9.18.2014

Outside my window

When you quilt out in the country, you never know what you may see outside your window. As of late the cows have been quite entertaining with a random empty bucket that ended up in the pasture. They push it around and tip it over and run around it, all the while it puts a smile on my face. But this last week I've had a host of other critters stopping by:
 I spied with my little eye this deer! Every so often a single deer or a small group travel through, but this one hung around for awhile all by her lonesome. I swear to goodness I can't make this stuff up, but just as I spotted her my brother called me. The conversation went something like:

Me: Hey, there's a deer out back. A doe. 
My brother: Really?! A doe? A deer? A female deer? (In the most sarcastic tone ever) (Okay, tell me you didn't read that in the tone of the song, thank you Sound of Music)

Like I said, I can't make this crap up. He certainly does make life interesting :)
 I was really intrigued by the coloring of this doe. She was this interesting mousy grey where the deer around here are more of a warm tan. Last year they were really dark, some almost chocolate brown at times, but her coloring could have been due to the rainy weather.

 I was trying to get more pictures but she snuck behind a patch of trees and then disappeared when I had my back turned. It's not like I go out there to quilt and work or anything :)
 Well, that was last week and earlier this week I had a batch of turkeys roaming the back yard. They've actually been around for a few minutes every other day or so for the last couple weeks. They were just close enough and still enough for me to get photos this time.
This grouping has an average of 6-8 turkeys with one little itty bitty in the group. No toms strutting their stuff lately, but I think the cooler weather we've been having makes them happy. They've been super active and it's nice to see a large group like this.

We used to have tons of wild turkeys out back all the time. Our area has seen a rise in the amount of predators though like coyotes and the turkey and pheasant numbers dropped. The last couple years have been more active with larger groups like this being spotted, but we used to see groups in the 40-60 range. Maybe we'll see more when the leaves are gone and the crops are cut... But not just yet. I'm not ready for that...

So, these have been my distractions this week when I'm supposed to be quilting. The weather took a turn for the better yesterday after this foggy and wet mess we've been having and I would be lying if I said I wanted to be at the machine. With the gorgeous amount of sun and the slightly cooler temperatures, I wanted to be anywhere but inside. I'm hoping today if I get done quilting early enough I may try and jog a local park I haven't been to in awhile.

Now that I've taken some me time and spent some time outdoors, I really realize how much I missed it. Even if I just walk and get outside for a bit, it'll be better than stuck inside. I'll just have to remember to take my allergy meds tonight... Well, that's it for today. What do you see outside your window? Any critters? Any outdoor activities you enjoy?

9.17.2014

Change of plans

I had this great idea yesterday to download all of my pictures off of my camera and write some witty blog post... Well, that all got derailed when I got a frantic text from my BFF that her dog was missing. They had gone door to door and were planning to put up flyers so I went to the park behind her house and walked the paths looking for Bridgette, the dog. 

I turned up nothing and her hubby went looking out back in the woods again, but luckily it was all effort well wasted. They now live on a super busy road and Bridgette somehow ended up by the road. A nice dog lady picked her up and took care of her before returning her home yesterday morning. 
 And here she is reunited with her kids. Phew, that could have turned out so differently, but we are very glad she's home. 

With her home safe, I got back to quilting and started on this long overdue project:
This is another version of Woodland a Sunset from Seamingly Scrappy, my first book with Martingale. I was able to quilt everything but the backgrounds. I'm completely stumped. I normally don't unload a quilt half finished, but this one can wait a bit until I figure out the best plan for it. Any ideas? All I can think of right now is pebbling , but my arm wasn't feeling up to tons of pebbles yesterday. 

I also need to piece the back for my plus quilt, I got some other fabrics for another tutorial, oh , I did finish my mini plus too and I need to share that... Lately it seems like there's everything and nothing going on all at once. I've been busy, but I can't share most of it :(

Alas, more good stuff is to come and I'm hoping for a nice boring day today. Have a great day and we will chat again soon!

9.13.2014

Early morning

Right now I'm sitting here listening to the news and smelling my Hubbin's coffee. Thinking I should go get my own cup...

