Having finished all but one item on my to-do list, I'm thinking of taking a break from sewing today. I have a few housekeeping items to catch up on, and of course I'm chomping at the bit...chomping, I tell you...to get at those.

Yesterday I took another walk around the yard after filling the birdfeeders. Also, I put new "attractant" in our four yellow jacket traps. We've been told that if you put the attractant out early, you get the yellow jacket queens. The first summer we lived here, it was impossible to eat outside because of the yellow jackets pestering us. And those suckers are aggressive. Since we started putting the attractant out in March, we've had way, way, way fewer yellow jackets. The first couple of years, the traps would fill up with yellow jacket corpses, and we had to empty them fairly frequently. Now, we get almost none at all.

So in my wandering, I noticed a few little things. For one thing, the first buds are appearing on the azaleas. We have these in all colors, and they are covered in flowers when they bloom.

Also, the first blossoms are opening on the two cherry trees.

Then I noticed this one at the edge of the woods. This is a red-flowering currant. They are a native species to Oregon. We just happen to have one growing wild at the edge of our woods, and they are so pretty when they bloom. 

I suppose every part of the country has its own problems with invasive species. We have ours here in Oregon too. I think the worst offender is English Ivy. Volunteers come out in droves to eradicate it from our parks, but I'm afraid it's a losing battle. In any case, we are encouraged to plant native species. Until recently, nobody paid any attention to the wild red-flowering currant, but I've noticed them for sale in nurseries over the past five years or so. We are lucky to have our own volunteer.

Oh! Hello there!

Recall that I've been worried about one of our clematis. I thought the ice might have done it in, but yesterday I noticed signs of life. Yay! Now to get out there and nurture this little darling. A little fertilizer would probably be welcome.

And I noticed the first buds on the hydrangea that Erik and Mae gave me for Mother's Day last year. Can't wait to see what color it will be when it flowers. Hydrangeas are very sensitive to the soil they are planted in. Soil high in iron will produce blue flowers. We've planted them in all colors, but eventually, they all turn blue. This one was a wine color when Erik and Mae gave it to me, so it'll be interesting to see what flowers it produces now that it's grown in our own soil.

And the dogwood tree has flower buds on it. When we planted this little tree, it only came up to my waist. We didn't realize how much deer relish dogwood, and they ate it practically down to the ground the first night it was planted. Oy. It was protected with a wire fence for years, but we took the fence off last year. Now it's grown way over my head. So far, we've been disappointed with the number of flowers it produces, and so we're hopeful it will do better this year. A new neighbor moved in about a year ago with five dogs. We've noticed a decrease in both deer and coyotes (not a bad thing at all), and so maybe this is the year of the dogwood.

Just because I'm not going to do any sewing today doesn't mean I'm not thinking about sewing. I'm getting ready to make the next block for Lisa's retirement quilt. This is what I have to work with, submitted by Cory.

Ah yes. Quilt blocks from non-quilters. It's a beautiful thing. Cory wants me to reproduce this block on an old pair of jeans. He even sent along the cut-off leg of some, um, unwashed jeans. I'm a little worried about using one denim block on an otherwise all quilter's cotton quilt, and so I'm afraid that's not going to happen. Nevertheless, I did go digging through my stash of blues yesterday and came up with a "layer cake" piece that sort of looked like worn out jeans. Then, this morning, I scanned, resized, and printed off my block template.

If you can read the original up above, you can see that Cory also asked me to change the "S" in his design to a "W". So with that done, my next challenge is how to reproduce this design onto a dark blue fabric. The only way to do that, I'm afraid, is by using Sticky Fabri-Solvy. Since the "layer cake" fabric is pinked at the edges, I can leave it at it's current 12-inch size and still be able to wash out the Sticky Fabri-Solvy when I'm finished without a problem. (Okay, that's problem #1 solved.) But here's the other problem: What color floss will show up on that dark blue fabric? Cory hasn't really given me any instruction for colors, and so I guess I'll just stitch it all in pastels. I can probably do those straight lines for the school on my sewing machine. The rest will need to be hand-stitched.

The blocks are challenging in these many ways, but I'm finding that puzzling out the problems is part of the fun. When I pull them out of the stack, I always heave a big sigh wondering how I'm going to do each one, but so far, they've turned out better than I expected. And that, of course, makes it a gratifying project to work on.

Do you want to know what the last thing on my to-do list is? It's this Irish door:

Just as I posted that picture, I was thinking I might be able to print those posters onto fabric and include them in the window. I will NOT be including the graffiti. Sheesh. This will be the 10th of twelve blocks. I can usually make one in a day, and I still have 4-1/2 days left in the month. Looks like I might earn my Bonus Points this month.

Okay, so I'm going to get back to my chomping now. Can't wait to get at that housework. Always a pleasure. Not.

5 comments from clever and witty friends:

Carole in Nebraska said...

Your photography is so beautiful. Out here in Nebraska the grass is just beginning to green a bit but that's only because we got a little rain the other day and the daffodils are peeking out. Is Cory sure that's a school that he drew? Instead of the usual bell in the steeple, there's a cross there. I agree with you about the expectations of non-quilters but maybe it's really a great compliment that they think we can do just about anything they can think up. But then maybe we can BUT do we really want to? LOL Have a great weekend and tell Smitty to be careful of getting too close to Bob.

Renata A Little Bit County said...

Very pretty garden. Love learning what grows out your way. Really appreciate the tip on yellow jacket control. Quilt on.

Diane Wild said...

Yum. Flowering shrubs and green things. Send it my way.

Doreen Auger said...

Let's see..........my Azalea is just barely above the top of the snow drift that encases it...ugh! My hydrangea is not even seen, much less doing anything (under another pile of snow!). All else is still waiting.......waiting......waiting.....for something that resembles warm growing weather not the battle of the cold/warm fronts!!!!!!!

quiltzyx said...

Things are really Springifying in your neck of the woods - and we get to enjoy it too, thanks to you Barbara! Here's hoping the dogwood blooms more without the fence and that the hydrangea is beautiful too.
What a great name for that bike shop! Cyclelogical!! Beautiful blues & the posters will be neat added into your block.