Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Starting To Feel A Lot Like Fall!

It is beginning to feel like Fall here in Iowa.  Cooler temperatures and leaves are starting to turn color and drop from trees.  Fall mums and pumpkins are appearing in stores and on front porches all over town.

It is the perfect time to fix the sinking front yard.  Over the past few years the area in the picture has sunk so much that we were close to seeing the bottom of the driveway pavement.  Bill decided it was time to level it out with dirt and reseed.  Better to do this in the Fall as in the Spring you get too many weeds in with the new grass.  It took 85 bags (1.5 cubic feet each) of dirt to level it out and a huge bag of grass seed.  We are expecting this weeks daytime temps to reach almost 80 so am hoping to see shoots of grass soon!

I've been making progress on July by Prairie Schooler.  I'm surprised at how fast it is stitching up.  However, I decided to take a break from it over the weekend to begin stitching another project. 

This is Halloween Cubes by the Primitive Hare.  I saw this design and knew it was perfect for a piece of "accident" over dyed fabric that a friend dyed.  I pulled it out and I loved the contrast of the colors of the design on the orange fabric.  Yes, it is 9 letters that will spell out Halloween and each letter has some Halloween related design to it.  Of course, I thought I needed it for this year's display so am stitching quite a lot right now.  Thankfully the stitch count is 47 x 47 but I'm here to tell you that is still a lot of stitching.  Let's just say I'm not working on it right now as my hand is so sore from stitching so much since Sunday night.

I purchased some Camaro fabric to make a lap quilt for the car - well really for Keith in the car.  Sometimes when taking a drive before we get home it can get a little chilly and Bill and I end up putting one of our jackets over Keith's legs for extra warmth.  I'm going to make a trip to Creston to Quilts and Notions to buy some coordinating fabrics.  They have such a huge selection of really interesting and different fabrics that it will be worth the 45 minute drive to get them.  I also want to get some fabrics for the Halloween cubes I am stitching as well.

I've also signed up to walk the local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure here in Des Moines on October 4.  Many of you know it is a cause near and dear to my heart as my mom passed away from breast cancer.  

I hope you will visit the website of BlueRibbonDesigns and purchase Belinda's design called "Five Houses of Hope".  Belinda has designed this special piece to raise money for the Komen 3-Day she is walking in November in Dallas.  It is 60 grueling miles and this will be her second year walking it.  She has been training since she took her last step last year after her feet recovered and I'm so proud of her for walking again!

I'm not getting as much reading time in right at the moment as I'm so busy stitching.  I am, however, still reading Hitler's Furies on my Kindle App while doing the treadmill at the gym and started rereading Dan Brown's the Lost Symbol.  I've been wanting to read it again ever since we returned from our trip to Washington D.C. a year ago after walking a lot of the places featured in the book.  

I'm thinking it is about time to give my blog a new look.  You know a new photo header, maybe different color scheme, font, format.  I've not stared at it long enough to figure out how I want to change it but hopefully soon an inspired thought will come to mind.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Fall Finish!


I was so excited on Friday evening just after 10:00 p.m. to put in the last stitch to Harvest Time by Prairie Schooler.  It seemed like I was never going to get to that last stitch so I was thrilled.

It went off to Stitch n Frame for framing on Saturday morning.  I had four really good options for frames to choose from but this one did stand out above the rest.  It is a frame I have used before for other Fall finishes.  This picture is a better representation of the fabric and thread colors than the first one.  It is all in the lighting to get true colors in a photo.  I will have it back by October 8 so still some time to enjoy it before the winter things come out!

Speaking of winter here is a snippet of a new pattern I bought to complete for Christmas.  It is stitched on a overdyed fabric called Twililight Mist Jobelan.  I did not get this fabric but one very similar.  Mine is a cross between Twililight Mist and Stormy Grey.  For the record I do believe the pattern has misspelled the fabric used and it is actually Twilight Mist.  I can't wait to get started on it.
I did, however, get started on Prairie Schooler's July over the weekend.  I am making great strides in my stitching goals this year by starting my second Prairie Schooler from my stash.  As mentioned before, I'm stitching it using Hand Dyed Fibers Premium Silk Floss.  It is my first time stitching with Premium and I am loving being able to use 1 strand over 2 on 32 count and getting the same coverage of 2 strands of regular floss.  The fabric is 32 count Lambswool.   I will list my conversion from DMC to HDF colors.

