Sunday, May 29, 2016

Building Barns with Julie's Help

I follow Julie S. over at her blog, Me and My Quilts - Exploring the Possibilities, and saw that her book was being published. I quickly ordered it and got it right away after its publishing date. The book is:

The book is really fun to read; she talks about her process of looking at barns, building quilt block barns, in a very fun and readable style. It's like talking to her while she makes her beautiful quilt. I saw this quilt in person at the AQS show in Des Moines a couple of years ago. It's beautiful and is way bigger than my little baby-size barn quilt. Julie inspired me to make a few barns and houses of my own. Here's my quilt top (hanging on top of some other stuff, so it's hanging wonky):

I made it small on purpose, and in my usual, impulsive style I made it quickly...not nearly as thoughfully as Julie built hers. Maybe I'll do another one some day soon and make the project more deliberately. As I drive around the countryside this summer, I'll be looking at barns, and maybe photographing them.

Here are the blocks that I built:
just a simple house with a tree

this one is a big, tall barn with a silo, and I decided to add some animals.. oh, why not some elephants? It's an elephant farm. I love picking fabrics for these kinds of blocks. I liked the ruler design for the silo.

another simple house... but what's that? Giraffes in the back yard! Must be my house.

I'm not following the exact order of the blocks as they are in the quilt. I wanted to show you this barn now, because I loved how the green fabric worked to look like furrowed farm land. It was kind of intentional, but mostly just a happy accident. I had the cutest farm animals on one piece of fabric. I meant to use them again, but I stupidly lost track of that fabric until weeks later. (That probably explains the use of elephants on one of my farms.)

After that happy accident with the farm land, I tried again several times.. I had that same line of fabric in several colors. None of them worked out as great as they did on that first one, but they make decent farmland, I guess. Just not as perfect as that first one. These animals are hard to see... they're rabbits.

a house and a tree.. I tried to make this house the way I draw houses at an angle, but it was harder to do in fabric than with a pencil. So it's just a wobbly house. I've seen plenty of those out on abandoned farms around the state, that's for sure.

another simple house. I decided to put a small, struggling tree in the yard, and then something possessed me to put a monkey in the tree. That tree is too small for that big ol' monkey! But, that's the fun of making houses and barns out of fabric. They don't have to be 100% believable, which is a very lucky thing for me. Then I added a dog house.

This is my last barn. I finally got the front door big enough. I was so pleased with that yellow fabric in the upper window.. the hay mow. I used to play at my friend's farm, and we had such fun in that hay mow. The yellow in this one reminds me so much of all the hay we jumped around in, and there always seemed to be some new kittens to discover in the hay, too. My friend's older brother must have just driven up in his shiny Corvette. (This never really happened, but a person can pretend, right?)

The middle block in this quilt was made by someone else. I often end up with people's orphan blocks, and I can't remember who made them. Sometimes I buy them; sometimes I am given them. After I got this all put together, I wished I had put a block of my own creation in the middle, but I don't think I will re-do it at this point.

That's my foray into building barns. I expect I will do it again some time relatively soon. Moo! Neigh! Meow! Oink, oink....and that deep rumble that elephants make.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Books: I Finished One!

Oh, man... I'm so forgetful these days. I have been reading an orange book. I left it at work last week on a Monday and couldn't retrieve it until Thursday. Then I brought it home and once again lost track of it!

I gave up and started reading another book, and guess what... I lost it, too! I was getting frustrated! But, I figured both books were hiding somewhere in my house under some fabric piles, and that is exactly true. I found them both while working on sorting and organizing my fabrics.

So I finished the second one, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce. Have you read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by the same author? The Queenie Hennessy book is another chunk of that story, not a sequel or a prequel, but the author calls it a companion book.

I loved the Harold Fry book, a lot! Some people find it boring, I guess. But I just loved the in-depth look at private lives of regular people who suffer a tragedy and how they deal with it, how it effects their relationship, etc. That's the Harold Fry book. Harold walks the length of England to visit a friend who is dying of cancer. This second book about Miss Queenie Hennessy, is told from the viewpoint of that friend, Queenie.

I loved this book as well! It's another wonderful, endearing look into a regular person's life, how she thinks, how she looks at life, how her experiences shape her. The writing is superb, and it's just so touching and profound.

I give both of these books 5 of 5 stars and highly recommend them.

Now I get to go back in time, back to the orange book, and see if I can finish it before I completely forget what is happening and who are the characters! I'm relieved that I found it (again).

reading at a Minneapolis restaurant on a gorgeous spring day

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hands2Help Challenge Completed!

I contributed four quilts for this year's challenge. Let's take a look:

These first two went to the program in Canada for women and kids. (Will go, I should say. They have been boxed up and ready to ship for a while, and I just keep putting off going to the post office.) The first one was a guild project - blocks made by several people and put together by Sally, then was quilted at Missouri Star Quilt company. The second one was also put together by my local guild. I assembled it, and a guild member, Nancy B., quilted it for us.

This one is going to Emily for cancer patients. I actually bought this top on ebay. I had it quilted at Missouri Star Quilt Company. All I did was bind it! I thought it was so pretty and considered keeping it, but I decided someone battling cancer needs it more desperately than I do.

And this one, the only one I have actually put in the mail so far, went to the Texas program for bereaved families. I made it from blocks I purchased at my guild's "store" which we host during our show, and then displayed it as part of our challenge to "make something from items you purchased from our store." It was quilted by local quilter-extraordinaire, Diane S.

