Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Few Finishes

My time in Texas is getting short.
I fly back to New England on April Fool's Day.
I won't go into any details, but that's pretty significant.
I've been finishing up some of my projects,
and setting my daughter up with a few gifts for giving later.

Thought I had complete my Goodnight Irene QAL.
I used RJR charm squares and I had to square up every one of them
before I could cut them into 2.5" squares.
Some didn't even measure 5" on any side!
It was pretty frustrating and I wasn't very happy.
It took 4 charm packs because 1/3 of each charm pack
was yellow and blue.
I've purchase fabric for binding
and will layer it when I get back up to the island.

I've been learning how to crochet and have made my SIL
an afghan for his October birthday.
Since I won't be here, I wanted it finished and wrapped
before I leave.
He's 6'3" and this afghan is  pretty close to 6 feet long.
Nothing like planning ahead, huh?

This poor excuse for a picture shows a set
I made for my daughter's next baby shower.
And with the left over fabric I made

a quick mug rug for her boss.
I just loved working with that orange polka-dot!

I know you were expecting a bird,
but this moth is almost as big!
This is a White-lined Sphinx Moth,
Hyles lineata,
sometimes referred to as a Hummingbird Moth.
It's wing span of 2 - 3" wide!
I heard it banging against the light in the garage early one morning
and it was very loud.  At first, I thought it WAS a bird!
Sure is pretty, for a moth.
This moth's range is throughout the United States,
 extending north into southern and mid western Canada,
 and south into Mexico.
I hope you are having a quilty week,
and are staying warm, safe, and busy.
I'm sure that spring is just around the corner.
Mother Nature, have mercy!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Where I've Been

Having recently returned from camping
on the Texas Gulf Shore for a couple of weeks,
I find myself too busy winding up my winter TX visit,
having little time to spend on the computer.
The only sewing I've accomplished is finishing up my
Operation Homefront-Texas Giving Quilts
(see previous post)
and making a chevron baby quilt for a friend.
That said, I'd like to thank the many blogging friends
who have taken the time to check in with me.
Many thanks to my daughter,

who lent me her camper,
visited for a few days,
and good-naturedly took me
out of the park on a birding adventure.
Double thanks to her better half
for hauling me the 3 hours down to the Gulf,
setting me up comfortably,
and returning in the pouring rain to bring me back home,
all without complaint.
I am a lucky girl!!
I had an awesome time despite the weather,
(mind you, I had my sewing machine at the ready!)
saw lots of birds,

(Short-billed Dowitchers)
and met many more geeky birders,

and small.

Believe it or not,
I didn't visit one quilt shop.
Have a great day!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Operation Homefront-TX Giving Quilts

Last winter, as some of you may recall,
I spearheaded a campaign for baby shower quilts
for Operation Homefront-Texas
Which, by the way, illicited several quilts
for new military moms-to-be,
thank you all very much.
As a matter of fact, a guild in Abilene
made sure that every new mom
at the Abilene shower had a quilt.
If that isn't sweet enough, they have voted to do it every year!
Operation Homefront-Texas contacted me again
and asked if I'd make Giving Quilts this year.

A Giving Quilt is actually a wallhanging
with 16 to 20 pockets in it,
to be distributed to big business, corporate offices, etc.
Employees will be encouraged to fill the pockets with gift cards
for TX military families-in-need.
The businesses will then be encouraged
to match the gift card donations with cash
allowing Operation Homefront to help these families
with their larger more pressing expenses.

My own personal committment is to make ten.
I'm ready to begin #5
and I think I'll have just enough time before I return to the northeast.
Thanks to my Crafty Daughter for making the letters
on her Cricut thing-a-ma-jiggy
and for encouraging me every step of the way.

A huge thank you to the New Braunfels Evening Lions Club
for funding this project!!

If there are any other (TX) quilters out there
who would like to pitch in,
ten isn't near enough
and your help would be greatly appreciated!
I will gladly share the notes I've made during the process!

