Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas

Just want to wish all of my friends and family a Merry Christmas and a happy healthy 2011!
Here are my 2 trees for this year. The tree with the white and silver tree features the annual Wallace Silver Bells. I have 27 of them that Russ gave me for each year of our marriage. This is the first year I displayed all of them together.

The other tree has many handcrafted decorations on it that I have been given or made over the years. Each year as I unwrap the ornaments I think back on the person from whom I received the ornament. The memories are priceless!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Holiday Needlepoint & Quilting

About 30 years ago I decided to make my family needlepoint stockings. I started with Mom(Jeanne) & Dad(Cliff). Each stocking was choosen with their interests in mind. Next was my husband's. Russ had always wanted to live at the shore and so I had a stocking designed of Santa feeding the gulls at the beach. We finally made it to live at the beach a few year later. Now all 3 of them are gone and so I put their stockings up in their memories.

I also made stockings for a sister, niece and nephew which they used every year. But I actually never got one made for myself. Maybe it's time to make one for me.
Over the years I have made many holiday wallhangings that I bring out each year to enjoy. I have also received a couple as gifts from penpals that I have in Australia and New Zealand. The Christmas Tree through the Window was made by Philippa from NZ in 1994 as my Christmas gift. The Poinsettia is a pattern by Eileen Sullivan that I used and altered to make it larger. I really love her patterns. I have also made her Daffodils and Iris and plan make more. The Happy Holidays wallhanging was made not long after my purchase of combination sewing/embroidery machine. I enjoy what the machine can do but remain a quilter at heart! I machine quilted both tops.


In October I decided it was time to learn how to kayak. I have a friend who kayaks in the back bays and on Nummy Island to get close to the birds and gets some great nature photographs. My sister, Jenny went with me. First we tried a 2 person kayak. She paddles faster than I do so we went in circles some of the time. But we had fun and laughed a lot. Next we tried one person sit on kayaks. That works better for both of us. we were able to go out about 4 times with each time a different height of the tide. The first tide was a high tide at the full moon which meant the tide was higher than all of the salt marsh so you really couldn't tell where you were supposed to paddle. In November my sister Leslie came down for the day and we went out also. Here's Leslie and there are some Brant at the bottom. They saw us and took off!

Where does the time go?

I really can't believe how fast time goes by. I had every intention of posting to the blog weekly but I just haven't been able to post. Oh, for more time in my days! Now the end of the year is looming upon us.

This summer I participated in ALQS4 which is an exchange of art wall quilt tops that follow rules the organizer has set up. She is an internet friend whom I "met" through a group of fabric dyers. Kate lives in England though she is originally from the US. I made my quilt and sent off the photos to be posted to her blog .

Then when the date arrives for all the quilts to be in to her we each get to chooose several we would like to own. Kate does the hard part assigning a quilt to each person. I love the quilt that I received from Cathy whose blog is .

See the June postings for the details on what she did to make her quilt. Her quilt is called Big Foot, Framed. It is about 15" by 20". It is a really neat piece and I am proud to be the owner of it. Now there is ALQS5 which stands for Another little Quilt Swap. I haven't signed up yet but there is still time so what to do....

Then this fall I received a bulky package from The Netherlands. A while ago I had been in a quilt swap using a spring theme with another dyer from our group. At the time Cobi wasn't able to finish her top for me. That happens sometimes because life interferes with our hobbies and pleasures. Imagine my surprise when I opened the package and found a fantastic quilt top measuring about 15" square called Spring in the Valley. Cobi has far surpassed any expectations I had about receiving this top and she put a lot of love and work into the quilt. Both quilt artists shared a love of doing unique tops. Art quilts are so interesting and the materials used are great. Both quilters used silk flowers in the tops. There is yarn and beads on the one Cobi made. So a big thanks goes out to both of them for brightening the walls of my house with their art work!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Other butterflies

In the magical month of September I also saw many other species of butterflies at the State Park in the Point, my yard and around Cape May County.

Common Buckeye Butterflies

Also in Cape May Point by the hundreds were Common Buckeye butterflies. This was another site I'd never seen before as was true with most of the people I talked with when we talked butterflies. Had the hot, dry summer contirbuted to the abundence of butterflies along with all of the psecies being seen? I don't know and no one I talked to could really say for sure. I did find caterpillars for the Common Buckeye on Gerardia along the first path in the park. I had fun pointing out the caterpillars to some of the children that were there with their parents.


As I said there were Monarchs all over Cape May Point and actually the county was alive with them. There was a Monarch tagging demonstration that afternoon. The Monarch project tags the butterfly for about a month in the fall at the State Park. I thought it would be a great day to see the demo and find out about the project as I grew milkweed and "hosted" a few Monarch caterpillars this summer. Next year I plan to plant more milkweed and host some more Monarch caterpillars.

Monarch migration

September was a magical month in Cape May Point! The Monarch butterflies usually migrate through the beginning of October but this year the "big" migration took place 2 weeks earlier in mid September. I was working on Saturday 9/18 and when I got home that evening I read the Cape May Bird Observatory blog enteries for the day about the Monarch watch. The estimate was that they were 1600 monarchs per minute flying around the Point. The blog mentioned they were roosting overnight at several sites and expected to fly off to Delaware on Sunday if the winds were right. After all the little butterfly has to fly across the Delaware Bay which is a distance of 17 miles. Well, I knew where I wanted to be on Sunday morning. I sure didn't want to be at work so I called and asked to be cancelled - not put on call - cancelled. So I am up and getting dressed the next morning at about 6AM when the phone rings. What GREAT news -I'm cancelled and can go play all day, taking pictures and marveling at Mother Nature miracles. Over I went to the point to find the roosts. They were AWESOME! Then off to the Hawk Watch platform where at about 8:30 we start seeing butterflies everywhere - over the beach, the dunes, in the trees, on the flowers and when the winds shifted off they went flying over the Delaware Bay until they were tiny specs and then you couldn't see them anymore. About 1 1/2 hrs later we heard when they started arriving and flying past a Hawk watch platform in Delaware. Never have I seen anything like this. Words can not really describe the feeling you had but it made you glad to be alive to witness it.

more Wrap-A-Smile quilts

Wrap-A-Smile quilts

Gosh, the month of September went by in a flash. I worked and played. When I was playing I was out birding and butterflying taking pictures of both with some dragonflies thrown in also. The Monarch migration mid September was unlike anything I have seen in years. I am told 1999 had a great migration but truely I don't remember that one. Plus I spent a good bit of time making quilts and quilting the quilt tops. I think my total of charity quilts made for 2010 stands at 23 quilts. I would like to send the 10 tops here that are done up to Terry in Maine soon. I have 2 more to quilt but I took my Bernina 200 in for service and am waiting to pick it up. I find that the larger quilts are easier to quilt on it. I think I would like to make at least 5more quilts this year. Now a goal for 2011 how many quilt tops will I be able to make and quilt. I was thinking 2 per month but maybe I'll need to up that so I beat this years numbers. Let me think.. is 30 doable? Not sure but all I can do is try. I have been trying to use some of my Australian fabrics in the tops. Many of the tops are strip pieced and very simple but a child in need won't care about the complexity of the patterns. Here are some pictures.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Quilts finished in memory of Bev Bennett

As I said in my last post BevB was a motivating force behind Sunshine Quilters, an online quilting group that makes quilts for Wrap-A-Smile and Wrap-Them-in-Love. Bev quilted hundreds of quilts per year. We (members) would make the quilts and mail them to her. She would add batting, backing, then quilt and bind them before mailing them off to one of our 2 groups. When Bev died I had about 15 quilts waiting to be shipped for quilting so I sat down and started quilting them myself. I have 6 totally finished and batting for 2 more tops. Pictured are some of the tops I recently finished up. There are 2 similar of each top though the fabric varies. Bev also quilted hearts somewhere on each quilt top so I have done the same.