Saturday, January 31, 2009

Something new to play with

We all remember the craze of plastic canvas stitching in the 70s and 80s - right? Right - you remember - you even did some - come on, admit it - we all had fun with it. :-) Well I've gone and done it - I've started some plastic canvas stitching - and I love it!!!

I was at my favorite thrift store and this cute Easter Bunny House kit just called my name - and it was cheap cheap cheap - so of course, I couldn't resist. I started cutting out the pieces yesterday at work (remember my cushy job where I spend 10 hours at work and only have about enough work to fill 8 hours?) and of course I cut two major pieces wrong - too small. Drat - and I had counted over and over - and still counted wrong. At least it isn't hard to find replacement plastic canvas to cut those two parts out again.

Then I started stitching - and it is so much fun. I have one end of the house almost done now. Ben loved it when he saw it - his mommy is making plastic canvas stuff too - she once made an entire two story dollhouse with tons of furniture, and vehicles - all of plastic canvas. She's making a Halloween house right now.

I was having so much fun with the easter bunny house that I decided to have a look around on ebay - figuring I'd find a few patterns, or leaflets - oh wow - are there ever a lot. My favorite ebay store is Sillygirl914 - I had such a good time shopping there. Jerri even let me borrow the photos from her site so I could show you all the pretties that I bought. I just couldn't help myself.
First thing - I had to have these crows and watermelons - I just had to! Two of my favorite things - we used to have a mailbox that I painted like a big piece of watermelon - it was certainly easy to find our house. And who wouldn't want a crow to hold their recipes - or some crows picking at the tissues on the kitchen counter? Or crows protecting your coffee filters? These are just too darling.

Then these little birdhouse ornaments called to me . . .

And these little birdhouse ornaments . . .

And of course these little birdhouse ornaments - are you sensing a theme here? I have lots of bird and birdhouse christmas ornaments and these will make it so I can have a small tree in the kitchen with only birds and birdhouses - getting ready for next year already. Only 334 days till christmas!!!

Jerri's booklets are priced on only 1.75 each - the books are just a little bit more but not that spendy at all.

Then I found this lighthouse set - perfect for my cousin. I've got birthday, anniversary, christmas and any other holiday covered for a couple years. There are things in this book for the bedroom (where she has the ocean themed quilt I made for her), for the bathroom, living room and kitchen. A super bargain.

And then there are the pattern books that are still on my wishlist - might get them - might not -well.... maybe

Oh such cute baskes - so many choices. This is on my "probably" list!!

This is on my postively will get list - gonna bid on this baby - I just must win it!!! Everyone needs a troll house - or a fairy house. Wonder if I can make this waterproof somehow and use it in the garden? Such darling little things. Do they still sell the troll dolls?

Oh my - just typed in troll doll in ebay - there are 1736 results - who knew? There is even an Obama supporter troll - he has on a cute little blue T-shirt with "Obama" on the front. Guess that answered my question - yes they do still sell troll dolls. Not sure I'll put troll dolls in this - maybe some fairy dolls if I can find some small ones. (no offense, trolls)

And this one - maybe . . . maybe . . . oh look at those darling towels - more gifts for sure.

If you want to join in the fun - go visit SillyGirl - and pick from over 1,000 plastic canvas pattern books and leaflets. Plus she has hundreds of other project books - lots of cute stuff to tempt you. I know she would appreciate your business - and I'll appreciate having someone else jumping into this with me.

Ready, set, stitch!!

So who else wants to do this - or what other craft have you recently indulged in - just because it was such fun!!!??!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Come along - help me shop

Oh never mind - I seem to be doing just fine by myself. I seem to be able to get into all the trouble I need without your help - but thanks anyway.

I needed some neutrals for the BOMs that I've started - so off I went - to find some neutrals. First stop - found one - second stop found four - and then - look out!!!

I found some tone-on-tones for the Grandmother's Flower Garden. I try not to make too many of the same color "flowers" so I'm always on the lookout for more T-O-Ts - and just look what I found!!! Quarter yard cuts of each one.

Don't you just adore those swirlies - I can wait to cut into them and make some "flowers". And I bought them with our daughter standing right there with me - she was busy talking to her dad and never even noticed the fabrics I was picking - and they are for her quilt too.

And this lovely piece of music fabric - I don't know what I'll do with it but we all agreed it was too cute to leave all of it on the bolt. Got 1 1/2 yards of this.

And then I had to cruise through the JoAnn Fabrics still 90% off christmas stuff - and found the cutest santa. He has a spring inside him and you can push down on his head and he crumples up and then you let go and he springs up and jumps. When our kids were little - oh so many years ago - they had a monkey like this - with a spring - and he was called Jumpy Monkey - and now next year the grandsons will have a Jumpy Santa.

