It's been another busy week, a good week sprinkled with the nicest moments with family and friends.
And cute chickens! How I love these two with their identical shadows. This speckled rooster and hen belong to friends who lives up the road.
There was a meeting of the minds with my 'efficiency expert' (hubkins) last night, who is helping me stream-line the business side of my life.
Also, we had six thousand pounds of gravel and bark delivered for the garden fortress, which is coming along nicely. I've been kind of watching the transformation from the sidelines as others do most of the heavy lifting and focusing instead on the perennial beds that need some attention.
But as I'm bent over pulling weeds, my mind is elsewhere thinking about making (more) wee quilts. I've been working on them in the evenings, if my hands aren't too tired to hold onto a needle.
I'm so happy to have finished this one for Janice. It measures 13" x 15" and is made from vintage and new fabrics, from my own stash and the stash of other blog pals who have sent me bits and pieces from their own caboodle, which seems fitting somehow, to be joined together and shared in this fashion.
So now I just need to get this wrapped up and sent on its way.
After all the work that goes into making these it's sometimes hard to let them "leave the nest".
But my work is done and off it must go to a new home, with my blessing.
I might just have to make another one though, for myself, and maybe a few for the shop. If the weeds don't grow too fast and keep me too busy.
I also want to say, *thank you*, for the new-banner input, and for big blog-love in general. I do appreciate hearing from everyone.
Sometimes you don't have to look any further than your own surroundings to find inspiration. I was delighted when Ginger came to the backdoor this afternoon in rapt wonderment over finding the remains of a newly hatched robin's egg. I pulled my sweater from the hook, slipped my camera in my pocket, and followed her back out into the yard to see what else we might discover. Quite a lot was happening, as you can see. These pictures tell only part of the story. They also provided the inspiration for a new spring theme and blog-banner. (Can you spot the beetle on the lilac blossom?)
Will you just look at the kind of thing that happens when you're not paying attention? Oh my. Like a watched pot that never boils. This lone tulip poked its gorgeous head up and made an unexpected appearance. Well, well, well. When it comes to flowers of any kind, better late---than never, I say. I happened to notice it yesterday as I was passing by with the weed cart. The sun was shining on it like a spotlight and set the petals all a-glow. I stopped in my tracks to stare. Quickly skipped inside to grab my camera. Glad I did too, because its cold and drippy today, a far cry from this scene, but one that I can now continue to enjoy here. I don't recall planting this bulb, or seeing it before. Maybe a squirrel carried it over from another's yard and buried it at the base of the tree. What a wonderful surprise! It's the only tulip growing out in the open here, and it appears to have escaped the attention of the deer, who are still lurking. Could. it. be. the deer don't actually eat this one? Or possibly, they're just put-off by the daffodils and grape hyacinth that surround it, which they don't care for. I was once told that deer don't eat red tulips, so on that advice, big red tulips we planted with abandon. However, to my horror, their lovely heads were promptly and thoroughly chomped-off at the neck before they'd even had a chance to bloom. (OK, I thought, so much for that theory.) But now I'm wondering. Maybe there's some truth to that, and this is the red tulip they don't go for. I can only hope and dream that's true, because oh, the loveliness of it is beyond description. Must find out more about it so I can plant some companions. In the meantime though, I'm keeping my eye on this one to be sure. Be brave my darling.
Anyway, after being tagged by several people this month to list my five fave blogs, and finding it impossible to narrow it down to only five, I decided instead, to share those that have *inspired me the most* this past week (and even that wasn't easy), but here they are...in alphabetical order with links so you can be inspired too:
Oh, how I love craft books and get really excited when a new one comes out. (I can totally relate to what Blair was saying about her craft book collection in the basement.) I have a really hard time parting with any of mine too. And that can be a problem when you've been hoarding uh, collecting, as long as I have now. Japanese craft magazines, and books related to it, like these aranzi aronzocute and bad books from Vertical, are another new passion. I have to say, having a "library of inspiration" at my fingertips is so valuable when I'm reaching for ideas, even if I never use the patterns or make the projects I find inside. Sometimes books serve as a catalyst for personal creativity and sometimes they just make me smile and appreciate all the wonderful, crafty things that are going on all over the planet.
