Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Visit From My Florida Friends!!

For the past week, I have been entertaining visitors from sunny and warm Florida.  Luckily I was able to provide them with a couple of fairly nice days of tourist activities here in the Wilmington area.  Because of our severe cold a couple of weeks ago, our flowers are behind schedule this  year  Here you can see one of my visitors, Barbara, looking at this beautiful pink magnolia.  It was a gorgeous day

There was lots of beautiful scenery to photograph at Airlie Gardens, one of my favorite tourist spots in Wilmington.  There are two large ponds and lots of trees with Spanish moss.  Depending on the season, many ducks make their home here as well but make themselves scarce for visitors.

There were Gadwalls (here) as well as American Widgeons and Hooded Mergansers on one of the ponds.

I spotted this adult Black Crowned Night Heron hanging out by one of the ponds and barely visible in the Spanish moss.

There were quite a few Blue Grey Gnatcatchers flitting around.

There were also a number of male Cardinals singing like crazy around the Gardens

Airlie Gardens is famous for their Camellias and we were not disappointed with the showing!  Loved this pink and white variegated one.

Another really pretty white Camellia.

The Yellow Bellied Sliders were out in force sunning on every available log.

This is a closeup of one of the Sliders.  You can see where he gets his name!

I finally got all the ladies to pose for me.  Left to right are  Barbara, Jean, my friend Vicki (the ringleader of this group and my best friend from high school), and Vicki's SIL Joan.  Joan and Jean are fellow quilters.  Barbara, Jean and Vicky were up here to play in a sectional bridge tournament.  They come up early to try to get me retrained so that I can play and not embarrass myself too badly. 

We left Airlie Gardens, ate a lovely seafood lunch at the Boathouse and then headed to downtown Wilmington again and took a one hour cruise down the Cape Fear River (or rather up the river as we took the northern trip).  This is the courthouse downtown.  A new factoid I didn't know is that this is the opening scene from the old Matlock tv shows with Andy Griffith who I did know owned houses down here at Wrightsville Beach.

I had just  left the boat when I spotted this bird landing in a tree right next to me.  At first I thought pigeon but looked closer and realized it was a Eurasian Collared Dove.  I knew they were down here but had never seen one before.  This picture made him easy to identify!!

Playing bridge the first two days was pretty disastrous.  My partner had many raised eyebrows and was frustrated with me by the end of the second day.  However, I really redeemed myself the third day where we won just about everything we played in!!  I really feel like I am a better bridge player than I ever was 50 years ago when I played all the time but so much has changed in the game bidding, it is difficult to catch up.  The ladies were  happy as they got a much desired master point plus.  If I didn't have so many hobbies already, I might be convinced to start playing on a regular basis again.  The people were nice and the game is challenging.  Vicki and I never played when we were in high school.  She only learned about four years ago and already has close to 200 master points!!  No wonder she gets frustrated with me but we do have to play with more competent players because of her master points -- that is my story and I am sticking to it!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Quilters By The Sea Guild Quilt Show

In this blog, I have included many of my favorite quilts from the show which was held last weekend.  The judges and I agreed on many this year including this adorable cat quilt by Becky Bucci.  Colin didn't stand a chance against this one which got a first in its category.  My Colin Reconstructed came in second.

We all really liked this small Tiger Lily quilt by Lynn Flaherty. 

This is Natural Curves by Mary Harned.  I tried to keep the picture size in proportion for the quilt size

This is Great White Flight by Terri Hemeon.  It is in three parts.

We loved this quilt which the judges loved too and I know it won a first place in its category.  It is called Under the Msasa Tree by Patti Larsen.

Of course I loved this one with all the birds!  This is All About Birds by Donna Bergman.

This was done by my friend Dianne Brisson and is called Swirl.  It won a first place as well as a Best Use of Color award.  And she wasn't going to enter it!!

Loved the colors in this one.  It is Stash Buster by Eithne Scelzi.

This is Circless of Life by Beverly Kern and was beautiful.

This certainly placed first in its category -- beautifully appliqued.

It is Now I Know My ABCs by Mary Anne Coadic.

I don't know if this won any prizes but I loved it!  It is Night Sky by Angela Bridger.

I also loved this very simple scrap quilt.  It is called Vertical Drop by Terri Hermeon. 

Who wouldn't love this kitty quilt with kitty fabric!  It is called Fabulous Felines by Joanne Foster.
This won for the Best Scrap Quilt in the show.  Pictures don't do it justice.  It is called Obsessiveness by June Bell.  Look at all those little nine patches!!

Well, I didn't include all my favorites nor all the judges' favorites as I just didn't have the space.  I don't know whether they sold all the disks I made with the whole show on them either.

My guests who were up from Florida included two quilters who enjoyed the show tremendously.  

