Thursday, February 28, 2013

Last Day of February-tea & snow

I really don't know where this month has gone - it has just flitted away somewhere - And I still haven't seen my first robin!!  I thought maybe since we had such a mild winter that the robins would return early - So I must just keep watching.

We have been having a Winter storm for the last 3 days.  It started on Tuesday Morning and snowed all of Tuesday and Wednesday and is still spitting snow today.  Now it didn't snow steadily all that time and some of it came down mixed with freezing drizzle so we only got maybe 4-6 inches - which is way more than I care to deal with.  So instead of dealing with the snow I buried myself in my quilt studio and played.

Bushes in the backyard yesterday afternoon

I love tea - herb teas, flavored teas, green tea, white tea, oolong tea You name it.  I finally have a granddaughter who also likes tea - so now we can have tea parties.  So I made a Tea Time Mug Rug

Tea Time Mug Rug

I will make another one for her and we can brew a pot of tea and chat about whatever is on her mind.  The Crocheted Rose is from a pattern called Lace and Roses Scarf I made the scarf and the roses to go on it, but I loved the roses so much and they were so easy that I decided to make some more and do a bouquet of them.  I have two done so for.

Anyway - hopefully I will be able to get out this afternoon the driveway is clear and hubby is really good behind the wheel of the new mustang he bought!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hannah's Block

Today we are waiting to see if the new Winter Storm is actually going to hit us, or if, like all the storms so far this year it will skate by us just brushing us with a touch of snow or a bit of ice.  The worst one was last Monday when we lost the power because of icing and wind.  As I sit and wait and wonder, I think of Hannah.  She waited and wondered what God had in mind for her.  Personally I think her story is one of the saddest in the Bible.  A woman who wanted children, would make a wonderful Mother, was loving and caring and generous, but was denied for many years.  To add insult to injury her husband had another wife - was Peninnah older or younger than Hannah - and she had children and she lorded that over Hannah.  But the husband loved Hannah more.  What a set up for terrible trouble.  You have to admire Hannah though.  She too it all to God and laid it at His feet - and left it here.  Don't I wish I could do that when troubles hit home.

Hannah - Altar Steps

Peninnah - Contrary Wife

It is time to go work on the quilting for my current project which I really need to get finished - as there are 4 more behind it that need quilted - at least 3 of them by hand.  I love doing it, but it does take a lot of time.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Block for Samson's Mother

Have you ever had bright hopes for the future - bright hopes for your son or your daughter - I'm sure Samson's Mother had bright hopes for Samson.  After many barren years she finally had a son - and she did what many of us do - we spoil them.  We make excuses for them.  We coddle them.  We clean up their messes.  But if all goes well, in the end - they learn their lessons and they do the right thing - the job God planned for them.

Samson's Mother - Bright Hopes

This block is called Bright Hopes.  I almost didn't make it because it had so many half seams and 45 degree angles that I couldn't see how it could be easily pieced.  Then I had an inspiration and used English Paper Piecing - see the previous Blog Entry.  The block nearly fell together - neat corners and all.

Friday, February 22, 2013

English Paper Piecing

I recently learned through friends and some research of my own that English Paper Piecing has been known to be around since the mid 17th century in England and the early 18th century in the United States.  Really wish I had known when I made my own Grandmother's Flower Garden about EPP - it would have made a 5+ year project into maybe a 2 year project.  While we now use templates made from note card stock - back in the beginning they used regular paper - old letters, news sheets, catalog pages - whatever they had - cut them into the shapes and then basted the fabric to the paper.  In many instances they left the fabric in the quilt adding extra warmth to the quilt - and also giving us - 250 years later - a glimpse into their lives and their society.

I started with EPP by taking a class with Jo Quilter when she held a workshop through my quilt guild.  I was amazed when I popped out those little hexagons in rapid succession and by the next Christmas had made a Christmas Tree Wall Hanging.

hexagon Christmas tree
I also made a Santa head using a graphic I made in Paint Shop Pro and running through some software that graphed it for me.  

