Monday, December 15, 2014

My effort to empty a few boxes of scraps continues.  The piecing on this project

came to a halt whenever all the black fabric had been used.   I have 190 blocks pieced and will need several more.  So I ordered more black fabric and while waiting for it, I drafted a pattern for a 6" x 9" Flying Geese unit, printed the pattern onto paper, pulled out the scraps again, and began paper piecing these:

I try to piece five units each day; there are 75 finished ones.  One usually thinks there is a lot of waste when paper piecing because she cuts the pieces a little over sized, but not this time:

As I trim a unit I flick the trimmings off onto the floor rather than take the time to hit the waste basket; I have a broom and dust pan in the sewing room and sweep up the mess as I finish for the day.  This is the layout for the finished blocks, minus a connecting strip between rows:

Did this make a dent in the scraps?  Hardly!  And look what's left when the units are trimmed; a large stack of pretty triangles!

 Sew these to white triangles, trim to 2 1/2 inch squares, and you have the makings for another quilt!

Why not throw them away, you ask?  All I can say is, when you're raised by parents who lived through the depression and made-do with what they had, and every penny was pinched until it screamed, that frugal characteristic lives on.


Monday, December 8, 2014

With all that's going on in the news these days, I thought this was just the thing to start your day with a chuckle: 

This was taken from The BACK FORTY Calendar, 2015, by Lex Graham, and distributed by a local propane company.

Have a good day!

Friday, November 28, 2014

November Hope Chest Addition ~ finally

A ripple afghan goes into the hope chest in November.  I think the ripple is the easiest of all patterns.  It would make an excellent choice for a beginner; if one can count to two, three, and eleven she has it made.

This afghan has a story with it: I bought this as a kit and gave it to my daughter.  She was too busy to commit to crocheting it, so I bought it back from her so she could get something else in its place.  So, as confusing as this sounds, I actually bought it twice!

Fannie seems to be enjoying the warmth of the afghan.  In these pictures it is folded into quarters, and although it isn't a big afghan, it makes a good cover for the toes when thrown over the foot of the bed at night.

Next year I don't think I will commit to making a project each month.  I'm getting so much slower with my farm work and that takes away from my sewing, etc.  Also, it seems the Farmer needs help with so many things.  Sometimes I may go to the sewing machine, stitch three or four inches, and I hear him coming down the hallway.  When he gets to my door with a solemn face, I ask, "What do you want?" and he may say, "There's a cow getting ready to have a calf; I think we need to get her up."  I unplug the machine and iron, turn off the lamp and leave things until another spare time.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Using a New Quilt

Yesterday morning the temperature was 15* ~ brr-rr!  Time to put the best flannel sheets on the bed for sure.  I'd been putting a throw and an afghan over my light weight quilt at night and then each morning they had to be folded and put away.  I needed another quilt.  My new quilts had just been in the cupboard for years; why not use one of them?  After all, shouldn't I enjoy the work of my hands instead of keeping them for someone else?  But there's this old saying, when you sleep under a new quilt, what you dream will come true.  Oh boy!  I've been having some disturbing dreams, not dreams that frighten me, just ones that leave a feeling of uncertainty or dread.  A lot of them include my late mother and daddy; usually I'm visiting them in a health center or something where I have to go through all these crowded, dirty little rooms before I find them.  I hate that!  But I decided to take a chance, and this is the quilt I put on my bed:

It is actually made of two different blocks: some kind of star block, and the court house steps block, and quilted in a clam shell design.  Most of the fabrics are homespun plaids.  I've always pictured this quilt in a log cabin.

Well, today I'm happy to say, I slept warm and cozy and had nary a bad dream!  So I guess I'm in the clear!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Flat Stanley Project

Are you familiar with Flat Stanley?  I wasn't until my daughter, a fourth grade language arts teacher, told me about the Flat Stanley project her class would be doing this month.  I thought it was just a local thing; after a Google search I was amazed!  Wikipedia gives a good explanation:

Flat Stanley is a 1964 children's book written by Jeff Brown, featuring Stanley Lambchop.  Stanley is given a big bulletin board which is hung over his bed.  During the night the board falls off the wall and flattens Stanley.  Having survived, he can now slide under locked doors, be used as a kite, and be mailed in an envelope to his friends.  The Flat Stanley Project, started in 1995 by Dale Hubert, is a way to teach letter-writing to students by documenting where Flat Stanley has gone with them.

