for vegetables are now down to only 3 needing to be cleaned up and a few Fall touches on the front porch have been added. Are you like me? I love the fragrance of chrysanthemums…they just say Autumn to me, no matter the color.

This was just in a tight bud stage when I brought it home and it has been a delight to watch as the flowers opened into a globe shaped beauty.

Back in the sewing room, secret gifts are afoot – can’t show off anything for a while…

 

My bread machine is up and running again since being shut down back in May – have really missed it too. Apparently the model has been discontinued (planned obsolescence?) & to get a replacement bread pan took over 5 months…one of the first things I tried was using the sourdough starter I found in Teslin, Yukon Territory on our way home. Sourdough Cinnamon Sweet Rolls – slightly decadent, but a great accompaniment with coffee while reading. (Although, truth be told, most of my reading is done late at night prior to falling asleep…many a time, I have woken with a start as the heavy book fell out of my dozing hands and thumped to the floor.)

A friend loaned me her copy of The Help by Kathryn Stockett…I am not even 1/4 of the way through and yet this beautifully written novel has pulled me in…do yourself a favor and give it a read…Ms. Stockett can have you laughing or grow angry in one sentence and with the very next line of simple words, your heart is breaking.

Please take a few moments to pop over to Judy’s new blog – Shade Tree Quilting. Judy was my secret swap partner in the recent Applique Posy Needlecase swap. You are really going to enjoy visiting her sewing room…so be sure to visit her soon and extend a warm welcome to Blogland.

Wishing you a good week and perhaps a little moment to rest your weary paws, er, feet…don’t you think a short nap is in order?

Sasha and Molly

And don’t forget to…

Always take time to stitch…

Pat

Read Full Post »

A Long, Lingering Fall…

Until I married at 22, I lived in large cities. Like most young adults, and being focused on “the moment,” I always wanted to rush ahead to the next one and the subtle changes in the seasons were usually met with a passing glance.

Not so much anymore…since moving to the country over 14 years ago, each seasonal change captures my heart and I eagerly watch the days unfold. Here in Northern Wisconsin, Autumn can arrive very quietly and once here, leave in a matter of days.   A distant maple tree will show its scarlet leaves in August and our surrounding woods can turn gold and then brown in a matter of weeks. It is not unusual to have a frosty night in early September, calling for a fast run to the potting shed for sheets and burlap covers. We have been known to grab flashlights and head out to the garden as late as 10:00 P.M. after hearing a freeze warning on the news.Cranberry bog alerts are ongoing until a hard freeze occurs. Living in an area that is primarily farmland, you can tell the seasons just by listening…in the Spring, the sound of tractors making their way across waiting fields and now, the machines harvesting the last of the corn and perhaps a final cutting of hay. Round bales begin to appear overnight – wrapped in white and looking like giant marshmallows…and the distinctive call of  geese can be heard overhead as they make their way south…

This Fall has lingered for us…we have followed it in our recent travels…driving along the highways in Saskatchewan and seeing the endless golden brown wheatfields being harvested…into British Columbia and the Yukon and discovering miles of pure gold aspens as far as the eye can see…on our return leg of the journey, following Highway 2 through Minnesota’s hardwood forests – burgundy, brilliant reds and apricot oaks…and finally arriving back home only to find that most of the trees show barren branches reaching up to the blue sky.

But instead of chilly days and swirling winds, we have been given a gift…Indian Summer. Days in the 70’s, a warm sun and clear skies and nights that call for only a light quilt and an open window for fresh air. An old pair of jeans and a faded T-shirt set aside for gardening is the dress of the day. We have a smallish front garden which has been a WIP for a number of years. When I started out, the shovel either dug clay or rocks, our land being formed eons ago by a slow moving glacier. Over the years, top soil and compost have been added to make it a little more workable. I sometimes fantasize about winning the lottery and calling in a professional landscaper who would bulldoze the entire area and start over. But then I would not have the satisfaction of “sweat equity.” Many of the perennials are offerings from dear friends who shared from their own gardens and that makes for a very personal environment. However, what has occurred as with any garden is an area that has become overgrown and out of control. Generations of iris have lined the original pathway – encroaching everywhere and losing their bloom ability. Hostas have invaded the walkway too and this summer, forget-me-nots spread like wildfire. Ladies Bedstraw, lemon balm and bergamot show no signs of backing off. It has been long overdue and so I have spent the last week, faithful shovel in hand, digging out, throwing out, thinning out and generally showing no mercy…actually “throwing out” is misleading as everything removed has ended up in our south field – I figure in a few years, I will have iris and forget-me-nots coming up everywhere…they may spread to their hearts content. What have I gain? A reclaimed pathway that will be safer to walk through…

