Saturday, March 31, 2012

Jo Morton--Stars Homework

Between weeding and meetings, I have been working on my Jo Morton homework.  The stars have been sewn together on the diagonal.  The batting covered foam core board makes the task so much easier!

I do not have to plan for imperfections in my work--the imperfections come naturally.  I call my quilting primitive rather than precise.  Time to add the borders.  Since the stars are red and blue, I decided to use red as the inner border and blue as the outer border.

I thought about using this fabric for the outer boarder, but it seemed to overwhelm the quilt.  The blue fabric I choose for the outer border  has gold in the fabric which I thought worked better with the gold setting fabric.

While I was at the fabric store I also found this fabric, Civil War Ladies by RJR Fabrics.

Now, for the quilting and binding!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Iris--The State Flower of Tennessee

In 1933 Tennessee designated the iris (genus Iridaceae) as the state flower.  There are about 170 species of iris and they come in many different colors.  While the state legislature did not name a particular color, the purple iris is considered to be the state flower.

Tennessee gardeners frequently grow irises to form attractive borders in their gardens, or to enjoy as cut flowers.
The flowers grow from potato like roots called rhizomes.  In springtime, they produce long flowering stems that end in six lobe shaped petals.  Each iris flower consists of three standard petals and three downward drooping petals.  The petals are often marked by colorful, intricate designs in striking colors, giving rise to their huge variety.
I drive past Trinity Church, one of Nashville historic churches on my way home.
In the court yard of this beautiful historic church are long borders of while iris.

Image being a bride getting married in this beautiful historical church which is surrounded by hundreds of white iris.

The Tennessee iris is very hardy and requires little garden maintenance.  They multiply quickly and need dividing approximately every three years.  The most suitable time to divide iris is in August.  Yes, one of the hottest months in Tennessee.  One year, my Father was helping my Mother divide iris and there was an abundance.  My Father grew tired of the job and threw several of the rhizomes into the barn yard.  Iris are hardy and those rhizomes produced some of the pretties blooms!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Grandmother Bessie

As Grandmother Bessie was a huge influence in my life, it seems fitting to share an early photo of her.  This photo is four of the five Shults sisters, daughters of James Lawson Shults and Laura Jane Noland Shults.  From left to right:  Margaret who was always called Maggie, she is the oldest sister.  Next to Maggie is Kittie, then Grandmother Bessie Ann and on the far right Bonnie.  There is also a fifth sister, Allie.  Allie was born after this photo was taken.  Remember the La D Da sampler Margaret Cottam?  Hmm, with some modifications, Margaret Cottam may become Maggie Shults
About the photo:  notice Maggie and Grandmother had nosegays pinned to the blouses, no deodorant in those days so they wore flowers to disguise body order.  None of them are smiling because of the condition of their teeth.  Notice the dust on Grandmother Bessie's shoes, she had either walked some distance on a dusty road when this photo was taken or she had been working in the fields. 

Sister Kittie married Rev John Tudor.  A sad story.  Rev. Tudor was 54 years older than Kittie.  At the time of their marriage, Rev Tudor had tuberculosis.  Grandmother Bessie always said "he had the bad disease."  Rev Tudor died within a year of marrying Kittie.  As tuberculosis is highly contagious, Kittie contracted the disease and she died in 1914.  Sadly, Grandmother Laura who had cared for Kittie died in 1915. 

Sister Bonnie died in 1920 from complications of child birth. 

This is Grandmother Bessie and Grandfather Isaac's first house.  The house has had modifications and improvements but still exists and can be found in Emert's Cove, just outside the boundaries of the Great Smokey Mountain National Park.  Grandfather Isaac and his brother Bill (William Jefferson) built this house. 

I have been on a search for my favorite photo of Grandmother Bessie--will share when I locate.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You say it's your birthday

Coming live to you from Thistle Manor--it's officially my fifth birthday.  Let the celebration begin!

