Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkey, Stuffing, & Stuff!

  After all the things I was thankful for on Thanksgiving Day, I'm thankful now that it's over! Don't get me wrong, I had a great 5 day break from school, my son was home, we had good family time, and a delicious turkey dinner with leftovers that lasted till lunch on Sunday. The down side was I had no quilting time till about 8 PM on Sunday night. I have a tradition that I always decorate for Christmas starting the day after Thanksgiving. Even if I would waver on that, my son wouldn't let me. He's BIG on tradition. So with all the usual festive activities associated with Thanksgiving, dishes, laundry, family time, and 3 days of decorating, there was little time left. I still have the family room tree to put up, but I can put it off for another few days since Isaah is back in Iowa City. What he doesn't know won't hurt me! Shhh!

  Now, I'm back in quilt mode. Ahhh, that feels better. Here is what I've been up to...

My Christmas village, 2011 version...
Angel tree,in memory of my daughter, Elizabeth...
My cow tree with over 250 cows...
Santa tree (I still believe, don't you?)

Two Love and Valor Quilts with binding at last...

Remember George? I'm finally back to working on that quilt...(the small tree has all sewing related ornaments)
  I put up a tree and another village scene in the HS  Media Center on Monday. I've sewn every night this week though, so I'll be in the mood to put up my last tree this weekend. Randy has to do inventory Friday night and Saturday anyway, so I should have plenty of time for that and time to sew too. I'm back in the groove! Yeehaw! Hoping you're having a groovy time too!

Keep stitching,

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Civil War Update

  I've been quilting every spare minute this past week. Only 2 1/2 blocks to go on Baby Kitty's Quilt. Yea! I thought I'd better take some time off to post though, since it's been a week. Yikes! Where does time go?

  Since I can't show my quilting progress, I'll share some Civil War history instead...

   President Lincoln proclaimed a naval blockade of all southern ports on the Atlantic seaboard and the Gulf on April19, 1861. The plan was to keep the Confederacy from exporting their cotton crop and from receiving goods from abroad. The Union bought or hired 200 ships to implement the blockade. The blockade was extremely effective, though some small , fast-sailing blockade runners made it past the larger Union ships delivering much needed supplies. Still, by the end of November, 1861, cotton exports fell to only 5% of what they were before the war. Southern commerce was dramatically affected. British mills, no longer able to get the needed cotton from the south, began to buy raw cotton from Egypt and India instead. Cotton exports had been the biggest part of the south's economy, thus the term, King Cotton. Now with a sharp decline in cotton exports, the Confederacy began to want for even the basic necessities. It would only get worse.

  I recently purchased this group photo taken in the 1860's. It appears to be a composite of photos for a girls' academy or maybe it's ladies involved in the Sanitary Commission. That's my best guess anyway. The back has a list of names. Maybe one of you will recognize a name.

This next pictures, bought from the same source, is identified on the front as "our teacher" and on the back as GSM Darcy, 1866. I wonder if he taught before the war or began a new career after surviving the fight.

This gentleman is identified as Chas. (Charles) K. An enlistment picture or "after the war" photo?

These two photos are of  sisters, but I can't tell if it's the same two sisters' photos taken a few years apart or is it 4 sisters in separate photos grouped by similar ages. What do you think?

In case I forget it or don't blog again soon, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope we all have plenty to be thankful for. I know I do. Keep stitching!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

An Offer I Couldn't and Didn't Refuse!

  A couple weeks ago I received an offer I couldn't refuse from my friend, Jane's husband. Jane is a quilter and her husband is a biking friend of Randy's. They  retired from the southwest TO Iowa a few years ago. Why, you ask? Tim had ridden for the Air Force bicycling team on RAGBRAI for several years and he was struck with the friendliness of Iowans and it was centrally located to relatives. They were a perfect friendship match for us...a quilter for me, a biker for Randy.It didn't take us long to match up.

  Back to that offer! Tim likes to go to auctions and he likes to do "projects." Awhile back he had bought an old wooden ironing board at an auction, cut a large piece of plywood, attached it to the ironing board, added padding, and wallah, a great pressing board for Jane to iron large quilt tops on. I was impressed when I saw it. I only have a small fold-down ironing board on the back of the door in my sewing room. I had purchased plywood and had it cut to fit a large pressing pad I had bought with a 50% off coupon at JoAnn's a couple years ago. BUT, guess what...I had no surface to set it on in my sewing room. Bummer!!! It stood leaning against the wall behind the door unused for 2 years. We were invited to Tim and Jane's for dinner a couple Sundays ago. After dinner, it was only natural for Jane and I to migrate to her sewing area in the family room downstairs. She shared her quilts,works in progress (many and gorgeous) her stash acquisitions, books, etc. Tim told me he had bought another wooden ironing board at a sale and if I supplied the wood, he'd make me a pressing board like Jane's if I wanted one. IF?!!! I jumped on that offer immediately. Heck, I already had the 22" x 62" padded board already just needing a base! It can still hide behind the door when not in use, but when I need it, I can simply unfold it and stand it in the middle of my sewing room. Having a handy friend is really really handy! Here's pictures of my new treasure...
     The pressing pad has good cushioning and all the required markings necessary to keep tops squared up while pressing.

  The view of the back showing it's humble plywood underside. I attached a heavy duty Velcro strap to lock the legs in place when folded up...

Ready for action...

   I've found it also comes in handy when I'm marking a quilt for the quilting. It's a large surface and it keeps the top from sliding around when marking. I've had that problem when marking on a table top or counter.

   Those old wooden ironing boards usually sell cheap at auctions and sometimes yard sales. Keep an eye out for them and you could have a terrific pressing board too!

  I've had a 3 1/2 day weekend, thanks to parent teacher conferences Thursday afternoon and all day Friday, which I didn't have to participate in. I've nearly quilted nonstop and have the sore fingers to prove it! I am quilting on Baby Kitty's Quilt, one of the two hand-quilted quilts  for my book.  Randy is on a bike ride with Bike Burlington for what he says is "probably the last ride of the season before it snows." He's said that for the last three rides he's gone on. Funny thing is, he'll go on bike rides even if there is snow, just not as often. He goes on an annual New Year's Day ride, the Brr ride in February in northern Iowa, and the CRAMP ride (cold ride around Mt. Pleasant) in March! I don't know why he feels he has to make me promises about not riding. I don't believe them anyway and I don't even care that he goes! It's good for his health and he enjoys it, but, hey, if he feels guilty and like he owes me, well, that can come in handy when I want to go do something quilt-related! Heh heh heh. A nice little arrangement, don't you think?

  Hope you're finding time to quilt too. Keep stitching!