Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Needle and Thread

Isn’t this a great photo?  To see more of the microscopic photos of everyday things just follow this link.

Seeing this webpage prompted me to do a search for other microscopic photos of sewing type things and I found a couple of interesting blog posts about thread.  Check out the following web pages showing different threads magnified and compare the differences.
Your Sewing Thread Under A Microscope by Owin’s Olivia
Is There A Difference In Sewing Thread Brands? on Sewing

Until Later,

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Snowy Day

This isn’t a recent photo but one I took in December when we just had a snow storm.  The cows, calves and bulls were still across the road as well.  I love the way the trees frame the grazing cattle and the look of the snow laying on the branches.

Until Later,

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Links List #4 For Quilters

Time for another list of quilt/sewing related links.  As you remember I gather these links for the editor of our guild newsletter starting a couple of years ago.  There may be personal references to our guild but didn’t take time to change any of the descriptions but did check out the viability of the links and they all worked at the time of this posting.
Clipart-Cartoon-Design-12 follow the links to find instructions for making the Pine Burr Quilt that Diane Harris showed at our October meeting winners at Houston Quilt Show 2012-click on the photos to enlarge them several free patterns to make coin purses tutorial for making convertible mittens from old sweaters or fleece how to adjust bobbin tension and why it is important how to do a beaded blanket stitch tips for making pointy points when doing applique quilting circles without marking video on the making of Moda Batiks make conductive gloves with conductive thread making faced circles to applique denim quilt pattern tutorial for travel earring-jewelry wrap learn how to enlarge applique patterns calculating the number of hexigons for a quilt learn to draw a hexagon free online graph paper to print printable graph papers learn to draft quilt blocks links to general quilting how to's free quilt pattern making a cord organizer make a mug-can organizer video on making a coffee mug organizer free quilt pattern how to start hand sewing without knotting the thread! video by Bonnie McCaffery on Tentmakers of Cairo tips and tricks for using a rotary cutter differences between thread types what thread count means

If you find a broken link you can either abandon that search or do a search of your own using the name of the webpage in the link.


Monday, January 20, 2014

View from Above…Explained

Greer-FarmOur farm yard, now to show you what you are seeing.  We do not just call the building site "the farm" but consider a farm to be the buildings plus the land or in some cases just the land.  Can’t have a farm without land or it is just not a farm. We own some farm land adjacent to and across the road from our farm yard but rent most of the ground we farm.  OK, on to the detail photos; just keep reading and looking at the photos to find out what you are looking at.  If you click on the photos you can get a larger view of each one.cows-horsesPhoto 1:  The green circles the cattle – cows, calves and bulls.  Some are in the lots but most of them are in the field west of our house.  The horses are circled in red.  One is in the pasture and I can see 3 in the lot.  We have 5 horses and one is either in the barn or farther out in the pasture outside the photo.barn-open-front-shed-mortonPhoto 2: Green circles the barn where there are a few stalls for the horses or we can put a few cattle inside if needed.  Red circles the open fronted shed for shelter of any animals in that north lot.  The blue circles the Morton building that normally has machinery housed in it but if we are having really nasty weather during calving season a temporary ally is built from the cow lot to it and machines moved outside so we can bed the entire cow herd inside if needed.   Freezing wet temperatures are not good for newborn calves.  The cows are OK outside but a wet newborn can die in a short amount of time if it is really cold and add some wind , which we get a lot of here in Nebraska, and it becomes really dangerous for the calf.  The cows get along fine if it is cold and wet and they will just have the calves outside if we don't lock them in so we have to put them in to protect the unborn calves.  Cold is not as big a problem as wetness is as a cow has very thick skin and a hair coat that will insulate unless it gets really wet.  It is funny to see cattle with a little snow on their backs after a storm and the snow hasn't melted.  That shows how insulated they are.cattle-horse-pensPhoto 3:  The red outlines the lots we use for the cows when they are calving.  There is a large lot clear on the south with an ally to a lot close to the barn where the water tank is located.  The green outlines the pen where the year old weaned calves are right now.  As you can see it is directly across the driveway from the house so we can keep a close eye on them.  Not bad now but the first few days when they were away from their mothers it was really noisy with all the bawling.  We also use this lot for the heifers we keep to become cows.  These are part of the crop from this years calves and they will be sorted off before the rest go to auction.  We can’t put them with the cows as they still remember their mothers and when that cow has a new calf all the milk needs to go to the new calf not the year old one that will push the small calf away.  Besides that the bulls are still with the cows and these young heifers would get bred now and we want them to grow another 6 months before they are bred so they can be older when they have their first calf....easier on her and easier on us too!  The blue circles the horse lot.hay-silage-hay-feedersPhoto 4:  Red circles large round hay bales that get fed to the cattle or horses.  Some of the hay bales are alfalfa for cattle and some are grass hay for the horses.  Our grandkids love playing on these rows of hay bales.  The bales look like fat tubes and are around 5 feet tall and about 6” long so are pretty big.  The kids crawl up and run back and forth jumping between rows.  At Christmas they played out there for hours playing tag and other games.  Green circles the silage pile.  This corn silage was chopped last fall and hauled in and piled and packed for feed.  It will be fed to the cows when they are pulled off the stock fields the first of March and put in the lots during calving season.  Blue circles the bale feeders.  Some are individual feeders for one bale like the ones in the lots but others are trailers on wheels that hold several and can be pulled to which ever lot they are needed.machinery-storagePhoto 5:  The green circles show where machinery is stored.  John tries to keep a lot in the large Morton building but as you can see there is other machinery lined up in other places.  We have tried to keep the old and worn out stuff cleaned up but it still looks like there might be more to cull.barn-quiltsPhoto 6:  The green circles show where my barn quilts are located.  Of course from this view to the north you can’t see them.  You can read about how I made them and see what they look like here.grain-binsPhoto 7:  A green circle encloses the grain storage bins we have on our farm.  Bin #1 is the largest and holds  30,000 bu.  Bin #2 is the drying bin that the grain goes through to be dried down to storing moisture content and it holds 8,000 bu.  You can see the augers leading from it to bin #3 and #1 and as the grain is dried it is moved into the other bins until they are full then this one gets used for storage too.  Bin #3 holds 24,000 bu.  Bins #4 and #5 are small and we don’t really use them anymore and John would like to get rid of them at some point.  We have the use of bins in a couple other places we farm too and any excess that can't be stored in one of these bins is hauled directly to the grain elevator at harvest.

