Sunday, May 31, 2009

Saturday Evening Ride

Here are a few of the sights John and I had on our 4-wheeler ride last evening. We decided to ride down to our two close pastures that are only a few miles from our place to check the cows and calves and to check the fence. We have some temporary fence up in both pastures and the deer are always running through it. More than once John has had to drive down and get one or two cows and calves back in and fix the fence.
We live close to where the Oregon Trail went through Nebraska and this marker is only a couple of miles south of our place. In fact there are places in a couple of pastures between this marker and the river that you can still see the ruts that the wagons made those many years ago as they traveled west.

The marker is set at the edge of the ditch next to a field of wheat. It sure was pretty waving in the breeze last evening. In a few weeks it will be turning golden and getting ripe. Looks like the same stuff in front of the marker but that is just brome grass that is about to pollinate - great for itchy skin and watery eyes!
This is a photo of the Little Blue River we have to cross to get to one of the pastures. The road just got opened up again this spring after it was closed for over a year while they put in a new larger bridge. It sure makes traveling to this pasture much shorter since it opened. The Little Blue is not a big river but it is pretty and meanders on it's way east to eventually join the Missouri River. Notice the swallow in the upper right of the sky. They build nests under the bridge so you always see them in this area.
A photo of one of the pastures.
I just wasn't brave enough to follow John down into this ravine and up again to check that temporary fence. You can see how steep it is when he is on his way back. I am a big chicken when it comes to things like this.

The owner of the neighboring pasture put in a new dam to catch rainwater and to help keep the gullies from washing so bad and the old fence got taken out where the dam was made so for right now until the fence making guy gets to it they have put in a temporary fence that obviously the deer love to run through.

Have not had a chance to sit down and do any sewing this afternoon yet. I worked outside in my flower beds getting the new soaker hoses I purchased laid out where I wanted them. I should have done this a while ago before the plants got so big but guess it is never too late.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

From Ideas to Fabric

After finally deciding what fabrics to use, I got started framing this basket block today. The first two borders are appliqued with the invisible stitch and the swags are fused and then buttonhole stitched with dark purple thread. I do like the look of the swags and plan to use them in one more border on this quilt yet but don't know where. The quilt just evolves as I finish one section at a time.

The tiny red border is about 1/8" wide and the print is about 3/8" wide. Scale is so hard to tell without any reference. Will have to use a ruler in some photos as I continue.

I do want to put flowers in the corners like I did the other two quilts so will probably be working on them next. It takes quite a while to fuse and cut all the pieces needed so it may be a few days before I have any more progress to show you.

John and I took a drive down to two of our pastures this evening to check the cows and to enjoy the fresh air. We each drove a 4-wheeler (some people call them quads)and listening to the birds as we drove along was so nice. Didn't see any deer or wild turkeys this evening which is unusual - we usually see quite a few down by the river where the one pasture is located.

The cattle in one pasture didn't like the 4-wheelers tonight and ran away from us but the cows in the other pasture just watched us for a little while then went back to munching grass. It was getting almost dark by the time we got home but we had a great time.

Until Later,

Friday, May 29, 2009

Working On My Design

The last few days I have been thinking about how I want to set the appliqued basket block I did for myself. Yesterday I sat down at the computer and played with several ideas on EQ6. Nothing came together or felt right until I got the idea to put appliqued swags around the oval border.

Since the original block was a circle and I just elongated it in EQ6 ,it changed the dimension so that the divisions on the original circle are not all the same size now. I had thought I could divide up the points and make my swags to fit and they would be equal in size - wrong! I don't know enough math to know if there is some way to do this so had to put my thinking cap on.

I looked up how to find the circumference of oval or ellipse on Google and did find some sort of calculator that you put your information into but it didn't come up with anything close to the size. The problem is that an oval can be wider or taller and it affects the circumference.

To solve my problem I finally took a flexible ruler and laid the edge on the curve on my print out and slowly measured 1/4 of the oval then used my calculator to figure what the dimensions would be if I put 3 swags in each quarter - think it will work as I have printed out swags the size I need and fitted them up to my paper oval.

This afternoon I am hoping I can figure out what fabrics I want to use for the different borders and get the oval done so I can start on the swags.

This morning I only worked on the quilt design until 9:00 am then started mowing the lawn and the rest of the yard. It takes me about 4 hours to get it all done with the riding mower. When you live on a farm you end up mowing a lot of area to keep everything looking neat so it just takes a while. If I only had the lawn to do that would be a snap. Am always glad when I am done as everything looks so good for a week then I have to do it all over again.

Until later,

Saturday, May 23, 2009

NSQG Auction Quilt Finished!!!

Flower Basket
11 ¼" x 12"
Made for Nebraska State Quilt Guild Auction July 2009

I worked until 11:00 pm last night but finished putting the last of the hand stitches around the label so this quilt is officially DONE! This morning I soaked it in Retayne to set any dyes that might want to migrate then washed it in quilt soap to get all the starch out of the fabrics. The quilt was quite stiff by the time I got it finished.
This is a detail photo of one of the corners. The quilt is not perfect and some of my red flanges are not as even as I wanted them to be but decided this was good enough. There are a few other things I see wrong with it too. I guess I need to stop being such a perfectionist as most people won't even see those spots.

