5/5/15

Northwest Quilter's Guild Quilt Show: Day Four

Are you ready for another installment? There are more to come, even after today...so let's get started.

This one is probably the next embroidered quilt I'm going to start on. I believe I've seen this quilt before, but on this day, I was paying special attention to the quilting. Since I don't expect to finish mine for at least a couple of years, I'm hoping I'll live long enough to quilt it someday. In any case, this quilter has done a wonderful job with the quilting. This is Hocuspocusville from Crabapple Hill Studios. My apologies to the quiltmaker. Again, I neglected to take a picture of the card that accompanied it. I was completely caught up in the beautiful quilting.


I took lots of pictures of this one.







This next one just made me smile.




I neglected to get a picture of the card accompanying this next one too. As I was looking at it, I sort of waxed silently about quilting philosophy because this was beautiful hand applique. It got me wondering what keeps me from doing more hand applique...or any, for that matter. It occurred to me that any hand work, whether it's hand applique, hand quilting, or hand embroidery, is very time-consuming. And since there are still only 24 hours in a day, I think anyone who does hand work has to decide where their preference lies. For me, it is obviously in hand embroidery. That is not to say that I won't at some point decide to do some other kind of hand work. For now, I have too many embroidery patterns I want to make to think about doing some other kind of hand work. So if applique is going to be in my repertoire, it's going to be the quicker fusible machine applique. Same goes for quilting. Nevertheless, I loved this quilt. 


Here's a male quilter.









I saved this beautiful quilt for last. When you look at the front, it's nothing special...until you start paying close attention to the quilting. Then, you start seeing things that don't initially meeting the eye.



Now move around to the quilt back, and...fantastic! Look at the hanging sleeve. Even that is quilted!


And that seems like a good place to stop for the day. I'll have more for you tomorrow.

Grow Where You're Planted

No sewing on my slow day yesterday, but all the planting is finished. Now I'm seriously hoping for a nice soaking rain over the next couple of days.

Since I was out at the hottest part of the day and the sun was shining, I decided to start in the greenhouse with the tomatoes. My hope was that the clouds would move in in the interim. The tomatoes are all repotted in their big-boy pots now. In about six weeks, I'll transplant them yet again into their largest pots of the season.


We've had problems with leaf curl on the tomatoes in the past couple of years. I've read and read and I can't really tell whether our problem is caused by fungus or by insects. In any case, we've taken to spraying them with a mixture of detergent and water and also dusting them with sulfur dust. I noticed just a hint of leaf curl the other day, and so they've been dusted with sulfur dust already. Hoping to nip that in the bud, so to speak.

The lettuce is looking good. Unfortunately, the leaves got burned a little bit the other day. I had watered the plants and some moisture remained on the leaves. When it got hot in the greenhouse in the afternoon, the moisture burned some of the tips of the leaves. With the plants so small, this is hardly a tragedy, but that will teach me to water them later in the afternoon from now on.


The other day I purchased a basil start. I love this for pesto. It too got repotted into a larger pot.


I noticed that one more of the late sunflowers has sprouted. There are still two more that have yet to do anything. I dug around in the pots and found one seed that seemed to have germinated and then died. I buried it again, but I doubt it will do anything. I couldn't find the other seed at all. Oh well. I have plenty of sunflowers.


As for the other ten, I transplanted them into the culinary herb garden along with the herbs. In the image below is some English lavender and one of the sunflowers.


Here's another one with some Spanish lavender.


Here, I have three different kinds of thyme. In the lower left is orange thyme. Upper left is English thyme, and on the right is lemon thyme. All of my thyme plants died this past winter.


Here is some tarragon to replace the tarragon that also did not come back the spring.


This is Italian parsley, although since purchasing the start, I've realized that I have Italian parsley growing everywhere. It has never come back in the spring, and so you gotta wonder: What killed the usually hardy herbs when the usually weak ones are flourishing?


My Kentucky Colonel mint died this year, but this spearmint below is still growing. I have not done anything to encourage it in quite some time. You can see that it is planted in a pot buried in the ground. That is because (if you've ever grown mint, you know) it grows and takes over everything like the thing what ate Los Angeles. When we realized that some years ago, we dug up both plants, put them in pots, and then buried the pots. It still puts out runners through the bottom of the pot, and it is a constant battle to keep it under control. The leaves are looking yellow on this...probably from lack of fertilizer. As I said, I'm doing nothing to encourage it.


When I noticed that it was growing like crazy in one of the nearby whiskey barrels, I decided to just let this pot go. I've asked Mike to dig it up for me, along with the pot containing the remains of the dead Kentucky Colonel mint. This in the whiskey barrel is growing along with some of the remaining tulip bulbs and volunteer mini iris bulbs. It may kill the bulbs, but I'll sacrifice those if it means having the mint in a controlled container.


The chives are really starting to blossom now. I wasn't going to make any chive blossom vinegar this year, but I gave my two remaining bottles from last year to the kids when they were over. Now I have just a little bit left, so I'll make some after all. It's kind of fun. I love the chives for the double duty they do in the garden.


