Category Archives: Quilting

My quilt projects.

Traveling the Backroads

If you have read my blog for any time at all, you will know that David and I like to take back roads when we travel.  We don’t have to go far to get on backroads and we always discover some hidden gem along the way.  Before my pacemaker, or as I like to call them, my huff and puff days, we took a short journey on  back roads to Cataract Falls.  I found it on the map and we had never been there before, so we decided to find it.  Cataract Falls is our state and not all that far from our house, but it is on winding back roads and it helps to have GPS to find it because I really don’t think we would have otherwise.

Cataract Falls is a series of Falls along a River in a small state park where there is a covered bridge going over the river.   The day we were there it looked like they were setting up for a wedding or wedding reception on the bridge. How neat would that be?!   As I was still tiring out easily we did not walk far but got a feel for the park and may go back one day.  There were kayakers at the bottom of one of the falls that must have kayaked from down river.  There were lots of families enjoying the park and one amorous middle aged couple who acted like they were just married.  Maybe they were!

We left cataract falls and followed signs to a general store.  This store was really off the beaten path, but so worth stopping to see.  It was a real old fashion general store run by a very genial man and his wife.  They sold everything and the kitchen sink.  I found a state scarf from which I am going to make a pillow.  And I found this……

TRUMP ALERT!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

Oh, yes.

Someone had included a handwritten message….

And several outfits President Trump could wear if he so chose to.

There were several more outfits, but I thought that is as many as some people could endure!

I have a friend who would get a kick out of these.

So, as you know, I had a pacemaker put in and I am slowly getting my energy back.   So we went to a football game of our oldest grandson’s last night.  He was wearing a cast on two fingers, but he played anyway. Their team won handily.  I’m not much for football, but I will endure it for my grandsons’ sakes as I like to watch them play sports.

Today we left Indianapolis for home, once again on back roads.  It was such a pleasant drive. Much better than on interstate where everyone is in  such a hurry.  It was a perfect Autumn day.  Went through little towns and saw some really nice older homes. Glad people are still restoring the old things because once they are gone, they won’t be back.

I have been doing other things besides traveling on backroads. I have been getting back into quilting again.

And knitting socks.

A small quilt and a pair of socks I completed last week. I have some larger projects I am working on that I will show later. I also painted a sign to put in front of our house that I will have to show you next time.

Oh, and here is something that has built its web right by our front door.

Isn’t he/she beautiful?  I love spiders. David, not so much. Before I told him about this one I made him promise he wouldn’t kill it.  Notice the coiled like web. They make it this way. Don’t know how, but then I don’t understand where spiders get the material to build their webs. They spin it from their bodies, but how?

Anyway, spiders are welcome at my house.  They are good bug catchers. And they fit right in with the Halloween décor!

Here’s to back roads and fun discoveries.  Bye.

 

June?!

I guess it’s June and almost Summer, but how did we get here so quickly?  I’m still back in May when Spring was new and the flowers were just opening up and the weather was almost nice except for all the rain.  And guess what?  June is becoming a very rainy month also. I feel so sorry for the guys who have been working on our house. They have actually worked outside in the rain, getting drenched and never complaining. At least I never hear them complain. Today is a beautiful day and they are working inside, of course.

The porch is more or less done. They will give the floor a second coat of stain and put up the screen doors after they are done working on our bathroom/laundry room.   Right now the place is all torn out and we have to run upstairs to use the bathroom. I can’t believe we lived like this for years with three children and one bathroom, but we did.  Now I look back at how we lived and I sound like an old pioneer woman when I tell our children how fortunate they are to have two or three bathrooms and Pampers.  I use to rinse all the cloth diapers in the toilet and wring them our WITH MY BARE HANDS and take them to the laundromat because as a pioneer woman, I had no washer and dryer at the time.  But I loved how fluffy and soft the diapers were after they were cleaned and I don’t regret it at all that I had to do all that. Now it’s  flip, a tape and a throw away and you are done with a diaper. Can’t help thinking how many landfills are full of those things.

But back to the bathroom/laundry. I can’t believe all the decisions one has to make about one little room.  Where to place the toilet and sink.  What kind of tile for the floor and shower.  What kind of faucets. What kind of lights. What color paint for walls, ceiling and woodwork.  I had no problem picking out the new washer and dryer. We have Maytags right now and they have been the best.  I could have probably used them for several more years, but me being only five foot one inches tall, it is becoming harder for me to reach clear down into the bottom of the top load washer to get all the clothes out, so we bought a front loader washer and dryer with stands so I think it will be easier to load and unload as I keep going into my tottering old age. Anyway, I hope it will be easier.  And they have a ten year warranty which is just about the time my warranty is up, so it’s all good.

I’ve been working on a patriotic wall hanging for the Fourth of July and onward. I get in the mood to sew and then something happens that I can’t get out into my shop and nothing gets done.  But here are some of the fabrics I am using.

 

Okay, this is how my fabric piles usually look when I am working on a quilt.

I really love this fabric and wish I had bought more of it.   This picture does not do it justice.

This is the pattern I am using. I got it over at Country Threads Chicken Scratch, Mary Etherington’s blog. I think you can still buy the pattern there until July 4th if you are interested. It’s a fun pattern, but I have to admit, it’s been a difficult one for me for some reason with all the pieces and my mind not quite on the job all the time with all that is going on.  But I have it pieced now and am starting to piece another one to go with it that I will show you when I’m done. It may be next July 4th, but be patient with me!

Here’s Uncle Sam’s legs. This is a long wall hanging which surprised me because I thought it would be little, but it’s not.  There is a pattern for a smaller one included which I may try sometime.

I did finish the quilting on a quilt I started last year.  A quilt I wanted to have for Autumn.

