September 30, 2012

Sunday Scripture...

From "Quotes To Make Us Think"
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September 29, 2012

Another Surprise, Another Block...

A Friendship Block from Karen of Karen's Needlework
I don't know what it is about going to the mailbox. I've always been "such a kid" about the walk down the drive to open the box and see the contents. Lately, it's been more fun than the usual bills, catalogs and political placards. I've been surprised almost daily by puffy envelopes addressed to me.

Yesterday, an envelope arrived from sweet Karen of Karen's Needlework in Missouri. She's also making Farmer's Wife blocks to create a quilt. If you'd been here, you could have heard the "awww" I uttered when I opened it. Aren't those sweet Labrador puppies?

In addition to the Friendship block, Karen also created two iron-on acorn transfers for me. She really knows me, doesn't she? Now, all I have to do is decide how I'm going to use those pretty acorns. I know I'll think of something...and I'll be sure to show you where they end up.

Thank you so much, Karen. I love the fabrics you chose, and the acorns were really a wonderful touch. I so appreciate your friendship, and the gifts from your hands. xoxo

Please be sure to click on the link (above) for Karen's blog. She's now making doll clothes and accessories for American Girl dolls. (I know that some of her creations are going to end up with our granddaughters!) She has all kinds of interesting things going on at her "place". Please visit and leave a note to tell her how fabulous she is.
#62 Old Windmill
Of course, I managed to make one new block today. I chose #62 from the Farmer's Wife book. I used a paper foundation for this one, too. The foundations make my blocks so much more precise than piecing. Another one for the stack.

I'm off to Sandy's Quilt Shop to deliver my October mini quilt for display. There will be coffee, conversations and friendship...and we always sprinkle laughter into our visits. I really like starting my weekend with my quilting friends.
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September 28, 2012

Lovin' The Layout...

Our Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt quiltalong began in February, and I admit that I "took off" while we traveled in May, June and early July. I'm not a total slacker, though. I have made over thirty blocks to date.
Nothing like a "bird's eye view" of my blocks all laid out on our bed. My plan is to make a queen-size quilt, which means I'm about one-quarter of the way through my blocks. I will have sashing between each one, and they'll be laid on-point, but I'm still going to have to make about one hundred twenty blocks to have enough for a queen quilt.

These are the blocks I created yesterday. (They're already in the layout above.)
#25 Cups & Saucers
Cups & Saucers is a nice block using only two fabrics. I decided that I needed more green (and brown) in the layout, so this was the reason for choosing this colorway. I paper-pieced this block.
#44 Gentleman's Fancy
If you compare this block with the one above, you'll see that it's actually close to the configuration of Cups & Saucers. The components are different, but they do resemble each other. This was also paper pieced.
#48 Homeward Bound
The last block I made was Homeward Bound. I realized after I assembled the first set of components for this one that I made a mistake on the outside corners. They were supposed to be a different color from the rest. I decided not to disassemble it, but I will remake it again (correctly). I'm also a stickler about wonky lines, and even though this one was spot on prior to removing the paper foundation, it pulled out of square when I ironed it. (I hate it when that happens!)

I've got a few other projects that need my attention right now, so I'll put aside the Farmer's Wife blocks until next week. I looking forward to showing you what else I'm working on, but this is enough for now, don't you think?
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September 27, 2012

Friendship And The Farmer's Wife...

  I received another surprise Friendship Block in the mail!
This one was from QAL participant, Cyn of Cyn :-)'s Quilted Travels.

She included a card that features a signature quilt for a design. It really was a perfect card to use for her sweet note to me. She (also) thanked me for leading the Farmer's Wife Quiltalong. (It's taken me a while, but could there be a pattern here?)
Cyn chose a beautiful red reproduction fabric with a pretty ivory as the background color. I love seeing her signature on it, too. I'll always remember that this pretty block was created by her.

Please be sure to click on her blog name above so you can visit her. I'm sure you'd enjoy seeing what she's working on now.

