Thursday, September 29, 2016


For me, Shangri-La occupies a three-to-four mile radius centered on Campground Beach in North Eastham, MA.  A part of me remains there, all year round.  I sometimes forget I'm not whole, until I step to the top of the beach stairs and run into myself, like an old friend.  Hey!  there you are!  Damn, I've missed you.

I spent my childhood summers there, with the freedom to roam the neighborhood, the dunes and the beach all day long.  When I learned to sail (and weighed enough to upright the boat by myself) I could take the sunfish anywhere in the bay (I even made it around the Target Ship while it was mostly intact).  It was like flying.  I spent my college summers working on the Cape; the afternoons were still mine, filled with reading, bicycling and sailing wherever I wanted.  I spent my evenings cooking dinner, baking goodies while listening to stories from my grandmother and vintage radio shows.

High tide, low tide - so much to explore
Perfection.  Magic.  Heaven.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Just One More

One would have thought when I bought my Singer 99 that I'd stop looking for another sewing machine.  Whatever the reason, I left my Craigslist search bookmarked in my browser.  My regular machine had been behaving.*  Yet, I still wanted a real backup machine; one that might fit into my existing table.  It's bad enough I wanted another machine, I didn't need another table and chair too!

Lo and behold, this portable Singer 15 appeared late July.  Not only that, no one else snatched it up when I waited at least two weeks before responding.  To top it off, I got sick for a couple of weeks and couldn't pick it up.  I told the woman if she could sell it to someone else, go for it.  I'd contact her again when I felt well enough to come look at it.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Tomato Treats

Can you see the tomato?  We  know it's here somewhere....
All those tomatoes we've been preparing for sauce resulted in quite a pile of parings.  The bruised and spoiled bits went straight to the compost.  However, all of the bits near the stem were saved for the guinea pigs.

Boadicea is not highly motivated for tomato pieces.  She'd rather have corn husk or bits of cucumber.  But if there's tomatoes right there in front of her, she won't say no.

Wedgwood his far more enthused and will eat whatever tomato is closest to her, even if it's the piece Boadi currently has.  They ended up in a brief standoff when Wedgie figured it would be easier to take from Boadi than to figure out how to manipulate the toy.  Very similar to Boadi's old "wouldn't you like to share that with me?"

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Stained Kites - Blogger's Quilt Festival

I am entering Stained Kites for the Home Machine Quilted category in the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

If I had just been patient about showing off Stained Kites, I would have waited until now to post it.  But I was too excited to share (plus I forgot that the festival was this week).  So I'll just have to show it off twice this month.

After I completed Shattered Kites last year, I thought it would look amazing with a black background, like stained glass.  I began playing with fabric this spring and stitched it up over the summer.  After I squared the quilt I decided it needed black borders and a flange binding.  I really like the little edge of color (it pops more in person than it does in the photos).

It's quilted in a mix of walking foot over the black and free motion in each of the kites.  I tried a bunch of new designs I had never quilted before, which was so much fun.  Spent lots of time doodling and surfing the web for ideas.  There's a few kites with the same pattern, but most of them are unique.  (There are close up photos of the quilting on the original post here.)

The quilt has been promised to a fund raising event.  I hope it will be popular.  For now it hangs in my sewing room - I get to admire it in person for another month or so before I give it away.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Parrot Plumes - Blogger's Quilt Festival

This year's Blogger's Quilt Festival snuck up on me!  It's a month earlier than in prior years and I had to scramble to find stuff I wanted to show.  (I'm still focused on guinea pigs and Pignics right now.)

Parrot Plumes is my entry for the Small Quilts category.  I fell in love with the feathers from an earlier Blogger's Quilt Festival, tracked down the pattern and saved it as a future project.  Inspiration hit when my vet started a practice on her own.  She specializes in birds and I know she has a soft spot for African Greys and Macaws.  I had pattern and colors - time to sew!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Cape Colors

A few things that caught my eye during Chick Weekend that didn't really go in another post.

Campground Beach, looking towards Great Island.  The colorful tables and chairs at PB Boulangerie.  Quirky lawn art?  political statements? on Shurtleff Road.  The Entering West Eastham sign is on a sand dune that overlooks the bay.  There is no more west that that.  The weird keg creature, that appears to be spouting like a whale has a sign:  The Dune Monster (Donald T. Grateagain).  You never know what's going to appear on this guy's lawn.  But it made my morning walks interesting.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Happy Birthday, Wedgwood

Imagine my surprise when we brought Wedgwood home and discovered the shelter gave her the same birthday as Cannoli.  So here we are, celebrating a third birthday all over again on the very same date.  I'm having birthday déjà vu.