Each student made a Flat Stanley and the assignment was to mail him to someone, who would spend a day or two with him, and document his experiences with photos and writing.  Now this just grabbed my attention immediately!!  I've always loved to pretend, so when Andrea (teacher/daughter) told me about the project I hoped some student would send Stanley to me.  A few days later, she brought her rendition of Flat Stanley to me
 and I was off on adventures with him.  This is Stanley's adventure with me, written from his point of view: 

Flat Stanley Visits a Farm

I visited a farm this week.  The farmer was a woman who worked with chickens, cows and kittens.  Work on the farm started early in the morning.  The first chore was work in the chicken houses, where we made sure the chickens had feed, water, and fresh air.
Next, the woman took me to feed the kittens.  They live in the barn where they eat and sleep between the big round bales of hay.  They are safe and warm here.
The woman raked some leaves and let me play in them before lunchtime.
While we waited until time to do the afternoon chores, the woman let me stand right in the very middle of the quilt blocks she was sewing!
Late in the afternoon it was time to feed the cows.  The farmer let me ride at the front of the tractor so I could watch the hungry cows as they came to eat.
At the end of the day I was very, very tired.  I was happy to have a nice little bed to sleep in and a warm quilt to cover me.
I dreamed during the night of the farm and how much fun I had helping with the chores.  And, best of all, the farm woman said I could come back any time I wanted to!

Of course I know Flat Stanley's time spent with me pales in comparison with being photographed with the president or traveling with a solider on a war field.  If you're interested enough to read more, Google "Flat Stanley".  The students won't be graded on this assignment; chances are that some who are sent the letter will not respond which isn't the child's fault.  I thought it was fun; almost like playing paper dolls again!


Friday, October 31, 2014

BOO !!!

A Halloween pepper from the garden!  Isn't he perfectly suited for this day!

A frost is supposed to happen tonight, so yesterday I gathered what I could from the garden: okra, green sweet peppers, peas and green tomatoes.  I'll pick the ripe tomatoes today.  The green tomatoes were wrapped in tissue paper and put in a cool place to ripen; hopefully they will be ready for Thanksgiving or maybe even Christmas.  The ripe tomatoes will be put in the crisper and some will be given away.  It was a wonderful year for our small garden and this momma squirrel put a lot of the crop into the freezer.

An update on the baby calf:  she died last night.  Her wounds were just too deep.  The Farmer has gone to bury her this morning.  I will miss her feeding times, and the nuzzling at my hands and shirt tail.  So, I did a final washing of the bottle and put it away and put the rest of her powdered milk replacement in the freezer, ready for the next little calf in need.

Of course that is the emotional side; there's also a financial side.  Cattle prices are at an all time high now; the Farmer estimates a calf her size would probably bring $500-$600 dollars at market.  Then there is the cost of $26.95 per ten pound bag of formula and I've lost count of the number of bags I've fed.  My time of feeding her three times a day at the beginning and then twice daily for two-three months was free.

The dogs are still free to roam.  The Farmer doesn't like to confront someone over such an issue; besides, as the old saying goes, "you can't get blood from a turnip".  I don't want to see it happen again!  Sometimes one just wants to use the words of the Lord: "Vengeance is mine; I will repay."  I don't think it's over yet...


Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Delayed Hope Chest Addition

I'm afraid there's no finished item for the October addition to the hope chest.  But in between big chickens going out and getting baby chickens back in, freezing wonderful garden veggies, selling calves and wrapping up the last of the hay season, I do have something started:

paper pieced string blocks for a quilt.  Their finished size will be 4 1/2 inches, and I have estimated that I will need at least 300 of them to make a big quilt; I have 90 made.  When the chance to work on them happens, I try to piece 10 at a time, keeping them in numbered groups of ten so I'll know when I reach that goal of 300 (or more).

So, if they never get put together into a quilt by me, maybe the person who gets them will have the joy of finishing it or can give the blocks away.  It seems no matter how many strings I use, the pile never shrinks.

This morning came with a beautiful red sunrise.  The whole area was clothed in red.  We were up early to load the calves for market.

This afternoon I'm very, very sad, and SO angry!   Remember the baby calf I was feeding on the bottle?  She was growing, very healthy, and eating sweet feed and hay.  Right before noon, the neighbor's two big dogs attacked her; she was in a pen beside the barn eating grass.  The farmer saw them and ran them off, so there's no denying whose dogs they were.  Good thing the only weapon he had with him was a rock!  I took pictures, which I won't show here, but it's bad.  I know she must be in a lot of pain from the gashes.  Hopefully she will recover. 

I'll try to do better for the month of November; the weeks go by so quickly ----