Spring Fever

April 16th, 2013

It’s that time again…..for another one of these posts (and LOOK! I was honored with being their featured link from last week’s post! Thanks Hillary!).  This was a fun one, and pretty easy this round because I had a lot of pictures left over from last week’s “Nature Walk” and this week’s topic is an offshoot of last week’s!

FOLK sharemystory


Spring is full of new life and new beginnings. On your nature walk last week where did you see signs of new life? What new beginnings are evident in your life at this time?


 This set of pictures actually come from the beginning of my walk on our property before I got to the woods….

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This silly cat, Trinket,  was sleeping in the kindling box on the porch…..and not the  swan planter my dad made for us with towels in it (we had geraniums in it a few years back and then when they got thrown out one winter….the cats took it as a bed)...

Okay, so the gratuitous cute cat picture is taken care of…now onto the subject at hand.  New life? well it was more like “dormant” life coming back to life.  Which IS much like what is happening in my life right now….. My book which I excitedly shared about MANY MANY Months ago is a go again right after Spring Quilt Market and I am very happy about that!  These next few weeks, I have 4 total quilts to make and finish for three different companies, and then it is on to the BOOK! I can’t tell you how disappointed I was that my DayJob transition took so long and so much time away from this life.  It is really difficult being the main breadwinner and working at building a creative business.  You may have noticed here….I just DON’T get to do the things that I want because I have to make sure that all of our other needs are being met.

And I am not complaining….really….It is just hard, and the last year and a half has been particularly hard…..but things are really looking good now, and I am ready for that dormant life in me to come back again! I am VERY HAPPY about that!! And now on to the photos!

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These blossoms are from the wild plums that grow along the bank of our winter wetlands.  Always the first fruit trees to bloom on our little piece of heavenly earth.

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In the grass by the front part of the driveway, these little grape hyacinths faithfully come up every year….I thought they were lost, but apparently they come up a little later than I had remembered!

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And this quince was here when we bought the place, I am pretty sure it is over 50 years old at least…..It is IMPOSSIBLE to get rid of and Really needs a deep pruning this year….Not sure when I am going to do that when I want to be sewing so much more this year.


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Close up of the forsythia from my sister-in-law’s old place. It’s been here at least 17 years now.  Love the color that it brings to end the brown/grey Pacific Northwest winter. I think it is pretty late too, come to think of it.  Kinda like my creative life lately…...hmmmm…..


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This white flower is some “weed” tree that has grown up in the lilac hedge at the front of our place.  It has such pretty flowers, I am just going to let it grow.  I love how God throws his own gardening in onto mine…..okay, well not all weeds get to stay…..but this one does…..   :)

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And the best is for last….the Lilac hedge is getting ready again to intoxicate me with its smells and color.  These lilacs all come from suckers that I took off the original settler’s lilac here. The mother plant is still here too, and she is at LEAST 90 years old.  I do have a couple hybrid lilacs that I bought and put in with the rest, and there are a few rugosa roses as well, that add color later in the year, but it is mostly lovely, lavender lilacs….....


This spring is especially a hopeful one for me.   I am hoping and working towards a much better and brighter one than 2011 or 2012 combined…


And for my quilty friends which is most of you reading I know, I have some posts already prepped to share some of this Revival Quilting life of mine!!  So they are coming soon to a monitor near you….


Thinking Green…..

March 14th, 2013

For last week’s FOLK Journal Challenge (which I am doing this week, again….) I again thought about it all week and took my pictures last week….and realized I didn’t really follow the words of the prompt much at all…But I am going to share my thoughts  and my interpretation anyway….no matter how far off they are from topic!   :)


Here’s the prompt:FOLK sharemystory


  Be Brave and Break Out Your Green Thumb!


What Plants will you be growing in your garden this year? Make a list of fruits, vegetables, and herbs you plan to or would like to grow. If you’re not a gardener, where do you search out fresh, local produce? Tell us about your farmer’s market and your favorite fresh food recipes!


I really started thinking about all the “family” plants that we have had here mostly for many years.  But just to “try” to stay on subject a little bit before I go on my merry little way away from there, here’s a picture of our garden “citadel” that I created to keep deer and rabbits and cats at bay for Linda years ago.   It doesn’t look so great right now because Linda couldn’t keep up with it late last summer due to work, but she’s thinking she will have more time to get out here this year. She usually has a nice little list of basics to grow along with a few “guest” veggies.  we have some “permanent” things in here: a few raspberries (both red and golden), strawberries (both red and white), blueberries, and invariably a pumpkin will make its way in via the compost and cilantro will come up in various places.


citadel


So now where I went with the green thumb concept…..Basically, I just went around and took pictures of the green stuff that came to us via our families, and thought I’d share them with you. This is montbretia and comes to us via my mother in law.  Right now it looks like this…but in July or so it will look like this.


Montbresia


This tangled mess is mostly grapes from my parents’ farm in Idaho.  They gave a stick basically back when we lived in this trailer (the trailer needs to be torn down at this point…it is falling apart, but it costs a lot to tear down and haul away…sigh..)  There is also a Nelly Moser Clematis in here, but I am not sure how it’s doing anymore.  The Clematis I bought Linda years ago for Mother’s Day and because it reminded both of us of our grandmothers.


