8/22/17

Here Comes the Sun

Success!!! We had the most marvelous time viewing the solar eclipse yesterday along with fellow sun worshipers. As it turns out the traffic predictions going to our area were as overblown as winter snowstorm predictions tend to be. At a few intersections there were back-ups, but we were barely delayed on our way to Rickreall, Oregon. Being quite early, the light was lovely as we drove along, and there were lots of barns to see along the way.




In this next image, we passed some fellow sun worshipers getting set up for the coming spectacle.




You can see a motorhome pulled off on the right in the image below.


We were nearly to Rickreall when we noticed this concrete pad off to the driver's side. Initially, we passed it by, but then turned around and came back, and it was perfect!


Nothing but open farmland all around us. Mike found this satellite image of the place.


There were no signs or fences indicating we shouldn't be there and so we pulled off and started setting up.

My friend Judy is a "birder," meaning she loves looking for birds, and so she had some rather sophisticated "spotting scopes" and cameras. It was early morning and so there was plenty of time to get set up.


There's my friend Judy when she came out from under her towel. (The sun was bright, and she was having difficulty seeing her screen.)


Off in the distance was this barn.


And there were some little things to keep us occupied and entertained while we waited.




Around 9:30, it started. These pictures of the partial were taken with my iPhone, holding some eclipse glasses over the lens.


As you can imagine, we were excited, and this meant the requisite selfie.


Then it continued on...


until it reached totality. This picture was taken using a 70-300 mm telephoto lens and a 1.4x teleconverter attached to an Olympus E-3 DSLR.


As it approached totality, the light changed, getting dimmer and dimmer. It also grew colder, and I donned the sweater I had with me. At totality, there was darkness, except for some fading sunset light 360° around the horizon. We could see the planet Mercury below the sun and to the left (not visible in my image). Also, the planet Mars was above and to the right. Higher up we could see the planet Venus. Exactly 1 minute and 48 seconds later, it was over. The time passed so quickly, we could scarcely believe it was over.


And that was when the traffic started, heading back into town. There were miles-long back-ups at every intersection requiring a stop. At that point, it didn't matter. We were so stoked, we didn't mind the traffic, and it didn't dampen our spirits one iota.


We headed into McMinnville for some lunch, and a quick stop at the fabric store, where I was able to find the background fabric I've been looking for (more on that later). For now, I wanted to give you this video simulation of the eclipse, just in case you missed it because of location or cloud cover. It looks exactly like the real thing.


If you can't see the video, then click right here.

When we got home, I walked around and took a few pictures of the blooming things in our own yard. The mint is blooming now, and covered with bees.


In fact, bees are crawling all over pretty much every flower in the garden.


The echinacea are continuing to thrill me.


And the smallest of the sunflowers has bloomed now. I thought this one had died, but it pulled itself up by the bootstraps, and there it is...blooming away.


As I'm writing this, Judy is heading back to her home in California, and it's time to get back to what passes for normal around here. I did all my housework in preparation for having a house guest, and so there's not much to do other than sew. It's a CSA pick-up day, and we're all out of coffee...which practically requires a 911 call. Except for running those errands, it's going to be an NBS day (nothing but sewing).

8/20/17

Apples and a Kitty

Yesterday was spent getting our guestroom ready, doing some laundry, and doing some cooking. Today I'll be doing a little more cooking in preparation for a visit from a friend. There are a lot of blueberries lounging in our freezer right now, and so I'm going to try a new recipe for a blueberry tart that uses cornmeal and fresh corn for its topping. Sounds kind of interesting, and we have the most delicious fresh corn from our farmers right now. If it turns out to be good, I'll tell you more about it in my next post.

As for sewing, I got a start on the next section for And on that Farm. This section is called "She had some Chicks." McKenna Ryan patterns are pretty scary to contemplate. Every time I attempt one, I swear I'll never do another...until the next cute one comes along...and then I'm back to swearing. Check out this placement template:


It's never a good thing when the pieces are so small that the numbers must be placed in the margins with arrows indicating where they go.

The scariest part is cutting the piece(s) for the background. There can be no mistakes here since this is a kit, and the fabric is limited.


Phew...so far, so good.

These are best worked by reading one item in the instructions, and then doing just that one item. If I read ahead, I start getting confused. So, this one started with the apples.


Some of them are oddly shaped because they will be placed behind other pieces.

Next, I was ready to work on the cat. Not this one.


This one. Oy. Look at those eyes.


The applique was stacked six deep. and the centers were smaller than the head of a pin.


When it was all finished, I fused it to the apples and laid it on the background.


Only then, I looked at the picture from the pattern, and realized I'd done a couple of the pieces on the head of the cat in the wrong fabric.


Fortunately, I had more, and so I was able to pull those pieces up without any problem, and replace them with the correct color.


Okay...that looks better.

