Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vitamin D at Tollgate Farm in Novi

I’m still plugging away at my projects but everything is in the “in between” stage - lots of applique completed and prepping for the embroidery. 
In the interim, I thought I’d share some photos from my “happy place” yesterday.  Tollgate Farm, in Novi, is a 160-acre farmstead, currently owned by Michigan State University, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Americana Foundation.  
I was introduced to it by my friend Lauri – we would grab our lunches and visit its beautiful pond while we ate.  So many birds & butterflies, plus several retired horses (from Greenfield Village).  Besides the stunning paths weaving through some beautiful flora, there is a children’s garden, a rose garden, a greenhouse, a sugar shack and nature trails (yes, plus two geocaches!). There’s no cost or donation obligation.
Yesterday, while waiting for a friend, I snapped a few pictures with the Hipstamatic app on my phone. 

Here is a picture of the pond from an earlier blog post:

Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Inside | Out Art and Cracking the Whip

It's that time of year again!

The Detroit Institute of Arts has taken up residence in our local communities! Thirteen towns in Southeast Michigan are hosting the DIA's Inside | Out Exhibit. Approximately a half dozen reproduced Masterpieces dot each town - hung outside coffee shops, libraries, boutiques. It's a fabulous way to introduce everyone to the original gems housed downtown and gives us an excuse to explore small towns.

So far this season, Lorna and I have explored Canton, Northville, Ferndale, and Troy.

We've discovered that Canton has some wonderful outdoor art made by local artists (loved the glass and iron sculpture outside the library).

Downtown Northville has great Angus burgers at a bar with outdoor seating.

Ferndale's works are TOO close to a great new taqueria called The Imperial.

Troy's art is located in it's historic village (of which, neither of us knew existed!).

I believe we may be visiting Waterford and Clawson next. Alongside the art, the Michigan Geocaching Organization has hid a corresponding Geocache at each location. We love a good puzzle!

Never fear, though. Ginger has been hovering on my armrest all night making sure I meet my appliqué goals for my SKoW. Who knew that I'd grow to actually enjoy the "A" word! I'm also pleased that I've learned not to stress over the "perfect block" and am having fun! I'll share some pics once the embroidery is complete.

Hope you have an outstanding weekend!



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Little Applique... Some Cars... and a Giraffe

My dear friend, Lauri, has reminded me it’s been a week since I posted.  I was waiting until I had some completed blocks to show you (I have 5 in their final stages), but I guess she misses me.
My five blocks are part of the Something Kind of Wonderful International stitching group.  It’s a large quilt using needle-turn applique and embroidery.  Have I mentioned I didn’t know how to applique?  Nothing like diving in with both feet!  I’m terribly behind because summer (and all its distractions) is in full swing!
I’m using the freezer-paper beneath/Roxanne glue method so I can focus on my stitches rather than holding the pieces in place.  I’ve tried the glue stick method – I guess I’m too heavy-handed as I keep shredding the fabric.  I’ve used small applique pins -  jammed one right under my thumb nail.  I’ve tried basting the pieces to the fabric – it was so time consuming and those little pieces are a bear. 
There are several things I’ve learned from the freezer paper/Roxanne method:
·        Buy freezer paper in bulk – you go through more than you expect.
·        I mark the applique shape to the shiny part of the freezer paper and then fuse several pieces together.  This guarantees a mirror image when you adhere the freezer paper to the wrong side of the fabric.
·        Make sure everything is cool before you start cutting/shifting.
·        SKIMP on the glue!  It’s amazing how little it takes to hold everything in place.
·        Watch the YouTube video on cleaning the glue applicator if you ever intend to use that bottle again.    
Speaking of summer distractions, my brother, David, was in town for another brother’s 50th Birthday party (Happy Birthday, Jeff!).  David had never been to the Woodward Dream Cruise (he moved just before the first one. 

I took this picture while sipping free Fay-go (yum!).

Another of my Dad with the Fay-go truck (with my sister photo-bombing him!)

