Sunday, February 28, 2010

Report on my Saturday

My Saturday went really well. I got to my quilting Block of the Month just on time. Showed my quilt and got several nice comments on it. Nothing big about the meeting, just nice. Then we had the Marti and me. It felt kind of rushed, but I'm ready to make the table runner. When I get a little bit of time!! Next month we will be doing a small wall quilt or table topper. Instead of purchasing the kit, I'm going to try my hand at picking out fabrics to do the project. We will see how well that goes. Oh, and the Girl Scout cookies I had ordered had come in, so I paid for those. We opened the first box tonight, the lemon creme ones. Pretty good!!

Then I ran to the Garden Symposium. It was a pretty technical discussion. Chemistry even got involved. Basically I learned that humas and mycorrhizal are important in the soil, and they help build top soil. I also learned some simple things by talking to other gardeners, like maybe I don't want to put my garden up in frames, because it is harder to keep it moist, and the dirt will get colder faster in the fall, which will shorten my growing "season". So we might dig the frames down in (to ward off the voles). Didn't get any good idea of how to get rid of voles other than trapping them or poisoning them. I don't think either of those methods will be very easy to do. Maybe I'll need to go to war with the little buggers. I'm afraid they've eaten almost all my crocus bulbs, and I'm worried about the tulip bulbs. I just have to wait to find out. Oh, and I did get information of seed saving, and a local seed catalog with seeds for this area.

I got almost to the end of the symposium, we were just going to start the Q&A, when my hubby called. I big storm was just blowing up south of the interstate. I left just a little early, and the snow was just barely starting as I came home. I'm glad my trip was pretty easy.

Oh almost forgot. I've been taking my fabric and batting scraps, cutting them up small, and putting them into my garden. Well, in talking to some of the people at the symposium, I was asked if the cotton was grown organic. Hmm, I don't know, but probably not. Well the stuff they spray on the cotton plants to make them drop all their leaves before they pick the cotton is related to the "agent orange" stuff they used over in 'nam. and it is a 'persistent' type of chemical, and most likely has "heavy metals" in the chemical structure, so I probably don't want it in my vegetable garden, and probably not even in my flower beds. Well darn it. Here I thought I was doing something good. I was just worried about the dyes, not the cotton itself. Guess I'll start looking for organic cotton for my batting, and maybe for my fabric too. I sure have a lot of fabric in stock tho.

The other thing someone told me is to watch out about cotton seed oil too. Apparently the cotton is not grown for food, so it is not watched by the FDA. But then the seeds are sold to other companies to make cotton seed oil from. Now I've never used cotton seed oil in my food, and didn't know people did. But if you do... you might want to make sure the seeds they use are from organically grown cotton.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I hope the weather doesn't get in the way...

I have a big day tomorrow. First it is the last Saturday of the month, and so my Block of the Month meeting at Odegaards in Flagstaff. I normally attend the 10:00 meeting, but tomorrow I need to attend the 8:30 meeting. I get to do "show and tell" with the quilt I showed you about a week ago. And get my next block, and attend our first "Marti and Me" club. So that starts at 8:30. I need to leave here about 7:30. UGH! I need to go to bed earlier tonight than last night. Then at 9am, I'm signed up for a Garden Symposium that the Master Gardeners in Flagstaff are doing at the NAU library. It is from 9 until 5pm, with another hour for Q&A. I'll be late, but hopefully not miss too much information.

My hubby and I were talking, and we'd like to try growing snap peas, string beans, carrots, radishes, spinach, garlic (to discourage the deer!), just one or two tomato plants (hubby does not like tomatoes). We've also mentioned squash, potatoes and probably a couple other things I've forgotten. But we have no idea what will really grow here. The topics to be discussed include "Health soil grows healthy food", "Understanding the science of humus and microbiology", "Gardening from the inside out and why we garden" with some info on "seed saving", and will end on a discussion of local foods projects in northern Arizona. The the hour for Q&A. And all of this for just $15!

When we pulled the old trailer out of camp, we had to take down the elevated porch my hubby had constructed years ago. It is modular, with 5 frames each made out of 2x4, and each measuring 4 foot by 8 foot. So we plan to stack them, put something under them to keep the voles OUT, and make our garden in these. Hubby is thinking we want to divide these into two gardens, one 2 frames high, the other 3 frames high. But I'm thinking that a 4x8 foot garden the first year may be big enough. I'm thinking I'll add a few veggies in the flower bed out front, like maybe a few carrots and radishes, and garlic. But all this is still in the "dreaming" stage. First I need to go to the class tomorrow.

So back to the weather. A snow storm is supposed to come in Saturday evening. And the storms generally come from the west, so I'll be driving home toward the storm. If the storm is really early, I may have to stay in Flag. But in my car I have already packed my heavy coat, water, my boots and an extra pair of socks, gloves, my snow cleats, and I have my quilt that I'm going to show at the quilt meeting. So, I'm as ready as I can be. Safety first when driving in the winter.

I'll let you know tomorrow how my meeting and my class go.

