Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mosaic Monday

Monday - time for Mosaic Monday - sponsored by Mary at the Little Red House. Click and visit more fun and beautiful mosaics.

Whatcom Falls Park is right in the middle of town. Bellingham is built on hills, many many hills - and we get to enjoy the benefits of rivers, streams, lakes and waterfalls right in town. This is one of our favorites - ok, I admit, they are all favorites. Upstream from the falls is a small lake that is a nursery for fish from the hatchery. It is full of ducks and sometimes a kayak or canoe. The falls are much less full this winter, as we've had a dry year, but still gorgeous. Click the mosaic to enlarge.

Glad you stopped by.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gingerbread man

My lovely daughter-in-law, Jamie, and I love gingerbread - and sometimes I tend to get carried away with a theme. I make gingerbread pigs with pink icing on their backs for christmas every year - and they are the cookies that go the fastest, I even bought a pair of scissors with a gingerbread man for the handle for this christmas this year when Jamie was here, so we could use them when we wrapped gifts.

And now I've made a Gingerbread Man potholder. He is just a modified nine patch, with rick-rack sewn on for decorations. I used round black beads for his eyes and buttons, but later went to the fabric store and got tiny black buttons that I will use for the next potholders I make.

I used binding, like a quilt, but I suppose I could just sew around the edges (right sides together), leave a small opening and turn it right side out, then top stitch around the edges to define them - I might give that a try on the next one.

The green is just background - not part of the potholder. I am definitely making more of these. What do you think, Jamie?

Monday, January 25, 2010

More Dresden Plate blocks

Two sweet friends offered to give me some Dresden Plate blocks, and I'm not one to turn down DP - they are one of my favorte blocks.

Sheila offered me these Dresden Plate stars - are they not the most wonderful thing you've ever seen? The points are all neatly pressed under and they are ready to applique. There are 20 of these blocks. I was thinking of a pale brown background, to make them stand out, and maybe sashing, or maybe alternating plain blocks to make the quilt bed size. Not sure of the center yet - you have any good ideas? Oh I know you do - let's hear them.

Then Billie offered these Dresden blocks - she said her sister got them at a yard sale in a sewing box - from an older lady's house. At first I thought they were done in 30's reproduction fabrics, but the more I looked, the more I see that they are not reproductions, but the real fabrics from the 30s and 40s - oh how I love them. I like the way there are two spokes of each fabric, across from each other. Someone put a lot of work into these blocks and I'm honored to be able to make a quilt of them, and of the yellow blocks from Sheila.

Close ups of the Dresden Plates

They are not appliqued, though some have the pointed parts turned under and basted and some of the circles are turned under and basted. There was even a needle and thread still attached to one of the blocks. I think the centers will be all different - or do you think I should pick one color for all the centers? And not sure of the background, though traditionally these would have been done on a pale color that suits the fabrics - still debating that with myself.

And these you might have seen before - these are the 70s Dresden Plate blocks I got at the thrift store for 2.99. There are 17 done, appliqued down on white, and enough pieces and background to make 4 or 5 more.

One of the blocks has a small pieced sashing attached. There aren't any more fabrics to finish this sashing, but I've been collecting 70s fabrics to use. I think I'll make the sashing a little wider than this - maybe 2" - and set the blocks together that way. They are large blocks - almost 19 inches each.

And my last set of Dresden Plate blocks - I am making these, all in pastel tone-on-tone colors.

The points on these will be rounded . . .

And one of them is going to be a little basket - just for some interest. I might make another block into a butterfly - we'll see. And all centers are yellow.

And that's my Dresden Plate story - glad you could visit and see all the pretties I have. And thank you again Sheila and Billie - and the unknown maker of the 30s blocks.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What kind of tree is this?

While out driving one day we came across this tree - just loaded with crab pot bouys. Wonder how they know where their crab pots are if all the bouys are in the tree. And how did they all get up there?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mosaic Monday - in my kitchen

Monday - time for Mosaic Monday - sponsored by Mary at the Little Red House. Click and visit more fun and beautiful mosaics.

