Sunday Chat

This week sure has had its ups and downs. The euphoria of the new recommendations for vaccinated people being able to resume normal activities inside and outside was long awaited, and wonderful. So we feel free to meet our vaccinated friends, and have a meal inside a restaurant. But the flip side is that there was not a single gas station in our small town that had any gas for several days. So, this week has been only very essential trips, combining grocery pickups with pickleball practice. Add to that the three bridges over the freeway between our home and everything in town are all under construction and the most convenient one is closed completely. This means longer trips around those just to get to the grocery store, and of course the post office is the opposite direction. It doesn’t help that the car with the most gas is also the one with a nail in a tire that needs to be fixed before it can be driven. When it rains, it pours at times. But dawn brings a new day, and light through the clouds.

I’ve been at war this week as well. A daily battle is being waged with a Carolina Wren determined to build a nest in my veranda’s plant pots. This happens every year, but usually when I take out one or two nests, he will decide to build elsewhere, but this year the little devil is not giving up. He targeted the pretty pansy pot on the left first. I pulled out a partially done nest twice, and tried to scare the bird when he came back a third time on one day.

Then the next morning, I found yet another one in progress. I pulled it out, put netting over the plant, and he wiggled under it and resumed his construction.

Persistent little $h&^. So I decided to move the plant to the sunroom for a while. A while later, he was back, holding more building material in his beak and looking confused. He was determined though, and chose another pot to build in.

Next he tried the teacup planter on top of this rack, so I put foil across the spot as recommended on a website to deter him. He moved the foil aside, didn’t scare him at all. I gave up, pulled out yet another partially done nest and moved that pot to the sunroom. Then he went to the geranium on the bottom, so I had to move it too. Several days of this, I had hoped he had run out of places on the veranda and moved on. He has a whole forest of places to use around here, so he can move out there. But, no. On Friday he was back and built in my tomato pot. That planter is too big to move, so I wrapped the cage in clear plastic and put a mesh cover over the top so the plant would still have sunlight and air circulation. The battle goes on.

Edited to add this information, since several readers have been upset by my battle. Carolina Wren males build multiple nests at once. He will let his lady bird choose from several, the one I am pulling out is not the only one they have. I am just encouraging him to show her the other ones, wherever they are in the forest. I don’t need a veranda full of broken plant stems, dead plants from the bird digging and scrabbling around, poop and mess, nor the parents attacking me protecting their young next to my front door. It would be weeks of time where I couldn’t use the front door, would have difficulty watering the other plants, and forget grilling a meal. He can just show his lady the other nests elsewhere and let her choose one of those. If he beats me and his mate gets eggs laid, I am sunk and will have to leave it be. But as long as it doesn’t have eggs, it is going. I know he has more nests to choose from somewhere in the forest.

In the sewing room, I’ve been working on some projects that will publish on other blogs. My article on Creative Pincushions is on the Madam Sew blog this week.

It includes instructions for this little finger pincushion that uses a bottle cap as a base so you won’t punch the pin into your skin.

Last weekend was another bird count, and I participated on Cornell’s ebird again. I counted 19 birds in 14 species that day. This rose breasted grosbeak was one. I had hoped to see some of the more rare birds that day to count, like the indigo bunting that lives around here, but he didn’t show up on count day.

Jack came by for a meal, politely folding his paws looking hopeful. So of course he got a sandwich.

My next project will involve these rocks. It is fun and I’m having a great time. More on that later.

I made a few case sets this week for the Safelight Project. I found a wide strip of this butterfly fabric that was a great match for some turquoise velcro in my stash resource center.

So these are the three prints I am making sets from. I have more fabric of the top two, and can probably get one more from the butterfly print if I put a solid with it for the backside. I hope a lot of you are sewing, we have 26 case sets right now, so we need 74 more.

I am happy to report that we met our financial goal for the Safelight Project, so now we just need case sets and cards. So, I made a few more cards for Safelight this week too. I have a little bag of chipboard butterflies and dragonflies that make the cards too thick for mailing. So using them for cards in the bags is better.

