Louisa Enright's Blog

Mainely Tipping Points

Archive for June 2021

Staining the Outside Shingles

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Turkey Tracks: June 28, 2021

Staining the Outside Shingles

Look at my pretty garage with its new coat of stain!

When the star, formerly aqua, was removed, I sanded the rust spots and repainted it lime green. I was thinking a red/orange or lime green, and when I checked the supply of spray paints, there was a lime green.

Now the white trim paint is really showing up against the darker shingles.

You can see on the unstained back of the garage how the original staining is now gone after about 20 years of weathering.

Eric Chontos, who has been so much help to me over the years, is doing the staining. He also has a power washing business, and I highly recommend him and his older brother Shane Chontos, who is a fine carpenter, but who also does other work around a house. Both brothers are, of course, insured.

Eric is here today, and we are meant to have two good days before we might get more rain on Wednesday and Thursday. Weather is always an issue with these kinds of outdoor jobs.

Written by louisaenright

June 28, 2021 at 8:49 am

The Design Wall, June 26, 2021

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Turkey Tracks: June 23, 2021

The Design Wall, June 26, 2021

The “Tenderoni” quilt top is done, layered, and basted via the longarm basting. I’m almost certainly going to hand quilt it with a 12-wt. cotton in the honey color in the quilt. The binding (the darkest red in the quilt) is here and washed—I’ll cut it this week. I’m calling it “Fractures,” and I’m really pleased with the movement in this quilt. It will be a wall hanging—30 by 42.

Latifah Saafir designed this block and chose the color palette as a guest designer for this year’s The Color Collective (Sewtopia, Amy Newbold). And it has been really interesting to see what other people made with this block.

So with “Fractures” removed, the design wall looks like this now:

The “Monkey Business” blocks are all done. I may still move some blocks later today, but I’ll sew the blocks together after I try one more move with some of the blocks at the bottom. Basically this quilt is a “sampler” quilt of Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society fabrics. As such it is fun. And I loved making the blocks. Abbey Lane Quilting designed “Monkey Business,” which appeared in Issue 22 of Simply Modern magazine. The blocks finish at 13 inches—so it will be a fun lap size quilt.

The leader/ender “Funky” wedding ring scrappy top on the left is coming along as well. The pattern is in FREDDY AND GWEN COLLABORATE AGAIN: FRIENDS by Freddie Moran and Gwen Marston. Debbie Jeske of A Quilter’s Table blog made a quilt top recently where she took out the sashing Moran and Marston used, which made the top even more modern. I’ll probably wind up with a lap size top as I don’t see my version as a wall hanging—and I’m liking having fun making this block and using up both solid and printed scraps.

The little round circles are being made from the off-cuts from the “Tenderoni” block.

I thought about moving the circles into different positions on the background block—both sideways and up and down, but when sketching it, I couldn’t make the design work in a coherent way.

There is something really pleasingly “glowy” about this fabric palette as it appears with these little circles.

And now, as we had a good soaking rain yesterday, I need to go and weed! I’m rounding the final corner of the house now.

Nature Journal From 2005

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Turkey Tracks: June 25, 2021

Nature Journal From 2005

My husband and I began our Maine adventure in June of 2004.

In January 2005 I took a local class that involved keeping a daily “artists” nature journal for 2005.

I was by no means a drawing or painting artist by the stretching of anyone’s imagination. But it didn’t matter. I did what I could, and over the year I did get better at these new skills. Along the way I learned an awful lot about the new region where I now lived. And each day, as I searched for ways to think more deeply about what I was seeing, thinking, and feeling—as seen by some of the inscriptions I used—I settled deeply into Maine and into the peaceful, quieter life that I so treasure now.

And that journal, which I did faithfully keep, making up for lost days when I had to, is one of the joys of my life. It reminds me daily about slowing down to “see” where I live, to see what is changing around me, and to acknowledge what I love about that experience.

The year’s journal worked out to occupy two sketchbooks, and the first book ends at the June 21st solstice—a reminder that now, with the beginning of the second book, the days will begin to get shorter as the seasonal wheel slowly turns. The closing of the first book, with its winter days and the coming of spring and the promise of all that spring brings, always makes me a bit sad, for time does seem to move so quickly.

