Thursday, May 2, 2019

Road Trips In Pictures

 One of my biggest pleasures of living in this community is the clubs, and the social life it gives you. I belong to a few of the clubs and I do have my favorites, and as you can guess I am sure the photography club is one of them.

   It started out kind of slow, and there has never been a big membership, but enough to make it interesting. Lately the membership has grown a little and changed a little. With the new members came the desire to travel outside of our community.
     I have to say it is a happy change. we have done 4 road  trips so far, all of them fun, but 2 of them were my favorites, probably because birds were involved. 

  The first of the 2 trips was a trip to the Tuckerton Maritime Museum. That was a pretty cool place and had some real interesting things to see and do. The view from the light house was stunning. I being totally not about heights didn't go up, but  most of the group did and I saw their pictures.  As I said stunning.

 After leaving the museum we went to a marina and there I got seagulls, flying, lining up, some just sitting there. We laugh in the club, because Hubby got me a new lens so I can get better shots of birds and such, and so far I have a library of sea gulls. 

  I am not real good with the lens yet, and catching the faster flying birds is not as easy as some photographers make it look. You did notice I said yet.
 The 2nd of the 2 trips was to Edwin B Forsythe refugee. I shot strictly with my new lens, and out of just shy of 300 pictures I kept maybe 30. Some of them a professional photographer would not have kept, because their quality isn't perfect, but I am pleased that I got the shots at all and I want to remember them, I also want to learn from them.
   The Osprey in the nest is the female, the one bringing her the fish is the male. This is a mating ritual that I won't get into, but the bottom line his fish is not exactly what she want so she sent him away with his fish.

Not to worry there are others in the waiting room hoping to impress her with their fish when she calls for them. I saw this guy flying into the waiting room while I was waiting for suitor # 1 to show up. 

  I always love watching the Great White Egrets fly and fish, they even stand regally. 

   I think the Snowy Egret has to be one of the funniest bird to look at especially in the wind. And the day we where there it was windy. Real windy, hard to hold your camera steady windy.

   I've never seen a vulture up close before. Their faces are kind cute in a clownish sort of way. Not really my favorite bird, but interesting to look at. 

He got tired of me photoing him and took off, the sudden movement startled me and I moved my camera and completely ruined what would have been the best shot of them all.
  I walked a good 1/4 mile with this guy. He didn't seem to care that I was there, as long as I stayed slightly behind him. I loved watching how his head and neck would bob and weave as he walked. He seemed in no hurry at all to get to where he was going.

  Next we go hunting for eagles, and I can't wait. It will be my first shot at eagles with my new lens. Something I've been dreaming of doing ever since I got the lens. 
   I hope you enjoyed the road trips as much a I enjoyed sharing them. Have a wonderful day.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Quilts, I've Made a Few

 I use to make a quilt here and there, and in truth it was rare for me to make an entire quilt. I made maybe 4 or 5 quilts from the time I started sewing at around age 20 until I was 54. Thats not a lot of quilts to be sure, and most of those quilts weren't really big enough to be called quilts. They just barely covered a lap. I sewed and quilted, but things like pot holders, place mats, napkins, pillows, and doll cloths. 
  Then I moved here. I don't know what happened but my creative juices started flowing and I started sewing. I am sure joining the quilting club had something to do with it, but I was more then ready when I joined the club.
   At first I thought I had mistakenly joined a craft club because everyone was sitting there doing crafts, for a craft show, or knitting. No one was quilting. I sat down any way and chatted with all the ladies and brought out the project I had brought with me. A pair of pot holders made from some unfinished pieces that were my Grandmothers.

 I was sewing on the binding to finish them up, and I was doing it badly to say the least. The lady to my left whose name is Florence leaned over and said do you mind if I show you a better way to that. I smiled and said please do. She took the pot holder and showed me how to do a blind stitch that was simple, easy to do and looked 100% better.