Thanks so much, Cyn! I really love receiving this gift of friendship created by you. I'll treasure it always. xoxo
#12 Broken Sugar Bowl
I've been working on my Farmer's Wife blocks, too. I had been busy uploading foundations for the group so they were available for anyone who preferred paper piecing. Doing that took quite a while, and I still have more to do, but I needed to make a few blocks for myself so I didn't feel like a slacker in the group!

I completed the #12 Broken Sugar Bowl block on Tuesday, and then immediately started working on a second one. I might have completed it if I'd stayed home from Paneras (and the knitting group), but I missed my local, creative girlfriends - and Paneras lattes, which I love!
FW #25 Cups & Saucers
 So, I'm still working on this block and will finish it later today.

These are the tools I always have ready when I'm working on my paper pieced blocks. If you're a quilter, you'll immediately recognize the 45mm rotary cutter, and probably the Add-An-Eight and Add-A-Quarter 6" rulers below it. The tool I really want to share with you is the bottom one.

It's a Gingher seam ripper. See the really sharp blade? It's retractable, so I don't have to worry about hurting myself by accident. This one happens to be have a floral finish, but there are other designs available, too.

I have found this an invaluable tool for cutting the paper seams to make it easier to remove from my finished blocks. Just be sure you don't cut through the fabric, too or you'll have to make your block all over again! (Thankfully, I haven't made that mistake.) It also has a nice curvey shape so that it fits comfortably in your hand.

If you're looking for one of your own, start at Joann's Fabrics. I found mine on sale a couple of years ago, and it's finally getting good use.
I really enjoy getting back to the Farmer's Wife blocks and hopeto share more finished blocks in the near future...as I juggle my time between the quiltalong, the Wisconsin guild block and an odd project thrown in here and there for good measure! I don't usually like to have more than one project going at a time, but hey, I'm flexible, and a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do!
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September 26, 2012

Ahead Of The Game...

I just had to share my October block for Sandy's 
 Quilt Shop quiltalong. I'm ahead of schedule for a change! 
This is my interpretation of the block for the QAL.
 
Remember that each of the gals participating in the QAL designed one
 block,  except that I designed June and July. Nancy designed this block for
 October, and this is her original version that we all used as our starting point.

I first completed all the applique' work - by hand, this time.
I wanted to practice the technique we'll be using for the guild album quilt.
I'm really happy with the way my stitching looked and my applique'
technique has vastly improved from the first class project I made.
I fussy-cut a whole pumpkin patch from a great fabric I found at 
the shop, and then I hand-embroidered tendrils on the leaves.

Of course, my spooky version would have a howling corgi puppy! 
I found an image online by doing a Google search, sized it and then printed
 it on fabric to put him in the pumpkin patch. After all the hand stitching,
 assembly and quilting, I added more embroidery for the corgi "arrooooo".

I've always practiced a new technique on each block, so none of mine
are "perfect". On this one, I wanted to try quilting echo feathers on the
border. It's a good thing this is the October/Halloween block, because 
my work there is really, reaaally scary!  I think I'll do more practicing
on fabric pieces until I get much better at this technique, but for this little
quilt I think I can pull it off. After all, it's supposed to be hair-raising,
and this echo feather quilting on my borders definitely is! lol
 I'll be able to take it to the shop this Saturday to add to the rest!
Doin' a little happy dance here. I'm ahead of the game this time!

You know, I don't usually decorate seasonally, so at the end of the
year I'm going to have twelve little quilt "banners" that I won't be
using around here. I'm trying to decide what to do with them.
 I'm not really sure if they're worthy of giving away to anyone.
Any ideas?
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September 25, 2012

Tuesdays With Tag - Public Service Announcement #2

 Hi, Everybody!
Today I decided that it was time to share another 
Public Service Announcement
with all my dog friends and their owners.

Mom knows the importance of dental hygiene in dogs.
Some of her Labradors (including Kessie) had bad genetics 
in the tooth department.  Mom tried and tried, but no matter how
much she brushed their teeth, they got pretty gnarly in their old age.

She taught me when I was just a puppersnapper that it's important
to keep my teeth bright and shiny, and I really like the program.

I'd like to share our technique with you today.
Nothing like the taste of chicken in your toothpaste, I always say!
(It's special toothpaste that we get from Dr. Stephanie. mmm, mmm)


I hope you noticed the dedication at the end of my video.
Corgi Nation lost a real gentleman today.
My friend, Barney Boots from Wisconsin was a real celebrity, too.
He was a farmer corgi who loved cheese snakes, checking on the
baby steers and The Triplets (their pigs), and surveying his farm.

Barney Boots • December, 2011
He was going to be four years old in October.
He helped raise over $10,000 for CorgiAid during a
fund drive that he and his mom organized last year,
and he had 4500 friends on Facebook. That's a lot!!

 Mom and I were proud to be among his friends and
we'll miss his daily posts and hearing about his adventures.
He was loved and admired by all his friends...including me.
We're sending good thoughts and sympathy to his
Mom and Dad, Deb and Pete Brandenburg.
He was a very good dog.
Don't forget to brush, now! I'll see you next week. 'til then...
"More Waggin' and Less Barkin'!"

September 24, 2012

Memory Lane Monday - October...

This time of year is always bittersweet for me. The weather starts to cool off in Florida, and my mind wanders to days spent in the field with our retrievers when we still lived in Wisconsin. I decided to share two particularly fun weekends with you.

For two years in a row, 1988 and 1989, Handsome and I packed up our Golden retriever, Liljegren's MacDuff (aka Duffer) and headed to Cainsville, Missouri for their First (and Second) Annual Pheasant Championship.

When we walked onto the grounds the first year, I carried the cased guns and Handsome held Duff's lead. As we headed to the registration area, I could hear comments from some of the folks saying, "Isn't that great that he gets that little lady to carry his guns for him?" Handsome and I chuckled because they didn't realize I was part of the two gun/one dog team. There were no other women shooting in the competition that year (or the next).

The rules were simple. Two guns, one dog, thirty minutes, six shells per gun. Points for every pheasant shot, points for birds delivered to hand, points for shells not used and points for minutes left under thirty.

The weather was nice. Not hot, but not chilly either. Perfect for a leisurely walk through the field with a talented - and wise - Golden. Duffer never failed.

I shot the first bird he put up, and from there our team brought in four birds, had shells left over and of course, Duff delivered every single bird to hand. We took Third Place our first year...and the spectators were duly impressed.

When we showed up the second year, they all remembered us. Duff was a year older and wise to the program. He almost didn't need us, except he can't shoot. (No thumbs! lol) In 1989, we finished "in the money" with a Second Place win, and let Duff hold the winnings for this photograph.

We had also purchased our first camper for this trip. We had remembered the tiny hotels in the area the first year and decided we'd bring our own accommodations. We paid $5.00 for each night of our stay - with full hook-ups. Ahh, yes. Those were the good old days!

I can't help but get a little tearful when I think back on those days in the field with our beloved retrievers. To watch their tails wag when they found scent and followed a bird trail; their delight at bringing back a shot bird...and that special look they gave us if we missed. It was almost as if they would say, "All that work, and you missed? Really?"
1997 - l-r: Bee, Samantha Rose, Kyra Morgan (in back) Bryn, Bannor and MacDuff.
I can remember the smells of Autumn; the colors of the trees; the rustle of the cover as we moved through it; the smell of fresh pheasant cooking in the pot for dinner. I miss Wisconsin the most this time of year...every year. And, I miss our hunting dogs - each and every one of them - Old Morgan, Bryn, MacDuff, Bee, Major, Samantha Rose, Bannor, Kyra, Morgan and Kes.
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Thanks for joining me for another Memory Lane Monday. If you have a story to share, please write about it on your blog and then link back here. The link will stay open for one week.

