Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Visit to Cary, NC and a PAQA-South Exhibit

Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to meet up with a group of exciting quilt artists in Cary, NC.  Many of these women belong both to the SAQA (Studio Art Quilters Association) and PAQA-South (Professional Art Quilters Alliance which is not affiliated with the national PAQA group).  They have one meeting a  year and membership is open to anyone interested in becoming more professional in fiber arts -- I am definitely going to be joining.  They have two exhibits a year.

Although this was a SAQA meeting, we met in the facility housing the fall exhibit of the PAQA-South show.  The theme of the show was quilt art from photographs --so it was almost totally representational and I loved it.

This is Sunset Point by Roxane Lessa.  It was one of my favorites.The show runs from Sept 26 through October 20 at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center in Cary NC and I highly recommend that anyone in the area attend it.  The quilts were just beautiful and showed so many different interpretations and techniques.

I, of course, loved this one as it is a theme after my own  heart as well as the technique that I most like to use -- it was large and beautifully done.  It is Shell Study #1 by Eileen Williams.

This was Iris Nirvana by Nanette Zeller.  There were many small works in the exhibit which featured incredible detail and threadwork.

This was a really small but beautiful piece by Eileen Williams called Coastal Sunset.  She showed us many more examples in show and tell.

The driving was made a delight by having Patricia Mattison as my navigator for the five hours we spent driving to and from Cary. It was delightful to get to know her better and find so many things we had in common (including living in Batavia NY at the same time!!).  It was nice to meet all  these new women. I even met a woman from Southport (just on the other side of the ferry here) who had just made Quilt National for the first time (page 51 in the book).  She is interested in dyeing and has the house to do it so there may be some more dyeing in my future (although I will have to buy fabric and supplies to do it).  All in all, it was a great day.  I was very impressed with Cary and see why so many people have moved there from up north!

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Day at Greenfield Park

My bird friend Bruce sent out a note the other day commenting on the number of warblers that could be found at a place called Greenfield Lake.  I had passed by this many times going back and forth to Charlotte but had never stopped so thought it was a nice day for a leisurely drive.  Surprisingly, it is literally a couple of blocks south of downtown Wilmington and is a very large lake.  There is a drive completely surrounding it with three or four places that you can park your car and walk around.  I think it would be a very long walk to walk around the whole lake as even driving and just walking a bit, I was gone for over three hours!  I didn't spot too many birds but then it was late in the afternoon and I am not all that great at spotting birds in foliage and was really looking to get a feel for the area so that I could go back and explore further.  A very pleasant surprise was that there were lots of gardens with flowering azaleas (or something that certainly looked like azaleas) which I didn't think flowered this time of  year!  There were lots and lots of butterflies there.  The first one I spotted was this Red Spotted Purple -- not sure if I hae seen this one before and it loved the butterfly bushes that were there.

The same butterfly as above but from the side.  There will definitely be a butterfly quilt in my future!

Just one more Purple!

This is a Silver Spotted Skipper -- one of three different Skippers that I saw.  You could see the flash of white as they flitted around.

This is a Fiery Skipper -- saw a lot of this one.

I believe it is an Ocola Skipper.

This was one of the many Cloudless Sulfurs sucking on the nectar from the azalea bloom.

I believe this is a Green Anole Lizard which I saw hidden in the undergrowth.

I was told that the lake is filled with alligators and this one sure fit the bill -- he was proably 12 or 14 feet long and had been sunning on the shore right next to the playground just minutes before I arrived.  He was surrounded by a whole bunch of turtles.

This is a Cardinal Flower in the woods which I thought was very pretty.

I believe this is an Amanita mushroom which according to Wikipedia is highly poisonous, not that I go around eating wild mushroom!  I just thought it was really pretty!

This is, of course, one of my favorites - a Piliated Woodpecker.  There were two hanging out by the Amphitheatre and they were not happy about me being there taking their pictures!

This is an American Redstart which is in the warbler family.  I had not seen one of these before although it is one of the common fall migrants.  There were quite a few of these, both male and female flying around.

Another picture of the Redstart -- a female I think.

The whole lake area is really pretty.  There are brdges and wooden pathways as well as a paved pathway around most of the area (if not all).  This was looking out over the lake.

Another view looking out -- you can even see some slight change in color.  I will have to come back in a month!

You can see the reflection of the very blue sky.

There were ibis and egrets in the lake -- hopefully there will be ducks later on (although with Snapping Turtles, who knows!)  I passed some other ibis locally driving up there as well.

I also might note that I saw my first hummingbird on the island the other day so I can add that to my Pleasure Island list.  I had thought it was one of my dragonflies until I blew up the picture!

I definitely will be returning to Greenfield Park!!  I am beginning to think that Wilmington is one of the South's biggest secrets!  Any naturalist would have a field day down here!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ft. Fisher on the First Day of Fall

The weather has been truly wonderful down here with skies a deep azure blue -- the perfect backdrop for the sea oats and stones on the beach at Ft. Fisher.  Ft. Fisher (and Wilmington for that matter) attained some notice because of the recent film Lincoln which talks quite a bit about those last battles in the Civil War during the first 30 minutes of the movie.  My youngest daughter's FIL was extremely intrigued by the history of this area which he read up on after his last visit.  Evidently Wilmington was (unknown to the North for much of the time) one of the main ports through which the South got their materials from foreign sympathizers.  How cool is it to live in such a historic and also beautiful area.

I know I have showed pictures of the Live Oaks before but the lines are just so beautiful and they are all  around the park.

Look at that blue sky!

