Monday, October 17, 2016

Winter is Coming

It surprises me to see it has been ten days since my last day of rest from my landscaping projects. I am pretty much done for the season. The ground is frozen so about all I can do is move rocks.

The big reveal.
Rock slope completed to the shed.
 Flower bed outlined. 
The fire pit is our current favorite spot. 
We've been enjoying it for a little happy hour.

Love that pano setting on my iPhone camera.

My new rock slope looks like a pretty nice place for taking quilt photos...didn't even think of that until today when I wanted to get a quilt photo in some sunlight. I love this quilt. I wasn't sure if the leaves would pop when I was quilting them. I'm very pleased they are prominent.

It took me many months but I did finish a Bucilla kit project. 

I've started playing with the next quilt top that needs to go on the quilting frame. Mr. Eli is always right in whatever project I am tackling. He will be six months old at the end of October. I just scheduled his neutering for next week...sorry big guy.

Friday, October 7, 2016

A Day of Rest

Sunny but slightly chilly weather has meant most of my time has been spent outside working on my landscaping projects. I have some pictures of that stuff later in this post.'s a bit more fun to talk about some of my quilting and needle work projects. This was the quilt I was able to take to Breakfast Club last month for show and tell. I love how it turned out but I'm not doing a "final" photo shoot and presentation until I get the binding finished.

Like a typical cat, Eli thinks everything is his. Only 5 months old and his is soooo big. 

Here's a block detail...I threw in a few leaves. This one came out particularly nice.

This was the project I worked on at Breakfast Club...a kit I picked up at a good price on eBay. I had seen this pattern and wanted to tryout this technique of sewing an unattached triangle that is pulled back and stitched down to create a curve. Very simple and a quick one to make. The pattern is, "Mexican Stars," by Southwind Designs. It is going to be fun to quilt! 

I'm trying to get back in the habit of working on my Bucilla projects at night. These bears need a toy train to complete their ornament status.

And I finished the last Santa in the Jim Shore series, Early Morning Santa, with the rooster.

Back to the landscaping progress. I had two more loads of rock delivered since my last post. The one on the right only has about a quarter of the original amount left to move...but I needed big rocks so had to get another load before I was finished with the last load. 

This looks so deceptively small in this photo but I added a rock border to the other side of the house front. I have so many more plans for this area...just don't know if anything else will happen this season.

My all-consuming project has been our fire pit. My husband set the steel ring in a few years ago but really didn't do much else. We were sitting to far away to feel the heat so I made the painful decision to dig out a sunken seating area and line it with rock. I have spent at least two weeks on this project and have gotten enough done to enjoy the area as long as the weather holds.

I've got three other areas in the yard at various stages of progress but not enough to show that is interesting. It certainly keeps me busy and I have definitely toned up more since taking on these jeans are a little looser!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Landscaping Progress

These photos should clear up why I haven't been blogging much.

On June 25th I took this photo of 12 tons of rock that was delivered to our home. It was a mixture of boulders about 18" square on down to rocks the size of a fist. It is fractured granite which is abundant in our area.

Same spot on September 19th. 
I moved every piece. Sometimes I rolled the biggest pieces to where I needed them or used a furniture dolly. I moved 24,000 pounds of rock. I had a vision!

One of the easiest areas was adding a rock border around the planters on the front of my house. I have some ideas about how to create a walkway in front of my porch steps which involved getting a load of gravel delivered a few days can see the edge of that pile on the right side of the photo frame. Hopefully before the snow arrives I will have tackled this area.

But most of my time was spent on the back side of the house.



I made a pano photo so it is a little distorted. Underneath the deck is the dog run that is off my sewing room. We bought two metal dog kennel kits from Costco and used the premade metal fence panels to enclose the area underneath our main deck. The kits each came with a gate so we have one on each outer side of the kennel. The metal panels are secured to the house walls and deck posts. Extremely sturdy! To have a fencing company make this arrangement would have cost several thousand dollars. Each kennel kit was just under $500 so we feel like we got a deal. And it looks so nice. 

We had the kennel set up years ago but it did need some more gravel to fill it level with my other additions. A second huge pile of gravel sits on the backside of the house for that half of the yard. Kinley was with me for every minute of my landscaping work...great moral support.

A few more detail photos...the rock wasn't washed off in these had a nice layer of dirt.

First my wall of metal tub planters. The plants have grown so much this summer. I sure hope they make it through the winter in this design...big experiment!!!

Boulders filled in on the right side by me...and wooden stair frame constructed on the left side by my handyman. My husband filled the bottom five steps with cement which I really don't like. I filled the top five with gravel. (I told him to stop after he filled the first step on the bottom but he was determined to use all five bags of cement that he had purchased.) I guess I don't work well with others sometimes so that is really why I did all this rock moving by myself.

Boulders added on the downside of the stairs...

Rock filled in around the tubs and stairs.

A better shot of the kennel area.

And a huge project ahead of me...filling my tiered raised garden beds. I had my handyman make these beds also. I am going to use the hugelkulture method. Layer of cardboard...then logs...then limbs and debris like all the leaves falling off the trees. I don't think I'll add the final layer of garden soil until next spring. More details as I tackle that area.

