It's A Start

When I finished writing yesterday's post, I made my way downstairs to see the poppies through the dining room window. They are so pretty right now, and there are two planters that look like this one. With so many of the flowers fading, it's nice to see these later bloomers picking up the blooming banner.

It seemed like a good time to check on the peonies. As I walked down the sidewalk, I spied this little red tree squirrel sitting on top of the venting pipe for our rain gutters. Seems like a good way to get stuck down inside doesn't it?

As I walked toward him (or her), s/he jumped down and ran the other direction. 

The Coral Sunset peony is just beginning to open.

Two of the Joker peonies have opened now, and there are two more buds coming.

Since we've been talking about peonies, I took a picture of the five plants I have.

Several of you have suggested ideas about the peony that hasn't flowered. It's the second one from the right. As you can see, it is the largest of all the plants, and its foliage looks great. It has two buds...one, I'm certain has gone to seed without actually blooming. There is still one more bud, and possibly it will come through with a flower. If not, I'm going with the "planted-too-shallow" theory. Mike and I looked at it together yesterday evening, and he peered under the bottom leaves. We agree that too shallow is probably its problem. This fall after I've cut the foliage back to ground level, we'll dig it up and bury it deeper. And if not...out! Out damned spot! In fact, I might start shouting that now whenever I walk by, just to let it know who's really in charge around here.

When I got back to the house, the kitties were chomping at the bit to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. They sat like two bookends for a while. (Not a great picture. I took it through the screen door.)

Shortly thereafter, they went their separate ways. Smitty sat enjoying the sun for a little while longer right here.

Sadie decided the wood box was the place to be. Her black furs soak up so much heat, I fear she'll burst into flames at times.

Back inside, in a no-time-like-the-present move, I decided to set up Eliza for quilting the dreaded And On That Farm quilt. I have a nice big cone of invisible monofilament thread. I've used this before without any problems.

For context, here's another picture of the whole quilt:

There's a troublesome section in the upper right corner. I must have been working with a bad section of fusible because the applique is all coming unstuck. I decided to start there before I lost any of the pieces.

Trouble is, the thread kept breaking every six inches or so. It was extremely frustrating. 

I tried a different needle. Then I tried a bigger needle. Then I went back to the smaller needle (80/12). Then I adjusted the tension about half a dozen times. Then I tried running the thread just once through this insy-outsy-thingy (technical sewing machine terms).

Then I realized the thread was coming out of this first thread guide as it comes off the spool. So, I very cleverly (I thought) used one of these bobbin clips to keep it in place.

These clips are supposed to work like this to keep bobbins and thread spools together. 

They don't work that way with my thread racks though, and so I use them like this.

After I took that series of pictures, I realized the thread had already come out of the thread guide...AGAIN!!! So, I got even more clever than before and used a giant paper slip to hold it in place. Do not mess with me, sir! I am tenacious! (Does anyone else get into arguments with their sewing supplies?)

Okay, and that did the trick. It pretty much took up my allotment of one hour just getting the machine set up, but I really wanted to stitch down all those loose pieces, and so I finished that part and then moved on to something less aggravating. 

I'll add that those kitten eyes were a big problem. The little black pupils in the center of the eye are only about the size of the head of a pin. When the needle poked through them, the whole eye section came off the quilt and stuck on the needle. After several tries, I gave up and used a Sharpie to add that black dot in the middle of the eye. When this is all finished, there is quite a bit of embellishing to do. I'll add some black seed beads there to cover the Sharpie.

So when I quit for the day, I'd moved to the left. When I work on this again, I'll be quilting the section with the roosters and the hen.

It seemed like a good time to get out and take another walk around. The sun was high in the sky by then. There are lots of plums on the plum tree. These are tiny now...smaller than an olive.

I hope you're not getting tired of seeing the Rouge Cardinal clematis. It has three flowers now, and many more buds coming.

The daylilies are heading up.

And holy sh*t! Look at that! It's a green bean! The garden is showing some signs of life! Never mind that I've planted 24 bean seeds, and this is the first one to show itself. It gives me hope though. With warm weather coming over the next week, I'm optimistic we'll start seeing more green shoots.

Okay, so having fulfilled my quilting obligation, I decided it was time to finish the quilt top for this embroidery piece I finished up last summer. This is "In The Good Old Summertime," from Crabapple Hill Studios. I'll bet you forgot all about this. I want to finish it up so I can have it for a Fourth of July table runner.

Smitty was Johnny-on-the-spot to help out. He looks enthusiastic, doesn't he?

Got any catnip?

All the cutting is finished now, but I haven't started sewing.

When I had it that far, Matthew and Lyndsay showed up. They brought tamales! I wasn't expecting that. It was a nice surprise, and it meant I didn't have to cook dinner. Mike helped them move some large things last week, and a desk top (or something) got left behind in our car. They came to pick it up and to visit for a while. With tamales, Mike made some margaritas, and we sat on the patio enjoying the first warm evening in quite some time.

This morning's sunrise looked like this:

I've already been out to check on the peonies. The Coral Sunset peony will probably open today.

Warm weather is coming. By tomorrow, we're expecting temperatures into the 80's. It's high time. We are so ready! We're having some friends over for dinner tonight...someone Mike used to work with...both retired now. We're having a steak salad, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, deviled eggs, and shrimp cocktail. They are on a keto diet, so we're avoiding carbs for this meal. But I'm still making a cherry cobbler for dessert. They can eat it or not...I know I'll be eating it. I'm not ashamed to admit it.

This morning I'm heading off to the farmer's market with Erik and Mae. There probably won't be much time (if any) for sewing today, but it's going to be a good day. There's plenty of time for some slow-stitching this morning, so off I go. I hope you have a good day planned too.


Barbara said...

And the wind upon its way whispered the boughs of May, And touched the nodding peony flowers to bid them waken. ~ Siegfried Sassoon

Darlene of Creative Latitude said...

Sounds like a wonderful day. Congratulations on the pea sprouting. Your warm weather will certainly bring more veggie sprouts to your garden. Enjoy.

Quilting Babcia said...

Sounds wonderful. A leisurely supper on the patio on a warm evening. Afraid we'll have to wait for a bit as it's in the 40s with a cold north wind again. Had to turn the furnace on again and add a second quilt on the bed. Looking forward to our first poppies and peonies hopefully by the end of next week when it's supposed to be in the mid-70s again. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Yay for garden sprouts! Sure has been a backward spring here and many people lost a lot of their seedlings and plants with the frost we had night before last. The 24th of May weekend is the traditional garden planting time here but one wonders, if this weather continues, if that shouldn't be pushed back to mid June! Now it's to be hoped we have a really late fall to compensate.

Sheena Stubbs said...

Hi, I share your pain with monofilament. A friend gave me a great tip of wedging a piece of wadding at the top of the bar. The thread just can’t escape then. Loving your garden and hope you get that much needed heat. From an especially sunny UK and it’s a Bank Holiday too

piecefulwendy said...

You're in awfully good humor after dealing with that quilting, in my opinion. I'd have quit long ago! Glad the peonies are beginning to strut their stuff, except for that one. Enjoy your dinner with friends - sounds lovely!

QuiltGranma said...

You may want the hot weather, but I believe we will be up near 100 this week and taht is WAY too soon for me!