Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year's End

This has been a year of up and downs. My mother passed away the first week of January. Although she was almost 92 years old, she was in reasonably good health. She passed away very suddenly and it came as a big shock to the whole family. It meant a fast trip over Holland for the funeral. Then in the beginning of June I spend a week in St. John's, Newfoundland for Quilt Canada. This was the second time I was teaching and it is always fun, but very tiring. Next came the wedding of Shawn and Emily. It was a big party with a big tent on the front lawn of her parent's farm. Here is a picture of the couple in front of the canola. The whole farm was put in canola and everybody hoped that the weather would cooperate and it would be a sea of yellow around the farm. And it did work out. Right now the couple is back in a cold Alberta. Then in October we were given the opportunity to buy another farm with a big, almost new house. It did not take us long to decide, and 3 weeks ago we moved in. At first it was very strange, but we are starting to get used to it. As you can see, Laurence has been busy putting his collection of farm toys away. And yes, I'm aware that he is, like most farmers, color blind when it comes to farm equipment, is it big or small. Most farmers favor a certain color and in our place it is green and yellow. We had a lovely time over the holidays. First a day with family, then a day with friends. There was lots to eat and we had a lot of fun. For some, it was just too much and they needed a rest. We have had the strangest weather over the last week, from snow to rain the gale force winds to ice. Christmas Day and Boxing Day were fine, but Saturday it started to rain and with the high temperatures the snow and ice disappeared very fast. There were a lot of wet basements. We were fine, because our house stands on a small rise. Then Sunday more hard winds and at times no hydro. But things have improved. The weather is cold, but clear , the hydro is back on and the Internet is working. I'm still sitting in our farm house. With all the repairs there still was no time to hook us up. And yes, it is still cold in here. We did clean the house and it looks like we have the place rented out too.Time to find a warmer place. Wishing everybody out there a very Happy 2009!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


It is cold in the old house. The computer is still here, so this will be short and sweet. Other years I love to make a lot of floral arrangements, but this year I just did not have the energy . I saw something like this on t.v. and it was easy enough to make a few. I put a round piece of fabric (found at Len's Mills in Hawkesville for a few dollars). I put it around a pint canning jar and puffed it out some. It is held around the rim with an elastic. Most of the greenery is from around here, the carnations I bought. It was fun and easy. I have been working on some sashiko . My plan was to do some piecing in the center, but when I went to the store for more fabric, it was all gone. So my second plan was to use some of the koi fabric I found during our move. It fitted with some sashiko around it. This is the full width of the fabric, about 13 inches I like to put co-ordinating fabric on the back and found a small piece with really small fish in the right color. But this will be it. Tomorrow Jeanette and Tony are coming. I will have to get cleaning and cooking. And then we will have company for Christmas Day and Boxing Day. For both days we will have smaller groups then we used to have. Wishing everybody beautiful Christmas and all the beast for 2009
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Papercut blocks

The day we moved it seemed that each a certain role. One of my friends is involved with interior decorating and she walked around with an electric drill to hang things up. Once my Hoosier cabinet was in place she decided that it was the place for my Hindelooper and Workumer pieces. My mother grew up near the town of Hindelopen. This is a small town in the north of Holland with a very distinctive folk art, developed over the centuries. I still remember a room in a grandparents house,full of painted furniture. Now I do not have any large pieces, but over the years I gathered a nice collection of smaller items. They were scattered all over the house, but this looks much better. On the bottom shelf is stoneware from Workum, a town close to Hindelopen. This mostly brown and green pottery has been made for centuries, but a few years ago the factory closed. Over the years my parents would bring smaller pieces over. A few of the larger flower pots have returned to dust, because they do break easily. We are slowly getting used to our new house. But the computer is still at the old house, so while I'm doing this in the cold, hubby is packing the last of his John Deere toys. Tomorrow I'm going to Ikea for 2 more glass fronted book cases. That should do it Than it is up to him to get them all on display. I did have to make a few samples for my new Papercut workshop. I will teach that one in the new year at Greenwood Quiltery. I promise to update my list for the next year soon. At the end of January I will teach 4 workshops for my guild. This will be the start of another quilt for the Mennonite Relief Sale. This time it will be a very traditional one with paper cut-outs. and these samples will be used for the workshops. It's getting too cold here. We hope that we will have our new installation soon.
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Finally.....the move

