Monday, February 29, 2016

Simple Simon Block 5 The Splendid Sampler

Whew! Finally a block that didn't have me ripping and
resewing.   This one is Simple Simon by Celine Perkins
which is part of The Splendid Sampler mystery quilt along.

My poor multi-heart block sits in pieces on my sewing table until
I am in a better frame of mind.  I just can't line those darned
hearts up  (six of them in a 6 inch block)!!

If you are interested, click on the link and you can join too.
It's a year long project with 100 six inch blocks in the end,
or however many you choose to make. 

There are so many wonderful quilters out there, I am amazed 
at how they take the pattern, use beautiful fabric 
combinations and change it up to their liking- 
all within the "rules."  

Saturday, February 27, 2016

We Bee Cleaning Hives

Bee Warned, there will soon bee thousands of bees in these hives! 

As promised, here is a little bit about our latest adventure.
Neighbors used to raise bees but lost their colonies during 
one of our past bad winters.  Raising meat goats was taking
up the majority of their times so they asked if we would like
the old hives to which we replied,  Yes!

It's been a couple of years but we are now ready.
My job was to take everything apart and separate
the good from the bad.  

These are particularly good 

and these are not so good!  We will clean what we can
and toss the rest.

Additionally we see evidence of old wax moths which needs
to be cleaned and steralized along with removing the mouse nest.

These too have to go.  Not that they hurt the bees
but I really don't care for them.  They are wood roaches
and we find them under logs and rocks everywhere here.

A beekeeper friend came out to inspect the hives and thought 
most everything can be salvaged except the worst fame/foundations.
We need to order some equipment plus go get the bees in April.
They will ship the queen but not the full colony which means you have
to go get them-  from St Louis to Des Moines, IA.  That's about six 
hours with bees in your vehicle so I hope they are packaged well.

If everything goes well we will have honey next year!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wings- Block 2

This is Block 2 from The Splendid Sampler

 These are six inch blocks made from very tiny squares that
are 1 1/2 inches!  It is challenging at best and complicated
by my new cutting mat that has wide grid line every
few inches between pencil thin ones.  I wish I would have
noticed it because it will make your squares just a little
off depending on how you line up the fabric.  Across several
blocks will make a difference, just like a 1/4 and a scant 1/4 inch seam.

I still have to embroider the antennae on the butterflies and then
start to work on Block 3 which is another heart theme but 
set differently.  Along with block 3, only 98 more to go!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Clearing in the Garden

It's work time in the garden!
We had unusually high temperatures, reaching mid 70's
Saturday with no rain or snow expected until 
that night, so we took advantage of the break.

We are clearing an area by the garden for our
bees which we will get in April.  I will post
more about that later.

My husband raked the area around the garden 
using his tractor and then we had to pick up all the rocks
that were turned over.  We piled them into the 
four wheeler trailer- this is just the beginning- more
and more came to the surface as he made additional passes.

We should name our place LottaRock since
that's what we have lots of.  It brings a song to mind:

Corn won't grow at all on Rocky Top
Dirt's too rocky by far
That's why all the folks on Rocky Top
Get their corn from a jar

We have a lot on our plate with the bees, fencing the garden
against the deer plus creating new flower and herb beds
for the bees to enjoy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Splendid Sampler 100 Blocks

I have started a new quilting project with a Facebook group,  The Splendid Sampler hosted by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson.  We will be making
100 blocks, each six inches and using various quilting methods, 
some way out of my comfort zone.

This is our first block, Hearts Aflutter, which is 
one of the "out of my comfort zone" blocks
since I have almost no experience with applique.

This is the back stitch method where you draw the
applique shape on the back of the base piece

Then you pin the material for the applique
to the front.  You then stitch around the 
applique outline on the back using an unknotted 
running stitch.  Trim the applique material about 1/8 away from the
stitched edge.  Let your block sit for at least a 
few hours so the stitches will "take" and the fabric
will turn easily when you fold the edges under.
Remove a few running stitches at a time and 
make tiny stitches to hold the applique piece to the base.