Things have been a little quiet here this week, I've been quilting and binding and fighting an allergy fog. I've wanted to write a blog post all week but I either fell asleep too early or slept in, but once again I'm learning that's okay. 

I used my awesome little calendar to do all of my quilting "work" this week and now I have the weekend to do some more fun sewing. 

I finished the top for my large plus quilt, I'm thinking about using a tanish back for it, but I'm also thinking about fading the back from darker to lighter tans. Thoughts???

I have a few bindings I need to catch up on and I'm thinking Sunday afternoon while watching football will be the perfect time to work on it. Or cut out another quilt... We will see :)

Anyway, I'm going to sew and hopefully have more to share here, I hope you have a great weekend! I'd love to hear what you're working on!

9.08.2014

Sewing Report and Thank You!

First off, thank you all so much for the kind words about our dear Duncan. Ben and I cannot thank you enough for the kindness and support you shared and we will be forever grateful. You guys are the best!

Now, this weekend I did a little sewing. (Yay!) I'm about half way done with my plus quilt and I finished the top I can't show you yet (boo hiss). And because this is such a sickness and I just can't stop, I cut out a mini plus quilt from scraps this weekend since I got up at 4:30 and didn't want to disturb the rest of the house:
I did the math, cut it up, laid it out, and got it organized to sew before everyone was up on Saturday. Oh, and don't worry, I'll be sharing a tutorial for this too once I get it done. I've officially caught the mini quit bug. Oh, and then once Ben got up I printed off a new paper pieced design to use up some scraps. 

Then Sunday while watching the football games, I wanted to continue to sew because I'm about half done with the rows for my plus quilt:
And I really wanted to sew them together, but I wanted to watch football. What's a girl to do?! So like any other obsessed quilter, I started cutting out another quilt. 

So if you're taking a tally, I finished one project, worked on another, and started three more projects this weekend. It's a sickness I swear! Hope you all had a great weekend and thank you again for the kind words. I'll be back soon with another update and hopefully a quilt or two I can show you!

9.06.2014

A Sad Day

I try not to post sad things on here, but this one is about a subject I've shared far too much to ignore. I've been trying to write this post for weeks. I've written it in my head a hundred times over and still couldn't actually type it out. Please know this is hard for me to share and I'm crying while sitting at my computer at the moment.

So here goes:
 About two months ago, we lost our precious Duncan. I've shared so much about him and Paco on the blog, many of you ask about them at shows and it seems like you know them virtually.

Duncan's had a rough road with his health since he was a pup, but always was a trooper. He had a spine injury as a pup. He's had a gland rupture several times which lead to tumors and abcesses and several bouts of antibiotics. He had a weird allergy to shampoo that made his eyes swell... He also had liver enzymes that were off the charts and could never be controlled. But right before we lost him he was diagnosed with diabetes.
 Duncan lived a wonderful 13 years and the last month or so was rough. His blood sugar was over 500 when he was diagnosed and it never went below 370 in the month after. The highest it registered was somewhere in the 670 area. He was a Cairn Terrier and little did I know that his breed as well as Schnauzers are prone to diabetes late in life, but are also insulin deficient. Well, we tried shots and different foods and everything we could think of and nothing worked. We were at the vet so much that last month, one week alone we were there 6 times. They knew us and I didn't have to sign in or anything. We'd walk in and the staff would be like, "Hey, Duncan!" We had to have him put down when his body started to shut down and that was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life.
I miss him dearly and it was honestly hard to sew after he was gone. He was the best quilting dog ever and the best companion when I was down. I didn't really realize why I didn't want to sew for a few weeks until one day I forced myself to stay home. I opened the door to my sewing room for the first time in weeks and immediately started to cry when I saw his blanket lying on the floor. And his toy under my table. That day I swear I heard him running down the hall and cuddling onto his blanket. Everyday has gotten a little easier, but he was my baby. He was my first dog. As long as Ben and I have been Ben and I, it was Ben and I and Duncan was our baby.

We still have Paco, but he's our kitty dog. We love him dearly and we've agreed (even before we lost Duncan) to not get another dog at the time. Paco is 15, mostly deaf and blind and it wouldn't be fair to him to bring a new wild dog into the house. Honestly, I want to go to the dog shelter every day. I can't because I would bring home like 5 and poor Paco wouldn't know what to do.

