Sunset - June 2, 2020

Sunset - June 2, 2020

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Discovering New Borders...

How often do you use fabric that has those long, vertical designs - leaves, vines, birds, flowers?? The kind of fabric you see in antique quilts, made sometime during the mid to late 1700's and usually found in strippy quilts?
Though I have long admired that style and even made a simple 9-patch strippy quilt a few years ago, buying yardage with multiple vertical designs has always kind of scared me...what would one do with it? How would you cut into it and make the designs work effectively and get the most use out of the yardage?

Return to last year with me for a just second...I posted a journal entry about the win-win of bartering  (click on Archives - Stash Envy, January 7, 2010) with a quilting friend....well, Chris and I are at it again! She just finished redoing her kitchen (maybe she would let me sneak a few pictures in sometime in the future!) and it just so happens that a certain wonderful yellow ware bowl didn't have any where to go in its new now holds a place of honor on my dining room table.

In return, I finished piecing this quilt top for Chris.It is a big quilt and I could not capture it all!

Back to those vertical designs I was scared about...Chris had 4 yards to work with - there were 4 usable rows of narrow repeating green vines which I could cut and insert between each of the 4 9 patch panels. One problem - not quite enough yardage - so ended up piecing one of the rows & because of the design, it is almost completely invisible. Next dilemma - not enough yardage to do all 4 borders identically...but having viewed antique quilts with sides and tops and bottoms different, I figured it might work with this project. But another dilemma presented itself...the design with the rosy-pink birds...

 was a different width than the large brown flowing vine. Where to cut?

 I ended up having to sacrifice some of the remaining narrow repeating green vine section, but it seems to have worked out okay. Then another dilemma - the larger brown flowing vine was not long enough to make a top and bottom border width wise. So I cut 4 square blocks for each corner from a pretty green print Chris had sent along. The top is now finished and will be returned for quilting.

As nervous as I was about making that first cut (and all cuts were done with sharp Ginghers - no rotary cutting here), I ended up really enjoying working with this fabric and will now be on the lookout for this type of print instead of passing by it in a quilt shop.

Let's see - what else has been happening in the sewing room - caught up on my Civil War Blocks that Barbara Brackman is featuring.

(Top left) Seven Sisters - those girls about put an end to me with all those points - ewww...not my forte!
(Top right) Texas Tears
(Bottom) Kansas Troubles

And - also finished up Block #5 of Beyond the Cherry Tree

A good week - accomplished some things & learned a lot about working with those vertical prints.
Wishing each of you good accomplishments too -

Always take time to stitch.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Special Gifties...

The house has calmed down tonight after watching our Pack take care of the Bears and reserve their tickets to the Super Bowl...what an incredible season!

Since I have a number of projects in the works right now and nothing really complete, I thought this might be a good time to do a Show 'n Tell with some special gifts I received from my talented friends.

Our Quilt History group, Liberty Ladies, exchange gifts every December and this is what I am enjoying now!

A fun and very clever puzzle box with antique quilt images - depending on how you open it to create a new box, each view has different quilts.

This sweet pincushion in the shape of a vintage bird - a Kathy Schmitz pattern.
And an embroidered linen towel with our groups name & the year. Thank you Jan!!

From my friend Chris, who loves scrapbooking & beading in addition to quilting - a personal calendar - each month with precious images...I don't know how she finds the time with teaching at the university & being a full time Mom.

Our little group of appliquers who meet once a month....Barbara Jean is always coming up with something clever - I wore this Christmas Day too. Each apron was different - mine had a northwoods motif - just perfect!

And just last week, our Garden Buds group which meets during the day due to some of us (who will remain nameless!) who just can't see well enough to drive at night anymore...this lovely pincushion done in cross stitch - something I could never master...Dee also included a sweet pair of little scissors.

Each of these special gifties has a place in my heart and is a reminder of the people who created them. I am blessed to share a bond with others who find such pleasure in using their hands to make something to present to someone.

Wishing each of you a good week and now it is on to the Super Bowl and meeting up with the Pittsburgh Steelers - congratulations on their win tonight...