I put inspirational messages inside and on the envelope. These came from Impression Obsession, Inc. 

I love this Maya Angelou quote stamp, so I made a few cards with it too. IO has a number of stamps with the theme of Believing In Yourself, see those HERE. See more inspirational sentiments stamps HERE (affiliate links).

Back to the sewing room, I pulled out these lovely Japanese fabrics this week. I am trying to figure out what to do with them. There isn’t much of any one, about a fat quarter. The prints are large, and would be lost with cutting into small pieces.

Here’s a close view of one of them. The design is lovely with the cranes flying through, but what can I do with it other than a wall hanging? Perhaps a bag, but it would be too big using the whole panel for one side. I’ll do a bit of stand and stare and see if anything comes to mind.

In other projects, I finished a patriotic table runner that will be written up as a pattern soon, and worked on doing more clean-out of books and fabrics for donation. I also got the second blue and yellow project done, and will show you that this week.

What did you work on this week?

35 thoughts on “Sunday Chat

  1. Diann Smith

    I vote for the bird. When they build at my house I welcome them gladly anywhere they want to go.. I’m loving this time of year. It’s been such a long winter. Thanks for blogging.

  2. Marcia in TX

    It sounds like he just wants some beauty surrounding him and his family while nesting as well as a safe haven for his young. No bird has ever nested in my flower pots.
    That is pits about them doing all 3 bridges at once. Someone didn’t think it through.

  3. Love the skyline photo! And the cards are beautiful. I have a bunch ready and will box them today and get them off this week. Will finish off more and send them off later. Love working on this project! Feeling more like getting out since we’re vexed and ready to go!

  4. Rita C.

    What a week! In the grand scheme of things, I know they’re all first world problems, but aggravating all the same. The wren is exactly as you called it – a s$&^. I like your stand and stare approach. I wonder if that would work with housework?? My week was focusing on the blog maintenance, booth fluffing and some antique shopping, mostly all fun stuff. Hope this week continues showing good things for you. Love those Japanese fabrics.

  5. What a busy week! I have some kits cut out for safelight, and will try to get them sewn this week. I got “distracted” by my Pachanga blocks! I’m not sure we had a gas outage here, as I didn’t go looking. I’ve made a couple of trips out and took the hubby’s SUV. I think I was supposed to go Tuesday for gas, but decided we had plenty in the 2nd vehicle. when we were out Friday and Saturday we didn’t see any shortages here in Delaware, so I am guessing your supply will ease soon. Birds are so funny to watch, but not so nice when they get into things that are meant for something else. My daughter has barn swallows that annually build nests in her porch eves. She loves it (science teacher/nature buff); and the hubby hates it as it is a huge mess. Our mask restrictions are supposed to lift, along with capacity limits on May 22. I hope you can “fill up soon”, take a ride and get dinner out and hug your friends. Stay well. Will shop the pouches when done.

  6. Julie

    Aww, that wren thought you were creating the perfect spot for him to attract a mate & is now thoroughly confused by the cold shoulder. Glad to hear you’ve met your Safelight goal, quilters like to help others. I have rose breasted grosbeaks too, such magnificent plumage. Soon they’ll introduce their offspring to the feeding stations. Speaking of offspring, a new batch of gray squirrels has arrived looking like freshly minted coins, sleek shiny fur with no ear nips or bobbed tails. I finished my ‘killing time until the next clue’ quilt on Thursday, ready for Friday’s reveal. B blocks are completed & ready for final assembly. I’m eager to make another, it’s a great pattern. I can’t imagine how to use the Asian prints. I always struggle with large designs. They often end up in the middle of a pieced backing, which sounds cruel, but offers a secret surprise to the recipient who often remarks they like the back as much as the front. Oh, those pin cushions! I use a magnetic plate, but would make them to have around for decoration.

  7. Mary Ed Williams

    I’m inclined to vote for the bird, too. The problem with wrens is he will build a dozen or more before she, who is really picky, decides on one. They will raise their young and be gone in 10 days or less. And they do make a mess. I can’t say much since my house is almost as messy as theirs!
    I love your pincushion ideas. I will start looking for some containers.
    Still no gas here as far as I can learn. Did you see the picture of the trunk of a car with plastic grocery bags full of gas? Sometimes I marvel at the stupidity of people.
    Mary Stori, I have seen those bags of rocks at Micheal’s.

