Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Birds, Butterflies and Blooms

 These first two pictures are of a frequent visitor to our garden.  I wanted to get a really good picture in an attempt to identify exactly what kind of Skipper it was although I am still not certain.  I think it is a Leonard's Skipper as it looks exactly like some of the pictures I saw.  This is the back view and the following picture is the side view.  These butterflies are only about an  inch and a quarter wide and move pretty fast. I was very pleased with the detail in this one with the new little camera.

This is the side view.  I have decided that macro photography is really my favorite I guess! One of the ways to tell butterflies generally from moths is that butterflies  have those little feelers on the ends of their antennae which moths don't generally have.

This butterfly is called a  Cabbage White and is very common around here.  You can tell by the spot on his wings.  These rarely stay still but I lucked out and the light was pretty good as well.

American Goldfinches are almost always at my neighbor's bird feeder along with the House Finches and Black Capped Chickadees.

The rest of the above crowd including the beautiful make House Finch.

Last but not least is the Spicebush Swallowtail which is a frequent visitor to our zinnias.  This one is in good shape  unlike the one from the other day.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Jacket Overachiever

Finally finished the jacket that I started in the kimono jacket class that Priscilla taught a couple of weeks ago.  I then proceeded to go through a bunch of fabric from which I had long ago intended to make jackets .  As I am in major cleanup phase, figured now was the time as I do like the casualness of the jacket and the ease of making.   So in best obsessive  Beth style,  I quickly cut out four more and finished them off last night.  The jacket is really simple and you make a pattern  to your own measurements with Priscilla's help.     The first jacket above had pretty routine fabric so Priscilla helped me by providing some strips that I could incorporate.  There is a bigger strip in the back.   The band is one of my hand dyed sateens with a little bit of purple silk.  The jacket is made from  a scarf that is two sari's sewn together which is what creates the stripes.  It ends up a 30 inch by 2 yard piece of double sided silk.

This  was a real stretchy  fabric I bought at a sale a couple of years ago.  It has lots of bling on it as well (although you can't see from the picture).  I thought it would make a nice sweater kind of jacket and I do like it a lot! !

This was another sale piece of fabric that was loosely woven (had to serge all the inside seams so it wouldn't fall apart).  I am not crazy about this one.  It has a silk dupioni  band.  Just not my color and kind of boring.

 Another piece of fabric that I found really  cheaply at Joann's,  so it came home with me   !  It is double sided and I like the way it turned out as well and it will look great with black pants!

This turned out to be my favorite.  I bought the piece of fabric (an old rayon I think) a few years ago at a garage sale.   I had thought I was going to make a bog coat out of it but really liked this one finished.  I just turned the fabric inside out for the band and added a little  of my hand dyed gold fabric for accent . 

Amazingly all the jackets  used the same pattern and they all fit a little differently due to the difference is fabric!

Peaking out from behind all the jackets is this quilt top which is the remaining blocks from the two previous quilts I made! !  Guess the remaining six blocks will never find a home now!!   This is just screaming to me for some applique on top so may try the Ricky Tims or  Libby Lehman techniques to add some fused on applique.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Butterfly Blog

I have spent the past few days trying to get pictures of the swallowtails that frequent the flowers this time of year.  They seem to love the giant zinnias that we have growing in our garden and allowed me to snap their pictures.  There are two kinds here -- the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (mostly yellow) and the bedraggled  dark one is a Spicebush Swallowtail.  Notice the striped body of the Tiger Swallowtail.

This is a closeup of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on one of the pink zinnias.

Here you can see all the spots on the body of the Spicebush Swallowtail.