Since 2006, or for the past 15 years, my journal sits open on the counter above my washer and dryer. And as I turn the pages to follow the days it has captured, I am reminded of all the flora and fauna that appear or disappear as the days of the year pass. I am reminded of the joy I had with learning so many new skills and having so many new experiences. And I am reminded that I need to take time, every day, to let the “new” into my life.

Written by louisaenright

June 25, 2021 at 4:11 pm

Mowing Accomplished!

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Turkey Tracks: June 22, 2021

Mowing Accomplished

With my hurt foot, I’ve been worried about getting the mowing done this week.

I usually mow on Sundays, but cooler weather did slow down the grass growth a bit, so I thought I’d try to mow yesterday, Monday.

At least two friends have suggested I would benefit from gardening in MUCH sturdier shoes than in worn out sneakers. One, in fact, wears dedicated hiking boots. So…

And, yes indeed, my foot felt quite safe and well supported—particularly the ankle and the instep. There was no pain at all. But the foot is weak, so I was determined not to pressure it in any way.

I went out early in the very humid day and was done by 10am and was wet with sweat. The front and back are easy—it’s the steep hill on the far side of the house that is hard to mow.

The brown spots are pee spots from AC. I’ll treat them again with baking soda soon. That dog!

I made myself quit when the mowing was done—I could have stayed out there for hours and hours though. I’ll do the needed weed whacking today maybe. Or, soon. (The replacement batteries for the weed whacker arrived and work beautifully—the original old one was not holding a charge beyond about 15 minutes.)

Look at the Rose Campion plants! They seed themselves here, and, indeed, are a bit like weeds. Beyond that chicken wire fence is a sheer drop off down a wall of boulders.

OK. I’ll confess. I did stop to pick the ripe strawberries before coming inside. I couldn’t resist. And they do have to be picked every day.

The less ripe berries ripen well on the kitchen counter—which means I get them and the chipmunks don’t. The berries on this plate ripened overnight.

I’ve already frozen a big silicon bag of strawberries. Last year I froze berries in plastic freezer bags, and I debated buying some more plastic bags to freeze the ripening fruit in the garden—the raspberries are LOADED with berries that will ripen very soon now. Instead, I ordered more of these bigger silicon bags—and I do have one that is a gallon size I could use as well. I love these bags! They are totally leak proof too. So I have not purchased plastic bags in over a year now.

Before the foot went wonky, I let AC have one of his old balls outside. It is always good to stop and throw it for him or play a game of chase with him. I took this little video last week. We all need to take some time to just play, and AC does this work for me.

Yesterday, AC dropped the ball outside somewhere. At one point he was dropping it down the front wall and retrieving it—much like he does on the stairs in the house. It will be interesting to see if he appears with it on our next work effort in the yard. Today, though, is cleaning and laundry day.

I hope we get rain today. It is very dry here.

Written by louisaenright

June 22, 2021 at 8:43 am

The Phoebe Babies Fledged

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Turkey Tracks: June 21, 2021

The Phoebe Babies Fledged

I knew the babies would soon fledge, and they did Friday morning at some point.

The messy little flat nest was full of babies—I never was able to figure out if there were 3 or 4 babies in the messy little nest. You can just see a beak in this photo.

This outdoor light sits just above my kitchen windows, so I can peer up at the nest from inside the house.

At first, about 10 days or so ago—maybe longer—I could see fuzzy bits of fluff with huge open mouths that seemed totally outsized with respect to their bodies.

By Friday morning, the babies looked like Phoebes. And nest was full of projecting tails and heads.

Last year, we took down the next the Phoebe pair built in this same spot. This year I will leave it as they do reuse nests from year to year.

Phoebes can live a long time—so I suspect this pair has been with me in the summers for a long time too.

They can raise two broods a year. Will they this year?

The back deck is very quiet now as both parents have departed. At any time of the day, I used to be able to see one parent sitting on the back of a chair or on the railing.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Eastern_Phoebe/id

Written by louisaenright

June 21, 2021 at 7:47 am

“Wild Thing” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks: June 19, 2021

“Wild Thing” Quilt

I’m still side-lined with my hurt foot. It gets marginally better each day, but I’m not yet over this event. Who knew…???…what on earth I did to it. I don’t.

I have had a lot of couch time with the foot propped up high and a heating pad going—and that helps it a lot. So, I have been able to do handwork while listening to Audible books, and I finished the binding on “Wild Thing.”