Well that pretty much sums up the photo of our place.  It is a great place to live and work and entertain.   Now you can have a picture in your mind about where I live and if you happen to be driving by and recognize the place just stop in for a cup of tea.

Until Later,

Saturday, January 18, 2014

View from Above

Greer-FarmNovember 13th a photo was taken of our farm yard from an airplane. They then came around a few weeks later to sell the prints.  It was a really clear photo so we paid their price but I knew I needed to do something to help this photo look more natural.  The photo above is the after version and the one below is the before.  I know they tried to tweak the photo and increase the saturation of a winter landscape but really is orange a natural color of harvested crops….NO.  I may have erred and made the photo too pale but we sure didn’t like the original color, especially on the print we bought. originalCome back for my next post and I will point out some of the things you are seeing in this photo.

Until Later,

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sewing Machine Song

Enjoy this video clip of Betty Hutton singing the Sewing Machine song in a 1940s musical.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Biting the Dust

To bite the dust definition:  To crash, fail, or otherwise no longer be in contention.  Now I have your attention don't I?

Saturday was the day to move our cow herd from the field across the road from our house to another of our fields about 3 miles north.  They will be there a few weeks then move again.  That is the pattern from the time they come home from the summer pastures until just a few weeks before the cows are ready to have their next calf starting in March.  I was standing in our yard taking photos as they started out.IMG_7939Several guys that all have cows work together to move each others herds and sometimes they move several guys cattle, one group after another on the same day.  This time there were 5 of them on horseback to drive our 100 cows and 6 bulls, then to move one of the other guys cows after.  Last year’s calf crop have already been sorted off and are being fed in a pen across from our house and will be sold at an auction in a week or two.  We keep the bulls with the cows until we move the cows back closer to home right before they start calving.  The cows are all pregnant now, hopefully, so it is OK to keep them together for a while longer.  

The cows all started running as they always do at the beginning of a drive but after a bit they settle down to walk most of the way to the new grazing field.  The bulls get excited too and most of the time just follow the cows.  This time 2 and sometimes 3 of our bulls started fighting.  You know how boys can get to wrestling, well bulls too have to determine who is the best, strongest and lead bull.  By the way, while they are getting moved is not the best time for this conflict.   If you look closely in the photo below you can see a black bull and a red bull head to head and several of the cows watching the action.  This is happening only less than 1 minute from the time the guys got their horses in the field.IMG_7942Here is another photo taken a few seconds later.  You might think why is this head to head fighting to be even noticed but what you don’t see is the force behind each bull.  Our bulls probably average 1900 lbs. each and if they are pushing against each other that is a lot of power.  They sometimes go round and round, trying to push each other, oblivious to anything around them and sometimes they appear to be just touching foreheads but it is all serious business to them.  There are times when bulls fight they will actually knock down fencing, dent barn siding, etc just pushing each other around.  They are extremely strong beasts and rarely hurt each other but push and shove until one gives up.IMG_7943The green arrows show the fighting bulls and the red arrow is John on his horse Tracy.  John and the guys were hoping to keep driving the cows and the bulls would follow along and quit their fighting…..Wrong!IMG_7944-3The cows and the fighting bulls are stirring up a lot of dust as it is a clear day.  Here is a little more information about John’s horse.  Tracy is a young horse that has never helped drive cattle in stock fields before and was ridden only one other time this fall to help round up cattle so she is a newbee when it comes to cattle.  I guess she has to learn sometime if she is going to be on our farm and be a good cow horse.  Can you see where I might be going with this story now?  Keep reading for the conclusion to this gripping tale.

