Friday, June 29, 2012

Farmer's Wife Friday--Searching for the Happiest Life in the World

Five, four, three, two....!  Next Friday, I will post ONE and then it's "Blastoff" as Cindy and I finish up all 111 blocks in the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt. Our Blastoff will mean: Time to put these babies together into one awesome quilt. I have to admit that we are both patting ourselves pretty hard on the back , being the UFO queens that we are!!
 So, here we are with the next to the last letter ( I counted, and there are 56 letters!) and only one more block to create after today. I enjoyed making all of the blocks again this week, and thought that our letter writer, from Franklin County, Iowa,  summed things up pretty well in her realistic penning about the life of a farmer.
 First up, is this pretty block called Noon and Light. I paper-pieced this one and it came out so nice and square. It will be interesting to see how my color combinations line up when I begin laying out the quilt. I stopped using a design wall for these long ago. I do know that I love both of the aqua fabrics in this block!
 Whirlwind, is the second block....easy to create from squares and half-square triangles. Our farmer's wife begins her letter with several paragraphs recalling many of the hardships she and her husband endure as farmers. A lot of them are still true today, almost a hundred years later. She laments, "Do we feel our ineffeciency when our city friends say, 'Why does John insist on farming?" Their life is a whirlwind of activity, for sure.
Just as did the farmer's wife of 1920, all of us experience the ebb and flow of life. She goes on to describe the many plusses of living the country life. Remembering the good things helps all of us to make it through the bad, doesn't it. Here's the block called Autumn Tints.....
 One of the most endearing parts of this letter for me was when the wife referred to her husband as "Friend Husband" and herself as "Friend Wife". Friendship in marriage, whether on the farm or in the city, makes for a more pleasant life! This block is called Friendship Block. I like it because it also represents the bond that Cindy and I have through our tackling this project together, blogging weekly about our progress.
 Next week, I will post a picture of all 111 blocks, but today, here are the four that accompanied this letter, all lined up on a handmade box that houses the toy food for my grandchildren's play kitchen.  I have no idea how old it is, but perhaps this farmer's wife's daughters played with something similar.
 Friend Wife ends her letter this way, "Would I have my daughter marry a farmer? Yes--if she is strong, and eager to work; if she is searching for the happiest life in the world; if she wants a husband with the ability and desire to use his body as well as his brains; if she can take his disappointments as well as joys."
See you next Friday for the reveal of the very last block! Be sure to check out Cindy's four today, as well.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sonic, the Hedgehog

Do you recognize this super cute guy? If not , let me introduce you to Sonic, the Hedgehog. My grandson, Oliver, knows all about him and loves to play video games where Sonic is the hero. When Ollie arrived at my house one day last week, he brought along his partially created, original rendition of this favorite spikey character. He twisted my arm to help him finish Sonic up using my sewing machine. How could I refuse?
It took two sewing sessions, more old t-shirts, some red socks and the stuffing from a rejected pillow to get Oliver's new best friend completed. Oliver gave me specific instructions as to how each arm, joint, and spike should be made. I tried my best to follow his lead as he did all of the cutting and designing.  Ollie went home with some grey t-shirt fabric and grey thread to add soles to the bottom of Sonic's shoes himself....a detail that O didn't think of till the last minute. My eight year old grandie is quite the inventor and crafter! He and Sonic kind of have matching smiles, I them both! That was hard work though...think I'll stick with quilts!
 While the sewing machine was humming away, Ezra found time to make friends with our new puppy, Ginger. They both have nice smiles, as well! Do you sew with your little people?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fourth Sunday in June

"Dear friends,
Since God so loved us,
We also ought to love one another."
I John 4:11

Friday, June 22, 2012

Farmer's Wife Friday--A Good and Useful Life

I really like today's farmer's wife blocks. They both went together lickety-split and are ones that I would enjoy making again perhaps even as inspiration for quilts on their own.
I'll put a star * on their pages for future reference!
With the unfortunate initials of Mrs. M.A.D., our farmer's wife, from Sargent County, N.D., seems happy indeed to live the country life. She speaks highly of recent "recognized neccessities being fast installed on every farm" giving many farm women "time to attend fairs, enjoy the newspaper, hear good music and manicure her finger nails." (I got a kick out of that last perk as I could use one of those myself!)
Butterfly at the Crossroads-Block #14
She goes on to add, "In listing a few of the comforts of the farmer's wife, I have not listed any of the discomforts I may fancy my city friend labors under. If she is happy and I am happy, why disturb this happiness?" Why, indeed!
Windmill-Block #108
Her wise conclusion, "I wish my daughter to lead a good and useful life, one of which it may truly be said when she departs, 'the world is better for her having lived in it'."
 I wish the same for my daughter. And for myself.
Only two more weeks and 5 blocks to pile is getting high. Be sure to visit Cindy, at Live a Colorful Life, as she finishes up her blocks in solids only. 
I love them so!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy Sewing