Next up, I'll be making the little chicks. They have lots of little pieces too. There probably won't be any more accomplished on this for at least a couple of days, however. I'm getting an early start this morning because my friend should be here before noon. I want to get a little more cooking done and there are some things to do outside as well.

We're heading out before dawn tomorrow, hoping to avoid traffic snarls on our drive south to get to the midpoint of the path of totality. We'll probably park near some farmer's field and then wait for the big moment. With that in mind, I'm signing off for a day or two. Look for me in the shadow of the moon.

8/19/17

Ride the Wild Surf

Finally, I made good on my promise to make the next block for the Chicken Buffet quilt. This is Block 7 of 12: Hawaiian Chicken.


The next time I work on this quilt, I'll be doing the Chicken Chow Mein block.


There are some good fabrics already in my stash for making this block. I figure some combination of these three.


Also yesterday, I took the first stitches on the 12th of 12 blocks for the Hocuspocusville quilt. These blocks were done in different sizes, with the corner blocks being the smallest.


This is one of the smaller ones, and so I'm hoping I can have it finished before month's end. I'll have to stitch fast.

Next up in the sewing room, I'll make the next section for "And on that Farm." This one is called "She Had Some Chicks." It's always fun to see a kitty in the mix.


It's a fairly small block, which just means it has lots of itty bitty pieces to cut. These are fun, but time-consuming.

Today I'm getting our guest room ready for my friend Judy's visit. She's spending two nights with us to see the eclipse. I'm going to do some cooking today...some stuff I can make ahead. I don't like to cook when we have guests, and so cooking ahead makes it easier for me to enjoy our guests. I didn't make it to the fabric store yesterday, but I'm still plotting my next visit. Probably I'll combine it with some other errand.

8/18/17

Bee Finished!

Three lengths of thread were all that I needed to finish off the binding on the Bee Loving quilt.


As I mentioned once before on this blog, I named it "Bee Loving" because it reminds me of the many happy hours I spent helping my dad with his beekeeping hobby when I was a little girl. On one of his deployments to Vietnam, he gave me instructions for adding the "super" to the top of the hive. The "super" is placed on top of the hive with a divider in between that allows the worker bees to pass through, but not the queen. This prevents the queen from laying eggs in the honeycomb, and the honey that collects in the super is what the beekeeper and his family get to enjoy.

At age 16, I'd been tending bees with him for many years, and I'd lost any sensible fear of bee stings. I went out and tended the hives barefoot and wearing only shorts. When the super ended up being heavier than expected, it slipped from my hands and fell a short distance onto the top of the hive with a big thump. As you might imagine, the bees came barreling out of the hive as I ran off, and I was stung three times on the back of my thigh. Ouch. (Interestingly, those spots tanned darker than the other areas of my legs that year. My dad thought there might be a product idea for tanning lotions in that bit of knowledge.) Having learned my lesson, I donned proper beekeeping attire and finished tending the hives more sensibly dressed for the task. My dad was impressed that I was willing to go back and finish the job after that.

So, here's how the back of the quilt looks.


Smitty tried to get Sadie to help him inspect it, but she declined, saying she'd already purrnounced it fit for snuggling. Smitty continues to be disgusted by her laziness.

Let a purrfessional handle this.


After tip-toeing around on it with his dirty feet, he too purrnounced it:


Kitty tested and appurroved.

Now the quilt has been washed and taken up residence in our fifth wheel. It's going to be a napping and snuggle quilt. It will replace a bulky comforter that we've carried along for years. With space at a premium, it'll be good to get the comforter out of there and replace it with something that takes up less space.

From there, I caught up on the two Monday Minis that needed to be done.



Here are all the minis I've made so far. I know those 36-patches are going to give me trouble when this is all sewn together. I'll figure out something. It seems we should be coming to the end of this one pretty soon. I'm hoping I can get it sewn together before we leave on our trip, but the blocks are small enough I can probably take it along, if need be.


This was all done under the watchful eye of Himself.


There was still about an hour left in the sewing day, and so I prepped all the remaining blocks for the Wine Country embroidery project. These are all iron on transfers, and they are backed with Pellon SF-101 Shape Flex. The fabric was cut. I just needed to put a hot iron to them.


The only other thing I want to do for my take-along projects is to cut the background fabric for the Snow Globes project.

When I visited the Cotton Patch the other day, I was unsuccessful in finding what I was looking for. Maybe a trip to my favorite shop in McMinnville is in order. It could count as part of my sewing day, right? Fabric acquisition is part of the process, right? And we're having leftovers for dinner, so...hmmmmm.

Also, I said way back on July 22nd that I was going to make the next Chicken Buffet block, Hawaiian Chicken. 


Things got in the way...I blame the carrots...and it's still not done. That's definitely next, and this time...nothing will stop me...except possibly fabric acquisition.