My life did not get off to a great start.  I was found in a storm drain with my two sisters and taken to Happy Tails.

I am very grateful to the kind people at Happy Tails who cared for me and helped my cat-Mother through her melt down while I was being adopted.

Okay Cat Mother, I am getting tired of poising, AppleJack is popping the tuna can and tissue paper is calling my name.

Enough already with the photos, let's party!

You did remember it's my birthday and that means presents.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Liebster Award

There are many reasons I love needlework.  For me needlework is a very encompassing word because I include counted thread, surface embroidery, needlepoint, quilting and hooking as needlework.  There are many reasons all these types of needlework sing to my heart:  the colors, the designs, the textures.  I learned to love and appreciate needlework from Grandmother Rebecca, needlework has been a part of my life for almost all of my life.  Another reason I love needlework is because of the people I have met along the way.  There have always been people who encourage me, laugh with me, shop with me, teach me, share with me. 

For instance, this past week I was reading blogs and came across a new to me blog called Sweetpea Samplings.  Laura had started a new sampler and in her photographs of her newly started sampler were these scissors.  The scissors really caught my attention.  I wrote to Laura and asked about the scissors.  Laura quickly responded and told me about the scissors and shared with me that I could find the scissors at Anita's Little Stitches.  Be still my beating heart, scissors, scissors, and more scissors and other great stuff.

A couple of days afterwards, I received an email from Laura about the Liebster Award.  The Liebster Award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers and has these guidelines:
  1. Thank my friend that awarded me and then link back to her
  2. Post the award on my blog
  3. Pass the blog award to five other bloggers
  4. List the bloggers I pass the Liebster on to with their links and let them know by commenting on their blog
  5. Share five random facts about myself that people do not know about me
Laura goes on to write:  what a sweet way to pass on links to other bloggers, broaden our blogging community and learn more about each other.  Well said. 

I am a late bloomer blogger, say that three times.  Blogging, like needlework has connected me to kindred spirits.  Bloggers like needleworkers share, laugh, cry, shop and eat delicious food.  So. . . in case you didn't already know more about me than you ever wanted to know, here are five more things.
  1. I learned to drive when I was seven years old on a McCormick Farmall H model tractor
  2. Hiking the Appalachian Trail is on my bucket list
  3. Pearl earrings are my favorite piece of jewelry
  4. I am a serious History student and spend hours in the State Archives reading documents
  5. While cutting quilt pieces, I "trimmed" my fingernails with a rotary cutter.  Learned a new meaning for the term "pay attention."  No harm, but interesting cut.
I am passing the Liebster Award to these kindred spirits bloggers
  1. P. J. at Porcupine Needle
  2. Natalia at Stitching-4-Joy
  3. Libby at Thread and Fabric
  4. Elizabeth at Threads, Books and Things
  5. Jean, Samplers and Such
These blogs are all new to me and wow do these women do some incredible needlework.  Encourage someone today--you never know what kind of day they are having!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Jo Morton-Ohio Stars and Supervision

When I am not dividing day lilies or pulling weeds, I have been working on the Jo Morton Ohio Star class assignment.  The twelve stars are completed and the setting pieces have been cut.

My able bodied trusty supervisor has been on her job today making sure the pieces were cut correctly.

Don't let her sleepy look deceive you, she is always paying attention.

Her basket sits at the end of the work table.  She likes to be near the action.  Whew!  I had just enough of the Jo Morton Cocoa Express fabric--can't make any boo boo's or else. . .

The quilt has passed the walk through test.

And the eyes in the back of my head test.  Since I have passed inspection, it is time to get those stars sewn together and add the borders.  Whoo Hoo!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Sunday Afternoon Date with Next Year

Am trying to be more faithful and diligent to Next Year.  Of course I am still digging and dividing day lilies.  I have given away more than five dozen and there are many, many more waiting to be divided.