Of course no day is complete without the beautiful Monarch.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Last Days of Sisterly Visit - Montezuma and Lake Ontario

Monday morning we headed down to Penn Yan to visit the various Mennonite quilt shops in the area to see if we could find any bargains.  I also wanted to go to my favorite Bernina shop to pick up an attachment I had neglected to buy at the show (thought I had it already but I didn't).  We did score some awesome batiks at a much lower price than you would normally find!  No day would be complete without finding some birds though so we headed from Penn Yan to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge just north and east of Seneca Falls NY.  We knew it was the wrong time for any major migrations but hoped to see a few things.  I should note that the temps were now in the 90s as well so we took the wildlife drive and stopped several places along the way and did see a new bird for me (not my sister) and several that we still haven't identified as we didn't get good pictures.   However, as you come to the Visitor's Center, there is a large Marten house and there were quite a few Purple Martens flying around!

There were absolutely beautiful marsh mallows all along the shores of the rather dry marsh.  I especially liked this shot with the deep blue sky in the background!

I was switching back and forth between two cameras this time and think this was taken with my little new camera.
The bird here pictured with the black cap and bright colored bill is a Caspian Tern which I hadn't seen before.  We saw quite a few of these and they are large beautiful white birds.  They resemble egrets when flying as their wing span is so broad.  They dive for their food which we saw later on.

 This is a view down to the marshes from a tall platform.  Beautiful colors and vista.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten the binoculars.  When we got home, we could see that there were a number of ducks swimming around in here, none of which we could identify.  A trip back may be in order for me (on a cooler day!).
Here is the Caspian Tern diving for food.

Before Gail left, I took her up to the  outlet which I frequent in the winter when the lake and bay are frozen. In the summer, I have only rarely seen any ducks of interest.  My sister correctly identified these ducks which were across from us as Gadwalls. She identified them as they are dippers unlike the mallards.  Now I know I have seen these before but thought they were female mallards.  The only other time I have seen them and correctly named them was out in Seattle when visiting my daughter and SIL.  The one on the left is dipping (butt up).

Gail had really wanted to see the Mute Swans which are an invasive species and of which we have an abundance!!!  She got her fill of mute swans, Canada geese and mallards at this spot on the bay side of the outlet.  This lady was feeding the swans which were more than a bit aggressive. You can see their impressive size in this picture!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Practicing What We Learned at Marcia's

This is the Ricky Tims Convergence quilt that Priscilla made some time ago from some of Ricky's fabric.  It is obvious why he dyes his fabric like he does as you can see how well it works up in this piece.

 Priscilla is working on a new jacket using a fabric that has molas along the edge.  Her mola quilt is in the background -- she was working on Seminole strips to surround these blocks.
Marcia is going through some of the quilted saris that Priscilla recently got from India!  She kindly offered them to us first and it took a lot of determination not to buy!
Gail did the "caveman" cutting that Ricky demonstrated layering two pieces of fabric and free hand cutting these tulips.  She then started sewing them back together using Ricky's piecing techniques for curves.  She really had it under control by the end of the day!!  And with some urging, she finished both by the time we left.  

If this looks familiar, it is because I had already completed two quilts using these blocks.  I have been cleaning  out stuff and came upon yet another 56 blocks!!  This is about the best I can do with these odd blocks although I think I did shift a couple more before calling it quits for the day.  I couldn't believe I had more of these blocks.  Now I know I have a large plastic bag full of a green version of these  in my "project" pile....

Here my sister is inspecting her first tulip and picking up the next set of pieces to sew back together.  She is trying to decide whether to make two more or not for a wall hanging.  We will make an art quilter out of her yet!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Ricky Tims Quilt Seminar

Gail and I spend Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Ricky Tims Quilt Seminar.  It was held at the Rochester Institute of Technology in their wonderful fieldhouse.  These seminars are held throughout the country as well as occasionally overseas and include Ricky Tims, Libby Lehman and Alex Anderson (who formerly hosted Simply Quilts).  They presented three days of lectures and Ricky performed in concert on Friday night -- his formal training was as a musician.  All I can say is, if  you get the chance, don't pass up the opportunity to attend one of these.  I consider myself to be a fairly sophisticated quilter but I was inspired especially by Ricky and Libby who had tons of tips and techniques to share!  It was just plain fun as there was a lot of bantering and easygoing camaraderie among the three presenters.  There was a bit or marketing but it wasn't at all annoying.
Here are John Anderson and Alex and Ricky at the beginning of the seminar.  Ricky and Alex share a a website called The Quilt Show which features full length quilt shows with many of the famous quilters.   They are also publishing a magazine called Quilt Life.  This is a publication from AQS.
Priscilla Kibbee and Maryanne Smith were the two people in our Club who organized this event with the Ricky Tims organization who gave the club a hefty donation as this was the largest seminar they have produced to date.  We even had 140 people come down from Canada.  I even met a very, very distant cousin (family name but she was aware of the family history) which was fun.  She was a Coffin -- the Coffins were one of the founding families on Nantucket.

