Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sandy Claws

Blue and Iggy have gone to their forever home to live with Janet, Shadow the dog and Oliver. It was traumatic for them at first but they have settled well and are busy eating her out of house and home. Iggy is particularly concerned about his next meal, this is common with strays. Blue amuses himself by tormenting Shadow and pestering Oliver.

This is Sandy, he is about 12 weeks old in this picture and was named (before the storm) for the color of his paws and tummy. Click to enlarge the picture.

The first time I saw Sandy I thought he was a rat. He was living in the storm drain across the road from my house and he was tiny, much too young to be away from his mother. It took me weeks to catch him, unlike Bella who was too sick to run. Fortunately he was not truly feral, just scared and once trapped he transitioned to pampered inside cat very fast. He is still shy with other people and disappears under my bed the minute he hears a knock on the door.

I am told that cats are considered disposable in South Dakota. Unfortunately the same is true in Hawaii. That doesn't make it any easier for me to accept.

Y'all come back!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A New Year's Wish 1940

Seventy three years ago, on December 27th 1939 the Kansas City Star published a new quilt pattern submitted by Mrs Clarence Welker of Millersville, Missouri. Shown at right.

Back then we women generally didn't get to have an individual identity unless we were spinsters (Def.#1 & 2) but I digress. Della Welker's pattern is shown below.

As you can see the pattern is a simple one and Della called it Thrifty because she was able to find "the three kinds of print and the one-tone pieces required for it" in her scrap bag.

Equally as interesting as the pattern to me was another snippet in the same paper entitled "Our wish for 1940" Bear in mind that there was a war going on in Europe at the time although America would not go to war for another year, until after Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941.

All things considered that would be a good wish for 2013 too.

Y'all come back!

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Design Wall This Monday

There is more going on at my sewing machine table than on the design wall this week but the meme at Patchwork Times is design wall so here it is!

On the right are the 'leaders and enders' stamps made with fabric from Lori's trashbox. This now will have an additional row of squares around the outside. Row 4 is waiting to be pressed. The plan is for seven rows of five blocks.

On the left, one row of Winter Rose. This is a variation of the Rosebud block and the pattern I am using is by Country Threads. I have wanted to make this for some time. It calls to me.

The fabrics are all Moda, the reds from Three Sisters Papillon line and the tan is called Seeds from Meadow by Blackbird Designs, all bought online in closeout sale at Hancocks of Paducah

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Bella and Sandy

Click to enlarge

This moment of sweet tranquility did not last long. See Sandy's sandy colored paws? His tummy is an even paler shade of cream. All that fur between his front and back legs belongs to Bella.

Bella did not seem to mind him using her as a cushion but pretty soon he couldn't resist the temptation to bite her toes. That turned into a wrestling match. All Bella wanted to do was sleep so she left. Maybe that was what he really wanted. With katten who knows?

Y'all come back!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Little Tree

My friend Lori loves Christmas decorations and every time we go shopping these days we spend an inordinate amount of time in the seasonal decorations aisle.

Personally I have been pretty "bah humbug" most of my life, despite selling large amounts of Christmas stuff for years. Maybe I am getting senile but this year I am not as bah humbug as usual.

First I fell for a reindeer with a sweetly goofy face.
Click on the little ones to see the big ones

Then about a week later I found a three foot tall pre-lighted tree at 50% off, AND a bunch of shatterproof or katten proof ornaments, also at deep discounts.

I get plenty of knee bend exercise now. In addition to picking up Boysie's toys I get to pick up and rehang the ornaments several times a day.

Dottie pretty much ignores the tree, at a year old she is far too grown up and dignified for such nonsense. Her idea of a good time when she is not eating is to stretch out in front of the infra red heater.

Sweet Bella decided after being sprayed once with water from the ironing spritz bottle that she wasn't that interested either. She was far too busy washing the water off herself to bother any more.

Sandy Paws the storm drain kitten is made of much tougher stuff. When I sprayed him the first time he climbed up the tree. That was interesting. Now he just shuts his eyes and hunkers down, never letting go of whatever ornament he has grabbed.

When he is not playing destructo cat he likes to sleep close to the tree. On my chair. Not on the lovely new soft blue geometric animal bed. I guess he thinks if I like it so much I should use it. Yah.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Let it Snow

Today we had the first snow of the season. Not too much, barely an inch and I think maybe we are done. I took this when it started snowing, the pretty yellow chairs I photographed early this summer still make a graphic statement.