The Japanese Maples are coming back to life.  Their leaves are just beautiful and such a variety.  This variety reminds me of red velvet cake.

This is the tree which I see while standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes.  Makes washing dishes a pleasant task.

This is another Japanese Maple--isn't the chartreuse color lovely?  The leaves are tender and delicate.
And speaking of color--here is Nellie Moser

and the Baths Pink Dianthus is beginning to bloom
Miss Lavender will soon be buzzing with bees--the bees love her flowers, so do I.
Next Year is coming back to life and needing more than a Sunday afternoon date.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dogwood Winter

Dogwood winter is a term used by Southerners to describe a period of cold weather that coincides with the blooming of the local dogwoods.  Typically the dogwood trees bloom sometime between mid-April and mid-May (depending on the weather variations of the season) and such a cold spell is often the last winter-like weather of the season.

It is still March and I am wearing shorts and sandals!  We are having a very early summer spring.  I sure hope Mother Nature does not have a late surprise in store for us.  The dogwood is one of my favorite trees. There are several wild dogwood trees growing in the woods behind Thistle Manor.

Old-timers in the Appalachians know there are several named " little winters" following winter.  Blackberry Winter, Locust Winter, Whippoorwill Winter, Redbud Winter and even Linsey-Woolsey Britches Winter.  Being an excellent gardener, Grandmother Bessie was very familiar with these "winters."  Grandmother did not always have access to a calendar or the weatherman, she relied on the signs of nature.
Linsey-Woolsey britches is an old nickname for long johns, usually spun from a combination of linen and wool.  This end-of-spring cold snap marked the day when the Linsey Woolsey britches could be packed away for the season.

Folklore of the eastern United States tells gardeners not to plant until after the dogwood trees have bloomed.   Blackberry Winter will be in a few weeks.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Jo Morton Seeing (More) Stars

After completing the first star, I have been in the All Purpose Room making more stars (and a mess).  I decided to go with a blue and red combination of stars--six blue stars and six red stars.

I have nine stars completed!  Whoo Hoo!  Three more red stars to go.

The background fabric for the stars is Jo Morton pattern #4886--Cocoa Express.  This fabric was released a couple of years ago and I was surprised to find some in my stash.  Don't tell AppleJack, I have a new love in my life--the foam covered board!

The small inner border is going to be red and the outer border is going to be blue.  I am undecided on the outer blue border and backing fabric.  This fabric is from the collection of Judie Rothremel, Civil War Classics.

Next Year is calling and I will be digging and dividing day lilies tomorrow.  I feel a case of gardener's legs coming.  Am pleased I am making progress on my homework assignment and have not waited until the last minute to start.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Jo Morton Seeing Stars

There are four types of learners:  visual, auditory, read-write, and kinesthetic. Visual learners are impatient and often interrupt, they learn by seeing.  Yes, that's me, I have never been known for my patience and I often interrupt and I can visualize the problem.

When I am quilting the most intimidating block is always the first one.  The first block is my learning block.  This block takes me the longest to complete and has the most mistakes.  Once I get the first block under my belt and on the drawing board, the rest are down hill.

Today, I started the second Jo Morton quilt--it is an Ohio star set on the diagonal.  I have many blue fabrics in my stash including my newly acquired Blackbird blueberry crumb cake and I have not fully decided on the color.  The quilt is either going to be all blue stars or a combination of blue and red stars.  The setting color is up for debate.  My teacher has suggested taking the completed stars to the quilt shop and auditioning fabrics.  I like this idea.

Here is Ohio Star block #1--eleven more to go.

The star is setting on my latest tip--a foam core board covered with batting.  To date this is my favorite tip.

Here is another look at the teachers quilt

Making more stars is on my agenda.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Another Adam and Eve (First Family)

Between weeding, dividing day lilies, a family visit, quilting, metro council meeting and spring cleaning, I finally returned to stitching my Remember the Ladies small Adam and Eve sampler.

