Friday, October 23, 2009

Beading is Fun

I finished beading this needle case last night. Since there is an uneven design I had to watch my pattern closely and I ended up marking each row before I started it to help me keep on track. The fun thing about this needle case is that the pattern for the lid is just a continuation of the bottom so if it is closed tightly you can't tell where it is.

Posted this photo above in case some of you were not familiar with these beads or the size of the needle cases.

I can do this beading while watching TV as I have a lap board, clip on magnifying glasses and a bright light. I have found beading is pretty addictive, just like quilting, although I save it for evenings when I want to sit in my chair in the family room and relax and watch TV.

Don't know about the rest of you but I can not just sit and watch TV. I have to have something in my hands to do, especially during commercials. If I don't feel like doing any kind of needlework I will work on a Sudoko puzzle or have the laptop computer on my lap. Do any of you have to keep your hands busy when watching TV like I do?

One of our daughters and our two granddaughters are coming today - Yay, fun times! Since school is in fall break they all get the day off. Probably will not get any sewing done until next week now.

If it dries off we sure want to get out to the field to finish harvesting. Still have several weeks left to do, but thank goodness we have the soybeans finished and only have the corn left. It is making all the farmers worried as the season is getting late and we have had some snow already. The corn is still standing but a big snow storm could lay it flat. It isn't raining today but still overcast and damp out. We got about 1 1/2" of rain the last couple of days so just having the fields muddy will be a problem for a while unless we get some sun and warmer temp.

Usually our fall weather is dry with maybe an occasional shower and nothing like this year. Most years the crops dry down on their own so harvest can move right along with out drying in the bin. Most years we are about finishing up around now so you can see we are just not used to these delays.

Wow, just read what I wrote, I am getting as bad as the farmers around here - need to stop worrying and discussing it so much. It will get done eventually and you are all probably tired of my whining about it.

Happy, Happy Quilting,

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Seams......Which Way?

This is the block from the Scrapaholic class that I have been making over and over - not the exact same block but more blocks like this one. (Not sure what happened when I took this photo but this block really is square and isn't as wonky as it looks in the photo.)

I changed the pressing a little from the suggested method to make the seams on the outside all swirl around the block. Makes setting the blocks together much easier if you can butt the seams. Bonnie's method for doing this works too but I just like my method a little better.

I needed to make the seams all point clockwise around the block. As you can see from the back of the block below part of the one long seam needs to go the opposite direction as the rest of it.
The three intersections on the left need to be pressed up and the one on the right needs to be pressed down. If I pressed it flat like that, there would be a fold that would create a large lump where changed directions as it folded over.
My solution was to pop the seam, peeling back the seam allowance of the tan triangle and with the point of an iron pressing the intersection open. The rest of the fabric at that intersection should stay pressed up to keep that point on that half square triangle unit staying sharp.
Move the tip of the iron to the right, narrowing the top seam allowance as you get close to the outside point. The seam allowance stays flat with just a thin fold on the one side and with no large lumps to deal with. The points of the half square triangles are all pressed the direction they want to go too.
When seam allowances of points get folded back over themselves they tend to be less than sharp and make a large lump in the block that is almost impossible to press flat. Pressing my way keeps the all the points sharp. Does this make sense? It is hard to explain but hope the photos help you understand how I am pressing those seams.
Today was another day of no harvest for me. We had heavy fog this morning and John had a meeting so it was after lunch before John was ready to start. Big problem - the combine had a breakdown and he had to drive 1 1/2 hr. one way to get parts, drive home the 1 1/2 hr. and put the combine all back together again. By then it was after 4:30 pm. Our part time help was here by then and they finally got started. It is now almost 10 pm and they are still out in the field and I would imagine that they will stay as long as they can as we are supposed to get rain again tomorrow. This harvest is really getting long with so many weather delays and delays in the corn moisture drying down. At this rate we will still be harvesting at Thanksgiving.

Happy Quilting,

Monday, October 19, 2009


What a wonderful time I had last Thursday through Saturday! Thursday night was our monthly quilt guild meeting and our guest speaker was Bonnie Kucera from Hickman, NE. She had a trunk show of scrap quilts, most of which were hand quilted. Wonderful designs and execution!

Bonnie came home with me after the meeting and stayed at my house until Saturday when we went to the workshop she gave for the guild. Bonnie and I have known each other for 40 years first meeting when we were in college when we lived in the same dorm. She was assigned to me as a "little sis" those many years ago. We re-connected through the Nebraska State Quilt Guild quite a few years ago.

While she was here I didn't have to go to the field so we talked, talked and talked. She got in on moving the guys to another field and even got to ride in the combine with John. The time went so fast it seemed.

