Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A homemade Christmas

I'm the youngest of my siblings, and I found it fitting to get a sibling picture with them in front of the tree this year with their Christmas present quilts.
Go Packers!  (73 x 96)
Do you work better (more productive) with deadlines?  The final binding stitches for the Green Bay Packer quilt were sewn the night before heading out to my parents for our Christmas celebration.  The pace for completion of this quilt increased after my brother mentioned at our Thanksgiving holiday that he was wanting a new quilt. "No rush," he had said... 

Ask and ye shall receive...
When giving quilts, I don't have any expectations of reactions, regardless of who is the recipient.   It appears that Gma was a bit saddened that the quilt she claimed "dibbs" on as I was posting its progress on Facebook was given to her son instead of her.  

My sister and BIL knew this quilt was a project with their names on it, literally.  "Berquist Beauty" took its time being made throughout the year, and it appears to have been graciously accepted as a quilt for their king-sized bed.
Berquist Beauty (103 x 103)

Gma received her own (smaller) homemade items.  
After volunteering to take care of the dishes during the Thanksgiving visit, I was determined to gift her some new towels that actually absorbed water when used to dry dishes :)  LOL

And a couple of crocheted dish cloths to complete out her present.  I used the Dishie yarn from KnitPics;  I'm pretty pleased with this yarn for dish cloths.

Most of Wisconsin was pretty brown on Christmas Day, but Saturday morning (12/27) changed that picture!  A wet, heavy snow started falling Friday night into Saturday morning, dropping about 4 inches.   My parents have a beautiful cozy place nestled back into some woods.  Cliche-sounding, but true!

I'm in the midst of Christmas Break from school right now;  I figured it was time to give my blog another post update.   I've been sewing most of today away, but.... maybe I'll save that post for tomorrow :D   It could happen!  LOL

Sunday, November 30, 2014

New start - Always Time

Bonnie's mystery quilt of 2014 has begun, and of COURSE I'm eager to participate.  I hadn't chosen fabrics, so after arriving home Friday afternoon after celebrating Thanksgiving at my parent's house, I spent some time in the sewing room.  I had a stack of luscious lilacs/sages/olives that I was hoping would fit the bill, but..... *sigh*.... no matter how I sorted them, varied them, added to them.... 
... they weren't working out with Bonnie's requests.
And, in a weird silly moment, I begged the silent aura of Bonnie for forgiveness.  I chose to push pause on her mystery.  I needed to work with these fabrics!

Friday evening, I spent in front of the television with stacks and stacks of quilt magazines.  I'm thankful I've been able to ignore the little voice in my head that often tells me  I need to reduce my pile of magazines, thinking I'll NEVER make a quilt from a pattern.  By the time I headed to bed, I had narrowed my choices to four that I felt would work with the fabric amounts on hand.

Saturday morning, I finalized it to the Ramblin' Aunt Sukey pattern.  I've made this pattern before for Cathy's Aunt Sukey, back in 2008.  It's a lovely, elegant pattern. 

The morning was spent cutting up most of the units.  It's crazy how much time it takes to cut all of these pieces, but yet...... there's SO little to show!
I would have loved to begin sewing, but I had a wedding to attend of a very special young lady.

Bright and 5:00 early this morning though, I was up raring to dive into the project.

Hours later (7?), the blocks are completed and are resting on the carpeted area, waiting to be sewn into a quilt top.  Today was a wonderfully productive day :D  After working on it for hours, I think it'll suitable fit the name, Always Time.

My Green Bay Packer scrap leader-ender project is growing nicely on the design wall.  I have no definite size in mind;  I'll just keep adding until it reaches (no larger than) a queen size.

Now, I have decisions to make!  I would love to continue tackling this collection of yarn odds-n-ends in a new 'Scrap Ripple' afghan, but, sadly, I think my school work needs to take some precedence.  (At least long enough for me to know what I'm planning to do tomorrow!)  And soon---the Packer game is on!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fall finishes [Crochet]

Such a sight is long behind us already in the northern parts of Wisconsin. Cassie captured this image during the first weeks of October; a sure sign that winter was nearing.

...And crochet projects got underway for the changing season. 