…no fear of tripping over exposed roots or stepping stones that have been pushed up by invading plants. No fear of something slithery crossing my path…well hopefully, as visibility will be better! Just need to clean up a bit more and bring in fresh top soil. What else will I gain?…more room to plant more stuff!!! Where is the logic in that??? (Will try to have an updated photo to share soon…)

That is the same kind of thinking for a quilter too…you just have to make something so you can use up some of that fabric stash…to make room to buy more. Honestly, I think gardeners and quilters approach life with the same frame of mind. Isn’t it fun though…

And speaking of quilting…in the quiet evenings when the daylight has faded, and it is still pleasant enough to have a sewing room window open, there has been time to put a tablerunner together. Those three sampler blocks that were made in Marsha McCloskey’s workshop up in Valdez (back in early September) were turned into this…

Something fresh for the dining room table was called for. The fabrics used are by Moda’s French General (Rouenneries and Rural Jardin collection) and the background is one of the pieces from Marsha’s Staples Collection.

Thought I would share our first wooly bear of the season. Do you hold with the old folk tale that the wider the brown area  in the middle, the milder our winter will be or if there is more black banding, the harsher the winter?? I think our little friend is like most meteorologists though – playing it safe…I can’t really tell if one color is predominant over the other. Can you?

Wishing you mellow Autumn days and time to do a little digging, a little dreaming, a little lingering and…

Always take time to stitch…

Pat

Read Full Post »

Back to reality…

The thing about vacations is that at some point, you come back to your home base and those everyday routines and schedules that have been put aside while having fun…so it is at Taylor’s Outback. Everything needs attention and it is difficult to settle & concentrate on one task at a time.

The RV needed unpacking and winterizing (a hard freeze at 25 degrees last night.) Piles of laundry were sorted & washed with all the blankets and quilts yet to be tackled. A visit to the Post Office for recently accumulated mail and a visit to my folks who had at least 5 bags of mail collected over the 6 weeks we were gone…grocery shopping and trying to figure out the source of annoying little gnats in the kitchen. That was solved when the houseplants were cleaned up and sprayed. By the way, if you have a number of plants you care for and want a good watering system while away from home over a period of time, I would recommend this product.

We have used this for the 3 extended trips we have made to Alaska and it has proven very trustworthy. It requires no electricity and depending on diameter of pots, can send slow drip irrigation over a long time span.  Maximum fill is 40 days but we were gone 47 & there was still about 1 1/2″ of water in the tank. Actually, my plants always look healthier on our return as they have not been forgotten!

Where to start in the gardens – everything looks overgrown and out of control. The raised beds for the veggies contain robust parsley plants, carrots and a nice harvest of young lettuces (seeds were planted right before we left and a prayer was sent up for gentle rains). Everything else is finished and hit by frost – time to clean up for the season. In the herb garden, the sages still look good along with thyme and surprisingly, a brave little clump of marjoram that was tucked into a protected corner…good news for some Fall drying. In the front garden along one of the little walking paths, things have really run amuck…with comfortable weather predicted for next week, the stepping stones will come up and some major renovation must take place. Besides I have a whole new bucket o’ rocks to play with and add to the pathway…will show you some photos of that later…

This is coming out of left field, but do you share my irritation regarding out of control packaging for shipped items? Check out how my bottle of prescription toothpaste was delivered…a little excessive, don’t you agree?

Shame on you Merck-Medco for being so wasteful and inefficient…no wonder the cost of prescriptions is soaring…and no, I didn’t have any cheese with my whine (note level of wine in glass)…I will get down off my soap box now…

It is good to be back though…a helping of tagliatelle for comfort, a cozy fire, and some fun memories…

There were good intentions to do some stitching along the way as we traveled, but little was accomplished. You can tell by the wrinkled appearance that this Oak Leaf and Reel  block did not receive much attention…

…had hoped to complete at least 2 of these but that didn’t happen! So for now, I will try to…

Always take time to stitch…

Pat

Read Full Post »