The photo below is of the workshop project - Srapaholic. This is a larger version and the photo below is of Bonnie and a lap quilt size of the project.
This was a great project to use up scraps and we traded fabrics with others in the class to increase the scrappy-ness of the blocks. The blocks are made six at a time with 6 fabrics. Each of the blocks has the fabric used in a different position as you can see from the set below. Bonnie had all kinds of little tricks to help make the block and to remember where and how the half square triangle blocks are positioned in each block.

To put the quilt together you need to have more of the sets done than I have but this is how the larger block will look when 4 are set together. Two of my blocks are from the same 6 fabrics.
These blocks are the same size as my Split 9 Patch blocks so wonder if they could be used together.....Hmmmm? Will try it out on my EQ6 program when I have a chance but right now I want to get back to stitching since I have the morning off.

Happy Quilting,

More Split 9 Patch Blocks

The few times I got a chance to sew last week I finished more of the split 9 patch blocks. I now have 60 done but think I need to have at least that many more to make a bed sized quilt. It is slow going with me being out in the field so much but I do enjoy the time I do get to sew these days.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Scrappy Split 9-Patch

I have been busy stitching up split 9 patch blocks the last couple of weeks when I can find a few minutes to sew. Am using all those oldies and uglies I cut up this fall in these blocks. I have 240 half square triangle blocks stitched and trimmed so as you can see I have a little ways to go with 2 used in each block I will have enough to sew 120 blocks. Since I don't have a definite plan for the quilt yet but want to keep working on getting the blocks done.

I am not sure this is the setting I am going to use but wanted to look at the value of the blocks so stuck them up on my flannel board in this diagonal line setting. Not looking too bad but there are a few muddy areas. I don't plan to rip any of the blocks as I think there are enough of the good valued blocks to make any design work.

We are kind of at a stand still here as far as harvest goes right now. We did get the rest of one field done so we can get it fenced for the cattle to graze on the stalks and dropped corn. The moisture was still up to 23% Tuesday afternoon when we finished it. It was a good feeling to finish and it was just in time as it started showering as I was dumping the last load from my grain cart into the truck.

It showered off and on during night and was still drizzling today. Was a very grey, wet day. I took advantage of not being in the field to get my hair cut and get to a dentist apt. Glad I didn't postpone the dentist apt. as it worked out that we were not harvesting today anyway. It may be a few days before it is dry enough in the field to get out there again.

Good thing I can spend the day in the house I need to finish cleaning tomorrow since the guest speaker at our quilt guild meeting tomorrow night will be staying with me. Actually she will be here until Sat. morning since she is teaching a workshop that day for our guild. Will be fun to have her visit as we knew each other in college and have renewed our friendship over the years through the Nebraska State Quilt guild.

Fun time the next few days!

No Bull

I had to tell you all about what happened Sunday/Monday as it was amazing. John went down to check on the cows, calves and one bull in a pasture about 3 miles from our house early Sunday morning. To his surprise they were all out and standing in a harvested field of soybeans nearby. They were all spooky and milling around.

He called his cow buddies (they help each other move their cattle) and waited until one guy showed up before he left to come home to get his horse. He was not trusting the animals to take off and with the river only about a mile south he sure didn't want them getting down there and disappearing among the many trees along it.

The crew finally assembled and decided the route to drive them home with only one standing corn field to pass. You might ask why this is important? Well to answer the question, corn plants are about 7" tall and rows close enough that if the cows would get into the field they would be hard to find and would knock down the corn and destroy it. It is almost impossible to chase cattle out of a standing field since they can get away from you and hide since the fields are large. Can you guess what happened next?

They finally got the group headed up the road and the cows and calves trotted right past the cornfield but that pesky old bull decided to make a sharp left and into the cornfield he went. They ended up driving the rest of the group a mile farther along a put them in a neighbors pasture and went back to see if they could find the bull. They tracked him on foot but his tracks disappeared so they had to give up. They did go back and rounded up the rest and loaded them into trailers and hauled them the rest of the way home. They were still spooky and the guys on their horses just couldn't get them to behave so this was the best choice.

John went down several times Sunday afternoon hoping to see the bull but never saw a trace of him. He did find out where the cattle did get out though. They had broken off several posts and escaped from the pasture next the the river but had then turned north and ended up in that field that John found them in, probably escaping during the night. He said from looking at all the signs in the pasture something really scared them as he could see the cattle tracks had been running around down there for a while and were bunched up before they broke out.

We don't know what scared them but it could have been a deer (unlikely as they see them all the time) or maybe a bobcat or mountain lion. Mountain lions have been seen in the area but of course they are not official sightings according to the Game and Parks division. Have heard of another sighting recently fairly close by though.

