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 :)

Friday, September 5, 2014

September rolled in.

Ah yes.....and here we have the traditional First Day of the School Year picture, with a couple more additions joining our 3rd, 5th and 8th graders.  We felt it was a quite fitting way to capture the transitions between the ending of this specific summer (of chickens) into the 2014-15 school year.  Lil' Miss Bossy hatched out two lil'uns on Monday, bringing our final....yes, FINAL... 2014 number of chickens to 42.

One (almost full) week into the school year......I AM PUMPED!  Truly!
My transition back into the world of High School is awesomely running smoothly.  Super pumped everyday.  Just HAPPY and ENJOYING everyday.  And so far.........well......MAYBE one or two students are feeling like the kiddo pictured above, but otherwise..... it's been a great start.

And holy moly... Wednesday night brought on a whopper of a storm!  The images of hail and damage slowly flooded the always live Facebook newsfeed.   It was another night of Paul's evening shift, so I had to be the strong one in charge.  Gah!  I don't like storms when I have to play that role alone!

But the girls..... they just snuggled in and buried their noses in their books, fresh from the school's library.  

Life is pretty good right now.  The girls are older and more independent on completing their chores after school.  Goodness -- it's so great they have taken on the responsibility without (too much) complaining. ;)  The days have certainly gotten full!   Going strong 6AM until 8PM most days so far before finally having an opportunity to sit and relax with some FB, blog reading and email reading.  
It's all good :D

Happy Friday!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

School spirit! [embroidery]

I dusted off the embroidery machine today and made up a sampler of our school's mascot and logo.  We are the Lakers.   A few years back now, there were a few groups attempting to replace the logo with a different serpent that was more readily handy for companies to use (fundraisers, etc); I guess some people who support our Blue-n-Gold school colors don't actually like the school logo :(
And actually---there are many school groups who order shirts in black...or pink... :(

Call me old fashion, but....ever since I was adopted by this school 16 years ago, I have been truly proud to be a Laker!  I am proud of our 'serpent.'  And I love our Blue-n-Gold! {{even though I didn't include any gold in the lettering}}.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Today is my opportunity to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop after receiving an invite/nomination from Andee (aka: Angela.  aka: Modern diary.  aka: Bonnie K. Hunter's biggest fan).  The goal of this hop is to share a bit about the creative process and invite others to join in the fun!  One aspect of this hop is each post invites three new hoppers so the fun can continue :)  OR, travel backwards in the hop to see where this strand has emerged :)

Who am I?
I'm Amy.
I'm a 7-12 Math teacher by day;
a mom, wife, quilter, runner (sadly, not much lately), crocheter and gardener by all-the-other-times.
The very first quilt I made was in the summer of 2000 when I pregnant with my first child.  My MIL gifted me with my OWN sewing machine that Christmas;  she still has no idea to this DAY how much that gift meant to me!
My quilting obsession took off in 2007 after I helped clean out my grandmother's apartment and I inherited all of her fabric and notions.  Fall of 2007 is also when I found Bonnie K. Hunter, which took my obsession to a whole. new. level.

What am I working on? 
Truth be known -- for those who have been following my blog this summer (the FEW posts I've had), my crafty projects have been percolating patiently as the AMAZING temperatures have kept me away in my garden, mostly.
Berquist Beauty will finish at about 105"x105" -- this has been my most recent top finished and is loaded on my GMQPro frame, awaiting quilting using my Juki98.  The fabrics were purchased by my sister in January, with hopes I would made a king size quilt for her and her husband.  "No rush, but by next Christmas would be great."   I think I can manage that :)

Another recent top that has been added to my never-depleting stack:  Hawaii Sunset (95"x95").  There are no plans for this once completed.  The quick history:  I was coerced into joining a block/fabric swap for this quilt in 2012 by Andee and Andra.  {{That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.}}  ;)   We tried to stay true to the colors represented in the pattern (Hawaii Sunset (c. 1845).  Quilter's Newsletter, Feb/March 2010).  Without having done all of the Bonnie K. Hunter quilts, I don't think I would have taken on this project, but next to Bonnie's...... psht!  Alright, alright.... this was right up there with a Bonnie-design, and THAT'S sayin' something!  She's truly amazing, isn't she???  If you are not a follower of Bonnie.... you really should check her out!  [Quiltville]

Celtic Solstice (~110" x 110") (Bonnie K. Hunter design) is the other most recent top added to the pile.  As soon as Berquist Beauty is completed, this will be the next top loaded onto the frame.  Destination - OUR BED!  I was surprised to sift through my pictures and not find ONE that shows the completed top in its entirety.  Why was this picture snapped???  Because of the incubator on the table -- our other newest endeavor this summer.  We currently have 40 chickens on our property, ranging from full-grown egg layers, 'teenage' pullets, month old chicks, and week old chicks.  I've officially adopted the Crazy Chicken Lady title this summer.

I digress....

After Andee nominated me last week, I was truly inspired to hit the sewing room again!  Since the recently completed tops are all waiting their turn on the frame, I was truly OKAY starting up a new project --- A Green Bay Packer jewel quilt.  The units were prepped and sit next to my machine as my current Leader-Ender project, yet another Bonnie idea.

Just last week, one of my older UFOs found new life and has been given full access to my design wall space.

I also participate in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, lead up by Angela (soscrappy) in FL.  I've joined in the annual scrap busting three of the four years she's been providing inspirational monochromatic wonderfulness.  