I would really like to say that the people who hung the show did an exceptional job.  I know from experience how difficult it is to fit quilts into a rather small space and still have them look good and not crowded.  They did a better than excellent job.

These are the quilts that I entered below.
This is Fiesta.
This is X's and O's (otherwise known as the hated quilt) which won a third place in the pieced bed quilts.

This is the Lone Star Mola quilt which won a first place in its category.

This is Colin Reconstructed which won a second place.

This is the Strata quilt.

Monday, March 23, 2015

It's Been Awhile for an Update!!!

You just never know what birds you will run into down at Ft. Fisher.  This morning a couple of weeks ago, there were all sorts of shorebirds intermingling  Above you can see a Tri-color Heron (the dark one), a Snowy Egret and four immature Ibis who are still a bit tan in color but who will be snowy white soon!

The Marbled Godwits were there also and I never tire of seeing them!

A couple of brightly colored Oystercatchers were also there.

Even a Great Blue Heron was standing on the wooden wall.

The Tri-color has his catch.

I wondered by the Recreation Area and saw 17 deer!!  They were only a little timid.

Here is a close-up of one of the fellows.  The horns had fallen off of most of their heads which I now understand is what happens in the spring.  You could see a little remnant on one of the deer.

I had guests all of last week so I wanted to finish off this house quilt top before they arrived.  I also had to get my quilts ready for the quilt show we had last weekend.  It has  been a VERY busy couple of weeks!!  I will have a blog showing some of the quilts from the show as I am the official photographer!  You can see that I am using the scrap strips from the houses to put on a border.  

It's finished!!  I am not totally crazy about the border without some plain strip separating it from the top but it would have meant even more calculating and finagling to get the border to fit!

I was hoping against hope that I would finish quilting this wholecloth quilt before the GVQC show but it will have to be the next one as there is not a prayer!!  Most of the middle is done though but since it is queen sized, there is a lot of edge!  This is the back of the quilt so you don't see the blue lines!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Jacket Progress!

It was a busy afternoon yesterday as I am running out of time to get a whole bunch of things done for our Guild quilt show which is the 20th of March but quilts have to be turned in March 14.  Three of my quilts needed sleeves, labels and all of the entries need their own pillowcase with numbers sewn on.  

In addition, I wanted to finish up the jacket (at least the outside) as it has been on my design wall too long!  I had really grappled with what to do to the front but resolved it by changing the neckline to something that fit more with garment.  It did have a vee neckline but I am much happier with this.  

I added the black side pieces to both the front and back so all that was left was to do the front darts and then sew everything together and try it on (which was a scary prospect as I just assumed the pattern I made before would fit!

It's all sewn together and on a hanger now!

I tried it on and it fit.  This is not a great picture as I am facing a mirror and taking the picture!  I think I am going to like the jacket though.  You can see how little of the black sides that  you see!  So now just to do the facing and the lining and I even think I have enough of the black silk to finish it off!

Two of my favorite birds were down at the boat dock yesterday -- Marbled Godwits hanging out with a largish flock of Dunlins.

The other Godwit on a very grey day!  I just love their impossibly long beaks!!

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Dyeing Day

Yesterday was a fun day of dyeing with my friend Dianne.  We each did half yard pieces and used the overdyeing technique where you get 35 different colors with 10 dye baths.  I have posted about this before and it is listed under my "Popular Posts".  I call it Extreme Overdyeing.  

The colors we used left to right were (ProChem names) Sun Yellow, Golden Yellow, Strong Orange, Mixing Red and Fuchsia.  All were about a 3% solution (I don't have a scale so used a tbsp of dye per pot which contained 6 yards of fabric which probably weighed around 600 gms give or take!!).  Fuchsia was only 1 tsp per the 6 yards which was roughly a 1% solution as it is such a disobedient and strong color.  The overdye colors top to bottom were Basic Blue (a red blue -- the only one of the pure blues that is), Mixing Blue, Intense Blue, Blue/Violet (a mixed color) and New Black (also a mix and a 1% solution).  The rest are all "pure" colors, ie., not made up of more than one color.  

Dianne prefers a more mottled look while I like solids looking fabrics and this was kind of a compromise!  I used dry fabrics the first time through (the warm colors) while Dianne used pre-wetted fabric.  Because of time constraints, we didn't dry the fabrics after we washed them after the first baths so I got a lot of mottling of the second color.  We didn't squish them around very much either which increases the mottling substantially!  

We are back to more typical weather here and are expecting 70s this week so that will be nice.  I did get down to Ft. Fisher to see how my birds are doing.  There weren't many and there were several people with the same idea!!

 I did like this Great Blue Heron posing for me in the shallows.

The Pelicans down here are not as prone to posing as they are in Florida where they seem to be a bit friendlier.  This fellow had his eye on me though.  He is beginning to get his pretty gold head here.

And there was one Royal Tern among all the Laughing Gulls and Ring-billed Gulls.