Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Strips and nature's colors

I had some more playtime yesterday. I'm still making the blue green mixture. All green will be next. I finished sewing the last short blue strips too. In this picture I also have the green and blue mix. These are the plants that are pretty invasive in a mixture garden, but since the butterflies like them, I won't dig them all out.
The sun is shining but it is cold in the house this morning. I am not turning the heat on yet though. I will use little electric heaters in the room I am in if necessary. My electric bill is very reasonable compared to my natural gas bill.

A couple people have asked me if I am going to print my butterfly photos on fabric, and the answer is yes. I have quite a few nature photos that I would like to have in a wallhanging to enjoy all year round.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Unwind time

Last night I could finally unwind a little and started sewing green strips. I'm adding a little blue and turquoise in on the first sets as the transition from blue to green. In the background is this quilt that is partially quilted and waiting patiently on the table for me.

Here are 2 shots I took at the same location of flowers, the first with the butterfly and
the other with the bees. They kept changing positions with each other.
Then this one landed on the sidewalk a couple feet away from me, as if to say, Ok get it out of your system and take my picture and then leave us alone. If you click on it you will see that he looks like he is looking at me.
It is raining here this morning and we need the rain. While I was eating breakfast my cousin (son of the aunt that passed away) called to tell me that as they were walking in the door at their home in southern IL Saturday the phone was ringing, and it was to tell them that his wife's father passed away Saturday, exactly a week after his mother's death. Their kids had headed home to 3 other states and now will be returning for another grandparent's funeral.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Yesterday Pat asked in the comments whether I had any schooling in photography. My dad was an amateur photographer in the 1940's and 1950's. I got my first camera when I was 10 years old and Dad encouraged my efforts. I have always admired other people's photos and have analyzed what made them good. My son is a professional photographer so I still see great photos all of the time.

As for myself I would say the love of color and nature draws me in and a good camera is the last piece in the puzzle. I had a 35mm camera for 20 years and then went to digitals about 10 years ago. My new camera is giving me the utmost pleasure with the 8 megapixels and telephoto lens. I can be standing several feet away and get these great shots. Software in the computer to crop and adjust the photos helps too.

I was so glad to get a group of 3 here.The 50th class reunion was a lot of fun. I saw several class members in the morning at the alumni tea and then more came to the actual reunion at night. When I was in my 20's and 30's I would see pictures of 50th reunions in the newspaper and be in awe that so many "old" people were still around to attend them. Now I know they weren't old people at all. We had 44 graduating seniors and 8 have passed away. We had 3 there last night that didn't graduate with us but spend a few years in our class. We're going to do the next reunion in 3 years and hope that we won't still have the high fuel costs that kept some of them away.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Just a few more butterflies

This is my favorite butterfly picture so far and I have just made it my desktop image so I can see it every day. The red in the background is the last few cherry tomatoes on its vine in a pot. I was so happy to capture so many colors in one shot. Be sure to click on it for a bigger image. My stone house makes a good backdrop for the flowers and butterflies.
I have a couple more shots for tomorrow and will have a report on the class reunion.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Busy days

Today is the visitation and funeral for my aunt. My cousin and his wife stopped on their way through town yesterday for a few minutes. While I was waiting for them, I snapped a few more butterfly pictures. I have 2 colors of asters and a little volunteer baby goldenrod appeared there this year.
The butterflies and bees have given up on the seedum and are feeding exclusively on the asters.
There are a lot more buds to open so the butterflies should be around for awhile.

My class reunion (50th) and alumni tea are tomorrow. I just got word that parking will be at a premium because the main street of town is under construction and the parade* route will be in an area where I normally could have parked. I guess I will wear my walking shoes.

*homecoming parade

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Am I done yet?

I cut some more blue strips and made some more sets. Here are all of the ones that are done, put up on the design wall as a collage. I'm planning on cutting them up and doing other things with them but couldn't resist seeing them all together. It's another cool morning here, but it was DARK at 6 a.m when my radio came on. Oh, well I guess it IS almost October.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Basting away

I finally got back to my basting table and did this little baby quilt. I was going to baste it 2 weeks ago but couldn't find the baby designed batik that I wanted on the back. As I was pulling my blue batiks for my strip piecing, I found it. For some reason I remembered it with a pink background so I was looking in the wrong pile. There weren't very many baby batiks made by Hoffman but I have 2 of them.
I made some more progress on my blue strip piecing but I haven't taken any pictures yet. It is another beautiful day, cool morning and sunshine with expected 80 degree temperatures again today. I should go out for a walk......