AND GO PACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Friday, January 21, 2011

A Cold Winter's Night

When you live where we do, winter settles in starting back in November and its frosty breath hangs around until late March or early April. January is the month to really push one's tolerance of cabin fever...
Last night our temperature dropped to -23 below - with a moon so full and bright, a newspaper could be read if one decided to go outside...silly person!
Hearty meals filled with naughty calories begin to appear at dinner time and every once in a while, sensibility takes over and you know it is time for a "healthy" plate of food. Last night was such a night...
The balance of our salmon arrived from Alaska on Tuesday via Fed Ex - Mr. Outback did extremely well fishing in Valdez last Fall and we only had enough room to bring part of the catch back with us in the RV frig. Friends kindly kept the rest and it was shipped on Monday with no threat of it thawing in transport! What we didn't expect was the fabulous packages of halibut they $17.00 a pound in our local stores, we would push our carts pass the glass cases and sigh. So this was an incredible treat!!!!
I had no trouble planning our dinner on Thursday...this is my favorite way to prepare halibut indoors (grilling outside in subzero temperatures just doesn't do it for this cook)

Golden Pan-Fried Fish
(Bon Appetit - November, 2008)

2 pounds of 1 1/2" thick halibut filets
1 1/2 cups Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 tblsp. Italian parsley
2 tsps. kosher salt or Fleur de Sel
2 tsps. grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 large egg whites
1/4 cup amber or dark ale beer
Olive oil for pan

Cut halibut into 1 1/4" rectangular sticks
Sprinkle with salt and pepper
Combine next 5 ingredients in a bowl
Whisk egg whites and beer in a bowl and add fish to the mixture
Shake off excess and coat filets in the Panko mixture on all sides.
Heat 3 tblsp. olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Cook until golden - approximately 2-3 minutes each side or until just flaky.
Add more oil if necessary. Transfer to dish with paper towels and sprinkle with salt pepper if desired.

This is a nice recipe if you are watching cholesteral like me - no heavy breading and only using egg whites.
It makes for a light preparation and the taste with the cayenne pepper has just a little zip to it. I adjust amounts for our smaller portions. (And I get to finish the Alaskan Amber too!)

Continuing to crave Spring and being outside, my copy of Country Gardens arrived yesterday & was quickly pulled out of the very cold mailbox.

A beautiful issue featuring a Favorite Blogger, Sharon Lovejoy - 8 pages of her California gardens - the magazine fed my soul all evening along with the halibut! And be sure to check out Sharon's recent posting about her husband making pasta...oh yum! Just have to try that too!

Wishing each of you warm thoughts from the Wisconsin Northwoods - have a great weekend and
GO PACK!!!!!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Said I couldn't...

Said I wouldn't....said I shouldn't....And I'm in...said I wouldn't jump in on another BOM - but love so much about the Civil War era in relation to quilting and Barbara Brackman is the most knowledgeable lady - well how could a person resist??
If you haven't had a chance to check out her new blog - Civil War Quilts - hop over soon! Three block patterns have all ready been posted and results are coming in fast and furious.
I belong to a quilt history study group - Liberty Ladies, and we exchange squares of fabric most every month. It is your choice based on the topic of discussion and if a specific color has been designated. My stash has grown so beautifully with these exchanges and are just calling out to be put into a Civil War era quilt.

The first two are up -

Catch Me If You Can (top) and North Star (bottom) - not as dark as they were photographed.

Also finished up a smaller quilt top to be donated for one of our guild projects - whereever it would fit in best...the size might be good for a nursing home resident. I will let them decide. The sampler blocks were an ongoing BOM offered by our guild. I stayed within my stash too, pulling from blues and tans.  Wish I had yardage for a border, but nothing seemed to work off the shelves and I need to wrap this up and move on. It will probably be tied with dark blue cotton yarn.

And another applique block is finished for Beyond The Cherry Tree.

I am not setting any land speed records on appliqueing these blocks - have been busy with other things - now on to #5 and the first basket block which will be a nice change.

That's pretty much my days lately - I have grown weary of winter early on and need to make an effort to get out into the world before the cabin walls get much closer.

What do you do when you start to feel isolated and cooped up? Sew some more? Plan a trip? Go shopping? Do you find  yourself craving hi-carb based foods??? Restless? Whatever you do, I hope you

Always take time to stitch...


Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Blank Canvas

The month of January stretches out in front of me like a roll of ribbon that has come undone. The holidays have been observed, more memories made and the last of the decorations have been stored in their containers and moved to the basement. But I just couldn't quite let go completely and have left a few End-of-Day and Deruta ornaments out in the wood bowl.
The spot where the tree stood, freshly cut and decked out, is now bare.

The little dry erase board on the frig is empty - I cannot remember this ever being the case before. Soon it will fill with appointments, events, & get-togethers with stitching buds, but right now...totally blank and waiting...

My desk calendar for the week - also empty...

And the cutting table in my sewing room...good grief! What is going on here???

I think I have entered the Nexus - somewhere between then and now...and what is to come...
It's kind of a nice feeling - I think they call it "lack of pressure." It will be enjoyed for a brief while and then back to for me...I can only deal with a blank canvas for a little is not a natural thing.
Our days need to be occupied...another "barter" project with my friend Chris (more about that later), finishing up a donated quilt top for my guild,  more gifts to complete, get the oil changed in the car, redo the master bedroom closet, dust the interior log beams up in the peak of the great room ceiling...uh oh...feeling that pressure starting to build all my friend, Dee could be time for "a bit of a lie-down."

Not to worry though - I have not totally lost it...that road trip last Tuesday was a real treat with friends. What kind of blogger am I? Forgot my camera...we had a beautiful winter day and drove to Minocqua, stopping at The Quilt Cottage in Hazelhurst right away. It was meant to be...when I started the BTCT project, the background I chose had 7+ yards (trying to be frugal here and go with the stash.) The quilt when complete is a biggie, measuring over 98" X 98" and calls for 11 yards of background. I figured by the time the border was being addressed, there would be a solution to my lack of fabric - such blind faith! Guess who found 7 1/2 more yards of the same background? Like I was meant to be...with room to spare. And a few other pieces in red and green said take me home too...Thinking there just might be enough space in the newly reorganized stash closet...
And if you get up that way - there is a new shop, Around the Block located off of Hwy. 70 heading West out of Minocqua - neat as a pin & a fun place filled with brights - totally different fabric look than The Quilt Cottage.

All for to figure out what to start doing first to fill that blank canvas...
And always take time to stitch...
And GO PACK!!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

"M" is for Maintenance - Alphabe-Thursday

This is probably more about Mr. Outback who easily admits to being a Maintenance "nut." I don't know if he always was so devoted to Maintenance...he was majoring in geology at Carolina-Chapel Hill when Vietnam interrupted all our lives. Knowing he would probably be better off flying above the jungle rather than crawling through the undergrowth or living in a tank, he chose to be a helicopter pilot. Somehow he also found time to go through aircraft maintenance classes and the Army, being what it is, drilled into each person the concept of Preventive Maintenance. I think that is where the foundation was laid. I had no idea then how it would impact my own life.

Fast forward through the years - being part of the RIF (Reduction In Forces) our lives shifted from military bases in the South to North Central Wisconsin and an introduction to civilian living. Mr. Outback secured a future with Weyerhaeuser and eventually became a "Planner" - right up his alley! He could plan upcoming maintenance jobs in the mill to his hearts content (or until he grew tired of the whole thing and retire). His skills became so fine turned that I began to notice the atmosphere around the homefront going through changes. The glove box of each vehicle always held a little log book...recording each gas fill-up, tire rotation or repair service. Appliances, furnace upkeep, when was the last time the holding tanks were pumped? Balancing the checkbooks & online bill paying, all moved to the computer as Mr. Outback felt it would be easier to "maintain." He was right, of course! He has a pretty impressive tool collection - one never knows when something will need Maintenance...and require a specific tool. Our nearby neighbors know which door to knock on when something comes up...and the list goes on...RV maintenance, when were the brakes gone over; our "rolling stock" i.e. the lawnmowers, 4 wheeler, etc.; maintenance on the house - upkeep on a log home - how many tubes of caulking are on hand. It is enough to make a person's head swim - particularly if she is not as diligent about that sort of detail. Slowly, I am learning...I save receipts, copies of crucial emails or notes from a phone conversation. I even have a special folder for Maintenance regarding my 2 Berninas. At one point, there was a little tablet with the batting inventory I had - types, sizes, etc. That kind of went out the window though when one of my stitching buddies suggested (in a gentle way) I had gone over the edge! And I do keep a garden journal each year which I find beneficial when ordering new seeds or tracking growth habits and maturity of  veggies. So, unlike Mr. Outback, there seems to be a limit to my own level of Maintenance. And I will never keep a 3 x 5 card file of every piece of fabric in my stash, as suggested by Martha Steward a few years ago. Clearly, she is not a quilter...though she certainly gives the impression as being the Queen of Maintenance.

