Quilting, Farming, Variety

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Washday at Sam and Sue's

In the weeks before our rain shower, I took refuge in the sewing room to look at something other than dried up flowers and dust.  There was this sweet pattern I had printed off the internet, called Washday at Sam and Sue's Wall Hanging; I don't really know who designed the pattern, but the name, Adrienne Franklin was under the title.  Also, it may have been printed by the Cranston Print Works Company; a lot of Wal Mart's fabric comes from this company.

Now I'm not real fond of wall hangings for my home, so I have in mind this piece would make a cute baby quilt; it seems more suited for a baby girl, thus the light green border.

The clothesline was made by couching with a zig- zag stitch over blue worsted weight yarn.

This was the first applique work I had done using the blanket stitch on my new sewing machine.  I did o.k. with it until I came to a corner, then I usually made a small boo-boo, and now I realize I should have practiced with the machine stitch on a larger piece first.

Of course there had to be quilts to wash and hang!

The clothes are pinned with embroidered pegs and really they just gave life to the piece.

And doesn't every clothesline have to be a fly-over for a bird or two?

After this top is quilted I'll put a hanging sleeve on the back just in case the person who gets it might want to use it as a wall hanging.  It would be sorta cute in a laundry room wouldn't it?


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Good Shower

Since I am so good at complaining about dry weather, I felt I should tell you, we've had a good shower!  Things are beginning to turn green again!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Lowly Bitterweed

If you are a city gal, you probably won't be interested in this:

I grew up with bitterweeds.  They were around our barn and even in the yard.  Maybe you aren't familiar with this plant, so I'll give a brief description of it.  The bitterweed is a low growing plant, 6-20 inches tall, with bright yellow flowers and a very strong oder.  They are aggressive in their growth in overgrazed pastures, along roadsides, and waste areas.  Where tame grasses grow thicker the weed is usually not a problem.

The bitter weed contains a toxic substance to livestock, especially horses and mules.  Most animals won't eat it because of the foul, bitter taste.  Allowing animals to graze bitterweed, even in small quantities, can cause a cow's milk to taste bitter.  And maybe that was my first encounter with the lowly bitterweed.  Whenever the hot sun dried up the grass, the weed thrived, and Mama's milk cow ate it, making our milk and butter taste bad.

As two little children playing in the barn, my cousin and I found a perfect use for those yellow blooms.  With the sand he brought to me, I made mud cakes and pies in little tin pans, and decorated them with the flowers.  But that wasn't the only use we found for the weed.

During the day, Mama's hens roamed the yard where we played and it was nothing uncommon for us to step barefooted in a hen's droppings and have the wet stuff ooze between our toes.  There was no hose with a nozzle, in those days, connected to an outside faucet for us to wash them, so we found a bitterweed, put the stem between our toes, and pulled up our foot, letting the green foliage swipe off the mess.  It might have taken more than one swipe, but hey, it worked!

I never see a bitterweed without remembering those days, and if this makes me a redneck hillbilly, then I wear the color and the name with pride.


Monday, July 15, 2013

It Was Like Christmas in July

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine brought several pieces of fabric that she didn't think she would ever use.  It was like having a Christmas gift in July!

I pressed them and sorted them into stacks of solids and prints.  Most were at least one yard in length, one even being five yards long, and as you can tell, several still had the paper wrapped around them.

My thoughts were whizzing!  Aprons?

Backings for baby quilts?

No gift could have pleased me more, so I gave one of my full aprons to her.

Isn't it nice when people share!


Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Farm Update

I guess it's time for another farm update.  Dry weather has hit us again for the third year in a row.  We've only had a scant four-tenths of an inch of rain since June 1st.  Flower beds and pastures are beginning to suffer and we are under a burn ban.  Winds have been fairly strong and last week a whirlwind caught up some hay on our neighbor's land, tossing it into the power lines, and setting the field on fire.  Fortunately we're not too far from the rural fire station and the fire was put out quickly.  It's just as well that we didn't have a garden this year, for all the work would have been in vain.
You're probably saying, "Why don't you water your flowers?"  The answer: we have to conserve the water for the chickens to drink and to cool them.  One never knows when the city water might shut down and if the wells were dry we'd be in big trouble.

Our spring hay crop yielded enough bales to see us through the winter, provided we don't have to feed a lot of it before cold weather.  Of course we're hoping it will rain and the grass will grow for another cutting.  It's always good to have extra; we learned that from last year when we ran short.  Notice in this picture, the old tractor with a tank behind it; the tank is filled with water just in case of fire.  We also have insurance on the hay. 

The flower beds and yard are a pitiful sight.  Everything is just trying to survive the dry heat.  Also, when these beds were put in, the trees were small; now they're big and sap the moisture from the flowers.  Plans for moving the beds are coming to mind.
Day lilies have tried to bloom, but the plants from seeds I planted shriveled up.  Now do you understand why I love seeing the pictures of your pretty flowers?
The true tiger lilies are much smaller and weaker than they should be.
But there is always one flower that will like the heat: the orange, double day lily.
The chickens are three weeks old now, and as long as we have water for the cool cells and electricity to power the fans to pull cool air over them, they don't know what it's like outside.
With hay work at a standstill, I've been working in the sewing room, piecing doll quilts; I'll show you in a few days what I've been up to.  Hope this post isn't too depressing; it's just the life of a farmer.

Monday, July 1, 2013

July Apron

How about a red, white, and blue apron for the 4th of July! 

(I don't possess good photography skills, plus the wind was blowing rather strongly this morning)
Just what makes this apron special?  Look closely at the blue corner triangles; they're quilted potholders!
They can be made from purchased quilted fabric, but I quilted my own.
It went together like any other basic half apron except for the hemming.  The quilted corners were too thick to turn under for a hem, so I bound the sides and bottom of the apron just like I would a quilt.
The instructions for the apron came from a site offering many free apron patterns:
How safe would it be to use potholders attached to your apron?  I don't really know, but I would be very careful if I were cooking on a gas stove with an open flame.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July!