Thursday, 29 October 2015

Farmers Wife #45 Jenny

I really enjoyed #45 Jenny, and it took no time to make. Again there no rotary instructions so I had to work it out myself. I've got graph paper organised to work out segments for each block - and maybe they will be appropriate for future blocks without rotary cutting instructions. I am also getting very quick at working that out, especially with my trusty triangle ruler. (Thanks to Bonnie Hunter for introducing me to the triangle ruler many mystery quilts ago.
Gnome Angle tutorial and Marti Mitchell tutorial are excellent. I made my block before looking at either tutorial - oops - and still did mine the same way. 
Love my triangle ruler.
As always, I like to layout my pieces before I sew to make sure I am sewing the right pieces together.
 I made the triangle units, and laid them out...
 As I said, I enjoyed doing this block.
It was the twelfth block of the ninety-nine blocks that we are doing in this quilt along.
Here are the first twelve, and their variations. 

My thoughts on the letter 'I Learned to Play'
by Am I Right or Wrong March 1939
This letter probably applies more today than it did back in the 1930's. I am reminded of the song Father and Son by Cat Stevens (and later Boyzone). Are we too busy with work and chores to spend time with our loved ones - family and friends?
We will do it after..... We will do it later..... I am too tired...
Our work life demands too much of our time, yet we are working longer and longer hours. We have bills that have to be paid, so we have to work. Sometimes our life style requires more disposable income, so we work. Many jobs expect one to put in long hours without remuneration, and we do it.... maybe out a sense of (misguided) loyalty, or passion for the job, maybe something else.

Am I Right or Wrong talks about managing her time better and giving the kids jobs to do with her, so that time is well spent TOGETHER! It also gives them time later to do other fun things - play - that often were not even considered.
You need to take time for yourself, as well as those you hold dear. Life cannot be all work. We need to be able to recharge our batteries, in order to see what is important. I can tell you from personal experience, it is not work!!
I can not explain the joy and pleasure and relaxation of spending an afternoon at a local market with my family, when I was burnt-out from the increasing workload and inconsistencies in the workplace. I use to miss all these simple events, simple pleasures... all because I had work to do. Looking back it was so wrong.
I use to sew every Saturday, that was my 'ME time' - that stopped, as I had work to do.
How lovely it was to get back to my creative side - sewing, drawing with my granddaughter, painting, even doing family tree.
I started to live again ... and my family thanked me for it.

Quote: This one comes from Thema Davis
Saying YES to happiness means learning to say NO to the things and people that stress you out.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Farmers Wife #41 Granny

The first block this week was #41 Granny. It was a bit tricky, and I tried two different ways of doing the centre 4 patch.
 There were no rotary instructions for this block in the book or CD, so I had to use the templates. I don't like printing unnecessarily, so I made the templates on the computer screen and reduced it to about 88% - I checked the scale with my ruler and then measured each side of the templates. I next cut squares and triangles, 1/8 of an inch larger than the measurements.
I cut large squares that I cut diagonally to make the large pieces, and used the triangle ruler to cut the 'extension' triangles.
I constantly laid out the pieces to make sure I was sewing in the right direction - only had to unpick twice!
I folded each triangle in half along the perpendicular and used that as my sewing line.
I placed the long side of the smaller triangle along the long side of the larger triangle, and sewed along the fold.
Again, I checked the layout before cutting the ends off.
By using this method, I then stitch another row of stitches to the smaller end of the two triangles to make these mini two triangle pieces. Quilter friends have called me the queen of small pieces, as I don't like to waste any fabric. I will use these pieces somewhere. 
My thoughts on "Another Grandmother"
by Grandma, Nov 1937.
Grandma's letter was a bit sad. She was put in a position that she was hesitant about, but resolved to do to the best of her ability. We were lucky to grow up with an extended family. My Nanna (paternal) lived with us and we often saw our Grandma (maternal). My sister remembers our grandma taking us to pre-school. It is a rare thing today to have an extended family living with you. The wisdom and nurturing that Nanna and Grandma (and the Aunties an Uncles) gave us growing up, and even last week - thanks Auntie M - were/are part of what I am today. I gratefully thank them.
Sadly, both my Nanna and Grandma have passed, and I missed them, although I know they are looking over me always!
Today, I am the Nanna, and I treasure every moment I have with my granddaughters.
Grandma's letter also made me think about what we do as parents, grandparents, and even human beings. 
One does what needs to be done! 
It may seem difficult, but if it needs doing we will do it.

