My garden is still large enough that I can't do all the weeding by hand so I have this "Gerry-rigged" helper.  It is an old hand-pull golf bag cart... When people actually walked around the course.  I never see these anymore at thrift stores but I have found them extremely useful.

I just strapped on a large nursery pot and my two gallon sprayer fits perfectly and it rolls nicely along behind me on the paths and drives.  But even still I end up hefting the tank a lot in areas that the wheels won't go and the tank is heavy.  The older I get the harder it is to keep up with the weeds and the heavier the tank gets.

But when we were driving home yesterday I saw this... Instantly I knew this is exactly what I needed.  It would be the perfect solution.

So the minute I got home I got on the internet and searched through all the garden equipment sites.

I found a wide variety of back-pack sprayers in all sizes and colors but unfortunately I didn't find a single one that came with a man attached.


Crossing the finish line soon...

Once I started noticing that how blocks are finished is as important as stitching the blocks, there is no going back.  I am compelled to go a bit further with the finishing of each project now.  When I finished the pages in the corset books I trimmed each page with the same lace.  This time each page is receiving its own unique edging.

I'm having to really dig deep into my stash to find just the right thing... but I already know that I will love it.  It just seems the appropriate way to finish these pages.

And I did get the knitted lace on the front cover.  I bought that knitted lace to use on my vest but I really didn't like the way all the tips on the points curled up and recurled no matter how I pressed them... But on the cover of this book  I love the curly tips...it gives it a sort of whimsical look... And it proves once again that if you save something long enough there will be the perfect spot for it.
I have a special vision for the spine of this book but it will be a bit before I get that far.


Eye Update and stitch progress..

The sight in my right eye is pretty much a fun house mirror image like this picture (not only blurry but distorted as well) and because of a partially blocked vein in that eye I will be lucky to keep that much vision.. and it is not fixable. But I use drops usually used for glaucoma to reduce pressure in that eye so the vein does not completely block. The blocked vein is not part of the macular and is a separate problem all together.

I can see things fairly well with my left eye if it is something within about a 24-36"  range and it allows me to stitch with my wonderful magnifying lamp. 

But you might remember about 3 years ago I shattered the ocular bones on the left side of my face and they had to implant a plate to support that eye to keep it from sliding into the sinus cavity...That saved the eye but it affected its ability to focus...especially when it is tired. So I can only stitch for short periods before the eye tires and I see double.  Grudgingly I'm accepting what I just can't do and finding other ways to do things.

Having said all that I am determined to slowly finish up what I have going...  First the books of the cottage blocks.  I have six of the blocks as pages all   bound.  Will now add laces etc. to finish off the pages...

It is nearly the end of April and  I am barely started on the gold images let alone the cream on cream..  As always on anything I cut out, I outline with a very tight chain stitch.  The last ones I did on gold velour but I'm wanting to try these on cotton and will paint the fabric gold before I stitch it. (after the outlining)  These are small enough to stick in my sewing bag and tote about...  I love that.

And the biologist at a nearby wildlife refuge confirms that we have a visiting badger in our forest... and the hummingbirds have arrived for the summer....now I'm waiting for my wren who arrive in May.



My "thrifting" friend picked me up this morning with a hot white chocolate mocha in the cup holder... My idea of a best friend and a best day!  But I couldn't believe this piece at one of the stores.

 I haven't seen a card file in years and years and this one was solid oak and in pristine condition...  It must weigh a 1000 lbs.  Even though I have nowhere to put it and I am downsizing it took all my self resolve to leave it... It was as tall as I am and about 6' wide and it was only $199.  A CQers dream.  Sigh!!!

But I didn't come home empty handed.. These three laces will go right on my April CQJP.  The upper one has cupids in the design...the second one is an old collar.  The ribbons were all in one bag.  They are satin and lovely and again the white striped one will be used right away on April. The 3 laces, ribbon and butterfly earrings were all less than $5.

Also got this grab bag of lovely nylon machine lace.  I'm not a lace snob and love this type of lace.  It dyes beautifully with alcohol inks and is a marvelous base for silk ribbon embroidery.  I can immediately think of places to use the piece with fans..

Also I did get a nice lightweight velvet in soft mauve and a Ralph Loren cotton sheet to cut up for foundation pieces... (not pictured)  All in all a fun day.. The weather was gorgeous, all the trees are in bloom and I didn't have to drive.....


Happy Hubby and my Mystery Digger

Friday night DH came to my workroom to show me that he only had 3 sour cream rolls left in the freezer (hint! hint!)  Saturday night he came again waving an empty bag.. (HINT! HINT!!)  Well it just so happens I need  some holes dug and help moving some railroad ties so yesterday I baked some and he's a happy hubby indeed!

