Sunday, August 31, 2014

Quilt Stories . . .

This is the other side of all those squares of newspaper I showed you yesterday -- a string-pieced quilt top. I was amazed when one of my students passed on two antique quilt tops to me, saying she had no place to display them. Thank you so much, Dannie!

 This quilt, as a date on one of the newspapers tells us, was at least partially pieced in 1961 -- or after. Sometimes a quilt gets worked on over a long period of time and even by several generations.

Some of the newspaper squares are dated 1959 -- and looking at the quilt it seems as if two different tastes at work -- subdued and subtle in the upper left corner and then there's all that red in the center and orange on the right. Of course it could well be the same seamstress who got a sudden influx of bright colors in her scrap bag when the Sixties hit -- perhaps she was sewing for a teenage granddaughter. The essence of string quilts is economy -- use what you have.

Here's a LINK to a tutorial explaining how string piecing is done. Fun and easy -- and usually one tears the paper away before adding batting and a back. But I'm in love with the historical aspect -- the prices, for instance -- and will likely display the quilt newspaper side out.

Then there was the other quilt top -- beautiful pinks and greens that make me think of the Twenties, carefully handstitched together . . .

Lots of solids and some of what looks like feed sack material . . . Look at that sweet flowered pink , . . . swastika?

 As it happens, the swastika was a widely used good luck symbol in many cultures and there are many examples of swastika quilts made before ever the Nazis adopted the symbol. I can just imagine someone beginning this quilt in the Twenties or Thirties and then sadly laying it aside rather than finishing.

HERE is the story of a similar quilt.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Web Woes

Our internet is still down but thanks to Justin and Claui and the loan of a handy-dandy little WiFi gizmo, we are back on line, more or less.

Meanwhile, there are more tomatoes to can and cucumbers to deal with . . .

 And perhaps, if all goes pear-shaped, the kittehs will lend me their cardboard box. . .

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lily + Ali

When our great niece Lily visited a few weeks ago, she and Ali pretty much fell in love. He slept on the bed  with her and, now that she's gone, he comes up most days for a quick check of the upstairs guestroom, just to see if Lily might have come back.            

A few days ago we received a really  sweet thank you note from Lily -- and a  handmade placemat for Ali.

He loves it -- but what he really wants is for Lily to come back. . .

Monday, August 25, 2014

Yes, I Can

I've told this story before but I love it so much, by golly, here I go again.

Almost forty years ago, after we had made our move to the farm and become caught up in the farm way of life, back in Tampa, one of my mother's (and now one of my) friends was at a fancy cocktail party, chatting with my mother.  The friend asked how I was doing in this new environment.

"Oh," said my mother, probably rolling her eyes and pursing her lips, "She leads a very different sort of life." There was a dramatic pause (at least, as I imagine it) and my mother lowered her voice. "She cans."

And I still do . . . Having used up a lot of freezer space with corn and with tomato herb sauce, I started canning tomatoes -- just a start, And I picked a basket of apples to make applesauce but used way too much water and it's more like apple soup. Hmm, maybe it'll be nice to braise pork in. Any suggestions? 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Taking It for Granite . . .

The kittehs were appalled. Actually, so were we, on discovering that the wooden underpinnings of our sink were being gnawed on by larder beetles, dropping a powdery residue, as well as grubs and beetle bodies into the drawers and cabinets in the vicinity; 

DIY guy to the rescue! John decided to replace the wood and formica with an un-gnawable concrete countertop. After a lot of careful study of various DIY books on the subject, he built  a form down in his shop and poured the concrete mixture. After it had hardened, there was grinding the surface flat and polishing and sealing. (This was a slow process, over a period of weeks.)

At last it was ready. Drawers and cupboards had to be emptied and the sink removed (we had an interesting few days without it -- washing dishes and garden produce in the bathroom.)

And here it is!

No one wants to drop this on a toe . . .
Once it's on the hand truck,  tensions abate.

But then there are the steps . . .

Justin pulls: John pushes . . .

Yep, this endeavor involved a lot of tools . . .

Easing it into place . . .


And there it is. Now John is casting  some long narrow bits for the backsplash.

Thank you, John! You are a man of many talents!

I'm pretty impressed with how nice concrete can look . . .

Even if the kittehs aren't.