Friday, September 30, 2011

Farmer's Wife Friday--A Wonderful Gift

A couple of things stand out to me about the letter accompanying this week's four sampler blocks. First and foremost, the reasonable and respectful attitude that Mrs. I. G., from Wisconsin, portrays in her words make me think that I would enjoy sharing a cup of coffee at her breakfast table.
 It's obvious that she is a very content farmer's wife when she wishes, "that my daughter, the Princess, wed the Prince of Soil, and live happily ever after in God's country, land of sunshine and flowers, health and happiness." Perhaps she would make the Princess and Prince a lovely quilt using this Single Wedding Star block.....
I really like the Wedding Star looks like a flower to me. My wheels are turning with ideas for using it, maybe in a larger size!

Growing up on farm myself, I remember clearly having lots of jobs to help my mother out with her many chores and lack of some conveniences. Life in the country is not for the lazy, that's for certain. The Country Farm block went together pretty easily, but I was happy to have the modern convenience of a rotary cutter and rulers to make my block!
My thoughts on child-rearing today match this farmer's wife's reflections even though my children were not raised on a farm. She says, "In farm homes each child is taught daily to perform some tasks and be responsible for their being well done; this fits him to perform capably the serious tasks of later life. Too few city children are taught to be industrious at a time when the habit of industry ought to be formed." I couldn't have said it better myself!
The block above is named water wheel. If you really look at it, you can see the water tipping out of the little cups on the wheel, I think! The easiest block this week was Northern Lights. I wish I could see some reason to call it that, but I can't. Still, it's a nice block to represent something that the farm family may have enjoyed seeing in the sky.
I loved the wife's outlook on life summed up in this last thought, "Last but not least, of all the restless world, we, from the beauty and tranquility of the country, the knowledge of our use to the world and our independence, have in our souls the peace and content that money cannot purchase. That surely is a wonderful gift." 
Happily, I can report 40 blocks done so far.  Let's see, that's only 71 to go! I spread them all out together to get a good view of the overall look. I'm looking forward to seeing Cindy's solid blocks all different than mine.
Do you see any colors that I need to be using more or less of? Too much red? Should I start adding any other colors? (I will probably use white sashing with the blocks.) I am open to away!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Quilts on the Quad

If you live within driving distance of Kansas City, and have some free time on Saturday, here is an event that you won't  want to miss! A few of my quilts will be displayed along with many other modern quilts made by the creative quilters of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild. Hope to see you there!

One Thing Leads to Another!

You know how that is....You start to clean the living room, pick up yesterday's paper to take it to the garage...while in the garage you notice the bird seed sitting out. Grabbing the birdseed container, you head to the back yard and fill the feeder. Looking over at the waning flowers, you realize that they haven't been watered for quite a few days now...and on and on it goes! Who knows if the living room will ever get cleaned!
Well, that's how it is with this block that Linda asked us to make in the One Block Over Bee...
I had fun choosing fabrics, cutting and creating three blocks for Linda. All lined up, they look like a crooked road to who knows where!
I had another block in mind to make for another Bee I belong to, the 3x6 Mini Sampler Bee. Each participant has three months to make six renditions of any block they choose, but using the various color schemes chosen by each quilter. guessed it...I suddenly changed my mind and decided to make Linda's Crooked Road blocks for everyone, with a little tweaking of the directions. Here they are. I love them so! Now, I'm even contemplating another project using this liberated design.....One thing, leads to another!
You may have noticed this little icon on the fringes of my blog, and thought, "That crazy girl is starting something else now!" You would be right. But, really, it's only one 8"block a month, so it will be nothing compared to the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt Along!
After changing my mind at least 5 times, I decided to use the four Sophie fabrics, on the left,  gifted to me by Mary when I met her this summer. It will be a happy memory to have them all hang out together in a quilt. I added the three fabrics on the right from my stash to round out the color scheme.
On the 25th of each month, a different quilter will reveal that month's design.  Sherri, from A Quilting Life was the designer for the first September block. It went together quickly. Yea!
And now for the Give Away winner! It was really fun to read all of the color combos that everyone came up with to use with the Zigzagged pattern. The winner (picked randomly by my daughter, Homemade Ginger, is #42......
Karen Williamson, who picked pink, brown and cream as the three colors she would use to make Zigzagged.  Congrats, Karen! Please email me your address so that I can get the pattern in the mail. And, thank you everyone, for your quilty love regarding my quilt!
Come back tomorrow for the Farmer's Wife Friday post.  I'm hard at work getting four blocks finished up. I bet Cindy is too!

Monday, September 26, 2011

A School, A Quilt and a Give Away!

