Friday, September 5, 2014

Colorado Field Ornithologist (CFO) Convention in Sterling Colorado

Bill and I attended our first CFO Convention over the Labor Day weekend in Sterling, Colorado. We gathered with 175 other birders and the mayor of Sterling for the welcome barbecue on Thursday evening followed by 3 days of field trips, a Saturday night banquet, talks and impromptu "chases" to see specific birds.  

A Black-billed Magpie along the route to Sterling.

After the welcome BBQ, several of us went out to search for Western Screech Owls. The leader lead a car parade to a remote spot and called in the owls. It was quite dark when I took this shot and I'm amazed I got anything - but it's a picture, so it counts - a lifer for both Bill and me.

Our first field trip took us to a private wildlife area in Fort Morgan. We saw lots of Towhees - this one is a juvenile Spotted Towhee.

There was a lot of discussion about the identity of this sparrow but the leader finally decided it was a Song Sparrow.

Western Wood Peewees were the default bird of the trip - we saw dozens.

A Red-shafted Flicker.

Swainson's Hawk

I've only seen Wilson's Warblers in the high country before this trip.

Another Life Bird for us - a juvenile Mississippi Kite. There were a lot flying high over one of the city parks, but Bill and I waited until dusk when they began to land in the trees.

Not a great picture as it was so dark - but a real thrill for me to see one up close.

Our birding group (the slackers) on Saturday at Columbine Park. Our leader is Ted Floyd - a wealth of fabulous information!

 This has been the year of the Cedar Waxwings! There were dozens in one of the trees - both adults and juveniles.

This time of year, I don't see the red on their wings.

A Red-breasted Nuthatch looking for insects.

Our Sunday trip took us to Tamarak SWA where I saw this Bullock's Oriole. We counted a total of 58 species - not bad. It was a great weekend and we are already looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

One Block Wonder

The additional material arrived so I've been working on my One Block Wonder - with a twist. The material is very beachy (Tropical Vacation) so it will go on the guest bed in Ocala. At least that's the plan - always subject to change.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Easy Market Bags

I've been waiting for some material to arrive from England so I can finish up my beachy OBW quilt so have been making market bags to keep out of trouble. They are very easy to make and go pretty quickly. The finished bag measures 20" X 20" - but sometimes if I am a little short of material I adjust the finished size accordingly. I usually use scrap material, but in honor of my sister, Beth's birthday, I decided to use some of her fabulous hand painted/dyed material.  This bag uses 3 different materials: focus material for the center outside, handles & inside pockets; green for the top & bottom outside and yellow for the lining. I also use fusable batting that I buy at Joanns when it goes on sale.

Center outside 10" X 20" (2 pieces)
Top outside 3" X 20" (2 pieces)
Bottom outside 8" X 20" (2 pieces)
Handles 5" X LOF or, if using scraps, about 5" X 28" long (2 pieces)
Lining 20" X 20" (2 pieces).
Fusable batting 19 1/2" X 19 1/2 inches (2 pieces).  If the main fabric is quilting cotton, I also cut batting for the handles (2 1/2" X 28") and for the pocket (8" X 8").
Pockets: I use whatever matches. Sometimes I add pockets to both inside and outside, sometimes not. It all depends on what I have & how it looks. I like at least one inside pocket and cut a piece 8" X 16".

Step 1: Outside. Sew the top, middle and bottom outside pieces together so you have 2 squares measuring 20" X 20"

Step 2: Lining. Fuse batting to the wrong side of the lining pieces.

Step 3: Pockets. (OPTIONAL) Fuse batting to half of wrong side of fabric.

Fold the 8" X 16" pocket fabric in half with right sides together. Sew the sides only and turn right side out. It should measure 8" X 8". The opening will be the bottom of the pocket. Make as many or as few as you want - any size you want. I like to include one for my cell phone. Decide where they will go - but stay towards the middle - not too high or too low. Measure in from the sides so they are symmetrical. I usually put the inside pockets about 2" down from the top and the outside pockets (if any) on the center piece only. Stay at least 5" from the bottom.

Mark with a horizontal line where the bottom of the pocket will go.

Sew the bottom of the pocket on the line with the opening facing the top of the bag and the top of the pocket hanging down towards the bottom of the bag.

 Flip the pocket up, center and sew sides and bottom.

The stitching will show so pick your thread color accordingly. I use a walking foot since you are sewing through several layers.

Step 4: Handles. Fold your fabric in half longways with wrong sides together and iron a crease.

Open. Fold the outer edges in to the center line and iron.


 Fuse batting down the center using the ironed lines as a guide.

Fold the outside edges in again (over the batting and meeting in the center where your first ironed line was).

Fold in half and top-stitch along both sides.

Decide how long you want your handles. I like 28" long so I can put them over my shoulder, but my hubby likes them shorter.

The handles are sewn to the top of the right side of the lining. I place them about 5" from the sides as shown in the pictures.

Sew 1/4 inch from the edge. I go forward and backward several times.

Step 5. Once the pockets and handles have been attached, sew the outside panels together on 2 sides and the bottom - right sides together. Set aside.

Sew the 2 lining panels together except leave a 5" gap in the middle of the bottom seam.

Step 6. The Bottom. Lay the lining panel flat and draw a 3" square on both sides of each corner.

Line up the bottom seam and the side seam as shown. Sew along the line. Cut off the corner about 1/2" from the line. This squares the bottom. The line will be about 4" from the corner. If you like a smaller bottom for your bag, reduce your square to 2.5".

Repeat step 6 on the outside panels.

 Step 7. Stand up the lining with the right side in. Put the outside panels inside the lining with right sides together. Make sure the handles are inside. Pin the raw tops together - matching side seams.

Sew the lining to the outside panels. I use a 1/2" seam to hide where the handles were sewn on. Once they have been sewn together - turn it right side out by pulling everything through the opening left in the bottom seam of the lining.

If your bag is a gift or if you are expecting the quilt police to inspect it, the opening can be hand sewn closed. Since it's on the bottom of the inside, I usually just machine stitch it closed with a zig-zag stitch. Finally, tuck the lining inside.

Iron the top seam and, if you like, you can top-stitch around 1/4" from the top. There, it's done!

I especially like the colors in this bag. Since I had very little of the center fabric, I made the handles with the blue fabric. The lining is yellow. I usually select a light fabric for the lining and use a darker fabric for the handles.

On this bag I combined the center strip and the bottom strips and cut 2 pieces measuring 17 1/2" X 20". The lining matches the top strip, the handles and the 2 inside pockets match the chili fabric. If I make the bag for a child, I make all the measurements smaller. The most important part is to enjoy the process, make it your own, and USE the bag!