Monday, September 30, 2013

Design Board Up and Working....

Well, it isn't quite what I had envisioned, but at least I have a design board now.  And with me starting the One-Block Wonder quilt shortly, I really need the design board.

I saw this book and it really hits all my hot spots....kaleidoscope, mandalas, compass rose.  And then I came across Quilter in the Closet where she had made a beautiful blue one-block wonder quilt.  And now she is starting a One-Block Wonder QAL

But the design board had been on the planning table for some time now.  With both Texter and I feeling less like doing much of anything last week, we spent a few minutes and put together my design board.  The boards I had saved out of the box my recliner had come in.  There were 3 nice, heavy boards.  So I took 2 and duct taped them together.  Then covered them with batting and then white flannel.

I really can't affix to the wall since (1) it's a rental and (2) all the walls are rock down in the basement.  So I have it propped up on two boxes.  One box contains the polyfil for the alphabet blocks I have to finished up (hint, hint).  The other is an empty polyfil box that I am dumping scraps into for future use.  I really want to make a string quilt some time.  

I had thought about placing it on the floor so it is vertical rather than horizontal.  However, we really didn't secure the join very well and it bends if I set it that way.  To fix it would mean, un-duct-taping the whole thing and putting a brace on the back.  Or just putting a brace across the back.  And I am not up to snuff enough to tackle that yet.  

There is still 1 more panel I can cover and use for a smaller design board or an inspiration board.  However, we do use it for puzzles that are too big for the card table.  So I may hold off on using that board for a bit until I see how much we use it for puzzles.  With winter coming I have to do something so that Texter will be occupied while I stitch and knit.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

More Birds.....

Before the weather turned rainy here (and snowy just above us), I shot some pictures of my birdy friends.

This is the reason why I left the volunteer sunflower growing in my planter.

The Mountain Chickadee spent hours going back and forth to the sunflower, picking out the seeds.  His acrobatics were very amusing to watch.

He worked so hard to get his seeds.  On the other hand, his cousin, the Black Capped Chickadee, took the easy way out and just went to the nyger bag for his seeds.

I don't know if he didn't like sunflower seeds or considered the sunflower off-limits since the Mountain Chickadee was eating from it.

Another thing I learned while watching the birds on our last sunny day this past week were that the grackles are really colorful.

I had thrown some stale bread out on the patio and several Common Grackles appeared.  I know a lot of people don't like them (flocks pooping on cars), but I had never realized how colorful they really were.  The green-black of their head merging into the bronze and purple of the body. 

The only thing is that they have 'beady' yellow eyes and can look a little spooky.  But with their coloring, I don't think they are "Common" at all.

But with the weather all yucky, I stocked up the feeders with suet and seeds and added a couple of feeders.  I love to sit upstairs and watch the birds while stitching and knitting.  So there should be a lot more bird pictures coming.  I'm hoping for some newcomers to the feeders with the weather getting colder.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Before the Bad Weather Came....

there were orchids.  The Great Divide Orchid Society had a show at the empty mall about six blocks away, so it was a no-brainer to walk down on Saturday and tour the show.

This beauty was an orchid about 3 feet across.  The flowers are about 12 inches long.  By far the 'biggest' display of a single plant.  Very unusual.

Then these were also about 12 inches long.  However, they were covered by hundreds of tiny flowers.

It was a small show, but not short on beauty.  I came home with a scented cattleya in a pinky purple.  Pictures of her to show up shortly when I am feeling better.  And a little $1 guy who will take about 2 years to first bloom.  I wanted to see if I could get him to survive that long in my hands and blooming.  Texter also bought me a beautiful cream and purple phalaenopis.

Some more of the eye-candy available on Saturday.

Now I will go fix some hot Wild Orange tea from Teavana (which is out of this world) and try and get over this crud I have. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday Morning with Lady K

Instead of trotting downstairs with Lady K this morning so I could work on my homework, I had to stay upstairs (overnight guests downstairs asleep).  So I caught up on my blog reading on Texter's computer and watched Dr. Who to catch up on the series.  Let the dogs in and out of the backyard, filled the bird feeder with a few minutes worth of seeds and drank some coffee.  A slow start to a Saturday morning (and perhaps what I needed).

But we get a far amount of light in the living room with the big, double patio doors, even with it facing north.  And Lady K was up and playing, despite a really runny nose (change in weather, teething, both?) and my camera I have been keeping by the little coffee table so I can take bird pictures was right there, so I decided to do a little photo work. All the pink and aqua looked good in the light.  Although I am not really into 'people pictures', I find myself taking more these days (wonder why?).
So here is my Saturday morning photo play.....

Runny nose and all, we are all bright-eyed and ready to play.  

We can be serious and attentive too.

And who is going to get into trouble whenever she can?

Please note the highlights on the eyes.  This is something that was drilled into us during the photography class I took in the spring.

