Friday, February 26, 2016

American Goldfinches

It's been very interesting to watch the American Goldfinches. 

When we arrive in Florida in September, we rarely see any. Our feeders host lots of Pine Warblers, but not many finches. They begin to trickle in starting in November and the numbers grow throughout the winter months. By February, we have so many that we are filling the sunflower feeders almost daily.

Last week, we had about 200 on the feeders, the ground and in our oak tree.

The next day, they were gone. This Yellow-rumped Warbler had the feeders all to himself!

This year we have two Sherman Fox Squirrels that visit almost daily. There has been a lot of new construction in the area so we don't see the numbers as in previous years. I hope they are ok.

Any day that we see a Pileated Woodpecker is a good day!

We had an unusual visitor this morning - a Brown-headed Cowbird.

Our beautiful Bluebirds are much more welcome!

In other news, this is a sink hole that opened up in a drainage ditch in front of a neighboring community. Scary!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Big Beachy Bag

I host a small sewing group each Wednesday. This week we are making Big Beachy Bags so I've been practicing in preparation. The nice feature of this bag is the bottom - 11-inches square. It's not only perfect for the beach, it's a great casserole or side dish transport. 

BIG Beachy Bag

You will need:
1 ½ yards main fabric
1 yard coordinating fabric
Interfacing: 1 yard Pellon fusible Decor Bond 809 (stiff) or Pellon 931 TD (pliable)
Fusible Fleece: 1 ½ yards Pellon 987F

Main fabric:

4 pieces 8 1/2 inches wide by 27 1/2 inches long (2 pieces are for the outside, 2 pieces are for the lining)
2 pieces 7 inches wide by 27 inches long (handles)

Coordinating fabric:

4 pieces 8 1/2 inches wide by 27 1/2 inches long.
(2 pieces are for the outside, 2 pieces are for the lining)

Decor Bond or lighter fusible interfacing:

4 pieces 8 1/4 inches wide by 27 1/4 inches long

Fusible fleece:

4 pieces 8 1/4 inches wide by
27 1/4 inches long
2 pieces 3 1/2 inches wide by 27 inches long (handles)

Fuse & Mark:
1. Fuse the Decor Bond to 2 pieces of main fabric (NOT THE HANDLES) and two pieces of coordinating fabric. This is the outside of the bag.
2. Fuse the larger pieces of fleece to two pieces of main fabric (NOT THE HANDLES) and two pieces of coordinating fabric. This is the lining of the bag.

At this point you should have 4 panels with fusible fleece and 4 panels with interfacing. The panels with fleece are the lining and the panels with interfacing are the outside of the bag.

On the 4 outside pieces, mark a very small square on the bottom LEFT corner of the right side of the fabric.

On the 4 lining pieces, mark a very small square on the bottom RIGHT corner of the right side of the fabric.

Measure up 8 ½ inches from the bottom where the square is and make a small mark on the wrong side of the fabric. Do this on all 8 panels.

Line up the four outside panels as shown in the picture, matching squares.

1.      Sew the left two panels from the square to the 8 ½ inch mark. Iron towards main fabric.
2.     Repeat with the two right panels. Iron towards main fabric or opposite from the way you ironed the first two panels.
3.     Sew the 2 sections together matching center seams.

Now it gets just a little tricky.

4.     Fold one side to meet the side next to it RST. Sew. The two sides will not be even. There will be about 8-inches at the top of the 2nd side.
5.     Repeat for all four sides.  You should have a bag with points sticking up.

Line up the four lining panels as shown in the picture, matching squares. The lining panels will be opposite from the way the outside panels lined up.

            Outside                                                         Lining

Repeat steps 1 to 5 for the lining panels. Leave an opening in the final seam to turn the bag right side out.