John went down early the next morning and found some bull tracks in the newly fallen snow and followed them for a mile and a half then lost them. He was relieved the bull was heading away from the river and getting closer to home. John came home and started looking around and low and behold the bull had found his way home and had walked into the south lot and was laying down in the shed. John said they only thing he didn't do was close the gate behind him.

We are still amazed as he started out in the cornfield about 2 miles south of home. We wonder if the cows were bawling and he followed their sound. Guess we will never know but we sure are glad he is here. Didn't know we had a Homing Bull. (Think Homing Pigeons)


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Beaded Pendant

Found a very few Delica beads at Hobby Lobby last week. Am so glad as I wanted to do some more beading right away. These tiny beads are hard to find here in central Nebraska. Did hear of a place in Hastings that might carry them so will have to check it out.

I used the directions for making a triangle in Diane Fitzgerald's book Shaped Beadwork. A friend made one similar and rolled the tip over and used a larger bead to attach it to the center of the triangle so that is what I did too. That makes a place to run a chain or cord for a necklace.

I was thrilled it turned out so well. When I was beading the triangle I just made it as big as I thought it should be - no planned number of rows.
Now I can't wait to wear it! I have to thank my friend - now I am hooked on another kind of art.

Burr, it is really getting cold here today. I am not sure the temp. got over 45 and dropped all afternoon. We have only had a little spitting rain occasionally but the weather man is predicting snow for the next two days. Yes, I did say snow. It is plenty early for snow here and we sure don't want much if it has to fall.

Harvest has pretty much come to a stand still now. The corn is still really wet and taking a long time to dry down. The drying bin empties automatically into a storage bin when the corn gets to a certain % moisture. Since it is so wet it is taking a long time to reach that optimum dryness. The guys filled the bin last night and it had not even gotten half empty by noon. What we need is a hard freeze. Freezing will help the corn in the field reduce moisture naturally and that is what we want as Mother Nature's drying is a lot cheaper and more efficient!

Tonight is a big football game between the University of Nebraska and the University of Missouri. It is a televised game so we have the TV tuned into ESPN. It has been raining down in Missouri last night and all day today so it might get interesting. John and I, both being alums of the University of Nebraska, are rooting for our team.

Game just started and the rain is coming to post this so I can devote my attention to the game. Go Huskers!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Threads Across Nebraska

Yesterday I traveled to Grand Island for the Annual Threads Across Nebraska quilt show and vendor mall, sponsored by the Nebraska State Quilt Guild. The quilts displayed were from quilters across Nebraska plus some from the International Quilt Study Center and Museum. The show was terrific and of course the vendors had lots of things to temp us. It was a great day spent looking, shopping and visiting with quilter friends.

I spent the morning selling raffle tickets for our guild's raffle quilt. There were 8 different raffle quilts there so lots of opportunities to get a chance on a quilt. After I finished my shift I was more than ready to look at the different quilt displays and to shop the vendor's booths.

Before you look at the photos of the quilts I have downloaded I do want you to know the photography is not real good. I sure don't know where my head was before I left home but after I was about 25 miles from home I remembered I did not pick up my camera and at the same time I also realized I didn't put any extra cash in my purse, thank goodness for credit cards and cell phone cameras. The photos I did take were with my cell phone and are amazingly pretty good considering. Because the photos are not so clear I can't read the signage to see who the makers are of these lovely quilts. I usually can read the signs when I take photos with my camera so am not used to taking photos of the signs.

Anyway - enjoy the photos. These were just a few of my favorites.

Get to spend the afternoon here at home as John has the help of two guys today and doesn't need my help. Really enjoy my time alone where I can sew, read, bead or just take a nap on a Sunday afternoon.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Added Beauty

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful;
they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.
- Luther Burbank

I agree with Luther Burbank 100%. (By the way he is a very distant relative of mine - isn't that a nice coincidence?) I picked these mums from my garden in the morning and stuck them above one of the monitors in my tractor. They were so pretty to look at all day - I wonder what the hired man thought when he got in the tractor after me last night.

The picture above shows what the inside of my tractor looks like on the right side. There are lots of screens and controls but most of them I can ignore. Some are used for planting and other operations John does during the year. The long skinny screen between the windows has my speed, gear and RPM, plus I can set the auto temp. control and see what it says on that screen too.

The control below is my master control for driving the tractor and operating the grain cart. A - controls the RPM, B - controls the gear. I use those while driving the tractor. C - will put the grain cart auger up or down, D - starts the power take off shaft. When the auger is up and the power take off has been started then I can open E to let the grain go up the auger and dump into the truck. F- will control the end of the auger. I can tip it up or bring it down if I need to to make sure the
augered grain is falling into the middle of the truck.
It is very important to always have the auger up before starting D and E and to not put the auger down while D and E are running or you can have a pile of grain on the ground and something will break. That doesn't make hubby happy. So far I am remembering to open and shut down in the correct order. When I am filling a truck I keep my fingers on E so I can shut it down quickly if I need to or if something goes wrong. It is too easy to reach over with out looking and grab the wrong control if I am not careful. Most of the time I am looking over my left shoulder at the grain going into the truck.

