Thursday, December 14, 2023

Part Two as Promised

After the summer whooping crane sightings, we visited the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin to learn more about these fascinating birds and ongoing conservation work on their behalf. 

It was really a neat place where you can stroll the grounds and see cranes of all kinds up close and learn as you go along. 

(Black-Crowned Crane)

(Siberian Crane)

(Wattled Crane)

I highly recommend it if you are ever in the south central Wisconsin area.

* * * * *

In the sewing room, there were a couple more small quilts in process.  I made this blue and green Piccadilly Circus quilt, following the YouTube tutorial by Jo's Country Junction.

As soon as I had posted pictures of the finished quilt on my Facebook page, a friend inquired about it for his new grandson.  So I didn't have it in my hands for long, but that was fun.  I may have to make another one sometime.

Another impromptu quilt came about when I decided to make a bunch of half-square triangles from a couple of brightly colored charm packs a friend gave me a year or so ago.

On the design wall, I initially put them up all going in one direction.  That was okay, but I kept playing.  I liked this better, so I sewed it up like that.

Now it's waiting to be quilted.

* * * * *

My friend Gwen, whom I've known from school days, is an accomplished artist now based in Minnesota.  She mainly does landscapes, but since 2020 has done a series featuring grazing cattle called "Another Point of Moo" with whimsical and often humorous titles.

One day I saw a funny picture online of a cow grazing under a wash line, where the clothes on the line looked like another cow suspended in midair.  I forwarded her the picture and, just for the fun of it, offered a "Point of Moo" type caption.  She got a kick out of it.

Fast forward a few months when she told me she would be sending me something.  This is what came in the mail!

She even put my caption on the back.  How cool is that!  I love it so much!

In return, I made her a piece of quilted art and sent it off.  She has painted crows as well as cows in her work, so I thought she might like this.

If it looks familiar, it's because I made something similar several years ago, which you can see in my blog header.  I recreated one like it for Gwen, which she loved.

* * * * *

More pictures from the summer:  My sister and her granddaughter Cali and I went to see the Rodin exhibit at The Paine in Oshkosh.  

It was amazing to be among some of the famous Rodin sculptures on the grounds of the beautiful Paine mansion and gardens.

And speaking of beautiful gardens, friends and I toured the labyrinth garden in West Bend on an equally gorgeous summer day.  

So many lovely flowers to see as you make your way along the 90-foot wide labyrinth path.  

It was peak season for the many lily varieties when we went.

Thanks for coming along on a short recap of some of the highlights of the past several months while I wasn't "here" on the blog.  It was fun to revisit them with you!


Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Pics or It'll Never Happen

The funny thing about not blogging regularly is that I still take pictures as though I were.  Maybe not as many, but I still do some kind of photo documentation on a regular basis.  

Then every so often (like this evening) I'll be looking through my photo archives and wonder why I couldn't get my act together and just write a blog post.  

(Table runner made for a friend)

When and if I ever figure that out, I'll let you know.  In the meantime, how about I share a few pictures from the past several months.

I love a good thrift shop fabric score, which will come as no surprise to many of you.  

One day, I bought a bag that I thought was fabric scraps and one completed quilt block in it that I could see.  It was sealed with tape so I couldn't inspect the rest of the contents, but I took a chance.  

Turns out it was a whole bag of orphan blocks!

I put them up on the design wall and left them there for a week or two while I mulled over whether (and how) I might put them together into one quilt. 

Ultimately, it just made my brain hurt so I nixed the idea (for the time being), and they all went back in the bag from whence they came and then into my own orphan block box.  But when I opened that box to put them in, some orphan squares of my own caught my eye and I pulled those out to play with.

I ended up making hourglass blocks out of those leftover squares and it turned into this baby quilt.

(Back of hourglass block baby quilt)
 So I guess the bag of orphan blocks was worth it insofar as getting me in the headspace to create something from (my own) orphans.

Here's something I left behind at the thrift store recently, but I had to take a picture.

This sewing machine reminded me of the one I learned to sew on.  My mom bought a second-hand machine for my sister and I to use.  I don't remember the brand, but it looked an awful lot like this one.  I really, really liked that machine.  This one was only marked $15, but goodness knows I don't need another vintage machine.  It sure was pretty, though!

This post is getting a little long (or I'm just getting tired), but I have more pics to share, so look for Part 2 soon.  I'll leave you with a couple non-sewing related photos from the summer. 

My husband I were biking along on a country road, blasting Led Zeppelin from a portable bluetooth speaker, when I noticed cranes in a field out of the corner of my eye.  Not just sandhill cranes but also a pair of whooping cranes!  

