Quilting, Farming, Variety

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Thanksgiving Prayer ~ ~ ~

Oh, God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work, help me
to remember the jobless;
When I have a warm home,
help me to remember the homeless;
When I am without pain, 
help me to remember those who suffer;
And remembering, help me
to destroy my complacency
and bestir my compassion.
Make me concerned enough
to help, by word and deed
those who cry out
for what we take for granted.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Mouse in the House

As quick as the blink of an eye
something seemed to fly by!
There's a mouse in the house!
I must set a trap!
And for sheer ease
I'll bait it with cheese;
but now I'm wondering,
which will he like better,
Velveeta or sharp cheddar?

So I put a small bit
on the paddle's tip
and set the spring in place.
Mouse has waited all day
to come out and play,
and when the lights go out
he runs round about,
right past the trap by the wall.

He passed the cheese.
He wants a treat;
something gooey, soft and sweet.
He didn't think I'd hear him
as he wriggled and chewed inside the sack.
But he didn't know I had quite a knack
for listening for little mouse smacks.

I grabbed the sack by its top
and he jumped and he jumped to no avail;
he couldn't escape from this cat food bag jail.
I'll take him to the barn where there are cats.
No more mouse in the house, and that will be that!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

More Flower Gardens ~ A Top and Blocks

One of the first quilts I made and quilted was a flower garden quilt.  It wasn't the best in the world, but not tacky either.  The top below is one that I made a few years back, using brown instead of the typical green.  If green was to represent grass, I suppose brown represents dirt?  Anyway, it's a huge top; will it even go on my frames without the outside border being removed?  Someday I'll try it.  I sew rows of hexagons on the machine, then put them into blocks by hand, so it isn't too difficult.  I find English paper piecing to be too time consuming for me.

I don't think early quilters had access to many solids and prints so as to pair them up into matching colors.  The blocks I remember came later when we saved solids to go with prints left from making clothing.  Now it seems the more mismatched colors and prints can be, the better, making the blocks look like vintage ones.

These 30 blocks were given to me by the farmer's great aunt.  She had started piecing them on the machine and some seams were barely 1/8" wide, too small to hold securely, so I took them apart and sewed them back together by hand.  The white/beige fabric is unbleached domestic (what we call today, unbleached muslin) and somewhat stiff to work with; I sorta dread quilting it by hand.  I hope to get the blocks set together into a top this winter.

The blocks are joined with a rose colored broadcloth

I'm beginning to think that pressing these blocks, after being packed into a box for years, will be the most difficult thing about making the top.  I always try to press my blocks as I make each seam; things fit better and make for a neater top to put on the frames.  I sincerely believe a neat top, stretched correctly on the frames, makes a finished quilt more pleasing to the eyes.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Flower Garden Quilt

"Listen in on any group of ardent quilt fans and you will hear frequent mention of this most popular pattern of the day and it is not hard to see why."  Romance of the Patchwork Quilt ~ 1935 ~ by Carrie A. Hall and Rose G Kretsinger.

After Mama retired from her town job, she devoted her "spare" time to quilting.  Of course she had made bed quilts most of her life, but first farm work, then town work, took away time from her quilting projects.  Her work was nicely done and soon there were women who wanted one of her quilts.  She began keeping a little notebook,  telling where the quilts went and how much they sold for.
The records started in 1980 and ended in 1987, a short time before her death.  By reading this page, you can see how little money she received for her work.  For instance, the quilt called Joseph's Coat, was sold for $250.00; it's one of the most difficult patterns to piece, and she did it all by hand.  Baby quilts were sold for $35-$50.  The total for this page is $1360.00; one would do well to buy one large quilt for this amount today.

At the time of her death, there were enough quilts in the closet for Daddy, my sister and me, and the six grandchildren to each have a finished quilt.  We numbered the quilts, then drew for them.  The Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt was chosen by Daddy before we drew.

