Thursday, August 21, 2014

The CitySampler is Quilted!

Finally! The CitySampler quilt is quilted! I am so happy with how it turned out! I was more than a little nervous waiting. I was worried about the design being intrusive and the the thread showing up in the dark fabric but the design is lovely and the thread is perfect.

I took a few pictures of my favorite blocks as examples.

I think this whale is my favorite.

Up close, you can really see the quilting and how it flows but from far away you don't really see it at all. I'm so glad this part is done. Now if I could just pay someone to handbind it for me :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mostly Cat Pictures

I gathered another bunch of flowers for the kitchen. These were mostly the flowers that grow in the middle of hosta plants. I think these are really pretty in a vase but not-so-much in a hosta. I like a hosta flower-free.

My husband took this picture while I was sleeping. He couldn't resist. Fred, our cat, had his legs stretched around me. He's such a goofy cat. He looks so big in this picture. If you look closely, he's smiling for the camera.

I'm making some progress on this cross-stitch project. As with any cross-stitch project, it's slow going but I tackle an area at a time. I love how colorful it is.

There's no real reason for this picture except I just love it. Fred is so cute. He's on one of my favorite quilts (my mother-in-law made that one).

I finally, FINALLY ironed the backing for the City Sampler quilt top that I finished in May (or was it April?). I got the backing for Mother's Day. Yes, it really is that bright pink. The top itself is so colorful, I wanted something cheery for the back so I chose this pink polka dot and an aqua blue which I don't have a picture of. I sewed them together and laid them out on the floor. Then Charlie, my dog, laid on it so I couldn't lay out the batting. I had to wait another day. I snuck downstairs this morning and laid out the batting and quilt top on it and cut back the sides and folded it all up to bring to the long-arm lady. I brought it to her this afternoon. This is my first quilt that I am paying someone else to quilt. I chose a geometric box pattern. She has a very cool computerized Gammill that is hands-off as it quilts. I didn't even know that you could do that!

This is my view each day as I relax and read. Pretty nice.

As I was on my way to pick up our CSA Farmshare box, I took this picture. I pass by several farms on the way. Our house is on a little 5-acre plot between large farms of different varieties. We are nestled in the trees but I do dream about getting a few chickens of our own someday. For now, we just buy what we can from local farmers.

We have wild raspberries growing around the perimeter of our yard and I pick every day. They are so tasty!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

This and That

My husband and son were training recently for a 5k. My husband took the picture below as an example of how much faster my son is than can't even see him in the distance. They ran the 5k on Friday and my son came in 1st place in the children's class by a lot. He'll definitely have to join track when he gets into high school! He's going into sixth grade this fall.

I took the kids berry picking at a local berry farm. These were our jewels. We made strawberry shortcake and chocolate-covered strawberries and stuffed ourselves silly.

Our local farmshare box is getting better and better each week. This week we received two different kinds of lettuce, onions, parsley, a big green pepper, carrots, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, broccoli and spinach. I've been reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life and it is really opening my eyes further to how distanced we are normally from our food. I'm proud of our family for buying a local pig and chickens and doing the farmshare even though it costs more. We know exactly where that part of our food comes from and we watched it grow up. It didn't burn tons of gas to get to our plate. We still have a ways to go but it's a start.

My favorite part of the farmshare is snacking on the sugar snap peas. We got a fairly large bag of them and they were gone by the second day.

I reclaimed a garden that was mostly destroyed by the excavator when we built our new house. This is what it looked like before. Mostly weeds and grass.

Here it is after. The weeds and grass are gone. Now you can see bee balm, an orange lily, in the lower right corner is a currant bush, and all along the back right edge are hostas.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Deck Ramblings

Yesterday, I went to the big town where the local quilt shop was having a 70% off sale on fabric. I wish I got more now that I'm home. I also picked up a bottle of my favorite Moscato (not at the LQS). I was feeling inspired when I got home and I pulled fabric and started cutting. Unfortunately, I quickly grew bored. It was too nice to be inside so I poured a glass of wine, grabbed my Kindle & sat on the deck.

My husband says I look morose in the pictures I take of myself. So I had him take a few pictures of me. I'm in my pajamas wearing no makeup and I still think I look better than any I've taken of myself.

The CSA box is all going to good use. This is a bunch of napa cabbage I stir fried in soy sauce. It was delicious.

 I'm starting on a new cross-stitch project. It's a big one as you'll see below this rooster. The finished project makes this rooster look small.

This is just a picture of the finished product. I haven't done it yet.

 I've been having trouble with my sewing machine lately not sewing an accurate 1/4" seam allowance but I've procrastinated fixing it. This means, basically, that I just haven't sewn. I finally fixed it as you'll see...with a piece of duct tape. Duct tape can fix anything.

 Fred is enjoying our new deck furniture. He makes sure to sit on each piece and get his white fur all over it.

My lobelia looks like blue lightning.

I have a nice view of the basketball court and the woods from the deck.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Another Week Bites the Dust

It's been another week since I've posted. Good thing I've taken pictures or I wouldn't remember anything that's happened and you would get a post full of the books that I've read. Maybe I should do one of those anyway. We'll see.

