Friday, 24 April 2015

CREATIVE: Pennsylvania Blackwork Map


While i'm partial to collecting the odd vintage compact, postcard or magnet from my travels, i'm also trying to find a crafty way to mark each and every US state I manage to visit. Early last year I decided to stitch a blackwork piece of each state in turn, starting with the land I now call home, that of the Mitten state - Michigan (seen here). Early in March, I thought it was high time I got around to stitching another, this time the Keystone State - Pennsylvania.


Pennsylvania is Joe's home state and happens to be (if we're not counting passing through Ohio) the state I've spent the most time in after the Mitten State. Driving along the turnpike into Pittsburgh in parts it reminds me of the English countryside - it's lovely and hilly (something lacking in my corner of the world), green, full of trees and rivers. So many rivers.


Two states down, three to go.

Next up, Illinois!

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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

LIFE: And Dances with the Daffodils

Daffodil Magnolia Tulip Bud Magnolia Daffodil Robin Magnolia

While spring seems to have waved a hello and as quickly vanished in my little corner of Michigan, the garden is starting to pull itself into life even if the days are grey overhead. Every corner is filled with promise, a hit of a red petal from a tulip, a bright and bold yellow of a daffodil head banging in the breeze. Peer out of the front window and you'll glimpse the pinky shades of an opening head of Magnolia tree blossom, a tree buzzing with the life of sparrows, finches and squirrels. The lawn, once brown from being buried under a mountain of snow, the pecking ground for robins who bathe and splash in my bird bath. A veg patch has been ranked, multicoloured carrots, radishes and onions making the soil their new home. Wild flower seeds finding their feet in the weeded soil. Kitchen windowsills are aching under the weight of fifty sunflowers reaching, craving the sun and soil. Not yet little plants, not yet.

Monday, 20 April 2015

GARDEN: Suburban Woodpecker Visitor


Not only am I a proud cat lady but I'm also becoming a proud bird feeder lady. I'm not sure how many is too many, but with three feeders of various shapes and sizes around my garden both front and back, I think I'm feeding nearly all the neighbourhoods birds. 

Two of the feeders sit in the front garden on and around the porch, with the magnolia tree and bushes offering shelter, the sparrows have made it their favourite place for a quick bite. Not only that, but with them being directly in front of our large living room windows, our cats Ed and Smokey can watch them from the sofa without the fear of the birds becoming lunch. But with the huge old Maple tree in the back garden, it was time for a new addition.


Our back garden is a bit of a haven for a great selection of garden birds, I think our garden backing onto a park helps that. Having grown up in the English countryside and now living in suburbia it amazes me how much more wild birds you come across over here (from Woodpeckers, to hawks and your typical garden varieties). But one of my favourite regular visits is Woody, my woodpecker friend that you might remember from last year. I wasn't expecting him to pop onto the bird feeder, but while working in the garden last week, I turned my head and there he was. Apparently he's a regular visitor, more than I thought and hopefully with the bird feeder, he'll pop by a little more often.


Granted the photographs aren't the best, but he's a quick fluttery kind of character. I believe he's a Downy Woodpecker (that or the larger Hairy Woodpecker) which is about 6 or so inches in length. Downies are a regular garden visitor across the US and are the most likely variety of Woodpecker you'll ever catch eating from a feeder. Apparently they really love sunflowers (and chunky peanut butter), so hopefully with a more sunflowery bird mix and all the sunflowers I've been growing, he'll pop around a little more often.

Do you get any interest wildlife characters around where you live?

Thursday, 16 April 2015

CREATIVE: A Garden Party Stitch Along #3

I confess, I totally slacked when it came to cross stitching last month and even more so with writing up with this post. For once I was trying to be all good with my work. It also gets harder each month to say something new about this stitch along, so I'll let the photographs do the talking. 


So my plan from February was to work on finishing off the faces and the sky, stitching off the dresses and doing some backstitching. Not really completed any of those. Back stitching to a point yes, and I love how that's all pulling it all together. Back stitching (it's basically outlining and detailing in with thread) is a bit of a love hate thing with many stitchers, I personally love it for how it brings a picture together. 

February's check in (left) and March. 

Hopefully during the rest of April I'll get back into the swing of things. I had a bit of a communication hiccup with the magazine over getting the next part of the chart, which I luckily have now, so even more stitching can commence.


Slowly but surely!