Louisa Enright's Blog

Mainely Tipping Points

“Amore” Petunia is Fragrant

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Turkey Tracks: May 16, 2022

“Amore” Petunia is Fragrant

On Saturday I made a quick trip to our local Home Depot for a dedicated cord for the leaf blower.

The back deck needs to be blown off and scrubbed. So I also got a stiff, rectangular ”push” broom to help with cleaning off the green ”stuff” that grows in the winter on the shadiest parts of that deck. Clorox is required for that job. And I thought that if we had a harder rain, I’d use the already wet deck to make this job easier.

With those items in the cart, on a whim I decided to see if there were any reasonable geraniums or petunias I could use—which could save me a trip to my favorite nursery, which is 30 minutes away. I saved my hanging basket from last year with the thought I could reuse it.

I walked by a big display of a pink and white-striped petunias called ”Amore,” which were planted in bigger pots.

Hello! Amore was incredibly FRAGRANT.

I LOVE fragrant petunias in a hanging basket.

Amore came home with me—and I planted it right away—and hung it on the upper porch where I like to have a hanging basket.

I saved about $20, and I can see it from where I sit at the dining room table. Win-Win.

So now I’m happy and the very hungry hummingbirds are happy as they like to have a hanging basket near their feeder It makes them feel safer I think.

I still need the geraniums though. And a few other plants as well.

Written by louisaenright

May 16, 2022 at 8:23 am

Daffodils, White Violets, and Churn Dash Blocks

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Turkey Tracks: May 14, 2022

Daffodils, White Violets, and Churn Dash Blocks

My daffodils have been awesome this year. And some are still blooming strongly. The cool of spring helps. We’ve had a few warm days (low 70s), but we have rain and cooler temps coming in, so maybe the daffs will hang out a bit longer.

The daffodils are the first of the garden plants to come inside each year. Here’s a bouquet on my dining table.

And a bouquet in the kitchen window—alongside some white violets that are blooming all over the place in the garden. Some of my daffs are so ”fluffy” they look like little peonies.

I finished the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society Churn Dash blocks for this very, very scrappy but fun quilt top. I’ve started sewing the rows together. I like the secondary patterns that emerge when one buts up the blocks together. I can re-iron one set of seams (the sides) between blocks, but not another set (top to bottom)—which means I’ll have to snip and bend those seams to get them flatter. This is the 8th quilt from this winter project.

I have a small pile of fabrics that might be big enough for a pieced backing—and a cheerful red I can use for the binding.

This whole project has decimated the C+S stash, but has also produced a lot of cut blocks in various sizes that also need to be made into quilt tops.

It is the nature of quilting, and it is all good.

Until, it isn’t.

One can go crazy with using up all the tiny scraps. I’m doing a better job of setting reasonable boundaries of where the crazy vs. sane boundaries are. For me, anyway.

Written by louisaenright

May 14, 2022 at 7:45 am

AC Slater and the Red Rubber Ball

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Turkey Tracks: May 13, 2022

AC Slater and the Red Rubber Ball

More than just about anything, AC Slater loves to go to a field where he can chase his ball—which I throw with a Chuck-it thrower. His ball is red and made of rubber—so when it is thrown, it has the most satisfying bounces, which are made even greater and for longer throws when the ground is frozen or the grass has been mowed.

AC Slater also loves water—though he never gets away from the edge of a pond. He feels safe with his back feet firmly grounded. So, his ”swimming” takes the form of sloshing and wallowing.

He loves this little pond on a neighbor’s property. So, when he gets hot from chasing his ball, we go down to the pond so he can take a rest and cool off.

Right now, the big bull frog tadpoles are on the edge of the pond, and when he appears, they run into deeper water—which makes AC hunt for them. He can follow their initial movement, but does not seem to see them when they get into deeper water.

He runs the edges of the pond first, where he often causes the frogs that already exist on the edges to dive away from him.

The other day there were two other visitors to this field. As we talked, AC chased his ball off and on. When I was busy visiting, he took his ball down to the pond and, yes, put it in the water—where it quickly drifted away from the edge.

AC tried everything to get to the ball, including running around to the other side of the pond to see if he could get to it from there.

I thought he might be tempted to swim out to the ball.

But…no.

We eventually went home, leaving the ball in the middle of the pond.

The next day we went back—with me carrying a long crab net. I thought that maybe the wind had blown the ball to the edges of the pond somewhere where I might be able to reach it.

And while I walked the near side of the pond, AC ran to the other side to chase the big tadpoles. And when I walked over there, the red ball was at the edge of the water. He had already retrieved it from the edge and had dropped it on the ground right at the edge of the water.

So I scooped it up, and that was that!

It was the end to this episode of the red ball getting into water. There have been several such episodes—and to date, no permanently lost ball.

