Frosty morning on the pond

Frosty morning on the pond

Saturday, December 29, 2018

End of the year nostalgia...

Just a few more days of 2018...a time for reflection and also looking ahead...what will 2019 bring? Hopefully, for each of us, good health and fun adventures and always a little more time spent with fabric and needle...

At Taylorsoutback, thinking of the positive “things” even though, at times, it felt like I was spinning my wheels and going nowhere.

Dealing with a very hot and dry growing season and not having the usual results with tried and true plantings in the raised beds...and then realizing what a plentiful crop of red and yellow onions we have stored for the long winter (have not purchased any onions at the store in over 2 years - enjoying 2 successive seasons of yield)

Successful outings with the RV and returning home without incident or needing repair (unlike previous years!)

Spending time on our new deck...

Never enough time with friends, but treasuring those occasions when we could get together...

Starting a weight loss journey and seeing positive results...

Digging into the “quilting cave” and seeing old UFO’s completed or moving forward...


There were also some “mini” quilts finished and featured each month...yes, I miss some months, but at least have something to show for it!.

So, all in all, when taken as a whole, I feel good by what has been accomplished...and have a sense of renewed enthusiasm.

Before I wrap up this final post for 2018, want to share some information - we attended the December 27th showing of Peter Jackson’s “They Shall Not Grow Old” - 4 years in the making; going through 100’s of World War I movies and photos; restoring them; adding voices and color and creating an incredible glimpse into The Great War and what everyday soldiers endured. I urge everyone to see this when it comes to a theater near you. It is moving; at times humorous; at times, so brutal you want to turn away. In the end, it is one more undeniable message of how useless and wasteful any war is...my own Grandpa, along with his brother, Victor, immigrated from Lithuania prior to the outbreak of the war, became an American citizen and enlisted in the Army and was sent to France. He fought on the Western Front (Company M, 148th Infantry) and was wounded during the battle in Meuse-Argonne. He laid for several days, in great pain, hoping the enemy would not find him, before he was found by the local French and taken to a nearby farmhouse. He was finally picked up and returned to the Field hospital but his leg had to be amputated. (Note: - as often happens with a Post-War government, Grandpa did not received his much deserved Purple Heart until 1955 - 37 years after he had been wounded.)
This is the only photograph I have of Grandpa (1890 - 1975) taken when he was recuperating from his injury. He is on the left, turned away from the camera but smiling. Look at his comrades too...all so young and smiling - even after what they endured. Growing up and visiting Grandma & Grandpa’s farm in Wisconsin, I always remember him as being quiet but quick to smile. I can still hear him talking with Great Uncle Victor in their native language...the memories and stories they must have shared...I wish I had been older and wise enough to understand...

Thank you for visiting my little blog through out the year, for your kind comments and encouragement and for sharing your creativity that energizes me...
Wishing each of you sweet memories and all the very best in the New Year...

Pat

Thursday, December 20, 2018

December OMG success!

Linking up with Patty’s OMG for December...actually a little early (I beat the deadline for once!)...her link will be open on December 26.
Mr. Woodland Santa now takes his long overdue place by our Christmas tree...after 22 years, he is finally dressed...
From his cotton shirt...and leather vest...


He needs to stay warm during our long and cold Wisconsin winters, so the next layer is a knitted scarf (using yarn leftover from my own knitted scarf)...

A matching leather cap tops off his head...

As he trudges through our woods collecting Christmas greens in his basket, all the bells on his boots, hat and around his waist give out a constant jingle letting us know where he is....




He now stands guard by our tree which is trimmed with my Mom’s Christmas ornaments...many that we gave her over the years as we always exchanged a special one every year with each other. Though both Mom and Dad are gone, I feel their presence so strongly...


From Taylorsoutback, I send each of you wishes for a Joyous Christmas and everything that is good and kind in 2019.
Pat

Friday, December 14, 2018

Stitching friendships...

For all of us who share the love of anything that includes needle and thread, fabric, yarn or canvas...receiving a handmade gift means that it is not only a reflection of the stitcher’s time but that it also comes with a treasured message of friendship.
Our group of Liberty Ladies, (where we study quilt-related topics and often focus on women who have made an impact in the history of our country, ) includes those who love to quilt, knit and/or cross stitch. My interests revolve around the first two needle arts but I never could grasp the technique of cross stitch. One of our members who does wonderful cross stitching has gifted each of us with a special Santa for a number of years. 2017 was my year to receive this delightful Santa from Joanne.

I love that he stands next to a treadle sewing machine - so like my Grammy’s...
Wanting to thank Joanne, I thought a little quilt was in order...what to do? Then a lightbulb moment...ah ha! I had finished Lori’s QAL (over at Humble Quilts) a while back - her Palmateer Point quilt. It just needed binding...


Done!
I hope Joanne likes it and knows that it comes with that special message of friendship...just as her Santa did for me...
Happy Holiday stitching everyone...10 days and counting down...
Pat

Monday, December 3, 2018

December OMG......