DMC                                                                      HDF

White                                                                     White
312                                                                         Mermaid Blue 2323
422                                                                         Haywains 4127
437                                                                         Kodiak Bear 5127
843                                                                         Jackalope 5263
844                                                                         Nightshade 5311
898                                                                         Kodiak Bear 5139
927                                                                         Steelies 2449
3022                                                                       Zinc 5235
3052                                                                       Marsh Green 3349
3362                                                                       Alluvium 3405
3777                                                                       Perfect Red 6217
3828                                                                       Haywains 4129
3830                                                                       Perfect Red 6213
3863                                                                       Quern Stones 5165

I will say that I should have picked a darker Kodiak Bear for my 898 conversion so if you are considering my conversion you might think about changing that one.  You might also consider the blue in the flag if you don't like the one I'm using (Mermaid Blue 2323).  It is pretty true to the color charted but I could see using a navy blue for this color as well.


There have been 3 more car shows since last posting.  Keith and I stopped by a couple of them for awhile.  I don't like spending my entire day there but don't mind stopping by for a couple of hours to spend time with hubby.  Thanks to Brian for another family photo for our album.

Keith managed to con Bill and I out of a new Iowa Hawkeye blanket at one of the car shows with vendors at it.  It is a nice big (twin size) blanket so will keep him nice and warm in the coming winter months.

I'm pleased to report that Bill brought home another Best of Show for his category to add to our growing collection.


I also went to Pella with my friend, Launa to watch her daughter run in a track meet.  I will say the girls had quite a challenging run but am not sure it was any more challenging than the walk Launa and I had back and forth to the car to see the event.    This is the start of the race and about 1/3 of the runners.  

By the time they got to our location at the top of the hill on the return trip headed for the finish line they had definitely spread out quite a bit.  

Launa and I made a few stops on the town square.  A must was the Jaarsma Bakery, Butcher Shop, Quilt Shop and a lovely little boutique.  We really had a fun few hours together.


The weather is turning off cooler here but mowing must still be done in between rain showers.  You see why I don't mow - Bill likes perfectly straight lines which he can do in his sleep.  I, however, could not mow that straight even if my life depended on it.  

I have started doing a bit of Fall decorating on the outside.  This is my favorite spot to sit and read while waiting for Keith to come home.  The blooms on this mum will soon be beautiful bright yellow.  I've also put a few more mums in pots where I've taken out summer flowers that have seen better days to be sure.


I did finish reading (and re-reading) the trilogy of books by Deborah Harkness.  I needed to read Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night to bring the storyline back to mind before starting Book of Life.  I was glad I did go back and read again as I picked up on things I somehow missed on the first reading.  I did enjoy this trilogy and look forward to seeing what her next offering will be.

Now I am back to reading Hitlers Furies by Wendy Lower.  It tells the story of how the German women were involved in Hitler's campaign for a pure race.   I tell you I am getting a lot of use out of my Kindle App on my phone while walking on the treadmill of a morning.  I just put my treadmill on incline 4 and ramp up the speed to 3.6 mph and my time just flies by while reading.  I've come close to being late for my weight class a couple of times I get so involved in the story.

Well, time to go.  I'm often struck how odd it seems when I end a post to just stop and no really closing.  Until next time.....

Wednesday, September 3, 2014



 I would very much like to know WHY it seems like it takes 4 times as long to stitch the last 1/4 of a project than it takes to stitch the entire first 3/4 of it?!  I was hoping for a weekend finish.  I know I didn't get as much time on it over the weekend as my hubby's brother was visiting from out of state but still it seems like this last little bit is taking FOREVER!  I can't wait to take this one for framing.


Bill's brother was here for the long Labor Day weekend and we took a drive to the Fairgrounds to see the God Bless American art piece.  I did get the guys to pose for a couple of pictures.  This picture captured them both smiling like they were enjoying themselves.
However, Keith still would not get out of the car to take a photo by the art piece.  Here he is sitting in the backseat ready to get on the move again.

Bill did snap a photo of me but it is not a very flattering one.  When your hair has been whipped around riding in the backseat of a convertible, you get unflattering!


Some of you know that my goals for the past couple of years have included trying to live a healthier lifestyle.  I will say I've made a lot of progress toward this goal but there is always room to improve.  I do workout at the Y several days a week but last week with floors being resurfaced I hit the trails in Easter Lake Park.  Let me say that was a workout especially in hot humid weather.  We had quite a bit of rain last week and when I walked the trail on Friday I found the boathouse underwater as well as a few picnic tables.

