Friday, April 30, 2010

Paducah Flowers

My last Paducah report is dedicated to all the pretty flowers in bloom while we were there.  The dogwoods were still in bloom but a lot of them had dropped their petals since they had been blooming for a while so I really had to hunt for some that still looked pretty good.  The flowers are so beautiful and so large.  Sure wish we could grow them in Nebraska but it just gets much too cold here in the winters.
 Our hostess BJ had azaleas in front of her house that were just beautiful.  The flowers are so dense the bushes look like balls of bright color.  Driving around Paducah we had a chance to see many colors of azaleas.  All are so pretty I am not sure I could pick a favorite.
We all look forward to this trip to Paducah each year and then the time goes by so fast.  I wish we could make time suspend for a while so we could savor the experience more.  Our drive home is long, dropping off people as we go - Columbia, Mo then Kansas City, Nebraska City then home for me.  It took 13 hours from when we left at 7:30 am in the morning until 8:30 pm when I got home.  I was so tired of sitting but very glad to get home before dark.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Paducah Purchases

 It is time to show you what I bought this year at Paducah - I know you all are probably wondering so here goes.

I got these cute pendants made from porcelain from Hook & Ayres Design.  You can see how small they are compared to a bobbin.  They will be perfect to hang on a chain for a necklace don't you think?

The webpage is not too current but does explain about their products if you click on "About Us" and has an email address to contact them if you want.

Next - different colors of the leads for the Fons and Porter or Bohin marking pencil.  I have the white and just love it.  Actually they are not lead but a chalk product that brushes off.  Will have to test the colors as I use them to make sure they do come off the fabric but I do know the white is just wonderful.

 My sister talked me into getting this next product - a cute pair of snips.  She has a pair of these spring action snips and just loves them.  These are from Tooltron Insustries.  Barb told me a story about these snips and her 4 yr. old granddaughter J.  One day Barb couldn't find them and looked all over.  Finally she asked J if she had seen them.  She babysits J 2-3 times a week and she loves to "help" Barb sew.  J said she didn't know where they were and probably the ghost took them.  After a while Barb looked in one of the places J likes to play and found them.  J was still insisting the ghost took them but told Barb that she really liked them too.  Barb has her use them to snip off threads so J gets a chance to use them now and so far that ghost has not taken them again.  That pesky ghost has been to work on other missing things too so J is now lovingly called the ghost.

 Fabric - I didn't buy much as I have so much here at home but did pick up 5 batiks.  They were inexpensive at Eleanor Burns Quilt In A Day shop downtown and out at the fairgrounds where she had a large tent and building full of fabric and her other products.  A couple of pieces I got at another shop downtown  - also a discount fabric shop.  I got a couple of yards of each of the fabrics and figured I could use them as wallhanging backings or piecing in a larger quilt.

Eleanor Burns has a fun thing she does to get people back to her shops more than once.  Each day she has a color featured and any fabric that is predominately that color is reduced by $.50 a yard.  The fabric is already $5 a yard so that gets it down pretty cheap.  Of course her store downtown has a different color each day than out at the fairgrounds so we have to check out both every day.

The black fabric with the stars and the purple/pink fabric with it may be a purse/bag someday and the black and white might me a garment, possibly a skirt or jacket.  Of course all that might change when I think about it more and start on a project.

 I had been anxious to see the new titanium topstitch needles that Superior Threads are marketing and purchased size 70, 80 and 90.  Have done a little machine quilting after I have gotten home and have the size 90 in my machine.  It works great and is supposed to last much longer than the regular needles.

 While at the Superior Threads booth I also purchased a bunch of thread on the larger cones.  I love Master Piece thread for piecing my quilts.  It is strong but finer so is less bulky in the seams.  I got several neutral colors and the 3000 yd. cones should last me a long time.

I also bought two spools of King Tut on the cone.  I have a large quilt that I am going to machine quilt at some point so these are destined to be used on it.

