Feb 28, 2008

Bye Bye, Birdie

Yesterday the nest was empty! The birds had flown away. We had some gentle rain this winter and the hills are covered with wild flowers, and besides that, many homes have beautiful flower gardens. It's California--even the gas stations and offices have flowers! So wonderful for the hummingbirds. That bird mama was a big success. She hatched two eggs and the babies both grew.

Meanwhile, I've been sewing on the other quilt. It's butterflies. These two quilts, the tea cups and the butterflies are intended for bunk beds. I haven't quite decided on the border for the tea cup quilt yet. I'm mulling over a couple of ideas. The butterflies are from the book "Cut-Loose Quilts," by Jan Mullen. I did revise the pattern pieces slightly, I made the sides wider than called for. I added an inch all around. I'm planning to set them together with alternating squares.

Feb 25, 2008

Hummingbird baby news

These little birds will be flying away any day now, I guess. Aren't they the most beautiful little birds? They are so very tiny.

Feb 24, 2008

It's a tea party

Well, I'm really proud of how this Jan Mullen pattern is coming out. This is a picture of the blocks assembled, except that I made it in two sections that will be joined after the quilting. Now I have to decide how to do the borders. Meanwhile, I'm planning a companion quilt with a different pattern. The quilts are intended for my youngest granddaughter's bunk beds. This quilt reveals what a dedicated fabric scrap saver I am. There's a piece that was left over from a dress I made for my other granddaughter ten years ago. There's a scrap from a remnant I bought 36 years ago--yep, that's not a misprint. Talk about your stash busting. I found that you can use any nutty fabric in your stash for this pattern. And I've got the cup handles going left and right. For the cup handles, I did depart from the printed directions. I made bias with my bias bars and used that for the applique handles.

Feb 21, 2008

Hummingbird baby update

Look at how big the babies have grown--we can now see their little heads poking up out of the tea-cup sized nest. They are waiting for their mama to return with their next meal. Well, it's back to the sewing machine for me.

Feb 20, 2008

Dark Chocolate Refrigerator Cookies

This is not a spur-of-the moment recipe, the dough must be chilled before baking. But even if you are pressed for time, making the dough one day and the cookies the next can be practical. Hint: to melt the baking chocolate without making another pot to clean--leave chocolate inside of the paper wrappers. Place over boiling water in top of double boiler, or inside inverted cover of a pan. Place over boiling water. You can put a tiny bit of foil under the chocolate. After the chocolate melts, scrape out of the paper into the bowl, using a spatula.
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
non-pareils or chopped nuts (optional)
Cream magarine with sugar until combined. Beat in egg, chocolate and vanilla. Sift together the dry ingredients and gradually beat in. Form into two long rolls and wrap in wax paper. Chill overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. slice dough into 1/4 inch slices, decorate with non-pariels or nuts if desired, and place on greased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Makes 5 dozen.

Feb 17, 2008

Tea cups quilt

My tea cups are all made. I have to join them up, of course. But they did come out gaily colored. And they were such fun to make.

There's some good news about the hummingbird babies. Now we know why the mama bird picked the plum tree--it is starting to blossom today. There'll be lots of nectar for the babies. Can you see the baby bird's beak poking up out of the nest? Now I know why bird-watching can be such a fun hobby.

I finally have gotten back to knitting my white sweater. I started that sweater about 1 1/2 years ago. I had most of the left front done, and I managed to finish that part this week. I had one sleeve started too, so I'm doing that. I've got short arms, so the length of sweater sleeves is always a problem. I think I should sew the shoulders together, and then try to figure out the sleeve length. It's a dropped shoulder style. The sweater is make of sport yarn.

CBS brought back the TV show "Jericho." Did you know that people were so dissappointed when they cancelled the show, that they were sending CBS nuts? That was because the word "Nuts" was prominent in the last episode. CBS received tons of nuts. I can imagine their mail room being overwhelmed by packages and packages. The network relented and will run a few more shows, to at least bring resolution to the story. I was enjoying watching that show because of the interesting premise. I wanted to see how the people could cope with a (fictional) catastrophe.

Google had a notice about all the new innovations that they have made to improve blogs, but my spell checker no longer is working. So, attention all school teachers, please do not use your red pen on my errors!

Feb 12, 2008


Can you make out the beak of the baby bird just peeking out from the nest? I was so excited that I managed to take a photo while the mama bird was away. On the subject of the teacup quilt--I had some luck with that today. My mother-in-law used to have a saying "dumb luck" when something turned up to unexpectedly get you out of a predicament. I started to make this quilt with enthusiasm and not much in the way of planning. I knew that I had a piece of tea-dye in the closet, but I didn't measure it. I figured that I could use any light backgrounds on the teacups. But when I started with the tea-dye, I decided that I really liked it, and besides, there is no right or wrong side to the fabric. That helps when you are making right and left side pieces. So, I continued to cut into the fabric like there was no tomorrow. However, when I came to the spot where I needed to cut pieces for the last 10 blocks, I suddenly saw that I was coming to the end of the fabric--and I finished with 3 inches to spare! So la-de-da!

Feb 10, 2008

My Fourth Day Quilt

I made it in twin size, and I'm showing it on a queen size bed, so it does look narrow here. I finished the binding last night, and I put it right on the bed. A great big star. Lots of turquoise. Meanwhile, I'm really enjoying making wonky tea cup blocks for my next "masterpiece."

Feb 7, 2008

My new project

Oh, I'm sewing on the binding on my quilt! I do that while watching TV in the evenings. I don't watch daytime TV except for the news. Meanwhile, I have a new project that I'm starting. I made a sample block, to see how it goes. It's "Cuppaz" by Jan Mullen. I have her book, "Cut Loose Quilts." But do you think I made one thing from the book? No. I adore the butterfly quilt on the cover, and I might make it someday. Meanwhile, I saw the "Cuppaz" quilt on Flickr.com, and I was in love. I ordered the pattern from Virginia quilter. I want to make a twin size quilt for one of my lovely granddaughters. I realized that I often made a quilt that I've seen on the Internet, lately. I went outside right now to check, and that little hummingbird is still sitting there on her nest. I was supposed to be going to the eye doctor today to see if my glasses prescription needed to be changed. But they phoned and cancelled. So now I have a lot of time to quilt and do stuff around the house instead.

Feb 4, 2008

This is an update--I'm nearly finished making my quilt. Just a bit more stitching, and of course, the binding. I'm kind of excited about it. Our little hummingbird is still sitting on her nest. Those eggs ought to be hatched by now. Meanwhile, back at the ranch--I'm planning to make a sample square for a possible next quilt. Oh, my life is such a mad whirl. Enough cliches!

Feb 1, 2008


That's a picture of the little hummingbird who has made her nest right outside my front door, in the plum tree in the courtyard. She's been there for about 10 days. She's so patient and persistant. She has endured several cold nights and quite a bit of rain. It's very inspiring to watch. I sneak a little peak at her whenever I go by.
Good news about my quilting, I have free motion quilted one half of my star quilt, and I pin-basted the rest today.