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I have been a member of the Missouri Star Quilt Company forum since August of 2009. I have met many wonderful people on there, some I consider best friends I have just never met in person.

There are numerous groups available for many interests. The Circle of Comfort group was put together by a particularly sweet woman who wanted a way to express our support for others through a quilt. These quilts could be made by one person or from blocks donated by many people. They are usually made from 4 patches trimmed into circles.

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This one is a bit more involved than a trimmed four patch, but not much. One of the ladies decided to not waste the frame that was left after the circle was trimmed and incorporated that into her quilt. I liked that idea, but I didn’t have a snazzy embroidery machine to fill in the large open space, so I trimmed a smaller circle and made this. I think it looks a lot like a jumbled pile of LifeSavers candies!

This one is made from 4 charm packs of Connecting Threads flannel samplers, plus two fabrics from my own stash to round out the count. At 9″ finished, this makes a decent sized lap quilt, even if I don’t add any borders. These quilts are designed to be used at the hospital, during chemo treatments, in the car on long drives, or just about anywhere. The idea is they will be there when the recipient needs comfort of friends who can’t always be right there.

The idea of a circle has several meanings. A circle of friends helps to hold you up during the tough times. A hug is a circling of arms to give comfort and support, and a circle doesn’t have a beginning or an end. You can step into it when the need arises, and help support it to make it stronger when you can.

These ladies manage to make many more of these every year than I do. This fall there has been a local and personal need for a couple of them. The one I whipped out had more errors than I ever wanted seen, but I had less than a week to get it done. She loved it anyway, and I have had reports that she drug it with her to her treatments and people remarked on how cheerful it was. That is the reason we do it. To remind the recipients that we care about them and they are in out thoughts and prayers.

I can see the need for having a few of them finished and on hand just incase. Thank you ladies of the Missouri Star Circle of Comfort group for your inspiration!

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We love being home on the farm, but every now and again, we like to get away and change up the view.

When we were first married we bought into a timeshare program that allows us to choose the time and place for our get-aways. Our favorite spot seems to be Point Brown in Ocean Shores. The condo units are nicely appointed and self-contained with a full kitchen, sitting and dining areas. The views are pretty fabulous too.

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In the last 15 years we have seen a lot of changes at the beach. We used to find lots of rocks and shells. Now we are seeing mostly sand as the land erodes. They are trying to protect the beachfront by dumping large boulders along the leading edge. Sadly not all of the property owners bought in to the plan and the waves are eating around the backside of the boulder blockade.  We noticed a lot of changes even from a month ago with all of the wild storms we had. I think they are going to have to invest in some serious rocks to preserve these buildings. They may have to construct something similar to the structure of the Jetty itself to stand up to the power of the water and waves.

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This is almost high tide, and there is about 10 to 15 feet of water down there where we used to be able to walk.

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We always bring the assortment of kites. Depending on the wind speed, different kites will fly, or not. Every trip Eric tries to find a new piece of ‘laundry’ to fly from the kite line. (I’m not making that up, it’s the term kite flyers use for the spinners and other things they fly with their kites.)

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This time we were able to get the Macaw aloft, and once the breeze picked up a bit, Eric’s big power sled with the new 75′ tail. The breeze didn’t last long, but we at least managed to snap a picture of it unfurled. When we added the lightest spinner he had it was too much and pulled the kite down.

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This morning, over the course of an hour, we sighted several whales heading north! We saw a momma and her calf heading south last November, so this was pretty cool.

Add a seal or a sea lion to the list of things spotted in the surf!

 

 

 

My step-dad, not-so-subtly, hinted that he got cold while sitting in the chair during dialysis, and that it would be nice to have a blanket.

Basic Ship

Hint taken.

I mulled over several possibilities for patterns, but none of them really moved me to make them. I was flipping through an older quilting magazine I had checked out from the library and found a paper-pieced pattern for a ship. The ship looked more like a vintage steamer, but close enough to a tug or side profile of a short-bodied freighter. I enlarged it from about 4 inches square and then had to figure out a setting for it.

I decided on the Storm at Sea setting. This meant I had to turn the pattern to rest ‘on-point’ to fit the pattern. So a bit more re-designing was necessary to keep the integrity of the final design motion.

Coast Guard Ship

Since I couldn’t leave well enough alone, I thought a couple of Coast Guard cutters (or my version of them) would be appropriate additions. Especially considering his service before his career as a longshoreman. They are as close as I could come to rendering them accurately in fabric. Just for fun I added some of the fabric with the octopi in it. I also named the two cutters the USCG Coleman & the USCG Emily M. I figured he could use the laugh at the octopi trying to get the ships and the mental hug from us when he sat under it.

