Pleasant

Pleasant.F
Pleasant is a very old-fashioned name. The only person I've ever known of, personally, to bear that name is the lady who started Pleasant Company, to make American Girl Dolls. :) I'm sure there were a number of worthy Quaker and/or Pilgrim ladies with that name, too, but I don't know any. 

The weather here in the Balt-Wash region has been incredibly pleasant for the past couple of days - mid 70s to 80s in temperature, blue sunny skies and breezes. We did have a day of outright rain, mostly heavy with some thunder and lightning thrown in occasionally, on Saturday. I expect the grass and trees are happy about all that! I finally took my few houseplants out onto our back deck for the summer - they enjoy the boost in growth in the free air (on the north - therefor shady - side of our house). 

Things have been mostly quiet here. I did have a glorious outing last week on Friday. The Quilt Vine in Trappe, MD is closing (the owner wants to retire) and three of us (myself, Barbara and Polly) went out there to shop their sales. This required crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge which is a major bottleneck for traffic journeying shore-ward. 

We had lunch at a very nice place in Trappe, Coffee Trappe. Built in an old bank, they had good food and a lovely staff. :) On our way home, we stopped at Bonheur Pie & Ice Cream in Easton. Talk about tasty!! I had a single scoop of butter pecan with dark chocolate shell. Delicious! 

The Quilt Vine itself was pretty busy - I heard the clerk say they were really slammed on Thursday (the first day of the sale). I managed to stick to buying some fat quarters and a nifty pattern for a crab-themed quilt. Polly found some real treasures including several great background prints. Barbara and I had a huge laugh at ourselves - she tried to find some things that Patty was looking for but none were to be had ... so we found a butterfly print in the scrap tidbits bin and bought it as a consolation. Both Barbara and I saw butterflies on the print ... Polly saw puppy dogs and we teased her about needing her glasses to shop ... until we took a good look at the print and realized that Polly was RIGHT and we were deluded:

Bfly

Mind you, this little bit is about 2" square, folded as it is. We had a huge belly laugh on ourselves over it. :)

The BEST part was just being out with friends! Been so long since we could go out day-tripping together. I'd have been happy to just ride and chatter. Happy sighs! :)

Things are hot at the Space Telescope this weekend - Skip is working about twice as many hours as usual this week. Hope they settle down, soon. I think he's getting closer to thinking about retirement - he says his stamina is not up to full time work any more (and his sleeping cycles are kind of messed up).

I started in on sorting out my fabrics and boxing them into the cartons (shoe box sized plastic bins) I bought at IKEA last week. I'm at that stage where your mess covers twice as much space as it did before you started. :) Another day or two should be good to finish it and I can move on to sorting out my projects. Happy times. :P

I did manage to finish the spiderweb block for the Haunted mystery:

Spiderweb

Yesterday I took a (Zoom) class with Kathy Doughty of Material Obsession (in Sydney, Australia) on Organic Applique (her most recent book) which I REALLY enjoyed. Love her color sense!

:) Linda


Returning?

“Do things for people not because of who they are or

what they do in return, but

because of who you are.”

                    Rabbi Harold Kushner

 

This has been my philosophy for treating fellow humans most of my adult life. My husband who swears he is _not_ a 'people-person' taught me to respect others and take into account their foibles. Good lessons. :) Without him, I expect I'd be more gruff with others.

I have been doing things but slowly, slowly. We have moved from late spring into real summer weather here in Maryland with hot days (well, by Alberta standards - 90 degrees F is just warm by local standards:). 

I had a zoom workshop with a Canadian quilter/designer last week (learning to make improvisational Economy blocks) and she was panting with the heat (of 90:). 'Course, no air conditioning up there - very, very few houses here exist without a/c; generally they are much older (pre-WWII).

The 17 year cicadas are still humming loudly on any day when it doesn't rain. My car windows look like I've been driving through the midwestern farm country - lots of bug splats. :P Every day there is a new layer of dead ones on my front step/walk.

Much of the sewing I've been doing has been for making gifts, so I won't share any of that until the gifts are given. I did make both the May (late!) and June blocks for my Stash Bee hive (#4):

MayblockThis was the May block - I enjoyed making this one. I was thinking this might be a good block for my guild drawing as it uses scraps really well.

