Saturday, August 19, 2017

Ready for the 4th of July

I enjoy hand stitching of all kinds and find it very relaxing. In the last couple of years, I have discovered the wonderful world of wool stitching. This cute little sheep with wagon was a kit from Buttermilk Basin. Each year they have a Mystery BOM and offer a free download of the month's pattern. I am not doing this year's BOM, but I thought July's pattern with the flags was so cute that I ordered that kit.

I had originally made embroidery stitched flowers spilling out of the watering can, but then changed my mind and cut these teenie, tiny little flowers and added french knot centers instead. A friend suggested that I add a few "happy" bees buzzing around the hive, and so I did.

The finished piece was 9.5 by 14.5 which presented a problem. What was I to do with it as it was intended to be part of a much larger piece? Then I had an idea. I ordered this wire frame display piece from Ackfeld Manufacturing. I was not able to slip my piece on to the stand, so I simply attached it with these cute little clothespins.

It's a bit gray today although it is supposed to clear up soon. In the meantime, here are some bright spots of color.

Finally, we are living in troubling times. The events of recent days and months have left many of us feeling angry, discouraged, disheartened, and fearful about what is happening in our country. I keep coming back to the words of Irish statesman Edmund Burke . . . "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men do nothing." Now is the time for each of us to decide what we can do make a difference to ensure that our beloved country truly reflects the ideals upon which it was founded. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

All 'Aflutter' in My Garden

There is nothing that I enjoy photographing more then the butterflies that visit my garden, and I'm pleased that there seem to be more of them this year. Friends have also reported seeing more as well.

This midnight blue one was lovely, and the blue and yellow spotted underside was even more colorful. I think it is a female swallowtail.

Now for something a tad more unusual . . . I spent quite a few hours in my garden this morning, and every half hour or so, I would stop to rest by plopping myself into one of my pink chairs to survey my estate. :-) Well, one time, I happened to glance down and was startled to see something moving in the grass.  .  . This was splitting open

and out emerged this. Fortunately, I always have my camera handy.

 The wings were moist and glistening in the sun and for a few moments nothing happened. Then he/she began making its way slowly through the grass. Move . . . then rest . . .  then move again. It took him/her about twenty minutes to move a yard. How do I know this? Because I was crawling on the grass beside it trying to get these photos!!! :-)  Actually, I was crawling around it trying to get a catchlight in its eyes. (Photographers reading this will smile and nod agreement while I'm quite sure the rest of my readers will think I'm nuts!)

Anyway, it was a harmless, fun, interesting way to pass some time before I went back to my gardening.

Just look at this cute little face. Really, it's adorable; click on the photo to see a larger view for yourself.

Anyone know what it is? I'm thinking that it is some kind of cicada.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Princess Quilt Fit for a Princess

The princess quilt based on designs in Beth Helfter 's Once Upon a Time Fairy Tale Puzzle Quilts book is finished. You may scroll back to earlier posts to see close-ups of some of these blocks. 

I am not proficient at FMQ (free motion quilting). I realize with practice, I would be able to learn this skill, but for now, it's not on my radar. So, you might be wondering how I quilted this piece. First, I stitched in the ditch (seam lines). Next, I outlined the subject of each block as in this coach. 

I wasn't sure how to handle the blocks with the lettering. If I background stippled those, then I would have had to stipple all of the blocks. Instead, I decided to underline the words using one of the decorative stitches on my machine.

That worked fine on "Once Upon a Time," but there would have been too much empty space in the princess block, so I added a star.

My final challenge was the long strip of background fabric that I had added on each side of the castle to make the blocks fit. I looked in a book I have that features 501 Quilting Motiffs, and found just what I needed. . .

a star with trails. I used tracing paper to make two copies of the motif. When I pinned them in place, I flipped one facing the other way, and elongated the trails to better fit the area. After stitching, it was super easy to remove the tracing paper.

You may notice that I also added two nine patches which feature crowns. See, it's good to have an eclectic group of fat quarters on hand. :-)

For the back, I used "Candy Dot" fabric that I had come across in my travels. The colors echo the colors on the front and will hopefully guarantee sweet dreams.

