Summer Doings in Kentucky

Summer doings in Kentucky have been more fun this year. Unlike last year, no one was able to visit us and see our little slice of ‘God Country’. So this year we have visitors, crafts, sewing, blocks, and winnings. I was working on another post but got stuck… So I thought I would show you some of the creating interruptions.

Winnings

Some days I have a chance to read and catch up with blogs that I follow and comment when I can. I rarely participate in blog giveaways because I really have enough stuff. But in this case… they are hand-dyed fabrics. And they are scraps! So I threw my name in the mix, (actually all the mixes because I love her products) and so far the ones I have purchased I am only able to pet!!! I can’t cut into them. I am thrilled to say, I won a scrap pack of hand-dyed fabrics from her summer vacation giveaway. Her scraps are almost yardage for me! These came from Vicki at Colorways by Vicki.

Colorways by Vicki prize
I won a package of scraps from a hand dyer!!!

Vicki also makes postcards. So I made one and sent it to her as a thank you. I used some of the scraps above with a few of my leftover bits from other projects, (the circles and the white). I slapped a stamp on it and sent it on its way, (naked, no protective envelope or plastic sleeve).

It has arrived and she posted it on her blog. See it here: https://www.colorwaysbyvicki.com/blog/a-new-record-for-mistakes#/

Visitors

We have had visitors this summer. There have been very few visitors to see our little bit of paradise since we moved here 1 year and 11 months ago. But we have been fortunate this year that family is finally able to visit. This past week we have had the pleasure of kids and the grandkids visiting. I made an apron for the ‘sous chef’ to wear while helping in the kitchen. They got a kick out of the apron. They forgot it when they left, so I will mail it along with a big packet of photos from their time on the farm. We fished, fed the animals, helped in the garden, hiked in the woods, and played some games, as well as a trip to the Louisville Slugger Baseball Bat museum and factory. Another visitor came and collected her share of Mr. March, and next week my nephew will stop by for the night and return a few weeks later for a longer stay with my great niece.

Cricut enhanced apron
Apron made for grandsons when they want to help in the kitchen

Naming Game

I have also been doing a little painting. We finally came up with a name for the ‘farm’. It kinda explains exactly what we’re doing out here in rural Kentucky. Anyway, we thought we needed a barn quilt, so I made a prototype and learned a lot! The block is the Corn ‘n Beans and I made it a 4 patch. We decided to put the name on this one which is mounted on the shop exterior next to the driveway. The one on the barn will just be just like this, but only the block.

We have a barn quilt
We came up with a name for the farm

Making blocks

In addition to the block above the ‘million pieces project’ is now a pile of blocks. Its a scrappy project and seems like it has taken forever. I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to like it… but I think so. Here is a little bit of the whole… It has grown on me as I made it. Sometimes I do wish I did a bit more planning… when making things instead of just winging it. If I had made one block in the blues and the other in the reds with the same background in all of them it might be more appealing. I may have to play with that, but maybe some bigger pieces, not 2 1/2 inch squares. 5″ are sounding just about perfect!!!

million pieces project
I don’t think there are 2000 pieces in the top, but it feels like a million!

Hothouse

The kitchen in this house faces south. The previous owner had a window seat built-in under a double window. I don’t have a use for a window seat, but several of the following owners have all used it for plants. Not only is it the best place, but it is also the only place that gets enough light. I have a small jungle growing and several plants in bloom. 4 orchids, 1 violet, and one Thanksgiving Cactus with one bloom. This is the 4th time it has bloomed since November. The orchids started blooming in late January and into February. The violet blooms about every 8 weeks. There is also a pink violet that also blooms about every 8 weeks, they take turns!

June blooming houseplants
Completely out of sync. Thanksgiving cactus blooming again in June

Now you know what’s been eating up my time. How are you spending your summer? Busy creating?

More Later… Beth

The World Widens and True Spring

The world widens with the arrival of true spring. Not only has the weather become warmer, but the COVID vaccine is also making it easier to go out. Of course, we must still use precautions as advised, however now we can go out with less fear of becoming ill or spreading the germs of COVID. We marked the end of the 14 day waiting period, after getting both doses, about a week ago. We got the Moderna 2 dose vaccine and fortunately did not suffer any side effects. No worse than the flu vaccination that we got for the first time ever last fall. YaY!!! Now if everyone would get on the bandwagon, I can see quilt shows and guild meetings resuming around the world.

  • Some Quilt Show dates!!!
    • The Heartland of Kentucky Quilt Show in Elizabethtown, KY will have their show this year! September 10 & 11 at the new Extention Office on Opportunity Way!
    • The Houston Quilt Festival is also on for this year, October 28-31
    • Paducah has set the date for April 27-30, 2022.

Farm

Gardening

True spring has arrived on the farm too. Life on the farm is once again busy, as I mentioned in the last post. We, (by we I mean “HE”) is busy! He is clearing some brush in what used to be a field behind the pasture and preparing the garden for the veggie seedlings we have growing in the basement under grow lights. Prepping the garden actually took a bit more time than was planned. The tiller we purchased at a yard sale in 2015 died. So we spent a day getting a new one.

Rototilling the garden
It was easier with a new tiller

As you can see the new tiller worked very well. We already have garlic growing, (those green stalks) because we planted that in the fall and we put the potatoes last week. They are growing in potato bags, (not visible). As soon as the ground reaches 50° again, we will begin moving the plants to the garden. We had snow earlier this week so ground temperatures have been set back a bit! So far the seedlings have done well, but next year more lights!!!