....if you have been following along with my recent posts that have been focusing on attempts to work on old UFO’s, you know that October and November goals were met in great part because of the challenge put out by Patty at Elm Street Quilts . I was kind of stumped for a bit trying to figure out December’s OMG...until I remembered a project that - once more - goes back a few years...this time, 1996...22 years ago...I have just run out of explanations and excuses...
Briefly, here is the story...I took a workshop from the same person who bought my quilt shop in 1995. Her name is Nina McVeigh and she has been a Bernina Educator for quite a few years now (she eventually decided to close the quilt shop after a number of years). Here is a link to check out Nina’s sewing tips and you can search for lots of her tutorials. Nina has an extensive background in sewing, clothing, quilting, long arm, you name it...a very accomplished and creative lady! So back to the workshop...we were to make a “Woodland Santa” - from scratch...soft cloth body, painted parts, pieced clothing, etc. My fella got his body put together, arms painted, boots and pants made and a coat that was partially pieced. As it so happened, he got neglected due to being in a brand new house that required much of my time and then a year of medical issues/treatment. And the Woodland Santa got shoved farther back into that all ready overloaded quilting cave.
Leaping ahead to 2018 - December...time to get reacquainted and finish this gentleman up in time for Christmas...so that is my December OMG .... thankfully everything was kept together - (and he has stayed put mounted on a rustic piece of log from our property - goodness, his patience level is amazing!) pattern pieces, instructions, half pieced wool coat, etc. His hair and beard will be composed of very special wool...when in Australia in 1994, we went to a sheep shearing shed and watched in fascination as the wool was shaved from the sheep. We were given wool to bring home (it was matted, grimy, filled with bits of twigs and leaves) and when I washed it in Ivory soap, it was magical the way it came clean and bright.
All the components...

Had auditoned a fabric for possible shirt earlier, but am changing my mind...
Partially pieced wool coat...

My special Australian sheeps wool and a mink collar selvedged from local Goodwill Store...


Back again later...will I be able to meet my goal for the 3rd month in a row?
Happy holiday stitching everyone!!
Pat

Friday, November 30, 2018

Squeaking under the wire...

...I was feeling so smug about meeting my November OMGover at Patty’s Elm Street Quilts, with finishing the redwork/Irish Chain quilt top. So I thought...I have extra time and can rejoin Wendy’s Monthly Mini Challenge which I have been missing out on.
Once again, with lantern in hand, back into the quilting cave...


....found a half way finished “what not”
...can’t remember the why or wherefore or what the reason was for piecing it...
Maybe an orphan block...who knows? Did some quick very basic machine quilting, added the binding and here it is, November 30, 2018...last day of the month but a finish.

I will try to be more organized and creative next time around!
That’s it for now...
Happy stitching everyone...let the Christmas countdown begin!
Pat

Monday, November 26, 2018

OMG! for November and early winter thoughts...


Here we are heading towards the last week of November - how did this happen? Can I get off at the next stop...the days are moving too fast. The decision to join in again with Patty’s OMG for this month has been a good one and I can’t really explain why this is working, but for the 2nd month in a row, I have met my goal. All those redwork blocks and nine patch blocks have been joined together and a simple border of the solid red has been added. Right now, my “finishes” are all about emptying old UFO bins and creating tops. Any quilting will come later as budget permits. On this particular quilt, I am thinking perhaps a scalloped border and then bind everything with the red and cream shirting fabric. The redwork blocks were chosen mostly for the significance to our family or traditional redwork history. The horse shoe is a symbol of good fortune, of course, but it must be placed upside down so it stays with you and does not fall out. My Mom’s favorite flower was lily of the valley and the anchor within the star is for my Dad who was career Navy.


Here is the link so that you can check out everyone’s progress.
https://www.elmstreetquilts.com/2018/11/one-monthly-goal-november-finish-link-up.html
At Taylorsoutback, we are pretty much settled in for the long Wisconsin winter...The kitchen is busy with heartier meals and my love of baking makes it hard to stay focused on those daily WW points. Mr. Outback’s plum pudding is in the frig wrapped in rum soaked cheesecloth and I made foccacia the other night to go with soup...
With the return of our David and Jena from Italy, where they took a cooking class in Tuscany, the menu has come to include homemade pasta...I had previously made pasta using my KitchenAid attachment and had moderate success. But who knew this could be accomplished much easier with only your own 2 hands. Mixing the egg and flour, rolling out the dough thinly, cutting the prepared dough into what size we wanted, a quick cooking in boiling water and then...topping off the finished pasta with homemade ragu...and oh yes, accompanied by glasses of Chianti Classico...yum! These images are of our 2 cooks showing me the process and when I tried it on my own, it was so much fun!

And lastly, since there was leftover chalk paint from my behind-the-sofa cupboard, I decided to follow through and redo my little desk and display shelf area also. Good to check off yet one more chore on the to do list before beginning holiday preparations. (Better look quick - the desk top won’t stay this uncluttered very long!)
A little quiet handquilting in the evenings by the fire helps to wind down from busy days and gives me time to think about what December’s OMG might be...
All for now - wishing you a productive week as November comes to a close.
Pat

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