Monday, July 9, 2018

Five Days of Summer

We may have had our allotment of summer weather for this season...and it only lasted 5 days. Very nice that it coincided with the 4th of July. We are back to cloudy skies and rain showers dominating the forecast. 

I am harvesting food from my garden: broccoli, lettuce, kale, strawberries and cherry tomatoes. 
Here's an early morning shot of part of my garden from several days ago. This is the view from my dining room window which is one story above the garden. Lots of cabbage plants...might swap some out for cauliflower next summer. 


Another early morning pic, this time of my landscaping project. I pulled out some black plastic sheeting to put on the ground and give me a better idea of what I've got left to do this summer. The outlining rocks are just holding the black plastic in place. And I'm killing some grass at the same time that won't be needed anymore. I hit a little mental road block deciding what to do next in the landscape design so I took a break. I will have to get another load of fractured granite to finish off this project. 


The best news is I have actually spent two days working on quilting a top. 
After basting it all together, I stitched the flower motifs with a pastel variegated thread. 
The rest of the quilting will be done in black thread.  


I'm a little behind on posting pics of finished projects. I sliced my left thumb when I was working with my rotary cutter three weeks ago. That limited my stitching in the evening to cross stitch. So...like a good time manager...I just embraced the opportunity to finish a set of Santa ornaments.


I am really getting close (as in getting all of the vintage kits done in two more years) to completing all my Sandra Cozzolino cross stitch kits. I aim to finish 10 cross stitch ornaments a year. So far this year I have finished 11 ornaments. I have three more kits organized and ready to start stitching. I started stitching Cozzolino Santa ornaments in 2008 and have completed 129. I should count how many kits I have left to make. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Rain = Computer Time

The front of my house definitely looks like a construction zone. My enormous pile of fractured granite rock is dwindling. I have several sorting piles for rock sizes...kind of like sorting through fabric scraps and looking for that perfect sized piece. 


I've finished setting the rock on the side of the house. Below is a "before" photo from last September. The cinder block foundation has insulation that is showing quite a bit as the siding seems a little short in this area. This eye sore has been bugging me for years.


I am very pleased with the outcome. I love using metal tubs in my landscaping...time to try some metal trash cans. I found plastic pots that fit perfectly on the rim of the trash cans. And I was able to connect to the gravel walkway from the front of the house to the side and eventually to the garden.


Next garden season I am going to try and grow potatoes in these garbage cans. I'll line them with black plastic. This corner of the yard gets 12-plus hours of sunlight in the summer. I just did some purple fountain grass for this year. I'm not sure what I will grow in the tubs on either side of the trash can trio. 


I am so close to getting my blue berries planted. I bought 12 blueberry bushes and three currants yesterday. I will need to fill the planting beds with soil...which I have...just need to get it in place. Fingers crossed the rain will dissipate so I can get them planted tomorrow. 


I have to share a photo of my favorite perennial, the Himalayan Blue Poppy. It is such a distinctive blue color. I bought two more of these plants since the one I planted last summer made it through our winter.


I treated myself to the latest design of Santa ornaments from the cross stitch designer, Sandra Cozzolino. I often find great cross stitch kits from a needlework shop in Oklahoma that always has a booth at the Houston Quilt Show. My package arrived wrapped in very pretty paper...just like it was my birthday.


Inside were the three kits I ordered and a free pattern with two little Jelly Bellies. Yum! It was just so fun to have a little surprise with my order. 


I should attend to some house cleaning but somehow I think the sewing machine will be my next work station.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Rain Delay...Return to Quilting

I was making great progress on my landscaping project but we are stuck in rainy weather pattern.
Good thing I have a backup plan...


I am going to load this quilt top I made in 2015 onto my quilting frame.


I hadn't touched my sewing machine since May 24th, Breakfast Club day, but two days ago I started working on the blocks from that project. I see a "radioactive" sign when I look at these blocks...I don't know that I like that association. I will make a great throw quilt for my leather couch.


I also finished putting together the leftover scrappy mini HSTs from two quilt projects. I am planning to continue making miscellaneous blocks from my fabric scraps to add...an improvisational piece!


I don't think I shared a picture of my latest stocking. This is "Santa Paws." I am working on the companion dog ornaments. The ink on the white felt pieces was horribly smeared so I had to make new white felt pieces. It slowed me down a little bit. Had the same problem with the ornament kit. I'm glad there is only one white dog!