My apple quilt. I did a trash job of staging this quilt, didn’t I? Maybe when it’s done, I will show it off a little better. It deserves that.  But I do love it and will hang it up this Autumn. Maybe with a bowl of apples by it.

And I am still knitting socks. It’s really addictive and something I can do in the evening when I am watching my current favorite show, Wild At Heart, on Amazon Prime about a family that moves from Bristol, England to Africa. The father is a veterinarian and moves his family onto a game reserve and takes care of the animals. I really love this show. It’s family friendly. No cuss words.  No nudity. An old man in his underwear is as risqué as it gets which is fine with me. Too many shows now are so vulgar and going for shock value instead of a good story and good people.  Game of Thrones is one of them. So popular, but so vulgar.  I won’t be watching that one.  Not my cup of tea.  It’s getting harder and harder to find anything to watch on tv so I find myself watching it less and less which is probably a good thing actually.   I don’t even watch the news much any longer because it’s all so negative when I don’t think it needs to be.   Watch too much negative things and hateful things and you soon find yourself being negative and hateful.  And life is way too short to be negative and hateful.  I didn’t mean to get on a soapbox today.  Ignore me.

But, back to socks, I knit this pair and gave them to a friend who likes purple.

She had given me some flowers in a mason jar for Easter so I rolled these up and put them in the jar and tied a ribbon around it and gave them to her. Hope she likes them.

If you have been reading my blog, you know I have been having some health issues. I went to the doctor yesterday and he said it may not be my heart and was going to schedule a lung scan for blood clots. I really don’t think that’s what the matter is, but I’ll humor him and do the scan. Then the cardiologist set me up for a heart checkup where they go into your heart to see what the matter is and if they find something, he said they will fix it.  Still feeling breathless and faint at times even though I did plant twelve perennials this morning, but I find when I lean over and my head is below my knees, I don’t feel breathless or faint. Would be kind of hard to walk around like that for long though. Ha. Anyway, if you are a praying person, send up a prayer to My Father in Heaven because He knows exactly what is wrong.   But I don’t feel any fear about it all.

Enough about that.  Back to our new screened-in porch.  We had a gully washer of a rain the other day and we sat outside on it and didn’t get wet at all.

The wind was coming in at every direction and it was thundering and lightning.

Molly and Belle came running in and decided they really needed to rub against me!

Silly ol’ dogs.  And there’s David as close to the weather as he can get. He loves thunder and lightning.  I do, too, but at a safe distance and only if lightning doesn’t strike something.

Have a great day.  Hope the sun is shining down upon you. Bye.

 

 

 

 

Spring Fling

I can’t believe March is already gone and April is half over. My three favorite months are March, April and May and I really wish they’d go a little slower, but I’ve learned that time waits for no man or woman and is going by ever so quickly. I love this time of year when the birds are busy nesting and the flowers and trees are budding or bursting with bloom.  I walked out my front door this afternoon and was amazed how many things were blooming seemingly overnight.

 

I haven’t even taken pictures of the Weeping Cherry which just broke out in bloom today and the azalea that is engulfed in pink blooms. I’ll try to get a picture tomorrow before they lose all their blossoms. We are  expecting rain the next two days, so don’t know how long all the blossoms will last.  It surely is beautiful and lifts the spirits.

David and I took  little trip to Streamcliff Farm last weekend where we met up with our oldest son, his girl friend and her mother. Streamcliff Farm is a farm built before the Civil War.  It has many out buildings that have been turned into little shops selling antiques and garden paraphernalia.  There is a little chapel where weddings take place.  There are gardens to wander and a nursery, but it is still a little too cold here to set any flowers outside.

There were two green houses open that I looked and dreamed through.

This sign shows where the gardens are.

Garden art everywhere.  It was magical.

Inside the chapel.

You can buy all kinds of gardening things.  They have these wagons you can pull around and fill with all you purchase.

This is the house with a nice patio out front.  They have a Christmas dinner you can go to every year and I’d love to attend it one year.  I would love to see inside this grand old house.

There is a café there where they sell lunches and so we put our names on the waiting list.

Once inside you are seated at a pretty table and a very nice waitress comes to wait on you.

I ordered the Birdseed salad which had no seed in it at all. It was a pasta salad with broccoli and tomatoes and the best dressing.  All the salads came with their own flower which you could eat if you are so inclined. It was delicious. I also ordered their lemonade which is the best lemonade I have ever tasted.

I have had it before and had to have it again this time.  It was a very pleasant meal.

Enjoyed visiting with our son and his girlfriend and her mother.  Then David and I decided to order dessert.

Blackberry cobbler with ice cream. Yum. Yum. So good I decided I am making it for Easter dinner this Sunday.   Dave and I shared this, but next time, I am only ordering this with a cup of coffee and that’s all I’m eating!

Back during the Civil War, Morgan’s Raiders, a confederate band got as far as the Indiana border and came up near Streamcliff over this creek.

They didn’t get much farther.  Northern soldiers ran them back south.

It was a fun day and then David and I took the back roads home. Indiana is beautiful and interesting in the Spring.  We saw this old church. You see a lot of old churches on back roads.

Sad that it stands empty. I hope the congregation is meeting someplace new.

Since it’s bird nesting season, I asked David to put out all the old birdhouses we have had laying around here for a while.

This one has been around for a long time. It looks like a haunted birdhouse. It is home to a bird family every year.

The birds have homes now so I hope they pack their bags and move in.

And David got the pool open, but it’s much too cold to swim yet although every year one or more of our grandchildren jump in no matter how cold it is.

I’ve been doing a little Spring cleaning.  Washing some quilts.

I only have about one hundred or so.  Some are very old and one of them I washed fell apart a little bit.  I should have washed it on handwash.  Oh, well.

