Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Fairy Houses

 Due to a number of- let's call them distractions- I haven't had a lot of sewing time lately.  But, inspired by the visit to Tinker Nature park, Kiara and I decided my yard could use some fairy houses!

In the little grove where my hammock sits, I discovered a deer rub on one of the trees that we thought would make a great fairy door.  A little paint, a little rope and some twigs are all it needed.  

The door knob is a decorative upholstery tack.

One of the Poplars dies some years ago, so we figured the fairies could move into the stump. (don't tell Kiara, but there are ants living in it).  I found a hunk of an old broken branch to use as a roof, and added a little swing. 

Hubby helped me make steps and made a really cool door for the house.  

Of course the door opens.  I painted the surface of the tree black with a sort of path going in.  Maybe it needs a little porch there, since the door would knock anyone off that top step?  Maybe I'll wait and see if the fairies issue any complaints.  
Working in the garden has been a challenge.  We had nearly four inches of rain last week!  It's like making mud pies. 

I was happy to read several reports of this type after my last post.  That man can spout all the bluster he wants, but there is a momentum he cannot stop!

I am grateful for:
Caring professionals.
The best possible outcome.
Overcoming my fear of the worst and hoping for the best.
A friend with chocolate.
A husband who entertains my silliness.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

So little to do and so much time....

Wait a minute!  Strike that.. Reverse it!

I took a few days off to have a sort of "staycation" while hubby went on his annual fishing trip to Canada last week.  I got a lot done, and had time to enjoy myself as well.

When the weather cooperated, I enjoyed being outside. We're enjoying (or enduring, depending on your point of view) a nice slow spring, where most days have been in the mid to upper 60s.  The sun is still nice and warm, so I can enjoy being outside and not sweat to death as soon as the sun clears the horizon. The ground is still pretty muddy from all the rain we've had, but I am making small progress in the gardens.

I made a couple of small fairy gardens, and am hoping the raccoons and/or chipmunks will leave them alone.




















I have an iris in bloom which has never done so before.  I'm not sure what this color is called (marorange?), but I really like it!
















I love my walkway this time of year!!












On one of the nice days, Kiara and I visited Tinker Nature Park in Pittsford.  



 On one of the trails, someone has made fairy houses in the woods!



















Aren't they sweet?  My assignment for the next time we get together is to find things around here we can use to make our own fairy houses. I think we all like to believe in fairies. 
Ask me sometime how many hours I spent as a child watching toadstools in the evening waiting for the fairies to come out and dance. 







When we got home, we got out the Fairies coloring book I had stowed away for just such an occasion.





















On the last day, I set out the hammock and indulged in a few minutes of lazing in the sparkling sunshine.  Once the trees are fully leafed out, it'll be a nice spot to hide from the sun on a hot summer afternoon.


On the days it rained, I spent time in the sewing room.  UFO #12 had misbehaved, so had to go into the time-out corner.  So I finished up a couple of other projects.



This one had been layered for a while.  It was on the UFO list at #2.  Oddly enough, number two was called for June!
This was a piece I started when I was teaching the "Four Patch Stacked Posies" pattern, way back when (when?  I don't know!).  I didn't love it, but figured it might make a nice baby quilt someday.  It has dinosaur flannel on the back, but I think it's flowery enough to work for a girl as well.   I used techniques from Jacquie Gehring's book, Walk on this one.  Nothing fancy.







This one is from a kit I got in April at the River Lea Quilt Guild show.  I'm just now noticing I forgot to stitch on the mouth.  This pattern is by Bloomin' Minds.  I shouldn't have gone there to find the pattern,because I found half a dozen I need!

In spite of today's announcement, I will hold onto hope that the momentum for sustainability and saving our planet can NOT be stopped.  I read an article today about a wind power company offering to retrain displaced. coal workers- For FREE!

I am grateful for:
Jonathan seems to have recovered from the stomach bug.
A great opportunity- maybe just what I've been looking for.
Seeing the wonder in a little girl's eyes.
My wisteria finally put on a good show.
Cookies in a cup.




Thursday, May 18, 2017

I found a friend in the garden

We are finally enjoying a few days of sunshine.  It hasn't rained a LOT this week, so the soil is even getting dried out enough to work in some spots.  One spot in my rock garden that needed immediate attention was where the cactus Al brought me from Wyoming lives.  It had been overrun by the sedum, and the ground ivy that creeps into the gardens every chance it gets.  (It's evil stuff, put on earth to punish us for our sins, apparently.  Like many of the worst weeds, the original European settlers of North America brought it with them.  Gee, thanks.)