The word Maintenance stems from Maintain, of course - meaning to carry on, to keep in repair; to declare as true or Support. I am fortunate to be married to Mr. Outback - because he definitely does all of the above and then some....even if it drives me a little nuts sometimes.

Be sure to visit the other folks who are participating in Alphabe-Thursday over at Jenny Matlock's.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Living within my harvest...

Years ago as the owner of a quilt shop, I shared the building with someone who started up her dream too...a shop devoted to quality cross stitching. Although independent of each other, we were a good fit and became friends. An open door connected the two shops and customers walked back and forth all the time. They would bring their specialty linens and flosses over to coordinate with yardage of my quilting cotton, turning their stitchery into a lovely pillow. (That open door came in handy one spooky evening towards closing time...3 young men of questionable non-quilting repute entered my shop "asking for directions." Rather, one did the talking while the other 2 "cased the joint." They left quickly when hearing voices coming from the open doorway - they had no clue we were connected and that I was not alone... But I digress...) Laura gave me a cute little cross stitch pillow one year which hangs on the closet door and its message really hit home during these last 4 days spent in my disaster zone of a sewing room.

 A before view....
And after....

The shelving width carries over to the left and right can't see it, but it is neat now!

The gift of new shelving and additional track lighting from Mr. Outback was the incentive to clean up my act. Compared to some of you, my sewing area is probably on the small size, so using that space wisely becomes an issue. Every piece of fabric, every spool of thread, needles, cutting tools, patterns and books were gone over - sorted out and reviewed. A couple of shopping bags are now ready to go to our local Neighbors Place as the call went out for any fabric or would take me 5 lifetimes to use up all the quilting betweens I had stashed away. The problem with a storage closet is that it becomes a resting place for "I will think about that later" projects - stuff goes in, other stuff gets piled on top and before you know it - all is forgotten - RIP...

Well, let me tell you, dear readers, having open shelves can sure be an eye opener.  Now my new area displays things in my face that just can't be ignore. See all those containers? (There are also 2 large bins stacked on the floor - out of sight...I will deal with those later!!)

Each one contains the where-with-all to make a quilt or one project all ready started. And you know what? I am still excited about each and every one! My beautiful Canadian Cottage fabric for a Delectable Mountains, the Settlers Path pattern and the background - craving the idea of cutting those tiny little squares! Dozens of redwork blocks completed, a collection of red, white and black prints for just the right pattern, Judy Martin's Snake River Log Cabin - all pieces cut and ready to sew, wool projects, embroidery...get the picture?? A huge discovery, long since buried in the back of the beyond...all the applique patterns by Garden City Gateworks - Dinah Jeffries -  to make this incredible quilt - I even have all the yardage for the background.

Having set out last year to learn applique, this project doesn't seem so out of reach anymore...By the way - check out the Beyond the Cherry Tree blog - my Blocks 2 & 3 just got completed and you also need to see all the other wonderful blocks everyone is working on! Same patterns - lots of fabulous fabric choices by the group!
So that stitched saying on Laura's pillow has come back to haunt me..Live Within Your Harvest...there is a wealth of riches to be harvested in my little 12 X 12 sewing cave. Why would I even consider adding to it?
Weeelllll - because quilting is a disease - pure and simple and we all have a real serious case of it...isn't it grand!!? I think there might just be an extra little nook for something new...I will let you know after the planned road trip next Tuesday......the quilting shops fields are calling and a new crop is ready for harvesting....

Have a good New Year's Weekend and I hope you

Always take time to stitch...