12/22/13

Moving Right Along

Yesterday's goals were simple: continue on with the sky blocks for the Quiltmaker's Garden, clean out the fridge, make some fudge, and, time permitting, make some peppermint bark. Except for the peppermint bark, everything got done....well, if you consider only finishing four of the remaining six sky blocks "done".


So that makes ten complete, with two more to do. I should be able to finish those in about an hour today.

Also yesterday, I set up the birdcam for the first time in several weeks. I brought in the camera when the weather got so cold. I wasn't sure if it could withstand such cold temperatures, and I have yet to look it up. One of these days I will....sooner, probably, rather than later. Anyway, I follow our local Backyard Bird Shop on Facebook and received notification that I might see these Townsend's Warblers coming through about now. They were kind enough to post this picture:


I can't say that I've ever seen these at our feeder, but the birdcam has put me much more in touch with differences in the birds that visit our feeders. We get a lot of Goldfinches in the summertime, but maybe these guys have been around too, and I've just seen their bright yellow color and interpreted them as Goldfinches in my mind. After all, I had no idea the diversity of what we used to call "little brown birds" which turn out to be nuthatches, chickadees, and juncos. Who knew? So, all of that to say I put out the birdcam yesterday in hopes of catching a Townsend's Warbler. Well, I didn't get one of those, but I still got a new bird: the Downy Woodpecker. 


These are new in December. I didn't capture a single one out of the thousands of pictures I took during October and November.


Fun, huh? And that's the whole reason I asked for a birdcam for my birthday back in May. I had in mind that I might see different seasonal birds if only I paid closer attention. Also, I was happy to see both the male and the female Flicker captured on camera. Here's Mrs. Flicker:


And here's her boyfriend:


The reason I was happy to see them is that a bad cat named Smitty brought one of them into the house a couple of weeks ago. We caught him right away and liberated said bird to the outdoors. Not sure whether it was the Mr. or the Mrs. Anyway, the bird was bleeding, but otherwise seemed uninjured and flew away with no problem. Still, we were concerned that he might have been damaged more than we could tell. These two seemed no worse for wear yesterday. Bad Smitty. It doesn't seem to matter whether we feed the birds or not. Smitty catches them. He catches them in flight. He just jumps into the air and snatches them like a fly ball, no catcher's mitt required. He's a fabulous hunter...too fabulous, if you ask me.

We've been diligent in paying attention when he comes through his kitty door these days. If he doesn't come asking for treats, it generally means he's caught something and taken it downstairs to the sewing room. Ugh. Lately, we've been going down after him and immediately taking away anything he brings in and letting it go at the back door, much to Smitty's consternation. Lately, when we catch him with something, he takes it to the door by himself to be let out. He's a little reluctant to actually go outside, but a foot nudge to his little rear end usually gives him the encouragement he needs. He's a smart little sucker, and so we're hopeful that he'll just stop bringing things in. Getting him to take them outside feels like a big accomplishment...but only when we catch him. Otherwise, we're liable to find little bits of mouse guts or feathers in a little pile in the sewing room. Did I say, "ugh" earlier? Yes, definitely ugh. 

So, this morning I sat and finished up the latest of the Vintage Tin blocks.


I've been pretty happy with this Sticky Fabri-Solvy way of transferring embroidery designs to fabric. It has given me no trouble whatsoever. The only thing I don't like about it is that it is rather hard to wash out without rubbing over every square millimeter of stitching. It tends to want to stay under and around the stitches. And some of you have rightly pointed out that one doesn't really want to pour it the rinse water down the drain. I've been taking it out to the driveway, but when it's raining (as it always is here), that's kind of a pain too.

So today I got a bright idea, which I checked out with the resident Engineer/Plumber/Generally-Handy-All-Around-Fix-it-Guy (aka, Mike) about whether he thought there was enough volume of water in the washing machine to make it safe to rinse this out in the washer. He thought it would be fine, and so today I decided to give that a try.

To prevent fraying, I used my pinking blade to pink the very edges of the design.


Thus:


Then I loaded it into a mesh bag and dropped it into the washing machine tub.


Then I set the washer for a small load, short cycle, cold water, gentle cycle. No soap, just water. I figured the agitation of the machine ought to get the job done with a lot less effort on my part.


And here it is, fresh from the washer and still wet:


That worked great. Every trace of the Sticky Fabri-Solvy is gone. There is no extra fraying, and I checked the inside of the washer tub for residue of the product. Not even a trace. Yay! Now that I know that, I'm pronouncing the product perfectly suited for my needs. I'll just hang this block to dry and then iron it and toss it onto the finished pile with the other blocks I've completed.

So today's goals are to dust and vacuum the downstairs, clean the downstairs bathroom, finish up the last two sky blocks, and trace out the next embroidery motifs for the Gardener's Journal quilt I've been working on. When I left off with that quilt, I'd taken it this far:


I think there are two sections left before I'll be able to add this to the finished pile.

If I have time after all of that, I'm going to start working on the November and December blocks for the Hello Moon quilt.

And that's my day. What's on your list today?

Oh yes, and I figure, this being Sunday, I'll be linking up to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.




12 comments from clever and witty friends:

Valerie Reynolds said...

I love, love this quilt!!!!

Sharon said...

That's awesome! I use a product similar to the Sticky Solvy you used, but haven't had any issues with it yet. (Of course, I can't remember the name of it...) But that's a great idea to throw it in the washer. I might try that the next time. Love your bird pics!!

Carla A Few Of My Favorite Things said...

I always use a mesh bag washing fabrics, but have never used my pinking blade. I think it came with my rotary cutter many many years ago. Duh! Thanks for turning on the light bulb and Merry Christmas!

genie said...

Barbara...This is my first visit to the meme, and I am thrilled to death to find it and to see all of the beautiful work that is going on our there in the blogosphere. Your quilt is heavenly and your embroidery absolutely beautiful. I can’t wait to see it when it is finished. Thanks for the info on the Sticky-Tacki-Solvy. I am going to put it in my quilting book. Merry Christmas to you and your family. genie

treadlemusic said...

My head is positively swimming with your descriptions of the things accomplished yesterday and today!!! Yikes!!! I am sloughing off for sure!!! LOL! Blessings..............

quiltzyx said...

The Downy Woodpecker is pretty small, isn't it? And I just love the polka dots & orange undertail feathers on the Flicker. So cool.

Your PP blocks are looking good - and you're almost finished with them, hooray!

I'm glad that the Solvi washed out so easily in the washer. Very much easier that way!

WoolenSails said...

I love all of the different varieties of birds that you get, would be great for a future quilt idea. As usual you are busy finishing projects and I am procrastinating.

Debbie

Quilter Kathy said...

I sure was nervous reading that you were going to wash that block in the machine but it looks like I worried for nothing! LOL
Thanks for linking up to Slow Stitching!

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Sunday is for napping here. Quiet, calm, no lawnmowers going cuz the grass is so wet. A great day to sleep it away.

Brown Family said...

THe sky blocks are so pretty! That is a good point on using the washer.

Kate said...

Great bird pictures! Hope you were able to enjoy all your stitching time.

Michele said...

Glad to hear that Smitty didn't injure the bird much. I for one couldn't deal with a kitty that catches critters. The one time my long past kitty saw a mouse in the house, she could care less. A mouser she definitely was not.