Sunset - June 2, 2020

Sunset - June 2, 2020

Friday, May 27, 2011

Patchwork Days

Tonight the setting sun has painted the sky with delicate pinks and blues. The pond is still and holds a reflection of the colors above. Surrounding pastures and woodlands are bathed in that shade of green that is so unique to the emerging Spring season...soft and misty with leaves not quite yet reaching their fullest and allowing the branches and bark to stand out. Not yet the deep greens and lushness of full summer...a chill lingers in the twilight reminding us that winter has only recently left. White trilliums carpet the nearby woods and yellow marsh marigolds wind their way along the sides of creeks and bogs.

Days at Taylorsoutback have been like a patchwork quilt...bits and pieces of many activities held together by what is hoped to be a strong, quality thread. Stress-filled doctor's appointments with my Mom as she goes from one test to the next trying to zero in on a recurring medical issue - all the while dealing with growing memory loss/personality changes. We have managed a much needed weekend away with family friends in Elkhorn, Wisconsin and some best friend time with Connie. More about that in the next post.

We were only home for 2 days from that road trip and then left again for Peoria, Illinois and Mr. Outback's annual skeet shoot. I have to laugh when thinking we didn't go anywhere ALL winter and in the last 3 weeks, have traveled along the same route to Janesville, Rockford and points south on 3 occasions!

While in Peoria, I met with another long-time friend, Eulonda, who was my partner when we opened our quilt shop back in '91. We headed to Peoria Heights and the Bernina dealership store - Sew Creative. Peggy, the owner, is one incredibly knowledgeable Bernina lady!
 I wish she was closer to my home - I have been on a not so friendly basis with the BSR on my 440QE - let's say very frustrated. Peggy sat with us for 2 hours - both showing and letting us work with the machine. Peggy also did demo's on some of the new Bernina accessories and I ended up with a new sole plate for the walking get 2 sole plates with the foot - standard. This one is new. Can you see the extra guide near the middle?
Will be anxious to try it out when machine quilting as it appears to really do a nice job when stitching in the ditch and want to share my thoughts on how it works in the near future....stay tuned!

Do you like my new purple Grabaroos too?!!
 So much more comfortable than the heavier gripper gloves I have been using.

The rest of our stay in Peoria was just simple relaxing and visiting with other skeet wives who were staying next to us in RV's. The days were not rushed; the mind could clear out the cobwebs and reorganize. I finished this...and would recommend...

And started this...if you love to garden and love history - this is fabulous!
 And put the final stitches in Beyond the Cherry Tree Block #9
 And took the first stitches in Block soon...

And completed an overdue Friendship block...
And cut these 1" strips and stacks of squares and rectangles for my Settler's Trail. Loving the colors all ready! Anything with a shirting fabric has my attention!

Now we are back home for a while and my patchwork days are centered out in the gardens.Winter-bound muscles are calling for a Tylenol but it is so wonderful to be outside, opening up the potting shed, pulling out garden tools and playing in the dirt. We have waited sooooo long for this time...

More patchwork days to come...hopefully Blogger has resolved the issues of recent days and smoother postings can continue. I will try my best to catch up with each of your blogs too - have missed out on what everyone is up to!

Memorial Day weekend always seems to be more focused on the main kickoff for summer vacations and cookouts. Somehow, the original reason for observing this special day has been relegated to the back.  Take time to remember what it is all about and display your flag in honor of all those who sacrificed their lives.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Back Soon....

Things have gotten a little hectic at Taylorsoutback so will be taking a break - I won't be gone too long and sure don't want to miss out on all of your postings either!

I must apologize also for the lack of response to all the much appreciated comments recently. When Blogger went down last week, I lost all the previous comments in addition to our wireless router being hit during a power outage. Until we are up and running again on my old laptop, I don't have access to any info. 

Have a wonderful week everyone and hope you will join me again soon. 

In the meantime - 

Happy Stitching......
Happy Gardening........
Happy Days.......................


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"D" Is For Devotion = Dogs

Back in 1990 we fell in love with shelties...
Sandy -
our first little girl - at 12 pounds, best mouser I have ever seen and who owned Mr. Outback - totally...

My Dutch -
the 2nd girl who would walk a mile out of her way to avoid a mud puddle and the one who defined sweetness and Devotion to me. I miss her everyday...

Now we have three - 
Shy Sasha -
... her Devotion was placed with our son. When he moved to Alaska, I think he would have taken her along if there had been room in his car... at 15 she now only wants a few things in her life...fed promptly at 5:00 p.m., not to be bothered too much by the other two and to get her pain meds sandwiched between a little square of homemade bread and just a touch, please, of violet jelly.
Sasha is related to our Dutch and tugs at my heart too...
Molly -
at 7 years - our notoriously needy middle child who loves attention, chases airplanes and has a coat of fur to end all coats. She likes to be nearby when doing most shelties, she has opinions on everything!

