Monday, October 22, 2012

More Fall Colors

Today, Mom, Dad, and I went to Grandpa's woods to check out the fall colors. Although, it's not Grandpa's woods anymore. It was sold after he died. All that's left in the family is the farmhouse and a few acres that belong to my nephew. Mom got permission from the owners for us to go walk in the woods. But I'll always think of it as Grandpa's woods. We (all of us grandchildren) grew up there.  
Grandpa's garage sits just east of the
barn behind the farmhouse. Grandpa
always sat there, no matter the weather.
He loved watching the corn or beans
grow during the summer and just
 be outdoors the rest the year.  You
can see a bit of the woods in the

In the spring, we'd wander through the woods searching for all the different kinds of wildflowers - white and red trilliums, Dutchman's britches, Jack-in-the-pulpits, and sweet peas to name a few. It was always an adventure. We never knew what we'd find. One year, Mom and I found a wildflower we couldn't name. We hunted for hours in the library trying to find what it was. It was a small, round ball that opened on one end showing a purple, velvet-like interior with stamens.  It was like a magical world unto itself.

In the summers, all the cousins, aunts, uncles, and  grandparents would have picnics almost every weekend at the pond. We ate blackberries, raspberries, and goose berries 'til we were sick. When it was warm enough we'd swim and play on the rumpus raft. We'd also fish. Grandpa had the pond stocked with bluegill, perch, and catfish. We'd have a fish fry over the camp fire!

The edge of the woods on the way
back to the pond. The giant oak
was always one of my favorite trees,
although it wasn't quite
that mighty when I was younger. 
In the fall, the colors were just brilliant - so many  maples, oaks, hickory, black walnuts, hedge apples, and buckeyes. Buckeyes were fun to collect, while Grandma would make cake out the of hickory nuts.  Grandma and Grandpa, their siblings and parents use to have a sugar camp, making fresh maple syrup. Yummy!!

In the winter, we'd get a treat with the maple syrup. Grandma would make a candy by pouring the syrup over fresh snow! Delicious!!  Back at the pond, when the ice was thick enough, we'd ice skate. We'd have a bonfire to keep warm. One year, my cousin got to close to the fire and actually caught the toe of her skates on fire! They became my skates the next year! Hand-me-downs!

I have so many fun memories of these woods. It was nice to walk through them today!

This is the view of the pond we'd see when first coming upon it.
It is so beautiful today! The water was so still
that the reflections are almost perfect. 

A view of the pond looking north.  To the left of the tree in the
foreground, was a small walkway where the rumpus raft
was tied.  After getting on, we'd pole out to the middle
to play and swim.

Fungus and moss on a fallen log. 
Fallen leaves.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall Colors in Ohio

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. Especially in Ohio or upstate New York. The beautiful fall colors of hills aflame with reds, oranges, yellows, and greens. The crisp, cool mornings. It is one thing I really miss living in Arizona.

Thankfully, I got an opportunity this year to see some of the fall colors while visiting family in Ohio in October. The leaves haven't fallen yet, so the trees are full of color. My first few days are like an Indian summer, with days in the 60's to low 70's, while night-time temps fall to the 50's and even to the 40's. I love sleeping with the window open, listening to the crickets, locusts, and a few bullfrogs.

Today after church, Mom and Dad went with me driving around the countryside and into the edges of town to check out the colors. I was not disappointed.
Some of the colorful trees -elms, oaks, and maples -
around on the west side of Lima, Ohio.  

Brilliant red leaves on tree outside building where my father
taught automotive mechanics at Northwestern University in Lima, Ohio.

The crabapple trees were just loaded with fruit!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Felting with Mom and my friends

I had only felted once before. I took a felting class with Rita Blocksom. What fun was that!! But such hard work - Phew!! We started with a base of thin wool batt and then added as many colors of roving as we wanted, along with strands of Angelina fibers and other fibers (non-wool). Then we rolled it between layers of tulle, along with hot, soapy water. We just beat it and rolled it one way and then another and beat it some more. Fantastic way to get your frustrations out!! Rita also gave us small pieces of wool batt that we rolled very tightly and beat the same way to make a narrow cylinder that was then cut in slices to make "buttons" for embellishments or, if added prior to felting, could actually become part of the felt piece.
Mom and I layering wool roving, Angelina fibers, etc onto our piece of felting.
 This is my finished piece after felting. I have also added stitching, beads, and more fibers to embellish my felting to create a 2" felted box. I found a bag of worry dolls from Guatemala that someone had given me and stitched a few worry dolls to the sides. My daughter loved to play with these when she was little. So they remind me of her whenever I see them.  I've added a running stitch in white pearl cotton thread to outline my box. The box looks like a "t" when cut out.

Felted piece with added embellishments of wool roving, fibers, beads, worry dolls,
and stitching.  Running stitch in white pearl cotton outlines the box.

Felt box is cut-out on running stitch of  white pearl cotton .
I stitched the sides of the box using a buttonhole stitch in purple pearl cotton.  Each side looks like it's own piece of art with a variety of colors, embroidery stitches, handmade beads, and store-bought beads, along with the worry dolls. 

Back-side of felt box.
Side of felt box
The box is closed with a small pony-tail holder stitched to the inside of the lid. It hooks around a handmade bead on the front of the box. The handmade bead is made of gold lame fabric wrapped around a pencil or chopstick. Various colors of pearl cotton are wrapped around the lame to add color. A bead is strung through pearl cotton before it's wrapped around the lame to add more dimension to the bead.
Inside of box holding more worry dolls.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Opportunity Quilt for Prickly Piecers

Prickly Piecer's Opportunity Quilt - 94" x 94"
Judy Niemeyer's Misty Mountain Pond pattern
Quilted by Nancy Walker
I helped coordinate my guild chapter's, Prickly Piecer's, opportunity quilt this year. We use the opportunity quilt to raise money for our charity efforts, which includes making quilts for the children at Cardon's Children's Hospital and tote bags for DPS and CPS to use for children's belongings when necessary.

We chose a Judy Niemeyer pattern,  Misty Mountain Pond quilt. Several members helped with all the paper piecing and putting together the blocks. I assembled the quilt and added piping between the center and spiky outer border and also in the binding. It was a difficult quilt to make, but everyone rose to the challenge and helped out!  Nancy Walker quilted it for us.

We used 32 colors of the rainbow for the flying geese circles and 20 colors of the rainbow for the center stars. We also used these 32 colors in the hand-appliqued cattails and leaves in the four corners.
Five different grays ranged from a dark gray at the center to the lightest gray in the spiked border. The quilt fits a queen-size bed at 94" x 94" in size or can be hung on the wall.

Tickets for this quilt are $1 each or 6 tickets for $5. We will be selling opportunities until our drawing after the AQG (Arizona Quilter's Guild) Spring Meeting, April 13, 2013. Our first showing of this quilt was at the AQG Fall Meeting, Oct 6, 2012. It was well received.

Detail of the needle-turned appliqued cattails and leaves
in the four corners of the quilt. Also details the piping
between the center design and the spiked border.

Detail of the piping and spiky border, as well as the piping binding.

Detail of the stars and flying geese center design.