Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Foggy, Frosty Morning

Yesterday there was some fog when I got up and the trees were really frosty.  I took a few pictures because it was so beautiful.

The temperature yesterday got up to 37 and today it's supposed to be 39, so I plan on getting outside to enjoy it.  Tonight it'll turn cold again, and for the next several days we'll have some highs below zero and lows even further below zero with even colder wind chills. 

Many people actually enjoy winter weather up here in the north; I'm okay with it as long as I don't have to get out in it too much.  I've lived here most of my life, so I guess I'm kind of used to it.  Two of our kids and their families live in the area, and our other son is planning on moving back next summer.  Being close to family is important, so I'll just enjoy the blessings of winter (such as the unique beauty and the somewhat slower pace of life) and look forward to spring. 

I have finished putting pictures of UFOs and WIPs on the other page, so take a look if you're interested. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

New Camera Case

A few years ago, at a garage sale, I bought a little carrying case for my point and shoot type camera.  It has served its purpose, but is not exactly pretty to look at. 

I wanted something with a bit more color, so a couple of days ago, I made a new case.

There's not much to it; just a length of fabric (I used the same for the outside and the inside.), some batting, a button, and a length of ribbon.  I made the ribbon long enough so I can fit it over my head to wear around my neck.

This fabric is much brighter and more cheerful than the old one.  It makes me smile when I look at it, so it's already a success.

If you are interested, I just put up a new tab with pictures of unfinished objects (UFOs) and works-in-progress (WIPs).  The thing I love most about quilting is the piecing, and when that's finished I'm really slow to actually sandwich, quilt, and bind my projects.  I'm hoping that having all of these posted will encourage me to finish them. 

I put up pictures of 9 so far and will be adding the rest this weekend.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Last of the Christmas Quilting for 2013

We just had our family Christmas get-together, so now I can show you the last of the Christmas quilting I did this year. 

These are table runners I made: one for my daughter and the other for my daughter-in-law.   They are small, but should work well on a side table or something similar.

They are essentially the same on the front, but the backings are different.

We had such a nice time today.  The grands are getting so big; our oldest is already in Middle School, and it won't seem like very long before the other two are that old, also.  It was great having them here along with our son, daughter-in-law, daughter, and son-in-law.  The only thing that would have made it better is if our other son could have been here.  Hopefully, next year he will be.

We had our traditional Christmas meal of Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes & gravy, lefse, my Gram's fruit salad, and a couple of other things.  Oh, and of course, pickled herring which, as it turns out, no one but Mr. M and I like.  For the past few years, our daughter-in-law has brought a really good homemade pecan pie for dessert, Mr. M's favorite.  This year our son was up early this morning, so he made it.  He did well.

I hope you all have a very wonderful Christmas this year. 

Linking up with Sew Darn Crafty

Friday, December 20, 2013

Silverware Pockets

Just in time for Christmas, I came across a tutorial on another blog for making some nice silverware holders.  (Sorry, but I don't remember which blog it was.)

They were very easy to do.  I used the rest of the jelly roll that I had used to do the table runner in this post:  Swirls and a Christmas Runner


 As you can see, the silverware sticks way out.  I should have made them a bit larger, but I forgot that my silverware seems to be longer than most.  And I also just noticed that I have the knife facing the wrong way in this picture.  Will have to make sure I do it right when I set these out for our Christmas dinner.

If I had tried one with the silverware in it before I made all ten, then I would have adjusted the size.  Since I didn't, they are just going to have to do.

We are having our family Christmas get-together this coming Sunday, so I'm going to be busy today and tomorrow finishing up what needs to get done before then.  I always look forward so much to our family Christmas.  Everyone will be here except our younger son who lives quite a ways from here; and he has to work on Christmas this year.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Draft Stoppers

It has seemed so unseasonably cold here lately.  The temperature is below zero at night and doesn't warm up much during the day.  But what is worse is the wind, which has been bringing the wind chill to about -20 for much of the day and night.  In fact, as I write this, it is almost noon and the temperature is -4 with a wind chill of -19.

Fortunately, I don't have to do much outside.  But of course the furnace runs a lot when it's so windy.
So I decided to do a little bit about it (no, not move south, although it's sometimes tempting).  Last summer I came across a great bargain at a garage sale:  76 yards of flannel for $30.  Most of the pieces were several yards each.  At about $.40 per yard, how could I pass it up?

What a great way to use some of it by making draft stoppers for the doors. 

