Sunday, May 30, 2010

Triple Play

I am thrilled to be back at the Land's End project. I think Keith was getting a little worried with no new blocks since February. So far this week I have made, not one, but three blocks and this is a holiday weekend with rainy weather and lots of sewing time left.

Blocks are getting easier as I chose to do the hardest ones first. May I just say how smart I was do to this? Well, I just did.

Land's End calls these Pine Tree, Christmas Basket, Night and Noon respectively.

Judy Rehmel's book calls this the Temperance Tree. The bottom of the trunk is a slight variation from the traditional Pine Tree block. The templates for the "leaves" in this block were not the right size. It was an easy thing to adjust as they are 3" finished half-square triangle blocks.

This design most closely matches the Basket and Rose design in the Rehmel book. I am choosing to fuse the applique and then satin stitch the edges. I'll wait and do all the edging when I get the other three applique blocks done.

I use the fusing method that cuts out all the fusible from behind the center of each piece and just leaves a quarter-inch edge to hold it in place. Maybe I'll photograph that method next time and show you what I mean.

This i.d.'s as the Night and Moon block. The color placement here is different than that shown by Rehmel.

I struggled a bit with fabrics for this block, but Gwen assured me this looks good and I have to remember that I need warmer greens to tie everything together in the end.

A sense of accomplishment!

Halfway there. This thing is gonna be huge!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Evolution of the Sand Castle

Sand castles built along the shore over the course of our visit took several forms from the most basic to the grandious.

Large excavation of unknown purpose

Your basic mounds with feathers on top
and connecting moats

Mysterious conical shapes atop these mounds.
vents? funnels? or maybe large early tagines?

Artistic elements begin to emerge

Homage to unknown gods

notice the crossed arms

Built for strategic advantage overlooking this inlet.
Maisy seems to like it.

An early attempt at community

Your standard castle with a moat

A fort, perhaps

At last - advancements in technology and architecture result in stone structures built to withstand the advancing tide (or not)

Location, location, location

To put it into perspective...

The view from our upper balcony.
The boardwalk takes you past the dunes right to the beach!

Same view facing west, just a few steps from our door.

If anyone can identify this lovely flower, please let me know. Foliage was a bit like a lily, but this doesn't look like a lily.

Beautiful, yet deadly - oleander.

Spotted on the return. Gwen stopped a few times before scoring a soap aloe plant to take home.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Birds on the beach

There was no shortage of birds along the shoreline and I had fun trying to take pictures. Even though I took the manual to my new camera, I didn’t read it. I do know it has a setting for “Beach” which I used a lot.

The Laughing Gulls were everywhere and quite sociable. They actually do laugh. Or it certainly sounds as if they do.

"You lookin' at me?"

This is a Dunlin. I’d never heard of a dunlin. They summer on the tundras way up north. I guess our cooler spring has kept them here a little longer.

Black-bellied Plovers were easy to spot. They're very striking birds.

My best research says this is a Stilt Sandpiper. It looks a lot like a Lesser Yellowleg, but I think it’s legs are not yellow.

Gwen spotted the nest of a great blue heron on a morning walk into the St. George Island State Park. She even saw fledglings.

By the time I got there, this lone adult stood sentry with no babies in sight.

Trying to take the easy way out, these guys were hanging around a fisherman waiting for a handout.

Cute little Ruddy Turnstones ran all over the beach. They were always just a few yards in front of me as I walked.

The one bird I didn’t get photos of was the brown pelican. They seem to like the intracoastal waterway between the island and the mainland. We saw lots of them when crossing the bridge as they flew alongside in the opposite direction. Fascinating birds. I really, really wish I had pictures.

But I figure by now you have all seen pictures of brown pelicans – albeit with oil-soaked feathers and nests. If not, just visit

Don’t get me started.

This bird was spotted on the drive down off Hwy 231 near Troy. Made entirely out of chrome car bumpers -

mostly from VW bugs.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Every year, friend Nell goes to St. George Island, Florida, between the end of spring semester and the beginning of peak tourist season. She has done this pretty much since her days of getting her doctorate at Florida State.

She is kind to invite me even though I can’t ever go because we still have things going on at work. I tell her to keep including me on the off chance something happens.

This year, however, was different. The trip didn’t start until May 15 and we finished up on May 12. So, I jumped at the chance to go thinking that I might not get the opportunity again any time soon.

Maisy has made this trip before without me. My auto bobo was May 12, 2006, and Nell was to leave the next day. With me in the hospital awaiting surgery on my ankle, she scooped up Maisy, got her hair shaved off, and whisked her down to Florida along with her dog Otis.

Maisy and Otis went this year. And friend Gwen, too.

Gwen and I hauled our sewing machines and all sorts of quilting projects down there thinking we would get a lot done. But something happens when you’re at the beach. There really is something to this “island time” thing. I took my watch off when I got there and didn’t put it back on till I left. I got a little bit of sewing done. Gwen was more prolific.

I spent my time napping, walking on the beach, taking pictures of shore birds, and eating. Spent a small amount of time in the pool.

Flew my kite.

Did some shopping. Took some more pictures of birds.

On the last night there, we got to see the space shuttle docked with the space station fly by overhead. Way cool.

Of course the oil spill was on everyone’s mind.

It makes me angry and sad and I can hardly think about it without wanting to cry.

One look out over the Gulf and you pray that nothing touches such a beautiful, pristine, and natural place.

We ate as much seafood as we could while we could.