Cherish the simple things Fall

Cherish the simple things Fall

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

November progress...

Here at Taylorsoutback, the days are busy as we head into Thanksgiving week...I came across a list that serves as a solid reminder of the blessings in my life (found on Pinterest, of course!)

When I read the daily reports of what many California folks are enduring with all the fires, our snow covered countryside is certainly something to be thankful for.

Just a quick posting this time around - I continue to make good progress on my Redwork blocks for the November OMG and will share that at the end of the month.
Wish I had a bigger photo of the flannel quilt, made for our David and Jena, that is now finished. While at my recent retreat, the binding was completed and the quilt is now being enjoyed and especially welcomed for its extra warmth on our cold November nights. Winter has definitely arrived early...

A close up of the long arm quilting that was done - love the diagonal lines and all those “bubbles”!
Rhonda used Quilter’s Dream batting and the quilt is also backed in a coordinating flannel. It finishes to 94” X 104”.



Also gifted this sewing notions tray to my dear friend, Connie, who drove up from southern Wisconsin for our Retreat...don’t get to see her often enough! This was fun to make using hand-dyed wools - have not worked with wools very much. Her favorite candy bar is a Bun bar...so just had to include a few of those along with the chunky pincushion which is stuffed with crushed walnut shells.





And, also, another idea brought home from retreat...this inexpensive LED lighting strip (again - Amazon comes through!) which mounts on my sewing machine and provides wonderful additional light...much needed for these 74 year old eyes...it even comes with a dimmer switch...That’s about it for now...back to those redwork blocks...the clock is ticking!

I hope each of you also have all 10 things on that list at the top.
Happy stitching!

Pat

Sunday, November 4, 2018

OMG for November...and Retreat...

Here I go again...linking up with Patty at her One Monthly Goal ...I am jumping in to join her OMG link for November. So to start off, my goal for this month is opening up another UFO bin...this project dates back to 2008 - 10 years ago...all the redwork blocks have been embroidered for quite a while but the alternating pieced blocks had not been started.


The overall quilt will be based on the classic Irish Chain. After finishing the embroidery, I realized there was no more muslin left to complete the top and could not find any when shopping...what to do? Thankfully my friend suggested the little cream and red shirting. That yardage joined the embroidered blocks and Kona solid red and disappeared into the back of the quilting cave.


While at Retreat the past 5 days, I pieced all the 9 patch units and cut the squares that make up the 9” finished alternating blocks. During the next few weeks, my goal is to complete the pieced blocks and hopefully (big hopefully there!!) get the top together. We shall see...
As for my October OMG, as mentioned in the last post, the goal of piecing all those tiny 9 patch units was met, so off I went to our Annual Fall Retreat determined to join everything together for a completed top...
This is the result...50 X 59 - Settler’s Trail by Primitive Gatherings...


The backing and binding fabric has been waiting for 8 years...now, I just need to get it machine quilted and I think an overall, easy uncomplicated pattern will be the best choice...
Our Retreat of 5 days was wonderful - being with friends I don’t get to see often enough and all the sharing, catching up, inspiration that goes with that...we had such a good time and I feel refreshed and charged up! Our first night fell on Halloween, so there were some costumes...witches, a wood sprite, a masked quilter with a cute vest and a whoopie cushion!

Oh...and a T-Rex...(that is yours truly underneath that)

We sewed, laughed, shared wine and snacks and caught up with each other...took some beautiful walks in the woods as where we stay has terrific trails for hiking...everything a Retreat should be.
This morning we woke to a fine, gentle snowfall...

Not really ready for this kind of weather...
And apparently my car was not either...it is only a year old and yet when I tried to start it to load everything up...nothing happened...Mr. Outback drove up with our truck (we are only about 1/2 hour away) and attempted to jump start it, but no luck...it was towed this afternoon to our dealership and we must wait until tomorrow to find out anything more. Still under warranty, but it is a worry and I love my red car so much...
The drive home...

I much prefer the day before when we walk through all the fallen leaves, enjoyed the fragrance of the evergreens and felt the sun’s warmth.

Happy stitching everyone!
Pat

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

OMG success!

https://www.elmstreetquilts.com/2018/10/one-monthly-goal-october-finish-link-up.htmlMy suitcase is about packed; the projects are organized; ...5 days of blissful quilting at our Annual Fall Retreat...catch up times with friends who I don’t get to see often enough. Oh how I always look forward to this “mini-vacation”. Our son and daughter-in-law have just returned from Italy and while they were gone, I tore the house apart for Fall Cleaning and even got an old cupboard painted in the great room. The black finish lost its charm a long time ago and living in a log home with so much wood made me want something lighter...This will be the last go round for redoing - I think a new replacement is in the future...
Before...