Written by louisaenright

May 13, 2022 at 6:35 am

Local Peeps: Sewing Machine Repair

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Turkey Tracks: May 11, 2022

Local Peeps: Sewing Machine Repair

I broke the needle threader on my Janome 8900 months ago. We won’t discuss what stupidity occurred to make that happen.

I lived without the threader until suddenly I had a tiny, tiny little loop on the bobbin side of my seams about every 20 stitches.

A quilty friend here told me she had taken her machine over to Mystic Maine Quilts, where the technician fixed it while she waited. MMQ is an authorized Janome dealer.

Hmmmm…

So I called last Friday—and was told I could bring the machine in Saturday morning by 10 am and wait with it if I liked.

Off I went Saturday morning.

Kevin McMurray is the technician—and he is awesome. In addition to his fixing the machine, we had a nice visit where I learned a lot about my machine.

Kevin had a whole box of Janome 8900 parts. He had a needle threader. He had a new bobbin case (mine was scarred, which probably happened when I broke the needle threader). He had the widget that sits on the rod where the bobbin is threaded.

He cleaned my machine. He rehooked a tiny, tiny spring that had come loose way down on the inside. AND with the repairs and the cleaning, the bill was under $100.

I came home with a machine that is now quieter and is running so smoothly.

MMQ is in Chelsea, Maine, which sits on route 9 between Augusta and Gardner. From Camden, I go out on 17, turn left on route 9 when 17 ends in a ”T,” and go about a mile or so to the shop, which is on the right.

Kevin works two days a week, and it is my understanding that you can make an appointment with him and wait while he fixes your machine.

He repairs all kinds of sewing machines.

***

5 River Road

Chelsea, Maine 04330

207-582-0312

Written by louisaenright

May 12, 2022 at 8:56 am

Betsy’s “Love Letters” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks: May 10, 2022

“Betsy’s ”Love Letters” Quilt

It’s another beautiful day here today.

And for me, it is cleaning/laundry day. But when that is done, AC doggie and I will definitely get out into the woods. And, there will be late afternoon sewing. There are only 10 more blocks to make for the Churn Dash quilt on the design wall.

When Betsy Maislen was here some weeks back, a journey made to pick up a used sewing machine she purchased from a quilty friend here. She spent a few days with me. And there was some sewing, of course, as she tried out her new machine and began to get familar with it.

While she was here, my Simply Moderne magazine, No 28, arrived.

The cover showed a quilt designed by Wendy Sheppard and Darlene Szabo, ”Love Letters.”

Betsy fell in love with this quilt.

When she went home, she made it—and pretty quickly too.

Here’s Betsy’s ”Love Letters” quilt.

Betsy did an AWESOME job.

The quilt is meant to be a gift, so someone is going to be happy.

She is still in love with her new-to-her sewing machine.

*You can order the pattern if you like it from Simply Moderne magazine.

https://www.quiltmania-inc.us/boutique/magazines/simply-moderne/simply-moderne-28/

Written by louisaenright

May 10, 2022 at 8:41 am

A Productive Sunday

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Turkey Tracks: May 9, 2022

A Productive Sunday

What a nice Mother’s Day I had yesterday.

Family all called in during the day, and we had such nice visits. I always treasure calls from my family.

I got out my little electric mower and did the first mow. Look how pretty the grass is now.

Deeply embedded in my person is a need to bring order to chaos, by using my hands. That certainly includes spring clean-up gardening. And it includes cutting and making quilt blocks, watching a quilt grow on the design wall, and continues on until the last stitch is sewn into the binding. Cooking and chopping veggies, working puzzles, household cleaning and laundry—for me that involves bringing order and banishing chaos. I could go on…

LOL. And today, trimming AC doggies nails, cleaning his teeth, and brushing him with the Furminator tool falls into this pattern. He’s now shedding his winter coat like crazy.

Look at this amazing patch of daffodils that has naturalized over the years from one bulb.

A late summer task is going to be digging up the daffodils that line the front walkway in order to divide them. They aren’t blooming as much as they used to this year. I’ll spread the extras around the garden—probably putting a lot of them into the bed at the front of the house—on the far side of the lawn where the hill drops down.

Meanwhile, the Churn Dash quilt is growing on the design wall. I’m getting there.

And I’m thinking that I can take the off-cuts from the 3-inch strips and make a VERY scrappy Bear Paws block that finishes at 16 inches square. Here’s my trial block—which I will take apart to spread out the color. I think it will work. The side sashings are a bit wider than the block sashings—so I’m not sure I’ll have enough of that cream Cotton+Steel Dottie fabric. No worries. I’ll just make the sashings scrappy. And, horrors, I may have to use some non C+S neutrals!!

All of which means that I am close to calling it a day on this huge project to use up the Cotton+Steel stash as much as makes sense—before I just put what’s left into the regular stash.

