Saturday, July 13, 2019

Low-Hanging Fruit

The apricots are ON!! This is going to be an amazing year for apricots for us, providing we can get to the fruit. I’ve never seen the tree so laden, but it’s grown into such a large tree now. We have two ladders - one is an extension ladder - but even that allows access to only certain areas. You know, you have to think of safety first, so you can’t go setting the ladders up willy-nilly. And the roof is out because all the branches near the house were pruned last year. Bruce did buy a fruit-picking pole with basket, however, so we’re going to try that out today. It’s got to beat standing out there with our arms open, waiting for fruit to fall into them! LOL. Seriously, though, we have been collecting the fruit on the low-hanging branches. There are lots of those. Besides starting the apricot jam, dehydrated apricots, fruit leather and canned/frozen packing, we are planning a trip around the neighborhood today to share the bounty.

But let’s talk about scrappy sewing, shall we? In the last week I’ve quilted two lap quilts (more about those in a minute), so there aren’t as many finished pink blocks as I’d hoped there would be. But it’s all quilty progress, so I’m not complaining. I’m linking up to the weekly Rainbow Scrap Challenge Scrappy Saturday.

First finished this week were nine anvil blocks (8” finished size).

And then there were the 14 garlic knot blocks, also 8 inches finished size.

I’ve got everything cut out for some pink International Sisters blocks, at least a dozen 9-patch variation blocks, and lots of pink strings ready to sew. They’re all on the rota for the coming week. 

And I have a Rainbow Scrap finish to share! Crumbcakes is now done and dusted!!

Crumbcakes is one of the quilts I mentioned above that I quilted this week. The other belongs to Cousin Kim, and once she binds it, we’ll get a picture. Anyway, Crumbcakes has been in the works for a couple years. I started out by making 6.5-inch crumb blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge in 2017. Then this year I began sewing those together in fours with thin black sashing to form a 13-inch (finished) Crumbcakes Block.

Crumbcakes measures 65x78”. And I used one of my favorite prints, which I’ve used before, for the back. It looks woven, doesn’t it?

Crumbcakes was Goal #1 on my Finish-Along list for the 3rd Quarter that I just posted a couple days ago HERE.

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And here are a few pictures from our garden this past week.

We’ve got some spaghetti squash that are getting big. We planted three times as many this year as we did last year because we can’t get enough spaghetti squash, and they store well for months and months.

Some of the big tomatoes are beginning to ripen ever so slowly, but I think the cherry tomatoes will probably beat them.

Although the spinach and lettuce are done, the lettuce is going strong. We’ve been sharing a lot of this, too!

This year we have some small pumpkins. I don’t remember the variety name, but they’re bigger than the Jack-be-Littles and are supposed to be good for eating.

The grape vines on the patio lattice are bearing fruit. We ripped one plant (of 5) out this spring and I've been keeping the remaining vines in check. That, along with a drastic pruning a couple falls ago, have resulted in a lot of fruit on the new second-year growth.

They won’t ripen until September or October, but they’re a really good size for this time of the year..

And the onion patch is thriving too. Since this picture, some of the tops have begun falling over and drying out, signaling that they can be picked. Of course, one can leave onions (and potatoes and carrots) in the ground until ready to use them. We’ll begin culling the onions this week as needed.

I don’t have a picture of the carrot patch, but we’ve been eating and sharing those too. We’re having main dish salads and/or stir-fry most nights for dinner. Later this week my DIL Kim and granddaughter Lauren are coming over to learn how to make freezer apricot jam. I’m looking forward to that. It was a year ago this week (and next) that we were all in Kenya together. Where has the time gone?

And speaking of time, the apricots and veggies are cutting into my housecleaning time, but oh well. I have my priorities. The housework can wait until the apricots are done, right? Thank goodness there aren’t any Housekeeping Police, hehe.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Quarter 3 2019 Finish-Along Goals

The last calendar quarter was rather a dud for me - I only finished three of the 10 quilts on my goal list. There was traveling, making curtains for my brother, garden work, a lot of quilting of Quilts for Kids charity quilts, but not much of my own quilting. To be sure, I sewed a lot of blue, orange and aqua scrappy blocks in April, May and June. So I did move future projects along quite a bit. But actual finishes were few. For the next quarter, garden notwithstanding, I plan to remedy that!

Here’s my list.

1.   Crumbcakes

This is a Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) project that I’ve been working on for almost 2 years.

2.  On Ringo Lake

This one is a longshot to be finished because it’s always getting pushed farther down the line for other things. Frankly, I’m rather intimidated by the size and on point setting.

3.  Lemon-Lime

This will be a quilt for the daybed in our guest bedroom. I actually did 90% of the cutting last month.

