Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A little rambling

August is rapidly coming to an end with autumn less then a month away,  the schools here have been back in session for a full week and the weather here has been hot, humid and rainy.  Florida in August is not in my opinion a comfortable month, stepping out the door first thing in the morning one is hit in the face with oppressive humidity and 30 seconds later your clothes are damp, your hair is limp and you feel as if your stepped out of the shower with your clothes on.

Last week I was out running errands, dropping packages at the post office and doing a bit of shopping and picked up a few crafty magazines to get holiday projects underway this has some lovely Autumn

ideas as well a Halloween, though I'm not much of a painter, I would love to try my hand at repainting a teapot.
The red and white cover just pulled me in, the pages are filled with all manner of crafts though the cover appears to be more winter/Christmas ideas there are other holidays among the pages.

I was under the weather over the weekend and still not up to par so I spent most of Saturday writing much needed replies to letters which I mailed out this morning.  I also had some time to catch up on my reading the first was the Tea Time magazine with the autumn inspired cover
Last week I spent a little time sorting through some of my beads and jewelry making supplies, I made a short list of what findings I need to get a few beaded pieces started, on Saturday the mail carrier left this catalog in my mailbox
I love turning the pages of Fire Mountain but this catalog left me disappointed I'm not sure if the company is no longer carrying all the products they used to offer or if you have to search the online site.  I will say one thing it should be renamed the Swarovski catalog, to me more then half the catalog is just crystal beads. Don't get me wrong I love Swarovski crystals but I also love semi precious stone and this catalog at one time had pages upon pages of them not to mention thousand of charms. Sigh!

Some of the seasonal fabrics I will be crafting with in the weeks to come:
Witch Cameo
Sheer Witch
Glitter Witch
If you didn't know this about me I collect Witches so these fabrics really caught my eye, the cameo witch fabric I plan to make some fussy cuts for several ideas I have in my head, I may fussy cut some of the glittery witch fabric too. The sheer witch fabric is shown on a white cloth so the witches stand out in the photo.
Well that's about all I have time for I'm heading to the pool for a swim.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Garden Woes and Weeds

My Florida gardening experiece hasn't exactly been a paradise for me this year and right now my little piece of paradise, the one thing in the world that truly keeps me sane has gone from thriving raised beds to a few surviving plants in containers.
Still I love nature & gardening it is my refuge, an oasis among the chaos when daily living begins to overwhelm, my own piece of paradise the one place where I can touch the earth and make it bloom and on a bad day I can hide from the world, pull weeds and watch as the birds, bees and butterflies make their magic.

I have let the weeds grow wild over the past few weeks, disheartened with the garden this year I just don't want to expend any unnecessary energy if I don't have to. Yes I know it makes more work, but now I can take the weeded eater and the shrub trimmer and attack those nearly 4 foot tall weeds, vines and whatever looks like it doesn't belong there.

I was very happy to see the bee house buzzing quite actively yesterday morning while I was watering the potted plants, there must have been 2 dozen bees flying around despite losing all the vegetables I planted in the Spring, I suppose my Hibiscus, Lemon and Lime trees, and Rosemary still attract the bees, I would guess the full grown orange tree at the house next door helps too.

I think for now container gardening will be my preferred method of gardening since my paradise has turned into a dying mess replaced by jungle of overgrown weeds that will take some time to get under control, I have lost the desire to start all over again so I have plans to turn my raised beds into a container oasis, one idea is to lay a layer of white stones over the soil and placing the potted plants on top of the stones. Something like this photo
I like the clean neat look of the stones and I think it will deter weed growth better then the mulch.
I like this look above too with the scalloped trim and each pot on a square block, in fact I have several square blocks I bought when I first moved in 2011 and placed a few of the plants I brought with me. 
Again I like how neat everything looks, I would place my pots closer together like the photo above well maybe not that close.
This idea would keep my hands in the soil and I could hold onto my love of gardening, I could even plant a few vegetables in large pots like I did before though this time the pots would be on a bed of stones.
I have the next few months to decide what to do next as far as the future of my garden is concerned but the more I look at photos of the stones with the planters the more I like it. You bet I will keep you posted.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Postage Stamp Quilt may be for me

In my search for a long term hand pieced quilt project earlier this month I mentioned I may attempt a Dear Jane quilt, however, I have a few other quilt patterns floating around in my head one is the Postage Stamp quilt.

