Monday, February 12, 2018

grey day, and bombs away!

I love getting outside when there's a light, chilly rain.  If you're properly bundled up, it's easy to ignore the wet and just enjoy the brisk air.




We were almost completely alone at the nature preserve this weekend.  It was quiet except for the gentle pattering of rain and the chorus of tree frogs in the background. 


Since there weren't any other people around, we saw many more birds, including a snowy egret...


...and, of course, the omnipresent geese.


I was so excited to see that every single heron nest in the center of the preserve was occupied!


I had a macro lens, not my zoom, so I just couldn't get a close shot.  But at least you can see their silhouettes.


I love how rain brings out the fungus...


...and the flowers!  Since it's regularly dipping into the 70s now (75 by mid-week!), the bulbs are all coming up.


Hellebores are unfurling.


The camellia shrubs are either bud-laden...


...or drooping with blooms!


Perfect timing, because it's almost VALENTINE'S DAY!  💗  I don't really think of myself as a romantic person...I think I'm too analytical/logical for that.  I don't feel like I need a special day to appreciate my loved ones and look a bit askance at the commercialism of it.  But I do love holidays and any excuse to be festive.  Thanks to my handy dandy planner, I knew that February 12th was the day to pull out decorations.  I've already had my advent calendar up!  I've done one every year for a while, re-using the same background sheet but doing different "themes" with the days. This year is funny pictures from the past decade that combined to make a long, rambling Valentine's sentence.


Garlands MUST go up.  They were all waiting in my HOLIDAYS!!! box, so it only took about 15 minutes to festoon the rooms in which we spend the most time.



And camellias are pink/red, so every room is bursting with bouquets.



I normally bake treats to send out, but lack of time coupled with a desire to decrease my sugar consumption resulted in me cribbing an idea from Pinterest.  I ordered a case of Rolos, wrapped them in red paper, and printed out tags.  Tied together, they looked like dynamite...



You're the BOMB, Valentine!  And no leftover cookies to make us feel sick.  Hooray!  I sent out cards to people abstaining from junk food and "bombs" to those who make an exception for holidays.  I'm preparing to make a special two-person dessert tomorrow, which I'll post about next week. 

Otherwise, we've had a series of sleepy days here...


Looking forward to experiencing more chilly hikes and cozy, sleepy days - as much as we can before the heat and humidity set in.

Have a great week!

Monday, February 5, 2018

behold the cold!

I've picked out my next quilt project and the cutting has begun!  I'm making a slightly more modern version of this quilt:


I'm leaving out the heavy border frame and using light, happy colors:  pure white and Kona Cotton Curry, my favorite mustard tone.


I love walking into my office and seeing a big pile of it at my cutting station!


The design is made up of 2.5" squares bordered by flying geese and tiny solid blocks.  Put together, each star block is only 4.5".  I've learned that I do NOT enjoy making flying geese, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to stay the course on this one.  I want it to be bed sized, so I've got a lot of stars to make!

I also reverse-engineered a quilt design.  It's called Round and Round and I'm quite proud of myself, because math is not my forte and I've always been a faithful follower of patterns, not an improviser.  These 18.5" blocks are a somewhat confusing composition of half square triangles and solid blocks.  I  eyeballed the quilt online and sketched it out on paper...


...and then made a rough mock-up with some hated fabrics.  That's why I keep these guys around!  It was really tedious, but the block sizes are big, so you wouldn't have to make very many.  This is definitely a future project.


And boy, do I have the fabric for it!  Most fabric is limited edition, with a one-year run.  I try to buy on sale (I'm a sucker for the Fat Quarter Shop's Daily Flash Sale), but if I see something that I love, I splurge.  Since I seem to prefer scrappy projects, these varying sizes, colors, and styles will really come in handy!  And this doesn't include the 2.5" mini charm squares that I'm hoarding!


Quilting aside, I've started a small knitting project.  Any knitting, even Portuguese, has been incredibly painful, so I've continued to seek out different methods.  I think I've finally found an English/throwing style that works for me, although I'm still struggling with tension.  I'm doing a simple stockinette stitch cowl to work out the kinks.

I'm also outside as much as possible!


Even though the groundhog says that we'll have six more weeks of winter...


...it's rapidly warming here in the South.  It's going to be 65 by the end of the week!  So we hike, hike, hike.  It's wonderful to be out in the fresh air, seeing the wildlife...


...and enjoying little pops of beauty wherever we look.



Sometimes we see the remnants of little dramas that have played out in the night.



The chilly walks are invigorating, and then we can cuddle up in our quilts!


Long live winter! 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Drink your tea!

A lot of smiling faces around here!


We've settled into a more "typical" Southern weather pattern - temperatures in the 40s and 50s.  This is perfect hiking weather, so we've been able to get out quite a bit.  Some nice discoveries, like this white-tailed deer jawbone...



...and many signs of spring.  Not only did the Eastern Towhees start singing their spring song this week, I see shoots coming up everywhere. 






I love going to the Botanical Garden this time of year to get ideas for "winter interest" plants, both those with color and those with interesting seed pods.







I've been moving along nicely on indoor projects.  I started a cross stitch weeks ago and have been slowly plugging away at it evenings.  I stitched on a water-soluble grid.


It washes away, leaving only the stitched image.


I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with it...make it into a pillow?  Frame it?  No rush.  I'll fold it away until I figure it out.

I finished my Farm Girl Sampler quilt!  It's hard to take a photo of the whole quilt, but...


Some pictures of the various sections:




I quilted 1" horizontal lines.  Since it's a little less densely quilted than my other quilts, it's wonderfully soft.  I absolutely love it and I'm so glad I went the extra mile to add those 100+ red gingham flying geese around the body of the quilt.  It really makes a difference! 


I've already picked out my next quilt and am just waiting for the fabric to arrive.

Meanwhile, I'm working on other little projects and enjoying the nice weather.  We all are, even though the cats pretend that it's still cold by curling up on quilts and hot water bottles.  They're a little bit spoiled.  :)



Have a great week!