Winter collage

Winter collage

Monday, December 31, 2012

Trial post using Blogsy

A brief post to start off the New Year - just downloaded Blogsy which I hope will be user friendly for this tech challenged 68 year old. It is supposed to allow posting to blogs from an iPad. Oh yes, my two favorite guys - Mr. Outback and our son, Dave surprised me with a new iPad. I am having way too much fun with this!!!

So, for now will try adding a photo to begin January 1, 2013

Dave & Jena walking in the snow and checking out their wedding venue by the pond. It should be a tad warmer in June!

Will be back later - so much to share.

Pat

 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Blessings to you....

My Dear Readers -  Our David and Jena arrived safely in the midst of the winter snow storm and our house is filled with fun and laughter and much comings and goings.

Tonight we celebrate with my parents and family gathered around the table. It has been 3 years since Dave has been home for Christmas and this is the first time we are blessed to have Jena with us to share in the holiday. Tomorrow they head to her family and continue the celebration.

We have a packed schedule in the days ahead so am taking a little blogging break. 

I wish each of  you, Dear Readers, a most joyous holiday season surrounded by loved ones and may the New Year bring you blessings and all that is kind and good.

   

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Log Cabin in the Snow....

Our log cabin is just about ready for the holidays...the tree is decorated and presents are wrapped in peppermint reds & whites, Santas and green holly papers. A garland with cranberry wooden beads & tiny lights climbs the stairs to the loft. The 2 refrigerators and freezer are stocked and cookies made.  Stacks of firewood are stored in the rick outside on the porch and the fireplace sends out its warmth and glow on this damp and chilly night...

And we wait...for a major snow storm to begin around midnight with predictions that it will continue through late Thursday...and we wait...to hear from our Dave and Jena as they make their way from Anchorage, Alaska to Salt Lake City, Utah and into Minneapolis, Minnesota...and we wait...will flights out of Minnesota into North Central Wisconsin be on time or cancelled? Will blowing and drifting delay arrival times...for how long? It is hard to wait...

We want them here, safe and sound...to have them snug by the fire as they tell of their 8 hour flight home...and have a slice of my turkey pot pie and sip egg nog...

The guest room is ready...I finished the binding on the queen size Toad River Log Cabin Quilt and just have to share some close up photos of the machine quilting that Lori from Pine Needle Quilting did....
We have a pine cone theme going on in that part of the house - I stenciled a border along the ceiling edge years ago.
 
And in the bathroom, the sink and counter tiles along with the wallpaper all continue with more pine cones. 
 This quilting design seemed like the perfect choice for the quilt...
You can see the pine cones a little easier on the pieced backing
 And I love the little curly motifs that run through the lighter areas...
Thinking new valances might be in order after the holidays - perhaps something with a pine cone trim?? 

But for now...all is as ready as it can be and we wait... 



          

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Pillowcases for Sandy Hook...

Good evening, Dear Readers...by way of my blogging friend, Judy over at Shade Tree Quilting, I have just learned of a project to make pillowcases for the students of Sandy Hook Elementary. 

The goal is to collect approximately 600 and if you would like to participate, please send your completed pillowcase to the following address:

  Attn: Becky
Quilters Corner
312 Danbury Road
New Milford, CT

We often find comfort in working with needle and thread, in all its creative forms...and that in turn can help, in some small way, to bring comfort to those young children who are experiencing something beyond our comprehension. 

  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dear little quilts...

While the big log cabin quilt is at the long arm quilters, there has been time for some "little" quilts - both making and receiving...I am a lucky duck indeed!  Guess who won a sweet little flying geese quilt over at Maureen's Pursuit of Quilts...


Isn't this just the best - those little guys are just perfect and quickly found a home to be displayed by one of my miniature Christmas trees...Thank you so much, Maureen (you are a sweetie!!)

Up until this week, the only snow we had was the embroidered word on this little pillow...it's just a little spot of color for the guest room...
A Buttermilk Basin pattern
It's nice to see the ground covered with a white blanket now - there is more predicted for the weekend and if the temperatures hold true, we will have our white Christmas...

Our quilt history study group - aka The Liberty Ladies, had the annual Christmas cookie and gift exchange last week...

This is the heavenly hand knitted shawl that I received - isn't the color yummy...
And this is the little quilt I made for my exchange..."Brass Buttons" from the Civil War Legacies book by Carol Hopkins...