Dusting is something I don’t like to do very well and in this old hundred year old house, I can dust and the next day it doesn’t look like I’ve dusted anything, but I manage to get off the layers.  Having company coming always makes me look at my house a little harder and notice things I don’t usually pay attention to.  Several are coming for Easter and we are having an Easter Egg hunt for the kids so we have been busy getting ready for that.  I should say, David has been getting things ready.  Our church is having an Easter cantata Sunday and I’m looking forward to that.   I love Easter. I’m glad it’s late this year or I would not have been ready.

And because I don’t have anything else to sew, I have been making these little mug rugs just for fun.

I love making little things that take very little time, but look cute.

Hope you all have a blessed Easter and remember the Savior who died for us all. He loves us that much.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

Life’s a Little “Cheeper”

Turn your tv off. Stop listening to all the talking heads who only have opinions.  Put down your cellphone, unless you are reading this on it.  Take a deep, hearty breath of the fresh Spring air, if it’s Spring where you are and come visit with me for a while.  The more I hear the news, the more I want to turn it off because according to most “news” people life will end soon. So I have decided since I have such a short time to live, I may as well enjoy myself.

I indulged myself this week and got some baby chicks. I had argued with myself that I really didn’t need even more critters around that depend upon me for their livelihood.  Then I walked into Rural King and back to the troughs where they kept the baby chicks and my heart melted. I have lost two of my hens in the past month and it’s been kind of traumatic for me so I felt like I needed some little cheepers.    They are so adorable.  I had to get six as that was the fewest Rural King will sell at a time so I got two more Buff Orpingtons, two Barred Rocks and two Auracanas, ones who lay blue eggs.  I’m so looking forward to seeing those.  And here they are.

The Auracanas looked like little chipmunks. In fact, I asked the guy who was getting mine for me to get the ones who look most like chipmunks.  David said I should call them Chip and Dale, but since they are females, I am going to call them Chippy and Dahlia.   The Buff Orpingtons are Rosy and  Peony  and the Barred Rocks’ names are Violet and Pansy, keeping with the flower theme. In the past my chickens have been named for women in the Bible and women in my Sunday School class. This made it kind of bad when one of them died and I’d have to say so-and-so had died.  Miss Mary Foster is one of my older hens and the name of a good friend of mine and I’m thinking when Miss Mary Foster dies, I’m not telling anyone for fear someone would get the wrong idea.

They are as curious about me as I am of them.

Can you see why I think she looks like a chipmunk?

They keep me company in my shop while I sew.  One of them was cheeping all afternoon.

 

I have had to use this seam ripper several times with these blocks.

 

This is what I have been working on.  I am sewing a mystery quilt featured on Kathleen Tracy’s blog.  If you go to her blog and click on the files on mystery quilt, you can get the directions for four months of quilt blocks. When we have them all sewn, she will show us how we are to put them together into a quilt.   I don’t usually do this kind of thing, but this has been fun and I look forward to each month’s new block. And while going through some of my fabric, I found this fabric that has all the colors in the blocks.

If you are a quilter or sewer, you can understand how I felt when I found this fabric. Kind of like Christmas.  I can come upon a fabric I had forgotten about and it’s just like that to me!   I’m hoping I have enough of this for a border for this quilt.

It just goes so well with all the blocks.  It really does not take a whole lot to get me excited especially when it comes to quilting.

Another project I am just starting is this….

Found in this magazine…..

The blocks are made with one and one half inch pieces, the smallest I will go to make a quilt.

Then there is this square to be appliqued and embroidered.  I think I am going to really enjoy making this as I do love handwork like this.   I am making this to hang in my shop.  I’ll have to hurry because when the weather finally gets warm, I want to be outdoors as much as possible.  We are looking at 70 degree temperatures by the weekend.

And speaking of outdoors, we have corn out for the birds and whoever else wants it, but we never have seen anyone eating it until this week when I saw this squirrel busily munching on it.

He/she sat there for quite a while picking off kernels and eating them.

We are still feeding the birds, but soon they will be foraging for food in the wild again and won’t need our help.

The puppies are so happy with the warmer temperatures.   I do believe Molly is smiling here.

And she’s in a playful mood.  Both dogs’ tails are wagging like crazy here even though you can’t see it.

“Come on, Belle, let’s play!”  Belle will be twelve years old this year, 84 in people years so she decides when they play.  She still acts like a puppy at times and then at other times her joints hurt and she limps around.  I can’t believe she’s that old already. Seems like we just got her as a puppy not long ago. I guess that will be the next new pet I will be looking for.

Hope you are enjoying the beginning of Spring and that it’s warming up in your neck of the woods.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

I know I sound like a recording, but isn’t the time flying?  It’s almost Valentine’s Day already and we were just celebrating the New Year.  When I hear young people say the time is passing quickly, then I don’t know what to say because if it’s passing quickly for them there is something happening to the space time continuum of planet earth.  I often wonder if God is speeding time up for Jesus’ coming as He looks upon us and sees the evil that is in people’s minds and actions. I can hardly bear to read the news or listen to it anymore.

I also believe at times that I live in an alternate universe from many people.  I don’t understand a lot of people a lot of the time.  Maybe they feel that way about me.  I don’t know. Of course, my husband tells me I am weird all the time.  The last time I visited my doctor, he called me weird because of how my body reacted to the medicine he says helps everyone else.  So, maybe I am weird! But I’m a happy weird.

Well, that is about as deep as I’m going to get today. Just something to think upon and wonder about.  I try to live each day with joy and hope and I know how it all ends, so I’m not afraid.

