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Archive for June 15th, 2013

Turkey Tracks: I Mowed the Lawn Today

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Turkey Tracks:  June 15, 2013

I Mowed the Lawn Today

In 47 years of marriage, I never mowed the lawn.

I think John tried once to show me how back on Van Buren Street in Falls Church, Virginia.  But I could not start our big heavy mower, and I already had so many other things to do in and for the house and gardens, that I never pursued it.

Besides, John liked mowing the lawn.  There was something peaceful about it for him.

I can’t imagine why–as it’s one of my least favorite things to do in this world.

Oh, I like the way it all looks when it’s done.  Just the way I like the way the laundry looks when it’s all folded and ready to be put away.  Or, the kitchen when it’s all clean.  It’s not that I mind the work.  I like to work.  I just don’t like mowing the lawn.

I’ll weed all day.  But mowing?  Not a chance.

Still, I do a good job.  See?

 

Mowed!  June 2013

That hill you see really slopes, and it’s murder to mow.  Perhaps that’s why I don’t like mowing.  Or it’s about juggling the electric mower we got me last summer when it became clear John could no longer mow and the long power cord.  The mower is light and efficient; negotiating the cord is irritating, though I’m getting better and better at it.

It’s not a huge yard, and except for this hill, it’s flat up top and down below.

I trim up the bits along the edges by hand–right now that seems easier than using a string cutter.  They don’t work so well along fence lines anyway, and it’s just another thing to plug in that makes a lot of noise.

That’s a big lilac at the foot of the stairs.  It perfumes the whole yard.

That’s a row of raspberries along the front edge, backed by bayberry and rugosa roses and more lilacs.  The wonderful David Hannan came and mulched the raspberries for me and weeded and edged the bed.  What a HUGE help that was.

I wanted to get pictures of the new chickens for you, but they hid in the coop away from the mower.  Rosie, the remaining Copper Black Maran came and visited with me.  She’s the sole survivor of the fox attack in early spring:

Rosie, June 2013

She’s so pretty.

I miss her Cowboy fellow.  I bet she does too.

Written by louisaenright

June 15, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Turkey Tracks: Play Quilting

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Turkey Tracks:  January 15, 2013

Play Quilting

I’ve been working really hard on sorting through my quilting stash–all the fabrics a quilter starts to accumulate–and cutting up all the smaller pieces into useable, accessible strips, blocks, or rectangles.  Those of you who follow this blog know that getting my stash under control has been going on for over two years now.  It’s just way too easy to keep buying new fabric for a new quilt without using up leftovers from previous quilts.

I am now using Bonnie Hunter’s coping strategy of keeping only large pieces for the stash and processing everything else.  Out of the greens, I’ve already made a gorgeous green scrappy top and backing–using up a ton of fabric that was just sitting around.  That top is ready to go on the long-arm, so I’ll return to it here when I’ve finished it.  I LOVE it.  It’s a green version of Bonnie Hunter’s “Blue Ridge Beauty” that I’m calling “Green Camden Hills Beauty.”  You’ve seen pieces of this top in earlier posts, and Bonnie’s version is on her web site, quiltville.com.

So, the green part of the stash is under control–dare I say?  And, I’m making good headway on the blue now.  I had already been working at the blue fabrics over the past two years, but I’m astonished how much of it I still have.  So many small pieces that are just lying around doing nothing but taking up space.

Yesterday, I could see that I was close to finishing cutting up the blues, so I let myself “play” at the machine for two hours–jointly working on two different types of projects.  I made myself quit about 8 p.m. last night because I could have gone on and on…

First, in Bonnie Hunter’s system–which you can explore in her four books and on her excellent web site, quiltville.com–NOTHING gets wasted.  The small bits of fabric she calls “crumbs.”  She throws them into a basket and uses them to “make fabric.”  Here’s an example:

Making fabric

These 2 1/2 by 8 1/2 strips will make really cute borders on a quilt when I have enough of them.  Bonnie Hunter uses old paper–phone book paper is the best as its thin and easy to tear away–as a backing.  It’s so much easier and lighter than the muslin I had been using for string-pieced blocks.  You could also use used printed paper from your printer, though that is heavier.

This “making” of fabric is growing in popularity these days.  In addition to Bonnie Hunter’s work, you can see the fun of making and using fabric in OUT OF THE BOX WITH EASY BLOCKS:  FUN WITH FREE-FORM PIECING, Mary Lou Weidman and Melanie Bautista McFarland and 15 MINUTES OF PLAY:  IMPROVISATIONAL QUILTS, Victoria Findlay Wolfe.  Weidman and Wolfe both have blogs as well.

