Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A day of firsts!!

 This summer is just zooming on by and I haven't done all of the things that I wanted to, as usual.  DH and I have been doing some traveling.  Last week he took the week off and we spent it at the cabin.  In all of the years we have had the cabin we have never taken a week off in the summer to go up there.  It was great.  One day we went on the Hiwassee Railway Loop trip, it was a nice relaxing trip, unfortunately about a third of the way into the trip it started raining really hard, that made it  almost impossible to see any thing out of the windows. We are thinking about going back this fall, it would be beautiful then.  Two days we spent working around the cabin getting some things done that we keep putting off.  I did a lot of cleaning, all of the closets, cabinets, even moved all of the furniture and cleaned under and behind it.  We spent one day hiking in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.  If you have never been there you should definitely try to visit it.  The trees there are huge!  There are two trails there both are relatively short and very easy to walk on.  We took a picnic lunch and made a day out of it.

This week it has been back to the real world, DH is back at work and I am trying to cram in all of the things that I said I was going to do this summer.  One project was to dye the wool yarn that I bought a couple of months ago at the Mother Earth Fair.  I read different directions online and decided that it wouldn't be that hard to do.  I used three colors, magenta, sangria, and seabreeze, overall I like the way it turned out.  I would like the blue to show up a little more, but I'm happy with it.  Now just to find the perfect pattern.

Since I had all of the dyeing materials out, I decided to try dyeing some of the cotton velvet that I purchased.  I tried dyeing some silk velvet a couple of weeks ago and didn't really like the way that it came out.  Luckily I found some white cotton velvet at a local fabric shop, Gail K's.  I found out that I couldn't use the same dyes that I use on my wool, so before our vacation I ordered the correct dye and put it to the test today.  I tried three different colors, yellow, purple and red.  I am very pleased with the yellow and purple, the red isn't bad, but it could be a little darker.  Can't wait to should it to Pat and Leisa.

My last "new" project for the day was these cute little coin purses.  They are made completely from my hand dyed wools, velvets and silk.  They are so easy to make. I already have two more cut out and plan on making them for Christmas gifts.  I have to make one for myself, and will have to put a pig on it, of course.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sewing day

Finally, did some sewing today.  I started collecting fabrics for this quilt last year, it is a pattern I found on someones blog.  Sorry I don't remember which one.  The name of the pattern is Nottingham Star, the quilt on the cover of the pattern is in blues, creams, and browns.  I decided to switch out the blue for red keeping the creams and the browns.  It is a huge star with lots of little star blocks and solid blocks inside.  DH even gave the stamp of approval today when he saw it on the design wall.  I am just excited to have something on the design wall. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

This is what keeps me busy

 I always have really big plans of getting a lot of sewing done in the summer but usually I get side tracked by other things.  One of those things is a garden.  I grew up with parents that had a huge garden and I do mean huge.  I always swore that I would never ever have a garden when I "grew up".  Well I was wrong!  A garden is a lot of work,  but it also saves lots of money at the grocery store.  Yesterday DH and I picked green beans, and cucumbers.  It looks like we are going to have a huge crop of both.  After working on the green beans last night, I was too tired to can them, so that was my project for today.

This is the canner that I use.  It belonged to my DH's mom at one time.  It has definitely been put to use over the years.  I canned three canners of green beans, that is 18 quarts of greens of beans, we will really enjoy them this fall and winter.  I know that is just the first of many times it will be used this summer.

My second project this week was a new one for me, Strawberry jalapeno preserves.  I have to be honest I didn't know how this one would turn out but it is really good.  I found the recipe in Mother Earth news, I did add more strawberries than the recipe called for and I still think that I could have added a few more, it is more "pepperie" than strawberryish.  

Here are the berries and peppers cooking.

