Sunset - June 2, 2020

Sunset - June 2, 2020

Friday, July 24, 2020

The winner is...

The winner of the mini chocolate and caramel quilt is...
Quilting Babcia - it was mailed off last week and should be arriving in its new home any day now. 

The oriental lilies are just opening up...oh the fragrance! 

Just noticed a tiny little bug making its way around one of the petals...reminded me I still have many tiny little fabric bugs to applique on the Rowdy Flat quilt...but working on border #3 gives me a glimpse at the completion of this project.

All for now - taking a break from blogging. Hoping everyone stays safe and healthy.


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

10th year of blogging - giveaway!!

July, 2010 was the beginning of my little blog. 10 years have passed and along the way, I have learned so much and “met” readers from so many places. At times, I fell away for weeks at a time as life presented different priorities but when a new posting was put up, you were back again. 

So want to offer a little giveaway as my way of saying Thank You! for taking the time to visit and comment. 

This has come about in part from Wendy over at The Constant Quilter  who put out a request for anyone to send her an orphan block that she could incorporate into a “Community Supper” quilt. I sent her a little basket block for her to use and received the sweetest packet of chocolatey browns and caramel squares. What a delightful surprise and I knew how they could be used. 

Using the pattern “Little Women” from Pam Buda’s book, 2 little quilts are made up of Wendy’s fabric squares and additions from my own stash. What to do with 2 little quilts? Well, I must have one for myself - chocolatey browns and caramels being a favorite color palette of mine...that other little quilt...

If you would like to leave a comment on this blog posting, your name will go into a drawing - I would so enjoy sending this mini off to a new home. Both quilts have the same backing - a vintage piece from a collection of Jo Morton’s - Jo’s Friends. 

I will keep this posting open until July 14th (Tuesday).

Again, thank you for visiting. Please continue to be safe and stay well. 


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Of bugs and books...

It is a rainy Saturday here at Taylorsoutback...a good day for making more little fabric bugs that will soon join all the scrappy flower pots growing along the borders of my Rowdy Flat project...

Because the bugs are tiny, experimenting with using freezer paper and different types of temporary glue...the Sewline pen vs. Roxanne’s Glue-Baste It. the larger bottle has the fine pinpoint applicator tip which I like for positioning applique pieces when needed. The smaller vial has a “dab” type applicator on the end - more of a miniature brush. Will just play around with all before deciding...
These small critters are more than welcomed in my garden unlike those pesky ‘skeeters or Wisconsin’s famous biting flies. For now, the borders of the quilt are progressing at a good pace. The first one is completed (minus above mentioned bugs) and a start made on the 2nd one. The variety of pot and flower designs along with using many different fabrics keeps the interest going - while working on one flower pot, I am all ready thinking ahead to the next one.

Summer is moving along much too fast around here...the nearby fields have all ready yielded their first crop of hay.

Iris flowers, lilacs and peonies have just about peaked and here we are ready to observe the Summer Solstice...I just don’t want the days to start growing shorter yet. We are so pleased to know our south field is a healthy one - last night the fireflies were dancing! And the monarchs are back flitting from flower to flower. 

In addition to some slow stitching & lots of gardening, the stack of read books grows higher. Can’t believe how many I have completed in the past few months - guess it is one more way to temporarily escape the madness of the world we live in. A few of the books were quick to go through and probably won’t linger much in my memory, but there are exceptions - 

A Single Thread by Tracy Chavelier and The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy. Both very, very good. 

But this one - I can’t recommend this highly will touch you, bring tears, smiles and new found awareness. The timeliness of it is incredible. 

While I had previously heard of the “blue people” of Kentucky, I did not know very much about them or the Pack Horse Librarian project created by Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1930’s. I won’t give away the plot other than to say it is filled with characters both wonderful and deplorable. One of the dearest though, is an elderly lady named Loretta Adams who lives alone in a mountainside cabin and has a stack of colorful pieces of cloth which she uses to make quilts, articles of clothing and items for daily use. When the beloved main character, Cussy Mary, visits Loretta one day, they have a discussion about people of color - Cussy Mary being one of the blue people and experiencing deep prejudice and isolation her entire life. Loretta points to a pile of cotton squares and says...