4.   Firefighters.

I should call this one FirefLighters. This is a challenge for our Quilts for Kids group. We had lots of misprinted panels donated to our group. One square was printed with an extra “L” in the word Firefighter, making it FirefLighter. We all have a panel to sew up into a quilt, inserting a little pleat before quilting it to eliminate the extraneous “L”. 

If you’re curious, here is the offending misprint.

5.   Spokes

This will be an early quarter finish (hopefully); I’ve set it as my OMG (One Monthly Goal) for July. The flowers in the basket will need to be collaged over the orangey base. Then I’ll trim, quilt and bind it.

6.   Newport 

This is a quilt I’m planning for Cousin Kim to replace the one (of the same fabric) that she made for herself then gifted to her daughter. I am not yet set on the exact pattern.

7.   Alternate 9-Patch

I won these blocks in a Block Lotto drawing. Truthfully, I’m not crazy about them, so their priority is lower. It will be a donation quilt eventually.

8.  Pineapples Two

I made a pineapple quilt (think pieced pineapples) a couple years ago and want to make another one. I’ve already cut all the strips for the piecing and would love to finish this one for me this summer.

9.  Pink Donation Quilt

I have So.Many.Pink.Scraps!! So in addition to all the pink RSC blocks I’m sewing in July, I want to piece a simple 9-patch donation quilt for Quilts for Kids. You know, strike while the iron is hot! 

10.  Harambe Humanitarian African Sisters

I’m making lots of these blocks from Preeti’s International Sisters pattern. Eventually, they will be for several quilts. But one of them will be for me to keep and will take until next year to finish because I plan to sew ladies in all the rainbow colors (of skin tones and dresses). However, I’d like to finish at least one quilt in a limited color palette for Harambe Humanitarian this quarter. It will be a wall hanging, and the back (or front, as it will be two-sided) is an actual African fabric panel.

11.  Donation Quilt

I’ve had these fabrics pulled for over a year. Some are recent fabric lines, but one is an actual vintage piece (second from left) from an estate sale. 

12.  Gumdrops

This is a current RSC project of tumblers made of fabric scraps and selvages. In addition to what’s shown in this picture, I have a pink and a dark blue row sewn. Still left is purple, light blue, brown and possibly gray/black.

Although I would love to finish everything on this list this quarter, I know that real life will intervene. So, I’ll be happy if I can finish at least half. Fingers crossed...

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Pink July

The color of the month for July’s Rainbow Scrap Challenge is pink. I have so many pink scraps, which is not surprising considering I have six granddaughters. Oh, and I like pink too, hehe. Last year I didn’t even come close to using them all, so this year I am really going to make a concerted effort to reduce their numbers!

As usual, I started with my selvages.  Here are four 4-patches, sewn into one big 16” block. This is the seventh of 9 blocks I’ll need for a quilt. It’ll finish at 48x48” unless I add a border to enlarge it.

Next I sewed a row of selvage and fabric tumblers in pink, then added it to the selvage tumblers top (working name, Gumdrops).

I still have several rows to make for this; purple, light blue, gray, and brown.

And the last of the scrappy sewing for this week was 8 Cracker blocks.

In the garden, the lettuce, peas and rhubarb are still going strong, but the spinach is petering out. But that’s fine because we’ll probably plant a second crop in August.

The apricot tree is just days away from being ready. The fruit is mostly ripe, but just not quite there. Once they're ready, the next 3-4 weeks will be crazy time for me. I’ve gathered the old (and bought more new) jars for jam and freezer containers for putting up the apricot halves in light syrup; the supplies of pectin, sugar and ascorbic acid are assembled, the dehydrator is ready to go, as is the vacuum sealer. Friends and family are on standby, and I have lots of cardboard fruit flats and plastic clamshell containers for distributing and donating apricots. We don’t get bumper crops like this every year, so I don’t mind taking full advantage of it while I can!

Did you have a nice 4th of July? We stayed home by choice and had a relaxing day and yummy grilled burgers for dinner. The neighbors did lots of fireworks, including aerial displays. Guess who else enjoyed the fireworks? Well, it wasn’t Darla - she ran off and hid as the first firecrackers were lit. But Alfie perched himself in the front window (resting on the shutters as he always does) and watched it all. Here’s a picture, but I need to warn you that it’s dark. We were watching TV and I turned off the lights to try and get both Alfie and the fireworks in the same shot.  He cracked me up. That is one strange cat!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Independence Day and July Goal

Happy Independence Day to everyone in the United States! How are you celebrating?
We’re just having a quiet cookout at home, followed by neighborhood fireworks. 
We’re not much for big gatherings and goings-on.  

If you're outside of the USA, I hope your July 4th is wonderful too!

