Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Grandmas & grandchildren

I found this great camping fabric and couldn't resist making pillow cases for my grandsons for Easter.

The fabric has so many cute camping details, including the top cuff, sticks with marshmallows ready for toasting. I made these for the 3 little ones.

And for big brother who plays on his school baseball team I made this baseball pillow case.

My girlfriend, Laura who has twin toddler grandchildren is making "big" bed quilts for them. She started with Hungry Caterpillar fabrics and added lots of bright color fabrics to go with it.

They are so cheery and fun.

And here are the two together ready to be quilted with their cute boarders.

For my birthday Deb H. sent me this new book by Allie Aller on Crazy Quilting. The book is wonderful with a lot of great ideas for crazy quilting. A nice modern look. Deb H. has one of her crazy quilted pieces in the book. Allie has a great blog you should check out http://alliesinstitches.blogspot.com/ I have no idea why this post is so "squished" together. Why there is no space between the end of the sentence and the next picture even though I have put a space in there several times.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

National Quilting Day

Last week was National Quilting Day (not sure what day it actually is), I spent the last two Saturdays quilting with with friends. Boy, you get a lot done when you don't have the normal household interruptions. One of the Saturdays I worked on my grandsons Christmas quilt. I have it all pieced except for the boarders.

Boarders coming soon.

This is another one of Mary's (the over achiever of the group) Christmas quilts shes making for her grand nieces and nephews. Notice the 2 small quilts on the back of the chair, each made from the scraps of the larger quilt. Oh brother, she makes us look bad! (She had this all pieced before our quilting day).
Lil Twister pattern.

Another one of her Christmas quilts. She now has 5 pieced with 2 of them quilted. She's making 10 total. She'll be done soon, with other projects done in between!

One of our dear quilting friends is terminally ill and some are finishing up a few of her quilts. Kay worked on this one. This is like a breath of Spring, I love the striped lattice strips.

And how cute is this, Melanie Ver Duin designed and made this wall hanging, winning a ribbon with it at a local show. The pin cushion and quilt are 3-D. The machine is correctly threaded and has a real needle and vintage button dials.

Melanie's mother embroidered these blocks in the 70's to make a quilt for the baby she was expecting (Melanie). Never completing them she put them away and forgot about them until now when Melanie is expecting her third baby. Melanie is now finishing them into a quilt for her baby. I love stories like this.

Close up of the lion.

OK another Mary project. This tote bag is pieced with the salvage edges cut from her fabrics, with tape measure ribbon handles.
This is a commercial pattern.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Companion Planting

Last night was my local herb society meeting, this was one of the center pieces on the refreshment table. How cute is this, the herb box is a old sewing machine drawer.

And the front with the pull knob.

The lecture was on companion planting, there is evidence that some plants are protected and grow better when planted near the correct neighbor. Odors seem to repel insects and protect the companion plant.
This group of companion plants is called "Three Sisters", squash/pumpkins, beans and corn do well planted together.
The quilt under the plate was one of the speakers, her grandmoter made it with scraps from the family, there is fabric in it from 30s to one of her shirts from the 50s. Too wonderful.

Another great companion planting, roses with garlic, onions or chives planted around it.

And just like in cooking with tomatoes and basil they do well planted together.

Another really good pair is tomatoes and asparagus, and tomatoes and carrots.

Potatoes and horseradish make wonderful companions. At the Herb Conference they served a potato salad with a little horseradish in the dressing, it was wonderful.
If your interested they're is so many more companion planting tips on the internet and in gardening books.
Another great plant is Marigolds and Calendula. They are good to plant near potatoes, tomatoes, roses. Along all the edges of your garden to help keep out pests. And their beautiful.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Michigan Herb Conference

Last week my girlfriend and I went to the Michigan Herb Conference, it was so nice seeing "green" after the long winter. I purchased a few new herbs, the tall pot is mojito mint perfect for summer mojito drinks, rose scented geranium and Irish moss.

In the moss I tucked in some spun-cotton mushrooms from the 1960's that were made in Germany. I purchased them from http://www.blumchen.com/. They have a lot of vintage and new goodies.

This was the welcoming display "Horseradish-what a kick!" Herb of the year.
I went to a lot of lectures from unusual herbs to making your own bent-wood trellis. All of them great.

