May 31, 2013

Feedsack Friday Mascot

Filed under: General — sharon @ 6:30 pm

A brief post today for Feedsack Friday, to introduce our mascot.  Just another of the many uses to which feedsacks were put, of course we can’t forget the little ones.
See you next Feedsack Friday!

March 19, 2013

December 31, 2009 Another Year

Filed under: General,◦Country Living,◦Family,◦Friends — sharon @ 3:35 pm

New Years' Eve
Older and deeper in… Well, it’s been quite a year. We are thankful that business has not been as bad as it could be. And that we are warm inside despite this morning’s dusting of snow, not hungry, and relatively healthy. We’ve made our donation to Feeding America, and we’ll make more, I think, because the need is so great.

I can’t believe this blog is now 1 1/2 years old. I had hoped that having a blog would make me more productive, more communicative, even more creative – and it does provide a certain amount of pressure to produce something (anything) meaningful, that someone besides us will actually care about. I’m not sure we’ve been very successful, and I know we’ve been at times neglectful, but the blog has not always been the first order of business. Perhaps the year to come will see us more loquacious, more inspired, even more profound!

The folks on the farm are hunkered down in the cold snowy weather: Our garden chicken,
New Years' Eve

And one of the fluffier neighbors.
New Years' Eve

Since we are inside and warm, we plan to stay that way, celebrating marking the passage into the new year curled up here at home, probably sound asleep at midnight. I know I’ll be crossing out dates for a while, as usual, but otherwise will neither curse nor welcome the passage.
New Years' Eve

And we’ll all be looking through the chilly mist that hangs in the air, hoping for that first glimpse of a spring thaw, ready to go round the seasons once again.
New Years' Eve

Happy 2010 to all our friends, readers and customers. We’re looking forward to getting to know you all better in the coming year!

March 18, 2013

September 21, 2009 Camera woes revisited

Filed under: General,◦Friends — sharon @ 2:55 pm

About this time last month I wrote about the problems with my trusty Canon A-80 digital camera. I can’t say enough about the great service from Canon – free return shipping, free repair, and back good as new in only 8 days! Or it seemed good as new, except a little less sensitive to light, and therefore with a slower shutter speed when the light isn’t bright enough. This can be a problem when you’re trying to take detailed shots indoors, with no tripod.

But I didn’t complain, after all it was turning out the usual great pictures again. For two whole weeks, two and a half, even. Then suddenly a series of pictures that came out totally overexposed and washed out. Ok, turn it off, change batteries, back on…. it’s working fine again. For three more days. And then, blackness. Darkness. Nothing.

Canon is again fixing it at their expense. How can I complain about a 5 or 6 year old camera that I’ve used for more than 26,000 photos? I mean, it has to die eventually, right?? So, everything considered, I am still very pleased with Canon, both for quality and service. And when my camera comes back again next week, I expect it will go on working for some time.

All that said, the A80 has always had limitations, most notably the fact that I have to get pretty far away from something to get it all in the picture. A large quilt, or tablecloth, won’t all fit unless I hold the camera waaaay up over my head. And it does tend to use up batteries fairly quickly, though a new set of rechargeable ones will usually go several hundred pictures per charge. Unless I leave the camera turned on after downloading pictures…. (a bad habit!)

SO, I bought a new Canon. This time it’s still a PowerShot but a step (or 2 or 3) up. And since technology has come a long way since the A80, lots of improvements. It’s an SX20, with a much wider angle for near shots, more manual adjustment capability, 12 megapixels vs. 4 in the A80, so lots more detail and definition is possible, and it zooms to 80x for telephoto shots. And a different sort of memory card, too. I have been accustomed to downloading after every 50 shots or so, since my memory card was then nearly full, and a larger one – back when I bought the A80 – was rather expensive.

This time, a 4 gigabyte card was $15 with the camera, and holds more than 900 shots at the highest resolution. A larger, brighter display makes outdoor use easier on a bright day, and I love the lcd that swivels to various positions – one thing the A80 had too, and I didn’t want to be without. Can you tell I’m enjoying my new toy?

My buddy Chiru here is helping me check it out:

A pretty steep learning curve, but the basics aren’t bad. And so far, even with all the zooming, the large display, electronic continuous focus and image stabilization, among other features, still on the first charge of the batteries.