I’ve had so many projects going on and many more I want to do before the warm weather gets here and I will want to be outside in the fresh air playing with my dogs. They have been rather neglected in these cold and rainy days.   They have been spending a lot of time in my shop with me, listening to my radio talk shows, ha, and watching me cut out Bullseye quilts.  I am addicted to Bullseye quilts. I think I am because I love going through all my fabric and finding material that will go together to make a block, knowing I will cut that block into four pieces along with many other blocks and then sew all those parts together to make a pretty amazing looking quilt.  And I am discovering fabric I had forgotten about, so that’s a plus, too. It’s almost like Christmas when I find a forgotten fabric.  I made a pillow with a four of the blocks.

I love this pillow way too much. I had had it on the couch for a couple of weeks  David just noticed it!   My very observant husband.

How can one miss this bright and colorful pillow!   I’m going to make some more. Maybe give some away.  I have a Christmas Bullseye quilt almost all cut out.  Like I said, I’m addicted.

And wonderful things have been coming in the mail. I read Mary Etherington’s blog over on Country Threads Chicken Scratch. Mary and her friend, Connie use to have a quilt shop in northwestern Iowa called Country Threads. They wrote many patterns, some of which I sold in our store, Craig’s Vac and Sew, years ago. They closed the store several years ago, but still write patterns and they have a book out right now that I ordered.

I was so excited when this package arrived.

With the cutest little return label.

And a wonderful book inside.

Here’s Mary and Connie.

They are very good friends and were superstars in the quilting world years ago.  I met Mary, the one in glasses, years ago when we traveled through Garner, Iowa going out west. I wanted to visit their quilt shop. It was wonderful, but the best part was I got to meet Mary as the quilt shop was located on her farm.  You know you see someone who is famous in their field and you wonder if they are as nice as they appear in their pictures. Well, Mary is the nicest person you could ever wish to meet. She welcomed me and showed me around the farm. I’m sure she doesn’t remember me, but she had a hurt arm or shoulder and I grabbed her and hugged her before I realized it and she was so nice about it even though I probably caused her great pain.

I felt like I did when I saw the Beatles.  Mary was that famous in my eyes.  Their patterns sold very well in our store and I have made so many quilts from them. If you want the book, go over to her blog and I think you can still order it.  And they sign the ones you buy from them.

I’m just saying. Superstars!  I plan to make several quilts from this book.

I got more flower seeds.  I honestly don’t know where I am going to plant them all as my garden is pretty full already, but I will stick them in somewhere.

Zinnias are one of my top five favorite flowers to raise. Just toss the seeds in the ground and in a few weeks you have a wonderful display of blooms.

And I got some more fabric.

Just some basics to use in my Bullseye quilts.

And last, but certainly not least I got more yarn.

It came in a bag that had this on the front.

And each skein of yarn had a yarn marker attached.

An extra little bonus.  I will be ordering from this business again.

Her yarns are amazing.  And fun to knit up.

Years ago our city had a major flood. They called it the hundred year flood because in theory it only happens every one hundred years.  But this week, people were getting worried as the rains kept falling for hours and hours.  We drove past a park in town and this is what we saw.

I’ve climbed that tower from which you can see the downtown.

The amphitheater where shows and bands perform. Not going to right now.

The playground.  Many years ago before this park came into existence, there were people who lived down by the river in shanties.  I have seen pictures from years ago of those shanties flooded. Finally, the city moved all the people and put in this park that gets flooded every so often because the river runs right by it.

Friends of mine, who lost everything in the last flood, were getting concerned and I didn’t blame them. It was looking scary for a while, but finally the rains stopped and the sun came out and the water is receding.   Today it is snowing and sleeting.

My church helps support a Crisis Pregnancy Center. Every year we are given baby bottles to fill with money to give to the center.  I am always happy to contribute because they are saving babies’ lives there and with what we see in the news today, we must continue to fight for and protect the unborn.

I am glad my church participates in this. I pray for all the babies.

My chickee-poos are still laying during this crazy weather.  We get just enough eggs for us right now.  I must show you the one a hen laid.  She certainly gave her all.

Almost as big as a duck egg and I should know. I use to raise ducks.

 

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?  If I don’t plan anything, we won’t do anything. I do have a delicious looking Valentine Jelly Donut cake recipe I am thinking of making for David.

I bought these candy hearts. You know, the ones that have cute words on them for Valentine’s Day, but you can hardly read the words they’re so dim.  And it’s a brand name, too.   What is wrong with them!   You really have to look to see what each heart reads.   Oh, well. That’s the way of things today.  I may be getting old, but things really are more poorly made than they were years ago except for maybe cars because one rarely sees a broken down car on the side of the road any longer.  When I was a girl you’d see them all the time and cars use to rust out faster than they do today. Our car is ten years old and still going strong and we’d like it to last another ten years.   That car has been all over the United States, to Alaska and down the Alaska Highway through Canada. North, South, East and West.  I’d like to keep her a while longer.

I sincerely hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day.  Whether alone or with a loved one, you still are loved by the One who loves us all.  He never disappoints. He will never forsake you.  He is the best Valentine a person could have. Jesus. Love you all and God bless. Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Did you hear the brouhaha about this song before Christmas? That it was “sexist?”  People have way too much time on their hands and get incensed about the silliest things.  Maybe they need to get a job or hobby that takes most of their time so they can leave well enough alone.

That said, baby, it is cold outside.  We are supposed to have the coldest temperatures we have seen in a long time. I spend my days letting the dogs in my shop and out again.  They are mostly outside dogs, but when it gets this cold, I feel happier knowing they are inside where is it warmer. I look back at the hot Summer days when I was wishing for this and now here we are and I don’t feel so glad about it.   My favorite temperature is somewhere between 50 degrees and 70 degrees.  I can be pretty comfortable then. Anywhere lower or higher and I feel it. Is there a place on this earth where those are the temperatures all the time?