Bernina sells bobbins in bulk at the show - it may not be the company but a vendor of Berninas.  Who ever they are it is great to buy them a little cheaper than the pre-packaged ones I can get at my dealer.

That is pretty much it as far as what I bought I think.  I have put everything away so had to go find it all to take photos of my treasures.  It is a lot of fun to search the booths for those things I just can't live without.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Paducah Quilt Winners 2010

I enjoyed looking at all the quilts at the AQS show in Paducah and the ones picked as winners were outstanding.  You can see all the winners here on the AQS website.  The photos I took are not nearly as clear as the ones posted on the webpage.  Here are a few detail photos of the Best of Show - Tribute to Tolkien by Sue McCarty of Roy, Utah.  The thread work was just amazing and the more you looked at it the more you saw.
I purchased the catalog of show quilts and can look at each one in it and bought the show book that had the vendors listed plus a short writeup about each quilt.  I see on the AQS website you can purchase the book and a CD of all the quilts.  Might have to think about getting one of the CDs myself since I didn't take so many photos this year.  Photos are so much more clear viewed on the computer than in print I think.
Enjoy looking at the quilts and want you all to think about entering next year - I am.  I say that now but don't have anything done so it may be a few years before I have something I want to enter.  Of course you have to be selected too but someday I will enter and if I get selected that will be a thrill in itself.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Hostess With the Mostess

Our wonderful hostess each year in Paducah is the mother in law of our friend Diane.  Betty Jane is the sweetest woman to allow the five of us to crash at her house for a few days each year.  We try to make our stay less work for her by bringing food we have fixed at home and can re-heat for our meals, plus snacks too.  We try to do the dishes and clean up after each meal but this year she shooed us out a couple of times before we got it all done.

Betty Jane is not a quilter but still is interested in everything we do while at the show.  Each evening when we return for the day we kick off our shoes, fix some snacky food, open a bottle of wine and relax on her screened in porch while dinner is heating.  The outside temperatures were mid 70s I would guess the whole time we were there so it was really nice on the porch. 

After our "happy hour" we have show and tell.  We all bring the bags of goodies we have purchased that day and take turns showing Betty Jane and each other what we bought or about what we saw.  She asks us questions about the treasures we have purchased if she doesn't know what we use it for or how it works.  She just laughs at how excited we get about certain things.

Betty Jane is one of Paducah's Red Coat Ambassadors and worked one day during the convention.  This year she was assigned to work in the "bubble".  She was to answer questions and to guard one of the emergency exits so someone wouldn't accidentally open that door.  Guess the air pressure in the bubble would be awful if a door was opened that should not have been and could suck you outside. 

We all really appreciate everything Betty Jane does to make our stay wonderful and to be able to stay right in Paducah is the best when we know a lot of people have to travel to lodging miles away each day and evening.

More Paducah report later,

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Trip To Paducah

my sister Jeannine, me, my sister Barb, my niece Caroline, our friend Diane

The trip to Paducah last week was great, wonderful, fantastic,...etc.  We arrived early afternoon on Wed. so had time to go down and get our entry fees taken care of and do a little shopping.  Decided to wait until Thursday morning to start looking at the quilts.

We like to all get t-shirts alike each year and this year we bought them at the museum.  They are the same design we get each year but the message around the outside is different each year besides the current year printed on them.  This year the message was a little tongue and cheek joke. 

This year's message; "In the name of the stash, the bash and the big E's collapse!  Amen."  The big E they are talking about is the large Executive Inn that is attached to the convention center - it is closed and the city owns it now.  Guess they are not sure what will happen to it, if it will be torn down or sold and renovated.  This hotel had many rooms for guests (sleeping) plus some large rooms that in the past were used for vendors.  It left the show in a real bind when it closed and the city of Paducah purchased a large pavilion that was erected outside the convention center to help house more vendors and quilts.  It was like a blow up large room and there were lots of vendors and some quilts on display in it.  The "bubble" as our hostess called it was air conditioned and was really light and roomy so it was very pleasant to shop.  I think all the vendors liked it except the ones right beside the large air conditioner vent - burr it was just way too cold in that spot.

