Friday, January 28, 2011

Meet my son Garrett

I wanted to share this article about my middle son Garrett, age 21. Garrett is currently a student at Marshalltown Community College, and this article is being used in their online promotional material. We are so proud of him and his accomplishments.

Garrett has always been one of those people that others gravitate to, a natural leader and very charsimatic. To me, his accomplishments are even more special since he suffers from a severe learning disability. Written words are basically meaningless to him. Despite his disability, he recieved good grades in school, utilizing a lap top computer and scanner to scan and read his text books to him. As he was growing up, he worked with a friend of our who owns rental property. As a young teen, he learned plumbing and welding skills and became a certified welder by age 18. If you read to the end of the article, the answer Becky gave Garrett was an enthusiastic 'yes'!

"It was the best decision the Colo-Nesco High School graduate could have made because he’s learned both business and sustainable practices he is now using on G-Man’s Farms, LLC, his 80-acre farm he is renting near LeGrand. “MCC has made opportunities for me with the education I’ve received. I started my own business and plan to expand my organic farm.”
His farming operation currently includes pork and poultry, row crops, small grains, organic hay and red wiggler worms. The worms are used to make “worm tea” used as plant fertilizer. He has plans to add fish and bees in the future.
Garrett, who will graduate in May, said his favorite class at MCC has been ecological concepts. “That class gave me a different way of looking at things to set up my farm. I want my farm to be as organic and sustainable as possible. I don’t need to use much fossil fuel because I can make do with what’s available in nature.”
Garrett’s expanding sustainable practice expertise was called upon last fall when MCC hosted international farmers from Haiti, India, Mali and Vietnam during Iowa’s World Food Prize Week. Garrett wowed the audience by showing them a box of his wiggler worms and explaining how the fertilizer is produced. He also showed the visitors his chickens and explained how he raises them organically. “That was fun because it’s not often I get to have other people be impressed by my farming. They were very intriqued and it was fun to be able to show them.”
“This is what MCC is all about. You can build your own experience here. You don’t have to fit the cookie cutter form as you get your education. The good professors help you get a quality education.”
Recently, Garrett attended the Practical Farmers of Iowa conference held on the MCC campus. During the evening’s banquet, he was presented with the “Savings Incentive Award” for beginning farmers and when he went up to receive it, he took advantage of a captive audience of 300 and proposed to his fiancĂ©e, Becky Lamb, also a MCC student "

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tanner's Quilt

I don't think that I mentioned that we had a new addition to our family last year. This is Tanner, my son Andy and daughter-in-law Chelsie's son, born July 12, 2010. Andy and Chelsie now live in upstate New York, so we had to wait until Christmas time to get to meet our new boy. Contrary to the rather quiet photos of him, he is very lively and goes by the nickname of "Wiggles" because he wiggles and smiles and coos so much when he sees people.

While the kids were here visiting, Chelsie and I went shopping for the fabrics for a quilt for Tanner. She chose a very cute jungle themed fabric line we carry at the quilt shop. I kept the design simple so that Tanner could have his quilt as soon as possible, and here's the design I came up with:
Can't wait to get this off in the mail !

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cool Surprises

This week has brought me two very pleasant surprises. First, after coming home from seeing a movie I checked my email, and I had won a $25.00 gift certificate to one of my favorite online bead stores, Fusion Beads ! They had a drawing for those who "like" them on Facebook, and I was one of the lucky winners. I will take a picture of what I ordered when it arrives next week.

The second surprise was also by email, and was just so sweet. A woman from South Africa had an old issure of Quiltmaker magazine that had a pattern of mine in it. She wrote in part:
"I am a quilter from Pretoria in South Africa. I have kept this pattern, Raise the Roof, that was in the quiltmaker: September/October '97 edition for all these years! At last I started making it. Half of the top is now done! I am so excited to finish it. This morning I took it to my quilting group and they were all in awe! They then asked whether I could teach them to do it as well.
Would you mind me doing this? And off course I will give full credit. I would be happy if you would consider this favourably.
Your work is beautiful and the latest quilt that you finished is really beautiful.
Hope to hear from you soon!
Kind regards

Below is the photo that Ina attached of her quilt in progress, and yes, of course I granted permission for her to teach my pattern to her friends. I was so honored to be asked!

Monday, January 17, 2011

First Finish for 2011, the Cascades Quilt

See???? I wasn't fibbing, I really do have quilty things to post this year! This is Cascades, a pattern by Black Cat designs and it is my first finish for 2011. This was a really easy pattern, though I would caution anyone who purchases it that there is a major error in the directions. The pattern says to cut 12 3/4 inch squares for the setting triangles when they actually should be 14" square. The details of the correction can be found here.

Despite the frustration of the pattern error, I have to say I enjoyed making this quilt, and it will now hang at the Quilting Connection in Ames, Iowa. I am hoping to teach a class if there is enough interest. I think I'd like to make this quilt again, though this time I would use two more closely related colors so one would blend into the next, use more fabrics, have a wider outter border and make it queen sized to fit my bed.

For now though, I am off to continue work on a baby quilt for my newest grandson, Tanner, pics to follow soon, of course.

Happy Quilting,

Dusting off the ‘ole Blog

I’d be surprised if anyone stops by here anymore since it’s been almost a year since I wrote anything. 2010 was a long, and uhm…interesting year. I’ll always think of it as the year of learning.

First up, learning new jobs….

When I came back from Colorado last February I had a big surprise waiting for me at my job. That very day my supervisor took me aside and said I was now moved to a different department. This is the machine I ended up learning to run.

Never been a machine operator, never thought I’d BE a machine operator, and yes, it’s as complicated as it looks. Can anyone guess what it does? No? It’s called a Cheetah and it is used to put a latex closure on envelopes that banks give you at the drive up window when you ask for cash. Very proud and very happy to report that I was one of two people that never mangled a hand in that thing. It took several months but I became a competent operator until I decided to leave my job last November.

While I was learning to wrestle uhm…operate the Cheetah, I was also learning sewing machine service and repair on Huskvarna Viking sewing machines for the Quilting Connection .

My husband Steve had been working on machines there on a part time basis for several months when it became clear that he could not keep up with demand. We both attended training in Nashville, Tennessee in March, and hosted a serger class at the shop for the region in July. It was great getting to learn from the top two techs in the country.

I am happy to say that the part time service/repair job has led to a full time position at the quilt shop! I am very happy to have left the printing business behind, though I do miss the friends I made there. I wasn’t sure I would ever be interested in beading or quilting again, but the desire is back, and I will have lots of projects to share this year.