February Photos

Monday, May 30, 2016

Photos: Yellow Tiger Swallowtail on Lilacs, Teensy & Tabby






Wild Prairie Rose

Journal: Swallowtails, Flowers, and Weddings

We have a fairly new CVS store in town, built as usual right across the street from Walgreens.  I haven’t been in it yet.  One of these days I need to check it out and see how prices compare.  The parking lot is definitely better; Walgreens’ lot is narrow, L-shaped, and the parking stalls are straight, as opposed to slanted.  Whoever designed it drives a Fiat 500.
I drive a Jeep Commander.  It’s hard enough getting into those spaces with it – so just imagine what it was like trying to park the Yukon we used to have.
Hey!  I just discovered Windows logo key plus Enter turns on Narrator, which proceeds to read whatever is on the screen!  How ’bout dat.
He does sound a wee bit, uh, robotish, which isn’t a word, but should be, and would be, had Noah Webster, Jr., ever heard Mr. Micro Soft Narrator narrate.  (He probably didn’t know what ‘robot’ meant, but that’s beside the point.)
Larry brought home ‘The Works Nachos’ from Amigos for supper last Monday night.  Why don’t they let a person order half the size of the regular order, if they prefer?  And it would be nice if they would then only charge half the price, too.  The amount they consider ‘one serving’ is enough for three people of normal size.  Which may explain why a good many people on the streets of town are three times the normal size, eh?
The local mockingbird sang again that night, from 12:30 a.m. to about 3:45 a.m.  In addition to all the pretty little songbird songs he copies, he can perfectly imitate the killdeer, the red-tailed hawk, and even the granddaddy bullfrog in our little pond.  I like to open the windows, so I can listen to him.
A friend was talking about her plans for a Memorial Day family reunion being thwarted by first one, then another, family member.  I suggested, “Maybe you could do as the man in the ‘Parable of the Great Supper’ did:  when he sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, ‘Come; for all things are now ready,’ they all with one consent began to make excuse... so the master of the house told his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and the highways and hedges, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind, that my house may be filled.’”
That reminded me of a time one of our quartets was singing a song with similar words.  I was at the piano, and the group was standing around it as we practiced.  The song was lively, and a lot of words went by at a fast clip.  The lady singing alto got her tang toungled, and sang lickety-split, ‘the blame, the malt, the hind, the blepper’ – and everyone got so cracked up they couldn’t at all sing that song.  We had to switch songs and start all over again. 
That afternoon, I spotted a tiger swallowtail out on the lilacs – first one I’d seen this year.  I rushed off to grab my 300mm lens.
Look at this amazing photo of a large tornado, taken by a storm chaser near Dodge City, Kansas, that night.  There was bad weather around us, and a few smaller tornadoes to our west and south.  I keep WeatherBug, AccuWeather, weather.com, and Microsoft weather app up and running on my computer during times of bad weather.  I also get email notifications from the Weather Channel about any severe weather.  Reckon that’s enough? 