Thought you might want to know what the last two year's messages were on the t-shirts; 2009 "In the name of the shears, the beers, and the 25th anniversary!  Amen."   2008 "In the name of the fun, the friends and the fabric...Amen."  I wonder what next years will be?


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Paducah Gifts

  Finished beading the last needle case a few weeks ago but didn't want to spoil the surprise in case one of my sisters or friend happened to look at my blog so waited until now to show you them all in a row.  Changed the post date of this blog so it would be posted after I left for Paducah - hope I am having fun!  
You can see all the beaded dogwood items I made together.  I used Delica beads and the Peyote stitch to make them all.  The three smaller in diameter containers are wooden needle cases that I beaded around and will go to my two sisters and one niece.  The two larger containers are what I call Pill Keepers.  They are also wooden and beaded in the round just like the needle cases.  They are for my friend and her mother in law, our hostess in Paducah.  Neither of these ladies are sewers so didn't think they would get much use out of a needle case so beaded these larger wooden cases for them to use to put a few pills in - maybe they will want to carry them in their purse.  

I still like beading but am glad to not make any more of this design for a while, even though the dogwood design is perfect for Paducah and the AQS show. 


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Bags Are Packed....I'm Ready To Go

Just a quick note - if I can do quick and short that is.  Today is the day I leave for Paducah.  YAY!!!!  Meeting my sister in eastern Nebraska around 10, driving to Kansas City to pick up our friend then on to Columbia, Missouri area to stay with our other sister.  Along with my niece, tomorrow morning we will leave fore Paducah.

Seems like I have been waiting forever for this week to come, I hope it doesn't go too fast as I want to savor the experience.  If it will be like the last two years it will be wonderful and I will fill you all in when I get back.

Yesterday I thought I was so organized and I was.  Had my bag packed, food ready to take, house semi-clean.  I was watering some outside plants before I left on this trip and decided to come in the house to get a drink as I was pretty thirsty.  Well, it is a good thing I did as I heard water, lots of water and ran to the stair door to the basement and opened the door.  I could hear a waterfall!

Ran outside as fast as I could and turned the faucet off next to the front door, ran back inside and down to the basement to see if that shut the waterfall did thank goodness.  I guess the inside works of the outside faucet must have broken and all the water, at least 10 minutes of full blast water was going down into the basement.  Thing is it was still coming out my soaker hose in the flower bed so I didn't know it was happening.

Called John who was planting corn in a field several miles away and I proceeded to start moving things out of the room.  The large room where the water was coming in is used for a play room for the kids and an extra sleeping room when we have company so there are lots of toys, book shelves, play kitchen's, get the idea.  Besides all that we have an extra queen sized bed, extra twin bed, couch and a couple of chairs too. 

By this time the water covered 3/4 of the room which by the way is carpeted with a foam backed carpet.  I got the small shop vacuum out and proceeded to start sucking the water up.  I had emptied it 3times by the time John got there and he went out to his shop to get the large shop vacuum he has there.  We filled it several times too and got as much as we could sucked out of the carpet. 

I started the dehumidifier right away and have two fans blowing down there to help dry it out.  We will have to empty the dehumidifier out twice a day (Uh, John will because I am leaving in an hour and will be gone all week).  Anyway I am hoping it will be dry and not smelly when I get home.

Need to shower yet so must close - talk to you later.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Quilt Guild Meeting

Tonight we are having our monthly quilt guild meeting.  Have about an hour before I have to leave so decided to sit down here and leave a message on my blog.  No photos, sorry.

Our program tonight should be really interesting.  Members are asked to bring any fabric bags or purses they have made plus the pattern.  They will tell about the bag and then all bags/purses will be laid out on tables for everyone to look at.  They can write down the pattern name and designer if they decide that is something they might like to make. 