On the crochet side of life... I've only been crocheting since last July (2013).  I wanted to learn a new craft to utilize my down-time while upstairs with the family {{rather than feeling like I was ALWAYS in hiding downstairs in my sewing room}}.  The Crochet Crowd (aka: The Amazing Mikey) taught me the basics via YouTube, and I've been spending more time recently with crocheting than quilting.  It's such an easy craft to transport!

My newest project is Red Heart's Prairie Star.  Doesn't it remind you of a Lonestar quilt???  That's what drew it to me!  Each diamond motif takes about 9 minutes to complete, including attaching and tieing in the yarn ends.  The center star took me about 8 hours to complete, and there's a LOT more diamonds to be made before reaching its roughly finished size of 54"x77".  

There many many more projects percolating, but that's enough to give you a flare of me and what I like.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hm...after thinking about this question for a few days, I guess I WOULDN'T say my work differs -- I would consider myself a traditional gal; I'm not alone in that category.  I love patterns (quilting or crochet) that involve traditional geometric designs.  I'm not hung up on any one color or any one fabric line, although I hope to someday create a reproduction quilt using Civil war fabrics.  However, right now....I'm mostly scrappy.  I'm a sucker for kitchen-sink mish-mosh that Bonnie has brainwashed into me.... with a stark white background!  Oh yeah, that's the ticket! :)  

How does my writing/creating process work?
HA!  How does my process work?
Usually, I spend (way too much) time on the Internet, get roped into projects, get inspired by what others are doing, find pictures of finished quilts wanting to make one myself.  I'm fairly certain some of you can relate!!! ? ;)
Many times, I don't follow a pattern;  I just look at a picture and recreate the block/design in a size I want.  I've done a share of drafting on graph paper; no designer's software here (quilting or crochet).  
Unfortunately, all that time on the Internet also leads to many many many new starts, but not always finishes ;)  Huh, huh, huh....who can relate??  I KNOW I'm not alone!  Years ago, I was self-driven to finish, finish, finish, finish!  Now, I'm okay setting things aside, knowing I'll eventually come back to them.
Case and point... here is my latest find during a 3-hour drive/ride home Saturday night.  It was too dark to crochet, so, I did the next best thing....peruse Pinterest:
Seriously, though..... can't you hear it?  "Make me...set aside your other WIPs and UFOs, and start me...I'm really easy... just 2"strips and HST's.... and that lovely Tri-Rec ruler you enjoy so much...."

So far, I've resisted :D

Why do I write/create what I do? 
I'm sure my mom will be on her seat's edge, waiting to hear this answer.  She's often commented..."I'm surprised that you quilt.  I never would have guessed you would have become such a quilter.  And don't get me started with the crochet thing.  I'm so jealous you could just pick it up like you did."
Back in 2000, I truly can't remember what drove me to make my first quilt, which I still have, BTW.  Oh gosh!  I've learned SO MUCH since then.  I was pregnant, so maybe the horomones could be blamed???  ;)
I dunno.  I just love quilting, and now crocheting, too.  Maybe it's my love of geometry coming out in fabric and yarn ?!?!   (actually, I'm not a huge fan of Geometry;  Algebra all the way, baby!)  Maybe it's the satisfaction of the final project that gets oooh and aaaahs and love and hugs from others.  Oh yes, I'll admit it.  Recognition is nice to receive.  Plus, it keeps me inspired and motivated for the next project.  My house is now filled with quilts and afghans;  you'd have to look pretty hard to find a store-bought-blanket anywhere.  I've given quilts away, I've gifted a fair share, and I've donated to Quilts of Valor and Quilts for Kids.  Mostly, the whole process is enjoyed.  Those pesky B's certainly hang me up far too often lately, though.  Borders, Backing, and Binding, oh my!

So that's me, in....1500 words or less (actually, 1383 words.  But who's counting???) ;)

To keep this love and passion for creation going in this Around the World Blog Hop, I am passing my invites/nominations on to...

Alycia (Alycia Quilts)
Miss Alycia and I have one big group in common: Quilts of Valor.  I don't even come CLOSE to Ms. Alycia's amazing involvement, though.  I'm certain she'll fill you in more, but she's the GOTO QOV guru for Colorado.  I love reading about her life on the Ranch with her Wrangler Man ((she's still swooning over him after all their years together));  her photography skills are remarkable, so we readers of her blog truly get a feel of the beautiful part of this world she lives in.

Kathy (Kathy's Quilts)
Do you piece by hand?  Embroider?  Hand applique?   Hand quilt?
No?  ....  Would you like to find some inspiration?
Dear Kathy is a northern neighbor from Oh Canada, and one of her blog features is a weekly Slow Stitch Sunday linky.  She's also a UFO tackling tornado this year, and her posts are filled with so much amazing color!  Pure happiness.

Watch for their Around the World Blog Hop posts next Monday, 9/1/14 :)

I don't have a third "active" participant in the hop;  it wasn't without trying though (sniffle).  With summer winding down and the craziness of Fall schedules staring to take hold, my other nominated individuals kindly and respectfully declined.  We can all certainly understand, right? :)  Next Tuesday seems to be the final First Day of School for anyone who hasn't started yet (that'd be most schools in Wisconsin).

I truly am happy you stuck it out through this post and took time to learn a lil' bit about Amy's Passions.
Happy Monday!