I am slow to post today as I spent the morning at the dentist.
When I got home my mouth was still to numb to eat, so I finished sewing in the 3rd block of 6 to the last row of the “quilt from hell,” which is easily 5 or 6 years in the making now. It feels like that amount of time anyway.
But, I’m seeing the end in sight now, though I’m NOT looking forward to joining these three rows to the other three. I don’t know… It’s feeling like this quilt needs to be hand quilted too. If so, it’s a good thing I can put it on Innova the longarm to baste it.
Dinner on the porch with a mouth that could safely chew again was mostly leftovers: grilled chicken thighs, roasted broccoli and zucchini squash, and some buttered black rice noodles I did cook as I am out of sprouted brown rice. (*Note to self. Again.)
One of these thighs went back in the refrigerator for supper as two was one too many.
I love, love my new dentist. SHE (the first time with a woman dentist for me) is awesome, gentle, kind, careful, not hurried, has small hands which fit much better inside my mouth, has empathy, is a perfectionist with tons of patience, and I could go on. My mouth was a mess after the CDC shut down the dentist offices during the worst of the covid hysteria and then dentists had a huge backlog. I now have old teeth, old crowns, old fillings, and new cavities.
But I also have a NEW dentist that I like and trust.
I kind of feel like I’m living through the Rascal Flatt’s song, “Northern Star.” All the roads led straight to…her…when I needed…her…and her assistant Caroline.
I am loving using the stack of blueberry fabrics I bought when we first moved to Maine in 2004. I thought at one time about a quilt with a house block made with the blueberry fabrics. But I never slowed down to try a sample block. I think now that making placemats and napkins which go with them is the perfect way to use this fabric.
I seem to have two kinds of blueberry fabrics–and probably collected the different ones along the way after moving to Maine–but I’ve had them all for a long, long time. And now that fabric stack is on my cutting table, all cut up and organized for the placemats.
Here are the six I have completed–made from one type of fabric in my stash.
I may replace the one napkin that matches its placemat. But, I might not either. Time will tell. The bigger napkins made with the solid fabrics require a 20-inch square start, which is a big hunk of fabric out of a one-yard piece. But, they are lovely and feel good in the hand. Plus, Kona solids are reasonable priced.
I like the striped binding on one of these placemats–and I have more of that binding cut and ready. That placemat is made in the traditional way–three layers that are quilted, then bound. The others are made with the turning opening on the back, after quilting the top and batting layers–just improv wavy lines. I then make at least two wavy lines that go through all the layers so the back will remain in place when washed.
I have my older Janome set up with a walking foot, which I’m really enjoying for the quilting on these placemats and for installing binding. I’m using that machine a lot. It’s easy enough to move the thread I need for various tasks from my primary Janome machine to the older Janome–much easier than constantly installing a walking foot on the newer Janome.
Now I’m starting on the other blueberry fabrics–which are softer and less bold in color–and after making some will decide if they will go with these first six in any kind of scrappy way. That could be interesting. Some of these next placemats will have printed fabric napkins.
I finished the next block on the quilt from hell last night and will sew it into the big piece and set up another block–the 4th of 6, so I’m over the hump on this last row.
Progress in various ways…is happening…which makes me happy.
I had a lovely walk on the beach yesterday–despite the fierce wind out there. I parked further north this time and came down this path–36A. I took a picture of the houses so I could find this path again on my way out. Just in case. All the paths are marked by number too though. But it is easier to see the houses then walk through the soft sand to check the path number.
Look at that sky!
The entry paths are marked by yellow barrels and the path number on both the street and on the beach. The path number is keyed to the island street numbers, which ARE numbers with few exceptions. Low numbers start in the south and increase as one moves north. Many local beach visitors leave their road shoes in the sand near a barrel or the path’s end–to be retrieved on the way out.
As I said. The wind was FIERCE. I loved seeing this little group of people happily talking behind the wind barricade they had erected, so I turned around and took a picture after I had passed them.
The pelicans were hunting further out. They fly in chain lines–like one sees geese fly–and dive into the water. Or, they all alight in the water beyond the wave breaker line. I tried for a picture when they flew over my head, but didn’t get my phone camera organized fast enough.
The tide was just turning from dead low–and you can see that there is a sand bar further out, with a deep slough near the shore.
Here’s where that outer sand bar curves to meet the exposed beach. Note: the wind is too hard for my voice to be heard.
Tidal pools lie above the water line, and they are often filled with treasures. Here is a battered veteran of the tidal cycles.
