Are We Walking to Alaska

Are We Walking to Alaska
Are We Walking to Alaska - A True Story

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Bald Eagles

We have hundreds of Bald Eagles nesting in our area this time of year.  It is a good time to find them sitting atop something, looking for food for them and their eaglets in the nest. 
 Often they will sit above a flock of Snow Geese or flocks of ducks in the seasonal ponds or rivers. 

 Or they sit on the top of trees, bending the branches down with their weight, which can vary from 6 1/2 pounds up to 14 pounds, the females are the largest and heaviest.

 They sit in the twiggy trees along the river dikes - just waiting and waiting - they are the most patient of birds.

 The sight of a bent evergreen (when there is no eagle perched on it) is a sign that eagles use that tree for viewing their kingdom. 
 Sitting tall on the very top of an Alder tree.

 And once in a great while we see an eagle on the ground - we try not to get too close so it won't be frightened away. 

 Getting a drink from the puddle.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Rain and Sunshine

Some days we have rain here in the Pacific Northwest (NW Washington State)

 With sparkly drips on the bare branches, waiting for spring

 And evergreens dripping everywhere.

 And some days we have sunshine - to show off the catkins on the wild hazelnut trees

And some days we have fancy clouds.  How is the weather in your area?

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Pintail Ducks

One of our more plentiful migrating ducks are the Pintails.  They come in huge flocks and stay all winter.
 They fill the bays and lakes - and even the seasonal ponds on farm fields, formed by the heavy rains in our area.
 A motorcycle roared by and frightened them into flight.

 Settling down again.

 They are such pretty ducks - and have a lovely whistley call that can be heard from quite a ways off.
 Walking about in the pond formed on an old corn field.

 Searching for something good to eat.
What kind of migrating birds do you have in your area?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Hummingbirds Are Back

After a couple weeks of no hummingbird feeder I finally got it cleaned and refilled and rehung.  The storms had blown everything over, but it is up and ready for the little birds.  It only took a few hours before one or two of our overwintering hummingbirds were at the feeder.
 Sitting on the hook that holds the feeder - you can see a bit of the rain in the background and on the feathers.

 This is the most color I've been able to capture in the winter - so shiny and bright on such a gloomy day.

Do you have overwintering hummingbirds?

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Crazy Quilt - Making Progress

I've recently decided to pick up the crazy quilt and work on it.  A great project for wintry days.  A nice hot cup of tea, a slice of banana bread and my threads and fabrics.  

For several summers, several years ago, I would paint fabrics all summer long.  I would paint it with a special photo sensitive paint, lay grasses, cedar fronds, flowers, etc on the painted color and put the fabric in the sun to print.  Where ever there was something on the fabric, the color would not set and I would get a white image on the colored fabric.
Sometimes Ben would "help" Grammy paint the fabric - mostly by running up and down the painting boards when the paint was dry.

Ben is now 14, taller than me and starts high school next Autumn.

Isn't that the cutest thing you've ever seen?  Such a good helper.
When I was painting the fabric I cut the pieces into fat quarters (18x22" for you non-quilters) and there were often small pieces left at the end of a bolt of fabric so I would paint those to use myself.   One day, while looking at a nice pile of the pieces I painted for myself I came up with the idea of a crazy quilt made with the hand painted fabrics.  Since the fabric is 100% cotton I chose to use only cotton embroidery floss for the stitching.

Do you know why it is called Crazy Quilting?  Not because the pieces are crazy shaped, but because it resembles the crazing on old dishes - those little crackly lines that sometimes appear as dishes age.

It is traditional for every Crazy Quilt to have a spiderweb . . .

A butterfly - flying above some pretty flowers . . .

I really enjoy the hand embroidery and like to try out new stitches.  After working on it for a while I usually put it aside when it begins to feel like I'm repeating stitches too often - and then when I pick it up again it feels fresh.  I am making the quilt in sections and when sections are complete I join them together, and eventually it will be big enough to use on our bed.
This is the way a new section begins

The hand painted fabrics are hand stitched to the backing - and now I can have the fun of embellishing with embroidery.

 My tools and supplies.  The little bunny scissors were a gift from my dear friend Franni in Florida - I sure do miss her.
 I made the Hedgehog pincushion not long after we got back from visiting our son and his family  in West Virginia a few years ago.  They have Hedgehogs there (we don't have any here in NW Washington state, as least as far as I've seen) and we got to briefly see one on our trip to West Virginia.  The Hedgehog pincushion looks more Hedgehoggy with pins stuck all over him - but I just have my needles there for now.
 The beehive pincushion was another gift - I have such sweet friends.
I keep my floss wound on flat plastic bobbins, sorted by color.  I have three more boxes full of floss, these divided plastic boxes are perfect for this.

 Woolley sheep

 I like doing Lazy Daisy stitch too - so many possibilities.

 I really enjoy stitching these trees, they appear often in my crazy quilt.

 I work on the crazy quilt in sections that are approximately 4x4 feet, and then will join them when all is finished.

 I adore making French Knots - as you can probably tell.  I tell the story of how I learned to make them when I was seven, in my book "Are We Walking To Alaska?"

Snowy days of wintry stitching inspired me to do these stitches.

 Busy Bee on top of the pincushion.

 This is a section of dreams of spring and all the new blossoms.

Back to work.  Several of my friends do embroidery, are you one of them, and what do you like to embroider?