Saturday, July 18, 2009

Passing It On

Hey all! I just wanted to pass along a link to an uplifting blog entry I read. It's Aunt Ruthie's site (link in my sidebar). She's done a great job with this entry. Want to be uplifted for your day? Need an attitude adjustment? A gentle reminder you are loved.

Now, go have a great day!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Applique Dazzling Dogs Quilt

Dazzling Dogs pattern pieces drawn on fusible web.Since I am side-tracked with my injury I've set aside my Rattlesnake quilt for awhile. I've gone back to working on the applique Dazzling Dogs quilt. I started this some time ago and have all the pieces drawn on fusible web. Now I'm ready to look through my stash to find all the various fabrics that make up the images. That's going to be my goal over the weekend.

A quick peek at the background fabrics for my blocks.Here's a quick peek at the fabrics I chose for the backgrounds of my dog blocks. I wanted to go with something that would coordinate with the living room so I could throw this across the back of the couch. The brights shown on the pattern photos would have been nice, but we don't have much in the way of brights in the house. Here's hoping for more of a cabin/country look to my dog quilt. I've got lots of fabrics that should fit this kind of a relaxed, cabin category. Maybe one day when I am able to get a vintage trailer I can use it there to take it out on campouts. I'm looking forward to getting this one going.

The plan is to decide on all the fabric pieces for all the blocks. Then heat up the iron and fuse them all down in place as the pattern pieces direct. And last will be the stitching on all the blocks. I think doing all the sewing of the blocks together will save time in the long run and keep from having to make so many thread changes.

An important safety device for quilters - Safety Guards for rulers.Here's the best advice I can give to anyone in blogland who is a quilter. Be sure to adhere these safety guards to your rulers. They will go a long way toward helping you stay safe. They will definitely help to avoid the type of accident I just had last week. We had them on the rulers at the sewing/quilting store where I used to work so I can't use the excuse of not knowing about them. I just always thought I wouldn't be so careless as to ever really need them. I assumed because I had gone for years (lots of years!) without them and without any accidents, that it wouldn't happen to me. But the whole definition of accident leaves the possibility that something like this could happen to anyone. Accidents aren't planned, they just happen. Okay, enough of the safety speech. Just wanted to pass on some good precautionary info. Plus, they're easy and quick to apply. Do it once and they're always there keeping you safe from accidents without you even having to think about it. And they make a good handle grip to grab your ruler just a bit faster. Can't beat that!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ouch! A Quilting Injury

I have a boo-boo.I have a boo-boo! Yesterday I was sewing with a friend, working on my Rattlesnake quilt, when I had a rotary cutter accident. I feel really dumb for having this happen. I know how to use a rotary cutter. In fact I've been using them for years with no problems . . . until yesterday. It took only a split second to happen. I ended up slicing half of my fingernail and the tip of my middle finger off of my right hand. Ouch!! What hurt worse than the actual cut was the huge needle jabbed into my finger when the doctor shot lidocaine in it to numb it. It took five stitches to help close up the wound before it would quit bleeding. The doctor said when the nail grows back it should help hide the scar that will be there.

Needless to say this will keep me from sewing and doing much with my hand for awhile. It's pretty tender even with the pain meds prescribed for me. I don't like to take too much of that because it makes me loopy, nauseous and sleepy. I'm going to be kicking back, taking it easy for the next several days.

Ouch, even typing to my blog is affected.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rain, Rain - Wet Robin

Raindrops look like round circles in the light of the flash.We got a good thunder and rain storm tonight. Thankfully the tornado from the warning west of Mandan didn't cause any trouble for us in Bismarck tonight. We did manage to get quite a bit of rain in a short period. I thought I'd snap a few photos to put on my blog. Little did I know at the time the raindrops falling would be caught in the light of the flash and appear as blotchy round circles in the picture. This is not rain on the lens, but rather rain as it was falling from the sky and suspended in motion with the flash of the camera. I took several more photos trying to get some good shots of how the heavy rain and blustery blowing wind made it look outside. Most are so splotched with round circles like this you can hardly make out anything else in the photo. They look so dark - much darker than I remember them in person.

