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

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Solitary Beach Walk---and Nesting Shorebirds

Hi! Come take a beach walk with me! The fresh air will do you a world of good and the chilly ocean breeze will blow all your troubles far out to sea!
just now, Sunday

I checked my Map My Walk iphone app and I walked almost 2 miles at the flea market! It was good and I have lots of treasures to show you once I get them photographed this week.
Back home I went to the beach to check on ''my'' nesting birds. It is cold at the beach so I didn't put much more activity on my  walking tracker.

Yes my beach is this empty, even on a beautiful spring Sunday. Just me (and you guys) and the birds.

Here's a flock of tiny white birds, you can see them against the dark blue of the water.

Great tracts of this beach are fenced off for the nesting shore birds. There's an oystercatcher way back by the dunes, on the right. They are testing spaces right now, but they always nest within a few feet of previous years' nests. The OCs begin laying their eggs around May 7th. *

The oystercatchers' numbers are way down, perhaps 2/3s of last year. And while I am finding plover nest sites, I have only seen one poor lonely and very busy little guy! Usually we have as many as 16 nests along the entire stretch of beach.
The wildlife guys mark the nesting sites with large white clamshells, see below.

Later when the plover pair choose their final site there will be a wire cage installed to protect these tiny endangered birds from humans and predators . [The birds can get out of the mesh openings but not much can get in, except too high storm tides.]
Piping plovers usually begin laying eggs around April 30th.* Yes they are that specific!*
Here the game guys have set out a flag and a stake, plus their clam shells. I didn't see a nest hollow, perhaps it is an oystercatcher site.


Here are piping plover tracks. I wonder what the odd busy track area is? A mating dance ensued? Almost looks like a turtle was here but there's only bird tracks to and from.


Here is a very well made plover nest. This is as good as it gets if you're a plover mama. No soft grasses or strings, or cozy old plastic bags for her, just sand!

And another...

There are other wildflife signs to mull over. Tiny tracks, below,  probably seaside sparrows or pipits? But they may be our marsh toads which emerge from the dry swales and like to shelter under the wooden walkway.

Rabbit tracks. Beach bunnies!

Feral cats or a raccoon? I see tracks here almost daily but never have seen a creature.


By late May it should be warm enough for me to venture out after dark, flashlight in hand. To discover who these tracks belong to!
Have a great week.
gone  to the beach.....

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Doll Quilt Swap

 *click any image for full screen closeups.

Hi! "What's a doll quilt swap?" you ask---
Well. This was just the most fun project!
Organized by Lori of Humble Quilts blog for all her fans and readers. I think she said 60-plus people entered the swap. Plan was, we'd each make a doll quilt and send it to another participant, who'd send her quilt on to the next, then on and on. (so not a direct one-on-on swap). We had one month to make our little quilts.

So---LOOK what came in the the mail last week. For me!?

All the way from Australia, imagine that. This sort of thing could never have happened without the Internet and blogs.

Here is my little quilt, made by Dorothy in Australia.   

Is it not so adorable and so very perfect!

I LOVE Basket design/ pattern quilts.

Dorothy used different Civil War repro fabrics in each of her tiny 4" blocks. And note how all her points match, how perfect her hand quilting is.

I love how she did her label....

 Dorothy also sent me a lovely card and a very sweet hanky with AU wildflowers. I am sure it will work is way into a project, Dorothy. Thank you so much, I will always treasure my tiny Baskets from Australia.

Right. Lucky me. :-) Picture me squealing and jumping for joy.
Meanwhile I had to make a doll quilt for my swappee. Oh I was so excited! Lori said it was okay to use my antique blocks and antique fabrics as long as they fit the mid-1800s parameters of the swap rules.

I was/ still am/ very inspired by the antique blocks recently purchased from a dealer friend.  I  dithered, I sorted, I wondered: who is my recipient? Will she like this? Or maybe this? Is this more authentic, is this prettier?

Yes I made three little quilts.....

The first is made of approx 6"? Evening Star blocks. I loved these fabrics, the florals are probably preCivil War.


I  used a wonderful 19th century block on the back, for the label block.