After...doors on, cookbooks reorganized and everything back in place (oh yes...that is the Packer game on TV - unfortunately they lost to the Rams :-(
Now that committment I made back at the beginning of the month when linking up to Patty’s OMG...
The plan was to have all 143 blocks pieced, squared up and placed in order ready to sew at the retreat
This is an 8 year old project and needs to be wrapped up...
Ta da....mission accomplished...

Oh, my other “personal” goal for this month that I mentioned in my last post...when I joined Weight Watchers (now renamed Wellness Wins) last February, the decision was made not to set myself up in a target goal which could turn out to be unrealistic or in the end, making me feel like a failure. I chose, as a first level to reach, 40 pounds in weight loss. Not sure why - it seemed less intimidating then saying 50 pounds. This month it is now official - my goal of 40 pounds lost has been reached plus a little more. I have been slower than some in our group but whatever I am doing is working for me and that is what counts. It is not a race and everyone is different. I now have set a new level to reach knowing it is possible and enjoying clothes shopping again along with new energy and confidence. Being at the Retreat will be a challenge with all the goodies everyone brings to share but hoping that I will “stay the course” and focus on healthy choices.
Something I thought you might be interested in - our guild does a Friendship Block throughout the year - if you win, you get all the blocks and are then responsible for arranging the next go round. I have won before but still enjoy making blocks to add to the mix. I thought this particular block was striking. It is quite large with nice size pieces and the instructions called for batiks. It will finish to 14”. Looks like a great way achieve a large quilt with easy piecing. Somebody will get some nice blocks with a good range of batiks...

All for now...will report back on any progress made while at Retreat...
Wishing you all a good week.
Pat

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Progress report...and snow...

Am I ready for that 4-letter word...s...n...o...w? Not really, but living where we are, I guess it is to be expected. After a solid week of gloom and heavy rains, our temperatures are starting to fall and an on and off mix of the white stuff has been hanging around all day. Night time lows are headed into the 20’s.
With 7 sets of windows in the sunroom/dining area and quarter rounds that almost reach to the peak in our great room, the days of ladders for Mr. Outback and myself are fading fast.
These hardy young men never complained of the 37 degree day as they took care of the summer dust that was layered on our windows. The company they work for has been doing our out of reach windows for a number of years. They are based in a large Amish community to the west of us and always are so reliable and incredibly polite - how refreshing that is in today’s society! During the summer months, they arrive in their traditional blue work shirts and black pants and always a straw hat on their heads. But today being much colder, they wisely chose stocking caps.

Now that my windows sparkle, I can finish the fall house cleaning...and then feel no guilt at returning to my October goal of getting those Settler Trail blocks ready for the retreat. In the evening hours, I have been tackling these blocks and happy to report, there are only 9 left to piece...Linking up to Patty’s OMG (One Monthly Goal) program has been a real motivator.
From www.journeystrength.com - no matter what your goal is...
“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal; A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan; A plan backed by action, becomes reality “ I am so close to one of my personal goals and hope to reach that too by the end of this month...
Happy stitching everyone and may your own goals be reached.
Pat
PS - we took a drive last weekend - this is close by where we live and the colors were so nice.
October, crisp, misty, golden October; when the light is so sweet and heavy...(Angela Carter)

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Needing a quilting kickstart...


Okay...It’s October...time to get serious...I have linked up toElm Street Quilts OMG program because being in a non-productive quilting phase has gotten old. There is a need for a major kick-start and since I don’t drink this stuff....

Or own a motorcycle....

Committing to a month of working on a specific project may just be the motivator I need.
In one of my stackable bins, lies the bits and pieces of Settler’s Trail by Primitive Gatherings.

All the individual units have been pieced and squared up with a number of completed blocks ready.

I even have some very cool numbered pins to help keep the rows in order as it will be somewhat of a challenge for me to keep everything straight. One miss-aligned unit and the pattern will be thrown way off...

This project predates the dinosaurs I think...too many years have gone by and it is bugging me that it is still not finished.
My goal for October? To get these bits and pieces finished and ready to sew the blocks together at my fast approaching 5 day Retreat at the end of October. Since this project has been hauled to every Fall Retreat for countless years, I am going out on a limb and stating...this will be the last time.
Wish me luck...I am going to need it!
Pat

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Fall in Door County...(photos!)

