Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors this week is from our recent trip to Kansas. This is a beautifully restored stagecoach that is on the grounds of Fort Larned.

I don’t know the make of this coach, but history tells the story that the first stagecoaches were made in Concord, New Hampshire, in the 1820’s. In the mid 1860’s, the overland stagecoach route west of the Missouri River covered 2,500 miles from Nebraska to California and from Idaho to Arizona.

Teams of four or six horses pulled a coach at an average speed of five miles per hour, stopping every twelve miles to change horses, and every forty-five miles to let the passengers and driver eat a quick meal.

Can you imagine riding in this for days at a time, food available every nine hours, and that canvas door being the only thing between you and hostile Native American Indians?

Stayed tuned because next week’s doors will include the pristine and historic grounds of Fort Larned. I do love the history of settling this Nation and hope you do too. 🙂

What is Thursday Doors? Head on over to our leader, Norm Frampton’s, Thursday Doors, June 22, 2017, and check out the submissions from around the world.





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Greetings from the Midwest where the wheat harvest is well underway.

Headed back to New England tomorrow. Have a great start to your week. 🙂

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Wordless Flag Day Wednesday

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Floral Monday

Tis the season of the Iris, and I love every minute of it. It doesn’t last long so I make sure I go out to check on them every day because I don’t want to miss one beautiful bloom. Are you a fan of the Iris?

The regular lilacs have been finished for quite some time, but the dwarf Korean Lilacs are just finishing up. If you are every looking for a compact shrub that has beautiful fragrant blooms in the spring and lovely foliage the rest of the year, I can highly recommend the Dwarf Korean Lilac. I bought one maybe eight or nine years ago and have since divided it into about six plants, and I love them all.

The Peonies are up next. It just makes me smile to look out the window. What doesn’t make me smile are the homesteading habits of the huge population of chipmunks and squirrels we deal with because of our large oak trees. I know, I know, many of you think they are cute and enjoy taking photos of one or two of them. That’s fine, but here on the farm there are so may that they destroy some fruit and vegetable crops and make more work for the weeder in charge – me. Want to guess how many of these sprouted acorns I pulled out of just one bed? 10, 20, 30? How about 69 in one bed. I’m headed back out this morning to pull more.

The perennials are doing well, but the container plants are another story. They are all alive but with so many cold, wet, dark days, they are just sitting and resting. If I’d taken photos of when I planted them and today, you wouldn’t see much of a difference. I fertilized them again yesterday hoping to give them a little nudge.

I do have a couple of flowers on my tomato plants – picture the happy dance here. 🙂 But, gardening is never simple. I bought these interesting clear plastic twist up and down tomato cloches to protect the plants from early blight. They work great, but now the concern is whether I will get as many tomatoes if they are enclosed in the cloches. Wind and movement helps the blossoms turn into fruit so we’ve added additional grommets so air can flower easier. But, I’ll probably take them off when we aren’t getting heavy rain.

I did start my fabric piece using a photo of our barn. It is as challenging as I thought it would be. I sewed on it one rainy day, and the next day I spent a couple of quality hours picking out stitches. I’ll get back to it. In the meantime, I did finish a couple of small hand projects that I am happy with.

I will be on line sporadically for the next week because on Thursday we’re headed to the Midwest for a Celebration of Life and a family reunion.

Hope your gardens are beautiful, and the week ahead is a good one for you and yours.  🙂

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Fabric Artist

I’ve always enjoyed fabric. My mother was a seamstress by trade, and I can remember she used an old sewing machine while sitting at the kitchen table, and created all of my clothes and school uniforms.

I’ve had a sewing machine since we first got married and could afford one. I also worked part time for a couple of years at a fabric store when I was a stay-at-home Mom while my daughter was in grade school. My sewing skills are moderate, but it doesn’t keep me from being drawn to those who are skilled in creating with fabric.

A couple of weeks ago I took a two-hour class with local fabric artist, Nancy Morgan. It was a fascinating two hours.

She creates all of her pieces on a 40 year-old Pfaff sewing machine.  It is not computerized as today’s machines are, and she has a second one that doesn’t work but from which her husband harvests parts to fix the first one. What does she love about this machine? It allows her to move from straight stitching to free motion without changing feet. That sure would be helpful. In my case, to switch from straight to free motion, I have to lift my machine out of the table to lower the feed dogs, and I need to get the screw driver out to remove the shank and foot.

