Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The last few days it has seemed as if I sat quietly enough I might be able to actually watch the garden grow. Last week, when the mercury soared, I feared that many of my new plants would be lost. There were a couple of casualties - one cherry tomato and several of the pumpkin plants - but on a tour this morning I spied a future eggplant.
The squash bed is filling out nicely.
The surviving tomato plants are blooming with abundance.
This afternoon I plan to do some quilting. The pattern is called Big Baby Star. The quilt is a baby shower gift for a mommy that is using a retro-cowboy theme. I made my fabric selections using a swatch of her focus fabric and the paint chips she has chosen for the nursery.
Here's another 'Closet Top' quilt.
The pattern is called Candy Stripes and has been published in AP&Q magazine and one of their books. I would say this was my first official scrap quilt. I had previously made quilts with a scrappy look, but these pieces actually came from the scrap basket. The original has a pink ticking for the stripes, perhaps they were thinking cotton candy. When I found the black ticking, I knew I had my candy - Licorice!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Strawberry season is here! It's the best, and tastiest, part of spring for me. We've enjoyed several baskets over the last few weeks as the season inches toward its peak. How happy I was to find the 'cosmetically challenged' berries available at yesterday's Farmers market.
Cosmetically challenged berries are fully ripe and delicious in every way. They are just not the premium berries you would select for dipping in chocolate. As such you do not have to pay a premium price. Once they are washed, hulled and cut up, there is not one bit of difference in flavor or appearance.
I got busy this morning and turned my bounty into 6 pints and 20 half pints of jam with just a few berries left over to enjoy with some yogurt for tonight's dessert.
I just love the seeing those jars lined up as they cool on the counter. We'll be enjoying the strawberry season long after the last berry has been picked.
Looks like I've got a red theme going here. Today's 'Quilt From The Top of the Closet' is the Red Quilt by Renee Plains of Liberty Star.
No label on this one. You might think I'd be ashamed. But I'm not.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Day In The Life Of A Simple Girl

Put away the dishes.
Bake bread.
Run the vacuum.
Do laundry.
Look at that temp (the day's high was 96, but the patio is extra hot with the morning sun blazing.)
Makes for fast drying of that laundry.
Make lunch.
The world's best lunch date.
Spend the afternoon under the ceiling fan happily sewing away.
I'll leave you with a quilt from on top of the closet. This one is called Apple Crisp from the book Log Cabin Fever.
Another label!
This one has a block from the front and a recipe for Apple Crisp copied from a vintage cookbook that belonged to my mom.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The weather has turned nice once again and it was time to get out and play a little in the garden. Over the last week, we had been promised some rain. Since that promise did not come true, everything was looking just a touch parched. And with most of the plants still fairly young and tender, they don't always cope well with such poor treatment.
Here's a peek at what's growing in the trellis box this year. Three varieties of lettuce, peas climbing the gates and some spring onions in the far corner.
After the planting was done, I read somewhere that peas and onions don't get along well and shouldn't be planted together. Ooops. So far, so good. I hoping if I don't tell them, they'll never know.
Take a look at these two nice, fat carrots!
They are leftover slow-growers from last year. I didn't mind the wait.
These pumpkins were planted outdoors today along with some potatoes.
They have been in a sunny spot on the kitchen counter for about three weeks. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it was a good time to take the plunge.
Still on the kitchen counter is my little Christmas tree.
It is surely not ready to go outside yet. That's fine by me - we are enjoying each other's company every morning when I fill my coffee cup.
Just to show that not everything is happening out in the garden.
These are the 1" hexagon diamonds that I have completed so far. This is not how they will be set together, just a way to get them all in one photograph. The best part about these is how they feel in my hands as I stitch them. I'm using all brushed cottons which are so soft to the touch. It's amazing to me how just a half inch difference in hexagon size grows so much more quickly. These 9 diamonds are nearly as big as the 9 stars I have together in the other project! I might just be sold on 1" hexagons!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Doesn't it seem like everyone becomes anxious for spring to arrive. Not the date on the calendar spring, but the spring of warm weather and new beginnings. The funny thing about spring is that it's not always a time of gentle warmth and splendid sunny days. In my neck of the woods, the weather has turned cold, windy and a little nasty. Oh it looks pretty from the inside, but step out the door and you quickly want to make your way right back inside.
That is exactly what I have done this week. I get out and splash a little water on the tender garden plants. It wouldn't be fair to leave them to their own devices, but I don't linger either. Time enough for that when the winds subside and the air is warm again.
Instead I have been working on those hexagons. At long last, I've completed the light round on the stars.
I've been basting and stitching black hexes for the next round. It takes 48 pieces to go around a star and there are 32 stars to go. That's a LOT of basting, but I've come up with a good system to keep my interest going. One star, one small diamond, one big diamond (for Martha Washington) and one small diamond. So far it is working nicely and my little stacks are growing taller by the day.
I'll leave you with a photo of an older quilt I found in a cabinet today. This is from my brief but prolific 'Chicken Period.' It is called Circle of Hens, a pattern by a local designer.
There are several fabrics that I just love but don't have any more. I don't fret over it too much. If I had more, they wouldn't seem so special. This was the first time I did a binding that wasn't 45 degree miters on the corners. One turn is a little 'iffy' but overall not bad. We never learn if we never try.

