Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September ~ Hope Chest

Did you give up on me?  It was very close, but finally finished on the last day of September!  So much has been going on here the past month: big chickens (which went out last week), more hay to bale and haul, garden harvest of tomatoes and peas, all of which I'm very thankful!  So I grabbed every spare minute to work on a crazy quilt.

"Crazy quilts, born of necessity, were made in an all-over design consisting of pieces of material, regardless of size or color...They were sewed together in crazy fashion, usually on an inner lining ..."  Marguerite  Ickis/The Standard book of Quilt Making and Collecting.

My fabric pieces were scraps given to me by my mother-in-law several years ago; most are large prints left from shirts, etc. she had made for her grandchildren in the 1980s.  I pieced the blocks on newspaper, then trimmed them to size.  A quilt with such a busy pattern needs no fancy quilting stitches, (as if I could!) therefore I simply quilted along each seam line, except in the solid red, where I did a melon-shaped pattern.

 The quilt measures approximately 52 1/2" x 62 1/2", a good size to throw over the foot of the bed on a cold night ~ or

as a lap quilt to snuggle under while reading or watching TV ~ or,

spread it on the ground for a picnic lunch.

And while we're talking crazy, how did this fella get to be in the middle of the quilt?  Perhaps the bowl of chips can be set over him. (Also, I see a seam I skipped :()  Now to come up with an October project!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A few weeks ago we had some really good hay that the farmer decided to put inside the barn.

It has been years since any hay has been put inside.  This was the part of the barn we had fixed for the cats to be safe from dogs.  Last winter there were only a few square bales on the ground so it wasn't the warmest place for the cats and no place for new kittens to be born.  I wondered what the cats would think when they saw their "home" filled almost to the ceiling of the barn.

They love it!  And there are all sorts of nooks and crannies where they can hide and make their warm bed when the winter winds blow.  The farmer left a space at the door where I go in to feed them.

Cats are important to have on a farm.  We rarely see a mouse around the chicken houses where they can do a lot of damage to the insulation on the buildings.  Gotta take care of my cats!


Friday, September 12, 2014

Two cans

sit on the bathroom vanity; both are the same size, very similar in color and design.  Both are aerosol cans and the contents are unscented.  One is "extra hold", the other "lasts all day".  What if ...............

Think about it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August ~ Hope Chest Addition

When I started this project, I was sure it would take me until winter to finish it, but once I got started with a few stitches now and then, it went rather quickly.  I chose to make a pair of embroidered pillowcases:

The pattern was very old and I was almost certain it wouldn't transfer two times, so I cut around it and took it to the copy machine for a pattern I could use to transfer to tracing paper.

To transfer, I used a light box (an old gadget used to view x-rays which the farmer acquired while teaching Physics; a case of his trash becoming my treasure).  I slipped the pattern under tracing paper and marked the design with a transfer pencil.

The design was ready to be transferred to the pillowcases I had made.  Now it was time to choose thread colors.  I have a sweet little yellow rose whose petals are tinged with pink, and although a red or bright pink would have been a bolder color, I chose the yellow and by the time I had the first one finished, I knew something had to be done to make it more colorful.  I had read about using crayons with embroidered designs so I got out my Crayolas and filled in the larger areas.

The upper pillowcase is without coloring as compared to the lower one with coloring.  There are lots of good tutorials for this, but as is typical with me, I didn't look for them until after the fact.  Most of the tutorials tell one to color first then embroider; I did the opposite, but I guess it will be o.k.  The wax in the crayons is set, using a hot iron; but if the color fades it can be colored again.  Years ago a crayon got in the dryer with a set of my sheets and there are still traces of it.

What do you think?  Did I ruin the pillowcases by using crayons to fill in the design? 