Robin's nest being rained on.The robin I blogged about a few days ago got another good dowsing with water tonight. And its nest is tipped to the side again. Perhaps we can try putting it upright tomorrow in the daylight. Seems it wasn't such a bright idea for it to nest right under the eaves after all. The leaves of the grape vines have grown quite a bit more this past week, but they offer no protection at all. Poor thing, it's bound to be cold out there when it gets drenched this much. It seemed to stick to the nest throughout the whole thing. I wonder if those eggs have hatched yet. I haven't noticed any activity that way in it yet. We'll check it better tomorrow.

See the details of this robin's predicament.Okay, here's the details of the photo highlighted in case you couldn't make it out too well in the previous photo.

We listened to weather on TV while the sirens were going off. Thankfully there was no damage from tornadoes or water damage from rain or flooding with us. In the middle of it I went to check all the basement windows. Everything was sealed up tight. I'm glad about that since I just so recently re-arranged and organized so much of my stuff down there. I would hate to have to pull it out from water damage. I'm definitely thankful for that.

A recent fishing outing on the river.We took the boat out on the river a few days ago. We didn't go far because some dark clouds and lots of wind blew in. It only made good sense to head back to the dock. Along with the clouds and wind, it turned chilly, too! No bites this day. It was kind of fun to get the boat out on the water, though. In the photo the waves are fairly calm. By the time we headed back they were substantially more choppy. Oh well, there will be more days to try for more fish.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Making Zines and Quilting

I signed up on a couple on-line sites to make some zines. For those who are unaware of zines, they are self-published (maga)zines or any small self-published book or booklet. Etsy has a whole category for selling and purchasing zines. I've purchased a few from artists that fall in the art zine or craft zine category. Those are the most interesting ones to me.

I joined Alma Stoller's 'I Heart Zines' swap and also a swap on The GleanerZine yahoo site. The zines I'll be swapping are due in July. So that is what I've been working on recently. That as well as some sewing on my Black and White Rattlesnake quilt.

Alma's zine swap theme is an Art focused theme and is supposed to include an art or craft project with instructions as well as anything else we might want to include. The other swap, GleanerZine, is an open theme. I chose 'Dakota' as my theme. This group includes extras like ephemera and bits and pieces of things you might have 'gleaned' from around you. These artists are often collage or mixed-media artists who incorporate the additional things in their art. I'm planning on making up some extra zines to sell on Etsy.

As far as the quilting goes . . . progress continues on the Rattlesnake quilt. I got a few more of the 'football' shaped paper piecing done. A little bit more each time - it adds up. Nearly a third of them are pieced now.

I joined Facebook this week. Thanks Dorothy for the invite. I've spent a bit of time looking around the site to check things out. It will take a bit to get used to it. It's been kind of fun peeking in on what everyone is sharing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tipping Bird Nests

Robin's nest has tipped to the side.We have a bird's nest in the grapevines. It is about twelve feet from the door. I noticed it for the first time about a week ago while I was letting the dogs out the back door. The bird would always fly off as soon as I opened the door. Now it is used to me letting the dogs in and out. It still flies off if I go out the door, but won't budge if it is only the dogs.

We got quite a downpour of rain and thunder storms over the last couple days. With that rain we discovered the nest was now sitting tipped off to the side. The bird was still doing its best to hang on, but it looked like the nest was about to completely tip over. We felt the eggs and/or babies would eventually fall right out with the rain and wind that is expected for the next several days.

Robin's nest placed upright again.My husband and I decided to try tipping the nest back into position. He reports there are two blue robin eggs inside at the moment. Apparently it is fairly securely woven in among the grape vines and just needed to be turned up a bit to go back into position. This photo shows mama robin back on the nest after it was pushed back up into position. It seems she is just under the eaves of the roof enough to miss the rainfall now. Now there's not as much chance for the babies to fall out once they hatch. It will be fun to see the progress of the little ones over the next few weeks. If I get more opportunities for photos I'll post them here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Nature Girl

Here's evidence: there's lots of fish in these waters!When I was a kid I LOVED to be outside absorbing various elements of the natural world around me. Seems like growing up has meant getting away from that. Not so for this blogger this past weekend. My dh and I took the boat out to a local lake and enjoyed a pleasant time fishing and taking in some warm sunny summer-time weather. I loved it! We caught fish, had a good time of togetherness and both of us enjoyed getting outdoors for a great day. I shot this view of the fish finder showing there's lots of fish in this lake. How cool it that?! Fish finders - what an awesome invention. It's good to know they're down there even when they're not biting. On this day, however, they were indeed biting. We caught a couple large mouth bass, a crappie, a sun fish and a trout. It was all great eating that night!

bird nests under a bridge ledgeWhile we were out on the lake I had my camera out to snap a few photos. Under this little bridge we caught a couple fish while up above us the birds were flying in and out of their nests. These birds were quick, flitting to and fro.

