Friday, 13 April 2018

Mini Me on Adventure & almost eaten . . .

Mini Me hasn't appeared in this blog for awhile so as she ventured out to North Carolina recently, she wanted to share. Mini Me found the big world a bit dangerous. . .
(this dog's nose is just the 
right height to access the table!)

domestic pets to navigate ---

not to mention equipment . . .

chores to perform too!

flower boxes to plant for spring

First we tramped through the woods to mark the property lines - an afternoon of fun & delight!

Next deer to feed and photograph
very big and scary from mini me's point of view
hard work moving all this deer corn

Lots of time spent . . . no not quilting sadly (but did have time to test out the 60 year old solid metal sewing machine)  . .  .

. . . but ancestry hunting through old boxes of photos and scrapbooks uncovering lots of new bits of information.

can you spot mini me?
Hubby rented this BIG pick-up to get back to the airport - even I found the tires came up to my waist!

and back to Florida, straight to the Appreciation lunch for us Ombudsmen - what a T-shirt hey?

And what should my eyes see today on the beach, but . . . a lady swimming in the salt water whilst talking on her iphone!  Go figure.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Florida Ridge Scent of Orange Blossom & Quilts

United States Geological Survey
Whilst at the Sewing & Quilt Expo in Lakeland we took a detour to explore the Ridge Scenic Byway (State Route 17) atop the Florida Ridge (aka The Lake Wales Ridge or Mid-Florida Ridge) pictured at left.

The Florida Ridge is formed from the remnants of ancient sand islands, all that stood above the water line when most of Florida was covered by seas millions of years ago. This ridge is approximately 150 miles long running down the center of what is today Florida and rising to 312 feet - the highest point in the state. Bok Tower is a well known landmark on the sandy white ridge as are the orange groves an early 20th century import.

We spotted lots of fun (or funny) sights including the official state highway sign point out 'GPS INCORRECT' and 'HILL BLOCKS VIEW.'
sandy orange groves

The orange groves were just in the last throes of blossom and the smell orange blossom perfume is heavenly - something one cannot describe, but you must experience yourself! The groves were full of bee hives peppered with estates of mobile homes and cattle grazing. Of course we had to stop at the fruit stand and buy local oranges and strawberries - the season here being a bit earlier than in England!

Ridge Orange Groves Stand
Located on the ridge, the city of Frostproof's name is a misnomer and a sales gimmick, as frost arrived soon after its founding in the 1800s.  We stumbled across Southeastern University near Lakeland - a total surprise to me in this otherwise rural landscape.

Here's a bit of local art and old Florida sights -

The $15K EPIC machine
fun in the classroom, but too $$ for me
EPIC 'output'
Back to the quilting expo, I took a few classes -- practiced free motion, tried out a new machine, and did a Quilt First then Construct class (different from strip quilt as you go process) with Helene Weber.

Quilt First then construct teacher's example

few people asked for the instructions, so here goes:  To Quilt First then Construct, make your blocks, quilt (with batting and backing in place) and trim to all are exactly the same size.  My Quirky Quilter friends will recognize some of the fabric . . . 

Cut strips for the connecting pieces between the blocks - 2.5 inches wide for the front and 1 inch for the back.

1. Fold the 2.5 inch strip in half lengthwise (like a binding) and pin the raw edges to the raw edge of the block on the top/front.  Then pin the 1 inch strip (no folding!) to the back, right sides together. Attach both strips at once using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.


2. Press the 1 inch backing strip forward/outward and pin to  the 
next/adjoining block you want to connect.  Pin right sides together again and sew a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

#3 finished
 3.  Now lay out the front such that the two blocks are butting up against one another.  Iron the folded 2.5 inch strip over across the join and top stitch down.  

Voila! This picture shows the back of the two joined blocks.

Do this as many times as necessary to join all the blocks, the quilt the connectors if desired and bind the quilt. Easy if you sew an exacting 1/4 seam!

For details watch YouTube video:
How to Connect Quilted Blocks - Beginner Quilt as You Go tutorial with Leah Day.

And here's my favourite quilt of the show . . .

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Birthdays, Baskets or ??

With a cold and wet winter in Florida, it was time to finish off projects and get up to speed with the Basketmakers Guild.

This Cane Trivet was a bit fiddly to say the least, but voila!

Even more fiddly was the Cloverleaf basket . . .

I persevered . . . but . . .

it didn't turned out quite as planned (see post of 29th January 2018).

but here it is . . .

love my yarn bowl from friend Jan
Somewhat more straight forward was the basket guild's February project - a Tapestry basket woven around a mould.

Sure hope my quirky friends enjoy these weaving projects!

Just as I was finishing up these baskets what should appear on the beach, but ...

<-- This!  Is it a basket washed ashore ... or ??No, it is a natural hollow sponge in the shape of a basket! Always a surprise on the beach!!

And more fun was making a gift for a London quilting friend and lover of purple - a trio of crocheted hanging baskets - in purple of course!

March's basket making challenge is a fish! Below is my friend,Jan's fish - given as a sample at our Saturday meeting.  Mine didn't quite turn out like this!

Jan's Fish
Mini Me's fish

Next some fun with a table runner that was a birthday gift from mom. Lakeland quilt expo classes didn't help with the quilting, but mini me is trying to get on with it.

Meanwhile Swimmy the sea turtle is on the lookout for his friends, soon to start nesting on our beaches . . .

and finally made a liner and handle cover for that Market Basket (posted on 1 Jan 2018)!!

Look what washed up in the stormy seas!

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Loggers enter the Olympics!

Loggerhead Turtles on the Bobsled

Seen on the beach at Redington Shores near the Long Pier - Enjoy! 

The sand sculpting detail is fantastic and accurate.
Dolphins on the skeleton

Friday, 16 February 2018

The More it Changes, the More it Stays the Same

Downtown Tampa in fog
It's February and time to start preparing for turtle season, although you would hardly know it by looking out the window. We were off on a four hour drive to St Augustine on the Northeast Coast of Florida for the annual Permit Holders Meeting.  There we get updated on turtle trends and recent research into marine turtles.

Fog on the beach 8 Feb

Meanwhile up north around the American Great Lakes it looks like this . . .
Glad this isn't me!!

On our drive home, we got some great fresh veg straight from the field.

Love my brussels
We are back to our local activities, including helping with a University of Florida (USF) honors class doing preservation work at the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum.

Full meals & drinks at your seat!
A bit 'Wall-E" for me!
Next up we say two 'historical movies' and can recommend both -  "Darkest Hour"  at a normal theatre and "Post at our new cinema - Studio Movie Grill (SMG).  The SMG is a bit "Wall-E" for me - Futuristic happy humans too lazy to walk and living to consume - watch the trailer and see for yourself.

The house, jacked up to move, but collapsing, as I reported in my blog of 20 December 2017, just continues to collapse onto itself! Not sure what the plan is.

Our neighbours jet ski required a tow and more dredging is going on North of us - where exactly I don't know, but this guy has been commuting to work all week past my house.

We were visited by a Skimmer flock right outside our condo - along with a few royal terns.  Skimmers are my favorite (see post of 19 July 2017 for details and close-up pictures)! 

And suddenly the weather warmed up enough to swim in the Gulf on 10th February - amazing!

And that's all the happenings around here for now . . .