Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bird and Badge

Now the robins are starting to hatch. This little fellow looks pooped. It must have been hard work getting out of that egg. Actually there was one more hatched the last time I looked, but the light wasn't good enough for a picture.
The sparrows on my front door don't look much different than yesterday and I couldn't get a good shot.

At our SAQA parlor meeting on Saturday we were encouraged to make our own name tags. I free-motion satin stitched my name and had fun doing the beading. I'd say that about of third of the participants made a badge and I wish I had taken a camera because some of them were bodacious, bold and gorgeous. Much more imagination than I used.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happy Birthday

This is what greeted me when I peeked in the nest on my front door this morning. I know that they look a little scary, more like aliens, but they are four tiny baby birds. If you click on the picture for a larger view you can see the beak on the bird on the left. I think that the bright yellow things are the feet enclosed in a sack, but I'm not sure. I will photograph them every day and you will see how amazingly fast they grow and change. Unfortunately I am going away next Friday for 12 days, so I will miss a lot of it. Don't feel sorry for me, I'm going on a fabulous trip to the South of France and Northern Coastal Spain.

Last year it took about a month for them to grow big enough to fly away so I will be back in time for that. The robins in the tree nest still have not hatched. I hope they do before I leave.
It was a scrumptious day weather wise today here in CT, but I gladly spent the day inside at a SAQA parlor meeting organized and hosted by Debbie Bein. Since the number was so large, over 60 women, it was held in the meeting room at the Mahopac Library. We had a Meet and Greet session where it was fun to put faces to some names that I had only met online and to see old friends. Our guest speaker, Pat Mattison, is an incredible fabric collage artist. She had slides and several of her pieces on hand to be oohed and ahed over. After our delicious lunch (thank you Debbie) we had Show and Tell with many inspiring art quilts shown, then a critique session where a few brave members held up their works for inspection and discussion. It was very informative.

It was a great day and my head is brimming with new ideas and techniques to try

Friday, May 22, 2009

Oh, yes she did.

I wrote yesterday that one of the eggs in the nest on my front door was falling out and I put it back. I looked later in the day and it was out again and I put it back again. This morning it was out again and I figured that Mama bird did not want this egg in her nest. I very carefully removed it and as I attempted to carry it away it crumbled in my fingers. It was all dried out inside, so she knew what she was doing when she tossed it out. Isn't it amazing that she knew it was not a good egg?

The tossed egg looks bigger than the rest, but it's not. It's just closer to the camera.

So far there are just four Robin's eggs in the nest in the tree, too.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Score 4 for the Robins

What could be more beautiful? Isn't this a fabulous color? I was doing a lot of gardening yesterday and today with lots of coming and going near the nest. Mama Robin was very brave and let me get quite close before flying away. I wish I had a better zoom lens so that I could take a picture of her on the nest. She watches me closely and I can see her eye following me around.

When I went to check the other nest, the one on my front door wreath, I saw that one egg was nearly falling out of the nest, so I very gently put it back. And, no, the bird won't mind that I've touched it. That is a myth. Do you think she heard me saying that 5 eggs were too many for her tiny nest? Did she attempt to toss one out? I hope not.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another Nest, More Eggs

My friend, Carolyn, spotted this nest on the tree outside my front door this morning. It's a much bigger nest that the one on my front door, safely nestled in the crotch of the tree.

When we peeked inside we were rewarded by this beautiful sight. What a color, it took my breath away! I'm assuming that they are robins' eggs, being that scrumptious Robins's Egg Blue, one of my favorite colors. I was able to get a nice clear shot because I could rest my hand against the tree to steady it.
Now I have two nests to watch. This one looks like it has room for more eggs, although I don't know how many they lay. She must still be adding to the nest since that one piece of long grass is still bright green.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rusting again

I did a little more rust dyeing last night, using fabric that I had dyed using good PFD fabric. I was pleased to see that the blue held its color, unlike the piece I did a few days ago using a fabric I had dyed a long time ago with inexpensive muslin.

This is with the good fabric. I like the crisp mottling in the fabric

It's hard to tell in this picture, but the blue has taken on a greenish cast, much duller than the original. There's that fish again. My friend, Lynne, was just over and she found even more fish.

I tried rusting black fabric and got nothing. Next I will try a darker blue. I really like the rust/blue combination. BTW both of these fabrics were dyed using the same blue dye and you can see how much better the PFD fabric takes it. I used cheap muslin for years thinking it was just fine until I was given a sample of PFD and I couldn't believe the difference. That's all I use now.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I couldn't believe it when I peeked this afternoon and saw FIVE eggs. What is Mama Bird thinking? Did she forget how crowded the nest was last year when she had only four babies and they barely fit in the nest? Did she read about Ocoto-Mom and get big ideas? Stay tuned.
I took this shot in the afternoon with no flash. Maybe that time of the day is better for photography. I know, it's a little fuzzy, but I can't use a tripod up that high at that angle.