Now here is where I goofed up….I did not get a photo of what happened next.  John and the other guys said as they moved closer to the bulls, the bulls moved quickly and frightened Tracy.  She jumped sideways very quickly and sorry to say John didn’t stay in the saddle.  One of the guys said it looked like a cartoon fall with him in mid air for a bit before he crashed to the ground.  He says he didn’t get hurt as it happened so quickly and he didn’t have time to think but landed on his back.  It helped that he had several layers on with a sweatshirt, heavy coat, hat and gloves so that insulated his fall.  Anyway he was on the ground and Tracy took off back towards the house and away from the cattle as fast as she could gallop.  I didn’t want her to run through the electric fence on the edge of the field and get hurt so I stepped into the middle of our driveway and flapped my arms and yelled to get her attention and thankfully she turned, still running for all she was worth.  (That flapping arms business was probably worth a blackmail photo too.) The other guys were trying not to frighten her and worked to get around her to stop and catch her.IMG_7946They did get her stopped before she could run out of the gate and onto the highway, thank goodness.  After calming her down for a bit John got back on her and rode her to get the job done.  She needed to learn that she had a job to do and to get over her fear.IMG_7952And the bulls fought on, and on, and on.  Sometimes it was just these two and occasionally another would try to get in the middle of it and then back off.IMG_7959Here the guys are waiting for the John and the other 2 guys to get back and for a break in the fight to head them in the right direction.IMG_7964John and Tracy are the last of the three riders and will get the bulls moving up to where the cows were waiting to get on the road for their trip north. IMG_7979
See the 3rd bull just looking on as the action continues.  He really wanted to be in the fight but must be down farther on the pecking order hierarchy.  There is always one lead bull and the others challenge him for that position and sometimes they win and become the lead bull.
As you can see the bulls are separated in this photo and moving with the cattle.  I was almost 1/2 mile away from them at this point so this is as good as my zoom lens could get.  The guys told me later that the fighting bulls got together again and fought most of the way to the new field.  They said the cows walked 3 miles but with all the fighting the bulls probably walked 10.IMG_7991
When I brought lunch for the riders at the end field this fighting guy was pooped.  He stood by the tank of water, drinking and panting occasionally.  The other bulls and cows were spreading out in the new field to graze but this one just needed a break.  I wonder if he was the victor or the defeated one or if after all the fighting it  ended in a tie.

After a can of pop and a cookie or two the guys loaded up the horses and went to move one more bunch of cows that afternoon.  No more horse wrecks that day and John claims he isn't even sore after his escapade.

Until Later,

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Surprise Christmas Gift

Quilt-on-bg-wallThis lap quilt was given to me this Christmas by one of my dearest friends and longest friends (I dare not say oldest should I?)  We became friends when I was 13 and a freshman in high school and continue to be good friends that both love quilting.  She has owned a quilt shop for many years.  We sat beside each other in that Home Economics class and decided to make matching outfits in the sewing unit.  I can still picture how beautiful our turquoise wrap around skirts were with the button up short sleeved tops that were made of white and turquoise flowered fabric.  Oh how I wish we had a photo of us in them now.

Back to the quilt….It is made with all batik fabrics and is just beautiful.  I use it most nights while I am sitting in my chair watching TV as it is the perfect size and weight to keep off the evening chill.detailThe quilt is made with two basic units…a half square triangle unit that measures 4” finished and a rectangle that measures 2” x 4” finished.  The units are alternated across the quilt as well as vertically so it is a pretty simple quilt to make but is so stunning.  Notice that one of the triangles is always the same color in each unit.  That way you get the somewhat like hour glass motif marching across the quilt.  As you can see some fabrics on this quilt are high contrast to the brown triangles and others blend but the over all look is fabulous!