You may recall that this quilt has been in production for several years and is my part of our Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild ongoing challenge, “Bee Inspired”—which was modeled on the work of the Instagram group Bee Sewcial. In turn, each group member issues challenge “prompts” to its members—or guidelines for the kind of blocks the prompt member wants. The group works totally in solids, so the resulting quilts are very graphic in nature. Many of the quilts produced by this group have been prominently featured at QuiltCon, the yearly gathering and show of The Modern Quilt Guild. The quilt I thought to model from the Bee Sewcial group won best of show at QuiltCon a few years back. (See below for a pic of it.)

My prompt was “Shapes,” and I specified solid fabrics in bright colors. I gave members a picture of the solid clear, bright colors I wanted and hoped that all would have fun playing with…shapes.

So, this quilt holds many blocks made by Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild members who are participating in this challenge. I really enjoy the creative work of trying to make the blocks all “fit” into a coherent presentation.

I quilted with a bright aqua thread, using my clam shell groovy boards. I like the older, traditional pattern of the clam shells overlaid onto this very modern quilt. The fabric “flower” in this picture is one of my blocks. When I set up my prompt, I also gave members a number of blocks I had made while “playing” as examples. This flower block was inspired by Nicholas Ball’s recent book, INSPIRING IMPROV.

As this quilt is fairly large (87 wide by 81 long), I wanted to find a 108-inch wide backing, which I did. And it is as wild as the front. Front and back play well together. There is a mermaid which appears in places on the backing fabric—which I thought was rather run. A muse of sorts…. Can you find her below?

So, this project is done, folded up, and ready to be passed to grandchildren in some future time.

My thanks to all who made such beautiful blocks for me.

Here is the Bee Sewcial quilt that inspired me and that won best of show at QuiltCon:

Written by louisaenright

June 19, 2021 at 9:23 am

It’s Monday Again

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Turkey Tracks: June 14, 2021

It’s Monday Again

Funny how Monday rolls around each week.

One thing about time, it is always moving forward.

It was a quiet weekend here, as most weekends are. I worked in the yard mostly and was too tired to sew in the late afternoon. Plus, I did something to my right foot with all the outside work, so there has been pain. And now I really need to stay off of it and let it heal. Nothing serious, just something to slow me down a bit.

So, the good news is that now I will have time to finish sewing this quilt top together.

Reminder: This year Latifah Saafir is the guest designer for Sewtopia’s The Color Collective, season 3, month 7. This “Tenderoni” block and the color palette are her design. Members of The Color Collective this year are making some really interesting quilts using this block. I got intrigued with all the shapes and patterns that can be made by keeping the blocks close together. I’m calling it “Fractures.”

I’ll call this one finished. It will be a wall hanging. I’ll bind with the dark red in the fabric palette, and I found a paisley backing in my stash that will work really well. I may grid quilt it, but I don’t know if I’ll do that by hand yet or not.

Plus, I am playing around with the discarded quarter circle pieces that arrive when the block pieces are cut. I’ll need to redo this trial one as it got itself off-center while being sewed. And maybe I’ll machine stitch it down with a tiny blanket stitch done in invisible thread—as Tara Faughnan taught us way back in the first project of Season 1. I don’t mind the hand stitching though. I suppose those choices will depend on how many circles are available from the scraps.

I had fun this weekend discovering more gardening by Mother Nature.

She planted this Kousa dogwood some years back—when facing the garage, it is on the left, just down a very steep hill. I don’t have any dogwoods, nevermind Kousas, so this tree is so fun.

AC is DELIGHTED to have one of his old balls available for play OUTSIDE. It is now living in my work tool bucket.

I throw garden refuse along the top edge of that hill, both to stabilize it and to see what might start to grow. It is always amazing to see what begins to grow there. Right now there are some wildflowers, including some orange daylilies, some Joe Pye weed, some Bishop’s Weed, and look what else just emerged in the rocky ground.

Three white Fox Glove plants. I also found two more along the driveway over by the rock wall. (Yes, I know they are poisonous for dogs, but AC doesn’t really chew at plants unless I weed and throw them for him to chase, and I won’t be doing that with these plants if by chance they get weeded.)

I was able to mow yesterday, but it got hot again so I came inside. By then my foot was saying “enough.” When it is better, I’ll finish the last two beds on the far side of the house that need massive weeding. One is almost done and the other is small.

And here we are with another week of Maine summer to enjoy!