Here are some before I turned them right side out. 

I filled the first one with rice, but then remembered that we have a lot of dried beans, so that's what I'm using for the rest.

Once I got started, I decided why not make them for the windowsills, too.  So, I'm going to end up with 23, four for the doors and the other 19 for windows.

And here are the first four finished.

Hopefully, having these will help when the wind blows.  And the cost to make them was minimal which is always nice.

I'm linking up with Sew Darn Crafty

Sunday, December 8, 2013



I did a bit of sewing this past week after most of the Christmas decorations were up.

These are small "pocket" ornaments that can hold small candy canes or a few pieces of chocolates or anything else that might fit in such a small space.

They're made with two small squares of fabric bonded together and folded.  Very easy and cute.

I'm also working on a few utensil holders that I saw on another blog.  I'll show those to you when I get them finished.

I'm linking up with Sew Darn Crafty

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Decorating and a Poem

I just came across this quote from John Greenleaf Whittier on another website and want to share it.

"Somehow, not only for Christmas, But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others, Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing, The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart's possessing, Returns to you glad."

This poem is a good reminder to me that I need to be more giving of kind words, time, and resources all of the time. 

I'm not doing any sewing today because it's time to put up the Christmas tree and other decorations.    This is all I have done so far.

This year I'm only putting up a 4 foot tabletop tree.  It still needs some small silver balls, and then it should be finished.  I still have boxes and boxes of decorations to go through and decide what gets put out and what doesn't.  That will take me the rest of the day and then some.

Linking up with Make it Pretty Monday week 78

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Well, I wasn't going to do another post for a few more days, but there was such a gorgeous sunset here today.  I took several pictures and wanted to post a couple for you to enjoy

Friday, November 29, 2013

Another Christmas Runner

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.  And if you're part of the Black Friday shopping frenzy, I hope you get some great bargains.  I used to be a very dedicated Black Friday shopper, but these last few years it just hasn't interested me much.  I may go out in an hour or so just to see if there are any bargains left.  The crowds should be a lot smaller at this time, especially since many of the sales began yesterday.

I've been working on another Christmas table runner.

This is a pattern from Heather at Anka's Treasures and is very easy and fun to do.  It is from her book Angles with Ease, and also uses her Triangler ruler.

I have a couple more Christmas related items to finish; then I can get started on more non-Christmas quilting.

I'm linking up with Sew Darn Crafty

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Swirls and a Christmas Runner

Here are a couple of things I've been working on this week.

This unfinished wall hanging is made with a charm pack, which is all I had of that fabric, and white tone-on-tone for the background. 

However, I really like the fabric, so I just ordered a layer cake.  When that comes, I may sew a few more blocks to make this into a bigger quilt.  Not sure yet, but I did want to get more of the fabric while it's still available.

I also finished this Christmas table runner. 

It's made with a jelly roll and is meant to be put together in a random manner.  I have a lot of trouble doing random, especially when the blocks are right together with no sashing.  I'd prefer to have a bit more structure to the look.  So Mr. M laid out all the blocks for me (he's good at random), and I sewed it together just the way he laid it out.  He likes the way it turned out; I'm not sure yet if I do.

The backing is a panel that I had in my stash.

This is a special weekend coming up:  our daughter will be here for a couple of days. We have spent opening deer hunting weekend together for several years.  We always do fun things together, so I'm really looking forward to her visit.

Joining the    Sew Darn Crafty Linky Party


Friday, November 15, 2013

Back from the Retreat

Hi there!  We're back from the retreat.  What a great time we had seeing old friends and meeting new people.  The Rochester location was wonderful, but they are already booked for next year, so the retreat will be at a new location.  Wherever it is, we'll be there; wouldn't miss it for anything.

I didn't get as much accomplished as I had hoped to, but that's okay.  It was fun anyway. 

I did get a couple of quilt tops finished, though.

This one is a wall hanging made from a Quilt in a Day pattern. 

As a side note, we were able to attend Eleanor Burns' show while we were in Paducah last April. She is just a "hoot", and such a nice person.

I also made this quick and easy quilt top using 2 charm packs and some  sashing.  It'll end up being about 45x56, so just a nice lap size.

I was also able to get the blocks for a wall hanging and also for a quilt finished, but I'll keep those pictures for another post.

