Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Large Print Quilt - Disappearing Nine Patch!

Disappearing 9 patch on a double bed with pillow tuck.  That bottom edge was slightly off so I eased the fabric in to get the top to square up - once I spray it with water those little puckers will disappear.  You really want to rein your borders in so you don't have an uneven quilt.  
On the floor - ignore the wrinkles!
And a close-up of the fabrics!
I made the top in 2010, but just bought the border/binding fabrics for it this spring.  The binding is the same light purple as the inner fabric.  My original blog post, including how I did it can be found here... way back in 2010!
It feels good to have this one ready for quilting.  As you can see by the photo - it is not quite big enough for a double bed because the overhang would be too short, but it is the perfect size for a couch snuggle quilt and long enough to cover your feet.  I am actually thinking of backing this one in minke, but I am not entirely sure!  Has anyone else tried that?  And how did it work out for you?

I heard on the radio today that we are 6 months away to Christmas!  So, in that spirit - here are some links to ornament kits!  I like to put little Christmas ornaments or something on the outside of my presents as part of the tag.  When I was little, one of my sister's did the most amazing wrapping jobs - I loved the little pressies on the outside of the gift I think as much as I liked the gift itself.  Anyway, I like these kits a lot - kits are so convenient because everything you need is usually in the package.  I think these would make a fun, little summer project.  Yup, I just might have to order a kit myself... you know... as a reward for finishing my Disappearing 9 Patch!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Small Projects

I love to knit socks, but lately I have been gravitating toward projects on bigger needles - easy patterns that knit up quickly.  Here is a photo of a scarf in progress on size 10 US (6mm).  I am getting an early start on Christmas presents.  And - you will see that I was way too eager to dive into this project and did not bother to make the yarn into a ball.  So far so good, but I am hoping it doesn't become an issue!
I don't know why, but my feet hurt almost all the time.  Whenever I sit down, I put them up.  Knitting is a nice project for having your feet up!
Lately, during the day if I have a slow bit of time, I tackle small projects.  Even little improvements here and there do add up.  This week I have been working on oiling all my teak chairs.  I have two wonderful benches that are so very comfortable!  I think I have had them for maybe 12 years now.  After time they start to weather and gray and then I oil them with teak oil and they return to looking brand new!  I love these benches because they are perfect for setting down my knitting bag to one side of me.  I also have a bunch of single chairs.  So far, I have done 2 benches and 1 chair this week.  Here are photos of the progress - you can see in the 2nd photo that I still have to do in between all those slats.  I use a sponge paintbrush thing that you get at the hardware store to do these.
These chairs fold up for easy winter storage too!  The bench on the left has 1 coat of oil on it so far and the one on the right has none - I know it is hard to see the difference in the photo!  I figure another 2 coats of oil will do the trick - the chairs soaked up the first coat right away.  
And a photo of one of my beautiful flowers!  I can sit on my bench and enjoy the flowers!  And knit.  Yeah me!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Milking Award!

My grandparents were chicken farmers.  Here is a photo I scanned of the farm house and barn.  By the time I came along, there were no more chickens, just the big empty barn and chicken houses, and I remember the silo, which was sold later.  Nana told me that the chickens came in as chicks on the ground floor of the barn and slowly moved up a level each year.  The top floor - well, if you were a chicken, you probably didn't want to be on the top floor!  
Grandpa always parked the car in that little white shed.  If Nana wanted to go to town he would take it out and wipe it all down with a cloth before going for a drive.  When they got home, he would wash it before putting it away!  People took care of their things back then, that is for sure!
Here is a photo of Nana!  The bottom corner of the photo says 1979 and that seems about right to me.  The photo has those rounded edges that you got with those 110 cameras.

Many times when I visited Nana, she and I would sit on a big step that connected the kitchen to the living room and play jacks.  While we played, she would tell me stories, but I can't remember all of them anymore.  She had lots of saying though, a favorite was, "don't tell all you know".  She told me that she knew how to milk a cow just fine, but never let on to Grandpa that she knew.  That way - he was sure to be home, everyday, to milk the cows!  
Well, there must be some farm DNA in my son.  He loves animals, growing things and being outside.  His 3rd grade class just went to a farm for 4 nights for their class trip.  They had a mechanical milking machine there that all the kids got to try and it measured how much milk they could get out of the machine within a certain period of time.  My son got the first prize for milking!  His award was a cow bell medal with the traditional Austrian decorations on it.  He is very happy with his medal!  I took this photo while we were chatting on Skype.  Thank goodness for Skype!  The day before he left on his trip he said, "I'm going to miss you!".  We are so far apart, but Skype helps keep us connected and he is very used talking with me every day.  Not much longer now until I have my family back - I can hardly wait!  Just a few more days!!!  I am trying not to think about it because I don't want to jinx anything.

