Wednesday, May 25, 2011

spring things

Yesterday the baby robins left the nest! They were getting way too big to co-exist in that little space. There were 3 babies, and this one is that child that always gets left behind--

It took him several hours to leave the safety of home after the others were out exploring the world.
Finally we have lots of things blooming, later than usual this year. The apple trees and lilacs are in good shape, and the violets are all decked out in purple. The bleeding hearts are looking fine, I love the little details in each tiny blossom.
The next one is called bergenia, I think, and is a sturdy perennial here. It gets these flower stalks sprouting out of broad dark green clumps of leaves. The leaves stay green under the snow instead of just disappearing like so many perennials. That makes them easy for me to find in the spring! I can never pull very many weeds in my flower beds until after the first of June, since sometimes I'm not sure if it is a weed or something I want to keep!
We have had lots of rain here and bad storms in the area, thankfully not right on top of us. The water level on lakes and creeks is above normal, with some standing water in fields. The ground was nice when I was planting tomatoes, peppers and cilantro yesterday.

I have spent a good deal of time on this double wedding ring quilt for a customer, and finished it last night!
It is pretty big and is to be a wedding gift, with the colors chosen by the bride-to-be. I like the combinations, kind of a contemporary twist on a vintage design. Hearts were requested for the centers, and that was the hardest part for me. It had me looking at the price of a computerized module to add to my machine, but the $16,000 price tag seems a little out of reach at the moment! So back to the drawing board to find something suitable and 'heartsy'. The rest of the quilting (scrolls, loops, vines, etc.) was all done freehand, but my freehand hearts always come out looking drunken--very tipsy and smashed! So I resorted to drawing up a design that I could use as a template. Once I decided on the design, which is a process in itself, I had to carefully draw it out in actual size on paper. Measure each block to find and mark the center. Move the machine to thatcenter and make 3 tiny stitches to anchor, then hand tie the thread tails and bury the ends with a needle. Put the machine needle down into the center spot to hold it in place. Walk around the table to the other side, put the paper design on the table top with the laser light in the center of the design. Make sure the design is square with the table (and therefore square with the quilt) and carefully stitch the design. Walk back around the table to the other side where I can make 3 tiny stitches to knot off the threads, cut the threads and knot and bury the ends. 42 times. Amen!

I had planned to listen to some of my podcasts to help pass the time since I was out of books on tape. But I was having trouble getting my ipod hooked up with the stereo and ended up listening to TV for awhile. My eyes are too occupied with other things, but listening works if it is something like Dr. Phil or Oprah, which is the time of day I had for quilting yesterday. Those are shows that don't require visual contact, unlike a mystery or comedy. So I got to see the goodbye Oprah extravaganza (part 2) which had some good in it, but came across as very over-the-top. I do like Oprah, by and large, and credit her with changing the scope of daytime talk shows from shocking to uplifting. But I read Kitty Kelly's unauthorized biography (yes, somewhat suspect as entirely factual, but based on a lot of research) and I came away with a bit more skepticism of the Oprah machine. I do admire her accomplishments and the benevolent work that she does. And I hope that she finds plenty more good works to do now that she can focus on something other than her talk show. I have watched some things on her OWN network, and I hope that develops into more.

There has still been some squirrel wrangling going on here. We thought we had the problem licked when we trapped a juvenile and an adult and got the hole outside plugged. But then we heard some more suspicious noises, and ended up trapping 2 more younguns. Hopefully that is the end of it, aside from repairing the damage done. Although now I hear any little creak or random noise in the house, I think I hear another squirrel scurrying around the attic!

I put together a little video tutorial for Bear Patch, you might like to visit the store's blog for a good example of amateur videography!

Enough jibber jabber for now! Profound thought for the day:

What you will do matters. All you need is to do it. ---Judy Grahn

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