Friday, September 11, 2020

Starting September with Several Finishes

 I’m start with the biggie finish which I am labeling a “Trifecta.” The only reason I know what that word means is I have actually been to a horse race and won betting on the top three horses in a race. 

I made two oversized twin quilts and a mini wall hanging from the scraps.


This quilt saga started with the deal I got on the purchase of two Spumoni Bali Pops.
 In 2011, I decided I needed a “back-up plan” to work on at Breakfast Club meetings when I didn’t have time to prep the latest project or just wasn’t inspired to make it.


When Breakfast Club started we focused on making patterns with 2 1/2-inch strips. I picked the pattern, “State of Grace.” I failed to find a border fabric that worked for me so I came up with my border. I wanted to emphasize the deep teal blue pinwheels in the design.


And of course there were hundreds of scrap HSTs leftover from two twin quilts.


I have been stung by wasps twice this week! I surrendered to Mother Nature and spent two pretty days inside quilting instead of working in my yard. I was able to start the last bear stocking pattern in my stash. I figured out what was holding me back from starting this project...I didn’t like my initial fabric selection. The new colors remind me of Alaska and our state flag that is a solid blue with gold stars in the Big Dipper layout.


The next step for the stocking is to hand quilt the front and back sections.

I have finished one of the Antarctic Santas, Penguin Santa.


And I have some finishes on Bucilla kits to share!

The first is a 3D kit, “Frosty Flight.” I need to figure out a permanent stand for the plane.


I did not follow the directions on this kit at all.
It was a nice challenge...I made plenty of mistakes!


As a reward, I decided a simple kit should be the next project. I still have four more ornaments to complete in this kit which was given to me by Plaid as part of their ambassador program.


And of course, I had some unexpected visitors...neighbors who live behind me. They didn’t stay long and headed home after traipsing through my yard to include one of my perennial flower beds. At least they didn’t leave me any presents.


Happy Fall to Y'all.
 It is my favorite season.
 Love the intense colors of the changing leaves against brilliant blue skies.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

August 2020 in Review

 I know there is still a week left in August...lets just say I expect that week to get past me and whammy...it will be September.

The forecast is rain so I have high expectations of getting lots of quilting done...it might happen.

First...a little travelogue. Hubby said it was time for a flight excursion so we did a 50 minute flight to Talkeetna for lunch. I had forgotten someone mentioning there was a quilt shop in Talkeetna until we had finished lunch and were strolling the main street...there is only one street...but it does make a turn and just past the turn was a quilt shop! Oh Yeah! 


It is so adorable! Lots of Alaskan themed kits. 

I usually restrain myself with panels but had to get this set of Santa's Siberians. And of course the strips that have Santa dog mushing.


Looks like I have my first project for the Material Girls October quilt retreat.

It has been months since my last shopping trip to a quilt shop...probably in late March. (Trying to keep politics out of this post.) Anchorage and Eagle River have lots of rules for quilt shops about number of shoppers, time spent in shops, one shop even required appointments for shopping...didn't work with my spontaneous nature when it comes to shopping. Meanwhile the only restriction for shopping in a big box store is wearing a mask. It really doesn't make any sense to me how these rules are applied. 

And really...I have so much fabric in my stash I had no trouble just shopping from my shelves and not messing with pissing someone off if I took too long or got too close. 

Rules take the fun out of shopping.

The quilt retreat is in Wasilla where there are no restrictions...fully open...so our retreat schedule isn't threatened. Not sure how many of the ladies will feel comfortable attending but I am looking forward to it. I have dates reserved to board all the critters. I was planning to attend the Houston Quilt Show this year but it got cancelled several weeks ago.

A few rainy days have been regularly sprinkled throughout our summer. I am getting closer to finishing this scrappy wall hanging. 


Landscaping projects always take priority on the summer schedule. I found a great deal on mulch at Home Depot and decided to try it to outline my rock borders with it.
 

I am also using the mulch on my front beds where my border mimics a stream...I have lots of rock in the soil of my yard. Every time I place a shovel in the ground I come up with all sizes of rocks...mostly rounded. I really did find most of these rocks in my yard that I am using in my front yard to make the "stream!" The super small round rocks that sit on top of my "stream," are leftovers from rock my septic installer left a pile of by my front door. 


Garden soil was also marked down at Lowe's so I stocked up on it for a raised bed in my front yard. I would like to help camouflage my neighbor's chicken coop.  Love my neighbors but a little more privacy with some great landscaping is needed. And you can really see my yard got decimated by the installation of a new septic tank last fall. I won't touch this area until next summer so I've laid down heavy sheets of black plastic to retard unwanted weeds or grass growth.


Gee...I really hope I get this part of my yard tackled next year...it really needs some spiffing up! My perennials in the backyard have hit that phase where they need to be split so I need a place to move those off shoots. 

