Tuesday, May 31, 2011

3 more Janes

Who knew Dear Jane blocks were so addicting. last night i paper pieced 3 more.

This is H13...pretty simple and straightforward...done in 2 parts

C3 ... easy checkerboard type...done in 5 strips

And I3   looks like tic-tac-toe to me...done in 3 strips

And for the first time i can say.....no frogging on these.  Yea!!

Looking at the pictures now....if you stretch your imagination....it looks like i did a red, a white (tan), and a blue....we'll say that is in celebration of Memorial Day. LOL

Tonight is the last day of May so i hope to finish a few more tonight....we'll see what my May total turns out to be. 25 sounds like a good number, doesn't it?

Monday, May 30, 2011

More Dear Jane

Once we got home from the Duck i didn't feel like going to the studio...so i stayed at the house and worked on a few more Dear Jane blocks.

I decided to use my Stable Magic and glue sticks on the applique blocks. that is my favorite applique technique. and i stitched them with the blanket stitch on my machine. i tried to use embroidery machine thread that matched the color of the blocks but it kept shredding the thread. I started this block with pink but didn't get too far...then switched to white. but didn't want to do them all in white. so eventually used a gray invisible nylon thread and that worked just fine.

This is E1...different color threads. LOL  the pieces came out too large and overlapped in the middle instead of meeting properly. apparantly my tracing skills are lacking but i am not going to worry about it.

This is F13. i cut the petals a bit smaller so they fit better.

I had problems with C9...but not with the applique. when i was trimming it down...i cut on the wrong line. ugly words were said...LOL...so i just added another piece of muslin to that end rather than do the whole thing over. as you can tell...i am not a fan of 'do-overs'. you'll never see a quilt of mine in a show.....and if you did....it would never have a ribbon on it.....you could just look for the 'oops' in the quilt and know it is mine. LOL

H12 came out just fine. no problems...how about that?

I now have 19 blocks made...not bad for a couple weeks work. perhaps i can get 30 or 40 of them done in June.....or not.  we'll see.

Customer quilts are calling my name so i better go load one and get busy. i am two behind for this month. OOPS!   LOL

Working at the Duck

I drug hubby along....and the dog...and we went up to the Duck on Thursday afternoon. my plan thursday evening was to cut the grass but it was still drizzling...as it had been all day and things were too wet. so we just set up a run for the dog between 2 clothesline poles that were out in the side yard. she has never been tied up and was not too fond of the idea. but i don't have a fence there and the inside of the house just wasn't safe with nails all around and plaster dust. we got her a new harness....just for this purpose.

I gave her a bucket of water and went out and checked on her every once in a while. See that pile of lumber in the back of the picture...by the garage....those are slats pulled off the walls...full of nails. i went out to check on Suzy and her chain went over into that pile of wood. so, i'm thinking...great she's stuck up in there and probably got stuck by a couple nails, too. i go over and call to her...no answer....i pull on the chain...all that comes up is her harness....no Suzy. little Houdini has somehow gotten out of the harness.

So by now i am panicing...where is she....i start yelling for her...and yell for Jim... he comes to the doorway to see what i am hollering about. i tell him Suzy is gone.  then he hears a noise...turns around....and here comes Suzy.....COMING OUT OF THE HOUSE.    WTH??   we can only guess that she got stuck up in the lumber, wiggled her way out of the harness....and came into the house...where she wanted to be the whole time. but, when she came in....she didn't come and find one of us....she just went and hid somewhere so no one knew she was in the house. goofy dog. but it didn't do her much good. i tightened up the harness and Jim put a stop on the run so she couldn't get to the lumber. and she wound up back outside again.

I pulled the rest of the plaster off the walls in the bedroom, 1 wall in the dining room, and the rest of the living room. and pulled slats off one living room wall. and pulled nails out of the studs in the office, bedroom, closet, and whatever was showing in the living room. about a thousand nails....for a couple hours. when you pull off the slats...usually the nails stay in the studs.....so i pulled lots and lots of nails. pulling nails is a good thing...it prevents holes in your shirts and shorts when you go up and down the ladder and get too close to the nails and get stuck. and they all have to be pulled eventually anyway.

We also took a cabinet off the wall in the kitchen. it was above the stove and i didn't want it there. and took down the stuff above the cabinet, too. i don't know why people frame in the tops of cabinets and close in that space...it is wasted space that way. i took the plaster and lath strips off that wall, too. i have piles of plaster all over the house. LOL  i hate picking it all up and dragging it to the garage. i hire a guy to do that for me but he didn't work this weekend..... holiday weekend, so he was probably at the lake somewhere.