I was having a difficult time deciding which one was Adam and which one was Eve.  AppleJack took one look and says "Eve is on the left, she's wearing a bikini."

I'm not loving the pastel colors and after stitching, am going to give the entire piece a walnut wash.  A good job to do out of doors because of the smell and good hot sun to dry.

The tree--it reminds me of a telescope or a stacked wedding cake.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Side Dish for Easter--Pineapple Casserole

Easter is just around the corner, April 8.  Is everyone busy preparing their Easter menu?  Family get to gathers means the return of favorite foods and recipes which are often only prepared for special occasions.  For my family a favorite is Pineapple Casserole.  This casserole is simple, tasty and easy to prepare.  I made it the other day and AppleJack asked, "why don't you prepare this more often."

Pineapple Casserole

1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple (drain and save juice)
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat over to 300 degrees
Mix pineapple, flour, sugar, pineapple juice and grated cheese together and put in 8 x 8 inch greased pan
Mix Ritz crackers and butter and sprinkle on top
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Simple, easy and delicious.  I served this dish with a pork loin roast.  AppleJack says "it's the perfect combination of foods."

Monday, March 19, 2012

How I spend my Sunday afternoons

Ahhh Sunday afternoons, is there a more wonderful afternoon?  Some people are glued to their television sets watching March madness.  Other people take a very needed afternoon nap. Some people take in a movie or shop or visit or catch up on neglected chores.  Typically, I spend my Sunday afternoons with Next Year--the garden. 

The very mild winter and early spring has made for many gardening chores.  The area behind Thistle Manor is very woodsy.  The woodsy environment is good for the Lenten Rose.  Unfortunately, the woodsy environment is also good for privet.  I have learned if privet goes unchecked, it will slowly invade and take over everything in its path. 

Another gardening chore has been dividing the daylilies.  Last week, I gave away more than a dozen daylilies.  Today, I will be sharing more than two dozen.  There are several more dozen to dig, divide and share.  I will be donating daylilies to Habitat for Humanity and the Napier and Chestnut Hill Community Gardens.  In the words of Grandmother Bessie "I have a bumper crop." 

When not removing privet or dividing day lilies I have pulled a few thousand hundred weeds, fertilized, sprayed and staked the roses, tied up the clematis and planted ground cover.  Next Year has been neglected and needs much of my attention.  My favorite tree, the dogwood, is on the verge of blooming.  The Dogwood Arts Festive in Knoxville will be starting next week.  If you have never attended this event, mark it on your calendar, you will see some awesome gardens. 

The Yoshino Cherry tree is also blooming.  I feel like Anne of Green Gables  walking under the white avenue of delight when I see these trees blooming.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Jo Morton Class #3

Yesterday was the third Jo Morton Little Women Club quilt class.  It's show and tell time.  Here are some of the completed  beauties quilts.

This is Miss Rosie, I believe this is the teacher's quilt.

The lady who made this quilt fussy cut the borders and sashings.

Check out her label, isn't it cool?

This is the back of Carmen's quilt.  She turned a mistake into part of her backing.  Very clever and resourceful!

Several of the quilters in the class really enjoy appliqué.  One lady made both of these.  Just for the record, she had Yankee Doodle completed at the second class.

This is also the teachers quilt.  Aren't those Jo Morton fabric's beautiful?

This is our next quilt--an Ohio Star set on the diagonal.  I am anxious to get started!

Of course, I bought more fabric, mostly shirtings.  Two of my favorite quilting tips are color sheets and foam core. Am I the last quilter to learn about color sheets?  They are used in the wash cycle to absorb color.  I will definitely be using color sheets the first time I wash the red and white Christmas stars quilt.  The foam core covered with batting is a great way to lay out the blocks of the quilt, it assists with design and placement of blocks.   Miss Callie Mae is loving all the quilt activity--she has a discerning eye for fabrics!

Let the cutting, sewing and pressing begin!