And one craft class, making herbal garden fairies. This was the class sample.

This is the beginning of mine, I started with a seed head from last summers coneflower for the head, twig arms, and a wooden skewer for the body all bundled and tied with raffia. They gave us different dried herbs to used for the dress.

This is my fairy, with it's bay leaf wings and acorn cap. It needs a little more flowers in the skirt and sleeves and hopefully I will soon be able to get back to it.

They had beautiful displays set up, this is a garden party, with a "bee skip" candle holder.

Flower pot napkin holders and tea cup arrangements.

Another display was a vintage kitchen.

Porcelain basins

Canning equipment and canned goods.

Another lecture I went to was Creating your own herbal liqueurs. That was interesting. I actually thought I might learn something new to use with my natural fabric dying.

They auctioned off different herbal gardens, this one is a live salad bowl with wooden serving utensils. Pick the greens as needed and let it keep growing.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Turtle Table

My husband designed, carved and made this sea turtle table for me. The Native Americans believe that we live on turtle island, which is the back of a giant turtle swimming in the ocean. This is the story told to us by the Native Americans in our area who are the woodland people.

White-birch legs.

I put it in my hallway with our Navajo weavings above it.

I spent some time this weekend hand-piecing some more of my quilt. I say "hand piecing" because some of my friends thought I was machine piecing it. Nope, it will all be done by hand. I also cut out a few more blocks.

One was a nine-patch with birch leave squares and the other "spotted" squares I made while in Colorado with lichen pieces.

Another 9-patch with euclyptus print squares, the others I dyes with Navajo tea.

My friend Judy made this quilt (not quilted yet) with a pattern called (I believe) Four-Patch stack. All the blocks are made with the same fabric as the boarder. How you stack and cut and sew them make the different patterns in each block. Like the "Stack and Wack" pattern a few years ago.
This is a cute, perky quilt for the last long days of winter.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tahquamenon Falls

Last week my husband and I went up to the U. P. and camped at Tahquamenon Falls. There's a State Park there and they keep a few campsites plowed open for winter camping. Not surprising we were the only ones there, we loved that. The really sad part is they are 60 inches below normal in snowfall! Not good, global warming.

We did a lot of snowshoeing through the woods, it was very cold but beautiful. Without my hood on I would get a instant "ice cream" headache.

From the campground there's a 2 1/2 mile (round trip) hike down to the lower falls. It's hard to believe the falls can freeze but over half is frozen and so is the river they run into.

This beautiful poem is posted along the hike. How can you not love trees.

My husband on the viewing deck above the falls.

At night at the upper falls the State park has a gas lantern lit trail through the woods. It's about a mile. You felt like you were in a Snow White and the Seven Dwarf's story.

It leads past the upper falls which are much larger than the lower.

And back to a camp fire and refreshments.

My husband and I took it twice, once at dusk and once in the dark when the lanterns were lighting your way.

Back in our R.V., this is our queen size bed. I made this flannel quilt about 13 years ago. I made different quilts for what ever type of trip were on. This is my "official" winter snowshoeing quilt.

Close up of fabric, these were hand screen printed at Michigan Rag Co. I sewed vintage black buttons on in all the corners.

And our little gourmet dinner, Apricot glazed Cornish hens, herbed rice, green beans and a little Winter White wine. I put the chicken in the oven while we went out snowshoeing and come home to a wonderful dinner. This is the recipe if you interested:
1 cup apricot preserves
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup "I can't believe it's not butter"
little salt and pepper. Mix together and pour in and over the chicken. Roast breast side up.
Roast 1 hour and 350 degrees. Mime took longer because their squashed together in the pan.

I did a lot of sewing at night. I have this block all sewed on and ready for the names and dates.

Stitched together the next section of my other wool quilt.

Two sections done with many more to come. I can not wait until spring to come to dye/print more leaves.

The following is a wonderful blog by Barbara Brackman, she is a well know textile/quilt historian. This year is the sesquisentennail of the Civil war and Barbara's blog focuses on a historic block every week representing something from the Civil war. Even if you don't make the block there is a great history lesson with it. http://civilwarquilts.blogspot.com/

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo