Saturday, March 31, 2012

Still pink.......

Even though we had some rain, it didn't knock off any petals on the Redbud trees.  This is one of the small trees along my driveway, at eye level.
This is what the older trees look like.  They are rather fragile and lose a lot of branches over the winter and in summer storms.  I have 7 trees across my backyard, mostly older trees and one about 10 years old.  They have all planted themselves.  On the left are my forsythia bush in the foreground and lilac bushes farther down.  That is my neighbor's forsythia still in bloom way down the line.  The garden is pretty bare right now but there are lots of hostas coming up, peonies, brunnera, lungwart and the usual weeds that survive no matter what.
Yesterday was errand day, laundry day, the usual stuff.  I did quilt some mug rugs but haven't put on the binding yet so I'll show them later.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Quilting finished........

Even though I thought I would take a day off on the quilting of this one, I was so close to done that I worked on it 3 separate times of the day and finished it last night.  Here it is ready for trimming.
After trimming I put it up on a design wall to study it and try to decide on a binding color.  It was too late last night to start looking for candidates so I'll do that today.
By the time the blooms on the Redbud trees are open this far, we usually have had a rain storm that knocks the petals off.  We have rain predicted so I'm glad I got a photo yesterday.
This is the view from the kitchen window.  It was a little cooler yesterday so I carried all of the fallen branches to my driveway for brush pickup next week. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012


As I cleaned out the area by the boiler to provide access for next week's installation, I decided I needed to document the boiler that came with the 1953 house that I live in.  Maybe no one else will care, but I do.  I did a search on the company and found out they merged with another company in 1955 and then were sold or traded a few more times over the years.  I'm wondering now if I can get this piece off the door it is mounted on and keep it.  You know, one more thing for my kids to throw away when they clean out my house some day.
I quilted most of the day yesterday on the cobblestone cross quilt and believe that I am about 3/4 done now.  I may skip quilting today and do something else for variety.  I think cutting sounds like fun right now.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Just quilting........

There is no glamorous new project, just plodding away quilting the cobblestone cross quilt.  I think I have about a third of it done.  I'm alternating working on this, cutting kits for an April class, preparing the program I'm doing for the local quilt guild, and doing a little yard work. I can never get bored with that many things to do.   The man who is putting in my new boiler next week came to measure the house and the windows to make sure he has the right size boiler for the square footage.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Did I need any more?

After a day of lots of fun, hadn't seen the art quilters since Jan., I was too tired to dig into a big project.  So what did I do, I had fun and made some more crooked cobblestones.  Did I need any more???  Well there may be another piece some day......and I needed some low key fun!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ready for company......

To prepare for my show and tell today with the art quilters I put the 7 finished Crooked Cobblestones on one double design wall.  They are left to right starting with the top row, #1, #5, #3 and the bottom row, #7, #8, #9, and #2.  The cross is #4 and is basted.  I have #6 and #10 ready to layer and baste.
The first red (and white) cacti bloom is fully opened now.  I know it looks just like the last 5 or 6 I have shown, but I have to take a photo of each.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pink row.......

The back yard is pink!  I took this photo the day before so it is even more pink than this.  It is just unbelievable that the Redbuds have bloomed so early.  I can remember  in previous years going to the quilt show in Paducah the third week of April and our trees hadn't fully bloomed yet.  Everything will be different in the back yard this year too with all of the trees cut down that made dense shade.  Now I will be able to plant some sun loving flowers back there.
The only sewing I did yesterday was to hem 2 pairs of slacks.  The rest of the day I continued to put away my clutter in the basement.  Today I will bake cookies and clean off one final table down there.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lots of things....

