Sunday, August 27, 2023


When PH and I go out to the farm stands in the area we call it foraging.  We like this place for potatoes and corn and that place for melons and peaches and tomatoes and one over there for a quick pick up.  The countryside here is beautiful and the day is quiet and the prices are good.  

But once in awhile something comes up and it's true foraging.  A friend called and said the hickory nut tree at the golf course he mows is full, full, full and did we want to come get some?  Um. Yes!

This was our haul and now we wait for the husks to darken and then take those off.  Put the nuts in water to see what floats and what sinks. The floaters get tossed, those nuts are empty.  Then we crack.

Two days later we had a storm.  It was a "light" tornado, an F1 out of a scale of 1-5.  It didn't affect us personally, though you would think living in the forest on top of a hill we'd have a bullseye on our roof but we are/were very lucky compared to some in the area.  Tornadoes are fickle, they hop and skip and jump and sometimes just whiz by. Sometimes you are in the path and sometimes you aren't.

And then we got another call from our friend.  The tree was down. It was the biggest tree in the middle of the golf course and it was mostly down and consequently, so were the nuts.  Did we want more?

We picked two more containers and the picking was much closer to the ground.  So sad to see that beautiful tree broken.  I'm thinking by looking at it that it was a lightning strike.
And on another part of the course there were pears.
This was true foraging. We picked up a bushel of pears.

There is a reason they tell you not to stand under a tree when there is a lightning storm, especially on a golf course. 


Monday, August 14, 2023

No, No, No

Eventually, this is what Charlie's quilt is supposed to look like.  He chose it out of several possibles I presented to him.  You'd look at it and think "Oh, that's going to be easy.  Good."  But this is a block from a series.  I tried and tried to order the pattern but then ended up having Friend Barb draft this photo to quilt size.  She did a great job and I remember the look on her face when I told her it wasn't going to be presented to him for over a year.  A look that said "What's the hurry now, then?"  Well, because I'm me, that's why.  
    First, I don't sew every day.  Weeks can go by and I don't pick up a needle. Things happen, life happens, but then I'm possessed and don't put one down for a long time.  Second, I applique by hand. That takes time. Third, I stitch at night.  I don't sit during the day and sew, it's at night.  Fourth, things happen. Mistakes happen.  Like writing a novel, a quilt takes on its own personality and tells me things and dang, I would think by this time in my life I'd listen to me when I'm telling myself something.  Usually, I'm pretty good about listening to me but sometimes I don't and that's when things happen.
Remember this?  Crash landing into the ground?  I wish that was the only thing to worry about. Easy fix.
It's dark this morning, waiting for rain, but this is the photo of the quilt top today. Notice anything?
Yup.  Last night I ripped the whole thing apart except for the plumes. I surely didn't want to have to take the whole thing apart but I did. I had to because when you give someone a quilt you lose control of it.

Here's what happened.  SIL Joyce works exclusively in batiks.  This weekend I asked her if batiks bleed.  I had this saturated navy blue and a small piece of red that was NOT deeply dyed.  She said the colors that tend to bleed are the deep blues and reds.  
I got a sick feeling in my head.  When I bought these fabrics in Shipshewana in a store that exclusively sold batiks I specifically asked the clerk, who I assumed knew batiks better than I did, if I needed to wash the navy blue first and she said no. And, no, I don't usually wash my fabrics first. Some people do, I don't.  Occasionally, but not as a practice.  
SO.  The little voice in me started talking.  The niggling little me tapping me on the shoulder, begging me to pay attention to me.  But I went on what I thought was the authority, the person in the store that said I wouldn't have to.  And I proceeded to piece those planes.

Now I am at the point of putting that deep navy border around that pale blue.  And I started looking at the planes again. And this time little me was practically shouting at me.  So I asked Joyce. 

These were the color catchers after the first wash.  Yeah.  I took a small piece and put it in the bathroom sink and was horrified.  The water, the sink, the counter, my hands this color.  It looked like a dye vat. I grabbed the large pieces, sewed a zigzag around the edges (so they wouldn't fray in the wash, something I do to every raw border before washing and before quilting.  Hand quilting puts a lot of stress on raw edges.) and put the color catchers in and took it through a warm wash.  Of course I was horrified.  This could have been what the whole quilt looked like the first time it was washed.  I put it through another turn in the machine.  The color catchers came out looking like the pale blue background.  Third wash and it was ok.  

Last night I ripped the whole thing apart. 

Lesson learned?  Listen to yourself.

Friday, August 11, 2023

All Good

 Just since the last post we've been to PH's brother's cottage again for a few days, to our Ceci's birthday party, dinnered with two sets of friends, cleaned out some of the garage.  It's been a good time, the weather is cooperating and it's only the middle of August.  Still plenty of summer left because here in Michigan, September could be considered the prettiest month.

                                                       Of all, I only took a photo of our Ceci

Oh, and I finally started to work on Charlie's quilt again.  I had the applique done so kind of procrastinated about starting to put the borders on.  I have two borders that fit on the bottom, one a layer of land and one a layer of sea.  So, one day I drew out the land, measured 82 times so I didn't blow it, cut it out, pinned it in place, basted it down and appliqued the green onto the blue.  

Can you see it?  It's upside down. I held it up and there they are, flying straight for a crash landing into the land. Photo. Seam ripper. Round two.