Have to get going on some serious baking in the next few days and finish preparing the house for the arrival of our Dave and Jena - next week! Seems like one stack of things-to-do lists gets taken care of and another list takes it place...and so it goes at Taylorsoutback...
This is linked to Miss Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday where the letter of the week is "D"

   

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The China Cupboard...

In the days leading up to the holidays, it always means a flurry of cleaning actitivity. First off is to head into the dining room. The horizontal logs above the shelving that surrounds the entire room are hazy with summer's dust and everything needs a good wiping down.

Once the logs and all the bowls, boxes, ephemera and even a basket of bears are dust-free and spiffed up, my attention turns to The China Cupboard. It looms at one end of the dining room and begs for a total cleaning.
 

You could say, I am the keeper of some of the family china. Pieces that belonged to our grandmothers, great aunts and my mother-in-law are joined with cherished things from my own Mom who has decided it is time to pass them on. Oh, so carefully, delicate china cups are removed and set aside for washing. I still marvel at the hand painted bouillion cups that graced the table of my husband's grandmother so long ago.

The tiny demitasse cups and saucers that were also hers are complete with monogrammed silver spoons. They all must have stories to tell from a long ago age of leisure and graciousness

My grandparents received these crystal goblets as a wedding gift when they were married in 1907.
There was a day a few years ago that caused me to wonder if everything was in a safe place.When we moved into our new home, I had never had a china cupboard before and with great anticipation I looked forward to filling it. The delivery men brought it in from the truck and assembled everything with us assuming they knew what to do. We did not notice how the glass shelves were supported and did not question the left over brackets they left in one of the drawers. Over time, boxes were unpacked and lovely items were placed on those glass shelves with our own 8 pieced wedding china set stored on the bottom wooden shelf. It came around to seasonal cleaning, and I started to remove things from the top shelf first. As in dreams, we don't recall sounds, but there must have been a tremendous crash as first the top shelf gave way and then the middle one and finally all of that falling onto the bottom shelf. I don't remember or have chosen to block the noise. I do remember staring numbly at the hundreds of broken pieces both inside the cupboard and those raining down around my frozen feet. This could not have happened...our wedding china smashed, my aunts lusterware luncheon set, a delicate decanter that belonged to my Grandmother - the list went on. My mind just couldn't take it all in as I retrieved an empty box and dustpan. The floor was picked up and I could do no more. My husband didn't know what to do or say to me -  taking my car keys, I simply said - "I am going for a drive." We live in the country with many quiet back roads so I did not present a danger to anyone while my head tried to clear. Eventually, I returned to the house and began to literally pick up the pieces. With a heavy heart, I called my parents - Dad had treasured Grammy's china too. But my Mom calmly told me to make a list of the wedding china and we would work on replacing it. Nothing could be done to replace the antique glass and china. Despite the often uttered words - "it is only a material object" - it is the memories that float up as a special piece is held in one's hands. That is what hurt so much. Years have passed. New glass shelving is in place and correctly held with All the brackets. One Christmas my Mom and Dad presented us with a large box containing replacement pieces for our china. I was able to locate some lusterware luncheon plates and cups in the same pattern too and they have become my Aunt Ruby's again.  I have been entrusted with other pieces since then and continue to be the keeper of the family treasures. They are enjoyed on special occasions and oh so, carefully cleaned...waiting to be passed on to the next generation...

I still hold my breath when it comes time to clean The China Cupboard...

This posting is linked to Miss Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday where the letter of the week is "C".  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"B" is for Behind....

Well - that is what I am - Behind - Miss Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday...she will have to schedule a catch-up or remedial session for me at this rate... Last week my letter was A for Absence...

Just can't seem to get caught up from being Behind...do we see a pattern unfolding here? At this time of year, do you feel like the world is moving ahead of you leaving you Behind? 

Or do you feel like kicking yourself in the Behind? Sometimes...forgetting to do something important, regretting a decision you made, saying the wrong thing, a valued item left Behind at an airport, in someone's car or a park bench...wasting time and getting more Behind?? 

Or when you think of the word Behind - is it in a more positive light - like leaving Behind good memories for someone - a family member or special friend...leaving Behind something you made with your hands to be treasured by future generations...

Behind - how do you see yourself right now...a cloud to hide Behind or a bright sun emerging from Behind a cloud to capture the day...