I have a notebook where I keep my pattern in a plastic sleeve
along with my six inch block, until I get a few of them,  Then I 
will likely transfer them to a separate container until time to 
assemble the quilt- about a year from now since we will have
two blocks per week except during holidays.

Our next block is by Jane Davidson entitled Wings. I'll am using 
1930's fabrics so I'll spend time selecting just the right ones to 
show off the little butterflies made from half square triangles and
embroidered with tiny antennae!  

We also have some bonus projects, one of which I am binding now.  
I will certainly keep busy!

Hopefully during the quilting I can use my new sewing foot 
for the Baby Lock Jane.  It is a special foot used with templates
and rulers to make wonderful shapes such as flowers, snowflakes, 
scallops and feathers!  I need to try then on some practice pieces
that I can make into mug rugs or place mats.

I hope you all are having fun out there!  We are looking at 
good weather this weekend so it will be spent outside 
cleaning up the hives so we can start out bees this
spring.  If all goes well we have a few thousand
bees flying around the garden this year!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Tubs of Trash

Tubs of trash:  cans, glass bottles, plastics, paper and more nestled in bins that are stacked in the back of the Jeep with no place to go!  Our recycling center  has announced that they will no long accept our tub of mixed product that is typical of single stream. Rather, they will concentrate on paper, buying aluminum and other metals that are more profitable.  You can still drop off paint, TVs and appliances for a charge.

So no matter how hard you try to keep the environment clean, it always boils down to money.  They were not making enough on single stream.  

This means we will try and take our tubs to the next town, if they will allow us to use their facility.  It also means we now have to sort everything which would not be bad if we had only a single tub but we are taking at least three large tubs.   If this center won't let us in, we'll have to think of another plan.

We stopped our trash pickup long ago since we recycled about 90% of our trash.  We burned paper (kleenex, paper towels, food packaging) in the incinerator which left us to deal with jar lids and light bulbs.  Why they make us purchase these special handing light bulbs without recycling areas, I have no clue.  They just end up in the trash.

I suppose we will have to talk to the trash man and see about getting service again. This means hauling our trash down to the main road and the empty cans back up the hill that night.  If you put plastic bags down there the strays and woodland animals tear it up, 
unless you keep any food product out.  That is a thought.

So, as well meaning as we have been, we may need to change our approach.
It's a shame.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Around the House

Around the house pretty much sums up our recent activities,
between floods and winter weather we haven't had much
to do outside with the exception of last weekend when
the temperatures climbed to 60!!

Instead we have focused on our indoor enjoyment.
Taylor, my granddaughter, strives to be the pool shark.
Our basement isn't fixed up but we still get lots of use from it.
My husband will paint the walls and put up a divider between
the exercise/game/ham shack area and the storage.
Currently it's just a jumble.

We've been throwing darts but I can't say that 
I am very good at it.  Short with short arms.

I came home one day to find my husband
strung Christmas lights up on the ceiling!
Festive, if nothing else and it does give us more light
over the table.  I don't have a photo but he installed
one of those hanging lights you see on breakfast bars,
this one is red so not glaring as you play pool but
adds good light.

I used my new Jane to quilt a mug rug.  It sure
is more smooth for quilting than my Pfaff so I'll 
use the Pfaff for piecing but this one for quilting.

While watching TV I"ll also pick up some embroidery.  I have
several of these complete and will eventually make up
a throw sized quilt or wall hanging.

My card reader died so I haven't been able to get photos
off my camera and onto my computer (no, I don't have or use
a smart phone with a camera).  For now I'll use my tablet for 
photos but need to get a new reader pretty quickly.

I hope that ground hog was right because I really am sick 
of winter.  Not that it has been a particularly harsh winter here
but Spring is so much better!