Budding Spring

It rained most of the day yesterday, and so I didn't venture out to fill the bird feeders until this morning. The sun was shining for a little while, but I notice that it's clouding up again now, and I believe more rain is expected. That's okay. No complaints from this blogger about the lovely warm winter we just had.

While I was out, I wandered around a little to get a look at what the beginning of Sping hath wrought. Lots of things are budding out, just on the verge of blooming. A nice warm day will bring those flowers out. For one thing, the wisteria at the front door is loaded with buds, and this one is just starting to open.

Our one surviving clematis is covered in purple blossoms now. This is about as much as these do...staying as little purple pouches. I'm afraid the clematis around the corner from this one has died. Oh well. They're pretty fragile, and I'm pretty sure the ice back in November did it in. That just means this one will have to bloom harder to make up for it.

If you've been following for a while, then you know all about my tulip woes. What the deer didn't eat, the squirrels did...except for a few clumps of white ones. Nobody seems to bother those, for some strange reason, and so I have a few white ones that bloom year after year.

This is the hydrangea that Erik and Mae gave me last Mother's Day/Birthday. It's one of the prettiest ones I've ever seen. When it finished blooming last year, we planted it outside. This is always risky, of course, because often our winter weather will kill fresh plantings. We had a week of ice in November, and I worried about it, but here it is...all lush and healthy.

 Here's how it looks when it blooms...the flowers are the most beautiful wine color:

I don't see any flowers on it, but I don't see any on the more established ones either. I'm thinking this one is a go. 

Also, the Daphne has some flowers on it. This one is always knocked back severely by cold weather. Despite the ice, it seems pretty good this year. Probably it's the extended cold temperatures that hurt it more than a short stint. It was planted several years ago, and it never makes more than a few flowers. I keep hoping it will take off one of these years. 

Then there is this lilac, which was planted several years back. It too was a Mother's Day gift. We were out to breakfast and some women were selling these dug up ones from their yard for $10. Ours at home had died, and so we bought one and planted it. It hasn't yet bloomed profusely, but it always blooms a little. I keep hoping it will take off and be a better bloomer one of these springs.

Oh! Here's the newest yard art piece. It's a little stained glass cat I found while shopping on Etsy one day. I wasn't looking for it, but cats have a way of finding me. Anyway, I put it where the catnip grows, although the catnip has yet to make an appearance this year. I might need to replant.

Just a few weeks ago, I showed you a picture of the Bleeding Heart just peeking above ground. Now it has its first flowers. I'm absolutely amazed at how well this one does despite being neglected terribly.

The Andromeda is getting ready to put on its best show of the year. It has its white flowers, but the red leaves have yet to open. A warm day is all it needs at this point.

And the rosemary is blooming. I've had difficulty getting these to come back year after year, although in warmer climates and lower elevations, it is a perennial. I cultivate rosemary in my culinary herb garden year after year, and it almost always dies over the winter. For some reason, the hardy soul has lived on three years running now.

Let's see...what else? Oh. The cherry trees are getting ready to bloom. Very soon now they'll be covered in pink flowers.

Speaking of hardy souls, here's a cat outstanding in his field. (Ha! An old joke, but I'm old too, so who cares?)

Okay, so that's the end of the garden tour for one day. I couldn't end it without showing you my blooming cat, now could I? 

Yesterday, I cleaned up my wreck of a house. It looks pretty good now. There was a little time at the end of the day, and so I put the label on the Psycatdelic quilt. It still needs a hanging sleeve because I'm entering it in the fair this year. Fortunately, I still have a little of that Laurel Burch fabric left.

I'm very happy with a new product I've found for printing labels on fabric. It's this one by Blumenthal Lansing. It comes on a roll 8.5 inches wide and 100 inches long. I cut strips 6 inches wide, and then cut them in half for a piece 4.25 x 6 inches, and that will fit in the photo paper tray of my ink jet printer. It comes in a cotton twill...

and a cotton poplin. When I first tried this, I didn't realize there were two different kinds, and so I purchased the twill. It's a little heavier and less dense than the poplin, and so it's a little easier to hand stitch through. I bought another roll of the poplin as well, just to give it a try. There isn't a lot of difference between the two. The poplin is a more dense weave like a batik. It really just comes down to the look and feel you prefer.