Life is full of challenges. 
Wise people assess the situation and deal with it. 
Foolish people run from it.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Farmers Wife # 94 Susannah

I did block #94 Susannah the same way I did block #49 Katherine. I must admit, I like this block better :) .
However, my lack of attention caused me to unpick the same section TWICE <shakes head>

The tutorial for this block can be found at GnomeAngel.

I still need to trim the blocks and will pay more attention to my seam allowance as there shouldn't be any pieces that don't line up. My fault. Still, after all that, I really like this block. Think I will use it in a table topper I'm making.

My thoughts on 'Earn Before Spending'
by Thrifty Oct, 1935
Thrifty talks about her children working to earn pocket money to buy or spend on things they want.
As a child we grew up in a loving family, that didn't have a lot of money. I don't recall getting 'pocket money' but I may have. I do recall saving money to spend at the Royal Easter Show on Easter Thursday. The three kids would combine all our pennies and Mum and Dad would divide them up equally so we could buy our showbags. As I child I didn't realise we didn't have a lot of money, and I'm not sure when I did. Growing up we went to school and had weekend jobs, mine at Woolies, to get our spending money. Some of my friends would buy things on lay-buy. To this day I have never use the lay-buy system, but I have used a credit card!!! As we get older our budgets change and are continually changing. I am thankful to my parents, my Nanna, and my Auntie for modelling and guiding me to be the thrifty person that I am today. We still spend money on holidays, and eating out, although not as often as we did, but we have managed our money well.
We prioritise what we spend, sometimes that means missing out or sacrificing things we want so that we don't go into great debt over spending. 
It is a balance. Don't spend more than you have, was well taught.
I will never be rich - unless I win lotto - but I will never be poor.
The happiest people don't have the best of everything ~ they just make the best of everything.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Farmers Wife Block #49 - Katherine

There appears to be three blocks this week, not really sure! I went to post my pic in the FW photo album for #49, only to find another new album #94 Susannah.
A similar block, but not the same.
I did not follow the templates, I cut rectangle and squares to make this block.
I then laid out each piece ready for sewing.

 I drew a diagonal sewing line on the back of the squares.
After sewing along the line, and I chain stitched, I stitched another line on the shorter side. I next cut the end 'triangles off (see below).
 I find this a better way for me, as I am not tempted to stretch the edges that would normally be cut on the cross of the fabric. I am left with the desired piece for the block and a lovely tiny half square triangle square.
 I then laid out the pieces ready for sewing together.
As I am not pressing my seams open, I make sure that the seams will fit together when sewing. I usually press to the dark, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Worked this time. I also like the little four patch that is made on the back of the block - helps the block to lay flat.
Sew, I mean so, for the little squares left over...
... I can make pinwheel or cheveron or many types of mini blocks to be used elsewhere. Some of these will be sewn onto a jacket I am making from one of my mother's jumpers.
My thoughts on the letter 'From Ironclad Shoes to Roses'
by Mrs H. B. C. Feb 1931
Mrs H. B. C. reminisces about her life, the hard times and the good times.
We all experience good and hard times, in varying degrees. Sometimes more effort is needed to get past the hard times, and sometimes it is out of our control and we need to move on. I was going to say 'simply' move on - but it is not always that easy. 
We do , however, need to focus on the good and move on. 
Hard choices need to be made, and sometimes unexpected choices will lead to the good times. Throughout all the hard times, I can look back and see the good times that followed, and maybe those hard times needed to happen to make the good times.
They were hard times back then!
But for now I need to focus on the good times.

When things go bad just look up at the sky and smile because God had given you bad times to get you stronger.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Farmers Wife #78 Old Maid

The first block for week 4 is #78 Old Maid. Lots of points and half square triangles.

Here is the tutorial to go with this block - GnomeAngel tutorial.

For this block I decided to print out the template to work out the size of the two triangles. I then went to my Fons & Porter half and quarter square ruler.
I cut 2" strips of the fabrics and cut the required triangles.
I was able to cut both the large triangle and the small triangle from the 2" strip using different sections of the ruler.
I still like to pin in many places to make sure the points come out crisp and sharp.
 I did have to unpick a few pieces to get the points correct, but all in all I am happy with the finished blocks.

Thoughts on East, West, Home's Best
by Miss Homemaker Feb 1936
Miss Homemaker talks about having to reluctantly leave work and return home to look after her father. She saw this as her responsibility. After time she came to believe that what she was doing was meant more to her than anything she could have achieved in her professional career.

