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March 2021

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. :)


Spring is Coming

73794-Lets-Get-Blooming-Spring-Is-ComingI'm pleased to say that even though it is still late winter here in eastern Maryland, it is becoming clear that Spring is near. :) The days are getting longer, my Japanese maple trees have swollen leaf buds on them, and sunshine is a daily occurrence lately. Huzzah!!

I've been doing my best to sew at least a couple of hours every afternoon so I can take advantage of the lovely sunshine coming in my windows. Right now I am working on making the Sandhill Sling bag from Noodlehead Designs. Anna is hosting a sew along and doing a right fine job of it. Here's how I'm doing as of now:

Bag front outsideI've been saving this Echino cotton cavas fabric for some time,

looking for just the right project. I found it! :)

This is the front with a turn-lock pocket fastening

Bag outside backThis is the back of the unassembled sling bag showing the strap;

I chose to cover the webbing I bought for this with fabric

(including the purple selvege).

Bag inside pocketThis is the lining pocket I made, complete with zipper.

Maybe the next time I show photos of my bag it will be completely assembled and finished (fingers crossed). We are at the stage of sewing together the front, back and gusset sections right now. I am finding the instructions for this pattern very well written! So far the bag is going together easily and I am pleased with the results.

I have more of this fabric so I might make another one as a gift sometime in the future. :)

I also bought myself a new book last week - I ordered it ages ago but it came last week (am I the only one who can't remember what I've ordered by the time it arrives?:). I bought it full retail from Quiltmania and am pleased with it:

Kokeshi bookI don't know that I will ever make the whole quilt ... but I can see myself making small vignette quilts using these designs. I find them adorable (the book includes many different kokeshi as well as daruma doll patterns).

Onward and upward as my Dad used to say. Tomorrow I am planning to drive down to Material Girls quilt shop in LaPlata to retrieve my Bernina from her spa treatments.

:) Linda