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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Quilty Goodness


August first was a momentous day.
Summer finally decided to make an appearance,
and I joined the other ladies of the NSQBQ,
(Nova Scotia Quilting Bloggers' Quartet),


Linda (Scrapmaster),
and Sheila (Sheila's Quiltworld),
for a day out!
Attending the Northumberland Quilt Guild's quilt show together
in Pictou, NS has become an annual event.
Following our quilty adventure, we went out to lunch
and caught up on all of our happenings,
as well as determining our 2nd annual winter challenge.

The quilt show was very nice.
The only picture I am going to share from the quilt show
is this delightful little critter!
You all know how much I love bugs and birds!


The lighting left a lot to be desired at this venue,
so I didn't take very many photos.
If you are interested in seeing more, pop on over to Scrapmaster,
where Linda shared some beauties.

Speaking of sharing beauties,
Linda brought her latest quilt, I Love Chai
for us to oooh and ahhhh over.


The front.


And the very cleverly pieced back.

We had a lovely time, as always.
Plans are to meet up again in October

In preparation for our get together, I baked and decorated cookies
and had a package for everybody.


I don't think many of Linda's cookies made it home.

I'd like to send a special thank you out to Lesley
for being the taxi on Saturday.  I hope you're feeling better!
I did not catch your miserable, summer cold.
You're the best, Lesley!

I've seen quite a lot of foundation piecing
the last few months, and thought I'd share how I keep mine organized.


I like the quick accessibility of using a large accordian organizer.
And when closed up, it sits right up on the bookshelf
with all my notebooks.

I'm going to link up today to Sew Bitter Sweet's


My goal is to complete my Wish Upon a Star Quilt
by month's end.


I'm doing the blanket stitch by hand around all the letters.
My biggest challenge will be sitting still long enough
to complete all the handwork!

Thanks so much for stopping by.
I leave you with a photo of a frequent July visitor to my yard.


I hope you have a lot of quilty goodness this week.
Not a quilter?  Well, just have lots of creative fun!!
~karen






Friday, July 31, 2015

Don't Break the Chain


July 31st.
Wow!
How can that be?
We're still waiting for summer up here!

I have been piecing quilts for over 30 years,
and it still amazes me
 that there is something new to learn every day.

My latest discovery:


I already knew that the drawn line is actually my fold line,
and my stitches must just kiss the line.
But I did not know that my unit would be more square
if I pressed it open BEFORE I cut the excess.
It has made a huge difference in my blocks,
especially when I am working with small squares,


such as these star points.  They only started out at 1.5" square.
I enjoyed making my niece's "Reach for the Stars" quilt so much,
that I decided it would be fun to make another.
This has been my leader-ender project 
while I construct my zebra quilt and my houndstooth quilt.
It's almost a flimsie!

My goal has been to see how long I can chain stitch
without breaking the chain.
When working on three projects at once, 
you can go for days!

One little finish that I can show you.



This was a UFO from last fall.
I made a darling wallhanging from the bonus half square triangles,
but gave it as a gift without taking a picture of it!
I kid you not!

Although it's been chilly, wet, and usually windy,
the birds still flock to the feeding station.
My sewing machine is set up 
front row, center!
(Who needs t.v.?)
There are babies everywhere...


Here's a quick pic of two baby Purple Finches,
waiting atop a tree for someone,
anyone,
to come feed them!
Both parents assume that responsibility!
I had four breeding pair of Purple Finches this year,
and the babies are everywhere!
They are so cute.

Long (non-holiday) weekend in Canada...
and the weather looks a little better for the next few days!
Hope everyone enjoys!











Saturday, July 25, 2015

Butterflies Abound

Or do they?

Summertime means lots of beautiful insects,
the most stunning of which might be the butterfly.
Fun to emulate,
butterflies can be found on many items,
including quilts, of course!

Dancing ButterfliesLeahDay.com
   
LaundryBasketQuilts

The Butterfly Quilt by Tula Pink

Two Etsy finds that tickled my butterfly fancy.

Viking Village
Studio Swoon Handmade

  Perhaps the most majestic of all is
the Monarch,
(Danaus plexippus).


