Friday, September 30, 2011

Farmer's Wife Friday: A Wonderful Gift

The writer of this week's letter is from Sauk County, Wisconsin. This farmer's wife, like many before her, does not want pity. "We have as many conveniences and pleasures as city women...with improved roads we easily reach the city 15 or 30 miles away to shop, attend lecture, concert or movie."

#23, Country Farm

It was easy to choose the colors for this block: I thought of the dusty brown of the road probably leading up to their farm, the green of the trees, maybe some corn growing in a field.

This is the first letter to give actual statistics from a county farm survey, which she uses to illustrate the point that "we are not so far behind the times:

Number of farm homes: 3460
Number of automobiles: 2,500
Number of oil, gas or electric stoves: 1,925
Number of pianos or Victrolas: 2,120
Number of power washers: 1,300
Number of farms having running water in the house: 1,260

#98 Waterwheel

It was interesting that only about a third of the farms surveyed had running water in the house. I tried to imagine living without running water, but I can't really imagine it. So, three watery shades of blue for this block, which looks a lot more complicated to construct than it actually is.

"We do admit that we have a lack of amusements but the lack may be a blessing. There are thousands of city hearts sick with misery caused by over-abundance of amusements."

#61 Northern Lights

Perhaps they are able to see the Northern Lights in Sauk County, Wisconsin. I actually googled the colors of northern lights, having never seen them myself. They look fantastic--and most of the pictures were kind of a turquoise and violet, almost iridescent in quality.

The writer is happy with the education provided by the country schools, along with the responsibility the children learn daily from growing up on a farm.

"Last but not least, we...have in our souls the peace and content that money cannot purchase. That surely is a wonderful gift."

I love how she ended her letter:
"'They lived happily ever after.' So end the fairy tales the children love. If fairies still ruled the world, would that they might grant that my daughter, the Princess, wed the Prince of the Soil, and live happily ever after in God's country, land of sunshine and flowers, health and happiness."

#80 Single Wedding Star

When I was about 5, I was the flower girl in a wedding. I distinctly remember the color of my dress; the color of this block is quite close and seemed like the proper choice.
Forty blocks. It hardly seems possible that the halfway point isn't that far away.
Don't forget to check out Carla's blocks. She consistently chooses bright and cheery prints, and never fails to have a great perspective on the letter of the week.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Really Random

Let's start with my biggest money-saving expenditure of the last week. Rotary blades. I know, totally exciting, right? But I was running low on my 60 mm rotary blades. Do you keep a blade in your cutter even though it is dull, and every single rotation it skips cutting Yeah, me too. And then you finally put in a new blade and you wonder what took you so long! But rotary blades are expensive. One word. Ebay. I got eight five-packs for $53.99, including shipping! I've done this before so I'm not worried that they are repackaged "seconds" that won't cut a single thing.
Rulers. I have had "issues" with rulers. My all-time favorite by Judy Martin hasn't been manufactured for years. The lines on my ruler are nearly gone. So when I saw that Christina (The Sometimes Crafter) had some templates custom made for her new pattern, I went directly to Jill's etsy shop, TabSlot, and convoed her with this question: So...just out of you do other custom designs? Yes? Really?

So could you possibly do a 7x16 ruler for me? I mean, something that I can actually afford? Yes? Seriously???
 (On top of some dark fabric so you can see the lines better, but they are pretty easy to read.)

My rulers just arrived today. (I kinda felt like I should buy more than one because the price was unbelievably affordable!) It was super easy. I told her what I wanted, she sent me a picture of a prototype, and a week later the rulers  arrived on my doorstep. Along with the custom templates for Christina's pattern, Retro Flowers, which is also very ...awesome!
Thread. I decided since I might actually take up machine applique, I should organize my thread. *sigh* Such pretty colors...
Do you sometimes feel like you keep hearing the same thing over and over?
Does it want to make you "tune out"?
(I got this in a fat quarter exchange with Victoria from Boutique Uniquely. It just makes me smile...Thanks, Victoria!)

My friend, Deborah, gifted me with this awesome DS fabric. Don't you love the colors?
When I was done with the fabric from this 36-patch block, I gave her the leftovers.

Look what she made out of it!
It's 4x6. It's orange inside. I don't want to put pressure on her or anything. I wonder if she knows orange is my favorite color? Just sayin'

Mark planned a date night for us on Monday. We went to a concert in a town about an hour from here--Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith.

 (I would love for you all to think this is Mark and me, but no. This is actually Amy and Michael...)

They have been singing, separately and together, since the 1980s (which pretty much makes me feel a bit old...), in the meantime collecting Grammy awards, Dove awards, Hall of Fame inductions, etc. It was an amazing concert and such a fun night with my hubby/best friend.

All of you who have commented for the Go!Baby giveaway are cracking me up with your comments about something most people don't know about you.
Haven't commented yet? Want to read something funny? Want a chance to win? Go here.

"Pete the Cat" is my most favorite children's book. It was highly recommended by my most favorite local children's book store, Petunia's Place.

