Thursday, April 29, 2010

A few more signs of spring . . . . dandelion polka dots in the grass.
The discovery of bleeding hearts in my own backyard.
Something I suspect is a weed found in abundance all around. I love the dainty yellow blooms.
This looks like it may well be creeping Charlie.
I wonder what I'll find next week?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tempus Fugit. I sometimes marvel at how an hour, a day and sometimes even a week can get away from me. But now that I look back, I can see that a lot has been going on since my last post.
I've been working happily on the applique for Carpenter's Star.
My original idea was some sort of sunflower motif - inspired by the fabrics in the body of the quilt, I suppose. But after cutting some shapes from freezer paper, ironing them to the top and living with it for a day or so, it was easy to see that wasn't what I really wanted. Then I remembered a quilt from this book that I have looked at again and again with thoughts of recreating it myself. Called the Poke Stalk quilt, it is a delicious adventure in little appliqued berries - a huge undertaking. That same quilt has inspired Gwen Marston and Jan Patek to create their own versions. Why not follow their lead and try my hand at simply taking inspiration rather than a full blown copy?
I continue to marvel at the season of spring. What dramatic changes can happen in what seems like overnight. Trees are now filled with colorful blossoms and leaves. Little sprouts are peeking out of the ground all over the place. Some I suspect are weeds, but I don't much have the heart to yank them out just yet. I'm enjoying the sight of little yellow dandelions making polka dots across the lawn. Then there are surprises that I can identify like tulips.
I spotted these over in the back corner of our lot this week. Since we did not get here until late summer, these kinds of surprises could continue for some time. Pretty nice surprises, wouldn't you say?
Speaking of weeds, Daisy is growing like a weed. We are now in week four of puppy school. She is learning her lessons well and can follow the commands 'sit,' 'down,' and 'come' nicely - especially with the enticement of a treat. Let's just say that Daisy has NEVER met a treat she didn't like. Now her playground skills could use a little honing. She is exuberant to say the least. One of her classmates is a mini Aussie and his size makes him vulnerable to Daisy's sumo-like tendencies. The other puppy is a touch shy, preferring to watch from the side rather than engage in all the rough and tumble. So we are going to try on doggy day care for size. Keep your paws crossed that will give her the active play and socialization she needs . . . . while giving me one day per week to catch my breath.
Here's a look at Daisy and her 'frenemy' The Vacuum Cleaner.
I'd say she has just a bit of suspicion in her eye.
I've saved the biggest adventure of the week for last. Yesterday I went with McIrish Annie to The New England Quilt Museum to see the special exhibition of Amish crib quilts. What a treat! Sadly, but understandably, no photography was allowed. From the gift shop, I did pick up a book that features several of the display quilts.
It really is a wonder how these quilts made from plain, solid fabrics can be so graphic. It's a curiosity to me when a random fabric appears - was this a purposeful design decision or a make-do necessity? Then there are the tiny quilting stitches forming grids, feathers, flowers and cables that really bring the quilts to life. Thank you, Ann, for a fun day!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring is really in the air. How can I tell? Because this blog post is shaping up to look like one of my 'posts of yore.' You know the ones where I had a variety of things to share.
First of all there has been quilting. Being that this is primarily a quilting blog liberally seasoned with all the other things in my life, I believe this is a good thing. In my last post, I teased a quilt that I was just about to finish up - one that I worked on with a CQP via text.
Most of the text messages had to do with complaints about the applique and embroidery embellishment. CQP was of the opinion that there were too many petals. That didn't bother me, although I have come to realize that I inadvertently left out four. I was ready to skip out on the birds and leave out the embroidered bits on those petals. I'm glad that in the end she cajoled me into doing it all. The results are well worth those few extra stitches and hunting down the box of floss.
I also got the last bits of applique done on the project McIrish Annie and I each pieced when she visited last month.
If only I had pushed a bit harder, I could have shared it with her in person last Friday. I was invited to meet Annie and her quilting group at MQX for a day of quilt show exploration and lots of chatter. What a fun day it was. It felt like we walked a country mile for sure, even though we only left the display hall for lunch. It was a real treat to meet so many gals that share a love of quilts. I hope to enjoy their company again real soon.
This morning I finished adding borders to the Carpenters Star quilt I pieced last week.
My plan is to add a little touch of applique to one or possibly two of the corners. The top is approximately 65" square and will fit on my dining table just perfectly. It will look great as a summer table cloth.
I've also been having fun in the kitchen. Now that The Princess isn't living with us, we have lost our German cook. Not knowing when she'll have the chance to visit us, I decided to take matters into my own hands and see what I could do.
Last night we had schnitzel and spaetzle for dinner. It turned out pretty darned good, if I do say so myself - though I think The Princess' schnitzel is tastier than mine. Guess I'll just have to practice, practice, practice. Maybe I'll be as good as she is someday.
Our little Daisy continues to grow by leaps and bounds. We have been going to weekly puppy kindergarten classes. She catches on to the new commands quickly. It seems that she will do ANYTHING if there is a treat involved. Because I can do so much more around the house if she is a little bit tired, we have been playing a lot of ball out in the yard.
The challenge was in getting her to bring the ball back. If I expend all my energy chasing after her after she chases the ball, we both end up ready for a nap. With the right amount of enthusiasm in my voice, she has pretty well figured out what to do - as long as a leaf or a bug or a stick doesn't somehow distract her attention.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I have a design wall! Okay, not really a design wall so much as a design batt pinned to a quilt that is hanging on the wall. But it is a change from my 'design floor.'
Here is the reason for making the switch from floor to wall.Oh sure, this view doesn't look like there would be any trouble. That's because she's exhausted from playing with my blocks and fabrics.
So what is on the wall, you ask.
I have been wanting to make a Carpenter's Star for sometime now. It is really not all that complicated. I think it took longer to get everything arranged with the proper orientation than it did to stitch to pieces.
Last evening I put the last stitches in the binding of this quilt.
It is a project that I worked on via text message with a California Quilt Pal. What fun to snap pictures and text progress, rants and encouragements. Technology sure closes the distance gap. It's the next best thing to being there.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Today I'd like to share some things you might not know about The Princess. She is an avid reader.
She keeps in touch with family and friends around the world.