Saturday came with overcast sky but no snow. By 9 the gang was here and the move started. The (clean) cattle trailer came in very handy. While the guys were bringing the big things over, the rest of us put things away. It worked like a charm. By 12.30 most of the furniture was in place and it was time for lunch. provided by my friend Lois. And as is the habit of the lot of farmers, you have to have a good rest after you eat, so it did not take long or all the big chairs and couches were taken. By 3 in the after noon things were in place. We were lucky with the weather. Soon after we were finished,it started to snow. When we went back at 5 to get Riley, our dog, it was nasty on the road. We were worried about her. She has been here on the farm for over 10 years. She never is on a leash and can go where she wants to. Now we are closer to the road, so we have to watch her. I even have her on a leash for our walks. But I have to say, that she is adapting very well. We took Sunday as a day of rest , but by Monday all those boxes around started to bug me. Except for all of Laurence's farm toys, the boxes are empty. This is what the quilt room looks like. It does not show it here, but there is lots of light. In the beginning of the new year I will order cabinets for the wall on the left. Once those are in, it will look less messy. But I drew a small block yesterday and I'm back in the applique business.
What has not moverd is the computer. We have talked to an other Internet provider, but he is very busy. It is not as easy as in the city. So for the time being ,we are keeping it at our old place, where it sits on the floor. And that is a cold floor, so this is enough for today.Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Still more moving..... and more snow

On Monday I removed the sheers from the window in my new quilt room. Besides that the walls were painted a much lighter color. What a difference it made. I can see much better . I will still need a light over my table, but another window is not necessary. We are still moving things by the carload. But on Saturday we will have help from friends and all the big items will be moved. All we hope for is decent weather. Then it will be on to the unpacking. Right now I cannot find anything. We needed a measuring tape and we have several, but none are to be found. I took this picture through the window of the room in the previous picture. Still more snow coming down. This afternoon we had a new washer and dryer delivered and we were very glad, when the truck made it back to the road. I made this small quilt a few years ago. It is hand appliqued and to get the greying in the back ground I used netting for the first time.I appliqued a few trees, put netting over that area, appliqued more trees and put another layer of grey netting over the trees. Than I appliqued the rest. It is machine quilted.
Now back to some more packing. Next thing on the list are my "good" dishes. For somebody, who can be clumsy at times , that can be stressfull.
The new phone will be installed on Monday. We will need another Internet provider, who has been phoned, but has not made a appearance yet. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stuff.....and more stuff

We are still moving. I thought that moving all the toy tractors of Laurence's collection was a big job, but I was wrong. I never realized how much you can stuff into a quilt room. Last week we took a table over and after my workshop last Saturday in Newmarket I dropped the quilts of on my way home. That was the beginning. The problem (or maybe not) is the fact that we are moving to a bigger house with a bigger quilt room. The "big " move is over a week away, but I like to have all the smaller things there by then, so carload by carload we take it over. You might wonder why it is all stacked in the center of the rooms, but next week the walls will be painted a lighter color and this way we can get around. All Laurence keeps saying :Do you really need this????? Who knows, but I might in the future at some point. And we all know what will happen. Once a piece of fabric is gone, you will need it....guaranteed.
Now on to something else. When we were still milking cows, we used to have different agricultural students for the summer or at times longer. Most were from Holland, but one was from Finland and one from France. We had some great times with these young guys. Some we still have contact with. From one of them I received a package yesterday. A few months ago he had send me a card with information about an upcoming quilt show at the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden, close to where I grew up. He send me all the information he could this time. He did not pursue a career in agriculture, but works at the museum in security.
When I left Friesland in 1970 I had never heard of quilts. Things have changed. There are a lot of quilters, even my sister-in-law. After her trip here last summer she found a local group and has been working up a storm, Just today I got pictures of her first finished quilt and some gifts she had made for Sinterklaas. Back to the Quilt Show. It looks to be an amazing show with lots of antique samples. You know what? If I did not have to move I would consider going over.Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