“See all my fabric, child? Well, them cloths are a lot like folks. Ain’t much difference at all. Some of us is more spiffed up than others, some stiffer, and still, some softer. There’s the colorful and dull, ugly and pretty, old, new’uns. But in the end we’s all fabric, cut from His cloth. Fabric, and just that.” 

Miss Loretta Adams - Kentuckian hillwoman.

If only everyone in the world would heed those words...

Be well, dear readers and continue to stay safe. 


Sunday, May 31, 2020

Brimfield Awakening quilt...revisited

Always a nice feeling to check off another quilt that is completed...this one from 2018 (though I mislabeled it as 2019!) when Paper introduced the Brimfield Awakening project and a Facebook group was started. Doing EPP’ing is one of my favorite ways to work on a quilt block and there was just enough (I mean...just enough) of a background fabric and border fabric which was begging to be put to use.

Once the quilt top was completed, I layered it and started marking it with intentions of hand quilting. It soon became apparent that my hands were not up to the task. The quilt sandwich was folded and put away in a basket where it sat for a year+. This winter, it nagged at I removed all the basting stitches, got rid of the wash out markings (thankfully), repressed it and hung it on a large drapery hanger. Fast forward to earlier this month when my friend, Jan (and travel buddy - Italy and the UK) loaded it onto her Long Arm and worked her stitching magic. Love the quilting design she did - those feather borders turned out so well...

Back to our Brimfield Facebook group...Paper Pieces provided a downloadable pattern for us - “Baby Brimfield” - so I used it to stitch a label for the back. Really like the small scale of it, but not sure I could do a whole quilt in that size! 

Here at the edge of the Northwoods, we have alternated with summer-like temps to frosty nights...making gardening a challenge as always. But for some reason, which I am not going to complain about...everything planted in the raised beds has been thriving. The summer of 2019 - I lost count of how many times peas and cucumbers were replanted. This year - the total opposite and I could not be happier! So here we are - ready to enter the glorious month of June and I am able to keep up with outdoor tasks - a first! But this 76 year old body can feel the end of the day, with needle in hand, it is hard to stay awake while stitching on the Rowdy Flat...the last of the 5 applique blocks is done...

And now starting on the first border which consists of many flower pots - the pieces feel huge compared to the tiny ones in the earlier blocks, especially 
the little bugs. But I can see all ready more bugs to come as they march along between the flower pots...oh well...all in good time.

For now, still practicing social distancing, wearing a mask and missing all the quilt-related events. Our guild has decided to not meet until September at the earliest - it is hard not to see quilting sisters on a regular basis. 

For me, “gardening is therapy and you get tomatoes.” Keep up your stitching and you get quilts...

Be well everyone.


Thursday, May 14, 2020

Not your average pancake...

...there has been a bit of activity in the kitchen at Taylorsoutback. Across the US baking has apparently skyrocketed during the stay-at-home restrictions. Boy, when Weight Watchers opens up meetings again, their membership is really going to increase! At our home, baking has been going on for many years, sometimes to the detriment of our waistlines. It is heartwarming to see how our son has inherited the baking genes from both his great-grandmothers and Grandpa. My Mom grew up on a farm where Saturday baking was a tradition - loaves of bread and cinnamon donuts. When Wonder bread was available, the kids thought that was great and in later years, realized how much better homemade was. (Did you know Wonder Bread has been around since 1921?)

So, on Mother’s Day, our Dave took over Sunday breakfast with Dutch Baby Pancakes. Oh.My.Word.

It was excellent! Filled with fresh fruit, a dollop of lemon curd and even a spirt of Reddi-whip.
Definitely more time needed on the treadmill...thankfully, reading on the Kindle helps to pass the walking time.

Back in the kitchen this morning, I tried out a Welsh cake recipe - I enjoyed these at Brecon Beacons in Wales last October. Used the copper cutter I found in one of the little Welsh villages we visited...sweet memories. 

Sultanas and spices add to the taste of these little lovelies - not quite a crumpet or English muffin. A little more “cakey” - (And requiring even more treadmill time)
Our hard freeze, frosty nights are hopefully now a thing of the past. Last week sure made for extra work giving all the onion plants coverage in the raised bed and keeping starter plants snug in the potting shed. Our weather guys tell us by next week we could see 80 degrees. So it goes here in Wisconsin at the edge of the northwoods. Perhaps we can finally enjoy sitting out on the deck and I can stitch some more moths and bees onto the last of the Rowdy Flat applique blocks. Looking forward to getting all the blocks together into a flimsy before starting in on the borders.

