Pot Holder Heaven

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Well, here's the first one~all done. This was so easy to make and so cute, much more attractive than most you find in the store. Modeling with my oh-so-cherry pot holder are yummy homemade rolls which will be gracing our dinner table this evening.This particular version has a pocket so it can be used as an oven mitt. I used iron on stabilizer to help it keep it's shape, a single layer of cotton batting and a layer of Thermoflec (a silver heat resistant fabric) just to be safe. My plan is to make a matching trivet and a pair of oven mitts to go with. This was so fun. . . and I was even able to finish the hand-sewn binding in one sitting. Aaaah, happiness. . .

Leftovers & Pot Holders

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's been a busy week! Outside chores have kept me on my toes. My oldest son, John and I put in our summer garden. . .I know, I know, LATE, but sometimes our growing season runs into November. So, I'm going with the better late than never mahantra. With that, the kids and their play dates, sport camps and routine summer activities, I still managed to finish this quilt top. The coins are leftovers from Dana's quilt along. I plan to put a scrappy binding on each using the remaining focal fabric strips so they'll be a match set. 

I picked this little book  up at one of the local Q shops with the desire of tackling some smaller projects. This book is filled with REALLY cute ideas.  
So, I think I'll begin with these. I love the apple-pear print from Alexander Henry.
And I love the polka dots with the Metro Market apples accented with this pretty green.

If I can bear to cut into it, I'd like to combo this Flea Market Fancy print with the Metro Market cherries and solid red.
I'm also fond of this girly girl pink and black combo with the rick rack~all left over from this quilt. These should be quick and easy and a great opportunity to perfect my binding skills!

Do you have small projects in mind this summer? I'd love to see them!

Farm Tour

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My entire life has been spent on a farm, I don't think my world would be quite right if I hadn't. As a child I helped my parents as most farm kids do, we had a huge garden, 15 acres of walnuts, a small fruit orchard and some livestock. In college my major was Liberal Studies (teaching), but I also received an Associates degree in Agriculture. Once an Ag 
girl. . .always an Ag girl.

Before John and I were married we decided that a home with some acreage was what we both wanted. We bought 10 acres and began our journey, and I'm not just talking about the marriage, but the farm. Each year we make improvements, plant more trees, add animals to our stock, invest in irrigation~it's an ongoing process. 

At times, the work seems overwhelming, but it's quiet and the view is magnificent. We're able to share what we grow with friends and family and the occasional passerby who stops in. In addition to the pictures you'll see below, we also grow a summer garden with tomatoes, squash peppers and melon.

Here's a micro tour of our farm. Let's begin with the vineyard.
Table grapes grow very well in this area. We grow 4 varieties, these are Thompson Seedless. This variety should be ripe and ready to eat in another 10 to 14 days. The stock is trained up wire which loops over to the next row to form a canopy. Delicious. 
Raspberries. . .these are more challenging to grow; generally, raspberries prefer much cooler weather. This variety is said to tolerate warmer climates, however, the fruit has not been as plentiful as we'd hoped. When the fruit trees become taller they will provide a good amount of shade which will create a micro-climate and berry production should increase.
Blackberries, unlike the raspberries yield an incredible amount of fruit! So much so, we planted 42 new plants this past Fall. We make jam, pies and of course eat them right off the vine! 
Apples will be ripe in about 6 weeks. The variety we've planted are good for eating, but not dense enough for pie.
The peaches are almost ready. Peach cobbler is a family favorite!
The apricots are ready to pick. These are really sweet and the kids love them. I'm going out to pick more in just a few minutes. The cherry trees are already through with production this year. Very mild weather has forced the fruit to be ripe early this year.
Flowers are very important. We rely on them for beauty and to attract the bees. We're wanting to build our own hive, we just bought this book.We also have a bat house which Bethy and John built two years ago~bats love bugs!
Honey bees love these! We also have 8 full hummingbird feeders, these quick like guys eat bugs and help with pollination. We also buy ladybugs every year to help with insects! We try not to use pesticides.
In addition to fruits and vegetables, we raise livestock. From left to right~Rocky, Blaze and Ruby. . .our beef cows. Blaze will be a year old in July. His daddy is a rodeo bull. Ruby is the boss. Their favorite sound is the lawn mower, they will stand at the gate and moo the entire time the lawn is being mowed. They love grass trimmings. They're free range fed, love grain and eat fruit from the orchard. They're spoiled!
These are our new layer hens. These little gals are about 4 1/2 months old and will begin laying eggs in about another week. We don't have a rooster, tried that once, they're mean and they attack. We rely on the ol' golf ball trick to encourage egg production. . .it works! They're grain fed and are the happy recipients of fruits and vegetables! Farm fresh eggs are the best.
And finally, my personal favorite. . .Patch. . .my ever-faithful, never-let-me-down, best dog in the whole wide world~labrador! I love this guy. He walks with me all over the farm, I'm never alone. He's kind, fun, hilarious and truly everything you'd want in a best friend. . .he's a great listener! And as long as I keep a healthy supply of stuffed animals (purchased from the Salvation Army) he leaves my shoes, hoses and drip systems alone. He was 2 on Mother's Day. I love him!
Well, with all that we still have more plans. We're planning for a greenhouse to go up sometime this year or early next spring; and my husband wants to put in a pond~I think he just wants to rent a bulldozer so he can play Tonka for the weekend. We also want to plant three or four almond and walnut trees, and 40 more peach and cherry trees. We're also putting up natural barriers (trees, bushes, bulbs) to serve as fences. Our long term goal is to transform part of the property into a beautiful outdoor facility to book weddings, reunions and private parties.