And of my most proud moments as a son Zack was sworn into the Air Force recently. He has been selected to become an F-15 pilot with the California Air National Guard in Fresno. He has about 2 1/2 years ahead of him to get through all of his military schools and pilot training. He is pictured with one of his mentors who has guided him through the process of applying for pilot positions at Air National Guard units on the west coast. We are waiting to hear when he will leave for his first school.

Another load of boulders was delivered yesterday...this time 13 tons. Not sure I'll get that in place before the snow hits but it will be waiting for me when the snow melts next spring.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

August Breakfast Club Show and Tell

Once again a month has zipped I get ready for September's Breakfast Club, I realize I never posted photos of August's Breakfast Club. Here are all the wonderful projects everyone shared at our last gathering.

This is a Finding Dory quilt made from the pattern, "Sidelights."

I believe the pattern for this quilt was "Yellowbrick Road." The borders make use a of a directional print fabric.

This was a Hunter's Star pattern from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

I've tried like crazy to find the name of this luck. The fabric panel of horses is called North American Wildlife Horses from Robert Kaufman fabrics.

This is "Bloom," the pattern from our July Breakfast Club meeting.

The backing Jackie made from the leftover blocks.

Jackie's completed, "Quilting Season," our mystery quilt last winter.

Jackie's completed mini heart quilt for her daughter's wedding.

This is a seasonal quilt club kit our host shop started recently.

This is Joyce's version of a strip club pattern, "Little Boxes."

Marcia's "Bloom," quilt just back from the quilters...needing its binding. 

Special treat...a store customer brought in her unique Kuspucks.

Kuspucks are a traditional Eskimo women's over dress. Really considered a summer parka. They are usually worn as a type of pullover jacket. Very roomy for easy movement with a layer of clothing worn underneath like turtleneck and jeans. Our Breakfast Club gathering had a great time seeing this seamstress's designs. Beautiful!!!

And my version of, "Bloom." 

Now I need to spend some time figuring out what project I am going to work on this Thursday for September's Breakfast Club. Can't believe a month has slipped by so quickly.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Alaska State Fair 2016

I entered two quilts in the Alaska State Fair this year. I knew I had won ribbons on both when a non-quilting neighbor saw them at the fair last weekend. She didn't remember what ribbons I had won...just that both quilts had a ribbon. I was so happy to see my favorite quilt won its division; Twin size, machine pieced and quilted, professional level.

My second quilt won second place for its category; Full/Queen, machine pieced and quilted, professional level. I would love to know how many quilts were in my division...there are so many divisions. There are lots of great quilters in Alaska so the displays are very nice. It's a sweet, little show. pumpkin entries were weighed! In case you aren't familiar with our fair...Alaska farmers grow some astonishing vegetables. It's our extensive summer daylight hours that really boosts the growing process.

This was the winning pumpkin being weighed...any guesses? The one sitting right behind it in the picture above was almost 800 pounds. 

This pumpkin weighed 1,469 pounds and broke a state fair record. The bottom of the pumpkin was brushed off and inspected before weighing.

I need to start thinking about next year's entries...

Sunday, August 28, 2016

My Quilt World

The recent string of rainy weeks meant some work has been accomplished. Here's what I have been doing.

I made a set of moose dolls for a friend that visited last week. Sew Adorable! I have a stash of "bodies," just had to make the clothes and finish the faces.

Got my top done in time for last Thursday's Breakfast Club. It is always good to have a deadline.

I did a bit of landscaping. See the pile of rocks in the distant background? I used a furniture dolly to move one rock at time to place on the hillside, next to my metal tubs. The plants are doing great. The real test will be next spring when we see what survives the winter. Still need to fill five steps with cement on the left side of the photo. I don't do cement work! Hubby and my son did the first five and then ran out of cement.

Then it was on to my favorite step in the quilting process...binding. You can see I had a little help from Eli when it came to sewing the binding on at the machine. It is so sweet to have a cat in my and all...I missed it so much the past six years.

McKinley was very cooperative about my photo shoot of the finished quilt. 

For my birthday last spring, I bought a nice quilt display kit. I used it for the first time today. Love it. Easy to use all by myself. Made by Craftguard. I highly recommend it.

 "Bali Volcano Stars"
69 x 82
Blocks made using the Missouri Star Company's Disappearing Hour Glass block, as seen on their youtube video. The technique uses 10-inch layer cake squares and a background fabric cut in 10-inch squares. I added the inner border of the background fabric and a piano key border using a companion Bali pop. A 6-inch border so the strips were cut 6 1/2-inches long. 

The quilting gives the illusion of curved corners...only straight seams in this super simple technique.

I decided to try and finish another top in autumn colors. I have pretty much worked out my quilting design...just need to do some marking before it goes on the quilt frame.

The rain stopped and I think it is official...fall has come to our part of Alaska. It is my favorite season. I love the brilliant colors...especially on a sunny, blue sky day. Our leaves are just starting to change colors.

Quilting may not get much attention for awhile...