Saturday, December 31, 2011

Serendipity Scrap Quilt

Today, the last day of 2011, I've begun a full sized quilt. I hope to have it finished before the end of 2012. I've begun by gathering up scraps and putting them in a large bin and looking at block patterns I may want to include. I'm not going to graph this quilt out, but will assemble it like a jigsaw puzzle. I want it to be full sized, very scrappy, have both pieced and appliqued blocks, and it will be hand quilted. I'm still looking for a theme and a fabric to tie everything together.

I will post a photo of the first few blocks tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Cross Stitch

I haven't done cross stitching for many years, but this project enticed me. It's from
With Thy Needle and Thread. I may use different motifs from it to make small Christmas tree ornaments too, if I have time.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Books Read--December, 2011

1. Exploding Eighteen by Janet Evanovich
2. Three-Day Town by Margaret Maron
3. A Christmas Homecoming by Anne Perry
4. Crime Machine by Giles Blunt
5. The Suicide Murders by Howard Engel
6. Death of an Innocent by Sally Spencer
7. A Victim Must Be Found by Howard Engel
8. Murder at Swan Lake by Sally Spencer
9. There was an Old Woman by Howard Engel
10.Tag Man by Archer Mayor
11. A Burial at Sea by Charles Finch
12. The Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin

Monday, November 7, 2011

Books Read - November, 2011

1.Silent Mercy by Linda Fairstein
2.Ho-ho Homicide by Corinne Holt Sawyer
3.The Strange Death of Father Candy by Les Roberts
4.Dead on Cue by Sally Spencer
5.A Killer's Christmas in Wales by Elizabeth J. Duncan
6.V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton
7.The Black Cat by Martha Grimes
8. Crime Stories by Dashiell Hammett

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Books Read - October, 2011

1. The Paradise Job by Sally Spencer
2. Skinner's Rules by Quintin Jardine
3. The Enemy Within by Sally Spencer
4. Skinner's Festival by Quintin Jardine
5. Killing the Blues by Michael Brandman
6. Worst Fears Realized by Stuart Woods
7. The Rose of the World by Alys Clare
8. The Hanging Wood by Martin Edwards
9. The Butcher Beyond by Sally Spencer
10. Son of Stone by Stuart Woods
11. Smoke and Whispers by Mick Herron
12. A Spider on the Stairs by Cassandra Chan
13. Trick of the Mind by Cassandra Chan

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Books Read -September, 2011

1. The Salton Killings by Sally Spencer
2. The Bitter Truth by Charles Todd
3. The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman
4. Dirt by Stuart Woods
5. Echoes of the Dead by Sally Spencer
6. Play Dead by Harlan Coben
7. Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen
8. A Sight for Sore Eyes by Ruth Rendell
9. The Vault by Ruth Rendell
10. The Devil on My Doorstep by Stuart Kaminsky
11. Triptych by Karin Slaughter

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Week-End

I started a pair of mittens yesterday but I wasn't happy with how they were turning out. I tried several types of ribbing, different sized needles, and even tried stripes, but I didn't like any of them and ripped every attempt. I think worsted weight yarn is too thick for mittens; I'll try again with DK or fingering weight yarn.

I did made a red and white child's hat this morning. It still lacks the pom-pom on top. I will make more of these using the worsted weight, but there will be some changes.

It's cooler today with highs in the lower 80s. I've started a second hat with the worsted weight yarn and will post photographs of it and the red hat once they are finished and have their pom-poms on.

We're having spaghetti and salad for dinner tonight.

Yesterday I collected only one egg from the chickens. We have three hens and have been getting two to three eggs per day, the weather has been hot and I'm sure that's one reason why. They've also just started laying and when we get eggs will probably be erratic for the next few weeks.

