Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Early Morning Visitors

Early yesterday morning I looked out the window and saw these visitors... Momma pheasant and her 2 chicks! She is usually very shy (unlike the male who is often at this spot - I showed his photo earlier this summer) and it is unusual for her to be so close to the house. BUT the back field was recently mowed - so in order to get to the yummy flowers/seeds that they like to eat, they came closer to the house - the back slope is not mowed yet and the grass is very deep. You actually can't see the top of the chicks heads when they are in the deep grass - here they just jumped up onto the rock. Momma kept a very watchful eye the entire time.
I did try to post this yesterday, but for some reason Blogger only posted the title - no photo or text! So, I am trying again today.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Spare Tire

Thinking that this pattern would be a good stash buster, I cut this quilt out last fall from a bunch of old blue and light pastel prints. I am not sure that I entirely like it -the pieces seem large to me - but it is already cut out, partly pieced, and since I can't seem to settle on a new pattern to work on, this will do. After it is all done and quilted - I am sure I will like it just fine! Why, I am already thinking about a backing, so it must be growing on me.
In this photo, I have some pieced segments laid down on the floor, ready to be pinned together - no pins yet - hence that little pair of bare feet you see - chasing a balloon. He ran into the photo so quickly (or at least part of him ) that his head didn't quite make it!
A good lesson learned - it is nice to have a quilt all cut out and ready to go when you are at odds and ends about what to do. Call it my SPARE TIRE! Next time my creative quilting juices are flowing, I will remember this and cut out an extra quilt to put away for just such a time. Because even though I can't decide about what to make right now, it is good to be able to sit at my sewing machine here and there and make progress on something (without having to make any decisions)!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Star Struck (Out) Again!

Another star attempt. I decided to try something a little "easier" than Harvest Sun as a starter star block and after more than 1 bobbin of sewing (those strips are cut a mere 1 3/8", so lots of sewing)- this is the result. Could it be my seam allowance is off by that much? I don't think so because every other quilt I make (without these pesky little diamonds that I am so drawn to of late) comes out pretty close to perfect. Or, perhaps the cutting directions had an error? Maybe I even cut the angle wrong in teh first place. Whatever the case... I am still starless. Good thing I know that I am a decent quilter and have made beautiful quilts in the past, because believe me, these stars have me stumped. If I had my quilting start with stars and they were coming out like this - I would have run away from quilting and never looked back!
A funny little side-note about this star attempt... when I started out I asked my husband about the angles on the ruler... I just wanted to confirm that I was using the correct angle. He assured me that was the correct cutting line, so after I got all these segments pieced - and yes, I had them all pieced before I realized they didn't fit together - I showed him the results. We both laughed and laughed because for some reason it struck us both as very funny, this lopsided star.

Not to worry though - they fit together a different way and create a rather interesting design that I can use for something else (that is 2 rows of segments stacked together in the photo). And, I will attempt another star, another day! I KNOW I can figure these buggers out; there has to be a trick in it somewhere. But phoo-ey, I wanted THIS star to come out perfectly. Humph.

What about Shakespeare in the Park you ask? Done, done, done!!! I am pleased to have it finished because toward the end I sort-ov lost momentum. You know how it is - you start out so excited, make tons of blocks, lay it all out on the floor so you get the big picture, and then... fizzle. At that point I know what the big picture looks like, so on to the next project, right? But, I had so much work into this top and it was so close to being finished that I stuck it out, one connecting seam at a time. Phew. That was a close one - would hate to have that end up as a UFO, cluttering up the back corners of my mind with cobwebs. So, it is done and eventually I will send it off to be quilted and when it comes back all beautiful, I will take a completed photo to share.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Garden Visit!