Hubby took the old electric boxes with fuses out of the basement and looked at the electric in the garage...trying to figure out what the past owner did. and he took the old ceiling fans down for me, too. and did major weed eating all around the property after i cut the grass. he said he would work for food...LOL....so he picked all his favorites that he didn't have at home....Long John Silver fish...KFC chicken....Sergio's Mexican...and Taco Bell.  here i caught him taking a break.

I pulled a small trailer with my riding mower down to the Duck this time. i was a bit nervous since i hadn't pulled a trailer with my truck before. and my truck is 15 years old and has a problem getting up hills that are a long grade. but it managed to pull the trailer just fine and we made all the hills. well, we didn't do any passing....everyone else was passing me. but we got there just fine. the grass was rather high so i cut it Friday morning as high as the mower would cut .... then cut again on Sunday before we left...and put the mower down 2 notches. so that should work for a week or 10 days. if there isn't a lot of rain it should be just fine. i am going down again next weekend and do some yard work. i have a couple trees by the fence to trim so i can mow easier and some vines and bushes to cut out. and will trim the edge of the curb by the street. probably a couple days of yard business. i have a list...hahahahahaha

In the evenings...we stayed at the Beast...i worked on some Dear Jane blocks. i even managed to stay awake till about 9pm instead of crashing about 8 as i usually do after working all day. i was hand stitching applique blocks. i finished:



The inside of E2. i finished the outside when i got back home.

The 2 'petals' of E10. i finished the 2 squares when i got home.

And the outside 'track' of G3...finished the inside at home.

And i finished a few more when i got home. doing the applique on the machine is much easier than by hand. and faster, too. i think i have 17 blocks done now. i have been skippping around...doing the easier ones....but now i think i feel confident enough and will go back to row 1 and finish them in order. then i can put rows together as they are finished and i think if i can see progress being made it will help me to finish them all quicker. at least that is the plan. LOL

Hope your long weekend was fun for you, too.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

eBay is my friend

In trying to bust my stash of older fabric that i no longer want....i am trying to think outside the box to get rid of it. i've given hundreds of yards away....but sometimes even your friends won't take some stuff. and i am on a mission to rid my studio of this old fabric. so i sorted in stacks; kids, animals, light florals,dark florals, misc. i listed everything, took measurements, and took pictures. i had 5 boxes ready to go. i put them on eBay last week and waited. but people don't usually bid until the last day or so. and today is my last day for these boxes. 4 out of the 5 have sold.

That is 80 yards going out.     80 yards.    i am so happy about that. it's like a cloud has lifted to see those empty shelves.  this was all good cotton fabric...just not the latest out there. shoot, some of it is probably 20 years old. but it will be going to live in someone's else's house and that just tickles me. i hope they make lots of great quilts and things.

i still have enough for 2 or 3 boxes but ran out of time. i will try and get those out there when i get back from the duck next week.

I am trying some hand applique on my Dear Jane blocks. so far, i have 2 of them finished.

There is B1.....just some circles....fairly easy and quick.

And this is B12   and bit more challenging but not bad.

That makes 10 i have done so far this month. i am taking more of the applique blocks with me to the duck so hopefully in the evenings i won't be too tired to work on them. i have the pieces all cut out and the blocks marked...ready to go. usually when i have worked out there all day i fall asleep about 8pm...LOL...sad, i know...but demolition is hard work. but maybe if i have something to keep busy with i will stay up at least till 10.

I'm leaving for the Duck tomorrow afternoon and won't be back till Sunday some time. hopefully with pictures to show you of some progress. i am hauling the riding mower on a trailer so i can cut the grass out there. i am having my push mower turned into an electric start...so when that is finished it will go to live at the duck. i am also going to measure the wall space in the living room and dining room so i can figure out how many boards i need to cover it. my friend, Judy, is sharing her old barn wood with me and i am going to put it on the walls.

See you on Sunday or Monday next week. try and stay dry and out of trouble.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Technically...it's not a quilt

When i visit thrift stores and find some of these throws for a dollar or 2, i usually pick them up to be used for batting inside kid donation quilts. they can be drug around and abused and not hurt them.

I still have a few in my cabinet....and in the interest of cleaning things out and using up i pulled one out and had a panel of a wolf and owl that fit it just fine. i decided to just use the backing and the top....no batting. it quilted up just fine and feels all cushy like a quilt does. don't know if anyone would know the difference if not told.

So, technically it is not a quilt, i guess.....there aren't 3 layers....but it seemed to work. i may do that again in the future. usually the throws i get are a plain color....white or beige or brown. this one seemed too pretty to hide in the middle.