Priscilla and Marcia were very, very busy during these three days. Marcia was assigned as Ricky's follower which meant she had to be the line monitor for autographs and also the official event photographer using his camera.  The hand dyed aprons were one of the perks of being a volunteer.
Here is Marcia with Ricky in front of one of Ricky's quilts!

Alex had many of her books for sale and was happily autographing them for visitors.  Marty Grasberger was one of the helpers at her table.

My sister posing with Ricky at the table where he and Libby were doing autographs and pictures!  Ricky lives about a hour south of where my sister lives in Colorado Springs and she often hikes down in his area.
Bernina is a sponsor of the seminar and here Libby is working with Ricky showing him some of the features of a new machine that was premiered at this event -- Priscilla already has ordered one and it is the first machine that has tempted me in the last 13 years!

Libby was a sketch!!  I had her many years ago for a class and already knew what a nice friendly down to earth person she was!

The following are four of Ricky's quilts. The second one was a joint effort between Ricky and his father. His father did the lone star in the center with fabrics that Ricky dyed and picked out for him and Ricky did the rest using his applique technique.  Almost all of the quilts in the show were illustrating a technique that Alex, Libby and Ricky demonstrated including designing, machine quilting, hand quilting, applique technique and caveman piecing.

We all got to take home a book which further detailed all the techniques that were demonstrated so that we didn't have to take notes!

Ricky is a gifted musician and we really enjoyed his concert where he shared many of his family stories and pictures from his background. We especially enjoyed the compositions that he had written himself. I would have bought one of his cds except the lines were so long!!!

My sister yelled down to Alex for her to look up which she obligingly did and Gail snapped this shot!
This is just one of the many, many piles of Ricky's hand dyed fabrics.  People were just scooping them up and filling their bags -- you could run a tab!
Here Marcia Birken is clowning with Alex's husband John!!
Gail and I were there for the set up in the morning and this picture was taken immediately after all the carefully hung quilts came crashing down like dominoes.  Eventually we got some weights to hold the stands in place but for awhile all capable hands were holding poles while the quilts were rehung.

A Sisterly Visit

Well here are the Baker sisters.  My sister Gail also has a blog which you can see on the left hand column of my blog.  She came up for a visit and to see the Ricky Tims Quilt Seminar which was held here last week.  During the past year and a half she has become an avid quilter and fabric stroker!  My goal was to keep her busy and away from the clutter and dust which is my house!  I think I succeeded!  As soon as she got off the plane, I took her to the movies with friends.  The next day, we headed south to Letchworth Park where hopefully we would have some picture taking opportunities and there might be some birds (there really wasn't).  This picture was taken looking over the Genesee River by a nice passerby.   You will note we both have cameras around our necks but I had two, hence the picture.  It is rare to see us without said cameras.

This is looking down the gorge at the river.  It has been very dry around here.

These are one of the three sets of falls in Letchworth Park.  It was a gorgeous day out!

This is an Eyed Brown butterfly, one that I haven't seen before.

This picture and the following picture are of the Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly which is pretty common in these parts.  Fun to play with the camera to get the pictures.

After this excursion (and no food I might add -- my sister thrives on neglect), we took the long way home through Batavia where I lived before moving to Rochester.  Managed to drive around in circles for about a half an hour before heading home but I did see the old house although it is barely recognizable!