I promise, I will still love the A80, and will probably take it with me more often to lots of places since it will now be the second camera. What a world of difference from my first Kodak digital. 1 whole megapixel, a battery hog, and all. I’m embarassed about many of my old pictures from that one, but I’ll be making up for it.

August 26, 2009 A One-patch Quilt

Filed under: General — sharon @ 2:24 pm

A one-patch quilt is defined as a quilt that uses patches all of one shape and size, except perhaps for the edges or borders. When the shapes used are squares, the result can be uninteresting if care is not taken to form an overall pattern, of color, tone or other elements. This late 19th century PA one-patch uses a number of elements to heighten the interest.
one-patch quilt

First, and most obviously, the squares are set on point. They are then arranged by color and tone to form a center medallion with concentric borders, surrounded by a pattern of rays of lighter color at the centers and corners. While rich browns and reds serve for the majority of the pieces, the lighter, brighter colors focus the eye on the center. For additional interest, many of the squares are fussy-cut from chintz or cheater cloth prints.
one-patch quilt

With one exception, these fussy-cut squares are also concentrated toward the center of the quilt. But the single exception is a notable one – in the upper left corner of the quilt (as shown in the first picture) is a single square cut from cheater cloth featuring Dickens’ character Mr. Pickwick!
one-patch quilt

This fabric has apparently been reproduced at some time in the 20th century, as I found a listing for it as an Everglaze Vat Colors fabric on Etsy, which has apparently since sold out. The antique fabric, however, has richer tones, and retains no glaze, so I’m unsure if it ever had one.

There’s a great variety of late 19th century brown prints, including paisleys, chocolate browns, tans and madders.
one-patch quilt

And to go with all the browns and paisleys on the quilt top, the back is done in a brown floral and paisley stripe.
one-patch quilt

I’ll be adding this quilt to my inventory of antique quilts at Sharon’s in the next few days.  Here’s the link to the quilt listing:  One Patch Quilt

August 18, 2009 Camera Woes

Filed under: General,◦Gardens — sharon @ 2:19 pm

It seems that I may have prematurely announced the end of rose season. My all-time favorite pink rose has once again burst into profuse bloom. Here’s a picture I took on Monday.
first prize

You can see clearly from the many buds surrounding the flowers already open, that it would be a real show of pink bloom. And so it is. Today, there are 5 fully open roses on the plant, (2 are past their prime), and 7 partly opened buds. Absolutely glorious. I would love to show you a picture – but yesterday my trusty old Canon A80 digital camera started showing lines of interference or static across the display. And, much to my dismay, the lines also appear in the saved pictures themselves. So as much as I would love this photo, I won’t have it unless I quickly borrow or buy another camera.

I did find, though, when I Googled the problem, that Canon issued a service advisory about the problem – and if in fact the symptoms my camera displays are due to the condition they found, the repair, including shipping to the service facility, is free of charge. And the camera is long since out of warranty. So it’s already on its way back to Canon, and according to the Canon rep, and backed up by what I’ve read posted on the web, it should be back in just about a week.

So I’m happy that my favorite camera may not actually be terminal. A new camera, and the associated learning curve that becomes ever steeper as I age, is not exactly something I’ve been looking forward to. Then again, a wider-angle of view would be nice, so I don’t need to hold the camera too far away from the subject to get it all in the frame….so I’ve been looking around.

I probably won’t buy another camera before mine returns, but I might get another one anyway, even if the A80 recuperates fully. And based on how long I’ve had this one, how much I’ve used it, the ease of use and the useful features – not to mention my positive customer service experience – I’ll probably get another Canon. That should also help lessen the aforementioned learning curve, assuming that not too many features have changed in the last four or five years.

Still, I’d love to get a picture of those roses today…..

March 17, 2013

August 5, 2009 The Healthcare Debate

Filed under: General — sharon @ 3:40 pm

I generally avoid discussing political matters in this blog; though I have my opinions I feel they’re better expressed at another time and place.

What I do believe is that this country’s health care system does need changes. And I believe that most people in this country also feel that way. The difference is not in recognition of the problem, but in the wide diversity of opinion on the solution.

Lines have been drawn in the political sand, insurance company lobbies are pouring $1 million a day into the fight.