I watered all the flowers early in the morning and then put the laundry out on the line. I didn't quilt yesterday but I did finish reading a book. Supper was a hamburger patty, tomatoes, cucumbers, and corn on the cob.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Books Read - August, 2011

1. The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood
2. File Under Jeopardy by Sarah Lacey
3. Sins of the Father by Sally Spencer
4. One Summer by David Baldacci
5. File Under Arson by Sarah Lacey
6. The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller
7. Fatal Quest by Sally Spencer
8. The Midsummer Crown by Kate Sedley
9. Wicked Witch Murder by Leslie Meier
10. The Dead Hand of History by Sally Spencer
11. The Witch Maker by Sally Spencer
12. Dangerous Games by Sally Spencer
13. Sante Fe Rules by Stuart Woods
14. Dying Fall by Sally Spencer
15. Death of a Cave Dweller by Sally Spencer

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bowtie Quilt

One of the first quilts I made was a bowtie quilt. I've fallen in love with this one and apparently I'm not the only one as I've heard that a number of bloggers are working on/planning to make this quilt.

I don't have any cheddar fabrics in my stash, but I do have quite a bit of what is unabashedly orange and that's what I'm going to use. Here are my first three blocks. They are 6" and I plan on making 48 and setting them 6x8.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Books Read - July, 2011

1. Inspired by Tradition by Kay Mackenzie (NF)
2. A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear
3. Orchid Beach by Stuart Woods
4. File Under Deceased by Sarah Lacey
5. Orchid Blues by Stuart Woods
6. God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life's Little Detours by Regina Brett (NF)
7. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
8. Fast Fade by Arthur Lyons
9. The Ring of Death by Sally Spencer
10. Whiskey Sour by Joe Konrath
11. Rusty Nails by Joe Konrath
12. The Sixth Man by David Baldacci
13. Dirty Martini by Joe Konrath
14. Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich
15. Infernal Angels by Loren Estleman
16. The Body in the Gazebo by Katherine Hall Page

Monday, June 6, 2011

Books Read - June, 2011

1. Vintage Knits by Kaffe Fassett (NF)
2. Orange Peel: New Quilts from an Old Favorite by Linda Baxter Lasco (NF)
3. Short Straw by Stuart Woods
4. The Prince of Beverly Hills by Stuart Woods
5. Hard Trade by Arthur Lyons
6. Buried Prey by John Sanford
7. All God's Children by Arthur Lyons
8. A Cool Head by Ian Rankin
9. Mystery by Jonathan Kellerman
10. Misery Bay by Steve Hamilton
11. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
12. Broken by Karin Slaughter
13. Dark Harbor by Stuart Woods
14. The Killing Floor by Arthur Lyons
15. Castle Burning by Arthur Lyons
16. Trader of Secrets by Steve Martini
17. Dead Ringer by Arthur Lyons
18. The Dead are Discreet by Arthur Lyons

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thinking of the Future

This scrap four patch quilt is 38" square. The top was pieced by my husband's great aunt, Clara Wooster, and I hand-quilted it a few years ago. My thought was that it would make a lovely crib quilt for a future grand-son and I've put it aside for that. As I quilted and bound it I thought of what that little boy might be like and smiled the entire time.

And if you want to see some gorgeous quilts, check out the Bloggers' Quilt Festival here.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Books Read - May, 2011

1. False Pretenses by Arthur Lyons
2. Sixkill by Robert B. Parker
3. Live Wire by Harlan Coban
4. Three with a Bullet by Arthur Lyons
5. The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly
6. Bel-Air Dead by Stuart Woods
7. A Drop of the Hard Stuff by Lawrence Block
8. The Girl Who would Speak for the Dead by Paul Elwork
9. 10th Anniversary by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
10. At the Hands of Another by Arthur Lyons

Friday, April 29, 2011

Chickies Moving Outside

John put a tarp on top of the chicken yard so the chickies won't get too wet if it rains hard. Chickens aren't very smart; their heads aren't all that big and it's mostly fluff. The tarp also helps to keep it a little warmer in there. They're mostly feathered out, but not completely. They will be kept in their house (which John still needs to do some work on), which has a heat lamp, during the nights until it warms up. John built some raised beds outside the yard. That's radishes you see on the right.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

A quiet, rainy Easter Day at home for me. I will quilt and knit and visit with the sons who come over or phone. Have a wonderful Easter Day!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thank you!

Thank you to Nancy (and Bailey)! I was lucky enough to win a copy of the first issue of a new magazine, Primitive Quilts and Projects. Yay!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

More Pink Tulips!

