New Look

March 28, 2010

Cool outside....Spring Blooms inside

This weekend was pretty cold here.  Never got above 41F.  I took the dogs for the required walk and found green...Spring is coming but in little bits here. 
I loved this piece of moss on a looks like a tiny bonsai that has been done by Nature. 
Then we went to check on the rock tripe....they no longer look dry and grey with bits all over the ground.  But there are lots more!  And they are turning green.  This is with what I used to make fuschia dye last year.
Once we were back I started on the quilt.  I got involved in listening to my book on tape and got a lot done!
First Wild Ginger.  The flowers are very small, a maroon that is almost brown and mostly hidden under large leaves.  
The color in the above picture did not turn out well and is too washed out....
Then I worked on Mexican Hats.  They don't hide under their leaves but push their tops toward the sun.
Next I worked on Blue Eyed Grass.  These are not much as far as the flowers go....but I love the leaves that look like grass......the way they twist in the wind and and wave the flowers on their stocks.
So that's it for tonight...I now go to dream of flowers.

March 21, 2010

Spring is Here

Well, officially we are now past the vernal equinox.  Spring is actually starting in my microclimate yard.  My house is placed as the last house down a tiny road and we are always several degrees cooler and a week behind everyone else on the far as what's blooming.  
Yesterday we went for a motorcycle was perfect weather outside.  Not too cold nor too hot.  Birds were singing, cows were grazing, farmers were tuning tractors for spring work.  The barns we passed were warm enough to send clouds of manure smells drifting across the road....I just love riding this time of the year.  Can you guess we are motorcycles nuts?  I'll just take this pearl white one. 
I also worked in the garden some.  The cover on the hoop house had shredded last year and we have most of the new siding up.  I will plant lettuce soon.  And also start some veggies in the basement.  
But I have been working on the quilt....just not as much with so many distractions.  
When I lived in California Bull Thistles were considered a nuisance.  I love their relatives, the artichoke, and fix them for dinner often.  The thistles have large stickers on them and will scratch or poke a serious hole in skin or clothes.  I was surpirsed when I moved to the East Coast that people planted them as ornamentals. 
There is not as much contrast as I would like.....but I was happy with how the flowers came out with the stitching. 
The color of this last close up is adjusted because I used the flash.  Not so true as those above.
The second flower I did this weekend is one that I looked for for almost 4 years.  I finally found was an early bloomer and very very specific where it liked to live.  The common name is Twin Flower but it's botonical name,  Linnaea borealis, was in honor of Carl Linnaeus who was the 'father' of botanical nomenclature.  It is said it was his favorite flower. 
It is so dainty. 
I have taken some liberty with the color of these....they are so pale pink, in real life, as to be almost white with lovely pink blush.
That's it for today.  Off to cook dinner for the evening....and have a well deserved glass of wine.

March 11, 2010

Rain Not Needed

We are forecasted for rain starting tomorrow.  It did sprinkle a bit this morning.  The top of the ground is starting to be dry.  I am ready for Spring vegetable seeds came today and I'm thinking I can start them in the basement pretty soon.  I will also be repairing the hoop house to grow lettuce for an extended season.  I try to grow lettuce from March until December was unable to do so this last year.  The hoop house was done in last winter and I never repaired it.  I hope to do so this year.  
These flowers don't need any water to help them bloom.  
Mission Bells are a type of fritillary that come in a deep purple...almost chocolate with tiny green checkers on them.  Hence, the name Chocolate Checker Lilies.  
I planted these all over the garden as wonderful little surprises for Spring.  They also come in white....but I like the checkers. 
When I lived in California I spent many summers tracking down different wildflowers.  I had several camping trips to a small place called Butterfly Valley in the Sierra that became my favorite spot.  Not just because of the bogs that supported all the carnivorous plants but the magic that seemed to be in the air.  I would read and paint and just be for a week or two at a time.  It was wonderful.

The California Pitcher Plant .... my favorite....and I'm pretty happy with how it's turned out. 
That's it for todays post .... Now I go to dream about Spring Flowers.....and perhaps listen to rain that may arrive tonight.

March 7, 2010

Spring's First Delight

Mother Nature finally started to think about Spring this week.  The temps got to over 50F today I took the first motorcycle ride of the season.  It was cold at first...just barely over 50 but as the day progressed it was closer to 60.  Such a delight....the sounds and smells of Spring.  There were bird calls, swans swimming in a little pond, turkeys that flew across the road and the smell of earth.  When I got back I decided it was time to check on the Erosion Project.  It is still hanging in the Cherry tree by it's thin silk threads. 
Unfortunately, it was still very white and pristine looking until I looked on the bottom.  

Ah, that's better.....and a visitor, too.  It was dry but we expect rain by the end of the week.  It is cheating if I water it?  
I also looked at the tree house.  Although this was originally hung as a *bird* house there has never been a bird here.

However, there is at least one resident.....a flying squirrel.  Last year he shared the house with a small toad.  Go figure.  The squirrel is back, I'm not sure about the toad.  
There were also these signs of Spring....
Daffies push up the earliest in my garden.  This is the north side of the garden with the most sun and always the first to awaken in Spring.  
Eventually I returned indoors and worked on The Quilt. 
First I have Mariposa Lilies.  These are not found here on the East Coast/New England, at least I've not found them here.  But are plentiful in California especially in the Sierras. 

Yes, I did use blue silk with green felt and was not happy with the overall effect.  Too washed out.
But they are rather lacey and are easily overlooked when in singles or tiny groups.  They are dainty three petaled summer blooms that come in several colors. 

Next are Lupines.  I dearly love them and have planted several varieties in the yard.  The large deep violet one are the only ones that return year after year.  

These were difficult as the thread kept breaking.  I think the rayon thread was not wound well on the spool.  I changed the needle. the bobbin and the tension.  The white is mostly sewers pencil.  Even though these were set out petal by petal, it was hard to see where they needed to be defined while I sewed. 
I have two more....but I will save them for another post.  I need to be off to bed.  I counted how many squares were embroidered today.....15.  It's getting close to half way. 

March 3, 2010

Surprise Midweek Post

I actually got several quilt squares done last weekend.  Enough that I started thinking about how I was going to put them together.  Green sashing or lattice between the squares is what I've been thinking about. And I'm drawing little sketches trying to figure out how to sew different sized large blocks together in a quilt.  Adjusting the size of the sashing width seems to be the answer.
But first more squares....or flowers...
Chicory remind me of Pentz Road from Paradise to Oroville in California.  It was my daily commute when I lived in Paradise.  The Chicory and Scotch Broom bloomed along the roadway.  The Scotch Broom's perfume was wonderful especially when I rode the motorcycle. 
These were fun to do with their little fringed tips. 

My Solomon's Seal  leaves are too small....but I like it anyway.  

They almost remind me of Lady Tress maybe I'll think of them that way. I found so many of these in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California near the little town of Quincy.  I would camp there several times a year and paint the wildflowers. least for Blanket  Flower.  So much color .... these were fussy of the last squares I felted.  I think I needed more contrast for the leaf outline...but each one is an experiment.  The color in the cones of the center had washed out of the silk when I felted it so they needed something to give them life.

Not sure this is done....I still think it needs more color on the cone section.  Perhaps I'll use a thickened dye or paint just on the cone.  I don't want to change the drape of it....but it is a small area and already stiffened a bit with the thread detail.  I'll think on it while I do the next blocks.
So much for a surprise post in mid week....Now I'm off to work.