Winter collage

Winter collage

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New year...new blog look?

Well - It would be nice to freshen up my blog's appearance - looking quite tired and drab. However, Blogger is not working for me and I am unable to change anything other than photos. Trying to go with different colors - background, text, etc. Nothing changes even though when working with the customization feature in Design the "apply to blog" button indicates it is working. But no new changes are evident.

Since I primarily post using Blogsy for my iPad, have been trying to make these changes using my older PC laptop. There has been virtually no response from Blogger regarding my query and apparently this problem existed for many a while back. However all those forum discussions are closed now and I cannot locate any further solutions.

Any thoughts or feedback from you, dear readers, would be greatly appreciated.

Any one else having similar problems?


Thank you for any help!!


Pat

 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas blessings....

.....to each of you - may 2016 be a year filled with new energy, health, and a return to calmness in our world.


Pat

 

Friday, December 4, 2015

A gentle afternoon...

....such a gift at this time of year in our part of Wisconsin. Here it is early December and the temperature reads 46....sunshine, a little snow carpets the walking path as we gather greens - balsam & long needle pine. I don't take for granted living on 40 acres, that a stroll outside brings me an endless supply of fresh cuttings. Our fur babies run around in circles, falling over each other and scoop mouthfuls of snow with their tongue as they follow me out to the potting shed. How convenient it is to have the necessary tools, floral wire and a wide work space to assemble simple swags. And especially warm enough to do so without frozen fingertips!

Two bundles - for our two side lights on the garage and another bundle to be placed on my old sled by the driveway (goodness - that sled must be an antique now considering my age)

Have been doing some secret sewing and can reveal one item which was given out yesterday at our Liberty Ladies quilt history study group.

From Lorraine Olsen's book Little Lone Star Quilts....she has a great and unique method for paper piecing small quilts.

I chose cheddar and some of the fabrics that our group has exchanged over the years - the little quilt finished to about 22" square. Too late I noticed the border fabric had definite direction in the print - but at the 11th hour, it has to remain.

As we opened gifts, this was the treasure I brought home...also a piece filled with memories of previous exchanges and including conversation prints - dear to my heart.

Now as the sun sinks lower on the horizon - 3:00 on this gentle afternoon, I can get back to the next gift which must be completed soon. As the sewing machine hums along, my mind will be going over preparations for my brother's arrival in 2 days and getting ready for next weekend when we have the Celebration of Life for our Dad.

Wishing each of you gentle times.


Pat



 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving - 2015

With our world in such an upheaval and filled with uncertainty, it may seem to take a little longer when we count our blessings...but I recently visited Nana's blog and it brought everything back into balance. I hope she doesn't mind my using her idea of posting the following -

May Thanksgiving Day and all the days that follow be filled with blessings for each of you.

Pat

 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

More than a retreat...

Not many photos to share from our 2015 Fall Retreat...how do you capture the sounds of laughter, sewing machines humming, quiet conversations as people stop by and sit in the "chit chat" chair that everyone positions near each table...

Sun streaming in through the wide expanses of windows & watching the chickadees whirling around the feeders on the long deck by the dining room...

The sounds and fragrances of meals being prepared by the kitchen staff (who outdid themselves with a Sunday brunch!)...ladies we have come to know over the almost 20 years that our annual fall retreat has been a must attend event...

Walking to our dorm rooms at night in the crisp air and hearing the wind move through the tall pine trees...the ground covered in long pine needles...

Do we hear a wolf in the distance or see a deer step quietly out of the woods...one year after watching The Edge, as a group of us walked along a trail, a friend said, "do you think a bear is stalking us?" Nervous laughter and the pace quickened - back to the safety of our spacious sewing area...

Admiring the quilting projects of others - a completed quilt top or binding finished just in time for a Christmas gift - fabric envy, fabric suggestions, fabric buying at the quilt shop located about 20 minutes away...

Concerns for a roomie who became ill and had to leave early, catching up on each others lives, ideas, jokes and hugs...

This year, our 2015 Fall Retreat was this and so much more...4 days of a much needed break for me, being in the midst of long time friends and getting to know new ones...


This is the extent of my stitching...


Bags and boxes of completed various 9 patch units for Settlers Trail...ready for pressing and squaring up...

And slow stitching on the first rows of diamonds for Drayton Hall...

Both long term winter projects...

Any wonder why we have decided to add a 5th day of retreat for 2016!


Pat



 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dad...

