Monday, May 25, 2009

Some UFOs and a few finished projects

If you are a quilter you have UFOs unless you are a some sort of a ' I never start a new thing until I finished the old ' type of person. Let me tell you I am not that type of a person. Quite on the contrary I can go from one thing to the next in a heart beat, and I will do so with passion, or obsession in some cases. I take turns in knitting, sewing / quilting , try my hand at miniatures, writing stuff, do mosaics or make a book by hand in miniature, little gardens in bottles, though that has been a while and a multitude of other crafts, and then always back to sewing and knitting and a bit of crocheting off and on.
Most things I learned in school and a few I have taught myself over the years and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Along with sorting through stuff which is progressing slowly btw but progressing I have promised myself to finish some UFOs (unfinished objects) this year.
The first UFO I finished this year was a small quilt for my oldest son, I started it about 2 years ago and he finally received it for his 30th birthday. I do better with strong deadlines, if I tell you I cannot promise there is a good chance a longer wait is likely if I promise though I will devote endless hours to finish it, as this following quilt, my second in my life shows.
I promised my mother a quilt for a big birthday a good ten years ago and did this over the summer one year. My first quilt I have to dig up a picture some day I made for my oldest child shortly after she was born almost 33 years ago.

This next little picture was done with a pattern for the polar bears from Margaret Rolf's paper piecing book and I put them in a little winter scene with a hint of Christmas for the parents of my Italian daughter who I miss a lot. Again she does a better job keeping up with us then I do in return xoxoxoKatia.

The next is one of my favorite ones it was made for a friend of my oldest daughter, this young women is also Italian, her name is Mafalda and I hope she treasures it as much as I do.
The inspiration came in wanting to bring together hospitality and citrus fruit which equals warm weather which equals Italian to me anyway and horse chestnuts which are home to me and to her at the time. I drew all the patterns of dishes on paper and hand appliqued them and later on machine quilted the whole thing. The dishes are maybe a smidgen smaller then life size.

This following creation of mine is an UFO I have been struggling to finish for years, it is for my first grandchild and if I don't hurry I will have to wait to give this to her when she is out of her teenage years, because once she is a teenager, I am afraid she might not like it for a while until she is mature enough to appreciate the design and effort. The design is my own and the inspiration is my parrot Zoe.

This last is a very short lived UFO but it did not get finished when I thought it would and it did take some serious effort to finish due to the fact that I could not decide how to finish the bags.
They are now with their rightful owners my two granddaughters the ones on the walnut tree on an earlier post. All the plants and animals Latin names start with their letter.
Each bag closes with a bit of Velcro and has a little pocket on the inside.

So now I have to finish yet another quilt for my oldest son and I have to stipple quilt a bit on a project my youngest is working on for my third grandchild which is due in September. Apparently the lady does not like to stipple quilt and I do it so well. She has a good chance of getting her way since she set me a clear deadline in no uncertain terms, she knows her mother and she is a quilter herself.
I also have a bed quilt I made about 8 years ago which only needs about 3 square feet of quilting on an otherwise finished king size quilt and the binding and now that I have a new sewing machine I do have high hopes of tackling this venture.
Then on the knitting side I have a curtain, a jacket which actually was finished as a sweater but I hated it so much so I am unraveling and knitting it into a jacket since last winter. A long light blue scarf needs a few more rows and a pink shawl needs edging but they will have to wait until the weather turns nasty and then knitting and watching movies go well together. Besides there are a few baby booties and maybe a light baby jacket I would like to make, speaking of which, I still have a pair of unfinished baby pants knitted in purple and black for that oldest granddaughter that will be a teen in a few years, and just maybe her new baby sister might be just the right size if I finish it by the time she is born.
My oldest project is a collection of crochet picture blocks for a baby blanket, I started this when I was pregnant with my first child, the one that will be 33 this year, I still have it in a big plastic tub along with the unused yarn, I am not sure if it will ever make it in a blankie not until I have finished some others like my under water scene I have hanging unfinished in the kitchen for years I started it about 8 years ago alongside my king size quilt that needs a bit of work, and to this day I know it needs something but cannot quite find it. I added a blow fish last year and all I can tell you is that appliqueing is not as easy anymore as it was 8 years ago, the needle and thread are so tiny they are hard to see and my fingers are not as nimble anymore as they were.
I' ll see that I get a picture taken of it so maybe I can get some input from you.
There are lots more projects to share and a few more UFOs to report about, I have not even talked about my miniature adventures, so stay tuned.........

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Joys of Gardening

These last few days summer has definitely decided to stay for a while. The end result is an abundance of grass and weeds mainly in form of dandelions, I used to like those when I was little ...

So weeding, planting and mowing has been on the agenda, though I have to be honest .. I don't mow.. raising five children has to bring some sort of reward, I count not having to mow as one of them. Just to make things more interesting I also have a 25 to 30 foot long walnut tree trunk laying in the back yard. Its branches are piled in a heap waiting to be whittled down. We bought ourselves a handy wood chipper that really does the trick quite nicely. My true love is making some trellises that go along with the fence he built for me a few years back. So things are moving along. And best of all, I think I finally outwitted my ground squirrels, they know the back yard is danger territory due to the dogs, but my front yard and my pots in particular were their playground, the last 3 summers.
I would almost on a daily basis have to replant my flowers or at least add dirt that they dug out.
The first summer I had no pots, the second summer neither and I was amused, well ground squirrels are kinda cute, the third summer I had pots and now I saw them for what they are, pesky little rodents. I needed help, I got puppies but they had to grow a bit first they were hardly bigger then a regular squirrel themselves when we got them. The following year and 4th summer we had some hunting success and we had the odd dead critter brought to us and my pots on the backstairs had finally a greater survival rate. Only the pots on my front stairs were still under attack. So I tried to flush them out with a water hose though this only resulted in my husband complaining about my watering the plants too much and the water bill skyrocketing. A good thing I have not told him why we had such an increase. You would be amazed how much water you can let go down a ground squirrel hole, without any dent in their population. They were probably sitting in one of their air holes watching me and laughing themselves silly, but I cannot use poison due to dogs and other critters that would eat either poison or poisoned ground squirrel.
This year I upped the ante, I got out my big container of Cayenne pepper and covered the top of my newly planted pots and my 2 grapefruit trees that come outside every summer with a nice layer of Cayenne pepper. And so far so good, not a paw print on any of them, no holes dug, and the red topping on the soil goes nicely with the bricks.
The lilacs and large irises are blooming, the Siberian irises are growing tall, the clematis' are setting on blooms and so are the roses. The bamboo is shooting up stalks and you can almost watch it grow so far so good on that experiment.
The many hydrangeas are leaved out and the magnolia was done blooming weeks ago, all the other little flowers too numerous to mention are in bloom mostly shade plants due to the fact that 22 mature trees don't let in a lot of light one of the reasons why one walnut had to go it was #23.