Thursday, July 6, 2023

Handwork and Landscaping Progress

No quilting recently except for buying a few quilt patterns and a patriotic batik fat quarter bundle.

We continue to have a cool and cloudy summer. I remember a summer like this and looked up what year that was, 2009. It was the result of a local volcano, Mt. Redoubt, that spewed some ash. 

In April, the Russian volcano, Sheveluch, had a large ash cloud and at the time I read an article that predicted it would mean a cooler summer for Alaska. Looks like that particular article was right. (major sigh…) My veggie garden looks so pathetic. Last summer I was eating broccoli from my garden by mid July. This year, the heads on the broccoli just appeared and are about an inch wide. I’m so disappointed.

Kale and lettuces are getting to the stage where we can start eating those veggies. My strawberry patch is working on making strawberries and my blueberry bushes were loaded with flowers so hoping for a good crop this fall.

My perennial beds look wonderful…happy dance.

I am trying to stay focused on my huge landscaping project I started last year. 

I’m terracing this mound that is my septic drain field. After consulting with the engineer who designed our septic system, I was given a thumbs up to add whatever I want. We haven’t had a lot of rain days so even though it is gloomy…it’s decent weather for moving rocks. I’m planning to remove all of the grass on the sides of the mounds. This area gets decent sunlight during a normal summer so it’s a great place to plant some honeyberry or Haskap berry bushes and more perennials.

Last year’s layer of tiers constructed on the mound gave me a place to plant these gorgeous Columbines. I bought these plants last fall on a close-out sale. 

Below the Columbines, I created this niche for ferns several years ago by transplanting fiddlehead ferns from our surrounding woods. This area is starting to fill in…so satisfying. 

Next to the ferns is the start of last year's bottom tier. I filled it with perennials subdivided from my backyard perennial beds: Day Lillies, Irises and Little Princess Spireas. The red and yellow Columbines were another set of close-out sales last summer. I expect the Irises will get moved at some point but for now it's a place to keep them while I create more flower beds.

Below is where my rock work on the backside of the mound ends. This area was covered in weeds and scraggly grass as it is mostly a shade area. Too steep to it's a fun rock wall. My three-year-old grand daughter loves climbing on all my rock work in the yard...a great little bonus.

In the mornings when I am working in my studio, instead of quilting, I’ve been prepping to make more blouses for myself. The drawer full of batik rayon fabrics was really bugging me so now that I have a pattern I really like, I have cut out nine tops. 

It’s not often my cutting table is clear so I moved everything onto other spaces in my studio and spent several mornings getting nine tops cut out.

And I cut out one batik cotton top.

Onto handwork projects. 

I finished two cross stitch pieces in the 12 Days of Christmas series.

Ten Lords a Leaping.

And 11 Pipers Pipping.

I also framed the laundry room-themed cross stitch pieces I finished earlier this year.

It was a nice little challenge to frame these pieces. The top piece is a frame from Walmart that was a pale wood tone. Trying to mix my own paint color to match the cross stitch was tricky…but I did it! The bottom trio frame didn’t need any changes…just a fabric covered piece to mount the cross stitch pieces onto.

My latest felt kit project I finished is a mantel series designed by Merry Stockings.

These pieces came together pretty quickly. No individual stuffing of the applique areas...just a layer of quilt batting for the entire piece.

Mostly an outline stitch which is my favorite.

Such a great concept to make free-standing pieces.

I started the second kit in the mantel series. This is the Fire Station.

I also started a Bucilla ornament kit. Just a little diversion when I want to stitch on a little project I can finish in a couple of nights.

The only quilt related project I’ve worked on is my Bear Batik panel design on EQ8. 
There were several versions until I reached this one. It finishes at 74-inches square.

There have been plenty of critter sightings...mostly moose but black and grizzly bears continue to visit us...just haven't captured a photo of them.  My dogs, Gordon Setters which are bird hunters, flushed out a tiny bird from some tall grass on a recent dog walk. They then pulled the bird's tiny nest out of the grass...with two tiny eggs which were destroyed in the whole event. I'm not a big person and this nest would easily fit in the palm of my hand. 

It's always so interesting to read about the different weather conditions other bloggers are having this summer. I think weather is my major topic of conversation. 

Hoping you are having at least some great days of summer weather that are not too hot or too stormy.