I'd like to share with you some of the wonderful things in my kitchen. Come in, sit down, have a piece of pie and a cup of tea - we'll chat and enjoy the chilly winter day in my cozy kitchen. Glad you stopped by.

Sunday pine cones

Sunday ... and that means it is re-run time, with the Sunday Favorites blog party.

I love pine cones and pine cone dishes - so I'd like to share this with you again - enjoy.

I have an old egg basket full of cones we have collected . . .

And a punched tin basket - great for the holidays . . .

There are shelves full of pine cone dishes . . .

And more shelves . . .

And yet more shelves . . .

They all live in this china cabinet in the living room - along with some other vintage things and a flock of white chickens - a story for another time . . .

I love this teapot - it is for left handed -

Or right handed - isn't that just handy? Pine cones on both sides . . .

There are stacks of plates - and platters and these two sizes of bowls . . .

I love the big flat soup bowls - these are great for chilly winter nights and a big pot of soup . . .

And don't for get the salt and pepper . . .

And a wonderful deviled egg tray that our son gave me for a gift one christmas . . .

I even have the tiniest little children's tea set . . .

The cream and sugar are just precious . . .

I like the pattern on the tea set - it is one of the things I got on ebay - to celebrate a new job . . .

So what is your favorite set of dishes? Or do you have more than one favorite?

Friday, January 15, 2010

I sewed - really, I did

It's been a long time since I've played with my sewing machine - since before christmas actually. I have done hand stitching since then, but no machine work. Would you like to see what I made? Would you? Huh? Really? Ok then - here it is.

One of my online groups is doing a monthly challenge block - and I was two months behind. Someone picks a block for each month and posts it on the first. Then we all sew the block in our own colors - no swapping - no mailing - we just make the blocks for ourselves. I am doing my blocks in greens. At the end of the year we can set the blocks together any way we want - and then we will have an online quilt show to share all the great quilts we've made.

December's block


Our group also makes comfort quilts for members - for surgeries, baby births, bereavement or any other incident that seems to need some comfort or rejoicing. We use the Jake's Heart block and each member makes some blocks and sends them to a volunteer who puts them together into a top. This top is then sent to another member who volunteered to machine quilt it, then on to another for binding. Then it is presented to the recipient. It is a great deal of fun to participate in these projects, knowing that you are a part of something wonderful.

This is the latest comfort quilt - I put it together after receiving the wonderful blocks. It has been sent on to another member for quilting. I like the way the corners look a little like butterflies.

My monthly sew-in group is doing a signature swap - and we are using a paper pieced heart for the block. It has a white space in the middle for the signature and we can pick any two colors, dark/light or med/light for the heart and background. We will be swapping these in late April. I am in charge of this swap so I made some samples of fabrics that might be used for the hearts.

Purple with Lavender

Dusty rose with light pink

It will be such fun to receive all the signature blocks, I might make a few extra and have other friends sign them - to have enough blocks to make a bed quilt. The hearts are only 6" so I'll need a lot of them.

So that is my machine sewing for this week/month. Now back to working on the christmas carol challenge, which is needle turn applique, and a GFG, which is English paper piecing. What are you working on?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Favorites - Snow Geese

I am joining Chari's of Happy To Design for her Sunday Favorites blog party, and re-posting a story from March 2009. Stop over and visit Chari by clicking the words above - and enjoy the interesting blogs. Thanks Chari.

Today we drove up north to try and find a flock of tundra swans - but they weren't there - and we drove around a while to see if we could find them, but no luck - so this post is in honor of the many birds that overwinter in our area. There are a lot more snow geese than there are Tundra swans - and we love seeing them whenever we can.

Last weekend was the Snow Goose Festival in Stanwood - just south of here. Don and I have been to Skagit Valley to see the snow geese and the Trumpeter swans many times - and this year we found out they have a festival celebrating the birds. We packed up some water, snacks, coats, hats, gloves, walking sticks and walking shoes and headed out early.

