Thursday, May 29, 2008

Phlox and ORANGE Crush layout imagined

On each side our grassy hill down to the lake we have a little woods where these wild phlox bloom every year at the end of May. They are not really wild flowers, but domestic ones that have escaped into the wild. They show a nice variety of colors from purple to pink to white. I "stole" some from a deadend street by a warehouse, growing in the drainage ditch. They have now spread to make quite a show.

Rather than spending time in the sewing room I have been working in the garden. This group of plants is the result of one trip to the nursery/garden store. I am going to try two tomato plants this year. There are five deck pots to be planted, and then I HAD to have another Black Lace elderberry for the meadow and three sets of three more perennials: Johnson's Blue true geraniums, three white Japanese iris, and three short blue delphiniums. A good bit of the planting will be done on the weekend.

And now the ORANGE CRUSH. Don't look if you don't want to see my "solution" to the Mystery!!

Step 5 of Bonnie's current mystery has the really orange fabric in it. We also are to have an "accent" fabric, which we now see is to go in the middle of this block. I had picked out the bright yellow, but when I saw the block and laid out the fabrics, I thought it was TOO bright. And it made the blue Spinning Stars fade into the night. So I decided to use the black that was also part of the Stars.

However, after some time in the garden, I came back and decided that I would put blocks with the black center into the middle of the quilt and surround them with a line of blocks with the yellow center.

So here is my construct of how the Mystery is going to go together:

Bonnie has instructed us to make 18 triangles that are half-Album blocks, so it is clear this will be an on-point layout.
I've laid the blocks on the bed with six black-centered Album blocks in the middle, which is in the upper left of the photo. As you can see the Spinning Stars are really going to look like a sashing and the light squares are also sashing.
Isn't it nifty? And though Bonnie said there wouldn't be much "light" in this quilt, it sure does look BRIGHT.

And it does use up a couple of fabrics that I had been avoiding.

I think she also will use the extra 44 mini-blocks somehow in the border, but I haven't had time to think about HOW.



Got it through exercise class after missing several

Made my second loaf of brioche AND pecan sticky buns!

Township Board agreed to pay for an option on 80 acres for nature preservation

Thursday, May 22, 2008

May Night salvia

Several of these perennial salvias are now blooming. This one is appropriately named "May Night", I suppose because it is so dark--but also it blooms in MAY! That is, right now.
I am making double polar fleece baby blankets for public nurses to give out up near the Arctic Circle. A strange fabric for me, but apparently very warm.
Otherwise, suddenly a cold came upon me last night DURING dinner. Rather like a faucet being turned on. Took a strong decongestant and slept downstairs, hoping Charlie will not get the germs.
Detroit Tigers doing better (sorry, Mariners fans!)
Progress on preserving Open Space in our town
A quiet Memorial weekend ahead for us

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Socks and Soakers

I have started my NEXT pair of socks with a blue striped yarn. This yarn is so cool--makes the pattern with no work on my part other than keeping going!

I bought a smaller set of needles, so that makes the gauge a little smaller. I am making the leg part a little shorter and I am making it RIBBED so that it will be more likely to cling to my leg! And I am not going to make the foot so long. All these changes SHOULD make the sock fit my foot.

And I have another skein of yarn lurking in the distance--for a THIRD pair of socks. Yarn is just as dangerous as quilting fabric. I see something in the store and immediately presume thatI will never see it again. MUST buy it today.

My purple iris is blooming next to the sewingroom window, where I can't see it. I have to walk out the front door and turn in the opposite direction from normal to notice them. I begged these from a neighbor's yard because they are just like the ones I remember from my mother's and grandmother's gardens. I grew up thinking that iris were purple. That's it. That was what I saw, that must be all there were!
Now I know that's not true, but I still like these best.

