Friday, July 31, 2015

Don't Break the Chain

July 31st.
How can that be?
We're still waiting for summer up here!

I have been piecing quilts for over 30 years,
and it still amazes me
 that there is something new to learn every day.

My latest discovery:

I already knew that the drawn line is actually my fold line,
and my stitches must just kiss the line.
But I did not know that my unit would be more square
if I pressed it open BEFORE I cut the excess.
It has made a huge difference in my blocks,
especially when I am working with small squares,

such as these star points.  They only started out at 1.5" square.
I enjoyed making my niece's "Reach for the Stars" quilt so much,
that I decided it would be fun to make another.
This has been my leader-ender project 
while I construct my zebra quilt and my houndstooth quilt.
It's almost a flimsie!

My goal has been to see how long I can chain stitch
without breaking the chain.
When working on three projects at once, 
you can go for days!

One little finish that I can show you.

This was a UFO from last fall.
I made a darling wallhanging from the bonus half square triangles,
but gave it as a gift without taking a picture of it!
I kid you not!

Although it's been chilly, wet, and usually windy,
the birds still flock to the feeding station.
My sewing machine is set up 
front row, center!
(Who needs t.v.?)
There are babies everywhere...

Here's a quick pic of two baby Purple Finches,
waiting atop a tree for someone,
to come feed them!
Both parents assume that responsibility!
I had four breeding pair of Purple Finches this year,
and the babies are everywhere!
They are so cute.

Long (non-holiday) weekend in Canada...
and the weather looks a little better for the next few days!
Hope everyone enjoys!

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.