I've been planning to make little dresses for Lula and Jane for weeks now....
 Yesterday, I finally traced off the sizes that I need. (This is tedious to me, but I so appreciate all the sizes included in the Oliver + S ice cream dress pattern...perfect!)
I'll do a pattern review when the dresses are completed, if you like.
 This plastic serving tray makes a great project holder for my sewing room...$1.99 at Walmart. I think that I will go back for more!
 All the parts for another leader/ender project came together yesterday as well! Yay! I used a soft aqua sashing for this one, so it's a sister to the one on the right, which I finished a few weeks ago...
 The blocks use 2.5 inch squares and finish up at 10 inches. Set 4X4, the wheel chair quilts are 40 inches square...generous, but not too large. Now, I just need to get them quilted and bound. I hope to find the perfect backing in my stash too. You can check out my posting on how to make leader/ender quilts here.
 As soon as I finish one of these "free quilts", I like to be ready to start another one so that the leader/enders never stop. I decided to use the Bohemian Festival layer cake that Cindy got for me during the Sample Spree at Quilt Market in May.
 The beautiful summery colors are so pretty cut up into 2.5 inch squares for my next leader/ender project, this pattern called "Mazed". I saw yesterday that Bohemian Festival, by Lila Tueller,  is available now for sale here.
I've already got a good start on more happy sewing!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Quilty Reading

Have you heard? Angela's book is  finally available for sale! I've been really looking forward to getting my hands on this new book, hoping that it would be as practical as I have been imagining. Ohhhh! I am not disappointed! Thanks, Angela for giving us insight into what you do so well! (My background quilt was beautifully quilted by Angela, btw!)
Learning about machine quilting is not the only reading I've been doing. In anticipation of moving my sewing area out of a small guest bedroom and into my dark, creepy   large unfinished basement, I've been examining this idea filled book from cover to cover! There is a lot of practical information between the covers that I think will help me create an inviting studio out of an ugly space. (Stay tuned for before and after photos!)
 In the meantime, I've decided to make three more of these Helping Hands blocks for a summery table topper. It's been fun to read your comments on modern/traditional quilting in response to my last post....lots of food for thought.
 Kelly suggested using the term "modern traditionalist" which I thought was very appropriate and maybe incompasses so many of us who are drawn to several different styles. Citricsugar wisely adds that modern is more a spirit, and less a label. 
Well said. 

Monday, June 18, 2012


Over the weekend I got caught up on my blog reading. One post, in particular, has stuck with me and caused me to ponder. The writer is a popular blogger and pattern designer.  Allison's color selections and style generally tickle my fancy, so I was intrigued by her writings regarding modern vs. traditional quilting--particularly as they apply to her. She has decided that she is not a modern quilter, but instead, a fresh traditional quilter.  My thought is, if she isn't a modern quilter, then what am I? Yesterday, my sewing table was full of this...
 As I experimented with this...
 using this book as my guide...
Yes, a traditional pattern....called Hands All Around...and yet, my fabric choices make it only a cousin to the original antique shown in the book.
 My contemplation is this: If I use a pattern to make a quilt today, is it not modern?
 Does it have to be free form and geometric in design, like my Signals quilt,  to be called modern?  
Am I only a modern quilter when I create something liberated but a fresh traditional quilter when I lean toward repeat patterns using colorful fabrics? Ack! Maybe, I don't know who I am!
Maybe, I should just stick with "quilter".
What do you think?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

"I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter hidden things,
things from old -- what we have heard and known,
what our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children; 
we will tell the next generation 
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
His power, and the wonders He has done."
Psalm 78:2-4

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Time...

Over the last couple of weeks, I've spent time in this lovely town...
Ouray, Colorado
with these soul-mate girlfriends...
me, Barb, Paulette, Vicki, Judy
set in these awesome mountains...
the San Juan mountain range
and toted home this sweet gal...
I haven't had time to sew on many of these...
Janey Sue quilt won a teacher's award at MQS for the quilter, Mindy Peterson
but have enjoyed crocheting a few of these...
Peaches and Cream yarn is great for dishcloths
I picked up a copy of this...
the premier edition
where I glimpsed a few of my quilts in this...
no mention of my name, but I know they are mine!
I also spent lots of time with these handsome young men...
Ollie and Ezzie love to sleep in the woods
watched this lovely young lady get her second haircut...
Lula went from tears to smiles
and her little sister play in the dirt...
Jane often goes from smiles to tears 
Last night,  I watched this talented gal share her wonderful quilts at KCMQG...
Jacquie Gering, Tallgrass Prairie Studio
 wished I could do a fist bump just like her...
quilts were from her new book, Quilting Modern.  Get it, you'll love it!
 and was touched by Beth's rendition of my Anniversary Crosses quilt 
that she created for her friend...
a tutorial is on the sidebar
Time flies when you're having fun!