I know lots of people who have chickens now.  Used to be, you could learn from your grandparents or you grew up with chickens, but these things seem to have skipped a generation or two for most people.  So, people have to learn how to keep chickens again - even on a small scale.  My niece has chickens - they are usually out in the yard running all over the place.  Here is a photo of my son with them 2 years ago when they were all in the run.  Last summer one of my small nephews was amazed to learn where eggs came from.  THAT was amazing news for a 4 year old, LOL!  
I wonder what my Nana would think about our chicken ignorance now-adays?  And - I wonder what my Nana would think about a "game" with a mechanical milking machine!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Darning Socks

I have 2 pairs of hand knit socks that I thought needed to be darned since the heels are wearing out.  At least, I was thinking of darning them, but all my friends around here tell me that darned socks are uncomfortable.  They would rather just chop the worn part of the sock off and reknit a new foot.  Really!  Here is a pair that one of my friends is working on - the heel is being reknit with wool in addition to a very fine white yarn with acrylic in it to give it extra strength.  When she finishes the heel, she will switch just to the wool for the remainder of the foot.
I blogged about refooting a sock in this post way back in 2010!  The red sock in the photo from that post - I did make my own version of it in blue and gray and I blogged about making that sock in this blog post.  I gave that pair of socks to my DH because he has wider feet than me and I thought they were a tad bit too wide for me.
So, here is my question to you - would you rather darn a sock or refoot it?  Or maybe I should ask - have ever even heard of refooting a sock in the first place?
Since I took this photo - my friend has finished refooting this pair of socks.  Sometimes my friends look at my funny when I jump up and grab my camera to take a photo of something they are working on that they think is very mundane, but that I find interesting!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Make a Hanging Flower Basket

It is that time of year when you go into the flower shops and they have the most amazing hanging baskets of flowers... for about $60.  You can make your own - plan ahead and buy your hanging basket somewhere else because chances are - the flower shop won't sell empty baskets!  I save mine from year to year.
I think I am going to do just one hanging basket this year.  Sometimes I put them all along my front porch, but they take a beating from the wind.  My kitchen porch is a bit shaded, so begonia's do well there.  The pink/white one is called Apple Blossom (I got 2).  I added one pink geranium, one pink double impatiens that look like little roses, 2 white verbena (the white ball flowers that spread everywhere) and 2 white bacopa. Here is the box coming home in my car.  
Use a GOOD potting soil for containers - look for the kind that says that it helps retain moisture.  I mix a little peat moss in with mine.  Put the soil in the pot, add all your plants, cover with more soil and water really well.  Let it sit right there in the sun all day.  It is still cold here so I am bringing mine in at night.  I am keeping mine out on the patio - out of the wind - for at least a week so it can get established before I put it out front where it is windier.
Here is is!  This will really fill out!  It is going to need to be feed Miracle Grow about every 10 days all summer because there are LOTS of plants in this one basket.  The hanging baskets at the nursery don't have this many plants and are at least twice the price. Go ahead - try to make your own!  It is fun to pick out the flower combinations and since you know your house, you can get the flowers that will do best in that spot!
What are some of your favorite flower combinations for baskets?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Garden Presents

A couple of weeks ago, I came home and found these tomato plants outside my door.  I love "garden presents" season!
Shortly after - THIS amazing home-made (out of fencing) tomato cage followed!  I think it is taller than me.  It really is 2 cages - I have to cut it apart in the middle.
BUT - it has been cold - down to 50F/10C just about every night and not much warmer during the day.  And rain - my goodness!  We had so much rain the past few days it was coming down in sheets.  Those little plants have been doing the inside/outside/inside routine.  Today, I finally got them planted and situated against the back patio wall.  They will get full sun there all day and hopefully will be out of the wind.  
I just love the generosity of other gardeners.  Well, I am not a gardener, but I try!  And... I get a little help here and there along the way!  Now... if we could just convince the sun to come out and warm us up a bit - I just might have a fighting chance at having fresh tomatoes this summer!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Do You Love Rhubarb?

Do you love rhubarb?  I have one BIG rhubarb plant - you can chop and chop rhubarb off of it clear until October!  This plant is the plant that almost wasn't - you see... the patio got topped with concrete.  Fortunately, DH knew I liked this plant and had the crew concrete AROUND it!  Actually - this works great - the concrete keeps the rhubarb warm and I think that is why it produces into the fall.  These stalks got a little big before I got around the chopping... but don't worry!  They will be made into rhubarb punch!  It is a very popular drink around here.

This all got chopped, sealed and put into the deep freeze for punch later this summer.
Now is a great time of year to put up strawberry/rhubarb jam or pie filling.  Can your own... or buy it ready made here!  My Dad likes his stewed and served over icecream.  
If you are going to can your own, please consider purchasing your canning supplies through my Amazon links over on the right hand side-bar.  Out of curiosity I was searching on Amazon for rhubarb-y type things and found a rhubarb/pear candle and rhubarb soap.  In my family, we are big on food gift-giving.  I am thinking of making little gift baskets this year with some homemade jam, plus other items with the same theme.  Right now I am just too busy to be canning, but I am freezing things and some quiet day, I will can up a bunch!
 Last week at quilt group, one of the members brought in the most delicious rhubarb muffins!  Yum.  The group is working on another community fund-raiser quilt.  Obviously, not everyone can quilt at the same time so I bring my little knitting bag, knit and visit!  The frame starts out very big and rolls inward on both sides as the quilt is quilted - as you can see - it is almost entirely quilted now!

And a random photo I took yesterday when I was travelling.  I loved this tractor!