This was not Photoshopped. I wasn't even sure that the camera would capture the gradation of the blue color in the sky -- not often  you take a picture of 90 per cent sky!!  I wanted inspiration for a piece I am going to make this winter using some lovely batiks I was gifted last year.

Again, I was just taking pictures of things that appealed to me.  Here were Painted Daisies (which are everywhere down here) growing through the planking leading to the gazebo.  

Another very tiny wildflower.  I thought it was in the aster family and it is -- Youngia or Hawk's-beard.  It grows year round and I think I saw it in the spring as well.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Butterflies and Bugs

 The weather has been stunningly beautiful the past few days and cool enough in the afternoons to resume my afternoon walks while the sun is still out.  I headed down to Ft. Fisher as it is really too early for birds but knew I would spot some butterflies down there among the Painted Daisies.  I always see different butterflies there than in my neighbor's yard but I have included one from there as well.  This is a Gulf Fritillary which looks totally different on the top and bottom.  This is the top view.

 This is from below -- notice all those white large spots and the stripey body.

This shows a side view so you can see both sides.  It is a lovely burst of color this time of year.

This is a Common Buckeye,   I didn't notice this petite wildflower until I blew up the picture.  I was wondering what was attracting these butterflies.

This is a Common Sootywing which is quite small.  I was surprised I managed a decent picture.

This is a Phaon Crescent.  The butterfly books shows this as being further west but it definitely was this butterfly .  I should note that this is really a "macro" as this butterfly is only about 7/8 of an inch across -- you can see the blades of grass for comparison.  This was in my neighbor's yard.

This is most of a Common Green Darner (dragonfly) which our cat caught the other evening.  I decided the remains would look nice in my Christmas Cactus which sits outside on the porch.  The top of the body is bright green and then it is aqua.  It is a good sized dragonfly.

This was a HUGE bug -- probably three to four inches long when stretched out.  It was late in the day but it was green. Thanks to the entomology group on Facebook, I now know this is an Obscure  Bird Grasshopper described as a HUGE grasshopper which it was!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My First Meeting at Quilter's by the Sea Guild of Wilmington

Finally after living down here part time for the last couple of years, I made it to a meeting of the local quilt guild .  It is about half the size of GVQC and had a more intimate feel than the meetings up north.  The web site is Quilter's by the Sea Guild of Wilmington.  Needless to say, I did join the group and very glad of that!

Our speaker for the evening was Susan Edmonson (her website).  She teaches classes on creativity, collages as well as all sorts of embellishment techniques and makes her home in Concord, NC.  Hers was about the only southern accent I heard all evening!!  The above was one of her pieces that featured many of her techniques as was developed as a sample for one of the fabric companies she designs for. One of the features of many of her pieces was text which you can see on the far left hand side of this piece.  She also markets a series of patterns and has recently published her first book.

This was Susan talking about the above piece.  She interjected a lot of humor in her presentation.

She had a table absolutely heaping with all sorts of really nice examples of her work which is very whimsical!

They had Show and Tell after the program.  I have to get these ladies better trained as they lifted up and showed their quilts so quickly, I couldn't get the camera focused so here are a few of the quilts from their show and tell which they held after the program!  Although a very simple pattern, this was  just a beautiful way to use up your colorful batiks.

I don't know any names yet but hopefully that will come with time as there is a reasonable number of people to get to know in this club!  This was the first quilt of this proud lady and with good reason to be proud, I might add -- very nice!

This was one of several quilts shown by one very prolific quilter who showed several quilts but so quickly, this was the only one I got a shot of!!

Another very pretty quilt!

This was a pretty quilt which was quickly donated to the Guild's contribution to the Neonatal  unit at the New Hanover Hospital.

This was a collaged piece by Patricia Mattison (her website). She has her work displayed and teaches at a local gallery down here in Wilmington.  She happened to sit in the same row in the back as I did and recognized me and she looked slightly familiar as well.  After a short chat, we found that we had many mutual friends and she was from Syracuse until a  year ago. She and I had pieces in an exhibit several years ago and we believe we took some of the same classes at Quilting by the Lake.  Definitely a small world moment!  I met several other quilters from New York who introduced themselves to me.

This and the following quilt were my two favorites!!  I love scrap quilts anyway and these two had such pretty colors.

Luckily these two ladies held up their quilts long enough so I could take a picture!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lots of Visitors!

We had a house full of guests this past week!  My youngest daughter and her husband and my beautiful granddaughter were here from Seattle, her inlaws here from Myrtle Beach,  and my older daughter from Charlotte.  Here is my exuberant granddaughter and her grandpa!  There were getting ready to go fishing.  DH put a bell on the fishing line and she played  "catfishing" with one of our kitties!  The shirt was dyed by her mother!!!  It seems that I have brought her over to the "dark" side and she has taken up dyeing clothes -- now to just get her to use something other than RIT dyes!!

Here is Amelia with her newest friend Danny, a stuffed seal from her aunt LJ.  LJ was a big hit with her niece.

That's me in the background and my youngest daughter in the foreground.  She is a blonde right now but has been every color in the rainbow over the years!!  It should be no surprise that she has taken up dyeing -- so she will be a third generation dyer!!

Our other visitors have been the butterflies.  This was taken from the third floor balcony of a Palamedes Swallowtail butterfly in my neighbor's flower garden.  They have butterflies most of the time.

This was Black Swallowtail which was flitting around with the Palamedes butterflies above.  He is a bit more colorful.

Two of the Palamedes butterflies in flight.  There have also been an abundance of the sulfurs which gives butterflies their name (from the yellow color).  

The weather has been glorious and the ocean temps in the 80s.  I had to buy a new bathing suit, though,  as I managed to leave all of mine at home!!  What was I thinking?