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Old project revisited

Over the last 33 years I was always trying to come up with new ideas for classes. One of the ideas for a machine embroidery quilt was a calendar quilt made with old blue jeans and flannel. January has 5 embroidered squares and 4 flannel squares. February has flannel in the corner blocks to meet up with denim in the previous block.
When they come together the flannel will make a checkerboard all through the quilt. My ideas was to use a color of flannel that represented the month, so March will have green flannel for St. Patrick's Day. Another idea was that if they had family members with birthdays, they could work that information into a block and it would become a memory quilt for the family too.
Only 2 people wanted to take the class and they couldn't come on the planned dates so this one went into the UFO box. I think I will finish it this winter. I need to get all of the projects out and set some goals.

In the backyard, the squirrels are busy. The walnut is almost bigger than his head. I have heard the squirrels out there chewing off the outer layers, and then as often as not they go bury the nut.

It is cool this morning but the sun is shining. We are having some beautiful weather. I just hope we don't have rain on Saturday (my class reunion day).

Monday, September 22, 2008


Thank you everyone for your condolences and prayers. Aunt Marian did have a long life and I'm glad she has the release from her arthritic pains at last. The funeral is Friday.

I didn't have any pictures ready for blogging so I went back into my archives of garden pictures. This one was called Zebrina I think. It self seeds so I had them for a couple years and then they were gone. It was a beautiful day yesterday and today is starting out nicely as well. I love the fall weather with the cooler nights.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Aunt Marian 1910-2008

My mother's only sibling, her older sister Marian died yesterday afternoon. She had been in the hospital the last 2 weeks and stopped eating last Monday. Even though my mother was 8 1/2 years younger, she had 3 children before my aunt married and had her only child, a boy. Below is my aunt and me and my oldest brother so this was before Sept. 1942 when my other brother was born.
My aunt always had all of the family picnics in her back yard. This was probably 1946-47. I am the little girl in the chair in front of the tables and my aunt is to the right of me, and then my grandma.
My aunt had a deep faith in God and I know He helped her through some trying years.

Good-bye Aunt Marian, we will miss you.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A few more blues

I sewed the strip set on the right last night. I found the turquoise set at the bottom and the blue set angled to the left and above it in the box with strips waiting to be sewn. I like it when I find bonuses. I need to continue cutting blues today. I had just finished showering and combing my hair when I got a phone call saying my mother had fallen but they were worried about my dad who was extremely upset. I got dressed and got over there in about 10 min. and my neighbor who works there met me at the door and said they were ok and that she was joking with them and had them laughing and she said to just go back home. We are a family with very strong bones, so all Mother had was a rug burn on her knee. I was more worried about her twisting her back which is her worst problem.

The reason my dad is upset in situations like that is that he is frustrated that he can't do things for her like he used to. He is unsteady on his feet too so he couldn't get her up and had to call for help. He knows that it is his job to take care of her and he feels failure and frustration. The lady who called knew he would be ok if he saw me there. Luckily they were able to go on with their morning as usual. Now I have calmed down too and I'm on call..............

Friday, September 19, 2008

Smoothie facts.

Thanks for all of the positive comments about routine. Anyone who gets migraines especially understands routine; meals at fairly regular intervals, going to bed and rising at similar times each day, etc. Some people don't understand it and have made fun of me, but then they didn't have to suffer the pain of the headaches for all of those years.
Here are the ingredients and the calories for each, per your questions yesterday: Light Vanilla soy milk 1/2 cup = 40 calories
1/2 large banana or 3/4 med to small banana = 65 calories
5-8 frozen strawberries = 25 calories
1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries = 35 calories
High pulp orange juice 1/2 cup = 55 calories
for a total of 220 calories. Add to that 1/2 cup Cheerios = 50 calories and 11 cashews + 85 calories for a grand total of 355 calories for breakfast that is high in antioxidants. I started this as my routine breakfast in April, 2003 and have only missed it about 5 days in all of that time. I would like to think this is why I haven't had a cold for that length of time, but maybe I'm just lucky so far.

In the 1960's metal trivets were a big part of our kitchen decorating. They were originally made of iron but the ones we used were cast from aluminum at a local foundry. They were much lighter weight. I was looking for something yesterday and ran across this one, the only one I saved. I love the verse on it.

My Mother has no change in the blocked artery in her eye so we don't have to travel that distance for a year now. I am happy that we don't have to go over there in winter weather. Her back pain was so bad that we used her wheelchair to get her into Baker's Square because the walk from their parking lot is really long. And we did get to bring home pieces of pie. The gift cards are used up now.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Morning routine

When I retired from my job, I didn't have a routine any more. Now that I am blogging I do again. Some people have asked me why I blog every day, and isn't it an inconvenience. My answer is no, it is part of my morning routine, which I needed again.