What a good feeling to have both of the quilts I volunteered to do for these auctions finished. I was getting a little worried about getting them done in time but now those worries are over.

Not sure what I will work on next but it will be a pleasure to not be under a deadline. Maybe I will finish the flower basket quilt for myself now. Again not sure how I will set it but it probably will come out different than the other two since I start with no plan and let it evolve.

Some decisions are made because I run out of fabric. The backing on the quilt I just finished has a pieced back as I ran out of the wild batik I used in the borders. I stitched a 3" strip of the purple fabric in the center to extend it long enough for the backing. I tend to buy fat quarters and am always running out of fabric but in a way like that as it forces me to think of how to solve the problem. I originally didn't plan to use any of this fabric in the piecing but just use it as the backing. It added so much to the flower basket block I just had to use it as all my other choices were just boring.

A cousin and his wife will be here tonight and A and the two granddaughters come tomorrow, plus my sister in law and her family (7 or 8 of them) are coming Monday for Memorial Day so need to be thinking about what to eat, tidying up some and doing some laundry.

Oh, by the way, getting the stitches out yesterday was just fine. I couldn't even feel them being taken out so don't know why I worried. Have some Steri-Strips across the incision now that have to stay on for a week. Today I am officially cleared to wear regular shoes. Sounds good but I can't get my left foot into most of them but a couple pairs of flip flops! I am sure the swelling will continue to go down and I will be able to wear my other shoes in no time (I hope).

Until Later,

Friday, May 22, 2009

Blog Problems

Have not been able to look at my blog for a few days but just figured out a work around to get to my Dashboard this morning. Looked in the Help file and it seems to be a problem they are trying to fix. I Don't know if this message will post to my blog or not but will try as I hate to have you all think I have forgotten you.

I haven't had much time to post the last few days anyway as I am working like a mad woman trying to get the miniature finished for the NSQG auction. Need to have it in their hands by June 1st and that deadline is fast approaching. After yesterday I just have two borders left to quilt so I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

This morning I have to go to Hastings to get the stitches out of my foot. Am not looking forward to that - I can get a little squeamish about things like that. If I am working on myself I am better than watching someone else work on me. Weird, right?

Looks like a beautiful day out with no wind thank goodness. Nebraska winds can be just awful especially when they blow day after day. I don't mean light breezes but strong winds that blow the dirt and everything else it seems. We could use some rain here as everything is quite dry right now and the winds sure helped to dry everything out even more. If it doesn't rain soon John will have to start up the pivot irrigation systems to water the bean fields to get them to come up.

That is all for now - I just wonder if Blogger will publish this to my Blog. Right now there is no way to check it to find out.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Peices and Parts

Have the pre-fusing done on the flowers and buds and now am ready to get the corners put together on this next quilt. I did get the double oval ring stitched down over the flower basket last night but need to release a few of my seams now so the paper will come out easily later.

I probably won't get any done on it today as my daughter S is coming down to help me plant my garden and to run the vacuum cleaner on the floors in the house. Those two things I just can't manage. The garden is needing to be planted and I didn't get it done before the surgery as John had not gotten it tilled by then.

I have found also that running the vacuum is just too much for my foot. Not sure if it is the weight of the machine or just being up on my foot more. The floors need a good cleaning and since we are having overnight company on Tuesday I am very thankful S is helping me out today.

She called and is on her way and will be here in about 30 minutes so I had better post this now. Will show you a photo I took yesterday before I close though. We loaded up a trailer load of yearling heifers to take to one of our pastures. They sure didn't know what to think of the pasture and took off running after being unloaded. Here they are running along the ridge of a hill. They pretty much ran until they got to a fence then followed the fence around. By today they will be settled down and enjoying all the green grass.
Until later,

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fabric Flowers & Real Flowers

Today I have gotten the two rings cut out and seam allowances glued down for this next flower basket quilt - not much progress but every little bit counts. This photo is of them laying on top of each other but not stitched down yet. Think I will do flowers in the corners like the other quilt but have not traced them on the fusible - maybe this evening or tomorrow I will get that done.
I slipped outside this morning and took this photo of the flowers on the south side of our house. The irises are starting to bloom so pretty now.
That's all for now as I must get outside to mow my yard. Works OK with my "wonky" foot as we have a riding lawn mower and all I have to do is sit. When I finish the lawn I need to mow the rest of the yard but will have to have help getting the grass catcher off the mower. Will look good when I get finished but always an itchy job. Will tie a plastic shopping bag over my ugly shoe to keep the dirt and grass off if it. I will really look strange - I wear a large hat to keep the sun off, long sleeves, sun glasses, long pants and gloves so the plastic bagged foot will just add to my ensemble!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Miniature Almost Finished

This miniature quilt is almost finished - all but the hand stitching to tack the binding down on the back plus attach the label. Feels good to have one of the three this close to being done. The deadline for this one is slowly approaching as is the other donation quilt.
10" x 10 3/4"
As you can see, I trimmed down the last outside cream border quite a bit from what I had added earlier. It was just too overpowering for the quilt and I like this better. I added a burgundy folded piece to the inside of the binding to finish it off. There is no spectacular quilting on this piece as I felt the applique needed to be the center of attention and didn't want viewers to be distracted by the quilting. Hope I was successful.

