• 29Jun

    Last weekend, we celebrated a Swedish Midsummer here at home.  I would rather have been in Sweden, but this was the next best thing.

    I was up early to get started….

    The front porch was decorated with flowers, birch branches and Dala horses.

    It all starts with the midsummer pole.

    We had fox gloves and rhododendron blossoms adorning it this year.  Melissa and Matt helped!

    And, for the first time, we had a rooster on top!  In Sweden the rooster is another symbol for the renewal.

    Time for the ceremonious raising of the pole.

    As you can see, our small one only requires two (strong) men.

    Cole helped lock it in place.

    The rhodies were a nice addition.

    And speaking of nice, we had a really nice day.  Even my mom, who doesn’t usually enjoy nature, was comfortable sitting outside.

    Dad was here, too.

    And Melissa…

    …and Matt.

    Of course Sally was here, and so was Ray, but he was taking pictures and didn’t end up IN any pictures!

    Cole was here.

    We all danced around the maypole, even my dad!  That left no one to take pictures, but that was okay.  Dancing is always more fun than taking pictures.

    Then we spent a little time in the cabin.

    All seemed quiet around the troll house!

    I have two new chairs on the porch.  They were made by Josh Blewett, who also made the stairs in the cabin.

    I found a good supply of wild daisies to pick for decorating.

    And Melinda shared some flowers from her garden.

    Mom, Melissa and Matt enjoying the sofa.

    Then Melissa and Matt had to check out the loft.

    Here’s one of the weavings my Swedish cousin, Berit, has made for me.

    And the corner cupboard I bought in Sweden in 2008.

    This wonderful embroidery is new-to-me.  It talks about the red cottage with it’s weeping birch tree and remembering your childhood days.

    This candlestick is a copy of one from the 16th century and it has a LOT of symbolism.  Rooster – Watchfulness; Three candles – the Holy Trinity; Two jagged arches – Christ’s Crown of Thorns; Ten holes – the Ten Commandments; Heart – Love; Twelve leaves – the twelve Apostles.  Whew!  You can see another beautiful weaving of Berit’s under it.

    In Sweden the lupine is always blooming profusely during midsummer.  The best we could do were these wild foxgloves at the edge of our woods.

    Inside I pulled out some of my Swedish souvenirs. The three dolls in the middle are dressed in parish costumes.  The blue one is from Transtrand where Melissa’s grandpa’s family came from.  The boy and the girl in the red dress are dressed in Nås clothes.  Nås is the town Anna Lena came from.

    These adorable candle holding girls I bought in Sigtuna, Sweden–the oldest city in Sweden.

    Of course midsummer isn’t just about a maypole, it’s also about FOOD!  My sister, Sally, loves dishes and has, shall we say, several sets.  She brought her blue and yellow ones, which were perfect because they are the colors of the Swedish flag.

    There are two styles of plates.

    And lots of adorable serving pieces.

    Our meal consisted of hard bread.  One of my favorite Swedish finds is this Dala horse server.

    The hard bread is a brand from Dalarna–my “home” province.  My grandma always told me Dalarna was the prettiest part of Sweden!

    We had a variety of cheeses to go on the bread.

    And, of course, pickled herring, served in a special herring boat.

    It wouldn’t be midsummer without meatballs and lingonberries.  I made 150 meatballs for 9 people!

    We had new potatoes with fresh dill.

    Pickled beets.

    And cucumber salad.

    And, of course, we had TWO desserts.  I made a Princess Cake.  It’s my third one.  This year I wanted to do something different, so made a long loaf rather than the traditional round cake.

    And we had to have a Strawberry Torte.

    It was so much fun to be with family and sharing a bit of our Swedish tradition.  Maybe next summer I’ll be in Sweden, wearing my Nås dress and dancing around the may pole.

     

     

  • 23Jun
    Categories: quilting Comments: 6

    I hope you’re taking part in the Summer Bow-Tie Quilt Along.  We’re making a Bow-Tie Block each day of summer!

    The previous post on my blog has a tutorial for making the traditional Bow-Tie block–which is a simple Four-Patch with a couple of sew-and-flip corners!

    But I thought you might like to learn how to make a 3-Dimensional Bow-Tie!    With this block, the center of the Bow-Tie 3-D.

    To make the block, you need:

    2) 3-1/2″ squares of light fabric

    2) 3-1/2″ squares of dark fabric

    1) 3″ square of dark fabric

    Normally, all three dark fabrics would be the same, but I thought it was easier to see the construction if I made the center a different print for this tutorial.

    Fold the 3″ square in half, wrong sides together.

    Place the folded square on a dark 3-1/3″ square.  Long raw edges should be even with the top, and short edge should be at the right side of the dark square.

    Place a light 3-1/2″ square on top.

    Stitch down the right side, catching the folded square between the 3-1/2″ squares.

    Turn squares out of the way, as shown below.

    Place edge of folded piece even with edge of  remaining light 3-1/2″ square

    Cover with dark 3-1/2″ square.  Stitch.

    At this point, your stitched pieces should look like this.  Press the 3-1/2″ squares to the dark.

    Line up the top edges of the squares.  As you do this, a little “pocket” will form from the folded piece in the middle.

    Pin, lining up the raw edges of the folded piece with the top edge to be stitched.  Stitch.

    When you open your block, the 3-D center will be formed!

    Voila!

    I like to press my last seam open. And, actually, I kind of like the different color center!

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  • 19Jun

    Last summer, we had such fun making a Nine-Patch block everyday.  Well, summer is upon us again.  This summer, let’s do Bow Tie blocks! These are soooo simple.  It’s basically a four-patch.  What could be easier?!?

    I’ve set up a Facebook page so you can share your progress, post photos and get more ideas on what to do with your blocks.  CLICK HERE to become a fan!

