Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Moment of Nature


Our hibiscus is still blooming like crazy down here in this gorgeous fall weather we are having!


Our resident Ibis were right in the yard yesterday as I went to my car and posed so that I could see them up close and personal.


You can see his blue eyes here contrasting with the pink beak.  He is really a study in patriotic colors -- red, white and blue.


I went for my walk down at Ft. Fisher and first saw this sparrow which I tentatively identified as a Savannah Sparrow which has been confirmed.  He was very white underneath and he had that tuft on his head from the wind.


There were a lot of Bluebirds hanging out as there usually are.


Several Palm Warblers were hanging out as well.  There is a lot of construction going on so was surprised to see any birds at all!


This was my best bird of the day -- a juvenile Cooper's Hawk.  I had at first thought it was a Merlin but was conflicted when I saw pictures of the Cooper's.  My FB friends helped me here!
I had to include this picture!!  I knew my father had named a shell after my mother (he was 
a zoologist specializing in land snails) and my clever nephew actually found a picture of the shell in the University of Michigan collections.  My mother's name was Bernadine but she was called Bunny.  It seems that it was not only a new species but also a new genus as well.  My father had a snake that he discovered named after him -- Baker's Cat-eyed Snake. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Quilters By the Sea Guild October Meeting -- Natalia Bonner

There are always a lot of charitable quilts made by this group and this week there was a lot of the quilts that are made for Habitat for Humanity.  They were all bright and colorful and wonderful!!  I am always surprised in this Guild by the fact that so many people leave after the program and don't stay for Show and Tell which is always my favorite!

Our speaker this month was Natalia Bonner who is an author and quilter who publishes with C & T Publishing and has a couple of books out --  one on one block quilts and the other on beginning machine quilting.  She is really charming and accomplished for someone so young.  Most of the female members of her extended family are quilters and she works with her mother a great deal.

I won't even attempt to picture all the quilts she showed which were all published in one of her two books.  Her third book on a modern interpretation of log cabin blocks is due out soon.

This and the  previous quilt were in her machine quilting book.  She uses a lot of solids because the shelf life of printed fabrics is so short and people inevitably want the exact fabrics when they are using the patterns from the books.  Using mostly solids or solid substitutes eliminates this problem.  It is also indicative of the "modern quilt" movement which uses lots and lots of background.

This was a really cute applique quilt.  She does machine applique with heavily starched pieces and a blanket stitch to hold the pieces down with the free use of washable glue to hold them in place.


The remainder of the quilts were from her second book on one block quilts.  This looked like fun!

All the quilts in the second book are in three sizes with detailed instructions.


This was a fun one and one of many where it is hard to find the basic block!


Our program person Miranda holding up another of the quilts where it is hard to find the block.

A really really simple block but I thought with some tweaking that it would be a great way to showcase some of my marbled fabrics.

This was my very very favorite of all and so simple!!  I am definitely going to add this to my scrappy quilts repertoire.  

I am making progress (albeit slowly as this is a more complex block than it appears).  It will be fun to do the machine quilting in this one I think!


Monday, October 20, 2014

A Good Week for Birds at Ft. Fisher


I headed down to the boat ramp at Ft, Fisher at low tide one morning this week.  So far this  year, I had basically not seen anything but a couple of egrets and earlier some terns.  The parking lot was full of boats and cars so I didn't expect much.  I saw another birder with a camera watching a flock of what looked like Sanderlings from a distance.  I decided to stop and see what the fuss was.  Imagine my surprise when the flock turned out to be Short-billed Dowitchers and there had to be 50 of them. Among them stood two lovely Marbled Godwits which you can see toward the left.  Of course the weather has been gorgeous, the sun was behind me and there was the beautiful blue reflection  You can see all the variation in color here although the same birds

All the Dowitchers standing at attention as more boats came.  They were sleeping most of the time.

You can see a Willet here in the crowd.  Just added the picture so you can see the differences in sizes.  The Dowitchers have yellow legs like the Yellowlegs but are smaller and not as elegant.  I never seem to identify them immediately thinking they are some kind of Sandpiper

This one seemed to have some of his summer color -- the buffy breast.


This Dowitcher was taking a bath between feedings

A closeup of the Marbled Godwit.  This is the earliest I have seen them and the first time up on the beach.

I liked this picture of the two of them together and this may end up in a quilt at some point

The second morning there were not as many of the Dowitchers but I spotted this Semi-palmated Plover.  He blended in so well, it was only when he moved that I noticed him.  I have seen these down here before but rarely on a day when the light was so good for a picture!

I introduced myself to the other photographer when we were both leaving (more boats had scared away the flock) and he had gotten some great pictures of the elusive Clapper Rail and says he lives in the reeds nearby so maybe I will get a better look this winter at some point.  They are pretty shy.