I have several I am taking that I made plus a purse that my sister made me and one that I bought on our mini quilt auction a few years ago that is decorated with wool appliqued poinsettias.  It is beautiful.

I do plan to take my camera tonight so hope to get photos of some of them and can show them on a later blog. 

We are getting thunder storms all around us this afternoon and it just sprinkled here a little while ago.  I guess that is a sure sign of spring right?  Another sign of spring is seeing the birds around the yard.  As I sit at my sewing machine I can watch the comings and goings of the black bird that has built a nest in one of our blue spruce trees and a robin going in and out of the one next to it.  John and I went out after lunch today and the black bird has a nice nest built but no eggs yet and the robin has eggs in her nest.  She flew away when John was peeking through the prickly branches to see.  She did come right back after he left though.

The trees are getting tall enough we have had nesting birds in them for the last 2-3 years.  Last year even one of the newer trees we planted on the east side of our driveway had a robin's nest in it about 2 feet off the ground.  I was surprised that one of our cats didn't discover the nest.  Our old shop cat - Mr. Cat - hunts around the trees all the time but think he mainly stays on the ground as the branches are tight and really prickly.  We have seen him catch mice and baby rabbits around those trees.  I know, baby rabbits are cute but they grow up and eat all my garden off so am glad the farm cats can catch a few.

The cortisone shot in my shoulder is really taking hold I think.  Last night I didn't even need the propped up pillow to rest my arm on to sleep and today it feels pretty good.  Granted I am not pushing it by testing where I know the sore areas are when I reach behind me - just not doing that, but overall it does feel better and hope it keeps it up.

You know I really get gabby when I sit down at the computer anymore.  I think I will have a short post then before you know it it is probably too long and talking about things that no one really cares to read.  Oh, well guess that is just me.  When I was young I was very shy and didn't grow out of it until I was in college but now people can hardly believe I was ever shy since I do talk a lot.  My theory is I held it in for so many years it is just free flowing now, like it or not.

Jabber Jaws Over and Out,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring Flowers

Just went out a little bit ago and took some photos of my flowers.  You can see some frost damage on some as we had a couple of nights where it got down cold enough to frost.  Am not posting any tulips as some are already bloomed and gone and others have not opened up yet.
These Pansys I planted last year and they came up early and are blooming so pretty by my front door.  Wonder if they will live over another winter?

The next two photos are of Candytuft which is a low growing flower that lops over my sidewalk every year.  Last year a lot of it died off but this year the snow drifts must have protected it more.
Some of my Jonquils/Doffodils are still blooming and some that grow right next to the south side of our brick house are done for this year already.  They are so pretty waving in the wind.
This last flower I could do without!  I have several large dandylion weeds growing and blooming in my flower bed.  Need to get them removed before they put out seed heads.  I think I would have solid dandylions everywhere if we did not spray for them each year.  I know the seed drifts in from the road ditches and fields so we will never be rid of them. They are bright spots of color when you drive past the yard but they have to be gone real soon.
 Have not gotten any sewing done for several days due to Dr. apts.  Saw my sinus Dr. on Monday and now am on several more things to control the bacterial infection and prevent more sinus infections.  Feel like a walking pharmacy.  Did find out from the culture of the bacteria and test on the different antibiotics that this strain is resistant to many oral antibiotics but did find one that would work (I hope)  With all the meds I have been on the last few years I have become resistant to some of them.  They assure me it is just this particular bacteria but it still worry's me as my only other choice is the IV kind.  I have wondered if that might be the problem but you follow orders and take what they prescribe.

My second Dr. apt. this week was with an orthopedic Dr.  I have been trying to ignore the pain in my right shoulder for months and the last month it has gotten worse.  When I had to start sleeping with a pillow wedged under my arm and against my chest when I slept I decided I had better see a Dr. about it.

