Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Official Start of Summer!

It is Memorial weekend a time when we visit the gravesides of our dearly loved and missed and reflect upon the memories we hold in our hearts of times spent with them.

As we finished up our visits to the last of the cemeteries in the southern part of the State, it was time to mark the official start of summer.  For me this includes a stop at Ellis Greenhouse down in southern Iowa to pick up some more flowers/herbs/veggies for planting as well as any other unique items we happen upon.
This year the unique items included 4 wrought iron trellises for our clematis vines...

and I couldn't resist this little sheep planter...

and yes there were boxes of plants, herbs and veggie plants.  There was a lot of planting going on the rest of the day.

The previously planted are growing well and so enjoy sitting out on my front porch and back deck with a good book or just for some peace and quiet away from phones and t.v.

More firsts for the summer - first ride out in the convertible.  Can you tell how much the guys are going to enjoy it by the smiles?!
First car show of the year at Crivaro Park.  Thank you Brian M. for the great family shot.

First case of car envy - I've always loved the Chevrolet Corvairs and blue is my favorite color.  Only thing that could have made this better would have been it being one of the convertible models.

Made my first set of sheer curtains for the side windows of our front door.  We had been using a frosted Plexiglas there to give us some privacy as they did not make tension rods to fit these windows and I didn't want permanent rods in there.  As my good friends know, I will do a search online 3 or 4 times a year to see if what I'm looking for is now being made.  Imagine how excited I was 3 weeks ago to find they now make tension rods in the size I needed.  I ordered immediately and then went on the hunt for sheer fabric.  I had a stroke of luck to find the exact same sheer fabric used in my living room/dining room sheers I had purchased pre-made about 10 years ago.  The texture on the sheer as well as the color are a perfect match.   Yippee!  It gets better - discontinued on clearance for $4 a yard!  It was meant to be.

As I commented in a previous post, I need an updated photo of the Mystery Sampler by With Thy Needle and Thread.  I'm actually past the halfway point and am looking forward to a finish soon - providing I can get a couple of lengthy blocks of time to work on it.

I enjoyed a wonderful day of catching up, laughing and stitching with my dear friend, Harriet on Wednesday.  We had a fabulous lunch at Bravo! Cucina Italiana.  The eggplant Parmesan was cooked to perfection. 

One of the topics we talked about was goal setting for our stitching.  I know some of you think this is a little early to be thinking about as most of you set your goals to begin January 1.  My stitching year runs on a different schedule.  Yes, I like to be different, unique and original.  There is a really logical reason for this as I always enter projects in the Iowa State Fair which runs early to mid-August and pieces have to be turned in the end of July for judging.  You can see where this is going as I base my goals around everything needing to be completed by July 1 to allow for framing/finishing.  True not everything I stitch gets entered in the Fair but it seems like the time I think about what I want to accomplish with my stitching for the next year.  

This year I've completed almost all of the projects I want to enter so have been contemplating where I want to go with my goals this year.  The last two years my goals have been pretty generic to stitch from my stash with some new items sprinkled in that I just had to have.  I've decided to streamline my goals a bit more this year.  I'm am going to concentrate on stitching my stash of Prairie Schooler designs and sprinkle in designs from my stash by other designers.  Once again cutting back on new designs being purchased and whittling away at my stash.

To that end when I was with Harriet the other day I started stitching Harvest Time by The Prairie Schooler.  I'm using a 28 count Jobelan called Copper Penny and the called for DMC threads.  I will admit that I'm changing out the color used on the church as it is a green-gray and it does not sit well with me.  Am going to use the grays (which range from light to dark) in the 400's to stitch the church.
Robin, thank you for your question about the fabric boxes.  I did respond to you privately but I did want to mention this was a purchased pattern.  I am in the process of seeing if she has a website/email  where it can be purchased or through the quilt shop that taught the class in California.  Will keep you posted.
I read the first pages in this book that Harriet recommended and have to say it had grabbed my interest by the end of the first chapter.  I am looking forward to reading the rest of this story.

Then it will be on to another book recommended by Harriet.  It also seems like an interesting story and can't wait to start this one.

Many people will walk in and out of your life, But only true friends will leave Footprints in your heart - Eleanor Roosevelt.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thoughts, Happenings, Projects, Stitching, Fair, Books!

OH MY GOODNESS!  I'm surprised I didn't receive an email from someone to see if I was still alive!  I can't believe it has been so long since my last post.  So long I think I will have to figure out a way to condense the last month so as not to put you to sleep.


I wanted to share a link regarding copyright infringement.    I'm posting a link here to Kathy Barwick's February 2013 post about copyright infringement   It is an interview with someone in the plastic canvas genre who was sued for copyright infringement.  It isn't just cross stitch designers who are dealing with this problem.   I encourage all of you to read this interview and share.  Let's help are designers protect their copyright so they can stay in business.   