Four Eggs

When I checked the nest yesterday morning I still had only three eggs and thought that perhaps she was through. I was out all day and when I came home in the late afternoon, there was the fourth. I'm having a lot of trouble getting good pictures. As I've said before, the flash washes it out and without a flash it's too dark. so I took one of the dark ones and played with it in Photoshop. Not bad. While fiddling around with it I came up with some very interesting color combos. I'll post them tomorrow, perhaps a possibility for a new quilt.

There were just four eggs last year and I'm assuming that this year will be the same. Now it's just the waiting for the babies to hatch.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Egg #3 and Rust Dyeing

It seems like Mama Bird lays her eggs at night. I was out all day yesterday and checked when I got home and there were still only two eggs, but when I checked this morning I had #3. These eggs are very small, about 3/4 inch long. I just went to check them again and now they are in a different position, not lined up in a row as they are here, but in a triangular arrangement.

After so much talk on Quiltart about rust dyeing, I thought I'd give it a try, but oh, what to use. When my husband was alive and I was living in my former house, I had so much junk in the garage that I could have used, but nothing here in my new house. Here I just used finishing nails. I wet the fabric with white vinegar and put it on a Styrofoam meat tray, slightly crumpled, and put the new nails on top, then slid the whole thing in a zip lock bag. I could see rust forming in a couple of hours, but I left it overnight.

On this one I shredded some steel wool, spead it around on the soaked fabric, then crumped it into a loose ball and put it in a zip lock bag. When I took it out it had a lot of black spots on it, but they washed out. As I was putting this piece on my design wall to photograph it, I saw fish images. Do you? If you click to see the larger picture, you might see it.

I'd like to try some more, but I'll have to look around for things to use

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Egg #2

Mama bird was busy overnight. I woke up this morning to two pretty eggs. When you click to see the bigger view, you can see a bit of fine screening on the right hand side. It's amazing to see what they use for the nest, and to think that each piece is carried one at a time.

Today a group from the Woman's Club of Danbury/New Fairfield carpooled to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. First we had an hour tour of the campus and facilities by a most poised, articulate and pleasant 19 year old student. It was very interesting and informative. Then we had lunch (doesn't every outing include lunch?), at the St Andrew Cafe. It was delightful with good food and impeccable service. I can't believe that I've never been there before, living only an hour away. They have four full service resaurants and a casual
lunch & breakfast place. I'd love to go back and try them all.
This is Anton Plaza in front of the Roth Hall, which houses most of the classrooms and teaching kitchens.

The Wisteria over the front door was magnificent.

Another view of the Plaza. It was drizzling on and off all day, which you can see in the shiny pavement.

Looking from the plaza down to the lower campus and dorms and a view of the Hudson River.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

They're Ba-ack!

I like to put seasonal wreaths on my front door year round. I keep my Christmas wreath up until the end of January, then put on a Valentine wreath for February and then a forsythia wreath for March and April. It's not my favorite wreath, but it's a bright spot of color on my dark blue door that seems just right for spring. Last year when I went to take it down to put up my very pretty summer wreath, I noticed a small bird's nest on top, not visible when the wreath was hanging. The nest was empty and I didn't know if it had been used or not. I put the wreath back on the door and kept checking it and within a few days I had 4 small pale blue eggs. I photographed the progress and posted to a few friends . I didn't have a blog last year, but now I do and so I'll record the progress here.

I kept checking to see if there was a nest this year, but I thought that maybe they went someplace else. I checked today and as you can see there is one egg. I'll let you know when there are more.

I forgot how late this happened last year. The birds didn't hatch until early June and didn't leave the nest until July 4. I'll be in Europe June 5-17, so I'll miss a lot of it. I have to stand on a little step ladder to see inside the nest and photograph. It was so much fun to see how fast they grew, from little fuzz balls to full grown birds that barely fit in the nest. Contrary to popular opinion, the mother bird does not mind if you touch the eggs or bird. My front door is used all the time and closes with a thunk, but it didn't seem to bother them at all. Mama bird would fly away when she saw me coming, but never scolded me.

The house across the street has Dusty Miller planted and as she did last year, the bird used those soft fuzzy leaves for the lining. I'm wondering what that turquoise stuff is under the egg. If you click on the picture you'll see some white shiny stuff, too. I have no idea what it could be. Do you?

As I said, it's not the prettiest of wreaths and you can't see the nest at all.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Northern Star Quilter's Guild Show

My guild's quilt show was last weekend and as usual it was a great show. Our guild has a lot of talent and it was in abundance at the show. As for me it was a humbling experience. These judges did not like my work and picked everything apart. They were critical of my machine quilting on every piece. If I did not have my fair share of ribbons at home, I would have been very discouraged about entering another show. Oh, well, there's always next year!

This is Ocean Treasures, all curved pieced and heavily quilted with fish motifs in the water and shells and crabs, etc. in the sand. I quilted it in Jean's thread because I really wanted it to show. The judges didn't like my little acorns on the back. Click on it to see all the critters.

Leaf Study II--Silk Expressions. This is made entirely of dupioni silk and the leafs are appliqued down with a free motion satin stitch. If you click on it, you can see all my quilting.

"Succulent Succulents" This has been on my blog before. I digitally altered photos of Hens and Chicks from my garden and printed them on fabric and paired them with my hand dyed fabrics. This did win an Honorable Mention.