This is how I end almost every day when I'm too tired to do anything else.  I had 16 stacks of 2.5" squares to divide into 2 kits each.  Some nights I get one done, some nights 2.  
 I have 2 small redbud trees that volunteered to grow along my driveway.  They are big enough now to have lots of blooms.  They are on the north side of my driveway so they won't provide me with much shade but they will give the neighbor's driveway the shade.
Violets are blooming.
Pulmonaria/lungwort is up and blooming.  Oh, gee, look at all of the creeping Charlie in there too!  I think I see some wild strawberry in there too.  Both weeds send runners and it is impossible to keep them under control.
The lungwort always jumps the rock edging of the flower bed and comes up in the grass.  Since I knew it would be grass cutting time soon I dug it and potted it to share with some friends. 
Late in the afternoon I was the trusty assistant to my son as he installed a new larger window air conditioner for me.  I'm hoping for a cooler house this summer.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Nature and mug rugs.......

Redbuds in the morning.  I spent an hour outside picking up more fallen branches.  So many of them are broken into small pieces so it has been a big job.
Redbuds in the afternoon.  A lot of sunshine and some rain and they are starting to bloom.  The wind was blowing so the photo is a little blurry.
Remember the tiny tips of the peonies I showed a few days ago?  This plant is a foot tall.  There are others not quite as far along.  We had a rainstorm yesterday afternoon and more rain at night so I expect them all to be shooting up today.
Inside the house, one red blossom ready to open, 6 more buds on the red plant and 3 getting bigger every day on the white one.  
After I got home from computer club last night I finished 2 mug rugs.  I had quilted them before I left and put the binding on after the meeting.  The only other thing I did yesterday was to vacuum the basement and start clearing my clutter off the tables (a couple hours) to prepare for Monday (art quilters). Luckily it is going to cool off on Sunday for my baking day. The cool off is still 10+ degrees above the average for this time of the year so no complaints here. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Half sewn, more basting, and redbuds.....

I decided I needed to stick with it and sew the top half of this quilt.  The art quilters are coming Monday and I need the design walls cleared off.  I will have this photo for the layout of the bottom half so I can finish it later.  There is a lot of bias in this one but I kept it under control and it is going to finish a little under 35" square.  I would never be able to do a large one of this pattern but LeeAnn over at Nifty Quilts did make a large one and it is a beauty.  Be sure to click on the link and check it out.
The cross quilt is basted now.
I guess I don't need to worry about any freeze before the redbuds bloom.  We are still expecting a couple more days in the 80s and then the 60s over the weekend.  I think they will be fully in bloom by Sunday.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Another 80 degree day......

I should have taken my camera outside with me since that is where I spent a lot of time yesterday.  I dug out lavender Rose of Sharon volunteers from one flower bed, raked another, pulled lots of Periwinkle Vinca vine (and there is still way too much there), and dug some offending plants out of the front flower bed.  All of that fresh air and heat did me in.  I did get this one quilt basted in an hour while watching TV at night.  For new readers who wonder about my basting method check here and here.
This is what I wanted to sew on but I was just too tired.  I took a close up shot here so you can see some of the black and white prints better. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The necessary tasks.......

I did lots of things yesterday, necessary things: shopping for household supplies, taking down 3 storm windows and putting up the screens, paying bills.  Then I started cutting the batting for the next 2 quilts.  They will be numbers 7 & 8 of 14 to finish by mid-May.
This one looks so washed out under the fluorescent lights.  It really has more personality.  I pieced the backing for this one too.  I only needed to add a little bit as the quilt is almost 45" square and the fabric is 44" so I think the seam will hide under the hanging sleeve.
While looking for a backing I saw this batik in the pile.  I think I need to cut into it soon. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Another fun day....

I ended up taking the whole weekend off from my finishing routine.  I needed some fun time.  I made some mug rug pieces from cobblestone blocks and pieced a lot of the short strips in the bin into patchwork for the future.  I have no idea what I will use them for but I had fun.
Neither of my forsythia bushes are pretty shapes because I whacked them back over the last couple years.  They are blooming though.  This one is outside my kitchen window and is the bush the birds sit on to get out of the wind in the winter.
The redbud trees are just starting to show pink.  I hope we don't get a late freeze.  With 5 days in a row in the 80s it has been like summer.  Next weekend is supposed to go down to the low 50s which is still above the average temperature for this time.  I went out and dug out volunteer raspberry bushes and pruned a couple bushes.  I pick up a few branches every time I'm out.  There are so many small ones in the back yard and garden.  This old body is out of shape so it isn't much fun.  I need a yard boy.

