Tuesday, October 29, 2019


Borders are finished and the quilt is ready to go to a machine quilter. The batik fabrics are really beautiful. I'm going to need to look around for a new machine quilter, so it will be a while.
Jeff would like me to make one of these for his birthday, so I'm going to have to shift gears for a while.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Batik Quilt Progress

It just needs the border, and then the quilt top will be done! I kept taking progress photos during the last week but then was too busy sewing to post them.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Quilt Progress

I'm making pretty good time on the latest quilt project. I've been trying to work on it for at least a couple hours a day.

It took an entire week to get the green batik from eQuilter so I was stuck at the point where I needed the green until it had arrived. It finally came on Monday so I've done little else since Tuesday.

I completed one block so I could test the pieces and make sure I was ironing seams correctly.
I really prefer making quilts with good plans like this. I know exactly how much to cut out and I can build the blocks assembly-line fashion.

Tonight I've finished making the last of the components, so tomorrow I should be able to start assembling the blocks.
As a reminder, this is the plan.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Fall is Here!

It's not just a clever name. There are so many leaves in our yard right now. I hope we have another couple dry days so we can clean up the yard. As the outdoor season draws to a close, I thought it would be fun to look back at the progress we made in the yard this summer.

In May/June, Jeff planted the parking strip.
This is how it looked when initially planted
This is how it looks today. The plants that lived seem really happy.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Cutting My Losses

I decided I don't like the last quilt enough to finish it. I don't even want to spend more fabric finishing the border. Maybe I can find a charity that wants it.

Instead, I started a new quilt. LOL
This one I did much more planning. While the arrangement of blocks is likely to change, I suspect the colors will be pretty similar. I might add a couple of fabrics to get more variation in the flower petals. I need to dig around in my fabric stash a bit more to see what I can find.
This one is made with all batik fabrics.

I spent the afternoon cutting out many of the weird-shaped pieces that you can't just cut with the rotary cutter and a ruler. My right triangle ruler came to the rescue again. I'm really glad I got it.

I didn't have enough green batik so I had to order some so it will be a few days before I can really get rolling with this project.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Blocks Assembled

They're assembled. I still need to make the rather complicated border, but this part is finished.
I wish I'd done a better job at planning the arrangement of colors. It is pretty and bright, but I had rather hoped for more purple. :) I just needed to stop adding non-purple colors sooner.

Sadly, Electric Quilt doesn't give cutting instructions for the border so I'm going to have to figure it out. I've had enough time at my sewing machine this week, so I'm going to take a day or two off. My poor old back needs a break.

Friday, October 11, 2019

So Close

I'm probably only a day away from finishing now.
Actually, I'm wishing it was a little less scrappy, but I do like it. It's been a bit of a challenge to get blocks arranged so there aren't too many pieces of the same color next to each other.

Our bulbs finally came from Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm today and they were large and beautiful bulbs. They looked really healthy. The bulbs are already in the ground which I believe is a record for us.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

When it Rains, I Sew

I've made some good progress on the Queen's Jewels quilt I started last fall. This is what the finished design looks like.
This is the design of the finished blocks.
When I resumed work on it again last week, I went through the pieces I'd cut out before I got the right angle triangle ruler and I checked them to be sure they were cut out correctly. Anything that was too small, I trashed. It wasn't worth the time to fudge the seams.

I've got a bit of an assembly line going now and I'm making pretty good speed assembling these pieces which will then be assembled to make the block. I believe I need a total of 144 of the triangle units for the entire quilt; I now have 79 finished and 30 more nearly finished.
At this pace, I should finish these triangles in another couple of days.

Oh, and I nearly forgot, I finally finished Jeff's turtle potholders. I started these in February 2018. :)
My sewing tables are much cleaner this week. I had so many projects kicking around on them.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Project Updates

I was really psyched when Jeff found a Crandall Clove Currant I wanted for the Hidden Garden at Portland Nursery this past weekend — on clearance!! It was marked down to $13 from $26, but when we paid for it, it was an additional 50% off. We only paid $6.50 for a 2-gallon pot! It was the last one, so its shape was sort of ugly, but I am hopeful that next year it will fill out and Jeff will be able to prune it into a better shape.
As we were leaving, I spied a clearance area. I didn't know they had a clearance area! I found a whole tray of unusual ferns for $3/ea in 4-inch pots. Yeah, we took those home too. And three bleeding hearts that were also marked down 50%.

Most of the ferns went in under the black walnut tree which has now been double dug. (The ugly blue tarp is covering the last of the black walnut mulch that the guys still need to finish spreading around the shed.)
The black walnut pruning really opened up the planter to more sun. I do hope it lasts for at least a few years.