 Now for the story of how the flower garden quilt came to be with me:

Daddy lived alone for about nine years before he remarried.  She was only four years older than me and four years younger than my sister, very outspoken and opinionated, so totally different than Mama.  We came to the conclusion that he married her because she told him she would take care of him so he would never have to go into a nursing home, and she thought he had money to take care of her.  (As it turned out, they both had to go into the nursing home, so the money soon was gone, and she passed away before he did.) Money issues did come up and he demanded that we bring the keys to his safe deposit box back to him.  We begged and pleaded for him not to do anything foolish, and that what money he had was there to take care of him later, but through her influence, he refused to listen.  Finally I gave in and let him have the key I had, but I told him there was one thing I wanted: the flower garden quilt.  He said "no I might need it".  Of course, the wife was in a huff by now too, so we left.  We talked a while outside, and then I said, "I'm going back in to get the quilt."  She hadn't locked the door yet, so we went in and I told her I had come back for the quilt.  She asked Daddy, and he said o.k. so she went to the closet and got it for me.  I've told my sister, she or one of her children,  can have the quilt; I don't need it, I just didn't want it to go to one of the "wife's" children and let who knows what happen to it.  So, it's still here; I don't use it, but it's a part of my mama with me.

For the most part, I'm not confrontational, but now and then I won't be stepped on. lol


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Summer ~ 2015

In spite of a slow start, due to so much rain, we've had a busy and productive summer, and it goes on.

This has been the view from the back window of my office tractor several days this summer.  I've raked over 1000 bales of hay;  we still have two fields left to cut but will wait until these big chickens are gone.  There's always a worry to leave them on hot days when we go to the field, although we have a monitor that calls when the temperature rises, and a generator if the electricity goes off; we aren't too far away either.

All our hay is hauled, except 175 bales, and insured.  I hate to "put all our eggs in one basket", as the saying goes,  in  case of fire.  Should something happen to the hay, insurance money would help, IF we could find more to buy.

Two days were spent gathering in calves to send to market.  I like to work with the cattle; get right in there with them, and let the adrenalin flow.  

The garden was successful for the most part and I froze good things for next winter; now I will plant turnip green seeds and hope for one more thing to freeze.  We're going to miss the fresh tomatoes.

Not every day was spent in the field so I have worked in the sewing room too.  The flying geese quilt has been up for most of the summer, and the last border is now visible after working on it a few hours in the afternoons.  My left hand has a tremor that shakes the whole frame some days, thread just will not go in the eye of the needle some days, leaving me to wonder how much longer will I be able to do a reasonably good job on my quilts.  I don't need the quilts, but it brings me so much happiness to make them.

Isabelle needs new school clothes; I'll show you some of the ones I've made soon.

Summer sun is slower coming up over the tops of the pine trees now, and the chores must be finished not long after 8:00 p.m.  Mornings feel cooler but give way to hot afternoons, so we know the fall season will be here soon.

Have you had a good summer?


Friday, July 24, 2015

Two weeks ago, our older grandson got married.  This was the place they chose for the wedding,
on top of a bluff!  
The trail going down to the spot they had picked, was so steep that a man stretched a big heavy rope from tree to tree for us to cling to on the way down.
Guests were seated on square bales of hay.
Informal ~ but very nice.
An extension of the bluff.  I would have felt much more secure if I could have worn my lace-up shoes and jeans.  The heights really bothered the farmer; he kept holding on to me.  I guess he was afraid I'd fall on the rocks.  Or, was he thinking, "If I fall off, I'm taking her with me!"


Monday, July 13, 2015

We're having temperatures in the upper 90s these days, so an afternoon in the water is a good way for a young lady to cool down.  Since I'm a country girl, I go swimming in the creek instead of a pool.  I have a new swimsuit,

and because the water is so fresh and cold, my teeth begin to chatter, and I have to come out to warm up now and then, wrapping up in my terry cloth swimsuit cover-up.

Of course swimming always makes me hungry and I look forward to having a backyard cookout with my family and a few friends.  I picked my newest sundress to wear for this.

Mama Charlotte used to swim in the creek, but she says now she wouldn't be caught dead in a swimsuit.  Do you swim?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Clothes for Isabelle

Isabelle has new clothes for vacation Bible school.  Did you ever attend a vacation Bible school?  I did, when I was a young teenager.  As a girl brought up in a home where we were in church every time the doors were opened, I think I knew most of the Bible stories, so I enjoyed the games we played: red rover, red rover, let Charlotte come over, and I would run and try to break through the line of children on the other team; any, any over, and someone threw a ball over the building to the other team.  And it was at Bible school where I developed a crush on a certain tall, good-looking boy who showed no interest in me whatsoever.  I carried that crush with me for most of the rest of my high school years, watching as he started dating my very best friend and then marrying her when she graduated.  I look back on it all now and think how similar this storyline was to Scarlet and Ashley. lol.  But this is suppose to be about clothes I've made for Isabelle:

pants and top, twirly skirt and top

simple sundresses,

fashionable jeans and top for playing red rover, red rover,

enough for one week of activities.   So much fun!  Now all she needs is a pair of sandals.
Hope you like them. Charlotte

