Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Sky Diamonds on the Quiltmaker Road Rally

Welcome to my stop on the Quiltmaker Road Rally Tour. I am delighted to be a part of the 100 Blocks Winter 2017 Issue. You will want to go right out--after reading all the blog posts--and get your copy. You can read about my block in the last issue here.

Or read to the end of the post to find out how to win one!!

I wanted to get some pretty sparkling pictures of my little town to the east of us. A small rural town with 500 people--yet still has a grocery store, gas station, lumber yard, a few manufacturing business, and 2 grain elevators. The lights from town sparkle so beautifully at night. You will just have to imagine them shining between the two groves of trees. Trust me they are pretty!!

Here is my view to the west. Look at all the wide open space. The sunsets are amazing. And the stars at night--well sometimes I will just sit and look at them!! Which is what inspired this block.

All the sparkling stars--Like diamonds in the sky!!!

The instructions are written for foundation paper piecing, but if you have the right AccuQuilt dies-- 2" Triangle in a Square and 4" Triangle in a Square--or for 4" you could use the new Companion Angles 8" Qube-- it is very easy to construct with regular piecing also. Fan folding the fabric helps to reduce waste--and for the time savings that die cutting provides--the trade off is so worth it!!

Super easy--super fast!!

I suggest laying out your pieces before stitching them together--as they are directional!!

Stitch a 1/4" seam.

Press seams open.

And look at those nice sharp sparkly points!!!

I played around in Electric Quilt 7 to find some blocks to set with Sky Diamonds. Here I have it set
with a 50/40 type star. The reason this one works is because it has a similar vibe going on--both are 9-patches. Both corner blocks are split into smaller 4-patch units. Keeping the scale similar but not exactly the same to create some interest.

Here I replaced the corner 4-patch units with plain squares and replaced the plain center square with a pinwheel unit. With careful coloring the spikes look like the giant electrical wind turbines that are all across the state of Iowa. One day this fall it was so windy and the turbines produced so much electricity that the electric company did not even need to make it!! Too cool!!

Here I kept the center element and the colors from the side diamonds the same in each block for repetition. It has a lot of happy movement to it.

Sundance fabric line from Andover seemed like a happy collection to use in this mock up. It has a wild and free, boho feel going on!!

I will end with the quote that was on my Cinnamon Berry Tea by Yogi this morning. This past year has been filled with new experiences for me--winning the AccuQuilt Barn Quilt Contest in 2016 has given me the confidence to go outside my comfort zone and try new--sometimes--scary things!!

What is something you would like to try--but just need the boost in confidence to go for it?

Tell me about it in the comments. On November 19 at 5 pm CST,  I will randomly pick 2 names.
One will receive a copy of the Winter 2017 issue directly from Quiltmaker.
The other will receive a copy from me--along with a small surprise or two.

Thanks for stopping by--be sure to check with all the other Road Rally blog posts and Quiltmaker's blog for other great block ideas and a giveaway or two!!!

Have sparkly diamonds in the sky kind of day!!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Resting Place...creative borders

 I had just the right project in mind for  the Creative Borders and Bindings Island Batik Ambassador assignment this month!!

This 20" block was designed this summer as a result of our motorcycle trip to Yellowstone National Park. You can read about that here.

But the actual feeling or inspiration has been in the making for many years. We were married over 30 years ago and started our life together on the place my husbands' family has farmed for over 60 years and are still farming it today. They do not own the actual farm, but have cared for it as their own for all these years.

Our children were raised with lots of love and laughter in this old farmhouse! So many memories were made here. But one frigid winter night the water in our toilet was frozen solid. It was the ONLY toilet in the house I might add--the bathroom window is in this picture. That was the last winter we would spend in this drafty old house on the farm. We contacted a builder, located a building site and by Thanksgiving were living in a new draft-free house!!

 Now, what does all this have to do with quilting you might ask?? Well, I am very much a homebody. Being a homemaker and specifically a farm wife and been my joy and privilege. I loved living ON the farm place and watching all the activities that go on during the day.

Seeing all the day to day activities came to a stop when we built the new house as the building site we choose was 1 1/2 miles away from the farm place. It is a beautiful place in the country on a hill. We can see for miles in every direction, the river to the east and often have wildlife cross our lawn. 

