Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Is It the Holy Spirit???

No, it's another hawk. I've been been lucky to photograph a few hawks this year. I didn't have to travel far to photograph this one as Mr. and Mrs. Hawk appear to be constructing a new home at the church that I attend. Here is where out new parishioners have chosen to construct their nest  . . . nestled between the speakers. 

 If you click on this image, you can get a closer look.

These photos were taken two weeks ago. According to information that I found online, Red-tailed Hawks lay one to four eggs in late March or April.  I can't tell you how often I have pulled into the parking lot in hopes of seeing them. I haven't seen them lately and there doesn't seem to be any increased work on the nest, but you know I'll be keeping a hawk eye out for them.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Basket of Flowers

Yesterday my friend Laurel came for a day of quilting. I spent the morning working on this piece for the Row by Row quilt that I have been working on and off on. The basket  and the leaves and stems were soon done, but I was unsure of which colors to select for the flowers. I should say that the pattern given out by the quilt shop called for four different background fabrics which I felt was a bit too busy and for all five flowers to be a very, very dark purple. This would never do in my quilt. I was auditioning color choices when we decided to break and go to lunch at our favorite breakfast/lunch spot Nikos in Lower Jackson Square. On the counter they had small vases with various flowers in each. One grouping in particular caught my eye, and those are the colors I chose for this piece.

This row is raw edge fused appliqué, and it has not been stitched yet. Today is a grey, dull day with rain on the way so I thought this cheerful piece would brighten things up. Another bright spot . . .I'm meeting friends for lunch. Life is Good!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Porcupine Masterpiece

I attended a quilt guild meeting this morning at our local library. This masterpiece was hanging on a bulletin board at the back of the meeting room. Isn't it wonderful! There was no name or age or other information to indicate who the artist was. In case you can't make them out, the quills are toothpicks. It made me smile and I hope it makes you smile as well.

Speaking of sharp critters, here's a tightly cropped, close up look at the red tail hawk photo that I posted earlier this week. Look at those talons!!! Yikes!!! Hawks have three claws facing forward and one claw facing backward on each leg. Fortunately for its prey, the talons' punctures usually cause instantaneous  death.  Not a cheerful topic, but nevertheless interesting . . .  [Be sure to click on the hawk photo to see the incredible detail.]

Monday, March 23, 2015

Colorful Birdhouses in a Row

Yesterday morning I looked out the porch window and saw this beautiful cardinal in the pine tree in my backyard. I have a 70-300 lens which works very well with large birds like hawks but no so well with small songbirds. Still I gave it a shot and cropped the image in my computer.

Coincidentally, I finished this paper pieced row of birdhouses yesterday afternoon. It was one of the patterns from the Row by Row Experience  from last summer. That makes three rows done so far. :-) I'm working on the rows which are spring/summer patterns. I really should make an effort to finish the rows before the next Row by Row Experience which begins at the end of June. 

This year's theme will be water. For those who do not know, from late June to early September participating quilt shops each come up with a pattern which they give to visitors to their shops. You are also able to purchase a fabric kit to accompany the pattern if you wish. I only purchased two or three kits as I am trying to use up some of the fabric which I already have. The whole thing is quite fun as it means lots of field trips with friends to collect as many patterns as possible.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spring 2015

This photo was taken last night at 9:30 as snow was gently falling, three hours after spring officially began. Perhaps Mother Nature didn't receive the memo.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Serendipity Hawk Sighting

Isn't he magnificent!!! This was the photo that in my last post I promised to share. Let me tell you how it happened. As I mentioned in my last post, I was driving around Monday morning looking for something interesting to photograph. I was in Scituate driving along the driftway when bins began sliding out of the back of a pickup truck ahead of me and bouncing onto the roadway.  I honked my horn to alert the driver, but he kept going and I was able to swerve around them.  I followed the truck until the driver eventually pulled into a spot at the pier. I hopped out and told him what had happened about two miles back. He thanked me and went back to retrieve his bins. I continued on to the lighthouse in hopes that a puddle in the parking lot might might provide an interesting reflection. No such luck . . . 