It was nice to see my first Oystercatcher of the season!!  I can't get enough of this beautiful 
bird.  You can see his size as compared to the Dowitcher in front of him.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Classes and Classes

It has been a busy week with lots of bird sightings, a couple of classes and my daughter visiting and taking home her kitties (who I miss even though my husband brought down our kitties).

This is a picture of the beginning of Pat Mattison's class on some surface design techniques that she was teaching at the Crescent Moon Gallery in Wilmington.  They carry her beautiful quilts, her prints and her hand dyed scarves.


She had a full table of students set to dye some scarves with paints and Colorhue dyes.  Hope they bring some to club.


Yesterday, I took a fun class with Natalia Bonner (her website is Piece and Quilt).  The book that the quilt we did is called Modern Quilts and published by C & T.  These are her samples.  It is not an easy block!! It does give a cool diagonal look though.  Of course I decided to complicate it for myself as I can't imagine ever making any quilt that only had three colors in it (or even three fabrics with multiple colors). I played with the block a bit in Electric Quilt and then decided to only vary the colors of the crosses and keep the other two constant.

This was a striking example.

And so with this using the bright print.


Dianne really varied it by  using a large print as the background (I had considered this alternative but didn't have enough of a good background fabric).  Dianne's fabric was some she obtained when on assignment in Africa.


Here are my blocks so you can see what the block actually is.

This the class with their differet blocks.  Because I had decided to go scrappy, I couldn't sew mine together until I got home and got them on a design wall so I could make sure all the crosses aligned  I am on the far right in my favorite ice dyed t-shirt.  Natalia is the pretty young woman in the middle and she was just charming!!

These are my 24 squares sewn together and sewn rather poorly I must say.  They will go at the bottom of the quilt.  I have decided to increase the number of turquoise crosses and include a couple of more fabrics that have a little yellow with the purple and turquoise.  Unfortunately scrap quilts don't look really good until they are pretty good sized.  I don't know how much I want to commit but think I will make a good sized quilt as it really only took me about seven hours to get this much done.  I am thinking maybe 10 x 12 blocks or thereabouts.  The lattice is one of my hand dyes and is really the limiting factor here as I only  had a two yard piece.  I have a lot of the white though as it was a white on white fabric that I had brought down to dye in the class.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Birds and Butterflies

Here are two of the frequent visitors to our street.  The Ibis in front is an adult and the one behind is an older juvenile as he still has some of his brown feathers.  Almost every day between four and twelve Ibis are digging in the lawns around the house here.  
They are certainly keeping everything aerated.  Southeastern NC is about as far north as you will see these birds.



I have been making frequent walks behind the Ft. Fisher museum.  This pathway goes between a lot of Live Oaks and marshes and I frequently see bluebirds and woodpeckers there (if there are no crowds).  There was a flock of juvenile Ibis there one day and I caught this picture just as they were taking off!


The Red-headed Woodpeckers have been a fairly frequent visitor this  year and yesterday there were at least two if not more.  They are not one of the more common woodpeckers but they certainly are beautiful!



Another of the Red-headed Woodpeckers.



The Eastern Phoebes are now migrating through.  This picture was taken down by the Ft.Fisher Ferry where they congregate usually on the fence.


I caught this Phoebe on the fence down by the museum.  There were several there.


I was surprised yesterday on my walk as for the first time I saw warblers down by the museum walk -- four different kinds even so they are obviously migrating through.

This is a Pine Warbler.


This is a Palm Warbler -- you can see the  yellow under his rump.  I am always calling him by the wrong name even though I know better!  There were Yellow-Rumped Warblers there as well but I didn't get any pictures of them (and I probably have enough pictures of them anyway as they are sooo common down here).


I think this is a Magnolia Warbler which has been reported down here by others.  Someone else thought it was an immature Pine Warbler but I willl stick with immature Magnolia Warbler because of his very bright  yellow chest and the white line under his chin.  I couldn't get a view from the back.


This is a Northern Flicker I saw the other day at Greenfield Lake.  I have never seen one of these in a tree before as they are usually foraging on the ground.  From others, I understand they are migrating through now as well.


I am  not seeing the variety of butterflies I saw last year -- don't know whether it is too early or too late!  This is a very frequent visitor -- the Gulf Fritillary but in an unusual place -- sitting high on a tree.


This is a Cloudless Sulfur which is the butterfly that gives them their name.  They are all over the place down here but liked him on the purple flowers.



This is a Common Buckeye, also very very common in the grass and on the flowers down here.d


Lastly, a Phaon Crescent which is a very small butterfly that flits through the grass outside the house.