The conclusion of the Dr. is I have a tear in one of the muscles in my rotator cuff on my right shoulder.  He gave me a cortisone shot and ordered a month of physical therapy.  I sure hope this works as I don't want to have shoulder surgery again if I don't have to.  I had surgery on my left shoulder in 2003 and it took me months to recover.  Granted it was more serious than originally thought.  With that one he removed the flexible joint near the shoulder at the end of the collar bone because it had much arthritis that were like points that were shredding the muscle/tendon, repaired the tendon, cleaned more arthritis out the the ball joint, then cut a groove in the ball and screwed in the tendon.  I know that is probably way more information than you really wanted to know - sorry.

Because of the screw the Dr. didn't want me starting physical therapy for 6 weeks and by the time I started my elbow and shoulder joints were stiff and I could not raise my arm above my waist.  It took 30 appointments with PT plus doing the exercises 4 times a day at home before I was done.  It was hard work but glad I did it as I have around 97% of my movement back.  Didn't think I would ever get that much back but now don't have much of anything I can't reach or do but don't have the strength back in that arm.  I suppose I could lift weights for that but just haven't.

Needless to say my right shoulder and arm have been a little sore since the Dr. apt. and more sore before the apt. and I have not gotten much stitching done on my quilt.  I did cut some more plastic today for luggage tags though.  A friend emailed that she had 30 more cut out and needed more plastic.  I think I am nearing the end if all who took plastic last month at our guild meeting make the tags.

I am counting down the days until I go to Paducah next week.  Will leave home on Tuesday and meet one of my sisters in Nebraska City.  We will drive to Kansas City to pick up our friend then head to near Columbia, Missouri to our other sisters where we will stay overnight.  Our niece will join us and we will head to Paducah on Wed.  We should make pretty good time I would think as we drove from Kansas City last year and got there around 4 pm.

We are all taking food to eat and snack on and have my bag getting full of goodies.  I will make encheladas tomorrow and freeze them plus will take some of my own frozen corn along for one meal besides all the snack stuff I have purchased.  I did buy a couple of local wines to take along too because we always have "happy hour" on our hostesses screened in porch when we return from the show each day.  Hope the weather cooperates for us to do that this year too.

My shopping list is getting longer and longer each day so we had better leave soon or I will spend way too much money.  John teased me yesterday after my apt. with the orthopedic Dr. that he guessed that I probably couldn't shop at all since I am to watch it a little on carrying heavy things.  He wasn't serious though thank goodness.  He is happy I can go and enjoy something so much and get a chance to spend time with my sisters and niece.

Happy Spring,

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Great Give Away

I Have A Notion is celebrating it's year anniversary with wonderful give aways for 30 days.  That is right for a whole 30 days.  It is not too late to sign up for all the give aways so go to the site and get your name in for these wonderful products.  Just scroll backwards from the most current blog entry to find the others.  There are only 5 days left of the promotion so don't wait too long.

Tomorrow the prize is an AccuQuilt Go - can you believe it.  Wouldn't that be wonderful to win!

To get extra chances to win I needed to post the link to the blog and shop here on my blog.  I don't want to be selfish and keep this to myself so here are the places to go. 
Blog Link:: http/
Website Link : 

 Good luck to all of you and of course I am wishing myself some of that luck to win a prize too.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Taking My Baby In For A Check-Up

I had neglected to take my Bernina 730 sewing machine in for its 1 year check up last June and finally remembered recently.  I took it to the dealer where I purchased it and had it checked out, cleaned and oiled on Thursday while I shopped in Lincoln.  Don't get to Lincoln very often anymore so called ahead and made an apt. to make sure the machine could be worked on that day.

I have an extra bobbin with the spring for added tension so took it along and had him check both bobbins and reset the tension with the thread I usually use for piecing, (Masterpiece Thread.)

He updated my BSR foot plus I took my walking foot along as I had heard that they should be oiled occasionally and I had never taken it in so that was done too.  I have had this walking foot since I purchased the Bernina 150 which I had for quite a few years.
I did get my machine back into my sewing table but have not had a chance to use it yet.  Maybe sometime this weekend I can sit down and sew a bit.

