Thursday, March 28, 2013

More New Purses!

It has been extra cool down here but at least we have nice blue skies.  This looked like a scene from The Birds with all the Laughing Gulls in their summer plumage making a terrible racket!

This is another of the purse I have made already using a nice Kaffe Fassett print!

This is another pattern I had brought down with me and had yet another zipper technique -- my favorite so far!  This was super easy to make as most of the Lazy Girl patterns are.  I didn't have enough fabric to make the stripes go in the other direction but they look okay anyway. I made the outside of the purse out of two random 1/2 yd pieces of fabric.  One of the pockets is lined with the stripe and one is lined with the flower print.

The zipper is set down about an inch from the edge of the lining.

This is the pattern I used for this purse.  I am making at least one more from this pattern but instead of making the inside pockets like they are in this pattern, I am going to make one side a zippered compartment like the ones on the outside of the top purse.  I am also going to add fleece to that outside pocket as it feels flimsy.  We will see how this goes.  I am also using a much shorter zipper.  The pattern calls for an 18 inch zipper but you end up cutting off about 4 inches near the end.  There is a reason for this extra length as I am sure it makes it easier to deal with putting the zipper in.  I may use the technique from the first purse above to make the zipper longer as well.   I have now completed five purses in the past week.

I had a really bad month with a recurring whiplash injury last month so am now making up for lost time!! I was afraid to try any kind of repetitive activity while I was getting over the muscle spasms.

No day is complete without some of my birds.  Here is another one of my favorites -- the oystercatcher.  There were two down at the end of Ft. Fisher today along with the dozens of squawking laughing gulls.  

 The Savannah Sparrow stayed still long enough for me to get a couple of decent pictures.  He hangs out in the rocks and along the beach at Ft. Fisher.

He stopped and posed for me before crossing the walk.

This is the sand that they are pumping onto the beach as part of the renourishment -- hope it looks cleaner later!!  They are dredging the sand from further north and bringing it down here.  They are supposed to be done here by the end of the month but they are one dredge short according to the paper this morning which has slowed things down.

Last night there was a full moon and a clear night so this is the moonrise over the Atlantic in front of our house.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New Purse, New Bird

I am having a great deal of fun making these purses and pretty soon the dining rooms chairs will have many colorful bags hanging from them.  It is fun to try to make do with what fabrics I brought down here (just some miscellaneous fat quarters and 1/2 yard pieces of fabric that I liked).  I can make do to get the handles, the decorative flap and the main part of the back from 1/2 yard of fabric.  I just do the linings out of a different fabric.

This is the back of the same purse with its nice set in zipper.  I just need to add some of my decorative pulls from my stash at home.  Also want to add a button as well on the flap and they are also at home.

The Yellow Rumped Warblers have even invaded our yard now.  I took this looking down on one in my next door neighbor's yard.  I didn't know they had yellow on the top of their heads as well but they do!  

This is the Red Throated Loon minus the red throat which he only has in the summer time.  The Laughing Gulls have changed to their summer plumage but not this guy.
This is a Common Loon who also still has his winter colors.  It was kind of a grey afternoon so not so great for taking pictures of birds which can only be seen with binoculars!

This is my new bird which is a Dovekie.  According to the lastest Stokes book (The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America), this guy shouldn't be this far south but guess it is extra cold up north!  He is a small stocky bird with a tiny triangular shaped bill.  He spent most of his time diving or shaking out his wings so was very difficult to get a good shot.  Good enough that my bird guy Bruce down here in Wilmington confirmed my sighting.

He was doing a lot of this posture.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Another New Purse

Still trying out purse patterns and this is the latest.  This is the front and under the flap (which should have some velcro and a button but I didn't bother although I may add the button when I get home), there is a nice welt pocket.

This is the back of the purse which has a zipper.  Again, there was supposed to be a second zippered compartment sideways for a phone but I figured I would be in more danger of forgetting to zip and having the phone fall out than anything so again, I skipped that.  

