Petting zoo!


I'm missing this guy today after his summer break has ended and he's back at school. Of course he loves school because he gets to hang with his friends all day!  

We had the greatest time at this petting zoo at our church. Love watching my little man caring for all the animals--ok really just feeding them full of food!

Happy Friday everybody! 

Dancing in the rain


I have finally convinced my little fella to wear these ah-maze rain boots by teaching him how to jump in rain puddles. We are having a good time with it. 

We have been getting drenched lately--good news for my garden. So today, I busted out my old rain boots. They have been in the trunk of my car for who-knows-how-long. Probably circa 2009. Gardening in soggy dirt is so much easier when you are wearing boots up to your knees. 

We did a tremendous amount of weeding and tending to our various gardens. The butterfly garden I planted to memorialize my old buddy Bill boasts two butterfly bushes, five milkweeds, a peony and a bunch of ratty looking ranunculus. In the midst of planting all this I realized that it's a nice gesture for Bill and all, but if he comes back, he ain't coming back as no butterfly. He's coming back as a gangsta! 

We will be waiting awhile for blooms on those, but our roses already have blooms! 



This is our first from a climbing vine we planted last year. It spent a whole year growing and stretching out to prepare for blooming this year. We can't wait to see what it has in store.

In other news, we are propagating rose clippings and gardenia shoots in our little Norwegian greenhouse in the backyard. They are wilty and sort of sad looking, but the internet said that might happen. Hope to share progress soon! 

Letting go


My great friend Billiam passed away yesterday. We are a heartbroken house. 

This site includes all of the specifics:

But suffice to say it will be a hard process to let him go. 

I planted a butterfly bush in his honor on Saturday when we knew he was fighting for his life. My little guy helped me pick it out and get it safely planted. 

Our plan is to plant three more butterfly bushes in his memory--the thought of watching butterflies and thinking of what great significance he's had to me seems like an appropriate honor. 

In the meantime, we will be praying for his friends and family. 

Oh, and listening to Silversun Pickups Circadian Rhythm (Last Dance) on repeat. 



Still waiting for my ranunculus bulbs to sprout so I'm revisiting these flower pics from my BIL's wedding to soothe my longing. 

last night we planted a pound of Yukon gold seed potatoes. My little guy tried to eat one and immediately spit it out! 

The big debate is whether to order a pansy bush to decorate our fence line. I'm on the fence because we have so many flowers started, either as seeds or bulbs. 

But why can't I resist wanting more!  

progress to report soon! 

We lumberjacks are mad for plaid


We are bundling up like lumberjacks in Kansas City this week--the wind is blowing a bitter cold. Fortunately, I spend most of the year collecting various plaid in both flannel and wool, so we are all set.

One of these days pretty soon we are going into ACTUAL lumberjack mode when we take out the junk trees at our Montgall parcels so we can plant the first of our apple trees.  The resulting fruit will eventually, we hope, provide a low-cost sustainable food source for underserved children and families.

I have been very encouraged by all of you, friends and family, to see this happen and I cannot wait to get to work on our soil to build something good. 

Our workdate is set for Saturday, March 19 barring snow or a downpour. But I checked the farmers almanac and the weather sounds promising, "sunny and cold." More deets coming soon, but message me if you need more info now. We need to take out 26 junk trees and their roots so we will take all the help we can get! 

Thanks for your good wishes! I appreciate them! 

Sewing duties


Thank you, Nancy, for reminding me not to shirk my blogging duties! I've been quilting like a madwoman every night trying to finish this precious quilt so I can make a tractor quilt for my little guy's birthday. This is all hand quilted and I just ordered a tractor template to use for the next project, so I'm hastily working on this.

I am overextended quilt-wise! 


This thing is quite huge but the vibrant colors mask my quilting errors so I can pay close attention to Downton Abbey. 



He likes it, too! I bet he likes his tractor quilt even better! Will post project pics soon! 

Glad you are still checking in with me here! 

Wild horses


We had the most amazing week away for the holidays. I didn't do any crafting, but I definitely got to recharge and spend some time outside. 

The horses above are not wild, just running wild in the pasture. We went on an amazing hayride--pulled by a 1973 tractor and we had the best time.


 Here I am with my favorite guy. 

Here I am with my favorite guy. 

Quilting is on my radar, but I hope you don't mind a pause on my project pics for a moment.  

Happy New year! 

Knitting under a quilt

It's cold in Kansas City! So I'm doing what a good bear does when it gets cold. Hibernating! 

And knitting under quilts, plural- I transform to a knitting quilt burrito this time of year. Before the first snow, even. 



I totally messed up the hat I was making for my husband: 



And made something more Beverly's speed: 



I cried for about 20 minutes before I ripped out the stitches and started over. 

here we are now: 



Oh wait-- that's me in a hat meant for a newborn that fits Ty! And me, if it stretches. 



Being silly wearing each other's hats.  

I will not be giving up until I make one that my husband isn't embarrassed to wear out in public. 

more soon, dears! 

Circa 1840

 Hand quilting from a pattern inspired by handwork from the 1840s. 

Hand quilting from a pattern inspired by handwork from the 1840s. 

If I were to tell you that I'm really getting the hang of this hand quilting thing, it would surprise no one, right? 

Thr history aspect of quilting keeps my curious side engaged while the methodical following of patterns with measured stitches gets my zen going. 

I've noticed myself boring strangers with appeals to learn quilting from their family members who are around to teach them. And to ask for the stories! 

