Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Little AWOL From the Studio

Spring is coming at me so fast here in Northeast Ohio -- a bit alarming in some respects!
I hate to miss any of my favorite spring sights, so have been out birding and walking for a couple hours everyday for the past two weeks.
My studio might be missing me?
Yesterday, I headed out to survey an area for birds that I have been visiting and keeping data for 7 years.  It is about 25 miles from home and in the end, it became a spontaneous almost all-day explore around with visits to a favorite perennial nursery and stops at several parks on my way home looking for FOY (first of year) birds and wildflowers.  If you follow me on Instagram (@hueymary), I apologize for the over-gramming of wildflower photos. 
Virginia Bluebells is one of our most beautiful wildflowers.  It is native and ephemeral (only apparent during the spring), blooming on forested flood plains.  The buds are lavender but the blossoms open blue and gradually "fade" to pink.  Typically, they bloom in May but they are quite early this year and since everything seems to be rushing along, it was important to take advantage of being near an acre-size patch along the Grand River.
Trout lilies are challenging to photograph since their flowers face down so I thought I'd try a "selfie" -- not so successful, but you can see what a beautiful day it was here.
They often tuck themselves up against the base of a tree which is the best photo op in my opinion!
 I found this yellow buckeye sapling starting to bloom -- perhaps two to three weeks earlier than typical.
The casual observer who enjoys pleasant weather will revel in it's beauty but a birder who is struggling to live with global warming is concerned about the hummingbirds returning in a couple weeks to find one of their early food sources out of bloom is alarmed.
Insects and plants respond to temperature as their signal to grow and produce. 
Birds are more keyed into length of day to migrate and breed.
So the insects can stay in cycle with flower bloom but migrating birds especially are struggling with early insect emergences which traditionally sustain them as they travel north.
And then I found this unusual toothwart -- leaves aren't typical -- so I took photos to take home and look up in one of my wildflower guides -- that didn't work.  Aunt Emma always scolded me about not "collecting" the right information to identify a plant -- it's not just about the flower, Mary!?!
Might have to go back there with the book in hand!
But I have spent my evenings in the studio and stayed on task with the Long Time Gone Sewalong.
I'm following Marti Michell's instructions and using her templates when they apply! 
I auditioned several layouts for this block before stitching the units together. 
This is my final block -- so much fun to be finally using the pile of (mostly) text prints I've collected over the past couple years.  It would be a shame to have all of them and not use them myself!! 
For the Trip Around the World block, I focused on some "veggie" prints -- another biggish pile that I love using!!  The turnips around the outside edge are a new addition.  There wasn't enough of the peas or zucchini for the last green band, so I used both and alternated them.
I have put all the blocks up on the design wall to inspire progress and future fabric pulls for this project. 
I've also finished the bird blocks for Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts' Jolly Christmas sampler.
I survived an attack of being temporarily (I hope) "diagram challenged" while making the cardinals.  I made a male (for my grandson) and a female (for my granddaughter) cardinal.
Here are the blocks so far -- there is another identical set.   
I'll probably sneak out again today once I've packed for my trip over to Westfield, NY tomorrow afternoon to speak to the local guild.  This puzzling picture is a reminder of where to find that red-head woodpecker nest hole and I MUST keep track of their progress!!
And migrating birds are arriving every night and must not be missed!!
And another wildflower will pop up . . . .
I hope you are loving the change of seasons in your part of the world -- it never ceases to engage my interest -- no matter how many times I've experienced it, there is always something I've not seen before. 
To the woods!!


  1. lovely quilts and plants that you have and you are right - spring is actually kind of short and we must enjoy it while it is here the hot days of summer will be here before you know it and then like so many of us quilters we spend the hot part of the day inside working on quilts.

  2. Oh, goodness, itty bitty! I love the colors of those little blocks.

  3. Those Virginia bluebells are amazing!

  4. I have a Christmas rose already on my list from your pictures and now I will hunt down virginia bluebells

  5. Such wonderful colors! Happy blocks!

  6. Thank you for the wonderful pictures! I love this time of year and all of the amazing colors. Your quilting progress is moving right along. You are so productive!

  7. Such an interesting day you had! Here my forsythia is just blooming, and I hope to get some wild asparagus soon - yum.

  8. Hello Mary! I am so happy we are finally getting some signs of spring! Your photos are beautiful... And so are your blocks! So glad to have you quilting along!

  9. After reading your blog I went for a walk around our farm and noticed the trout lilies out. I had never known there name until I had read your blog. Thank you for your wonderful presentation at the Westfield Quilters' Guild the other night. I enjoyed it very much.