Every Little Thing

When I finished writing yesterday's post, I promised myself that housework was next. It was housework I'd put off since the day before Thanksgiving. Did I tell you I dropped an entire 16 oz. jar of vanilla extract on the floor last Wednesday?

Yes, I'd just opened it, used exactly 1/4 teaspoon, and then dropped the rest on the floor, in a shattering mess. Oy. It's absolutely amazing how many square miles broken shards of glass can cover before coming to a complete stop. And since I didn't have anything else to do on the day before Thanksgiving, I used my house cleaning time to mop the kitchen floor, trying not to cut myself in the process. It was a "yuge" mess. (Look for me to use that word again and again over the coming four years.) I was less upset about the mess than I was about wasting so much expensive vanilla, but life goes on. Nobody died, which made it a very good day.

So fast forward to yesterday, and I'm again promising to do certain housekeeping chores. Then, I looked out the window and noticed a strange brightness in the sky. And Jumpin' Jehosophat Jiminy Christmas! It's the freaking SUN!!!!! Well. I could hardly stay inside doing housework when this extraordinary opportunity revealed itself, now could I? It could have been a quick walk if I hadn't taken pictures of every little thing...which is my current take on every blooming thing when nothing is blooming. Here's what I saw.

The raindrops glistening in a rare moment of sunshine make for an enchanting landscape. I love how the background appears upside down inside them.

This pine cone is about the size of my thumb.

In our wet climate, late fall brings a veritable forest of toadstools, each about an inch tall.

It's not true to say that nothing is blooming. The weeds are still going great guns.

The echinacea are pretty much bloomed out, but I'm still holding out hope for these two little side blossoms. We haven't reached freezing temperatures even at night yet, and so I remain somewhat optimistic.

My little cat was cold. He'd been out with me for about half an hour at this point. His tail is all fluffed up, and he wants to go back inside.

Finally, lots of downed leaves. 

So that was our walk. We fed the birds, and came back inside, ostensibly to do housework. And I did. Yay me!

Then I was free to sew. I figured I could wait a day to head back to the barn, which is my new most hated project. Instead, I was kind of excited to see that Lori Kennedy posted a Poinsettia Sampler on her blog. The piece is marked the same way as the Sunflower Sampler, and so I got straight to work on that. My red isn't a true red...it has quite a bit of orange in it. My only other red was too purple, and so I went with the orange version of red.

I'm using this pretty Christmas batik on the back. I've had this in my stash for ages. (I really need to make more Christmas quilts.)

This is a worthwhile project for a couple of reasons. First, I'm having a blast making these little samplers. It's great practice, and I end up with a finished quilt in the end...and that's pretty much the only way you're gonna get wild horses to drag me in to practice. Also, it'll make a cute table topper. It'll give me a chance to spend some time working with this white metallic thread that I want to use when I quilt Gingerbread Square next month.

 I can even use some of the same motifs when I fill in the background of the sampler.

So I threaded the machine. Experience has taught me that using only two holes on this insy-outsy thing is best with metallic threads.

Since I'm using the same Bottom Line thread in the bottom (only the color has changed), I decided it would be okay to just start stitching without checking the bobbin tension. And I'm just gonna go out on a limb and say that there's a problem here.

Okay, so I checked the bobbin tension, which turned out to be very loose (go figure), and then I made sure I'd really flossed the upper thread into the tension disks. Next try...perfect.

Before I quit for the day, I started having trouble with thread breakage, which was frustrating. Nevertheless, it gave me a chance to look at the back. Not bad at all.

Just before quitting for the day (I was having a problem with kitty paws at that point), I massaged some Sewer's Aid into the thread. I let it rest overnight and gave it some time to think about its behavior. When I start up later this morning, I'll be right here.

By the way, I went with the veined petals of her first tutorial. The one currently posted is just the simple petals. Since I still have a ways to go on this, I might decide to do some petals without veins. It might get too busy if I keep going around and around like that. We'll see. (I never know what I'm going to do until I see what I sew.)

