Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Trail Cam Surprise

You never know what you might see on the backyard trailcam, especially on Halloween.  He he he.

Sometimes I just feel like one.
Happy Halloween Readers...

I Wanda Witch You a Happy Halloween

I got this card from my nephew and his family.
One of the cutest Halloween cards ever.
I hope your Halloween is fun!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

To build a quilt from scraps and pieces

Last weekend I went to my first ever quilting retreat.  
I arrived at Oak Forest at noon on Friday and left at noon on Sunday, in between I was busing sewing.  My high school friend, Mary, and two of her friends (Linda and Sharon-who are now my friends) have attended a retreat at this location each spring and fall for several years.  The Oak Forest Lodge is located just NE of Luck in the Straight Lake State Park.  It's a beautiful location, the facility design is so well thought out for serving groups and the decorating very soothing, earthy and lovely.  
We had planned to have 4 to a room, but due to lower attendance, we ended up with 2 to a room.

The room where we set up our sewing machines was a large room with lots of windows and good lighting.
This is the view from my sewing machine.  
The view of the rest of the sewing room.
Check out the clever way to raise a normal table to a better height for cutting.  PVC leg add ons.
Each seamstress was working on something different.
Mary made a tee shirt quilt for a friend.
I always thought I should make one of these, but now I know it is a difficult project.
Linda sewed a lap quilt.  The Christmas images reminded us of vintage Christmas cards.
Sharon made several purses for gifts.  
Mary cranked out a bunch of pillow cases, all with doggie prints.
She's donating these to a fundraiser for the Humane Society.
Several made totes.
These were beautiful with many pockets and features.
Inspecting the finished tote.
It was nice to have room to layout the pieces.
This is Brenda's quilt for a young friend.
The ping pong table served as a good place to layout squares and planning a pattern.
Jan was working on a nice quilt for their camper.
My strips sewn together waiting to be cut into lengths.
I spent the first day working on binding my yellow brick road quilt.
This quilt was pieced at a class last March.
Mary had to pin the backing to the quilt top and stabilize the batting.  
This part of the process is tedious.
It takes a lot of pins to be sure the batting and backing do not shift.
Jan's finished quilt top.
Linda was working on a bib for Finley, her new grandson who is coming soon.
Is that a cute monster, or what!
Mary got into the purse business too.
I would have loved to have made one of these, but I was focused on my quilt top.
Starting to layout the blocks to arrange by color and value.

My final layout and all blocks and strips sewn.
Two projects completed!
Brenda finished piecing her quilt.
 Friday night I sewed until 1:00 am and Mary sewed at least another hour.  She was up at 6am and out the door to sew again, I slept in a couple more hours.
Saturday night, I stayed up until about 2:45 am sewing but Mary went to bed about 1:30 am.
Again Sunday morning Mary was up and off to sew at 6:00 am, but I slept until 7:30 am.
Who else but quilters would pay a lot of money to stay at a nice lodge and then act like they are working in a sweat shop?  Pretty crazy, and very fun!
Some of the women took a break on Saturday and went to the quilt shop but I stayed and sewed.
Quilting is so crazy.  I bought 160 strips of fabric, sewed them together in different combinations, and then cut them up into different lengths and sewed them together again.
But the end result is worth it.
The quilt top I made is for my room.
My inspiration is an original painting by a friend of mine.
Malia lives in Maui and painted this mini acrylic.
The artist's description: Here I’ve tried to capture a perfect beach day. The south shores of Maui are ideal for sunbathing and playing in the waves. This picture highlights the perfect blues you can see looking out from Kihei and Makena, under a bright sky with just a touch of soft clouds. I’ve used my favorite ocean colors, Prussian Blue, Deep Turquoise, and some Cobalt Teal. This is a fun memento of a sunny day at the beach.
I decided to make a quilt that would say to me, sand and ocean and deep blue sea.
So, I used color and value to represent this idea.
The bottom of the quilt starts on the sandy beach
and then moves up through the ocean and into the deep blue sea at the top of the quilt.
 The next steps for this quilt top is to find a batting and then have it quilted by the long arm quilter.
As you can see, Barley likes it fine as it is.
The quilt that I finished the binding on is for the guest room.
It fits nicely and Barley thinks it is a good place to be.
Next steps for this quilt is just to sew shams to match.
 I had so much fun at this retreat.
I wasn't really sure if I would like it, sharing a room with others, sewing all day, I just wasn't sure.
I think I can say I will be going to as many retreats like this as I can manage.