Kelsie -
the junior girl in our trio at 5 years of age and the most affectionate who absolutely must be by her people at all times. In some ways she is a larger blue merle version of our Sandy.

Each of them are Devoted in their own unique way - the term "unconditional love" is always used when describing dogs but we must love them back unconditionally too. When that happens, the glow of Devotion in their eyes will steal your heart.They have all enriched our lives beyond measure.

Please be sure to visit all the other "D" posts for Alphabe-Thursday over at Jenny Matlock's. I will be away for a few days and promise to catch up with everyone on my return. 
Have a wonderful weekend.


Monday, May 9, 2011

A Quilter's Happy Bus

Somewhere between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m., alarm clocks go off in 14 different households...up and out of the house, meet at 6:00 a.m. by Cedar Creek. Bring your lunch, spending money and comfortable shoes. The Liberty Ladies Annual Bus Trip is ready to go!

Can I sit next to you???
 Last Thursday, 14 dedicated quilters and one very patient, tolerant, & flexible guy (husband to one of our Ladies) left North Central Wisconsin and headed for points south. We had an ambitious itinerary - 4 quilt shops. Since most shops prefer no photos be taken, visit their websites. I did get permission to capture friends clutching bolts of fabric though!
First stop - Rockford, Illinois...Quilter's General Store... a well appointed shop in a lovely old home which dates back to the late 1800's. 
"Open" - a word to thrill a quilter's heart!

And a wallet!!!
Delectable Mountains - lovely quilting!
Bright, clean and so orderly, we were welcomed by a friendly staff who were ready to cut our chosen lovelies.

Surrounded by well kept barns and outbuildings, this shop has a very nice selection of reproduction fabrics - so dear to each of us in the quilt history study group. They also have hand dyed wools, kits and up to date books and patterns. A beautifully restored staircase railing was commented on by everyone...and a reminder sign to not try and carry bolts of fabric down the stairs by yourself! Even in the "necessary room" there were things to contemplate....

The 2nd shop on our list - Acorn Quilts also in Rockford...this is a fun place with 2 very cheery ladies who were very helpful.(Sorry - no exterior shots!) This shop was also very neatly kept - lots of fun samples and batiks, brights and a nice grouping of tone on tones. They had a completed quilt on display called "Ohmygosh!" which featured 1 1/2" finished 9 patch units and churn dash blocks...very similar in appearance to mine which appears in my blog header. Since I am about ready to start another tiny finished block quilt (1/2" pieces) (Settler's Trail from Primitive Gatherings) I passed on this one...but love the name!

By now we had worked up quite an appetite and everyone grabbed their lunches which had been packed the night before.  Sometimes those fast food restaurants get a little weak-in-the-knees when they see 14 women approaching their front door. My home made salad really hit the spot too. Less guilt when eating chocolate too...

Tummy's full - bags of Dove chocolates, Midnight Milky Way and home baked cookies for dessert were shared with everyone and we were on our way again...

Next stop - Attic Quilts in Beloit...those poor folks have major road construction taking place on their front street which is closed off. Being intrepid quilters, we quickly found the rear entrance and in we went. Nothing could stop us - we were on a mission. A nice little shop - some good basics and florals.

Sandy and Faye - happy shoppers!

Now where did I put that extra credit card?
 Our Happy Bus now turns eastward towards Janesville - the last stop in our busy day...Life's A Stitch - one of the Top 10 Quilt Shops in 2008. 

This is another reproduction fabric lover's heaven...wonderful samples and fabrics to inspire. The shop is located in a 1863 farmhouse and with a newly expanded classroom  with fabulous lighting, we lingered there for quite a while. I was still seeking additional reds and greens so had to stay focused...round and round the free standing fabric shelves I went, seeing new things at every turn and getting sidetracked by dear little bundles and packets of fabrics begging to go home.

Back on the bus - many shopping bags, totes and chatter - what did you buy? Oh I didn't see that...darn...should have bought more...pass the chocolate please...
Something to read along the way...
Our faithful driver headed North towards Madison...its a good thing the dinner hour was approaching or we might have talked him into swinging by Mill House Quilts in Waunakee or JJ Stitches in Sun Prairie....there was still a little room left in the back of the bus.

A very tasty meal at Outback Steakhouse finished up our fun day and we settled in for the 2 1/2 hour ride back home...

All ready, there was talk of where to go next time! 

My little pile of purchases...
A great find - 50% off - 4 yards for a backing!