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Farm Life ~ August

This has been a busy week here on the farm.  We've baled hay, 100 plus big round bales on Monday,

 and then on Tuesday we hauled the bales.
Wednesday we got the chicken houses ready for baby chicks.  My job was putting together the cardboard feed trays which are about 3' x 4' in size.
Thursday morning we ran feed into the boxes, drained water lines to flush out air, and triggered the nipple drinkers.  A lot of the nipples were stuck so the chicks wouldn't be able to get water from them.  Then after lunch the chicks came, 67,200 of these little yellow balls of fluff:
So my two weeks off from chicken work is over.  I've been working on the August and September additions to the hope chest ~ and ~ there is a new chore:  
She's twelve days old now and I feed her three times a day.
Her mother was a young heifer (a teenage mother :) who had nothing to do with her from the very beginning.  The calf took the bottle the  first time it was offered to her and is doing so good on the milk replacement I feed to her.  When the milk is all gone she wants to keep sucking; she needs a pacifier! :)
My sweet kitty came to get acquainted.

Now I'll settle back into the routine of being a farmer with a little time snatched now and then to put needle and thread to fabric.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Comparison

I got a new iron last week, sleek and almost too bright to get a good picture of it because it reflected things just like a mirror!  Immediately I couldn't help but compare it to Mama's heavy "sad" iron.

The new iron is heavier than my old iron, weighing about 3 1/2 pounds, but the sad iron, solid cast iron, is much heavier.  What a workout for a lady's arm muscles!

New irons come with automatic temperature controls; set the dial on the temperature for different fabrics and when it reaches that setting, it stops heating ~ perfect.  A sad iron ~ set it on a hot stove and let it heat, hoping it won't be hot enough to scorch that white shirt.  Mama tested the heat by wetting the end of her finger then quickly touching the bottom of the sad iron.  If the moisture sizzled, the iron was ready to use.

 The bottom of the new iron is so bright things are reflected in it, making it look brown!

Of course, with the addition of polyester to cotton fabrics, ironing is much easier today anyway.  The new irons make steam to remove small wrinkles, and if there is a stubborn wrinkle, just push a button for an extra shot of steam.  A lot of clothing was made from cotton feed sacks in yester-years and was starched to give it body.  Before the clothing could be ironed a good sprinkling of water droplets made it easier to remove wrinkles: Mama dipped her fingers into a bowl of water and sprinkled the items, then rolled them up so the moisture could reach the entire pieces.  While ironing, if she came across a dry spot, she would wet a cloth and rub it over the spot, then continue ironing the item.

Oh my!  The new iron seems heavy to me now, but how in the world could I iron with a sad iron!  And, by the looks of that stack of tablecloths, I need to go iron!  But, as Scarlet would say, "I won't think about it today; I'll think about it tomorrow."


Friday, July 25, 2014

Is This Surprise Coming Early?

Earlier in the week I noticed the surprise lilies were pushing up through the ground,

and by yesterday, they were blooming!

A beautiful mass of pink!  I think I'm learning that flowers planted in mass give better results.  My planting has usually been trying to put a little of this and that in several places.

If it weren't for the fact that these are close to my compost bin I probably wouldn't have noticed them at all until being totally surprised by their blooms.  In the spring they were a mass of green foliage.  I let it die back and turn brown, then I mowed over them, hoping to keep the four o'clocks and irises pushed back so there would be a clear spot for them to come up.  It seems too early for them to bloom; perhaps the fact that our weather has been cooler than normal (so far) this summer fooled them into thinking it's later in the year than it is?  Anyway, the other flower beds are looking tired and spent after a flush of spring irises and summer day lilies and tiger lilies, so these are a very welcome surprise.

Our chickens went out on Tuesday of this week so yesterday I put a quilt top on the frames to work on during my "out" time of two weeks.  The farmer has started the work of getting the litter ready to be put into wind rows so it can go through a "heat" that will kill any disease organisms.  Then while it sits for a day or two, weather permitting, we'll go finish the second cutting of hay, and before we know it, the two weeks will be gone and new baby chicks will be cheeping in the houses again.

Do you have surprise lilies?  Look around for them; they may be early too!