The morning starts with my shower and dressing, then breakfast, the same thing every single day. Here is my breakfast smoothie before mixing....
being mixed.......
and ready to drink with my vitamins and supplements and Cheerios. I end my breakfast with a handful of cashews. One of my supplements is absorbed better with food with fat in it. I also found out later that cashews are a good source of zinc and I haven't had a cold for 5 and a half years so I guess it works.
Then I am ready to go to my blog and post some photos. I love photos, don't you? Below is my messy work space last night when I was ready to turn off the lights.
Below are 2 more embroideries. I took this photo with the macro setting and I don't like the way it distorts the grain of the fabric. It didn't look this way in my photo software. I do like the rose and the calla lily though.
Today is my mother's eye appt. at the IL Retinal Clinic about 25 miles from here. We will eat at Baker's Square before the appointment to use up some gift cards they got for Christmas. I hope there is enough money for a piece of pie to bring home......

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Embroidered blocks

While I was cutting this quilt, I also cut 5.5" squares to do another quilt. I am embroidering one color designs on a mottled coral colored fabric to appear here and there in the quilt.

My eyes were tired after all of the bright lights that were directed into them yesterday at my annual exam so I didn't get too ambitious for the rest of the day.
I did get outside to take another picture of a butterfly. This time I noticed that it has a pink outline and pink legs and a green eye. If I ever do fantasy butterflies in a quilt, I have a lot more ideas for colors than I had before.
Here are 2 of the ground covers in my front flower bed. They are taking over a whole section so I need to go out and dig as soon as it dries up a little bit more.
We have sunshine this morning and a promise of warm temperatures by afternoon. It was in the 50's this morning.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pressing seams open

I was in such a hurry to get my previous post done before I left to get my hair cut that I forgot to answer the question that came up in the comments yesterday. I press the seams open rather than to one side in any piece that has LOTS of close together seams. This way it just feels like one flat piece of fabric instead a piece with a lot of lumps. It also makes it easier to quilt through. Otherwise in my piecing I press my seams to one side when there is a lot of space between seams.

What happens when........

I had this quilt top on my design wall to show to my art quilters since I finished the borders since I had seen them last. One of the ladies hadn't been able to come for several months and had never seen "My current favorite" that is on the right side panel of my blog.I got it out and showed it to her and then because I didn't know where else to put it right then I hung it over the top of the above quilt. Quite interesting!! So where do ideas come from???? Accidents like this!! I would never have dreamed they would look good together but now I have a whole new batch if ideas brewing. Before they left I took all of the little strippies I have been making and added the ones from a couple years ago and put them on the design wall to see how they would look.
I'm off to get my haircut and then the annual visit to the eye dr. 45 degrees this morning.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Good bye Ike

We had enough rain for a month in the last 2 days. According to our local radio station, we had 5.75" of rain in 2 days. We have rarely had the remnants from 2 hurricanes in the same month in the Chicago area.

Here is the piecing that I did last night to unwind, using the bits that I had made the night before.
Here is the wrong side with all of the seams pressed open. The batiks are made from a high thread count and the seams press open really easily, unlike other quilting cottons.
The asters are starting to bloom. That is usually when I have the most butterflies.
My company should be arriving shortly. Have a great day everyone.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tiny bits

Here is the pile of bits I started with last night. Here are the pieced sections made from them to add into more of the strippies like I have been making the last couple days. Oh and to answer all of the questions about what I am going to make out of them, I don't know yet but I have several ideas brewing.
I'm glad I got some mums planted before all of the rain. Yes, Ike is near, it is still raining.

The red ones are a deeper shade than this picture. I don't know what it is about red, but it is hard to get a realistic photo of it.
I'm baking my peanut butter cookies this morning and will do the chocolate chip ones this afternoon. My art quilters are coming tomorrow (if they don't have flooded basements) and I need to treat them.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Still stripping

I'm having fun again! This is the best energizer I can find, this strippy playtime. I made more sets yesterday and sewed some from yesterday together into longer strips. I pulled out some of the older strips sets from my spare parts box and I think they will work together.
We are having a lot of rain and even more is predicted tomorrow with the remnants of Ike reaching us. A lot of areas around us have gotten 4" already. Luckily I harvested my hydrangea blossoms before it started. They will stay lime green for quite awhile in a vase after they dry. Added 12:45 p.m. : to dry them just hang bundles of them upside down (I do mine in the garage) for about a week, or until they feel dry. One year I just cut them and put them in vases and they didn't keep their color for very long. I don't know why hanging them upside down keeps them colorful longer.
Here is my bouquet of last year's blossoms. It still has a little tinge of green.
Here is my jungle area of the garden. These are cannas, given to me by friends. I plant them behind some of the shorter plants.
Today is cleaning day. My art quilter friends are coming Monday. I'm glad I have sixteen 8' daylight bulbs down in the basement. I won't even know it is a dark wet day while I am down there. I brought the 8' fixtures home from my store when I closed it in 1986 and have added 2 more (2 bulb) fixtures in the last 3 years. Because of the hot water heat pipes, the basement is warmer than the main level in the winter so it is comfortable year round. It is not fancy down there, just practical and comfortable with cement walls and floor.