On the way home, I started to think about writing an ode about the weekend.

Ode to a Quilt Retreat

It’s not an easy task,
The same answer from anyone you ask.

To find time to sew with no interruptions or snags,
Requires going away for the weekend, so you must pack your bags.

Don’t forget your machine, thread, needles and all manner of tools & such,
Getting away for the weekend with only sewing on the mind, means so much.

To sew with friends, some old & some new, is a gift for sure,
Their advice and conversation, for what ails you, is the cure.

Don’t mind the clock, nor the setting of the sun,
The fun of sewing and creating is second to none.

To build a quilt from scraps and pieces,
As the clock ticks away, the urge to sew only increases.

If you see the wee hours and your machine is still humming,
It means that your project completion is probably forthcoming.

Being comfortable with friends and the humming sewing machines,
It might be something found in your genes.

At the end of the weekend, packing up is such sweet sorrow,
But you know that once home, you can sew again tomorrow.

Next time we meet with our gear all ready to go,
It will be fun to see new projects many of which I must sew.

Thanks for a fun weekend and I hope we meet again! is a wish of mine,
Hopefully next time it will also include a glass of wine.

Wanda Johansen
October 28, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

And the plumber, again

For the third time in less than a year, I have had to have a plumber come to fix water lines in the crawl space.  I was lucky enough to get the name of a local young plumber from my nephew in law.  Chad has turned out to be a life saver 3 times now!  For some reason, the brass fittings on my pex (composite) water lines have been disintegrating.  I only discover the problems by hearing odd noises from under the bathroom or kitchen floor, it sounds like a roar of sorts.  Yesterday morning was the third time I had heard this noise.  It took me awhile to figure it out, I thought I was hearing the furnace, not too used to that sound yet this fall, and finally diagnosed that it was another leak.  Chad was able to come over this afternoon and fixed it & one other in about 2 hours.  For some reason, the fittings that go from 1/2 to 1/4 inch lines are just breaking in two.  There is no good way to know how many of these fittings are under the house, I am hoping that this is the last.  Either way, I'm going to hire Chad to come over next summer and replace all the brass fittings under the house with the non reactive plastic ones.
And before you ask, this plumber did not have a crack problem.
By the way, from now on, based on the advice of my plumber Chad, if I'm going to be away from the house overnight, I'm going to turn off the pump for the well.
Sometimes a little prevention goes a long way.
Last of the cosmos

More birds

Love the first time I see a cardinal in the snow, too bad he was sitting on my poor frozen begonia plant.

I don't often see a Red Breasted Nuthatch, but he has been around the past few days.

Mr. Purple Finch showed up today, his spouse had been here off and on, 
but today was the first glimpse I got of this colorful guy.

The Hairy Woodpeckers have been showing up again too.  

I guess it is just time for all these birds to be on the move again.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chilly weather is here

The hard frost has happened and a few snow flakes have fallen, so we are officially done with summer I guess.  Some of my maples are bare but some are still holding onto their colorful leaves.
This little guy was hanging on in the wind.  I love how they puff up to stay warm.
Some of my photographer friends have done some interesting things with fall leaf photos, by camera movement, they are mimicking water colors.
I gave it a try, it's not my favorite, but it is different.
Artsy fartsy isn't really my thing.
I think I'll stick with reality photography.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cranes at Crex

My friend Kathy is out in the Crex Meadows area almost everyday.  I have come to think of that area as her personal refuge so when I arrived on Saturday afternoon to see if I could watch the cranes come in for the night, I was pretty surprised to see how many other people had the very same idea.
Funny how I felt like they were trespassing.
The sounds these cranes make as they fly over is pretty amazing.

The sun hitting the birds as they fly in.

There were big groups of cranes and big flocks of geese.

Perfect form.

These two were settling in for the night I suppose.

Some scenery, while the colors are dulling towards winter, it is still a pretty time of year.

The sunset was worth the drive.

It was a blinding and beautiful setting of the sun for sure.

These swans were busy preening.

A gnarly old tree that is home to some kind of critter.
Kathy said that she saw thousands of cranes the very next night after the weather changed and there was a little snow in the air.  I'm happy I got there to see as many as I did.
Mother Nature is amazing.


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