Sunday, July 31, 2011

Climb every mountain

Trout Lily

Wildflowers on the trail
View from the trail - Mt. Rainier is in the distance.

My new favorite lunch spot.

Wildflowers at the summit.

More wildflowers on the trail.


Avalanche lily - in yellow.  

A small, but noisy waterfall.

Wild rhodies.
While the rest of the U.S. is suffering through a heat wave, we in the Pacific Northwest have only made it to 80 degrees on a few occasions.  We've had a wet and cold winter, followed by wet and cold spring, and now a wet and cold summer.  I actually like it because I don't have to water that often, but the result of this is that hiking is really a lost cause this year.  We had higher than average snowfalls and because its been so cool, the snow isn't melting like it should be.  This was my first high elevation hike of the year and I expected to see tons of wildflowers, but the truth is that there is still lots of snow up there in the mountains and the wildflowers are just starting to peek out.  It is odd to see rhododendrons blooming this late in the year, but I did get to see a Trout Lily which was a first for me.  Still, any day hiking is a good day. Nothing beats eating your lunch and admiring the scenery.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Spinster Quilt - Nature, and too much information about buzzards.

From a butterfly...
....comes a butterfly.
Butterfly in the Crossroads
And, from Buzzards....

Source: (Yes, this would freak me out if I saw this in person.)
....come a buzzard roost.

Buzzards Roost
Poor buzzards.  Their incredible evolutionary adaptations have made them pariahs of the animal world.  Do they get credit for their adaptations for their diet of dead things?  No, instead they are scorned for their bald heads and excellent sense of smell.  And, no, they don't actually know when things are going to die which is a fact that I repeat to myself as they follow me when I go hiking in the desert southwest. In fact, I've been know to recite this fact to them as they hover over me, "You, know, you don't have any power over who lives and who dies.  Perhaps you should have developed some hunting skills."

I admire the buzzards and the niche they occupy in our landscape.  They aren't aggressive and they keep our roads clean of dead possums and raccoons.  Sure, I'm not inviting them over for dinner - these are, after all, animals who pee on themselves to cool down.  Seriously, guys, evolution may have made your great at what you do, but do you have to do everything to emphasize that?

But, enough of the basic biology lesson taught by a woman who has just had a beer.  I've finished two more blocks.  The butterfly is blue because I love me some exotic butterflies.  The buzzard block is black because of the whole association with death thing and has flowers on it because they are part of our circle of life and deserve some pretty to show we appreciate what they do.  Just don't do it in my backyard.  (A phrase that is so true for so many things._

Monday, July 25, 2011

Spinster Quilt - 3 more blocks of pretty

Broken Dishes 
Broken Sugar Bowl 
I got to spend some quality time at home today while waiting for the building inspector to come and inspect my new water heater.  Yes, a building inspector had to come in from the county to inspect my water heater which I have been using since its installation two weeks ago.  He came in, shown a flashlight on it, signed my paper and left.  The whole transaction took less than a minute, but now my water heater is legal and no longer living below the law.

Today I worked through the patterns involving broken crockery.  I give you Broken Dishes, done in yellow because my dishes are yellow and Broken Sugar Bowl done in shades of orange because my sugar bowl is orange.  The brightly colored Buckwheat block harkens back (I just used harkens in a sentence, holla!) to my life as a fifth grader surrounded by other fifth graders who were comic geniuses (as all fifth graders are).  A syllable in my last name sounds like "Buck" so they called me Buckwheat after the Lil' Rascals character.  All similarities between me and the adorable youngster from yesteryear end there.  So, why the bright colors?  Because that fabric is exactly the kind of fabric that would have made my fifth grade bad self swoon.  I had taste back then, oh yes I did.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In - July Results


Bow Tie
Another Friday Night Sew-In and another two blocks of the Spinster Quilt completed.  I'm up to 12 now which means I am no longer in triple digits of blocks yet to complete; I now have 99 to go.  The Box block was made with fabric with squares and rectangles on it - get it, boxes? That's right, I'm that clever. The Bow Tie just looks like a bow tie and I couldn't really find two nice black fabrics to go together to make it a black tie event.  I ended up using some more Tufted Tweets fabric because I just really like that fabric line.

I'm off to post my results on various places on the internet and then to watch a special on the Donner party (motto: if there was anything we could have done wrong on this trip, we did it twice).  This special is not the one featured on American Experience which I watched once and can never watch again because of the major heebie jeebies it produced in me.  It probably doesn't matter, I'll be off hiking in the snow and eating meat for a few days now and I'll be sizing up strangers in Safeway to judge who will eat or be eaten.  And, with that cheery thought, FNSI is officially over.  Pleasant dreams (insert maniacal laughter).

