Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 in summary - picture heavy!

Strap in, this is going to be a big post! My life went totally off the rails in March when I got my second promotion in 6 months to a Director job. It's demanding and crazy and I love it. But it means things like blogging took a serious nose dive. So I'll try to put this in some sections and you can skim past anything that doesn't interest you. ;-)


The farm had a decent year this year, the only major weather event was that it was dry. That means hay prices are really high and Ryan is scrambling to find some that's not ridiculous. 
We also had a major hailstorm in June like nothing we've seen before. It was like someone was firing a machine gun against the side of the house. Between the house and barn it did about $40,000 worth of damage and we're still working on getting that fixed (insurance covered it). It even dented the metal roof of the house, which is supposed to be able to handle "class 4 hail" (whatever that means). Here's a picture of my lilies right after the storm:
But our beef and chicken are still awesome and I can occasionally convince Ryan that we can eat some of it instead of selling it all! ;-)

I have still made time for quilting because it's vital to my well-being to do so! 

I made this one for a fundraiser for my son's school, if you look at the quilting it is a "deconstructed pocketwatch". It is about 40" x 50" or so

My modern quilt guild issued a paint chip challenge, which is where you draw three paint chip colors out of a hat and have to design a quilt using those colors (we could add white and black). So here is what I designed, which I really like but Ryan is not a fan. It is a modern take on waves crashing on a rocky beach, like the ones you find in the NW, like in Oregon. It is smaller, about 3 feet square.

There was also a Riley Blake challenge, which is where they sent me some fabrics to make a quilt out of. I liked the fabrics, but this quilt ended up way too busy. It's very small, about 30" square. It needed more places for they eye to "rest". 

I was blessed with a new nephew this year, so I made him an I-spy quilt. This one is about 50 x 60".

This one might have been my favorite quilt this year. I made it to benefit the United Way at work and a co-worker bought it. It's a decent sized wall-hanging, about 45x55". 

This one is a pattern from Gudrun Erla using her strip ruler. I intended it for our bed originally, but Ryan said it was too busy so I finished it differently and gave it to my stepdad. It is queen sized. 

I also made another little baby quilt with boats on it, but it doesn't have a destination. There's a strip of minky fabric down the center that is super soft.

This last quilt was created for my main quilt guild challenge, which was called "Pretty Pink Petals." The quilt had to be 30"x40", have a pieced background, have applique, and have pink flowers. So this is my quilt "Pretty Pink Pedals." Ha!

Another member of my household also finished her first real quilt! She did most of the work, including the rotary cutting (closely supervised), piecing, and all of the quilting! So so proud!

So that brings us to family goings-on. 

Z loves Lego, and here he's playing with them at the science center. 

Ryan and I went to Sunset at the Vineyard at Penoach Winery several times over the summer; it's probably my favorite Friday night activity!

This was also the first year I took Z to family camp with us, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

And of course we saw the eclipse. We drove down to the middle of nowhere Missouri to watch it in the line of totality, and it was 100% worth the 4-hour drive!

And I have two big kids in school, with their obligatory "first day" picture:

H loves being a farm girl more and more each day. She's started collecting eggs with daddy sometimes and here she is being a quintessential farm girl, including night gown and muck boots. 

 Here are the kids at halloween. I had Mario and Wonder Woman. I made Mario's overalls, but the Wonder Woman dress was purchased (I made the bracers). 

Lastly, the biggest impact on family life was that Ryan decided to run for the Iowa House of Representatives in Des Moines. He announced in August and hasn't hit high gear quite yet for campaigning, but has been working on some of the behind-the-scenes framework and attending lots of local meetings and events. 

We hope you have a great new year, I look forward to what 2018 will bring!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

New eggs, laundry stand, and Luna

It's fully winter here, except that this year the world mostly forgot to do winter. The expected high tomorrow is over 60 degrees, and it's February! So strange. We've had less than a foot of snow all winter so far.

Nevertheless, we've had winter activities. In farm news, our laying hens started laying and have been producing about fifteen dozen eggs a week. Hooray!
Sometimes Ryan gets a little help sorting and cleaning them all.

For the house, we built a stand for the washer and dryer. It was a nice weekend project, and I really like the result. Before:

In progress:
I especially love the space underneath that fits our laundry baskets.

I also want to show that we've not only kept an orchid alive in the window of our bathroom shower, but we got it to rebloom!

