Friday, October 20, 2017

Viewing your hometown through a visitor's eye

We had company from out of state yesterday and spent part of the afternoon visiting our most famous local attraction - the Corn Palace. Folks around here often joke about it being the world's largest bird feeder, as the outside is decorated each year with mural made of corn and local grasses.

I always enjoy seeing the murals change each fall.  For decades the murals were designed by noted Native American artist Oscar Howe. But in recent years, other talented local artists have designed them. The outdoor murals are laid out much like a paint-by-number picture. A local farmer grows the 12 colors of corn especially for this display. Each ear of corn is split in half lengthwise, and nailed up onto the board.

This year's theme is South Dakota Weather. So far my favorite picture is on the front of the building, with lightning striking all around a country church. And we've noticed that the green corn is especially prominent this year.

Inside The Corn Palace - it's a city auditorium, with more murals. We watch high school and college basketball in there. We've gone to plays and concerts in there. We've attended the circus in there. They even have rodeo bull riding events.  And now the hallways have become a wonderful museum with photos from over 100 years of murals and entertainment events.  And there are some educational displays about corn for both adults and children. And it's all FREE to explore!


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

New carpet

Yesterday morning we had new carpet installed in our family room.  It looks great, but now it makes the carpet in the nearby rooms and hallway look awful.  I briefly considered hard wood instead, but in this room I really like the cozy feel of carpet. Especially in the winter. We spend most of our time in this room.
My husband and I had emptied the room of furniture (and stuff) on Saturday before he left for a business trip early Sunday morning. The only thing we couldn't move was the big oak entertainment center, but the store had assured me that for a small extra charge the installers (plural) would move that for us. Yay! So when the lone installer showed up I was very worried that we would have to reschedule.  But the guy assured me that with my help he could move it. And he was right, but it wasn't easy. 
Four hours later the old carpet was removed and the new was installed.  After some vigorous vacuuming, I decided to just move back a couple of small furniture items. Sofa sections just don't belong in the kitchen.  Push, pull - then rest and repeat.  It took me over 2 hours but all of the furniture is back in the room. And my back was killing me. The only thing left to do is figure out what I have plugged in wrong on our TV system (too complicated) because we have no sound. Oh, and I need to put back the tchotchkes and books on the shelves in the entertainment center. Some purging will happen as I do that.
My husband will be so impressed - maybe - that his overweight, out-of-shape 63 year old wife managed to do this all by myself.  I just hope he doesn't expect that kind of physical labor all the time.  This was motivated purely by the desire to have my home back to normal.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

New Age - cat approved

My 2016 Saturday Sampler is done, on the bed, and evidently cat approved.  I finished the binding while watching the Vikings beat the Packers on Sunday.
Usually Sammy hangs out under my desk when I'm working in the mornings, but Monday he didn't show up.  He seems a bit stressed because the family room furniture is all pushed into other rooms in preparation for carpet installation today. So our bedroom is one of the only safe places he can find right now and he has been spending a lot of time curled up in the middle of our bed. I'll just shut the door to the bedroom when the installers arrive so he feels secure. He is an old (16), 20 pound "fraidy cat".  
A New Age, made of over dyed muslin was a challenging project. The blocks went together easily each month but I had a couple of problems getting that pieced border correct. My mistakes were simple to correct however and then I added that last butterfly print border to make it long enough for a nice drop on each side. So it's a huge quilt.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Starting a new Saturday Sampler

The new Saturday Sampler program began yesterday.  It's called Summer Watermelon Sampler.  Nothing about this one makes me think of watermelons or summer however. Even though I've been quilting for more than 30 years, I feel that programs like Saturday Sampler are a wonderful learning opportunity, plus the bonus of a social activity.  New techniques, and reinforcing techniques I already knew - all part of the learning.  And the show 'n tell every month is just plain inspiring!
Can you tell that I love going to Saturday Sampler?  Here are my finished blocks for this month. Both blocks are made with the same pieces, but the corner sections are turned in block #2 and the fabrics are in different locations.  Plus I did a little switching in block #2 to increase the contrast. 
These came entirely from my stash.  The plan for now is to use scrappy black and whites, with bright batiks, all of which I should be able to pull from the stash and/or the scrap bins.  I may even make another set using other scraps because these were really simple blocks to make and God knows there are plenty of scraps to use up.

Check out Design Wall Monday at: 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ride With the Wind

It needs a label yet, but otherwise the wall hanging is done.  I think it will be called "Ride With the Wind".  The bright multi-colored thread does show up nicely, but doesn't over power the piece.  My quilting lines are sufficiently random with soft waves all across, hopefully suggesting the prairie wind.  The green and red section is actually a Row By Row from this summer's road trip through Iowa with my husband. The shop in Adel, Iowa had designed this row and I immediately had a plan to make a wall hanging with it. The mottled black looks like of like asphalt.  Considering it was a "design as you sew" kind of project, I like how it turned out.  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Random waves

I've mentioned quite often that I struggle with machine quilting things myself. I have a LOT of trouble relaxing enough to make smooth curves. But I can somewhat handle straight line quilting - except for stitch-in-the-ditch. I take my eye off the "ditch" and allow the needle to wander. Not pretty!
But I had a picture in my mind of how I wanted to quilt the cycling wall hanging, and was determined to do it myself.  Random waves moving across the piece horizontally would represent the wind. I bought a pretty thread so it would show up on the black road sections really nicely. And then it just sat on the corner of my sewing table, waiting.  
Yesterday I finally got brave enough to just jump in and give it a try.  And surprisingly, I'm happy with the results. The binding is even half done, so I'll show it off once it's done.
The other project for the day was to make 2 more of the pillowcases that I have kitted up.  Slowly, but surely I'm working my way through the stack of pillowcase kits.

Monday, October 9, 2017

First finish for October

It's only 6" square, but it's done.  So it counts, right?  This is one of the Match Box quilts from Fat Quarter Shop. Very cute little project.  Check out Design Wall Monday at:
This morning I had to accept that summer probably is really over.  The leaves have really started to fall, and we have a freeze warning for tonight. Sigh!!