Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I Did Some Quilting.....

Today, I thought I would share with you one of my other passions. It's quilting! I enjoy all aspects of quilting. The planning, picking out fabrics, cutting, sewing and watching your quilt come to life. You see, I love color. My whole life I have been attracted to all different types of fiber. I do have to admit to you that I couldn't even sew on a button until I was about 29 years old! My first love is fabric. I'll show you my stash sometime. Anyway, about 11 years ago I had a dream of owning my own quilting business. I was a stay at home mom. I really wanted to make some extra money for our family and work from home at the same time. My DH believed in me and we purchased my Gammill Quilting machine. For us it was a huge amount of money. I trusted God and dove right in. I did really well and paid for the machine in less than a year. I was booked for about 9 months in advance. After a while it took it's toll on my body. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy it. I just can't work it full time. I still manage to do several quilts for customers a year. Here is one I did for a customer over the weekend.

For those of you who don't understand how it works, let me explain. A customer comes to me with her pieced quilt top and backing. I load the quilt top, backing and batting onto separate rollers of my machine. My Gammill has a 14 foot wide table so I can work on any size quilt. I then start sewing! It's kind of like driving a car. So I drive the sewing machine to make the stitches. The three layers are sewed together and tadaa finished quilt! It took me a while to master that technique. Here is a close up of the star block quilted. I wanted the stars to look like they are spinning. It does right?

This is the finished quilt. You can click on any of the pictures and get a better look. I still adore quilting. I love to work on customers quilts too. It's is so inspiring to see what other quilters are creating.

If I can leave you with a word of advice... If you have a dream just do it!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lets go for a ride!

It is such a gorgeous day. This is the perfect day to go on a ride. I thought you might like to ride along with me. Come on. Let's get ready. We need to get Cassie out of the paddock. Hopefully we won't have any issues with Minnie Moo. Cassie and Minnie have this love hate relationship. Cassie doesn't want Minnie anywhere near her. She pinnes her ears back and gives Minnie a good chase around. On the other hand if Cassie is separated from Minnie she whinnies and calls for her. Love, hate. That's how it is. I have to watch them closely when I enter the paddock. I don't want to get in the way of the chasing game. I think 1000 pounds of horse hoof would really ruin my pedicure! Not to mention a broken foot. We need to get Cassie all brushed and pretty before we leave. Not to worry. I'll do all of the dirty work. I promise you won't smell like a horse. Now for the saddle. I'll have to give it a swing to reach her back. I'm not sure how much my saddle weighs. It's pretty heavy though. Like my DH says (emphasis on the German accent)I'm strong like bull!

O.K., did you get on alright? How does it feel to be in the saddle? Are the stirrups too short? Let's go for a spin. Hey, this is so much fun. Let's do a little warm up. Walk.....trot......Ready? Canter! Woooo!!!! Want to go faster? Just give her a little squeeze with your heels. Whooo Hoooo!!!!! O.K now that you are comfortable lets go down the road and see what we can find. Don't worry, I'm right behind you.

Alright, here we go. First we will go down the edge of my property. Aah... The wind in our face and the sun on our shoulders. Feels so good! Wow, you are doing great. I bet you had riding lessons.

We will be riding for about 2 miles one way. Look out... I see a pheasant. We live near 2 different hunting preserves. Pheasants are common. They like to dart in and out of the way. Most of them can only fly a short distance. Cassie is handling it just fine. She didn't even spook. You didn't either. Nice!

This is one of my favorite places on this road. This farm is at least 100 years old. I was very blessed to meet someone that actually lived here. I met Charlotte when we moved here 14 years ago. Charlotte was 82 and lived in town when I met her. She told me stories of her childhood here on this farm where she was born. The house has long been sold and abandoned.

Whenever I ride down this road I always stop at Charlotte's gate and look around for a few minutes. I wonder what it was like all of those years ago. I'm sure farm life was really tough. I also dream about all the fun they had too!

This is where Charlotte's house stood. The very first time I saw her homestead it was in a total shambles. The roof was caved in. The windows all broken. The front porch leaned into the ground. I always thought it would be cool to buy the place and restore it back to it's glory. It burned to the ground about 10 years ago. Sometimes when I would ride over I could swear I could picture Charlotte and her brothers and sisters playing together under the majestic oak trees.

Charlotte's ancestors built this home about 1 mile southeast of her farm. In the 1880's it was a very famous creamery. I have seen drawings of the large spread at the library. The home still stands. The farm has stayed in the family for generations. Now it is a large dairy farm.

This is Charlotte's family cemetery. I'm not being morbid here but I love cemeteries. I enjoy looking at all of the old headstones. For me it is really interesting. Don't worry, I would never ride into the cemetery. We can look from here. My place is 2 miles directly behind it.

We should start for home. It shouldn't take too long to get back. Want to race? O.K. we will take our time and enjoy the sights. This is the very first time I have seen this on the side of the road. Someone decided to dump their trash! I can't believe it! I just don't understand why in this day and age someone would be so lazy and thoughtless to pollute! I'll have to come back with the truck and get rid of this mess. BTW my farm is in the background of this photo.