The story I'll never forget about the woman who made the squares that I'm quilting now has nothing to do with the quilt itself. I was in fourth grade having dinner at her house in the retirement community (frozen chicken pot pie--yum) and she told me that she'd left high school to go to work because she saw the other girls at school wearing pretty dresses and she wanted to buy herself one and be like them.

Maybe it sticks with me because I love a pretty dress, too.  But I never buy a pretty dress without thinking of that story. And some of these gorgeous fabrics in the quilt may be scraps from dresses. It makes me wonder-- did she learn to sew so she could finally make those dresses she wanted? Are these the scraps from the dresses she purchased and wore out? Could the victory of buying those dresses be preserved in this quilt?

My conjecture is romanticizing, of course. Truthfully, she had a rough life and struggled a great deal. I only knew her as a child and I didn't ask any hard-hitting questions. 

But I did ask her for sewing help and she patiently obliged, teaching me the magic of wrong sides together for hidden seams. When I was nine years old, it was a revelation! 

I will never know the full story, the details or whether she got those pretty dresses, but the least I can do is finish this quilt.

More pictures soon, darlings! 

Southern Comfort


I was just thrilled yesterday to get helpful advice from Martha at Q is for Quilter
 about transferring difficult quilt patterns to the quilt sandwich. I'm going to try her suggestion, which involves tracing the pattern onto thin plastic and then cutting it out so it can be traced around. 

In the meantime, I think these little pineapples are coming along nicely--these vintage patterns (I got from Q is for Quilter) are just darling and they are making this quilt project extra special.

We bought a pineapple Christmas tree ornament in Charleston this summer. Pineapples are a symbol of hospitality and what could be more Southern than to stitch one (or four--or sixteen!) on a quilt?

This quilt has a good backstory in that it's another family quilt that never got finished. My stepdad's mother made the squares sometime in the 1990s, I'm guessing, but I'm not really sure. Some of the fabrics seem extra old, but some seem more contemporary. She passed away in 2000 and the quilt squares sat in a closet until last December.

Around Christmas, my mom gave me an enormous cathedral square quilt that my Grandma Hazel had made for her and my dad in 1984. She said, oh we have this unfinished quilt, too, if you want it.

Of course, I did want it. I do want it. It's gorgeous! And classic! And pink (in places)!

I used a machine to sew the squares to sashing on Jan. 1 and have been plugging away at the handquilting ever since. Because I've never hand quilted anything before and because the woman who originally made it had to have been born in the 1920s or so, I want it to feel like it was lovingly stitched for endurance. No surprise that I've messed up some spots along the way, but nothing that can't be ripped out and done again.

The backing is Betty Dear by Robert Kaufman because I like the historic look of a calico backing fabric--and the pattern is gorgeous! I bought enough to sew myself a 1950s inspired dress. I think I hit the mark a little too closely, though, because when I wore the dress into public (with red lipstick) a little girl asked me if I was Maria in WestSide Story.


See what I mean?

More soon, dears.

Stay tuned for updates on the apple trees.


Adding heart


Well I've been hand quilting up a storm lately. The Internet is a fount of vintage quilt designs and I want to mix them all together. 

I read the thoughts of one blogger who said that machine quilting adds nothing but thread--you must quilt by hand to add heart. 

The thing is--I'm really enjoying the stitching. Transferring the patterns is not my strength. I try different methods and they kind of work, but I always feel like I'm missing something. Such a novice! 

One blog suggested a silver quilting pencil so I bought two. Then the package said the lead wouldn't fade and I was scared to use it. Lead? On my quilt?! 


Then my brilliant husband noted: "I don't think that they use lead in consumer products anymore."

Novice indeed. Confidence restored, I motored on.

Thanks for checking in, dears. More soon. 




Old timey quilting


I am thrilled this morning to see my foray into complex hand quilting was a success! I stayed up past 10 to finish this pattern-- pretty late for me.

I did have Scarlett O'Hara to keep me company.  And Melanie Hamilton.

This morning I've got cat food in my hair (somehow) and tea on my dress but this quilt square has got me grinning. 

more soon, my dears. 

Wedding flowers


I was thrilled to do the reception flowers for aunt Raylene's wedding last weekend. I probably cut every flower out of our garden and then I still needed Hy-Vee reinforcements! 

I love a good country wedding and they sure delivered! Congrats to the lovebirds! 


 The happy couple moves to Arizona next! 

The happy couple moves to Arizona next! 


We are still enjoying them at home! 

What's up, stitches

Back to quilting this week and having a great time.

We are having sweater weather in K.C., which makes quilt snuggles extra special.

 Still deciding which pattern to quilt on the borders. 

Still deciding which pattern to quilt on the borders. 

 The squares will be cross-hatch- love! 

The squares will be cross-hatch- love! 

And there's Kitten! She found a welcoming lap! 



And here's a #tbt of when I was just getting started on this. Look at my tiny helper-- he's much bigger now! 




Check back soon! 

Tree daydreams

Sadly, I don't have progress to report on my urban orchard. Still in the works. 

I did have a birthday recently and got a chance to wear some costume jewelry from a long-since-passed grandmother. (Still not sure which one.)

 Vintage necklace. 

Vintage necklace. 

I found some costume pearls in the same cache, but when I tried them on the clasp broke and the strands began to disentigrate in mis mnos.

Oh, bother. I'm not good at accessorizing anyway.

More updates soon, my dears.