One thing I did with the photo I took of the quilt was change the background in my Photoshop Elements 11 program.  As you can see from my original photo the quilt is weighted down with books on the fireplace mantle.  The bricks are various shades of red and grey (not my favorite but that is the way it was when we acquired the house.)  The red bricks detract a bit as they are somewhat the same value as the quilt so I just got rid of them and added a cream colored background instead.  I did leave the mantle and books in the photo as it looked a little strange with no top edge of the quilt. Cropped the photo a bit and that was it.
IMG_8009-org    Quilt-on-bg-wall
Until Later,

Monday, January 6, 2014

Burr It's Cold Outside

Morning temperatures didn't dip as low here as the original forcast of -10 F(-23 C) but -7 F (-21 C)is pretty cold.  Love the Atomic clock that has the temperature inside and outside on it too.  I have to run to town for a few groceries later but won't have to be outside long.  John was really bundled up in his insulated coveralls, heavy coat, hat and gloves when he went out to do chores and I bet he is still cold.  He has to run water in the water tank trailer this morning so he can haul it the 3 miles up to where the cows are now.

We gave them a little more shelter by parking a large farm truck along with the hay feeder trailers to help block the wind that was blowing yesterday and predicted today.  The field where they are now has no natural shelter or barns to we have to provide some temporary shelter for them.  John also took several of the large round straw bales up for bedding.

Wow, it is warming up already at 9 as it is -4 F (-20 C).  Bad joke I know!

Until later,

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Christmas Gifts–Zippered Bags

IMG_7888What fun to make my “girls” each a great zippered bag, plus one for me too.  These are not just any zippered bag but are special for several reasons.  One big reason is the bag is designed by my good friend Geta Grama from Romania.  Her website is Romanian Quilt Studio where she sells this and other patterns and her blog is Geta’s Quilting Studio.  Please check out her other patterns too.

Now let me show you what is so special about these bags.  This is not just a one pocket zippered bag but it has a surprise inside.IMG_7883Isn’t that wonderful….a second zippered compartment stitched into the inside of the bag.  The smaller zippered bag is stitched into the side seams and and the bottom of the bag so will stay put and really divides the main part of the bag into two sections.IMG_7866This frog fabric bag is mine.  With this bag I followed Geta’s instructions exactly and used the medium size pattern.  The pattern has a small, medium and large size pattern for this zippered pouch.  As you can see the outside is all one fabric….frogs; a goofy thing I collect and am always on the lookout for frog fabric.

I wanted to use more fabrics on the outside of the other bags I made so I seamed two pieces together 3” from the bottom of the main piece.   It was fun to go through my fabric stash and choose fabrics for each one.  This one was for my 13 yr. old granddaughter S who loves black and white, animal prints and pink.   I really like the tiger fabric but had never cut into the fat quarter I had purchased.IMG_7794
IMG_7875  IMG_7881 
Next on the list is the bag for the 12 yr. old granddaughter D.  For her I chose horse fabric.  She loves anything with horses, has her room decorated with horses so knew this would be perfect for her.IMG_7795
For my daughter A I made a bag with bright fabrics.  It was fun to use these fabrics, some which I have had for a very long time.  Using some of my stash with these bags is a very good thing.IMG_7802
This final bag I am going to show you is one I made for my daughter S.  I have had this Laurel Burch fabric for years and years and could not bear to cut into it until now.  It makes a great bag and I have used a bit more of my stash.IMG_7808
These were fun to make and fun to give away.  Like I said earlier I did piece the outside fabric to add the second fabric to the bottom of each bag so changed Geta's pattern a bit.  Arbitrarily I decided on the seam coming 3” from the bottom of the outside pattern piece.  I seamed the fabrics together then fused it to a fusible fleece batting.  This makes the bags stand up very nicely. 

Did you notice all the pretty zippers I used in making all these bags?  When the JoAnn’s fabric store near here changed locations a few years ago they sold all the merchandise, reducing the prices as the time came closer for the old building to close.  I just couldn’t resist buying lots of zippers when the price was so low, some I got for as little as $.20 each.  I bought long zippers that had plastic teeth.  These zippers can be cut any length so I am all set for any project.  I did keep all the tails I cut off this time but now I need a project to use them.  Any ideas?IMG_7892
Until later,

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ornament Gift–Patchwork Cardinal

IMG_7990One of my good friends made this very cute tree ornament and gave it to me this Christmas.  She said she had a kit for one then made more with the same instructions and her fabric.  I love, love, love it.

Until Later,

Happy New Year 2014

"May each day unfold for you like roses, sparkling in the dew,
that open to the morning sun and bloom until the day is through.
And may each passing moment bring a song as pure as angels sing
but may there be above all things a peace that only God can bring."
Happy New Year my friends and may it be a wonderful year for you all!



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