At this time I was thinking that the only use for EPP was for hexagons - but then I realized that any odd shaped piece could be done with it - or any odd piecing arrangement.  Now I do have EQ6 so I was able to print out line drawings onto card stock and cut the pieces apart and use whatever shapes turned up to make my block.

Sheet of Card Stock printed with blocks - also partially completed blocks

This block is for my Women of the Bible Quilt to represent Samson's Mother - titled Bright Hopes - I thought at first glance it was a form of Log Cabin - and it may very well be - but it has a lot of 45 degree corners and half seams making machine sewing a nightmare.  I was going to forget about it until I did Ruth's block which I used EPP for and realized I could do Bright Hopes using the same technique.

Partially completed Bright Hopes Block

It actually turned out to be fairly easy and a lot less frustrating.  Lay the Card Stock piece on the fabric of your choice and cut around the stock leaving enough margin to fold over and baste to the stock.  Then when you have the fabric on enough pieces, you whip stitch then together by hand.  Amazingly, your corners are always perfect and when you take out the basting and remove the cardstock (which can be reused if making more than one block) you have a perfect block for your quilt.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February Freeze

Just when we thought it was warming up and Spring was around the corner - we take a dive into the deep Freeze. The winter has been very mild and I haven't complained - only about 4 or 5 inches of snow and most of the time I can get out when I want to. Yesterday afternoon Shy and I went out to do some girl things and it was 55 degrees. It was drizzling out but who worries about rain when it is that warm. We got home about 4 and she started her favorite dinner - and something she cooks really well - it's a meatball soup that runs in the family - we've always called it Hunky Broth for some obscure reason. At about 5 - my husband looked out the back door and it is snowing - as my daughter put it - a Christmas snow - but wet sloppy flakes and they were coming down hard. Anyway, we managed to get Shy home to her mom and dad - the roads were slush covered, but it was still above freezing. When we got home, I stopped to take a picture of the bush in the front yard. It was dark but I put the camera on night scene and opened the flash and this is what I got.
Snowy Bush in front yard

We got inside and had our own dinner and watched TV - Bones - This is the first time the power glitched but it was only out a minute or two.  Then The Following - which we recorded also.  The Hawaii 5-0 and that is when everything it the fan.  There were flashing/pulsing lights in the sky and the power was pulsing and surging with the lights - and then everything went down.  Now power at all!!  My son called and said the power was out at their apartment - he was at work.  My daughter's power was still on, but a lot of power was out.  They are blaming it on the ice and the wind - but two separate sets of pulsing lights tells me there was more going on than wind and a snow storm.  Anyway, the power came back on about Midnight - thankfully - I was not looking forward to a really cold day with no hot tea or hot anything else.  It is now 8 degrees out and this is what it looks like out my back door.

I think I'm going to hunker down for the day and work on a quilt and make a nice big pot of HOT tea!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Today is a day all about love - Love for family - love for friends - but especially love for God and God's love for us. Valentine's Day has always been my favorite of all the holidays. It seems appropriate the on Valentine's Day I'm posting my Women of the Bible Quilt block for Ruth - for her story is a love story. A story that started in tragedy and ended in triumph - a story of duty, devotion, care and love.


This block was made using a technique called English Paper Piecing.  It works wonderful for odd shaped pieces the only drawback is that it is done entirely by hand.  I really wish I had known about this when I made my Grandmother's Flower Garden back in the dark ages!!  Did they even have English Paper Piecing back then??

Valentine's Day is also the day I usually aim to have all the Christmas Decorations packed away.  That is my least favorite chore EVER!  Now don't get me wrong.  I have had the tree down for well over a month - but the decorations - well they were piled on my dining room table waiting to get packed in boxes and put into storage.  Well with hubby's help, I managed to get everything packed away and the Christmas table topper put away and the Valentine one on the table.  Everything has yet to be taken to storage - should we aim for St. Patrick's Day to accomplish that!!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Rainy Day - Again!