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This is a juniper tree that my parents brought back here from their farm in Idaho. I love the texture of this evergreen and the little blue berries it gets late in the summer.  They don’t grow naturally here, but this one seems to be doing fine.


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This evergreen is an alpine noble fir. It was our very first Christmas tree here in the little trailer we started living in on this property 21 years ago. We almost lost it about 16 years ago or so to some Woolly aphids.  I managed to treat it and save it.  I hope we never have trouble with it again because it does mean so much to me.  But I wonder sometimes now if I didn’t plant it a little too close to the cabin…


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And finally this is WHERE a peony should be coming back up. It is from my Grandfather’s original Peony that came all the way from Nebraska and has been somewhere in the family for at least 80 years.  We had another one of these and lost it, found it, and then lost it again….hoping this one will come back and prosper. It is a deep magenta colored one and so beautiful.


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I am really not very good at keeping gardens neat and tidy can you tell? I like to make gardens, but I don’t like to weed them, or fuss over them, so I really do like more “natural” looking spaces.  Linda is much better at taking care of them, but I have always built more gardens than she has the time for.


What’s up with your green thumb lately?

July 4th Independence Day and GenQ Blog Tour!

July 4th, 2012

Happy Independence Day to the USA today!  And Happy Blog Tour Day to Everyone as well.  If you are a regular reader here at the Blue Nickel, and didn’t realize it, today is my day on the Generation Q Magazine Debut Issue Blog Tour!  You can find the whole list of stops here.   Go ahead and check out everyone’s thoughts on GenQ along the way and comment where you can to enter for your chance to win your very own copy. If you can’t wait to win one, you can buy one from any of these shops.  Or you can get one directly from Generation Q here.


Most peeps on the tour have been talking about all sorts of reasons they like Generation Q which makes me of course very happy because I am part of the team that worked on it.  It is NOT easy putting a magazine together, especially from the ground up.  Especially without some big corporation with funds and expertise.  But not having a big company behind us also allows us to be unique. And I think that we are doing a good job at that.  Our whole goal has been to be different.  Some people want magazines to be all the same, but some people are looking for a quilt magazine that is just a bit different, and we are here for those people!!



A large part of what I do for the magazine has been working on gathering designers to create projects for each issue.  And so for my stop on the Tour, I thought I would share with you a couple “re-coloring” of two of the projects in the  magazine because I really like to encourage people to interpret projects in their OWN versions of the original.  Make for some great variety I think.  So scattered through this post you see some pictures of my version of Heather’s You and I quilt and Julie’s table runner.  In fact TWO versions of Julie’s table runner because it is just so fun and easy!



With Heather’s, I finally found a use for a mauve-ish Quilter’s Linen from Robert Kaufman that came in a batch of fabric from them. I had set it aside to force myself to work with a fabric that I wasn’t all that fond of.  Then one day I noticed that it really went well with a large vintage stripe piece that I had.  I added a grey print from Betz White’s Stitch and voila! my first ever “simple” quilt.  Simple meaning only three fabrics…total…a HUGE step away from my normal M.O.!!





I took it to the beach on Whidbey Island because I knew the rocks would be the perfect backdrop for it.


Then there are also these two takes on Julie’s tablerunner.  Probably a bit too “mushy” for a lot of people, but I like them…I made the first for today: a red, white, and blue version that isn’t typical  “Americana”  (not that I don’t love that Americana feel…I have a ton of flags that I love to hang out in the summer).



The second one is done up with a bunch of Michael Miller Picnic themed prints…...I do think that I might make some placemats out of in the same manner with a quieter border.



So for the Blog Tour part…leave a comment here and let me know what you want to see more of in magazines or what you are up to this summer.  Nothing heavy…just leave a comment.  I will draw a name sometime next week if I can while I am at Sisters, otherwise it will have to wait until I get back!  Oh and you can get another chance to win a copy if you are among the “new” likes on GenQ’s Facebook Page as well.



Remember that all comments need to wait for approval, and I work outside the studio as well, so it may take awhile to be approved….


Stitch-in’……..

March 24th, 2012

so a couple of weeks ago, Betz White writes me and asks if I would like to play with her line of  fabric Stitch with Robert Kaufman.  All I had to do was actually play with it and talk on my blog a little bit about it.  When I opened the box,  this is what I saw.



TONS of beautiful rich colors…..and a very nice mix of lights, mediums, and darks.   I find that when I am shopping for fabric….there are NEVER enough darks, and seldom enough lights to buy.  Medium values fabric abound, but not so for the ends of the value spectrum.   And to top it all off, a wonderful hand to the fabric (that is “shop-talk” for the feeling of the fabric….as if that could be quantified!) Maybe it feels so nice because it is GOTS certified organic, or maybe not.  But it sure felt nice, not so full of those finishing “coatings” that I hear they put on fabric.  I say I “hear” because I don’t know EXACTLY what they do to fabric before putting it on the market, but that’s what I hear.






Anyway, onto  playtime.