Yes, that is sun you see so we did some painting on the shed. It's not done, but it's close. Yesterday, Jeff finished painting the brackets while I did the first coat on the door/window trim.
Today, while Jeff was doing a big cook day, I finished the second coat of green on the windows and a second coat on the white trim. Jeff still needs to finish painting the edge boards on the roof line.
We need one more day of dry, reasonably warm weather to finish. Tomorrow the forecast is rain, but hopefully, the weather forecast will be accurate and Wednesday and Thursday will be sunny. I'll be so relieved to finally finish this project.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Hidden Garden Done

Well, done for the season anyway. There are still some plants we want to add in the spring when they became available again. And I'll be starting some annuals over the winter and I'll get those in next spring as well.
As a reminder, this is where we started in May 2019.
Needless to say, I'm pretty happy with how the garden turned out.

Technically, this is the before photo. This is how the area looked when we bought the house during 2010. Sadly, I don't have anything with a wider view.
I did an obsessive list of plants over at Jeff's garden blog if anyone is interested in what we actually put in the ground.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Done is Better

The quilt top made from salvaged blocks is done. I ended up putting a plain fabric border on because when I added blocks with a different pattern, they detracted from the main quilt blocks.
Looks pretty horrible in good light. I really hope those
wavy parts tighten up a bit after it's quilted then washed.
I found a use for the blocks I made for the border. It took about a day to put them together.
It is a lap quilt size. It is not my best effort, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out since I never really had a plan and just started sewing leftover bits together.

I can't afford to have these quilted right now, so they'll just get tucked away in a tub and they'll wait until finances improve.

Now I just have one more quilt project kicking around my sewing room: the Queen's Jewels quilt. I'm hoping my motivation will carry me through to finishing that one too.

However, it's sunny today, so I've got to do some shed painting.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Shed Painting Started

I was planning to wait and post photos when we finally finished this project, but with the way our weather has been behaving, I'm not sure we're going to get it finished before next spring. Though, now that I have the windows masked, I am hoping for at least one day of decent weather so I can get those painted too.
Right after I took this photo yesterday afternoon, before we could even finish cleaning up the painting tools, some random thundercloud came by and hailed/rained on it. I guess we can be thankful that we had finished by then.
This morning, I went out to survey the damage. It looks fine; the very last thing we painted would benefit from some touchup.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Canning Applesauce

On Tuesday, Jeff got a message from a friend with a home orchard asking if he'd like to come pick some apples. He came home with this.
So, we've been busy the last couple of days. Mostly, we're canning applesauce for use this winter. I'm not going to give a tutorial; there are already plenty available. We are making unsweetened applesauce and cooking down the apples, and then finishing them off by running them through our Vitamix to get a nice smooth applesauce.

We still have the two four-gallon tubs at this point and this is how much we've finished. This is sort of a motley collection of mismatched jars as most of our canning supplies already moved to Prineville. LOL
Today, Jeff saved the peels and cores so he could experiment with making apple jelly, for the first time ever. It worked great! I wish we'd figured it out sooner as all the peels and cores from the last two days just went out into the compost. Oh well. We'll make a jar of jelly from now on from the scraps.

For that recipe, he used Apple Jelly Canning Low Sugar from Rural Mom. We used water instead of apple juice and it still worked well.

Update later: Final tally was 37 jars of applesauce, and several jars of jelly.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Quilting Again, Finally

I actually went into my sewing room to straighten it up so I could make a birthday present for Jeff, but I saw these same damn squares sitting there....still. They've been there at least two years. (Nope, longer. Way longer. Since Dec 2015. And April 2016. LOL) I think much of my problem with this project was that I never had a plan. I just started making more squares, figuring I would come up with something when I got close to the end. Well, I never did.

I really tried to make them work for new curtains, but I wasn't happy with any of the block arrangements I could come up with. It didn't help that the two windows were different sizes.

So, finally, I just abandoned the idea of making curtains and I laid out the squares into a quilt and was pleased to realize I had enough to make a decent-sized quilt. It's at least twin size, not including the border. I ended up making 5 more blocks because I wanted to add another row. That task was a lot easier once I knew exactly when to stop.
I worked on sewing the quilt all day long. I have to say, it really sucks working with old squares and new squares because, of course, the old squares are a little stretched out from their prior use. And I'm really fussy about making seams match. Sometimes it felt almost like I was gathering. I'm hoping once I wash this quilt, some of the imperfections will go away.
So, my advice, don't do it. But, having gone this far, I was determined to get this project done. So I powered my way through to the end.  I finished assembling them at 11:30PM.

Anyway, the next day I further disassembled the roman shades to reuse the green fabric for a skinny border strip. (I didn't take an edge detail photo yet.)  And you would think I would just cut my losses and throw on a solid colored second border and call it done, but somehow I got it into my head that it would be nice to use up all the extra little bits lying around.

I don't know what I was doing. I just kept making those little half-triangle squares and I have a bunch of them leftover, so now I am trying to figure out a fancier border. So, this project continues....