The finished product

Hopefully no more gardening this week and I can do some sewing.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Book or ereader

I always take a book on vacation especially if I am flying, face it what else is there to  do while you are on a plane, other than sleep.  Last week I took my Kindle, I had downloaded three new books so I knew that I would have plenty to read.  I boarded the plane, settled into my seat, and started reading.  About 15 minutes after the plane took off, I saw the message that my device was shutting down and it needed to be connected to the charger.  Charger?  I totally forgot to bring my charger.  I had the one for my camera, and my phone, but never once thought about the one for the kindle.  Since I couldn't read on the plane I decided to take a nap.  I knew that I would have to get a book somewhere or something to read.  The first place DH and I went was the visitor center at Colonial Williamsburg to get our tickets for the next day.  Luckily there was a huge bookstore inside the visitor's center, I found several books I wanted, but knew that I only needed one to see me through the next few evenings.  I purchased the Kitchen House, I had wanted to read this but had never managed to find it at the library.  I finished it last night, what a great book.  It is the story of Belle and Lavina.  Belle is the daughter of a slave and her master, Lavina is an Irish orphan that was given to Belle by her father.  Lavinia grows up living with Belle, her parents and brothers and sisters. Lavinia reaches the age where she is sent to Williamsburg to live with relatives of the master.  While there she is educated with Meg, the daughter of the family she is living with.  What follows is a lovely tragic story,  it is the plantation version of The Help.  I would highly recommend this book, even if you don't like historical fiction it is a great book

Monday, June 9, 2014

Great Vacation

 Last week DH had a business trip to Williamsburg, VA. (one place that I have always wanted to go to) I flew up after his business trip and so we could do some exploring, Williamsburg and the surrounding area are the perfect vacation spot for a couple of history nerds.  We spent one entire day in Colonial Williamsburg, there is so much there to see and do.  The weather was wonderful!!  We started out at the Governor's Palace, hard to imagine that people actually lived like that.  We had lunch at the Kings Arms Tavern, DH had always wanted to do there and have their peanut soup.  Not an experience that I want to repeat that had to be the worst soup ever!!
Carpet in one of the bedrooms in the Palace.  Love the colors, would be great  in a quilt

 Our second day of vacation was spent in Jamestown.  We went to Jamestown Settlement not Historic Jamestown, we didn't have time for both and decided that we would be able to see more at the Settlement.  We saw the orientation movie then went on a 90 minute tour.  Our guide was very knowledgeable, the tour ended at the recreation of the ships that brought the  first settlers to Jamestown.  I can't imagine being on one of those little ships for over 100 days with a 100 other people.

After leaving Jamestown we went to Yorktown.  There was a demonstration of how to fire a cannon.   I answered a question correctly about Molly Pitcher and was recruited to help in the  demonstration.  That was hard work.  I am on the right in the photo above.  The person who had that position had to stand there while the cannon was being fired to assist in adjusting the position of the cannon for the next fire.  This is a position that women often held.  
Three days was definitely not enough time to see everything.  Would love to go back someday.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Yeah!! It's finished

I know these aren't the best pictures, but I am so glad to have this quilt top finished that it is ok.  It looks much better in person.  I started this early last year from a kit, the pattern is from Lisa Bongene, and the fabric is from Primitive Gatherings. There are 9 appliqued blocks and they are really big, 20 inches square.  I enjoyed doing the applique and was glad that the pieces were big, made the applique much easier to do.  What I didn't like doing so much was the half square triangles that made up the inner border.  I tried really hard to  make sure that none of the points were cut off when I attached the large outer border.  I  ended up doing a lot of unsewing, but  a few points ended up getting cut off.  I finally decided nothing is perfect and once it is quilted it hopefully won't be too noticeable.
Close up of one block and inner border.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

It's a miracle! Sewing at Last

For the first time in over a month I actually sat down at my sewing machine and did some sewing.  I
 try to sew some each day, but this year that just hasn't happened.  The last couple of  months of school were just exhausting, I have never been as glad as I was this year that school was out for the summer.  Hopefully this summer I can get some sewing done. My plan is to finish up some projects.  The little quilt to the right is from a kit I purchased at Sweet Home several years ago.  I thought it was bigger when I bought it!!  After finishing it and getting it quilted I sat it aside and never put the binding on it, today I put the binding on it and stitched most of it down while watching TV tonight. 
Although I haven't been sewing at the machine I still try to do hand work each night.  I have more projects started that I care to count, the latest one is Lucy Boston, Patchwork of the Crosses.  Last week I finished this pink and green block, along with the blue and gold one below.  These are my two favorites so far. 

Earlier this week I tried to get my yard work and some other big projects finished so I could spent the next couple of weeks sewing.  Tomorrow I hope to finish Christmas Reel, I really want to get it finished and get it quilted before Christmas.  Then I think it will be time for an easy  project that doesn't require a lot of thinking.  I have several fat quarters that I am thinking of doing a Turning Twenty, that is a really simple pattern but it goes together very easily and is a great use for fat quarters.