Saturday, November 17, 2012

Quilts & Barn Decorating!

I missed a week of posting ... it's been crazy at work, and too much to do at home.  You know how it goes!  I have friends coming over this afternoon to look at my grandparents artwork, guess that's a good topic for my next post.

As I was getting things out, I found a picture of my grandmother with one of her quilts and thought I'd post about quilts and the quilt square I made for my barn ... that's where the "barn decorating" comes in!

My grandmother, on my Mom's side, was an amazing quilter and gardener and artist.  This is a picture, or collage of her and some of her quilts.

 
As you can see from the upper left picture, she won many awards for her quilts.  The one below that is the family history quilt ... here's a better picture:

 
Starting in the upper left corner and going clockwise, it shows the family coming over from England shortly after the Mayflower, her birthplace in Worcester, MA and then on until they came to Buffalo, NY.  It's just an amazing quilt.  I have many quilts she made for me, we all do.

I was looking for a quilt for my bedroom, it's lavender ... and wasn't thrilled with what I found that I could buy, so I decided to follow my grandmother's lead and make my own.  So imagine ... I had never quilted before in my life, and I needed to make a quilt for a king-sized bed.  Yes, I was a bit crazy!  LOL!  I did do it, it took me 6 winters to piece the top together, and then another winter for an Amish girl to do the actual quilting!  And I'm planning the next one in my head and can't wait to start working on it after the holidays.  Here is the finished quilt:

 
One of the quilt magazines I read, had an article about New England Quilt Barns .. I knew as soon as I read it that my barn NEEDED one!  So I looked for a quilt square pattern that I liked and thought would be relatively easy to paint.  Then I bought a 4 x 4 piece of birch plywood, because it has a very smooth surface, and a regular piece of 4 x 4 plywood to mount behind the birch for added support. 

I set it all up in my dining room ... I rarely use this room for dining, but often use it for many crafts.  I carefully drew my lines, bought my exterior paint colors and painting tape, and started.


Slowly, but surely, I painted on the colors ... 2 or 3 coats each depending on how it looked when it dried.  Carefully took the painters tape off the section that I just finished, and touched up anything that messed up when I removed the tape.  You can see my "pattern" on the white paper that I had colored in as my guide.


More colors added ... my guide is now in the middle of the square.


Now what to do with the middle?  My neighbor, Janet, was over and I showed it to her ... she said "let me paint one of your daylilies in the middle".  She's an art teacher and a great artist.  I was floored, what a great idea.  I gave her a photo of my own introduction, Mystic Avalon, to use as a guide.  She sent her husband over to get the square and went to work.

She called me a week or so later and told me she was sending her husband over with the finished square, and she hoped I would like what she had painted.  I said "you're coming too?", she said no, she was afraid I wouldn't like it ... I told her to stop being ridiculous and to get her butt over here.  And this is the amazing daylily she painted:


Isn't that just gorgeous?  I was almost jumping up and down I was so happy with what she had done for me!!  Here's another picture:


It was just perfect!  The perfect center for barn decoration at a daylily nursery!

We mounted it on the barn, we screwed 2 x 4's to the barn so the square would not be flush on the barn, to give it some breathing room ...


I added a border ... since this is made of 2 sheets of plywood I wanted a border to try and keep out some of the moisture.  I had thought that I would put a white border on it, but Melanie Mason (North Country Daylilies) was here visiting before she spoke at our dayliliy club meeting, and said she thought a yellow or gold border would be good.  She was right!


I tried all summer to get a photo of the barn, square and lots of daylilies blooming, but it was a really tough summer (too dry), and I never saw this bed of old spiders blooming very well.

Here is what it looks like from the end of the driveway by the road ...


So I've taken you on a quilting type journey today, hope you enjoyed it.  I'm looking forward to taking this same picture with lots of snow around ... can't wait to see how much the quilt square stands out then!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Visitors to the Farm ...

I get many human visitors to the farm ... and many other types of visitors.  Today I thought I would share some pictures I've taken of visitor on the non-human (mostly) variety ...

Most of these seem to be of birds, I feed the birds starting in the fall and I stop again in late spring ... today I'm not very happy with my flock of blue jays, they have totally emptied my feeder in less than 24 hours.  Mostly they push the seed out looking for what they want to eat!  But they are gorgeous!


I seem to take lots of pictures out my kitchen windows ... here's woodpecker working on the hanging suet ...


I love the contrast of the bright red cardinal in this picture ... they don't seem to come to the feeders, but eat seeds that fall on the deck and ground.


We often see pheasants ... not because they are successfully living here, unfortunately ... one of the neighbors buys them and releases them.  I'm wondering if he thinks they will re-establish themselves?

A gorgeous male:


Two pair on my deck ....

These next 2 pictures are human type visitors ...


They didn't actually land in my yard, in this picture they landed in the neighbors cow pasture .. the first time I heard a balloon, I didn't know what I was hearing ... then it came over the trees and I realized I was hearing the whoosh of the fire heating up the gas that makes them rise.  The dog, donkeys and I all stopped and stared, as they barely made it over the tree tops.


Here they look like they will land in the trees, but they did make it over them.  I have discovered that this is a balloon company that operates out of East Aurora, NY, the small town 10 minutes from my house. 

Here's a bird many dislike ...


Especially those with ornamental fish ponds in Buffalo and the surrounding suburbs.  The herons have learned that there are easy pickings in those backyard ponds.  I don't care that they are fishing in my pond ... I have enough fish to share with them.

Here are a couple pictures from the summer bird feeders.  I didn't realize I had Baltimore Orioles until one flew over my head one spring ... so I bought a feeder and they come regularly.  Their coloring is just amazing!


And  the smallest of the visitors .... the hummingbird!  I love these birds and the noise they make as they are defending "their" feeder against other hummingbirds.  They chitter at each other ...


These last 2 pictures were taken by my neighbors, Sally & Bob ... my other neighbor Thelma called breathless ... and said there's a bear, see to your donkeys, I have to call Sally, Bob's working outside.  I looked out the back and didn't see anything, but went out to the barn to see what the donkeys were doing ... and they were freaking out!  They obviously knew the bear was around, they were running in and out of the barn, back and forth ... I finally got them into their stalls and the doors closed and they settled down.


Bob took this picture from their porch .... my neighbors on both sides of me are back quite a bit from the road, close to the creek that flows through all of our properties.  I'm close to the road so I didn't see the bear since he probably was following the creek.


We've all heard of bears visiting the area, but this was the first time Sally & Bob had seen one ... as they watched it walk around their house!  Bob sent me these pictures so I could see for myself.

I wish I had my camera with me 2 weeks ago when the dogs and I walked around the pond, there was a gorgeous fox in my back field ... he stopped and looked at us and took off quickly when he saw the dogs.  He was beautiful ... gorgeous red/orange coat and big fluffy tail.

Hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the visitors to my farm!