Have a good night.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Little Prints and Snow Amounts

First, I want to share with you the little finger prints I just wiped off my wall. You could only see them when the light was right, and they are hard to see in the pictures I took. The only thing I can think of is that they are from my niece's little son or daughter. Now I have to confess that the print must have been on my wall since Christmas 2008, a little more than a year. Every time I've looked at this and thought about wiping it off, it reminded me of all the little finger prints I use to clean up when my sons were younger. So I would leave it there for "just a little longer". Today I finally wiped it off the wall, and it came off with just a quick wipe of a damp cloth. But I still have the pictures! (Years ago, who would have thought that I'd want to save little finger prints!! Not me!!)

And on a totally different topic, I just read this in the newspaper: Flagstaff has had more snow this winter than most other US cities. OK, Valdez Alaska has more at 230.9 inches for the winter. But here are some other comparisons (in inches through Feb 22).

Flagstaff 118
Syracuse NY 86
Baltimore 80
Fort Collins, CO 68
Buffalo NY 67.5
Des Moines, Iowa 62.3
Anchorage 44.4
Minneapolis 40.6
Portland Maine 35.4
Salt Lake City 25

This is only the third winter in the past 11 years that we have topped the 30 year average for snow. The normal at this date is 72 inches. And March is typically our most snow-filled month. And we have already broken one record. Measured at the airport, we have had 78 consecutive days with over 6 inches of snow on the ground. (at least half of the lot they measure at the airport has to have over 6 inches to count). And our sky is very overcast today. Hmmmm...

Star Quilt

Finally Finished. I learned that I need to sew more bindings down by hand. Maybe doing more applique work by hand will do it also. By the time I got around the quilt sewing the binding down, my ending stitches were so much better than my beginning stitches. So I need more practice... Anyway, here is my star quilt. Our neighborhood group decided to do these stars, and we all put them together our own way. I decided that I liked the sashing in between the blocks. For colors, I picked the fabric of the last border, and then used it for my color choices. The backing is the same fabric as the last border. It's a large lap quilt. Also, I did the quilting myself. I really like the way it turned out. (Jeff, check out the bottom right block. Is that an improvement? If the rest of you are curious, I showed this block on my blog in the past - not sure when. I made changes to it before I put it in the quilt.)

I hope everyone had a great day today, and hope you have an even better day tomorrow!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I should use my thimble...

Just a quick post. I've been sewing down the binding on a quilt I made last fall. I have about 2 and 1/2 feet of binding left to go. But my finger says it's had enough for tonight. I'll see if I can post a picture of it tomorrow.

Have a great night, everyone.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I'm trying to get better at finishing!

OK, it's not such a great picture, I cut off the left side, but you can see most of that first column of blocks. Now, why am I trying to get better at finishing? I guess that is a pretty straight forward statement, but when you understand that the top below is the 2007/2008 Block of the month quilt from Odegaards, and I've had the columns of blocks together for way over a year, and just sewed them together tonight!!!!!

And I looked up what is left to do... I have three borders to add. I know I purchased all the fabric, but don't remember if I planned to follow the directions, or if I was going to make any of the borders wider. So now I have a puzzle. Good thing I like puzzles.

Why did I not do this sooner? Probably because I was concerned that I was going to have a difficult time getting all the points and corners to match. And yes, it was a bit difficult. The log cabin blocks were pretty good for size, but the pieced ones varied by almost 1/2 inch. Silly reason not to get to this sooner. And I really like the colors in the quilt. (The flash washed them out a little!). This will be a queen sized bed quilt when I get it done.

I'm going to do the quilting myself. I don't have a long arm, but I have a Juki with a big opening under the arm. It is in a table, but I like to push the fabric around as I quilt.

I'm thinking of doing custom quilting designs in each of the pieced blocks, and doing a feather up the diagonals created by the log cabin blocks. If anyone is reading my blog again yet, what do you think? What would be a good way to quilt this? It gets two narrow borders, then an 8 inch border. I'll post another picture when I get the borders on.

It's about time!

I know I've been missing in action. I will try to catch you all up in the next few days with what has happened in my life, and my quilting.

Currently it is snowing here again. I heard that Flagstaff may get as much as 8 inches out of this storm, and we kind of follow along with Flagstaff. Here are a couple pictures from our big January snow (which is finally starting to melt off, but the center of the front yard still have 2 feet of snow!)

Look at the drift behind me! Yes, it was over 3 feet high, and is still about 3 feet.

During storms, my husband keeps a ladder below the TV dish, so when the snow builds up so heavy we loose TV signal, he can get up to brush off the snow. I thought the snow on the rungs was pretty funny.

This was not so funny. The roof of the ONLY general fabric store in Flagstaff (JoAnne's) collapsed under the weight of the snow. What a mess, and this picture was taken several weeks later!

And I am doing some quilting yet. Above is the Feb Block of the Month from Odegaards. Below are some Christmas things I made.

Above is the wall hanging I made for my sister-in-law. Sorry it is not a good picture for color. Below are 2 of the 3 table runners I made. The third runner looks like the bottom runner, but the first border was the green of the trees, instead of the brown of the runner shown.

I also managed to make 2 sets of placemats (6 each set), which I might not have a picture of!! They were oblong log cabins, half red scrappy, the other half white scrappy. In the red and white corners (not the 1/2 and 1/2 corners) I appliqued three holly leaves and 3 berries each. The appliques were buttonhole stitched with black thread. I have another set to finish for myself. I just ran out of time before Christmas.

I promise to post before another 6 months go by.