    1. Nope, not gonna let him build.  I know they do multiple nests, so I don’t feel bad about tearing the half done ones out.  I don’t need a veranda full of broken plant stems, dead plants from the bird digging and scrabbling around, rivers of poop and mess, nor the dive bombing of the parents protecting their young next to my front door. He can just show his lady the other nests elsewhere and let her choose one of those. If he beats me and his mate gets eggs laid, I am sunk and will have to leave it be.  But as long as it doesn’t have eggs, it is going. I know he has more somewhere in the forest.

  8. Well, I certainly didn’t work on as much as you did, but I am closer to getting Daughter’s wedding quilt bound. It should be finished in the next few days. Thank you for sharing your stories, and I am glad you have fuel in that part of the country again.

  9. mlmcspadden

    I can see those oriental prints in an elongated snowball blocks with some kind of “bamboo” sashing. And yes, I have a bunch oriental prints from my mom’s estate that I’m thinking of using this way.

  10. karenfae

    I hope the gas situation eases up soon my sister in Virginia has the problem too – only able to do essential things to make the gas in the car last

  11. Brenda @ Songbird Designs

    I love birds, but they can certainly be pesky trying to nest in places you don’t want them! We had two inside our screened porch the past week, but they finally left and no sign of a nest. Whew!! It’s amazing how well you have Jack and Oliver trained!! Who wants Pavlov’s dog when you can have squirrel’s right?!! Other than a mad rush the first couple of days of the shut down, our area hasn’t noticed a shortage. Of course, prices have gone up, but not like some places.Hopefully Your area will be replenished soon.

  12. Karen Johnson

    Enjoyed your bird story. You’re not alone…we always have 4 hanging fuchsias in our back patio area. Every year I notice a little brown bird (think it’s a sparrow, not sure) flitting around. Lo & behold a couple days later there’s a nest with 3 or 4 little eggs. I actually kind of enjoy it. It’s always the one hanging on the far right. I worry & fret over how I’m going to water it…ice cubes?…very carefully on one side where the nest isn’t?…somehow rigging something underneath so it sucks up the water? Haven’t figured that one out. But somehow they survive & the fuchsia does too.

  13. Sandra L Clark

    I live in East Texas and didn’t experience any issues with gas shortages. However, I am very concerned that Colonial Pipeline paid the hackers just shy of $5,000,000 in ransom and didn’t catch the dirty dogs in Eastern Europe, who, when they have spent all that money, will do it again. We need to shore up all these issues that make us vulnerable to our enemies.
    I moved from Central Texas to what is known as “Deep East Texas” and it is very different here: very lush and full of Magnolia trees and huge tall trees and Texas Friendly people. That is one thing I really appreciate about the South. Thank you for your beautiful pictures of the mountains that remind us of the beauty all around us.

  14. kathyinozarks

    Good morning, I would say let the little bird build a nest-what will it hurt and you can enjoy watching the process and the family growing up we always enjoy the birds around us
    Beautiful photos Happy Sunday

  15. That is one persistent wren. But then, if I could build a nest on your beautiful porch I’d try extra hard to land such a spot. I wonder if you provided it a special pot and after it nests, move the pot to an acceptable location if it would be a win-win situation?

  16. Sherrill

    I just LOVE the Carolina wrens. They sing like there’s no tomorrow and they are fierce little birds. Years ago, there was an empty lawn and leaf bag box left on the back patio. It was on a table and they built the nest in the box unbeknownst to us. It was discovered with eggs already laid so we left it. Occasionally, she’d scare the dickens out of us when we came out the back door, flying out to shoo us away from her next. The little babies hatched, fledged and THEN the box was tossed.

  17. That is a lot of ups and downs, Carole! I loved your tale of the wren and his nest building attempts. Just read it out loud to my husband! We have two birdhouses in our yard which we would welcome him to use, since the chickadees have decided not to this year. Have a great Sunday!