This is what I found when I got home from work. I love pink tulips and my dear husband who thought of me.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Books Read --April, 2011

1. Dance for the Dead by Thomas Perry
2. Death of a Hired Man by Eric Wright
3. The Highly Effective Detective by Richard Yancey
4. Paradise Lost by J.A. Jance
5. Santa Fe Edge by Stuart Woods
6. Mist Over the Water by Alys Clare
7. The Price of Love and Other Short Stories by Peter Robinson
8. Loitering with Intent by Stuart Woods
9. Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
10. Gone with a Handsomer Man by Michael Lee West
11. A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My Chickies are Artists!

John has been giving our little chicks pieces of bread now and then, along with their feed. Here is a photo of what they did with the last slice. They are so talented! I could sell this on Ebay!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I kept some of the potted plants in the garage this year and they over-wintered very well. It'll be time to put them outside again soon.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Chickies

I am so happy we are going to have chickens again! We bought six chicks yesterday. The three Rhode Island Reds are named Lucy, Rita, and Maureen. The Barred Rock Three are Lizzy, Squeaky, and Martha. Here is a couple of photos. They're shy and didn't like the camera flash.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Books Read-- March, 2011

1. Strategic Moves by Stuart Woods
2. The Big Gamble by Michael McGarrity
3. Death of a Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton
4. Mermaids in the Basement by Michael Lee West
6. Strangers in Town by Ross McDonald
7. First Thrills ed by Lee Child
8. Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden
9. Bless the Bride by Rhys Bowen
10. When the Thrill is Gone by Walter Mosley

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tulips -my favorite-- and a card from my sweet husband. Happy Valentine's Day sweetheart!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Quilting Another of Aunt Clara's Tops

I've finished the Rob-Peter-to-Pay-Paul Snowball Quilt--except for the binding-- and have just put this four-patch in the frame.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Books Read--February, 2011

1. The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman
2. The Left-Handed Dollar by Loren Estleman
3. Remembering Adelia: Quilts Inspired by her Diary by Kathleen Tracy (NF)
4. Word Play Quilts: Easy Techniques from the Unruly Quilter by Tonya Ricucci
5. Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health by H. Gilbert Welch (NF)
6. Cold Paradise by Stuart Woods
7. Choke by Stuart Woods
8. American Folk Art Quilts by Maggi McCormick Gordon (NF)
9. 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik (NF)
10. Kisser by Stuart Woods
11. Give Me Your Heart by Joyce Carol Oates
12. Killing the Lawyers by Reginald Hill
13. Knit. Sock. Love. by Cookie A. (NF)
14. A Stranger in Mayfair by Charles Finch
15. The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman
16. Born Guilty by Reginald Hill
17. Blood Sympathy by Reginald Hill
18. Music of the Distant Stars by Alys Clare
19. The Civil War Sewing Circle by Kathleen Tracy (NF)
20. Singing the Sadness by Reginald Hill

Monday, January 24, 2011

Quilt in the Frame

This is the quilt I put in the frame yesterday. The pattern is a Robbing-Peter-to-Pay Paul variation of Snowball hand-pieced by my husband's great-aunt Clara, circa 1950. The blocks are 7" square and they are set 8 blocks by 11 for a size of 54" x 77".

Friday, January 21, 2011

January Goals

My quilty goals are to finish quilting, bind, and label my Happy Baskets Quilt (a variation of the one shown in the photo) and to bind my Jockey Cap quilt. The Happy Baskets is a liberated basket from a book by Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran. The Jockey Cap is a Kaffe Fasset quilt kit I bought from Glorious Color. The quilt is based on one in the Albert and Victoria Museum. I also want to finish piecing Persian Garden, another Kaffe Fasset kit.

My knitting goals for this month are to finish my Sage socks and perhaps even knit another pair of baby socks.

That's a lot and I'm not sure I'll be able to finish everything.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

50 Things that Make Me Happy

I've been reading Willa's Journal for many years. It was from her I first heard about "blogging" and she inspired me to start one. Of course, now I have ummm...several (I'm not counting them!), but that's not her fault.

Not long ago she listed 50 things that make me happy. I've decided to copy her and do the same.