His very favorite just like his mother baked...  From start to finish they take about 4 hours.
I posted the recipe several years ago... http://olderrose.blogspot.com/2010/01/mother-kruegers-sour-cream-rolls.html

My path is the forest is a soft bed of undisturbed pine needles.  It is comforting to my old feet to tread upon them and they smell divine..  The key word here is undisturbed....

But yesterday here and there were ruts where something had been digging.

This trench is about 6 feet long and 8-10" deep.  So this digger had to be fairly good sized.

In fact this area is about 8'x3' and looked as if a rototiller had been working it.  I'm going to send the photos to a friend in the dept. of wildlife and see if I can find out what is doing this.  I suspect it is a badger but we haven't seen a badger in 30 years... but  since they're a nocturnal animal they could be out there while I'm sleeping...  I did see my barn owl today and not too far from the barn.


Two more patterns....owl and baby birds

I'm going to stitch the gold images for the April, May and June CQJP2016 blocks all at once.   It is just as easy to do three as do one when I have all the gold stuff out. 

Besides the swallow, I especially wanted to do a barn owl... I just love them and have one in my forest that I occasionally get to see.  I always watch because they roost so quietly in a tree that I can easily just pass by without seeing it.

I used the same procedure as I did for the swallow.  I gathered pictures and found something I liked in each.  Lower right was my favorite because its eyes were open and alert.  Its head is turned as if it has spied something.  But I liked the wing lower left because of the great detail on the feathers.  Upper right showed the beautiful detail on the breast feathers and upper left had good detail on the branch and feet.

So I put them all together and this is my pattern. 

The third pattern is baby birds which will be a real challenge to have gold baby birds show up in a gold nest.  But I have just had this urge to use gold threads etc. to build a nest....and it is that season after all.  It may not work but I have to give it a try...nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I will post cleaner copies of these later.  Kathy Shaw has volunteered to put them in her Adobe Illustrator and clean them up for me.   I am so grateful to her for offering... Big hugs for Kathy Shaw.


Free Swallow Pattern

Occasionally when I want to stitch something I'm lucky enough to find an image that I can just transfer to fabric and stitch.. But most times it is not that easy.  I want to do a gold swallow on my April CQJP... and the following process is usually typical.

I started by gathering a lot of swallow images...many more than you see here and then I study each one and find features I like.  Many times the bird images are from vintage postcards as three of these are.

I really liked the one upper left the best but I would like it a bit more streamline like the one on the upper right.  I like the markings of the one upper right also but the wings are too thin and awkward... I love the elegant tail on the one lower left.  Lower right is   is gorgeous stitching...  it is from an 1884 crazy quilt and reminds me of Betty Pillsbury's work.

As I said I like the upper left one best to start with but I want my swallow to be "swooping" upward and I want his sprig of flowers trailing to add to movement. This one looks like it is about to dive into the sea.

So I load the image into my photo editing program and make some changes.  I can easily turn the image to have the swallow going up rather than down and I moved the sprig of flowers to a trailing position which I feel adds to the movement of the bird.  It also needs to be greatly simplified for gold work.

At this point I get out a pencil and paper and put all these ideas together.  I am using a 6" hoop for all the images so I draw a 6" circle to make sure it will be the right size to fit my block...  Below is what I ended up with...  My swallow is swooping upward trailing a sprig.  I sectioned the body parts to use various gold elements, slimmed and stylized the body and tail..  It is ready to trace onto a piece of cloth. 
My swallow will be gold beads, sequins and gold threads, but this would work just as well with floss and I may use it again in color in the future.  If you would like to download this image and use it PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DO SO!!!!  I have said this often but it is worth repeating.... Anyone is welcome to use anything of mine on my blog...
My final images are often very messy and very smudged and I don't save them.  Because people often ask about a pattern, I decided I will try to make an effort to clean more of them up a bit and share them...



Progress and Peonies

Making progress on the cover for the CQ cottage blocks.. I'm loving the ruched ribbon... it is just pinned in place here.  I can't believe this ribbon  languished in a drawer for years.... Soaking it in boiling water really did the trick to soften it enough to make it useable and I had to candle flame the raw edges.  The knitted lace is going to be great..  I have a lot of it in various sizes and lengths...enough anyway for this project.

When I get frustrated with the eye situation I need to do something physical or I would climb the walls and this time of year it's working outside...  This morning I took this "before" picture.  I used to have peonies scattered about the property and have been gradually moving them to one area near the house.  But it had been overtaken by weeds and my lovely granddaughter Leigha helped me clear the weeds last fall and I want to get the bare areas covered with black plastic and mulched this week or it will be too late and the weeds will take it again.  Many of the later varieties of peonies are just poking through the ground so I had to wait.  Looks kind of sad here but there about 35-40 peonies in this bed and when it matures it should be spectacular.