    1. Carolina Wren males build multiple nests at once. He will let his lady bird choose from several, it isn’t like this is the only one they will have. I am just encouraging him to show her the other ones, wherever they are in the forest. I don’t need a veranda full of broken plant stems, dead plants from the bird digging and scrabbling around, rivers of poop and mess, nor the dive bombing of the parents protecting their young next to my front door. He can just show his lady the other nests elsewhere and let her choose one of those. If he beats me and his mate gets eggs laid, I am sunk and will have to leave it be. But as long as it doesn’t have eggs, it is going. I know he has more somewhere in the forest.

  18. Phyllis Smith


    Good Morning Carole, Goodness gracious you have been a busy gal. Wish I could be that busy but I fell last week and it has slowed me down Feel onto my knees then my chest and then my nose. Needless To say my knees hurt and my chest ribs are sore, It hurts to cough but at least I didn’t get a nose bleed which I was sure I had but my youngest son was in the laundrey room and he Came in and helped me get back up, thank goodness he was close at hand. Went to the doctor Thursday and when she checked my blood pressure it was the highest it has ever been in my hole life so she has put me on some blood pressure medication so will see how it goes.

    Loved the beautiful birds, never have seen the gorgeous red breasted rose breasted grosbeak bird , he gets my vote as the winner. I have some N.C. wrens that visit me and make their nest in my hanging bridal veil flower pots but I so love to hear them sing, they have such a pretty song. There is another bird that hangs out in the woods nest to me but I haven’t been able To identify him but he has another beautiful trill that he sings. Hear him at the early mornings and late evening so I try to sit out on my swing and listen to him.

    Can you share with us company that made the beautiful butterfly print. I have a pattern to make butterfly pins and those would be just the thing. I still want to make the eye glass cases out of the mens ties as a lot of the designs are suited for women such as the paisleys which is what I was really referring to when I mentioned the idea to you last year. This summer looks like it is shaping up to be a very hot one so that means I get my chores and errends done in the mornings and my afternoons are then free to work on other things so planning on getting some Made for you.

    Have a great day and enjoy your flowers, Phyllis

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  19. June Neigum

    Got the last blocks of your mystery quilt sewn together yesterday. Posted on FB. Used some batik fat quarters and had fun. Also planted some beans in my raised bed and also some basil in a pot.

  20. Donna

    Sorry Carole but I had a good laugh at your bird nest building story!!! Not sure what else you can do!

  21. Sue Hoover

    What a persistent little birdie! Why don’t you let him build a nest in your plants? Just curious. I had one in my hanging basket last year.

  22. OMG so much going on……
    Hope the fuel is sorted….. Just wonderful that you are now able to increase you social contract….. Still be careful and causcious. How do you know if someone is vaccinated? How do you prove it?
    I take it that little bird is super annoying to have nest in the verendah……

  23. Carole, I enjoy reading your blog and seeing your gorgeous pictures. And–your ability to do so many things is marvelous.

    You obviously have many readers, so I wonder whether some potentially negative comments from me might be welcome;

    1. Have you considered that your destruction of the bird’s partial nests pushes that bird to destroy more “beautiful” plants? That’s one dedicated bird. As a geneticist, I applaud his efforts to extend the future of his species. That’s what Darwin called survival of the fittest.

    2. If the squirrel started destroying something you like, would you stop giving it treats? Sounds like a bit of discrimination to me. Then again, maybe your rewards keep the squirrel from looking elsewhere for amusement and sustenance.

    3. I would like to see the Colonial pipeline get tons and tons of negative letters about their attitudes. Not having sufficient protection against cyber attacks doesn’t serve its far away customers well. The inconvenience and cost incurred to people who have the line through their state for the benefit of polluting the air to the north of the affected states is a concern I would express. And I can’t begin to express my outrage at giving the money to the hackers. All of that to keep gas and oil flowing in our country. We have to change!

    4. Many people are unemployed because of the pandemic. Is it possible the simultaneous construction of three bridges is employing some of them? Construction jobs–especially outdoors–are often well paid and offer alternative work fo people whose other skills might not be transferable.