1. Savoring a cup of coffee au lait early in the morning
2. Burrowing in under flannel sheets and quilts on cold, dark winter nights
3. Waking up to birds singing just before dawn
4. Blueberries, especially a bowl of blueberries with milk and brown sugar
5. Starting a new quilt
6. Finishing a quilt
7. Opening a book by one of my favorite authors and beginning to read
8. Wearing hand knit socks
9. Spending the afternoon quilting on a rainy day
10. Saying something funny and watching John smile
11. Putting on a wool sweater
12. John fixing breakfast when I sleep in late and dinner when I work late
13. Wildflowers
14. Hearts on valentines and on quilts
15. Doll quilts of all kinds
16. Knitting a complicated pattern and finally "getting it"
17. Making applesauce
18. Eating warm applesauce
19. Babies giggling
20. Eating a piece of toast with marmalade with a cup of Earl Gray tea
21. Finding just the right journal article for someone at the reference desk and watching their face light up
22. Believing I have a guardian angel
23. Walking hand-in-hand with John
24. Seeing or hearing from any of my sons
25. Watching chickens and hearing them softly clucking, which sounds like singing
26. Hearing the clock tower chimes at the university where I work
27. A fire in the fireplace
28. Watching snowflakes falling
29. Thunderstorms in summer
30. Lilacs
31. Finding a Quiltmania magazine I don't have
32. Baskets of all kinds
33. Time to do whatever I want
34. Falling asleep when reading
35. Playing with my fabrics and deciding on a new quilt
36. Sewing doll clothes
37. Realizing I need new clothes a size or two smaller than what I'm wearing
38. Listening to Mozart while driving near the river
39. Picnics
40. A small slice of homemade blackberry pie with ice cream
41. The smell of vinegar and spices when making bread and butter pickles in August
42. The sun warm on my face
43. Petting a cat
44. Watching sheep herding dog trials
45. Hearing a really funny joke
46. Writing with a very sharp pencil
47. Dark green
48. Smelling bacon frying and freshly brewed coffee when waking up
49. Using my mother's Featherweight sewing machine
50. Sweet peas (the flower)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

This Time of Year

I love this time of year when everything is bare and stark. There are touches of color here and there, but not much, and the colors that are there are muted.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Books Read--January, 2011

1. Angel Time: The Songs of the Seraphim, Book One by Anne Rice
2. Of Love and Evil: The Songs of the Seraphim, Book Two by Anne Rice
3. Interweave Presents Knitted Gifts: Irresistible Projects to Make and Give by Ann Budd (NF)
4. The Short Forever by Stuart Woods
5. Not a Girl Detective by Susan Kandel
6. Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell
7. Beautiful Sheep: Portraits of Champion Breeds by Kathryn Dun (NF)
8 Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag
9. I Still Dream about You by Fannie Flagg
10. Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
11. The Attenbury Emeralds: A New Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane Mystery by Jill Paton Walsh
12. The Sentry by Robert Crais
13. Tick Tock by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Quilt Kits and Heirloom Tool Chest

I have a lot of quilt kits. I don't know exactly how many because they're scattered in different boxes, cupboards, and closets. I'm going to find out though because John offered me the use of his great-grandfather's tool chest to put some of my things in. I'd thought first to use it store quilt tops, but was afraid they might get snagged or stained. Then I thought about yarn, but same worries. Most of my quilt kits, however, are packaged. And those that aren't can be.

Some background about this tool chest. It's over 100 years and was used by my husband's great-grandfather, Niels Rasmussen. He was a master carpenter and moved to the United States from Denmark at the turn of the century. This was not his master carpenter tool chest, but a rougher one he used every day.

Then the scary part. Finding out how many quilt kits I have. I suspect I have more than will fit in the chest. The good thing is that maybe I'll actually start making some of these quilts.

Later: So far I've found 16 quilt kits and 2 hooked rug kits.
Much Later: Oh, Lord, I've found more than 30 quilt kits. The chest is now packed and I still have more. I'm thinking I may be selling some of these on Ebay.

My Practical Resolutions

These are my more mundane resolutions for 2011.

1.Continue to eat a healthy diet and exercise
I began this a couple of years ago and now that I am a "woman of a certain age" or, more truthfully a "woman of a certain age, plus", it's even more important. A health scare last year really made me aware of why this must be a priority.