 Florence has since moved to Washington DC to live with her children, but while she was here I made sure to sit next to her at every meeting. By the third meeting I had decided I was going to make a real quilt. So I went into our library and got all the quilting magazines they had , I sat at the table during club and poured over every book until I found the pattern I wanted. ( I was later told I didn't pick a beginners pattern ) I went shopping for my material and brought it to the next meeting.

 I did all my prep work and hand work at the meetings and did all the machine sewing at home. The first week I cut all my squares and strips. the 2nd week I laid it out on a design board.( flannel backed table cloth)

 Now I was ready to take it home and sew it all together. Week 3 I was ready to lay the completed top on  to the batting and back and baste it all together. Back at home I face the challenge of quilting an entire quilt on my little machine. I did stitch in the ditch because it is the simplest of all quilting styles. It was challenging in many ways, not just the size of my machine, holding it tight so the back didn't pucker and staying in the ditch were the hardest for me, but I did it and there are no back puckers. So that brings us to week 4 and the binding was all that I had left to finish. Thanks to Florence and her sewing lesson, attaching the binding to the back was a breeze, and the quilt was finished before the meeting was over. 

The fastest I have ever made a quilt. It was fun, and at times challenging , it was also relaxing, and the end result is just wonderful. I was hooked.
  The quilting club fell by the way side, but my quilting didn't. My next quilt would be a gift for my Granddaughter. I created my own pattern using  the star block. This quilt was made almost entirely by hand, only the quilting was done by machine .

 I worked on this one daily for just shy of 3 months as I sat with my Mother in the hospital, then rehab and then back to the hospital to fix the damage rehab had done. Sewing this quilt really did help me stay sane. Nothing about that 3 months was good. I lived in fear every day that it was going to be my Mom's last. Keeping my hands and mind busy was a blessing for everyone.

 I had the quilt top completely done by August and still had to do a made dash 4 days before Christmas to get it finished in time. 

 The quilt is never off my Granddaughters bed.

  Quilt number 3 is a true labor of love. I had to hide the fact that I was sewing so it would be a surprise at Christmas. So I worked 2 to 4 hours a day from Oct to Dec assembling this quilt. I chose to make 12 inch square using the Crazy Quilt method of  piecing, thinking no measuring would be so much easier. Well I wasn't thinking straight at all. 30 12 in blocks is not easy or quick. It takes a lot of thought and time to piece all your odd shapes and sizes into 12in blocks. 2 hours to be exact. These are the only 2 pictures of the quilt being pieced together, I was afraid he would see them so I didn't photo my progress.

 I couldn't work on it on the weekends, or during holidays, and I had to put everything back exactly as it was so it didn't look like my sewing machine was being used, vacuum the floor so there was no thread or fabric scraps on the floor, and make it look like I had been busy all day cleaning or running errands. As I said a labor of love, and well worth it when I saw the look on his face as he opened his Christmas present. 

Even more satisfying to see him use it every day.

 Number 4 took the longest. I started it in the spring of 2017 and finished it in the spring of 2019. This quilt was originally meant for my son the FireFighter. He and I had an argument and I can't sew when I am angry so I set the quilt aside and promptly forgot about it. I didn't stay angry for long, I never do when it comes to him, but I was already onto one project or another, and the quilt pieces lay forgotten.

 Spring 2018 my Grandson is born, he was a very welcome surprise. In February 2019 I stumble across the pieces for the quilt I was going to make for my son, and realize it would make the perfect 1st birthday present for my Grandson.

 This one, like Bill's quilt I sent out to be quilted because I wanted fancier stitching then my machine can do.

I was right it made the perfect gift, and he seemed to like it too.
 Quilt # 5 is almost finished, and I am heading into my sewing room today to get one step closer to finishing it. This one is for me, and as you can see Getty approves. I was browsing a quilting magazine when I saw this pattern I just knew I had to do it.

   Thats 5 quilts in 4 years, and I don't think I will be stopping any time soon. It is just too much fun.
   Enjoy your day and happy Quilting.