Anyway, armed with my weed digger and a fish hook extractor I got at the sporting goods store, I went out to do battle.  As you can see these cactus have spines that you really don't want to get close to- unless you're a snail!  This guy happily crawled over the leaves (are they called leaves??) as I worked.  (Okay, I looked it up- those parts are actually considered the stems.)  When I get pricked by a spine, it stings, and often a piece breaks off and I have to perform surgery later to remove it.  But if you're a gastropod, I guess you just ooze on by with no worries!
I think I've mentioned before I detest slugs.  But I find snails  interesting and will go out of my way not to harm them.  I don't know why.
 I've done almost no sewing in the past few days, owing mostly to the fact that I STILL don't know how to quilt that damned quilt, and the nicer weather.  Hubby's annual fishing trip is next week, so I may treat myself to a personal quilting retreat while he's gone- if the weather is bad. 
 I know there are a lot of links in today's post.  I figured it might make it more interesting, since really this is about me watching a snail. 

 There are people "resisting" who can make a bigger difference.  I am very grateful for them!!!

I am also grateful for:
Hugs from Jonathan
Being able to make it work so the nice man at the shelter got to take his kitty home yesterday!
Sleeping with the windows open and listening to the toads and frogs singing for mates.
The hummingbirds have arrived.
36 years with a very patient and devoted man.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

I'm really enjoying this deconstructing thing!

Remember this quilt I made for the "Architecture" challenge?  I was terribly so disappointed with how it came out.  When I got it home after the challenge I folded it up and hid it away.  I ran across it months later, and decided to use it as a table runner.  But then I had to look at it and remember how it was supposed to look, but didn't.  (You can read the blog post I did about it here)
 So, it needed to go.

Meanwhile I had been trying to decide what fabrics to use for a new purse, using a pattern my friend Anne used for a bag I absolutely loved.  (It's not a commercial pattern. Her friend designed it)  I did some measuring and figuring and decided I could use the quilt for the purse, making it just a bit smaller.  

   It's sort of a bag within a bag.  I am thrilled with it, because the part of the original quilt I hated the most is inside the part I liked!  I used the binding from the quilt to bind the tops of  the bag, and had enough of the same fabric to use as the handles and lining of the bag. 
Look at all those pockets!

So, one of my least favorite quilts is now going to be one of the best purses I have ever owned!

I should look back through the pile of unloved quilts in my collection for more opportunities to turn "trash" into treasure!  I could have a whole new career!




I decided to share some good news environmentally speaking.  They are doing this kind of project in many places due to public demand for it.  We can make a difference when we join our voices together!

I am grateful for:
A wonderful day with Jonathan
Wine o'clock on a really bad day.
The perfect day for a bowl of Irish Stew at O'Lacy's (sorry if this won't work for those not on facebook)
Cold weather means I can bundle up under my pile of quilts in bed. (too soon I'll have to give it up)
A perfectly timed gift from a friend

Friday, May 5, 2017

Another UFO becomes FO!!!

 I am pleased to be able to say that so far this year, I am averaging one item crossed off my UFO list each month!!

My April completion was not completely done until May 2, but I'm counting it.  This was my teaching sample from the days of being a "Scrap Therapist."  The pattern is called "Star Light, Star Bright".  I call the quilt Christmas Under the Stars.

I had a bit of trouble getting this one finished.  I was fine until I got to the red border, when suddenly my machine decided it was unhappy.  I rethreaded, changed needles, cleaned under the bobbin case, tried different bobbins, and changed needles again.  It was just not stitching properly no matter what I did.  So I turned the machine off and decided it was wine o'clock! (no, it wasn't 10 in the morning!)  The next day I did some different sewing- pieced some blocks and such- before setting up to quilt again.  It was still a little fractious, but nowhere near as bad. 

Here's a  better look at the different designs I used.  I could wish the last border had come out a bit more dense, but it is finished. And, with all the trouble I had, there are plenty of nests on the back and skipped stitches I didn't go back and fix.  So this one will be for me and hubby- who really loves it.  If I had known that, I might have made it queen sized.














 
Since I used solids on the back, the quilting shows up nicely.


















So, now it's on to the next items on the list.  The numbers called this month were 12 and 27. My 27 is a kit, so I am going to leave that one for another time.


Number 12 is another Scrap Therapy sample I made.  I have been doodling designs to figure out how to quilt it.  I'm keeping it simpler this time and using a faux pantograph from this book. The weather is supposed to be cold and cruddy all weekend, so I'm hoping to make significant progress on it- assuming the machine is happy.  I hate feeling like I'm entering the lion's den every time I sit down to machine quilt.  Does this ever happen to you??