I guess the reason I'm telling you all this (if you're still here) is more for a closure thing for me, but also to explain if I haven't really seemed myself lately. I tried to keep this to myself, but Ben and I agreed that I shared so much about Duncan on here, I should probably share his loss too. It's been a little hard to be upbeat so many days I was just quiet.

I still have many of his toys spread around the house and I can't bear to think about moving them or throwing them away. I would love to donate them, but that would probably lead to a shelter and me bringing home a dog or 5. For now though, I take comfort in knowing the wonderful life that he and I shared, the wonderful memories that can never be taken from me and the hope that I will see him again one day. I still find myself crying in these quiet moments where a scent or a sound or something makes me think of him. So I please ask if you can, to love on your pooch a little longer today. Please give them a hug and a kiss and an extra treat for me (and Duncan). Thank you all in advance for letting me share this personal story with you and getting it out in the open. Rest in peace my little Duncan Christopher. Mommy and Daddy love you and miss you.

9.05.2014

No Grey Area Here

Get ready, this is going to be one of those deep thought type posts, but I'll try to keep it brief and fun.

I've been loving Instagram (you can find me @rubybluequilts) and the other day I posted a shot of these feathers that I had finished quilting.

Now, I've tried quilting feathers several different ways and the way I like the best is to just go for it without drawing a spine or quilting one first. I just sew from side to side and the spine comes about as I quilt.

Many people left comments about how they've never tried that before. They like the spine because they know where they need to go. My little blurb under my picture said I hate drawing the spine because it reminds me of people telling you to color inside the lines. This is quilting, there ARE NO RULES!!!

So, with all of that said, it got me to thinking...

When I quilt I am either super creative or super organized. There's no grey area. Now, I can do both at the same time in a project, but it's all one or the other, no compromise. I was telling this theory to a friend yesterday and she explained it as either OCD or ADD with quilting.

I know several people that have more of a mathematical or engineering background that tend to fall in the super organized category. They are precise and rip out stitches if the seam is off by two or three thread (yes threads, ick!) and they are very good at what they do.

But then I know several people that live in the colorful "throw everything together and make it work" world where their piecing may not be perfect everytime and that's good as gold to them. They're not afraid to take chances and try something new, but they are also very good at what they do.

I think I live in both of these worlds. My stash is ridiculously organized (or getting there) but I'm not afraid to pull whatever I can get my hands on and make a quilt. I like to piece and cut precisely, but if things get off a bit, no worries. I'm human. I stay up way too late and quilt before coffee some mornings and if I need to rip something out, it's not the end of the world. I never thought about it before, but I wouldn't change a thing. I like the precision that lets me do math and create new patterns, but I love my creative side that can actually visualize and play.

So, where do you think you fall in? Are you more precise or more creative? And please do not for a second think that I'm saying creative people aren't precise and vice versa. It's just much harder for a precise person to tackle a mystery quilt or an art quilt and a creative person would be bored in about 5 minutes after a much planned quilt (typically). Or, is there some component that I'm missing? Let me know where you fall in and let's celebrate that we all do this thing we love, but are able to do it in our own way!

9.03.2014

WIP Report

I had all of these grand plans to quilt like a mad woman over the weekend and yeah... Not so much. 

The Hubby and I took a day and went to the local fair and then it was cleaning and grocery shopping and not fun stuff, followed by a super lazy day and I'm learning that's okay!

I did get some sewing done, just not as much as I was hoping but I can't show you my big progress. It's a secret for now, but I did work a bit on this one:
It's not done yet, but hopefully will be soon. I've been using it as my odds and ends project between other seams. 
So far I'm working on row 4! Only a bunch more to go. When I do work on it, it does go quickly, I feel an all nighter sewing night coming up :)
And this is the rest of the stack waiting patiently. By the way, thank you all for the quilt love. This one will be fun once it's done and I'm eager to finish (if you couldn't tell). I'm so happy I switched the colors around but I'm already collecting fabrics for  another version. And maybe a mini. But time will tell. 

Happy sewing and hopefully I'll have more to share soon!
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