I continued on the road from Scituate to Cohasset and out of the corner of my eye, I spotted this red tailed hawk.  There was no traffic, so I backed up and shot the two photos while leaning across the seat and shooting out the passenger side window. 

After a few minutes I slipped out of the driver's seat and keeping the car between us, I shot the photo at the top of the page and the one below.

Be sure to click on the very top photo to get a larger, detailed view. I was beyond thrilled to have captured that image.

Tomorrow is the first day of spring!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Monday Morning with My Camera

My plans for yesterday morning had been changed, and I was feeling the need to go out and take some photos.  Since we had had a few inches of snow the night before, I reasoned that the waves might be up and that I might be able to catch some surfers down in Hull, so off I went. Well, the waves were there, but alas there were no surfers.

I continued on to Hull Village to capture this scene. 

I love the architecture of St. Nicholas United Methodist Church.

Next it was on to Scituate, but I'm saving those photos.  Suffice it to say, I was beyond thrilled with the photo that I will feature in tomorrow's post.

After Scituate, I stopped at the beach in Cohasset where I captured this seagull surveying his domain.

Just how high is that frozen mountain of snow, gravel and grit? Perhaps this photo will give you some idea.

The mountain stretched across half of the parking lot. Do you think it will melt in time for swim season?

Finally, as you travel along the "Rocky Road to Dublin" on this St. Patrick's Day . . .

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light
May good luck pursue you each morning and night.

In case you were wondering, Boston born Blanche Ring was a singer, actress, and comedienne on Broadway for four decades. She introduced this song in 1915. I slipped this sheet music in with my flute pieces and in the middle of my lesson began playing it which gave my long-suffering flute teacher a laugh. :-)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Snowfall Record Broken!!!!!!!!

Good News! We have officially broken the winter snowfall record in the Boston area!!! Yesterday's 3+ inches have put us in first place in the record books. The remarkable thing is that 107 inches fell just in February alone. Think what we could have done if the snow had started back in November. On second thought don't consider that as it might push some snow-stressed folks over the edge. :-) While happy that the record  has been broken, most are now more than ready for spring's arrival in a few days.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am doing the "Mistletoe Lane" BOM from Bunny Hill Designs at the Heart in Hands quilt shop in South Weymouth, and here is the first completed block. It is fused appliqué and each element is outlined in zig zag stitches. There is also some hand embroidery involved; in this case, the window sashes are stitched. The pattern instructions call for the addition of little pockets, so that it becomes an advent quilt. I'm not including the pockets and may leave out a few other elements. Buttons and other embellishments will be added after the quilt top is quilted.

Did I need to make another Christmas quilt? No, but I loved the color palette, and it looked so sweet displayed in the shop that I just couldn't resist.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

An Absolutely Glorious Day

      Blue skies and temperatures hovering in the fifties . . . could there be anything better after the weather we have been having???  I had plans to spend the day sewing, but spring fever has me in its grips. It was warm enough to get a layer of grime, grit, and salt removed from my car so first stop was the car wash. Next a quick stop at the fabric shop for some fusible web for the BOM that I am working on. So far so good . . . My mistake was to go out on my sunporch. It was sunny and seventy degrees. My next mistake was to lie down on the sofa out there for just a moment or two. Well, let's just say that Emma and I both had a very long, sweet nap.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Sunday afternoon, my friend Marilyn and I went to see this movie. I enjoyed Dev Patel and the cast was the same as the original with the addition of Richard Gere. While the sequel had a few funny moments, overall I would say it was a tired, somewhat dull movie. The dancing scenes were the only bright spots, and a few more would have added some life to the piece. If you saw and enjoyed the first movie, you will probably enjoy this as well, but I am only giving it a C/C+. For fun, I looked back at my review in May of 2012 of the  Best Exotic Marigold Hotel   . That movie received a B- from me.