Monday, July 18, 2011

Back to business

Now that the family is safely back in Wisconsin and the Cat Army is done sniffing everything they touched, I can get back to the business of obsessing about my Spinster Quilt.  I've decided to try to pick out patterns and/or colors that have something to do with the quilt block.  As you will see, it will be a stretch of my creativity to keep this up.  Let's see how it's going so far: 

Bat Wing
 The bat wing block, made from purple and gray colors because bats fly at night and are darkish.  Okay, like I said, it will be a stretch.
Big Dipper
I'm not going to try to claim that this has anything to do with the big dipper because it is red.  However, I will pretend that the swirls on this fabric mimic the milky way.
Birds in the Air
 Birds in the blue sky, baby.  Sometimes things just fall into place.
Flowers in a vase.  Can I just say how much I love that vase? Oh, yes, yes I can.  I love that vase.

Tomorrow (or the day after) will bring a Box and perhaps a Bowtie.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The locusts have arrived!

I like how the clown is taking a picture of the mirror man. 

The U.S.S. Turner in dock in Bremerton.
Last Saturday (the weekend before the 4th of July), my brother called me and asked about my vacation trips and life in general in the summer here.  Then he said that his vacation plans fell through and could the family come and visit in a week? Not being able to think of an excuse on such short notice, I said of course they could come.  Then on Sunday he called and said that the family would arrive Wednesday afternoon.  Yikes.  Four days notice for the family of four to arrive - one of which has extreme cat allergies.  I spent the 4th of July cleaning - a process that involved excavating my fabric room because that is where the kids sleep when they visit.  All my fabric bins are now in the entry of the house, because that's where the classy people store their stuff.

All of this does not mean that I wasn't thrilled silly to see them.  I love my brother and sister in law and my niece and nephew, while being teenagers, are extraordinarily wonderful people.  It is so nice to unexpectedly see them this summer. Oh, did I mention that in getting all this together in four days, the water heater went out on the 4th of July?  No pressure there.  I ran to Sears on Tuesday, ordered a new water heater and arranged to have it delivered the day of the family's arrival.  Timing is everything.

On Sunday we went to Seattle via the ferry in Bremerton.  We ate mini cheesecakes, lots of fresh fruit from the vendors in Pike Place Market and did our best to look as much like tourists as possible (most of that was to embarrass the teenagers).  The clumsy locusts have headed to the ocean today and possibly to head down the Oregon coast and I have the house to myself for a couple of days.  I'll try to get some work done on the Spinster quilt or just relax and coax the cats back into the house.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Spinster Quilt

Wood Lily

Basket (without the handle)

Basket Weave
The Wood Lily block was the most complicated block I've ever done and I feel like knocking on my neighbors' doors and showing it to them. I'm way too excited about how that turned out and am really getting into making these little blocks.  To help with the process, I've moved all my fabric bins from my spare room and put them squarely in front of the TV downstairs so I have easy access to them at all time.  It is a little distracting though, I was watching the Tudors (Note, not historically accurate, but fabulous) and thinking, I wonder if I have a color to match that dress - better dig through the bins to see.  It's a real problem.

I redid the Basket block to remove the handle.  In keeping in line with my rebellious spinster attitude, spinsters don't need handles.  They do, however, need beers with lime in them which was drunk in celebration after finishing off two quilts on the long-arm downtown.  The highlight of that was telling the saleslady there that I was using two colors on the Citrus Triangles Quilt, and I got a "Good on you, Girl" from her.  I love Bayside Quilting - they call me "hon" and "dear" there.  (You will see both the quilts that I finished as soon as the binding is put on them.)

And, finally, I was in a take no prisoners kind of mood last night so I finished off the Basket Weave block.  It's insanely easy if you follow the suggestions of Grey Cat Quilts, however, I laid it out slightly differently because I keep looking at the original one and thinking how much like a Nazi symbol it looks like (a problem with repetitive squares in the quilting business).

Friday, July 1, 2011

Favorite project last Citrusmonth

Citrus triangles quilt

Citrus Triangles Back.
Because I didn't read directions, this is for anyone coming over from the Lily's Quilt blog.  The directions said to link to a project from last month, I cleverly linked to my blog.  So, here is my favorite project from last month.  It's my citrus HST quilt, which I am quilting today on the long-arm downtown. I can't wait to get this one finished and on display on my office wall.

On a completely unrelated note, I have four deer in my backyard.  One of whom is trying to eat my fuchsia.  I keep going out there and telling her I would prefer she stick to the ferns, but she is not listening.