It has been a very rainy day today - the ditches across the street are filled to nearly overflowing.  This is not a really bad thing as we had a very dry summer.  I am grateful that it was rain and not snow like they are getting up north and in the east.  We've actually had very little snow this winter - but still I'm truly looking forward to Spring.  A friend posted pictures of her daffodils today - of course she lives in California so they come early.  I'll be happy if we have Daffodils by Easter - which is early this year.

My husband didn't get my Cougar repaired yet.  It has been too wet to crawl under the car and see if the oil senser unit is what is leaking oil.  But he did get the Grand Marque running and put air in all the tires.  We haven't used the GM much since he bought his Mustang - it actually hasn't been started since October.  But it is running now and I made it to church this morning.  He'll just have to keep an eye on the tires as one has a slow leak in it - the mounting is not right.

I didn't get a lot done yesterday as I didn't get to sleep until 5 in the morning, so I slept until nearly 2 in the afternoon.  An unusual occurance for me.  I was a bit upset as my son called about 11:30 - we were supposed to have lunch.  I couldn't have gone anyway as the car wasn't repaired and I REFUSE to drive the Mustang - I'm not going to be responsible for the first scratch, ding or dent that gets put on that car!!

I did spend a little time in my sewing studio this afternoon.  I made a set of coasters that I have had cut out and cluttering up the table for several months.  Decided it was time to take care of that!

The other day I made a Tea Wallet.  I found the idea on one of my quilting message boards and was delighted with the idea.  I love tea and I'm not really fond of plain old Orange-pekoe blend - I prefer herbals, green or white.

At any rate, hopefully tomorrow I will wake up early and get some work done of several projects I've got going and maybe even be able to go out and find something to photograph that isn't grey, brown or bland.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Brynwood Needleworks: Sweetheart Valentine Giveaway...

Brynwood Needle Works is having a Valentine's Day Give away - click on the graphic to go see the giveaway details.

Rainy Day in February

It has been a crazy week.  It started off on Sunday when one of the Granddaughters put a kettle of water on the stove to heat to make tea.  Problem was is was an electric kettle.  You guessed the rest - it melted the plastic base and the house filled with noxious smoke.  We got the smoke cleared finally - open windows at 26 F but who cares - fresh air is necessary.  Got rid of the melted plastic and cleaned to stove top - it's ceramic so it cleaned well - and hubby got me a new kettle.  The little one felt bad and I don't think she'll do that again.  I had no intention of mentioning it to anyone - but she ratted herself out the minute she got home. The only problem was it has taken me 4 days to overcome the smoke - I have been coughing myself sick - we finally got me some heavy duty cough medication and it is finally settling down.

Yesterday was lunch with the Sonshine group and we had 13 there which is large for us.  We had a really lovely time.  Most of these people I only see once a month if that so it was so nice to share and chat with them.  It was such a nice day - for February - that I went on a mini Photoshoot after lunch.  There is not really a lot to photograph in Northern Illinois in February - but if you look you can usually find something.

This was my photo of choice yesterday - it's some vine that grows in Duck Creek park over an arbor.  

I also finished two of my Women of the Bible Blocks This Week.  One is for Naomi and the other is for her daughter-in-law Orphah  Both of their stories are found in the book of Ruth.

Orpha - Back Home

Ruth - Homecoming

I wanted to go to Bible Study today - but we have discovered a massive oil leak in my car - the oil is not registering on the dip stick even after putting 2 quarts in, so I think I might have a problem.  Hubby and Son think they know what the problem is so hopefully they will get it fixed quickly - I don't like being without a car - too many things to do and places to go.  

Well, I'm off to work on a couple other projects today and try to stay dry in this dreary rain.