I apparently am on a log cabin kick because I did more with Stitch…although mostly this style of Log Cabin.


    


Now I have these two blocks almost finished, but I really need to move on to Quilt Market quilts, so this will be it on this project for awhile.





Of course, I had some strips left, so I found this  red scrap and used it to do a more traditional log cabin…..until the last two logs when I cut from two prints that I hadn’t used yet and decided this needed to be a bit more asymmetrical.


 


Betz has set up a new Flickr group to contribute any Stitch creations in here, so go check out more wonders there!


   


Found Friday

October 28th, 2011

on our front porch….a tableau of natural finds…..okay well the red plastic American Indian isn’t “natural” or indigenous …but it was found in the woods…(not in the nest originally people…I mean come on….)

and this firewood, well kind of found,  these kids had signs by the side of the road with a fantastic price for firewood, so I stopped they delivered, and we stacked….that’s my oldest son’s backside you are enjoying there…he’s a really good stacker, even though he isn’t very fond of the labor.

and another floral shot from that woodland edge session back in September….

Floral Friday

October 14th, 2011

After last week’s Blue Nickel Blog Blast-a-thon….I’m toast…

here are some pictures from around our home from about 6 to 8 weeks back (or more…can’t remember when the daisies faded)....one last wave to summer…

Enjoy….

    

picked up this birdhouse that a neighbor had laid by the side of the road with a free sign…not their asthetic,  I guess…it is mine now, mwahhhahaa…

  

Floral Friday

September 23rd, 2011

Not an ongoing thing…but I thought I would just share some flowerly shots from around the place here for your viewing pleasure…not much more than that today…

Enjoy!

             

308: the Chair, the Cat, and the Porch…

August 21st, 2011

Doesn’t that sound like a good children’s book title?  Here are the main players….

First the chair…..I promised a “story” about the chair…but it’s not really much of one….I spotted this chair at the Goodwill store and thought it looked cool….and it was only $2.99!!  I left thinking “huh, that was a cool chair, would look good in pictures…could cover that hole with pillows or even take out that section of caning….” but I didn’t buy it that day…

But I kept thinking about it…only $3…..mmmm….so the next day I went back and bought it hoping it would still be there….and it was….

So now it is here on our back porch waiting for a makeover but even so….Someone….has decided she likes it just fine the way it is….

and here is another shot from the back porch…this little begonia loves the evening sun back here…

These plants I just couldn’t resist at Lowe’s recently….and yes each of the plants cost MORE than the chair…and the Blue Planter WAY MORE….

 

This one is called Spiderwort and is just insanely gorgeous, isn’t it?

Okay so not much of a “story” but some pretty nice shots  to brighten the day, huh?  and Bad Baby, the cat, always makes us smile around here …..

 

307: The hired help….

August 20th, 2011

Some  people around here have the cushiest jobs, I swear…..

 

 

while the above hired hand snoozes around a lot  in my new favorite chair (more about that chair in an upcoming post) I have been busy….

just in case you think I haven’t been sewing lately,  I want to correct that perception….these blocks were all sewn and stashed this last winter… I unearthed them finally and put them together because I wanted something that didn’t take a lot of brain power and I have been TRYING to get caught up on things…. (yeah, I know, right?)

 

And then also we are finally getting to getting the house finished painting…when we doubled the size of our house back in 2003ish….we really never could afford to finish it…and we still really probably can’t….but the first part we built really needed painting badly…so we figured we just better get it done….So I have been adding some more trim and getting the colors figured out…

We are going to go with all of these except the grey on the bottom…we’ll stick to the blue

.....can anyone say “painted lady” ??

That’s my summer…and this painting will probably finish up the summer for me….

What’s going on in your world??


306: Recycling….Major Re-use Plan

August 14th, 2011

Old refrigerators that lay around out in your back field for years (how many I don’t know, we’ve been here 19 years, and it was out back when we got here) really don’t have much use as refrigerators….and places won’t dump them for free

..so rather than pay money we never had to throw away something that wasn’t ours…...we finally came up a solution…...okay I came up with a solution….and we finally actually DID the solution….

The digging staff…they did a super job…and they even seemed to enjoy it!!

One of the inspectors who really liked the “convenience” of all this fresh sandy soil all laid out for the “necessities”.....

From eyesore to….

to peaceful reflection….

It still needs more rocks and plantings and goldfish and maybe one of those floating solar fountains….but we are very happy with the results so far…..I really was surprised at how well it seemed to work out…

So that’s part of what we have been doing this summer….tomorrow finally the painter is making it here to get started on painting the house…I would love to show you the results of the Blue Nickel Coloring Contest...but I never received any entries…I think tomorrow may be the deadline….but we have picked the colors….just wait until you see what I came up with….Linda said she cared more about the inside looks than the outside, so I pretty much had free reign….6 colors!  I will do a post later about the process on that..

Yeah, I’m sewing still and working the DayJob and working the Cabana Boy Job too….Pretty busy around here…so if you don’t see me on Twitter or Facebook….those things might well be why…

How’s your summer winding up ….or down …as the case may be….I can’t believe Autumn is coming up so fast….

Best,
S.

 

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