May the déjà vu stop right there.  The last twelve months were rough for pigs and we're due for some smoother sailing.  Wedgwood has decided this is a great place to live and has recently received a clean bill of health.  Sounds like a good start to me (Boadicea just wishes Pee-Face would stop chasing her around the cage).

We've been enjoying the meaty little loaf.  Her nose often waves around like Bertie's used to, testing the unseen breezes.  She's slowly starting to whine less and wheek more.  Wedgwood has even convinced Boadicea to wheek from time to time.

Happy Birthday, Wedg.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cape Chick Weekend X

It was a very quiet weekend this year.  Most of the gals could only come down for a day trip and everyone had cleared out by Sunday afternoon.  Still, a good time was had by all.  It was wonderful to see my friends - it had been over a month since I had had the chance to visit with any of them.  Far too long.

Since the majority of people were down for such a short time I asked what they wanted to do for the day.  Consensus was the craft fair and the sand sculpture contest.  Once everyone arrived, we took off.  Nearly all of us came away from the craft fair with goodies: earrings, cards, a mobius scarf (I wish I had seen those when I was there!).  I picked up the stylin' hat.  Then we headed to First Encounter beach.  We arrived early; the contestants were only about halfway through their creations.  We took the opportunity walk the beach and returned just before judging began.

Our favorite was Gullzilla:  A giant seagull (complete with real feathers in it's sculpted wings) swooping in to destroy Cape Cod.  The Cape was nicely done, we got a kick out of the Eastham Windmill being attached by a T-Rex.  So tiny compared to the oversized gull.

Right next to it was another sculpted Cape Cod.  It was beautifully rendered, but it was hard to compete with this entry.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tomato Sauce

A year or so ago we decided to make our own tomato sauce.  I don't recall exactly how it came about, but I bet it started with a disagreement on what sauce to buy at the store.  I asked a local farm if they'd sell me their reject tomatoes for sauce.  They did, and in the late summer I took home about 40 pounds of tomatoes to make into sauce.  It was lovely stuff.  Rob was so bummed in June when I used the last of it.

We froze the sauce last year, which was great - except that I had trouble stuffing everything I wanted into our small chest freezer.  We researched canning the sauce, even going as far as buying jars, but the tomatoes ran out before we gave it a try.

This year we learned canning.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Unusual Beasties

Neighbors down the street have a pond on the edge of their property.  They've been trying to convince the Canada geese that frequent their yard to hang out elsewhere.  There's been pie plates tied to stakes and shiny ribbons.  It worked for a while, but the last week or two the place has been goose central.

A few days ago I noticed a pair of swans joined their group.  And then a cormorant, which I found more surprising.  I've seen swans visit the pond before, but never a cormorant.

While walking by Sunday evening, I had my biggest surprise:  an alligator.

Say what?!?

Yup.  Rob wondered why I had suddenly stopped and was laughing and pointing at the pond.  OMG, it's an alligator!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Stained Kites

Stained Kites is done!  And I finished it in August.  Woot!  I'm pleased with how it came out, so I'm going to babble and post lots of pictures (click on any of them if you want to see more detail).

I tried so many new things.  Half of the kites were quilted in patterns I had never tried before.  The rest were variations of stuff I've done on other quilts.  I did some McTavishing, several patterns I've admired on The Inbox Jaunt and a few designs I found while googling "freemotion quilting."  I quilted three or four kites with what I call an Easter egg pattern because that's what the finished area looks like.

First time with feathers - and it looks good!  It took two attempts.  I ran the spine along one side of the kite the first time, which made for very long feather loops.  They were terribly wobbly and I ripped them out.  Then I put the spine down the middle; the shorter feathers were easier to deal with.  I am improving at quilting back over a line I've already stitched.  Which is probably why I haven't attempted feathers until now.  Being able to accurately stitch over stitching makes my pebbles look better, too.

Saturday, September 3, 2016


Boadicea loves her morning greens and pepper and afternoon treats.  However, I think her favorite time of day is when I refill the hay.  Once Boadi hears me pull out the hay box and rustle the hay, she bolts upstairs.  The nose waves about and she gets that jaw limbered up (I call it pre-chewing).


I rotate between the two hay racks.  Whatever is left on the third floor (if there is any) gets tossed out.  Then I fill the third level ring with whatever is in the first floor hay rack (sometimes adding a bit of fresh stuff, if it's nearly empty).  I finish by adding fresh hay to the first floor rack.

The funny thing is, Boadicea waits on the third floor for the leftover hay.  I guess being able to jump into the hay is more appealing than working the fresh stuff out of the downstairs rack.