2. Update my blogs more consistently
I've let some of my blogs languish. The problem is, of course, that I have too many of them! I am focusing on four this year and this one is the first. I'm not going to put a number out there--post twice a week or four times a month--but letting almost an entire year go by without updating is just unacceptable.

3. Knit 2 pairs adult socks and 1 pair baby socks a month.
I was overly ambitious last year and tried to finish 4 pairs of adult socks and 2 pairs of baby ones every month and I did it for a time, but eventually I burned myself out. Knitting Only Socks is the second (the first one is this blog) that I will post to more often.

4.Do more charity knitting.
I will post about this on yet another blog, Knitting for Peace.

5. Complete 2 doll quilts a month and 4 full size quilts this year.

I have plenty of ideas and plenty of fabrics. What I don't have enough of is time. This may be overly ambitious and I may have to modify this goal. I will post updates on my doll quilts on Only Doll Quilts. I'll write about the full size quilts I complete on this one.

6. Remember to list the names of the books read (at least 100) I read this year.
I easily read 100 books a year, but I forget to keep track of them. I'll try to do better.

7. Learn to play the violin.
I have to admit my husband is not too thrilled with this one, but this is something I've talked about doing for the past year and haven't followed through. A friend gave me some great tips about where to find a teacher willing to take on a more "mature" student. And really. My husband should be thankful I've decided to give up the idea of learning how to tap dance!

Oh! And one more resolution! Don't start any more blogs!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

I wrote this at the end of 2004. I'm still working on them.
Every New Year's resolution is a small gift wrapped in shiny paper that I give to myself and I want to chose it carefully. It wasn't until two weeks into 2004, after a great deal of thinking and considering different ideas, that I decided on nurturing serenity as my resolution. So, again, I begin the process. My resolutions aren't always practical or concrete or measurable. They're certainly not easy. I can't claim that I kept my resolution of nurturing serenity all the times I could have last year but I do feel more patient and calmer and that was the whole point.

After spending yesterday evening at my in-laws house, a house crammed full of stuff everywhere you turn, where it's impossible to focus on anything because there is just too much, my resolution includes to get rid of things that I don't need, don't want or will never use. There are some things I will keep for sentimental reasons, others because they're practical, but I will begin looking at the things in my house with a far more critical eye. Some things will be stored, others given away and others sold. I do not want to be eighty years old and spending most of the little time I have left on this earth taking care of inanimate objects while also trying to figure out how to get rid of them like my in-laws are doing now.

I also want to simplify my inner life. I have a tendency to make everything much too complex. I examine things too closely, try to determine all the possibilities beforehand and spend inordinate amounts of time making decisions about things which really aren't all that important. I do that partly because I dislike unpleasant surprises, have a tendency to be a perfectionist and want to feel in control. Yes, I am aware of how ironic it is that I will spend so much time determining my New Year's resolution but I'll argue that it doesn't apply because the resolution I decide on is not unimportant. At least, not to me.

I want to include three of the components I had last year.

I pray in bits and pieces throughout my day. I don't use long and formal prayers. I pray when I'm driving, when I fold laundry, when I cut carrots and roll out pie dough. I pray when I sweep the front porch or water flowers or see birds or sing. Prayer is an important part of my daily life.

Expect Joy
Sometimes I miss the little pieces of joy that are around me.

Accept Grace
Accepting grace is far more difficult than it seems. Part of it is having faith and sometimes mine wavers.

That's a start. I'll see where it leads me in the next few weeks.

Making Lists

I am an inveterate list maker. I make all kinds of lists. I even make lists of lists! I find it's the best way to get things accomplished and crossing an item off a list is very satisfying.

I've made a list of socks I want to knit and other items (hats, mittens, and scarves) as well. Some are for charity, some for gifts, and some for me! Others are class samples as I want to teach at least one knitting class a month. I'm also thinking of knitting a sweater for myself, but I have yet to find a pattern I like. I've made a list of quilts, both doll/small sized and bed size, to make. I want to read at least 100 books this year and this time keep track of them! I'm determined to lose the remaining excess weight, to eat healthier, and to exercise.

Today I'll take Christmas down and put it away until next year, catch up on laundry, and plan meals for next week. I've had three weeks off work, but go back on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting next week. This first week I'll only be working half days.

I hope you have a very Happy New Year!