She brought several creations, all framed and under glass. In looking at them before class, I assumed she would share her favorite quilt shop for choosing fabric. Instead, she said she picks up most of her fabric at Joann Fabrics or Marden’s Surplus and Salvage in Maine. Marden’s makes Walmart look upscale, but it does have a huge cotton fabric department selection.

Here, is a summary of how she sews her amazing creations:

  • Finds a photo that she wants to recreate, and very importantly, flips it because she will be sewing from the back
  • Takes it to Stapes, gets a B&W copy in the size she wants
  • Makes a sandwich of the front and back material with batting and free motion quilts the entire piece. She uses a very simple stippling method to quilt all of the pieces of the project.
  • Draws the design on the back which is always a light muslin color so she can follow her drawing as she sews.
  • Places material on the front, stitches from the back (3x around each section to keep from ravelling), free motion quilts (stipples) on the front, then trims excess material away with small, sharp scissors.
  • She stitches, stipples, and trims each piece as she goes.
  • In the class, she created a house with the front containing two pieces of material – blue for the sky and green for the grass. The green was put over the top of the blue. Then she did windows with black material, the house was blue, foundation and chimney in a burnt orange brick color, and finally the door in brown.
  • Her last piece is using tulle (black or gray) as a shadow. Tulle was applied to certain areas (in this example – the left side of the house and under the eaves) to make the rest of it pop. Blue or white tulle is used when simulating water with fabric. She stitches around the tulle and then free motion quilts in large sweeping strokes instead of the smaller stippling used for the cotton fabric.

Her fabric art pieces and her books are now going to be offered in her own store, Nancy Morgan Art, 238 State Street, Portsmouth, NH. The store will be open Thursday through Sunday, and she will be sewing there as well. If in Portsmouth, you might want to at least peek in the window.

I have my material bought to try a barn, but haven’t progressed from there. Gardening has kept me busy, but I may have an opportunity today and tomorrow since it is raining here. I’m stretching my sewing skills here, but that won’t keep me from trying.  🙂

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Thursday Doors

How do I explain the sacrifices that the followers of the Door King, Norm, make to participate in Thursday Doors. We go to great lengths to get just the right door to share with you. Is this a great door or what?

In order to get this lovely door, I had to stop at one of our local ice cream stops – Golick’s Dairy Bar. I didn’t go just once, I went twice so I could get more than one door. What can I say? I’m dedicated. Plus, there are 70 different flavors of hard ice cream, and I’ve got a lot more research to do.

A little New Hampshire trivia for you – they close the ice cream stores the first of October and don’t open again until mid April or May. They’re only open  half the year! It’s inhuman. 🙂

Seeing that I said I went back for more doors and farm scenes, I’d better produce them. Did you notice even the porta potty is surrounded by an enclosure painted like a field of hay bales?

While we are stopped here at Golick’s Dairy Bar, let’s talk ice cream. I enjoyed Maine Black Bear and Almond Joy and hubby had Butter Pecan both times. So, what’s your favorite ice cream flavor? 🍦

Linked to Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors, June 1, 2017.

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End of May

Let’s get the weather out of the way – it is cold and rainy. I may never get to put my sweatshirts away. It sucks.

One benefit is that the flower blooms last a lot longer than normal. My Clematis is gorgeous, but the peonies have been budded out for a couple of weeks but aren’t blooming.

Cold wet weather tends to affect my gardening exploits. I’ve done a little weeding and transplanting in between showers but not a lot. I did grow some corkscrew vines from seeds and set them out on our two arbors this weekend.

I have a wicking project to start, but it is too wet. We did get two yards of mulch taken care of last week and moved enough plants to set up a new sitting area in the shade of an oak tree, but it had been too cold and wet to sit out there. 🙂

Have you ever thought about vertical gardening? I just posted an article and a book giveaway on our Master Gardener blog in case you’re interested. Don’t want you to miss out on anything gardening related.

Seeing that I’ve been inside more than usual, I’ve been working on a hand project but am off to buy material today.

Last Friday, I went to an amazing class with Nancy Morgan, fabric artist, and want to try a small project. If you have an interest in hearing about her process let me know. I don’t want to bore everyone to sleep but would be glad to share if there is interest.

This screenshot of Goodwin Mansion in Strawbery Banke, Portsmouth, is from her website. It is 22×18″ and is all made with fabric. Her fabric skills blow me away.

Have a great week, and as we move into June, I hope your weather is sunnier than mine. 🙂

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