Friday, July 22, 2016

Kitty in the Sewing Room

Our new kitten, Eli, has been settling into his big Alaskan life pretty well. So far he has spent most of his time in my sewing room...mainly because he has been having a little bit if diarrhea. My sewing room has tile floors that are pretty easy to clean when a kitten's paws might have a some icky stuff on them. It's a great excuse for me to be stuck in my sewing room.

And I have even managed to do a little quilting. I think it has been three months since I touched my midarm. I'm happy to be getting into the groove again.

Everyday, Eli gets a bit more relaxed. A quick snooze on the floor while our dog, Kinley was upstairs. Sometimes I think Kinley is acting like a mom and licks him up. Sometimes Kinley relentlessly chases Eli around the house.

Breakfast Club is next Thursday. Not sure if I am going to make it but I like the pattern they are making so I went ahead and started my version. It's a strip pattern.

The pattern is from Kim Brackett's book, "Scrap Basket Beauties." I know I am going to make some changes to the layout and the border...I just can't resist "exploring." The block is cute and super quick to put together. No matching points to worry about!

As you can see...Eli occasionally asserts himself...poor Kinley...all she wants to do is play! 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Talkeetna Train Trip

My husband's parents are visiting us. One of our adventures was to take the train from Anchorage to Talkeetna. It was about a three hour trip...mostly through wooded areas. The train cars have glass domed ceilings and a restaurant in the bottom half. Very nicely appointed train cars. 

Talkeetna is one of my favorite little towns in Alaska. Several colorful moose can be spotted around the town. This looks like a patchwork moose to me.

And some lovely one-of-a-kind shopping...

The artist is Joan Edwards. Titled, "Floating Kaleidoscope Blues."  A batik wall quilt for $750. This town lacks a quilt shop but not much else. It is well known to mountain climbers who wish to catch a plane ride to base camp on Denali (I started to type Mount longer the name!) 

Talkeetna...a big climbing town with a small drinking problem. Just one of the many quaint sayings associated with the town.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Critter Overload???

It is tough to get much of anything done when every time I look out a window...I see critters.

Early one evening we saw this grizzly just tearing up the roots of two birch trees. Not sure what it was trying to get. I'm confident this is not the grizzly we saw earlier this season. It could be an offspring of her since this one is pretty blond too.

We are in the middle of an owl invasion. We've had as many as five owls in the trees of our property. Click on this tree picture to get a closer look. We think we have at least one or two adults training three juveniles to hunt rabbits. Lots of bunny parts in our yard that Kinley is only too happy to find! bears have really started to become a common sight in the past week. Besides this one, we've had a mother sow with only one cub in our yard yesterday...and in our garage today.

As if that wasn't enough bear viewing...we have out-of-state visitors so we went to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage, about 45 minutes from Anchorage. We were excited to see two brown bears right away. One in the water and one on the far shore.

Then one of the grizzlies started walking right toward us.

Wow...I was thinking I sure hope this silly fence stops this bear. At this point he was a yard away...yipes!

This bear weighs 850 pounds and is 12 years old. He was so close, I could have petted him.

Apparently the smaller female wanted to spend some time with me too.

I better get going...might miss some more animals with my head stuck in front of this computer.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Good Progress on Several Projects

I have an acre to potentially landscape. I'm starting close to the house and working my way out. I think this wall of tubs is a great little start.

The view from my deck...

The delivery of 12,000 pounds of local granite rock is the material for my next landscaping project. Most of it will probably go toward finishing off my wall of tubs and starting another bed. Kinley left a couple of dog toys at the bottom of the pile.

I did manage to finish quilting my pillow shams. I am hoping to devote most of tomorrow to the final construction of the shams. Rain is in the forecast so landscaping can wait.

The Jim Shore Evergreen Snowman ornament is finished and joins the Pinecone Snowman.

My biggest news is I am picking up a Maine Coon kitten in two weeks. I have to travel to his current home just outside of  Kansas City, Missouri. 

It was quite a little process to get selected to become this kitten's owner. The breeder released photos of the kittens on her website between 8:30 to 9 a.m., central time, this morning. That meant 5:30 a.m. for me! I had tried to get a kitten from this breeder before but others beat me to it. This time I was prepared. I had my email requesting a particular kitten written days in advance. (I don't function well early in the morning!) The instant the breeder posted the kitten pictures, I hit the send button on my email draft. A few minutes later, I got the call. I had to immediately send my deposit in via paypal. My last cat lived a healthy life to the age of 15 so hopefully we will have this guy for a long time and all this work to get him will be worth it!

Oh...of course I have a bear picture. This was taken on Tuesday or Wednesday morning. I ran into him closer to the house when I went outside to water my flowers. He was about 100 feet away from me. I hustled Kinley inside and ran up to my bathroom on the second floor to watch the bear.

There is a stack of logs beside the driveway that two owls have been hanging out on while they eat rabbits. My husband took Kinley out for a walk the other morning and she ran up to him with a rabbit head hanging out of her mouth. Yuck!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Rain Equals Time in the Studio

We are having a fantastic summer in Alaska but we desperately need rain to abate the fire situation and we're are getting two days of it. Hopefully the sun will return tomorrow as forecast. 