You would think the days would drag by when it’s this cold and I’m not outside all that much and we haven’t really gone anywhere all month except out to eat occasionally, but the month has flown.   We did have a late Christmas with our oldest son and his girlfriend and her son where I gave what else, socks and a quilt for some of the gifts.  I am already planning quilts for next Christmas and one for a friend who shall not be named, although I don’t think she reads my blog.    I’m ordering more fabric just because my stash needs refreshing and I have so many ideas in my head running rampant and I need some new colors.  You fellow quilters know what I’m talking about.

Here is the Bullseye quilt I am making that Mary over on the blog, Country Threads Chicken Scratch, has been teaching us.

It’s a little bigger than a lap size quilt. I’m going to sew it together and then with some leftover blocks I have a plan.  Plus, when you are cutting out this quilt, you are left with a lot of circles and I have plans for some of them, too.  This has been such a fun quilt to put together, I already am planning several more with one being in reds and greens for Christmas. You should see my cutting table. It’s piled high with all the fabrics I’ve picked out for these future quilts.

Meanwhile, I have managed to knit a few socks.

Hey, the colors in the socks match the colors in the quilt!

I do love color.  I can’t stand monochromatic decorating.  An all white room or an all blue room is not my style.  Right now we are getting ready to remodel a bathroom. The contractor who will be doing it, added this bathroom in an addition we put on the back of our house over thirty-five years ago, so I think it’s time for an uplift. We picked the tile for the shower yesterday and I can’t wait to show you the floor tile for the shower. The tile reminds me of a quilt.  The room is tiny so I’m going to use light, bright colors.  We are also getting our back deck rebuilt and screened in with a roof over it.  So there is much to think about for this coming Spring.

David celebrated fifteen years working for Ralph Lauren at the outlet mall the other day.  When he retired from over 36 years in the military, he was at loose ends for a time.  For nine months he cleaned closets and puttered around the house until he ran out of things to do.  So I told him it was time to look for a part time job as he was not an old man.  The store was just opening and he was one of the first hires at the time.  He’s been part time, assistant manager, manager and now back to part time and I’m trying to get him to cut back even more. He really loves the job and the customers.  He has customers who come in and ask for him. Even some from Europe who come in almost yearly to buy clothes.   Anyway, the vice president wanted to do a conference call with all the people who had been working for Ralph for fifteen years.  I was called and asked to come to hear it, but to keep it a surprise. Well, anyone who knows me knows I cannot keep a secret, especially surprise parties. I have “accidentally” ruined two surprise parties just by innocently saying something I shouldn’t have.  I was so afraid I would let it out of the bag to David.  But I managed to not spoil it and he was so surprised when I showed up at work.  The manager of the store had food and the best cupcakes I have ever tasted and she bought me flowers for being so supportive of David and his job for those years.

Gerbera Daisies which are some of my favorite flowers.

If David works another ten years, Ralph Lauren will fly him to New York for a celebration. I told him he was not going alone because I want to go to New York, too. We will both be close to or in our eighties by then, so let’s see if we make it!  I hope we do.

Speaking of birthdays.  Oh, I didn’t?  Well, David had a birthday this month.  We were going to go out to eat with some of our kids and grandchildren, but that was the weekend we had a big snowstorm so everyone stayed home. I baked him a cake and we had our own private celebration.

And we ate it all ourselves! Not all at once, of course.

The seed catalogs came right after Christmas and I have ordered some flower seeds. Found a new company I tried and this was on the outside of their package.

Kind of like I felt when I got the seeds.

It won’t be long before I will be planting these.  I got some more seeds in the mail yesterday that I will have to show you another time, because the packages are so pretty.

We are in the deep freeze now so I will be spending my day inside working on a quilt and knitting socks and baking bisquits.  Not a bad way to spend a day. I would be content to spend the rest of my days in such pastimes.

Hope you are keeping warm where you live.  If you live in the tropics, enjoy the warmth, too.  Have a happy day everyone. Bye.

January is For the Birds

Here we are, almost in the middle of January already and it’s been a productive month for me quilt wise. Since Christmas I have pieced six small quilts and finished three of them, working on finishing a fourth and started a quilt that is being taught on a blog.

I am loving this little quilt from Kathleen Tracy’s book.   It’s almost folk art in its simplicity.

It’s not very big, but it packs a wallop color wise and will look cute as a table topper or a wall hanging.  It’s hung here by this….

This chicken toy I found at an antique store years ago.  Before I even had a thought about raising chickens. I guess I have always had chickens on my mind.

I did make a mistake on this quilt and it’s been fixed, but you can see it here if you know the pattern.   It was fun making this quilt and used very little material.

This is a pile of Bulls-eye blocks for the Bulls-eye quilt being taught over on the blog, Country Threads Chicken Scratch.  I am making a lap-sized quilt, but you can make it smaller or larger if you would want.  This is another quilt that is suppose to use up one’s stash, but it hasn’t made a dent in mine.

There are still a few steps to making the blocks so they won’t look anything like this when I am done.

While searching through my stashes and boxes, I found this book I bought eleven years ago. I know that because I  always write the date on the inside cover of a book when I get it.  I had high hopes of making a quilt from the book, but none has happened so far.  There is a lot of history about Louisa May Alcott in the book.

So then I had to hunt down this book….

Little Women, which was in my family’s library when I was a child and I am ashamed to say I have never read it. I have seen practically all the movie versions of it from when Katherine Hepburn played Jo, to June Allyson playing her and then Winona Ryder.  Then PBS is having Little Women on and have sexed it up a little bit more than I like. Why do modern movie producers feel the need to do that in so many movies?   We really don’t need to see the sisters in their skivvies, do we?  Even though Miss Alcott was a women’s rights advocate, I think she would be shocked to see her girls parading around in their underwear.  Anyway, I really must read this book sometime.    I remember it when I was growing up and looking at the pictures in it.

