Friday, September 27, 2013

Some More Hexies Completed on This Beautiful Sunny Friday

I finished one of the motifs that goes around the centre of the La Passion quilt.  Five more motifs are started.

For the next week or so I will have to put my hexies away.  I have to get ready for our Guild's retreat.  I want to have lots of 2.5 inch squares cut so that I can just sew, sew sew when I am there.  Hope to show you more next week.

We have had a beautiful week.  The temperatures have been just right and the sun has been bright and cheerful.  I wonder if this is Indian Summer.  Hope not!  We have not had frost yet, but we have been close to it on several nights.  My DD is going up north this weekend to see the colours in Algonquin Park.  They are supposed to be 80 to 90 percent perfection!

Mini loves this weather.  She has been running around the house, scampering over furniture and up and down the stairs, like a kitten.  She even let me take a photo of her this morning.  Usually she runs away as soon as she sees my camera.

My cute kitty!

"Meow!  Why do you always have to point that thing at me?  Can't you just let me sit here in peace?  I'm enjoying the early morning sunshine and the comfortable temperatures.  Get that camera out of my face! Now!  Meow!"

Ahhhh!  That's more like my feisty little kitten.  But I know you don't mean it.  You, with the sweet face, are just too cute!

Have a Terrific Weekend Everyone!
I am linking up to Hexie Friday on A Quilting Reader's Garden.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday

I will soon have to retire Wildflower Wednesday for this year.  Our days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder.  But I could not leave you without showing some Asters.  These plants, for me, say, 'Fall'.
There are thousands of species and they are very difficult to tell apart, even for an experienced botanist.  I will not even try to figure out which Asters I have taken photos of.
This is a pretty purple variety.  The flowers are fairly large and it forms dark purple clumps throughout our area, in parks and roadsides.  This plant has inspired several fall-coloured quilts.  I just love it.

Aster means 'star' in Greek.  The flowers truly are like little stars.  This one is a light mauve one.  The flowers are much smaller, but they brighten up many a waste area.

Asters are found the world over, except for Antarctica.  They are mainly grown for their beauty.  I could not find many other uses for this plant.  This white one is very pretty.  It grows upright.  The white is brilliant amongst the yellowing of other plants.


Sorry Folks.  This has to be a short post.  My computer, and especially my photo files, are giving me problems.  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Friday's Post on Saturday

Sorry Folks.  I was not able to post anything yesterday because I was without power for most of the day.  In the afternoon I was starting to wonder if I should eat all of the ice cream in the freezer before it thawed, but then the power came back on.  Oh, well, it would have been a delicious dinner.

I once again volunteered at DD's school last Thursday for grade 1/2 art.  We made owls.  This was a project that I had made about 30 years ago with the kids in my class.  The owls turned out great.  I think that was my last volunteer day.  The classes have been sorted out and redistributed, so that there are not as many students in each class.  DD will be teaching grade 7/8 students all day and she won't need me for art any longer.  Maybe I will do something else at the school.  I don't know yet.

I have been working on my La Passion this week.  Got the blue hexies attached around the outside.  They're not completely stitched down, but I will work on it later.  I love how this is turning out.

On Thursday evening I went out for dinner with DD and a couple of staff members from her school.  It was nice to get out and not have to cook dinner.  DH ate left-overs.  Afterwards I invited one of the staff members over to see my backyard.  She loves plants and has wanted to come over and see my garden for a long time.  This lovely patch of Fall Crocuses were in bloom.

Then yesterday my DD dropped by after school to bring me this wonderful little plant.  It is a gift from the teacher who was here on Thursday.  She dug it up from her garden and gave it to me.  Isn't she terrific?  It\s called 'Streptocarpus'.  I have never owned one of these plants before.  I love it and hope I will be able to keep it growing for a long time.  It reminds me of an orchid.