After yesterday's health care vote, I am feeling rather hopeless.  I feel a bit sick that our country has come to this point.  I will continue to do what I can to make my voice heard.  You should too.

I am grateful for:
Oma time with Jonathan
When sewing is peaceful and meditative
Taking some quiet time to read ( I don't do it often enough)
My tulips survived the deluge.
I'm not alone in the resistance.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Gardening Season has Arrived

 Spring is in full bloom and the gardens are desperately in need of attention, so that is the priority lately, unless it's cold and rainy.  We had rather a LOT of rain last week, so it was nice to have a dry weekend to get out and clean up, and enjoy some of the early flowers.




There's something both lonely and exciting about a patch of freshly cleaned garden.  I know before long it will be beautiful!!  (this picture is a couple of weeks old.  The tulip above is the plant just behind the shepherd's hook here.)












 I love it when I can bring the first bouquet inside to enjoy.  This is tete-a-tete daffodils and scilla.




 
  The front walkway has some nice color right now!  I'm going to have to thin my Hellebore soon.




















I have to grow the tulips near the house or the deer eat them.  I don't mind at all. 



The cherry tree outside the screen porch is just loaded with blossoms this year.  Taking this picture, I was amazed how loud the sound of happy honeybees was!

 So I'm not doing much sewing this week.  I don't mind at all.

Last Saturday I took a short drive (for me) to the Arts Council of Wyoming County in Perry.  A local fiber artist I am acquainted with, Mary Ann Fritz, is exhibiting her work there this month.  I was very glad I went.  Her work is bright and nature inspired.  Now that I've visited the gallery, I've decided I'll have to make it a habit.  There's plenty of local talent to enjoy there!

If you enjoy nature as I do, it is frightening to think the protection afforded to some of the most beautiful places in America may be removed in favor of those short-sighted people who only see dollar signs.  It's too late to "wait and see".  Make  a phone call, send an email.  "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."- Dr Seuss, the Lorax

I am grateful for:
The sounds of spring.
My kittens are healthy and growing 
Macaroni and cheese
Al wasn't seriously damaged
Inspiring fiber art

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sorry this is Boring

 Remember last week when I said my cold was getting better?  Yeah, it got worse again last weekend.  I went home early not long after that post was finished, and collapsed into bed.  The next day was Good Friday, which is a flex day for the full time folks.  I had planned to work since I don't get paid if I don't- funny how that works!- but I stayed home and slept all day instead.  Good choice. They frown on me being in my jammies, wrapped in two or three blankets, in the office.
On Saturday, I felt well enough to be upright for a few minutes.  So I did a load of laundry.  When I didn't pass out from that, I watered the plants.  And so the day went- I survived one job and moved on to the next.  I did take short breaks, but never needed a lie down. I even went outside to enjoy the fresh air and pluck a few weeds!
By Sunday I decided I would live, although I still wasn't enjoying it very much.  We took some gifts over to the kids for Easter.  I got the greatest gift!  Jonathan has reached the age where, when I arrive, he runs to me shouting "Ama!" (his word for Oma, my preferred appellation) and gives me a big hug!  Is there a better feeling in all the world?

So I was three days slow again.  It's a good thing the kittens had gotten their appetites back.  If I had been this sick a week ago, the poor babies wouldn't have made it, I fear.  But they are growing and frolicking around the nursery just like nothing ever happened, thank goodness! There are still four, but one was running an errand when I had the camera out.

I think I have made enough "Lil Birdies" for now.  I wasn't making them for Easter, but they would be cute for that, I guess.  I plan to take them to the kids down the street where I buy my eggs.  I know, they should probably all be the same.  I was trying to use up scraps of yarn.


And I finally got my UFO #11 layered and got the quilting started.  I ended up doing a simpler poinsettia thing in the star blocks and will do a variety of fillers in the sashing and borders. If the weather is bad this weekend, I might even get it done this month.  That would make one finished object a month so far this year!!

The People's Climate March is next week.  I'm not sure why it isn't on Earth Day- that's when they're doing the Science March.  I'd love to do both, but am unable to do either for a variety of reasons.  I am showing my support by sending postcards to relevant offices in Washington, DC.  One voice may not make much of a sound, but many voices must be heard.  If nothing else, this divisive time has created a surge in activism. It's about time the complacency came to and end!

I am grateful for:
Finally feeling better!
Comfort food
Grandchildren
Sitting outside enjoying sunshine and fresh air
A few minutes of meditation