Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Green Herons

Because I am lucky enough to live in an area that values its wetlands, I can walk to a number of ponds that are teeming with wildlife.  

I recently upgraded my camera situation and thought I would share some of my photos here.  I'm going to try for once a week and no more than five or six pics; which should keep them from becoming boring.  

Generally, I am taken with the large birds, sandhill cranes, great blue herons, egrets, etc.  And I love the colorful ones too.  But I've been lucky enough to capture a bunch of photos of these little green herons.

Almost every night during the summer, I can see them fishing from the lily pads.  They use twigs and other matter to lure the fish.  

This guy was hanging out on the water grate.  I assume he was fishing, but I watched him for a while and all he did was hop around from pole to pole.  

 This is an immature green heron fishing by the side of the new retaining pond.   I did have to crop this photo to get the image large enough to see.

And here is a green heron keeping sentry on a log out in the pond with a set of turtles.  That big old snapper is a bit scary.

Yes, this last one puts me right at  my self-imposed allotment, but I love the way the light hits the heron.

For a better view, click on the photos.  

"Not Quite as the Crow Flies"

"Not Quite as the Crow Flies"

16.5" by 11.5"

Created for the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Challenge at Art Quilts Around the World.

I usually dislike these kind of challenges.  I tend to save and recycle everything anyway, so it wasn't necessary for me to have a specific challenge to do that.  

However.  When this was announced, I had previously made arrangements to gift another artist a couple of bags of the tiny scraps from my little hand-sewing project.  Mainly because I recently drastically downsized my living arrangements;  I just can't keep everything anymore.  Fortunately, I still had the baggies full of tiny scraps and used them for the leaves on my tree.  

The crow was drawn on a leftover scrap of fabric from my scrap fused fabric bin.  I used fabric, paint, and beads from my stash for the rest.  I did have to purchase a new spool of black thread, but that was because the one I was using disappeared and I would have needed another one anyway.  

This piece reflects my main impetus for recycling -- to save our environment for the wild things.  I took a winding path to get here, hence: the title.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tiny Beaded Dragonflies

I needed something to fill up a corner of my next piece for Art Quilts Around the World, so I am making these tiny beaded dragonflies. Consider this a sneak peek in advance of the July 31 unveiling. 

My computer needed service after lightning struck the line outside my house last night, so I'm doing this on my iPad.  My apologies for the rather primitive post. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Woodland Ridge: The Walk

 Directly behind the building at Woodland Ridge Retreat is a path through the woods that leads to this beautiful lake.

I walked down there in the afternoon and, since I forgot the bug spray, became fresh meat for the local  insect population.

I heard lots of bird sounds, but it was hot and they were hiding in shady places.

On my last morning, I walked down the road to the trail.

I enjoyed the view of the river from the trail bridge.

There were interesting webbed creations on some of the bushes.

The view through the bridge coming back.  I am so looking forward to returning here and perhaps spending a day walking the trail.

And this is my unfinished piece.  That is a chalk outline of a heart at the lower right that I am currently cogitating.  It's for after the dashes in the upper right corner.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dots and Dashes at Woodland Ridge Retreat

 Last week I was fortunate enough to take a class with my friend Lisa Binkley (you can find her blog here) at my friend Chris Daly's Woodland Ridge Retreat in Downsville, Wisconsin.

Three days of stitching and fabulous food: all in a wonderful wooded setting in northern Wisconsin - as close to heaven as I've been lately.

We started with these hand-dyed cotton pieces layered over a thin batting and with cotton fabric on the back.   We had a pack of beads, some threads and a couple of needles.

You can see some of Lisa's work on the wall behind the ladies stitching.

I think these were taken after the second day of stitching.

That's mine on the upper right corner.

Here we all are at the end of the second day.

And after three days of stitching.

Next up:  the area surrounding Woodland Ridge Retreat.  I walked to the lakes behind the retreat and down the Red Cedar Trail a bit and I have some photos of the beautiful woods and water in the area immediately adjacent.  

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Bollywood Challenge at Art Quilts Around the World

"Jazz Hands!  Bollywood Style"
11.5" by 16.5"

This is my finished piece for the Art Quilts Around the World Bollywood challenge.  I pieced the background with sparkly red fabrics from my stash, then machine appliquéd the hands.  I used a double layer of the sparkly gold fabric to make it show up well against the red background.  

I had planned on doing some work on the hands that would suggest henna designs, but I couldn't find a medium that would work on the gold fabric.  Paint didn't sit on top nicely (my original plan), machine thread didn't work at all, and hand embroidery didn't look right.  So for now, it's finished.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival 2014

"Spectral Chroma"
92" by 74"
Adapted from "Twisted Ribbon Sampler" by Brenda Henning
Longarm Quilted by Nell Coons

This is my entry for Amy's Creative Side's Blogger's Quilt Festival 2014.  I think it would be wonderful as a viewer's choice or ROYGBIV.  

I made the blocks as part of my first Thursday of the month piecer's group at Mill House Quilts a couple of years ago.  Last year, I finally finished sewing it all together and for the first time, I had a longarm quilter finish it.

 Nell Coons was a part of the piecer's group for as long as I was and I was regularly amazed by her longarm prowess.  Nearly every month, she brought in the finished quilts of group members and I longed for her to quilt one of mine.  I needed this one finished for Quilt Expo and she said, "No problem."

She was supposed to bring it to the meeting before the Expo entry deadline.  She called me the day before and said she wouldn't be coming to the meeting, but it was finished and I could come to her home and get it.

Nell was a long time breast cancer survivor.  Unfortunately, while she was in the middle of quilting my quilt, the cancer returned.  She still finished my quilt on time.  And I was thrilled with it.  Sadly, she passed away shortly after that and never got to see it hanging in any of the shows.  She was a wonderful person and I miss her terribly.  My life is far richer for having known her.  

 I used my own hand-dyes, some that I dyed especially for this project, and Laurel Burch fabrics.
It sat for the longest time with only the little orange border until I consulted with a friend and she helped me design the final border with EQ7.  I had cut the border fabric before I started making the blocks, but the quilt grew too big and my cut pieces wouldn't make it all the way around.  So the New York Beauty blocks took up the space and finished it nicely.

I don't have any pictures of the entire back, but here is a shot showing the block I didn't like well enough to put on the front.