It is raining today.  It's cold and wet and a wonderful day to stay indoors and sew.  Mimi thinks I should take a nap. She has offered to move over if I want to sleep with her. Okay, Mimi.  I think I will do that.

Have a Great Weekend!

I am linking up with Hexies on Fridays at A Quilting Readers Garden.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday

Today's plant is Dog Strangle Vine, also known as Black Swallow-wort..  It is in the Milkweed family that I talked about last Wednesday, sharing a similar milk-like substance in the stems.  It is very invasive and grows into large tangled colonies.  Because of the common name, some people think that it could strangle a dog if they got tangled up in it, but this is actually not a danger.  This plant is in the Genus Cynanchum.  This sounds like the Greek word for 'dog' and 'to choke' and that is how it got its common name.  It is native to Europe and was brought to North America in the early 1800s.  It has very few natural controls on our side of the Atlantic.

Dog Strangle Vine is very invasive and is a threat to biodiversity, crowding out native plants.   It is reaching epic numbers in our area, growing along highways, waste areas, hillsides, fields, parks as well as gardens.  I even had a few come up in my garden this spring.  This is what it looked like.

When they are small, they can be dug up and destroyed.  But as they grow into large colonies, they are almost impossible to get rid of.

These plants are not only problematic for all plants growing nearby, they also have a negative effect on Monarch butterflies.  Because this plant is in the Milkweed family, it is often confused by the adult Monarch for Milkweed.  When she lays her eggs on the Dog Strangle Vine by mistake, the larva cannot mature since this plant is highly toxic.

In summer the plants flower.  These flowers are very small and some think they are insignificant, but I think they are very pretty.  Above is a shot of the dark purple flowers.  You can see how similar each floret appears to the milkweed flowers in the foreground.

As the seed pods mature, they start to look like very skinny milkweed pods.  The seeds are similar also, floating through the air attached to their parachutes.  I have mixed feelings about this plant.  I have to keep digging up small plants in my garden, which is difficult for me to do.  If we let this plant keep growing out of control it will kill off many native plants and insects, so I can easily hate it.  But I also admire its tenacity, its 'doggedness', so to speak. LOL   It can grow anywhere and everywhere and does very well where ever it plants its roots.  This plant is currently the most hated weed in our area.  As I travel around on my scooter I can see why this is so.  It seems to have taken over large areas of our ravine.  I am fearful for the damage it can do.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Strange Week - Which Season are We In?

We had really strange weather this week.  It was cold last weekend and then became hot  super hot on Tuesday.  We had temps in the low 30s with a humidex in the low 40s.  That continued for a couple of days. Yesterday afternoon it started to cool down.  Today it is cold again - only around 11C.  I just can't get used to this.

Yesterday my DD asked me to come to her school and help her out with a Grade 1/2 class that she had for art.  I had mixed feelings, but once I got there I quite enjoyed myself.  The kids made self portraits.

Today is Friday so I should give you a hexie update.  I managed to get an entire row of hexies around my La Passion.  Now I will put a row of blue around it.  I don't have enough of the blue that I used in the centre of the blocks, but I think I have something very close to it.

I have also been playing around with some very small hexies.  I think I might make a pillow with them.  I have no pattern for this and am just making it up as I go.  I'm using lots of scraps so it will be very colourful.

I am linking up with Angie's blog.

Have a Terrific Weekend!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday

While out riding on my scooter yesterday, I came across a wonderful area full of Goldenrod.  I took a couple of photos even though I had featured Goldenrod last week.  I just couldn't resist. I wish I had had this shot last week, but since I didn't, I will post it now.

This picture does not do this scene justice.  The yellow was  brighter than sunshine, the temperature was summer-like with a high in the low 30s, the grasshoppers were everywhere and the cicadas celebrated the last days of summer with their buzzing songs.  I have this scene implanted in my brain so that I will be able to 'see' it in January when we have a foot of snow.

On the other side of the path were more Goldenrod.  And today's wildflower, the Milkweed plant.

