Thursday, July 21, 2011

turquoise muslin



I do so enjoy dyeing my own muslin. Especially, when I get to dye it in such a pretty shade of turquoise. So refreshing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rome

Rome was the very last part of our trip, and the best was definately saved for last.

This is the Colosseum and there are not words for seeing this. I've been looking at it in books and movies, and pictures and FINALLY I'm standing in front of it wondering how something really be that old and still be standing. Wow! Seeing this made the entire trip.



This is the Sistine Chapel, and yes, I did have to sneak the picture in. With the exception of seeing the David, this came in a very close second best for art.




Swiss Guard in Vatican City.






Panthon.







I didnt get pictures of a small museum we toured called the Borghese Gallery, but it was by far my favorite museum of the entire trip, not for the paintings (though they were great), but for the sculptures. It's definately a must see and we just barely made it in as it was close to closing.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Bees

I spent the day with the Bee Keeper (aka Dad) and my Grandma.

It's bee robbing time.






















They are not happy about this.





My job was very small. I had to do what Grandma called skiving (not sure I'm spelling it right). With a heated knife you gently cut off the outside wax to get to the honey. It's alot harder than it sounds, and looks.


then the honeycombs are placed into a retractor and you spin and spin and spin it (by hand). After that its smooth sailing with jarring the honey.




this little nifty contraption I really liked. The combs sat in these buckets between times after I skived until my brother retracted and all the leftover honey that fell there and where I was skiving was placed in this collander and drip, drip, drip until it separated from the wax. All leftovers were given back to the bees.



We ended up with well over a gallon of honey and now I have to figure out what I'm going to do with it all.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast

I'd never heard of Sorrento when we first read our itinerary for Italy and this was the last few days of the trip and I was ready to get to Rome by this point. But this turned out to be my favorite everything for the whole trip. Best hotel, best food, best views, best everything.

We actually stayed in Sorrento, but took a bus tour through the loveliest little towns all the way to Amalfi where we got to do some roaming around.

This is Amalfi. It was really stunning.


This is pictures taken from the bus on the way to Amalfi.







A little fruit and veggie stand in Sorrento with grapes the size quarters.





This is the beach at Amalfi. I'm used to white sand and gorgeous waters on the Gulf Coast, but though the sand wasnt up to par the water was nice and clear, and really cold, and you really cannot beat that view in the background.




Um, do lemons really get this big. Yes. These are about the size of a softball and we saw some that were even bigger than that.


What do they do with them? Limonecello. MMmmm. No, truthfully, seriously strong. You get a little shot of it and it tastes good, but its so strong its hard to drink. After just a couple of sips I had a bad case of the giggles.



When we first arrived in Sorrento, we took off for a walk to see the Mediterranean Sea. We ended up here at the nicest little restaurant (I think it was called Terrazza or something like that) and a view to die for while we watched the sun set. The ravioli was good too!








Friday, July 1, 2011

Florence

Another Italian city with narrow cobblestone streets and skooters ripping up the roads.







I saw and walked through so many churches by this point of my trip that they are all blurring together.





Our hotel was near here, and it was a very nice walk.







This one was from the opposite side of the river.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Pisa

I dont know why we werent expecting much from Pisa, but it was actually really nice. We visited on our third day of Italy and it was so very clean and that leaning tower is just something that just wows you.

It's awesome getting to see something that you've heard about since you were in elementary school. I remember seeing it in my history books and asking myself why it was leaning.

This picture is me looking up the wall that encloses the city (not a street). I'm thinking I can scale it. :)



Gelato everyday. Mmmm. No, really, we ate it every day for 10 days. Limone (lemon) and Cocca (coconut) were my favorites.



This picture was taken from the Baptistry that was just across the way.





We learned that when they built the tower, they knew almost as soon as they started that it was going to be leaning. I can't keep asking myself "then why did they continue?" but they did. And it's not just leaning a little, it looks like it could topple at anytime. I'm still not sure how its standing.




this is the Baptistry. All the churches were kinda similar in Italy. They all had a church, a baptistry, and a bell tower.



Saturday, June 25, 2011

Venice

It has been too long since the last time I posted (over a month), but I've been crazy busy trying to keep up with orders and I took a vacation to Italy that lasted waaaaaaay too long as well.

We toured the country of Italy in 10 days. It was everything I expected it to be and more. Our first stop was Venice and here are a few pictures......




These first two are St. Mark's Square. There was some kind of parade going on for boat races, not sure what that was about, but it was cool to watch.





The Grande Canal was fantastic! This picture is taken from a gondola, and you can see the boat races that were going on in the left of the picture.




This picture was taken from the waterbus. Venice was a great place for food and souvenier shopping. The narrow streets were overcome with crowds of people. It had the coolest streets you ever saw, and all the buildings were shabby with chipped paint and water damage, but all of it added to its charm.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Two Friends, One Day


"I see you," Lady Cardinal says.



She is SO pretty and constantly chirping and singing, and extremely flirty. I've seen more than one Cardinal Man lurking around her and flying and flittering about. This year we have cardinals every where and they are making all kinds of noisy havoc in the trees.







Now that is one big frownie face. She surprisingly was not afraid of me. Most of the times when they are in our yard they will go into their shell until we leave, but this one was determined to get where she was going, and where she was going was a big pile of wood in our backyard that we are slowly burning. Video to come soon.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Aviary 2 in granite on a toddler bed quilt



Cannot wait to see how this quilt comes out.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Muslin

I use a 100% all natural cotton muslin on the back of almost all my quilts.

I like this material because it's an all natural product and has no synthetic fibers in it and the cotton for it is grown right here in the US. It comes to me in a natural color that I always describe as oatmeal colored because most of it is a cream, but then there is these little tiny speckles of dark (just like oatmeal).

It feels just like any cotton....until you wash it and then it turns into this buttery soft goodness that I love so much. I use it in all my quilts with the exception of minky dot quilts, but it is in the rag quilts where it really stands out the most I think.

On a rag quilt all the little edges poke out in every seem, so you can see the muslin on the front of the quilt and it rags beautifully. There is nothing like it. I've used regular cotton, broadcloth, even flannel, but nothing in my opinion is better than muslin.


back of rag quilt dyed pale pink






Many people want color on the back instead of the natural (though, leaving it natural is still the most popular in my shop). I had to go buy regular cotton at the store to get the color they wanted. Then I started dyeing it myself with a non-harsh dye. It worked out great. No longer do you have to sacrifice the quality to get a nice color. Now we have both.







I dye in very small batches, almost per quilt, so I never actually get the same color twice. There is always just a shade or two of difference.




Unfortunately, I have yet to be able to achieve the color brown, or anywhere close to it. I end up with a shade of grape purplish everytime. I might in the future try tea-dyeing, but not for now. So I can do every color with the exception of brown for now.