A little sleepy and watching grandma.

Lady K and Mojo.  Both of the dogs are good with her.  Except for when she is on the floor and they want to do something and they sometimes forget that she isn't part of the floor and almost step on her.  But Mojo loves to come up and she digs those little hands into his fur and pulls.  He just licks her face and then she tries to lick his.  So I am not worried about when she really starts getting active and can toddle and hang and pull.  Mojo is the one that will lay down with her.  Actually, I think he is waiting for her to burp milk so he can lick it up.  Dogs....what can you say.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Difference Between Chickadees

I have grown up with 'chickadees'.  Those jaunty little birds with their black heads.  Now it turns out what I was use to seeing was the "Carolina" chickadee.  Makes sense, I was in North Carolina, but I also grew up with them in Tennessee and Texas.  I thought they were everywhere.

They are everywhere, just different.  Across the northern part of the United States we have the "Black-capped" chickadee.  This little fellow.... 

Now comes the bird lesson and why I spent a week "stalking" the bird feeder.    The guy above has a solid black cap and a bit of rust on his chest and some white on his wings.

Then there is the "Mountain" chickadee, which I thought I caught a glimpse of and have been hoping for a picture all week.

This is the "Mountain" chickadee.  Not as widespread as the "Black-capped" and with some subtle differences.  This guy has a streak of white on either side of his head over the eyes.  He doesn't have the rust coloration on his chest and not quite the amount of 'color' on his wings.  Normally these guys like to stay in the mountains, hence the name, but we have a huge spruce tree in the back yard (among other trees), so I am sure that is why he is there.

Turns out, he has been in the yard for a while now, I just haven't noticed the little streak of white on his head which would set him apart from his cousin.  I only have a couple of chickadees coming to the feeder, versus a ton of sparrows of all species, so he got lost in the crowd.

Friday, September 13, 2013

My Secret Sister....

Being the organized person that I am, I did not take a picture of the box that I sent off for my end of the Secret Sister swap.  So I am providing the link to Diane's blog, where she took pictures of what she received on her blog The Cheshire Quilter.  Well, actually I did take a picture of the box itself, or one corner of it.  Mainly it was of my 'assistant' that I took a picture of.

I made another bowl with the wrapped fabric technique I learned and a set of 4 coasters.  I filled in the spaces with candy and tea from Montana....huckleberry flavored.  I was worried it would take a bit longer than it did to get there, but it seemed to have arrived in a timely manner.  So hop over the Diane's blog and see her lovely quilts and what I sent her!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Jewel-like and Yummy

I was lucky enough to be able to go to Tizer Gardens and pick their raspberries.  (They needed them picked and I was available at the last minute.)  So I took my share home and put them in the freezer as I knew I couldn't touch them for a few days.  The berries were on the small size compared to the ones you get in the grocery store, but packed with flavor.  Then I searched for the 'perfect' jam recipe.  I wanted something with a little more than just a plain jam.  And then I found this....Raspberry-Grand Marnier Jam on Beanilla. 

Aren't they just beautiful.  And they taste as good as they look.  I got 11 half-pints and 1 almost full pint of jam from the recipe (and some berries left over, so there might be some more made).  The jam has a strong raspberry taste, but you get the undertones of the orange from the zest and Grand Marnier.  A very easy recipe to make with tremendous results.

As it turns out I now have a small stockpile of orange zest.  Texter wanted orange-aide and I needed orange zest, so I bought a bag of oranges.  I zested and she squeezed, so it was a win-win situation.  There is a baggy of zest in the freezer for future use.  Same with the lemons.  I needed juice for the recipe, so I zested the lemons and put in the freezer.  Can you tell I have a new zester tool?

But back to the jam.  I have made buttered toast for the past couple of mornings and spread on the jam and it is out of this world.  I have to set 3-4 jars aside for Savvy as I know she will really appreciate it.  I know some people will complain about the seeds in the jam, but they have little impact, other than visual.  They aren't hard and don't get in the way.

So now I need to try it on biscuits......

Sunday, September 08, 2013

It's a Secret Sister Thing Received

I signed up a couple of months ago to join in with "It's a Secret Sister Thing" hosted by Michele from Quilts From My Crayon Box.  Since my box is still in transit I can't say anything about it, however, I was lucky enough to have Michele herself as my secret sister.  This is what came in my lovely box....

She followed my blog pretty well.  I got a box of notecards and pen (for letters to Savvy) and a sunflower to cross stitch.  There was also a lovely frame and stitched saying which will go on my bedroom wall.  A cute little pouch which holds my cards and phone just nicely without having to carry a big purse (a plus with the grand baby).

But my favorite is the pin cushion/thread catcher.  Not only will it work well in my sewing room, but now when I go to a quilting class with my lowly Singer machine, I can fit in with the Bernina people and all their gadgets.....and look good doing so!

Thanks Michele, this was fun!