Saturday, July 25, 2015

Butterflies Abound

Or do they?

Summertime means lots of beautiful insects,
the most stunning of which might be the butterfly.
Fun to emulate,
butterflies can be found on many items,
including quilts, of course!


The Butterfly Quilt by Tula Pink

Two Etsy finds that tickled my butterfly fancy.

Viking Village
Studio Swoon Handmade

  Perhaps the most majestic of all is
the Monarch,
(Danaus plexippus).

It is a species at risk, folks,
largely due to habitat loss,
and we can help.
I have been viewing some absolutely beautiful gardens
on many of the blogs I visit.
 rely soley on milkweed for growth and survival.
I encourage you to google which species of milkweed plant
is native to your specific area
and to incorporate these beautiful plants
into your (hopefully chemical free) garden spaces.
These are the plants, the ONLY plants, that the Monarch Butterfly
will lay her eggs on.  Under the leaves.  
One at a time.

Or en masse.
This year, I have planted three mature Swamp Milkweed plants,
and I've started three babies from seed.
One (of the mature) is just starting to bud out now
and I am so excited.
I haven't seen a Monarch on my property
since September of 2012.

Thanks for considering my request.
It's such a simple thing to do.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

If Wishes Were Horses...

....then beggars would be kings!
And I'd accomplish a whole lot more than I do!

Last summer, it finally dawned on me
that I just can't make everything I see!
Others seem to.
They make time to create their own designs and patterns, too.
AND have awesome blogs.


What I have created, though, is quite a lengthy Wish List.
On Pinterest.  On Craftsy.  In my trusty little notebook.
On slips of paper that clutter the counter then get lost in the shuffle.
And still, I forget where I saw what.

My most recent wish list consists of several lengths of backing fabric.
I found a great source.
And it has a great name!  One I won't forget!

I've recently done a little business with Christine
and it has been a delightful experience.
She advertises 100% customer satisfaction,
and she means it!
I hope you'll take the opportunity to visit BackSide Fabrics
and peruse her wares.  She's having a sale right now,
as a matter of fact!  Perhaps you'll find the perfect backing 
for your next quilt like I did!

I'd share more from my wishlist,
if I could just remember....

In the meantime, I plug away at both my machines,
doing the best I can.
I'm pokey, no doubt about it.
(When I was in my 40's and tooling about with my dad,
he used to tell me that I'm the only person he knows
that's slower than his 80 year old mother!
It kind of blows my mind that I'm the same age now
that he was then!)

I wish I could sew like Jenny Doan
and never have to stop to square anything up,
and have everything seem to fit together perfectly.

I wish we could load a whole spool of thread into the bobbin casing
and never run out of bobbin thread.

This morning I'm building zebra ears.

Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts
designed the cutest zebra quilt.

THEN she posted a tutorial on how to make just one.

I made it and I was hooked.
I keep it next to me for reference.
Hmmm, takes a lot longer to make 16 zebras than to make one!
But, they are fun, fun, fun!

I'm working on a couple of other projects at the same time
as my zebra ears, but no pics, I'm afraid.

Hope you're working on something fun today, too.

Since today is all about wishing,
my wish for you is to have a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Warbler Guide Birding App: A Review

No quilty business today!  
Sometimes I'm just a bird brain!

A few weeks ago, I was invited by Princeton University Press
to review their new Warbler Guide App.
I jumped at the opportunity, only to discover that I could not
access the App from ITunes while I'm vacationing in Canada.
So, I turned to my nerdy Birdy Brother-in-Law for help!

No, no! That's not him.

There he is!
He is my birding mentor
and soley responsible for my birding addiction.
Remind me sometime to tell you about our winter birding adventures
in (Brrrrrrrrrrr) Maine when I was just a beginner.
What did I learn?  Well.....A duck isn't just 'a duck'...
....And not all white clumps are snow....

...But, back on track,
and without further adieu, 
I'd like to take this opportunity to share his review of

The Warbler Guide App

Warblers are some of the most fun birds to find and identify. Unlike sparrows, who are all small brown birds, or sandpipers, who are difficult to distinguish without lots of practice, warblers come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Many are so distinctive in their spring breeding plumage, that it would be nearly impossible to confuse them with any other species. Their colors and patterns are strikingly beautiful.

            The problem with identifying warblers is that it can be difficult to get good looks at them as they flit around the tree tops feeding. Anyone who has followed the sharp, loud, “teacher, teacher, teacher” call of an ovenbird can attest to how hard it is to actually see the bird. And then, in the fall, many warblers lose their brilliant colors and become the “confusing fall warblers” as Roger Troy Peterson famously called them. That is when I need some help identifying them.

            I recently downloaded the new app from Princeton University, “The Warbler Guide.” It covers all the warblers found in the US. Oftentimes, we only catch a quick glimpse of a warbler, maybe from underneath or maybe just of its face. While most field guides only show warblers from a side view, this new app shows every warbler from six different angles: side, face, 3D, 45 degrees, underside and undertail. Did you know that the undertail pattern of many warblers is all you need to ID it? Sometimes that is all you see and that is enough with this app.

            The search function in the app can be programmed by region, season, and color which quickly limits the number of possible birds to search through. Then when I choose from the pictures of all the possible warblers I might see, I also get similar species to compare. So if I am birding the north east in the fall and see a drab gray warbler with a yellow patch on the throat, I might click on  the common yellow throat picture. 

This pulls up the common yellow throat page with taps that leads to an amazing amount of information, such as maps, aging, photos, and habitat. One of the most helpful tabs, especially for identifying birds in the field is the “Comparison Species” which shows similar species.