All for the want of a needle

At a busy time like this I love to knit socks and do sashiko. Both are easy to pick up and work at for a short period of time. Recently I bought 2 new books about sashiko by Susan Briscoe, and both are very good. My eye caught the picture of the koi and since I had just the right overdyed pearl cotton and a new piece of 14 inch wide sashiko fabric I wanted to give it a try. But... where were the needles? I have a small bag where I keep all my sashiko supplies in and it was nowhere to be found. Now most of my quilting things are in boxes, ready for the move, and I was not willing to go through them all. Finally it dawned on me that I usually keep a small piece of fabric with a needle in with the patterns I use for a workshop. And yes, it was there and I have been stitching off and on. Since Monday we have ownership of the new place and we will be moving in the next few weeks with the "big" move in the beginning of December. This is the house before the snow and yes, it is bigger then we really need, but I will have a big room for quilting. This is not a good picture of the room. The sheers will be taken down. Light will be the big issue. There is only one window, but we are considering another window in the wall on the right. There is no overhead lighting. Now I would like to know if anybody has any good ideas about light. What works for you, and what should I stay away from? The walls will be repainted a lighter color and I will make a design wall on the left. It's been a busy week. Jeanette got us tickets to "The Sound of Music" in Toronto last Friday. It was a wonderful show. We stayed overnight and visited the Royal Ontario Museum the next day. After 4 hours, I'd seen enough for one day! On my way home I got a gentle reminder that winter is coming: a dusting of snow made things slippery, but I kept the car on the road. Then Monday, a drive through the snow up to Southampton, with a trunkshow in Owen Sound that evening and a workshop yesterday. Despite the falling snow, almost everybody showed up. Just barely on my way home I ran into a accident with a totalled car, which didn't help my confidence, but the weather got better and I made it back in one piece. Now one more workshop on Saturday in Newmarket and it is over for the year!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I love it ,when I have another orchid in bl0om now that the weather outside is cold and miserable. I bought this one on sale last winter, after it had bloomed. During the spring it fell on the floor and split in 3 parts. One was very small and has not shown much growth. I gave one away and kept this one. Both bigger ones are blooming or close to it. Now I hope that we can enjoy the flowers for a long time I have been machine quilting some more. The center is done and I did it with the feed dogs up, so basically it is straight sewing. The border will be free motion. Now you might wonder why the quilting frenzy, but...... as you can see I'm packing. Yes, after 34 years here on the farm we are moving in a few weeks. Not far, but it is a move and over the years you can accumulate a lot of "stuff" But I will get a bigger and better room for my quilt making! More next week. Next week Monday I will be in Owensound for a trunk show and the next day for a workshop This time it is Crazy Quilting.
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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Indian Summer

After our first snow last week, it is back to some beautiful sunny days. It's what we would call "Indian Summer." Usually we need those days to finish the harvest. As of yesterday, all our crops are harvested. A few more days at neighbours' and it is over for another year. Looking back, this has been a good year with decent crops. It is not as if all the field work is done, but if it has to be, that can wait till spring. On Saturday we had a craft/talent day at our church, to show some of the talents that members in our church have. It was fun and very informative. I had a collection of quilts at the end of the room. It is not often that I can see so many hanging. Mine were not the only quilts. My friend Karen is an excellent piecer, whose Dear Jane quilt you can see hanging in the back. Her daughter Kendra helped mother for the day. It is too bad, that I only seem to be able to upload 3 pictures with Picassa at a time. There were some excellent wood workers, a sandal maker and our minister, who makes beautiful Shaker boxes. I could not resists and bought a whole set of 6 made out of cherry wood. I just love them. I made this quilt top a while ago and had enough time this past week to do the machine quilting. It is a Smile Quilt and will be donated to the hospital in Kitchener. At the last count, our guild had donated over 880 quilts to be distributed to seriously sick children. I hope they will bring some sunshine to a sick and often scared child.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A quilt with a story

This is what we woke up to this morning. We knew it was in the forecast, but you never seem to be ready for this.It will all be gone by tomorrow and we hope to be able to continue the corn harvest. About the quilt. Grandma Helmuth lived through the depression and she has been recycling her whole live. When we went through her house to get it ready for the auction we found in the back of a closet a bag with fabric. Jenny went through a collection of carefully cut up blouses, shirts , aprons and skirts in checks and plaids. She decided that she wanted the bag and on the day of the auction it was hers for $2. She did not know, what she wanted to do with them at first,but later decided to make a small quilt for a gift. She carefully cut out patches and sewed them together Then it was my turn to do the machine quilting. The binding has been sewn by machine and I will start the hand sewing on Saturday. That day we have an art and crafts festival at our church, the Listowel Mennonite Church in Listowel. This will be show casing some of the talents of members of the congregation .It is not meant to be a crafts sale, although some participants might have items for sale. I will show a collection of my quilts. Where: Listowel Mennonite Church, Listowel When: Saturday, November 1st from 10 till 3
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Corn harvest

