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.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Hoffman Skylines Round Quilt Pattern

Hoffman Skylines Round Quilt
Abigail Baker

Fabric:  6 yards of Hoffman Skylines Digital Print fabric. This quilt requires 6 repeats but the focal point is fussy-cut, thus the extra fabric. The repeat on the multi-color version is 28 ½ inches; the charcoal is 29 ½ inches. 

The fabric does the work to make this round quilt special. These instructions have been written especially for Hoffman Skylines Digital Print fabric.

All seams are scant ¼-inch and are pressed open.

The goal is to create a 50-inch wide circle by sewing together 6 identical sets of 4 triangles each. The finished circle will have a small round opening in the center which is covered with an easy applique.

Begin by sectioning the 6-yards into three pieces, each the full length of the fabric:

1.      At the top selvage, measure and cut off a 5-inch wide strip the full length (6 yards) of fabric and set aside. (This can be used later for the binding, sub-cutting a strip either 2 ¼ or 2 ½-inches wide.) 

2.     Measure and cut a 23-inch by 6-yard center section which will be used for the main part of the quilt.

3.     This should leave 16-inch by 6-yard strip at bottom of the design. From this bottom piece, cut one (1) 4-inch circle and four (4) 2 ½-inch squares for the easy applique and set aside the remainder for a different project.

Lay out the center section and look at the repeat of the design. Pick the tallest building as a focal point. Fussy cut a 7-inch wide strip perfectly centering your focal point.

Cut 3 more 7-inch by 23-inch strips. The repeat of the fabric is 28 ½ inches (29 ½ on the charcoal) so there is just ½ inch extra. It is important to carefully cut each section.

Repeat the last step until you have 6 identical sets of 4 strips each for a total of 24 strips.

(To make the fabric easier to handle, you can first pre-cut the center section into 6 sections with identical designs but make sure each section begins 3 ½ inches from the center point of the tallest building, your focal point. It is very important to look at the design of the fabric so each of the six sets has identical strips.)

Cut each of the 24 strips into triangles with a 15 degree (Creative Grids) triangle ruler. The wide part of the triangle will be towards the top of the design with the narrow part at the bottom. 

 (I found it easiest to turn the fabric upside-down and place the wide part of the ruler nearest to me.) The ruler is 24 ½ inches long and the strip is 23 inches long. Place the widest part of the ruler even with the top of the design. The bottom of the fabric will be even with the 1 ½ inch line on the ruler. Make sure the ruler is centered on the fabric.

Sew each of 6 identical sets together and in the same order.

Press seams open.

Sew 3 sets together.


Sew the two halves together leaving a small round opening in the center.

Easy Applique:
1.      Cut a small 2-inch tall “X” on the 4-inch circle.
2.     Sew the four 2 ½-inch squares together (turning the fabric design in different directions) to make a 4-patch and cut into a 4-inch circle.

3.     Sew the two circles together – right sides together. Using the “X” opening, turn the circle right sides out. No raw edges! Pin the circle (“X” down) on the right side of the quilt circle and machine sew around with applique stitch.

Sandwich, quilt and bind

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Hoffman Skylines Quilt

One of my goals for this summer was to create a round quilt - a table-topper for our table in Ocala.

This is what I came up with using a figure-it-out-as-I-go non-pattern and some drop-dead gorgeous fabric from Hoffman. I posted a picture on a Facebook quilting site and everyone seemed to like it.

Then I got a message that Hoffman California Fabrics was looking for the person who made this quilt. They liked it and want to use the pattern to market a new version of the fabric that they are debuting at the Houston Fall Quilt Market! Too cool!!!

This quilt uses 6 repeats. A repeat is 28 1/2 inches and I purchased 6 yards.

UPDATE: This pattern is now available at

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Birds of the Plains

Bill and I headed east to find another RC car track. We didn't have any luck with the track so we detoured onto some side roads to see what we could see.

We drove right past this Scaled Quail perched on a fence post and Bill had to back up so I could get a picture.

This Horned Lark seems to be advertising his wares. We have lots of these birds just east of the city and they have a beautiful song.

Another lark and another beautiful singer - a Western Meadowlark with what looks like lunch in his mouth.

In the grasses they are much harder to see.

The Western Kingbirds are easy to find. They perch on the fences along the roads.

Yes, this picture was really taken yesterday - May 30. This is not snow - it is hail!

This is a white-tailed jackrabbit also known as a prairie hare.

Check out those ears!!

Isn't this hawk beautiful? It is a Swainson's Hawk and we saw quite a few on our ride. They were all perched high on telephone poles.

They must have had quite a hail storm out here. It looked like this in an area about a mile square. The storm was the previous afternoon and I took this picture around noon the next day.

We also checked out a new birding spot here in the city - Stinson's Pond. I'm hoping this is an Olive-sided Flycatcher.

And I believe this is a Western Wood Pewee. I'm not positive on either of these identifications.

I do know this one - it's a Spotted Towhee!

Back in our yard, we continue to see the Western Tanagers - but not in the numbers we saw earlier in the month.

One of our faithful American Robins.

Just as I sat down for one of Bill's fabulous dinners, this female Black-headed Grosbeak landed on the feeders. I should have gone outside for a better picture - but dinner was too good to leave. Bill made a to-die-for broccoli salad. He used local honey instead of white sugar in the dressing. YUM!

I'm still working on my Amish With a Twist project. It's a good thing I bought this as a kit with the material included because I would NEVER put these colors together. I'm not sure yet whether I like it. It actually looks better in the picture.