Friday, July 30, 2010

Spa Quad finished

Dr. Kaufman gave me quite a bit of fabric on one of my quilt deliveries, and I was able to use them for some quilts.  This is the first finished Spa Quad, along with a couple of added blue fat quarters to the ones she gave me.  It is only half the pattern, and made a good size lap quilt for a kid.  Pat and I cut this one out and put together each quarter block on the last morning of the retreat.  I thought there might be some issues in putting it altogether, since I'm not a very exacting piecer, so I did that after I got home.  There were no problems even though we had each done half the blocks.

We've seen this little horned lizard around in the front yard, and then he took refuge on the ramp under the covered entry to our front door.  He let me get very close.  I love the patterning and coloring on this guy.  I hope he eats bigger bugs like centipedes which I don't enjoy in the least!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Post storm skies

We've been getting our monsoon rains, and for the last several days have had mostly cloudy days.  The moisture is always welcome though it frequently comes in torrents.  This afternoon was one such torrent which made little pools of water.

The reward was a lot of beautiful clouds and that wonderful, fresh, moist air.  Fortunately our temperatures have been milder since I don't do heat + humidity too well.

Back in the spring when my dad was still here we got a shed to help relieve some of the "stuff" in the garage, and organize things better.  Dale has reclaimed the open space between the vehicles, and now has ample room to work on either one.  There was always a pile of things occupying that area.

You can see the water from today's downpour.  Dale created a little gravel landing around the shed, and to the west he frequently puts a chair out and watches the sunsets.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Quilting retreat

I've been in Show Low, AZ since Wednesday afternoon, and what a great, productive long weekend it has been.  

The star of the show has been "Spa Quads" which no matter how slowly you try to enunciate it, sounds like Spock Wads.  Star Trek anyone?  I printed this pattern before I left home, and Pat had fabric that fit the pattern so well she decided to make it.  It is destined to be a rather large baby quilt.  Pat doesn't love the retro fabrics, but everyone else loves it. 

 I used vintage fabrics to make a smaller one which I will border to make it a little wider.  I've also managed to finish my oriental lanterns, and make two more tops with donated ocean themed pinwheels.   I will have lots of quilt tops to keep me busy once I get home. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

We have flight!

For the past several days I thought our babies were about ready to leave the nest.  I've been keeping a close watch in case one of them happened to fall out instead of flying out.  There was a lot of preening and wing stretching going on.  They made me rather nervous when they would teeter on the edge of the nest flapping wildly to get back in.

Early this morning I heard some commotion, and one of the babies was on the roof of our entry.  I watched periodically for a while, and was able to see each of the other two take off in flight from the nest.  I was surprised at their purposeful flight.  The third one went to the middle of our road.  Not a good place for a baby bird, and after some time, I decided to see if it could fly back towards the house, or I would help get it somewhere up higher where it wouldn't be such a target.  Well, as I approached he took off and they are all fairly close to each other now, near or on the support for our satellite dish.

It sure has been great entertainment watching them.  I can't believe it's only been two weeks since they hatched out.  I also finished the pinwheel quilts.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Snakes and finishes

Well, the snake didn't learn the lesson and returned to terrorize our swallows.  Swallows take precedence here, and Dale found three snakes, two in the pot, and a rather large one underneath.  They are no longer a problem!  

I finished the rust piece, and it will be delivered on Tuesday.  I had trouble using the rust dyed fabric for binding as well.  Too many layers and too much iron oxide to stitch through.  The needle had trouble penetrating through it all, but I got it done.  

Also finished the pinwheel quilts, and they are waiting in the dryer for photos.  We got some much needed rain the night before last, and spent the day yesterday in the yard weeding, dressing up old plants, and planting some new discounted plants from Wal-Mart.  Rearranged things by the front door--trying do away with snake habitat.   

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Second time is a charm...

Since we've lived here, we've had swallows come around, and look like they were going to nest but it never happened.  This year they made a nest in our front entry.  It's been a real treat watching their amazing nest building from scratch and now watching the babies grow.

Four little ugly birds hatched out.  Only a mother bird could love these things, all fuzzy head and beak.

A week later they are growing, and I think there is no way they can all continue to fit in the nest.

Then one evening, I see the adults all flying towards our living room window, and then there are three and four adults.  When I looked out to see what was going on, I discovered a snake atop our dried yucca that are in a pot by the door, and it is straining, trying to reach the nest.  It can't reach, but then it tries to climb up the stucco wall.  Well, I wouldn't have that.  By the time I went to get a long handled tool to convince the snake to leave, it had gone down into the deep pot that the yuccas are in.  The adult swallows were vigilant and upset for a long time.  

Yesterday evening we noticed there were only three babies in the nest.  We looked all around and found no evidence of the fourth one at all.  We suspect it fell out and then something ate it. 

This evening the bull snake was back.  We didn't want to just kill the snake, but also don't want it upsetting our swallow family.  Dale flung it out in the field, accidentally flinging it against the house first which didn't seem to bother it any.  I've also removed all the yuccas from the pot so that he can't hang out there pestering the poor swallows. 

blogging the process

I've read several posts in my blog hopping about showing or blogging about the process instead of just showing the finishes.  More about this "movement" here.  I've had an idea percolating for a while.  I wanted to make something for the physical therapy department at the VA.  I was fortunate enough to have a great therapist before my total knee surgery who worked with me trying to put off the inevitable, and now my husband is working with Sahreem on shoulder issues.  Since I had made some small quilty postcards for my knee surgeon and hand surgeon, I thought I should make something for PT as well.

I started with rust dyeing some fabric.  It went faster and got rustier than I expected.  I want to try again, and maybe with some clothing that I'm not particularly enamored with.  I love the organic color of it, though I was trying for just old looking, parchment like something.

So this is what has evolved.  Why the thistle on the left?  I don't know, I've been thinking about doing one in thread since they are blossoming all around now, and I wanted something with some color.  I've learned that I need to go bigger if I ever do another Vitruvian man.  It was hard to outline this small figure or even try to do any shading.  Not sure if I'll gift it to the intended recipient...we'll see.

Saturday, July 03, 2010


I put two tops together yesterday from donated blocks.  I had a stash of the border fabric which went nicely with the blocks.  I'm getting ready to load these two on the longarm, using one continuous backing.  I also have a sea turtles pantograph that will be just perfect for these quilts.  

These will make great summer quilts for kids.  I'm also using fleece throws for batting.  I was a little over generous with my borders, and I'm thinking of machine basting the fleece to the top--it's going to be close, and I don't want to do too much pulling with the tensioners on the sides. 

Friday, July 02, 2010

Heavy clouds but no rain..

Like the song by Sting, we keep getting the clouds, full of promise, but they choose other areas for blessing.  Yesterday afternoon it actually seemed like we might get a downpour, but it quit almost as soon as it started, my plants all straining to catch the few drops that fell.  

The skies keep lighting up both morning and evening, and it was so beautiful last night that I actually went out with camera in hand.  I love the cooler weather we've had, making daily walking to the post office doable.  My kind of summer.


Thursday, July 01, 2010

First of many?

I've been collecting fabrics for grandbaby quilts for some time now.  And since we are anticipating our daughter's birth of twins which aren't due until January, I'll get to play with a lot of different ideas.  She has the right of first refusal.  Any that don't pass can become donation quilts before I make a second similar one.
I don't know that I love this first one.  I didn't have any clear vision of where it was going, and it just sort of took off on its own.