I noticed lately on Pinterest there have been some copyrighted designs being pinned.  I know I'm very careful to verify any cross stitch design that I Pin truly are "free designs" provided by the designer and encourage you all to do the same.  It may take a few minutes to track down where the original came from but so worth it not to be contributing to the problem.  


It is Spring time here but has been an anything but normal Spring.  

We've had a lot of cloudy days with chillier than normal temps!

We've experienced a few thunderstorms when the warm days we finally get are followed through by a cold front! 
I've had a few trips to the garden center to purchase some plants - well let's be honest lots of plants.

 The mess on the left results in a lot of pots on the right with a few extra annuals to add to our perennial flowerbeds.  In the end the pots end up at the front porch to create a wonderfully relaxing place to sit and read a book or visit with neighbors as well as making the back deck our own personal relaxing retreat.

Bill has also taken the time to freshen up the bark in the shade garden out back. 


I've been on a fabric box making mission lately.  My son was desperate for me to make one for him to store his remotes, etc. in.  I ended up making this one in navy blue for him.  He just loves it and has filled it to the brim already.
My dear friend, Harriet, returned from wintering in Arizona and I recently enjoyed a day of catching up, lunch and laughter.  I gifted her a fabric box.  I used the same interior fabric as on Keith's but changed the outside fabric and added lace to hers.  Here she is enjoying her new box!

 My BFF, Allison celebrated a birthday yesterday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN!) and she managed to wait until her actual birthday to open her birthday box.  I actually think this is a first for her - LOL!  Inside was a fabric box I made using some of the leftover fabrics from the placemats and table runner I made her for previous gifts.  I found a lovely brown lace to edge it with!
I'm pretty proud of the "challenge" pillow that I made for Allison.  You may remember that she sent me some left over t-shirt logos as well as leftover fabric from a t-shirt quilt her dear friend made for her a couple of years ago.  My challenge was to take her leftovers and make a pillow to go with her quilt.  Just to put things in context I am not what you would consider accomplished at sewing.  I decide (or in this case Allison) what I want and then figure out some way to make it and hope for the best.  This is the finished pillow.  I decided to make it a zippered pillow so she can remove the insert and wash it as needed.  I will admit that the front piece with the t-shirt logos took three attempts to get something to look just right when trying to cover the t-shirt edges.  My seam ripper was my best friend that evening.  As always, I learned a few things while making this and IF I ever make one again it will go much more smoothly.


There has not been a lot going on in the stitching department.  It seems like whenever I sit down to stitch I get about 6 stitches in and then get interrupted.  Kind of explains why I bought new nail polish 3 weeks ago and have yet to polish my nails.

I did find time to stitch up Farm Fresh Eggs by Nathalie (TheBlueAttic).  I'm trying to decide how I want to finish it as want to display in my kitchen.  I'm considering trying my first flat fold.

Currently am working on another design by Nathalie called A Good Laugh......  It will be a quick stitch.  I'm using a scrap piece of Lakeside Linen in 32 count that has more blue in it than this picture conveys.  The colors look great on the fabric.  It is my go to stitch to unwind at the end of the day!  
Just an added note that Nathalie's designs on Etsy are instant download now so no waiting once you pay!


I am also still plugging away on the Mystery Sampler by With Thy Needle!  Really hoping to have it done for entry into the Fair this year.  I see I need a new photo of this project as I am actually much further along than this photo.   I've finished the alphabet, bird and have made much progress on the tree.  

I have also taken the step and paid my entry fee for 10 projects in the Iowa State Fair and am awaiting my tags right now.  They added a new class this year and I happen to have something to enter into it as well.  Decided to order my discounted entry tickets at the same time.  It is so easy and they mail them as well.  Thank goodness I have until July 26 (the date they have to be delivered to the fairgrounds for judging) to finish my projects!


Last Friday was my book clubs meeting to pick the 2014-2015 books for discussion as well as potluck.  I did not get a photo a the potluck spread this year.  I do have a photo of it from my friend, Harriet but have not yet asked permission to use it so just imagine lots of beautiful foods!  Quiches, salads, crackers, dips, desserts.  I will just say it was DELICIOUS!

Here is a list of the books we have picked for discussion.  You might find something of interest yourself.

2014-2015 Books
Me Before You - JoJo Moyes
The Aviator's Wife - Melanie Benjamin
Caleb's Crossing - Geraldine Brooks
Blind Your Ponies - Stanley Gordon West
Orphan Train - Christina Baker Klein
Citizens of London - Lynn Olson
5 Days at Memorial - Sherry Fink
Empty Mansions - Bill Dedman & Paul Clark Newell, Jr.

I think this catches us up for the most part.  I will not let so much time pass between posts again!