After printing the picture, I attach these to a fusing medium (I like Heat 'n Bond Lite), trim them with a pinking blade and then they're ready to fuse to the back of your quilt. Interestingly, the first time I tried the poplin variety, the fusing medium didn't take. It stuck to the back of the poplin all right; but when I tried to fuse it to my quilt back, the sticky stuff stuck to the quilt, but came clean off the poplin. I had a nice little fabric label in my hand and fusing medium on my quilt. Well. That was disconcerting, and I haven't wanted to try it again.

Which brings me to my next product review, this 606 spray, cousin of 505. I like 505 for binding quilts when they are small enough. This 606 is actually a heavier fusible that sprays to the back of the piece you want to fuse. Then you iron it like anything else. It works like a champ, and so that's what I've been using for these labels. It's also an excellent emergency back-up product when your fusing medium just doesn't work like it's supposed to.

I'll warn you, however, that unless you absolutely don't care about the surface you're spraying on, you'll want to put down newspaper, or parchment, or something. I sprayed this on our back patio once, and it left a mark all around the edges of the piece. That stuff is still there a year later. Needless to say, don't eat it either.

So with that done, I was ready to get started on my Let's Book It project for the month.

And since I'm running seriously short on time, I'm hopeful I can use this as my project for

as well. I need to submit my project by April 7th. This month, I'm trying a project from this book by Ann Fahl:

I have tons of variegated threads, and so I'm doing this project:

Yesterday, I finished all the applique, and I got a good start on the stitching. This is essentially free motion embroidery. I finished the leaves, stems, and the blue flower. Today, I should be able to finish the remaining two flowers and then I'll be able to get it ready for quilting.

In her example, it looks as if she chose a more multi-colored thread. I've chosen threads that are more or less the color of the applique piece. No reason, other than using the threads I have. It's going pretty well so far, I think.

And that's all I have for you today. I'm just going to get on with my stitching and possibly get this near to a finish. 

What's on your Tuesday agenda?

13 comments from clever and witty friends:

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Beautiful Spring at last.

Renata A Little Bit County said...

Enjoyed the garden tour. Love your thread painting

WoolenSails said...

Your gardens are beautiful. Love the flower piece, that is something I want to do and have some fun pieces that i can practice with.


Sher S. said...

love seeing all your flowers plants, just beautiful. I wish I had some here in Florida, but HOA won't let me plant what I want unless they are in planters or tubs. I like the thread painting, I'm just a little afraid to try that. Not sure my machine is up to doing something like that. Love reading all your posts, makes my day a little brighter. Thanks for sharing.

Dasha said...

It must be such fun seeing your plants come through winter and pop up again. Pretty much everything in our garden other than the bulbs are perennial, so I guess we take the garden very much for granted. Thanks for sharing your joy.

Junebug613 said...

Your yard will putting on quite the show soon! Thanks for sharing the label material. I think I was using Timeless Treasures and it is so thick and hard. I like to blanket stitch around my labels and it was really hard to hand stitch through. You are blazing through the new project!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I always enjoy a walk around with you. SUch pretty things make me yearn for some life and color here. I love the kitty stain glass - how cute! Will make that Smitty jealous, he might mistake it for Uno. Now that new project, that has peaked my interest for sure.

Kate said...

You have a gorgeous garden. Thanks for sharing, I love all those blooms!

Dana Gaffney said...

Everything is looking so pretty, it's funny about the tulips, it makes me think that the different colors have different flavors and the the deer and squirrels don't like vanilla.

Lyndsey said...

Loved the walk round the garden. Your new project for the swap is looking good. I must get a wriggle on with mine as the cut off date is fast approaching.

Diane Wild said...

I can only dream about the gardens at this time. We just had more snow last night and today the wind will blow your wig into the next county. Still good sewing weather.

Brown Family said...

I have a few white iris blooming. All of the roses around here have a mite virus and have to be dug up.

quiltzyx said...

Thanks for the garden tour - I'm looking forward to the next one with lots of blooms!
I'm hoping to get one done for that swap too, but I don't know. I actually forgot I was supposed to work today - been down flat with a horrid cold all week. yuck - but at least today I could breathe thru' my nose when I woke up! Anyway, we'll see if my brain will start working soon. Great label for Psycatdelic!