    As you may suspect, I’m in a terrible mood today. Please excuse my negative reactions and edit my comments–or reinterpret them–as you will. I’ve been watching Greta Thunberg’s specials the past month and was disappointed at the end to learn that she is working hard to reverse or repair the effects of climate change while concluding that individual action would be more effective than many of the technological ideas being tested. Even converting all transportation to no oil and coal use won’t make much difference in our declining environment.

    Marie in Oregon

  24. I understand the wren problem. We have so many birds building nests under the porches and I keep wondering with the great big 250 acre woods that surrounds us why do they choose our porches?! Hopefully gas will be available sooner than later. Wishing you a less stressful week!

  25. Linda

    I recently mailed 4 Safelight case sets to you – they should arrive tomorrow (Monday). I’ll be making a few more this week.

  26. Sharon Vrooman

    We don’t fight wrens, but the barn swallows are another story. They are just as persistant, but they make one nest and it must be where they want it – usually over a car park or lawn mower storage or other equipment – YUCK. I have some very similar Asian fabric so interested to see what you do.

  27. Carolyn A Thompson

    I read your blog all the time. I love the different activities you work into the blog and the beautiful responses you usually have, with enthusiasm, from your readers.

    I tell you what……..I’ve gotten a lot of chuckles today with some of the posts you have in reguards to the “stubborn little wren” who wants to impress his future mate.
    This is my take on the whole situation; I’m sure Mr. Wren promised his beautiful “mate to be” that if she would be “his”, that he would find the “classiest” and most beautiful veranda setting in the whole wide world; he has already sent word via “Bird Tweet Gazette” and it was Headlines in their morning paper yesterday, that he had found ithe perfect veranda and he is in the process of building all shapes of nests from which to choose, and no “worries”as each of them have all the “ammenities”she has asked for,, including her own private bathroom!!! Of course, with it being Top News In the Bird Gazette, and every Wren, in their region, knows about it now, and his “mate to be: has been gushing about the fact that there is nothing he can’t accomplish, he simply has to accomplish getting those nests ready somewhere in your beautiful verada, or he’s going to be the laughing stock of the South Carolina Wren World. They’ve even reported, last night as “BEAKING NEWS” on the “WINGS” T.V. Station, that there seems to be some problems with the High Roller Mr. Wren’s plans; however he is denying that bit of gossip at this time!! His mate has been crying her “beattie eyes” out ever since she heard the news. But in their “Chirp” Call, this morning, Mr. Wren assured her not to “fret and worry” her pretty little head about a thing, because he’s got it handled!!,” Mrs Wren closed by saying, “Oh Honey, how could I ever doubt you! You simpy are the best!!

    Carole, I will be interested on how this works out. You may have to get ready to wash a few windows because when birds get upset with a household owner, they simply shoot their back end “stuff” on windows of the house….ask me how I know!!!

    This is the first time I have posted anything on your blog, Carole:)
    I just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to create a “little funny” and hopefully make you and others smile:)

    Have a great day!!

  28. Patricia Evans

    I’ve had success discouraging the wrens by twining a plastic snake up the hanging basket hanger.
    Hopefully the gas situation has improved in NC. We didn’t have a shortage but prices have zoomed up (and much more than the few cents the national media was reporting). No gas certainly puts a crimp in your car club excursions.

  29. Well, aren’t those pincushions the cutest thing! I love the idea of the wrist on on a bottle cap. How clever you are!

    Ah, the wren. I’m missing my wren, who built in the birdhouse outside Lizzie’s bird window for the past two years. They build and build but never seem to have babies. Now I learn they are apartment managers, living only in one! Well, that explains a lot. I wish I had a good solution for you — I can see why it would be a bit of a problem. Pity they can’t pick one in an OK spot and stick with it — they’d be fun to watch hatch. But you do what you have to do — and it helps, knowing they aren’t without a home somewhere. (Still, I’m admiring of their tanacity!)

    I love your grosbeak — gorgeous. I’ve never seen one. And what gorgeous Japanese fabrics. All lovely.

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