    Now for a quick tutorial for a 6″ Bow Tie block

    For each block you will need:

    1) 3-1/2″ x 7″ light fabric

    1) 3-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ dark fabric

    Cut the light fabric into 2) 3-1/2″ squares.

    Cut the dark fabric into 2) 3-1/2″ squares and 2) 1-1/2″ squares.

    Put the two small dark squares on a corner of the light squares.

    Sew diagonally from corner to corner on the dark squares.  These are so small, you don’t really need to mark them.  If you’re not comfortable eyeballing them, you can finger press the small squares in half and sew down the crease.

    Trim 1/4″ away from the stitching.

    Press the little dark squares over.  Now, all you have to do is piece your four-patch!

    Stitch along the vertical seams.  Press toward the dark fabric.

    Join the horizontal seams and you’re done!

    I do like to press the last seam open to reduce bulk in the center.

    If you want to make 3″ finished blocks, cut your “large” squares 2″ and your “small” squares 1″.  In fact, you might want to make some of both sizes.  They can be very cute in the same quilt!

  • 14Jun
    Categories: musings Comments: 3

    Just in time for Flag Day, here are some Patriotic Quilts, Wall Hangings and other show-and-tell from Redwork Club.

    I love the “Long May She Wave!” wall hanging that Mary brought.

    Linda said this flag was one of the first things she ever quilted.

    Ann made this wall hanging.

    My mom stitched this many years ago, and I quilted it.  There’s a LOT of stitching on it!

    This wall hanging also belongs to Mary.

    Robin always does such nice work, like this primitive piece…

    …and this one, too.  Love her choice of background fabric.

    Marla made this patriotic table runner.

    Ann made this patriotic chicken with the wild hair.

    Mary brought this Democratic donkey…

    …and the elephant, too.  Way to be non-partisan, Mary!

    These belong to Marla.

    Hope you all remembered Flag Day!

     

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  • 12Jun

    On the back side of our house, we have a pergola–which is like an arbor, only an arbor is free standing and a pergola is attached to a structure like a house.  I’m sure you can rest better now, knowing the difference!

    It’s the first thing I see in the morning when I look out our bedroom window.

    A few years ago we planted wisteria on it.

    It’s finally growing in really well.

    And this year it’s blooming like mad.

     

    I just love it!

    And it smells sooooo good.

    The fragrance reminds me of carnations.

    My flowers seem to like our cool, wet spring.

    The irises are very lush.

    The ceanothus had some winter kill…

    …but that hasn’t stopped it from blooming.

    Even the columbine is doing well.

    I’m trying very hard to get some lupine established on the edge of our woods.  Note the little star shaped flowers underneath it.

    These lupine came back from last year.

    The little star flower I mentioned above is miner’s lettuce.

    It’s completely a wild volunteer and grows in drifts along the edge of our woods.

    Foxgloves are another wild flower we have in abundance in this area.

    As you can see, we live in an area with lots of lush plants around us.

    Tucked in amongst it all, is my Swedish log cabin!  You can read more about it here, here and here!

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  • 09Jun
    Categories: Everything! Comments: 6

    Last month our Redwork theme was Spring, but we take any and all show-and-tell–and love it!

    Loretta made this log cabin with the tiniest strips.  I think the blocks finished at 3″!

    For our Spring Theme, she did bring this adorable chick table topper.

    She’s also been working on my Christmas Memories panel in blue.  She does beautiful work.

    Robin evidently missed the “Spring” notice!  She brought these adorable Halloween blocks.

    Here’s another “Fall” entry–trees and leaves.

    Eleanor had finally finished piecing a block-of-the month from Anna Lena’s.

    Ann brought her Bloomin’ Jacket to show.

    And Linda couldn’t wait to share her finished Chocolate quilt from a few years back.

    Here’s a Dear Dorothy kit Linda made, all stitched around in a hand done buttonhole stitch.

    I love her labels.

    Cortne’ brought this little lamb as a sign of spring.

    Here’s a cute spring wall hanging.  I think Mary did this one.

    And I love The Stitcher.  I think it’s the hollyhocks that make it so special.

    Robin brought this great quilt top that she stitched.

    How do we keep getting Halloween in here!?!

    And now Christmas!?!

    A charming old tea towel.

    And  a new tea towel.  They could be companions!

    I asked Robin if I could borrow her Redwork folder, and she found these blocks inside!

    Those baby shoes are sooooo cute!

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  • 03Jun

    I often post our Redwork show-and-tell, usually each month.  I just group everything that everybody brings together in one post.  Well, this deserves its own post!

    Melinda recently brought a letter from 1941 that was written by her husband’s sister Donella when she was 11 or 12.  It was written to an older sister who was living away from home.  It says: At school I am using a protractor and compass.  I am diagraming sentences too.  And am just after the Revolution War in History.  Mom is going to write and send you a check. (Moms never change!)

    Did I tell you about what I was doing in Camp fire? If not I will tell you.  I am making a bag like a crossword puzzle only using much larger pieces.  I am getting our handles from Mrs. (?)  They are like this, only larger.

    Then she draws a picture of the handles.

    Not only did Melinda have the letter, she had the bag, too!  And sure enough, those are the handles that Donella drew!

    She goes on to say: The bag is like this tho design is like this with different kinds of stitches around them. I am going to line mine.

    Once again, she has a great illustration…

    …which nicely matches the finished bag!

    The rest of the letter says: Next in Camp Fire I am going to make a pillow just for fun. I am going to send to an upholster company and get some samples…

    In a different handwriting, perhaps her mothers, a date has been added.

    What a fun treasure and a peek back into the past.  Thanks for sharing, Melinda.