It is a species at risk, folks,
largely due to habitat loss,
and we can help.
I have been viewing some absolutely beautiful gardens
on many of the blogs I visit.
 rely soley on milkweed for growth and survival.
I encourage you to google which species of milkweed plant
is native to your specific area
and to incorporate these beautiful plants
into your (hopefully chemical free) garden spaces.
These are the plants, the ONLY plants, that the Monarch Butterfly
will lay her eggs on.  Under the leaves.  
One at a time.

Davesgarden.com

Or en masse.

ruthschickens.wordpress.com
This year, I have planted three mature Swamp Milkweed plants,
and I've started three babies from seed.
One (of the mature) is just starting to bud out now
and I am so excited.
I haven't seen a Monarch on my property
since September of 2012.

Thanks for considering my request.
It's such a simple thing to do.

~karen









Tuesday, July 14, 2015

If Wishes Were Horses...



....then beggars would be kings!
And I'd accomplish a whole lot more than I do!

Last summer, it finally dawned on me
that I just can't make everything I see!
Others seem to.
They make time to create their own designs and patterns, too.
AND have awesome blogs.

*sigh*

What I have created, though, is quite a lengthy Wish List.
On Pinterest.  On Craftsy.  In my trusty little notebook.
On slips of paper that clutter the counter then get lost in the shuffle.
And still, I forget where I saw what.

My most recent wish list consists of several lengths of backing fabric.
I found a great source.
And it has a great name!  One I won't forget!


I've recently done a little business with Christine
and it has been a delightful experience.
She advertises 100% customer satisfaction,
and she means it!
I hope you'll take the opportunity to visit BackSide Fabrics
and peruse her wares.  She's having a sale right now,
as a matter of fact!  Perhaps you'll find the perfect backing 
for your next quilt like I did!

I'd share more from my wishlist,
if I could just remember....

In the meantime, I plug away at both my machines,
doing the best I can.
I'm pokey, no doubt about it.
(When I was in my 40's and tooling about with my dad,
he used to tell me that I'm the only person he knows
that's slower than his 80 year old mother!
It kind of blows my mind that I'm the same age now
that he was then!)

I wish I could sew like Jenny Doan
and never have to stop to square anything up,
and have everything seem to fit together perfectly.

I wish we could load a whole spool of thread into the bobbin casing
and never run out of bobbin thread.

Anyway,
This morning I'm building zebra ears.


Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts
designed the cutest zebra quilt.


THEN she posted a tutorial on how to make just one.


I made it and I was hooked.
I keep it next to me for reference.
Hmmm, takes a lot longer to make 16 zebras than to make one!
But, they are fun, fun, fun!

I'm working on a couple of other projects at the same time
as my zebra ears, but no pics, I'm afraid.

Hope you're working on something fun today, too.

Since today is all about wishing,
my wish for you is to have a wonderful day!
~karen





Thursday, July 2, 2015

Warbler Guide Birding App: A Review


No quilty business today!  
Sometimes I'm just a bird brain!

A few weeks ago, I was invited by Princeton University Press
to review their new Warbler Guide App.
I jumped at the opportunity, only to discover that I could not
access the App from ITunes while I'm vacationing in Canada.
So, I turned to my nerdy Birdy Brother-in-Law for help!


No, no! That's not him.


There he is!
He is my birding mentor
and soley responsible for my birding addiction.
Remind me sometime to tell you about our winter birding adventures
in (Brrrrrrrrrrr) Maine when I was just a beginner.
What did I learn?  Well.....A duck isn't just 'a duck'...
....And not all white clumps are snow....

...But, back on track,
and without further adieu, 
I'd like to take this opportunity to share his review of


The Warbler Guide App

Warblers are some of the most fun birds to find and identify. Unlike sparrows, who are all small brown birds, or sandpipers, who are difficult to distinguish without lots of practice, warblers come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Many are so distinctive in their spring breeding plumage, that it would be nearly impossible to confuse them with any other species. Their colors and patterns are strikingly beautiful.