     Well, I've had the windows wide open for a few hours to bring in some clean fresh air, but now it's time to go close them. After that I might actually do some sewing.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Another Busy and Quilty Week

     On Tuesday, I went with friends to Contoocook, NH, to drop off quilts to be long-armed at Dancing Crane Quilting. My quilt is for my godchild's nine year old daughter. I can't wait for her to see it as it's so happy and colorful. Of course, this day trip included lunch at Daniel's restaurant in Henneker and a stop at Quilted Threads, a wonderful quilt shop just up the street from the restaurant.
     On Thursday night, I went to Heart in Hands quilt shop for the first session of a seven month BOM (Block of the Month). I'll post photos as I go along.
     Yesterday, my friend Laurel came to spend the day quilting, and then we attended a meeting at Heart in Hands. The turnout was low which was not surprising given the cold weather and difficult driving and parking conditions.
     This morning, the pink star quilt above was donated at the Herring Run Quilt Guild meeting. A few years ago, one of my friends Liz was the high bidder at a charity silent auction at our quilt show. Many members of our guild had made the individual pink star blocks. The money from the basket of blocks went to breast cancer research. Four of Liz's friends joined her in making quilts from the blocks and then donated the quilts to the guild's comfort quilt program. As with most other guilds, quilts are made and donated to various groups where they are most needed.  You would be amazed not only with the talent but also the generosity of quilters. My quilt top had been made right away, but I didn't get around to quilting it until one of our recent storms.
     One positive aspect of the historic weather that we have been experiencing is the amount of work displayed during 'Show and Tell" today. It was simply amazing.

Monday, March 2, 2015

More Amaryllis Images - Moku Hanga

     Well, the snow came, but we still need a few more inches to break the all-time snow record for the Boston area. Before joining friends for Italian conversation practice this morning, I spend a little time with the Moku Hanga app on my iPad. It's easy to use and fun for would-be artists.  Not all photos work well for this process, but these shots taken on Saturday, I think, are interesting. You can select from different styles, borders, and textures to render your images.

     On another note, last week I wrote of how Emma simply walked over the snow buried fence separating the front and back yards to go for a short stroll. Well, in today's newspaper there is an article about this problem. According to our town's animal control officer it is happening all over town. He is admonishing owners to be sure their dogs are wearing tags and that owners have made certain their dogs are unable to wander off. In just the last few weeks, there have been twenty to thirty dogs who have done what Emma did. Since there are no cleared sidewalks to go for a walk, the dogs are taking matters into their own paws, but it not safe. 
     Spring is coming . . . nineteen days. I can't wait to go for some long walks with Emma.

     Finally, the movie The Sound of Music" turns fifty today. I remember my Aunt Ruth taking me and a friend to see it in Boston when it first came out. What an impression it made on us! If you ever have the chance to go to a sing-along presentation of the movie, do go. A friend and I went to such a performance a couple of years ago, and it was great fun.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

It's Sunday; Snow Is Coming

I can't remember a Sunday when we haven't had a snowstorm. This time we're expecting just three to six inches to fall during the overnight hours. Compared to recent storms, this will be practically nothing. We'll be waiting to see if this snowfall helps us break the all time snowfall record in the Boston area which stands at 108 inches. Will we top that with this storm????

Some members of the South Shore Camera Club visited Kennedy's Country Garden in Scituate on Saturday morning. With all of the cold, snowy weather we have been having I am sure everyone had a wonderful times. I was torn about going as this was also a quilting weekend. Quilting won out, but I did spend a little time at home photographing this pink amaryllis before I left for quilting. (If you check out the Kennedy's website, be sure to sign up for their wonderful newsletter.)
     It was a good week with a third birthday party last Saturday for one of my little cousins, lunch with friends on Thursday, and a full weekend of quilting. I'm pleased to say that I finished a quilt top for another one of my little cousins. It's bright and colorful, and I think she is going to love it. I intend to bring this quilt top to a long arm quilter in NH, but when I am able to get there will depend on the weather. I just heard the weatherman say that more storms are on their way this week. :-(
      Finally, Star Trek fans everywhere are mourning the death of Leonard Nimoy,  Spock. Nimoy was an actor, director, and a poet. In his last tweet, he wrote . . .

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had
but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP

Live long and prosper.