And it just feels all snuggly soft on the back, too. i don't think kids care if there's a batting in the middle or not....they will still love it and drag it around. even though.....technically......it's not a quilt.

Suzy practices safe storm techniques

Our little dog, Suzy, is such a weenie when it comes to storms. at the first stroke of lightning or the first boom of thunder she is up and running for one of her people to save her. although she is part Rottweiler...she is a shame to the breed....she is nowhere near brave.

We are trying to not give in to her craziness and just tell her that it is ok and go lie down. she gets all nervous and paces. yesterday no one would listen to her warnings that the end was near.

After a bit, we went to looking for her....and found her curled up in a corner of the bathroom. she never goes into the bathroom. so, i guess that was her 'safe' spot from the storms.

Silly dog

#9 Challenge - North Pole Village

Want to feel like Christmas? .... visit the North Pole Village. i am loving this quilt. i don't know if it is the white (muslin) background....all the little shops....or just the playfulness of it. but it is fun. it turned out to be 90x100"   there were 34 applique blocks in the NP Village embroidery set....an unusual number to set evenly. so i embroidered 4 more houses from another set and 4 snowmen blocks so i would have 42 blocks and could set 6x7.  works for me

Blocks 1-6...top row first...left to right
 ... Public library ... the elfs like to read in the off season
 ... Home ... it is a lot of fun to live in the NPV
 ... Egg Nog Pub ... another pastime of the elfs in the off season
 ... Tea House ... Mrs. Claus runs this shop...it is just lovely
 ... Church ... the little country church
 ... Sweet Shop ... this is where all the candy is made that goes into children's stockings

Blocks 7-12 ... top row first...left to right
 ... Hot Cocoa ... a very busy place
 ... Home ... an architect lives here in his very imaginative house
 ... Angel Snowman ... it's her job to look after NPV and keep everyone safe
 ... Barber Shop ... Santa does need a trim every once in a while
 ... Bank ... the elfs all have accounts here....Christmas Club Accounts  LOL
 ... Teddy Bear Shop ... this is one of the busiest shops in the NPV

Blocks 13-18 ... top row first ... left to right
 ... Home ... Hansel and Gretel retired here
 ... Snowman family ... the elfs love making snowmen
 ... Santa Claus Castle ... Santa's residence....he has a man cave in the basement
 ... Yarn Shop ... Mrs. Claus' sister runs this shop...it is full of yummy yarn
 ... North Pole Railway Station ... a very busy place
 ... Elf School ... what??... you didn't know elfs had to go to school?

Blocks 19-24 .... top row first ... left to right
 ... Reindeer Stables ... Santa's friends are treated really well here ... they have heated stalls
 ... City Hall ... a pretty quiet place...no real problems in NPV
 ... Home ... this is the banker's home...he is very prosperous
 ... Sleigh Repair Shop ... Frankie stays pretty busy here
 ... Fire Station ... sometimes the elfs help wash the truck
 ... Pie Shop ... Santa's favorite place (don't tell Mrs. Claus)

Blocks 25-30 ... top row first ... left to right
 ... Clock Shop ... Santa doesn't want to be late...all clocks have to run perfectly
 ... Ed's Gas Station ... Santa gave his brother Ed a job to keep him out of trouble
 ... Faith Church ... the city church
 ... Newstand ... it's good to know what is happening around the world
 ... North Pole Photos ... this shop is mainly for the tourists
 ... Town Christmas Tree ... this huge tree is set up every year on the road coming into town

Blocks 31-36 ... top row first ... left to right
 ... Post Office ... this is one busy place....all year round ... only Santa's mail goes here
 ... Snow family ... the kids in the country made these snowmen
 ... Ice Cream Shop ... oh my goodness...such delicious treats that are here
 ... Santa's Diner ... Santa loves to cook and can often be found behind the grill
 ... Home ... a widow lady lives here....she makes cookies for the elfs
 ... Christmas Tree Lot ... the place to go for the tallest, straightest trees

Blocks 37-39 ... left to right
 ... Snow family ... people in town love to make snow families
 ... Home .. Mrs. Claus' sister, Vera, lives here...it is just the right size for her
 ... Milk and Cookies Shop ... elfs get to taste test all the new recipes

Blocks 40-42 ... left to right
 ... Bakery ... Santa is hooked on the cream puffs here (again, don't tell the Mrs.)
 ... Toy Store ... the elfs keep this shop packed full for the tourists
 ... Post Office ... the 'official' post office of the town...the mail for the villagers goes here

And there you have it....the North Pole Village tour....makes you want to go visit, doesn't it?

The back is lime green with a piece of army green attached to the side to make it large enough.