I think it is time to get a refresher on the various shore birds. I remember the little, very active, sand pipers (sanderling family). But what is this bird, with his/her distinctive black legs and long bill? S/he was energetically dining on something in the sand in the backwash of the waves.
S/he did NOT like it when I pointed a camera at him/her. With the wind ruffling his/her back feathers, s/he stopped eating and started a quick walk away from me and would have flown off if I persisted.
I did a little research when I got home. Maybe this bird is a Dunlin. Or, a Red Knot.
Note to self: the next time the wind is this high, walk INTO the wind on the way down the beach so when you get tired, you will have the wind at your back on the return trip. It is very, very easy to walk a LONG way with the wind at your back and not so easy to walk against such a fierce wind when it is time to turn around. My upper thigh muscles were really tired by the time I retrieved my shoes–which I suppose was a good thing.
We have a very pretty morning here today. The strong wind is gone now, and low tide is the middle of the day, so there may be a walk on the beach. I’m definitely mailing the two quilts to Wyoming first thing.
“Eye Candy No. 5” came off the long arm yesterday afternoon and got trimmed. This quilt will end the Churn Dash series.
I love the backing–Ruby Star Society’s Sarah Watts: Firefly Nature Forest Owls on Ash.
I’m really happy with the quilting texture.
I used a curvy pantograph.
Later today I’ll bind this quilt, but I won’t start stitching down the binding until I finish a block on the quilt from hell and set up another one. I want to just move that project along, no matter how slowly.
I’m watching SWEET TOOTH on tv, Netflix. It’s interesting. It might be too scary for my 8-year old granddaughter though. And there is violence as there are very bad people who must be…stopped…from what they are doing.
The ligustrum is blooming everywhere now. Ligustrum is the main family for various blooming privet types in the olive family. It is super hardy in the Low Country, and it needs very little care. The blooms are very fragrant. But, the fragrance is strong–and one either likes it or one doesn’t. I like it, but I don’t have the greatest nose for scents.
Ligustrum can grow really tall if left untrimmed. It can make a really nice hedge. And as it is so hardy here, the builder has used it to camouflage electrical boxes, for instance, around the development.
I think Ligustrum is a good choice for how it is being used here. And I’m enjoying seeing all the white blooms everywhere I go right now.
Rain started off and on in the night last night–so I’m doing a happy rain dance as I won’t have to hand water the newly-fertilized grass. And as I am writing, the sky is fairing off as the storm moves north.
I came home from a family birthday celebration last night, complete with a locally made gelato super chocolate cake, with a granddaughter’s sweatshirt that needs a quick and easy repair.
The Churn Dash quilt is half done on the longarm. And yesterday I paired all the blueberry fabric pieces cut for placemats with Kona solid backings and 20-inch pieces for napkins. Missouri Star had free shipping yesterday, so I ordered some more Kona solids to fill in where I ran out of big pieces–AND, a potential 108-inch Kona backing for the Transom BOM quilt–which I’m planning to hand quilt with 12-wt. thread.
Wednesday and Thursday were shopping (food, plants) and planting days.
I promised a picture of the Asian Jasmine groundcover I’m planting, and Lowe’s had a big bed of it as it turned out. You can see how it will put down a solid, low mat in sun or shade. And this bed still had some of its little white flowers blooming.
After shopping for plants and amendments, I was famished. So I stopped to make my dinner, which I eat in the middle of the day. Getting the major meal of the day out of the way allows me to sew later at night as its easy to fix a light supper with food that is on hand before watching tv and hand-sewing.
I’ve never tried this particular mix of veggies to sauté, but as I use what I have, this mixture emerged. I had beet greens on hand from some beets I bought for my blender drinks. (Beets are a powerhouse food, cooked or raw.) I started with veggies that needed longer sautéing in, this day, beef fat. I diced a small raw beet, carrots, sweet onion, red pepper, a zucchini for more bulk, garlic, and herbs from the garden. I added some of a dried oregano mixture and salt. I added the chopped beet greens last and just turned them in the hot mixture until they were thoroughly wilted. Then I added store-bought flat-leaf Italian parsley chopped fine and just mixed it in as a final garnishment.
Voila! I had red veggies. And, enough for two meals. While cooking the veggies, I grilled a steak. This mixture is kind of pretty with its intense red. I’m eating the rainbow here, for sure.
Yes, everything went to outdoor room, along with my current book and a freshly made espresso made with honey and raw cream for dessert.
After planting the long row of Asiatic Jasmine on the shady side of the house, I was hot and sweaty and tired. And I needed the second shower of the day. For sure.