September 23, 2012

September 22, 2012

It's Not Where You Start...

 It's where you finish. Right?
Considering that I spent the better part of two days
recuperating, I'm pretty happy with how I finished.

 
 This is my September mini for our Sandy's Quilt Shop QAL. 
This one was designed by Nora, who is one of the owners of the shop.
By the time you read this post, I will have completed hand-sewing the
binding, too. I'll be taking it to Sandy's to add to the rest this morning.

 I actually made this project before I started the September mini. 
I still hadn't sent off the giveaway gift for Marydon's winner at the 
Blushing Rose, so I created this and then got it in the mail for Diane yesterday. 
She lives right here in Florida, so I think she may even have her reader
case by tomorrow! I hope she likes it and enjoys it for a long, long time.

Well, there you have it. I got off to a rocky start for the week, but I think
 I finished on a high note by making two new things on Friday! I'm looking
 forward to relaxing with the coffee group this morning (and checking out any 
new fabrics that may have arrived since last Saturday!) and then I have 
plans to spend some quality time with Handsome and The Corgi.

I hope you get to spend your weekend with someone you love,
doing something that makes you happy. Life's too short.
I'll close by sharing a quote with you:

"When all is said and done, I'd like to know that I 
spent my life well; accomplished something that will 
outlast me; and lived my days in vivid color."
 - DCL 2006


 Reminder:  
The next Memory Lane Monday is this Monday, 
September 24th. You can share a story on your blog and 
link back here all week. Hope you'll join me!

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September 21, 2012

A Block From Brown Quilts...

 Thank you for all your kind notes and get well wishes. 
I spent the past two days taking it really easy and feel so much better.
Yesterday, I was able to get back to a more regular routine.

 Taggart and I walked out to the mailbox late in the afternoon,
and I was surprised to find an envelope addressed to me from
another of the talented quilters in our Farmers Wife Sampler Quiltalong.

Carol of Brown Quilts sent me a gift!!!

I opened it on our walk back to the house and found a beautiful
Friendship Block inside, nestled with a notepad with shaker houses
design on the top, and a gracious thank you note for leading the QAL.
I really like her red and cream color choices. So happy.

 I had to look hard, but I found it! Carol signed her block, too! See?
I love it, my friend. Thank you for thinking of me and sending a
pretty Friendship Block (and the extra goodies) my way.
You know that I'll be sending a block for you, too, don't you?

You can click on Carol's blog title (above) to visit her blog.
She's always working on something wonderful and just completed another
Block of the Month quilt. It's gorgeous!!! Be sure to tell her I sent you.
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September 20, 2012

Resting...

 I spent yesterday reading and resting and healing.
I'll try to get back to my regular routine today so that I'll
have something creative to share with all of you tomorrow.
Wishing everyone a beautiful day.
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September 19, 2012

Nesting...

 I continue to make progress on the Wisconsin applique' block.
Monday, I finished the nest, along with more leaves and stems.
It's really starting to fill out now. I love the eggs, which are formed
from a beautiful robin's egg blue batik. The fabric makes the eggs look
dimensional, and every little bit I add makes it come alive even more.

 I didn't get as far as I hoped by yesterday.  I wanted to be able to take
it to last night's guild meeting, but I'm happy with where I am so far.

I'm planning to have all of the components assembled by the weekend,
and then I'll transfer all the elements to the block background fabric.

I wanted to work on it again yesterday, but I had to have a little procedure.
 Afterward, I took some pain meds and slept the rest of the afternoon away.
I'll get back to it today and then show you photos when I transfer it to fabric.
(I'm ok, by the way, so don't worry.)

For the Farmer's Wife participants
I'll be adding twenty more paper foundations this week. You can
download them as you want and I'll send a group email to let you know 
when the newest ones are ready for you to add to your library.

See you tomorrow. I'm going to get back to it for today.
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