Little Boy and I made a visit to a beautiful public garden this week! He is such a happy gardener and was just thrilled by the variety of plants and flowers! I was so hoping that he would like it because it is a bit of a trip to get there (about 5 1/2 hours round trip, but then again - we live in a remote location so he is used to traveling - if we want to go anywhere it is always about 5 hours round trip!). Believe me, sometimes I think long and hard before venturing forth on an outing!!!
We had a private 1 hour tour with a golf cart and he very excitedly kept hopping in and out of the golf cart to smell the flowers! By the end of the tour his little nose was stained yellow! The guide was pretty impressed with his knowledge of plants, their names, how carefully he stepped around them, deadheading, shade plants vs sun plants, the ones that butterflys and humming birds like, etc.! Well, we do spend a fair amount of time puttering around with our plants and anytime I tell him anything - he is like a little sponge and just absorbs it all right up! Just last night I was running to the internet to look up the proper names for different types of clouds. One thing I like about our gardens - I always figure that if he has a water hose in his hand - it is a bit like a dog leash - he will be right there at the end of it!
He was surprised to learn that roses have individual names (not just "rose") and we spent a fair amount of time at the roses while he ran from one to another asking the names of each one!
We had some tea (yup, my boy likes tea!) and he even got to "play" a bit on the big lawn while I finished my tea (ah, bliss for Momma!).
We saw some very pretty gardens! There was a hedge maze, a spiral garden (the spirals were made out of sage), an all white garden (lovely!), bright colorful gardens, all kinds! The fun thing for me was to see what does well in this cold Canada climate; I have some ideas about what I want to plant next year. And this month - well, Little Boy and I have plans to move some of our plants around a bit - gardening is always like that, I guess.
To remember our visit we bought a few new flowers and a bird house. And - one of the gardeners pulled up a clump of pansys for him to bring home too - he was so excited that they had them - "just like our garden at home"! Except, a-hem, our garden is not exactly "just like" a public garden with tons of gardeners on staff! But, shhhh - don't tell Little Boy - our garden just shines in his eyes!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Summer Whale Watching

While most of you are sweltering in the summer heat, Little Boy and I donned winter coats and went whale watching in the Bay of Fundy. Now, while it was in the high 60's on dock, as soon as we pulled out of the harbor on a small lobster boat, Little Boy wanted his winter hat and fleece jacket. A little bit further and he was bundled up in his winter coat. After about an hour at sea, the engine noise, rocking of the boat and fresh air lulled him to sleep. So, he got a good nap in before we got out to the whales - they were about 2 hours off-shore, which is a bit further out than normal this time of year. But the ride out was definately worth it, and a boat ride on a nice day is part of the fun! When we got very close to the whales, I woke him up.
These are photos of endangered RIGHT WHALES! We were very close - actually one came right up along side the boat. Little Boy liked it when they laid on their sides and slapped their flippers. We got a good show of blows, head, tails (everyone loves a good tail shot, but once you see that tale in the air - it will be a good 10-12 minutes before the whale comes back up again - not a big deal for us because there were several whales in this group so even when 1 was diving there was still another whale to see). We were so close that we could even see their 2 blow holes and smell their stinky breath!!!!
If you ever get a chance to go whale watching - remember.... sunscreen, sunglasses (my son almost always wears sunglasses outside, and my own glasses get dark outside), winter coats, hats, drinks (plus sippy cup), snacks... I even had changes of clothing in case Little Boy got seasick, oh, and the ever present Elmo, of course, plus a small toy, and yes - my camera. Next time around I will definately bring foam ear buds though because after awhile, with the noise of the boat engine, you start to wish you had some with you. No wonder I always go everywhere totting a duffle bag!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Shakespeare Puzzle!

Shakespeare in the Park - a pattern by Judy Martin. You might remember that I started this BLUE top in December and then left Austria in January. I brought the pieced segments with me to Cape Cod, but not the directions (oops!). BUT - I did have a completed PURPLE Shakespeare in Canada. So my plan - set the segments aside until I got to Canada where I could lay them all out on the purple quilt to figure out just where all these pieces go!!! Puzzle solved, phew!

So, no, it is not a purple and blue quilt. The purple one is done - on the bottom - the blue one I am working on. If you can call a seam here and there "working on". But - it is summer and I am super busy with other things. After my not so perfect Harvest Sun block (thanks for all the nice comments though!), I decided to concentrate my efforts on finishing up a few odds and ends I have around before really settling down to tackle some more complex star and diamond patterns - maybe stars will be a good plan for winter? Anyway! Just a few more seams on this one and it will be ready to be quilted - but I won't have time/space to lay it back out until probably Monday, but it is soooo very close to being finished, I just had to share!!!! Oh - and yes, that would be my Growing Little Boy flying an airplane across the top because it is so very obviously an ocean with stars, right? Perfect for an airplane flight. He took the photo of me pinning the segments together, he has a good eye for a 4 year old!

This is my 3rd Shakespeare and I plan to make more! Next time around I will be sure to try to keep my project and pattern directions together. I just love this pattern!!! Come on - I know some of you have been contemplating this pattern - give it a whirl!