Monday, August 31, 2015

A peek for you

At the risk of repeating myself (for those of you who follow my Instagram account), here are some progress pics I've taken with the iPad of what I've been working on (instead of blogging). Forgive the color variations - I wasn't paying attention to lighting but only wanted progress updates when I took these.

It's almost finished. Or was at the time of this writing, which was yesterday afternoon. Maybe it's done by now. (Hmm... that's interesting to write ahead of time, when I know it's not finished but might be by the time you read this - ha, weird!) If so, you'll be seeing it soon!

Now a question for you (if there are any of you left reading, since I've been pretty lax in posting lately). Do you follow my Instagram account, and if so, is it too repetitive to see the same photos on here? I don't want to bore you, but I post lots of pics on IG and don't want those of you who only follow the blog to miss so much. A quick comment with your thoughts would be appreciated. I thought of doing a survey, but this is faster and easier. Thanks!

And now I'd better get back to the sewing machine (this was yesterday, of course) or my "boss" will fire me! This project shouldn't be taking so long... but I've had other things to do along the way, so sewing time is limited.

P.S. In case you missed it before, my Instagram ID is grandma_g415 .

Monday, August 24, 2015

More babies

These babies were discovered in the hog barn Friday morning. They belong to 10-month-old Mia, one of Rainbow's October babies from last fall.

The light one is a female and the other one a male.

Much to my surprise, when I went out on Saturday morning, I found this!

One more little tom added to the litter. Look at those cute noses! And the light ones are going to have some interesting coloration as they get older. It's dark in there (had to use the flash on the DSLR), so the coloring is a bit hard to tell, but it appears to be a grayish orange. Kinda different.

I was afraid the older kittens might nurse on Mia, and I think perhaps they did at first, but now it looks as if Mia's taking care of just her own. She growls at the others. Good mama!

She's pretty happy being a mama, I think, even though she's so young.

Guess we're gonna have to do some naming again. I haven't even pinned names to Patches' 4 yet. Yikes!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


It's that time of year again! I put out my hummingbird feeders on Saturday, and the first migrating hummer showed up the next day. The day after that and ever since, it's been rainy, misty, chilly and just plain yucky out. The tiny birds arrived by the hordes and have stayed ever since, apparently not wanting to travel in this weather. I don't think I've ever had so many at one time before! It's been really hard to not stand by the windows with the camera all day. I just culled through 175 photos. Ha! Not an easy job. It's been hard to get good pics, not only because of the bad lighting due to the dark weather, but of course because the hummers are almost constantly on the move, and they move FAST. I did get some halfway good shots, so here are a few of them for you. Enjoy!

They're such territorial, fighting little things. They waste so much time fending each other off, when they could be enjoying their meal. I did manage to get a shot of four of them together at the feeder at one time, though. It's a rare sight.

Mid-air shots are hard, too, because you never know where to focus. This silhouette shot was just plain lucky.

I tried so hard to capture the ruby throats of the males, but again the lighting and movement were against me. Here are the best ones I got.

This next one is just weird. Not the bird... just the shot. Ha!

Finally, a little collage I put together with an iPad app.

I'm sure I'll be taking more hummer pics... always trying for that 'perfect' (lucky) shot!

Meanwhile, sewing is taking place! At least this chilly (60°!) weather is good for something!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sandra Saddle Bag

Better slow than not at all, right? I finally finished my latest sewing project, amongst all the busy-ness of summer. So to not prolong the waiting any further.....

Jess was graciously given the Sandra Saddle Bag pattern by Alicia of Swoon Sewing Patterns to showcase her coming new fabric line, Typography, for Cloud9 Fabrics, which will be released soon. The prints, which are organic quilting cottons, used on this bag are Helvetica on the outside, and Lorem Ipsum for the lining, combined with the delicious chocolate vinyl you've seen me use on other projects. Here's Sandra!

She closes with a magnetic snap that fastens the tab to the flap.

Under the flap is a pocket (which we chose to omit the pleats from), and the pattern also includes instructions for a zippered pocket on the inside.

I added a cell phone slip pocket on the opposite side, just because I thought it would be handy.

The pattern is a pretty easy sew, especially if you've had any experience with bag-making. What took me longer is that I changed some things up a bit with the pleather. I made a "no raw edges" crossbody strap following an awesome tutorial found here that I have used before. I love the look it produces!

I also opted to not leave raw edges on the tab like the pattern suggests, and took a chance and sewed the tab right sides together (with even a bit of woven interfacing on it to firm it up some) and turned it right side out. I figured it wasn't a very big piece of pleather to waste if it didn't work, but it went very well! And since I couldn't press it flat, WonderClips helped Wonder-fully to hold it while I sewed!

See how nicely it came out?

In fact, WonderClips proved invaluable in working with the pleather, since you can't pin it because pins will leave holes. I used a lot of them!

So there you have it - the Sandra. I've been very tempted to keep the bag myself, because I really love it and it matches my winter coat so well, but I guess since it's Jess's fabric, I'll let her have it (she's the Boss, y'know!) and I may make another one for myself someday. Not that I need another bag.

I hired Grandpa to take a picture of me with the iPad, to give you some idea of the size of the bag. 

So there you have it... FINALLY... and now on to the next Typography project! (Sorry, Blog... you're having to take a back seat these days.)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

It's that time of year again

Yep, it's that time of year when I go back to my childhood and start playing like I'm a kid again. ;) Actually, it's monarch season, and it seems to be becoming something adults do now, too, to try and rescue the dwindling monarch population. I just do it for fun, and if it helps, then it's even better.

Actually, there seem to be plenty of monarchs around here this year, at least compared to a few years where I found NO caterpillars. Maybe because it's been such an awesome summer weather-wise, particularly because of the blessed lack of our normally ever-present wind! Courtney and I have found quite a few monarch caterpillars, and even a number of eggs. The eggs are very tiny, and you have to turn over the milkweed leaves, because they're always on the bottom. Here's what one looks like next to Courtney's fingernail, thanks to my Easy Macro lens:

Below is what one looked like just before it hatched (photo fancied up via an iPad app). The dark spot at the top of the egg is the caterpillar's head.

This next pic is of a newly hatched caterpillar. It's about 1/16" long. It's there on the left, but hardly visible just above the leaf tip on the bigger leaf. On the right is a macro shot next to the pin for comparison.

Below is a 2-day-old caterpillar. It's doubled in size to 1/8" and gotten its stripes!

Fast-forward through the growing stages and into the chrysalis. They always had looked to me like they had glittery bits decorating them, but a macro shot shows that it's just how the light reflects off the colored areas. No glitter.

Another macro shot shows the almost-artistic way the caterpillar makes its web to attach itself to the lid of a jar to hang the chrysalis from. I love it!

Here's a different chrysalis (plus a couple of growing caterpillars) the morning of hatch day:

That was yesterday. It hatched late in the morning, and by late afternoon was ready to be released. It was kind enough to let me have a great photo shoot before it took off for its first flight. It's a girl! :)

Yes, I'm still loving that Easy Macro lens. Have you ever seen a monarch up this close before?!

Okay, quit playing, Grandma G, and get back to sewing. Good progress has been made, but it's not finished yet. Maybe today. I hope!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Another lucky shot

I wasn't even going to post today, just for lack of time, but then I happened to see this outside my kitchen window and thought it was worth a quick share.

I couldn't believe this. This young turkey, one of those babies I showed you in those tree shots, was really struttin' his stuff just now. Apparently it's a tom. Practicing. Ha.

Sewing... sewing........