  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A New Log Cabin Quilt...

...aka "Toad River Log Cabin" - the top is complete and is off to the long arm quilter to do her magic. It measures 93" X 93" and the logs finish to 1" which is as big as I like to take them, usually preferring narrower widths. 


This was one intense piecing project and I kept going over and over every inch of it once it was together - did I flip a block, are the logs where they are supposed to be...did any identical colors get placed next to each other? (Think that happened once??) 
A bird's eye view - taken from the loft...
Will share a photo of the quilt when it returns and the binding gets added. (Pattern is Judy Martin's Snake River Log Cabin)

No doubt, like most of you, when a quilt top is dropped off at the L.A. quilter, you just don't say - here it is and leave right away...there are quilting designs to be decided on and thread color choices to go over. And usually there are other quilters visiting at the same time - which of course means everyone gets to talking and sharing...don't you love that immediate sisterhood! I just had to take a couple of photos of one of the other quilts waiting to be quilted. (Taken with my iPhone so not quite as sharp) The quilt is about twin size (shown folded here)


Isn't this amazing? 


Those little squares are finished to 1/2" - it took the quilter 8 years to complete the top which was inspired by an antique quilt she had seen and wanted to reproduce. During those 8 years, she traveled all over the world with her family and of course, collected "a few" fabrics along the way. There was much discussion as to how it should be quilted - sure hope to see at least a photo of the completed quilt!!   

Wishing everyone a week filled with creativity and holiday preparations...thank  you so much for dropping by to visit!

  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"A" Is For Absence...

....Which is what I have been from Miss Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday. As so often happens, life simply means our given 24 hours never have enough time in them...

But "absence makes the heart grow fonder" as they say and I have missed being a part of the weekly letters and visiting all the interesting postings from everyone. 

"A" for us here at Taylorsoutback has meant a 7 week trip to Alaska which included a very fun side trip to Anchorage with my future daughter-in-law as we shopped for wedding gowns.
"A" has also meant the completion of a very large applique quilt project and preparation for the handquilting portion. 
"A" also the beginning letter of "Abnormal" which is what our weather in Wisconsin has been this Fall...tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we will be around 55...how abnormal is that?

And that is about it - a short entry to be sure...but I wanted to jump in and hope to keep  up with each letter of this round.

Wishing everyone a Amazingly Happy Thanksgiving!

 

    

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Little Quilt

Taryn over at Repro Quilt Lover is having a very fun giveaway and links to a quilt show featuring little quilts. She is on a Cheddar Role and offering the most wonderful cheddar fabric and a sweet little quilt - be sure to visit all the links!

This is my entry for the show - a favorite little quilt that I made for the 2011 Christmas gift exchange in our quilt history study group - Liberty Ladies. My friend, Geri, now owns it...

 
 Enjoy your visit to the quilt show!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Comments Modification...

In the life of any blog, it is just a matter of time before something nasty attaches itself to the Comments area...I am worn out from deleting dozens, upon dozens, of "Anonymous" comments associated with a blog entry months ago. I don't need prescriptions for Xanax, Valium or Viagra and don't want to buy cheap, knock off purses or jewelry. 

In an effort to stem this (only temporary as I am sure, "Anonymous" will find another entry to annoy me) I have enabled Comments - Registered Users Only (open ID included). Hopefully this will be a temporary measure and one you find not inconvenient to use for the time being. 

Let's see if this kicks "Anonymous" off of my blog for a while...

Pat, wondering why some people just don't get a life!

Monday, October 8, 2012

What's Goin' On.....

....in the sewing room...other than a mess which never seems to go away - since the revamping of our guest room earlier this summer and the addition of a very fun log bed -

....it just called for a new quilt. So happened that back in 2008, all of the pieces were cut out in preparation for a project which got very side tracked. But as things often do in a quilter's great scheme of things, the project got a new life in September when a light went on in my foggy little brain...how perfect that a log cabin quilt would be for a log bed.

I really like Judy Martin's approach to piecing and her tips along the way...I have made numerous log cabin quilts in the last 30 (yikes!) quilting years and all were made by just cutting massive amounts of strips in the width needed and then trimming them to size as I pieced. Most of the time it worked okay but with an occasional wiggle at the end of a row - 1/8" off and a few more wiggles and then the block would be catty wampus...Having all the pieces cut to precisely the length needed has given me accurately sized blocks and nice, straight lines. 