Junepumpkin

This was Carrie's chosen block as the June Queen. I enjoyed this one, too, since I'm such a Halloween lover. :) I was tempted to make an aqua pumpkin like the ones Farmer Frank (who bought my Mom's farm) raises ... but decided to do the traditional (had more orange scraps:). You can see one here

I also finished the embroidery for the third Halloween mystery block last night. Here's the state it is in now - still have to add the Dresden framing:

SpiderwebLike my spider? That's the special orange edition belly color. :)

This week marks our household's transition back to 'normal' life. All three of us are fully vaccinated so I told Hugh and Skip they had to go back to doing the grocery shopping in person (we've been having our food bought and delivered by Instacart since the local area Covid surge last November). 'Course, Hugh felt unwell today and I ended up going shopping with Skip ... in 92 degree weather. I am so spoiled - the heat was really hard to bear after all this time indoors. :P Gotta go outside more!

I have to drive up to the White Marsh area (north east of Baltimore) tomorrow for a nutritionist appointment (bariatric surgery prep) ... and am thinking of stopping by IKEA (about a mile from the medical offices). We'll see how the drive goes and whether my physical energy holds out. :)

One of my favorite quilt stores - Quilt Vine, out on the eastern shore - is shutting up shop soon. They are having a closing sale so Barbara, Polly and I are planning to go there on Friday to browse. The shop has lots of wonderful modern fabrics and great patterns ... mostly I am looking forward to having a day out with quilting buddies!

:) Linda


Behind the Din

Ememem-9-1536x1024There is a French mosaic artist called Ememem doing amazing work near Lyons - using his skills to repair/refresh the city's potholes and erosions. If you click on the photo above, you can go read about his work - I personally think it is exquisite! :) Here are two more examples:

Ememem-8-1536x1078

Life is flowing along quietly here chez Schiffer. I sew a couple of hours every day - I always thought I'd sew all day long when I retired but I have found that my body just cannot perform for more than about three hours before I have to sit quietly in a corner and rest. Looking down at the machine (which is supposed to be the best angle) aggravates my neck and my hands go numb. :P My attention span appears to be about 1.5 hours before my mind wanders off what I'm doing. (That _is_ an improvement from the 45 minutes I could manage when running my store:) 

One good thing that I started during the pandemic is cooking real food for our suppers ... I manage maybe three or four evenings a week, which I count as a success. Especially considering how much I do not enjoy meal planning/meal production/grocery shopping, etc. LOL.

Today I finished making and attaching the Dresden frame to my second embroidered block for the Halloween mystery bom:

Raven

I love his ruff! This is another design by Meg Hawkey of Crabapple Hill Studio. I was just thinking today (as I gathered the fabrics to make this frame) that I want to incorporate some of my other archived Halloween patterns in this quilt when I finish the embroideries. :)

As I'm sure you know, the big environmental news in my local region right now is the eruption of Brood X of 17 year cicadas. I took some photos in my front yard and made a video to remember the sound level of their cries, fairly early on in the whole process.

Cicadason azaleas


Cicadason azaleas

If you look carefully, you can see some of the cast off shells of emerging cicadas along with the more mature bodies of older ones getting ready to fly upward into the trees. They chew on the growing tips of leaves and the males make a high-decibel cacophony while calling to the females to mate. If you sit and watch anywhere under trees right now, you will see regular flights of females dropping out of the trees onto the grass to lay their eggs and start the cycle again. Apparently the females lay their eggs in the leaf tips (where the larvae hatch, eat and then drop to the ground to burrow down to the root level); those females flying down must be exhausted and going off to die? Cycle of life stuff. :P

We will have a quiet holiday weekend - we never travel during holidays if we can help it (got enough of that when our kids were little, going to see family:). Hope to do some meaningful sewing.

:) Linda


This Day in May

MWH_6925

I saw a really exciting (well, to me:) article in National Geographic recently about research being done on an area of Maryland very near to me. If you click on the photo above you can go read about a rock outcropping near here that is a piece of a long ago ocean's seabed - a piece of the crust that has been thrust up to our surface by plate tectonics and is now exposed for study. Here is a picture of the geography (little tiny box shows 'us'):

Ngscience-2104-appalachian-ophiolites_primary_ai2html-desktop-smallI think I actually know where these rocks are ... but am not sure enough to find them. :) Just a bit of local news.

