Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Last Two Months in a Nutshell

   Long time, no post! I'm guilty of dereliction of duty when it comes to my blog. My big Sis has been haranguing me for weeks (8 of them to be exact) about not posting anything. Gosh, where does time go? The last weeks of school were hectic and VERY stressful this year for all of us. When school got out on June 2nd, I was ready to do anything and everything nonschool related.

  The next day I was booked to speak and teach in Hannibal, Missouri for the Piece Makers Quilt Guild June 3rd and 4th. I had a wonderful time and met a great group of quilters. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and have no pictures of my program or the class I taught! Boy, I was mad at myself.

  I'll try to catch you up on all my goings on since  my post (well, this is embarrassing) on April 30th. Cringe!

  In April I attended the Kalona Quilt Show and here are a few of my favorite quilts I saw.

  I also attended the Civil War reenactment in Keokuk, Iowa.

   I toured the Civil War section of the National Cemetery, also in Keokuk. It was very moving to see all those rows upon rows of graves.

   The first week of May was very busy. I gave a program for the Calico Cut Ups Quilt Guild in Anamosa, Iowa. Then, on May 8th I gave a program for the Friendship Quilter's Guild in Waverly, Iowa. It made for 2 very late bedtimes for me on school nights and I was  glad to catch up sleep on Saturday. One weekend in May, Randy went on a bike ride from the Quad Cities to Galena, Illinois and back. I was free to sew and eat whatever I wanted which meant no cooking!

  Over Memorial Day weekend, my sister, Sandra,  and James, my brother in law came for a surprise visit to Mom's, stopping  here to see my house before traveling on to Illinois. Randy and Isaah both had to work all day Saturday at the Burlington Criterium Bike Races. Randy is President of the Bike Burlington club and was in charge of security for the event which draws racers from around the world. We had a great visit with family at Mom's, but it was too short.

  After I got home from Hannibal, I began landscaping my new yard. I've planted 25 trees, 10 flowering bushes, and dozens of perennials. I had 8 tons of quality black topsoil delivered and hand-scooped, wheel- barrowed, dumped, and spread every ton of it myself to numerous areas of our near half acre lot to fill in sink wholes and create flower beds.

This was early spring before I decided to have the 8 tons of topsoil delivered. The bags weren't going very far. This is the beginnings of my shade garden.

 It's a bit more complete now.

  My biggest project was building a 105 foot long dry river bed in our back yard at the base of a hill where water drains from the 6 lots to the east of ours whenever it rains. I don't plan on having a pond here, so the dry river takes its place. I brought the waterfall rock ledges from my other yard. Water flows over it during a storm and runs into the ditch onto city property. I had to draw up the plan and present it to the City Streets Dept. to get the approval to build it past our property line and drain it on the city property. I've planted assorted perennial prairie grasses and sun-loving perennial flowers along its banks. I shoveled and hauled several tons of rock for this project.
   Randy hauled my pump and well curb for me to sit in the bend of the dry river. It was my 25th anniversary gift from him several years ago and it HAD to move with us. I still need to add green treated 2 by 10" boards to the sides of the platform to finish it off. It sits on wood blocks now.

  At the mouth of the river is a rocky garden area where Mr. and Mrs. Galva Nize  reside. I built them several years ago out of old galvanized buckets, watering cans, coolers, garden utensils, etc. They are happy with their new "digs" and glad to be out of the garage at last.

  This is Mr. Galva Nize. He had suffered a broken arm ( the one not visible in the picture) in the move last fall and I performed surgery on him last week to restore full use to the appendage. No physical therapy needed. :) Doesn't he look proud?

 This is his wife, Tinnie, short for Valentine. She received a wardrobe makeover. You can tell she is corseted in by her tiny waist and has a new longer gown. Her old one was rusted threadbare and needed replaced. She feels quite the stylish lady of the manor now. The rusted bicycle chain necklace is from Randy. He's so generous, considering he is mortified that I included the couple in my new garden. :) He thought they would have been happy to stay with the people who bought our old house. I'm afraid he was mistaken. They pleaded with me to come with us. Family is everything after all!
  I created a berm and planted a row of boxwood along the outer curve of our front sidewalk to help stop snow from drifting across it. We found out the lovely breezes we enjoyed on this hill last summer and fall became brutal winds in winter. Every snow storm caused a 2 foot drift across the center of the sidewalk. We'll see if this helps prevent that this winter.

   I'm done buying and planting for this summer. I declared it good for now, plus I'm tuckered out and tired of going to bed aching all over every night. I'm back to quilting!