Judy suggests placing all the cut pieces with labels in inexpensive flatware containers...works like a charm and keeps me organized. 
With 48 pieces per block, this is not a speed/quilt in a weekend kind of deal...but it fits in nicely with my new approach to taking the back roads and enjoying the slow lane.
Look how the center is coming together ....

And the beginnings of the borders are taking shape...

Because I have a strong dislike for anything that slithers...my own quilt will be renamed "Toad River Log Cabin Quilt" in recognition of a favorite river that runs along the Alaska Highway in British Columbia. Nope - I don't have a problem with things that hop!  

And that is what is goin' on at Taylorsoutback - the last of the gardens are being cleaned up in preparation for winter. We have all ready had the first snowflakes - shudder...soon the time indoors will become the norm in the weeks ahead...I will miss the hours outside, but look forward to the quietness of the sewing room.

What's goin' on in your neck of the woods???

 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Little Taste of Fall...

When you think of Fall baking, do the aromas of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg call to you from the pantry? Felt like doing a little baking this afternoon as I wanted to share some treats with my stitching group buddies tomorrow.  (I can hear Mr. Outback now..."oh sure, baking for your friends again, I see"...he feels so deprived...)

Jena's Mom had posted the Pinterest link on Facebook recently and I just had to give these a try...

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Cookies
Here is the link for the recipe - www.sprinklesomesunshine.blogspot.com
When you arrive at the blog, scroll down in the Archives to "Pumpkin Spice Cookie Party" November 11, 2011 (tried giving you a direct link, but could not)

And I found the Hershey's Pumpkin Spice Kisses at my local Target - the bags were displayed by the Halloween candies and decorations in case you want to look!
Thinking next time, I might add some finely chopped nuts and increase the baking time by a few minutes. With a cup of freshly brewed tea or coffee, the cookies are just the right amount of a little taste of fall...

Back later...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Traveling the back roads...

When given the choice, my little car is happiest on a quiet country road...not for me the faster, often smoother 4 lane highway...
On my drive earlier in the week for an appointment - this was the route I chose...

What's the hurry most of the time? I can define myself as "retired" or otherwise, not "gainfully employed." It got me to thinking that at this point in my life, a quiet country road approach is often the best way to go in most things...with growing demands in regards to my aging parents and the daily chores and tasks with the upkeep of our home and acreage, I have come to the realization that some things will just not happen or if so, not as quickly as originally anticipated. This can certainly relate to my quilting...for the most part, gone are the days when I could whip up something quick in a few days or a weekend...and furthermore, why would I want to? The world won't stop turning if I come empty handed to a guild meeting or not have an entry to a quilt show. Most of the projects in my sewing room that are in the works or in the planning stage are long term and only a couple have a deadline, as such. There is enough tension and worry in this crazy place called Earth - so why do I want to put more on myself with unrealistic goals. For now, it will be life in the slow lane, ticking off tasks on my long list of things to do - feeling positive about the 1 or 2 things accomplished each day rather than dwelling on the other 4 that didn't...
That will include this blog - not being sure of where it is headed or if it even has any direction anymore - if I don't post an entry each week, there will be no fretting on my part and the world will keep on moving forward.

For now, I hope you will check back from time to time to see what is happening at Taylorsoutback...and perhaps try taking a quiet back road yourself...I know we will meet along the way...

Have a good weekend and take time to look up at the Autumn skies and colors - savor the taste of a fresh apple and enjoy the fragrance of woodsmoke as it drifts up from the chimney...

 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What A Mess!!!

Is anyone else having problems with editing in Blogger? The templates are so messed  up and can't be corrected. On the forum others are mentioning the same issues but so far there has been no reply or even acknowledgement from the Help Center.

Pat

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Homeward bound....

The idea of a vacation is supposed to include time for relaxing...unwinding...unplugging...

We have certainly done that in addition to some memorable times with our son, Dave and Jena, our sweetheart of a future daughter-in-law. Shared breakfasts, lunches and dinners (and unfortunately, sharing the nuisance of annoying colds that we came down with - but all 4 of us seem to be recovering)

Tried my hand at halibut fishing - let me tell you, there is a reason why that is a pricey fish in the market...hauling even a small halibut up from around 200 feet with a 3 pound weight is hard work! It sure humbled me - and brought home,  very uncomfortably, how arthritis has affected my right hand. But I was able to claim 3 on the hook with one going back into the depths to grow larger. Two is the Alaskan limit per person on any given day. Mr. Outback & I had four and then he went out again a couple of days later to land 2 more. They will be shipped home when the weather turns cold...which according to reports from home might not be for a while.

