Monday, June 27, 2011

Lily Season Begins & Poll

It's my second favorite time of year for flowers: Lily Season! I love lilies, but they are second to lilacs. Most of my heirloom bulbs will bloom a little later (they are budding now), but the "cheaper" bulbs are working it right now!

This lovely red-orange specimen was elected to adorn my kitchen island. Just one stem and a few hosta leaves and I have an arrangement. 

Side note: if you've never tapped your hostas as a source for arrangements, you are missing out. They add wonderful texture, last forever, and it's hard to feel guilty about taking a few choice leaves because there are so many!

Also, because I can't stay on one topic for too long, I thought I'd note that Ryan and Jim and Michael C. got another wall of the building up this Sunday. Yay!
I didn't help this time. Sorry boys. I'm kind of a mess with a hammer anyway (my motto the last time I helped was: "Whoops. Is this close enough?" Answer: No. Pretty much never.)

Last point today: I've put a poll on my blog off to the right, it will close at midnight on the 4th of July. You can put in multiple answers (you don't just have to pick one) and the question I'm asking is: What do you like to read about on this blog? I'm just kind of curious if there are things I should focus on. I think about blog thoughts a lot, but sometimes I second guess myself and decide not to post because I don't think you'll be interested. So please be honest and I'll work on posting more of the things people who read this thing want to read. If what you like best isn't on there, just leave me a comment on this post.

Those of you who read with a reader (like Google), please please please go to my blog and fill in the poll. If you're reading this, I want to know what you like no matter who you are. 

Side note again: Google has a cool "next" button you can add to your browser that lets you see new blogs on their home blog page. It's in the options somewhere and I have discovered I love it far better than RSSs because I get to see people's actual blog. 

Ok, before I side note again, ta ta for now!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June Exchange & Another Quilt Relish

I signed up for a June Craft gift exchange thing this year, from the Craftaholics Anonymous blog. Not quite sure what possessed me, but I thought it would be fun. Anyway, it's in the mail now, my gifting partner was someone who likes all the owl patterns that are hot right now and is also a Scentsy dealer. So I made her a candle mat from an original pattern.
The owls are appliqued with button eyes, the rest is all free motion quilted in.

I also finished another one of the Modern Quilt Relish patterns, like the one in my cubicle quilt. I have to say, these patterns are very well written. I did cut the size in half, however, just because I didn't really want anything bigger. There is a pencil in the picture to give a sense of scale.
To anyone who is looking for farm news, I apologize for no update on that front! It continues to be a very rough year here. Our energizer is back from the manufacturer and we now have fewer sheep, but we're still having chicken problems like crazy. Our broilers just aren't growing like they should and the layers are falling prey to clever raccoons and foxes. My co-workers are telling me that we should just set traps for the coons. This is funny. Ryan actually tied the bait to the trigger and the next morning the bait was gone and the trap was still untriggered.
Crazy coons.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Barn Raising & Cubicle Quilt

Let me start by saying that people are awesome. I expressed a plea at work in our Friday morning staff meeting for help with framing our building, and lo and behold two of my co-workers were game! One brought his fiancé and we also had Jim out to help. Our farm would not run without that man and this was yet one more thing where he knew all sorts of useful things!!
Barn Raising! Greg is in the gray, Drew is in the orange, Melanie is in the green, Ryan is on the left in the blue and Jim is on the right in the blue.
By the end of the day we now have the front and back walls up, which is awesome. We also learned a bunch about how to do this in the future, which was super valuable. Knowing how to frame is another one of those skills that we city kids just don't know.
Ok, so it's not truly a barn but is a 20 ft x 30 ft chicken building to be a layer house and brooder. We're using a blueprint written by Kasco poultry in 1943. We went back to that old blueprint because it's from a time when people did something closer to what we do.

A couple of weeks ago I also finished a small quilt for a wall hanging, and when I started it I was planning to use it to start on Christmas gifts, etc. Instead I liked it so much that I decided to hang it in my cubicle at work, at least for a little while. I refuse to feel guilty about that because, well, I just do. The one that was there had been there for almost 2 years already.
 It's a pattern from two ladies in Ames who write modern quilt patterns and it was super fun to make! The pattern is Modern Pickle Relish and their pattern shop can be found here. I will also note that it was a very well-written pattern, and I loved that it still has a very modern feel to it even though I used civil war reproduction fabrics. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chinese Balance Quilt & Escape Artist Sheep

I finished another small quilt today, it's intended to be a baby quilt for my next baby (no, I'm not expecting yet. I'm just a plan ahead type person). 
With my first baby, I found that a quilt that was about 27" by 33" is just right for a "traveling" quilt. It fits my carseat, is the right size for a changing table, and fits in a grocery cart seat (if I don't just leave the baby in the carseat). This is my daughter's traveling quilt:
But back to the topic at hand. I'm calling this newest quilt "Chinese Balance" because the focus fabric is this awesome rainbow phoenix fabric that I found in Madison, WI a couple years ago at Gayfeather Fabrics. Then I hand quilted it with dragons. In the Chinese culture phoenix represent a feminine aspect and dragons are masculine. 
Then in each of the 4 squares I quilted a different Chinese character, meaning Phoenix (male), Phoenix (female), Dragon (common form), Dragon (royal form). Hopefully someone who really knows their Mandarin won't see it and totally laugh, but I really like the way it turned out! 

On the farm front, the sheep are currently getting out daily. Our good energizer is back at the manufacturer (broken), so the backup energizer is... well... less than intimidating. Here the sheep are snacking on my front yard.
I think Ryan might be ready to just shoot the lot of 'em!