I guess because I had seen the movie I didn’t think I needed to read the book, but if it’s always true for me, the book is much better than the movie.  The only book I have ever read that I thought the movie was as good was Gone With the Wind, even though a whole lot of things were left out of the movie such as Scarlette  had more children than Bonnie Blue.

We finally had snow this weekend. We’ve been having almost Spring like temperatures for a while, but this is our normal usually in January.  David went from cleaning the pool…

to building a fire.

And because of all the snow, the birds must be fed.  They go through a lot of feed. We just bought two more forty pound bags of bird seed and hope it lasts the rest of the month, but I’m not betting on it.

I counted twelve cardinals at the feeder yesterday and today I barely got the feed in the feeder when two cardinals  flew above my head.

Birds wait in the trees like airplanes on a tarmac and drop down when it’s their turn.

I love seeing the cardinals against the new fallen snow. So pretty.  I was worried about the birds this year.  A businessman bought the property right next door to us and cut down all the trees. Almost every last one. The only one left was the one right by my shop and I asked him not to cut it down as it was mostly on our property.  I still worry about it.  He did leave a few bushes for the birds to alight in and I am planning to plant some more trees this Spring.  I was worried that all the birds would go away, but so far, we have more than ever, it seems.  They have all moved over to our property where they know there are people who love trees and bushes and birds and squirrels.

This is my one lone tree. A maple. I hope it will grow big and strong and lovely. You can see the barren field next door where the travesty took place.

There use to be trees all long the property line. They had to come down because of “liability” concerns.  I was very sad about it all, but I will be planting more trees on my property.

Sadly, in our travels, I am seeing more and more of this destruction of trees and meadows across our country due to “progress,” where whole forests are cut down and burned and housing developments and businesses sprout up like weeds and a blight on the countryside.  I know people have to have somewhere to live and work, but the wanton destruction of forests and farmland is very disturbing. It cannot be replaced and in newer developments, they are even told what kind of trees they can plant, so there is no diversity and that’s what I thought government and businesses were all about. You can drive from one city to the next and see the same kinds of houses and business and everything looks generic.   I call some of these developments, Taupevilles, because all the houses are the same color.   I’d love to see just one red house in  them just to stop the boredom.  As you can read, I am very passionate about this. We cannot lose all our forests and farmland to development.

Just a picture of my work area in the house while I watch tv or listen to the radio.

All the yarns laid out to inspire me.  Oh, and laundry that is less inspiring!

A devotional book to feed me spiritually.

And new lipsticks from Color My World. I love these lipsticks. They seem to last forever and they come in the cutest tubes.

Now that I have stepped gingerly off my soapbox, I will leave you with a good cup of coffee.  Starbucks has nothing on my coffee.

Bye.

 

JUNE!!

June is busting out all over.  I remember when I was a girl on a beautiful June day walking down the gravel road to my older sister’s house, singing the song from the musical, State Fair, June Is Busting Out All Over.   I use to know all the words.   But I had a song in my heart, was free as a bird and happy to be going to my sister’s house.  She was like a second mother to me being eleven years older.   School was out until September. A long, lazy, fun filled Summer lay ahead on the farm.  After breakfast and my chores were done, I had the whole day to wander the farm, play with the animals and lay for hours on the front porch swing reading books from the library. I was in 4-H which kept me busy, too, sewing, embroidering and baking cakes or yeast rolls.

Now that I am retired from any outside job, there are days when I get the same feeling of freedom.  I can choose whatever I want to do and I’m telling you, it is a grand feeling. I hope all of you get to feel that way one day.  I could burst into song right now!

We had a graduation a week ago. Our oldest grandchild and only granddaughter graduated from high school.  It just seems like only yesterday I was all excited about her being born and driving up to Chicago to see her for the very first time.  I was in love.  She has been the most wonderful granddaughter a grandmother could have. We are so proud of her.

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She is cute, funny, smart and full of life.  She has a bright future ahead of her.

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Here she is going up to get her diploma.

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Here she is with her dad who is VERY happy she has college practically paid for already.  She has worked hard for this.

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The choir held hands as they sang. It was very touching. The kids in this school are extremely close.  There is no bullying there and everyone is treated with respect.   When you enter that school, you can feel the goodness there. I can’t explain it, but when a school is Christ centered, it just feels differently.  Most schools use to be Christ centered until God was taken out of schools.  Sad.

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I would recommend this school to anyone who wants their child to get a well rounded education.  Most of the graduates are either going to college or the military.

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My grandson.  He’s growing up, too.

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And his older brother. He graduates in two years.    I still am not use to the fact he is driving.

The next day they had a party and it was fun.  There was so much food and almost all of it was eaten. I think about one hundred people came through the house that day.  I made a big pot of macaroni and cheese and had to make another one.

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The tables were decorated with books as our granddaughter is a bookworm and has had a book published.

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Lots of pictures of her were on the walls.

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She displayed some of her artwork.

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Her dad, who is an Indiana University graduate wore this shirt……

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He said he never thought he would ever wear a shirt with Purdue on it. His brother went to Purdue and there was always a competition going on there.  Never say you will never do something because you will find yourself doing it!

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I made her this quilt. This was taken in my house. See that floral chair? That’s my new Lazyboy  I got for Mother’s Day.   The pattern on it is called Van Gogh so now I can say I have a Van Gogh in my house!

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I made this quilt this past Winter.  I was so afraid I wouldn’t get it done in time, but it had been completed for a long time only I had not made a label for it. So the week before graduation I finally got the label made.

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I try to label all my quilts.  I find it sad to find an old quilt with no name on it. I always wonder about the women who have made some of my quilts that I have purchased at sales.   I have so many and don’t have a clue who made them or when.

It was a fun weekend but we were both exhausted when we got home.

Yesterday we went to a textile fair not far from home.