Jena and I spent a day together in Anchorage - this future mother-in-law had not been into a bridal salon for many, many, many years...how about 1966?? My, oh my, - how things have changed!! 


Selection, decisions, accessories, decisions, veils, shoes, decisions - what a fun time we had - photos were taken of the bride-to-be in various gowns to send back to Jena's Mom in Wisconsin. No final choice yet - but a definite idea as to the style and look she wants. 

Next stop was a lunch of freshly made crab cakes at Phyllis's in downtown Anchorage and then with happy tummy's - off we went to find The Quilted Raven. It did not take long to decide on yardage of heavenly, softly colored, batiks...how easy is that!! Jena & Dave favor quieter, more natural colorways - and there is a definite leaning towards soft blues & uncomplicated designs.  This is the fabric she chose -
For the quilt top - 

 For the backing - so very Alaskan - whales!

I plan to start this after Christmas - only if I can keep my hands off of it...well, maybe a little prep work - cutting strips...maybe piecing a couple of trial blocks...

The grandeur of the mountains we have left behind has given way to rolling fields of newly cut hay and herds of cattle - The Canadian Rockies are off in the distance...

We have arrived in Cochran, Alberta and tomorrow will go through Customs prior to entering the US - there are many boxes of cool Alaskan and Canadian air which we have packed away - hoping the officials allow us to bring them through...at home, the temperatures are in the upper 80's and 90's so I know this gift will be appreciated!

All for now dear readers - have a good holiday weekend and if you are on the road like us, wishing you safe travels.

 
....along the Cowboy Trail in Alberta Province, Canada





Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Savoring the Alaskan sun.....

Hello from Palmer, Alaska dear readers - the sun is warm on my shoulders and the view of the surrounding mountains tells me I am far from home - yet, somehow, I feel very much "at home" - this being our 4th trip to the 49th State, the rivers, roads and mountain ranges are becoming more familiar. When seeking a particular place, we can say - oh yes, we remember how to get there!

Since our arrival in the Palmer-Wasilla area, we are having an ongoing family reunion with Dave and Jena - sharing dinners and a Sunday "brunch" - driving into Anchorage last Saturday to visit the wonderful Anchorage Summer Market -  here you can see an impressive array of locally grown fruits and vegetables - and yes, the cabbages are bigger than a basketball. 

This is what caught my gardening eye -

Aren't they gorgeous - Coral Sunset peonies from EagleSong Family Peony Farm.This is a new marketing venture in the area and I have discovered they ship plants nationwide....trying to get more information and set up an order...sigh...

Once I was pulled reluctantly away from the peony booth, we had to check out the variety of food vendors...Mr. Outback chose Halibut cheeks while the rest of us headed to our favorite Salmon Quesadillas booth - 

ALL of us were very pleased with our choices...
We have also visited the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer -

These are sweet 4 month olds - aren't they cute...
This is Storm - a full grown male...being fed grasses by Mr. Outback...
Apparently, the musk ox were native to Alaska but almost became extinct in the 1800's. They were reintroduced and are doing quite well back on their own turf. The fibers collected from the musk ox are the 2nd rarest in the entire world, with vicuna being in first place. Qiviut ("kiv-ee-ute") is the name for the fur used to knit exquisite hats, scarves and sweaters. It is incredibly soft - like a cloud...at the farm, all the fibers gathered are sent directly to First Nation knitters at a cooperative. I have found a couple of places in the Anchorage area that also sell the yarn and want to check them out later this week. I might be able to afford enough for a headband...but then how special it would be to wear something made by these gifted artists. For more information, visit www.qiviut.com.

The last two days have been "maintenance days" - oil changes, tire rotations, laundry, groceries...a necessary part of any trip involving an RV. Friday, Jena & I head to Anchorage for an entire day of Girl's Stuff - looking at wedding gowns, a little shopping, a little lunch and lots of wonderful talk and planning...
Following that, we head to Homer and Mr. Outback hopes to replenish our home supply of salmon and halibut - oh yes!! Hikes along the beach and looking for rocks,wildflowers, mountains...good times. 

All for now...