We picked up a few Fisher Price Little People and animals at Goodwill - and a basket to carry them in -

And a big tractor and wagon and horse - all Fisher Price Little People -

and a safari hut for them to live in - with two birds -

and some wooden clothespins to make people out of - the old fashioned looking kind - and some wooden balls just because they came in the same package as the clothes pins - things to go in the boys' craft basket -

and another woven checked tablecloth to make napkins out of. I've had several requests to make napkins for others - and since I have so much fun shopping for tablecloths at Goodwill, I am happy to make more napkins for whoever wants them. They save on paper and look so pretty.

I had so much fun!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

BOM Progress

I've got the first blocks of the three BOMs done. I am having so much fun with these.

I am using traditional christmas red and green for the Christmas Wish BOM, as all our decorations are in red and green.

I love the little snowman in the basket - from A Tisket A Tasket BOM - can't wait to see what the next basket will hold. Oops - just noticed that I forgot to put the buttons on the garland above the basket. I want to use some heart buttons and have to buy those yet - otherwise I could just use some red buttons that I have. I'll get them on soon - and next month you can see the snowman with buttons above his head.

And the sunshine - well what can I say - it is sunny. Get on over to the Friendship Flower BOM if you like this one.

Now everything is back in its little storage box waiting for next month. If you want to do any of these BOMs follow the links and have a great time. Leave a comment and we'll follow along with you.

Happy BOMs

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Name Game - Silly Fun

The Name Game

I found this on Morning Pages, huh? Well sure, I'll Try That - not only is it one of my favorite blogs - but the name is my very favorite. I love a creative name. So play along if you like - it is fun.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car)
Patience Grand Prix

(well it IS a car)

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)
Spumoni Spritz

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name)

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)
Red Squirrel

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)
Marie Sacramento

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink)
The Pink Tea

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers)
Neal Carl

9. STRIPPER NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy)
Wysteria Rolo

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names )
Marie Melvin

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)
Mitchell Mitchell (SD)

12. SPY NAME/BOND GIRL: (your favorite season/holiday, flower)
Summer Nasturtium

13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + "ie" or "y")
Clementine Dressie

14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)
Toast Golden Chain

15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”)
The Quilting Sunshine Tour

If you join in - be sure and leave a comment so we can all come over and discover interesting things about you.

Have Fun!!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

More Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt

Some of you have emailed me and asked for closeups of the quilting on my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt. It was hand pieced, English Paper Piecing, and machine quilted by a friend who does fabulous machine quilting on her home machine. I posted two entries about the GFG, time for a review, class.

Here is the whole quilt

Close up of the machine quilting. I decided how I wanted it quilted and Julie did the work. She made such straight perfect lines - they all converge at the center of the "flowers" without a waver.

And just for fun - here is the quilt sitting on my treadle machine - along with some of its friends.

On top of the GFG is the Santa Quilt, under the GFG is the YoYo quilt - and to the sides are some baby quilts and doll quilts. The blue/cream baby quilt on the left I got from an old barn in Kansas.

We recently moved the treadle into our bedroom - looks pretty spiffy in there. It works, but i have to put the new belt on - I've had it for several months - just need to get to it.

Happy Quilting!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Turn it off - save gas - save money - save the environment

Lately there has been a lot of talk in the blogs about ways to save money. Here's something we've been doing for a couple years now - and we've noticed a difference in the amount of gas we have to buy each month.

While waiting in line for construction on the hiway last week

we noticed all the cars with their engines running. It was not cold enough outdoors to be uncomfortable without the car heater running - but yet the cars still had their engines on. We had turned our car off, sat in the quiet, with the sun streaming in the windows - and waited for our turn to pass. We didn't mind waiting - they were repaing a section of the road that had washed out during the floods here earlier this month. And in 20 minutes of waiting - each direction - we cut down on gas used and on pollutants put into the air.

Whenever we wait in line - at stop light (if it looks to be long wait),

at drive-up banks,

at drive -up restaurants, in construction lines

in those long coffee lines - we turn off our car. In the long lines we just turn it back on, move forward a car length or two and turn the car off again. Just think, if everyone in that long line last week had turned off their car while waiting.

Think of the gas that would be saved - think of the money that would be saved - think of the pollution that would not be emitted into the environment. Modern cars don't use a lot of gas to re-start their engines. It used to be said that if your car was going to be off for less than 3 to 5 minutes you would save gas by leaving it run - but that isn't true with modern cars - they are more efficient because of the type of starters used.

So come on world - Let's Turn It Off!! And help our planet!! Thank you!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My First Ever BOM

I've done it - I've joined a BOM - not one - but three. Can you believe it???!!!??? I have never done one before, mostly I guess because the ones I've seen have been pieced blocks and I'm not that much of a fan of piecing. I love embroidery, hand applique and embellishing -but piecing, not so much.