Have you caught the ear-worm yet? Just to help you along here are Vaughn Monroe and his Orchestra who recorded it way back in 1946.

Y'all come back!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Gas Man Cometh

There are so many good things about living in a very small town in South Dakota, one of which is how nice people are. Of course there are a few bad eggs everywhere but on the whole your genuine South Dakotan grows up with a "you-betcha" attitude and an innate kindness. I often think there is more Aloha in this state than in Hawaii any more.

Winter is coming.

My little house has a gas furnace coupled to a heat pump. The system is very energy efficient using heat exchange until the weather gets below 20 degrees, then it is all gas. I cook and heat water with propane too. I last filled the tank in mid February and was down to about 25%.

So far the weather has been much better than I expected. Sunday it was 60 degrees and I enjoyed the sunshine on my front porch. Today it is cloudy and chilly with a mean wind. By Monday we are forecast to have snow on the ground. I have been watching my propane levels and dithering.

The prospect of snow made up my mind. This morning I called and within half an hour my tank was full.

There is a fine line between filling too early, gas is more expensive if you buy less than 150 gallons at a time; and filling too late, you do not want to run out. Running out leads to all sorts of humbug, line pressure check testing etc.

Kent, the gas man (shown at right - click to enlarge) tells me letting your tank run out is actually dangerous, most gas explosions happen with empty or near empty tanks. I learn something new every day.

Y'all come back!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Boysie's Toys

Today I put Boysie's toy basket up out of his reach for a few hours.

My husband and I created a monster.

Twice a month we go grocery shopping. On these days Boysie is left home for five or six hours. Because my husband is a softy he always buys Boysie a toy. Always. The dog has this figured out, left alone = new toy.

This is a policy that has not changed here in South Dakota. If I leave for more than a few hours a toy is expected. Treats do not count.

Boysie is not at all shy about looking for his present, he wants it "right now" and will go through the grocery sacks to get it.

Like a small child he has favorites and knows when one is missing. On the right are the "queekymans", naturally they no longer squeak.

The blue one is the favorite although the orange will do in an emergency if the  blue one has been mislaid. Also like a small child, the best place to keep your toys is everywhere, including my bed. I spend a lot of time picking them up, they are quite hazardous underfoot, under seat too. A Nylabone underbum will make you sit up quite smartly.

This advertisement is one of Lori's favorites, I wonder if Boysie would agree with the beagle?

Y'all come back!

Friday, November 30, 2012


This is Iggy. He was added to our family in May. I would estimate his age at about ten months then. He was very thin and appeared to have been existing on a diet of grass snakes.

He is quite a character, chatty and very friendly except to Boysie. Boysie is the enemy.

Although Iggy is quite a bit larger than Blue and looks to have had a much tougher life he is quite content to be number two in the katten pecking order. Blue pesters him and bullies without mercy.

Iggy has been neutered and vaccinated, neither of which bothered him at all. 90% of his focus is on the next meal, the other 10% on getting outside, although he doesn't actually go anywhere when he succeeds. Favorite hangout is on the shelf where the cat food bowl lives, second favorite is in the basement, both he and Blue spent a great deal of time down there.

Iggy was very fortunate in that Janet, who adopted Blue agreed to take him too.

Y'all come back!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pillowcases For My Upcoming Hibernation

Here in the frozen North (I capitalize with deep meaning,) certain species hibernate for the winter. I sympathize. I may join them.
I have always made pillowcases.

In the days when we were struggling to pay fees for two kids in private school, and later, college, I couldn't see paying as much as $9 per pillowcase when I could simply buy an extra twin flat sheet for the same price, or less and make four.

Grazing through Lori's stash the other day I discovered the most wonderful sheep fabric. Naturally it came home with me together with some pretty beige co-ordinating contrast fabric and I whipped up a plain pillowcase, shown at left.

Strangely (to me anyway) it looks fabulous with all my other pillowcases which are assorted estate auction bargains in pink. The 'box of assorted linens for a dollar or two' bargains which abound here in South Dakota.

Discussing this with Lori she offered to teach me a specific method for making fancier pillowcases than is my wont (def.#2). This will be pretty cool!

I plundered my own fairly puny stash and found the three fabrics at right. I have enough to make two matching pillowcases. Expect a post on the process in the not too far distant future.

Y'all come back!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Design wall Monday

My design wall is like my brain these days, scattered. See many more design walls here on Patchwork Times.

At the very top of my wall are four blocks of a leader and ender project inspired by an antique baby quilt I saw at the Vermillion Quilt Show, shown below.

My tribute to this unknown quilter is made (mostly so far) from 2" finished off-cut triangles from the scrappy red and green Poinsettia Block quilt on the left of my design wall in the picture above. Inspired, not a copy, my triangles all march in the same direction. I will make more as the mood strikes.

To the right of the Poinsettia quilt are more leaders and enders in "stamps" and snowball blocks.

All the fabrics in this project except the Kaufman Kona Snow used in the snowballs are from several years of rootling through Lori's cutting room trash box. I cut most of my gleanings into 2-1/2" squares. I also cut 1-1/2" and 3-1/2" squares.

The triangles in the corners of the snowballs are 3-1/4" squares cut once diagonally and then trimmed. The plan is for a throw consisting of  10" blocks set 5 x 7 with a plain inner border and probably a pieced checkerboard outer border, if I have enough squares.

Finally the Poinsettia, I had an urge to make something in red and green and saw a picture on the Interwebs. I later discovered the original pattern is a freebie from Timeless Treasures which you can download and print here. Needless to say mine is not made from the pattern but that works for me.

I should confess there is yet another project hidden under the poinsettia, did I mention I am somewhat scattered these days?

Y'all come back!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Block From H E Double Hockey Sticks

There it is. Looks quite innocent doesn't it? Smug, simple even.
I have made many of these blocks. This one was different.

This block is made in four units, the first three were totally uneventful. Then I sewed one piece with the wrong sides together, no problem, just unpick, press and resew, right?

My ripper broke. I went to Lori's and got a new one out of stock and went back home. That one broke too, must be a defective batch. I went back to Lori's, again, set that box aside to return and got a new ripper out of a different box. That one did its job and I resewed the segment. Next comes press.

I had spilled something on my ironing board, a huge scorch appeared instantly. The air turned blue and it was not from the burning whatever I spilled.

OK. Deep breath, clean the iron, scrub the ironing board. Iron it dry with a paper towel. Place a clean paper towel there just in case the goop is not all gone.

Unpick block, again. Throw away the scorched bits and search madly for the last little piece of the right fabric. Resew very carefully -

with the wrong sides together.

Unpick. block. again.

You ever do things like that?

Y'all come back!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Boy

Boysie likes to lie in a patch of sunlight on the living room carpet. In the nice air conditioning of course. Sunbathing with all mod cons.

Y'all come back!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Tale of Two Yo-Yos

The Yo-yo story started a couple of years ago when Lori said she wanted to use her huge collection of fabric nickels and expressed interest in something to do with yo-yos. She is a sucker for handwork which I generally loathe.

I slipped some Clover Quick Yo-yo Makers into our regular order from the wholesaler. At the time I ordered the extra-large size (because making less is better right?) and of course the end product was larger than I had expected, requiring a larger than 5" square of  fabric. Strike one ...

Then there was a magazine, this one,  American Patchwork & Quilting, June 2011. I dropped heavy hints to no avail, even took the magazine to South Dakota on my summer trip, but there was no divine turquoise yo-yo lap quilt in my Christmas box. I can't find the magazine but seem to remember it is made by stitching the yo-yos onto 3" strips.
Last week I re-ordered and got the right size, large, which makes the traditional almost 2" yo-yo from a 4-1/2" square. Yay!

When the box arrived Lori was literally hovering. Since then I know she has made more than 200. I am impressed that the ugliest of fabric looks nice scrunched into a yo-yo.

The Yo-Yo Makers are fiendishly clever. A stupendously simple idea, you sandwich the fabric between the two plastic pieces of the template, trim around the edges and stitch in the holes. After popping out the template you pull on the thread to gather the fabric, knot, bury the thread and it is done. Quite amazing.

Lori wants to make a queen sized quilt.

She is going to make a plain white wholecloth quilt, quilt it and then stitch 'blocks' of yo-yos to make a medallion on top. I think she told me she would need a couple of thousand yo-yos.

The thought of that makes my mind spin wheelies and feel quite hysterical. I think I shall make a small pillow. Maybe.

The two yo-yos? Well obviously Lori (2000 of them!) and me because I am making them too.

