As you can see, spring flowers are blooming all around us here in Maryland. One of the things I _like_ about living here is the protracted and heavily flowered spring. :) I did not get photos of the redbud and dogwood trees, also blooming.
Yes, I count dandelions as legitimate flowers. Many grass-loving home owners despise and wage war on dandelions. I have always found them happy - and root them out of my purposeful gardens whenever necessary anyway. :) Since I learned more about them botannically and genetically in graduate school, I find them even prettier. :) Most of the ones that grow in North American now are European imports and not native - but they were brought here on purpose for medicinal reasons (do you know that _most_ things thought of as 'weeds' in this country were brought on purpose?).
Violets are lovely native wildflowers and one of my favorites. Although they seem small, shy and retiring, they are tough, tough and extremely hard to eridacate. :) My idea of a good icon or role model.
Tulips are almost over in this area (as you can see, this one is 'blown' or nearly gone). I quite like the color embellishment of this particular tulip - those bees know exactly where the business center of _that_ flower is located. :) Despite the zillions of acres of them growing there, tulips are NOT originally from Holland .. they are from near to central Asia, especially Turkey and thereabouts.
The weather continues to get warm and sunny here, though it is a bit cooler and cloudier here today. I have not looked at the forecast and have no idea what things will be like this weekend. Kinda lost in my own little world now, as usual.
Monday I was starting to feel like I might be alive so I went out a bit and moved around, went for a walk, etc. Mostly quietly. Tuesday I decided to go to The Queen's Ink for the monthly card making day ... and had a wonderful time. The weather was sunny and pleasant (almost rated as 'hot') and the place was buzzing with nice people making pretty cards. I got to use some new art supplies (of course, one of the reasons they design the cards we get to make is to give us a hands-on with new materials they'd like to sell:). Included among those was Gelato markers which are kinda like crayons:
The colors are vibrant and water soluble so you can do watercolors with them (among other things). Here's the card I made:
As you can see, the colors are strong and bright. This card took time because of all the coloring, but it turned out nicely. Mind you, I am no great shakes at cards. I can follow directions and turn out something usable, but I'm clumsy and messy and my work will never win awards. :) That doesn't matter 'cause I'm making these to use ... 'hand of the artist' is my motto.
Here are the other cards I made:
I thought this little lamb was adorable. :)
This little goodie features a House Mouse stamp ... I have loved this designer's images for years. For a happy interlude in your day, click through and take a look. Guaranteed to make you smile. :)
This card was interesting - it's design was unusal, too. Mine is pretty messy but the sample (who knows how many times it had to be made before an acceptable object was produced:) was exquisite.
I particularly liked this one. The sample used a very dark blue-on-brown plaid background paper but I turned it over and used the delicate beige background map print on the reverse when I saw it ... just seemed more fitting. Also I like maps. :)
This card uses a color washed background print that we produced ourselves with ink pads - it is not a printed paper. This means that every sky created is individual. I like the one I made even though it is only generally like the sample shown. I am really bad at tying bows so mine is a bit floppy. Grin.
I had a great time that day and even managed to squeeze in a walk around the ground floor of Savage Mill while I waited for the event to start.The place is not huge but it was a challenge for me with my not-completely-healed stomach and diaphram muscles ... I huffed and puffed a bit. Sigh.
The rest of the week I have been moving around quietly and doing mostly handwork. I set aside my Spargo Tree in favor of making a small piece I ordered recently. The online shop was part of the recent Row By Row Wool Hop. I am a sucker for bunny designs (along with some others:) and could not resist this sweet pattern - now that winter is well and truly over for the year, I could stand the idea, too. LOL!
Well, I've fiddled with this for five minutes - I cannot see why Typepad keeps turning this image sideways when all the others are coming out correctly (and the original on my desktop is fine). Sigh. This wool applique is simply whip stitched down with sewing weight thread in a matching color. The piece is only about 7" by 9" and I felt that fancy embroidery (as much as I enjoy doing it:) would be too fussy.
Since I rarely do this simplistic a stitch on the wool, I noticed something as I worked that i've never consciously realized before - as I stitched the edges down, the wool transformed from flat fabric pieces into rounded and 'alive' images. I _think_ this is because of how the stitches pull the top of the fabric down onto the background and do round the edges of the wool pieces - that and the way human eyes turn 3D images into familiar patterns (such as yard bunnies:).
I also dug in and quilted the sashiko ocotpus design I've been working on for a while. I sandwiched the block up several months ago and have been dithering over how to quilt it. It will be a pillow top (about 16" square) when I finish it. I had stitched along the outer edges of the critter in two closely spaced parallel rows, then stalled.
The photo above just shows the back of the sandwich (since it will be a pillow cover, I did not use a backing fabric) so you can see the stitching (photos of the front, being blue-on-blue, did not show the quilting stitch very well). As you can see, I settled for simple hand-guided horizontal wavy lines by walking foot to simulate the underwater scene. This was surprisingly difficult for me to do!
Not because I don't know HOW ... but because I had done all this methodical, meditative hand work and then machine quilted it. I shocked myself quite a lot when this happened - I am a MACHINE quilter. Although I love hand work, I do not love hand quilting and haven't done anything larger than a placemat that way since about 1992 (when I bought my first Bernina:). I had no idea I would internally balk at machine sewing through those lines of hand embroidery - sure surprised me that I had that reaction. Still, I persevered (there was no question of doing the job any other way in my conscious mind:) and got the puppy done.
Who knew? Learn at least one new thing every day in life (if you pay attention:)!