I feel like my landscaping progress has been slow this season but it really has been overwhelming just to figure out where to start...where the next step is...and what I can realistically accomplish. And for some crazy reason...I like to do all the work myself. I cleared a lot of wooded area that borders our lot...I was beating back the wild! Even got my husband to drag out his chainsaw for a couple of days and rented a wood chipper. We cleared so much brush that shrank to a little pile of mulch. 

But with all the bears that visit I feel like I now have a better chance to see them coming.

 I found lots of treasures...like many huge ostrich ferns. Hopefully I can get some great photos of them next year. Some of them are almost as tall as me. There were boulders hiding behind overgrown brush...you know I like big rocks! There were icky plants to kill like Devil's Club and Cow Parsnip. I hate those plants so much even though they have the most gorgeous huge leaves...prehistoric huge.

This was also a summer I was deterred by wasps and hornets. A bad sting on the 3rd of July had me visiting an ER on the 4th of July because no urgent care clinics were open. The wasps and hornets were making their nests in the ground this year...all in the roots at the base of the trees in our yard. Very different. Usually the nests are up in the branches of the trees, in wood piles or underneath the deck. That radically changed my plans for landscaping my front yard. I had a few wasps chase me away from areas I wanted to clear. 

I always wonder if my neighbors gets a good laugh now and then from my antics in the yard.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Kicking Off August

A few days of rain does a lot for a quilter's time in the studio. 

I completed the quilting on Spumoni Spin #2. I might not get the binding on until the next rainy day...because it is pretty outside. Don't even know why I am on my computer when the sun is shining!



It is because I have been a little obsessed with the scrappy Half Square Triangles (HSTs) that are left over from the two quilts I made from the Spumoni Bali Pops.


No matter how many HSTs I piece together...there are always more!

 
I can't seem to stop thinking about what to do with this little suckers.

In July I finished a set of Sandra Cozzolino Santas


I know you are wondering...how may of these Santas are there left to make from this designer? 

Every time I think I have that figured out the final tally...I find more vintage designs. Sandra Cozzolino has a Facebook page where even she admits she doesn't know the final count.

I am now starting her new designs for 2020.

No wild critter pics to share though I did see a lynx cross our street while working in the yard last week. The lynx was as tall as my dogs...who were very confused when they saw it. I'm sure they thought it was a dog. It made for a nice conversation piece that evening at dinner. 

My big cat, Eli, was safely tucked away inside. He is only allowed to go in the dog run for outside adventures since there are just too many wild animals that would like to eat him...lynx, foxes and coyotes are all in the area.


He would make a good-sized meal.

Time to get on with more gardening tasks.


All of the annuals are hitting peak performance.


Monday, July 20, 2020

July 2020

It has been a month since my last posting. 
So much for my goal of posting weekly.

Here is what has happened lately.

A mama bear with three cubs came to visit.


My neighbor, who was out of town, texted me that her security camera had just gotten a shot of a bear in her yard. Immediately, I looked out my window and there was a mama bear with a cub...


then two more cubs came running behind her and scurried to a tree where one cub hustled right up it. Later that day I did look at the tree and saw the claw marks from the cub's climb.

It was brief visit and I feel lucky to get any photos at all. 

Hubby dragged me on a halibut fishing charter out of Whittier...a very small town that sits on the shores of Prince William Sound. The water is pretty smooth in the sound so no problems with sea sickness for anyone on the boat. It appears my husband expects this to be an annual event. With both sons unavailable and no out of state visitors this summer...he only had me to take on the trip. 


I don't eat fish...have never liked it...this is what makes it even more unexpected as an activity for me. 

And just to be clear...I am not much of a fisherman...I am a "reeler." The fishing charter does everything...has their secret fishing holes, baits the hook, sets the fishing poles in a very sturdy metal support, and gets the fish onboard. I just go out on the deck when the boat anchors and stand behind a fishing pole until they tell me to start reeling.

I was one of the last to get my fish...some people know what they are doing and get their fish pretty quickly. I had to let my last one go...it was my biggest but there are rules about the size and number of halibut one can keep. I am a very good tipper so I'm sure the crew was glad they put so much effort into my day. There were 12 total passengers on the trip and all got one or two halibuts. I think two was the limit per person. 

In case you vacation in Alaska and want do a fishing charter out of Whittier...
go with Crazy Rays. My husband has been fishing with him for several years. He has a nice boat with a good bathroom...very important when one is out on the water for 12 hours...but you have to make sure to request to be on Ray's boat...he has another crew operating his first boat that is smaller.

Bonus sites on the trip...Orca whales...and lots of otters.

Plaid Bucilla kit production was shut down for Covid 19. They are now open and working hard on new kits. I did get a goodie box from them but it only had one felt kit...this adorable Halloween ornament set. I sent a  request for several of the new stocking kit designs but probably won't get any those until September. 


Since I spend most of my days outside working in the yard...and a good deal of time is spent weeding...I have been turning to cross stitch projects. My sore fingers prefer cross stitch over embroidery on felt fabric.

These are not Santas...but elves that were designed by Sandra Cozzolino. 


What's Santa without his elves?

We've had a pretty decent summer in terms of weather. 
There is not a typical summer...or winter...or fall...or spring...