Postage stamp quilts so named because many quilters in the late 19th and early 20th centuries used pieces of fabric as small as a postage stamp to make this quilt.
My plan is to use one-inch squares, as a quilter we rarely throw away fabric scraps, even the smallest bits have a purpose, I have quite a few pieces cut out to start piecing a postage stamp quilt, this would be an on going work in progress and like the piecing that would go into making a Dear Jane quilt, it would be a great take along project

Postage Stamp Quilts are many and varied with variation in layout and size of each square. Making a Postage Stamp Quilt with thousands of tiny pieces often requires a great deal of patience and dedication to put together.

Whenever I think "scrap quilt" the very first quilt that comes to mind is a classic postage stamp quilt. Now a days many postage stamp quilt are made using 2.5” squares, not quite as small as postage stamps, but easier to use up those scraps from left over Jelly Roll strips and Charm squares.

Traditional Postage stamp quilts are made up of thousands of tiny 1 inch by 1 inch squares sewn together. Through history, these quilts were a way to use up the tiniest scraps of fabric left over from sewing. Postage stamp quilts are often pieced with no set pattern in mind, but there are no hard and fast rules about how to arrange the colors of the squares. 

Making a postage stamp quilt is simple if I decide to make this my long term quilt project to begin I'll cut my scrap fabric into 1.5″ squares. This makes a 1″ square sewn piece with 1/4″ seam allowances.

When I am ready to start piecing my quilt, I will take 2 squares and sew them right sides together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Then I'll take another square and sew it to the two pieces I just put together, I'll keep doing this basically until I get bored of sewing, my fingers get too sore holding onto the needle or I reach the length I want.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Is a Dear Jane Quilt in my Future

For a few months I have been giving thought to making a long term hand pieced quilt, the Dear Jane Quilt, originally made by a young woman Jane A. Blakely Stickle during the CIVIL WAR out of the tiniest scraps of fabric imaginable. 

For more information you can check out It is absolutely fascinating but be fore warned if you are a quilter this subject can be very addictive and you may wind up making plans to start piecing your very own Dear Jane, after all that's what happened to me, I was reading a friends blog and something caught my interest and before you know it a few clicks later as always seem to happen I came across a Dear Jane quilt.

Who would have ever imagined that young Jane’s quilt (made in 1863) would be replicated by women the world over so many years later. There is something about this quilt that elicits awe and wonder. I am sure Jane never dreamed that something like this would happen.

The amount of work that went into making it is almost inconceivable. This quilt wasn't planned with computer software or sewn on a sewing machine. She didn't have plastic rulers or rotary cutters. She didn't send it out to be long-arm quilted. Instead, she sat in her farmhouse (perhaps on the front porch) and planned the different blocks and cut fabric and pieced them all by hand. The fact that this quilt was completed in 1863, during a time of war, likely with only fabrics she could scavenge and pieced by hand just makes it all that more of a challenge. She sewed the 80"x80" top together by hand. She quilted it by hand. She bound the scalloped edges by hand.

Jane Stickle lived in Vermont and completed this truly magnificent quilt in 1863. She was 46 at the time. The quilt consists of 169 four and a half inch blocks, 52 triangle border blocks, and 4 kite-shaped corner blocks made from 5602 pieces in total. One corner block is embroidered with “In War Time. 1863. Pieces 5602. Jane A Stickle”. The quilt now lives at the Bennington Museum in Vermont and is displayed in September and October every year.

The quilt was made famous by Brenda Papadakis who saw it in the book Plain and Fancy: Vermont’s People and their Quilts as a Reflection of America by Richard L. Cleveland and Donner Blister. She was so inspired by what she saw, she drafted the patterns for all the blocks and border pieces and then published them in the book Dear Jane, The Two Hundred Twenty-Five Patterns from the 1863 Jane A. Stickle Quilt.
here is a site with several Dear Jane quilts in various colors like the lovely quilts in this post.

I am in search of a long term hand pieced quilt project and Dear Jane is at the top of the list, for me long term means about two years in the making, I have a few other quilts in mind and will be writing about them in future post.