Monday, August 15, 2011

opal owl lap quilt - done

After sitting around without binding for a few weeks, my opal owl lap quilt finally got the finishing treatment yesterday. It's definitely the most colorful thing I've made yet, and I have to admit I like it more than I thought I would. I think there will be more playing-with-color in my future.

Monday, July 18, 2011

opal owl lap quilt - in progress

My sister and niece are visiting, and a random craft inspiration hit us last night to whip up a quick lap quilt for another relative. We raided the stash and ended up using a few prints from Tina Givens' Opal Owl collection. Here are the blocks, laid out for the next step...

Just after taking the picture, we sewed them together. And of course NOW, looking at the picture, I really want to change the layout of the squares. Laying out the squares always makes me crazy. They are just never right... anyone else have that issue?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

In the Yard - 6/1/11

It's starting to feel like real summer in the perennial garden...

iris and salvia


dianthus and salvia

blushing knockout and iceberg roses

love that path


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In the Yard - 5/25/11

columbine is going crazy

first peonies!

a new "brilliant pink iceberg" rose

dianthus "indian carpet" and salvia "may night"

sea thrift


some sorta sad woodland phlox. wow this pic looks jungley.

close up of the pink iceberg. they smell delicious!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

a bee on a stroll

Yesterday I encountered the strangest thing... a fluffy yellow bumblebee, walking its way through my garden. It was very deliberately hitting up each little tuft of creeping thyme currently inhabiting the path. I'm not sure if she was unable to fly, or if she just felt like taking the scenic route, but I'm choosing to believe it was the latter.

Here's the bee in question, on the 'road'...

...taking in some flower juice...

...and back on the move.

In the Yard - 5/4/11

All the perennials are coming along, but not too many blooms to be seen, except for these Hellebores that have been in bloom for at least a month now, I think...

...and the various tulips that are scattered around...

...and the window boxes that were just planted this weekend. Can't wait to see how this mish-mash of flowers grows up!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The veggie garden is officially underway!

I just came in from a full day working in the yard in some glorious spring weather. For a minute there I even thought I might get a sunburn! The new veggie bed is now fully fenced in with a simple chicken wire fence, compost has been worked into newly dug beds, paths have been mulched with saltwater hay, broccoli and brussels sprouts have been transplanted and peas, lettuce, arugula, carrots, spinach, beets, cilantro, dill and parsley have all been direct seeded. Building the fence wasn't part of today's work -- what kind of workhorse do you take me for? -- but it has been a long day nonetheless.

My camera with the decent wide angle lens is touring Europe right now, so here's what I could squeeze into one pic with my other camera:

Meanwhile, in the house, the tomatoes need to be transplanted to larger pots IMMEDIATELY but I am so pooped from being in the yard all day, that I think they might have to wait til tomorrow morning. This is why I am so bad at starting stuff inside. Oh well!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Far Far Away II baby quilt

My latest baby quilt creation is my favorite yet! This one is was done with Far Far Away II by Heather Ross, with Tangerine and Baby Blue Kona Solids to sash, bind and back.

I started off making 12 wonky nine patch blocks and thinking I'd just sash and stagger them in a standard way. But once I put sashing on a few of the blocks, I realized how much I loved them all lined up. So I went with it. In retrospect, I would do the sashing in long strips instead of short block sized strips, but I'm not much for ripping out and resewing when I can get away with being lazy.

For the back I just did a fussy cut of the owl & the pussycat scene with a tangerine frame. And for the quilting, I did a free motion rectangular meander. Many thanks to Oh, Fransson for the wonky block and quilting inspiration!

PS. It looks like there's plenty of Far Far Away II left at Hawthorne Threads (one of my fav online shops) if you want to stock up!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Northwest Edible Life: Backyard Orchard Culture: Too Good To Be True?

Awesomely inspiring blog post about growing fruit on a small scale. You'd better believe I will be giving this a shot in my backyard this year!
Northwest Edible Life: Backyard Orchard Culture: Too Good To Be True?: "I have struggled for a few years with a desire to have more fruit trees than my 1/3 acre lot can accomodate. A third-acre is actually pretty..."

