Quilting, Farming, Variety

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Petite Apron

While we're talking about things that would make cute additions to a shower gift, why not whip up a petite apron. Heide at http://apronhistory.blogspot.com has a great tutorial for making an apron, similar to this one, for a dish soap bottle. It adds a little sparkle to the kitchen and the pocket could hold your rings or watch while you have your hands in the water. Check out Heide's blog and have a go at it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Little Spring Song

Little breeze from the South, you can sing, though you have no mouth.
Little songs, young and gay, full of cheer as a summer day.
All the birds and the beasties too, seem to know that the winter's through!
And the grass, as you pass, whispers low,
"It is Spring, Sweet Spring."

This was taken from the first grade John Thompson piano book.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Applecart's Been Upset !!

Last December, for our anniversary, Popa brought this rotary cutting machine home to me. I had seen it in Wal Mart one day while we were in town and said something about how nice it would be for cutting long binding strips; I didn't ask for it. Now there are things I ask for, many,many times before getting it, or maybe never, but this was something he thought I wanted.

I finished my quilt this afternoon and was ready to cut the binding strips, so I opened the box for the first time. To make sure I understood how to use it, I watched videos online.
There are two blades for the machine, one that cuts like pinking shears and one straight cut blade. So I put in the straight blade and got some scraps for practice. The instructions had told me the machine might not cut the first time because the tension would need to be set. So I piddled with that and this was the result: a mess!!
First of all, I couldn't hold the fabric so that it would go through straight. There was no pulling the fabric out to start over; it had to go all the way to the end to remove the fabric. After several attempts, with a heavier fabric, it finally cut, but it wasn't cut all the way through. My applecart was upset and since I wanted to get the binding ready today, I simply picked up the apples and carried on the old way,
with hand-held cutter, mat and ruler! I'll try again; perhaps it's just hard to teach an old dog, I mean an old woman, new tricks!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rainy Day Memory

We've had a rainy, dark day, with lightning and thunder this morning. And as the rain falls and the flashes and rumbles echo across the sky, I can see a little girl, maybe four years old, sitting cross-legged on the floor of a small room, playing with paper dolls. Her sister, Wanda, had already left for school, walking up the hill in the rain to catch the school bus. She had cut out the paper dolls from the catalog and made a car for them from the Super Suds box Mama had given her. Now, the little girl played in the dim room; no need to light the kerosene lamp. It gave very little light even at night, so the room was illuminated somewhat by the two small windows this morning. Today she pretended the dolls were taking a long trip in the bad weather. She pushed their car around and around the braided rug, which resembled a roadway. She wasn't afraid of the thunder; after all, Mama was in the next room and she made everything feel safe.

This is a memory which comes with almost every rainy, dreary day, taking me back to that little, gray house we called home.

Friday, March 16, 2012

And So the Tale Continues

Spring ~ once again the little weeds bloom and fill the yard with their beauty. The grasses begin to grow in the pastures and new baby calves come often, sometimes with unexpected tales.

About three weeks ago, Popa brought home a baby calf that couldn't suck (pardon that expression if you think it's uncouth, but it's a farmer's way of saying "nurse"). We have tried all this time to no avail, and she's been kept alive by tube feeding. We moved her to the barn and didn't give her much chance of making it.
Last Saturday we had a cow who got out into the neighbor's field and after we got her inside the corral, Popa said to leave her in there, hoping she would forget where she got out in the first place. Sunday morning, rain was falling steadily, and when he went to turn her out, she was standing at the fence, bawling, and just outside the fence was a baby calf. His conclusion: she had given birth and the calf had slid under the gate. He opened the gate to let her out ~ she ran in one direction and the calf in another direction. He caught up with the calf and put a tag in its ear; then it ran to the other cattle that were eating hay on the back forty. No cow seemed interested in the calf and it took off down the fence. Popa told me we'd probably never see it again, but at the afternoon feeding we put the cow back in the corral; I hunted the woods and found the calf hiding in a brush pile. Popa held it in the back of the RTV and I drove to the barn to reunite mother and son. The calf was hungry, but the cow didn't want him near her, so we put her in the head gate and helped the calf find where to suck. For two days the cow kicked at the calf but finally gave in and accepted him. Keep in mind the problem calf was just on the other side of the gate from them.
Now here's where the tale continues: Yesterday afternoon I went to feed the cow; neither she nor the calf were outside the barn waiting for me. I looked inside and there were two calves with the cow. My first thought ~ how did "problem calf" get in with the cow? I looked on her side of the gate and she was where she belonged. Next thought ~ the cow had another calf three days after the first one. Actual fact ~ the cow had a new baby of her own; the other one wasn't hers in the first place!
So with no other cow ever claiming him, I have another baby to feed; he took to the bottle quickly. And the problem calf is learning to drink her milk from a Cool Whip bowl and she sucks just a little now...
and so the tale continues...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bringing the Old Singer Out of Hibernation

This was the first electric sewing machine my mama had. I learned to sew on her old treadle machine, which was traded in on this machine. Popa says these machines were built like "tanks", meaning they were good, reliable machines, with no plastic parts, but rather all metal.