On Thursday, I tackled planting the Stella D’Oro day-lilies, the Buddlea (Butterfly Bush), and the Endless Summer hydrangea along the sunny side of the house. It was hot, with the feel of a storm coming in, but the sea breeze was steady and cooling.
Planting these three (5 with the 3 Stellas) looks simple. But it is NOT. Digging here is really, really hard–due to the big veins of clay that lie beneath whatever topsoil there is. Some of these veins of clay are so pure and are such pretty colors–like a vivid aqua or a rich cream–that they would really entice a potter. But it takes real muscle and patience to carve out a planting hole in this ground. I’m putting in a lot of amendments (sand, organic soil meant for ground plantings) and mixing it with the clay, but…I don’t know. Clay like this can on the bottom of the hole can form a kind of bathtub that holds water around a plant’s root ball.
To loosen the cement-hard clay, I tried soaking the planting area with the hose and letting the water sink into the clay. That helped, as when water hits clay, the clay kind of softens and, even, melts. That has been a problem with the four new gutter drains. Where the water emerges, big holes start to form. Thus, I’m hoping this idea will put the water out onto the grass and away from raw dirt under the pine straw.
After getting the new plants in the ground, I needed another shower. For sure.
I’m writing this post on Friday morning and will post it tomorrow. We got rain in the night Thursday, and today is cloudy and cool. Alex is here mowing and will put down a bit more fertilizer on the new grass. It’s a good day for that if we get more rain. He’s going to put down more pine straw for me when he comes next too. And he’s offered to help me dig holes for bigger plants when I buy them.
Here are the new herbs I added to the mint (top left) I planted–basil and flat-leaf Italian parsley. The basil is an annual; the parsley is a biennial, so blooms and seeds the second year. The mint has all sorts of new growth starting now.
The drainage spout additions seem to be working. There are no new holes in the ground.
And today, Friday, I’ll take it fairly easy–a walk with my music and sewing on the longarm.
These two Wyoming quilts are washed and dried and are cooling thoroughly on the living room couch until I pack then up and mail them on Monday.
I keep hoping the fabric on the couch skirt, which got crushed in the move, will sort itself out. But so far…NO.
I finished the binding last night. I took photos and rechecked for any missed loose threads this morning. Now both the “Wyoming” quilts are in the wash as these two tops were completed and organized for the longarm in Maine and were stored in bins during the move, which necessitated storing in a warehouse in Maine for some weeks over Christmas and New Year’s while the house in Maine and the house in Charleston closed.
The fabrics are mostly from the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society designers, and the patterns is a star block that is traditional. I like the way it also makes big x’s along the way as well–and all sorts of other interesting secondary patterns.
The backing is scrappy–and all Cotton + Steel. I used a soft seafoam blue/green thread, and the pantograph is Deb’s Swirls, available on Urban Elementz. I really like the texture this panto creates. This is my 209th quilt, and the “Wyoming Mountain Crossings” is the 210th.
Here’s a close-up of the traditional star. One can vary how to manipulate the color in the middle of the star of course.
After these two quilts are dried, I’ll let them sit until Monday to mail them. I don’t want any moisture to remain in the quilts before packing them up to mail. It’s a long way to Wyoming and will take UPS some days to deliver them there.
The Churn Dash quilt is on the longarm, waiting patiently for me to finish planting new plants bought this week–and to play with the placemats under construction which is more possible when I’m tired and have only a small sewing window.
I did make it to the beach Monday for a beautiful walk at low tide–as that’s when one can see the most shells and can walk fast along the hard sand. (And, wade barefoot through tidal pools.)
The Churn Dash quilt (Eye Candy #5) is on the long arm. And I’ve been making more placemats with the blueberry fabrics. They are coming out beautifully, and I’m ripping through my solid stash as the solids do best for single-layer napkins. I rounded the last corner of “Wyoming Stars” last night–and will finish that binding tonight. Then, I’ll wash and mail both of them to…Wyoming.
Yesterday was wild: Costco for meat and two trips to two nearby Loews to find more of the Asiatic Jasmine. I’m going to IOP today and will take a picture of an established bed with this ground cover so you can see why I think it will work well here. I found 24 more plants yesterday and planted them on the shady side of the house–which is a lot of work as the soil is solid clay and needs the addition of sand and ground compost in every hole. They will form a solid bed there. It makes no sense to me to plant that side of the house–beyond the front corner which has already a holly of some kind–as that side of the house is not trafficked very often–by anyone, including me. The long sunny side is very visible.