Oh my...the mini quilt love is all around me. Thank you BLOGPALS for spreading the news and sharing the love. Like the spring flowers, little quilts seem to be popping up all over. I'm having such a good time making these. Right now, I'm just doing squares and rectangles, in a strip-piecing sort of way, using my scraps of vintage fabrics in a combination with new ones. (My tiny blocks are about an inch square.) I'm loving all the bright colors and and patterns. They remind me of childhood, summer, and picnics in the grass. Some have asked about the embroidery motifs I've used. The redwork designs are something I did-- not vintage. "Miss Market Piggy", however, is part of a very old pattern, dating back to the 1920's and is also available as an iron-on transfer here. It's one of my favorites.
My focus lately has been on designing and making wall & doll quilts. Because of their small size, they are relatively quick to do, as far as quilt-making is concerned. And not only that, they're fun! I find myself working on them every spare sewing moment I can. Here's one I just finished. There are more too, some in various stages of progression. I told ya, I'm on a roll. I even added a new QUILTS category on the blog side-bar to file them in, and eventually will add all the quilt posts there, past and present, so it will be easier to access anything quilt-related.
I'll be offering some of these for sale too. Right now, I think the easiest way to do this is to put them in our ESTY shop (Dollhouse Sweets) under a separate section. I did, initially, think about opening another shop just for the quilts, but then realized it would involve all kinds of changes and additional time to set things up. I'd rather put my efforts into stitching instead, so this seemed to make the most sense. IF, down the road, I decide to keep going in this direction, then I might put more thought into another shop, but for now that's where you'll find them.
So, let me tell you about this one I just finished, called, RED POSIE. The whole thing measures about 11 x 13-inches, with blocks about an inch-and-a-quarter, in size. It has a tiny red embroidered flower in one of the squares. I've designed a few others in brighter colors, and some in softer colors. Some with messages, and some with just squares. There's a nice little stack growing and I can't wait to show more of them soon.
Sometimes, it doesn't take much to make me happy. After reading each one of the over 500 comments on my doll-quilt give-away post, I must say, I was quite happy. And overwhelmed. In a good way though. It's always a little surprising to me, just how far and wide our blogs travel and how many lives they touch, and how those lives, in turn, touch ours. It all comes full circle. I like that. I also had no idea there were so many of you lurking behind the scenes either, and was pleased that a larger number of people had the chance to play along this time, since previous opportunities had been missed. I'll probably do this again in the future, so, speaking figuratively; if you didn't win today, there's always tomorrow. Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you ALL very much for throwing your names into the virtual bonnet (which, BTW grew to astronomical proportions, in my mind anyway!), and for making this more fun than I ever imagined it would be. Hey, it's the 'little things'. (grin) The game is officially over, and the time has come to announce the winner, so without further a-do, (I always wanted to say that), "Congratulations" to Chrissie Grace, the lucky recipient of my "Little Pals" doll quilt! W00-Hoo! For the record, I'm completely over my separation anxiety and thoroughly thrilled to be sending this to its new home; one with a couple of living dolls on the premises too, no less. Just how sweet is that?
Thanks to (daughter) Grace's quick thinking and programming skills, the Super Shuffler came to my rescue and pulled a random number out of the bonnet. Grace added the drum roll and fanfare for emphasis, which I think is so funny. I'm sorry, we didn't get a video of the actual winning spin, (we tried, but kept laughing, and messed up big time), but you can still see a demo of the super-sonic bonnet in action here. There was also some glitchy stuff with the comments, and I tried deleting duplicates but that proved to be too time consuming, so in the end we just decided to leave it alone and count down the list. But as luck would have it, the number that Chrissie assigned herself (#234) was chosen, and that was it. Deal!
So. Now that all the excitement is over, it's time for me to get back to another little sewing project: a doll quilt I whipped up this morning, while I was brushing my teeth.