1.      Fold your fabric in half long ways with wrong sides together and press a crease.
2.     Open.
3.     Fold the outer edges in to the center line and press. Open.
4.     Center the fleece using the lines as a guide. Fold the outside edges in again (over the fleece and meeting in the center where your first ironed line was).
5.     Press to fuse.
6.     Fold in half, press and top-stitch along both sides.

Pin one end of one handle to a point top on the right side of the lining. Pin the other end to the point top on the panel next to the first one. Make sure the handle is not twisted.  Sew across. Reinforce. Repeat with the 2nd handle and the two remaining point tops.

Place the outside of the bag into the lining RST. Pin the 4 points, the 4 valleys and the sides. Sew around pivoting at the valleys and sewing just to the inside of stitching on the handles.  Gently clip the inner corners.

Pull bag through opening in lining. Sew opening closed.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Quiltmaker Magazine Hoffman Ad

So excited to see my quilt in Quiltmaker magazine!!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Back to Fort Myers

Over the weekend Bill and I visited our good friends Wendy & Larry in Cape Coral. Naturally, we found some time to get a little birding in.

This beautiful Bald Eagle was perched just a couple of houses away from Wendy's. What a great way to begin our day!

I've only seen a Reddish Egret one other time while walking on the beach in Fort Myers with my sister. This one was at Ding Darling on Sanibel.  Unfortunately, it was about the only bird we saw at Ding Darling!

Love the hairdo!

Harns Marsh is one of our most favorite places to visit. We arrived just as the sun was coming up through the fog. There were several Limpkins making lots of noise.

We saw about 5 Sandhill Cranes and they too were loudly protesting the arrival of morning.

Harns Marsh is one of the few places you can see Snail Kites and we were not disappointed. We saw about a dozen including several juveniles.

 After our visit to Harns Marsh we walked Six-Mile Cypress. I was delighted to see this Ovenbird.

Every time we visit, the slough is different - but we always see Double-crested Cormorants.

And Anhingas

This is a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron. We saw a couple of adults, but they were deep in the bushes and I could not get a decent picture.

We saw a few smaller birds, including a Black-throated Green Warbler, but the light was terrible for pictures.

It was nice to visit our old stomping grounds, but we are glad we moved to Ocala. The traffic in Fort Myers, Sanible & Captiva was horrible. Our visit was special but we were glad to get home.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hoffman Skylines Quilt in Charcoal

Now that the Houston Market is over, I can show a picture of one of the items I made for Hoffman Fabrics. This is the Skylines Quilt in charcoal.

 I think I like the multi-color version better, but they are my colors.

Once these two quilts were finished and packed off to Hoffman, I went on a market bag spree and finished about 15 bags. Here are a few.

This one was the result of a boring afternoon. I used a quilt-as-you-go method with muslin as the base and lined it with another batik. I also made a small matching zippered bag to go inside. Laura liked it so it now lives in Texas.

This is a zippered bag I made for Pamela's birthday.

Finally finished Amish with a Twist II (Nancy Rink design). I purchased this as a kit - fabric and pattern together. It was my first kit and I learned a lot.

I would never put these colors together on my own - but somehow they work. I did not like working with the fabric as it frayed way more than I'm used to but the variety of the blocks was fun and the fabric in the kit was more than enough to finish the project with some left over. I had it long-arm quilted by a local quilter - James Estes (Country Boy Quilting) and I was pleased with his work.

Over the weekend, Bill and I walked the La Chua Trail in Paynes Prairie. Most of the trail was closed due to high water and it was crowded so we didn't see many birds but it's always fun to see how much it changes from year to year.

Bill found a friend.

I don't know what it was, but it was huge.

The birds are finally beginning to return.We have lots of Pine Warblers.

And a photogenic Eastern Phoebe.

My payment from Hoffman arrived - lots and lots of beautiful fabric. I'm usually a one-at-a-time kind of quilter - but I currently have two quilts on the design wall. One is a block-of-the-month type and the other is my old stand-by -- a One Block Wonder. I'll try to be better at getting pictures up on my blog so you can follow along.