Tuesday, October 3, 2023

To Dewey Beach, 2023

I love the ocean and I'd always thought of it as a bright, sunny place to be.  This time, I saw another view of the ocean.

To get to Dewey Beach, Delaware, last week, we drove through cloudy, rainy, cool Ohio, the Appalachians of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, then through Maryland, and into Delaware.  I love that drive.  When we arrived at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge I thought to myself, we're almost there!, forgetting that the ocean was still two hours away.  About an hour later, we saw this "Beaches" sign.  It always makes me chuckle with its collective, non-definitive noun.  The coastline is filled with beaches in both directions!  We only about an hour away!

We knew there was a great possibility that we wouldn't have bright, beautiful, sunny days at the beach this year.  Ophelia had just bypassed Dewey a few days before.  But looking at my phone's weather app and seeing how often it changed from rainy to partly cloudy or partly sunny, I was hopeful that the rain and clouds would be on their way out by the time we arrived.
Not only was it grey and cloudy, it was also rainy, windy--17 to 22 miles/hour winds--and cool--in the mid-60s.  The weather app also told me that there was a flood watch which soon became a flood warning.  Our hotel was on the beach (with an ocean view room).  Should we be concerned?  I asked several people about it and they said it wasn't a big deal.  The hotel's receptionist told us that the water probably wouldn't get to the dune.  If you enlarge the photo above, you'll see a fence just in front of the dune on the ocean-side.  The waves reached that fence but no higher.  I was surprised that the water continued to rise even after high tide had been reached. 

On Tuesday we walked on the beach with a temperature that felt colder because of the wind.

We walked the beach for half a mile or so, then gave up fighting the wind and went back inside.  What does one do on a cool, grey, windy day in October when at the beach?  We headed to the state park's bay-side marina where we found hundreds of boats tethered to dock after dock.  Such a lot of boats!  It was not as windy there.

Next, we went to a small section of a state park where the path meandered through a forest then into a marsh area where we saw tiny fiddler crabs busy hunting for food, or doing whatever crabs do.  It was a wonderful walk, also warmer and less windy away from the ocean, and the rain held off.

On Wednesday we saw a glint of the predicted sun around 9 a.m.
By 10 the clouds had thinned a little giving space for the sun to shine through.

Then clouds returned....
until the weather changed again.  It was still cool and windy but it was wonderful to see sun and blue skies.

We came home a day early:  Thursday was predicted to be as dark, grey, and cloudy as Monday and Tuesday.

I love the ocean no matter the weather.  This was the first time seeing it look grey, with a grey sky above.  I always wondered if the ocean picks up some of its color by reflecting the sky.  Blue sky, blue ocean.  Grey sky, grey ocean.  True or not, it seemed to be accurate this time.  As much as I love the ocean I'm disappointed that the few days we were there weren't sunny and a little warmer.  Had we been there a month, last week's few days would've been a pleasant change and I would have been thrilled to see them.  I'm glad to have seen them this time, and pleased we had part of a day with so much sun, but I'm looking forward to another ocean visit which I hope will be really sunny.

This week the Dewey Beach weather has been perfect!  I'm so happy for the people who are there now.

I'm returning to quilting activities now.  I finished last week's Scrappy Stars but haven't photographed them yet.


Friday, September 22, 2023

A Sweet Gift and Scrappy Stars #7-9

I was the recipient of a lovely blogiversary gift of Kim Diehl's book, Simple Double-Dipped Quilts, and four fat quarters of Kim's delicious creamy fabrics from Mary who blogs at Quiltin' Grandma's Blog.
I've never made a quilt from one of Kim's patterns but I like them a lot.  And I think her fabrics are delightful.  One of the quilts in this book is calling my name....  Thank so much for the generous gifts, Mary. 
 Below are my versions of this week's Scrappy Stars for Taryn's Scrappy Star Stitchalong.  First are Taryn's photos and descriptions, then my versions with comments. 

Block #7 Scrappy Star Stitchalong Block #7 What an interesting block with the two green corner squares at the top and two different colors in the bottom corners, plus the upper center square turned so the star points are brown. 
  That green fabric in the original is beautiful.  I rarely seen greens like that in reproduction fabrics.  The fabric I used is the closest in color that I have.
  The photo of the original block looks like some of the triangles are very pink, but the same fabric is used in other blocks and looks more red.  For consistency I used the fabric I've been using.
  About that top center quarter-square triangle block with the star points turn the wrong way...  Oops.  (I assume it was a mistake on the maker's part and she didn't want to change it.)  Anyway, I just couldn't do it....  So I have eight red/reddish star points.