Hard to believe, but I actually got my pillow shams loaded on my quilting frame and started quilting!!!

I do have one complaint...Superior Threads changed their pre-wound bobbins from cardboard to plastic. I have learned to pull off several yards of the thread from the new plastic bobbins because the thread was falling off the bobbin so readily it was jamming my machine. 

I'm to my favorite part of cross-stitch ornaments...adding the beads.

One more Jim Shore snowman ornament in the set to tackle. I'm so excited to see the new Sandra Cozzolino designs for 2016. Adorable! I love last year's Celtic Santas series. Impossible to choose my favorites but this year's Renaissance Santas are definitely in the running.

The Grizzly bear is still running around the neighborhood but this black bear has also been hanging around for the last three days. He likes to show up right when I'm first waking up...haven't even made my coffee and I'm dealing with bears! This is my neighbor's backyard. You might be able to see the gate they put on their deck stairs to keep the bears from coming up on their deck. Too many early morning wake-ups from bears trying to open their barbecue grill. 

And yesterday afternoon I came home from running errands to find evidence of the bear rummaging through my yard. He knocked over a mosquito magnet with a full bottle of propane...very heavy. Thankfully, I took Kinley with me to run my errands instead of leaving her in the dog run. 

My body needs a break from my big landscaping project. I did manage to buy plants for the tubs before the rain hit. Still have to buy all of the potting soil...hoping 40 large bags will be enough. And then of course I need to get rock ordered to complete the look. I'm getting my handyman to make some steps down the hillside. A big undertaking but when my husband got home from his trip a few days ago he loved it and I got the thumbs up to proceed.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Landscaping Begins

Our home sits on an acre. What a daunting task to start landscaping! I have one little area off our driveway that I threw together to add a little color. Notice one of the tubs is disturbed...Kinley decided to "dig out" what I had planted. It took her a matter of seconds to "un-plant." This has become an ongoing battle. She has un-planted for me at least four times.

This trend doesn't bode well as I begin my landscaping.

The hardest part is always trying to decide what to do. I'm starting in the back of our lot. Yesterday during my Jazzercise class an idea came to me about this drop from our driveway to the backyard.

I could spend a small fortune bringing in large boulders or even smaller rock to stabilize the edge of this slope...but with an acre to landscape I don't want to blow my budget so early in the project...and I want to have a uniqueness to my yard. I used these galvanized steel tubs at my last house to add flowers in my large rock beds. They are great to work with. I'm going over the top with this idea...a wall of tubs. Here's how far I got yesterday.

I'm hoping to finish placing the tubs today which means getting them all level and ready for anchoring in place with rebar. I need hubby to get home from a trip so he can take care of cutting and pounding the rebar inplace. I drilled drainage holes in the bottom of the tubs and the rebar should fit in those 1/2 holes. That is the plan. 

I'll still have to bring in some nice rock to finish it off but it gives me a fun...perhaps whimsical area to plant. I'm thinking about trying to go with small shrubs....maybe some decorative grass in the tubs. Can't wait to get to the "planting" stage. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Unwelcome Critters

We had a mouse invasion in our crawl space a few weeks ago and we are still cleaning up that space. Somehow this task fell mainly to me. You cannot imagine how disgusting this job has been!!! I have killed at least 20 mice using three different methods: sticky traps, snap traps and poison. Yesterday I pulled all of the insulation off the unfinished walls because the mice damaged all of it. Mouse excrement everywhere. Everything had to be pulled out of the space and cleaned. 

We found the entry point...a large hole in our garage around piping that was a mouse highway to our crawl space.

The end is in sight but it has taken countless hours to tackle this job.

We need a cat!!! I've been trying to find a Maine Coon cat. No breeders in Alaska and I'm having trouble getting a kitten when I do find a possible breeder. Frustrating! Every option pretty much would require me to fly somewhere and pick up the kitten. I don't mind doing that but traveling to and from Alaska during the high-tourist time is tough. Most summer flights are already full.

I'll keep you posted...someday I will find the perfect kitty.

So my spring cleaning has really taken most of my time...both in the crawl space and throughout the house..

Very little quilting the past few weeks

Too tired at night to even work on my Buscilla projects. 

About the only projects I have felt up to working on are cross stitch ornaments. No thinking...very little physical effort required. I always have "vintage" Sandra Cozzolino Santas to try and finish up. Her three new Santa designs have just been released. This year she made Renaissance Santas. They are fantastic and I've ordered the set...of course!

These two Santas complete the "Celestial Santas" set, "Terrestrial Santa" and " Lunar Santa."

Jim Shore has started releasing yearly sets of cross stitch ornaments. Two years ago I did his six Santas. Last year he did three Santas and three Snowmen. I have one snowman done, "Pinecone Snowman," I think this year's Jim Shore ornament designs will be released in July. I'm on a mission to get last year's designs done this summer.

I hope to get my quilt frame loaded today with the pillow shams. Came up with a quilting design. I tried to incorporate the design I did on the companion quilt but my skills have advanced in six years so I'm getting a little more intricate on the shams.