Y'all come back!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lime Tree

Regular readers will know that the Lime Tree long arm quilting pantograph by Keryn Emerson is my current favorite. One of the many things I didn't know is that the Lime tree that inspired Keryn to make her pantograph not only grows all over North America, including in my town, but is called something completely different here from the rest of the English speaking world.

Let me introduce you to the Lime tree, (Tilia americana) is also known as a Linden or Basswood tree in the USA.

I discovered these trees on an evening walk when the most heady and familiar tropical perfume simply had to be tracked down. Boysie and I followed it upwind until we found where it was coming from.

On the corner of Depot and Elm Streets is the old County Highway Department building and judging from their height, around 60 years ago someone planted five Linden trees along the street frontages.

Click images to enlarge 

As you can see the tree is loaded with blossoms, the source of that heavenly jasmine-like fragrance that had me tracking like a hound dog.

Sadly the blooming period is brief and the flowers do not last more than a few hours in a vase.

See a close-up of the flower here.

This last picture is of the tiny berry like seeds which follow

the flowers. I have read that the tree does not grow easily from seed, commercial growers find it easier to propagate them from cuttings.

Do you have a Linden tree in your town?

Y'all come back!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Boysie's Blue Cat

April: Our found kitty was been advertised in the local newspaper with no response.  I guess that means he is now ours. Money has been spent.

He has been neutered, wormed and vaccinated and his 'digestive' problems are over after completing a course of antibiotics. He is the most co-operative cat I have ever medicated.

Boysie was so happy to see him when we went to pick him up from the Veterinarian after his alterations! Kitty, not so overjoyed, he wanted to sleep.

Sometimes I wonder what is going on in that little dog's mind, he did search for the cat throughout the day.

Click images to enlarge 

Kitty Blue seems to be getting resigned to being an 'indoor cat' but he spends a lot of time gazing out the windows, that is when he is not eating or napping or wrestling with the dog.

What a difference a few months makes!

Blue is a real character. While he was always very friendly he has become affectionate. Unfortunately he asks for affection by rubbing his face on whatever portion of my anatomy is most convenient and then biting, not hard but hard enough to get my instant attention as he has sharp teeth. When I am awake I firmly discourage this. When I am sleeping he often gets to enjoy flying practice, but he bears no grudge.

Note who has all the toys in his bed!

Watching the two of them wrestle you would think the dog is killing the cat, to the contrary the cat regularly punctures the dog.

Blue is absolutely determined to get outside and succeeds too often for my peace of mind. The basement steps are off the side porch so sometimes I pretend to be taking Boysie out by the side door and close the kitchen door as soon as Blue goes through it before using the front door with the dog. Blue enjoys hanging out in the cool, dimly lit basement but no longer takes the bait unless Boysie actually has his leash on.

Y'all come back!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Design Wall Monday

Click image to enlarge

This is yet another kit, this one purchased from Connecting Threads for $50. The pattern which came with the kit is called Fabric Dance. It will be throw sized, about 57" x 70" and uses 6-1/4 yards of Connecting Threads own line of very well priced and nice quality batiks.

At the top the ongoing Nana's Squares leaders and enders project, two more blocks have been added.

To see lots more design walls go to  Patchwork Times.

Y'all come back!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

French Reel

Technically this probably counts as a completed UFO, I bought the kit in October 2010.

I enjoyed making it, was being fussy about the backing and had trouble finding it, then it sat for a long time waiting for its turn on the long arm.

Here are the details:
  • Fabric is from the French General line by Moda, kit sold by Hancocks of Paducah. I bought it on sale.
  • Backing is a discontinued Marble Mate also by Moda. I had a yard of it and willingly paid through the nose for yardage for the back from an online shop which still had stock . I would call the color raspberry or cherry but I am sure that neither is its real name.
  • Binding is bias cut 2-1/2" applied and meticulously hand finished by Lori who claims to enjoy the process. Bless her!
Click any image to enlarge

  • Quilted in the Lime Tree pantograph pattern by Australian designer Keryn Emerson. We like her designs and own several of them. This is my current favorite.
  • Finished size is 47" by 64". 
  • It is my nap quilt and looks lovely as a coverlet on a twin bed.

Pictures were taken using my low tech (two large cuphooks, a section of 'found' aluminium channel and three wooden clothes pegs) quilt hanger off my front porch. The geranium peeking out the side is "Firecracker". The fact that Firecracker coordinates with the quilt is a happy accident.

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