Monday, June 27, 2011

The Twiggy Wreath

This year, a pair of slate colored juncos (I think?), [no! Alder Flycatchers, I learned] decided to build their nest right beside our busy kitchen door in the top of the heart-shaped twig wreath. I almost discarded that wreath this spring! Now there are four babies in the tiny nest that is under an alcove protected from the sun and rain.

The nest is so crowded! I fear that one may topple out as they grow. Both adults are attentive in the feedings.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Different Design Wall

My design wall is actually a chair in the living room that I keep covered with a white cotton woven bedspread to protect the upholstery. It sits opposite MY chair, so it is perfectly placed for when I am resting or watching TV. I keep putting up new blocks and enjoying the view. In addition to the endless stream of Sister's Choice (my goal is to make one a day) blocks, I also started something new. Yeah, I know, VERY BAD GIRL with all the UFO's around the Quilt Cave.
Here are the Sister's Choiceblocks:

The new project that is so fun is a scrappy red block that I threw together myself. I have no idea if a couple of four-patches matched with squares of fabric to make a giant nine-patch block has a name or not. But I noodled around with it and I liked it! I confess that the idea was partially inspired by Nann Blaine Hilyard's pinwheels on her blog, With Strings Attached. It just so happened that I had bought a passel of rather orangey reds online this winter. Six yards of different reds, and I've been just itching to use them.

I've been doing the Bonnie Hunter leaders & enders with the 2 1/2" four patches for a while, so I had accumulated a stack of them. With the 4 1/2" red squares it makes a 12 1/2" unfinished block. My goal was to make four blocks a day. Here is design play before it started to rain every day.

It looks so disjointed. I think the light X's are off in this shot on the deck. The breezes came along and blew all the blocks around and that was it for the night! LOL! I had a ball!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Matthew Graduates!

If you have followed for a bit, you know that Matthew Abraham is a 21 year old man that helps Felix out around the farm and barters for tutoring in American History. That was his last semester course in Adult Education for Pembroke Academy High School and we were thrilled that he got an A!
It was a sultry and humid day that threatened thunderstorms, so the school decided that the ceremony would be in the gym which has no air conditioning. Whew! It was very hot, but it was a very well done graduation ceremony. We were so proud to be invited and I took all the pictures.

Even Matthew was delighted to escape the heat of the gym afterwards.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Grassy Slope

My house sits up on a crest above the Route 140 roadway and there is a steep slope there. I cannot plant it with nice plantings because once a year the State of New Hampshire road crews come by and brush-hog it. It is far too steep to have my hubby mow it. So about 3 or 4 years ago, I tried some lupine plants in the terrible clay soil surrounded by thick quack grass. They grew!! And they have survived brutalization by the brush-hog and come back stronger. I'm planting more of them this year.

Even better, they are deer-resistant, too. That's important for there are a herd of 4 to 6 deer that tramp across Route 140 right at my house and snack on Felix's baby apple trees on their way. Sigh.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sky Song

My best friend and husband and I were just recovering on May 30th, which was our 41st wedding anniversary, from a very bad bout with a virus. So we decided to wait until we felt like celebrating and postponed our trip to the Hong Kong Buffet until tonight. This is what the faintly sprinkling sky looked like as we were ready to leave!

It was so special that I wanted to share it with you! (Photos are unedited).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Matthew's Quilt

Last summer and fall I worked on sewing up a huge bunch of Broken Dishes (Hourglass) blocks from a big bunch of swapped nickels (5" squares). They certainly were scrappy fabrics and many of them were brights. As I was working on the layout on the shade of the deck, my garden boy, Matthew Abraham came over. He was interested, so I let him complete the final arrangement. He was quite surprised at how much effort it took to change the blocks around to see what looked best. The bending and placing of the blocks is a lot of excercise, too!

So it became "Matthew's Quilt!" He wailed out loud when I spoke of donating a quilt to charity, "It better not be MY quilt!" Of course, I reassured him that no one would take his quilt away from him. But it had gotten on the back burner, all but forgotten. Matthew's High School graduation is coming up, so it will be the perfect time to present it to him.

So I dragged it out yesterday and worked today on adding the second wide border in a very BRIGHT orange that Matthew picked out himself at Joann's Fabric store. Tonight I'll prewash the multi-colored star printed flannel for the backing and dry it in the dryer to shrink it. Then it will be ready to go to the longarmer.

For the record, this is not cheddar-colored fabric. It is highway safety-cone ORANGE!!!! My husband, Felix, suggested that we call the quilt, "Orange Julius!" We'll see what Matthew says.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

When Random Isn't Wonderful

When I made the Blockade Blocks from the Civil War blog, I found them to be a lil' more challenging than I had thought they would be. All those light triangles needed to be placed such that their tips would overhang in a lil dog-ear. And it looks SOOOOOOO much better when they are NOT random!

The really fun block was the Illinois Roads Block! It is so easy and simple but really pops. I sewed the 2 1/2" strips together and cut them apart for the rail blocks. Then I had a few leftovers for my growing pile of 4-patches, too!
Lastly, I did another Sister's Choice, but I hate the green in this one! Ugh! Felix looked at it and laughed that it is the color of a teenaged girl's cell phone! Ewwww!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pom-Pom Girl

Here is what is my newest favorite drink mix. I call it a "Pom-Pom Girl", and it can be delightful just as a 50% mixture of diet cranberry pomegranate juice with raspberry-lime seltzer water, or if you wish, add a splash of vodka to make it a cocktail.

Canadian High!

A magnificent Canadian high pressure system has run in and swept away all the stagnant hot humid air and left us with bright fresh cool air!!!! We all feel so energized now! Here are some snapshots of the Black Forest Nursery where my sister, Anne, took me to buy a few annuals to pop in here and there. I also bought her one lovely Patricia Ann clematis that was in bloom to plant in memory of our dear departed sister-in-law.

This morning, in the mild 70 degree sunshine, Felix and I weeded out and planted the welcoming planter out front. He prizes his German everblooming irises that are in their glory right now.

In the planter, there are bright red petunias, cobalt blue lobelia, and all around the outer upper ring of the planter is a densely planted circle of my baby marigolds. I raised these from seed and they are the orange pygmy variety. Only the red petunias are visible right now, but I'll try to remember to take another picture later in the summer.

I also put together a few new Sister's Choice blocks. Here they are:
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