Pattern credits:  pants and top, Simplicity A2086
Twirly skirt, www,polkadotchair.com, page 23 of My Tutorials
Green sundress, www.BlissfulSewing.blogspot.com
Jeans, from an old pair of my jeans with three snips, washed and dried with other jeans.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

My latest string quilt top is finished and put away to be quilted later, maybe next winter.  Each individual block is not very interesting by itself, but I really like the effect of using dark and light strings to make this pattern.  This would be a nice quilt for a boy's bed or a dorm quilt.

I'm making clothes for Isabelle now and when they're finished, I'm shutting down the machine for a while and concentrate on quilting the top that's been on the frames for a few months.  


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Standing the Test of Time ~ part 2

(Please read the previous post first)

It had to go.  Time caught up with it.  The tree was full of berries in spite of its beginning to split where the three trunks met.  The trunks were also beginning to lean and we were afraid sometime when the wind was blowing strong during a rain storm and the cattle had come for a bit of shelter, that it would fall on them, probably killing more than one cow.  So the sad task of taking it down began last week.

The farmer put a chain around the west trunk and pulled it down.  This picture shows the condition of the roots and the splitting of the trunks.

After attempting to pull the center trunk down, and breaking the chain, he decided to push the other two trunks down.

 Nothing was damaged or destroyed, not even a broken wire in the fence, just a mess in the yard to clean up and a residue of memories:
Daughter one, "I love that tree!"
Daughter two, "I remember us making mud pie crusts and using the berries as fillings."
Daughter three, who was only two when we moved here and therefore her memories are not as vivid, "We have lots of memories of the tree."
Birds, "Oh no!  Where do we go from here?"


Monday, June 8, 2015

A Repost: Standing the Test of Time

Forty four years ago we moved onto our own land, ten acres, with plans to build a new house. The Farmer was just finishing work on his doctorate at the university, and after feeling more or less as a stranger in the big city, I felt happy to be in the country again. We rented a trailer to live in while the house was being built, and had it put in the shade of this mulberry tree.

The month was May, and the berries were at their peak of ripeness, falling and covering the ground underneath. We set up a swing set for our three little girls who now could run and play without the confinement of a fenced back yard, and their beautiful childish voices echoed across the land as they sang "Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so." And every night their little feet and the seats of their panties were stained purple from the mulberries.
I have no way of knowing how long the tree had been here before we bought the land, but it's weathered many storms; perhaps the three trunks give support to one another. It is just outside the yard fence and the cattle take shade underneath its branches in the summer, wearing away the dirt from the roots on that side of the fence.

The dead limbs are signs that the old tree is under stress; most of the time, before I mow the yard, there are several sticks to pick up.

But the roots inside the fence must be providing moisture for the tree, because once again, the limbs are full of green berries, and when they get ripe there will be a mass feeding for the birds, raccoons and terrapins, not to mention the flies who come to drink in the intoxication of the souring berries.
I guess old-timers used the berries for making jelly, but I don't particularly like the taste of them.
I wonder how long a mulberry tree can stand the test of time. Do you like mulberries or do you have a tree on your property?

[This was originally posted in 2012; watch for an update tomorrow]

Monday, June 1, 2015

As a winter project, I took this pattern

and embroidered nine blocks for a baby quilt.  Since there wasn't much chance to use a lot of different thread colors, the blocks seemed a little drab to me.  So I let them sit while I thought about how to set them together into a top.  Last week I decided to border each block with 1 1/2 inch strips of pastel colored fabrics and this is the result:

The colored strips brought out the colors of the embroidery floss so it doesn't look drab anymore.  Here are some of the individual blocks:

I was a Saturday's child.  Do you know what day of the week you were born on?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Do you ever start a project and then change your mind about what you want to do with it?  This is what happened to these blocks.

