Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cotton and Sacks

I went to my semi-annual quilting retreat near Birmingham last weekend and had a ball!  Not a single one of us wanted to come home when Sunday arrived.  We are already planning and making reservations for the next one in April. 

On the way up, I stopped at a cotton field in southern Alabama and took pictures.  There appears to be a bumper crop of cotton in this area this year, and the fields are hanging white -- some more than others -- but all showing great harvests. 
Although cotton was grown on our farm when I was growing up, it has been a long time since I've been close to it.  I've actually pulled my picksack and picked cotton by hand.  Thankfully, I was young and Daddy decided to discontinue cotton growing before I got big enough to be really expected to pick much!  Hand picking cotton is not a fun task and neither is chopping cotton in the spring.  

Since I'm a quilter, I thought it would be interesting to show what cotton looks like in the field just before picking.  Remember that this field has been chemically defoliated prior to machine picking, so it doesn't look like this for a long time.  Cotton has lush, beautiful green leaves up to this time. 

Cotton is just one of several important crops grown in the northern part of the county where I live, along with peanuts, corn and soybeans.  Most people think only of amusement parks when they think of Florida when in reality they are only a minuscule part of the state.  There are billions of dollars of agriculture in the state.  

With the holidays sneaking ever closer, I decided that I'd just do a fall setting for my dining room table.  We never use the room but at least it looks festive. 
I bought the fabric pumpkins last year at the heritage festival, along with the turned wooden vase made of pecan wood.  You can't see much of it, but it is a gorgeous piece of artwork. 

I've lusted after European grain sacks for years and never found one that was in really good condition and that was priced right.   Until a couple of weeks ago. 
It is very large and now I'm having difficulties figuring out what to do with it.  I'm thinking a couple of pillows with some sort of applique on them.  Any ideas?  
Look at that lovely texture and that faded red stripe on the cloudy white sack. 

Y'all take care.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Little Winter Visitor

The last time over at the beach, we were looking for Nelson's sparrows which had been sited there.  We had seen them before, but they are quite uncommon and we couldn't pass up the chance to go looking for one so close to home.  
This is the little guy that was causing all the excitement.  I didn't get very good pictures but it was fun trying.  We saw eight of them which was a real treat.   The only time we get to see them here along our coast is in winter.  
Nelson's sharp-tailed sparrow
You never know what you are going to see.  You can count on shorebirds of some sort though.  

These little guys were so busy along the waterline.  They never seemed to stop more than a second or two. 
It appears that a shell is caught on the middle bird's right leg.  Hopefully, it came off.  

And, we couldn't make a trip over without noting the lovely wildflowers that were blooming.  

And my pals are ever on the lookout for the next bird. 
She with the spotting scope and he with his trusty camera.

I'll be away for a few days.  Meanwhile, 

Y'all take care.  

Friday, November 2, 2012

Love and Frustration

I think I am falling in love again -- with my old Kodak camera.  I pulled it out a couple of days ago and stuck some new batteries in it.  It still works like a champ.  It's the first digital camera I had and its been around since 2003 I believe.  It's smaller then the Nikon DSLR that I have and, thus, much easier to carry along wherever I go. 

I'm working on a signature quilt block and you'd think one measly block would be a snap.  Wrong!!   I used EQ7 to print out the cutting directions for the block, but no sewing instruction.  How hard could it be, right?  I've made a few quilts in my time, I can do this.   

Oh, me, how wrong I was!  It's not obvious in this picture, but that mitered corner looks awful!!!  Yes, I have taken it apart, recut the blue fabric and redone it.  To no avail.  And we won't even talk about that point not matching up.  I can live with that one, but that rumply corner will not work.  The bad thing is that I was given only a 10 inch square of the white muslin which MUST be used for the signature portion of the block.  Now that I've whacked it up, I have to find either find another pattern that I can use the remaining white fabric in, or yell for help in fixing that corner.  

It hurt my heart to cut a two inch square out of those nine fabrics to make the center, but it looks so pretty!! 

And since I've cut my pretties, I want to use them!! 

Y'all take care.