Keep On Quilting

Yesterday turned out to be a busy day from start to finish...same old, same old, but busy nonetheless. Have you ever seen anything as sad as this? Poor little birdies calling the Three Cats Ranch their home. Doesn't anyone fill these feeders?

Actually, I just filled them the day before. There are two of these black oil sunflower feeders, one peanut feeder, and one suet feeder, not to mention the cracked corn I throw out for the ground feeding birds. They empty all of them in one day. Still, I feel guilty seeing them like this. Feed the birds regularly, and it's easy to start thinking of them as pets. So, I took care of that right away, and then took a walk around to check out every blooming thing.

The red azalea is starting to show off.

It's neighbors are so bright you almost need sunglasses to look at them.

The prettiest of the rhododendrons is beginning to bloom now. These remind me of orchids.

Also, the white azalea is just now beginning to show its flowers. It's foliage took a hit this past winter. It looks as if it was coated in ice for a while.

It's hard to get enough of the dogwood tree. It's so pretty this year. Every time I think it's peaked, it looks even prettier the next day.

Now this is annoying. The squirrels have completely eaten the cherry tomato I planted a couple of weeks ago. This one is done for. Fortunately, I'm going to the farmer's market with Erik and Mae this weekend. Hopefully, I can pick up another one then. I suppose I'll have to keep it in the greenhouse if those piggy squirrels are going to do this.

Here's the peachy rhodie. So pretty. This one is around the side of the house where it gets the most sunshine. In the summer, the sun actually burns its foliage. The flowers are pretty, but the whole of the plant is looking a little sad.

The chive blossoms are starting to open. Chive blossom vinegar is probably on the horizon for next week. Also this year, I'd like to try some chive blossom jelly. Since my class with Ann Shaw is next week, I'm not sure I'm going to have time for both.

Here's the pink rhododendron. So pretty.

The iris are heading up. It will be a while before they open, but they're on their way.

Finally, the apple tree is very pretty this year. I wish it would produce some apples, but I'm not expecting that.

In the greenhouse, I've been perplexed that the three zucchini seeds I planted haven't done much. One of them popped above ground last week, but the other two...nothing. Then yesterday morning, I found this one. When I checked it the morning before, and nothing was showing. Now here it is. It's as if a baby were born speaking in complete sentences. The third one still hasn't done anything, but I'll get plenty of zucchini from two plants if it doesn't sprout.

And check this out...it's the poppies I brought back from Ireland! I have three little containers of these and all three have poppy sprouts now. It's so exciting. Wouldn't it be great if I could get these going?

Here are all the sunflowers and the one zucchini plant that sprouted earlier. These are just about ready to be planted in the ground. I'm thinking this weekend is going to be a planting weekend.

Finally, the tomatoes have just about doubled their height. I'm thinking in about two weeks I'll repot them into their largest pots of the season. They're doing well.

Back in the house, Mr. Smitty brought in a vole...drat! Right away, he lost it behind the china cabinet. He sat there for hours, taking a nap at one point, waiting, waiting, waiting.

As sure as night follows day, as certain as the tide rolls in, as sure as the carpet is my placemat, I will sit here until that critter shows itself, and then I will have it for my lunch. That is all.

And sure enough...hours passed and then I heard a kerfuffle going on in the next room. The vole had come out and Smitty had it. So sad for him, I captured it with a bowl, and then liberated it to the outdoors where it belonged. It didn't appear to be any worse for wear.

Downstairs, I was working on the Gingerbread Village. It was time to start stitching. I was using a variegated red, green, and white thread on top.

In my bobbin, this pretty red.

The trick with these is to stitch just around the edges of the pieces, but not on them. They will fray if you stitch along the edges. So, I'm stitching around each piece, traveling to get from one area to another, and leaving a thread tail behind. I simply take three stitches in place at the beginning and ending of each tail. When it's all finished, I'll go through and trim all these extras.

I had it about 2/3 finished when I ran out of patience. It's painstaking work stitching around all those itty bitty pieces.

Here's how it's looking on top.

From the back, it looks like this. I'll need to trim the thread tails there too.

After that, I got back to my quilting. My goal was to finish quilting the fifth rose, and then finish the pavers.

It was time to quit when I had all that finished, but it seemed like a good time to take the whole quilt off the machine and see how it was looking.

Not bad.

Not bad at all.

It's only about one-third done, but I'll just keep plugging away at it a little each day, and hopefully, I'll have it finished before the month is over. Here's how it's looking from the back.

Today I'll just continue on with both of these projects. I'm hoping to get all the stitching finished on the Gingerbread Village. When I've stitched around all the pieces, I'll want to stitch in some details on the roofs, walls, and window panes. It's doubtful I'll finish it all today. When I run out of patience for that, I'll get back to the Quiltmaker's Garden.

9 comments from clever and witty friends:

Sandra W said...

Interesting how you don't actually stitch on the edge of those tiny pieces, but around them. I'd be worried that they would start to peel.
Birds. Years ago we got a bird feeder and it seemed like the word got out and we had hundreds of birds. We were buying a huge bag of bird feed every few days. It began to look like a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock's film "The Birds". Then is the spring we discovered the yard was covered in bird poop. We didn't use the bird feeder the next winter.
My your quilting is very nicely done. Saying it "not bad" is very humble of you.
I don't know what a vole looks like but obviously Smitty does. I once read that cats who play with their prey do so because they were taken from their mother before she had a chance to teach them to to kill prey.

Janarama said...

I probably missed this from one of your previous posts, but since you stitch around each shape on your houses quilt, what is the purpose of adding the tulle? Happy belated birthday to you and Mike.

crazy quilter said...

Your blooming things are so pretty! And you are making fabulous progress on both your projects. So sad Smitty lost his little critter but I would not like that thing in the house either! Have a great day!

Vicki in MN said...

OMG I am in love with your purple rhododendron, yes it does look like an orchid. I saw my first red breasted grosbeak for the season 2 days ago. Yesterday 2 of the males sat on the feeder at the same time. Loe these guys.

piecefulwendy said...

So many pretty blooming things in your yard. Drat those squirrels, huh? Your quilting is coming along nicely! Our birds go through seed faster than we can keep up too. Enjoy your weekend!

Susan said...

Feed the birds. Reminds me of the song in Mary Poppins.

Kate said...

All the blooming stuff is just gorgeous! You've made such good progress on both projects.

kc said...

Ahhh, lots of blooming lovelies! I'm especially fond of the purple rhodie & hot pink azalea - just beautiful!

Your Village is shaping up nicely, for sure. Tedious work, stitching around all those pieces. Oh, wait, probably not so tedious as CUTTING them, eh? Well, it is certainly taking on a village-type personality. Yes, those details really make the pieces stand out and make sense.

I think the drought is adversely effecting our birds. :( Our cranes have had a baby, but he can't quite fly yet, and we have that farm wire fencing on our lower rails, so they can't come in our yard. They are also sticking pretty close to the (almost dried up) pond on the corner. They brought baby to visit us the other night, but they stayed across the street, in the horse pasture, and didn't stray far from the water trough.

Thanks for sharing all the lovelies..and for NOT sharing the vole!

quiltzyx said...

More, more, more food for us! Greedy birdies!

Glorious blooms all around. And 1 for the squirrels, eating your Cherry Poisonous Wolf Peach before it could set out its fruit!!

Good going on both the Village & the Garden quilts. You've gotten a lot of work done on them.