Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday Ramblings - Not All Quilt Related

Bloglines has been misbehaving this weekend and not showing everyone’s updates so I spent some time this morning clicking on everyone’s blog in my list to make sure I was up-to-date with everyone. I hope the problem is fixed soon.

Anyway, I read some interesting posts that have inspired me to make some comments in my post today.

First up was Elaine in Nebraska. She wrote a wonderful post about sugar beet harvest. It reminded of growing up in Minnesota. The largest crop in Minnesota is corn. Corn fields are everywhere. I remember going on Sunday drives with my farmer grandfather and listening to his comments about the height of the corn stalks. If the stalks are knee high by July 4th, then the crop was going to be good one. Agriculture is so important in the state that on the local news forecasts it is common to hear the agricultural reports before hearing the stock market reports.

New Hampshire, on the other hand, may not be so reliant on agriculture, but Dover is home to the oldest continuously owned family farm in the country. Tuttle’s Farm was established in 1630. Recently the family signed papers to protect the farm with a conservation easement.

From farming to Christmas: Laurie wrote how Christmas has become focused on buying “stuff”. I couldn’t have said it better. I also think Christmas has become more of a retail event than the birthday celebration it is meant to be. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not Scrooge at Christmas. I just get tired of the “gimme, gimme, gimme attitude” that has become so pervasive. Even my devout Catholic in-laws buy so many gifts for everyone that the family get-together has become an unwrapping festival with paper and ribbons flying everywhere. The young children get so many presents I can’t even begin to understand how they can’t be overwhelmed by everything.

On to being an empty nester: Morah wrote about getting old and dealing with an empty nest. 
I admit I love being an empty nester. I have been a parent for 30 years (yes, I was a parent at 14 and DS #1 was killed in an auto accident 10 years ago). I didn't have a normal young adulthood and have been looking forward to being an empty nester. Being an empty nester in my 40’s good for me. DH and I make good money, we are able to travel when we want to, we can help out my sons if they need it and we are able to save for our retirement.

DH is 12 years younger than I. He is 11 years older than one of my DS and 13 years older than the other one. I am older than his oldest brother. 

DH doesn't want more children. Neither do I. His two brothers closest to his age are still having children. We are definitely a unique couple in his family and among many of our friends. They still have young children and are enjoying all the parts of being young families. We are very content with where we are in our lives.

Finally I’ll leave you with some quilty thoughts:

Last weekend when Victoria and I were talking about quilt patterns and what quilts we wanted to make I told her that I seldom follow a pattern exactly. Frequently I use the pattern as a “suggestion” of what the finished quilt should look like. Or I use the pattern to teach me a new way to make a block or a new way to set blocks. Victoria, on the other hand, follows the pattern to a “T”. She said she feels guilty if she doesn’t follow the directions.

For example, the bar topper I made for DH last weekend was inspired by All About Me by Atkinson Designs I tweaked the design to fit the fabrics I wanted to use and the size I needed to make. I’m planning to use the same idea to make a quilt with polka dots some day.

I don’t even participate in mystery quilts anymore because I find that I always want to change the pattern along the way and because I don’t know what the outcome is I will get frustrated and stop working on the quilt.

So tell me, how do you make your quilts? Do you follow the pattern exactly? Or is the pattern merely a suggestion for you?

I did finish the binding Tasha’s nephew quilt earlier today. I also made a tote bag for Tasha and almost completed a second one. May provided a tutorial on making bags. Cynthia shared some tote bags she has made. I needed to make a tote bag as a gift so I made two of them with the pepper fabric. I used a free pattern from Lazy Girl Designs. The tote bag works up quickly. I’m thinking of making smaller ones for our nephews and niece for Christmas using fabrics for children. I think the tote bag with a book or two inside would be a cool gift for them.


bettsy said...

I love your chilli bag - aren't there great fabrics around? Thanks for putting the link in for it too.

Elaine Adair said...

Hi Sweet P: thanks for your kind words .. I've been to your site, here and there - you have some great words, wisdom, ideas, etc. currently.

How do I make a quilt? Seldom do I follow any pattern, and I seldom can stick to the colors suggested. I think that's what scrap quilts are for -- for those of us who cannot focus on a color pallette!

Thanks for YOUR visit!

Cynthia said...

your bag has turned out great. What a great idea making some and adding books to them. Must remember that for my nieces.

We don't have an empty nest yet but i have thought a lot about it over the past 12 months and wondering how it will be without the girls at home. Lucky for me it won't be for a while yet

Anonymous said...

Love that pepper bag! I'm with you - patterns are really just suggestions - and sometimes good instructions for a new block or technique!

Jeri said...

I'm also an empty nester - and also youngish (40's). We are enjoying this phase of our life. I also lost my oldest son 10 years ago. And I try to follow patterns but seldom get through without making a change or two... :) Oh, and I always use my own color preferences. Its just more interesting that way!

Anonymous said...

Depends - I don't think I have ever followed a pattern exactly - i.e. "use red here" On occasion, I do follow the directions, may times I just use the inspiration...

Really depneds - not a cut & dry answer for me. I just bought the "All about me" pattern that you mentioned & for that kind of pattern, I will follow the directions... I could not find "BQ" But I have a good idea on how to make the block, so I will use the inspiration...

Anonymous said...

Somedays I wish I was an "empty nester" - LOL. Raising children is wonderful and I wouldn't change it for the world, but then there are THOSE days when I'd happily give both of them away .... LOL. Enjoy your time with your DH - I look forward to being an empty nester - it won't be for a while though. My youngest is 7.

Mary said...

I was over the whole Christmas buying frenzy a few years ago. Now we give NO Christmas presents and make a large donation to Habitat for Humanity. The side benefit of not having to run around shopping is great.

I also have no problems with my empty nest. I love that both boys are on their own and doing well and that it's just Keith, the dog, and me at home.

Susan said...

I don't do mysteries for the same reason. The bag is just great! I used to have a friend who would make a bag with a character from the book appliqued on it. Then she'd put in the book. Sometimes she made a puppet or doll, if it were easy enough.

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

Never followed a pattern in my life! Heck-I couldn't even make Gratitudes properly!

I buy mags and look at blogs/pictures for inspiration, then go and do it my way. I learnt very early on that that was the only way to parent as well. Watch, look, listen, nod your head a lot... then do it your way!

I am so far from the empty nest-I still haven't quite recovered from them both being at School. Sometimes I feel sorry for my hub, 15 years older than me, having to do all the little kid stuff when his mates are empty nesters but he assures me the wait for the right girl was well worthwhile!

soccertxi said...

I was surprised when I taught my 1st quilt class in Aug. There were about half the ladies who followed the pattern to the T. The other half were like me-chose different colors, different settings and sometimes redrafted things to suit themselves. I assured them ALL that the Quilt Police were NEVER invited to my class. I only had heartburn with the lady who THREW OUT what ever she had left! I gave her my phone number and told her to call me. I would pick up any and all scraps!

Anonymous said...

I completely understand your thoughts of patterns being a suggestion.

I became so frustrated with quilting for those very reasons that I turned to Crazy Quilting. It is such a 'fly by the seat of your pants' kind of thing.