            The problem with identifying warblers is that it can be difficult to get good looks at them as they flit around the tree tops feeding. Anyone who has followed the sharp, loud, “teacher, teacher, teacher” call of an ovenbird can attest to how hard it is to actually see the bird. And then, in the fall, many warblers lose their brilliant colors and become the “confusing fall warblers” as Roger Troy Peterson famously called them. That is when I need some help identifying them.

            I recently downloaded the new app from Princeton University, “The Warbler Guide.” It covers all the warblers found in the US. Oftentimes, we only catch a quick glimpse of a warbler, maybe from underneath or maybe just of its face. While most field guides only show warblers from a side view, this new app shows every warbler from six different angles: side, face, 3D, 45 degrees, underside and undertail. Did you know that the undertail pattern of many warblers is all you need to ID it? Sometimes that is all you see and that is enough with this app.

            The search function in the app can be programmed by region, season, and color which quickly limits the number of possible birds to search through. Then when I choose from the pictures of all the possible warblers I might see, I also get similar species to compare. So if I am birding the north east in the fall and see a drab gray warbler with a yellow patch on the throat, I might click on  the common yellow throat picture. 



This pulls up the common yellow throat page with taps that leads to an amazing amount of information, such as maps, aging, photos, and habitat. One of the most helpful tabs, especially for identifying birds in the field is the “Comparison Species” which shows similar species.

            This app is really quite complete. It provides all the information needed to identify even the most confusing fall birds or those birds that are difficult to get a good look at. It provides all their songs as well. If you are looking to learn your warblers, this app is just the thing you need. It is easy to use and having such a complete guide with so much information at your fingertips in the field is really amazing.


Great review, Don!  Thanks a million!
I expect our birding adventures next spring
will be that much more awesome.

for this great opportunity.



Monday, June 29, 2015

A Few Finishes


June is over all ready?
I do have a few finishes.
I just kind of poke along at my own pace.

First up,

"Keeping Perspective"


My first (and maybe only) foray into modern quilting.
Inspired by a quilty blogging friend of many years,
who embraced modern quilting, and
despite reoccurring medical issues over the last two years,
she never appeared to skip a beat, never stopped smiling,
and continued sharing her knowledge and skills.
Her word of the year?
Perspective.

"Keeping Perspective" was custom quilted by
Natalia Bonner of PieceNQuilt.
Pop over to see!
Her pics are so much nicer!

Another finish was my Posie Quilt,


gifted to a friend who was just diagnosed with breast cancer.
It was delivered yesterday and she was just delighted.


Here's how I quilted it.


And here's the sweet label,
I just took the flowers out of the middle of the pattern.

Last, but not least, I made a wallhanging for my nephew.


It measures 24x32.
He just got his first apartment and had a birthday, too!

June was a rainy, cold month.
Believe it or not, I'm still having warming fires in the mornings!
Here's hoping summer finds us soon!

XO,
karen



Saturday, June 6, 2015

Real Life


Quick Post

Projects are often staged in cleverly arranged photo shoots,
but in real life, this is what's going on at my house,
with no time taken to edit the photos,
because as you can see, I've got work to do!
And my new laptop and I still haven't bonded.


1. The kit I am so glad I bought.  Helped me get back into the groove
after being away from the machine for so long.
2. My Elephant Parade, just short of half machine quilted.
3. Posies from the UFO bin for a friend 
just diagnosed with breast cancer.
UFOs rock!
4. The Houndstooth quilt I've always wanted to make.  
This will be my airfare quilt this year, 
purchased by the friend just diagnosed with cancer,
for her last and final grandchild.
This makes four!
She deserves a comfort quilt after making my annual
migration to TX affordable three years in a row!


5.  The Broken Dishes blocks that WERE going to be the border 
of the Posies quilt - oh, so long ago.  
There are enough for a sweet baby quilt.
6.  The afghan I'm crocheting during evening hours and on road trips.
7.  My next project, by The Raspberry Rabbits!

Last but not least,
your favorite,
a bird picture.


whetting his whistle.
This is just a medium sized plant pot and saucer
turned upside down.  The birds love it.

I'm going to have a busy, quilty day
since it's cold and rainy.  Again.
Hope your day is special in some way!

XO