Thanks everyone for trying to identify the bird from yesterday.  After I had a few clues I looked it up in a bird book but I was still not sure.  A couple birders told me it is a Cooper's Hawk and probably only a couple years old.  It looked a lot like a falcon in the books but one reader said the falcon has a darker head and I saw that when I did the research.  Another reader said it might be a sharp shinned hawk and the link she sent had a photo that looked a lot like it.  I didn't realize there were so many different kinds of hawks.  All I know is that I don't want it eating lunch in my yard and leaving the feathers for me to pick up.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Terror in the backyard and my reward......

Is it a hawk or a falcon?  Whichever it is it landed in my backyard to start having lunch.  By the time I moved to the next window to get a better shot, it took off and had lunch somewhere else.
This is what the squirrels do when a hawk flies over.  It is called FREEZE!  They run to the nearest tree and flatten themselves against the tree and remain motionless until they sense the danger is over.  See those little ears perked up to hear everything?  They remained like this for over a minute after the hawk flew away.  I spent some time outside digging yesterday trying to get the Rose of Sharon under control.  It drops seeds and dozens of new sprouts come up.  I haven't kept up with them and have about 3 years worth to dig out.  I just did one small area and dug around 50 volunteers.  I have a friend who will take a few but I'll have to throw the rest away.  And this is just the white ones; I have the purple ones at the other end of the house.
And now for my reward.  I had 2 finishes this week so I got a reward sewing session making more crooked cobblestones.  They are so much fun to make.  In fact I have to hide the bin with the fabric in it or I would only be making them and doing nothing else.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Rainbow River - Portrait....

Rainbow River is finished, #6 of 14 that need to be done by the end of May.  Now you can see why I chose 6 colors for binding.  I want the binding to blend in and not take over as a frame.
Here is a closer look at the binding color changes.
Back yard report:  Chippy is back and so is his brother (or wife).  This is one of them.  I know the photo is a little blurry but he just wouldn't stand still for a second.  He didn't even get scared off by the squirrel.  Notice the little red tips of the peonies coming up back there.  I may get more blooms this year since the trees that gave me dense shade are gone.
Here is the other one hanging onto the feeder tube while he pulls out sunflower seeds.  He (or she) didn't cooperate for the photo either.
You have heard of Chipmunk Cheeks? Well this guy has a mouthful!  Look at the bulging cheek.  He made many trips back to his family or his hiding place under my neighbor's back porch.  Another day of 80 degrees when our average high would be 46 degrees.  We will set a record of the number of days over 70 degrees in any March on record if this continues on through Sunday.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rainbow River quilting......

I wanted the quilting on Rainbow River to resemble ripples in the water.  After procrastinating for 2 days since loading this quilt I finally tackled it and it only took 2 hours to quilt it.  I had to change the bobbin color three times and the top color 4 times.
I had it laying on the table to be trimmed and the sunlight was coming in the basement window and shining across the quilt.
I am fairly happy with the quilting.  I hope I will be liking it better by the end of the day today.  I rarely like the quilting right after I have done it.
The binding needed to match each edge somewhat so these are the choice I'm using.  I got the binding sewn on last night and started the hand sewing.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sparkling Stars......

Sparkling Stars is making its debut, binding done, label on.  I made the binding a little wider on this one as a design element.  A narrow binding wouldn't have been quite enough of the stripe.  This is number 5 of 14 that need to be finished by the end of May.
I checked my daffodils and I'm going to get a few blooms this year.  I guess I need to dig up the other batch and spread them out since they haven't bloomed for 2 years.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

official portrait for #5

Crooked Cobblestones 5, officially finished and labeled in its official portrait.  It is 13" x 18.5".