That day, I worked on a quilt pattern in EQ7 (my Electric Quilt program), trying to make it match the table topper I just finished so I could post it for sale on Craftsy.  EQ7 – a combination of two things I like:  quilting and computering. 
Larry went for a one-hour bike ride that night, as he often does these days, averaging 17.6 mph even though half of the time he was pedaling into a breeze of over 15 mph.  He’s feeling a whole lot better since he got his new bike and starting riding every day.  His blood pressure has gone done to normal and he doesn’t need to take his medicine anymore at all.
Thursday by shortly after noon, the houseplants were watered... the bills were paid... the last load of clothes was folded and put away... the bathroom was clean... the dishes were washed ... the piano had been played... the bird feeders had been filled... and I’d gotten the Pineapples and Pinwheels table topper pattern listed on Craftsy and Etsy.  The next order of business was to get the newest pattern for the Buoyant Blossoms BOM finished and listed.  The block itself was done; I only needed to make the pattern and photos into a pdf file and make sure the instructions were comprehensible.
I paused to watch a big bunny in the neighbor’s yard as he crept up on an old tractor.  He wanted to sniff one of the big tires, but something was spooking him, so he was all stretched out looong, trying to stay a safe distance back, keep his running apparatus in gear, and sniff the tire all at the same time.  He looked like a Weiner bunny.  haha
Here is the link to the pattern for the central piece of the Buoyant Blossoms collection; it will be free for one month:  Buoyant Blossoms Basket of Tulips
To answer some questions I have received:  I appliqué by machine using a blanket stitch, wider with contrasting thread sometimes, and other times very narrow with matching thread so it doesn’t show.
When I began appliquéing a few years ago, I bought a little bottle of Roxanne’s Glue-Baste-It so I could have the nifty little bottle with the needle-nose applicator.  Kind of pricey, but I wanted that applicator.  When I run out, I fill it with 2/3 Elmer’s School Glue and 1/3 water.  Works great, and it’s cheap.  It washes out fine (or you can just leave it and not bother washing it out – I’ve never had a problem), and it never stains the fabric.
After starching, folding, and ironing over the edges of all the little appliqué pieces, I print the pattern on thin newsprint... lay it on my lightbox... lay the background fabric on the pattern... and glue the appliqué pieces in the proper place one after another (after removing the freezer paper from each one as I go along).
This appliqué method takes some time, but it’s worth it, as the edges are always so smooth and crisp.  The basket was a bit tricky, as some pieces had to be woven in and out of others.  I sometimes used a tweezer to get them in place.  But it was fun to make.
Friday evening, it was suddenly pouring rain and lightninginginginging (I never know where to stop, with that word).  So much for Kurt and Victoria’s picnic!  But Victoria had sub sandwiches, potato salad, and fruit salad packed already, so they took it to Kurt’s house and ate there.
After all my bragging about some great number of patterns I’d sold, I think I sold only two, the week before last.  But that night I got a notification that someone had purchased eight patterns from my Etsy store.  That helps with the averages!
Kurt and Victoria went to Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha Saturday.  Afterwards, they stopped by Jo-Ann Fabrics to order chiffon for the bridesmaids’ and candlelighters’ sleeves and sashes.
I worked on the next part of the Buoyant Blossoms quilt – paper-pieced pinwheels.  Or at least I started working on them.  The pinwheels are in a nine-patch; five pinwheels and four plain squares make up each block.  I didn’t get many pinwheels done before Larry came home and asked if I wanted to go with him to Omaha to pick up a ‘man-lift’ he’d bought through an online auction.  The owner had listed it cheap as ‘non-running’, but the battery and charger were good, and exactly what Larry needed for one of his scissor lifts.  Today he discovered, however, that he’d gotten more for his money than expected, because there was only a small glitch keeping the thing from running.  He fixed it, and it works, and he now has a $1,200 lift to sell, and he only paid $350 for it.  But that means he still needs a battery and charger for his scissor lift. 
So, instead of paper-piecing, I edited a few hundred pictures as we drove.  Can you see the baby katydid on this peony blossom?  More photos here:  Flowers, bugs, birds, and cats
Sunday afternoon, I gathered table topper, box of Color Catchers, the note telling what the quilt was for and how to launder it, a card, the gift bag, and some tissue paper.  I did my best to make it look pretty – and then I sent a note to Hester, whose gift bags always look perfect and lovely:  “Why are you so far away when I need you?  And why does your tissue paper in a gift bag always looks so pretty, and mine looks so wadded and bedraggled?”
Receiving no immediate answer, I thought, There are tutorials for everything else on youtube, so maybe... 
Sure enough, there was a tutorial for ‘How to put tissue into a gift bag.’
I watched it.  Then I took my multiple layers of tissue paper back out of the bag, found the center of each large piece, gave it a little shake, smoothed it, and twisted the center slightly, making it look like a giant flower.  I tucked it into the bag, and repeated the effort with seven or eight more pieces.  Wonder of wonders, the bag didn’t just look presentable, it looked downright pretty.
I returned to my computer, and found an answer from Hester:  “Lololol.  I just watched YouTube ‘how-to’ videos.   ”  haha
And then it was time to go to the wedding.  Pastor Justice, a pastor friend from Victory Baptist Church in Kansas City, where Joel used to go to church with his family, gave the message for the service. 
After the reception, we were watching Joel and Heidi open gifts, while people milled around and visited in our big, new Fellowship Hall.  The flooring isn’t down yet; it was just smooth concrete; the air conditioning isn’t in yet, but there were ceiling fans and some big floor fans blowing cooled air from the church hallway into the large Fellowship Hall; so the temperature wasn’t bad.  It was nice to once again just go down the hallway from the sanctuary to the Fellowship Hall, instead of driving out to our friend Tom’s camper sales place, where we’ve been meeting since they tore down the old building.  And I’ll betcha Tom was tickled pink that he didn’t have to clear all the campers and equipment out of his big building again!
So... anyway...  I was trotting about taking photos, and when I noticed they were about to get to the bag with the table topper in it, I skedaddled to the forefront of the crowd, got all positioned, and waited for the exact moment.
Joel removed the variously-colored tissue paper I’d (twice) put into the bag.  They both peered in... Heidi touched the quilt, they started to take it from the bag... I saw them pause and read my note... then I saw her mouth the words, “Ohhh, she made it,” ... my finger tensed on the shutter button --------
And a flock of clueless ladies moved in immediately between me and the gift table, and there they stalled out, chirping, squawking, tweeting, and twittering as flocks of ladies do.  And there they stayed.
I couldn’t quickly move left or right, as other people had paused on either side of me, and a table and chairs were just behind me.
Furthermore, I am 5’ 2.5”.  I do not believe anyone around me was shorter than 6’10”. 
At least, that’s what it felt like.
“Excuse me,” I said politely to first one and then another, trying to quickly worm my way to a new vantage point.  I could’ve better gotten out of that spot had I just started gnawing on a few ankles.  But my Mama was a stickler for Behaving Politely in Public.
The room is huge.  Why was it only crowded right where I was, and right where I wanted to be???!
By the time I escaped the swarm, the bag with its contents was long gone, whisked off by the gift-opening helpers, and several more packages had been scooted into its place.
Ah, well.  I saw what Heidi said; that’ll suffice.  And I did get quite a lot of good photos of numerous people plus the wedding party.