We also went to the Detroit Zoo the next day.  As usual, we found all sorts of trouble to get into!

But that's OK.  The giraffes still loved us!

Hope to have some pictures of my blocks soon!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Another Journal Strip Completed

We're almost at the halfway point between my 42nd and 43rd birthday. How can I tell? I've just completed my 7th of 16 journal strips!

It's hard to take a decent picture at this stage - the top is folded in half.

I've already started re-reading some of the squares, and I can't believe how much I'd already forgotten! This quilt includes my Geobash trip, the Olympics, and my kitties' mischief.

What did you do this weekend?



Saturday, August 11, 2012

Gadget Time - Bag It!

Ok, it's not really a gadget, but it's something I'm finding SUPER useful lately!

No affiliation - not a paid sponsor - but would love as many free ones as they can spare!

Lately I've been making a lot of memory quilts. I was told by my last friend that when she gave a quilt made of her Mother's clothes to her Dad for his birthday, he was shocked and then buried his face crying in the quilt. He loved it - reminded him of taking care of her those last years.

I'm in the process of another one. Each time I receive the bags of clothes, they flop over and rip. They are so hard to manage! The last delivery was so heavy that it winded the strong man that transferred them to my car. First thing I do when I get them home is to transfer them to these bags:

Super sturdy. Double zipper. Strong handles. Flat bottoms. Place where you can write the owner's name and instructions. The XL ones are great for delivering the finished quilt! I didn't take a "before" photo but the "after" looks like this:

I find them cheapest at Target with the other Ziploc bags. My sister mentioned using them to pack her husband's clothes next time he camped. They're also a great way to hold batting scraps, store pieces of quilt projects, transport bedding and toys on vacations and picnics.

Hope you're enjoying your weekend. I'm finishing up another strip on my journal quilt.

Happy stitching!



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Devil Witch of Summer

Happy Summer!
My sister reminded me that it’s been awhile since I posted.  Have to admit – like the rest of you, I’m sure – it’s hard to quilt during the glorious summer weather!  I’ve been out exploring the Michigan countryside.  This past weekend, my sister and I visited the oldest geocaches in Oakland County for a challenge.  Hard to stay indoors when these line the trail paths:

I’ve also recently made some new friends, explorers like my sister and myself, who enjoy the eccentricities of Lower Michiganians.  Saw this along the road and knew I had to stop:

Unfortunately, as abundant the sites are of Michigan, I’ve also had to deal with another of Michigan’s residents: poison ivy.  It’s very plentiful this year – ugh!  Did you know Michiganders recognize local poison ivy based on the shape of our state? The bottom two leaves are the shape of two hands reversed (each with a notch where the thumb is).  The middle (top) leaf resembles a hand on top (notches on each side where thumb and pinky are).  Yet, this knowledge still didn’t prevent me from touching it!

Luckily, I have my bottle of Palmolive in the shower and my package of antihistamines on the counter.  The worst has subsided.  Any of you have any folk remedies I should remember for the future? 
I think Ginger would like me to stay closer to home! 

Time to get back to my journal quilt (I’ve almost finished another strip) and some stitcheries.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Victory is Mine! Uh... Sort Of!

Ok, so it was noted that I left off two very important pictures in my last post.   Not because I'm embarrassed but because I didn't have them yet.  I'll let my geocaching log explain:

I'm SO PROUD OF MYSELF! Attending Geobash when my sister, WikidKriket, and I decided we needed to cache in a thunderstorm. We reached this hill and I knew I had to climb it, water sloughing off the side. I kicked off my flip flops, dug my feet in with each step, and hauled my robust rump up the side of that hill! Victory! Found the cache!

Then I remembered that I'm afraid of heights (and that was a pretty sheer drop on all 3 sides of that ridge). So, less gracefully than before, I descended, barefooted, backwards, until I reached the bottom. Did I mention that my supportive sister was giggling and snapping pictures the whole time?!?

Don't you just LOVE family????

Happy Wednesday!