And here are three items I made from one felted ladies' sweater I bought at the Goodwill. The long baby pants are made from the two sleeves, and the two "soakers" are made from triangles cut from the front and the back. These are distributed by the public health nurses up near the Arctic Circle for Inuit babies. The wool has lanolin on the fibers, so it repels the liquids expelled by babies, and unlike plastic, wool helps keep the babies warm . Apparently the Inuit use the prevalent local moss inside the soakers. This is easily replaceable, and biodegradeable, unlike Pampers.


learned about soakers
quiet day
"Kiss of the Spiderwoman" musical makes me think

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Crabapple snow

The restaurant where we eat breakfast once a week has these crabapples that bloom a medium dark pink. They are now putting out more leaves, and the blossum petals are falling to the ground and parking lot like pink snow.
soft rain most of the day
finished the 30 blocks for Mystery #2
out for pizza dinner

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Busy weekend

The Grand Rapids Women's Chorus, here shown on stage doing a mike check beforehand, had our Spring Concert Saturday night. We had a good audience, who appeared to enjoy our music. I am anticipating hearing the concert for the first time when we get the CD recording in a couple of weeks. Because I am in the backrow, extreme right corner, surrounded by other tenors, I have trouble knowing what any part but my own is singing. And then when soloists step forward to sing toward the audience, I don't always hear them very well either. Just have to follow our director and hope for the best.

Got home about 11 pm, and found this basket of flowers on the kitchen counter. They are from DD Martha and her husband in St, Louis. Tried to finish my sermon, but went to bed with matters hanging in the air. Managed to finish it up after breakfast.

Lots of RED clothing in the congregation this morning in honor of Pentecost, and lots of hymns about the Holy Spirit. The gospel was from John, with Jesus breathing the Spirit on the disciples, then immediately saying, "Whose sins you forgive are forgiven." This has always seemed a little peculiar to me, but I came to understand that he himself had just then enacted forgiveness by coming to the friends who had abandoned him. Rather than chastizing them, he said,"Peace be with you." So forgiveness must have been on all their minds.

The outdoor pennants were flying gaily in the face of clouds and drizzle, and drew another man into the church to ask about them!

I have managed to sew a couple of Orange Crush blocks for Step 4 of Orange Crush together. Bonnie is having us make HSTs of yardage fabric (not scraps) and combining them with the previously made 4-patches into this block, which she calls Spinning Stars. That's not a lot of contrast between the black and teal triangles, but Bonnie doesn't have a alot of contrast in her yardage either. So I assume this is going to do something wonderful with the blocks that are yet to come.
Peter cooked at our house, making lovely Cornish hens with wild rice and cranberry dressing. What a treat!
A pressurized week completed
Charlie's Pentecost pants can be retired!
Gentle rain all day for the garden

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pentecost preparation

Last fall Holy Cross Church placed three pennant/banners on the front lawn to attract attention. Getting additional different colors is more expensive than I could imagine, so I looked into making the RED ones for Pentecost myself. Naturally this got put off until the last week before Pentecost, and after buying the "flag nylon" --FIVE yards for the length needed-- I couldn't find the grommets that were big enough, nor the woven tape in the right width to mimic the purchased pennants. I went to an awning company for the pieces, and at that point I was ready to admit that their "hot knife" and expertise were worth the extra cost. Especially since on Tuesday they could get all three made by by Friday!

Since the Pentecost imagry includes FLAMES, I bought enough orange fabric to make one of the pennants. Then realizing that there would be extra fabric the whole length purchased, I asked them to add a second, narrower, opposite color panel to two of the pennants.

Now we have an array of three for Pentecost:
1- solid red with an orange narrower streamer
2- solid red
3- solid orange with a red narrower streamer.

Ken, our Junior Warden, knew how to change the pennants, so here he is doing all the work while I took pictures.

Here is the view from the driveway entrance, street to your right, church roof on the left.

[Charlie said that a woman called the church on the phone because she saw the "flags" and was entranced. She wanted to know where to get some. Well, there goes our special-ness if everyone is going to have them!]

On the quilting front:

Here is the OTHER lap-sized quilt top made with leftovers from Carolina Crossroads. I received some fabric from a chorus member and the tan paisley was in it. Seemed to be the perfect way to finish off as a wide border.