I used a bright white thread for the top except for the last border...there i switched to a dark gray so it wouldn't be a glaring white thread on the green. the bottom thread was lime green...except for the final border which was a darker green. the thread situation turned out just right....i ran out of the white and lime just as i finished. this quilt was all about using up.....fabrics and threads. worked out!

I made my challenges for May on time....now ready for June.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Shirley, 8 - Jane, 217

Last night i made 4 more simple Dear Jane blocks....took me about 2 hours. so, i only have 217 more to go. hahahahahahahahahaahahahahaha   we won't think about that part.

This is D13    i didn't paper piece it....i just cut a block the size of the middle and then cut 3.5" squares and cut them on the diagonal for the corners. then trimmed it up to 5". be pretty sad if i had to frog this right??? ..... well, i did. LOL  the first corner i put on was too small...i used a 3" block and that didn't work. but i cannot get discouraged...perhaps the applique blocks will go easier. i think i will do a couple of those tonight.

This is B13.  i seem to be doing a lot of '13' blocks. this was paper pieced in 3 sections....no frogging. my plan is to have each block have different fabrics. i have quite the stash...but if i run out of different fabrics....then my friend Marilea has a humongous stash to choose from. and she likes Civil War fabrics.....so she will have lots to choose from.

Then i did M10. this was also paper pieced in 3 sections and no frogging. it came out just a hair under the 5". i am starching them all and ironing after stitching, so that may be the reason. i know i should starch and iron the fabric first before cutting.....maybe i should try that. LOL

The last one done last night was M12. paper pieced in 3 sections with no frogging. i feel like i did much better last night. it seemed to all go quicker and easier....of course, the patterns were super simple. perhaps i need to keep some of these simple ones to boost my self esteem back up when i am ragged about a hard pattern that just won't work right.

And i also started a new jigsaw puzzle last night, too. it is one i bought at the Puzzle Place in Sleeper, MO.  she has about 3100 different puzzles. the one i got has 940 pieces.....i don't think i have ever had one with that amount....usually the count is even...like 500, 1000.  but this one is two dimensional. the middle section is a regular thickness.....the sides are thicker...2 pieces thick.....they call it a relief line. i probably got a fourth of it done last night. once you get it in your head how it works....it is pretty easy.

The wind is just crazy out here...it has been blowing for days and days. i have a whole burn pile full of materials to burn and can't do it. i did manage to get out in the flower bed this morning for an hour and pull out some weeds and plant some of the day lilies that i dug out of the yard the other day. probably do some more of that tonight. i wait till it is shady in that spot before working...and then i sit on a milk crate. lazy gardener. LOL    sigh....i remember the days i could work out in the yard all day long and not have back problems, knee problems, hand problems.

Gotta go finish my #9 challenge quilt....just have borders to do. then this afternoon i have to mow my acre of grass at the studio. spring work never ends.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

1863 Jane A. Stickle Quilt

Are you familiar with Jane Stickle? .... i think most quilters are. she finished her Dear Jane quilt in 1868....during the War. it took her 4 years to hand piece.....with 5,602 pieces.  i have tried to resist but cannot any longer....i am making my own Dear Jane quilt.....with 5,602 pieces. although i try not to think of it that way.....it is easier to just think of 225 patterns. even that is daunting.

Brenda Manges Papadakis wrote a book...she re-created Jane's blocks from her quilt. she actually went to the museum twice and drafted out all the little blocks....plus the triangular shapes for the border. here is her book.

Her book doesn't actually have instructions....just the blocks drawn out. it is assumed that you know enough to figure out how to create the blocks. some are simple and can be paper pieced.....some i may need to have templates. many will be applique. all blocks are 4.5" square....that is pretty small for me. i like my blocks about 12" ..  LOL  

Brenda talks in the book about her research on Jane and what she found. in the book she writes Jane letters....expressing her thoughts of what she has found or how she is coming with the blocks.

So, even though this will be a major challenge and keep me busy for at least a year i figure....i am determined to add one more thing on my plate of 'projects to do'.  i started out with some fairly simple blocks and scanned them with the scanner and printed them out. i paper pieced a few.

Wednesday night i started paper piecing and did these 3 blocks. it took me about 3 hours...much longer than i had anticipated. but there was much frogging and gnashing of teeth.

This is A6...pretty straight forward and simple. i didn't have to frog this one. LOL it was paper pieced in 3 sections

Then i tried A5.....it was paper pieced in 3 sections. and frogged twice. i still couldn't get the center square to match up properly and finally just left it alone.