My grandchildren love this book, too. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love hearing my grandson "read" it. Basically, Pete the Cat is the story of a cat who loves his white tennis shoes. He ends up walking through a pile of strawberries, and his shoes turn red. But did Pete cry? Goodness no! He just keeps walking along and singing his song, "I love my red shoes, I love my red shoes, I love my red shoes." And then he walks through a pile of blueberries and his shoes turn blue. But did Pete cry? Goodness no! Then he walks through the mud and his shoes turn brown, and then he walks through the water and it washes all the colors off and his shoes are wet! But does Pete cry?

Wait a minute... Levi will read it to you:

I can't top that,. Because it's all good...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WIP Wednesday

The Go!Baby giveaway is here.

Finally. Some progress to show.

In the mood for hexagons?

Or in the mood for showing your college spirit (especially if you are an Aggie from Texas A&M)?

These blocks for the 4x5 modern quilt bee are finished and in the mail:
These blocks for the 3x6 sampler quilt mini bee are completed and in the mail.
My 36-patch blocks are all done and ready to be sewn together (and hard to photograph).

The latest Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks:
And talk about a work in progress (my beautiful daughter-in-law, whose due date was last Friday, the 23rd). Nothing I have to show compares to this!
Check out what everyone else is doing:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You Go! Baby!

A few weeks ago, Accuquilt generously sent me a Go!Baby cutter, with three dies of my choice.I chose the tumbler, hexagon and parallelogram, shapes that take a bit more time to cut than squares and rectangles.
As soon as it arrived, I enlisted the help of a cute little assistant. It was easy enough for her to use and she has had a lot of fun with it on several occasions.
The first project I tried was to cut hexagons, initially for an Aurifil thread giveaway. I stacked three layers of squares on the smallest hexagon.
 Some of you have already seen my hexagon flower.
Here is the completed project.
Then I tried a hexagon pencil case, designed by one of my favorite designers, Amy from During Quiet Time.
Amazingly, the large hexagon on each end of the pencil case was exactly the same size as the largest hexagon on the die cut.
Gotta love nice coincidences like that!
(Yes, I blatantly "borrwed" Amy's cute photo ideas with the pencil and eraser...)

Finally, I tried the tumbler die cut. This made good use of the fabric, with not too much waste. It successfully cut through three layers of fabric. It can cut through more layers, but I only used three. Once in a while, I had to clip a thread here or there but mostly the die cleanly cut through the fabric.

My brother's daughter is going to Texas A&M. I found some Aggie fabric at Fat Quarter Shop (they have others too!). So again, a chance to do two things with one project: test the tumbler die cut and make a quilt for Elizabeth's graduation. I used a pattern found in a magazine for inspiration (Best Quilts for Kids, quilt designed and made by Joanie Holton and Melanie Greseth), and made some changes. The designers had strips made from squares and I decided to change the dimensions of the quilt and use strips of tumbler blocks instead. I sewed four tumblers together and then cut off each end to make a rectangular strip.

It is a simple quilt made from rectangles of the Texas A&M fabric, along with strips of solids and tumblers in a random fashion--the same number of units in each row, just rearranged for variety. The added benefit was that there were few seams to match up!

My original thought was that if Elizabeth isn't crazy about having a Texas A&M quilt, then maybe her boyfriend would like it. But then I found this fabric for the back. She is a business major with a fashion merchandising emphasis. Perfect. But it pretty much guarantees that Fred will not want this quilt.

Accuquilt is also offering free patterns by just signing up for their newsletter. They have lots of information on their website so check it out. Just click on the link there on the sidebar to the right.
Would you like a Go!Baby of your own?? It's easy. Leave me a comment. Make SURE you can be contacted in case you are the winner. What should you comment on? How about this: Is there something most people don't know about you? Here's the time to spill it. Random Number Generator will choose the winner on October 4 at noon PDT, so there's plenty of time to comment.

So start commenting! Your comment doesn't have to contain anything personal (or you can just say "pick me" if you want to...) But here. I'll help you get started. I never eat blue M&Ms. There. See? Easy peasy.

Comments are now closed. Thanks, everyone, for your wonderful and insightful comments!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Musings

I was gone over the weekend at our annual quilt camp in the mountains. I wasn't sure if I would be there all weekend, as our daughter-in-law's due date was Friday so Mark and I were prepared to go back home whenever the phone call came. But it hasn't come yet so we still anxiously awaiting our new grandbaby.

Of course there was much inspiration provided by my friends:

This t-shirt quilt, which gives me inspiration to get started on my Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt quilt.
 I have always wanted to try this pattern:

And this two-sided quilt. The front:
And the back (which would be a great quilt in its own right, don't you think?)
There were a lot more projects and sadly I took very few pictures.

I finished my 36-patch quilt-along blocks. I can hardly wait to sew them together.
Worked on a new project with Kate Spain's new line, Terrain. The colors and designs are just so beautiful.
We had a brief thunderstorm and a bit of rain.

And a beautiful sunset reflected on some faraway clouds.
Good food, lots of sewing, lots of laughter. Such a fun yearly weekend.

The Name Game will return next Monday.

Oh, before I forget...I did complete one more project for tomorrow. Tomorrow? What's tomorrow?

It's Accuquilt Go!Baby giveaway day!!! I hope you won't miss it.