I was told me my machine had a little over one million stitches on it already.  It was a demo. machine for a while so some of those many stitches were already on it when I purchased it, but WOW that is a lot of stitches.  I really wonder how many I actually stitched myself.

I did miss out on a snow storm while I was in Lincoln though.  (Really don't feel bad to miss it though as we had so much last winter and don't want to see anymore for a while.)  I left here by 8 am to get to Lincoln by 10 when the store opened.  I drove in misty rain the entire way and it was a little sleety when I got there but it stopped soon and was just overcast the rest of the day.  John called me and said it was really snowing like crazy here at home.  I guess it snowed pretty hard for a couple of hours but was all melted by the time I came home.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Jammer Boxes

I talked about these wonderful plastic boxes in a previous blog entry and told you I had not been able to find them for quite some time.  These are great boxes for holding thread.
A web friend, Tich from Island Hame Crafts sent me the following information and consented to let me post it.  I didn't know what the boxes were called before this - now I know they are called Jammers and might be able to get them again so I am excited about that.

She wrote:
"I copied the following from the Internet a while ago, when I read about the 'Jammers'. You seemingly still can get the 'thread' boxes."

"Hooray!  Walmart toy section has the plastic boxes back for the little cars again (they've been missing for several years).  It's the one that opens on each side and has 48  little compartments that are PERFECT for lots of craft bits and pieces! Jammers are in the Toy section of Walmart – where they have the Matchbox cars. Whew! I just checked a nearby WM and the cases are still in the regular place @ the regular price ($4.88 each), so I bought two more. I'm glad to see that they're still there.
They may have them but you don't notice them. They are often on the very bottom shelf or up above on the very top shelf."

"If your store did have them and they are being clearanced, then maybe consumers didn't show enough interest in them. If you don't support the product, then you won't get it."

"You can order the "Jammers" cases directly from Plano. You have to buy a case (6?) but even with the shipping charge, it works out to about $5."

Plano Molding Co., 431 E. South St., Plano, IL 60545,
toll-free (sales and service) 800-228-9868,
mon.-Fri. 7:30a.m.-4:00p.m. (central time)
Jammers are NOT on the website.
You must call and order model number 5315 (48 car garage)

Until Later,

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Luggage Tags...Done for a While

This week I finished making another 21 luggage tag for my project to get 300 done for my friend.  Think I am up to around 160 and am really tired of making them so decided to stop for a while.  I have quilt guild friends that are making some too and will wait and see what come in from them before I cut and stitch more tags.

After making as many as I have I can almost make them in my sleep.  It is much easier to make them in batches too.  Saves wasted motion to cut a bunch, stitch a bunch, turn a bunch, press a bunch and stitch on the plastic in a bunch.

Happy Easter to Christians around the world.  We will be going to our son in law's parent's home on Sunday noon - they don't live too far away.  Can't get too far away from home for too long a time, even on Easter, as the cows don't care when they have their calves and we need to check on them pretty often in case one is in trouble and needs some help.  We had church early then a pot luck breakfast after church so we will be well fed today for sure!


Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Continuing Adventures On Our Farm

Thursday evening I was pretty tired so had planned to go to bed around 10 pm.  I usually stay up until 11 - 11:30 and sometimes later.  Just habit I guess.

John always goes out to check the cows around 10 one last time before he goes to bed to see if any of them look like they are having trouble calving.  If a cow needs help or needs to be put in the barn he does it then he will go out later to check that cow again.  Well, on Thursday he went out to do his maternity watch and discovered that part of the herd had broken out.  They had run through an electric fence and were calmly grazing on all the new weeds and grass scattered outside the lots.

I was ignorant of what was happening for a while just watching the news and thinking I really should go to bed.  All of a sudden I could hear one of the ATVs .  Sounded like John was just tearing around the farm yard so I went to a window and looked out just in time to see a cow run past the windmill and take a right by the first grain bin with John in hot pursuit on the ATV.