True Spring at the Pond

Springtime at the pond is a noisy affair in late March, and off and on through May. The toads start calling in the pond, sometimes it is just a single toad and sometimes many more. They puff up their throat and vibrate to a really high pitch. A little 33-second video of them singing, below. It begins with several unseen toads singing, and ends with just the one toad singing.

The results of the singing are these pollywogs. Soon those pollywogs will be little toads just like the one on my hand from last year, hopping through the grass. They were so tiny!!!

Pollywogs in the pond
Soon to be American Toads
Baby toad
Isn’t this cute? A baby toad from spring 2020

New Critters Also Arrive in Spring

The world widens in the barn too. Right after Sir Loin settled in we added two pigs. Both of the pigs are barrows, (neutered males). We have decided on Little Piggie and Pinky Pig. When they arrived they were sunburned. Their ears are still peeling. We are keeping them confined to the barn until they are a little older. Here is a cute 20-second video of them eating and talking.

They are half the size of last year’s pigs, less than 20 pounds, but they have arrived almost 6 weeks earlier. We don’t want to grow them as large as we did last year. However, we have found homegrown pork and beef are tasting amazing and the cost per pound is fabulous! Of course, we are not eating all this meat ourselves. We offer the other 1/2’s or 1/4’s to others. We are eating homegrown pork for $3.50 a pound and beef at $4 a pound, (that includes processing and packaging), a much better price than what is available at the store and I know everything that went in!!!

The World Widens Locally too

The local quilt world widens as well. Tomorrow one of the local guilds will be getting together at a park. Socially distanced and masked still. I plan to go. The other guild has planned on a sew-in at the weekend. I am planning to go, however, I am afraid our guest/visitor season may be beginning too. So, I may not make it to the sew-in. I had planned to sew a scrap quilt, but have already started sewing. It is at that uncomfortable stage of “I don’t think I will really like it”. Since I have it started, I will keep going and see where it ends up. This is mixed scraps and totally uncontrolled… and not my style!!!

Under the needle
Scrappy half square triangles

In what ways has the world widened for you? What kinds of things are spring and the COVID vaccine bringing back to your life? Tell, me I am so ready for BLOOMING EVERYTHING!!!

More Later! Beth

Creative Recipes

Creative Recipes do you have any? I was going to start this post by saying that the Creative Department was idle. But that is not quite true. I think we are mostly unaware of the ‘creating’ we do in our daily life.

Where am I when I am not in the Creative Space

I spend much of my time in the kitchen -making something. We eat very little food that comes in a package, so I spend quite a bit of time… making something, dinner, breakfast, dessert, or the components of meals. Most of what we eat started with a recipe or flavor profile. We have tweaked or changed it to suit our tastes. That is creativity!

I am blaming the added time in the kitchen on the recent acquisition of a dehydrator. I have discovered that it is so much fun to dry foods. We of course make the usual Sliced Cinnamon Apples and Jerky. For the apples, the preparation is less than an hour and finished in the machine by dinner. Jerky not so much. I can’t leave it alone so I have stopped making it! I have experimented with drying tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, onions, broccoli, beets, citrus, and mushrooms. The powders allow for adding to recipes and opening a world of flavor and fun. Once the dehydrated veggies dry, I grind them into a powder for adding here and there to the foods. What a great way to feed the family more veggies! Even better is that most of the time they don’t even taste them!!!

A couple of trays of beets in the dehydrator

We do not waste any food these days. Of the parts we don’t use, some goes out to the cows, (yes that is now a plural), and when we have pigs, some goes there, (more pigs will be arriving in the spring), the chickens get the bits they like and the rest to the compost bin. Meat is the only thing that ends up in the actual trash. I could make a vegetable broth from the produce bits, but nah… you have to draw the line somewhere!!!

How is the kitchen similar to sewing?

So where or how does the above tie into Creativity? A recipe is a pattern, with ingredients and amounts just like a pattern for making something, like a quilt or a bag or a dress. We can make it exactly like the pattern or modify it on the fly or after making the first draft. You can change it in so many ways to give it your own twist. The colors, the size, the number of borders, pockets, ruffles, trims, or the arrangement of the blocks or other main elements. A pattern is just the starting point to make it your own!!!

Making up a ‘Table’ recipe

For the Creative Space, I made my tabletop. I am not quite happy with it and may get a new sheet of melamine. The finish was in worse shape than I thought. I was able to inspect it more closely once I got it home from the store. I will live with it for a few weeks/months and make a decision… about replacing it. After working on a 36″ x 45″ table it feels great to spread out! I started with an 8′ sheet and ended up cutting it down to 7 feet long, so the overall size is 48″x84″. The current top is not permanently attached. I have it cleated in place just in case I decide that the top is too rough to stay.

The new big table top

My Letter “Z”

One of the other things I worked on while determining the allocation of the space and workflow was this little Letter! It began as a sample stitch out and left unfinished as a visual. The overall size is about 9 inches square. So far, most of the letters I’ve made use a similar recipe to create. All of the stitching on this little piece is free-motion. I stitched the letter with a green variegated King Tut, a trilobal Rainbows, and a sparkly metallic green and did the free-motion quilting with a solid green cotton thread, (although in the picture it appears variegated).

Do your modify a pattern to make it your own? All the time? Just once? Never?

More Later…. Beth