We make plans for ourselves and our family. We plan towards those goals. Sometimes 'hic-ups' occur and we need to change those plans. Sometimes the changes work out well, sometimes we perceive them not to work out well. No matter where we lived or what we were doing, we had a plan. Yes the plan would change with circumstances.
We were on track with our plan, we had future schools chosen, holidays planned etc.  Then we were offered a job promotion to Canberra. At the same time we discovered our son was profoundly deaf (we later found out he was also Aspergers). I didn't want to move, but we did. Plans were adjusted. We bought a lovely house house in Canberra - the best layout of house we have ever had. The weather was awful. We knew no one BUT, I did have family living there. It became a time of re-connecting with my family, that we only saw at the occasional family gathering. We so enjoyed going to 'family dinners' and just visiting family. It brought us closer to our extended family. Another advantage of this change was for our son. Being profoundly deaf, he was offered all the resources that could be possible - we had 3 times a week visits from a teacher for the hearing impaired. Our son was 6 months old when we arrived. We had weekly group therapy sessions for him. We had regular appointments with ENT's and OT's and ST's - all paid for by the ACT Government. The change was good - very good - in the end.  
We next moved to Cairns. Again I didn't want to go. However, in Cairns we settled and a new plan was made. We loved living there. Everything was going to plan. That plan was changed when we once again moved - back to Brisbane.
The most recent big change was, and still is, a traumatic change, most unexpected, that I am going through, and of course it affects my whole family. I am still working through it, and I know it will work out in the end.... but at times the end seems so far away.
This Farmers Wife sew along is helping, probably in way that no one, especially myself, thought was possible.
We are all in control of our lives and our plans, and yes, it is good to have a plan to work towards, but plans change and we need to adapt.

I strongly believe that God has a plan, and although it may seem a strange plan at times, it always seems to turn for the best in the end.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Farmers Wife #24 Coral

I enjoyed doing block #24 and I'm happy with the way the points are showing.

You can find the GnomeAngel tutorial is here.

As I am rotary cutting and machine sewing, I changed the four large triangles into rectangles and diagonally sewed squares to each side to make the flying geese pieces on each side.
 You can see it clearer here.
 To produce this..
The blocks were quick to make.
My thoughts on 'Take Time for Enjoyment'
by More Fun, Oct 1936
'More Fun' talks about being a busy farmer's wife, and making the time to spend "little whiles" with her children during her busy day. 
Following on from last post #13 and 'Merry Christmas', it's the people who count, not the things around us. This post is about treasuring what you have now, because tomorrow they may be gone. Life is not certain, things happen, and no matter what our goals and dreams are, we should be living for today. Yes, we still need goals and dreams but not at the expense of those around us. 
I recall the Cat Stevens song 'Father and Son' - that says it all.
In today's fast pace world we are too busy working to have time for our family and friends, let alone ourselves. Work stress and inexcusable increasing work load and hours, often lead to neglect of our family and friends. When we are not working we are to tired to spend time with loved ones.
'More Fun' says "Take Time for Enjoyment" - we all need to do that.

Make the time - life is too short not to!
Children are the rainbow of life ~
Grandchildren are the pot of gold!
Enjoy them now.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Farmers Wife #13 Belle

Week 3 of the Quiltalong - #13 Belle is a good block for fussy cutting and my first thought was to do exactly that, but the fabric selection I've chosen - Downton Abbey by Andover Fabrics -  wouldn't really work with fussy cutting.

You can find the GnomeAngel tutorial here.