 But it has taken my heart a few years to feel at peace with not being able to see all the daily activities on the farm!!!

 This year will be our third Thanksgiving in the new house. Three years of finding the new normal daily activities. And my heart is finally at peace with it. My heart has found it's new resting place!!
The place where new memories can be made. The place that my grandchildren know as "Farm Grandma's House"!! What more could I need?

 So, come on inside. Find the place where your heart can rest and memories made!!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Zen....back to school

Welcome to my stop on the Island Batik Back to School blog hop!!

I was assigned the Zen fabric collection--a super assortment of blues from light to dark with a few zingers of green thrown in!! Such deep saturation of colors. They were a joy to work with!! Ask your local quilt shop to carry it!!

When planning what to design with this collection--the thoughts of those calming sand gardens came to mind--flowing circular lines drawn in the sand. I have the AccuQuilt -- Local Color -- die but have never used it yet. ZEN seemed the perfect fit to me!!

The pieces were cut quickly and accurately!! Sewing curves has been on my list of things to learn. 

The colors in this collection were the perfect range of darks and lights to acheive the "Yin Yang" effect.
Say hello to our farm dog--Roxy--who refused to move so I could get a clear full photo!!

Back to school time on the farm means the start of harvest is near!! A time of hard work and anxious worry trying to bring in all the crop before the winter season arrives. Not a very ZEN time in my farmer's life!

How about a little back to school lesson on soybeans!?!

Here is the combine with bean head attached that my husband will use to harvest the soybeans we grow on our farm. The combine will take the soybeans off the plant. Then transfer them into a wagon.

This big auger will be pulled from its' summer holding area and set over a grain bin. It will be used to move the grain from a wagon into a bin.

The grain is stored in bins like the one pictured here. It is kept safe and dry until the right market prices are met. Then the grain will be taken back out of the bins, loaded onto a truck, and hauled to the elevator in a nearby town to be sold. 

The soybean is such a versatile crop. 
The oil is processed out to make many things for our everyday life. The oil can be refined for edible products--cooking oil, margarine, and salad dressings to name a few. Some non-edible uses for the oil include, bio diesel fuel, industrial cleaning solvents, paints, and even non toxic crayons!!  How cool is that!

The protein is processed out and turned into soybean meal an animal food product. It is also processed into multiple human edibles such as soy milk, soy flour, tofu, and many retail food products. 

Wow, that was a lot of information--let's all pray that some of the ZEN from these gorgeous fabrics works it way into the harvest season this fall!!

I am offering a set of 2 1/2" x 34" strips from all 20 pieces in the ZEN collection. Plus an additional assortment of 2 1/2" squares. Just leave me a comment with anything you learned from this Back to School lesson on soybeans today.

Island Batik is also having some great giveaways on their blog--head over there and enter!!

Find all the other ambassador blog posts on the Island Batik Blog post here.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Windows by Christa Watson

So excited to be part of this blog hop to get the word out on Christa Watson's new book Piece and Quilt with Precuts with Martingale. You can purchase a signed copy from Christa HERE.

You know how books and patterns can say those three dreaded words at the end of a pattern....Quilt As Desired"....well this book teaches you how to look those words in the eye and tell them that you are not scared of them anymore!!!

With excellent cutting and assembly instructions, any of the quilts in this book will be a breeze to put together and then get to my favorite part--I have to say that since I am a long arm quilter--the quilting!! Each quilt has it's own quilting suggestions and instructions on how to do it!!

I chose "Windows" as that was the design featured for today--August 26--my birthday!!

The pattern is written with instructions for using 2 1/2" strip rolls, but since I had just received my second ambassador box from Island Batik, I went with some coordinating fabrics in a stash builder roll. These strips are 5" x WOF.

So I cut a 5 1/2" x 5" rectangle from each of my 8 chosen strips.

Then sub cut those into 2 1/2" x 5 1/2" rectangles--super easy and fast!!

Using the super clear instructions and diagrams I had this put together in no time at all!!

 Do you see those lovely puffy white clouds in the sky--well in just an instant they turned into a small little 1 mile square cloud burst of heavy rain. Then there was this beautiful full double rainbow!!