Escaped psychiatric patient captured

We were definitely relieved to hear that Garver was captured and it was only 3 1/2 miles from our farm. With the help of    helicopters, search dogs, SWAT team members,  Spokane County deputies and U.S marshals found him a little after 8 pm tonight. Garver,  a survivalist, previously boasted that he had weapons and equipment hidden in the woods in the Forker Road area where he was raised.  He had a history of military style weapons and explosives, and he had threatened to kill anyone who confronted him.

The county used a "reverse 911" phone feature where all residents in this area received periodic recorded calls giving updates on the search and telling us to stay inside and keep our doors locked. We were called shortly after he was taken into custody.  I could hear the helicopters searching all day today and yesterday and had very little sleep last night... so tonight will be a big relief.

Beautiful ribbon in a scary world.....

Well I trimmed the wire edging and soaked the ribbon in boiling water which did soften it enough that it gathers nicely..  It is some kind of poly fiber which will not hold a crease so it limits it for folding....but I love it gathered like this and I especially love the gradation of colors.  Running it past a candle flame seals the edge. It is perfect for this project and now that I see the possibilities I wonder how it languished in a drawer for so many years..

It's a lovely day and I had planned on working outside  transplanting brunnera but when we came home last night there was a message from the county sheriff's office telling us to stay in the house and keep the doors locked as a dangerous fugitive was loose in our area.  I had hoped he would have been captured by this morning but has not as I can still hear the helicopters.  He escaped from a mental institution about 300 miles away and has been spotted near here and they think he's heading toward a stash of weapons in the foothills about 3 miles east of us.  He was found incompetent to stand trial a few years ago and was accused of tying up a 20 year old girl with electrical wire and torturing her to death..  So I'm staying inside until the alert is off.


Decisions, decisions, decisions......

 Tonight was all about decisions and more decisions as this project goes into the final phases.

Goods news is I get to use two things that have been my stash for YEARS and were never just right... First is the wide ribbon...an old thrift store find...  I love the colors but it is not the best quality.  It's a little stiff. Well quite stiff in fact. I might try boiling it to soften it and then I'll try to use some of my newly found ribbon folding skills to make it work...  There are yards and yards of it and it will take time to pull all the  wire.  Second is this jacquard trim...again yards and yards.  I've dragged it out time and time again and I've never found a spot that it would work..  I think I bought this at a closeout sale in a sari shop in Auckland years and years ago.  But it really works with the ribbon.

Should I use the lace cottage as the cover or use one of the pages as the cover and frame the lace cottage?  Decided to use the lace cottage for the cover of the first book.
Won't even think about the cover for the second book at this time.

Should I do laced binding with beads or a flat spine decorated with flowers? Decided to do the flat spine with flowers.  Since I'm dividing the blocks into two books, whatever I don't do with this one I will do with the other.  I had really wanted to trim the pages with tiny prairie points but just don't think I'm up to it.

And I do love this little green print which was serendipity as it was the lining of a pillow sham I use for a chair cover.


Onward with "Cottage"

I'm just doing the finishing touches on the linings for 6 cottage pages.  Like the corset books of CQJP2015 I am dividing the 12 cottage pages CQJP2014 into two books.  I used the same assembly technique for both corset books but have decided I want to use a different binding technique for each of the cottage books.
When I did my vest to wear to Houston I originally wanted to use knitted lace on the bottom.. It is so different from crocheted lace and but also very difficult to find... I bought a couple lots on Etsy and then when it was time to use it, I decided it wouldn't work... So I am using it on the cottage books.. There's plenty.  It falls into my category of "casket factor".....  If I don't use it, they'll have to bury me with it.  It does seem to have the perfect "feel" for the cottages...
I love, love, love this book by Pam Sussman.... Fabric Art Journals.  There's numerous ways to bind fabric pages in such a variety of creative ways and I've only used a few.  This time I want to use a couple of the more advanced ones.  If you are considering a fabric book I can highly recommend this book.  I'm always guilty of buying books and never using them but I am wearing this one out........ 
I'm totally hooked on fabric books ...I love that people can handle my needlework and experience it up close in a way not possible if something is hanging on a wall.


Benny the Bright

In my earlier life I taught school for about 14 years in Alaska in the 70s....mostly kindergarten and loved it.  There were many children who are   delightful memories and Benny Bright is one of them.. Benny was a bit slow but he was such a happy soul and loved by all... On April 1st many of the children couldn't wait to get to class to "fool" the teacher and on one April 1st Benny came running in yelling "Teacher, teacher, there's a moose on the playground.

Not wanting to spoil his joke, I hurried to the window and there upon Benny broke into peals of glee yelling "April Fourth, April Fourth"  Benny would be approaching 50 years of age now and I hope he's had a happy life.....
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