The CSA is over for the year, but we'll still be picking up farm fresh egg shares every two weeks. This morning is the first until the chickens stop laying. When I get back, I'll continue on with the sampler. If I'm feeling frisky, I might continue on with the barn too.


quiltzyx said...

The droplets hanging from the bottom of the twig look like they will grow up to be snow globes! It was definitely the best thing to do, going outside to enjoy the sun.
Have fun with the new sampler!

Brown Family said...

Beautiful photos of the rain drops. I am never lucky enough for that opportunity, Smitty was really puffing up that tail! I send you some tiny block patterns to try for the barn.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I think rain drops and dew drops on leaves and stems make for such amazing photos. We are into a rainy, gray few days (turning into snow at night).

gpc said...

What lovely photos. I am sorry about the yummy smelling vanilla mess and the waste of it all but frankly, I am happy these days to have another excuse to buy something from Penzey's. :) The embroidery is beautiful, as usual.

Quilting Babcia said...

Your raindrop photos are amazing. Really too bad about the vanilla disaster but I'll bet your kitchen smelled wonderful. I love Lori's Tuesday tutorials and check out her website whenever I'm looking for inspiration.

claudia said...

I have to start remembering to take my camera with me when I am out and about. I don't walk much, I'm usually on my riding lawn mower. (That is safer for me with my "hill and dale" property. One step up next step way down. One miss step and I could be in a cast...no Bueno!
I had the opportunity to go for a quick ride on the mower today all over my property...looking for a missing baby goat (who was hiding in a corner of the shed in their yard!) I saw lots of really neat things that I would have appreciated more had I not been worried about the baby! All tis is to say I like your photos and want to copy you with my own!
On dropping vanilla...Oh my! My kitten played with a bottle of clove essential oil last year and after dropping it to the floor (in true cat fashion) jumped down to inspect her work. Then came flying out frothing at the mouth! I went to investigate and thought I had walked into a dentist's office. I looked up the effects of clove oil on cats. It makes the froth at the mouth, but not much more. Had she not disappeared a few months later, I believe all bottles of essential oils would be safe from her. She never went after another bottle of anything after that! (Sorry, I'm talkative again tonight.)
I enjoyed your post again!

Dana Gaffney said...

On the bright side your kitchen must have smelled fantastic, but they sell candles for that. Do you think Smitty's changing your tensions at night, maybe he really likes the language you use, it's just like when he brings you a mouse present :)

SJSM said...

You have 932 SMART PEOPLE following your blog! Oh, my! This is the first time in quite a while I looked at that number. I can't remember precisely when I started following you but I think it was in the 300's. I always enjoy the adventures around the Three Cat Ranch whether it is the demise of a bottle of vanilla or a puffy tail on a cold cat. You are my daily read to see all is right in the world regardless of "yuge" messes we have in our world.

Teresa in Music City said...

Barbara, your photography is always stunning!!!! And I really love your poinsettia - the double petals are wonderful :)

Claire said...

Definitely worth going outside for those photos instead of cleaning (but wait, you cleaned too). I foresee some quilt designs from those close up shots.

Kate said...

I really like those pictures of the toadstools, so very tiny. The new poinsettia stitching is going to be beautiful, I like the veined leaves. Hope you get to see the sun a bit more before the rain comes back.

LA Paylor said...

life in a drop of water! You're using the very hardest metallic thread for machines, btw. I prefer, and your mileage may differ, YLI and Madeira. Strong and smooth. LeeAnna

betty-NZ said...

Your photos of your area are really great. I do hope your buds bloom for you for a last bit of color! I love shots with water droplets and look forward to some summer shots pretty soon.

krislovesfabric said...

Love looking at those raindrops!

Soma @ inkTorrents.com said...

Beautiful photos! Poor little kitty, I hope he got to a warmer place soon afterwards.

Thank you so much for linking up on Wandering Camera!

Janine @ Rainbow Hare said...

Your detailed close up photos are amazing!