Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On The Colorado River (Columbus, TX)

We left Rockport last week and settled into our new campground near Columbus, TX.  
We were sad to leave the coastal area until we arrived and saw the view from our site in among tall pecan trees on the Colorado River.  Every once in awhile, cattle show up on the other side and there are plenty of birds to view....hopefully, I will get a few in some photos too.
View from our new site
This morning, I woke up to what felt like a 20 lb furball with an icy cold nose on my chest relentlessly nudging my chin and hand.  What?  I didn't give you enough attention yesterday?  It might be dark outside, but Max was ready for today to begin.  The cats haven't been outside for two days because of the cold front that came through Texas and they are getting very restless.  They certainly love their new location with lots of grass to chew, tall trees to sniff around and plenty of wildlife to watch.  We will probably take them out today.
Colorado River
Since I haven't taken many photos of our new location, here are a few more from Rockport of the birds having a lazy afternoon...
well, most of them were relaxing.... 
i'm not squawking!!! you are!
Just before we left Rockport, we saw a big White Pelican near the shore.  We are familiar with the small Brown Pelicans, but wow! the White Pelicans are huge!  Okay, granted, I have seen many big birds like the Herons, Egrets, and Cranes, but to see a male White Pelican up close and near people for a comparison was quite a surprise.     

 I had to look up their facts and found out that the male can weigh up to 30 lbs and can be as tall as 70 inches which means he is taller than me.  His wing span can be up to 120 inches....or for me..being a fabric fan ~ over 3 yards!
Too bad the Great Blue Heron wasn't closer
I never got around to posting photos on my blog of the Whooping Cranes that we saw in a farmer's field, so here's a couple of them...


On The Cutting Board
I have been having a blast working on my scrappy quilts.  I have been adding applique to each top.  Special quilts to keep the owners warm and hopefully, make them smile.

For the Christmas Winter theme top, I added a snowman and a pair of mittens.  I got the cute designs from Colleen Parry's Christmas Goodies clipart.
I picked bright colors for a cheerful snowman.
 I had fun embroidering his scarf and face.

Once I finished the snowman, I started working on a teddy bear theme top.  I found this teddy bear online.  Isn't he adorable? 
I anchored all the balloon strings with closely stitched couching.  There's no way a little finger is going to get under the balloon strings or pick one out.
 I used the crayon technique to add a little dimension to teddy's face and belly.  I'm using the freezer paper method for applique.  So, after ironing the freezer paper to the backside of the fabric, I colored in the spots with a regular Crayola crayon.  I melted the crayon into the fabric by putting a piece of muslin over the area and set a hot iron on top until I smelled the melting wax from the crayon.  According to the online instructions, the crayon will not wash out.
Well, I have one more finished top - the transportation theme to applique.  I have already decided to add a train with a few colorful cars.  I have more cut-up quilt kits to sew as well.  I should also start working on some more Happy Campers soon.  Spring is around the corner and many people are starting to plan their warm weather camping trips, so I better get busy and restock!
Happy Quilting!

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Trip to Port Aransas Birding Center (Rockport, TX)

We took the ferry to Port Aransas last week.  The ferry is free and such a short ride that it isn't worth while to get out of the car.
Port Aransas attracts the sun & sand crowd so there wasn't a whole lot for us to find interesting.  Lots of shops for beach wear and fishing gear.  There's even an entrance to one shop that you need to walk through the mouth of a huge shark.  No shopping for us today.  We wanted to enjoy the sunshine.  We wandered around the harbor near the ferry landing for a short walk.  Of course, I found the Pirate ship the most interesting attraction.  We could have signed up for a Pirate Cruise.....hmmm
Instead, we watched the ferries crossing through the busy waterway for awhile.  Spotting dolphins every once in awhile.
We did not go to the beach because of parking fees.  It wasn't worthwhile for us since we would only be on the beach this one time to walk for less than two hours.

After lunch, we visited the Birding Center and hit the jackpot!  There were so many species of birds.  Ducks were quacking and splashing while other birds were hunting through the marsh for food.

There were Roseate Spoonbills and..........

turtles and.....


Little Blue Herons and....
ducks and.....
more ducks......
And this guy that I have never seen before, but I have heard of them - river rats.  This is not how I pictured a river rat.  The Center's sign says they are Nutrias or river rats and they are considered a pest because they can eat up all the vegetation.
marsh grass! yummy....nom! nom! nom!
They try to keep them under control.
yawn!  check out the big teeth
Controlling them doesn't seem to be working too well since we saw two nests of little ones sleeping with the turtles and there were several larger ones moving around the marsh.  We weren't the only ones that found them entertaining to watch.  Many of the visitors were getting photos and watching the river rats through their binoculars.
baby Nutrias
So, we were not disappointed after all.  Our day trip turned into a wonderful visit thanks to the Birding Center.

On The Cutting Board
I have been working on my quilt kits with the Crazy 8 design.  I plan to donate these scrappy quilts.  We plan to return to Patagonia, AZ for next winter to work at the Preserve.  Which means we will be passing through Albuquerque.  Hopefully, I will be there for a Saturday meeting with my quilting friends from Project Linus with a few finished quilts.
This one's theme is bees in the garden so I appliqued a big yellow flower.  Now, I wish I had made it large enough to cover from top to bottom.  Next time..
Recently, I have discovered Leanne Beasley's website.  She is a unique quilter that incorporates quilting and embroidery in a different way.  She has some great photos of her quilts here.  I would like to get one or two of her magazines, but they are only sold in a dozen quilt shops across the US.  I am in love with her designs, but I want to come up with my own.  It is going to take some practice.  I use a lot of dark fabrics while Leanne uses pastels or blocks of white making it easier to embroider.
I decided to practice this new idea by finding some bees and garden clipart to embroider into some of the lighter colored blocks.  I did not embroider a lot to the top this time since I am crunched for time and I have so many more that I would like to finish.
I have three more tops ready for applique or embroidery and at least three more quilts to sew together before we arrive in Albuquerque. 
Christmas, Travel, and Baby Bears quilt tops
I promised a full view of Laurel Burch's cat quilt a couple of posts ago.  Now that I am seeing the whole top, I am thinking there should be more cats or bigger cats on this top.  The four cats seem to be lost on the big blue top.  When it is done, I'm not sure what I will do with this one.  I love this fabric so much that I might keep it for myself instead of selling it on Etsy.
Decisions!  Decisions!  Right now, I believe I am ready for less thinking and more sewing.  Yea, that sounds like a good plan.
Happy Quilting!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Beach Views (Rockport, TX)

Our weather has been coming in waves with 4 to 5 nice sunny days followed by 6 to 7 days of cold rain. I have found this weather pattern to work quite well for me. Sunny days - we are out enjoying the weather, seeing the sights, and walking cats. Cold overcast days - time to Quilt!
Great White Egret
There's a road going towards Rockport's main shopping area that passes a bird sanctuary on Little Bay.  There are several piers along the shore with a few birds perched on them. For some reason, there is one pier that is more popular than the others. Every time we drive by, this one pier never fails to be packed full of several sea birds sunning themselves.
Dan stopped to let me get a few shots on this sunny day. I finally got some photos of the white pelicans. Usually they are in an area that we cannot stop or they are too far away, so I was very happy to get their photos on this day.
Rockport also has a public beach park.  There is a fee if you drive into the park's area, but it is free for walkers and bicyclists.  
Sparrow searching among the large piles of oyster shells.
We needed the walk so we parked outside the park and walked along the beach.  We saw plenty of seagulls.
At the end of the park and across a canal are some beautiful homes.  They have such a serene look to them.  I bet it is great to wake up in the morning to a view of the gulf from this home.
life in Key Allegro, TX
Wouldn't it be nice to sit on the veranda?  We could watch the boats go by while sipping tea and try to do some quilting.  It might be a little too distracting, but I'm willing to give it a try!  We heard the dolphins visit the canals too.  They like to herd the fish into the canals for an easy catch.  I would probably spend a lot of time looking for them.
All the homes in Key Allegro have water access by canal.  So, each home owner has access by road or by canal.  Here's a Map  .  Easier to view than for me to explain how they developed this area.  Sigh!  My dream home is there....somewhere...once I win the Lottery, of course.

On The Cutting Board
I finished all four Turkey mug rugs.  I had plenty of time to get them done and like the red/aqua trailers, I am ready to move on to something different.  I have made six of turkeys and seven red/aqua trailers.  I am seeing them in my sleep!

I started working on my pre-cut quilt kits that I put together a couple of months ago.  I have sewn together four quilt kits into blocks.  I need to clear space on the bed which is not easy to do when there are usually three to four cats sleeping on it.  Or I could go find a big table in a community center.  I just need a large area to setup the blocks for the quilt top.
In the meantime, I will keep sewing the blocks together and cutting more for kits.  I'm working very hard to get rid of some my fabric stash.   I keep seeing all this wonderful fabric which gives me ideas for a new quilt.  But!....I have no room left for new fabric.  I need to do a lot of sewing to make room before I go shopping.  Yes, there is a method to my madness...
Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Not So Wordless Wednesday (Rockport, TX)

It has been awhile since I have posted a Not So Wordless Wednesday.
We visited the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge this week.  Our favorite sighting was of this little guy searching for food in the tall grass.
 He kept his eye on us while calmly going about his business to find his lunch.  I was using my 500mm lens so we were not too close to him.  At least I got some good close-ups of him because the birds were all too far away for good photos as you will see when you scroll down.
People are always telling me that raccoons are mean and nasty critters.  They say they attack their pets as well.  I often wonder about the situation that causes the raccoon to act that way since I have never seen one act that way.  I can see one being mean if it is cornered or feels threatened by someone's pet.  Our daughter was bitten by a raccoon once, but it wasn't his fault.  No, I blame our next door neighbors for telling their kids and our daughter that it was okay to hand feed a wild animal especially a raccoon that carries rabies.  The raccoon bit our daughter's fingers instead of the dog food.  The raccoon got away so she had to take rabies shots.  Lucky for her, they were using the new vaccination with less shots.
Now, these guys I would not want to find in my backyard!  Can you see his teeth?  I was quite happy to have a fence between us and the alligators.
I believe this is an American Kestrel.  I wish he had landed a little closer.  He was nothing more than a flash of color while hunting across the fields.
I really needed a professional telescope lens to get some good close-ups.
Eh!...so I just cropped these down to a decent size so you can tell it is a bird and not a bug!
On The Cutting Board
I finished eight Happy Campers and one snowman mug rug.  I plan to list them in the next few days.  
I know one thing.  I am ready to work on something that doesn't include red and aqua in it.  
I started on four new turkey mug rugs.  I'll finish two within the next two weeks for a customer.  The other two will get done eventually.
I want to start working on my Hawaiian turtle block again.  I can't wait to see how this block will look once it is finished.  Well, I better get started on those two turkeys!
Happy Quilting!

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