Today is Memorial Day.  Larry has been working in the yard.  I’m doing what I usually do on Mondays – washing clothes and typing my journal.
Kurt and Victoria and Jared took our kayaks out on a pond somewhere, and now Robin has gone with them to play baseball or volleyball or something.
In posting some of my vacation photos on a photography forum, I came upon this shot that I took in the Florida Panhandle, somewhere around Apalachicola.  Brown pelicans are so funny-looking, like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. 
Once upon a time when I was 12 years old, I was with my parents on a dock in Sidney Mines, Nova Scotia, waiting for a big ship to come into the harbor.  We were going to Newfoundland.  I was standing beside a pole, and on it stood a tall brown pelican.  It hadn't even twitched, and I had not considered the possibility that it could be real – I thought it was part of the post, a wood carving!
And then...
... it rattled its beak.
And I, who have never been jumpy, nearly jumped out of my hide.  
But the worst thing was the smell.  Arrgghh, that thing’s beak was rank.  The fish it had squirreled away in there were not new produce, let me tell you.
Well, I’d better get busy with those pinwheels for the Buoyant Blossoms BOM.  I sure haven’t gotten much done for the last week.  Except blow my nose.  I’ve gotten quite adept at that.

,,,>^..^<,,,       Sarah Lynn       ,,,>^..^<,,,

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Photos: Trip to Omaha

Today we went to Omaha to pick up a man-lift Larry got on an auction.  It was cheap, because the owners thought it didn't run.  Larry got it for the battery/charger, which would work on one of his scissor lifts.  But it does run -- there's only a small wiring problem.  So he got a whole lot better deal than expected.  But... he still needs a battery/charger for the scissor lift.