Door County is a peninsula north of Green Bay, Wisconsin and a very popular tourist and recreation destination. It is often called the Cape Cod of the Midwest. Mr. Outback and I had not been there since 2016 and so we decided a Fall mini-vacation was overdue. We packed up the 5th wheel with way more food than 2 people could think of consuming for a week and loaded up on long pants and fleece jackets knowing how weather in Wisconsin can change in 5 minutes. At the end of our 5 day stay, we were thankful for the extra warm clothing and have returned home with more food then when we left.
How is that possible, you may wonder? Door County grows fruits and vegetables as their climate provides a well balanced growing environment. Now is when the farm markets are packed with many varieties of apples...
Honeycrisp being my most favorite of all...Nature’s most perfect food!

Pumpkins of every shape, size and color and...

The thousands of cherry trees which bore fruit earlier this summer are now picked clean and the harvest is available in many forms...

Fudge and chocolates - oh my!

Wild grape vines are everywhere and in the many vineyards, clusters of concord grapes are nearing their peak.

The peninsula offers so much - from neatly kept farms, to “Mac Mansions” built along the coastline, to wonderfully restored log cabins...country lanes and the famous winding road section leading to Gills Rock...
We spent a day on Washington Island, crossing on the ferry that serves to transport visitors and supplies back and forth. We giggled at the Garmin in our truck...we were that object doing about 11 mph on the water, just off the coast of Plum Island...(that little symbol my husband uses is a helicopter...yep, once a pilot, always a pilot!)

Being there reminded me of our trip to Halibut Cove out of Homer, Alaska - I love the slower pace, the quietness and undeveloped landscape which is becoming so rare. I think I could live on an island quite comfortably...
Especially when it contains two lavender farms...

Though the lavender at both places had been gathered back in July, there are still some fragrant stems showing...

And because the farms distill their own oils, the lavender based products are a must...wish I could offer a fragrance app for you! This book made it home too to join my little library of Lavender-inspired cookbooks...



There is a strong Scandinavian heritage in the area and the two structures we visited reflect this...
This was being used as a drying shed for lavender and the wood carvings were lovely and intricate.
Farther down the road is the Stavkirke which was completed in 1995. The chapel was built by volunteers from the Lutheran Church across the road. The craftsmanship was gorgeous. (The chapel is also available for small weddings - how exquisite that must be!)

We are now back home with wonderful memories and feeling relaxed...it is back to a “normal” routine...getting the RV cleared out and winterized, finishing garden cleanup and then back to the sewing room...I have a quilting retreat coming up in 5 weeks and had better get my act together...Working on a couple of things which I won’t be able to share for a while...
Wishing you a weekend filled with making your own memories...
Pat
PS - it may be Fall here, but all ready thinking ahead to next Spring...I fell in love with these very fun glazed pots for the garden...

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Backing up/reverse sewing...

Years ago when going through both knee replacement rehab, one of the tasks I was instructed to do was walking backwards on the treadmill...disconcerting to say the least but eventually the strengthening and balance results were apparent...
I can only hope I will become a stronger quilter after completing this reverse sewing and picking out endless free motion stitching that just did not please me at all...the section I stippled took maybe 2 hours and it took 5 evenings to undo everything...
A machine quilter I am not! I can follow a straight line fairly well, but anything else leaves much to be
desired. Partly due to the stiffness of my hands, even wearing those little gripper gloves, it is hard to manipulate the quilt sandwich satisfactorily. In the past, I have taken classes from some very talented machine quilt instructors but always felt I belonged in the remedial section.
When all the threads were picked out, went back to the machine and did straight lines, put the binding on and can now call it Done! (It really does lay flat despite the wonky look on the clothesline)

I thought the lines in the border fabric kind of said...how about trying mitered corners, so that worked ok. For my first venture into working with wool applique, thought the pumpkins and leaves turned out all right too.


It has been years since I made a Fall/Halloween season quilt, and this one will go up on our hallway wall for the season for a fresh look.
Here we are into September and the days go by at Taylorsoutback with visible changes taking place here ...our fields are filled with color - goldenrod is in full bloom...

...and here and there one can spot a maple tree with a few leaves turning. Crows are calling from the woods and a continuous chorus of crickets are saying summer is at an end...the nights are cooler. Mr. Outback is busy cutting up the remnants of our old cedar deck & we have plenty of kindling & firewood to take us through the next 2 winters before we seriously think about converting to a pellet stove. Cutting up 100” length logs has lost its charm after 40+ years of heating with wood although sitting by the fireplace in the evening certainly has its merits.
There have been celebrations - our 52nd Wedding Anniversary and Mr. Outback’s 75th birthday with a made from scratch carrot cake (his favorite)

... dinners out and lunches with friends. Our daughter-in-law & I enjoyed a treasured Saturday together shopping...did I count how many weight watchers points??? Nope!
My little sign in the kitchen is a daily reminder...

Wishing each of you simple things to cherish...
Pat