Several years later, Mama bought another Singer and rather than see this one leave the family, we bought it from her. It is housed in a cherry cabinet made by Daddy's brother. I already had one just like it, so I let the youngest daughter take it to use. She had trouble with the tension and brought it back to me. The last time I tried to use it, there were lots of skipped stitches.

Google research tells me most skipped stitches can be solved by changing needles. So, after a good dusting with "canned air" (now who would ever have thought we'd be buying canned air!) I'm going to put in a new needle and see what happens. I have a little quilting project started and need to machine quilt since I'm using a thick fleece, and this machine has a walking foot for quilting. Wish me luck, and I'll show you what comes from it all.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Guest Post

Good afternoon, blogging friends. Mama Charlotte has allowed me to write the post for today; oh, by the way, my name is Mattie Louise and I'm a cloth doll. This is the way I looked when you last saw me:

with smudged, dark eyes, looking as though I had taken a terrible beating.

It happened quite by accident; whenever I was ready to have my face painted, Mama Charlotte drew my eyes with a blue, water soluble pen to have a guide for painting (she's not very good at painting faces!) Then when I was sprayed with a varnish, the blue pen marks spread onto my cheeks; she was so aggravated and threatened to take off my arms and legs and make a new head and body. Lucky for me, she just put on a new coat of primer and started over with another face. I forgot to pose for a new picture, but I looked presentable this time with a new dress and hand-me-down undies and black painted boots. I was ready to go to the retirement center to live with Auntie L.

I was put inside the cupboard and stayed in the darkness for weeks. Last Saturday we made the trip into town and surprised Auntie L. She loved me right from the beginning and took me into the dining room at noon. I sat in her lap! She put my little hands on the table and before long the other residents took notice of me. They held me and looked me over good and then one woman said, "I'll put her here in the pocket on my walker." Auntie L wasn't too sure about that, but said, "o.k., but you'd better not walk off with her!"

Mama Charlotte called the next day to see if I was homesick; I wasn't homesick one little bit! Auntie L put me in a chair across from her couch and says when she looks at me she feels comforted. I'm glad, because she is facing painful surgery in a few days and maybe I can help keep her depression away. Won't you please remember to pray for her?
Thank you,
Mattie Louise
Oh, and Mama Charlotte says to tell you this little quilt top has been quilted and is ready for the binding. It was made using the tutorial by Amy at www.duringquiettime.blogspot.com

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Humor

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kerry ~ The Doll

Today I"m going to tell you about the doll in yesterday's post:

This is Kerry, an 18 inch doll, manufactured by the Ideal Toy Co. in 1970. If you grew up at that time, chances are you had one of the dolls. Their main feature was the ability to grow their hair. Notice how long her hair is in the picture above.
There is a knob on her back, which when turned, makes her hair grow shorter,

and to lengthen the hair, pull the ponytail to make it the length you want it to be.

This doll belongs to my youngest daughter.

The first doll in the series was Crissy, made in 1969, followed by her cousin Velvet (16 inches tall) and Kerry in 1970. The other two daughters had these dolls, and we have them also.

We made lots of pretty clothes for them; bell bottom pants, long skirts, pant suits, shawls, mostly made from double knits since that was the fabric of choice in those days. They were a lot easier to sew for than Barbie dolls because of their larger size. I think the red dress was the one Crissy was wearing when we got her, and Kerry is wearing her original outfit and shoes in the first photo.

So, do you remember these dolls? Did you have one? I'd like to know about them.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March ~~ Little Quilt

The little quilt for March is a log cabin design, set together in the "fields and furrows" layout, which is probably the most simple way to join the blocks.
Quilt size ~ 15 1/2 inches square

Block size ~ 3 inches square

Log size ~ 1/2 inch

Fabrics ~ mostly cottons, soft pastels; lining and binding are a soft lilac color

Method of construction ~ paper pieced on machine, hand quilted

We'll talk about the doll tomorrow.

Enjoy, Charlotte

Friday, March 2, 2012

Prescribed Fire/Controlled Burning

This week, the forestry service has been conducting controlled burning, or prescribed fire in the Ozarks forests. There are around 300,000 acres burned under control in Arkansas each year. The wind has carried the smoke toward us, making the skies gray, the air filled with the smell of burning brush, and the sun took on a brilliant red color at sunset. Even the sunlight coming through the windows looked brown on the floor.I think anyone with breathing problems would have to stay inside. By the burning of brush, vines, leaves, and excess logging debris, the threat of severe fires, that kill valuable trees or pose a threat to personal property or human safety, is reduced. Wildlife habitat is improved by increasing the food supply of fruits, nuts, and grasses. When small, low-value trees are removed, plant competition and forest floor litter are reduced, allowing for better germination of seeds. The values of recreational activities, hunting, hiking, and wildlife viewing, are increased.

Fire always scares me, but if it's controlled, it can be a good thing.
Have a safe, happy weekend,