I free hand quilted (with the machine) around each applique and stipple quilted the background. The two green borders were just stitched in the ditch.
It is so hard to imagine size on miniatures so I took this detail photo of the basket with my left index finger laying on the quilt. (Please don't look at the state of my fingernails and cuticles - I just never find the time to take care of them.) Guess I shouldn't have said that now you are all looking and gasping in horror!

Taking a break to put my foot up and reading a book now this evening. I know I should be doing the hand stitching on this little quilt but this book is just calling my name and I can't resist. I love to read and evenings are perfect for it.

Happy Quilting (and Reading!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ready, Set, Go

This afternoon I am working on quilting the first miniature flower basket quilt. So far I have the flowers, leaves and basket in the center outlined and the background in the center finished. I just did a small stipple in the background. I am using YLI silk thread - burgundy for the flowers, green for the leaves, brown for the basket and pale yellow for the background.

Notice the red ring - that is the Quilt Halo sold by Sharon Schamber. It really holds the quilt down and is easy to grip to move the quilt around while stitching.

This is what it looks like from the back.
Yesterday I got rid of the crutches and am hobbling around with out them now. So far my foot is doing pretty good but my other leg gets really tired taking most of the weight. I do have to take breaks to put it up and put an ice bag on it periodically and that helps.

Back to quilting,

Friday, May 8, 2009

Designer Shoe

I am sure you are jealous that I have this very attractive designer shoe to wear for at least the next 3 weeks!

My foot surgery went OK yesterday, the small lump on the arch of my foot was removed successfully and we were on our way home shortly after noon. I get to take the bandages off on Sunday, go back to the Dr. in two weeks to have the stitches taken out but have to wear this shoe on my left foot for at least 3 weeks. The Dr. said I probably wouldn't be able to get my regular shoes on until then anyway. :-(

Am using crutches to get around for a few days since I am not to put any weight on that foot. I sure will be glad when I don't have to use them anymore. For some reason I must have broken a blood vessel in the palm of my hand last evening when I was getting from one room to another. The palm of my hand is turning purple and is tingly along that half of my hand. New problem, how do you use crutches and protect this hand....haven't quite figured it out yet so am just trying to go slow and not put much weight on that crutch.

For some reason I have been unable to sleep tonight - or should I say morning now as it is a little after 5 am. I laid in bed until 3:30 am then decided to get up so I wouldn't wake John with my fidgeting. Am thinking this will be a very long day unless I can get in a pretty lengthy nap.

Sorry no quilting information to give you but I have been sitting here all night,reading other blogs, photographing my foot and hand, icing my foot and wishing I were even a little bit sleepy


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'm Back....

Well I am back on the computer tonight to do a sort of catch up since my trip to Paducah for the AQS show. I again went with my two sisters and college friend but this year my niece went along too. We had a great time at the show seeing all the wonderful quilts and shopping until our legs felt like they were going to drop off. Our hostess is the sweetest lady (mother-in-law of our friend) and it is so nice to stay in town just a few blocks from the convention center.
You can see the award winning quilts on this AQS page. We are not supposed to post photos of the quilts, besides the photos on this page are great.

We brought some food along and plenty of snacks and several local wines from near each of the areas we live. We had happy hour each night on our hostess's screened in porch to rest our feet before we had our dinner - oh what luxury! Our hostess cooked dinner for us at night which was also a wonderful treat. Last year we talked her into letting us take her out to eat one time but she wouldn't hear of it this year. We try to help with the cooking and clean up and sneaked down to the laundry to get the sheets washed, dried and on the beds before we left on Saturday morning.

The dogwood trees were beautiful even after the horrific ice storm they had in Paducah last winter. Think they and the azaleas had started blooming sooner this year as some were starting to drop or fade but they still were a sight to see, so beautiful.
For those who don't know about these dogwood flowers they are about 3" across - HUGE! The trees are just loaded with the flowers.
Around town the downed tree branches from most of the trees have been picked up but we did see several large piles in front yards yet. The tree trimmers were still at work in places too.
This is the flood wall in Paducah near the downtown area. The murals painted on it are magnificent and a sight to see.
I got home late Saturday night April 25th then life took over. I did get to take a wonderful machine quilting class from Pat Rodgers on the Monday after I got home in Grand Island. Was tired but wanted the chance to take a class from a nationally known instructor and I learned a lot.

The rest of the time between then and now have been really hectic. Needless to say I have not been able to get any sewing done and probably won't for a little while longer. After several Dr. apt., MRI, etc. I am scheduled for surgery on my foot on this Thursday. My Dr. says the surgery should be fairly easy but will have to be off my left foot for a while. I may be able to sit at the computer or sewing machine for short periods I hope.

Until later,


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