At the first nearby Loews, an Endless Summer hydrangea, three Stella D’Oro daylilies, and a Buddlea (Butterfly Bush) jumped into the shopping cart. I still have to plant those–along the sunny side of the house. I’m mixing blooming perennials and shrubs for spring/summer interest.
I had a late lunch on the porch before tackling the planting holes.
I know. You’ve seen my salad lunches many times here. BUT, this one, in addition to the grilled chicken, has a sprinkling of my new herbs alongside the dill I had in the refrigerator: chive, mint, oregano, and sage. They are all doing well. And yesterday I added flat-leaf Italian parsley (which should come back in this climate) and Basil.
I’ve been making my afternoon espresso when I make lunch, so it is like a dessert to enjoy while I read just a bit more after lunch–and watch and wave at the sidewalk traffic of my neighbors.
In a few minutes I’ll leave to get the raw dairy that comes into Local Jo’s every other week–and I’ll drop off some at Mike and Tami’s on IOP and take the picture of the Asiatic Jasmine bed for the blog at their old house. And, stop by Bryan and Corinne’s with something special for them. Today is their youngest daughter’s 8th birthday.
We are meant to get some rain today–which will determine if I plant or sew after lunch–a grilled steak and…something. I need to stop at the grocery store for more veggies too.
The last Churn Dash quilt is off the design wall–and I spent some of the weekend prepping it for the longarm: backing and batting are sewn and ironed, and binding strips and label are cut.
It’s scrappy cute–made 99% from the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society project of the last three years–information which I seem to be repeating endlessly here. It’s a good thing this quilt is the last big project made with these fabrics.
I threw the finished rows of the Traverse BOM project up on the design wall–Tara Faughnan designer–without much of an attempt to line up the rows. I have the fabric to finish this quilt now, so will start sewing the remaining rows this week.
And, I will play more with placemats, using the blueberry fabrics I unearthed from the stash. Gosh it feels good to be tackling the stored sewing projects/fabrics now. I feel like I’m making real progress on whittling down the stash. Having some small projects to work on here and there is gratifying, as one sees immediate results.
My kitchen lights came–and with family help they got put together and installed Saturday. That was a true labor of love, let me tell you, as there was a switch issue and a ceiling hole issue. Plus, the lights are up over the kitchen bar, so one can’t reach them easily from a ladder. One has to get on the kitchen bar.
The lights are beautiful.
And another view:
As you can see in the picture, two of the holes in the ceiling were cut too big for the standard 4 1/2 inch ceiling plate. So there will have to a solution for that problem. And the switch that activated the hanging lights WAS activating the under-the-counter kitchen light dimmers. And the far right junction box up in the ceiling is not stable–so the far right light is not hanging straight.
These lights will also dim, but that’s above the family pay grade. So this morning I asked a local electrician–recommended by the light store and who did connect with me last week–to come and sort out the junction box, the switches, and to make sure the lights are ok. Maybe he’ll be able to connect one of the available switches to dim the hanging lights too. AND, maybe he’ll have some sort of cosmetic plate to conceal the ceiling damage–otherwise the builder will have to repair it. In any case, the family helped so much by putting the lights together and figuring out how low to hang them.
Life is part glorious and part messy, isn’t it?
Today is cooler, but meant to be pleasant with sun and clouds. So I’ll probably take my hanging-light worries to the beach. Mid-low-tide will happen around 3 pm.
I woke this morning to a solid much-needed rain. The grass and the little tree are happy, as is my water bill.
Yesterday morning I looked up while typing here to see a pair of geese just strolling down the sidewalk–in the back of my house.
It didn’t bother them at all for me to go out and take this little video. There are numerous little water basins on the property. Do they have a nest in one?
My little tree out front finally leafed out. I was sure it was dead. A plant identifier says it is 89% certain that it is a Willow Oak–which makes sense given its leaves. They are common here and very hardy here–especially given the low water levels. Other possibilities were below 5% possibility.
Here are the leaves:
There will be some type of acorn in 15 years. And the shape will stay conical for some time. In 30 to 50 years, it will be as tall as 50 feet with a full canopy.
I am totally loving the back screen porch outdoor room. Being out there is addictive. It is so fun to see all the activity on the street, but the porch is also serene and peaceful–and with the shades when needed, private, but with a screened view outside. The view from the outside in is totally opaque–as you can see from this picture from before I planted shrubs to the left of the door. And the shades definitely lower the temperature on the back of the house.
And, on most days, there is a breeze that comes straight onto the porch. So far, it’s been cool.
I did get some sewing done yesterday. The Churn Dash quilt is close to coming off the design wall. I can’t wait to see Traverse BOM up there.