Now to think about the quilting on this one! It will be more to manipulate through the Pfaaf, and since it is so busy. . . .maybe I'll just take this one to the LA-quilter and have a pantograph all over.

Bonnie has put out the next clue for Mystery #2, Orange Crush, so I am cutting triangles and building blocks. Only two done so far.

This is a hectic 48 hours with getting the pennants up, baking bread, reviewing all the words and notes for the GRWC concert tonight, and finishing my sermon for tomorrow, then delivering it twice.
Oh, well, by 1:00 tomorrow afternoon I can take a nap and let DS Peter cook dinner for Mother's Day!



Ken's help

Lynne's assurance the concert will be FUN

Trilliums (trillia?) in the woods

My 100th blog entry!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Border feathers on CC Leftovers

Last evening worked on the feathers in the border of this little quilt.

I used a purchased stencil to draw the center line weaving back and forth. After sewing that line, I just made up each loop as I went along. Luckily I have seen some famous quilter's methods in books or videos. Some of them don't seem to go for the precise-type of feather, but a more natural look, giving me permission to "do my own thing". Where I meant to trace back over an already quilted line, I frequently missed. However, this border fabric is great at concealing black thread. Not an intentional choice, but a good one!
And here is a view of the back. I now see that I "should" have made the feathers more "open" so that the quilting in the border wasn't denser than the quilting in the middle of the piece. Not going to change it now, but something to remember next time.
Right now I'm glad that I went ahead and DID it. The piece is done, and I have some more experience in free motion quilting.
It's bound and in the wash with this week's sheets.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Left-overs and crabapples

While I am waiting for the next Step of Bonnie Mystery #2, I hope I can finish machine quilting this little "doll" quilt made from left-overs of Mystery #1. First I stitched in the ditch on the straight seams, then I did the diagonals through the nine-patches, then I put on the darning foot and wove back and forth along the seam lines in curves, hoping they would turn out looking like circles. Now I am cogitating on the borders and what to do with them. Seems like a curvy feather--but I have practically no experience with them!

So I go outside for a walk around the circle drive. WOW! the crabapples are at their most floriforous! Son Peter gave me one of those trees for Mother's Day when we moved in here, now 16 -17 years ago. There are two dark pink and two white crabapples in the circle, all supposed to be dwarves, but not so. Across to the right are two truly dwarf crabapples, named "Beverly". Since I have two relatives named "Beverly", two was the right number; Beverly Grace Hobart Schwab and Beverly Diane Thomas. One leans quite a bit toward the other. But these two relatives are not related to each other at all, and don't know each other. Just have the name in common. And me.



Last GRWC rehearsal went well for concert Sat.

Blooming trees all over town

Wore my socks and they didn't fall off!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

First socks finished

I have been fascinated with the series "Carrier" on PBS, and they were showing the last three hours this afternooon. This gave me some KNITTING TIME. I got the second sock finished at last. So here they are, the PAIR of socks.

Now that you have looked at them, tell me you really didn't notice at first that one is bigger than the other. Tell me that it is going to be just fine to wear these with my sandals without re-doing the one on the left.
[Or do you think that socks with sandals is just GROSS?]

This weekend the Hopa Crabapples trees began blooming in the church yard. They only last for about one week, so this was their Sunday. I like the deeper pink color, and planted these along the driveway 20 years ago or so.

Almost every year they also produce those ugly webs of larvae of some insect. They say the "best" thing to do is set them on fire, but mostly I just ignore them.

And here is a new Redbud, planted just over the lip of the hill down to the lake. Last fall I had about five of these planted on either side at the edge of the woods. The other trees are really tall, so this is an attempt at developing an understory level, with some Juneberries. Not much bloom to show this first season. Maybe in another 20 years?

Right now the daffodils & forsythia are all fading away, but we do see some white wild crabapples out in open spaces.
And the grape hyacinth are a lovely blue along the front walk.

Mostly I enjoy the GREEN for the grass and the trees beginning to put out leaves.


Staying home on Saturday
Charlie mowed lawn, first of season