I quickly killed the music so as not to scare them away, and we got off our bikes to watch them for awhile.  How exciting!


Friday, November 17, 2023

Bramble Blooms QAL Progress

What better way to sneak back into the blog world than joining the Bramble Blooms quilt along at Quilty Folk?  When Audrey announced this improv quilt along, it seemed like a fun opportunity to learn from one of my favorite quilt artists and an applique maestro!

First, make a scrappy background.  Check.  

Then, because I found some leftovers from a recent project in the odds-and-ends and orphans box, I made a second one.  Options, you know.

A fabric pull was suggested, but I decided to forego that step and just flow wherever the piece takes me.  Yes, the old adage, "Failing to plan is planning to fail" did cross my mind.  I guess we'll see, but playing it loose appeals to me at the moment and opens things up for surprises (for better or worse).

The next step was to applique some flowers on the background.  I wasn't sure what I wanted to do as far as flowers, but inspiration struck one day as I started deconstructing a very old skirt.  

This lively looking, folksy skirt once belonged to an older friend (now passed) of my sister.  I'm thinking it was from the 1960s or so, and handmade.  During a closet clean-out a couple months ago, Sis was going to donate it, but I diverted it from the thrift store (I mean, look at that piecework!).  Unfortunately, in my zeal to soak out some stains in the skirt, a dark strip of navy blue bled quite badly.  Well, there was no rescuing it from that so I started taking it apart to salvage the rickrack for craft projects and with the thought of maybe making some quilted hearts (or something) from some of the piecework that was less impacted by bleeding.

As I cut off the skirt's waistband, I noticed all this interesting fading and color shifting in that area, which reminded me of poppy petals.  Poppies!  Maybe I could applique poppies on my Bramble Blooms project! 

And so I did.  I perused the internet for images that could be translated to fabric poppies.  Ultimately, I settled on a coloring page image for its simplicity of form and then freehand cut some paper templates based on that.

Doesn't that old red fabric lend an interesting dimension?

I hand appliqued the stems and the flower bud, keeping in some of the wrinkles in the fabric of the bud as a nod to the gathered skirt it came from. 

Then I fused and zigzagged the leaves and the flower petals. 

A fun view of the back showing the combination of techniques.

What's next in the QAL is a mystery.  I'm excited!



Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Four-Patch on the Diagonal Top Done

I finished the Four-Patch on the Diagonal quilt top last week, and I really like how it turned out!  The pattern is by and can be found HERE.

There is something very cozy feeling about it.  Maybe all those pinky-browns and earth tones.

It measures around 59 x 71 inches, which is a nice throw size.  

I'm not sure whether I will donate or gift it, but, ultimately, it may be a bit harder to part with than I thought it would be.  I guess that's a good thing!

Lost and Found!

We had a look around the garage a couple weeks ago to see if there was anything we needed to get rid of during our city's bulk waste pickup that happens annually in the spring.

One thing we unearthed that I had totally forgotten about was a 29-inch floor standing quilting hoop that had belonged to my late mother.  It was packed away in its original box and stored on a shelf in the garage.

I am not much of a hand quilter and don't foresee using this hoop, so I brought it in the house to take photos of it and post it for sale on Craigslist.

There was a large envelope inside the box with assembly instructions and other information for the quilting hoop—AND, surprisingly, a recipe booklet from my Aunt Inez that she must have given my mom in the mid-1990s!

How that ended up in the envelope inside the quilting hoop box is anyone's guess.  But my parents did move from Wisconsin to Arkansas in 1995, so I can imagine that in the chaos of packing, my mother stashed the recipe booklet in a "safe place" at the last minute.

I don't think my mom ever used the quilting hoop after their move.  She made a few quilt tops during the next couple years, but then she had a stroke that paralyzed her left arm.  She had all of her quilt tops longarm quilted a few years later and gave them to her granddaughters.

It was such a pleasant surprise to find my aunt's recipes some 28 years later!  Here are a couple pages from the booklet.  Having grown up and lived most of her life in Louisiana, it was fun to see a recipe for Crawfish Etoufee.

And recipes for some of my grandmother's cakes and pies.

This 1-2-3-4 cake sounds like something that would be good served with fresh strawberries and ice cream.  Strawberry season here is right around the corner.

There are so many other great family recipes in this little booklet, flavored throughout with my aunt's helpful tips, remarks, and admonishments.  It makes me smile!

I'm going to put this in its own three-ring binder and then on my recipe book shelf so I know where to find it from now on.