It’s time for me to name my monthly goal (OMG) for the July link-up at Elm Street Quilts.

Last month my goal was to get the background and base of my Spokes and Blossoms wall hanging completed, which I did. And now for July, my goal is to get it finished. To do that, I need to collage all the flowers and leaves over the peachy-colored blob spilling out of the basket in the picture below. I may also collage some other reds onto the handlebars.

Once that’s done, everything will get its final pressing and trim. Then I’ll sandwich/baste it to the backing (as yet unselected) and quilt it. The quilting will be very dense as recommended on the pattern. Plus it will add a bit of stiffness which is great for something that will be hung and not frequently laundered. Finally, I’ll need to add a hanging sleeve and binding... and voila!

We are days away from the full ripening of the apricots on our tree, and July is going to see us eating, dehydrating, canning, freezing, sharing, baking (etc) apricots with family, friends, neighbors, my Weight Watchers buddies, fifth cousins twice removed, and any random person who happens to stop by.
Monday, July 1, 2019

Hot Fun in the Summertime!

So many fun things happened last week. Diane Knott, one of my favorite quilters and authors (Scrap Quilt Secrets and Strip Quilt Secrets) was in town for a Handi-Quilter seminar. She was there to learn lots of new things for several days. You might remember that Diane quilted my Lattice Birds quilt, and did a beautiful job. So anyway, we met up for some fun shopping and a photo op at Quilters Lodge in Draper, Utah.

Diane is so warm and friendly, and we just talked and laughed (and shopped) like we’d known each other for years. Truly, a nicer person you will not find! Quilters are such a wonderful group, aren’t they??  That was Saturday, and I was finally rested from two trips to Wheeler Farm earlier in the week.


Wheeler Farm is a county-run historical working farm that is a block from our house. After I retired from my full-time job as a credit manager, I worked part-time at Wheeler Farm as a kids Camp “Cow”-nselor and then as a bookkeeper and docent for almost 4 years. Wheeler Farm is almost 78 acres of trails for walking and biking, plus lots of farm animals (and participatory cow milking), farmhouse tours, a machinery barn, wagon rides, summer camp, pony rides, teaching gardens (in cooperation with the county extension service) and so much more. I have a label (hashtag) on the sidebar for Wheeler Farm that includes all the posts I’ve written about it over the last 12 years of blogging.

So, on Wednesday, Cousin Kim and Bruce and I went walking around the farm just for exercise. And then on Thursday, the grandkids from Colorado visited with their mom Emily (Bruce’s daughter), and we had to show them all the new stuff. These pics combine both visits....

The restored Farmhouse, newly restored gardens.

Looking from the Farmhouse to the west

From the farmhouse you can look northeast to see pastures for cows and horses, old farm trucks and the machinery barn.

Beyond the farmhouse are the two duck ponds. That building below is the Ice House, where they used to store the ice cut from these ponds. It’s also the headquarters for Kids Camp. 

The two ponds above are formed by water diverted from Little Cottonwood Creek, which flows down from Little Cottonwood Canyon (ski resorts Brighton and Solitude). With the spring runoff, they are running at very high and dangerous levels.

Looks like some folks (picture below) are getting a tractor-pulled wagon ride. The little playhouse at the right is situated next to The Lightning Tree (a box elder), so named because it’s been hit twice by lightening. 

Here are some of the teaching vegetable gardens with the in-process Nature Center that’s being built in the background. It’s scheduled to open this fall, but the wet spring later means that it will be late fall instead of early fall.

And looking in the other direction, you can see more gardens.

We loved this little “skep” made of two-by-four chunks of wood. It’s in the center of the nature walk/teaching area for kids. 

Naturally, Cousin Kim and I had to sit in it on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Abbie, Gunner and Deacon rested in the skep and certainly look a lot cuter!

And here’s most of the gang walking along on Thursday. 

The County cleverly had wood carvers transform the stumps of dead trees into wood carved wonders along one of the main walkways of the farm.  Here daughter Emily poses with Abbie, Deacon and Gunner.



Deacon, Abbie, Gunner

Emily and Deacon

Not to be outdone, Alfie and Darla wanted me to show you their pictures too.

Alfie’s favorite “hang-out” is to sit on the back of the couch and look out the front window shutters to watch the neighborhood goings-on. He even naps like that sometime. 

Meanwhile, Darla sits on the ottoman and pretends she’s asleep. But we know her better; she knows exactly what is going on. 

And a final picture for the week, just because. My volunteer hollyhocks are huge. They were planted several years ago on the other side of that bed, but somehow these sprung up here for the first time last year (ish). They’re just getting started. This picture was taken last week too, and the apricots are almost ready. We’re thinking next week at the latest. If the propped up branches can hold on.....