Butterflies and Quilts and Good-byes

Good morning!  Yesterday I posted 2 photo’s side by side…..a butterfly and a caterpillar.  One of my sisters said it reminded her of our dear Aunt Jean, who was a butterfly lover!

Turns out, the caterpillar is an Eastern Black Swallow caterpillar. I had NO idea. Thanks to a comment from Mel I now know what is happening in my garden.  All the botany she has been teaching lately has paid off!

The caterpillar is on the flower stalk from an iris.  I decided not to cut it out and toss it in the compost pile, since the caterpillar was climbing on it.  I just went out to check to see if his progress and couldn’t find him.  I knew the sedum attracted butterflies, and now I know to leave the decaying flower stalks on the iris all summer, even though they are unsightly.  I will just refer to it in the future as my “butterfly habitat”.

I have seen some Eastern Black Swallow butterflies already in the flowerbed on my sedum, but haven’t been able to photograph one yet.  So, I may have neglected the flowerbed, but the butterflies like it!  We haven’t had any rain for 2 weeks, so I thought I would run out this morning and fill the bird bath and maybe turn on the sprinkler for 20 mins.  Neglect no more!

I found a great article on “raising Eastern Black Swallowtails”  at Native Plant Wildlife .  Great photos and information ! Another site I found called them Eastern TIGER swallowtails.  Good info about identifying the gender, habitat and predators along with photo’s here – Eastern Tiger swallowtails

On to the quilts ~  I went on a bus trip with 37 other members of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild on Thursday to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)  DAR Museum in Washington DC.  We had such a wonderful tour and enjoyed seeing the various period rooms and especially the Eye on Elegance display of quilts on special exhibit.

With a docent leading the way, we learned about the history of the DAR, and enjoyed not only the rooms and quilts, but the architecture of the building, just 2 blocks from the White House.  The DAR Museum is connected to Constitution Hall.  I have been there for a concert, but did not realize its association with the DAR.  The Eye on Elegance exhibit closes today, but I took a few pictures to share with you.  There were too many to photograph, but they are available here: Current Exhibit.

The building was amazing, though I only took a few pictures.  I was fascinated by the library, which was originally an auditorium. The ceiling is amazing, and the panels of glass vent.  The light was spectacular coming into the room.  The chandeliers are the originals, rewired for electricity, and special light bulbs that come from England.

If you ever get to Washington DC, consider a visit the DAR Museum.  Coordinate ahead of time for a docent. We had 3 different docents giving the tour and they were spectacular.  I could have spent the entire day at the museum.

We spent our afternoon in Annapolis Maryland, and had a fantastic lunch at Reynolds Tavern  .

Of course, when you go on a bus trip with quilters, there is always an opportunity to shop, and we stopped at Cotton Seed Glory Quilt Shop in Annapolis to finish out the afternoon.  It is fun to visit quilt shops and see what is different and new.  I picked up the “row by row” pattern, but doubt I will make it.  I wanted the “dolphins” on the pattern for a future applique.

Friday we said good-bye to a member of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild.  Our friend Linda Gabriel had fought for nearly 3 years and lost the battle.  She was such an inspiration to us all with her humor and determination. A little more than 2 years ago she had a stroke. She battled to gain use again of her body, and just last fall she was with us, quilting at a sit & sew.  These are photos of her last projects, and I am so happy to have taken these pictures.  She was one determined woman to do what she enjoyed! I bet she would have loved the visit to the DAR.  She was a librarian, a sailor, a world travelr, a quilter and a comic!  She will be missed by so many.  She was an inspiration to many!

I hope you have a chance to do something you love today!

 

 

Spring has Sprung back to Winter

My Goodness what is up with the crazy weather?

Yesterday was nearly 70 degrees, and we worked out in the yard in SHORT SLEEVES.  We also went over to the beach for dinner and only needed a lightweight jacket. At bedtime it was still above 60 degrees.  Friday I had a lot of errands to run, and I was going through town, I was very excited to see the first of the daffodils in bloom along a fence.  That was at noon.  By 6 pm, we were out again, and EVERYWHERE the daffs were up and blooming.  I was so excited to see them in my own yard.

first week of SPRING

first week of SPRING

Yes it is finally Spring, or it was on Friday and Saturday….not so much today, where we will only get to 51 degrees, and tomorrow where we will only get to 39 degrees and Tuesday the report is for SNOW….  It wouldn’t be so bad, but the lows are in the LOW 20 degrees…..

Next Friday it will be Spring again, so I guess I can maintain a little hope.  I had hoped for another warm day to get out in the yard and clear the leaves and winter mess from the flower bed.  I do hope MR. RABBIT is quite happy with his diet of TULIP greens. (I am on the hunt for that critter……)

Seriously, we rocked yesterday.  Got that darn bamboo out of the forsythia and lilac bushes; and also out of the bed of tiger lilies.  Hubby wants to divide that bed of tiger lilies up and relocate a large portion to a couple other places in the yard, along the driveway near his garage.