Nothing news worthy has happened here on the farm. As the weather permitted the equipment got cleaned and put away. I managed to get most bulbs out of the garden and the plants put away in the shop. At times I have been doing that with the snow flying and that is not pleasant. We started yesterday with the corn harvest in a small field with no tile drainage. Once it gets wet in the fall it gets tricky to get the corn of a field like that. Today was test plot day. In the spring we get different varieties of seed from the different dealers. Some are old stand bys, some brand new and at times an experimental Once it is time for the harvest, we will ask for a weigh wagont to come. First things first. After catching up to the news it is time to get down to business. Each variety is checked for what is called standability ( how many stalks are standing and how many are broken) and how many plants there are in a certain area. Than it is back on the combine. Each row is combined and augered in the electronic wagon. The weight is recorderd and the corn is augered from there to our wagon. But that is not all. A sample is taken and the moisture content is determined. After the last corn variety has been tested, we receive a paper with all the information. Then, when the seed dealers come around for orders, Laurence can make informed decisions! I did get some machine quilting done and I hope to have it finished by next week Saturday I will be teaching "sashiko" in Brampton.
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Thursday, October 16, 2008


After a few wonderful sunny days during the week-end we are back to fall weather with rain and c0oler temperatures. Time to clean out the garden and bring the begonia and calla bulbs in. Yesterday was guild and I was gone for most of the day.I usually have a long list of things to do. I did stay for both meetings, because we started the sign-up for the next MCC quilt. I will give 4 workshops in January and at the end of the day each participant will get a kit with pattern and fabric. For home work they will have to hand applique the block or piece of the border and out of all those pieces I hope to come up with quilt. I did manage to finish my crazy quilt block. This is number two of four, but the rest will have to wait. I like to start on a block, but seem to run out of steam during the process. Either I cannot come up with more stitches for the border or I cannot find the right laces. And that with boxes of "stuff " I have gathered over the years. Right now I'm working on some gifts for Christmas. Yes, I know I'm early, but the time is now or it will not get done. Then I have to finish a small quilt top Jenny made with old pieces of fabric she bought at grandma's sale. We have a visitor right now and as you can see, she is not very happy. She misses her owners, who are going to the "Sheep and Shear" Festival in New York State. It usually takes a few days for her to get used to our place. We have to watch her, because she has discovered that there is a big yard to run around in. Trouble is, that she is not very good in coming back, what worries me. So as long as her owners are not here, she will stay on the leash.That's why the sad look on her face. Laurence is doing much better and is back to doing the chores. The beans are combined, the wheat planted, a field has been tiled, so now it is waiting for the corn to dry some more before the combining. Lately I have been using Picassa for the pictures and it has been a hit and miss process. The uploading of the pictures I can do, but after that with the text I have problems getting it published. So let's hope it will work this time.
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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

White beans

It has been slow going here on the farm. First I had my yearly dose of laryngitis/coughing spells. I was not feeling sick enough to go to bed, but on the other side not well enough to get anything done. Than on Sunday morning, doing chores, Laurence injured his back. He had a back operation 12 years ago and had been doing well. At first he thought it were muscle spasms, but now it seems to be worse. He cannot sit, lay down or stand for any length of time. And would't you know, the weather turned to really nice and sunny. On Monday afternoon he decided , that if he just could get on the combine, he could sit and harvest some soybeans. It did go slow, but it worked.With the help of some neighbours the beans got combined and some wheat got planted. By evening it took some doing to get hime back down, but according to him, he would have felt the same sitting in the house. At least his mind was on something else. Yesterday was the day for the white beans or navy beans. Not many farmers around here grow them, but if it works out, they are a very good crop. Again Laurence managed to hoist himself in the combine. It did go slow, but by evening all the beans were in the truck, except this container full. It di him good to know, that it was a very good crop. I dipped right into the combine and got a real clean sample. And tonight we had baked beans. According to hubby they tasted fine, but could use some "zap" So next time I have to look for another recipy. On Monday I received my first fabric postcard in the mail I have made many and send away many, but up to now I never received one. This one was made by my friend Karen and this was her first design. Well done, Karen and I hope to see more in the future. With 5 sunny days coming up and more beans to get combined and wheat to get planted, I do not think that there will be much quilting going 0n here at Lauren Farms. The main thing will be to try and get hubby up and around again.
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