The photo below is of the 2-way radio. We have one in the combine, tractor and trucks. We can talk to each other instantly and this works better than cell phones. John can tell me to move up farther with my tractor when he filling me up as an it goes, another day of harvest.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Blog Extra

I added a new list on the right side of my blog today. I went through all my old blogs and found photos of all the finished projects I have posted so far. Most of them are made by me but there are a few made by others. I did this for me as well as anyone looking at by blog.

I can't remember if I have posted photos of older projects and if I have then where or when did I post them.

I didn't have to work in the field today as John was finding it hard to find dry enough corn or soybeans to combine. He did a little on some dry land corners (dry land areas are places that don't get irrigated). The dry land acres usually dry up sooner in the fall so they can be harvested first.

Was glad I didn't have to be out in the wind today as it was ferocious! Think it was up to 40 MPH gusts at times. One fellow's combine put out some sparks from it and caught the field on fire. The fire department was called as well as lots of area farmers. They got it out before it burned too much but some soybeans that had not been harvested for two farmers burned.

Area farms came rushing to help with tractors and disks and water wagons. They disked up fire breaks where they could and disked over patches of nearly extinguished fires. The heavy equipment really helped the fire departments out.

Think there were 4 rural towns fire departments at the fire. The fire departments here are all volunteer and they do a good job but don't have as many trucks as large city departments have. Besides that they have to haul water for the rural fires - farmers were also helping with that too.

They no more got that fire out and there was another just a few miles away that started in the middle of a field. They are not sure how that one got started but it was lucky that all those fire departments were close or it might have gotten close and burned a small town that was only a mile or less from the fire.

It is customary around here to always help a neighbor with anything if help is needed. By neighbor I mean the whole community. When my father in law was ill for several months and died during harvest time we had 15 to 20 people that came with combines, trucks and food for the workers and finished combining for John. They left their own fields to do this for us - you don't know how much that means until you are the recipient of such kindness.

All farmers know that they need to get everything harvested as quickly as possible as that is the whole years income sitting out in the field. Weather can damage the un-harvested crop so easily. We have had years when it snowed before we got it all out and years when it rained too much to get into the fields and had to track through the fields and prayed you didn't get stuck. There is always a sense of urgency during harvest so sitting idle is not easy for John or any farmer wanting to get in the combine and go.

That is all for now I guess - kind of got off on a tangent didn't I?


Half Square Triangles

I didn't have to work in the field yesterday so stitched more of my 3" scrappy fabric squares together. Probably most of you have your own system but this is how I set up my machine to stitch them together. I don't have to mark any lines on the fabric using this method.

I put the 1/4" foot on my machine, lay a ruler or any straight edge under the foot with the right side even with the right side of the foot. Lower the presser foot to hold it in place then put a piece of tape along that edge. The tape needs to be as long as the squares you are sewing together. I use painters tape as it doesn't leave a residue when removed.
Start the fabric squares by placing one tip at the right edge of the presser foot and the opposite tip on the edge of the tape.
Start stitching, keeping the tip even with the tape. When you finish stitching that pair of squares continue sewing with no fabric under the presser foot for a few stitches then lay that next pair down in the same way and stitch.

After the entire batch of squares are stitched down one side, flip the squares and start stitching down the other side using the same method.
After both sides are stitched, cut them down the center between the two lines of stitching then press open and trim to size. Ta-
Da, you're done!

My squares are 3" to start and the finished half square triangles are trimmed down to 2 1/2". There isn't a lot to trim but enough to make them perfect.

I have stitched 120 of these pairs together so far. I do have about 20 more to trim yet though. Think after these are trimmed I will start putting some of them in blocks.

Happy to be Stitching,

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I am loving my iPod, my birthday gift from John. I mentioned that I carry my cell phone and other necessities in my fanny pack while I am driving the tractor and this is one of my necessities! I have it turned on while I am driving back and forth from the combine to the trucks and while I am waiting at the end of the field. I do turn it off when I am driving beside the combine being filled and when I am unloading on the trucks. I don't want to get distracted and those activities take all my attention.

I like to listen to audio books and have loaded several I downloaded from LibraVox, a website where you can download books or listen on line for free. The books they have are older books in the public domain but are still fun to listen to. There are lots and lots of titles to choose from but right now I am listening to "Alice Adams" by Booth Tarkington. It is an interesting book and the reader is good too. Some readers are better than others of course.

I listen to books when I sew too and listening to a book makes house cleaning not so bad!



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