Friday, July 15, 2016

I have been neglectful of my blog.  Lots going on.  My family just returned from a trip to Breckenridge, CO.  We try to go there every year and have been taking our granddaughters with us the last few years.  They love it as much as we do.

I have been making a concerted effort to get more serious with my watercolor painting.  I have been doing some paintings from vacation photos and just recently started a series of paintings of local landmarks, buildings and statues.  I joined the Iowa Watercolor Society and have had one of my paintings accepted into their upcoming show.  Winners won't be announced until later in August.  A friend and I went to Perry to see all of the other accepted entries.  There is so much talent in Iowa.  I am just thrilled to have my work among them, especially after seeing the exhibit.  My friend took this photo of me with my painting "The Visitor".  It is from a photo I took while in Venice last year.

I have also been doing some stitching.  Pamela at Kitty and Me Designs had a contest for the 2017 crazy quilt calendar which she publishes along with her quarterly crazy quilt magazine.  Her theme was a secret garden.  I love 'glampers' and the idea came to me instantly.  I was late getting started so I stitched for hours everyday for about three weeks to get my idea made into a finished block.  It was time well spent because I ended up winning the cover spot!  I am familiar with several of the fabric artists that will be included in the calendar so I am really looking forward to seeing their creations!  The calendars should be available to order soon.  Check out Pam's blog to find out how to order one and how to get her magazines as well.  Her site is  While there you can also be inspired by her beautiful work and find information for the next contest for the 2018 calendar.

Another project I have taken on this year is learning Traditional Quilting by doing a series of blocks through a class by Kathy Shaw.  Her classes which also include crazy quilting are wonderful and very clear and precise...and free!  New to quilting or experienced I am sure you will learn from her.

These are three of my blocks.  Each gets more difficult.
This is the last one I completed.  I have two more to go.

We are still working at growing our organic Aronia Berries.  We met with the organic inspector this morning as part of the process to get certified organic.  We should have had berries two years ago but a tornado and heavy hail at the farm left our bushes as mere stems.  They have come back but it set us back a couple of years.  We should have some berries this year finally, after five years growth.  It has really been a struggle.  We now have Japanese Beetles that quickly devour the leaves.  There are products that will get rid of them, but the organic spray we have to use takes continuous applications and is pretty costly.  Our eyes have been opened as to why "organic" is expensive.

This shows some of the damage from the beetles

Damaged leaves but they seem to leave the berries alone

Here is one of the pests.  They are usually in large clusters and work quickly.

Many of the berries are already turning.

I parked the truck in the shade, looked up and found a mulberry tree!  Yay!

Ragbrai, a bicycle ride across Iowa, begins July 24.  We will have bicyclists from Chicago and Wisconsin staying with us the night before the ride begins.  It starts in Glenwood, just a few miles south of us, this year.  We will meet our friends down there.  My husband and his friend will ride the entire week.  I have decided not to ride this year as I have not been training and since it will be a really hilly ride I would be struggling.  I may take my bicycle along an maybe ride a day or a couple half days.  I'm just wavering on this.  We will be spending two nights with my old college roommate and I am excited to get to see her and visit since it has been quite some time, several years in fact, since the last time we were together.

I have been rambling on!  First there is no word from me and now I can't seem to shut up.  Lol.  Hope you are all enjoying your summer!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Monday, May 30, 2016

TQC 2016 - A New Challenge

I have signed up for another on-line course.  This one is from Kathy Shaw who is always so generous in sharing her knowledge.  She offers some crazy quilting courses and has just started this traditional quilt course.  This is totally new to me.  I have learned a lot already!  Being more of a 'no rules' kind of girl this is a true challenge for me.  These are mug rugs and I keep wanting to add buttons and embroidery to them, but that would make it difficult for a mug to set securely on them so I am holding back.  Here are my first two challenges completed...