I'm entering the Sew Darn Crafty post over at Sew Many Ways:

Also at Anything Blue Friday:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Crumb Catcher

Here's what I've been working on for the past couple of days.  It's called a Cookie Plate Crumb Catcher.  You can see the tutorial over at The Crafty Quilter.  She's doing a Christmas Once a Month tutorial on the 15th of each month this year, and this is the October project.

I just looked through my smaller fabric pieces and found a few that I thought would work.
This was fun to do; a quick and easy project.

Next Thursday my friend Kaci and I are going to a quilt retreat sponsored by Roseann of Rosebud's Cottage in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.  This year it's in Rochester, Minnesota.  This is our 4th year going to Roseann's retreats, and we always have such a good time. 

These are some of the charm squares I'm taking along.  They're from the line "Lovely" by Debby Beaves for RJR Fabrics.  I bought two charm square packs, and I'm going to make an easy four-patch quilt with them.  I love the purples and greens and the black background on some of the fabrics.

I have about 5 or 6 projects to take along.  I'd rather have too many to finish than too few.  Although with too few, I'd have to run out to a quilt shop and buy more fabric, etc.  Maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing after all.

I'll be back after the retreat with some pictures, hopefully of a few finished tops.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Vacation and New Fabric

I was out of town last week having lots of fun.  Can you guess where??

Yes, Las Vegas!!  Our younger son lives there; I was visiting and helping him move to a new apartment.  We got the moving out of the way at the beginning of the week.  The top picture is New York New York casino and the middle one is the lion at the MGM Grand casino. 

The bottom picture of part of the strip was taken from the Springs Preserve, a large area right in the city which comprises the Nevada State Museum, a natural history museum, and a desert living center.  On the left is the Stratosphere, which is on the north end of the strip.  The other buildings are part of the strip also, not close enough on this picture to identify.

One day we went to the Bellagio on the strip and had brunch--very good!  Then we walked up and down about half of the strip, wandering around in a couple of casinos.  I bet a few dollars, made a few and lost a few, so ended up about even.

The next day we drove five hours to the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

I lived in Denver for several years and never made it to the Grand Canyon; now that I live twice as far away I finally got to see it.  Even though I had seen pictures of it, they simply don't do it justice.  In person it is just awesome!  A magnificent treasure that we are lucky to have in this country.  If you have never seen it in person, put it on your bucket list.  It was worth every minute of the ten-hour round-trip drive.

A couple more pictures from different vantage points.

The sky over the canyon was the most beautiful blue.

Here is the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon.

We also spent some time downtown on Fremont Street.  There is a huge TV screen above about two blocks of the street; it's billed as the largest tv screen in the world.   Las Vegas is nothing if not excessive at most everything they do.  At night there's a light show on this screen and the colored lights bounce and wave across it.  It's very pretty to watch.

We ate at a nice Mexican restaurant a block or two from here.  The area adjacent to the Fremont Street "mall area" is slowly being refurbished.  We also toured the Mob Museum, three floors of pictures, videos, and information about the Las Vegas/Mob connection.  It was very interesting.

I had such a wonderful time visiting my son and seeing Las Vegas and the area.

Something else wonderful:  I ordered a jelly roll from the Missouri Star Quilt Company, and it has arrived.  It's from Wyndham Fabrics, called Christmas Peace.

I'm either going to make the Jelly Roll Jam pattern with it or do the one that Jenny Doan shows on the Missouri Star Quilt Company's website. 

I really need to avoid opening their Daily Deal emails because I would end up buying more fabric than I should.  Is it possible to have too much fabric??  Umm, probably not!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

New Sewing Machine

About three or four months ago, I was able to buy a new sewing machine.  I've had a Viking Lily for close to 15 years.  It has been a very good machine, but I wanted one with a bigger throat area.  I spent about a year and a half researching different brands--looking on quilt forums and talking to company reps at quilt shows. 

At the beginning of this search, I was pretty sure I wanted another Viking.  However, over time I heard nothing but positive comments about Janome.  There happens to be a Janome dealer here in town; he is the person I've taken my machines to for cleaning and maintenance as well as any repairs needed.  My mom used to take her Elna to him for servicing also.  He does a great job. 

So in the end, I decided on a Janome Horizon 8900QCP and have no regrets at all.  It is a fantastic machine!

Some of the features I especially like are the needle threader (my eyes don't work as well as they used to, so this is very nice), the thread cutter (which is also a big thread saver), and the exterior spool holder.  The foot pedal is extra wide, there are two needle plates that are so easy to change, and the machine has 4 or 5 lights to make sewing and quilting much easier.  The acrylic extension table came with it, and after using this I would never want to be without one again.  The extra space and support it gives are wonderful. 

