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.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I Love My Birds!

It's been great fun watching the birds in the yard as they migrate through. We have had more Western Tanagers than ever before and they seen to be staying longer.

Yesterday we had about 15 playing in the bushes behind our house and visiting the feeders.

The female (left) is much duller than the flamboyant male - but still beautiful.

The Bullock's Orioles have also been plentiful. This is a gorgeous male.

This one is more yellow than orange and does not have the black on his head yet. I think it's a juvenile male.

As I was watching the orioles and tanagers this little guy flew into sight. Boy was I excited! This Life Bird is a Black-throated Blue Warbler. This picture was taken through a dirty kitchen window at dusk so it's not the greatest.

He was back today and I took lots of pictures.


 Another uncommon visitor to our back yard. I believe this is a Western Wood Pewee.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Colorado Birds, A New Quilt Beginning and a Naughty Squirrel

  I love this time of year in Colorado. Actually, let me clarify: I love the migrating birds, but I hate the chilly, rainy weather. I want to sit outside to watch the birds and not take pictures through a window. Oh well. All the feeders are up as well as the birdbath and Bill has the waterfalls in the pond up and running - so more birds are stopping for a visit.

The Mountain Chickadees delight us all summer long. Happy little birds!

Every year we hope the Western Tanagers will stay around, but they don't. I'm happy to have so many for the couple of weeks they stay.

This was a special treat - a Black-chinned Hummingbird.

Lousy picture, but look at that beautiful neck.

Usually the Bushtits arrive in a large group and quickly move through but this year we have had one who seems to be sticking around.

No this Horned Lark was not in the yard. We spotted him at the new RC Car Track Bill found.

We have lots of American Goldfinches who must have followed us home from Florida. We usually only see one or two this time of year...

...but the trees have been decorated with them the past couple of days. The Lesser Goldfinches have just started arriving.

As usual, we have more than our share of House Finches.

Pretty American Goldfinch.

We have two kinds of jays - Blue Jays and Scrub Jays. This is a Blue Jay.

I can't help it - we love the Western Tanagers!

This is an unusual House Finch. It is a male, probably first year, with yellow-orange coloring.

 We've seen the mature male Bullock's Oriole several times. This is a younger male with the black bib and black cap. Yes, that's rain in the picture.

He likes the blossoms on our bushes.

I don't spend ALL my time looking at the birds. I've started a new quilt - Amish with a Twist. It was initially a block-of-the-month and I'm working on the first installment. This is 2 of the first 12 squares.

I'm having a running battle with the squirrels. I heard that cayenne pepper will keep them away. See how good it works?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Long Drive Back to Colorado

Bill and I are safely back at our summer home in Colorado Springs. As usual, we took the long way home so we could do some sight seeing. Our first stop was Baton Rouge and dinner at Parrains Seafood Restaurant. It was delicious!

The next morning we headed south to Avery Island and the Tabasco Sauce Factory. After the factory tour we drove around Jungle Gardens - a MUST see! The top picture is a Cattle Egret in breeding plumage with a red blush on his head and back. Below is a picture of the egret rookery.

Cuteness overload! I've never seen so many Great Egrets!

There were other birds nesting also including this Roseate Spoonbill and Anhinga.

On our way out Bill took this picture of a Piliated Woodpecker. We ate and gambled our way through Louisiana before stopping in Shell Knob Missouri to visit our good friends, Mike & Mel.

 This cute Carolina Wren was building a nest in one of their bird houses.

After an exhausting drive through windy Kansas, we arrived home. Our welcoming committee included this Bullock's Oriole, female Black-headed Grosbeak and several Western Tanagers.