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There were booths and several buildings at the fair ground with yarns and other textiles for sale.  I was in heaven. This particular booth had the best selection of feed sack material I have ever seen and why I didn’t buy any, I don’t know.  But I can see why women back in the thirties and forties made clothes out of feed sacks. They are very colorful.  Many florals that would have made pretty dresses.

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This lady had a camper full of yarn and yes, I did buy some.   Traveling the country with yarn in the back of your camper sounds like a great thing to me.

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There were sheep there. Some man was walking around a little, black sheep, but I didn’t get a picture of it. Do any of you remember the Disney movie back in the fifties called So Dear To My Heart?  It was about a little boy who raised a black lamb and all the trouble the lamb got into with the boy’s grandmother and how he showed it at the county fair. It was my favorite movie when I was a girl.  The little boy got to see the racehorse, Dan Patch, taken off a train for exercise.  As a girl who was mad about horses, I loved this scene in the movie.  Dan Patch is mentioned in the musical, The Music Man when  Professor Hill says, “want to see some stuck up jockey boy sitting on Dan Patch, make your blood boil?”

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There were llamas too.

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Any animal that provides wool for yarn was there. There were angora rabbits too.  They had the most beautiful fur.

There was one booth where young girls were learning to card wool and spin it into yarn. What a wonderful thing to learn while you are young.   One girl was explaining the process to me and she was so well informed and so mature acting.   Conner Prairie, a pioneer village which is based on the  people and times of the year 1806, sponsors this and it truly is a way to keep the old arts going.

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Even some of the bags had sheep on them.  And I bought several skeins of yarn.

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The lady selling this yarn had a sock knit up with it and it was so pretty I had to buy some.

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One of my grandsons said he wanted me to knit him blue and black socks so this should fit the bill.

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I cannot wait to knit this up.

On the way home we stopped at an antique store called Vic’s just north of where we live. We are looking for an old floor lamp.   We got one there a few years ago, but I knocked it over and ruined the lampshade.  We were also looking for old lampshades, but I found this instead.

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An old tablecloth, but I am either going to make curtains with it or a Summer skirt.  It is so soft and the colors are so pretty.

We have several things planned this Summer since it’s our fiftieth wedding anniversary year.  Next trip will be to some caves and a pioneer village with our grandsons.

Here’s to high school graduates and wonderful fairs.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

Playing Catch Up

I told David we were never going away for a vacation in the Spring ever again. Too much is going on around here and I don’t want to miss it. Plus, it’s planting time and so many things to do around the yard to get it ready for Summer. Right now our yard looks like a jungle because the lawn mower man hasn’t come yet. Well, I didn’t get him called soon enough.  I am amazed how quickly our lawn has grown in one week.  And I don’t mow anymore.  That’s one job I am more than happy to pay for.

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I didn’t miss any of the Spring blossoms. Here is the crabapple tree in all its glory.

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The pink flowering almond outdid itself.  One winter the rabbits ate this clear to the ground so we had to put a fence around it. Now it’s too big for the rabbits to care to munch on it.

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To look at my garden you would never know I love the color pink.

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Even my painted garden has pink in it. I made a trip to one of my favorite garden shops and bought some geraniums in different hues of pink and planted them in eight planters this morning.  I have a few flower seeds to plant and some tomatoes and pumpkins and then I will be finished with the planting this year.

We had a little surprise when we returned home from Alabama.  A little furry surprise. We were going out the door to church the Sunday after we got back and I thought I saw a kitten run under our porch.  When we got home, David staked out a place to watch and before long he saw four little kittens.   Then as he watched longer, he saw there were five!  Five kittens born under our front porch and we didn’t even know it. Their mother is a feral cat that runs around in our neighborhood. David got out the animal trap we had bought  to catch a ground hog that had taken up residency under our porch. We caught a possum that time. Soon he had caught mama cat and four of her babies.  The fifth one, that looked like a Siamese cat, took longer.  It took a couple of days.

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This is mama, but she is vicious.  David had a tangle with her and she bit him five times through leather gloves and scratched him all up his legs.   I didn’t see it happen and he said I wouldn’t have wanted to.

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One long haired and two black and white, one tabby and the Siamese looking one.  Strange how so many different kittens can come from one mama.  So cute, but so wild.

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Such cute faces with a look of danger in their eyes.

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This black and white one was my favorite.  In a week they were litter trained, eating kitten kibble and drinking from a bowl and I found homes for every one of them. The mother is still running loose.   I am hoping she finds a new place for her next litter or I will be calling animal control which I really don’t want to do.

Work is progressing on my shop. I have almost all the painting done now. Woohoo!  That was a chore. I did it all with a paint brush, wall and floor.  I still have a bit of the floor to complete. Meanwhile, David is working on my new cutting table.

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It will be six by six feet, made of heavy wood and on heavy casters so that I can roll it anywhere in my shop I want.  If that isn’t love for him to do this for me, I don’t know what is.  I don’t need any boxes of candy or flowers.  This does it for me.

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And this is what I do in my shop. Sew and make quilts.  These are two I have pieced in the last few weeks.  And like all quilters, I am already thinking of my next one.

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From Kathleen Tracy’s book.  I love this quilt.

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And part of the fun in making a quilt is picking out the fabrics.  Here are a few I plan to use in my next one.

David’s grandmother had a clematis in her garden that was so pretty. She had it for as long as I could remember.  She babied that clematis and it was her pride and joy.  When her house was going to be sold, David and I rescued Grandma’s clematis and brought it home with us and planted it behind our garage, which is now my shop.  It bloomed there, but the last few years it hasn’t seemed happy there so this year we decided to transplant it to a more favorable place. At least I hope it will be.

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David worked very carefully to get it dug and to trim the fencing away from it that it had grown on.   We think we found some new little clematises beside it so I planted them in pots to see how they would do.   They might just be weeds, too!