My days are flowing past, growing increasingly summer-like. The cicadas have emerged in my front yard as well as the rest of this area - I need to take some photos of our trees covered with spent cicada shells. :) Haven't found any wings, yet, but it is still early days. Brood X has a ways to go before it is finished with it's every-17-year emergence. Luckily I am NOT a bug phobe so I find the entire event rather exciting. :)

I have been sewing a bit but have rather less than usual to show for it. I did manage to finish making a new workbasket for myself - this is a Juniper Basket from Sew Modern Designs and I really am happy with it! I made the size large and I think I could house the knitting for an entire sweater in this. :)

Juniper2
Juniper2
Juniper2I only had enough of that sewing machine fabric to make one side of the basket (my last precious bit:) so the other side is a remnant of the canvas I used to make my Sandhill Sling. Notice that there is an external (inset zipper) pocket and an internal pocket (simple slip in).

Remember I showed you my avatar and the first (unfinished) block of my self-portrait in fabric for the Grad Class swap? I've made progress and finished my blocks through May to be mailed off. Here is a representative sampling of them (I ended up free-hand drawing the features because my hand shakes too much to trace them).

Lindamay2
Lindamay2
Lindamay2
Lindamay2
Lindamay2I'm sure you can see the variations in features ... none of which actually look like me, of course, but realism was not the goal with this project. (thankfully!) :)

I also finished the embroidery for my next Halloween block from Crabapple Hill. I LOVE this raven:

RavenI think his ruff is hysterical - and very a propos. :) I think he should be named Nevermore. :)

I went in search of some brainless sewing to do today and found a roll of 1.5" strips from the Cider collection by Basic Grey for Moda. I decided to make quarter-square log cabins with it ... happy sewing! :)

:) Linda


Wayside

Orkney-potters fingerprintDo you ever think about the past - as in the distant past, prehistory, and such? I like to think about (and read about) what life might have been like long ago ... back when there were few of us on Earth and growing plants in one place to harvest later was a radical idea. :) The photo above shows a small piece of pottery - fire-hardened clay, nothing fancy - with a fingerprint from the pot's maker baked right into the side of the pot. Kind of like looking at the fossilized footprints of early people ... a 'we really were here' signpost. :) That particular piece of pot was crafted in the Orkney Islands (North Sea, distant northern edge of what is now the British Isles). Gives me shivers when I think about it. :)

I have been living in a semi-random pattern for some time now. The weather is improving daily - we have started to enjoy late-Spring/early-Summer environs here in Maryland. The trees are all green, lots of pretty flowers are blooming, grass gets cut every day (almost eye-searing green this time of year:). People are enjoying the outdoors more and more. According to the local news blogger the county I live in has a 75+% vaccination rate for 16 and older residents ... and the governor has agreed with the CDC that fully vaccinated folks (like me:) can do without masks for the most part. 

I went into my local quilt shop this past Saturday without my mask ... quick trip to pick up some zippers ... and felt naked without my mask. :) I felt so daring! LOL Maybe some 'normal' will resume?

I've been sewing and making but not keeping very good records. My 'what have I done lately?' photos are kind of random here:

AvatarI am participating in a 'me' block swap with members of Mimi Dietrich's Grad Class this year. I am woefully behind in my production ... and am waiting on some new Pigma pens I ordered to arrive so I can finish a big batch to mail out. My block is based on an avatar I cobbled up for myself from FB:

Image-1

I have chosen a series of seasonally appropriate fabrics for the backgrounds of my blocks. Originally I thought I'd use a scrappy set of flesh and hair prints, too ... but that scissors print makes me giggle so I'm using that for all my blocks, so far. My hair is dark (not black but dark brown) and shot with gray (in what my hair cutter calls a 'distinguished' pattern:) ... but scissors just seemed so appropos. :)

BlaackcatblockMeg Hawkey of Crabapple Hill Studio is slowly releasing a block of the month Halloween series that appeals to me. I've embroidered the first block (black cat, above) and made the framing 'Dresden Plate' applique. Now I'm working on the second month's design which features a raven wearing an Elizabethan style ruff. ;) Hand embroidery is what I save my hands to do (too much arthritis makes me limit my hand work pretty strictly) ... so I am loving this project. :)

BlackcatembroideryHere's a close up of the embroidery, pre-pressing.

