Monday, August 24, 2009

Squawk! Squawk! Squawk!

Nope, that's not the birds, although we've heard a few this noisy. It's me, trying to talk. Somewhere I picked up a rather stubborn laryngitis bug and have felt less than wonderful for the past week. We had company, too, and I sure hope they didn't leave here with an unintended bonus!

I've been meaning to post this little guy ever since we got back. We've seen killdeer a lot in the Midwest, and once even here in our church parking lot. The bird book says their nest is a "scrape on bare ground in field, bald spot in pasture, gravel shore, roadway, etc." This house stands on what used to be farmland in MN, and you guessed it, much of where we live used to be farms also. I'd say these little fellows have lots to squawk about!
Killdeer

And then there's this member of the jay family that's been visiting us lately, mostly to steal nuts from the resident squirrel. Their "song" is a particularly raucous squawk that doesn't resemble a crow's but is distinctive. I love their blueblack feathers as well as their cheeky spirit. Steller's Jay

What's going on inside, you say? Well, this little plant decided to bloom which is always an occasion of mixed blessing. The flower is beautiful and fun to watch open, but it has a sickeningly sweet odor....at night! Our niece says that's to attract insects, but I sure hope it doesn't work. It's other interesting "trick" is that it drips a honeylike substance from the flowers. So, these lovely blossoms never last long in our house because I cut them off right after they open. It's nice to have a photo reminder though as it neither smells nor drips!
Wax Plant or Hoya

Before my voice and energy deserted me, I partially embellished the front and back of the purse that's pieced with Allie's fabrics. Now my purse is flying across the mountains to visit Janet who will add some of her magical stitches.
Purse Front

I was very excited to find the large flat button in my stepmother's button box. I also learned a lot, mostly that the stitching needs to conside the flap and overlap. I'll do better on that next time hopefully!
Purse Back

That's it for now; I'll be back when I can do more than squawk! Soon, I hope!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Birthday Update

Turning two happens only once in a lifetime, and it looks like Sophia celebrated in style with the Shaw family CocoaCola cake. Missing in the photo is her daddy as he captured the moment for the rest of us. Big brother David looks like he's admonishing Sophia, and Daniel looks bored with the whole affair. I'd give anything to know what Jill is saying and what Catherine is thinking!
"Candles are hot, Sophia!"

This project didn't get finished in time to make it into the birthday box, but it'll be winging its way to Chicago soon.
Ruffled Hat and Socks

Jill called again this evening to say that Sophia has been wearing her Rosebud Hat. I think it suits her perfectly.
"I'm two!"

Today's also the day for a TUSAL update, and if you look closely you can see the clippings from the leaves on Sophia's hat. There's also some embroidery thread in there, but the yarn kind of hides it.....
August TUSAL

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cause for Celebration -Times Two!

Today is Miss Blue Eyes second birthday, and we are wondering how that happened so quickly. Lucky Auntie Catherine is visiting the Chicago gang and will get to help with the celebration.
Happy Birthday, Sophia!

I made a hat for Sophia and can't wait to see how it looks on her. The pattern's from Susan B. Anderson's book Itty Bitty Hats. Our little grandniece, Chloe, modeled this very same hat in another Anderson book, Itty Bitty Nursery.
Rosebud Hat

And speaking of Auntie, doesn't she look happy these days? Well, she is. She and Brent are engaged! They will marry next April, and we are thrilled. As you can see, so is Sophia.
Happy Days!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pat's Give Away and Carl's Under Sea Adventure, an Unlikely Pair

Pat is having a giveaway on her blog, one of those cute little birdnests that she makes. Go sign up; you won't be sorry as there's lots of her lovely work to see.


On another note, I've noticed lots of CQ featuring the theme "Under the Sea" and thought I'd share this video of my son and his friend's recent real watery adventure. I'm sticking to swimming at the Y!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Odds 'n' Ends

Last weekend we added an arch to our garden as part of our upcoming anniversary celebration. Now to figure out what kind of vining plants to get. We are leaning toward clematis.....
Celebrating 44 years a little early!

It's been relatively quiet in our garden the past few nights. Could it be that the raccoons have moved on? Hardly...if the fact that one of our little garden girls spends more time on her face than upright is any indication. I noticed this morning that's she's gone altogether which means, I think, that Dick got tired of setting her back up every day. He did manage to catch a shot of this regular visitor even though it refuses to land even for a moment.
Hummer

Whether it's been the weather or not, our lavender plant has outdone itself compared to last year when I only got 2 flowers. I picked a nice bouquet and even left some blooms on the the plant to keep the bees happy!
Lavender's blue, Dilly, Dilly!

Last night I finally finished Kathy's second puzzle piece and sent it off to her this morning. Now I can start on my CQ purse. Hurrah! When it comes to projects, my plans are definitely greater than my needle speed, that's for sure.
Finished!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back with Reinforcements!

Never a dull moment at our house! The other morning our little bandit friend returned with several of his (her?) siblings and once again tackled our fountain. At one point, all four "babies" were up there, and we were amazed that it remained upright! Maybe I'll have to taste that water to see what makes it so attractive? Not on your life! Later that evening our motion light went on, and when we looked out of our window, we counted seven of the little critters frolicking in the moonlight!
I know there's water somewhere!