A beautiful view of one of the cliffsApparently I was paying equal attention to the local wildlife, other than the fish. It was fascinating to watch the birds that made their homes in the sides of these cliffs. Actually there were quite a few of this type of cliff creating the landscape around this lake. I had lots of opportunity to try to take photos of the birds, but have to say I missed them in a multitude of shots, or they were flying faster that the camera's shutter speed. I took lots of photos, but none of the birds showed up in any of the shots.

bird homes in the side of the cliffHere's a close up of the holes that make up the doorways to their nesting sites in the side of the cliff. Nary a bird in site although I witnessed lots of them flying in and out of these holes while we fished.

Sun dappled water - talk about 'bright light'!I have to admit with the recent acquisition of my new drivers license I discovered the state of North Dakota has required me to wear my glasses while driving. That's a first for me - to be required to do so. One of the pitfalls of aging I guess. Anyway, I invested several hundred dollars recently in purchasing a pair of prescription sunglasses so I could protect my eyes from the sun while driving and still meet these new state directives. Polarized glasses, no less - they're the best - especially when out on the water. But this view of the sun reflecting off the water had me squinting and averting my eyes. A somewhat cloudy day with the sun warming things up for awhile in a direct manor and other times hidden behind the clouds. This sparkling water was a glorious thing to see in person. I'm afraid a photo just doesn't do these outdoor scenes justice. It appears darker in this photo, but it was actually a VERY BRIGHT day and the light was blinding reflecting off the water.

All in all, it was a great day out on the lake. I got to spend time with my honey, we caught fish, enjoyed some warm weather and came home warmed, worn out and relaxed from the sun.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Documenting Life with the Digital Camera

Lots of bugs sacrificed their lives on the grill of the truck recently.I recently drove four hours to help move some of my oldest son's things back home for him. He has relocated to another state so is further away from us at this time. Thankfully we will have the opportunity to see him later this summer for a visit. He'll have the opportunity to pick up some of his things we're storing for him now. Now that I'm in the "clearing clutter - get rid of the junk" phase of reorganizing my home for better living space I will look forward to the day the kids have taken all of their belongings with them to their new homes. Meanwhile, I've still got plenty of my own "stuff" to sort through. I'm told they get the packrat outlook on life from me. What? Really? Times, they are a changin!

So yeah, here's some documentation of the trip. It's kind of an "Ode to Bugs" and a fitting tribute to all the many insects who sacrificed their lives on the hood and grill of the truck. A huge number must have recently hatched as it seemed the sky was full of them. Don't you just love spring and summer? It's a bug's life.

Squirrel inquisitiveness.
Here's peek at who was watching me last week. This little squirrel was the one that stayed behind to keep an eye on me. It's brother (or sister?) wasn't having any of it. I found a few fat quarters and bought fabric to record my actions for this spring and summer.

One of our friendly neighborhood squirrelsYep, the same squirrel. Boy was it inquisitive as it stayed around to keep me in line.

Another view of one of the neighborhood squirrels.Yet again, another pic of the squirrel. It must be doing fairly well in our neighborhood. Look at that fat little belly it's got!

I chose hibiscus for two of the post in the front of the house.lWe've got a number of neighborhood squirrels that live around here. This is a photo of one of them as it watched me one afternoon dinking around in the yard.

My new plants in their pots on the front steps.I'm surprised it sat still long enough for me to send my dh into the house to fetch the camera then go back an get some new batteries so I could snap some photos of it. It's either a very curious young squirrel or very brave. It was about 3-4 feet away from me at the time. Just beyond my reach, but close.

Sugar checks things out.I noticed a number of squirrels living the carefree live a few days ago as they chased one another to and fro, up and down the sidewalks of our street.

Ginger doing what she does best - overseeing a job well done!Ginger found the perfect spot to oversee my spring planting of the front yard flowers. I put in a number of perennials to help cut back on yearly expenses with this home decor. Perennials are more expensive than the annuals, but given the fact they will survive to come back year after years makes them a wonderful value.

Sparky in his element - master of his domain.Sparky was in his element wandering around the front yard, going around all the walkways. He managed to mark territory in a wide perimeter area in the front before I put him back behind the backyard fence.