Have a glorious day,

Friday, February 21, 2014

Cat in the Attic

Late last summer, I shared
and many of you asked for the origin of the quilt pattern.
It is called Catnap.
I had purchased the pattern many years ago
from a small quilt store when they were offering it up as a class,
and sadly, they didn't include the designer's information.
(I only purchased the pattern, I didn't take the class.)
I have since learned that it is a Pam Bono design
(I should have known just by looking at it!).
 She is offering the cat pattern for free!
It's in a little different venue,
but it's the same one, and more!!
for the free pattern downloads.
Have a glorious day!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Review: Rare Birds of North America

Have you taken the opportunity to see
the delightfully funny movie, The Big Year, starring
Owen Wilson, Jack Black, and Steve Martin?
It's been out a few years now.
If you haven't, you should.
It's not just for birders only!!
While most birders do not literally race all over the continent
in an attempt to list the most species in one year,
as this movie depicts,
many birders will drop everything to rush off to see rare birds
for the first, and usually, the only time.
If you are one of THOSE birders,
or know of someone who is,
then this book is for you:
Rare Birds of North America
by Steve N.G. Howell, Ian Lewington, and Will Russell
this comprehensive guide to vagrant species in North America
will be on the bookshelves March 5.
Vagrant species are accidental visitors from other continents
that might have "followed misguided migration paths",
were perhaps caught up in a storm,
or, as funny as it may seem,
were stowaways on ships.
I personally do not have the means
to rush off, to and fro, whenever there is a rare bird alert,
but there were a couple of times that I was in
the right place, at the right time.
Once, in northeast Cape Breton,
there was an African Western Reef Heron.
Another time, while passing through Maine
during my own annual migration,
I had the pleasure of seeing a Northern Lapwing
likely from The British Isles.
It would have been such an asset to have had this book available.
For those of you who are non-birders,
species accounts of these birds
are not in our normal every day guide books!
Rare Birds of North America
explains the hows and whys of vagrancy and
the whens and wheres of occurances,
covering 262 rare species.
Included in these species accounts are
patterns of vagrancy, identification,
seasons, regions, and migration.
Written in a straight-forward language we can all understand
it is very nicely illustrated with 275 color plates.
A big thank you to Jessica at Princeton University Press
for giving me the opportunity to preview this book.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines' Day

I don't often use spray starch
for my sewing projects.
It came in pretty handy, though, when making this
Valentines' Day wallhanging
from an old chambray jumper.
The fabric was stretchy and the starch made it
quite a bit easier to work with.

The 'aroma' of starch,
brings back lots of memories for me.
When I was in Jr. HS in the mid-sixties,
my dad was, in essence, a traveling salesman.
He would leave the house on Monday mornings
and not return until suppertime Friday nights.
Because he had to wear a suit every day,
my job was to launder and press his white dress shirts
and hankies.
He liked lots of starch!
I took the obligatory home economics,
a half year of sewing, a half year of cooking.
I didn't care much for the cooking portion of home ec.
We made biscuits one time
and they tasted like a monkey house smells.
It scarred me for life!
I loved working on the sewing machine, however,
so he bought me one.
An old singer cabinet model.
Basically, this is when I learned to sew.
We didn't have a lot of money,
so when the collars on his shirts became worn and tattered,
I'd unpick them,
turn them around,
and restitch them onto the shirt,
something, I think, he saw his mom do during the depression.
He made a deal with me - for every skirt I made,
he'd buy me a coordinating blouse or sweater.
(This was back in the days
when you weren't allowed to wear pants to school.)
I took him for his word,
and a love affair with the sewing machine
was born.

Another olfactory trigger is Wrigley's Juicy Fruit Gum.
My mom always had a pack in her pocketbook.

What scents trigger your memories?

Have a very Happy Valentines' Day!!


Monday, February 10, 2014

NEVER Underestimate the Power of Children

As you know,
I offered some quilt label templates for sale
to save for items on my wish list.
Then I read a story on fellow quilter Nola's blog,
Seems her grandchildren decided it was important
to help a family friend/neighbor
during a time of need.
The main character of this story
is a little preemie named Cru.
Cru stole my heart
and Nola's grandchildren's efforts gave me goosebumps.
I decided my real wish was to help this family,
so my sewing wish list is just going to have to wait.
Please visit Nola's blog
and read her story.
Or go straight to the fundraiser.
There are only 4 days left of this fundraiser,
but they have a ways to go.
And if you feel compelled to help,
as I did,
just come back here and let me know,
and I'll send you the quilt label templates for free.
Please share.

PS.  I forgot to tell you about the sweet little bracelet the kids
made and sent me!  It's the "Band" in
their slogan:
"Let’s “Band” Together and Bless the Miller Family!"