It now sits in my kitchen garden where it can spread its roots and hopefully grow bigger and have more flowers on it in the future.  If any of our kids are reading this, we will Grandma Henley’s clematis to you.   It’s at least fifty years old.

Meanwhile other bushes are bursting at the seams.

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The Spirea always looks pretty.

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And another transplant from Grandma’s garden. A snowball bush. This one has become quite big and is full of blooms.  I’ve gotten two more transplants from this one bush.  It brings back fond memories of being in Grandma’s garden.  She was the only Grandma I really knew as my grandmothers had passed before I knew them  or they were not well while I was growing up.  My one grandma lived with us for a while and did teach me how to make good pie crust.   But we never talked.  Isn’t that strange?   She didn’t talk to anyone.

I try not to get hooked on movies during the day, but last Saturday one of my favorite movies was on.  Giant.  Starring Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor.

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Both were in their prime.  I really believe Elizabeth Taylor was the most beautiful women in her time.  She had those violet eyes and shiny black hair.  Giant is about a Texas cattle baron and his family. It’s about women’s rights and the prejudices of the time, cowboys and finding oil and becoming rich off it and the disparity between people,  with horses and cattle and bucking broncos all thrown into the mix.   It’s a long movie so I had to tape it to finish it later, but I love it and will watch it again.  James Dean, who comes from my state, was also in the movie as a nemesis for Rock Hudson’s character.  He died in a car accident not long after this movie was made.  He was the stuff of legends.

The cinematography was wonderful.

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It made the old west come alive.    So much of the west is gone now.  Overrun with housing developments and ranchettes and shopping malls, but there are still a few places off the beaten path where you can still see what it use to be like.

And because this has been a hodgepodge  of things I will show you some lipsticks I purchased recently. Found the company on Facebook. Lipstick for women over forty.   Which I have been for some time.

 

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I don’t own any stock in the company or anything. Just like to share when I find a product I like.   I got a set of lipsticks and have tried them all and love them all.   They come in the cutest containers.  The lipsticks are not suppose to feather into the wrinkles around your mouth like some lipsticks do.    I’m still testing them, but so far I have been very happy with the product.   I usually wear Covergirl, but their ads have become kind of freaky and that turns me off a product. Just telling you the truth. I also like Maybelline lipsticks.  These new ones may become my favorites.

So that has been the first week back from vacation.  There’s a graduation coming up. Our first grandchild finishing high school and has her college all picked.  Wow, does time fly.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easter Celebration and a Tutorial

Can’t believe Easter was just last Sunday.   It’s one of my favorite holidays for many reasons. For one, it’s the happiest day for Christians all around the world who celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ who was beat, tortured and hung on the cross on Friday and on the third day he arose.  He took every last one of our sins upon himself. Only God could do that.   Because of Jesus, I can face every day knowing that He lives and lives through me.  One day I will see His face.

The other reason I love Easter is because of the fun things we do with out grandchildren.  We always have an egg hunt. This year two of our grandchildren were in California with their daddy and our granddaughter was in Florida with friends.  As our grandchildren grow older, their lives get busier and we see less of them which makes me sad, but that is the way of life.  But we had two grandboys and our son’s girlfriend’s son here to hunt eggs so it was fun. David and I prepared 216 eggs.  Seventy-five of them had little pieces of paper in them with dollar signs on them. Those who found those got a dollar for each one.  Dangling that carrot in front of young boys gives them a big incentive to hunt the eggs.  We hid some in he house and in my shop because we were expecting rain and when it didn’t rain, we hid more outdoors.

The hunt was a great success and each boy got a wad of dollar bills. All but two of the eggs were found. I suppose I will run across them sometime just like I do every year.

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I cut some of the daffodils from my garden for the table.  I had fun dyeing those eggs using just food coloring water and vinegar.

We had a nice dinner and conversation as we ate. In the course of talking we got to laughing about the Debbie Downer character who was on Saturday Night Live years ago.  Debbie Downer always found something pessimistic to say when her friends were discussing something.  Every time she said something pessimistic, the music would go Wa-wa-wa.   It was really funny.  Well, we were discussing whether we were getting any eggs and I mentioned one of our hens had died of old age this week and my son went “Wa-wa-wa,”  and we all started laughing. Then I tried to think of pessimistic things to interject in the conversation just to get to say it.  We were all laughing so hard.  I guess you had to be there, but if you have ever seen that sketch on SNL you know what I am talking about.

This week besides painting in my shop, something that seems to go on and on, I did manage to do a little quilt making.  And by little I mean the quilts are little.

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I have been working on this quilt.  Orange peel.

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Kathleen Tracy made this quilt. Now I have made orange peel blocks before and the instructions for them are in this book, but I make mine a little differently so as to get uniform orange peels.  Here is how I do it.

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Take one small piece of fabric.

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Draw the orange peel shapes on freezer paper.  Cut them out.

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Iron one on each piece of fabric you are using for all the orange peels. I used 64 different colors of fabric to make it more patchwork looking.

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Next, iron in the ends.

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Press all around the orange peel shape. Don’t burn your fingers!

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Remove the parchment paper.

Then I go one extra step some people don’t do.

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I baste around the orange peel.

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Pin it on your square.  Sew around it with tiny stitches.  Do this 64 times and you will have enough little blocks to make this particular quilt.

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I must admit it is quite habit forming making these blocks.  I so enjoyed stitching each different orange peel on its block.  I have them sewn together, but I will show you that in another post.

We are expecting yet another round of snow tonight.   I’m so ready for warm weather and sunshine.   We were going to go to the Indianapolis Zoo Saturday, but that’s been cancelled.   We will get to the zoo sometime this year.  Maybe even go to the Cincinnati Zoo.

Here’s to Spring, wherever she is and may she get here before Summer. Bye.