I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Flowers Bloom in Winter

Hi guys!  It's mid-January, time to plant my indoor flower bulbs for forcing.

Bulbs planted on MLK weekend will bloom by Presidents Week, if things go well.

If you still want to try Paper White Narcissus, I just received my bulbs on Friday.

I order from the same seller on Amazon. They come fast but not next day. I dithered about doing blue grape hyacinths instead this year. Oh that heavenly blue! I found them at the same seller, "prechilled for forcing" but there are 30 bulbs in the bag and they cost so much. So, I guess, no. (The bulbs also got poor reviews but so many folks--not you of course!--have really brown thumbs, so grain of salt to the zero star crowd?)

You may recall the gorgeous Costco tulips from last year, in the tall glass cylinder:

I saved it to reuse this year for the paperwhites. No pebbles or seaglass needed.

It has a scary looking  pronged and fanged plastic insert that holds the bulbs in place.


Here we go!

I couldn't fit in all my bulbs


o I did a smaller cylinder vase with pink faux seaglass, a gift for a friend once it gets going,

and another in this recycled hyacinth vase.

I'm not sure the hyacinth vase will work, no support of the gangly daffs, so I put it on the corner cupboard shelf to keep a close eye.

And this! My year long project of a beautiful amaryllis given to me last Christmas. I followed the online instructions for making it re-bloom; it summered over outside, dully green and ugly, hidden in the zinnia pot on my deck, then was dug up and washed and stored in a box in my dark cold entry area for two months..Oh it looked so white and nasty when dug up,  eeew  

But here it is, delicate green sprouts, crispy brown skin, and great health.

It's in my mom's Swedish glass hyacinth vase, in water instead of potting soil. I hope this is a success.

All the bulbs are given water up to the root bases.

And set up on the pine bench which is against a cold wall and doesn't get any direct sun.

It will take a few days for the shoots to unfurl and roots to start. As they progress and even bloom, they can of course be brought out to display and admire. Approx. 3 weeks to begin blooming, 5 weeks til finished.

While I wait for that, I've been filling the house with inexpensive potted forced bulbs from the supermarket:

.tiny Tete a Tete yellow daffs, tiny as your fingertips.

In pretty Staffordshire pitcher[s].

I love this set of c 1840? pitchers, especially the birds and butterflies,,,, the colors and picotage.

My dad recycled and  regrew these tiny daffs, purchased every year, and the woods' floor outside the kitchen window would be a carpet of tiny gold flowers come April or May.

The white hyacinth is doing well. Not so spectacular to look at but it smells so delightful.

And when I don't buy the little potted flowers, I indulge in the early spring cut bouquets.

I usually don't like mixed bouquets but I love this assortment, called, I think, ''Spring Gathering". Everything comes home tightly budded, only green, and over a couple of weeks the flowers unfurl, much to my delight.

The colors!

And, well. Pussy willows too. Prob I only buy them for, really, those tiny catkins.


We had a brief snow day Saturday. Mo is dressed up in his snow day pjs, hoping hard that if he is very unobtrusive I won't make him go out in the dreaded storm.


The paw print "pillow" is actually a hard shell kennel disk. Heated in the microwave it stays toasty warm for almost 24 hours. Mo loves his, especially for cozy sleeping at night.

Spaghetti and meatballs were delish! But the oat and choc chip breakfast bars were a huge Fail, very disappointing.here  or   HERE
All the snow, except a few drifts, gone next day!

Hope you all are safe and warm.



gone to the beach....

Thursday, January 16, 2020

First Quilt Finish of 2020 : Darling Bitty

Good evening, on the very dark on blustery night. I have kept Mo in from his bedtime walk---"gusts [of wind] up to 50 mph" discourage my enthusiasm for late night walks.

Mo surprised us earlier by trotting off into the gale with his alternate dog walker, who comes one afternoon a week to help me with grocery carrying and to give Mo a special treat of a big run, with a different person. Pugs are very social and love seeing new friends. He just adores having her come, so much more fun than me, boring old mom.  She is teaching him to give kisses, lol

Biity is finished and gifted. I found the quilt difficult to photograph and perhaps at a warmer, sunnier time of the year I can take better pics outdoors.

Every bit of the background is densely boro quilted, 1/8"-3/16" apart. Boro stitching is a linear running stitch, though I did three or more lines of echo quilting around all the shapes too.

I had the deadline of the baby coming, and so I skipped some quilting I had had planned.

A couple wavy lines around the borders, stitches around each strange tree and lollipop flower, and down each leaf. A french knot inside each flower too. Interestingly after I washed it, I was so glad I stopped when I did, because magically the flowers and birds and stems puffed up beautifully against the densely quilted backgrounds. An almost three dimensional effect, and very pretty.

And the borders were just fine as is.

I sewed the scalloped border, inspired by a Cheri Payne quilt, with raw edges, sewing in 3/16" from the cut edges. In time this should softly fray and add dimensionality to the border.

I love the little rosebuds in the corners, deliberately imperfect in shape.

Bitty got her new wing[s] with better contrast and definition.

The backing is a blue and white print from Cotton and Steel, quite modern.

If you look closely, the design is tulips. 

And though this is a blue quilt, the flowers and pink touches make it definitely a quilt for a someday baby girl, while blue and turquoise plaid shirtings and blue batiks help avoid the too sweet error I dreaded. 

At some point I hope--had planned--to embroidered the baby's initials and date of birth on the urn, below. If indeed the parents want that.

Now, binding sounds like a last boring chore but it's actually a crucial element to a quilt both for function and style. Many antique quilts have very tiny, very tight bindings, less than 1/4" and I wanted to try to achieve this for Bitty's edge. I was very pleased with the results. I did miter the corners, a modern choice, as mitered corners are rarely seen, in my experience on pre 1950 quilts. I did this because the continuous fabric in a mitered corner seems sturdier than tucked ends and I was too rushed to do gathered. As I keep saying , I hope this quilt will be loved and used to shreds.

At any rate, I washed the quilt , by machine, hot; dried in the dryer/ hot. Nothing fell off or faded unduly so far.

It's fitting to take Bitty's picture here on the deck where I spent so many hours sewing...

 and here at the beach.

Bitty: a Minick and Simpson pattern. 

begun summer of 2017, finished and gifted January 2020.

PS *Why is Bitty called Bitty? I don't know, it's the name on the pattern: "Bitty's Quilt". I call the large bird focal image Bitty, but that's just me being, uh, imaginative.

 Bitty has gone to her future. I'll miss her.



gone to the beach....