Just follow me this way to the birdfeeders, please. Look at these two beautiful rhodies forming such a nice gateway into the yard.
The dark purple one always amazes me.
These pretty pansies are volunteers that decided to grow in the whiskey barrel where I plant our cherry tomato. Volunteers are always welcome as long as they choose their place to grow with consideration for the gardeners' aesthetic needs.
The blue and burgundy hydrangeas at the front of the house are forming lots of flowers now. They're so pretty when they bloom.
Also, I noticed this one little red strawberry, about the size of a marble. Gone now because I popped it straight into my mouth when I spotted it. I was just lucky to have waited long enough to take this picture, but I needed proof of its existence.
There are many more coming too. We might just get some this year.
The herd of squirrels moved to the bottom property line, far from the strawberries, when The Smittenator moved in at the Three Cats Ranch. All, except for this one hanger-on who lived among the junipers in one of the planting areas.
The combination of Smitty and Maggie worrying it to death might have convinced this bugger to move along as well. When Maggie is outside, she hangs around where the squirrels formerly lived constantly. She's more comfortable outside, but still won't allow us to approach her. Inside the house, she's become quite the cuddler...no longer the gray ghost we barely glimpsed when she first moved in.
Outside...she's the proverbial different animal, still behaving like a feral cat. It's as if she's created a rule for herself:
People inside: Good. People outside: Bad.
She continues to make progress, however. Obviously, she allowed me to get fairly close for this image.
As for Smitty, he couldn't be happier when I'm outside. No matter which direction I'm walking he charges past me. Go a different way, he charges past me again. That phrase from Lewis Carroll's, Jabberwocky always comes to mind: "He went galumphing back." To hear him coming from behind, imagine how "galumphing" would sound, and you'll know what I hear.
With nice weather, he's out pretty much sun-up to sun-down when he's required to come inside for the night. He seems almost relieved, and enjoys the remains of the day napping in the sunlight that comes through the glass doors.
But getting back to yesterday's wanderings, when the outdoor chores were finished, I got to work preparing the Written in Thread wall hanging for the last of its stitching. As I mentioned earlier, I need to embroider an inch-wide border around the edge. I gave myself a much wider border so that I'd have room to hoop the fabric, and then I traced the design all around the edges.
This is the cutest stitchery. I can't wait to finish it.
Busy hands...happy heart.
When the stitching is done, I'll trim the border to 1 1/4 inch from the seam line and then add the final pieced border.
I'm trying the new stabilizer I mentioned in my earlier post about t-shirt quilt blocks, the Pellon Shape-Flex SF101. I'm loving the way it irons flat and gives a good "fuse".
I've been using a lightweight Pellon fusible interfacing, but I've never been very happy with its performance. Fortunately, I've used almost all of what I have. For one thing, it makes my hoop slip. I like my fabric nice and tight in the hoop...so you could bounce something off of it...and the stabilizer makes it slip loose after a while. Also, I can't get a good fuse because it crinkles up under the hot iron. You can see it in this image below. You might want pause for a moment to admire my shamelessly messy embroidery back. I know...it's shocking. What is the world coming to anyway? Do you think this egregious embroidery execution might explain a certain presidential candidate? But, I digress. (Awesome alliteration, by the way.)
So, you can see that it's kind of wrinkled up from the hot iron. I probably have the iron too hot, but you know what they say: If you can't take the heat, get out of the sewing room. Or the kitchen. Or something.
But who would want to get out of the kitchen when you have these beautiful veggies to work with? Nice segue, eh? Hold the applause. It's totally unnecessary.
Yes! I'm so excited that the 2016 CSA season has started at Working Hands Farm. If you happen to be on Facebook or Instagram, I totally recommend liking their page. They post the most beautiful photographs of the goings-on at the farm. I was following them for a couple of years before we bit the bullet and signed up for a share of the harvest.
In yesterday's share, we received this wonderful stuff:
If that's hard to read, remember that you can make the image larger by clicking on it. They always send out a list of what's in each share with suggestions for using it along with several farmer-approved recipes. This is our second year. The first year was a bit of a learning curve when it came to unfamiliar items. Some are still new to me. This year I'm determined to use some of the stuff that had me a bit baffled from last year. This week, I'm going to put those garlic scapes to good use. I'm told they can be used just like garlic cloves.
This morning I made up one of my favorite breakfasts. Two farm fresh eggs scrambled with a handful of spinach and topped with some green tomato salsa left from last year's share. Also, I topped it with some fontina cheese I had on hand. So tasty, so easy, and pretty darned healthy.
When I got home with my veggie haul yesterday, I picked up the mail and found these pay-it-forward gifts from my dear friend Marei. Marei knows I'm wanting to make a barn quilt one day, and she sent me this Build-A-Barn book by Julie Sefton. This is the second time one of you has told me about this Build-A-Barn technique of Julie's, and so the Universe is clearly calling me to pay attention. This morning I had some time to look over the book, and it seems to fit hand-in-hand with the technique I just learned when I took Ann Shaw's class. It isn't exactly the same, but there are enough similarities that it looks very do-able. If you're unfamiliar with Julie's work (as I was), you can find her blog right here. I'm her newest follower.
Also, Marei sent these iron-on transfers for a Wine Country embroidered quilt. Iron-on transfers are such a luxury! Out of all the embroidered quilts I've done, only one has been iron-on, so I'm thrilled with this. And since we live in the heart of Oregon's wine country, it's perfectly appropriate, especially when you consider that I'm just about finished with two of my three ongoing embroidery projects.
Also...did I ever tell you that Mike and I are Connoisseurs of Oregon Wine? With certificates and everything?
There's nothing impressive about this What. So. Ever. All it really means is that we visited a whole bunch of wineries with concomitant consumption of a whole lotta wine. (How hard can that be?) And if you notice the date on those certificates, it was in a previous millennium, although I don't think there's an expiration date...unless you mean the ultimate expiration date. But, let's just not talk about that, okay?
So anyway...I was looking at these this morning. I think this will be so cute done up in just five colors of floss: forest green, brick red, dark brown, gold, and burgundy (could it be called anything else?). Now I'm raring to get started on this. I'm just betting I can find some fabulous wine fabric somewhere in the bargain.
And while we're talking about embroidery, I finished up the 6th of 12 of the Hocuspocusville blocks this morning. Ta-da!
When I work on this the next time, I'll be doing this block:
"Bad Hair Days Guaranteed". Sounds like my kinda place.
So there you go...a full day of fun. We're feeling almost back to normal here. Mike managed a full day of work yesterday, and while I wasn't feeling 100%, it obviously didn't slow me down any. This morning I had a slight headache, but a little more Tylenol took care of that. Now I need to do some grocery shopping and pick up some things to cook with all those fresh veggies. As much as I would love to sit and chat with y'all all day long, it's time to get going. Have a great day!