Trust me it was full and double--I just love living on the hill and seeing these!!! But I digress!! Get back to sewing Terri!

Since I wanted a table runner for the dining room I chose to make 2 A rows. In order to ensure the blocks lined up correctly I put little marks on the sashing so I could pin it together nicely.

I looked through the book if any of the other quilting designs I might like to try--but ended up going with what was suggested--ribbon candy in sashing, ribbon in window space and meandering through rest. I really like how it turned out--but then I will always love a good meander!

From cutting to binding this was a less than 4 hour project!! 

And I LOVE how it looks on the dining table!!!

 If you want to see what others have done from Piece and Quilt with PreCuts click HERE for the list. 

I am giving away an e-copy of Piece and Quilt with PreCuts. Just comment below with your favorite birthday cake flavor--mine is yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. On September 1 I will randomly chose one to receive the copy.

Thank you Christa for letting me be a part of your blog hop!! 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wonder and Wander Together!!

April 2016 was our 30th anniversary!! Several things crossed our minds to celebrate the event. I brought up the crazy idea to purchase a used pickup camper, pull the motorcycle on a trailer and travel to great riding places. After some thought, Loren agreed and searched Craigslist to make Terri's new adventure come true!!

What follows is a little peek into our Yellowstone Adventure and how it inspired the quilt blocks I designed and entered into AccuQuilt's Barn Block contest.
Click the link here to see all the contest blocks. Or click the name under the block on this post to take you directly to the voting page for that block!! You can vote for more than one block--but only once a day.

Here we are all loaded up and ready to hit the road!! The sun was just coming up. The colors of God's paintbrush that morning were just exquisite!!

Watch for those colors.....

At the East gate into Yellowstone we go...along with lots of other motorcycles. We had been here over 15 years ago with the kids. I remember them saying--there was just too many trees and can't we see something different--so that is what I was expecting to see again--but there had been a fire, so lots of the trees were gone. But out of the ashes comes beauty!! There were so many wild flowers and the smell was intoxicating!! Red, blue, purple, pink, yellow, and white.

Most of my photos are taken while riding--so pretend you are riding the back of a motorcycle with me!!

Wildflower Meadows

There is just nothing quite like enjoying God's great big beautiful world from the back of a motorcycle. The smells and sounds are intensified and just too amazing for words.

We rode back to the Big Horn mountains the next day--up Highway 14 through Shell Canyon and back down Highway 14A. Most of the time I am just soaking in all the sights that I forget to take out the camera.
The towering red rocks of Shell Canyon were gorgeous. The green irrigated fields of hay had such a sweet smell. The fast running creek along side the road made me smile. All of it is stored on the memory card in my mind!! Along with coming down 14 A with 13 miles of 12% grade curves!!

Free range cattle!! Who knew that was a real thing?!?! No fences!! There were 2 young calves on the road right along a curve--interesting event on a cycle!! They let us pass without incident.

Shell Canyon Road

Bear Tooth pass is considered one of the top 5 riding roads, so we had to go!!

I kept the kids informed along the way--love the ways technology can keep us all connected!!

Saw lots of snow and these curve signs!!!

The views were 360 degrees around--I didn't know where to look first. Since I wasn't driving I could look anywhere!! Loren on the other hand--had to keep his eyes on the road--as looking out to the sides messed with his depth perception when he looked back to the road--so best I take pictures for him!!

The classic photo op!! We had made the kids take this photo years ago--so we did it this time!!!

Such gorgeous color!!

Vacation selfie!!!

Our rides in Yellowstone and surrounding areas of Wyoming far exceeded what we imagined!! Just beautiful!! We LOVED the pickup camper--like a little home away from home! I have a tendency to get homesick--even with all my family around, I can still miss my home. This trip that never happened!! I was so relaxed and enjoying the adventure of it all that I was so not ready for it to end. All was well with my soul!!!

We stayed a night in Spearfish, SD on the way home--beautiful place too--next's year's plan--Sturgis here we come!! Heading east on I-90 to home, we stopped at the Chamberlain rest stop. There is a giant stainless steel statue that I wanted to see.

Dignity is the name of this Native American woman wrapped in a Lone Star quilt. It was as inspiring as I had hoped it would be!! Well worth the turn off and drive up the hill.