Block #8 Scrappy Star Stitchalong Block #8 This was a fairly easy block with corner squares of the same fabric and the same blue in the four blocks.  I don't have a great selection of grey print fabric so I had to search a little to come up with these.  I also did not have a sketchy blue stripe similar the one in the center block. 
  In truth, when this quilt is finished, I don't think anyone will look at it and say, "Oh, you missed that fabric by a long shot," primarily because I don't think anyone who sees this finished quilt will have seen photos of the original.  It's all good.

Block #9 Scrappy Star Stitchalong Block #9 Oh my goodness, what a scrappy star!  Those points are all over the place.  I came up shorthanded on brown plaids so substituted a red and tan plaid for the right upper star point.  I actually think I like it a little better.... 
  Taryn said the upper corner blocks have a teal background.  I had nothing similar so I substituted a print with a different blue background than is used throughout the rest of the quilt.

These are the current quilt bloggers I know who are participating and creating a wonderful variety of stars with beautiful fabrics: 
   > Barb at Fun with Barb
   > Jeanne at Spiral
   > Linda at Koka Quilts
   > Tazzie at Tazzie Quilts
   > Wendy at The Constant Quilter
   > Katy at KatyQuilts
   > Kathleen at A Sentimental Quilter
   > Cynthia at wabi-sabi quilts
See non-bloggers' blocks on Instagram using #scrappystarstitchalong.

I have been watching the weather along the Atlantic coast, especially the Delmarva Peninsula, because that's where I'll be next week.  Ophelia is headed that way, or may have touched down already, and I don't know how long the rain and winds will last.  Last week the weather app on my phone suggested rain three days out of the week, then earlier this week it was down to two days of rain, and now it's up to rain all week with temperatures in the high 60s and speedy winds!  Thank goodness rain's not predicted at 100% any of the days we'll be there.  I bought a poncho today and my daughter reserved an ocean view room.  At least if it's raining we'll be able to watch it straight on, though I hope we'll be out and about and on the beach more than in the hotel room.

I hope your week's been good.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Scrappy Stars #4-6, Nona the Fabriholic

This set of stars (#4-6) for Taryn's Scrappy Star Stitchalong went much better than the first three.  When I finally adjusted my thinking and gave in to using fabrics I have that are similar in any way to those in the original stars, I began enjoying making these stars more.  My goal is to recreate the blocks as closely as possible in fabric/fabric style, colors, and placement.  Many thanks to Taryn for hosting this stitchalong.

Block #4, original and mine
Scrappy Star Stitchalong Block #4Clearly, my blues are not as dark or intense and my corner blocks have light lines instead of dark lines.  Even though this block had nine different fabrics, it was the simplest so far, and the most symmetrical as far as color placement.

As I look at the original blocks I can't help but think about the person who created them....

Block #5, original and mine
Scrappy Star Stitchalong Block #5
This block repeated several fabrics from previous blocks.  I'm trying to do the same, though purple fabrics are a real challenge for me.  The lower right square in the original is such fun fabric.  I had nothing remotely similar.

After looking closely at the construction of the blocks, I can't help but wonder if this was a young girl's or young woman's first quilt.

Block #6, original and mine
Scrappy Star Stitchalong Block #6
That blue stripe is a stand-out fabric in the original quilt and I was sure I had a similar stripe somewhere.  But no, I must not have.  This was the closest I could come.  I was puzzled by the two greenish triangles in the bottom and left blocks.  They look like two different fabrics and they look green/grey with prints.  I had nothing similar.  If I happen to find a similar fabric I think I would replace the one I've used.  Really.

Always, when I'm trying to reproduce antique quilts, I wonder about the makers and who they were.  Unless the quilts are signed, we'll never know.  Perhaps they are like me and could never imagine one of their quilts lasting so long, or even being of interest if it did, hence no signature.  Who knows, but it's fun to imagine.

I'm sad this stitchalong is happening only on Instagram.  My experience with sew-alongs is that they build community and are just fun to see everyone else's blocks.  This one feels isolating, though I'm enjoying making the blocks.

These are the current quilt bloggers I know who are participating: 
   > Barb at Fun with Barb
   > Jeanne at Spiral
   > Linda at Koka Quilts
   > Tazzie at Tazzie Quilts
   > Wendy at The Constant Quilter
   > Katy at KatyQuilts
   > Kathleen at A Sentimental Quilter
   > Cynthia at wabi-sabi quilts
See non-bloggers' blocks on Instagram using #scrappystarstitchalong.

