Thursday, March 22, 2018

Ironing, old school...

"Contentment" is having a good time up in Pennsylvania!  It took a 2nd place ribbon in its category this week at the AQS Quilt Show in Lancaster.  How fun!  

It would be cool to be there with all the quilts...and SNOW.  If any of you are going to Lancaster, I would love to have a picture of "Contentment" hanging there.   :o)

There is a mess in the quilt cave, which is a good sign.  There must be some sewing going on in there.

I am finishing up the outer borders for the crazy "diet" quilt.  The bottom border is completely done and soaking in water to get the glue out at this very moment.  The rest of the borders are mostly done.

I am thinking that this wordy border will be the outer border.  I really don't want to do too much with the borders.  I don't want to distract from the applique or message. 

I am also getting backings together for three quilts...this one, my Little Treasures top, and the chocolate rabbits.  I also have to get the wordy borders done for the second "diet" quilt (I need to finalize a real quilt name).

You know how I love to use my little vintage pattern weights while doing my version of hand applique?  Well, they are fabulous, but I have found an additional vintage item that further helps me weight down prepped applique pieces after glue basting...

...these are HEAVY!  I found vintage irons that are PERFECT when working on a large border with lots of pieces.  I can either use them right on the fabric, or in combination with a ruler to keep everything flat and weighted until my glue baste has dried enough to start stitching.

They are clean, smooth and totally safe to put right on the fabric.  At some time, I may put some felt on the bottoms, but I am totally digging them "as is" right now.

Some people decorate with these irons or use them as a door stop.  Each one of these cost between $5-6...cheaper than the sets(6) of individual weights I find on Ebay.  Both have their purpose. 

The irons are easy to find in your local antique or second-hand shop.  I've been tripping over them for years and never thought I would have a use for them.

I used to just pile the individual pattern weights on top of each other to achieve the same results.

Thanks for all your great comments and emails.  I have missed all of you over the past three months!

In stitches, 
Teresa   :o)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Back from outer space...

It seems like years since I've posted!  Thank you for the emails of concern about where I was...sorry I did not at least post to say I was OK and would be back soon.  

Truth is, every day I thought I would post the next day.  Next thing you know, it is three months later!

I hate posting without something almost interesting to say about quilting or crafting with actual pictures.  There has been little time to sew.  (But there are actual photos depicting evidence of actual sewing in this post!)

The holidays were CRAZY, hectic and exhausting, as I am sure they were for all of you as well, and the new year has brought joys and difficulties.

Family travel the day after Christmas to the Philadelphia area kept us busy until after New Years.  Riley helped me make cookies in preparation for our trip where we saw Steve's ailing Dad and sibs/families.

And then there were the annual "you've got more stuff in your stocking than I do" pictures from Christmas morning.

We've been finding more deer than usual, and in the weirdest places!

When in PA, we played a FANTASTIC game that I highly recommend!  It is called "Watch Yer Mouth."  You play by wearing plastic 'dental/mouth spreaders' (included) and then try to get your partner to understand the phrase you are attempting to read aloud from a drawn card.  We all looked hilarious, sounded even funnier, and were all sore after from all the laughing.  

After Christmas, I realized there were so many things I needed to get accomplished outside on the property WHILE THE SNAKES WERE STILL ASLEEP and temperatures not oppressive.  Winter is so short here, so it can be really a busy time.  

Blueberry bushes, grape arbors, Dogwood trees, flower borders, etc. were suffering from a few years of neglect and were overgrown with the wrong kind of vines (wild grape, honeysuckle and vines with WICKED thorns!  I may shoot myself if we get kudzu on the property...).   

Two long rows of grape arbor had not been cut back in almost 10 years!  I had to cut back to the nub!  No muscadines this year, but hopefully the arbor will be healthier and produce more in the next few years.

A couple hours of hacking didn't make much of a difference only about two feet.

I finally finished them...I had to cut them back to the grapes this year, but they will be productive and pretty next year.

The blueberry bushes (there are over 40 of them) were crazy overgrown and had not been pruned in several years.  Some had "woolly-booger" crowns of grape, honeysuckle, and thorn vines.  I cleaned them out, carefully pruning to preserve as many fruit buds as possible. 



I am still trying to get the pruning piles hauled to the burn pile. There will be a handful of blueberries from each of those tiny flowers...yum.