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Black Walnut Pruning

I had actually hoped to remove the black walnut tree. The leaves and fruit are a huge mess and dye everything black as they decompose. The tree branches were so dense that the rain garden next to the driveway was in deep shade all day long. I think all the deciduous plants we'd planted there have died from lack of sun. The ferns have survived mostly.

The huge tree is crammed between the houses and last winter it dropped branches on our roof. They were not super large, but it did have me worried about the possible damage to the house should it drop one of the bigger branches.

However, in the last few years, Portland passed a law that prevents homeowners from removing trees on their private property if the trunk is more than 20" wide. The black walnut is 30" wide.

It is possible I could have found an arborist that would take our side about the danger to the structures and write a letter for us to submit to the city to get permission, but every attempt would cost hundreds of dollars, so we just had the stupid tree pruned back as much as possible. (They also have laws about how much you can prune trees. LOL)

I didn't think to take before photos yesterday before the tree guys came to do the pruning, but I did find a couple of decent shots from last month. I took the comparison shots this morning.
I'm pretty sure the guy crawling around in the branches was part monkey.
Same shot, zoomed out.
The company, should anyone local wish to use them, was Harrity Tree Specialists. They did a nice job working around the structures and they didn't do any major damage to the stuff under the tree as they dropped branches to the ground. (Later amendment. I think they dropped a branch on the fence. The gate will no longer close and there's a large gap between the boards now. Sigh.)

The rain garden is finally getting some sun again. We shall see next spring if the bleeding heart has died; I hope not.

Now, assuming the weather cooperates, Jeff and Aaron will spend a couple of days spreading the pile of mulch they left in our driveway, fixing the broken fence post and digging in soil amendments in that planting bed, then we'll be able to plant the two pawpaw trees and all the rest of the hosta.

Friday, September 13, 2019


Sigh. Another ugly Portland installation. The city doesn't even notify you it's going to happen; they just show up and put it in.
I'm definitely going to plant a vine on it next spring.

I also wanted to remove the massive black walnut tree between the houses in the side yard. It is way too big for the location and tends to drop branches on the roof, but apparently, Portland won't let owners remove trees on their private property once they are more than 20" across. So we are stuck dealing with his huge tree and paying $1500 pruning bills every five years or so.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Planting Started

After four days of rain and thunderstorms, today the weather was pleasantly cloudy and dry. It was still too damp to resume painting the shed, but it did give Jeff and Aaron a chance to resume work on the Hidden Garden. They finished setting the stepping stones in sand. It's a pretty informal path as we just used whatever pavers/stones we had leftover in piles.

They also put in the pad for the bench. We had this chunk of urbanite hanging out in the driveway and it proved to be the perfect size for the bench.
We have realized we're going to have to paint the bench a darker color because there are always little muddy footprints on the white stain. Bailey is quite the little jumper.

Then they finished amending the soil with many bags of cow manure and double-digging most of the planting beds. Jeff also dug in the crimson clover so it would serve as green manure.

We managed to get the most critical plants in the ground (i.e. bareroot bulbs), but it was a long day and we were tired so we called it quits before all the plants made it into the ground. Hopefully, the weather will still be nice enough tomorrow to finish.
I had worried I'd oversubscribed the space with plants, but once we laid them out on the ground, there is an awful lot of empty space.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

It Rained :(

Jeff and Aaron managed to fill all the nail holes and do more priming on Friday. I painted the first coat of paint on the door.
Since it started raining on Saturday, we didn't get to start putting the paint on. Instead, we did a bit of garage organizing.

I managed to clear off the big workbench and sanded off all the marks and sealed it with two coats of the Daly's Seafin' Ship'N Shore leftover from the planting table.
I've spent several hours now sifting misc. boxes into the large sterilite tubs and the piles of loose stuff are diminishing. Here is how the garage looks at the end of day today.
We obviously still have a lot of work ahead of us. LOL

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Painting Weather

The weather has finally cooled off and we have several days of weather with low risk of rain in the forecast so today—finally—we got to work on priming the garden shed. Once Aaron arrived to help Jeff, I wandered off to my own painting project.
I think unless we get rain, we'll be able to finish painting this by the end of the weekend.

I nearly finished up painting the galvanized iron patio furniture. Jeff wanted more copper on it, so I painted all the cornucopias in the copper paint. I need to do a bit of touch up with green paint, but I'm quite happy with how it looks.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Planting Table Set Up

I've finished sealing the planting table and I'm quite happy how it turned out.

In June, Jeff bought me some Daly's Seafin' Ship'N Shore, a fairly expensive sealer, for the picnic table. But then we bought the can of Olympic Rescue It!  Since we had not returned the can of sealer, I decided to try it on the planting table.
I only sealed the horizontal surfaces.
I sprayed a bit of water on the table yesterday and it beaded on the surface.
While it was so hot in Portland yesterday we worked on clearing out the spot for it in the basement. Aaron and Jeff moved it into the basement this morning. I spent the morning moving in. I'm excited to start using it for seed starting.