This quilt makes me happy as I hope it will the little girl who receives it. I pray that she gets through her treatments and goes on to live happily ever after.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Touch of Red

Today's post is for Emma's fans. I never know what she will be sporting when I pick her up at the groomers: sometimes it's jewel stick-on ear bling or perhaps a colorful scarf. Today it was a big red bow. Emma always looks adorable after a visit to with Cheryl at Pooch Paws in Rockland.

Continuing the red theme, I was delighted Sunday morning to see all of the blossoms on this hibiscus sitting on my picnic table. It has been a while between blooms, but now it has many buds.

I also love this apricot hibiscus on my deck. This shot was taken later in the day when the light was a bit "cool,"  but let me assure you that the color is simply glorious.

The other day while picking up a bag of fertilizer at Lowes,  these coneflower plants caught my eye. That's not quite true; they stopped me dead in my tracks. They are called Cheyenne Spirit Coneflowers, and the colors are deep and rich.  Three plants came home with me. :-) (So much for not buying any more plants this summer!) I love coneflowers, and these are spectacular.

 I had breakfast with friends this morning, and then spent some time sewing the binding on to the princess quilt. Since I have only one side left to bind, I should be able to post photos tomorrow.

Next, I have a few projects lined up to work on. My cousin and her two little boys came to visit on Friday, and they put in requests for pillowcases. The eight year old wants a shark pillowcase while the five year old wants a dinosaur one. :-)

Time to go finish the binding . . .

Thursday, August 3, 2017

What Every Princess Needs . . .

Besides her castle, a princess needs a rich wardrobe of colorful dresses and shoes.

All of the shoes feature sparkly fabric; the blue ones are my favorite. :-)

A princess must have a wand . . .

a bejeweled crown . . .
and a fine coach.

I finished these and a few other blocks earlier this week, and tonight stitched the princess quilt top together. My goal is to layer and quilt it this weekend.  After it is quilted, I will add a few more  embellishments. (All of the blocks have the same bright white background which appears darker in these photos than it really is.)

Speaking of princesses, my cousin and her girls came yesterday for "Ladies Lunch." The adults decided that lunch would be at Tony's Clam Shop on Wollaston Beach where we enjoyed delicious lobster rolls while the girls had hot dogs! The eight year old kept asking if we could do a craft project as we usually do, but I hadn't prepared anything this time. Finally, we decided to making pillowcases. Miss L , age eleven, quickly selected some turquoise fabric with tiny flowers from my stash. Miss T, age eight, took a bit more time looking to find just the right fabric. In the end, she chose some watermelon fabric which I think I had originally purchased to make some placemats. I did the rotary cutting, but the girls did the pinning and a bit of the machine stitching. Eventually, they decided to have me finish the pillowcases which I did. Sweet dreams guaranteed . . .

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Fairly Wordless Wednesday

After a somewhat difficult morning, I called a friend and we headed to the Cape to Cataumet for lunch. You can't get a prettier view than this from the Chart Room restaurant. It made me feel as if I was on vacation and brightened my day.

Now to do a bit more work on the princess quilt.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Castle For Rent

Nah, I'm kidding . . . This double block castle is from a quilt on which I am currently working. The other day, a member of one of the guilds to which I belong asked if anyone would be willing to make a quilt for a very special organization with which she is involved. This organization is dedicated to helping children who are battling cancer. She was looking for five quilts and because I responded first, I got first pick from the five themes. I was happy to volunteer and even happier to be able to make the "princess-themed" quilt. 

This delightful pattern book, Once Upon a Time - Fairy Tale Puzzle Quilts by Beth Heifter of (EvaPaige Quilt Designs) has been on my bookshelf for a number of years. I didn't discover this book until all the little princesses in my life had passed the "princess" stage, so I was excited to finally get to use it. In just a matter of days, I have prepared twenty, fused blocks, and tomorrow I will start zigzagging around all of the applique pieces and add some embellishments. It is a joyful project and I can't wait to see it all stitched together.

Yesterday, I grabbed this quick iPhone shot of the yellow, swirling blossoms of the hibiscus on my porch

and noticed that this hanging pot is a pretty good reflection of the colors in my Katie PM artful log cabin shown in my previous post. :-)

It was raining all day here in the kingdom, but after a three-day heat wave, you won't hear me complain.