Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Sandra Liechner's Naturalist's Notebook
Block 3, Purple Finch
Much work remains to be done.  This block has lots of embroidery to define the leaves, flowers, and birds.  There is also some painting to do on the flowers with Prismacolor pencils to give some shadow and more personality.  I can see the line of the bird's tail needs to be straighten.  In my box of red batiks I could find lots of lovely shades but they did not seem to blend well.  So I choose one with a lot of texture, got out the primsacolors shading each fabric with a degree of the rose colored pencil.  The results are pleasing with the colors all agreeing with each other.

This block looks horribly complicated and hard to do but you just need to start with one element and when finished with do the next.

Here are the leaves and branches cut out, their edges turned, and basted in place.  As soon as I had these stitched down I did the flowers, then the bird.

Bird #2

The photo is a bit blurry but this Australian Kingfisher is all painted and is ready to be machine quilted on my lovely new Lady Tiara, queen of quilting.   For those of you who don't know, this is the 6th block in Helen Godden's series Feathered Friends-best bom ever-so much fun.  And also a challenge to learn how to paint and to quilt some of her more difficult designs.  I am liking this whole process so much I am working on a gecko from a pdf book Helen publishes.  I am painting a quilting the gecko.


I am a bit behind in my life's work right now as we took a road trip.  Now I have taken maybe 40 road trips of varying length in my life and it seems to me this is a quintessential American activity due mostly to what used to be an excellent interstate freeway system and cheap gasoline.  

I love the American desert southwest and the inter-mountain desert.  The long stretches of subtle coloring and sparse vegetation with hot desert air blowing into the car drying the sweat it causes.  The reds and the pinks of the desert, the odd vegetation seen nowhere else, the dust blowing everywhere and the complete lack of habitation.  It is not friendly there but it is awesome in its grandeur.

I have also gone north to the Pacfic Northwest-a rain forest, south to the old Confederate states with the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, salty New England and the coastal states with their megalopolises, and the lake filled upper midwest.  America is a beautiful country but we are not alone in this as most the world is incredibly beautiful in its geography and cities. 

I turn into a 71 year old person on Wednesday so this road trip may have been my last.  We had a wonderful time driving from Virginia back to home in Missouri.  We saw steep hills in Virginia which had been cleared maybe 300 years ago by hand and which have had cattle run on them since and a pretty home at the top of the hill all creating a sight reminiscent of England which is dotted with lovely green fields and charming homes.

West Virginia was new to me.  We choose the long, twisty, mountainous route through that part of West Virginia which gives it its fame.  These mountains were tall and so heavily forested.  They were steep and folded in upon each other in an almost claustrophobic manner.

From there on to Kentucky with its blue grass fields, white fences holding strong and tall horses and many, many bourbon distilleries. In Kentucky we also visited Paducah which is home to the American Quilt Museum where my husband and I examined all the quilts on display and had a very inspiring time (I did anyway!).    

Paducah reinvigorated its river bank.  The Tennessee river and Ohio river come together here.  The Tennessee is blue and the Ohio is brown so after they met, the river is bi colored.  We watched tug boats push huge barges up and down river.  An old fashioned river paddle boat such as used to run up and down the Mississippi lives there and one can take a river cruise up the Ohio for a few days pretending they are on an old river boat with gamblers and cargo.  Here is a photo of the rivers-the boat was touring.

The Tennessee River is the fork on the lower right.  Both are wide rivers.  My husband loves the whole Mississippi river system which is very large and complex with dozens of feeders.  When he was young, he canoed up the Missouri river until it was so huge it swamped him. He finally reached the river bank and slept there only to wake up circled by 7 or so cattle chewing their cud and inspecting him. His teenage years where spent on the Pearl river in Mississippi, a river which could rise 20 feet in a few hours-a wild river now tamed like so many with a dam.

Leaving Paducah, we traveled thru the agri-desert of southern Illinois.  Corn as far as the eye can see with no little homes, gas stations just a few grain silos and tractor storage.  Tho it was a green place, the similarity to the western desert could not be ignored.  If one's car broke down, there would be no help for miles.  If you ran out of gas, there was none for miles with no homes from which to beg for help.

Then home to release the kitty from kitty prison.  I had told her she was going to stay in a kity spa with lots of pampering but she did not feel that way and plaintively meowed for the 12 miles home and hid for 2 days after that.  So we had the best time on our road time enjoying every minute.


Your moment of Zen

I thought since you just traveled some of America with me, I would show you something beautiful but belonging to the Americas. I give you.....

Corn originated in the American SW and in South America.  This corn was breed in Oklahoma over many years by a Cherokee Indian farmer.  It is field corn but is probably mostly for fall decoration.  Pretty amazing, yes?


I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Midweek Makers, Whoop Whoop, Finish or Not!, and Off the Wall Friday.