Check the link here to see more beautiful quilts donated by people with big hearts! If you have never made a charity quilt, I challenge you to make at least one in your lifetime. It's fun!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Almost Perfect Again

Saturday was another perfect day. What glorious weather we have enjoyed this week!

Well... my first event wasn't perfect. I had to attend a funeral..a church friend's husband died of Alzheimers. Sad, but it was a lovely service.

Then I went to a park in Minneapolis to attend the first-ever Little Free Library event. They had books to share, people building LFLs, music, people reciting poetry, free haircuts with free books, and lots of other activities that I probably overlooked. I picked up a few good books for our LFL at church. And I bumped into D. who works at the Little Free Library organization, and I also knew her when she was in high school, and I worked at her school.

and beautiful Minnehaha Falls.

I walked all over the park, enjoyed a good lunch from a food truck, and walked even more to get to and from my car. I had parked ridiculously far away, but the exercise was good for me.

After all that, I went over to the LFL that I steward, added the new books I picked up at the park event, and set up these chairs and the plant. I hope they don't "walk off." I'm putting my faith in my fellow human beings.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday Already??

I can't believe it's already Friday! I didn't finish reading my book, because I accidentally left it at work on Monday. I didn't work again until Thursday, so most of the week was ruined for reading.

We've enjoyed some beautiful days of sunshine and perfect temps. Today I had a good day: I ran a couple errands, including purchasing some flowers for our yard. I did a bit of weeding and planting until I ran out of potting soil.

I attended a neighbor's garage sale where I bumped into a mom from church and her little boy who is one of my faves. Fun!

Later I walked to a nearby lake and park. There were many beautiful flowers along the walkway.

Look who I found at the park! Another of my favorite little boys and his mommy and his sister. (She's a fave, too! I have a lot of cutie pies in my life these days.)

This cutie pie is helping me assemble a quilt. The quilt blocks are 9 inches, so you can see approximately how long he is.

Now it is evening, and I am enjoying a lovely evening with the windows open and doing some sewing. What a perfect day!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunshiney Sunday

Hello, and happy Sunday! The sunshine today is beautiful. We've had a lot of rain, so sunshine is a treat.

You might have noticed I didn't post a Friday Books review. I am still reading a good book, and am about halfway through. I was going to read this afternoon, and instead I fell asleep and took a long nap. Wow, I didn't know I was that tired.

I did another 3-day sewing retreat with friends. I got a lot done. This is a quilt I bound. The setting idea came from an on-line friend, Claire, who made a much larger one.

I finished a few other miscellaneous projects, and I *almost* got a big top completely assembled. Just a few more rows to get together, and that one will be ready for quilting. I can't wait to see it all put together.

One of our friends offered to give a massage to someone who was sore, and she ended up treating four of us with a free ten-minute massage. Turns out she is professionally trained, and she is GOOD!

I was planning not only to read (which I didn't yet accomplish) but also to sew. Instead, I started sorting through fabrics. This is a fraction of them. I really need to cull my stash and then make a real effort to use up some of this gorgeous stuff. I don't mind maintaining a stash, but when it gets too big that it starts exploding out the sewing room, it's time to take care of the mess. This process will probably take several days.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I Won an Award!

This quilt tied for 4th place in Viewers' Choice at my local guild's recent show. How fun is that?!

I made it for my son-in-law, and he has not yet owned it, even though it was done shortly after Christmas. He wanted me to keep it until I could give it to him for good. He finally gets possession of it tonight.

Pattern is Oh,Sew Blue by Judy Laquidara.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Why I've Been So Busy

Oops, I did not post a Friday Books review, because I'm not finished with a book. After I finished my most recent book, I searched around for a book that would grab me, and it took a few tries. Now I've started one that I'm enjoying, but I have not had much time to read.

I have been super busy for quite a while. We had to clean out a sewing supplies/knitting supplies dump which used to be a bedroom, and prepare it for a mom and her newborn baby. They are living with us now! They moved in three days ago. It was a lot of work getting a room organized for them, but so worth it. He was a preemie but is now doing fine. He weighs 6 lbs 14 oz, or maybe 7 lbs by now. I told Mama that her job is the baby, and we will take care of everything else. So far it is going well. I LOVE babies, and so it has been fun for me to have this little peanut in the house. I don't even hear him in the night time. I know he isn't sleeping through the night, but I am. So ... easy peasy for this pretend grandma.

Above: first two pics are his last moments in the hospital, and third pic - home!

Monday, May 02, 2016

Sewing for Sunshine

Today I'm sewing IN the sunshine. Well.. it's outside, and I'm inside (beautiful to see). One year I put my machine out on the deck and sewed there. That felt wonderful!! But it's a bit of work hauling things out there, and it can't stay long, so I haven't done it since then.

I have been busy and haven't had much time to sew, but this weekend I did manage to make some blocks for the Sunshine Lotto (online guild, block Lotto game that feeds into our service work and is a fun game for members).

May theme is nine-patches. I made 12.

I even worked ahead and made eight June blocks. I'll probably make more in the month of June; it was fun to get a head start. June's theme is novelties.

I should say, I guess I have had more time to sew than I thought, because I also had a two-day sewing gig with some friends. That was fun, and I got a good start on a couple of quilts.

A friend and her baby are going to move into our house. It's going to be busy. The date has changed many times, but I'm guessing they'll move in this week. I'm excited. I love babies!!

Sunday, May 01, 2016


SOLD! My friend Diane made the highest bid for this quilt top, and it will soon be hers. Thank you, Diane! Your very generous bid will make a big difference to the Kissy UMC Eye Hospital in Sierra Leone. Thanks a million.

Thanks to everyone for the interest in this beautiful quilt!