Friday, April 11, 2014

A Springtime Surprise!

As I was peacefully watching Big Bang Theory last night, suddenly heard fireworks going off nearby!  Occasionally people have been setting them off in the empty lot across the street but this was down at Ft. Fisher, probably at the Air Force Recreation Center which is about 1/2 a mile from the house.  When they started, it was still pretty light out and it took me a bit to keep changing the camera settings so I could maximize the impact.  It went on for quite some time.  I have no idea what they were celebrating or why.  There was nothing in the paper and certainly no warning ahead of time.  What fun on a beautiful spring evening right on my porch!!

It's getting darker.

Of coure no blog would be complete without at least one bird!  This cardinal was sitting on the electric line right by the house -- an unusual place to see him.  Usually he hides in the palm tree and annoys the cats!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Springtime in Wilmington!

My daughter came down for the weekend since my dear husband had abandoned me to go get our passports and some other items we would need for the upcoming trip to New Zealand.  He got to see the (hopefully) last of the Rochester snow which has been vicious this year.  She had never been to Airlie Gardens so I told her to bring her camera and we would go for a picture taking day.  I had been there just a couple of weeks ago and was AMAZED at the changes since my last visit.  There were still a few camelias but there were tulips everywhere, magnolias in bloom, redbuds and even some of the azaleas were out.  My ducks are gone for the most part though -- either that or nesting which I suspect is why we aren't seeing all that much these days.  Many have probably returned north as well as spring is definitely breaking out down here!

There were wonderful beds of tulips everywhere, all different varieties and colors.

Particularly liked this bed of the variegated tulips, both this one and a really pretty pink and green one.

The female Mute Swan was sitting on her nest while the male was swimming around the pond.

A small Carolina Wren was sitting by the water.

There were several Osprey hanging out in the trees although I didn't see one in the prominent nest by the water.  This guy was way far away but my little camera (I didn't have the big lens with me as I was taking pictures of flowers) did manage to capture him and you couldn't see him without binoculars.

These rose looking wild flowers are again blooming on the empty lot across the street.  Have forgotten the name but they are one of the first wildflowers to bloom down here.  

Counting down the days now until we fly off to New Zealand and Fiji!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Class with Vikki Pignatelli

Our guest speaker and teacher this month at QBTS Guild was Vikki Pignatelli, an art quilter who is famous for her work with curves.  As the class was very affordable, I figured it was worth the two days.  Vikki was EXTREMELY generous with her knowledge and time and worked with everyone in the class.  It was the Improvisational Curves class that she was teaching.  The first day was basically learning her curves technique which was different from any that I had used before.  The second day was an incredible potpourri of techniques, many of which I could easily see using on jackets as they were embellishment techniques.  She also had a clever way of having nice bound holes in the middle of quilts which would add a lot of flexibility to you work as well as give it dimensionality.

The technique uses freezer paper as your pattern and a foundation stabilizer on which you pin your pieces.  I liked the idea of the stabilizer a lot but still not sure whether I will use the machine applique technique she uses.  Probably will adapt it somehow.

You can see some pleated (textured) pieces in this work.  It was a very cool idea which I liked a lot.  

This was Becky's piece which will eventually be a full blown tulip.  Loved the colors (my palette -- how could I not!).

This was Barbara's piece which was based on a watercolor she had done of a sunset over the ocean.

This piece shows a lot of inserts into the pleats that Vikki made as well as some yarn embellishment.  Can't you see this in clothing?

This was a display of all the different embellishment techniques which involve the making of "tubes" of cloth which are inserted into pleats.  The tubes can be straight up and down or mountainous like the piece on the top and the far left hand side of the bottom.  

.This was a piece that used larger tubes machine appliqued on top.

During our meeting, Vikki was of course our guest speaker and shared many quilts both in person and on slides.  Below are many of these.

 My favorite!

This was one of the quilts on the slides which I also really liked.

This was my favorite but on a slide so you can see the whole thing but the in person one was so much nicer!

An example of a log cabin type placement.

The one to the left is another log cabin while the one to the right is a tree but difficult to see because of the background.

Another one I just loved.

 This example uses pleating and the aforementioned tubes to get the texture.

Another one I loved.
This was clearly Vikki's favorite.

This was most of the class with their pieces after the second day.  The three on the far left are mine and you can see my grey hair peaking out over two of them -- I am sitting.  I didn't bring a sewing machine so just worked on the design and learning the technique of design.  We had a really good time and I met some very nice women in this guild which was very very nice!!  What a lovely group of women!!  Many of them were trying this kind of thing for the first time as this is primarily a more traditional group.  I think they will be trying more!!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Back Outside Again!

I set out for a walk yesterday even though the weather was still uncertain but after about 15 minutes, the sun finally came back out again.  This Oystercatcher is about as close as I have ever come to one -- he was hanging out with a Royal Tern (same color beaks I guess) and then decided to walk on the rocks.  You can even see the two colors in the eye and the beak in this picture -- eye looks like  yellow surrounded by red closeup as well as the gold tip at the end of the beak.  I do love Oystercatchers!

He obviously posed for me a lot and here you can see his whole body including the pink legs.

There was also a pretty little Snowy Egret showing his spring feathers.  To me the Snowy Egrets are much showier than their larger cousin the Great Egret.

The Royal Tern finally woke up as he was asleep when sharing the post with the Oystercatcher!

I am getting ready for guests and trying very hard to get a small quilt done for the next quilt meeting which is on Monday -- don't think I will make it with the nice weather which doesn't inspire me to sew!

I am also taking a two day class next week with Vikki Pignatelli (her website) next Monday and Tuesday and guests are arriving on Wednesday and then I play duplicate bridge for several days -- they had to have been pretty desperate for a fourth as I haven't played duplicate bridge in probably 50 years and have very rarely played any kind of bridge since then!!!  Should be interesting!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kitties and Quilts

This is our cat George hunkered down on a quilt for a long winter nap.  We have been surrounded by ginger kitties this past week!!

This is Paca, my daughter's cat.  We were babysitting while she has been off to Paris and then Seattle.

This is her other kitty Jahi who favors one of the newer quilts on the sofa downstairs.  All our kitties have started shedding so spring can't be too far away!

Well, I went on ebay and managed to find more of the print that I had used to make the hexagons, figuring I would use as a border.  I didn't like it.  I then decided that maybe I would use triangles and just some of the print in the border.  Didn't like that either.  So...

I am going with it as is with no extra border besides the green which kind of acts to float the middle.  I am pretty sure I have enough of the green to use for the binding as well.  It will end up being 72 x 76 inches which should fit on a queen sized bed.  I will include that nice extra hexagon fabric on the back so you can see the original fabric which is not even a little obvious from the finished product here!!  This quilt has really been fun to make.  Have to get busy on a challenge quilt and facing the beach quilt before my  bridge playing guests arrive in a little over a week!!

I will be playing tournament bridge for the first time since college almost 50 years ago!!  I wasn't that good even then and the conventions have changed a lot since .  I can barely remember my name these days so counting trump will be a real challenge!!  

My dear friend will then be returning less than a month later to babysit the kitties while hubby and I go on a once in a lifetime trip to New Zealand and Fiji.  We have all our transportation booked and just have to book a few hotels at this point.  One of my old roommates from college is now a NZ citizen and so she has given me some great hints of things to do as we are not on any kind of formal trip.  She recommended that we don't go to Christchurch because of the earthquake that badly damaged the city but encouraged us to book the two day Doubtful Sound Cruise out of Queenstown where she lived for five  years before building a home in Duneden. Too bad she is here in the States while we are there!!  I am most nervous about the almost 36 hours that it will take -- I don't even know what the difference in time will be but we will be crossing the International Date Line so it will be a different day as well!!  My oldest daughter lived in Auckland for several months working at the University of Auckland between undergraduate and grad school.