This was just laid on top of one another to see how it would look.  

This pattern was quite easy and had a couple of very clever things whIch I can definitely make use of! The simplest was the trim treatment. It solved a couple of problems.  The gold pieces are just decorative and lay on top of the main part of the purse.  Now normally, you would fold over the edge and sew down after pressing carefully to get that 1/4 inch.  Well, here you just lay a piece of 7/8 inch wide (folded to 7/16 wide) along the edge, sew a 1/4 inch away and it just then kind of lays flat. You sew along the dark trim and never see a stitching line.  Very easy.  I also like putting in the zippers by just making an opening so will be doing that again as I do like zippers.  I will be making more of this purse although I think most people would like it bigger.  I rarely carry much in my purses anymore and it is big enough for my Kindle and that is all that counts these days!!  I might also make a squared off version as I suspect I would like that shape better as well.  Looks like I will be going home with 5 or 6 new purses as my daughters will just turn up their noses!!

This is the pattern for the purse.
You can see that I have almost finished all the gridded quilting in the Baltimore Album sampler.  Just have a bit more to do in the middle and then figure out what to do around the outside and in the corners.  I am thinking of adding some ruched flowers in the corners.  Has to be done my our June quilt show as I already sent in the paperwork to enter it!!

A Forster's Tern was among the Laughing Gulls down at Ft. Fisher this afternoon.  Haven't hit the tide right to see any of my Oystercatchers for awhile now.

I believe this is a Savannah Sparrow that was lurking and moving very quickly by the rocks at Ft. Fisher today.  If you look closely, you can see the faint yellow on his head.  Some of the other pictures show it a little better but he was moving too fast!

Some dolphins also swam by in the surf.  Buffleheads were also still there although there aren't many other birds these days.

This is a closeup of the little yellow flowers which are everywhere now.  The flowers themselves are no bigger than a pencil eraser.

Of course there were a lot of the Yellow Rumped Warblers which have invaded this area the past few weeks!!  There were a lot of them but they are skittish and don't let you get close.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Purse Vs. Purse

First, I have to confess that I love purse patterns and have quite a few and do try to make at least one of each.  I haven't bought a real purse in years now as I definitely prefer these fabric ones as they fall apart all at once rather than the handles falling off when the purse still looks new!  They are so nice and washable as well!

This is the latest purse that I have made.  I purchased this pattern because it had some different techniques which I thought I might incorporate into other bags.  I generally only purchase purse patterns these days that have some new technique that looks clever or easy.  This purse was not easy...especially the preparation.

This is an "in process" step where I have finished part of the front of the bag (the picture above shows the back).  It has a pocket on this side but I added one to the back as well.  The only difference in the sides is the trim on the front.

This is the view from the top that shows the zippered top.  It is open on either side but it is a nice treatment and very easy.  I kind of like that you can drop things into the purse without opening it up and yet a thief couldn't get something out.

This shows the inset zipper on one side.  This was also easy and an application I can use anywhere.

There are pockets on the other side as well much like many purses with several slots and a nice binding on top.

This is the pattern for the above  Brentwood Bag made by Pink Sand Beach Designs #106.  It contains 14 pattern pieces but gives you pattern pieces for five and then measurements for the rest.  These are found on the pattern piece layouts.  You had to make the pattern pieces to be able to lay out the purse.  It took several hours to do all this.  Making the purse was a piece of cake after this.  It uses fleece as the backing on many pieces and if I ever made this again, I would eliminate the fleece and just use a nice stiff fusable interfacing. The layers of fleece made the top stitching on the finish of the bag really almost impossible and I was glad to have my heavy Juki sewing machine.  There are four pages of instructions with pictures for making the bag and these were pretty clear although I did need to read several steps more than once.

This is my favorite purse pattern to date.  I have made many purses from this pattern in all different fabrics.  I have used purchased handles as well as fabric ones like this.  This purse has been through the laundry a couple of times and is beginning to show its age.