I figured i would do one more before calling it a night. i tackled A1 next. for all the small pieces it went together pretty well....only 1 frogging. it was paper pieced in 4 sections. that one corner has a part that doesn't match properly...it is supposed to be a small triangle like the other 3 corners. but the paper piecing didn't work going from one side to the other. when i did the other side i started at each end and met in the middle....but had to cut the paper in half and mess with it till i got the right size square in there. i might go back and fix that corner later....or not.

So, 3 blocks down and only 1 of them is really good. LOL    i shall get better.

Last night i tried A2. this was paper pieced in 10 sections....yep, 10.  each of the 9 patches had to be done separately and the center square was done in halves. for all those tiny pieces it went together well. no frogging on that one. not perfect...but close enough for me.

I figure when all the blocks are done and all together.....a bit of not matching won't even be seen. that's my story.

My sister is making this quilt, too. she is done with row A and is on row B.  i may catch up with her in a few months.

So, my evenings kind of go like this.....sit down and read a chapter or 2....get up and finish the jigsaw puzzle on the table....go play a computer game for an hour....get up and go stitch a Dear Jane block....sit down and read another chapter or 2......think about working on the cross stitch Amish project (remember that?).....think about crocheting on the tshirt rug (remember that?).....go play computer games until my eyes close.....go to bed....it's about 1am.

Get up the next day and do it all over again.     WHEEEEEEE!!!!!    hahahahahahahahaha

One thing leads to another

For some reason....it is hard for us here on the farm to just do one thing. to do one thing usually involves doing 2 or 3 other things first.

I want to put old barn wood on the walls in the duck because i think it will be way cool and very artistic. so, i am looking for barn wood. success....my friend Judy has barn wood and is willing to share with me. so i tell my dh that i have found wood and as soon as i measure how much i need we can go and pick it up.

So, he says well, we will need the large trailer since they are probably 8 to 10 feet long (they are). ok...no problem says I.

Well, just a small problem...we will need new tires on the trailer to carry that large a load. ok...go get new tires...no problem says I.

Well, just a small problem....we need to empty the trailer first....it is full of cut tree logs that have to be split. lots and lots of logs. Dang....problem....

So, for the last 2 mornings we have spent about 3 hours each morning splitting logs and stacking them in the woodshed.  sure glad dh bought me that wood splitter for my birthday last year. LOL  finally the trailer is empty. now dh is driving the trailer over to the place where he buys the tires. hopefully they can get them on first thing monday and THEN we will be ready to go and pick up wood.......as soon as i measure to see how much i need.

Oh, yeah, and before we take the trailer load of wood to the Duck.....he has to put new brake lights on the trailer, too. geeze.....is there ANYTHING ELSE we need to do to go get some wood?

I plan on going to the duck on thursday...so i shall measure my walls and make space in the garage for a trailer load of barn wood.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Frederick need a wife

Yesterday i had fun with frogs. i spent a few days embroidering 12 frog blocks and then yesterday pieced the top together. they just looked so cute and playful. it turned out to be 52x70. small kid size.....i need a kid who likes frogs.

This quilt is all about Frederick the Frog. Frederick has decided that he needs a wife. his momma had always told him to choose wisely....and he is having a bit of a problem trying to decide who in the pond to choose as his wife. Frederick's momma always called him by his whole name....never Fred or Freddie....always Frederick....so Frederick has a bit of an enlarged ego. one day he found a crown at the edge of the pond and decided that it was left there just for him. after all...it fit perfectly....and his momma always told him he would be the King of the Pond one day.

So now Frederick is spending his days swimming and jumping and croaking and looking for love. he looked at Felicia first....after all, she has a larger lily pad than he does and they both could live there very well.

Then he thought of Fatima. she has a very long tongue and can catch bugs from a great distance. that is something to be admired in a frog.

And who could forget about Fawn. she is so shy that she is usually found hiding in the flowers and cattails at the edge of the pond. i think she likes Frederick but is too shy to tell him.

Now Fantasia would be a lot of fun...she is always happy. she flirts with all the boy frogs and jumps all over the pond. she doesn't worry overly much about catching bugs though ..... sometimes she just chases the butterflies.

Flora is Fantasia's sister.....she is always happy, too. everyone is her friend. she is rather young and perhaps not yet ready to be Frederick's wife.

One of Frederick's favorites in the pond is Fiona. she is rather small but has big beautiful eyes. what frog wouldn't just love to look into those lovely eyes every day. and she has the best smile.

Frederick's momma thinks he should marry Florence. Frederick is not sure about that. Florence is a bit on the chubby side....but his momma says that means she can catch a lot of food and will make sure he is fed well.

Frederick is just not sure who to pick.....his head is just spinning. he thinks he will go take a nap for a while and decide later.

Who do you think Frederick should marry?

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