Milkweed gets its name from the thick, white, milky juice inside this plant.  It contains latex and some species are know to be toxic.  It is in the Genus, Asclepias, which is named after the Greek god of healing Asclepius, because this plant has been used to treat many ailments.

I took this photo last spring.  This plant looks great even without flowers or seed pods.

In early summer the flowers open.  It always amazes me how these round flowers can turn into those long seed pods that Milkweeds are famous for.  But they do.  Each flower is pollinated.  The seeds are produced in follicles or seed pods.

Inside the pods the seeds are arranged in overlapping rows.  Each seed has a white, silky 'parachute attached to it.  When the pods ripen and split open the seeds fly through the air attached to their parachutes, much like dandelions.

Perhaps the most important use of Milkweed is by the Monarch Butterflies who depends solely on this plant to feed their larva.  Other insects also use the Milkweed as a food source.

During WWII, the United States collected 5,000 pounds of the white filament fibres to use as a filling instead of kapok.  It is still grown commercially as a pillow filling.

Native South Americans and Africans used the poisons in the sap to tip their arrows, making them more lethal for hunting purposes.

I love the seed pods when they split open and disperse their seeds.  I have collected these pods in the past and used them to decorate Christmas wreaths and other decorations.  They can be spray painted and added to floral arrangements.  I have also used them to make fun things with my students.  I still have a little 'mouse' I made many, many years ago.  It has seen better days, especially after Mimi got a hold of it and decided it was fair game.

Half a pod, some hot glue, a couple of pistachio shells for ears, two black beads for eyes and a piece of string or lace for a tail.  Cute, eh?

Friday, September 06, 2013

La Passion Progress

My La Passion hexies (Grit's Life) are progressing.  I have about 30 white hexies to do in order to finish this round.  That sounds like a lot, but I am sure I can finish it tonight.

My garden is a riot of colour.  This is my perennial hibiscus.  I planted it last year and it is doing fantastically. Sadly my burgundy hibiscus did not survive the winter.  Maybe I should look for another one, but I just don't have the space in my garden right now.

Well back to business.  I feel like a busy bee.  Yeah, just like these guys.

Have a terrific weekend!
I am linking to A Quilting Readers Garden.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday

Can't believe it's Wednesday already.  School started yesterday and the weather has turned fall-like.  That means I have to show you an autumn wildflower.  This is Goldenrod.

It's growing in my backyard.  I should have pulled it up in the spring, but I couldn't get into the back of my garden to work there.  So now everything is a gorgeous yellow colour.  Many people consider this plant to be an invasive weed.  I have often thought this too, but it is currently used in gardens, especially wildflower gardens because it is so beautiful.  Goldenrod is in the Asteraceae family.

I have no idea which Goldenrod I have.  It is definitely a plume-like variety - maybe Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissimo) or Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis).   There are more than 69 varieties growing around here.  This photo shows its plume-like flower heads.

Goldenrod is thought by many to bring good luck or good fortune.  Young leaves can be eaten and a tea can be brewed from the flower heads.  Native Peoples chewed the leaves to relieve sore throats and the roots to relieve toothaches.  Herbal practitioners use Goldenrod to treat kidney and bladder conditions.

This plant attracts insects, including bees and other pollinators.  Several interesting insects sometimes lay their eggs in goldenrods, creating a gall or swollen area on the stem where the larva lives and eats.  Woodpeckers have been known to attack this gall and eat the larva inside.  A type of wasp also digs into the gall and eats the larva.

This is sort of like a wildflower too.  I think the squirrels planted this one in my garden.  So far they have left it alone, but I don't think it will be for long.  That is why I took a photo this morning.  It is so beautiful!

I am going to save some seeds to plant next year.  That is, if the squirrels will let me.

Now getting ready to go out for lunch with my quilt group.  Now that September has started, I am back into the swing of quilty things.