My Dad passed away yesterday morning, October 30, 2015 at the age of 97. Earlier we were able to share a brief moment when he was alert. I was able to tell him that he was a good Dad to my brother and I and always had been and that he was loved very much. He responded by saying he had always tried to be good and that he loved us. I am so thankful to have had that. He passed peacefully for which this was a true blessing.

This is the memory I have of him while we were growing up. He was career Navy - 1937 - 1959 and performed with the U S Navy Band at many Capitol and White House functions as a trumpeter.

Be at rest, Dad...I know you will be watching over us...

 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Are quilters like squirrels?

We must be closely related! Lately, my sewing room has become like a hollow in an old oak tree....

No, not for storing nuts...but stocking up for winter....

Books....

Batiks....including special ones that my daughter-in-law brought from a favorite Alaskan quilt shop in Anchorage...along with mooses, fireweed & forget-me-nots...

A much coveted grouping of Di Ford's new fabric collection - Cloverdale by Andover - so dreamy...

I just have to share special sewing things recently received from thoughtful friends...look at these beautiful sewing boxes - B J on the right has a husband who does exquisite cross stitch...these are treasures for each of us.

Have you seen or used these? How perfect they are for tucking in when doing needle turn applique...love that each one has a pointed and flat end both. A great tool that K (in the middle of our photo) found while attending Baltimore On The Prairie.

And just so you don't think it is all just collecting going on - some late night/can't sleep sewing has all the units (around 2000+) prepped for joining into blocks - hopefully at the retreat next week. Life continues very uncertain at Taylorsoutback - day by day...

Wishing each of you days filled with creativity - collecting, stitching or just dreaming.

Pat

 

 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A sweet October...

...this month has always been a time of reflection & memories for me from a long ago loss. It is also a time of transition here in north central Wisconsin. Our brief summer is gone and everyone prepares for the winter months ahead. Extra quilts appear on beds and over a sofa or chair; Mr. Outback deals with loads of firewood bringing it up to the porch which will soon grow empty of outdoor tables and chairs. An rv to winterize and the last of the garden beds cleaned up in preparation for a well earned rest - all this makes for busy days. ..

But in recent days, October has turned so sweet with skies of the clearest blue framing red maples and yellow birch. A perfect backdrop for the arrival of our son and daughter-in-law from Alaska...

....precious family times on both sides, a fun Packer party watching #12 and teammates show the Kansas City Chiefs what life is like at Lambeau Field. Catching up over mealtimes...Mr. Outback and son spending a day together shooting skeet and me? - a beautiful drive to Bond Falls in Michigan...

The "Z" at Bond Falls

and the Porcupine Mountains....

Lake of the Clouds
...to visit old stomping grounds for our photographer son. (If you are on Facebook search David Ryan Taylor Fine Art Photography). Sharing future dreams with our daughter-in-law along with talk about the need for a new flannel quilt...the kind of simple times that overflow with blessings.
There were visits to see Grandma & Grandma and a tearful goodbye with this message...
My Dad continues to decline in health - a family meeting with staff agreeing on hospice care when needed. Life always mixes in the sweet with the sad...
With all that has been going on at Taylorsoutback, quilting has taken a backseat but the first weekend in November will be here soon which means my once a year retreat - time enough for stitches and being with my quilting sisters. Not packed yet but just found these pj's at Target - aren't they just perfect!!
Back soon to share projects in the works, books, fabric and whatever else pops into my head. Wishing each of you days that are always sweet...
Pat

 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pressing matters....

....never one of my strongest points in the quilt making process, but over the years, I have stubbornly tried to improve block pressing. When it comes to small blocks with numerous pieces, my nerves set in, the teeth clench and the iron and I start to do battle with each other. I figure by the time I have another 141 5" blocks done, a proper pressing technique will have triumphed or they have taken me away in a straight jacket...

The pattern is Settler's Trail from Primitive Gatherings. These are the first 3 trial blocks to get my feet wet...and little crib notes to remind me to press to the dark and how many units to make...and containers accumulating the 3 different units that make up the 1 1/2" finished blocks...and correct pressing - always towards the dark is vital when making these tinies...wish me luck!

The project was assembled about 2 years ago with preliminary strip cutting. Put aside for other things and now brought out again as a break from so much handwork of late. I find myself missing the sewing machine. It will probably be on again, off again too...

As for handwork - Benjamin Biggs Wedding Quilt of Just Takes 2 continues to move closer to the last blocks - 21 have been completed with 4 more to go. This is September's block...