For quilting, I've done a few smaller projects. First, we didn't have Christmas stockings for the kids, so I made some for our kids and also our nieces and nephew.
They were fun to make, the one farthest back in this picture is mine that my grandmother made me long ago; I used it as a template.

I also made a denim quilt with regular quilting cotton in between the denim, which I love. It looks like stained glass and is very comfy.
A fellow farmer friend of ours had a baby (shout out to Prairie's Edge Farm!) and I had a small quilt in progress, so I finished it for her and sent it off.
It ended up "busier" than I would have liked, but it will work. I backed it with super soft fuzzy fabric.

H did some sewing of her own, and made an Elsa dress for her doll. Maybe not a "beginner" project, but she was persistent and willing to take direction and help from me and she did a nice job.

In family news we're attempting yet another dog. The border collie decided to herd a car, so she didn't make it. We installed invisible fence and adopted a Great Pyrenees. Here she is the day we adopted her, two months old.
We've named her Luna and she's going to be quite a bit bigger than this. She was born in September, so she still has a lot of growing to do. Here she is chewing on a stick:

In family life, H and I took our annual ski trip again in December.
She got to the point that she was going down real hills (instead of the learning hills for kids) and went down about 7 different slopes up about 4 different lifts at Breckenridge. Go girl, go!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

New placemats, costumes, and completed hearth

As usual, life got away from me and so did the Fall. We had a very long warm Fall here, which is unusual but was generally welcome. Ryan has been starting the chicken building by pouring a concrete pad, I believe more on that can be found on his blog. He brought me in for some of the two-person work, like leveling out the top of the wet concrete.

 I hadn't ever done that before, it was interesting to do! Just add it to my list of "Skills I never thought I would have."
The 6-month-old calves tend to come investigate every time we're out there, they're very curious what we're doing in the hay lot. There was another one in the following picture as well, but I couldn't capture them all in the same shot. 
In September we went to the Apple Festival at Penoach Winery and tended a booth for the business. It was an OK day, but I'm not sure if we will do it again.
With Thanksgiving over recently, I was proud to get my turkey boiled down for stock already! I took a picture, primarily for posterity.

In sewing/quilting news, I went to upload pictures and discovered I've completed more than I thought I had in the last few months. I sewed myself a new laptop bag for work because the one I had was worn out and the one I could get from my company was just less interesting to me.
I lined it with some pretty pink fabric and edgestitched it in pink as well to add a personal and feminine touch.
I also finished a quilt from the scraps of my lone star Christmas quilt that is serving as a seasonal throw on my couch.
Also in quilting, I replaced the placemats that I made 6 years ago, and this time I made 16 of them!
They're a bit of a modern aesthetic and I also made matching napkins and a table runner.

Lastly, it was Halloween season and for the first year I really did it justice (in my opinion). H wanted to be Tinkerbell, which means she needed wings in addition to her costume. Here is the picture I found online that I used to base the wings on:
I did some work with a couple of wire coat hangers to get the basic shape:
Then I got some white tights and stretched them over the frame:
Then I tightened them up and sewed it in place, and attached some elastic:
The last step was to draw the swirly patterns on the back with silver puff paint that I had on hand.
I also made some shoe covers out of fleece and big white pom-poms. 
I picked fleece because I don't have to hem it and it has a bit of stretch to it. I also made both kids' costumes out of fleece. 
Z wanted to be Mario (the kid loves Mariokart if I haven't already mentioned it) so we bought the hat and the red sweatshirt and I made the overalls out of--you guessed it--more fleece. His mustache is a piece of felt taped on.
Ryan decided to also get into the fun with his blue Carhartts and a hat of his own. 

H has shown an interest in sewing, so she is sewing an Elsa dress from the movie Frozen for one of her dolls (with heavy help). I'm trying to get her to do as much on her own as she can, so here she is cutting out the pattern.

I also finished the hearth project that was mentioned a couple of blog posts back, and it looks awesome. I'm not sure when it will get a wood stove, but it will at some point.

I've been working a lot more than previously and took this mirror selfie on a business trip, so I thought I'd include it on this blog since I usually post about Ryan's work and not my own! ;-)
The kids are doing well in school, Z is enjoying Montessori. His spatial reasoning is especially good. 
I also failed to post first-day-of-school pictures, so here are some:

We all hope you have a happy early winter season, perhaps I'll get another post in before Christmas!