Oh NO!

Just yesterday, I took the snowy header off my WP home page, replacing it with spring-like pussy willows. Did I anger the gods and they made it snow again? AARRGGHH!

I stuck my camera out the back door and snapped this picture without regard for settings. The snow is falling in streaks, which tells me that the shutter speed is too slow (I think!) but I thought I’d post it anyway because it shows how the snow is basically “streaming” out of the sky. AGAIN!

I’m leaving the spring header on. Maybe it will work some magic.

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NOW look at the backyard! Poor birds have to scramble for food all over again, just when they thought it was spring. All the snow was gone yesterday and today it’s back again. I could cry!

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Gentle snowflakes

Devastate me.

Gliding past 

They say, “Don’t hate me.”

I’m resigned.

It’s like this lately.

 

Bags, Bags, Bags

I promised I would share what we made at the quilting retreat. I’m very much a beginning quilter, so I hesitate to show what I was working on. But the saying goes, “Save the best for last,” so I thought I’d start with my own project(s) and work up to what some of the experts sewed in another post.

I still have plenty of scraps to work with so I brought the cut out squares and strips with me to the retreat. I only broke two needles this time, sewing through the heavy layers in the corner seams. Less than one needle per bag. Getting better!

Future bags may be a variation of these, maybe with squares on the bottom too. Not sure yet.

What are they good for? In my case, I use one of these bags as a purse because they hold a lot (of my important junk). Most other people might use them to carry books to their book club meeting, carry slippers to a friend’s house when they go to dinner and want to change shoes, carry a camera and a notebook for a hike or photo outing, carry a sandwich and a bottle of water — the list is endless. It just depends on your lifestyle and special needs and hobbies.

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Some people at the retreat made much fancier bags than these and it got me thinking about finding new designs for my next bags.

Meanwhile, I made the top layers of two coffee table “runners.” I’ll do a post about those when I get the batting and backing on them and finish quilting the layers together.

In the next post I hope to show you some of the projects the expert quilters worked on. Their sewing skills are amazing.

Quilting Retreat

Anybody who loves to quilt or sew, knows that it’s a time-consuming job. Often we have to leave our sewing to deal with everyday chores like cooking and cleaning. Even answering the phone takes us away from  projects we’re working on and the momentum is often lost. This could be why so many quilters have UFOs (unfinished objects) in their sewing rooms. Wouldn’t it be a dream come true if we could just take a step back from regular chores and concentrate only on our quilting projects?

If you belong to a quilting guild that books a place like Camp Homewood on Quadra Island (a short ferry ride from Campbell River on Vancouver Island), you might make that dream a reality. Imagine four days for yourself. All you have to do is eat, sleep, sew, and maybe go for a little walk now and then to stretch your legs.

This building is the main lodge for the camp. About 40 quilters from the Schoolhouse Quilters’ Guild have booked in here to work on their sewing projects.

Sewing machines, boxes of fabrics and sewing notions, folding tables, irons, bedding, toiletries, and clothing are unloaded at the main door on the left. From there the sewing  equipment is taken into the main part of the building where the women (no men this time) set up their machines and tables. The bedding and clothing is taken to individual rooms that have been assigned at registration time, weeks earlier.

 

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My friend and I slept in rooms in the guest house below tucked under a canopy of Douglas firs. It’s a short walk, maybe 100 yards, from the main lodge. But most of our time was spent in the big building working on our sewing projects.014

Below you can see the newer addition of the lodge. Huge windows have been placed all around to take advantage of the fantastic view on the front.

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Let’s climb up the steps on the far right of the building. Just inside this door we set up our sewing machines. Once in a while we might glance up and see a gorgeous view of the salt water passageways and small islands. On a clear day, the mountains are visible in the distance, but not today.

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Stepping out onto the deck on the front of the building, this is the view that greets you and bathes you in peace for the next four days.

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In the next post I’ll show you some of the work the quilters have done during their stay at this quiet retreat.

 

Love! It’s for the Birds

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Wait until she sees what I’ve got for her for Valentine’s Day. She’ll love these special bugs from the maple tree.

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Oh darn it. I think she’s coming this way. I wanted this to be a surprise. I’d better hurry.

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Just stay there, dear. I’ll be there in a minute. (And then I’ll present her with a wonderful Valentine treat. I do so love that girl!)

Greedy Guts

This varied thrush is in the same family as the robin, but for some reason we see them here more often in the winter or very early spring. I think this might be Mrs. Thrush.

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Mr. Thrush, I presume? Either way, they are cooling their heels on the mound of snow that covers the top of a rhododendron. It seems Greedy Guts is hogging the feeder.

029aNo one else can get near the suet block. I can just hear that starling calling from the feeder, “Eat your heart out.” Sure, the starlings are hungry too, but they don’t care if the other birds starve. I don’t like that.

100 Europeans starlings were introduced (unfortunately, IMHO) to North America in 1890-1891. Now the bullies are everywhere. Pests, they are. They do have a talent for mimicking other bird sounds, which makes them interesting, but still not lovable.

My pretty little thrushes, sparrows, chickadees, nuthatches,  and juncos are afraid of the starlings and have to wait until he goes away to burp or take an antacid pill, before they can have a turn at the dinner table.

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The starling’s coat is glittery

With iridescent shine.

His manners are atrocious, 

But he’s master of the mime.

Easy Wind and Downy Flake

The snow kept coming, and coming, and coming. It covered the ground and the trees, and piled up on roofs and vehicles. How can it look so pretty while it covers up the food for animals that live out there?

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Our back patio table is partly under the roof overhang, but you can see which part was exposed to the elements.

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The bird feeder has been a busy place again today, but what worries me is the potential avalanche risk to the birds. Many of them spend the nights under shrubs, and they scratch for food there. When the huge clumps of snow let go, they could easily bury a little bird. I found several around the yard after the last snowfall which was not as bad as this one, although it was colder.

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It’s quiet out there and the snow coming down is peaceful, but I find it ironic that this lovely weather is so deadly for many birds. We who feed the birds will save many of them, and “survival of the fittest” will save the strongest, the brave, and the lucky.

I feel quite small and helpless against the power of nature. I do what I can to make my pets comfortable and to feed the birds. Beyond that, I do enjoy the special quality of a snowfall. I had to think of Robert Frost’s famous poem. There are two lines of “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” that I find especially appealing, and which stand out from that poem for me.

The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.  
 
I love the sound of the words. They are music to my ears. I wish I had thought of them first. 😉

They Lied!

The official weather groundhogs (marmots), Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam and Ontario’s Wiarton Willy have predicted an early spring this year when they did not see their shadows yesterday, February 2, Groundhog Day.

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Vancouver Island marmot photo above, borrowed from Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery Foundation.

Hurray, an early spring is on its way. Behold the sunshine on the masses of gray cloud moving in from the southeast. Yes, the sunshine is hopeful, BUT, I forgot to consider what is INSIDE those clouds.

I shouldn’t have believed a mere rodent when he predicted that early spring. In the last post I had sunshine brightening up pussywillows, and today, the very day after the early spring prediction, these glowing clouds opened up and ruined everything. They made liars of the marmots and Nervous Nellies out of all the wussy drivers of the rainy West Coast.

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Just LOOK at this mess!  Beautiful, isn’t it?

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