I made several of these, with the intentions of making an Irish Chain quilt top, but when I laid them out to preview the results, I didn't like them used that way.  They were put away, because, although on a scale of 1 to 10 I am a 10 in the taking apart category, I had no desire to undo these blocks.  So later the full colored blocks were paired with appliqued blocks and turned into this baby quilt.  I did take apart a few blocks to use as borders around the appliqued blocks.

Now I have taken the other blocks and set them together with appliqued Overall Andy blocks for another baby quilt top.

The animal blocks were hand appliqued, but I decided to try my hand at machine applique.  I'm not the best at this; I'd give myself a grade of C or B- at the most.  Larger pieces would have been easier to learn on.  I compare the bottoms of the pants legs to jeans legs which are too long and mom says, "I don't want to cut them off and hem them up; just wear them off."  Now and then there's a stray thread at the turning point.

Whatever, it's a good feeling to know the orphaned blocks now have a good use.


(For Ernestine ~ The wind and rain were not kind to them)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Too Much of a Good Thing?

We have had LOTS of rain the last few days, but no bad storms in our area.  Heavy rains fell in the mountains north of us and the waters made their way down to farms below.  Our hay is ready to cut but there was other work that had to be done on the dry days we had.  The chicken houses needed to be cleaned out and new shavings and rice hulls put inside.  Then we put in new cables for some water lines, the hay work waited ~ and this happened:

The pictures were taken from the north, looking south.  The close waters are on my brother-in-law's farm and our field is at the far end; couldn't get any closer to ours.  The main creek runs along the edge of the high hills.

A few years back we had baled the hay on this field and hadn't hauled it; the field flooded, carrying the big round bales of hay down into the woods and setting some down on the higher spots in the field.  Most of the bales were lost, so we always try to haul out the bales and not take a chance of losing them if there is rain in the forecast.

The grass will be hard to cut since the rushing water bent it over and there will be dirt on the grass.  Poor cows ~ Also, there are usually tree trunks and branches and plastic trash left on the field that has to be mowed around, then picked up after the hay is baled.  In other words, a lot of aggravation mostly.

How can it be so dry in California and all these gallons of water rushing over the fields to the river, to the gulf, and finding their way to the ocean?  And remember my posts about the drought in 2012?  Such a mystery ~~~


Monday, May 4, 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

As promised,

the first thing I made for Isabelle was a pair of springtime pajamas.  The weather is still a bit cool here at night, so the long sleeves and long pants are just right.  The pajamas are made from a lightweight, pale lavender, crinkled fabric.

The top fits perfectly but the pants need to be a little larger.  Notice she's still wearing her boots!  I couldn't get them off easily without being afraid I'd pull her legs out of socket.  I hope I don't have to cut them down the back to get them off!

Next will be a springtime dress; it's already cut out.  The chickens go out tomorrow and hopefully there will be more spare time for sewing in the next two weeks before starting a new flock.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Current Project

A blogging friend asked me to show the current project I have going.  I found this pattern in the April, l999 (issue 37) American Patchwork & Quilting magazine.  Since it's a paper pieced project and uses lots of tiny scraps, I jumped right in on it.  That was a couple of years ago, and this winter and spring I picked it back up and plan to finish the piecing at least.  The name, Scrap Apple, comes from the fact that it's the Pineapple block made from scraps.

This was with the picture: "Quiltmaker Betty Lenz pulled scraps from her stash to make the 120 foundation pieced Pineapple blocks for the center of this quilt.  She also used scraps to applique flowers on a solid black background for a stunning finish."

The blocks are six inches, finished, and I have put a dime on the pattern to show how small the pieces are.

I have pieced 88 of the 120 needed, so I'm getting there.  I try to piece at least one block each afternoon.  I love doing this, picking and sorting through the little colorful scraps and seeing the finished blocks made from pieces so small that most would be thrown away.  I think it will be a pretty quilt.  "Waste not, want not."

A follow-up to the previous post:
Easter Sunday came on my birthday this year and so the girls brought supper that evening.  One daughter brought a bag of 50 gladiolus bulbs to give half of them to me.  Ah-ha!  A perfect chance to "pass off" the little doll head!  While she was busy with something else, I offered to open the package, then let her count out the bulbs.  When I opened the bag, I slipped the doll inside with the bulbs; he's almost the same color and size.  She put her hand inside the bag, and said, "I think this one must be ..." (rotten) and lifted out Shelby.  We all had a big laugh!  Isn't laughter supposed to be the best medicine anyway?

Have a good 'un!