I changed my shoes (was wearing some new sandals trying to break them in), grabbed a jacket and my dust mask and headed out the door.  Finally got a second ATV started and helped get the pesky cows back in where they knew they belonged.  Of course it wasn't quite that easy....think the cows thought we were playing hide and seek.  We have rows of the large round bales near the lots, lines of machinery, a couple of large buildings and several grain bins in the area where they were "playing".

Being that it was dark they could quickly step out of the head lights and disappear.  Think John and I went round and round for an hour getting one or another and finally decided we had them all where they belonged.  I had looked in my yard around the house and thought, "thank goodness they didn't get in here". 

The next morning I picked up a couple of neighbor boys that I had hired to help me clean the flower beds and garden of last year's debris.  I of course had to wear that dust mask again - I hate the things as they are so scratchy around my chin and cheeks, plus my glasses just don't sit right on top of it and they get very hot.  Here is what it looks like...of course that isn't me, I have different colored hair and am not a man but you get the idea.  Actually his hair doesn't look so bad, mine was a mess after putting that rubber band thing around it.  It could have had a little longer straps too as it is really tight.  Guess that is the whole purpose of these masks is to keep the dust out.  It does have one nice feature though and that is that my glasses didn't fog up because it has a breathing filter.
We did find cow tracks in the flower beds and they also left smelly deposits on the brick walkway at the back of the house.  At least one had to walk by the window that was in the room where I was watching TV.  Wonder if she looked in the window at me and snickered!

The boys and I worked all morning, broke for lunch then worked another hour and a half after lunch but got all the flower beds and garden areas cleaned up. It took the three of us 4 hours to get it done since most of the time we were on our hands and knees clearing the dead stuff out of the new growth.  We worked hard and steady and now it is beautiful, clean and ready for the flowers to grow.

The last part we were cleaning was my vegetable garden and flower bed on the back side of the house.  The 11 yr. old was raking the strawberry bed, I was on my knees cleaning around and in my rhubarb and the 13 yr. old was nearby removing old flower stalks.  I am setting the scene so you can visualize what happened next.....

The rhubarb had dead leaves and stems that I was carefully removing since the new growth was about 6" tall and pretty dense.  Just as I grabbed one brown/black dried up stem another one moved.  I instantly screamed and tried to scramble backwards half crawling, half rolling to get away.  It was a garter snake... I know, I know, they are harmless but scare the pa-jee-bees out of me anyway.  I certainly did get the attention of the boys though.  I know they were not trying to laugh at the sight of me screaming and rolling away from the rhubarb but were very kind and didn't let me see their smiles.  (By the way - this is not me in the photo but probably a close facsimile but you need to add the beautiful dusk mask to the photo, age me quite a bit and give me reddish blond hair to make it more accurate.)

The older boy very calmly picked up the snake and I asked him to please take it to the far reaches of the farm yard so it would never be back in my yard again which he calmly did.  Took me an hour to stop shaking from the experience!  I do think I am traumatized from childhood as we had rattle snakes around where I lived and were taught to always presume any snake was a rattler. 

Last evening my muscles were so tired but a good kind of tired from a job finished.  This is the first time I have hired the neighbor boys and will do so again as they were a tremendous help.

No quilting done yesterday, but a day well spent (with the exception of the snake of course.)  I want to leave you with a much nicer image in your head.....

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Favorite Things - Part 3

Continuing on with my "favorite things" blog posts here are a few more.  This Bendable Bright Light  from BENDABLEBRIGHTLIGHT.COM is the best for increasing the light where ever you position it.  I have been known to position it over seams that I am to rip as well as over my presser foot.  It is amazing how much more light you can get from this little light.