This is the pattern for the purse although it is called a tote for some reason (Laura's Zippered Tote).  It comes in several sizes and is easy to make.  I always find it easier to make my own patterns which I did with this bag.  The pattern is made by the same people who do the Professional Tote which is probably my favorite tote pattern and has many clever techniques.  This bag is easy and fast and very practical!  

I did bring one more purse pattern down here to try out by the same company that did the one above so we shall see...

I have also made several of the Market Bags and have loved that pattern although have made quite a few alterations by this time in size and straps and fabrics.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring is Almost Here and They're Pairing Off

I have noticed that the ducks that are left at the lake are now swimming in pairs -- here are a male and female Lesser Scaup although the male looks suspiciously like a Greater Scaup so maybe they are just hanging out!  I have definitely noticed that the mallards are swimming in pairs though and I saw one nest off in the reeds (don't know what kind though).

The Coots seem to be spending a lot more time out of the water than in and I have been trying to get another good picture of their "Christmas Cactus" feet which are just so funny!  I have never before seen the Coots wandering around in the grass before this spring.  They are not hanging out in groups as they do in winter either.

Even the Lesser Scaup is sitting out of the water on this beautiful 70 degree day!  He kept his eye on me though and I am sure he would bolt if I got too close.
Of course I am still seeing the Yellow Rumped Warblers each time I head to the lake -- here you can actually see his prominent yellow spotted rump!

My male Kingfisher was down at Ft. Fisher yesterday but kept his distance.  It was a cloudy morning -- not the best for picture taking.  Happy to see so many Kingfishers this year though!

Don't know what these are but looked a bit like wild strawberries to me.  I am seeing lots of different small wildflowers these days and the trees are in bloom. I found out that this is a Northern Dewberry and is in the rose family -- it looked like a rose but had a long trailing vine which made me think strawberry.  They are about an inch and a half across.

You can see the new growth on the reeds here as well and the beautiful blue skies we have so often here!

Another not so great component of spring down here is the incredible coating of pollen on everything.  It will rain at night cleaning everything up and by night fall the next day, there will be a layer of green everywhere.  It even looks hazy on a bright sunny day if you look down a street.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Just Some Pretty Scaup Pictures!

I have taken many pictures of these birds and even some fairly close up but yesterday the background was the irresistible part!!  There were quite a few of these male Lesser Scaups on the lake yesterday but this one was hanging about in the reeds which are beginning to "green" up a bit now that it is March.

He turned around and started away from me in the other direction.  It was a cloudy day and I thought it was going to give way to rain, but it resisted.

I am pretty sure one of these pics will make it into a duck quilt at some point!
I was very surprised to see this and another of the Yellow Bellied Sliders sitting up on the dead reeds.  They don't seem to be as timid as before(even from a distance they would go dashing into the water when they saw me).  The Coots were again out of the water yesterday and wandering around.  They are just getting very adjusted to people I guess. One person commented that they had seen lots of Coots but never one out of the water and I must confess until this year, I said the same thing. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Mola Quilt Top is As Done As It Will Get Down Here!

 I have had company while finishing the lone star mola quilt.  These are my daughter LJ's two kitties who I am babysitting for a few weeks while she does some company business in Brazil.  There are three kitty beds on this bed alone but they insist on putting thirty pounds of cat in just one.  They are good companions for my quilt endeavors though!!

 You can see I am nearing the end with the quilt here.  I had finished the four corners and was testing how wide to make the strip around the outside.  I am using the little Brother Pacesetter I have down here as I didn't want to ruin the needle on my Juki (they are expensive and I have to order them online) and the Brother uses normal needles!

Now the corners are attached!

And I have added the outside border as well here.  It measures 61 1/2 inches square and I have yet to decide whether to more either all the way around or just the top and bottom or just leave it.  I figure it will be a good ad for my friend Priscilla's molas!!

I couldn't resist taking a picture of these immature ibis down at Ft. Fisher.  They look like they may get their white coat soon.