Progress and my hummingbird experiment

I backed the Christmas blocks with rigid Peltex as I want them to stand up. I used double sided fusible to attach the gold ribbon binding. The next step will be using wide velvet ribbon (probably meant for holiday wreaths) as the connecting element..  Doing it on the grid of the cutting mat will help me keep everything all in line... hopefully.
I tried a green and red ribbon for the binding as well as the gold but much preferred the gold.. After they are all attached I will do the "over the top" gold embellishing with more gold cordings and braid.  It will all go on with a hot glue gun as stitching through the Peltex is too difficult.    Now where is that glue gun which I have not used for 10 years at least?
Remember my discovery that clustering hummingbird feeders is the solution to hummingbird territorial wars?  Well it works... I have seven feeders on my little sitting porch and not only is there a minimum of aggression, I have many, many more hummingbirds.  I have also had many types of hummingbird feeders over the years but this type by First Nature is by far my favorite.  It is the easiest to clean and refill of all I have used.  I disposed of all my others and use these exclusively... I ordered them from Amazon but I've seen them at Walmart also.  Next year I will add a couple more.
My morning rant... It is a week until the 4th and already this morning I can hear fireworks.  We are in  extreme high fire danger now with a heat wave.  Fireworks are illegal in the state but people can go on the Indian reservations and buy them...  idiots.


Santa and gift from the birds

Now that I have a plan I'm so sorry that I have waited so many years to do something with these blocks.  They are really extraordinary.  I will have to see if I can find out who was in the RR.  The upper right is my block and I added the ballerina, soldier, Raggedy Ann to the others, but the rest of the work was RR participants. I mounted them on Peltex (a rigid fusible interfacing) and now going through my thrift store stash of Christmas ribbons to finish the edges.

I only know of only one other farm within a 5 mile radius that has flowers and it is at least 2 miles away as the crow flies...... but yesterday these fabulous poppies appeared in a patch of weeds near the old sheep pasture..  They are at least 6" across and you can bet I'm going to save the seed.


A lesson learned and a problem to solve!

I ran into this very problem in the recent Diva round robin.  Blocks arrived to be worked on which had skimpy seam allowances and no "stop" line clearly indicated.  I learned this lesson the hard way in a very early round robin years ago.

A Christmas round robin was a tie for my very favorite round robin  (and I have done many many over the years).  As you can see from the arrows on these finished "squared" blocks that there is not even a 1/16" available for a seam allowance without cutting away  beads or trim.   Five of the blocks are like this. I have never finished the set of 6 because I wasn't sure how I wanted to address this problem...

It was really my fault...
 1. I didn't allow enough extra material around the outside edge of the block to allow any adjustment.  2. I only allowed for a 1/2" seam allowance.
3. I didn't clearly define the "stop" line for all beading to end
.Now I make sure -
1. there is plenty of extra material on the block,
2. There is an ample seam allowance - at least 1/2".  
3.  That the "stop" line is clearly marked front and back.  Now I even baste along that line with a highly contrasting thread.
I have always wanted to finish these blocks into an accordion-fold book which I could put on the mantle during the holidays.  Now I have some ideas how I am going to solve this problem and I will share as I go along.
And I have a new gadget.  I just love tools and gadgets.  My hands are always painful with arithis all the time and shaking the little paint bottles makes them even worse,  And when I have gone months without painting (like recently) the paints either settle or thicken and all need a LOT of shaking.  I found this delightful little machine and it is absolutely perfect for this task...  It is made for manicurists to use with nail polishes but it suits my needs wonderfully.


The War of the Roses.

My most aggressive roses wage war on me, all structures and each other.  This is all one rose and actually starts a little to the right of the arrow and was growing over a large arbor.  It collapsed the arbor (see arrow) and just keeps heading north.
This is another plant of the same variety on another arbor which is leaning badly(see arrow).  The huge white Scotch rose on the left is holding its own..  Luckily the big juniper is supporting some of the rose on the right.  But if I had to place a bet on which will win I would have to put my money on the rose on the right..  It will eventually collapse the arbor and engulf the white rose AND the juniper and continue on its way.

This unnamed climber below is intent on consuming my chicken house.. Although I try to it from the door and going over the roof, it is a losing battle.  It also creeps under the eaves and tries to fill the inside of the chicken house.
But the very very worst is this rose.  It is named Darlow's Enigma and is actually sold on the internet. There is a 30' long and  8' tall cedar  fence.  I unknowingly planted about 10 of these roses along that fence and haven't seen the fence since..  There is no doubt it will collapse the fence and I need to hire someone with a machete (or chain saw) to cut it down and then spray it with round-up.  And it is loaded with thorns.
This is a view of the fence on the other side.  The rose grows up over the  8' fence, down the other side and into the pasture.


Now it is really done.  I thought I'd have it done last weekend but I decided to dye the lace, then I found more trims and flowers and then decided  to bead along the path......so a week later.   I had saved all the ginghams, checks etc. to use with my CQJP cottage blocks.  After I cut all the strips I didn't like them together but now I think I might,
Here is a closer shot of the center panel...


Almost done.....finally.

We drove to Seattle (actually Redmond)   to see grandchildren this last weekend.  It is a 4-5 hour trip depending on traffic and I took this cottage piece with me to finish.  Between the car time and hotel time I did finish it except for a few charms which will be added after the  frame is created.
That is what I'm working on today from a stash of ginghams, florals, and stripes, etc.  Hopefully by the weekend I can have it finished and behind me and then catch up with CQJP....


Dye, Dye, Dye!!!

Here are five of my ladies ready to dye, dye, dye.  I had wanted to have this mini workshop for a couple years and just never got it all together.   They arrived with lots of ribbons and laces for this first "dye day". 

If everyone in our group had been able to come there would have been 9-10 so we really needed a large space.  It was experimental and I wasn't sure if it would all come off as I hoped.  Well it did !!!

I had wanted to do it in my old greenhouse. There's cold water and means to heat water.   The two long tables were left over from days of the nursery and I added two 4' square tables so we had four stations...   I bought just about every color available in the liquid Rit collection, printed off their color mixing chart for everyone, bought numerous  containers, brushes, rubber gloves, etc.  And any spills would be no problem...  I had racks set up outside the greenhouse for drying.
 We had the two long tables with trays with multiply sections... one with various shades of pink and rose and the other with various shades of greens...

Below is one of the square tables with a  dollar-store "party tray" filled many colors for painting lace and the other table  had setup for individual color mixing. 

Everyone had a great time and the results were amazing.  My biggest concern was the weather as it had been close to 90 degrees the week prior and if it would have held we would have all had to dye in our aprons with only panties underneath.  But we were lucky  that there was heavy cloud cover that morning so it was bearable.

We definitely want to do it again a couple times more before winter (no heat in greenhouse) and try dyeing some silk and overdyeing some DMC thread as well as more laces and trims.

Everyone brought a sack lunch and we ate in the gazebo afterwards.  The giant old Alba roses are in full glory and everyone enjoyed the garden as well...  Only Kathy F. had a hole in her glove and went home with one very blue finger...
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