I just want to try this little Twister ruler - looks like fun

Do I need more pinks and browns...probably not but can't resist

New reds and greens for a new project
Love belonging to this group - we have a good time together and everyone shares the passion for quilting and the history behind it.
Until next time...wishing each of you a good week.


At least Janesville has signs of Spring!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"C" Is For Calling Card

Once upon a time, it was a part of everyday life for "fashionable" people to always have calling cards. The first known calling cards go back to China in the 15th Century. They were introduced to French nobility in the 17th Century and by the early 1800's England and much of Europe had embraced the use of cards by upper class citizens and high ranking officials.
There was a very structured deliverance involved when presenting one's card. The presenter would wait outside in the carriage as the card was delivered to the house butler. The recipient would respond in kind a few days later and then a person-to-person meeting would be arranged. If the original presenter received the return card in an envelope or worse yet, no reply at all, no further contact would be attempted (and presumably, the optimistic hopes of the socialite would be dashed!) 
A card could be presented with any of a number of abbreviated French phrases written discreetly in a corner. Depending on the type of visit, the letters "p.c." - pour condoleance (condolence call)  "p.r." - pour remercier (thanks) or "p.f." - pour feliciter (congratulations)
Of course, Victorians, being the proper people they were, had to carry something decorative to hold the cards.
For more fascinating history about calling cards visit Days Of Elegance.
One of the wedding gifts we received from my husband's Australian side of the family was this sweet silver calling card tray.
It has moved with us for close to 45 years, each new Army base location, each new apartment and home. As a new bride, I faithfully read my copy of The Army Wife (circa 1966) and realized even then, the old traditions of military protocol were disappearing for officer's and their wives. The tray received little if any use other than decoration and keeping it polished. Perhaps an embassy assignment might have dictated different rules...but we were happy to be in a more casual setting at military bases throughout the South & most of the time was spent in coping with year long separations and having a husband who was a pilot. 

The tray's purpose has long been set aside and now sits on my night table next to the bed. It holds a little pillbox collection and a small framed photo of our son at the age of two. 

Cards of today - whether business or personal, have taken on an informal look - Mr. Outback quickly printed up his own take on cards shortly after retirement. And our son, Dave, has these unique cards printed by the hundreds for distribution to potential clients. His own images on one side and website on the other.

These are a few of my vintage calling cards - don't you love the graceful script and the feathered edges? 

 With today's faster than a blink of the eye communication, it is difficult to understand the pace and style of living 100+ years ago. Great emphasis was placed on manners and social niceties. While we would probably not want to return to some of the stricter observances, it would be lovely to gain back common everyday courtesies and pleasant greetings.
"C" is for Calling Card and I am participating in Alphabe-Thursday. Drop by Jenny Matlock's and leave your very own calling card at all the other "C" postings!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Suspended Animation... the state I find myself in at present. Neither here nor there...far or near...coming or going. We are trapped between winter and spring with one season unwilling to let go and let the other enter. The closet reveals corduroys and heavy shirts and sweaters being more accessible than lighter weight fare and winter quilts still remain folded at the end of the bed for pulling up in the middle of a chilly night. 
There has been a grand total of two days where this gardener could be seen hard at work, rake and shovel in hand, wearing "muck boots,"  and squishing across the water-logged property. 
Brick edging has been pulled from around the potting shed in preparation for less weed prone landscaping timbers.

The trench has quickly filled with water and is slow to drain. Project suspended until further notice. As for restaining the siding, will it ever warm up enough to allow the paint to flow?

The sewing room is not much better - it has been so long since any post showed a completed quilt, that I would have to search the archives well into last year. 

Thankfully, keeping up with the Civil War Quilt blocks over at Barbara Brackman's has provided a small sense of accomplishment.
Here is #18 - Union Square.

 And Block #8 from Beyond the Cherry Tree is now checked off as finished. Way too many leaves on this one...glad I can move on..,

Some of the ladies who are also doing this quilt have been prepping blocks in advance which makes it easier to just pick up and do a section when time permits. Thinking it is a good suggestion, so that is what these 3 piles are all about.

When the gardens do start to call, to have a headstart with patterns drawn out and fabrics selected will be a plus.
Still, there is a growing need to have something that can be called complete and the fingers fret and fidget over lack of a binding to stitch down. An overall feeling of some anxiousness, distraction and generally staring off to space has taken hold. I may have a solution...have you seen the "Thunder Shirt" for pets who exhibit these same qualities? We have our Molly, the middle child sheltie, who has always been an anxious little girl and may benefit from being wrapped in this newest pet invention...promoters claim, it wraps the dog in comfort "like a hug" and they settle down. I might just order one for her and one for myself...just wrap me up, hook me on a leash and take me for a calming walk...sounds like a plan!

Wishing each of you a good week with productive days.