I'm having a little trouble with the measurements for the triangles in the rotary cutting instructions on the CD. I'm not sure what the single measurement refers to in the triangles. Is it the two equal sides, or the long side? It's worked out ok so far, but in Belle it just didn't work out.
This block involves Y seams. I started doing the Y seam on the blue block - see below, and it was ok, but I lost some of the points. You can see Jinny Beyer has a video tutorial for Y seams, and I watched it as a refresher, but I think it is the size of the triangles that is causing me grief.
So I decided to change the sewing of the block. Angie at Gnomeangel has a 'cheat' in her tutorial, but I decided to do my 'cheat' a little different. I wanted to keep the large squares as one piece. I got out my trusty grid paper and started to draw the block and different ways I could 'cheat' on the block. This is what I came up with:
Much happier with this layout, and it will still look like the block. I need to trim the 'dog ears' in this photo.
My thoughts on 'Gift, Fun, Fellowship 
by Merry Christmas 1935
Merry Christmas talks about the tradition of a family Christmas. My early memories of Christmas were waking early - only day us kids woke early - opening presents, taking a bus ride to Maroubra, and a hot roast lunch with my Grandma and Auntie M and Uncle D. We would open more presents, maybe go to the beach if the grown ups would take us, and then what seemed the longest bus ride home again. 
We had a large extended family, so a family gathering was usually held some weeks before Christmas. As we got older the family gatherings would be at different times of the year, sometimes for a reason - birthday, celebration day, - sometimes for no other reason other than we all wanted to get together. All the aunties and uncles and cousins and second cousins and in-laws and friends etc. would meet at one family members home and we would talk as though we had seen each other only weeks before, when in reality it could have been a year before. We all brought food to share, presents for the kids if it was Christmas, and a good time was had. We always looked forward to family days.
Today, family days are few, except for weddings, special birthdays and anniversaries, and sadly funerals.
It is the funerals that make one think about the good times 
and the times that will now be missed.
So before I cry .... here is my quote:
The presents under the tree don't matter - the people do!
Happy Sewing

Monday, 12 October 2015

Farmer's Wife Block #20 Caroline

I spent the last few days at a wonderful family wedding interstate, so today was my first change to do last Thursday's block #20 Caroline. You will find GnomeAngel tutorial here.
I had some trouble with the sizes of the triangles, as only one size is mentioned in the rotary cutting instructions on the CD. So I went back to GnomeAngel tutorial instructions to find the other guest tutorials. Elven Garden Quilts explained the way to cut both the small triangle, listed on the CD, and the larger triangle. The larger triangles are twice the size of the one listed.
I followed the instructions on Elven Gardens Quilts tutorial and cut out small and large squares.
Like Jess at Elven Gardens, and many others, I like to chain sew pieces when I can. As I am doing two different colour-ways I had cut out all pieces for the two blocks.
I also like to iron smaller pieces before combining to make the desired block.
The finished pink tone block.
My thoughts on the letter :- When I Behold the Heavens
by What-is-man July 1933
What-is-man talks about common everyday events that often go un-noticed and how life is the "most complicated" of all. That made me reflect on how one often forgets about the simple (and complicated) parts of ones self. 
You are important. I am important. 
Stop to enjoy the little things. 
Walk in the park and stop and listen to the trees, the birds, the everyday sounds. 
Have a drink of water and taste the water in your mouth, breathe and feel the breath in your body. Look at the details around you. Close your eyes and feel....
A person is more than a name, more than a job. 
What defines us is up to us.
We are the miracle!
We need to embrace all around us.
The finished purple tone block.
Each new day is a chance to make a new beginning.
Count your blessings, live with gratitude and love with all your heart. 
Happy Sewing

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Farmers Wife 1930 Sampler Quilt #14 Betty

Week two of the Farmers Wife QAL and the first block this week is #14 Betty. You can see GnomeAngel Tutorial here.

Here are the two blocks for #14 Betty. I decided to use a dark green fabric on both colour ways as I think it works.  I'm not doing a Christmas one this week.
Angie at GnomeAngel likes to iron the seams open, but I'm not a fan, so my seams are usually pressed to the dark. It does make some small parts of the blocks a little bulky, but I don't mind that. I also love making the little tiny four patch when pressing my seam the same way.
You can see that either my cutting or seams were a little out. However, I was able to adjust to make all the points and matches correct.
 My thoughts on the letter by Music Maker, 1933.
Music Maker talks about her greatest desire, and how it was difficult to achieve for many reasons. Money, time, energy all take its toll on our dreams, but if it is a passion one will find a way to do it.
My passion was teaching. I had always wanted to be a teacher, even as a small child. It was my hobby. I enjoyed working out different strategies for different levels of learning. I enjoyed making resources - as many were not provided - and took great satisfaction in seeing the faces of the children as they played, when I knew they were really learning. I use to think I was so lucky to get paid for doing something that I loved. But that was in the past. The passion is gone. 
I've always been creative and have been doing quilting since the early 90's. I have been journaling since I could write, and blogging for the  past 6 or 7 years. I started family tree when I was 12!
These are my passions now, and I'm going to make them work. I have more time to spend with my family and more time to spend on me .... and my passions.
Two quotes came to mind today:
Nothing is really work, unless you would rather be doing something else. J.M.Barrie
Life is a journey and it is never too late to chart a new course.

Happy Sewing