We had gutters put on the new house. They match exactly. I'm really pleased with how they turned out. The house still looks pretty and I can hardly see the gutters.

We have raspberries and wild roses growing all around the perimeter of our yard. The bees are abuzz this year.

I managed to get out into the field a few times before the neighbors hayed it and stuff my face with wild strawberries. The kids never care much to go with me but Charlie, my dog, and Fred, my cat, join me. Charlie, even though he's blind, snarfs around the ground and eats what he finds. Fred lays in the grass and meows intermittently. He just likes to hear himself talk. We're all pretty happy.

Last year, I had fresh flowers in the house all summer long. This year, I haven't really cared to set that goal for myself, I don't know why but I just don't care. But this week, as Charlie and I were walking down our road, I noticed these purple flowers that have never grown there before. I knew I had to cut some for the kitchen. So even though this picture looks like mostly daisies, it's the purple flowers that were my focus. They've already wilted and are tossed. If I were good like last year, I'd go get some new flowers but I just don't care. The water smells like a toilet after a few days anyway. I'll stick with my flowers outside.

This is last week's CSA box, which'll look a lot like this week's box: a few heads of lettuce, green-top carrots, garlic scapes, bok choi and kale.

As we were heading home from out-of-town yesterday, we drove into this storm. It looks pretty scary but it was just really rainy. I thought it was really beautiful.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

No Crafty Things Update

You can see most of the salsa garden in this picture, taken from above. Tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, banana peppers. Also visible are some of my petunia baskets which are all hung now around the deck and in front of the garage. Busy! Busy! They look so good but I don't have any pictures. Maybe next time.

This is my first sweet pepper! Just waiting for the rest of it to turn red before I pick it.

This is my catmint/hosta garden that I keep at our campsite. It's doing very well this year. The catmint smells glorious. It's a transplant from a garden I had at home. I've had it for about seven years now. I just love the purple flowers.

Charlie was groomed last week and he feels like silk! He is such a good camping dog. We spent the Fourth of July weekend at the campground and he barely barked. Every once in a while he sensed a dog passing by (he's blind so he can't see them) and he'd bark just a little. Otherwise, he just basked in all the one-on-one time he got with me. I took him with me everywhere.

My Butterboy is growing up so fast. He is starting to look like a teenager. Oh my heart!

I got both of my boys to smile in one day! Momentous! They were already pretty happy from a day full of swimming and camping and milkshakes so it was pretty easy.

This is Fred's favorite spot in the house. He is not a cuddler, he is a sinker. If he thinks you are going to turn on that faucet, he will turn on that charm and let you pet him. If you don't, then he jumps down and pads away in a huff. "What a waste!" he thinks. We rescued Fred as a much older kitty from the local Humane Society (they had him for TWO years before we adopted him!). He is pretty set in his ways and those don't include being petted, snuggling, or being carried. He will lay NEAR you and if he's in a good mood you can rub his head a little but, too much, and he will run away. We've had him about two years now so I don't think he's going to change. We love him anyway.

We had a pretty stressful Fourth weekend and I am glad to be home. We had a mini-emergency on the Fourth which caused us to miss all the fireworks. This is the life of a special needs family. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sometimes life gets the best of me

I know I said I was going to write here more often but I just can't catch a rhythm doing it. Life gets the best of me I guess.

I had volunteered to do some pattern testing. So I got the pattern and ordered the fabric from Canada which took some time to come. I got it just as we were preparing for my daughter's grad party. As soon as we were done with her grad party I was hit with a week-long bout of endometriosis pain. Then, when the pain cleared up, I sat down to start cutting fabric and discovered that my rotary blade was dull as rocks and I had no spare! It was just one thing after another. FINALLY, I got the replacement rotary blades in the mail and got to cutting (see below, ain't it beautiful??!!). Then I started sewing and my 1/4" seam allowance was off by a teeny bit. Not a lot mind you, but after I've been through all of this and I'm up against a deadline I threw in the towel. The universe is just not on my side for this one folks. I love the pattern and the colors and the fabrics and I will do it, but I just can't make it by the deadline which was yesterday.

After I was feeling better, my youngest son and I set out to mulch underneath our back deck. We bought 8 bags of mulch and went at it soon discovering that 8 bags of mulch didn't get us very far. Neither did 16. It took us 22 bags of mulch to finish the job! Then I put in this little garden which took me another entire afternoon. There's two lobelia, two transplanted chives and two transplanted bearded irises. The entire project was a ton of work and I could not have done it without my son's help.

The rhubarb was looking ripe so with the help of my daughter (not shown) and son, we made strawberry rhubarb muffins. Holy cats were they good!!

One night we decided to go out for ice cream.

Two nights ago, LilG spent the night at my parents and went fishing with my dad. He caught this nice smallmouth bass and generally had a great time being spoiled by grandparents.

The greenhouses are all having sales so I got a flat of salsa veggies for cheap. All mature plants with small fruit already growing on it! We'll be enjoying salsa soon!

I also got baskets of petunias 2/$7! We'll be hanging them from everywhere! Our last house had nowhere to hang them but this house has a nice deck and a bare front that needs some cheering up. I'm pretty excited.