Turkey Tracks: Fall Color Finally Came

Turkey Tracks:  October 21, 2016

Fall Color Finally Came

I had despaired, with the terrible drought we have, of having our usual gorgeous fall color.  Many early-turning trees, like the ashes, just let their leaves turn brown and dropped them.

But somehow over the past few days, everything turned gold, orange, and red.  The oaks are now turning a deep mahogany–they are like the bass notes in a song.

Yesterday it was 90 degrees in New York City, 80 in Boston, and in the 70s here.  And it’s mid-October.  There has been no frost on the pumpkins yet on my hill.

Yesterday I picked about 20 Sun Gold cherry tomatoes and harvested what will be the last zucchini.  I have been waiting for a freeze to clean up the garden and plant the garlic and other bulbs.  (I add daffodils and Siberian scilla every year.)

Now I have a lot to do to clean up and to winterize outside.  Or it seems like a lot right now.

Last year was not a good hydrangea year.  So I didn’t have any to cut for the house.  This year the hydrangeas are glorious.

I cut some of the Annabelle’s, which are white and turn lime green, early on.  They are on the left.  The outside Annabelle’s have gone brown now.


Yesterday I went out and cut the others until I filled all the vases.  I just pull of all leaves and put the stems into a dry vase.  Most dry just fine, especially with this dry weather.

Here are some Pee Gees.


And lots of the blue variety:




Some years I’ve used these dried hydrangeas in my Christmas wreath.

I keep saying that I’m cutting “the last flowers in the garden,” but I really do think these Cosmos will be the last to come inside.


I found a few strays for the kitchen window:


That stone in the window is from the Bryan family mill back in the Reynolds, Georgia, area.  My beloved uncle, Sydney Hoke Bryan, gave it to me when I was in my early twenties and visiting Reynolds.  John and I had started a family and had two little boys 14 months apart.  I don’t think I realized then how deep my rural roots were, and I am so grateful to have this time of my life where I am back among farms and farm people.


Turkey Tracks: “Winter Blue Jays” Quilt

Turkey Tracks:  October 3, 2016

“Winter Blue Jays” Quilt

My oldest grandchild turned THIRTEEN in late September.

How did that happen?

Of course I sent him a quilt for his quilt collection.

One of my childhood memories is playing in the sandy, rock-lined paths of my grandmother’s Reynolds, Georgia, garden when some baby Blue Jays fledged.  They were beyond adorable, and, of course, I tried to catch one.  The next thing I knew, Mama Blue Jay was flying around my head, pulling my hair, beating my head with her wings, and making a terrible racket.

Up here in Maine, I don’t see Blue Jays much in the summer.  But in winter, they arrive in flocks at my feeders, and they are so pretty.  They like a flat feeder, so I have one for them.

I bought the backing for Bowen’s quilt a few years back because I instantly fell in love with it


I put my childhood story on the label so Bowen would always see my deep attachment to the wonders of nature.


This quilt came out of the four-patch journey I went on two summers ago where I sewed all the two-inch blocks into light/dark four-patches.  I also used the 3 1/2-inch strips I had already cut and stored to make the light/dark half-square triangles–with the Easy Angle ruler.  ( I use Bonnie Hunter’s stash management system, as I’ve written about many times on this blog.)  The block in this quilt is the classic Jacob’s Ladder block–a 9 patch.  I had some light shirting fabric that I thought went really well with this quilt for the binding.

The quilt is a classic, like Bowen.


I used a soft blue thread and a gently curving feather pantograph.



Turkey Tracks: Star of Bethlehem Flowers

Turkey Tracks:  June 15, 2015

Star of Bethlehem Flowers


When my grandmother, Louise Phillips Bryan of Reynolds, Georgia, was a young married woman, she went down into the Flint River swamp, brought back some flowers she found there, and put the tiny bulbs in her front yard.

Decades and decades later, long after she was dead, the flowers carpeted the large front yard in the spring like white snow.

Grandmother called these flowers “Star of Bethlehem.”

And when I came to Maine 11 years ago, I planted some of the bulbs in memory of her.

Here are mine now:


The fancy name is Ornithogalum.

 Seeing these flowers bloom this spring has been particularly poignant for me as Grandmother’s great-great grandaughter, Elouise, named for Grandmother’s lineage and honoring her name, was born this April.

I will make sure Elouise knows about these flowers that remind me so much of my Grandmother.

Turkey Tracks: “Remembering…Louise Phillips Bryan, 1892-1981” Quilt

Turkey Tracks:  December 18, 2014

“Remembering…Louise Phillips Bryan, 1892-1981” Quilt

I mailed this quilt to sister Susan Heath this week.

It’s one of the prettiest quilts I’ve ever made, and it was made in memory of my beloved grandmother Louise Phillips Bryan of Reynolds, Georgia.  I had the most amazing relationship with her, and to this day, I can hear her big hearty laugh, see her twinkling brown eyes, and know that she “had my back” no matter what.  I spent a lot of time with her growing up, and one of my fond memories is sitting in her back yard one afternoon, our feet propped up on a pole, singing old songs together.  She was so much fun.  She was a gardener, a seamstress, a knitter, made sure the table in her dining room held nourishing, delicious food every day, and was a savvy and successful card player.  I could go on and on about her, as like many others, I loved her so dearly.  Brown was my grandmother’s favorite color–she had dark fine curly hair and brown eyes.

Susan fell in love with this quilt as it grew on the design wall during her last visit.  So I gave it to her.

This quilt is a split nine-patch, and I started it as Bonnie Hunter issued this block as a  leader-ender challenge a while back.  A leader-ender project is where one works on a block whenever one needs to cut thread while working on another quilt.  You can see Bonnie’s version of this quilt easily as she has it on the banner of her web site, quiltville.com, at the moment.  Or, it’s on the blog, which you can get to from the main site.  I LOVE Bonnie’s version–it’s more modern and uses a different setting.

With light/dark blocks, setting possibilities are endless.  I adapted a setting used by Lynn Roddy Brown in the Jan/Feb 2014 (#155) issue of Quiltmaker Magazine.



Here are some close-ups of this quilt that was made with dozens of different fabrics out of my deep stash:



I quilted with a gold/brown thread, using a pantograph called “Arcadia” from Urban Elementz.




Here’s the backing:


And the label: