Thursday, September 30, 2010

Look Who's Back!

Sometimes I think I could be happy blogging - just posting photos of floss and fabric.  I get as much enjoyment from the "products necessary to stitch" as the actual stitching, or the finished piece.

In my usually scattered way, I've set down my current stitch to begun another pumpkin...
I've not yet decided whether to keep the back ground linen colored, or use DMC 3371 like the ornament on the bottom right - I do kind of like the darker, spookier finish it creates.

Today I was amazed to look out the window and see...
 Evening Grosbeaks at our bird feeders. 
These guys are "flybys" for us in the spring and summer.  They come here to eat maple tree catkins in the spring, and usually leave us for the higher elevations of the Cascade Range by early July.  The last two or three years we've had a pair or two stay to raise their kids, and then they too leave by early August. 

Anyway, as best I can remember we've never had Grosbeaks at our feeders late September / early October.  They are wonderfully colorful birds and make a very cheery "churr" sound. 
Welcome back I say - no matter how short your visit!  

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stitching Progress and Outdoor Wonders

I thought I might have a finish to share today, but that is not the case.
So here's my progress thus far on "P is for Pumpkin".  Given that the temperatures have returned to the mid-80's the last few days, it seems odd to be stitching a pumpkin - I should be stitching a watermelon instead!

Today our outdoor guide is Padma Patel.

He is a 100% indoor cat who gazes at the outdoors through doors and windows.  

Monday evening as I was watering my plants on the front porch, I thought I had a hummingbird for company. Someone, something was busily slurping the nectar of the fuchsias and salvias.  

If you look at the bloom on the lower right you can see the culprit.

Huimmingbird Clearwing Moth

As it turns out it was a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth - Hemaris thysbe.
The moth flitted a zoomed around - very much like a hummingbird - the entire time I was outdoors.  It did not appear to be the least bit frightened of me, and thus allowed me to take a couple of reasonable pictures.  There is a much nicer, clearer photo at Hill Country Critters.

Gardening Bounty
With a few days of sunshine, the tomatoes have begun to ripen. 

Spot and Dot came to help me fill up the bird feeders Monday morning.

I did not have to use a zoom of any kind to take these shots.  They were curious and hungry and so came quite close.  The fawns are particularly taken with our two outdoor cats.  They stalk the cats in an effort to "check them out".  The cats hate it, and with great indignity end up running away.  Turn about is fair play for someone who is usually the predator rather than the prey!   

My three large pots are in full swing as we approach October.  The autumn sage (salvia) in the front left is only now about ready to bloom for the first time.  The other salvias and penstemon are going strong and the purple asters overwintered just fine and are now attracting lots of pollinators. 

Steller's Jays are one of my favorite birds.  They are loud and raucous - bullies at the bird feeder - but they are so very colorful, I forgive them their poor behavior.

You can find other outdoor Wednesday posts at A Southern Daydreamer

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rooster and Blackberries

Design - "Quaker Rooster"
Chart - "Quaker Pig and Rooster"
Designer - The Workbasket
Fabric - 36 count Sand Dune from Lakeside Linen
Fiber - Belle Soie Grape Juice
Started - 31 August 2010
Completed - 27 September 2010 

I like the simplicity of this design - one color - a deep rich grapey-burgundy - a few Quaker motifs - and there you have it - a rooster!  
My sister picked some blackberries on Sunday.
I decided to try a new recipe using her harvest.

I made Blackberry Crumb Bars using a recipe from Martha
It turned out perfectly - the true test of a new recipe - and got two thumbs up from all who ate it.  Unlike many recipes using berries, this is not a cobbler. It has a cake-like texture on the bottom, while the topping resembles a strudel.

I've been speaking about some of our migratory birds (many of whom are still hanging around). Yesterday our Barn Swallow family left for parts unknown.  I checked their nest and patio posts where they've been roosting in the evenings - and no one was home.  I will miss them and look forward to their return next spring.

And let's bring some of the outdoors inside to enjoy!
Dahlia Bouquet

 The dahlias continue to bloom exuberantly.

You can read more garden posts at the Tuesday Garden Party at an Oregon Cottage.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Plaid Pumpkin - I've been Framed

Design - "Plaid "Pumpkin"
Designer - For My Boys
Chart - "Pumpkins Three for Thee"
Fabric - 32 count Vintage linen
Floss - DMC
Started - 13 September 2004
Completed - 26 September 2004
Framed - August 2010

I mentioned in an earlier post that in August I'd had five autumnal cross stitch pieces taken in to be framed.  Well, this is the 2nd in the series.  I messed up and did not scan it before taking it to the shop to be framed. So this is the best shot I have.

Anyway, that aside, I'm really pleased with how "Plaid Pumpkin" looks after being stretched and framed. 
The young woman who works on stitched pieces shows great respect - there is never a wave or pucker when she readies a piece to be framed.

Sometimes the simplest of repetitive patterns can be very striking.

The gold frame has lots of interesting details.

I chose not to use a mat with this; figuring the cross stitched border defined the piece clearly and created breathing room between the pattern and the frame.

And in the kitchen garden...
the zinnias try to find daylight between the tomatoes and the winter squash.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Another Quiet Sunday Morning

I'm going to continue with pumpkins as my current motif.
I've chosen the single pumpkin on the left as my next project.
The WDW threads glow in the autumn sunshine.

Yesterday was a perfect autumn day - sunny and warm.
Today is to be nice too.
It is starting off with a bit of overcast.

It is amazing how the grass and brush has greened up with the rains of the past few days. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Autumn's Bounty

Design - "Autumn"
Chart - "Autumn's Bounty"
Designer - Forever in My Heart
Fabric - 28 count R & R Harvest Blend
Fibers - WDW
Started - 22 September 2010
Completed - 24 September 2010

This was a quick and fun seasonal stitch.  I changed a couple of the WDW floss colors - from Aztec Red for the pumpkin to Pumpkin, and from Indian Summer to Autumn Leaves for the word autumn. 

Ironically as we've moved into autumn, our weather has greatly improved.  Friday was glorious and today is supposed to be in the low 80's.  I guess I'll need to water my plants a time or two yet.

Maybe we will get some ripe tomatoes after all!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fun Stuff

So today I'll share some of my latest purchases...

I just love this project satchel. 
It is by Lady Dot
and is made using a Moda Blackbird Designs fabric. 
It is a nice size and very well made.

These Carrie's Creation threads are for a rather garishly bright Halloween stitch.

Yes, yet more chicken...and rooster charts...can a girl have too many?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's Now Autumn, Right?

I think the Autumnal Equinox was at 8:00pm on the 22nd - so it's now officially fall.  If that is a cause for celebration, then how about "Autumn" by Forever in My Heart? 
I'm going to say, yes, let's celebrate as we cannot make time stand still. We've had a cool and rainy September thus far, but now the weather in the southern Willamette Valley is improving.  After a few more showers today, the next ten days look to be sunny - Indian Summer after all!  

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Graciosa' and Mahonia nervosa

We entered a raffle at the last Avid Gardener's meeting Monday night, and we won, not one, but two great plants! The Chamaecyparis will get ro be a fairly large tree /shrub so we need to site it carefully.  In Oregon we have three native Mahonias (Oregon Grapes) - Mahonia nervosa is a slow growing evergreen shrub.  It gets 18" to 30" tall and spreads 2' to 4' wide.  Good news - deer ignore it!    

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Outdoor Wednesday and Indoor Too

Parvati Patel was going to lead us on an "Indoor Tour" this morning, but she found the idea too tiresome tiring, and settled down for a morning nap, leaving me as your guide.

I stitched on "Quaker Rooster" for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon, and I must say it is now beginning to resemble a rooster!  The next step is the comb, then finish the tail, and lastly add the legs...maybe a finish by the end of the week.

For our "Outdoor Wednesday" guide, there is no one better than Tom-Cat.
He takes an active interest in everything outdoorish.
He has been working on an early fall bird species tally...
and is annoyed to find we still have:
About two dozen band-tailed pigeons at the feeders. 
They are pigs - very pushy, and they eat the feeders dry!  
Both Tom and I had hoped they'd literally take flight, and have migrated somewhere else by this time of year. 

These birds are "makin' lazy circles in the sky".
They are not hawks.
They are the "clean up on aisle six" crew of the bird world - turkey vultures.  Once in a while they land in our back yard to carry off one of Tom's dead mice or bunnies.  Close up they are quite ugly, but they do provide a useful service.  Turkey vultures are also migratory, and will soon be leaving the area for warmer parts to the south.

Tom-Cat has also kept a close eye on this group. 
This is the second set of babies Mom and Dad Barn Swallow raised in a nest on our back patio this summer.  These three hatched on Sunday, August 29th and they flew for the first time Sunday September 18th - just three weeks later - wow!  They are still coming back to the nest in the evening, but soon, they too will migrate.

Tom-Cat is far less interested in our trees except to crib on their bark.  
Our three sweet gums have begun to turn color.

And our crab apple is lovely too.
It is "caged" to keep the deer from rubbing off its bark.

Even though it is autumn, having had some good rain lately, new things are germinating...
Including this clump of sunflower seeds.

Tom-Cat and I think we know the gardener...
Look at the cheeks and jowls of this squirrel!
He has stuffed so many sunflower seeds in his mouth he looks like he has a goiter!  I wonder if this is a sign of a "hard winter"?

You can read other "Outdoor Wednesday" posts at A Southern Daydreamer.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pumpkin and Dahlias

Design - "Autumn" (Pumpkin Ornament)
Chart - "Seasonal Accents Samplers"
Designer - The Needle and I
Fabric - unknown 32 count even-weave
Started - 20 September 2010
Completed - 20 September 2010

In this part of the world, both pumpkins and dahlias can be iconic symbols of autumn.

I threatened promised to post photos from the Lane County Dahlia show and so here they are.  As with any kind of plant, it is always remarkable to see them en mass - the depth and breath of color and form...

Mignon Singles

Vesuvius - A truly explosive floral arrangement!

Alfred Grille - Incurved Cactus

Dahlias - Balls


Dahlias - Orchids
This form of dahlia looks like whacked out starfish to me! 

Formal Decorative

My Tuesday Garden post was sort of "indoors" but you can check out other outdoor posts at: The Tuesday Garden Party. @ An Oregon