More daffs in the garden

More daffs in the garden

I don’t relish digging around the bamboo roots tho.  I think if we move the whole  bed, we can use some ground clear this year to get rid of the bamboo that will start growing in another two weeks.  Seems we spend our whole spring “whacking” bamboo. Our neighbor finally has taken control of some near the front of the property. We had been clearing for years along our chain link fence, and his side was pushing the fence over.  2 years ago he took a stand against the bamboo too.  At least along the driveway.    Now it is time to tackle what has started to grow out in our woods and try to control it from spreading.  I don’t know who thought it was a good idea 30 + years ago to plant it, but holy cow is it a huge problem.  We have 2.75 acres and 3/4 of it is wooded.  Bamboo is in about 1/4 of the woods. So, you must work around the trees clearing it out, and being careful with any spray product.  Then there is the lot line issue with the neighbor and his lack of interest in clearing his side.  Often we “cross the line” to keep it away, but it sends out shoots fast.   Maybe if he sees us out working with the chain saw, he will join the endeavor.

But today, too darn cold.  (I am joyful…really…as my lower back has forgotten what it means to garden……)

First week of Spring in Delaware!

First week of Spring in Delaware!

I shut the thermostat down to the off position Friday, but thinking this morning I may have to turn the heat back on. Toes are cold.  Planning for next winter…thinking we need a new heating system and the cellar of this house spray foamed insulated.  The problem with a 110 year old house is the drafts you get.  Maybe adding a modern heat pump (and associated duct work) would solve a few of our heating a cooling issues.  Wish Bob Vila would come by for lunch…..or one of those HGTV experts……

I have not done much sewing this week for my own projects.  I had Quilt Bee on Wednesday; and we worked on heart pillows for  breast cancer patients.  I stitched up one at home, and 3 or 4 at the bee, and had 2 more in a kit at home.  The hand stitching is time consuming, but you need to close that opening where you turn the pillow right side out.

I also worked on a foundation STRING piecing project. More about the project after it is delivered, big secret…..but I will show my 2 block contribution.

String piecing

String piecing

I was given 1 piece of fabric as a sample, and pulled the rest out of my “50 shades of blue basket” of fat quarters.  We were told blue, green and purple.  I only added a touch of the green, and most of it will get trimmed off.  I decided to stick to batiks, as that was what the sample fabric was, so I sliced off a strip or two from about 5 fat quarters. Yes, I know the foundation is showing at the bottom of the one on the right, but that is all in the area they will be cutting away.  They are rough cut at 9″ now, and someone else will trim to 8″ .  I really liked Bonnie Hunter – Quiltville’s instruction for String piecing: http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2005/06/string-quilting-primer.html  .  In fact, I liked it so much I shared it with the ladies in our Bee.  I think I am an overachiever, because I did these two blocks on Friday afternoon, in less than an hour.  I like the method, and I must admit, I like to press with the iron after I add each piece.  I think it just gives a nice result.

Speaking of the quilt bee….guess who won the fat quarter game ???           🙂   🙂

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22 SPRING fat quarters

They were fun to fold and refold, and sort into colors~!!~   I showed up with 3 and brought home 22 !~!  Thanks Material Girls.  Into the stash you go!  This is the second time in less than a year I won our game.  We have about 12 ladies, and I feel a tad greedy. Thinking next month I should just contribute, but sit the round out….feels to me like that would be fair.

So, busy day today with church, and then TAXES…I must dig through my folder of stuff and get ready to see the Tax preparer tomorrow. Does not sound like much fun, but once it is in his capable hands, I can stop thinking about it.   On to more pleasant thoughts….

My friend Judy who has an embroidery machine posted a question to me about stabilizers and “crinkles” in the finished project.  Her thoughts were if you used a light fabric, you want a light stabilizer.  If you look at the picture below, you will see how the fabric crinkles around the design.   This is a 4×4 design; stitched on white cotton; stabilized with a lighter weight iron on stabilizer, and extends to the edges of the fabric. My machine only permits a 4 x 4 design, but the hoop is about 6×8; so I iron on the stabilizer on an 8×8 square, hoop it and stitch.  I like the iron on stabilizer the  best, because I don’t have to worry about the extra thickness shifting etc. when I am hooping the project.

crinkles

crinkles

I shared my limited knowledge with Judy (she is much more experienced than I); and then asked my other friend Debbie, who is VERY experienced.  The answer seems to be…change the needle.  Does anyone else offer any ideas why this would happen?  Is this just a cotton fabric issue? Is it a stabilizer issue?   How do you decide what weight stabilizer to use?  I have medium weight tear away; medium weight iron on; and several heavier pellon products that I have used.  Anybody with thoughts or ideas, please let me know.

Enough rambling; seems my blogging goes from one direction to the other.  Thanks for listening!!!

Keep stitching and pray for SPRING  to show back up in the Mid Atlantic.