It's definitely a family affair and it would be nearly impossible without the help of our children. Especially, John Jr., and Hayley they're hard workers and great farmers. 

There's the tour! I need to pick those apricots. . .If you see one, hug a farmer today!

A Zig Zag Finish

Monday, June 15, 2009

Here's the zig zag quilt all finished, quilted and with binding. This is one of my favorites so far this year. I'm already planning to make another, only larger  and using more masculine colors. I used the amazing AmandaJean's tutorial, of which the instructions are well written and easy to follow. 

Off to piece a back for my Sew Along project.

Project Checklist–I Really Need to Make One

Sunday, June 14, 2009

This week my focus while sewing has completely unraveled. It's been a case of "one thing leads to another. . ." I've managed to complete the rows of my Sew-Along quilt. My squares measure 12" finished and it's set in a 6 x 6 arrangement; I like the 72" square it's nice and big!
And I had these left over. I had so many, in fact (yes, I made extra strip sets), there seems to be enough for a good sized coin quilt.
Here's where I completely lost it. While pressing my strip sets, I took a good hard look at my ironing board cover, and EW! So, I threw it in the wash and this is what it looks like CLEAN. Yes, okay, I need a new cover. 

Bethany had a birthday party to go to, so I went to JoAnn's to find a new cover for my BigBoard. . .no luck. I started thinking about how I love, love, love my denim couches, and made my way to the rack of denim. Do you see where this is going?
My Sew Along quilt has now turned to a coin quilt which turned to an ironing board cover with coins! AAAhhh! I need help.

I didn't want to staple the new cover to the board because I like being able to remove and wash it, so I made a casing and adding 1/4" elastic. It's perfect and I love it. I will never buy another cover again. I added another layer of batting  to loft it up a bit. I folded and stored the old one to use as a pattern.

Something I have to stay focused on today is our farm, I have chores. Much of our fruit is ripe and needs to be picked. I am taking my camera out with me, so I can share a bit of my farm with you. 

Enjoy your Sunday!

Playing Catch Up

Friday, June 5, 2009

Last week I visited one of my favorite bloggers, Dana at Old Red Barn Co.  and discovered a mystery Sew-Along she's hosting. I was a bit behind, the directions for week #2 had just been posted, so I've been playing catch up. 

I started off a little frustrated, I couldn't decide which fabrics to use. I have 1/2 yard cuts of several of the prints from Tanya Whelan's Darla, Amy's Midwest Modern 2 and Heather Bailey's Pop Garden. I finally selected Farmer's Market by Sandi Henderson, I threw in a red polka dot to give it some spark and I included one Ginger Blossom print. Selection process done.
I went to work pressing and cutting. So, now I'm here! The 3rd week instructions are to group these strips into strip sets and sew, Sew, SEW! Once this is done, they'll need to be cut into subsets. With 84 of these to make strip sets with I'd better get going! I hope to be all caught up Monday; ready for the next set of instructions.

Join us~the link is on my sidebar. . .one can never have enough works in progress it keeps the creative side motivated. . . at least that's what I tell myself!


We Have A Winner!

Monday, June 1, 2009


Wow! What a giveaway! Thanks to all of you for your kind comments and great ideas for graduation gifts. My daughter, is of course, receiving a quilt which will be finished sometime between now and July 14th, her 18th birthday! Now, thanks to you I have some other wonderful ideas for her and her special guy friend. . .They're both staying local for college, we have a great junior college and Chico State which is an awesome University (went there myself)!

Now for the news you've all been waiting for. . .drum roll please. . .the winner of the May Giveaway is. . . 
CBear who wrote. . .Oh those buses bring back some great childhood memories! We had a red/white one - and if dad went around a corner too fast, sometimes the door would fly open! Fun times!

If you'd be so kind as to email me your mailing information, I'll get the pillowcase kit off in the mail to you this week.  Again, thank you all for playing, and I hope you'll stop by again soon.
 
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