And finally...a moose picture. Just happened to see this big fellow one morning last week.


It looks like Blogger has changed the "comment" procedure of forwarding them to my email so I can respond. Just want to thank those who leave me comments. As to Donna's comment about fencing to keep the bears out of my future berry patch...I decided not to even try and fence out bears. I think an electric fence would be required. I am hoping they leave my berries alone but there could be some bear drama in my future!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

A Good Start

Before


After four days of work I have one plant area for berry bushes. 
Hoping to grow three types of berries: blueberries, currants and gooseberries.


Enjoying lots of sunshine lately. 
The hardest part is coming up with a plan. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Outside Endeavors

It has been at least two years of work to get plants in the soil of my raised garden beds. My big obstacle this year was to get some kind of fencing in place to keep out the little critters like rabbits and porcupines.


I wanted to make "moveable" fence sections so I didn't loose the benefit of being able to work more easily around the raised beds. I used electrical pvc pipes to hold my fencing in place which makes it light enough in weight for me to lift up the sections as needed. So far my little creation is working.


In my perennial bed I had a guest too large to keep out fencing. 
A little hard to see but there is a set of large moose prints.

One hoof.


He didn't eat anything on his way through the garden bed.


Hubby just happened to catch a photo of this guy along a road near our home. 
He could have been my visitor.


My summer rock gym was delivered yesterday.
 My first load of rock for the summer, 12,000 pounds of boulders. 
Hoping to make a big dent in landscaping the front of my house.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

I'd Rather Be Outside

We are having the gloomiest May weather. 
Thank goodness I am a quilter and have plenty of projects in my studio to keep me busy.

I have been working on more Row X Row kits. I didn't like the fish row when I put it up on my design wall. Good thing I hadn't heat fused appliques...


I did swap the position of the row once I toned down the background pieces behind the fish. I liked the kit on the wall in the store but in my sewing room it looked so wild. Just went with blue batiks to create the motion of the water and the bubbles. The Eskimo ladies need some ric rac on their parkas but I have to make a trip to the store to get that.


These three kits below are all from the Kenai Fabric Store. They were designed by Dana Michelle. I hope she does their designs for a few more seasons so I can get a nice grouping of her work. My only reservation is the tiny pieces of silhouetted shapes. Impossible to stitch down but I will just use them as a guide for decorative stitching...that is my plan anyway! 


Next big project is getting ready for Breakfast Club this upcoming Thursday. I need to cut out my pieces. The solid color batiks will be the little triangles with just two fabrics alternating in the large jewel shapes. I am pulling from my stash. No new fabric. I'm very proud of myself. We'll see how long I can hold out on buying new fabric. 


In the process of cleaning off my cutting table and putting things away...I found four orphan "Delectable Mountain," blocks and remembered I had made some blocks with mini half square triangles left over from the big project.

Here they are...all reunited. I think I can make a cute little quilt with these parts. I even found the background fabrics in my scrap stash. Is it really possible I will make two new quilts without buying any new fabric? It could happen!


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Retreat Projects

I mentioned in a previous post I was tackling, "Row X Row," projects at retreat. This will help me limit my kit purchases this summer as I find there are a few designers I prefer. 

I got five kits mostly completed at retreat. 
The three top horizontal designs are Marie Noah's from the quilt shop Northern Threads in Fairbanks.  The side and bottom designs are from Diana Bradley and her quilt shop Quilt Zone in Anchorage. Diana always has a unique way for piecing. Both of her designs were rather challenging with paper piecing and creating templates to position on fabrics directionally for mountains and northern lights.


This weekend I worked on five more kits, all by the Alaska designer D.J. Robidou. Her designs are from Abby's Reflections in Sitka and Rushin' Tailor's in Skagway. 


I have kits from three more Alaska quilt artists I am going to focus on finishing.

Spring is a long time coming this year. We are still getting new snow on the mountains every now and then but the leaves on the trees are finally popping open. At the base of the mountains is Eagle River. We've had a bit of gloomy weather.


I don't know the name for this weather phenomenon but it happens every now and then. My hand is covering the sun so I could attempt a photo. There was a ring of light that was sometimes a rainbow, around the sun with two "suns" on the sides of the circle.


The bears are getting pretty active with several black bear sightings on our mountain. So far I haven't seen them in my yard. I really need to start taking a gun when we go for our walks...just one of those habits I need to get doing again.


A rare moment when Logan and McKinley stopped to listen to me.