  I've sewn more blocks of Courthouse Steps for Dante. He will be a senior this year so I need to get the top together and on the frame for quilting. I don't know if I ever said why I was making this quilt. He's one of my all time favorite students and he's the only one outside of family who ever asked me to make a quilt for them. He asked me when he was a sophomore and I said, "Oh, Dante, it takes a lot of work to make a quilt." I secretly was pleased he asked me and decided then that I would make him one for his graduation and not tell him. He asks me about my Civil War programs all the time and loves to hear the stories. He's always volunteering to help me do heavy work in the media center ( he's a 6'6" and 200 lbs. football player.) He  even hauled 15 Blue Spruce trees in his pickup for me before school got out.  He's just a great kid I'm fond of who deserves a quilt! I have 191 of the 225 blocks needed done. Here is a picture of the stack. That's a 14" rotary cutting ruler standing next to them to give an idea of how big the stack is.
  And here is a stack of the 4" size Courthouse Steps blocks for my own quilt next to his.

I promised to show a finished picture of  Raspberry Nines, the doll quilt in progress in my last post.

 And here's a new doll quilt I'm working on. I had one 9-Patch squared block left and couldn't stand to not use it somehow.
 I think I'll take it on vacation with me to quilt in the car. We are going to Gettysburg!!! I don't know where else, maybe Antietam  and Harper's Ferry, who knows, but  did I mention GETTYSBURG?! Top of my bucket list, by the way. Our friends, Jeff and Michele invited us to go with them since they are new "empty nesters" and their grown kids don't want to go with them. I plan on visiting a few quilt shops along the way of course. I will take my camera along so I'll have pictures to share next time. I promise it won't be 2 months this time! My sister would never let me live that down. Are you happy now, Sissy?

  Until next time, keep stitchin'!



  1. I love Mr & Mrs Galva Nize! And Raspberry Nines as well. After all that hard work in the garden I think you should relax and enjoy your summer.

  2. well what a wonderful post of all sorts of news. I love your stream, it will be so pretty when all your plants grow.
    Your quilt projects look great, I am totally in love with the raspberry nines quilt!

  3. Well, no one can accuse you of not being busy! Wonderful work on your new home ... but bigger kudos on making a quilt for your young friend. That will truly be a gift he will treasure!

  4. great the Mr & Mrs Galva Nize.

  5. great post, you have been so busy
    I am so happy that your making a quilt for him, this boy will really appreciate that and what a wonderful memory he will have of you and all your stories about history over the years…using reproduction fabrics from those times of the history stories, perfect!

  6. The garden art is so creative. I don't have a garden to display something like these in but would be wonderful.

  7. Your post is filled with so many fun things and a lot of hard work. Having shoveled top soil, compost and rocks ourselves, I can certainly empathize with aching muscles. Your landscaping looks great. The little quilts are full of gorgeous fabrics - enjoy some well earned stitching time.

  8. What a fabulous post!!! You certainly have been busy doing a range of wonderful things!!!! I love the long dry river bed, such a brilliant idea to create this feature and the Mr & Mrs to oversee things!!! Your court house step blocks look wonderful too and your small quilt, all too nice!!! This time next year your gardens will repay you for all that hard work, and you'll be blessed with their beauty, well done!!!!

  9. Wow, what a busy time, no wonder you didn't have time to blog about it. Love the dry river, but then I'm nuts about rocks. And your quilting is gorgeous.

  10. All right you are excused...been wondering where you were! lol The yard is really coming along and so glad you "hauled" some stuff with you. The Habitat for Humanity quilts are coming along and will send you completed pics in a couple of months. Also happy that you are getting to share more of your knowledge and talent with others. You should post s schedule of where you will be and maybe I could get there for a visit or a class!

  11. what a great post - you've been really busy!
    I love your gardens - so unique and fun.
    How lovely to make a quilt for what sounds like a special young man. I have to say, I've made several quilts for young men and they really love them and appreciate them.

  12. It was a treat catching up with you! You sure got to do some fun things. I would love to have seen the CW reenactment. You have a wonderful piece of property and you picked a lovely place for your shade garden. I'm sure you will have fun watching it take shape. Enjoyed seeing your new quilt designs--wonderful patterns and colors both! Do post about Gettysburg! I'm sure that will be an amazing trip. I've always wanted to go there myself but the closest I ever got was Manassas, VA, where my husband and I were able to tour the battlefield.

  13. Mr & Mrs Nize are too cute! I don't blame you for taking them with you when you moved. The 2 courthouse steps quilts will be wonderful and a great surprise for the helpful student! I went to Gettysburg a long time ago, but would sure like to go again. However, with our move to Oregon, it is doubtful. Hope to see some pictures when you get back.

  14. Thanks for the update!! You are so inspiring, both in your quilting and in making your new house a home. I'll bet the yard looks wonderful and I can't wait to see the quilt you are making for your special student friend! Dawn

  15. Yard work is daunting. We moved where we are 10 years ago and we had nothing, but some weedy grass. We have made flower beds and garden space for vegetables. Thinned and weeded every year since then. But it is satisfying to say the least. I just canned 7 quarts of freshly picked green beans from my yard. Getting the sewing done during the Summer months is hard for me. Hopefully you can get your projects finished on time. Chris

  16. I don't even know where to begin. I love it ALL! ALL of it! Thanks for the eye candy today.