This is a pretty bad photo of the top before it was quilted and bound. The finished piece is layered with Warm & White and backed with light blue flannel. It is considered a lap quilt, but for it’s size it’s pretty heavy. (This is what happens when you are trying to take photos at night when you are Night Owl quilting! Perhaps I’ll get a better shot of it one of these days when the sun is up and Dad is holding it.}

Ship Shape

I do hope he liked it. His only comment I heard was, “I’d hate to get blood on it.” To which I replied “It is washable and I made it for you to use.” I haven’t heard any more about it. I did notice that it wasn’t laying on the rocking chair where it landed after we opened gifts on Christmas morning.

I hope he is using it and that it brings him warmth & comfort as we meant it to.

It was just too hot yesterday to get much done on the barn. It was 95º and the only flat place to cut the metal siding was in the full sun. In the interest of preserving my  husband from heat stroke. I made him quit.

Starting the Siding

He did get several pieces of the siding on. I washed them last night after it cooled down a bit.

Most of this building is being constructed from leftover materials from our other two big metal pole barns. Some of the metal pieces are pretty icky since they have been lying around for nearly 10 years. A little soap, water, and a broom took care of most of it.

The window was purchased from the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store and originally intended for the Milker Barn. The construction guys neglected to tell me that because the window frame shared the same support beam as the door jamb, I needed tempered glass for that window to pass inspection. Hence the boy’s lovely window.

If you are considering a building project, the Re-Store can be a good place to find items. Remember to take your exact measurements and a tape measure with you. Get all of the specifications for the materials you will need, as they don’t take returns.

Monday morning Cody had stopped by work and picked up the couple of boards we were missing for the end caps. That guy is going to need to get a pick-up truck one of these days!

Unofficial HD Delivery Vehicle

The crew was caffeinated and blueberry muffinated by the time I left for work.

The Smell of Sawdust in the Morning

As I was leaving they were cutting the spanner pieces for the roof framing. They had also decided to take hints from the construction of the big barn on how the ends and edges have been finished.

Raise the Roof!

When I returned home from work this is what I saw. The roof was on. The door had been built and hung. The window was framed in, and they were just putting on the door handle. Kind of.

They really wanted to use the shed antler we found in the woods, but thought they had better get final approval before they did.

It’s a buck hut. How could I say no?

Door Handle

I did!

Owl Pincushion

This adorable owl flew into our nest today! She came all the way from Sandy’s house in Missouri.

Needlekeep Owl

She holds a pair of scissors, a seam ripper, and a needle threader. All of which you can never have too many of! The inside of her wings are made of felt, and will work as needle keeps. For travel, her wings fold over the items and are held secure with a hair elastic and two buttons. She also holds a spool of thread in her elastic talons. (I wonder if Sandy’s granddaughters are missing any of their ponytail holders?)

Such a lovely gift from such a thoughtful person! (Sandy is the one that mailed me some replacement marbles when mine went missing.)

First you deduce that since she signs up for give-a-ways on the KitchenAid site every time a stand mixer comes up that she might want one. You somehow work a conversation around to them while at a “Girls Weekend”. You then discover that while she would like to have one someday, they are on her “List of Things to Get When I Win the Lottery.” Unless, of course, she wins one somewhere.

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Then you shop until you find The Best Deal Ever, and you buy her one for her birthday. AND because you are so excited, you drive it out to her house to give it to her two weeks early.

This is an excellent way to make your sister happy.

One of the first items to take a test spin in the mixer was peanut butter cookie dough.

Inaugural Batch

I had help squishing them out before baking.

Baker's Helper

Not only has this made me happy, but since I have to try out all of the recipes to see if they work up any different and if they fit in that 5 quart bowl. It has made my family, and several other recipients of baked goods happy as well.

Thanks Sis! I’m loving it!

As my 2012 Christmas gift, my sister Dorrie gave me a Craftsy Mystery Box of fabric. It nearly drove her nuts waiting until Christmas for me to open it. Inside was a jelly roll of Lilliput Lane fabrics along with an assortment of other fabulous pre-cut fabrics in other colors and patterns. (Jelly roll = 2.5 x 42″ strips of fabric rolled up to resemble a slice of jelly roll cake.)

Sparkling Gemstones in Chocolate

I get stumped with some of the pre-cuts. So I checked out a few books from the library. This pattern was in a book by Pam & Nicky Linott. It is called Sparkling Gemstones. The sample was worked with bright prints and cream sashing between the blocks. The dark chocolate fabric seemed to tame the oranges and tie the colors of these fabrics together. To be perfectly honest these would not be my first choice of colors to work with as a group.