Monday, April 13, 2009

One of the areas in our home that required some serious spring cleaning attention is the top of the closet in the master bedroom. We have a vaulted ceiling that reaches its peak above the closet, however the closet itself stops at normal closet height. That leaves a nice big, open area to display things.
When we viewed the house for the first time, Hubby thought it would be the perfect spot to store boxes. You know, the kind that most folks would put in the rafters of the garage. While it might have been easy access to Christmas decorations, it didn't seem like the best design or decorating decision.
Instead we chose to display a few things that we love and would enjoy seeing everyday - my mom's childhood rocker, my own childhood rocker, two of my mom's dolls, an old suitcase and a few quilts.
All of that came down, the quilts washed and everything else thoroughly dusted and polished before being replaced. I don't think I've shared any of these quilts on my blog before. So while they've been with me for some time now, they will all be new to you.
The first is called Keep Your Rows Straight. I believe it is a pattern by Joined at the Hip. I made this quilt in 2000 and it is one of my first applique attempts. I used the freezer paper and starch method with good success. It is also an early example of my machine quilting. Surely these are the largest machine quilt stitches known to man.
Here's a peak at the back. What is that?
Why, it's a label! Yes, I used to be very good about labeling my quilts and many of my early pieces have a label. I always enjoyed making them and have no excuse for leaving most of my current quilts label-less. Maybe I can use this as the impetus to begin again.
In the garden, things are growing quite nicely. I've been harvesting lettuce for about 3 weeks now. At first just enough for a sandwich or two.
Today I brought in a colander full - enough to make a salad for dinner. It really is a thrill. I've spied a few blossoms on the tomato plants and eggplant, too. For the second year in a row, I can't seem to keep a cucumber plant alive. I guess I'm just not meant to grow them. Time to find something else to occupy that space and stop frustrating myself.
Time to wash that lettuce. Next time another quilt from the closet.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

So how did she come to be called 'The Princess'? It's not just a name for this blog. No, the title was bestowed upon her at birth.
My dad was the father of three daughters. His first two grandsons made their arrival before I was born. Another grandson born in that same year and a fourth a number years later. All of that finally changed with the birth of our girl. And when they met for the first time, he looked at his first and only granddaughter and said, 'Well, there's The Princess.' And the name has been with her ever since.
Happy Birthday, Princess! Long may you reign.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The time has come for me to poke my head out of the my little rabbit hole. Spring break has to end sometime . . . even for the girls that don't go to school. So where have I been? Right here in my own backyard and inside the house, too. My spring break wasn't about fun in the sun. Rather it was about spring cleaning and decluttering indoors with digging and planting a new garden outdoors.
No new quilting projects were begun. My time with needle and thread was spent with hexagons. Hopefully I'll reacquaint myself with my machine in the next few days. That doesn't mean I don't have quilt photos to share. I photographed a number of quilts as they were laundered.
The first of these are four hand quilted whole cloth minis. The designs are fun, allow me to practice my hand quilting stitch and look great on the dresser and nightstands in the bedroom.
Yes, there is a stain from a candle on the corner of one. I don't fret over it too much as it does seem to fade a little more with each washing.
When I brought them in from the line, I decided to try a new way to display them.
I think they look great all rolled up in this little tin. I love to change things up and I'm particularly pleased that I can admire them from my favorite sewing chair.
Thanks to everyone who checked in on me during my absence. You are so sweet to do so and I can't put in words how much I appreciate your thoughtfulness.