Whatever your feeling about our healthcare system, you deserve a chance to make your feelings known. So I decry what’s been happening at the town hall meetings held by various members of congress during their August recess. A mob, a bunch of thugs shouting down everyone else, including the congressional representative, all in the name of free speech.

If free speech is important to you, then it is also imperative that you respect that same right for other citizens. Everyone should be heard, not just those willing to shout loudest and longest.

June 28, 2009 Garden bounty continues

Filed under: General — sharon @ 2:48 pm

OK, now it’s sunny, in the eighties, and we’re beginning to wish for the cool rainy weather again. Well, not really. We’re done with our summer show, which was rather unpleasant in the heat and humidity, but we survived, sold some stuff and bought more, including feedsacks and chenille spreads that I can show you later.

One of the worst things about doing the show is being too tired to cook when we come home at the end of the day; we always dig easy-to-heat-up meals out of the freezer for those four days. This time we had chili two different nights, and pizza the other two. So tonight we need a real meal again. I went into the field and pulled these this morning.

Two different kinds of beets, the standard dark red, and golden ones, red only on the outside. The great thing about beets is that they serve as two different vegetable courses, the boiled or roasted roots and the greens, sauteed or in a salad. I don’t know which we’ll make tonight, but we’re having flounder. Haven’t decided on potatoes or rice, but the potatoes are ready to dig also.

The super sweet corn is just around the corner. The stalks aren’t particularly tall, but they’re well tasseled and the ears are filling out. I can almost taste the corn already. We are so blessed with the bounty that comes from our little field.

March 14, 2013

April 19, 2009 Doin’ Chores

Filed under: General,◦Country Living,◦Vintage — sharon @ 7:14 pm

This will be a work-filled week. The garden has begun to reward us for the little bit of attention we’ve given it:
spring flowers

The pinks and jonquils will help ease our mood as we prepare for the Kutztown extravaganza – where we set up Wednesday to sell Thursday through Saturday this week. It’s our most intensive period of work for the whole season, so yard work will not get done this week and the lawn will be seriously overgrown by next Sunday, considering that rain is predicted for the next 2-3 days.

Last night we had some of the first asparagus of the season from the field, and today we’re enjoying the last little bit of weekend sunshine as we sort, tag and price merchandise for the show. Come visit us, if you can, in booth 220 in the first pavilion!

April 2, 2009 Greening

Filed under: General,◦Country Living,◦Fabrics,◦Vintage — sharon @ 5:13 pm

The spring rains have finally arrived and it’s become my favorite time of year – green season. Between showers, when the sun comes out, everything takes on a green glow, brighter than at any other time. The aura of new life brings renewed hope and energy to the world, and of course reminds me of all the work I have to do to keep up. Soon the lawn, that was still brown a week ago, will need mowing – and I’m still not done raking all the leaves from last fall!

Meanwhile I’m also readying the garden for this season’s planting, as the daffodils begin to open, the blades of iris rise, and the other perennials revive. This weekend we’ll be setting up at the market in Adamstown for the first time this year; it’s the week of the Lancaster quilt show, and we’ll be taking along plenty of fabrics, quilt tops, quilts and more. I guess it’s time to stop blogging and get busy!

March 20, 2009 Spring

Spring is finally here. It’s chilly today, with snow flurries early this morning, not atypical of the first day of spring, but we’re seeing more hours of daylight, and the temperatures in general are rising.

Though spring is our most eagerly awaited and anticipated season, it’s also the one that brings the most responsibility. It’s time to ready the garden for planting and clean up winter debris, and also time to prepare for our spring season of outdoor antique sales as the weekends warm. And it’s a time for beginning new projects, as if we didn’t already have plenty on our plates. Luckily the season brings with it a burst of energy; hopefully the energy lasts long enough to accomplish a reasonable number of the tasks.

Between chilly gusts of wind today I managed to photograph a quilt that I thought was appropriate to early spring both in color and theme. I don’t know if the pattern has a name, or whether it’s supposed to represent anything in particular, but the idea of flowers along with the preponderance of green along with a little Easter purple seemed to me just the thing for today.
spring flowers quilt
spring flowers quilt

With all this greenery, the real flowers won’t be far behind – our snowdrops are blooming throughout the woods, the daffodils are 4 inches out of the ground, and Tim’s already planted carrots and peas in the field.