Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Too Hot For Quilting

I am not a fan of hot weather. I grew up in Minnesota where the winters are very cold and a portion of the summer is hot with high humidity. But I hate the heat. It's probably primarily because I feel like it prevents me from accomplishing so many things. I have canning to do -- but it's too hot. I have several customer quilts to do -- but it's too hot. I have a garden that needs some attention -- but it's too hot. It's too hot for even sleeping! We have two room air conditioners in our living room but when the temperatures get this high they don't begin to keep up. So I guess today will probably not show much progress in anything.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Applique Work

I have the whole day to myself. My family went on a hike up the Eagle Creek trail. I like to hike, but not 15 miles and not on this trail. It has to many dangerous spots. Besides I was looking forward to a day to do things that I wanted to do and not meet so many family demands. So I have gone to Beaverton Farmers Market and browsed through all their vegies, fruit and flowers. Very enjoyable. Callie went with me and first we stopped at Dutch Bros for a beverage that would make our trip that much more enjoyable. We also enjoyed some fabulous pastries from one of the booths. After I got home, I worked on a customer quilt, read, went grocery shopping, ate junk food for lunch (no one to tell me it wasn't healthy), spent time online and best of all -- worked on Leah's Spring quilt. I'm to the point of needing to get the applique on the center block. So I found a sweet pea flower online and drew the design on paper. Then I worked on a few different quilting designs and laying out the applique ideas on paper. I decided to use circles on this quilt (at least in the center) so I drew the design into a circular arrangement and then traced it onto the quilt. My husband made me a light box several years ago as a Christmas present and even though it doesn't get a lot of use, when I do need it, I'm so glad to have it. It makes tracing so much easier. Now I'm ready to cut the appliques, pin or glue them on, get the embroidery going and get this quilt finished. My goal is to have this quilt done by the start of school. Hmm, that may be difficult but if I have anymore days like today I'll accomplish that goal.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Good Days

What makes a good day? For me, it's usually means being home and getting to do some things that I love. Today was a good day. I spent the first bit (after a morning walk) working on my latest quilt top. It's my two color quilt that is now a three color quilt! Oh well, things must change as quilts come to fruition. I've decided to call this quilt Leah's Spring. It was started during the 99 days Leah lived and represents through the colors and hopefully the quilting designs the beauty of her all-too-short life. I'm almost to the point of putting the blocks together. It's the same quilt that I made to commerate her memory (see photo quilt below) but this one will be for me. I hope to quilt it very heavily and just enjoy the process.

Later in the morning I picked beans, peas and beets out of my garden. I love to grow what we eat. It connects me with this earth and my creator in a unique way. After the harvest I spent the afternoon canning my produce. To most people I know, canning is a chore and not enjoyable, but not to me. I love to can. Granted some things are messy, sticky or a lot of work, but the satisfaction I get from seeing those beautiful jars of vegies, fruit or meat is worth all the effort. So I canned 5 pints of beets, 6 pints of green beans, and 2 half pints of peas.

While waiting for the canning to be finished I worked on my brown applique quilt. I also spent time watching my new baby chicks. I'm sure there will soon be a post on baby chicks.

But all in all it was a very good day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We Have Chickens!

I am a bird lover. For as far back as I can recall, I've enjoyed birds. I've noticed where they nest in my backyard, have several feeders up and have even kept logs of the birds I've seen. There are about 5 bird books on my shelf. One of the best presents I ever got from my husband (I think it was in our first year of marriage) was a bird cage. We raised finches and had many parakeets occupy that space. So with my love of birds it was only natural that sooner or later I would think about chickens in the yard. I know several homes in my neighborhood who have them, and a good friend has 5 in her yard. Last winter I started to get books from the library. Then I started researching on the internet which led to creating a favorites file of chicken sites. The final straw was when I found a store in Portland called the Urban Farm Store. It was an impressive website and I loved the store. Best of all, they have a free class for those interested in chickens. So last week after checking out the place, my son and I attended the class. We were hooked. The next day we set up a cage (that had previously held kittens), got some supplies and went back to the Urban Farm store and bought 4 baby chicks. They are adorable. We have 4 different kinds; a Rhode Island Red, Plymouth Rock, Buff Orpington, and Americana. Their names are Blanche, Fergie, Bell and Vader (my son named that one -- the black one). At first they were in the shed in the back. With the heat lamp they were fine back there until this hot weather hit. The shed became too hot so now they reside in my quilt studio. Not sure what customers might think of that so for now I won't have any customers visit my studio. But the cage is being kept very clean so there's no smell, and their little constant peeps is so enjoyable to listen to. We have the wood piled in the backyard and over the next few weeks we will build a coop and run. I have chickens mostly for their eggs, but I think observing them is going to be half the fun for me. We have chickens!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Jumpstart Needed

I need a jumpstart for my quilting. I think the events of the last few weeks have taken the wind out of my sails. Losing my precious granddaughter, summer break with all the craziness of the kids being home and now my husband being gone for 9 days. I walk in my studio and I don't know where to begin. I have two quilts I'm currently working on. They lay out on my sewing table and ironing board ready to go. I have a customer quilt on my longarm that is about 3/4's complete. Instead I've been wandering around the house (which is a mess), reading this and that, on the computer way too much and watching some BBC movies. I really need to buckle down and get to quilting. So what did I do this afternoon? I started to paint my bedroom. Well, maybe a new look in there will inspire a new look at my quilting projects and by the end of the week I can see some progress on both fronts. Or maybe what I really need is some time of wandering around the house and putting my mind in neutral with an occasional movie. Hopefully the jumpstart will happen soon!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Memory Quilt for Leah Grace

This last week I made a photo quilt as a memorial for my granddaughter, Leah Grace. Leah Grace passed away on June 27, 2009 at 99 days old. We knew her life would be short, but she was such a fighter, making it far longer than any in the medical community predicted. I'm so glad she was at home for most of her life and so many got to meet and take care of her. She was a very special baby.

I started this quilt the day after her death, picking out 9 photos to put in the quilt. A friend came on Tuesday and we worked most of the day piecing the quilt. By 10:00 that night I had it on my longarm machine. I finished it at 10:00 p.m. on Friday night the day before her memorial service. It was therapeutic to put a lot of effort into making something beautiful to remember Leah Grace by. I will miss her so much.