When not distracted by garden visitors or outside pulling weeds, I have managed to finish a few projects. The third Gail Pan block is stitched and bordered. Only 6 more to go!
Gail Pan #3

My son's friend is doing the 3-day Walk for the Cure in September, and I thought it would be fun for her to have a little memento in honor of all her hard work, raising the required funds and training, which has taken almost a whole year. I hope she likes it! I changed the writing on a free pattern by Caroline Hofstede of Cosmic Handmade to suit the occasion. (If you'd like to read more about "Team Tracy" and the walk, click on the link on my side bar.)
A Memento

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Searching for Blue and the Rest of the Rainbow

Recently as I was wandering around our garden, I realized that many of our flowers, like this liatris, are in the red-pink-purple range .
Gay Feather
There are two clumps of it in bloom at the moment, and its common name, "Gay Feather," suits it well. Is this preponderence of pink because I've chosen mostly these particular colors, or are there just more flowers available in these shades? Then I started thinking about my projects and wondering whether they reflect my color preferences. Even my blog background is pink, and then there's the current header. Yikes! (Those roses are called "Blue Girl," however! So, off I went looking for anything blue among our photos and whatever else I could find that was different from my usual choices.

We have lots of blue hydrangeas in our yard, and I was extremely excited to see that this year our lacecap hydrangea has more blooms than ever before. Our neighbors removed a couple of trees last summer, and apparently this plant really appreciated it.Lacecap Hydrangea

Have you seen a balloon flower? They are so cute; the buds look just like balloons and open into the prettiest flower. We have some white ones in our sideyard, but the ones out front are called "Double Blue"!
Aren't they cute?
How's this shade of blue?
Very blue, right?

Oh, and last month we took lots of photos of these cheeky little fellows. Their larger cousin, the stellar jay frequents our backyard, and you probably remember the grey jay from my recent post?
Blue Jay

What about this project? It's blue, not pink, but that's because Megan is having a boy. No choice there, but these booties are definitely blue, 2 shades no less.
For Megan's Baby Boy

I also finished two more of the !Gail Pan Christmas blocks. You're right, one is framed in red, but but I finally found a suitable green for the other one.
Second Gail Pan block, finally!

And then I found this puzzle piece for Kathy. I used scraps given to me by my Aunt Phyllis from one of her quilts. I'm waiting to finish this green one before sending both to her, and I doubt that one will include any shade of pink, red, or purple.
Mostly Blue
Some Green

With this little exercise, I realized that I have broadened my palette a tiny bit but have a long way to go before I've used the full rainbow of possibilities. Some day.....

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mystery Solved

Recently our little garden fountain has been in total disarray. Every morning the spigot was lopsided and the stones were strewn every which way. I would carefully restore order only to find the same thing the next morning. Well, this morning the artful disarranger was caught in the act:


We used to have a birdbath, but it couldn't withstand these acrobatics. OK, I promise to fill "your" waterdish if you just please stay off my fountain!

On another note, Sharon gave me this award which I am supposed to pass on to five friends. This is always a difficult task, one with which I can't comply because I consider all of my visitors my friends. So if you wish to claim this award, feel free. Meanwhile, thank you, Sharon, for thinking of me. I hope we can soon meet in person!
Thank You, Sharon

Monday, August 3, 2009

Keeping Our Cool

Seafair weekend in Seattle means the Blue Angels are in town, the hydroplanes are roaring, and the traffic is terrible, even worse than usual because of bridge closures. We can just go up the nearby Somerset hill to spot these flying daredevils; sometimes they even fly right over our house! This time we could see them over the city at a distance. Can you see the Space Needle?
Flying High over Seattle
On Thursday when I was tutoring, the Blue Angels were practicing their stunts and flew right over our heads. It was ear-splitting! They didn't come nearly as close on Saturday, but Dick did catch some good shots.
In Formation
They flew overhead this time but so fast it was hard to capture.
Up Close

To escape the heat, we can either go into the city and stroll the waterfront, or we can head to the mountains. We chose the latter and drove north to the Mount Baker national forest and found SNOW! Mount Baker, one of our slumbering volcanoes, is north of us, almost to Canada, and looks like a giant ice cream sundae from a distance. An article in Sunset magazine reminded us that the drive through Deming, Maple Falls, and Glacier was very pretty. The view of Mount Shucksan from Picture Lake appears often in travel brochures.
Follow Me

We walked the path around Picture Lake before heading up the winding "red" road with its sharp curves and steep dropoffs to Artist Point.
Picture Lake
Artist Point is tucked in a saddle between Mount Shucksan and Mount Baker and provides stunning views in all directions. On the other side of the parking lot off in the distance was the top of Mount Baker, still so snowy and white.
Snow in August

Way down below and far away, Baker Lake sparkled darkly in the haze, and across the valley below, we saw this interesting view. Was it water or wind or both that caused these peaks to form?

We saw glaciers and rocks, birds and flowers.
Up Close on Mount Shucksan
Pillars like these are everywhere and reminded us of Devil's Postpile in California.
Rock Formations

We saw green huckleberries, spirea, and other flowers along the roadside and lake path.
Fireweed
Pearly-everlasting

This friendly fellow was hoping for a handout. They are brazen and will sometimes swoop right down and steal your sandwich; that behavior has earned them their "Camp Robber" nickname.
Gray Jay

Yes, it's been hot here in the Pacific Northwest, but we had a very COOL weekend!