And, the projects from this year’s The Color Collective are calling to me.

Have a great week everyone!

Written by louisaenright

May 9, 2022 at 7:55 am

Daffodils in the Front Meadow

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Turkey Tracks: May 6, 2022

Daffodils in the Front Meadow

I planted daffodils in the front meadow in the fall of 2004.

There is a drainage field below the rock wall which I suspects nourishes the daffodils. There are also day-lilies just below the wall as well. Both are thriving.

I can never get a picture that makes me feel like I have captured the glory of these daffodils, which have spent the last 18 years naturalizing and spreading.

Here’s a picture taken from the road and blown up a bit to isolate the daffodils.

They are so cheerful. And, many of the ones doing the best are the ”exotic” ones, so of which look like tiny peonies as they have so many fluffy petals.

I love our long, cool spring here in Maine. Spring can be such a tease in northern New England. But the grass is lush and green now, the trees are leafing out, and I’ll have to mow now some time over the weekend.

I found a smelly rotten egg concentrated mixture I’ll mix up and spray today or tomorrow. I hope it works to deter the deer and porcupine.

Written by louisaenright

May 6, 2022 at 9:39 am

Eating and Sewing the Rainbow

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Turkey Tracks: May 5, 2022

Eating and Sewing the Rainbow

Eating the rainbow at lunch today: roasted chicken and all kinds of veggies.

When I feel I’m getting full, I stop eating and put the leftovers into a bowl for my dinner meal. Sometime I just add more meat and veggies to the bowl and call it a night. Sometimes I add a tortilla heated over the flame on top of my stove—and add some butter when it is done. Sometimes I’ll also have a little dessert fruit. Mostly, I make an herbal tea, but sometimes I’ll have a coffee.

I am enjoying having my main meal in the middle of the day.

But speaking of rainbows, I just signed up for Tara Faughnan’s 10-month long Traverse Block of the Month—hosted by Sewtopia and starting in July. The project comes in two manufacturer choices (Windham Artisan Cottons or Kona cottons ) and two color ways. I chose the bright in the Windham Artisan Cottons. I love shot cottons. They have so much depth.

My experience with the ”Sugaridoo” quilt showed me it’s easy to make one row a month of a block that is fun.

And I fell in love with this colorful quilt.

Written by louisaenright

May 5, 2022 at 2:10 pm

“The Peace of Wild Things”

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Poems: May 4, 2022

“The Peace of Wild Things”

It is a rainy day.

That’s ok. I needed a rainy day.

Rainy days often cause for some reflection—and this day is one of those.

A friend sent me this Wendell Barry’s poem the other day—and today seems a good day to read and think about it. I had not read it in quite a few years.

The Peace of Wild Things 

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

—Wendell Berry

Written by louisaenright

May 4, 2022 at 8:09 am

“Pot-Pourri 3” and ”Eye Candy 3” Quilts

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Turkey Tracks: May 3, 2022

“Pot-Pourri 3” and ”Eye Candy 3” Quilts

Here’s ”Pot-Pourri 3.” It went to a great-niece—so the blocks are meant to be ”girly” for this little toddler.

And remember that all the fabrics are Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society from my stash. It takes a lot of different fabrics—in a deep stash—to make a quilt like this one.

I pieced the back from bigger pieces of my Cotton+Steel stash, and isn’t it fun?

I used the pantograph ”He Loves Me” by Anne Bright—and you can see how it works in the solid deep rose ombre fabric below. I ordered a pale, pale pink thread to use.

Below, you can see some of the fabric variety.

AND, here’s ”Eye Candy 3,” which is meant for my niece’s little boy, who will arrive in mid-June. I had such fun making these Churn Dash blocks with their fussy-cut centers. And I had enough of the sashing fabric to separate the blocks.

Again, the backing is scrappy.

I used the ”Bayside” panto from Lorien Quilting and a pale jade colored thread—like a sea foam color.

Below is a close-up of some of the blocks. I will also print this picture and the close-up of the quilt above to use in the cards I make.

Winter and early spring are fading away now, so I will have less sewing time. The lawn already needs mowing and I need to organize spray as the deer and porcupines have eaten the newly emerging perennials down to the ground.

But, I made 7 baby/toddler quilts this winter—and I still have a lot of strips cut for Churn Dash blocks out of the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star stash. So I’ve been making a bigger quilt from these blocks, with no sashing. Six rows of 10 are done. There are enough big pieces left to piece a backing. So, this project continues.

Blocks will, of course, move around. I’m liking the secondary patterns. It is VERY scrappy and VERY busy. It is also very fun to make.

Today is cleaning/laundry day. And AC doggie needs a good run. But tomorrow will be a rainy day, so maybe there will be some sewing.

Written by louisaenright

May 3, 2022 at 9:41 am