The forest will overtake property if you let it.  Dad worked so hard to clear areas that were previously heavily covered with trees.  I will keep battling Mother Nature to preserve their efforts.

I've also been systematically trimming lower branches that whack me in the face when I mow. Thank God only about 30 out of 800 acres of our Treasure Forest are somewhat cleared and get mowed!

We got the chipper working so we can dispense with all the neat piles of branches when the saturated ground will support the heavy equipment without making ruts everywhere.

Now I can start another pile of limbs!

It was a weird Alabama winter.  Normally mild weather turned extremely cold too many times, with warmer spurts of super heavy rain between.  It is impossible to think that North Alabama could still be in a drought!  We even got a little snow a few times that hung around due to the low temps.

The ground is spongy, causing water to seep out everywhere when you walk.  Thank God we are at elevation!  A lot of people in Colbert County have been dealing with flooding.  It is hard for the farmers to prepare and plant their fields.

Our catfish pond is just an inch below capacity at the dam.  It freaks me out that the fullness may undermine the earthen structure.

The rain has also caused a new pond to develop in a low place on the way out to the fruit orchard.  I've never seen that happen in that location!

Riley was in a play at U of Alabama..."Vinegar Tom."  Of course we had to drive down to Tuscaloosa and see at least two of the seven performances.

Even with all that, I have managed to do a little quilting.  I got the outer borders on my "Little Treasures" quilt.  It is ready to baste and start the hand quilting.

(none of the pictures in this post are this dark or dull...not sure what is going on)

I was experiencing "design constipation" with the continuation of the diet/food quilt tops (one for me, one for my therapist).  Not only was I not seeing how to complete them, I was having trouble choosing fabrics for sashing, borders, etc.  I have one a little further than the other one.

I still don't have my two pieces of design wall mounted...very hard to take good pictures with them leaning and flopping.

Having finally decided upon some hopefully-clever-phrases to put on the next border, I prepped letters for the first quilt and have finished the hand stitching of them.  

I find there are a couple of empty spaces between the phrases.  I have been thinking of additional treats that I can "kill off" without repeating any of the methods already depicted.  It is a little more challenging, as the width of the border is only 4 inches.

You can tell from the following sketch that I have been WAAAAY too bummed out, worried and frustrated by the news and the state of things.  Here I am, killing off "Ronald McDonald," "Wendy," and the "Burger King" by hanging.  WAAAY to grim and evil for a quilt border...I will NOT be using this one!

I have a better, cuter idea without picking on these fast food icons.

Meanwhile, my "Contentment" quilt has been on vacation visiting two AQS Quilt Shows, Daytona Beach, Florida and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  I am not sure how I feel about my quilt getting to go to the beach and Amish country without taking me...sigh.  It won a third place ribbon in Florida and the Pennsylvania show starts next week.

I finally decided to finish my version of "Rabbits Prefer Chocolate" (Anne Sutton) and got the outer borders done and backing chosen and prepared.  It was hand appliqued years ago before I started my current method.  

Of course I changed the outer border...

There are very few smooth curves on those bunnies, chicks and eggs!

And, I am still slowly losing weight...a little over 50 pounds since Feb 2017.  I am also still trying to get situated on the right combination of "happy drugs."  I feel so much better and more energetic with the medications and I think I have been making up for the first two years here when I was too sad to do anything.  

There is nothing wrong with getting a little help, especially after the last four years.

Oh, and my computer hard drive died and decided to take all my files...documents, blog and Internet store stuff, and PHOTOS...with it!  

I nearly had a stroke.  Steve was finally able to recover my data off the old hard drive.  

I had to get a new computer with, of course, all new updated programs to learn.  Steve loaded my old stuff on the new machine and I am slowly finding stuff.  I was without a computer for a while...agony.

Whew!  There they are...all my excuses.  I really didn't think it had been so long since I had posted (until I saw email from some of you, asking about me - thank you!).  

I think being so isolated out here "on the mountain" I lose track of all time.  I should probably go to town more often.  I knew I wasn't sewing much, but I was so focused on outside tasks (I REALLY DO hate snakes...).  There were days I was even working outside in the lighter rain!

I am driving to Huntsville tonight for Quilt Guild, so I will see people...a 3-hour round trip.

Totally worth it!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)