Aside from quilting....
There's sweet Nona.  She is enthusiastic about fabric and quilting.  She's eaten a number of scrap triangles I had in a box on the floor, and she decided she didn't like one of the little star blocks so chewed holes into part of it.  (It took a few hours to unstitch, recut fabric, and sew together again.)  I forgot what it was like to have an Airedale assistant quilter.  My previous assistant limited her interest to laying on the blocks and sniffing and rearranging.  I'm keeping small pieces of fabric and finished blocks away from Nona.  I think she needs a different title but I can't decide what it should be.  Definitely a demotion.  ;-)

She had a bath and a clip in preparation for her spay yesterday.  All clean and clipped, she enjoyed a roll in the grass.  What a happy smile!
Our weather has been cool but I think warmer weather is headed our way next week. 

I hope all is well in your world.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Slow Sunday Stitching

I have a choice of two things to stitch today.  Or maybe I'll stitch a little on both.

First is this little plaid basket with bright zinnias.
little plaid basket with zinnias
I haven't taken a single stitch on this block yet and before I do, I'll reevaluate the placement of the parts.  Do I like that stem in the middle?  Are its leaves a good size?  Does the flower on the right need a few leaves?  Does the flower on the left need another leaf?  Those kinds of questions.  I always begin by stitching the stems and I think the ones on the right and left are in good shape for me to stitch today.  (It's just the middle on that's in question.)

Second is hand quilting Everyday Patchwork.
hand quilting Everyday Patchwork
I've quilted only one row of fans across the width of the quilt.  I like how the green thread mostly disappears.  For some reason, it's easy for me to do other things instead of hand quilt if there's not something to watch on TV or a book to listen to..  But I want to make progress on this so perhaps a few fans will be just thing thing for today.

I'm linking this post to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Kathy.


P.S.  Blogger is currently not sending comments to my email.  If you leave a comment (and I hope you do!), I'll respond here on the blog and if I know your email address I'll respond directly to you. 

Friday, September 8, 2023

Scrappy Star Sewalong Blocks #1-3, Cherry Trees

I'm participating in Taryn's Scrappy Star Stitchalong, and I'm finding it hugely challenging!  The stars in this charming old quilt are really scrappy -- I imagine the maker either saved scraps with a quilt like this in mind or rooted through every basket of scraps she had! -- and I don't have many fabrics similar to those in the original blocks.  Below are my blocks and the originals that Taryn posted.

Block # 1
Scrappy Star Stitchalong Block #1
Sometime between beginning this block and finishing the quarter square triangles for the second block, I realized I really didn't have any black-and-white checked or plaid fabrics that were remotely similar to the ones in the original quilt.  So I made the decision to use browns instead of blacks, not being a big fan of blacks anyway.  Sadly, the browns I used are not checks, either.  The effect is not even remotely similar.  Also, two of the triangles in the top center block look like they have a purple background, and then someone called them blue....  The fabric I used is a strange purplish brown print.

Block #2
Scrappy Star Stitchalong Block #2
That triangle on the left in the center row....  It looks light blue/aqua to me, so that's what I used.  And more brown in the corner blocks.

Block #3 Scrappy Star Stitchalong Block #3 The two quarter-square-triangle blocks on the left and at the bottom....  I had a gold fabric but it was poor quality.  When I compared this block in the image above with the one in the photo of the whole quilt, it leaned toward a gold/army green so I went with the fabric that had army green and some gold in it.  Taryn identified the corner blocks as purple.  They look more grey to me so I used one of the few purples I have, but sadly, not a print.

I think the original quilt is charming.  My blocks, not so much.  I think I have to decide how closely to the original blocks I want to try to get, or whether I would be just as happy taking inspiration from the originals and going with fabric combinations I hope I will really like.  There's no sense making quilt blocks I don't like because they'll never become a quilt and will have been a waste of time.

These are the current quilt bloggers I know who are participating: 
   > Barb at Fun with Barb
   > Jeanne at Spiral
   > Linda at Koka Quilts
   > Tazzie at Tazzie Quilts
   > Wendy at The Constant Quilter
   > Katy at KatyQuilts
   > Kathleen at A Sentimental Quilter
See others' blocks on Instagram using #scrappystarstitchalong.

Thanks for hosting this stitchalong, Taryn.