Written by louisaenright

June 14, 2021 at 8:54 am

Garden Pictures, June 2021

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Garden Pictures, June 2021

Turkey Tracks: June 11, 2021

The poppy is only spectacular for a few short days, but while it is in bloom, it is glorious.

The Globemaster alliums are in full bloom. I love the individual star shapes of their big globe flowers.

The peonies are also in full bloom now. And those are white Easter lilies alongside—which will bloom later in the summer. You can also see the new Cat Mint plant by the deck steps. I’m trying it out in that tricky spot where I dug out the Ladies Mantle last year. The support board at the edge of the deck was rotten and got replaced a few weeks back, thanks to Shane Chontos.

The dusting on the Cat mint is the super, duper fertilizer formulated by Steve Solomon and sold by KIS Organics. Son Bryan and I figured it is cheaper to order it than to try to put together and store a big batch. This mixture is magic in the garden. Steve Solomon has many books, but if you want to try his organic fertilizer recipe, it is online: http://www.growgreatvegetables.com/fertilizers/a-great-organic-fertilizer-mix/

In this spot, the Cat Mint plays off of the established Cat Mint plants at the edge of the rock wall that lines the pathway to the house.

The strawberries are loaded with berries this year.

As are the raspberries. And the established blueberry bushes in the back of the house have recovered from last year’s debacle with the brown tail caterpillar destruction and subsequent serious cutting back. Last year I got caught by surprise, but this year I’m “on it.” I check these plants several times a day, have removed a few caterpillars, and have dusted the ground heavily with diatomaceous “dirt.” So far, so good.

While weeding under the oaks on the far side of the house, I got into these very toxic caterpillars’ bristles and got the blisters and itchy rash on both arms and on the back of my neck. It is better now, but it takes a long time to detox and for the rash to dry up. These toxic creatures, which are only about an inch long, prefer oaks trees, but when they exhaust the leaves, they will eat anything and LOVE fruit plants of all kinds.

I was outside all day yesterday, with only a brief lunch break. It was BLESSEDLY cool finally. I got so much heavy work done—to include spraying deer repellent again. The deer ate the tops of the phlox in the side garden the other night—and munched on some hostas in the front of the house. The strawberries and the driveway beds are nice and neat again.

Last night was great sleeping, and today the temps have hovered around high 50s. I closed all the windows again as I don’t need to be heating the outdoors!! I’m NOT complaining. But so far, no rain, and once again, we really need rain.

Written by louisaenright

June 11, 2021 at 3:01 pm

There’s Fox In There Somewhere

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Turkey Tracks: June 10, 2021

There’s Fox In There Somewhere

I’ve been trying to get a little video of what AC does when hunting “in the bushes.”

These leaps are like what a fox does to pounce on an unsuspecting critter.

This video is from over by the pond at the Snow Bowl, where I’ve been taking AC for a swim. It has been way too hot for him to chase down his ball.

But yesterday was marginally cooler with a nice breeze, so he swam, chased his ball for a few throws, then went back to swim to thoroughly cool off.

And today it is blessedly cooler, which is such a relief. I’ve been feeling like Marsha Smith’s Maine Coon cat Rocky who also does not like the heat.

But now it is cool enough to get back outside and continue weeding. So that is where I am headed next.

Written by louisaenright

June 10, 2021 at 9:43 am

Betsy’s Current Very Pretty Quilt Project

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Turkey Tracks: June 7, 2021

Betsy’s Current Very Pretty Quilt Project

Betsy Maislen has finished the scrappy quilt top she’s been working on in recent weeks.

She started with Bonnie Hunter’s “Idaho Square Dance” quilt block and created her own “secondary” quilt block to compliment it. The border treatment is also her own design.

At first Betsy thought she would pair the Idaho Square Dance block with a plain block, but decided to try something else—so the use of the square in a square block emerged. Then she had to figure out a border. I like the 4-patch she includes in the piano key border and also how she moves the orientation of the dark squares in the 4-patch from vertical to horizontal along the border—it takes the eye around the edge of the quilt in pleasing ways.

This top is now 60 by 70, which is a very nice lap quilt size.

I wonder now how she will quilt it…

Betsy has a really good eye for fabric, so I know she’ll chose an interesting backing and binding.

I’m sure we’ll see more of this quilt in weeks to come.

Go Betsy!

Written by louisaenright

June 7, 2021 at 7:56 am