Probably no one but me noticed that yesterday's Sunday Something was my 250th post!
That's something to celebrate, I think, and what better way to celebrate than to give something away! Keep reading to discover the prize at the end of today's post....
I have a new quilt to show you and I picked a really fun place to photograph it, I think. A few miles from my house sits a lovely, old country school. In 2003, the school was moved to this park, completely restored, and is now open to the public for viewing and special events. 
 The Oxford School House, located in Leawood, Kansas, first opened in 1877 and operated until 1955. It is one of the oldest school buildings in Kansas. You can read more about it here and, if you live anywhere near, might want to stop by for a visit sometime. 
Now to tell you about the quilt.....
Zigzagged the latest pattern by Empty Bobbin off the press! I was privileged to get to be a pattern tester for the designer, Shea Henderson, a few months ago. ( I love doing that!)
I made the lap size version, but the pattern includes yardage instructions for 4 sizes. I can personally assure you that the directions are well thought out and easy to follow, and most importantly, without error as Shea makes sure it has been tested at least 4 or 5 times before publishing.The instructions are in booklet form and the nicest format I've ever seen in a quilt pattern. (Do I seem biased at all?)
After creating the top, I was instructed to mail the top, backing and binding off to the fabulous quilter, Angela Walters. Look at the beautiful work she did  to turn the top into a real quilt!
The pattern even includes directions for creating a cute pieced backing...something you don't see much on other patterns.
The pretty quilting really shows up nicely on the solid color of the backing, doesn't it?
I couldn't resist photographing the quilt hanging from the door of the little building out back of the country school. Every school had one, but this one is extra cute..(the original outhouse may or may not have been so sweet!)
Shea was nice enough to gift me a copy of Zigzagged to give away to one of my readers.
You will find my version of the quilt pictured on the back and inside of the fun!
 If you think you would like to make this pattern, suitable for beginner to advanced quilters, all you need to do is leave me a comment telling me what three colors you would use to make ZigZagged if you win the pattern.Be sure that you have an email address available to me. I'll draw a winner on Thursday morning! Let the celebration begin!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Something

"But small is the gate 
and narrow is the road
that leads to life, 
and only a few find it."
Matthew 7:14

Friday, September 23, 2011

Farmer's Wife Friday--Well-Balanced and Happily Busy

These weekly posts about letters written by farmer's wives during the 1920's have been interesting, educational and often inspiring to me. Sometimes they make me chuckle. 
Today's letter, by a wife on an Indiana farm, did just that with her no-nonsense style of writing that gave me lots of clues to her personality. I kind of saw a mama bear defending her cubs against any perceived attack, real or imagined!
The first block, aptly named "Contrary Wife", was the easiest and quickest of the four to put together.
I looked up contrary in the thesaurus and saw some fun definitions that sum up our farm wife's attitude toward "folks who muss up [her] disposition"especially by extending pity or questioning her lack of the comforts of the city. Here are few of the best ones, I think-
Contrary: cranky; cross; disagreeing; in opposition to; poles apart; vise versa; worlds apart; nose to nose and my favorite of them all: eyeball to eyeball!

I wonder if Mr. Farmer brought her flowers from the meadow to keep her happy. This block, called Bouquet,  is definitely one of my favorites and made me smile when I got it done!
"Good books, good music, and a wealth of flowers and growing things about us" trump the modern conveniences that she doesn't have, and, if she is to be believed, doesn't want.
"We're not very likely to have any great moral problems on our hands, as the children grow up, and we shan't depend upon a social worker or a soap-box orator to save them from sin and poverty." It all sounds as idyllic as this Flower Basket block looks!
 To her, farm life is the only life that could bring her happiness, she's sure: "We know, because we have tried it, that our family life could never have been kept so intact, nor our happiness so secure, if we had lived any place other than on the farm."Here's the last block accompanying this week's biting letter, called Peaceful Hours:
Now, I might be a bit contrary myself and say that perhaps the spelling would have been more appropriate as "Pieceful Hours", because I may or may not have spent a few hours  piecing it! Whew...another tough one! With it's strange-shaped pieces, I was happy to have found an Internet source for paper-piecing this sampler block and took advantage of it or I might have thrown it in the pig trough before I was finished! It wouldn't have ended peacefully, I'm sure. (sorry, couldn't help myself!)
I'm very interested to see Cindy's blocks today and read her thoughts on Mrs. Contrary Wife's letter! Meet you over there............bye, now. 
P.S. Wouldn't it be grand to live peacefully in this farm house I saw in Maine? The color of the house, a light aqua, was so pretty!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sew To Speak

On our way to Maine....
We found ourselves driving through Columbus, Ohio. 
My long suffering husband often indulges my desire to stop at quilt shops 
along our route when traveling. 
"Oh look! There's Sew to Speak! I wonder if Mary is there today?!"
"Well, what do you know....she is!"
And look at all of this beautiful fabric lining the walls of this 
'cute as a button' shop.
Oh! They are even having a sale on many of the fabrics. 
I could do some major damage here!
There is inspiration at every turn. I can really see that Mary has lots to choose from
in creating her gorgeous projects.
There's one now!  Pinch me! Am i really here, seeing this in person?
What a lovely hour spent with my invisible friend, Mary from Molly Flanders,
who is now my in-the-flesh friend! 
We really hit it off....Too bad I don't live just up the street!
Look what made it's way home in my suitcase....
 Mary was so sweet to gift me with these cute fat quarters 
packaged up in an adorable little bag that she had made just for me!
(There were killer chocolate chip cookies, too!)
It was hard to leave, but my dear hubby was waiting patiently
and we still had lots of driving to do to reach our destination...
See you tomorrow for Farmer's Wife Friday!