WishThe round robin project I've been working on with members of Faithful Circle quilters has finally ended and I've gotten my own piece back. I LOVE it. You might not get the full impact of the cheerful pink and blue palette in this photo - I think this fabric is just plain happy. :) I'm not sure what size this piece is (maybe 45" square?) ... but I plan to use the remainder of my prints to make more borders to at least size this up to a lap quilt. 

This is the block I started my round robin with:

FirstblockMy Columbia Friends group has been doing a challenge every month or so for a while. Our current topic is to use something from either the natural or the architectural world as inspiration for a piece. Pretty broad ideas, for me, but I've settled on an attempt to interpret this photo into patchwork:

MyhandThis is the back of my right hand, showing the loss of subcutaneous padding on my skin (lizard skin) as it ages. I remember distinctly when I first noticed this happening to me (being, as I am, somewhat, ahem, overabundant in flesh, I have mostly looked younger than my age for most of my life; poor hands put paid to that!). Ought to make something interesting in stained glass or some such. Plotting patterning.

Today I finished making my version of a large Juniper Basket by Sew Modern. Forgot to take a photo (hope to remember tomorrow). Intend to use it for holding my handwork near my comfy living room chair. 

:) Linda


Saving Scraps

SCRAP SAVING SYSTEMS
Summary by Linda Schiffer

Originally given as a demo at Faithful Circle Quilters guild

*There is an excellent discussion of this entire issue on a blog I read regularly - check it out

Why Keep Scraps?
    Do I want to use scraps?  If not, find a friend* to gift them to

        (*’friend’ could be literal or freebie table at guild or student/seniors group, etc.)

    If so, what will you make with scraps? experiments? utility quilts? gifts? charity?

What is a SCRAP to me?
    What size is ‘too small’ for regular stash for YOU?

    Do I need an organized system? Do you use your scraps immediately - maybe you don't need a 'system.'

    The key to any system you choose is that it must be EASY for you to use when you want to use it. It must be EASY for you to maintain.

    Starting a new-to-you system can be a burden (Queen of Procrastinators speaking!:). Try to take advantage of your own daily rhythms and play habits to make it more fun.

    Ideas for FUN: get a buddy to work with (work on each one’s mess together via Zoom or in person; you cut mine, I’ll cut yours exchange, etc).

MY PERSONAL SYSTEM - your mileage will likely vary.

    For years I gave my scraps away - to friends in the guild and later to my Aunt Jean.

    MY personal definition of ‘scrap’ is smaller than most makers’ - smaller than about 10” square. (Really tiny trimmings and such go         into a cloth tote bag for recycling.)

    After retirement, with more time to sew, my scraps started piling up and annoyed me. I decided to dedicate my scraps to making charity quilts.

    Here is my highly evolved (chuckle) current method, built around my own slap-dash personality:

    This is a common wicker laundry basket. It sits to the left of my sewing table and I toss ‘scraps’ into it as I make them, in whatever shape. My goal is to never allow the basket to fill (Scrap Overload!!).

IMG_6480
    When I am between projects or just not up to thinking very hard, I take an afternoon to cut up the scraps I’ve put in the basket. My cutting guidelines are, depending on the size of my fabric bits:

2.5” wide strips or squares
1.5” wide strips or squares
Sometimes* 2” strips or squares

*but I try to minimize

    I keep the cut up scraps sorted by size in ziplock bags in my basket (to separate them from new ‘scraps’). When I sew with my scraps, I further sort them by value NOT color, generally.

    This ‘system’ is simple - easy for my brain and organizational challenges to create and maintain - easy to sew into quilts. YES, this limits my quilt design choices but the ‘system’ works for ME.

    When I choose to use my cut up scraps, I can create simple quilts that satisfy my need to sew without taxing my brain or patience. I save experimenting with new designs for non-scrap sewing, usually. I use my scraps to sew for charity - usually baby quilt sizes:

Fourpatchbaby

Locabinbaby

OTHER SYSTEMS:

    *Some quilters like to make nice colored baskets or bins to sort their scraps by color (use some scraps to make these!).