 Cailtyn's Hat [free Ravelry pattern]

Cassie's wristers [free Ravelry pattern]

And yes, we wrapped up the tomato harvest as well -- JUST in time for the snow to come.
We have two cases of spaghetti sauce and a couple cases of pizza sauce.  In fact, I just made up a batch of lasagna yesterday with one of the last jars from last year's harvest. 

Somewhere amidst the end of summer, the Fall Ripple was finished but never blogged about.  
Candace had chosen the colors and order of the yarns for the afghan.  She wants to claim it as hers, but she can't get EVERY afghan I make.

This is a larger afghan, finishing at 68" x 90" and fitting a queen sized bed decently.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was in a creative slump -- I didn't care to work on ANY projects I had underway, crochet nor quilting!  I know I'm not alone when it comes to starting a new project;  after all, that's usually why (and how) we have so many UFOs floating around ;)

However, this one kept me motivated...

... and I put the final stitches in this afternoon while watching a Harry Potter movie with the girls.
The yarns used were extras I purchased for the Trip Out West afghan (hmm.... did I ever blog officially about that???)

Random Ripple Afghan (54" x 67")
At first, I started out with the standard ripple pattern, alternating colors after one back-n-forth path.  But then, I tried out a random strip generator, and followed a sample there for awhile.  Sadly, I ran out of the darker gray yarn midway and refused to buy any new yarns! (GASP!)  So, I threw in a charcoal grey towards the end just to get another 'dark' in the afghan before wrapping it up for good.
Roughly, this afghan took 20-25 hours to complete;  not too shabby.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Changing of the seasons...

Blogging continues to be on my mind, but the act of brining my thoughts to life on my blog was more of a challenge lately than not.  Two months gone.  Two months to catch up on (?).  THAT would take a while.

Instead, I send out my greetings to anyone still following and reading me despite my departure from the blogging world for the past 2 months.

Today marked the first day off from school since it started;  it's been a long time coming.  We have the entire upcoming week off;  partly due to Thanksgiving, but mostly due to the Wisconsin deer hunting season.

Cassie is out with Paul this year;  I'm really not sure who is more excited!  It's been a quiet day so far...so I've heard.  

Therefore, it was FINALLLLLY possible to spend some time cleaning, tidying and getting back to work in my sewing room.

Angela's Rainbow Scrap Challenge received all of my attention today.  All eleven months' colors are complete;  another year of color tackled!
Additionally, I pieced backing for my Hawaii Sunset AND Celtic Solstice quilts.  They have been folded and added to my growing pile of "must-quilt-SOON" projects.

It's a beautiful 35 degrees out today;  the other two girls have stayed home with me and are playing outside, rolling in the snow;  excellent packing snow today!  For the evening, we have movies prepped and ready to go... and I'll continue to work on a new ripple crochet afghan I started a couple of weeks ago.  Who knows... MAYBE I'll get another update typed up for tomorrow too.

Thanks for still being out there,

Sunday, September 21, 2014

RSC14; Fall life; apples; chickens getting older -- the good stuff :)

Angela's (SoScrappy) got the right idea choosing orange to be the color for September...

Mother nature is giving us reds and oranges and even some eggplant purples to enjoy as the days are starting to get cooler (and the nights even colder!)

Despite the cooling temps, the garden (slowly) continues to produce lil teaser crops of tomatoes so that I can make up half-batches of spaghetti sauce each weekend.

Sadly, the colder temps haven't killed the ragweed pollen yet.  Last Sunday, I opened up a brand new box of kleenex, and by that afternoon, only about 1/5 of it remained.  Ugh.  I wasn't a pleasant person to be around.

Regardless, the day was a super productive one.  Apples consumed us all day.... 
Candace was the first to sample the 2014 apple juice...

Cailtyn and Candace were a dynamo team with the foodmill, making apple sauce from the remains of the apple juicing session.

And yesterday, with 3 bags of apples STILL left from last weekend's preserving, I gave a new recipe a try:  Amish Apple Pie filling......
Ummmmmm..... can you say Y.U.M.!?!?  Definitely a winner winner :)  Now, I just need to learn how to make pie crust...

Truly, one positive about the cooler (but not COLD!) temps is the increased time we've spent in the hot tub.  Last Saturday at 8AM, with temps only at 37 degrees, we relaxed in the 102 degree water for about 20 minutes before tackling the corn crop harvest.