I have drawer in my sewing table that I keep a lot of tools that I use often.  I keep my bobbins in boxes like the one below that I ordered years ago from Clotilde.  I like that it has a clear lid so the dust stays off the bobbins but I can see what is in each box.  The bobbins don't come unwound either.  Have two boxes but need to get a couple more to keep the different threads separate as sometimes I have to think a bit to figure out what thread is on which bobbin.

 This Bohin mechanical chalk pencil is really a nice marking tool.  The mark is narrow so you can be very precise and the chalk comes in green, yellow, white and gray colored chalk.  The chalk comes off the quilt nicely too.

Another similar marker is the Clover mechanical pencil that comes in yellow, pink and gray.  I have the gray and it pretty well brushes off with the brush on the end.  It too makes a small thin line.

When I first saw this notion a few years ago I wondered why anyone would want one.  Now that I have one I understand.  This is called a Quilt Dome by Clover.  You thread your needles and insert them one at a time into the 10 numbered slots.  After each needle is inserted you twirl the blue section clockwise and it wraps the un-knotted thread around the inside.  The needles can be pulled out in any order and the thread follows and never tangles.  This is invaluable when I am doing hand applique or quilting.  I can thread up different colors of thread for applique or 10 threaded needles of my hand quilting thread ready to go.  It works great for take along projects too.

Thread - so many choices and so many good threads.  I have a couple of real favorites from Superior Threads though.  I use Bottom Line in the bobbin all the time when machine quilting and have used it on the top as well.  I have used a heavier thread on top and the Bottom Line in the bobbin and have used silk thread in the top and Bottom Line in the bobbin and haven't had tension problems...I can always adjust it if necessary.  The second Superior Threads product that I use all the time now is Masterpiece Thread for piecing my quilts.  It is 100% cotton so much finer than most of the "regular" threads I have used and stitches so nicely.  When I go to Paducah in a few weeks I plan to buy cones of these threads in the colors I use most of.  I will get a tan/beige colored cone of Bottom Line and gray, black, white and tan/beige.  I am always running out of the Masterpiece thread so the cones will give me more of those basic colors.

These are photos of my favorite thread storage boxes.  I purchased the ones I have now in the toy department where they sell Matchbook cars.  These boxes were made to hold the small toy cars but work great for storing thread - lots of thread in each box.  They are double sided with hinged lids and really hold a lot of thread.  Sorry to say you can not buy them anymore around here anyway.  Luckily I got enough back when I could buy them.

Today was another beautiful warm spring day with the temperature not quite getting to 80 F (26.6 C).  The only drawback to the weather is the wind - it was blowing pretty strong all day.  That is one thing about Nebraska we do get lots of wind.  You do get used to it but the occasional calm day is wonderful!

Our cows are really having their calves this week keeping John busy tagging the babies.  On Tuesday we had 8 calves and have had a couple each day since.  Think we are a little over 1/3 done with calving so if they keep it up we will be finished in a few weeks.  Of course there is always a cow or two that don't have their calf until we have hauled the rest of them to the pastures in May.  We don't like the late ones as then the calf is little when taken to the pasture and also the cow will sometimes breed late again and it gets to be a pattern for some cows to always calve late.  They will get sold if they do it more than a couple of years in a row if they live here.  Another reason to bunch up the calving is that the calves are closer to the same size when we sell them.  Larger groups of same size calves sell better than the one or two small ones.

Hope it doesn't rain much or any tomorrow as I have a neighbor boy or two coming to help me clean out my flower beds.  My sinus Dr. doesn't want me out in the dirt any more than I have to.  Then I have to wear a dust mask and those are really uncomfortable and get so hot.  I need to cut off the iris leaves from last year as they didn't freeze off and die last winter like they usually do.  (Snow must have insulated them.)  Anyway I figure I can sit and cut leaves off on one side of the house while the debris can be cleaned up on the other, thus keeping me out of most of the dust.  Will still wear the dust mask but won't be moving around so much so maybe it won't get so irritating to wear.  Will be glad to get it done as I have tulips and jonquils blooming already!

Until Later,


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