            This app is really quite complete. It provides all the information needed to identify even the most confusing fall birds or those birds that are difficult to get a good look at. It provides all their songs as well. If you are looking to learn your warblers, this app is just the thing you need. It is easy to use and having such a complete guide with so much information at your fingertips in the field is really amazing.

Great review, Don!  Thanks a million!
I expect our birding adventures next spring
will be that much more awesome.

for this great opportunity.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Few Finishes

June is over all ready?
I do have a few finishes.
I just kind of poke along at my own pace.

First up,

"Keeping Perspective"

My first (and maybe only) foray into modern quilting.
Inspired by a quilty blogging friend of many years,
who embraced modern quilting, and
despite reoccurring medical issues over the last two years,
she never appeared to skip a beat, never stopped smiling,
and continued sharing her knowledge and skills.
Her word of the year?

"Keeping Perspective" was custom quilted by
Natalia Bonner of PieceNQuilt.
Pop over to see!
Her pics are so much nicer!

Another finish was my Posie Quilt,

gifted to a friend who was just diagnosed with breast cancer.
It was delivered yesterday and she was just delighted.

Here's how I quilted it.

And here's the sweet label,
I just took the flowers out of the middle of the pattern.

Last, but not least, I made a wallhanging for my nephew.

It measures 24x32.
He just got his first apartment and had a birthday, too!

June was a rainy, cold month.
Believe it or not, I'm still having warming fires in the mornings!
Here's hoping summer finds us soon!


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Real Life

Quick Post

Projects are often staged in cleverly arranged photo shoots,
but in real life, this is what's going on at my house,
with no time taken to edit the photos,
because as you can see, I've got work to do!
And my new laptop and I still haven't bonded.

1. The kit I am so glad I bought.  Helped me get back into the groove
after being away from the machine for so long.
2. My Elephant Parade, just short of half machine quilted.
3. Posies from the UFO bin for a friend 
just diagnosed with breast cancer.
UFOs rock!
4. The Houndstooth quilt I've always wanted to make.  
This will be my airfare quilt this year, 
purchased by the friend just diagnosed with cancer,
for her last and final grandchild.
This makes four!
She deserves a comfort quilt after making my annual
migration to TX affordable three years in a row!

5.  The Broken Dishes blocks that WERE going to be the border 
of the Posies quilt - oh, so long ago.  
There are enough for a sweet baby quilt.
6.  The afghan I'm crocheting during evening hours and on road trips.
7.  My next project, by The Raspberry Rabbits!

Last but not least,
your favorite,
a bird picture.

whetting his whistle.
This is just a medium sized plant pot and saucer
turned upside down.  The birds love it.

I'm going to have a busy, quilty day
since it's cold and rainy.  Again.
Hope your day is special in some way!


Monday, June 1, 2015

Double the Quilty Delight

Saturday dawned cloudy, foggy, and chilly
here on the water, but turned into the perfect day
to travel with The Cuddle Quilter to the annual

Thistle Guild Quilt Show
Westville, NS
May 30, 2015

and meet up with the
Nova Scotia Bloggers Quartet!

Lesley, The Cuddle Quilter, Linda, our very own Scrapmaster
and Sheila of Sheila's Quilt World, a Thistle Guild member,
stop to admire one of Sheila's entries in the quilt show.  
The back is just as pretty as the front!

During TeaTime, we had a fun, fun swap!
Armed only with each other's initials to embroider,
it was exciting to see what we each made!

Here's Linda Ooohing and Aaawing over the wallet
Sheila included in the beautiful batik tote bag she made.

I used a pattern from a Gail Pan book to make Lesley
a drawstring bag.

And Lesley used the same Gail Pan book
to make a beautiful tote
for Sheila

Always the industrious one, 
Lesley added a stitchery to BOTH sides!

Linda made me a cover for my KitchenAide
because she knows all it does is sit on my counter
and collect dust!
I'm excited to get my mixer down from winter storage
and dress it all up!  They are pretty heavy.

The Tea Room, so beautifully decorated,
was filled to the brim,
but it was like we were the only ones there!

We had so much fun, I know we were the envy 
of all those other quilters in attendance!

The afternoon was doubly delightful for me,
because upon our return,
I had a one-on-one show 'n tell at Lesley's house
of all the beautiful finishes she accomplished 
while she patiently waited out the long, hard winter,
as well as a sneak peak of her future projects.
Everything is even more beautiful in person
than pictured on her blog.
I was so inspired,
I couldn't wait to get home and get to work!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Spring Market Cornered

I love spring!
And I get to welcome this time of renewal in Texas,

Puppy helping me clean out and rehang birdhouses.
then in Massachusetts,
up into Maine,
Trout Lilies on the bank of a stream.
and now back home in Cape Breton.

My new barn quilt, compliments of Crafty Daughter.
(I might enjoy it more here in Cape Breton if it was a little warmer!)

After a month of travel and a week back,
I've finally set up my sewing stations,
reacquainted myself with my Janome,
and made my 'to do' list.

I've visited lots of friends and family,

My little sister, The Fern Lady, and my Birdman BIL.
have seen many migrating birds,

Yellow Warbler
and went hiking at some new places,
but now it's time to start sewing again!

I'd say I've got the Spring Market cornered, for sure,

and instead of new lines of fabric and patterns,
I enjoyed 'the fabric and patterns of nature'.

Speaking of visiting friends,
I had a lovely visit from Julia, all the way from Yarmouth, NS.
She blogs over at Jada's Quilting Adventures.
She was raised on the island and still has family here.
She brought her sweet sister to meet me, too!
She's a new quilter!
We never thought to get a picture, though!

Have a great week!