We continue to be busy here - not bored at all though missing being with friends - there was a successful Zoom session involving a glass of wine with some of our quilting sisters the other day and just got word yesterday, one of the LQS’s has reopened - again with restrictions in place, but it sure will be nice to see some new fabrics and catch up! 

Meanwhile, everyone, continue to stay safe and be well. Hoping you find ways to stay busy too. 

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” 
John Muir


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

A patchwork of days...

All of us are now in to...what?...going on 2 months of stay-at-home living...we are learning to adapt, making do with whatever is on hand. Hoping we and all our loved ones remain healthy...listening to constant misinformation, confusion and frequently downright dangerous thinking from so called leaders. What will be the “new normal”?

It is difficult to picture what the coming months will be like, but here at Taylorsoutback, our days try to keep some semblance of normality. As the month of May approaches in northern Wisconsin, it usually means the opening of fishing season, the sound of grouse drumming in our woods and a delightful array of ducks visiting our pond. Grass bursts into a brighter shade of green overnight from frequent rains and spring peepers announce their reawakening in the evening hours. 

Our son has shared his learning experiences with his new drone - we can now see directly above how our resident Mrs. Goose has built her nest and lined it with down to protect the eggs.

In the early evening, he flew the drone above our house and captured this interesting image...that bright pink dot showing, is my grow-lights shining out from the sunroom windows...

The gardens are coming to life and those same indoor grow lights have given me a headstart. Bunches of special order onion plants have arrived and baby pak choi seedlings are anxious to go into the ground... 

In the basement, 4 new windows for the potting shed are being prepped - the old ones have served their purpose long enough.

Baking (stress baking?) and new recipes in the kitchen get a trial run. Any shopping is done lighting, bathroom rugs, books, whatever is needed - we are in replacement mode right now - after 24 years, the house calls for more attention.

And in the evening, stitching continues on Rowdy Flat...

The last of the applique blocks begins...

Thank goodness for patchwork - it sure makes these days easier to negotiate.

What are your patchwork days like? 

Stay well everyone and be safe. 


Saturday, April 18, 2020

Remembering Di...

Joining in with the thousands of quilters around the world who are paying tribute to the amazing Di Ford-Hall who passed away 2 days ago after a long battle with a rare form of leukemia.

We are blessed with people who come into our own lives, however briefly. But they leave such an impression on us with their graciousness, smile and inspiration. Di was one of those individuals. First in 1994 when I was on a tour of Australia...just outside of Melbourne, we were hosted by the wonderful Waverly Patchworkers. Our group enjoyed a lovely luncheon, show and tell and sharing and the very next day, we met again to visit the Healesville Sanctuary (a park housing a wide variety of Australian wildlife). Di and her friends were part of that visit. Afterwards, we all went up to the nearby Badger Weir Picnic Area where dozens of coolers were brought out filled with different foods. With the Australian spring just beginning to emerge, the day was chilly and I remember the warmth of the pumpkin soup from a thermos as we shared a picnic table...

Di (on left in navy coat) with friends...September, 1994 

We both owned quilt shops back then and chatted about fabric...little did I know how much meeting her would influence my quilting later.

Fast forward ahead to 2017...Shipshewanna, Indiana - a very special workshop sponsored by Gay Bomers of Sentimental Stitches...
The class room was filled and yet Di took her time to visit each one of us as we selected fabrics - her input and approach was gently given and we took everything she said to heart. 

(Yep - I look like a “deer caught in the headlights!)

There have been 2 quilts completed since 2015 - the first was the Quiltmania Mystery Quilt designed by Di (2014-2015 issues)


And finished in 2017, Drayton Hall - EPP’ing to the max! This quilt hangs on our bedroom wall and I wake up to it everymorning...

My quilting library is so much the better for having both her books (and signed) as well as a third book - Labors Of Love (Secret Sewing Sisters of which Di was part of that group) There is a large basket in my sewing room filled with her Andover fabrics...
I will continue to embrace Di’s philosophy - more fabric - more variety...each piece a treasure, especially the ones she designed.

She will be deeply missed...