Monday, May 28, 2012

The most wonderful time of the year!!!!

June Calendar quilt
This time of year has always been my favorite. The "triple H" weather we are having already this year isn't, but I digress.  I just love that the flowers are blooming, the birds are nesting and the babies will be hatching soon, and the nights are still cool but the days are warm enough to be out enjoying the beauty all around!
I haven't been sewing much since the weeds are also enjoying this time of year.  But I did get this piece done in time- from Kim Schaefer's book.

I never have snapdragons this early, but aren't they lovely?

I am spending lots of time outside thanks to all the weeding and maintenance in the gardens.  Gardening is a lot like housework- it's never done!  But you get to be outside while you do it!
The first and only bloom on my Wisteria!

 A while back when I thinned and moved some iris bulbs, I had extras that I tossed out in the filed.  Imagine my delight when I discovered this hiding amongst the goldenrod!
My "happy place"

A busy little bee on the Salvia

When it gets hot outside, my goal is always to keep my house cool for as long as possible without the air conditioner!  I don't have much shade around my house to work with, so I rely on nature's AC at night and keeping the hot air out in the daytime.  Simple things like light reflecting window shades and well placed fans can make all the difference.   There are some great "green" tips for cooling your house and saving money here!

I am grateful for:
Hotdogs on the grill.
Cool and cloudy mornings
An Opportunity to learn something new!
Movies on dvd
On Memorial Day especially- the fallen and their families, who have given so much to the rest of us.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A mushroom story, and class with Mary Diamond

 When I was a little girl, my Grampa told me that if I would sit very quietly in the evening before the dew fell, I could watch the fairies play under the toadstools in the back yard of their house.  I spent many an hour waiting for them to appear- and stayed out if his hair in the process.  (wasn't I a gullible child?)

      So when I created my perennial bed, I had a thought in the back of my mind to find a big toadstool of some kind and  some fairies to play under it.    I have finally done it.  The mushroom/ toadstool (I wonder if there's a difference?) is made from an old version of our satellite dish and a length of chimney tile.  The top is the  non-woven "utility" fabric they sell at Joann.  I stitched a few layers together in the hope it will survive more than one summer out there. 

 The Museum Quilt Guild welcomed Mary Diamond to our meeting on Saturday! What beautiful work she does!!!  I had seen a couple of her pieces previously in  Lancaster, but I got to hold them and inspect them up close this time!

After the meeting, some of us stayed for a thread painting class.  These are the samples of what she teaches.  You actually make your own composition using floral print fabric- so no 2 are alike!
Some of Mary's fluorescent thread collection.  I have GOT to get some of these!

My piece as of the end of class.  It's only pinned to the stretcher, since I'm thinking it might need some greens and maybe some beads in those open areas.

A small thing you can do to make a difference to the planet is to recycle those tubes from your toilet paper!  Add it up some time to see how many you are throwing away.  Just toss them in with the cardboard and cereal boxes.  ( NOT in the abitibi paper bins!)

I am grateful for:
The weeds in the garden, which allow me to be in my happy place, watch birds using the water dishes I have set out for them, and enjoying the summer mornings before the sun gets so hot!
A really good book I don't want to put down.
A big job behind me!
Getting away for a day to play with friends.
28 more days until I see Guy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Moving outside for the season!

 This is my front porch- my outdoor living room in the summer.  The only time it's not  wonderful out there is late in the afternoon when the sun is shining directly in your eyes.  That's usually the time I'm cooking anyway.
 This is along the walkway to my back door and the deck.  I need more old shoes if you have some.  :-)
 Look who I found near the perennial bed out back!  If she hadn't set up a ruckus when I walked by, I'd have missed it.
 I couldn't see how many eggs without sticking the camera back in there.
 Even Mr Bunny is happy to be outside enjoying the fresh air!
 Meanwhile, here's what I've been working on in the studio- which is a complete mess these days.

Pieces for the May calendar quilt.  I cut back the number of ants.
 A scrappy donation quilt.  I love this pattern, Romantic Rosy by Kaffe Fassett in his book Quilt Road.  The nine patches use  scrap therapy size squares!!!
 At the ArtCGirlz meeting last week, Sarah Terry showed us some beading techniques. 
I've been practicing feathers, inspired by the book "Dream Feathers", on this scrap quilt- also intended for donation.

Thinking Green this time takes me to the garden. Often when I'm working out there, I find worms and larva and other yucky looking creatures- like the little green worms who ate all the leaves off my Columbine a few years back.  Before I spray them with pesticide, I try to find out what kind of creature they are.  That pesky little green worm might become a rare butterfly if you don't kill it.  So take a few minutes to learn about the creatures you share the world with before you exterminate them!

I am grateful for:
Magnets and arnica
the chance to help a friend in need
sharing a private joke with a friend
gentle breezes and warm sunshine
Tiny newborn kittens

Monday, May 7, 2012

Caught in a time warp!

Sunrise on a foggy morning, May 3
I guess I stepped into a wormhole or something because I didn't realize it had been two weeks since I last posted!  My brain has been turned off lately, though.
 It finally feels like actual Spring here.  Not too hot, but nice enough to be outside.  I have spent enough time in the gardens the last few days that I'm sore, my hands are all scratched up and at least one of my beds looks like a garden rather than a spot we didn't mow.
Taking a short rest before continuing the journey.

We enjoyed being on the path of the migration of Red Admiral butterflies last week.  I have never seen anything like it!  They were everywhere.  The yard was alive with them- every flower and branch.  Sadly, there were hundreds of them killed along the roads, too. 

Jack (in the pulpit) in (one block) Wonderland
Since I'm so far behind, I can show more sewing stuff.  Good thing, too, because it has been days since I've been in the sewing room. I'm starting to get the shakes! 

 I got the borders on the one block wonder I have been working on with a fabric Jane's "Sunshine and Shadows" collection. I would really like to have this finished for the show in October!  I need more practice with the quilting design I want to use first, though.
 I got the May calendar quilt finished.  Not looking forward to doing ants on the next one.  Not that I dislike ants, but the satin stitching is going to be a killer!
 I'm trying to figure out how to finish this piece from the mosaic "workshop" Kathi led at an ArtCGirlz meeting last year.    I wanted to make a sort of larger sunset behind the part with the trees.  But I didn't have much of that same fabric to work with. (the bit sticking out the sides is part of the strip set I haven't cut up yet.  I found some neat batiks to play with, so the whole thing may look different next time you see it.
I tried some curvy piecing after seeing it on Kathryn Schmidt's blog last week.  I bet she teaches a great way to do it easier than what I did, but it came out ok and was kind of fun!

My green tip this week is to remind you that how you drive, as much as the car you drive, affects the fuel efficiency of your car.  I am a lead foot, so I have to remind myself it's not really important how fast you get up the hill.  You save gas by letting your speed decrease a bit rather than accelerating up those hills.  There are other things you (and I!) can do.  A few of them are here!

I am grateful for:
The beauty of a sand mandala I was able to witness last week
A very understanding and supportive boss
An exciting baseball game!(which I always thought was an oxymoron)
A mild sunburn- to remind me to bring sunscreen