Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

Lacking Traction

Lacking Traction

Our renter and I have been kicking around a collaborative idea for a couple of months. He is a graphic artist and has a growing T-shirt design business. I asked him about putting one or two of his designs on some linen fabric and letting me make up some zipper pouches and/or pillows to see if any of the boutiques in town would be interested in them for tourist season. I was driving around running errands yesterday and thinking about all the possibilities and I came home energized and ready to get started on some prototypes.

And then the husband informed me that the two roosters were fighting. I had to go out and have a discussion with them about their behavior. They do this periodically—interestingly, not when they have been stuck inside the coop together for a month, but now, when it’s nice and they can be outside.

And just as I sat down at the industrial serger to rethread it, one of our neighbors stopped by to buy eggs. He likes to visit and I do enjoy chatting with him (it’s part of maintaining our community), but that was another half an hour delay.

And then I couldn’t find the manual for my serger. I usually keep my manuals in binders next to my machines, but this one has gone on walkabout. I found another copy on the internet and downloaded it to my computer so I would have a copy. I managed to get the serger rethreaded enough to test out the three-thread edging (I’ve had it set up for five threads). I’ll have to finish threading it today. I want to start working on grocery bags and some of those prototypes.

And then the husband came in and we decided to go sit in our glider rockers on the back porch and enjoy the late afternoon sunshine.

I think we both felt like we were working uphill yesterday. The husband and our employees were trying to set more trusses yesterday (there are trusses that will support the roof over the lean-tos on either side) but there were huge piles of snow in the way. The husband has a bucket for the forklift, but as he pointed out, there aren’t a lot of places left to move the piles of snow to. The propane heater in the greenhouse keeps shutting itself off and he can’t figure out why. Watering seed trays out there means pulling 50’ of hose over a big pile of snow to the spigot, hooking it up, climbing back over the pile of snow to get back to the greenhouse, watering the seedlings, then going back to the spigot and unhooking the hose and winding it up and putting it in the greenhouse so it doesn’t freeze overnight.

This was just a weird winter. We got almost our entire snowfall in February—and a lot of it—and then the temps went down below zero for an extended period and all that snow in all those piles froze solid. Even in years when we’ve had a lot of snow, it has usually melted enough by the middle of March that we can get around. Not this year.

I apologize if my posts sound like a lot of whining lately, but this blog is a reflection of our daily lives and—despite what some people like to portray on social media—no one’s life is an unending string of days full of sunshine and unicorns. Even the husband, who has a much greater tolerance of inconvenience than I do, is pretty grumpy. At least getting around in town is easy; most of the snow is gone and the roads and parking lots are clear. It’s just up here on the side of the mountain that things are still locked down.

I am making some progress on my wool penny sampler, although it’s hard to see:


I’m really just winging this based on what I can glean from Instagram and Pinterest posts. I fused the pennies to the linen, but most of the samplers I’ve seen also have the pennies tacked down with a line of whipstitches around the outside edge. Thanks to the huge box of embroidery floss that my mother sent me a few months ago, I have been able to match a thread color to every single penny so far.

[We were watching videos on YouTube last night. The video on repairing a Bobcat skidsteer was fascinating. I learned that Bobcats have four motors (who knew?) and that it’s not a good idea to try to rebuild one of the motors yourself. Duly noted.]

I don’t know where my head was that I missed this, but the quilt store where I took that Accuquilt class a few weeks ago had an all-day embroidery class yesterday focusing on exactly this kind of stitching. I stopped in there while I was running errands and overheard the instructor talking about some of the stitches, so I peeked into the classroom. I could have kicked myself for not seeing the class listing on the website and signing up.

This project is really forcing me out of my comfort zone. I don’t like to “wing it.” I much prefer having a clear plan of attack. I’m trying very hard to relax and just see what happens. It’s a sampler, after all, not an heirloom or museum piece. And it’s good for me to challenge myself.

Product Development and Date Night

Product Development and Date Night

Trying to Get the Dominoes Lined Up

Trying to Get the Dominoes Lined Up