We wanted to be on the first tour bus that takes people around to see the magnificent flocks of snow geese. This was a special treat for Don, as he got to be a passenger instead of being the driver - and was able to see much more of the scenery and the birds.

Thousands of Wragnell Island (Russia) Snow Geese winter here - often covering the fields. . .

Our bus was driven by a lovely volunteer, Sharon, from Josephine Care Home. She volunteers for many events, besides doing her regular job as activity coordinator for Josephine Home. She was sweet and accomodating - and very interesting. She told us of trips she has arranged for seniors to Disneyland - to Las Vegas - to see a loved one - many of these she does on her own time. What a thrill to be driven around by such a wonderful woman. I didn't think to get a photo of her - but her memory will last with us for a long time. She is the spirit of giving.

Mt. Baker (second highest peak in WA) in the background. . .

We were able to find a road where we could stop and get out. The main roads have signs posted - and police in plain view - saying NO STOPPING AT ANY TIME - NO PARKING - and they mean it. The main road is a busy highway that goes to the San Juan Island ferries and it would be dangerous and foolish to park and get out of your car on these roads - but you see people doing it all the time.

Hundreds of Snow Geese - walking about - jabbering - eating - fussing with another who gets on their "space".
The geese can fly up and land again without ever sitting on anyone's head - amazing.

A bald eagle is flying over - and the birds are getting restless . . . they don't want to be lunch. . .Up they go - like curtains . . .

The whole flock takes flight - the sound is amazing as they call to each other - we had gotten out of the bus and were standing right next to the flock - we could hear the sound of their wings as they flew up.
Overhead shot - they circled right over us - calling the whole time - it was like a blanket of noise.

Settling back down - the eagle was past and they could get back to eating. They eat grass and seed - and often they will take over a winter wheat field and pluck up the new plants and the seeds. They are also partial to the pea plants that are grown here - eating seed and new sprout. The farmers receive subsidies for their damaged fields.

Then a walk on a self guided tour. It was right along the bay and the tide was way out - leaving us almost no birds to see - and no birds to photograph. There was an amazing amount of drift wood in the area and I loved the shapes of the tree roots. This must be an interesting place in the winter when the storms beat against the shore and the drift wood is piled high.

I thought this one looked like a seal . . .

It was so cold and windy - the wind cut right through our heavy jackets and gloves - so back into the car - and where else - a thrift store of course.!!!!

We poked around for quite a while and didn't find a lot to bring home - but I got two more shopping totes ( 25 cents each) to add to the bunch we carry in the car at all times.

One of the bags was Mary Engelbreit - and the other was for Save the Spirit Bear - a really worthwhile organization - set up by the youth of Canada.

I got some embroidery floss storage boxes - just like this - but not filled with floss. I got four of the boxes for 6.00 and will use a couple for sorting my vintage buttons into - and the others for organizing my floss - which REALLY need organizing.

Then lunch at the Stanwood Cafe - no photos - I never remember to bring in my camera while eating. It was a darling cafe - with great food. Don had a burger and fries - enough fries to serve almost everyone in the place. I had a turkey sandwich and a salad - both delicious. They hire local high school girls to be the waitresses - and all were very helpful.

There are all sorts of antiques in the cafe, as well as a counter with stools that go round and round. While we were there a family of three boys, mom and dad - came in and sat at the counters. The boys really loved those stools. There was such local color there - retired farmers in their overalls and boots - the young family (apparently just finished with basketball practice), older folks chatting with long time friends. And the prices - we had our big filling lunches for just 13.24 for the two of us - you don't see that very often around here. We will certainly go back for lunch when we visit Stanwood again - and next time I'll try and remember to take photos. It was such a great "hometown" cafe.

A great day - birds, shopping, lunch and when we got home - Jahn came over for a visit - just a perfect day. And a tired Grammy.