I am putting block names for Mel, who always asks.
 Pls feel free to correct my guesses here, I can't find my blocks book
*Churn Dash*

But then...I had the Blues out on my table.

"Snowball with Nine Patch"
I used my favorite of the antique blocks on the back.

*Anvil/ Shoofly/ Old Maid's Puzzle*

I hand quilted hearts in the large white snowball patches.

But then...I thought, Are either of these authentic enough? They're stylistically  true to form for antique doll quilts, which were often made of leftover blocks. But they weren't true miniatures, exactly And the blues could read as any era, even though they were part of the collection of 1800s blocks.

Back to the stash... Tiny Nine Patches, only partially sewed, with cheddar, oooh. And aqua. And homespun. The little squares are tiny, finishing about 1.25".

 I used larger blocks for the backing.

*T or Cross or Temperance*
* Modified 9 Patch/ Ducks-in-the Pond?*

It looks very much like an authentic doll quilt, I thought. But is it beautiful? What if the swappee doesn't like prim?

I used a pdf image freebie from Barbara Brackman's blog for my labels.

I sent my recipient, Jill, the original Evening Stars quilt. It is, I think, 16" square.

Maybe the back is even better than the front?

Jill says she loves it, that is what counts!

The Nine-Patch Cutie will be for sale in my etsy shop if you are sad you didn't get a  doll quilt like we did. I suppose I could part with Blues, too, if someone really loves it, please email me. Pls note it has been washed but has age stains which I liked and didn't try to remove.

Thank you, Lori, for such a fun project. Thank you, Dorothy , for sending me a beautiful tiny treasure of a quilt.
I enjoyed every minute---the planning and making and the exciting anticipation.

BTW, for my non-quilter friends: which is YOUR favorite [of my three?]?



gone to the beach..................



Note: May 1st: all doll quilts from Lori's swap are now on her blog, here at Humble Quilts. Scroll to end for posts of the little quilts.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Dinner Food Critique

Hi! Just a quick update for those of you who follow my cooking adventures and disasters here.

Easter : first of all the day itself was cold and windy but oh so beautiful with forget-me-not blue skies and brilliant turquoise water in the bays [after the flopped flea market, 5 dealers?!]...

And yes the food was great!

Deviled eggs---yummy!

Found watercress at a fancy local supermarket. It now comes in big bags like prewashed lettuce, who knew? I used 1/3-1/2 bag to get the 3/4 C chopped for Martha Stewart's recipe here

I used 9, not 8 eggs. I used 2+ heaping T. of horseradish, not 2 teaspoons. My kids like things spicy.

Could have used any bitter green---arugula, parsley, even old standby celery, because the horseradish overwhelms any other taste. But hey, watercress looks pretty, makes very cute garnishes.

Crock pot pulled pork, made yesterday [Saturday]. Fine but the big box store pork roast was tough despite 10 hours in the slow cooker.

Tasty though.

More creamy horseradish on top! Tiny gherkin/ cornichon pickles and red radishes on the side .

Excellent sweet slaw based on Country Living salad from their April issue.

 I used broccoli straws, Honey Crisp apples, and shaved Brussels sprouts. I omitted the nuts and cheese. I made a sweet raspberry poppy seed dressing, partially from a Marie's or Marzetti jar dressing plus extras, like olive oil and lemon juice; and tarragon, sugar.

We have a new gadget, a mandolin, veggie slicer that makes the most beautiful perfect
julienned matchstick cuts of the veggies and apples. I thinly sliced the Brussels sprouts by hand.

For dessert my daughter made a family fave, we don't have a name. It is kind of like cannoli filling? Low fat ricotta cheese whipped with amaretto or almond extract/ vanilla, Splenda. Stir in chocolate chips and toasted slivered almonds. Chill. Serve in small bowls with new spring strawberries on the side.

Lots of nice leftovers, the unused veggies will make a delicious stir fry in a few days, too.

edit: from my blog friend Kelley, her Easter pix!

adorable cake. It came out great, Kel!


beautiful, classic Easter eggs.
I love the touch of glitter.



gone to the beach....