Friday, July 30, 2010

Silver Lake Mountain Hike

Damon and I both took today off as a vacation day. I talked him into joining me to hike Silver Lake Mountain. It is about a 20 minute drive from home - but with the bridge out due to construction on Silver Lake Road the detour took us a little bit longer.

Silver Lake Mountain is considered one of the 'easy' Adirondack mountains to hike. It took us a total of an hour and a half to get to the summit, sit for about 10 minutes and then make it back back down to the trail head.

The weather today was great for the hike. We started the hike at 9:30am and the temperature was still in the 60s. It was sunny but there were some really nice cool breezes most of the way up.
The white speck in the first picture is Damon. No, that is not the summit - just a nice stopping spot on the way up. The best views are at the summit. This second photo is from the vantage point from where Damon is standing in the first photo. The views are toward the south, so plenty of Adirondack mountains and lakes to see.

As it was a weekday the trail was not crowded. We saw one hiker on our way up (they were heading down) and about six folks were at the summit when we got up there.
The final photo is of me on the trail on the way down. As you can see, like many Adirondack trails the path is full of rocks and roots. When hiking you really need to watch your step.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Garden Update

The heat wave we had in July really seems to have agreed with the garden. All the plants are really taking off - tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, raspberries, blueberries and all the herbs.

This is also the earliest I can recall the tomatoes starting to ripen. Usually they are not ready until mid August. I went out today and picked the first cherry tomato and as you can see in the photo the first of the full-sized tomatoes will be ready in a couple of days.

I will have to remember to put bacon on the grocery list next week in anticipation of making BLTs with fresh tomatoes from the garden.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Still Reducing Scraps

Well, I am still working on getting my scrap pile reduced but I have moved, at least temporarily, from crumb blocks on to other projects. I had some bigger scraps and some partially pieced blocks left over from my nieces and nephew's quilts. Since they are bigger pieces I figured making a crib-sized quilt out of them would help reduce the scrap pile a little quicker. This quilt will be donated for the quilt guild's community service project.
As you can see the top is done. Next week's goal is to piece a back for it and get it basted and ready for quilting. As this is only crib-sized I should be able to machine quilt it on my home machine.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

From Scraps to Crumbs

When the sewing room reverted back to a guest bedroom a couple of weeks ago pretty much all the sewing stuff was packed away. As a strategy I have decided only to pull out my scrap bags/boxes and I am trying to make a dent in them by making crumb blocks. The goal is to reduce the scrap pile by about half before I let myself start pulling out other projects or starting new ones.

Here are the 12 blocks I made this week. I would have likely made more but the heat wave this week made the sewing room upstairs (with no air conditioner) pretty intolerable. I couldn't imagine sitting up there in the heat with the iron on as well.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Where did June go? - New Stuff - Part 2

Along with the family arriving in June for a visit we had a few other additions in June.

The big item is the new gazebo. When we bought the house 10 years ago one of the first things my dad said was that we should get a gazebo and place out by the brook. So here we are 10 years later and we finally have one. Officially this is my birthday present with several family members and Damon contributing, but I paid a big chunk of it too. The biggest benefit of this is that it is fully screened in. I can go out and enjoy the warm summer weather without all the pesky biting, swarming bugs! I still would like to do some landscaping around it, but I think that will have to wait till next year.

A few days after the gazebo arrived our ridding mower died so we had to go out and get a new mower. The new mower has a wider deck and is faster so getting the mowing done should take less time. Of course since the mower is wider than our last one, all the spacing between the raised beds in the garden is a bit to small. The mower will fit between the rows but not between the individual beds, so this means more time and areas that will need trimming.

I attended the Vermont Quilt Festival (VQF) in June. While I am on a fabric no-buy challenge (and I was good and did not by any fabric) I did buy a few books, a pattern, a stencil, and some pearl cotton. So as you can tell, June was an expensive month. The rest of the year will be devoted to building the savings back up.

Where did June go? - A Re-cap - Part 1

One of the big events this summer was the whole family coming up to the Adirondacks for a visit. Since this is was the first visit for my nieces and nephew (all between the ages of 4 and 8). I thought it would be nice to make them all quilts for when they arrived.

I started on the quilts in March. My sister told me their favorite colors and I came up with what I hoped would be visually interesting quilts that would be pretty quick to piece.

The first one here (the pink one) was for my youngest niece - she is all about pink and princesses. I found a picture online of a quilt made of quarter log cabin blocks and decided to use that block. I could not decide on one single corner block to use for the whole quilt, so I went with 4. I used a variety of different sized strips for the rest of the block.

The second quilt (orange) is for my nephew. I found a picture online - I think the pattern is called 'Stones and Bricks' or something like that. As with the other quilt, I did not use a pattern I just figured how to create the blocks on my own. All the blocks in this quilt are made with 2 1/2 inch strips.

This quilt was the first one I finished. I got the top done in about 2 days at a quilt retreat in March. Of all the quilts, this one seems to have the biggest visual impact - it is very bright.

The third quilt (Blue) is for my eldest niece. She lives in Michigan and is a U of M fan. Having been born and raised in Ohio myself (the rivalry between Ohio and Michigan in college football is legendary) I could not bring myself to go with a purely Michigan theme. The result is the use of the U of M colors, but the night sky with stars is a nice neutral idea.

The blocks were constructed using Gwen Marston's Liberated Stars method (Gwen lives in Michigan so there is another Michigan connection for the quilt).