Now here's something: This is the lilac plant we have had since we moved into the house. It was planted near a pine tree that grew up tall and that leaves the lilac in shade 100% of the time. The lilac appears to be dead, but each year it puts out a smattering of leaves. Just yesterday, I noticed it is blooming.


Wonders never cease.


And this is our poor sad little apple tree. It was planted ten years ago, and it has never done a thing. I think it might have produced one apple in all that time, which the deer ate before it ever got near ripening. Mike was planning to take it out years ago, but this is what happens when you combine a full-time job with 7 acres of property to care for. Some things just never quite get to the top of the priority list.


Yesterday I noticed it is blooming. Like I said, wonders never cease.


I've been looking at the plum tree almost daily to see if any plums have shown themselves yet. Yesterday I noticed one high over my head. I'm sure others will show themselves soon, but this is the first one I've seen.


It's the best year ever for the dogwood tree. Yay!


And the flowers are trying to open on the little daphne.


The strawberries were knocked back severely by the ice storm in November, but the ones that are left are blooming. They'll fill in soon enough.


Of course I had my trusty cat along with me on the day's gardening excursion.


Remember the pictures of the Anna's hummingbirds from yesterday? I told you that when the light catches them right, they have brilliant ruby heads and throats. Smitty and I were sitting outside drinking a Mike's lemonade when the hummingbird wars started up and I was able to catch this one.



Also, we were able to get an image of one of the Rufous hummingbirds. They are small, even by hummingbird standards, but they are tough little buggers. They have more orange on their little bodies. You can see it a little in these images.



And that was our day in the garden. It's good to have all of that planting done.

Today is going to be all sewing all the time. I've missed out on sewing for the last several days, and I'm ready to get back to it.

5/4/15

Slow Morning

Since it's almost noon, I don't have much time left before I have to start calling it a slow day. This morning I was up at my usual before-dawn hour (courtesy of my little cat who gets ants in his furry pants around 5:00 a.m.). Usually, this is no problem for me. I read email, check-in on social media, do my embroidery, eat breakfast, and drink lots of coffee.

This morning, I was so sleepy doing my embroidery after Mike left for work, that I laid down on the couch and took a long nap. I must have needed the sleep, although I'm not sure why. Could be just the work I put into dinner yesterday, but even that doesn't seem to explain it to my usual morning-person self. I guess it doesn't matter, and I'm not making excuses. That's just an observation that I was tired this morning and took a nap as a result.

It was a lovely day in every way yesterday. The sun was shining, and there was no wind. The wind often makes it uncomfortable to be outside for visiting, but there was none of that. Last week I bought two "Hum Buttons". You might have seen these on social media. They are little tiny (and surprisingly expensive) hummingbird feeders you can hold in your hand. I took this next image off Pinterest so you could see them:


I decided to give it a try when I saw some hummingbirds flying around our feeders. This is an Annas Hummingbird. In the right light, their throats are ruby red.


So I held the hum button up overhead where s/he could see it. Hm, s/he thought, this feeder right here will do nicely.


After half an hour, I hadn't enticed any hummers to eat from my hand, but I'll keep trying. If necessary, I'll remove their feeders and then see if they're more interested. There's more than one way to feed a bird.

Early in the afternoon, I decided to break out my new fingerpaints. For one thing, all the tubes were sealed, and I didn't want to mess with that after everyone got here. My family can be funny about things, and since I wasn't sure I could convince anyone to fingerpaint with me, I decided to strike out on my own. This is my masterpiece. I know you're going to be impressed:


Move over, kindergartners of the world. Perhaps I could make a quilt of this as well.

As it turns out, fingerpainting didn't fit into our evening. After the family arrived, we got engrossed in playing this game that Matthew and Valerie brought me.


It's a board game and a kind of puzzle wrapped into one. There are two players. The one who last had a needle in his/her hand goes first. (That was, unsurprisingly, me.) You move your piece around the game board. When both players reach the center, the game is over and the score is tallied. As you go, you're collecting buttons, which can be spent for "quilt blocks" (spread in a circle here). The goal is to fill in as much space on your individual game board as possible. If you are the first to create a 7 x 7 patch, you get a special "trophy" which will increase your point-holdings in the end. 


Matthew ponders his next move.


It was really quite fun! There is some strategy involved that I think one could figure out after playing it a few more times. It's also in a small box, so it's ideal for Mike and me to take along when we're traveling. Definitely a good choice for this birthday girl.

Erik and Mae brought roses. They almost always bring flowers. So sweet of them.


And those are all the pictures I took last night. Sometimes pictures just don't fit into the evening, you know? We had a good dinner and a good time, and it was good to see everyone. Their lives have grown so busy, we don't see them nearly often enough.

Today my goal is to do some planting. The weather has been lovely for the past several days, but at this time of the year, rain is always just a few days off. Today I'm ready to plant my new herbs and my sunflowers. It would be good for them to have a few cool rainy days to get them started. Also, if that doesn't wear me out, I'll transplant my tomatoes into larger pots. If there's time left over, I'll get some sewing done.

So with that, I'm off. Or maybe I'll drink another cup of coffee.