Spring has sprung. The vernal equinox arrives to 46 and rain with the possibility of sun and a Super Moon tonight. Last weekend I spent two days in my tiny garden which surrounds our birdbath, digging up the miniature sedum I planted last year. It is too invasive so I’ll be replacing it with more hens and chicks, most of which survived the winter. Hey, I figured if they could survive Minnesota winters, they could survive here. I could not quite finish because there was a nest with critters (mice or squirrels)–there was a SQUEAK when I gently poked at it. Either mom came during the night and took the babies or some other varmint took care of them.
We were really excited last weekend when a male bluebird flew onto the bluebird house. Then I noticed the female was looking into the nest hole. When they flew off, I got my camera and went into stealth mode by the maple tree and waited. and waited. Finally they came back and perched on the fence when suddenly a chickadee flew out. I need to put a sign out–Bluebirds Only. Rats. Bluebirds actually fletch three times so we may yet be able to host them later this summer. Bella Vista is the world capital for bluebirds. Later in the year I’ll have the local count.
I started a new mailing box for upcycling. A couple years ago when I was removing a mailing label from an envelope, it ripped off the top layers revealing the corrugation and I thought that would be a good substrate for a mixed media project. And why not try this on a box! So I just worked at one side at a time and voila. I left the bottom intact to preserve the sturdiness of the box and have not decided how much to remove from the top yet.
Our modern quilt guild met on Tuesday night. Our leaders had attended Quilt Con in Austin and brought back some fabric scraps from a newish fabric company called Cotton+Steel. I really need another project and challenge in my life so I bought a baggie of scraps. The challenge is to make a project – tote, quilt, wallhanging, anything – using the scraps, adding only other Cotton+Steel fabrics and/or solid fabric, and using an alternate grid pattern. One of my fabrics has a jack pictured from the Playful line so my theme is going to be Let’s Play. These are the scraps I get to play with, all from different Cotton+Steel collections.
In the meantime I finally started on my slice for a group quilt. Our design is divided up into nine sections. Each section will be rendered in a bright color, my color being orange in a rainbow spectrum from yellow to blue. We will each be putting in some chartreuse to each slice. After we piece it all together, we will add wrought iron fencing. Yesterday I finalized my drawing and did a couple of practice leaves. Since you can see through the drawing, I turned it over and traced the leaves in mirror image onto paperbacked Wonder Under. Directions are to press the fusible to your applique with a hot iron for 5-8 seconds, let cool, remove paper backing. Then to affix the applique, place on background fabric, cover with a damp press cloth, and iron for 15 seconds. Lift and press with your iron, versus scrubbing back and forth. Finishing pressing till the moisture is removed (I pressed from the back). Be sure to do all this work on a Teflon sheet or parchment to keep your iron and ironing board cover clean. Next I experimented with zigzagging the edges. I placed some Sulky Solvy water-soluble stabilizer underneath. Actually I forgot to do this on the second leaf but because I was sewing slowly, it was okay. I used an 11/75 needle (which still left needle holes), Superior MonoPoly (versus nylon), zigzag at 1.4, straight stitch at 1.3 (Mode 1, Stitch #8 on Janome). If you can, adjust your speed down, use the needle down option, and proceed slowly. Start away from a point, with the needle down at the edge of the fabric, and pivot often if you have angles and curves. When I get to a point, I sew three stitches using the hand wheel so that all three stitches bite in the same hole away from the edge. Now I need to check with the group to see if my oranges are different from the fabrics on either side and if this applique method is sturdy enough for blocking and longarm quilting. Oh and we are all using the same ombre grey background, replacing the bluish portion with green.
I have been knitting small projects at night but soon I will be crocheting some hanger covers. This is what is left of the foam hanger covers. In the old days, drycleaners had hangers with foam that completely cover the hanger top (before that there was a paper cover over the whole hanger). Now they only cover the shoulder area and these won’t stay on any more–they held up pretty well considering I can’t remember the last time I went to the dry cleaners.
Until next time, buh-bye and enjoy the first day of spring and the solar eclipse.