Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spring in the Garden

Yesterday was a beautiful day and I was lucky to have planned to meet a good friend for lunch near Watertown, Connecticut, about an hour away.  I left early and stopped at Whiteflower Farms to see what I might find to add to my shady backyard garden.

The snowdrops and other little bulbs have already bloomed and died back, but other things are beginning to sprout up and leaf out.  It's so nice to see green again!  In front of the large gazing ball, you can see a bleeding heart plant already several inches tall.

Here are some muscari about ready to pop.

And some hostas beginning to leaf out (hope the deer don't find them!).

I moved the clematis, below, from another place in our yard late last summer and it is already beginning to climb the iron pergola.  It's so nice to see so much growth this early in the season!  I'll be so excited if it actually flowers!

In another part of the yard, ferns are already beginning to unfurl.

Here are the new plants I got at Whiteflower Farms.  They are all shade loving and will add some much needed texture and color.  I think I'll wait a bit before I put them in the ground.  Those deer are still way too hungry!

This weekend, the FANE show at the Mahopac Public Library is opening (I help hang tomorrow) and it is also the annual World of Quilts show in Somers, where we will display our cubes (still need to put mine all together).  I'll take lots of photos to share next week!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Heading into the Home Stretch

I've been busy working on the 4th side of my 16" cube and it's almost done.  I found that spotted lavender batik fabric in my stash and decided I could whip up a quick abstract April Shower piece.  I seem to have trouble sticking to truly abstract pieces, because I wanted to add puddles, which made the piece have a foreground, middle ground and background.  Then it needed a focal point (the silhouette) and some taller elements (the stitched trees), and now it is what it is!  Below is a closeup.

I'm still working on adding some running stitches in a pastel variegated metallic thread, which is slow going, of course, but I have one more week until the absolute deadline, so I'll keep stitching for a few more days.

Of course, I still need something to put on top of the box.  I thought I would use a piece that I already have, which is a bit small so I'd need to add a border all around, and then when I looked at it again, I decided the colors look too much like autumn so I'd better whip something else up mighty quick.  I again thought I would just paint some abstract pastel paint splotches on white fabric and then maybe add in some abstract stitching, but my first attempt ended up looking like this:

I just couldn't keep it abstract - a landscape just seemed to materialize!  I was trying really hard not to hate it and figure out how I could fix it quickly, when I realized I still had one more piece of 17" square pfd fabric and plenty of leftover paint.  This time I used a sea sponge rather than a brush and approached it more like a surface-design experiment so I think it was much more successful.  Even if I don't add anything else to it, it could serve as the top of the box and kind of link the other four through the colors.

When I stitch them all together, I plan on using a very long basting stitch so I can take them apart again and finish them as four separate pieces.  It's hard to believe I was able to complete them by the deadline.  I guess it just goes to show how motivating it is to have a goal and a deadline!  At least I am creating!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spring III

My third piece (out of 5) for the FANE cube project is just about finished!  Once Easter was over, I was able to spend my days off buckling down on the applique of the grape hyacinths (don't you just love a lawn inundated with grape hyacinths in early spring?).  I had fun using a variety of purple fabrics and snuck a small piece of batting beneath each one so that when I did some detail quilting, they look a little puffy.  Here is a detail shot.

 I also stitched among the grass to add some texture and color, then filled in some of the spots with gel crayons.  I decided it needed a touch of yellow, as well as something in the sky, so I decided on three of those little pale yellow cabbage butterflies.  I think they add just the right touch.  The largest one in the foreground still needs to be stitched down.  I'm happy with the way it's turning out, although there are some things I would change (as usual).  I'm learning, having fun, and making art which is good enough for me.  Now I have just two more to knock off!  Hope I can keep the momentum going for the next two weeks...

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Hoppy Easter!

We're only having 4 guests for dinner, but I've been prepping all week!  How do you like the little bunny dirt cups (chocolate pudding sprinkled with oreo crumbs and tinted coconut)?  Easy and cute - couldn't resist (saw them on Pinterest).

I also baked bunny buns (although they look a little like cats) . . .

and chocolate-coconut birdnests . . .

 I dipped strawberries . . .

and baked and decorated this carrot cake (I'll top it with a chocolate rabbit).

 The table is all set and the turkey breast is in the oven (do you think we'll have enough food?!?!).  Now all we need is our guests!

They should be here shortly, so Happy Easter, everyone!