She is a scholar.

She has proudly and honorably served our country.

She is a caring and compassionate nurse.

And today she is celebrating her birthday.

It is with great pride that Hubby and I call her daughter. Happy Birthday, Princess! We love you.

Monday, April 05, 2010

It is said that April showers bring May flowers, so it would only be right to assume that March floods bring April buds . . . . or something like that.
Each of these blossoms was spied in our yard on Easter. Oh happy day!
The weekend also brought some time for quilting. I finally got the applique prepped for Wednesday's Work - the project I worked on with McIrish Annie a couple of weeks back.
I have come up with a new way to select my fabrics for applique, I call it the 'Let Sleeping Puppies Lie' method. It involves counting out how many fabrics you might need, opening up the tub with fabrics and quickly pulling out the needed number. Stack on the ironing board, press and cut. Accomplish all this before an active little busy body inserts herself into the mix and starts wanting to play tug-o-war with your stash. I'm not unhappy with the result and it certainly adds a new dimension to color placement.
Speaking of a little busy body, look who is now almost tall enough to peek out the window.
Still it looks like she's on her tippy toes. The neighbor children were out in full force yesterday and Daisy was really hoping to get in on some of the action. If she had a thought bubble it might say something like, " I wish these people would stop buying me chew toys and invest in a couple of kids instead."

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Preparations for our first New England Easter are well under way. After the drenching rains earlier in the week, we are now enjoying some very unseasonably warm weather. That's just what the doctor ordered.
Hubby and I did something today that we have not done for a number of years - we dyed Easter eggs.
Does anyone know when they quit putting six color tabs in the Paas kits? Now there are only three. After a call of complaint to The Princess, she suggested that we just custom mix our own. Smart girl that Princess. The Easter Bunny will not be passing our house by this year.
Daisy is growing like a little weed . . . . or maybe like a dainty little flower. She is full of play and personality. Today she seemed just incredulous. See for yourself.
No one told her there is a vacuum cleaner upstairs, too. Sometimes life doesn't seem fair - even when you are a puppy.
Hope that everyone who celebrates has a wonderful Easter. Eat your fill of jelly beans and Peeps. I'm sure I heard somewhere that the calories don't count on Easter.