I had some string-pieced blocks left from projects last year and have been throwing strips into a basket for when I wanted to make more of them.  I had only been throwing in strips that were at least 1 1/2 inches.  BUT, after making the border strips above, I can see that strips just under 1 1/2 inches are useable in both the string-pieced blocks and with the crumbs.  Really, the clear 1 1/2 strips should go into a separate box to be used for, say, nine-patches with one-inch blocks.  Or, piano keys borders.

Here’s my string basket, which is getting alarmingly full:

Basket of strips

Only there is a twist:  I’ve been tearing away also selvages with writing or colored dots with a little extra fabric in the strip.  I LOVE writing in a quilt and have become more and more intrigued with thinking how one might use selvage edges that are interesting.  So, here are examples of the kind of strips sith writing and/or dots I’ve been saving:

Basket of strips 2

Here are two blocks I made yesterday, hanging with one I already had.  I was playing with using the strips with writing on them:

Strip Piecing 1

Here’s a close-up:

Strip Piecing 2

And what the blocks might look like if I put them on point with sashing between…

Strip Piecing 3

Bonnie Hunter has lots of ideas of how to combine blocks when you have enough of them.

Meanwhile, it was really fun to let myself have a little “play” time–even though I have a quilt loaded on to the long arm and the BIG green quilt ready to be long-arm quilted.

Turkey Tracks: Nesting Bird Running Amok

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Turkey Tracks:  June 15, 2013

Nesting Bird Running Amok

The phobes built a nest over the kitchen door, raised three babies, fledged them early one morning last week before I ever got up, and are now out singing in the woods.

I contrast that with what is occurring on the front porch.

I’ve been vaguely aware of something going on out there.  There’s was a large dark bird flitting about the porch and some straw along the roof edge.  The bird has only been seen in my peripheral vision, just a fluttering of black motion and then gone.  OK, I thought.  I can live with a nest up there for the summer.  The kiddos will love it.

Here’s what I encountered today when I went out to mow the lawn:

Bird nesting

A whole row of half-formed nests.

The ones on the far end seem to be more in earnest:

Bird nesting 2

But as near as I can tell, there isn’t a momma sitting on anything.

There are FOURTEEN of them–one in every pocket along the porch ceiling:

Bird nesting 3

I’ll give it a day or two, then I’ll have to get the ladder and a pail and clean it all up.

Mercy!

Written by louisaenright

June 15, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Review: Excellent Movie: Incendies

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Review:  June 15, 2013

Excellent Movie:  Incendies

I watched a netflix movie that has haunted me for two days now.

By haunted, I mean that I am still thinking about it and having insights about it popping into my head.

I think this movie is especially powerful because of the situation in Syria, where once again, a kind of civil war is unleashing unspeakable, unthinkable violence on innocents who just want to live their lives in peace and joy.

Incendies is set in the Lebanese civil war of the 1970s.  It is a mystery–where twins, raised in Canada, are tasked in their mother’s will to go back to her past so that, we discover, they can move forward into their futures.  It is the story of an amazing, brave, unbreakable woman–caught up in civil war.  It is a story, in the end, of healing and of hope.  And of love.  Great love.

Incendies is tough to watch at times.  It pulls no punches about how war changes people in all kinds of ways and how ugly war is.  There is no comic book good guys/bad guys neat polar opposites here.  War makes bad guys of everyone.  The ending, however, is worth it.  The loose ends are tied off–and not in neat, tidy ways.  We are left with hope–and the certain knowledge that war leaves in its wake ripples that keep rippling out and touching innocent lives.

I won’t say “enjoy,” though there is a great deal of pleasure in watching something so wonderfully executed, so rich with ideas, so beautifully acted.  I will say “learn.”

Here’s a quote from Wikipedia:

Incendies is a 2010 Canadian mystery drama film written and directed by Denis Villeneuve. Adapted from Wajdi Mouawad‘s play, Scorched, Incendies follows the journey of twin brother and sister as they attempt to unravel the mystery of their mother’s life. The film premiered at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals in September 2010 and was released in Quebec on 17 September 2010. In 2011, it was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The film won eight awards at the 31st Genie Awards, including Best Motion Picture, Best Actress (Lubna Azabal), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Overall Sound and Sound Editing.[4] Incendies was named by the New York Times as one of the 10 best films of 2011.[5]

Written by louisaenright

June 15, 2013 at 3:03 pm