The first one I've joined is from Gail Pan - a darling Christmas BOM called A Christmas Wish. So far she has only shown one block - the rest will come once a month for 7 months. It looks like it will be a wall hanging size, but I plan to make more than one of each block - or add extra blocks - we'll see as we go along. I embroidered the "love" block for this quilt last night. I added more yellow French Knots around the vine, not because the pattern needed more, but because my fingers just love to make French Knots and I couldn't stop them once they got started. I think it turned out great! It really is straight - just the photo is wonky. Ready for next month.

The second one is from Bunny Hill Designs and has a snowman in a basket to start with, ever so cute. I am starting that one next I think. I have the pattern printed out and ready to pick fabrics for it. Again - hand applique will be my choice for this one. Each month will be the same basket, with something new inside - a clever idea.

The other BOM one is for summer - and I just love it. It is over at Grandma's Kitchen and is called Friendship Flower Quilt. Looks so nice and summery doesn't it? So far we have the layout and the sun block to work on. I have the pieces cut for the sun and will applique them as soon as the snowman basket is done.

If you are interested in joining me in any of these BOMs - visit the blogs and get started. Let me know if you are doing any of these - we can compare notes as we go along.

Happy quilting!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Goldfinches - eagles - swans - geese

Yesterday there was a flock of Goldfinches in our yard. I was sitting at the sewing machine and noticed a lot of activity at the feeders. Dozens of Goldfinches - flying, swarming, landing on the feeders, sitting on the swingset, hopping about in the trees, gathering in the ferns - Goldfinches every where.

At the feeder that sticks to my studio window.

Peeking around the corner. This pictures are not bright because I can't use the flahs when taking photos through the window - all you would see is a big splash of light.

At the thistle feeder. They are hungry after their long trip here.

They will be much brighter - like this - in the summer during mating season. Right now they are wearing their duller winter coats.

I've noticed that in the wetlands near where I work that the red-winged blackbird males are back - scouting out good nesting places.

When I'm outdoors doing rounds at work I love to hear them calling. I also hear some geese from time to time - though not yet this year.

That reminds me - it is time to be going out to the river to see the Eagles. They gather along the Nooksack River during December, January and sometimes part of February. One time we saw over 200 eagles - they were circling above us - around and around - like a big whirlpool of eagles. We see them sitting in the trees, landing on the rocks at the river edge, fishing or flying. It is such a thrill to see them flocking to feed on the fish in the river. There are usually a lot of seagulls and some ducks there on the river too.

We took a trip on January 2 this year - during our snow falls - and the closer we got to the river - the worse the roads got.

Lots of snow!!!

By the time we were to the road that turns off to our favorite viewing spot we were scraping snow with the bottom of the car - the roads had never been plowed, and they get more snow out there than we do here - so we backed into a driveway and turned around - we only got to see two eagles - far away in a tree.

We turned around in this driveway.

We go several times a season and next time there won't be snow - it has all melted except in the mountains - and we are so happy about that. We even had a tiny bit of sunshine today - it didn't last long but it sure looked good. It is only 42 here - so it wasn't the least bit warm - just pretty.

Another trip we like to take is to Skagit Valley - about an hour south of here - to see the Snow Geese and the

Tundra Swans - they come and spend two or three months here each year - waiting for the snow fields to clear in Alaska so they can return to their nesting sites. The fields are often covered with Snow Geese - and we can usually drive fairly close to them - and the sound is fabulous.

One time we parked and walked very close to the flocks - something startled them and they all flew up at once - right over our heads.

Oh the sound of it - thousands and thousands of birds - flying - talking - swirling. It was like being in a whirlwind.

We could feel the wind from their wings and the sound completely engulfed us - it was magical.

I get so excited I can barely hold the camera still to take the pictures - it is an amazing experience.

Even the sound of the Snow Geese on the ground is fabulous as they walk about, digging for something to eat, talking all the while.

There are also the Tundra Swans - with their amazingly long necks - marching about in the fields - calling to each other - one keeping watch while others eat. I close my eyes and it is like riding on a magic carpet with their voices rising off the ground. We don't see as big of flocks of the Swans as we do of the Snow Geese - but they are unbelievable in any size flock. They are a very big bird, wing span of 6 to 7 feet, they can weigh up to 20 pounds and stand three feet tall. A majestic bird if ever there was one.

We see a lot of flocks of Canada Geese here too - we actually have 5 or 6 pair that nest in the ponds in our neighborhood and we get to see the babies in the spring, along with the mallards that nest there also. There is a migration of Brandt that comes through in the spring and a town north of us has a festival that they hope coincides with the migration. We've only seen one migration of the Brandt - though we have seen migrations of several species of waterfowl.

Ben riding in my Canada Goose Planter - one of his favorite toys - this picture was taken almost a year ago. A great photo to go along with eagles, swans and geese.