Took a couple of fun photos as well.  I liked the way the leaf was laying next to the wet print of itself.    Somehow the picture of the mushrooms growing on the tree came out so sharp and clear.  
I was so proud of myself for not screaming like a girl when I rounded the curve after passing through the covered bridge to find this directly in front of me on the path.  I stopped on a dime though and gave it time to decide what it wanted to do.
I don't know if I mentioned that my hubby bought me a Fitbit for my birthday.  The first day I wore it was on a Friday and was shocked to see that on a normal day for me I get in the 10,000 steps.  Unfortunately, this means I will probably need to walk 15,000 to spark any weight loss - SIGH!  I really am not sure how accurate it really is.  I would be interested in the criteria used for measuring the activity.  I find the difference in the tracking my walking on a treadmill compared to walking the path at the park ENORMOUSLY different.  I thought it funny that 2 hours of treadmill and a cardio class counted as 2 minutes of activity where an hour walking the path was 67 minutes of activity.  Oh well, at least the steps counted give you a visual to work toward.


I've been working my way through Deborah Harkness' Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night.  This is my second time through these books as the third installment of the Trilogy was released in July and felt I needed to remind myself of the story before beginning the third installment.  I will say it was a good move on my part as I'm finding parts of it I don't remember reading at all.  I know it is better to read books in a series one right after the other when possible for me.  When I read Blackout and All Clear, it was an older series and it was so nice to be able to close the cover of one book and open the cover to the next right away.


The locusts are noisy and the summer annuals are starting to wither in the nighttime cool temperatures.  The college and high school football season began this past weekend.  It won't be long until we see the beautiful colors of Fall!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Last Move on Scroll Bars!

I am so excited!  Last night I made the final move forward of this project on my scroll bars.  The next move will be off the bars as it will be done.  I've stitched the house at the top right of the project since this photo last night.  

This is Harvest Time by Prairie Schooler.  I have stitched it on a piece of 28 count Jobelan in Copper Penny.  I've used the called for colors except for the church.  The called for color was the exact same as the base color of my fabric.  It felt like "Beauty in Simplicity" by Blue Ribbon Designs all over again.  I went through 14 colors when stitching the house until I found one that suited me on the fabric I chose.  Thankfully I only went through 6 changes of colors on the church before I found a keeper.

I've already picked out my next project.  Again keeping to my goal of trying to stitch Prairie Schooler designs from my stash.  I will be stitching July (my birth month) on 32 count Lambswool.  I'm doing something a bit different on this one which is stitching it using Hand Dyed Fibers Premium Silks.  You can see my project box of spools ready to go.  I think I have done a pretty good job of matching colors to the called for DMC.  I chose to do this as I stitch so much "prettier" with 1 thread and know Premium provides great coverage on 32 count with 1 thread.  I will post a list of my conversions on one of my future posts.

Also in keeping with my goals this year of stitching on my projects in the works,  I have pulled out this large project.  I started Jan Houtman's Flower Bouquet in Green several years ago.  It is one I would really like to complete so have decided to keep it by my chair and work on it periodically while I stitch my other projects.  I've decided if I dedicate myself to spending just 15 minutes a day on it I will complete it much sooner than if it just continues to sit in the cupboard.  It may not get done this year but am hopeful it will at least get done.  The pattern has 35 pages and I am just a few stitches from completing page 2 of the pattern.
I am stitching it on a piece of 25 count Jobelan and you can see it took an entire 1/2 yard of it for this project.  I am using the called for DMC colors.  I will keep you posted on my progress.
On Wednesday night we participated in a Car Show at a local church here in town.  They have a big festival to kick off their Fall schedule of classes, etc at the church.  This is a picture of my husband and son next to a 1929 Lincoln.  It was an amazing vehicle as even the interior is all original.  I wouldn't mind owning that car.

In addition to the car show, inflatables for the kids, a dunk tank, food and hay rides there was a hot air balloon doing a nite glo.  We met some wonderful new people and ran into someone I grew up with.  It was a fun evening for the family!
For those doubters out there - I really do get to drive the super fast Camaro!
Husband's brother is here visiting for a long weekend and I got them to pose for a couple of pictures with this piece of artwork that will be moving on soon!
Now I'm off to finishing making the homemade ice cream using the recipe handed down through our family for generations.  YUMMY!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Catching Up!

  It seems like it has been forever since I've had the time or energy to sit down and catch up with what I've been up to over the last month.  It seems the Iowa State Fair (11 days),  my son's birthday, a couple of car shows, evening rides in the Camaro, doctor's appointments, exercise, getting ready for an out of state visitor tomorrow, and some time with my friends has kept me pretty busy. 