      Complete set of boxes

    *Others sort them by size like my friend Barbara Bennett - into baskets/bins with fabric bits in sizes “strip,” “crumb,” or “chunk.

Scrapbins

    Bonnie Hunter’s Scrap User’s System: 

        Bonnie lectures and teaches with her methods regularly. She cuts her scraps into useful-to-her sizes and keeps them in drawers. She uses scraps in almost all her quilts. Many quilters swear by Bonnie’s method.

    Scrap Therapy by Joan Ford: 

    Joan also cuts her scraps into useful-to-her sizes. She has a number of books of designs using these sizes. I used to teach her method at Seminole Sampler. It works for most quilters.

    Quilter’s Lumberyard by Cheryl Coffman and Patty Bowers:

    These quilters travel/teach their system and how to use it. I found a good YouTube video by a devotee to explain the basics:

    Just Get It Done by Karen Brown:

    Karen has several Youtube videos about scrap saving and using. Here is a beginning. Here is one about starting a new system. Here is a video by her about using your crumb scraps. Here is a video featuring blocks that use up strips/strings.

   

SOCIAL MEDIA:

    There is a group of scrap-using makers that meet via email called Stashbusters:  Participation is free and the group is moderated.

    Likely there are similar groups on Facebook, Instagram, etc.


13 Days!

Violet
Spring is still bursting into bloom here in my neighborhood. It's all beautiful ... from tiny violets ... 

Japanese maple

... to the Japanese maple trees  in our front yard that leafed out overnight one day last week ...

 

Pansies... to the lovely pansies planted beside my doctor's office with their glorious colors.

I keep telling my husband that I want to move back to Madison (WI) to live - near my daughter and her family - but I would truly miss the beautiful spring flowering that happens here. The time between the end of winter and the beginning of summer is protracted and verdant here in our climate zone (7A) - much longer than it is in Madison, fer shure. :)

I can't believe how lazy I have been with posting here. Technically, I could be going out quite a lot more now that I am fully vaccinated ... but my days are still flowing together and oozing into one another memory-wise. I lose track of the days easily and the hours are even harder to separate. Sigh. I am actually sewing and doing things, I just somehow can't assort them on any kind of logical memory trail. :P

I did get to go to a friendly get-together this past weekend. Faithful Circle Quilters (my 'traditional' guild) had a trunk-swap-meet event on Saturday afternoon. You can read more about it and see some photos at my friend Barbara's blog. I took only one item to give away - a big bag full of yarn, enough to make a nice sized afghan (that I will never have the attention span to make). The woman who took it does a lot of yarn bombing with a local group - hope I get to see some of my yarn in use (acrylic, so weathers well, and bright flowery colors). :)

I told myself not to take stuff at the swap ... but I did. Barbara found me some lovely kokeshi (Japanese folk dolls) prints ... and I got one of brightly colored wild horses ... and a lovely batik elephant ... and a truly adorable tiny ironing board ... and a gorgeous framed redwork swan that will go up on our living room wall as soon as I can get my sweetheart to help put in tacks. :) So, restrained but useful (in my book:).

In no particular order, here are some of the things I have sewn recently. Well, other than the first quadrant finished quilting of the Hope quilt which I have not taken photos of.

 

Bananaleaves

These are 'banana leaves' by Elizabeth Hartman ... made in

odd moments here and there ... and will be used in my Leafy

Greens quilt (whenever I get back to working on it).

Giftbox

This is the April Stash Bee block ... the dark print

(the 'giftwrap') is a double weave forest green.

Puppylove

This is my oldest (I _think_) UFO - it's about 16" x 22" or so in size. It is an original design I made in the mid90's to be included in my third book of foundation piecing designs. It needed to be bound which I managed during a zoom sew-in with modern buddies last week. Puppy Love. :) I could not help but laugh over the asking price on Amazon!

Sewingbag

I made a very nice (imho) wide open zipper pouch for a friend

using somesewing machine themed fabric I've been

hoarding. Glad to use it for a good cause. :)

Stripes

The Columbia Friends group has been having challenges this year (one every two weeks or a month). The most recent one was offered by Heather Kojan - 'stripes.' My response to the challenge is not very original but I certainly enjoyed making it! I bought a fat quarter bundle of Kaffe Fassett yarn dyes and double weave cottons to make this pattern by Swirly Girls called Fractions. Since I took this photo, I have appliqued the circles onto the top (see the link). 