UN Report: Eco-Farming can double food production in 10 years

A new UN report gives a giant thumbs-up to "ecological methods" in agriculture.
"To feed 9 billion people in 2050, we urgently need to adopt the most efficient farming techniques available," says Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food and author of the report. "Today’s scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where the hungry live -- especially in unfavorable environments."
Just to clarify, the report defines agroecology as the "application of ecological science to the study, design and management of sustainable agroecosystems" and states that:
The core principles of agroecology include recycling nutrients and energy on the farm, rather than introducing external inputs; integrating crops and livestock; diversifying species and genetic resources in agroecosystems over time and space; and focusing on interactions and productivity across the agricultural system, rather than focusing on individual species.
Essentially, everything that modern industrial farming is not. But you know that already, right? In any case, it's great to see things like this surfacing. Now if only the US would follow the report's recommendation to "implement public policies supporting the adoption of agroecological practices".

Thanks to VegNews for pointing this out. You can find the full pdf of the original report here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

New veggie bed in the works

This weekend we double-dug our new veggie bed and started marking off where our path will be. Next we're going to surround it with a chicken wire fence to help ward off the varmints. As you can see, we're going for a somewhat keyhole style plan, except not round. Well, whatever the shape, before you know it, I'll be planting peas!

Please disregard the chaotic nature of my yard at the moment... stacked up yard furniture, misc canoe, cold frame placed randomly on the grass, and raised beds perched precariously above ground. What can I say, the snow just melted and all I have time for is getting ready for planting ASAP!

The heralds of spring

Spring is right around the corner, which means I'll probably be posting a lot more gardening related stuff. For example, I've already got some seedlings going for spring planting!

So far I have onions, celery, a few annual flowers (sweet pea, pansy and impatiens), bell peppers, hot peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and eggplant underway. This will be the first year I've tried celery or eggplant, and the first in a while that I've bothered trying broccoli and brussels sprouts, but I'm hopeful.

Here are a couple pics of the happy wee plants:

And in other springtime-is-near news, bulbs are pushing up their noses around my yard! I think only a gardener could understand just how THRILLING that is to see after a looong and snowy winter. :)

Megumi Sakakibara Free-Motion Quilt - Done!

Okay, this has actually been done for a while but I'm a slacker about posting. I decided to vary the binding just for fun, and to add a little extra excitement since I made the back so boring (all white).

The light makes the colors kind of hard to see, but I'm guessing you get the drift.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Free-Motion Quilting!

I swallowed my fear and dove in for some free-motion quilting on my latest baby quilt... and I think it came out pretty damn well. Hopefully the squiggly lines make up for the fact that I got lazy and just backed it with a solid kona snow.

Next up, binding!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Megumi Sakakibara Baby Quilt

While pulling out fabric for yet another baby quilt, I found a stash of awesome Megumi Sakakibara prints, perfect for a baby girl's blanket. I was thinking that I'd do something simple just to bang this quilt out in a relatively quick time, so I cut out a bunch of 5" squares and sashed them with some Heather Bailey Nicey Jane "Hop Dot" in cream.

Now I'm starting to think it's a little too.. something. Busy, maybe? I dunno that I'm crazy about the sashing choice, but I don't hate it, so this is how it's gonna be.

The colors aren't showing up great on these pics, but I think you get the drift. And yeah, my squares aren't lining up great, but whatever. I doubt baby girl will care. :P

Now, should I back it in something cuddly and minky? Or just regular quilting cotton, so it's better for throwing on the floor and letting a wee one roll around on it?

For the record, you can find a lot of this fabric at superbuzzy or fabricworm.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Simple Echino pillows

I took my first shot at making a couple of pillows this weekend, and made what amounts to about the simplest covers for a throw pillow that I could conjure. They ended up being slightly too big, but if they ever end up getting washed, that might be taken care of a little bit.

This was also my first excuse to use some Etsuko Furuya by Echino fabric, which I am always admiring from afar. My soon-to-be-a-teen niece is redoing her room and hopefully these will be an accent, or at least an inspiration. They are backed with Echino solids in purple and blue, respectively, as you can kind of see in the second picture here.

For the record, the prints I used here are the Wild Forest (or Woodland Friends, depending on which of these quilting shops has the "official" name -- who knows?) in Natural & Pink from Fall 2010, and what I think is called Quiet Ground from the Fall 2009 line. My local fabric store, Fabric Corner in Arlington, MA, had a TON of Etsuko Furuya fabric in stock so I just bought what I liked, and am not positive of the actual names.

Owl Quilt: DONE!

Duh-du-du-dun! It's finished!

I'm not actually planning on it staying on the bed like this, but it was the best way to see the whole thing: