Wednesday, October 07, 2015

One Purple Pansy

Daisy picked out the pansies for the fall pots.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Cleaning the Kitchen: A Breakthrough

Tuesdays have long been my days for giving the kitchen its weekly once-over. I've just had a couple of problems with this task: 1. starting it, and 2. finishing it.

Today though I had a breakthrough. The job "Cleaning the Kitchen" is not actually a task: it's a series of short tasks! Each less than five minutes. I can do these one at a time, without stopping in between, and end up with a Clean Kitchen, and without feeling overwhelmed.

Here's my list, arranged in an order that works for me, so that I don't get clean things dirty (note that I start with a *tidied* kitchen--dishwasher emptied, dirty dishes washed or put in the dishwasher, food put away, and countertops generally cleared):

Dust the ceiling fan and light fixtures.
Wipe down the vent hood and warming shelf.
Clean the stovetops and fronts of the ovens.
Wipe out the microwave and wash the glass plate inside.
Wipe out the compost cupboard and change the paper liner under the bucket.
Clean the tile shelf behind the sink.
Quickly wipe the cabinet doors.
Wipe all the countertops and pop the soap dish and scrubber holder in the dishwasher.
Clean the sinks.

All of these things take less than five minutes and are *so* much easier to make it through than starting to Clean the Kitchen.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Pampas Grass, October

Saturday, October 03, 2015

The Wild Beastess

Friday, October 02, 2015

Patching the Linen Quilt

I cut out various sized rectangles of random fabrics still in this color family, and turned the two short ends down on the machine. Then pinned the patch in place and machine-stitched it down on all four sides.

I made no attempt to disguise the fact that these were patches, because I like the way the blocks look appliqued on unexpectedly. Afterwards I did a few running stitches in red perle cotton just for fun--they're not functional. 

For some reason, patching this quilt was such a happy job. I rarely get to sew for my boys.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

A Visit from the Farrier

Dolly is on an every-six-weeks schedule of hoof-trimming and it has been so interesting seeing the farrier students come through the program. They are here from all over the country, as training opportunities are thin on the ground. Last time we had a burly man from New York. Today a slip of a girl from Alaska.

It's also been a huge satisfaction to see Dolly progress from horrified hysterics (her first trimming) to calm co-operation (today). She was so patient through the first two hoofs, and didn't get testy at all until it was time for the last two. 

I also got the farriers to get her bulky halter off her (she's had one on ever since we got her), and put on her new delicate plum-colored one. Then, at dusk, I took that one off! And for the first time in her adult life, she's got nothing on her head. That makes me happy! At least until I try to put the halter back on her tomorrow. No, I know it will go well. We love each other now.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Avocado Fund

I've just stocked my shop with a bunch of goodies that have been waiting to go in, and why? I'm working on an Avocado Fund.

The Avocado Fund will supplement, for a month or two, the grocery budget of a very worthy young man who works full-time for a non-profit and has added full-time graduate school (social work) to his plate*. He's stretched a little thin, and doesn't have much extra for fruits and vegetables. 

*ALL* the proceeds from my shop, until further notice, will be funding these avocadoes.

*(Not my son. And if you know who it is, G, please don't tell him).

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sisters + Morning Light

Monday, September 28, 2015

Apple Orchard Log Cabin Quilt

I finished this very large quilt this weekend. The quilting lines were so close together that it was a massive undertaking.

The color story I imagined when I pieced it is an apple orchard in September--emphasis on the sky between the last green leaves on the trees. The diagonal quilting hints at the sunshine falling at an autumnal slant.

I backed it with two fabrics I had on hand. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Another Thought on Late Bloomers

Remember the posts on late bloomers?

Malcolm Gladwell has this lovely thought:

"Late bloomers' stories are invariably love stories."

--What the Dog Saw (2009)

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Copper Pot Full of Autumn, in Needlepoint

I found this needlepoint at my favorite thrift store. It's even more awesome up close, with the butterfly's raised body, and the dimensional peas.

I'll be making it up into a shopping tote perfect for the fall harvest.

I actually have a backlog of thrift store sewing materials sitting in the sewing room, and I'm going to try tackling them this week. Keep me honest, folks.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Still Full of Summer

The hills are starting to look smoky and purple and the light is coming in lower, but the flowerpots are still full of summer.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pinwheel Quilt in the Shop

I've decided to put this one in my etsy shop because the house can only hold so many quilts.

Remember, all sale proceeds go to charity!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Flesh Tones

Oh my. See the flesh tones mixed up on my palette? I'm painting a picture with THREE PEOPLE in it, and I don't think I've ever painted a person before. What could possibly go wrong?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Home with Giles' Quilt

Hello again, after a trip with Clara to NYC to visit Giles. Like last time, I failed to take any pictures at all of the good times we had--shopping, sailing, cooking, and eating.

I very much appreciate Giles' hospitality in his small apartment. It's always fun to see the household things I made years ago and gave him, then forgot about. Like this quilt, one of my earliest endeavors. I brought it home so I could patch the worn places. 

I could do that because I brought an empty duffel bag along, planning to fill it with my haul at Mood Fabrics. Said haul didn't happen after all--I always plan fabric shopping for last, so I don't have to carry around a heavy bundle, and then I run out of time.

I'm sure I'll find something to sew anyway, even without an infusion of new Big City Fabrics.

It's good to be back! Tomorrow I'm going to go for a run, buy groceries, empty the trash cans, clean the bird cage, and call a bunch of people on the phone for work. And patch that quilt.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Daisy Shows Her Chickens

4H continues to bless Daisy with opportunities to get out there and do new things. Like show her chickens in a poultry competition.

She entered a single hen, an Araucana pair, and a cheery trio of Barred Rock hens.

All of this was new to us, and I was so proud of this formerly painfully-shy child who's learned so much confidence.

Although, she confessed, her thumbnails are bitten just a little low tonight.

Next time she probably won't be so nervous.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Oil Painting: Fern in Milk Glass

Last week's painting straight from real life . . . now that I see it photographed the greens look a little harsh or heavy. Green is hard to get right, that's for sure.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Three Eggs

The Barred Rocks still aren't laying--any day now--but the Araucanas are very faithful, and the Cinnamon Queens do their best.

Friday, September 11, 2015

"The Point of Seasonality"

"There is a point to travel that is very much like the point of seasonality: it helps our mental organization of time, breaking it up, and makes our overall experience seem fuller."
--Mireille Guiliano, French Women for All Seasons 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A New Instrument for Daisy

Daisy still loves and works hard at the piano, but wanted to add an instrument to her repertoire that would allow her to play in an orchestra in college. So, the clarinet!

This is nothing like starting piano lessons. We've finished the whole learning curve (apparently) of figuring out how to practice, and that we DO practice, every day. It's been a joy to hear her progress in just a month of weekly lessons.

She appreciates the huge boost her piano skills have allowed for--all that pesky music-reading and scale-understanding is done already.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

A Summerweight Housecoat: Retro Butterick 5152

(Just in time for cooler weather) I have made myself the lightest of lightweight housecoats for the warm months. I found this beautiful almost-sheer floral lawn at Hancock's for $3/yard, and scooped it up for a project I knew would take many a yard--Retro Butterick 5152.

This pattern goes together easily and fits me nicely. And, helpfully, isn't too low-cut to assist with morning decency.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

A Pinwheel Quilt

Several months ago a truly generous reader and fellow quilt lover sent me two vintage quilt tops. The smaller one was these cheerful pinwheels. My mother just finished quilting it with perle cotton, a bright orange back, and some contrasting blue binding. My favorite part (not shown) is the little place she had to patch. A huge thank you to you, dear reader, whose email I cannot find!

Monday, September 07, 2015

Rooting a Cutting

Saturday, September 05, 2015

"Good Enough and Done"

" . . . good enough and and done is a smarter choice than perfect, and simply making a choice is often a sign of maturity, balance, and contentment."
--Myquillyn Smith, The Nesting Place 

Friday, September 04, 2015

A Little Quilting Progress

Clara gets the credit for these rows. These diagonals are hard! It's harder to steer, and we're doing the rows an inch apart, rather than two. That's twice as many rows, but the quilt will be gorgeous.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Velvet Nubbins

We are all getting our money's worth out of Sister--endless entertainment as well as softness. 
In this house her paws are known as the velvet nubbins (more specifically, velvet forenubbins and velvet hindnubbins).

Anyone would like this cat.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Oil Painting: White Orchids

Continuing to love my Tuesday evenings in the painting studio. This started out being about the pink lilies you see in the background, then turned out to be about the white orchids you see in the foreground.

Monday, August 31, 2015

A Chambray Dress for Daisy

Sewn for Daisy earlier this summer out of a very light, silky chambray. I don't have a go-to pattern for her at the moment so this is very much a mishmash of various elements to get the pleated skirt and the semi-Peter Pan collar I envisioned.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Tablescape with Tea

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Daisy's Life with Chickens

I found her reading with a chicken feather decorating her hair.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Alabama Chanin Bolero: Magdalena in Wine

And in the category Took Forever/Worth It, this bolero in Wine cotton jersey, stenciled with the "Magdalena" stencil, stitched in embroidery floss, then reverse appliqued (that just means the stenciled shapes are cut out after they are stitched around). 

These little jackets are perfect for me. I wear them over matching and non-matching jersey dresses. They are just big enough to host a Stitching Statement without taking a year to make, and they are big enough to let you really develop the pattern but not make you crazy.

The Magdalena stencil, which I downloaded and cut out of acrylic pennant felt, is enormous, and interestingly runs from a very small scale design to a much larger scale. You can play with this when placing the stencil on your pattern pieces.

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