Lilliput Lane fabrics

During the summer, I was messing with the blocks on my cutting table while I had a friend over and forgot to put them away. Dorrie came over to visit and saw them on the table. Her comment was “I really like that.” Hmmmmm. I do believe it shall be yours! It was kind of heading in her direction, but that closed the deal.

I picked up some plumy purple for the border from our new local quilt shop, Quilt Revolution, and finished the top to be big enough to snuggle under while watching TV on the couch.

The pattern uses up almost the whole jelly roll. I used the scraps from the ends of the strips to make a piano key border around the label  on the back. The only bits that weren’t used were the selvedges and they went into the bag that will make stuffing for a pet bed.

I gave her the quilt as her 2013 Christmas gift!  She liked it, although she says she doesn’t remember seeing the blocks on the sewing table last summer!

We had a problem with yellow jackets last week.

I thought I had gotten them after I got stung. Later we realized they had actually made their nest in one of the bales of alfalfa hay. The farmers use a long spear to pick the bales out of the field and this had created a inviting hole for bees to nest in. Thankfully I didn’t get a face full when I actually picked up the bale and moved it! 

After Em was stung walking by to see the baby goats I called in the big guns. I couldn’t justify dumping a can of wasp spray in to the end of such an expensive bale of hay. Therefore, Daddy brought home two Tyvek paper suits and his full face respirator from work. After a bit of tape to keep the little monsters out of his sleeves he went to work.

Daddy gets the Bees!

He tore apart the end of the bale and found the comb and the queen. This really seemed to irritate the yellow jackets as they ended up stinging three of the goats who were standing at the feeder waiting for the hay to come their way. Poor things had some pretty serious swelling.

This wasn’t enough for the bees. They didn’t seem to know it was best just to leave. They kept lurking about the area around the hay stack and the bottom corner of the feeder. I was afraid they would set up new digs under the hay feeder.

My dear, sweet husband donned his protective gear again and went back down there. This time I think he was having fun. He made a red-neck blow torch out of a can of carburetor cleaner and a lighter. (Yes, in my pretty barn, next to my hay stack.) He’d wait for several of them to gather, flame them, and then the smooshing would ensue. In the mean time, we had fed the parts of the bale of alfalfa that the yellow jackets had nested in.

Our best guess is that between the flames and the digestion of the hay we eliminated the “homing” scent the little hellions were hanging around for. Either that, or they had watched enough of their friends have their wings singed off and be smashed into oblivion to make leaving town sound like a good idea.

I just wanted the world to know how brave my sweet husband was. He HATES bees of any kind. That puts this act of bravery right up there with slaying dragons to save the princess in his book. I love you honey. Thanks for making the barn safe for us to work in again!

OK, the trip was a few weeks ago, but we had fun.

We have some dear friends who live on Whidbey Island. They have been pestering us for a few years to come for a visit. It’s not super easy to just pack up and go for a weekend with the farm and the critters. We found a farm sitter, packed up the car and headed out.

We went up the peninsula towards Port Townsend. The drive was pretty and the incentive of salt bagels with red onion & bacon cream cheese spread at the Metro Bagel shop was enough for Eric to agree to take that ferry crossing. It was a smart move, as we heard that there were long waits at the other ferry crossing.

Ferry Ride

Em loved the ferry. I swear she ran from one end to the other at least six times. On the trip over we saw a couple of seals, but no whales or mermaids.

We brought the tent. It rained. We’ll need to seal the seams in the floor, but it was pretty water tight other wise. The new air mattress held it’s air very well.

Em made fast friends with their daughters, Sarah and Cheryl. Instant big sisters! Whoo Hoo!

Mr. Pat sent her over the moon by letting her ride the horses. Oh, she liked playing on the beach and looking for fish, crabs, cool shells, rocks, and sticks. I think she even won a hand or two of Uno (with a little help). But the super huge smile was brought on by Vern the horse.

Horse Breath?

Mr. Pat & Miss Wendy showed her how to brush Vern to get him ready for his saddle. Vern wanted to snuffle Em. Apparently he doesn’t do this, to anyone, ever. I think it was love at first sight for both of them. We made sure we brought her bicycle helmet, because riding without a brain bucket is just crazy.

Riding Vern

Mr. Pat helped Em up into the saddle and lead Vern around while she held on. Her legs are a bit short for the stirrups yet, but that won’t last too long with as quickly as she is growing.

Buster & his Momma

The cutest member of the farm was Buster, the miniature horse colt. The chickens, goats, and llamas were OK, but we can see those at home.

There were tears when it came time to leave. Em’s slice of heaven trip finally came to an end. She loved having “big sisters” if even for only the weekend. She did stop sobbing with the aid of M&M’s and the return ferry ride.

I don’t think it will be hard to get us to come back for a visit.