Here are some pictures I took this month.    The first is a hummingbird moth.  It seems to like my tall garden phlox in the front and hung around for about 30 minutes while I was waiting for my son's bus to get home.  I usually sit out on the front porch reading but went back in for my camera.  I got some really nice pictures.
As always, I can't resist taking pictures of the moon.  I took this one in the morning as the sun was coming up.  I just like the color of the sky and how you can be more creative with your photos when taking morning shots of the moon.  At least until I learn to take better night photos.

I spent quite a lot of time this summer wondering where these hornets that were around my flowers were making their home this summer.  Checked eaves, under the upstairs deck, etc. looking for their home this year only to be sitting on the swing on the upper deck one evening to spot it 40 feet up in the tree at the back of the yard.  It is quite large (about the size of a basketball) and shaped like a strawberry.  I was either very brave or very stupid to get underneath it to take some photos.  It is an amazing structure.  It is too far up for us to do anything about it.  Hopefully this winter we will have a heavy snowfall that will knock it out of the tree.

The Iowa State Fair was very enjoyable this year as the temperatures were in the 80's most days.  We managed to get out there on 3 occasions and saw something different each time we went.  Here are some photos of the Fair through my lens - and yes I do love ferris wheels.

 Here is Keith showing off our 3rd purchased plaque with donation going to the Blue Ribbon Foundation to maintain and improve the fairgrounds.
1st Place - Tabletopper/Breadcloth/Napkin
1st Place - Verse/Motto

2nd Place - Pic Under 15"
2nd Place - Afghan
3rd Place - Pillow

4th Place - Pic Under 15" Linen

4th Place - Sampler
I entered 7 items in Fabric and Threads this year and was stunned to have been awarded 7 ribbons.  I was equally thrilled that they were all 4th place and higher.  No honorable mentions this year so feel like I've elevated my stitching.  I was looking forward to reading the judges comments as they always help me to improve my stitching.  All very positive but on the pieces using 2 strands of floss over 2 threads I seem to have a tension problem at times.  I would agree with this comment which is probably why I prefer to stitch 1 strand of floss over 1 on 25 count.  I chose to stitch on larger count fabric this year with 2 strands so I could have some larger pieces to put into the Fair.  I am already thinking of how to improve in this area so I can still do some larger pieces on 28 or 32 count for next year and suggestions on how I can improve my technique are always welcome.
This lovely quilt was entered by my friend, Kathy.

This was my personal favorite on display.

This one just made me LOL!  So creative.

I'm thinking of branching out next year and trying this category.  Everyone is given the same fabric and you design a quilt block and enter it.  They take all the quilt blocks and make them into the quilt that is raffled away each year.

Who knew you could crochet an owl?!

Attended a few horse shows.

Saw all things made of butter.  The usual cow and this year they did a nod to the 25th Anniversary of the movie Field of Dreams.  You know the famous line "Is this heaven?   No it is Iowa!"  I still have my t-shirt purchased at the ISF the year the movie came out.

Enjoyed the architecture of the 100+ year old buildings.

Was amazed at how a cupcake could be decorated in such detail.

Always fun to see all the produce that has been entered and judged.  Congratulations to family friend, Tim for his 2nd place in grapes.

This is the Biggest Bull named Big Daddy weighing in at 3,012 pounds.

This is the Biggest Boar named Peabody weighing in at 1,273 pounds.

On Veteran's Day there was a parade as is tradition.

Always love to go the last day after the Dahlias have been judged.  Tables of beautiful blooms.

My guys enjoying their favorite ride - the Sky Glyder!  Just couldn't resist the photo of the bottoms of their feet as they went overhead.

As I said, I do love a ferris wheel.

Always fun to hear the screams of those on these 2 rides.  

The last thing we saw before leaving on the last day was the majestic Clydesdale horses.  I think they are the most magnificent animals and it is always a thrill to see them.

 I've taken to walking the trail put into the park last year behind my house.  It is such a peaceful place to walk.  I've only run into 2 people on the 3 times I've walked it this week.  I've actually seen more deer than people.  This covered bridge was built around 1875.  It was in 2 previous locations before Parks & Recreation purchased for $1 in the 60's and located it where it is now.
I'm am just about to finish Harvest Time by Prairie Schooler and can't wait to take it for framing.  I have in the back of my mind a couple of frames I think would look great.  As always, will have to wait until frame corner piece and stitched piece are together to decide.

By the way I wonder if any of the rest of you have your blogs make into bound books?  It is something I started doing back in 2011 after losing my blog on 2 occasions.  I so enjoy going back at different times of the year looking to see what we were doing as a family or what I was creating back then.  I also find it a great reference for when I want to use the same fibers or fabric from a previous project.  It is one of the reasons I try to include this information in my blog so I have an easy reference for future projects.

Looking forward to some stitching over the long holiday weekend!