And what looks like a jumble is really quite an accomplishment for me....all 1200+ EPP diamonds are done for my Di Ford Drayton Hall, separated in baggies according to light, medium and dark - ready for our long winter...

There is finally more going on in the sewing room - would be nice to do a few more posts this month!...for now it is fall cleaning, trying to find storage space for all the garden produce and getting ready for our Dave and Jena to arrive in a few weeks. Have picked up a bit more personal time since finishing the sorting of my folk's house. A relief...

May you have time to enjoy the change of seasons wherever in the world you are be it Fall colors or Spring flowers...wishing you gentle and kind days.

Pat

 


 

 

 

 

 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Wrapping up memories...

...since last December, many of my days have been spent sorting through 72 years of memories at my parents house...the last box, drawer, closet and cubbyhole has been cleared and prepped for the Estate Sale which will take place later this Fall. The keys have been turned over to the ladies who will set up everything. My job is finished.

But, oh the memories...

...wrapping my Mom's Lenox china for my brother got me thinking about the beautiful holiday tables she used to set - always so enjoyable for her. Silver serving pieces and delicate Lily of the Valley forks, knives and spoons...candles lit...linen tablecloth and napkins...such happy times that will be long remembered. It is difficult not to dwell on the reality that those times are no more and to feel so very lonely...

As the summer winds down and a few extra hours have returned to my days, our own house can get some attention - it has been neglected...a family tree quilt made in 2008 as a gift for Mom & Dad has found a new spot folded on my Great Grandfather's rocking chair from West Virginia. Finally had time to add a new medallion to the tree with the addition of our dear daughter-in-law.


The great room is getting an update too - new area rugs, a sofa on order and valances to be made. Attention turns to pumpkins and mums and falling leaves and soon the arrival of our David and Jena for a much anticipated visit.

While there are still some warm days ahead, even now, evenings have become cooler and the gardens are in transition. Tomatoes have their first blush - it is always a race against those first frosty nights in September. Canned a few pepperoncini.....and made up some refrigerator pickles - our English cucumbers are really producing!

and waiting for an order of Concord grapes to arrive...grape jelly to be made.

...as always, quilting...one of life's best stress relievers...

Caught up with the Benjamin Biggs Wedding quilt being offered by Gay Bomers and Brenda Papadakis...June , July and August - done!

That's it from Taylorsoutback for now - have been a bad blogger - this one posting in August is putting a question mark on calling this a blog, even. Hoping to do a little better in the months ahead - but life can sure interfere with good intentions...have a good week everyone and a huge thank you for stopping by to visit...


Pat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Dressing Downton...

 

Our quilt history study group, aka Liberty Ladies, had the opportunity to tour the elegant Paine Art Center in Oshkosh last Thursday.

The craftsmanship that went into this Tudor Revival mansion is breathtaking, an overused word so often, but truly applicable to this structure. The woodwork alone with linenfold doors & carved stair railings done in oak leaves and acorns was fabulous - add in the beautifully appointed rooms with marble fireplace surrounds and a morning breakfast room to dream in - oh my! ....the icing on the cake though was the special exhibit of 36 vintage garments from the PBS series, Downton Abbey - of which I, like many of you, am a devoted fan.

 

No photos allowed, of course, but take my word for it, seeing these costumes up close was a total treat...heavily beaded, braided, tucked, and flowing - all examples of how clothing was designed and sewn at the turn of the century - by hand and with great attention to detail. From the quietly understated soft purple gown the Dowager Countess wore while mourning to the starched white apron that Anna wears as maid to Lady Mary - just an amazing exhibit and staged in a perfect venue.

The gardens were lovely and this fascinating structure is called a kaleidoscope garden..

By looking through one of the 3 viewing scopes ....

And turning the cylinder, you can create endless design compositions (I used to love the similar toys as a child)...I placed my iPhone up to the viewing lense...

Even hexies!

Our day out would not be complete without a quilt shop stop...just up the road from Oshkosh is Menasha - home to Lisa Bongean's Primitive Gatherings .

We had called ahead as 9 quilters showing up at once might require extra cutting hands. The staff had prepared extra goodies for us - they called us the Downton Abbey Ladies!

 

I ordered a copy of Irene Blanck's Focus on Applique, which they were out of, and a few pieces of fabric - could not find what I was looking for - imagine that!

A full day with friends - beautiful weather, good food - doesn't get any better for a quilter!


Wishing each of you a very lovely week.


Pat