Things have been quiet around here lately. Now that everyone is feeling better, Clara is sleeping through the nights again and that also helps her naps which had diminished to mere 45 minute stretches and are now back up to about 1 1/2 hour naps. Clara has shown a noticeable increase in her interest and dexterity with puzzles, books, and art recently. First though, a picture of her eating apples for a snack. She is obsessed with apples and eats at least one a day - more if we will let her. I slice them into eigths for her and she eats them like a slice of melon leaving the skin behind like you would a rind. Every now and then (maybe 1 in 6 apple slices) she will eat the skin too. Also, I am loving her long, high ponytail in this picture.
While she naps, or in the evenings after Clara goes to sleep, I have been quilting. I enjoy the process of choosing fabrics and piecing blocks together - it is so orderly and I love getting precise corners or angles to line up perfectly. I checked out a book from the library called "The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt" which is a collection of letters of advice from farm wives in the 1920's in response to a magazine's query for short essays describing whether actual farm wives would encourage their daughters to also marry farmers. I guess the magazine received something like 7,000 responses and ended up publishing some of the best ones and creating 111 quilt blocks inspired by the different letters with names like "churn dash" or "buzzard's roost" or "spool". This book is a collection of those letters along with the 111 quilt blocks and I have been making my favorite blocks from the book and enjoying reading pastoral descriptions of farm life and the taste of fresh butter and eggs and bread. I also am enjoying this quilt because it is super scrap friendly and I still have scraps left over from past projects that I am trying to use.
The biggest problem with the book is that there is very little instruction (actually, none really) on how to put the blocks together other than to print off templates for the blocks. But templates are kind of a difficult way to piece a quilt top because sewing triangles is MUCH harder than sewing squares because the fabric, which is cut on a bias, ends up stretching and comlicating things. I prefer sewing squares on a diagonal, then snipping off the excess of one side of the square and pressing the seam open to get a perfectly sewed and perfectly flat triangle every time. But that means that I have to draft my own blocks using graph paper and calculate the correct fabric measurements on my own. I've been enjoying this process too because it feels like math puzzles from junior high or something. Here is a picture of one of my diagrams and a few of my completed blocks. I've made about 20 6-inch blocks so far and will probably make another 25-30 blocks or so to have enough for the size of the quilt I want. I don't plan on making all 111 blocks because that would make a really big quilt.
I've tried getting some pics of Clara with our 2013 calendar for a Miss January post but so far she hasn't been very cooperative (I was trying back when she wasn't feeling her best so I might need to just try again). This was the best that I got and she was sort of covering up the word "January".
Oh, and one last bit of randomness - Clara has been obsessed with this necklace that came with the dirndl that Paul bought for me when we were living in Germany. It is such a weird piece of jewelry but I have always kept it because it reminds me of our time in Frankfurt and it actually really does go well with my dirndl when I have worn it for a Halloween costume in the past. Anyway, Clara found it and has claimed it for herself. She loves wearing it around all day and will bring it to me and wait patiently for me to clasp it around her neck. Love that girl.