After working on an almost king-size quilt, the thing I really love about this sewing machine is the 11 inch throat area.  It allowed me to do the quilting with basically no struggle.  In this picture, I am working on the outer border, but even when I was quilting in the middle of the quilt, the large throat area made it much easier than the 7 inch on my Viking.  I would never have attempted to quilt something so large on that machine.  The extra 4 inches on this one makes a huge difference.

There is also a knee lift, which I'm just beginning to use.  There are so many more features that I haven't even had time to explore yet.  The cost of this sewing machine was a bit higher than I originally wanted to pay, but I am so glad I didn't settle for anything less than what I really wanted.

As you can tell, I am happy, happy, happy with this new sewing machine!

I am linking up with

and also with

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Lone Star

The Lone Star quilt I've been working on for a couple of months is finished!  It ended up measuring about 100" x 114".

Here it is laid out on the living room floor just to give you an idea of its size.  It's for a queen size bed, but she wanted it to be the size of a bedspread so it would go to the floor and be able to be tucked under the pillows.

Here it's on a double bed.  On her queen, the entire star will be on top of the bed rather than hanging over.  Also, her bed is not quite as high as this one, so the length on it should be fine also.

A close-up of the star.  The colors are actually brighter than they appear in this picture.

I did some stitch-in-the-ditch and straight-line quilting as well as a pattern on the first border and meandering on the third border.

A close-up of the quilting on the first border.

This quilt has been fun to make as well as a challenge.  I just may make one of these for myself--in different colors, though.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Break and a Narrowed Focus

I've been missing in blogland for a few weeks, as you may have noticed.  What it boils down to is that I've run out of things to write about as far as the garden, canning, animals, etc. are concerned.  The garden and canning season is about over, and we now have only three chickens.  So, there's really not much of interest there, and my personal focus is elsewhere.

After 1 1/2 years this blog will now have a main focus (a niche blog, if you will) rather than general "what's happening in many parts of life around here" posts.  That main focus will be quilting and things related to quilting/sewing, with maybe just an occasional post about other topics.  I've been sewing for almost my entire life and quilting for the past 15-20 years.  It's something I love doing, and now that I'm spending much more time quilting than gardening, farming, or anything else, it seems to be an appropriate new direction for my blog.

If you've been reading this blog to keep up-to-date on our gardening, animals, canning, etc. adventures, then I apologize about the change.

But, if you are interested in quilting, look for the beginning of this re-focused blog in the next few days.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Finished Coop

Hi there!
Well, we finally finished the chicken coop remodel.

If you didn't see the before and during pictures, go here.

This is the outside including the chicken run.  Mr. M put hardware cloth over the window so that when it's open, predators can't get in.  The window is one that was in the old front porch on the house; we stored all the windows in the barn when we remodeled the porch.  We also put a 4 foot wide covering right outside the door to keep snow from piling up there.  The roof of the machine shed, which shares one side with the coop, is metal, so snow tends to slide right off it and ends up in front of the door to the coop. 

Looking out the door, with nest boxes on the right.  We brought these up from the previous coop.  There are ten, which will be way too many for the number of hens we'll have, but it is all one unit so that's what we have.

The walls and ceiling are boards from our barn.  We looked around by the woods and found some dead elm and box elder branches which Mr. M made into a roost.  It fits with the rustic look of the coop.  I guess the floor isn't very rustic, but it's some leftover vinyl flooring that a neighbor donated to us.  It will make cleaning the coop much easier than if we had not covered the plywood at all. 

This is where we store the chicken feed.  That window makes a huge difference on the inside of the coop.

The feeders are in place.

Now all we have to do is get the waterer back in as well as some straw, and the coop will be ready for chickens.  Our plan now is to get a few young meat chickens that will be ready for the freezer before it gets too cold this winter.  Then in the spring we'll buy some chicks that will be kept to give us eggs when they are old enough--the hens that is; the roosters will probably go in the freezer.  Maybe someday we'll want to raise our own chicks, but for now we don't need roosters.

We are very excited that we were able to complete this almost totally with materials we already had on hand.  I think the chickens will find it to be a nice home.

Also linking up with http://www.fresh-eggs-daily,com/2013/08/from-farm-blog-hop_30.html