And just when chicken life finally has calmed down, we decide to make one final move before the snow starts flying.   The 10 "teenagers" (who SHOULD be laying eggs ANY day now!!!!), received some new coop-mates this morning...

The 10 chicks, who are no longer chicks, have been moved in to their new digs;  the New Coop.  Cassie and I watched the interaction between the two flocks for about half hour without too much excitement.  We are fairly certain the 10 chicks consist of 5 roosters and 5 hens;  the biggest rooster (the white/black speckled one closest to the waterer in the picture) doesn't have much fear of the pullets/teenagers.  He marched right over to the feeder, and amazingly....the pullets didn't bother him either.  There were only minor lil' scuffles between the chickens so far;  for the most part, each 'flock' is staying with their peers. Eventually, I'm fairly certain the 20 of them will all play nicely together.  Although----with 5 roosters....... we may need to problem solve.  But, that'll be a thought for another day.

"Shorty" here keeps sprouting and turning into an AMAZING young lady.  Fall life is keeping us all on our toes;  volleyball games, schoolwork, housework, garden work.... there isn't much down-time, certainly.  Cass has become such a wonderful helper!!!!!

And then there are odds-n-ends in the quilting, sewing and crocheting world that fill the tiny lil' moments of free time...

Scrappy Log Cabin blocks 

Red Heart's Prairie Star

I actually have an entire afternoon ahead of "downtime!"  I could sew, but don't think I'm gonna.  I could crochet....but same thought of not really wanting to.  
Truly, instead, I think I'm going to get a few plans in place for school lessons this week.  Considering I don't even know what I have on the agenda for tomorrow for my Algebra 2 class, I think some computer/school work time is my best option :)

Happy Sunday everyone.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A lil' bit of quilting; a whole lotta gardening

Although my quilting time didn't happen until Sunday, I figured I would post about this first.
Yes folks -- I set time aside and burned through a few bobbins worth of quilting thread, making progress on Berquist Beauty.  Like riding a bike :)  This is a bigg'un though, so it'll take me a bit to complete all of the quilting.  Baby steps.  An hour here and there.

But backin' up the bus....
On Saturday, with the help of MIL, FIL and the girls, we made record time of hauling in the garden harvest...
A little under half the corn was picked and shucked, the last of the cucumbers were picked, and the first teaser crop of tomatoes FINALLLLLY came off the vines.  Goodness... mix together a late Spring with a cooler than normal summer, and those 'maters are takin' their good ol' time ripening on the vine!

Yes folkies----the camera was NOT in my hands for once :D  Cassie took care of recording the day's events with digital film....{I think it was her way to get out of helping} ;)
Between FIL and myself, we made fairly quick work of the corn.
I set off blanching it and cooling it, 

while FIL started the process of cutting it off the cob using one of Paul's electric fillet knife.  I joined him at the table to finish up the cobs once all of the corn was blanched.

Not having the pigs this year has been quite different.  They ALWAYS loved corn harvest day because they would get the spoils of the "trash" (aka: naked cobs).  
Waste not, want not....

The girls still had their contest of "who can throw the corn the furthest off the deck?"  or "who can hit the target in the pen?" {{NO!  Not one of the animals!}}.
The goats actually enjoyed the cobs, nibbling off some partial kernels.
The pig pen (aka: goat and duck pen now) is still a work in progress.

While I was getting the corn water up to a boil and preparing all the supplies for the corn harvest, FIL scrubbed up the cucumbers...

...and then got lost in the dill patch.

Yes folkies---we had a great dill patch this year.  

Then, while FIL and I were working away on the corn, MIL took charge of packing the cuks into jars in order to pickle.

With all hands on deck, we were complete with the harvest and preserving around 1PM.  LOTS of time left in the day to play, relax, and nap (not me, but others) ;)

BOY!  Now that I've gone through all of that with such a group of people working like a well-oiled machine, I don't think I'm looking forward to THIS weekend's harvest of even MORE corn, and (hopefully) tomatoes, with only the help of the girls.  The lil' teaser crop of tomatoes went untouched;  only 7 pounds worth;  can't do much with that.  They will either be enjoyed this week, or will wait patiently until next week's harvest to become spaghetti sauce (or pizza sauce).

Happy Monday everyone :)