 

So, spring is passing and I am doing some things. Not nearly enough ... and not much is getting finished around the house ... I'm still reading a lot though I have gone back to a little bit of video streaming from time to time. I seem to alternate the two. I am pondering buying some furniture for our deck so I can enjoy the outdoors a bit more often.

:) Linda


Spring Bursting

VincaThings are bursting into flower all around me here in eastern Maryland. The vinca in my side yard is blue ... the grape hyacinth is blooming in counterpoint to the dandelions that all burst into bloom at once yesterday ... and the critters are getting a mouthful - like eating my hosta as soon as they come up. Grrr:

Eaten hostaWe are having quite a bit of rain with thunderstorms - I guess the trees and flowers will love it but also the humidity is rising. Funny thing - many people (and animals) are afraid of thunder and lightning. Myself, I enjoy them. Who knows why? :)

I just finished the very last border assignment for this year's Faithful Circle Quilters round robin. The outermost border below is my design (the rest made by other participants; I don't know whose piece this is but I look forward to finding out:)

EntireI took a closeup of my border round so you could see  the details:

My borderCan you see the small blue circles I added on top of my green background? The corner squares on point are the chosen focus fabric for this piece. There was not enough of it to make the last border entirely from the focus so I winged it. I _think_ the grass green print was a good choice as it brightens up the entire design. Still, bright is a value choice - I hope the top's Mommy likes my choices! :)

Tomorrow I plan to take the rr bundle back to the coordinator and start in (again) on quilting Hope. I have finally set up my Bernina on his table and cleaned up the surface so there is space to manipulate the sandwich. Fingers crossed I do a good job.

:) Linda

PS My son got his first vaccination shot this afternoon. Soon we will all be finished with that. Whew!


Catch Up!

Daffodils-in-Bloom

Here in my neighborhood in eastern Maryland, spring has DEFINITELY come. My daffodils are blooming wildly - my personal benchmark for the arrival of spring. The area has blooming pear, apple and cherry trees ... I've seen several spring magnolia trees with their pale pink blossoms floating. Such a beautiful time of year! My husband had his first vaccine appointment this past Sunday afternoon and we got a view of all the blooming things as we drove south to the shot site and back.

Growing bulb flowers here in the south (we are in growth zone 7a) is challenging - if you click on the pretty picture above, you can go read about how to get the best growth/beauty from your bulbs. :)

It has been 16 days since I've written in this blog. That is a surprising amount of time passed for me - I rarely let that many days go by without recording my life. Hmm. I have been doing things, though the days keep flowing past in a blur. :P

So, in no particular order, here's what I've been sewing lately ... first I did manage to work on this round of the Faithful Circle round robin. This time I've finished the (I _think_) next-to-last round of bordering. The project I had to work on this time was charming ... but in the interest in secrecy (we are not supposed to reveal the project before they go home to their 'mommies'), I will only share the border I put on and the immediate predecessor. :)

Border2I am not sure that I actually followed the guidelines for the border I did (blue  and green above) ... but I like the way it looks on the whole work so I'm not reworking it (can't anyway as I've given the round robin bundle back to the coordinator:). That green fabric is the focus print the originator chose.

I took an online class with Brenda Gael Smith of Australia in improvisational curved piecing and decided to use that technique to explore the theme of 'leaves' that I set for this month's exploration with the Columbia Friends bee. Here is my proof-of-concept patchwork:

CurveyleafIt was a challenge to make my curves produce a leaf ... but I did it. I want to come back to this theme again sometime in the near future (after I finish quilting Hope). So my piece didn't get lost in the chaos of my sewing room, I finished it into a composition book cover (my comp book has graph paper in it and will serve as a new volume of my quilting journal). Here's how that came out:

JournalNow at least my leafy bit won't go missing and sink below my conscious memory (out of sight is literally out of mind with me:).

I made this month's block for my Stash Bee hive (#4):

StashblockI am really pleased with this. You cannot tell from this photo but the star points are a green cotton-and-silk print (I think the collection was called Radiance) - I had a small scrap left from a fabric line out several years ago when I still owned my store. The color is actually a soft sage-ish green (not the brown-y tone it looks above). If you embiggen the photo, you might be able to see the soft shine - the fabric has cotton threads woven in one direction and silk in the other.

My daughter sent me two books to help with my gardening efforts (I have pretty much given up trying to landscape or grow flowers here as we have a serious suburban deer infestation in my area and they eat almost everything I try to plant). Gotta get reading! The county is sponsoring a native plant sale at our local community college soon and I want to invest in some new perennials. :)

Deerbook2

Deerbook1

What else has been going on? Hmm. I hurt my back and ended up having to take a series of steroid pills for a week to heal. That seems to have settled the problem but I'm not sure what made it crop up in the first place. :P I am not good at being infirm (grumpy me).

I got my first Covid shot and am going to take my second one this coming Saturday. Truthfully, I am relieved to have done that. I'm looking forward to having slightly more freedom of movement around the local area. My husband and son still have to be completely vaccinated so things will only ease up gently. Every little step forward!

My younger grandson had his third birthday a couple of days ago. Time just flows over me - I often feel like a rock in the creekbed, watching things run past. 

:) Linda


A Week of Change

Crocus

Snowdrops

There are flowers blooming in my front yard and spring is well and truly sprung. :) The little crocus was blooming all on its lonesome at the edge of the pachysandra bed (below our Japanese bloodleaf maple tree). I think the squirrels must have put a bulb there as I never planted any crocus in that particular spot. :) There are also three tiny stands of snowdrops blooming in the middle of the same bed - surely again put there by squirrels or birds as I've never seen any of those there before. Lucky us! :)

The weather has been blustery but mostly pleasantly sunny for several days now. I listen to the wind whistle around the house corners as I sit in my bright sewing room in the afternoon and enjoy the contrast. Actually, not much sewing is getting done.

I did take a class this past weekend and enjoyed it immensely. The Baltimore modern guild had Brenda Gael Smith from Australia teaching improvisational strip piecing. What a great class!! Mind you, I did not learn anything new, technique-wise, but it was a very satisfying class. Brenda is an excellent, methodical teacher and made things very clear. She shared a LOT of her quilt making and gave me plenty of ideas for using the curvy piecing techniques I've been sewing for years (the skills just sit in my mental bag of sewing tricks, usually).

The most magical thing about taking the class was that Brenda - who lives a bit north of Sydney in a little town called Copacabana - is situated in sight of the beach and gave us a view out her window of the Pacific Ocean. The marvels of Zoom!! :)

I managed to sew an entire strip section during class ... this is about 10"x20" or so:

Strips

StripscloseBrenda was particularly complementary about my use of that red stripe. :) I am thinking I will quilt this and turn it into some kind of pouch or bag. Later, at leisure, when my plate is a little less full.

I got my Bernina back from the shop on Wednesday this past week. I drove, again, down to LaPlata in more-southern Maryland than I am (about 65 miles each way, part of it along the Washington Beltway). After I picked up my now-healthy (fingers crossed!) machine, I shopped for a little while before driving home. I particularly was looking for fat quarters of a seasonal nature (why in a moment) and some new 'low volume' background prints to replace those I've used up. Here is my haul:
Fabrics2
Fabrics2
Fabrics2
I also bought one pattern that appealed to me:

FracrionspatternAnd these:

ClipboardThe two zippers are destined to make a pouch for a friend in those colors (teal-ish blue and hot pink). The clipboard I hope to use to display small pieces of collage or fabric art. :)

The seasonal fqs are intended to be used as background prints in blocks for a swap in Mimi Dietrich's Grad Class. Hopefully I will get one or more finished soon to share here (I'm two months behind in my obligation).

Other than those activities, my time is flowing past. One day becomes another without many ripples and I very, very slooooowly get things done. If it doesn't get checked off my list today, there's always tomorrow. Sigh.

:) Linda

PS. I almost forgot! Another piece of news of import is that I got my first Covid vaccine shot on Thursday afternoon this week. The second one is scheduled for April 3rd. I got the Pfizer brand shot and so far have had no significant after-effects other than a sore arm the next day. :)