Did you have fun? I hope you liked your ride. You did great. I bet you are a seasoned rider. Let me know if you want to go out exploring again. Next time we will load up and drive to a cool trail. Does that sound tempting? It's always more enjoyable to ride with friends! Thanks for coming along. You helped make my day!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Knitting News

I have knitted my very first scrumptious cupcake. Isn't it sweet? I used Plymouth Jeannee for the cake and Bernat cottontots for the icing. The cherry is the Jeannee that I used for the cake. I used size 4 double point needles. Woolwinder has been baking I mean knitting these yummy treats. Go check out her blog. Lots of inspiration over there! The pattern is from Eva McDonald. Now, come in a little closer because I need a little help......

As you can tell from this picture, I have very noticeable ladders. Did I over stuff the cake? I'm not sure why it looks like this? I was trying to keep my stitches tight. I was having a little bit of a problem with my fingers working the decreases so tight. The needles really seemed to stress out my fingers and hands. I am using bamboo double points. The yarn really dragged big time on the needles. Anyone else have that problem? As a fairly new knitter I thought the bamboo needles would work the best for me. Now I'm not sure about that. Maybe switch to plastic? I read that the Yarn Harlot likes Pony Pearl needles. I have read that Knitpicks Harmony needles are nice too. What are your favorite double pointed needles?

My purse is almost finished. It's off the needles and all sewn together. For the lining I cheated and bought a small pink tote bag to place inside. All I had to do was cut off the handles. It fits perfectly! I purchased these bamboo handles. I didn't realize that you have to purchase your own hardware to attach the handles. Hmmmm. I need to make another trip to Michael's. It turned out pretty well.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away Come Again Another Day!

It has been raining for what seems like days. Because of all the snow we had this winter the ground is totally saturated. The flooding is starting to take over areas of our property. My horses are stuck inside until the water recedes a bit. I have to keep remembering that April showers bring May flowers. One of my favorite May flowers are Virginia Bluebells. They are so beautiful.

I have been drooling over my Knit Picks catalog for a couple of months. I really want to buy the new options needles. I happened to notice a free purse patten. This Chunky Cable Purse caught my eye. I have seen purses like this for sale at department stores. What a fun purse for the spring. This is the picture of the purse on the website.

I stopped at Michael's the other night after work and picked up some yarn. I chose Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick. This is the bulkiest yarn I have ever used. It sure works up quick. The color is raspberry. I was hoping to find something a little brighter but the selection was limited. I cast on late Tuesday evening. I knitted whenever I had a spare moment.

I'm almost finished with it. I need to find handles and a set of magnetic snaps. If I ever make this again I will used a wool fiber. I have an extra felted flower that I may add to the purse. What do you think?

Monday, April 7, 2008

What A Weekend

We had such great weather this past weekend! The sun was bright and the temperature was in the 60's. Hooray! One of my favorite firsts of the year is hanging out clothes on the line. Especially our sheets. I don't think there is a better smell than climbing into bed and smelling the great outdoors! I also had some of my work blouses hanging out so I can be reminded of the glorious open air. If you have never hung sheets or clothes out to dry in the fresh air I urge you to try it!

I was able to get some outdoor chores started. I worked on cleaning up the garden. Look what I found as a spring surprise. These are miniature irises. I can't remember the name. My friend Susi planted these for me one year as a birthday gift. I love gifts like that! Aren't they cute? I was just checking on the garden on Wednesday. By Saturday the mini irises were blooming.

On the knitting front I finished another Amanda Hat. I tried to finish it for Malabrigo March Maddness. I didn't give myself much of a chance considering I cast on for this project on March 29! Oh well, I got it done. I love the colors. I used the leftover half skein from my DD's Tudora. The yarn is Malabrigo and the color is Emerald Blue. Come in for a closer look.....

Look at the stitch definition. Pretty cool right? This pattern is on my list for Christmas gifts. I know. Christmas is months away. My problem is that by the time I think of making a gift for Christmas it's too late. I'm trying to plan ahead.

On the horse name game still no name. I have several that I am considering. I like Lady, Elizabeth, Cashmere and I could go on. Her and I are getting to know each other so I'm sure the name will hit me suddenly. This is my sweetie checking out the neighbors horses.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

New Addition

This is the newest addition to the family. She is a beautiful 10 year old dark bay quarter horse. I have been searching for a petite horse for about a year. This little beauty fits the bill perfectly. I don't have a name for her yet. I was hoping you all could help me out with some ideas.

After week of riding I must say she has the smoothest stride I've ever ridden. Hmmm, I wonder if I could knit and ride at the same time?! LOL!! After going for a ride my body doesn't feel as fatigued. Another positive quality is how short she is. I am much closer to the ground! A big plus as I get a little older.

This horse has quite the personality. She acts like such a lady. She is sweet and majestic. She is so interested and curious about what's going on around her. She is eager to please but not a pushover. She is quite sassy and independent. So, what do you think? Any ideas on the perfect name?