I've been trying to decide what makes a quilt charming (instead of devolving into chaos), particularly an antique or vintage quilt.  Is it the fact that it's old?  Do I romanticize the process of a woman who lived 100 years ago making a quilt?  Or is it the fabrics, or the colors, or the layout?  So far, I'm less than charmed by my three blocks.

But I do have a generous supply of triangles I could use, in lots of colors, along with a few light plaids and stripes.
box of triangles cut from fabric
We lost two friends yesterday, the two cherry trees closest to the camera.  The one near the middle of the photo had become infested with bugs and fell against our garage.  Then we learned the near one also had bugs.  These three cherry trees were here when we moved in nearly 25 years ago.  (In the photo below, a construction guy was coming into the yard with this equipment.)
The trees were leaning then and were very tall from lack of pruning.  It was not so much that they provided cherries, because some years they did and some years they didn't.  It was the shade they provided in the yard and to the room where I sew and use the computer.   And maybe even more than the shade was the beauty of the trees when they were laden with blossoms.  It's so sad to lose them.
cherry tree with blossoms
They really were dear friends and I miss them.  Our back yard looks bare and the sun shines a little too brightly into the room where I sew.  Farewell, sweet, dear trees.

We're beginning to have some cooler days and nights, and the leaves are beginning to fall already.  The brightness of autumn is just around the corner.  Hooray!

I'm linking this post to Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework.  Thanks for hosting, Cynthia.

Edited to add:  Comments are not coming to my email.  If you leave a comment and I have your email, I'll respond directly as well as here on the blog comments.  If I don't have your email, my response will be in the comments.  I'm grateful for all comments.


Thursday, September 7, 2023

Links to Enjoy #13

There are just a few links this time--architecture, pearl buttons, a sculpture, an old photo album, and some interesting sidewalks.  Oh, and a digital photo organization program. Enjoy!

I especially love the arches at the ruins of Stack Rock Fort in Wales.  What a beautiful structure.

I enjoyed this post about the history of pearl buttons.

I think this sculpture is beautiful and I appreciate the sculptor's attention to supporting the environment.

Do you have thousands of digital photographs which may--or may not--be organized?  This post explains a program called Mylio Photos which will help organize them.  I have not tried this program (and have no affiliation with it) but this post makes it look promising.

This Victorian-era photo album from the 1870s is interesting, curious, and unusual.  What do you think about the page with bats and a spider?

Collaged page utilising photographs and watercolour
Collaged page utilising photographs and watercolour

I would love to see and walk on these sidewalks in person.

I hope you found something interesting.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

The Scrappy Star Stitchalong at Repro Quilt Lover

Taryn is hosting a Scrappy Star Stitchalong at her blog, The Repro Quilt Lover for any of us who want to participate.  She's sharing a late 1900s baby quilt with 20 of the scrappiest 6" Ohio Stars I've ever seen.  We can recreate, newly create, modernly create, or choose fabrics by any method that suits us and our scraps.  Taryn will post three blocks each week with the goal of finishing the stitchalong in October.  Thanks so much for making this quilt available and hosting the stitchalong, Taryn.

One of my favorite ways to make a quilt is attempting to recreate an old quilt as closely as possible.  I'm late starting, having only chosen and cut fabrics for part of the first star last night, and three blocks are already available!  I hope to catch up and finish on time.  Searching for fabrics similar to the ones in the original blocks takes time, even with my limited selection.

I'm sad this will be mostly hosted on Instagram --#scrappystarstitchalong-- because I don't have an account there.  (Instagram and I haven't been able to agree on a name.)  I've noticed that several other bloggers are participating and as I learn of more, I'll probably follow them on Feedly, too.  These are the current quilters I know who are participating: 
   > Barb at Fun with Barb
   > Jeanne at Spiral
   > Linda at Koka Quilts
   > Wendy at The Constant Quilter
If you're not one of these ladies and you're participating, I hope you'll let me know so I can follow your blog, too.  I love seeing the variety of blocks!

I better get back to the fun of looking through my fabric and some sewing.


Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Links to Enjoy #12

This post is short and sweet because I wanted to publish it before August 30. 

There will be a Blue Moon which will also be a Super Moon on August 30.  Read more about why this moon is so special here.  Even tonight, August 29, the moon looks full.  And beautiful, of course.

I think these flower arrangements are both unexpected and delightful!

I love David Zinn's sense of humor and light-heartedness in creating his adorable chalk characters.  How he creates perspective is amazing to me.  The drawings at this link seem to be some of his newest, and you can see even more drawings here


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