But this summer has been decent.
 A few sunny days and then a few days of rain. 
Works for me.

I took part in a Facebook Quilt Challenge to post a photo of one of my quilts for 10 days. Love show and tell so I jumped right to it. I realized I lacked some good quilt photos so I did an afternoon in my backyard doing a quilt photo shoot.

I had my assistants....


Pretty fun!


The rain has returned...


March 26th was the last time I quilted with my Nolting.
 It's good to be back in front of the machine. 

McKinley was hogging the quilt shots so I had to share one of my mama's boy,
Logan.


I was trying to get them to smile.


McKinley was trying...Logan...just confused. 

Friday, June 19, 2020

Playing on a Rain Day

My social interaction is so limited that I will be sharing my latest shopping purchases. 

The Material Girls retreat for May was cancelled, Breakfast Club has been cancelled indefinitely and my fitness studio is shutting down for good as a causality of Corona-virus. 

Good thing I know how to entertain myself! But I am a bit lonely for some quilting interaction. I am with several groups on Facebook but just not the same...

So...pretty normal for me to do a little spring cleaning in my studio and I unearthed a drawer of rulers and templates...most of which I have never used...like the the ones below that come in two sizes and are still wrapped in plastic. I'm sure I bought a book to go with them but I saw this Carnival pattern and liked the simplicity of the design that could show off some pretty fabrics.


And then another pretty pattern that will give me the opportunity to  use all of these colorful templates; hexagon, triangle and diamond. I'm definitely in a "floral," state of mind. I'm hoping to make a quilt for my daughter-in-law. She is a gardener and married to my son who is in the Air Force so they move fairly often. I want to add the words, "Bloom Where You are Planted." Still pondering which of these two patterns, Hexie Garden or Carnival, will by the chosen one.


I bought this new design for sunflowers as a PDF pattern...it was great to get the pattern immediately...like I was going to start it that day...HA HA...so funny...like that would ever happen in my world.


June is the release month for the annual set of Santas designed by 
Sandra Cozzolino. Every year I say I am amazed by her latest designs and this year I feel the same way. Antarctica Santas. Adorable!


I had a quick set of Sandra Cozzlino's International Santas in my vintage kit stash I work on in June. More cuteness!


I've been a little remiss in sharing photos of visiting critters this summer. Moose are huge but their coloring helps them blend in beautifully. I usually notice I'm driving by a moose at the last minute when they move. 


Both photos where taken through my screen window so they have a nice texture.


The critters are both walking around all my rock area...so funny.These two manhole covers and venting pipes mark my lovely new septic tank. My yard was devastated by that event. Hoping to start tackling that area in July.


Thursday, June 4, 2020

Many Projects Inside and Outside

This is why I blog...to have an accounting of my projects.

It really helps me have a sense of accomplishment when I look back at what happened with my time.

I came up with a design for my latest scrappy half square triangle blocks. I discovered about 100 more scrappy HSTs while cleaning a drawer in my sewing room and now I don’t know what I will do  with those...another challenge.


Two tiny International Santas to add to my collection, Scandinavian and African Santa.


My Snowman family is finished. A difficult set to put in storage so they might stay on display year-round. Very challenging to get some of the arms attached. Thankfully, I had a curved upholstery needle in my stash. 


Summer is here in Eagle River, Alaska. 

Gardening and landscaping are now my primary projects.

Our garden nurseries were just wiped out of inventory this year. So funny how first it is toilet paper and now it’s plants! I just barely managed to find nursery starts of the plants I usually grow. Mostly broccoli, red cabbage and several varieties of kale. Missing are beets and carrots.


My “Tub Wall,” needed two plants replaced. Pretty normal to lose one or two plants a year. One year a moose decided not to use the stairs so that took out a couple of plants. I also like to add a top dressing of fresh potting soil to every tub. The “WOW” wheel my son made me when he was learning to weld...also flips to spell, “MOM.” 


Last summer I really wanted to rearrange the plants in my perennial garden...it happened yesterday. There were several spots where plants never grew well so I spent time amending the soil..everywhere. So happy I got this done the first week of June.


Soooo many other landscaping projects to tackle! 
I must say I have been sleeping well every night with all this physical work.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

A Few Project Updates

Wow...to my total amazement...May is well underway.

I’m spending lots of time outside but still managing to spend a little time working on projects.


Finished a little ornament, Santa with Cardinal. This is a Mill Hill kit.


Another kit...this one is a Bucilla kit...still two pieces to finish...a snow boy and a blue bird. These 3D kits are a challenge but so adorable.


My scrappy blocks are coming along but boy are they time consuming! I'm using HSTs that finish at 1 1/4-inches. I'm making it up as I go and loving it. 


I am a faithful Jazzerciser and I've turned my living area into a dance studio. McKinley is very supportive and always waits patiently for me to get my workout done.


I was lucky enough to visit with my granddaughter. At four months she has reached the stage where I can play with her! Missing her immensely now that I am back home.