Gardening, Quilting and Painting Fun

It’s been a busy week, with something going on every day. It hasn’t left a lot of time for sewing on my own projects, but I have made good progress on a free quilt along I’ve designed just for you coming in March for National Quilting Month – more on that below. I also took a class, painted some rocks, and made progress in the garden. Settle in for a long and chatty post as we catch up. Let’s start in the garden, shall we? The daffodils are coming up and just beginning to bloom. These white ones with the ruffled yellow cups are so pretty.

In the daffodil bed near the retaining wall, the solid yellow daffodils are beginning their spring show too.

Such happy flowers, and should be in full bloom in a week or so.

The two new squirrels, yet unnamed, have been here regularly. Sometimes they come together, and each gets his own sandwich. The challenge is to get them both fed without one chasing after the other one.

Often one will turn its back on the other while enjoying the treat.

The crocuses are pushing up a bit later than the daffodils. Usually they come up first. I have both white and purple ones.

This weekend is the Backyard Bird Count, and I have lots to report. There are a dozen goldfinches that have spent the winter here, along with six bluebirds.

The bluebirds love the suet feeder. This past week we dropped into the 30s overnight a couple of times, so they need the extra calories to stay warm.

The bulbs in the pot are still growing nice leaves, but no flowers yet.

The past few days have been the optimum days for planting according to my Farmers’ Almanac, so I got my seeds started. My Sweet Babboo helped get the grow light positioned and the timer set. For those wanting to plant by the moon’s cycle, the next optimum days for sowing seeds are February 28 – March 2.

On a rainy day, I got out the rocks I’d base coated the week before to paint and decorate. My blogger buddy Jenna at Painted Apron showed a technique for doing what she calls Paint Doodle. It involves making brush strokes for the main part, and then adding black lines for detail. I thought that might work well for rocks, and make up for my lack of artistic talent. I did a few, but my pen ran out of ink after the first one, so I tried using a thin brush for the others. I need to get another black paint pen to try this again. The one on the lower left looks the best with the thin lines.

I wanted a few more to hide around town, so I did some decoupage for a quick finish. All the rocks were then sealed with clear varnish.

Friday was a fun day, as I took a class using a Tucker ruler called Wing Clipper. Sometimes when I’ve done patterns on the blog, readers will mention this tool as a big help to squaring up flying geese, so when our guild offered a workshop, I decided to take the class. The added bonus was being at a table with two fun friends so we could learn and laugh all day.

This tool is really easy to use, and the class showed us more than one way to use it. We made some traditional flying geese using the no-waste method. Then we made geese with different colors on the sides, learning how to make them all come out the same, or mirror images.

After lunch, we learned a multiple geese block, with several steps, that came out wonderfully using this tool. We all got a kit with solids in it for the lesson.

And now, a special announcement!!

Join me in March for National Quilting Month for a free quilt along using a jelly roll and a yard of background. I am part of an event on Fave Quilts, and have designed a quick project that can be made in a weekend for that jelly roll you love but haven’t used yet. Don’t have a jelly roll? Order one from Fat Quarter Shop today to have it in time for the project. See all the fabulous prints and colorways, many on sale, just click on Jelly Rolls and Rollie Pollies at Fat Quarter Shop. I’ll be using the Tucker Trimmer in a speed technique you may like – the ruler is on sale now at Fat Quarter Shop. But I’ll also show you how to do the cuts with your square up ruler, it just is a bit more effort. I’ll show you the project and have the free pdf pattern download on March 1, with the quilt along beginning on March 7. We’ll do each step on Tuesdays and finish by the end of the month. This would be a great pattern for a holiday project.

And then, at the end of March, you can sign up for a great online class, with a special discount for readers of my blog!

Ever wanted to take a comprehensive class on using color, selecting colors for quilts, working with scrap colors, and more? Creative Spark Quilter’s Color Mixer is an online class on March 30, 2023 – 9 am to 1:20 pm, PST. (noon Eastern to 4:20). Here is the fabulous lineup of speakers and topics. Note there are three sessions for each time period, you choose one for that day, and can go back and see the others later.

The class is regularly $49, but you can register with the coupon code using THIS LINK for only $29! Plus the class is watchable later without an expiration, so even if you miss that day, it is available after at your convenience. Using my link and coupon code gives me a small commission, and allows me to bring you free quilt alongs and projects, while keeping annoying ads off my blog. Thank you for using my link to check out the class.

I hope to get more sewing time in this week, but pickleball may take up a bit of that time. Mardi Gras is Tuesday, and My Sweet Babboo says I need to take cookies to the gang like the ones on my header right now. So, that means a bit of baking today.

Are you excited for a jelly roll quilt along? Are you interested in the color class? What is blooming in your garden now?

30 thoughts on “Gardening, Quilting and Painting Fun

  1. Rheanna

    I very excited about the jelly roll quilt along. I had ordered a few jelly rolls during a buy one get one half off sale so they are just waiting to be used.
    Nothing is growing here in MN yet. Still too much snow on the ground and there is a good chance for getting more this week. So I am very much enjoying your pictures and thinking of warmer times ahead.

  2. Julie

    Oh boy, another quilt beside Quadrille! You’re keeping me busy this year, Carole. Nothing officially in my northern zone garden yet, but some of the daffies are pushing up shoots. A huge, and I do mean huge, mixed flock of black birds arrived yesterday. My house & yard looked like a scene from “The Birds,” and the cacophony was incredible. There were Red Winged Blackbirds in the mix. They are our harbinger of spring. Apparently Old Man Winter has taken early retirement.

  3. Margaret Nelson

    So busy! I love your enthusiasm.
    I’m still working on OmiGoah! I need 9 of 1 block and around 85 of the second.
    Nothing is in my garden yet but i plan on planting dill, oregano and rosemary along with tomatoes and squash.
    I’ve stepped into the role of my local Ryan’s Case for Smiles chapter. I’m so excited to get started hosting events and being part of a great organization.

  4. Beautiful garden and photography. The Wing Clipper ruler sounds great- will definitely need to buy one. The little green and white geese quilt is so cute. Looking forward to the jelly roll quilt along.

  5. lee

    Busy busy and I am baking today too! Cookies to send to my daughter in Florida! It is still too early in Michigan for any blooms to be up, but enjoy looking yours! I am hoping to do the jelly roll project as I have been gifted three jelly rolls and nothing made with them .. yet! Too much day job work lol I am also doing the backyard bird count! Juncos, cardinals, grosbeaks and purple and yellow finches!

  6. I love that flying geese block – for some reason in those colors it reminds of a pineapple block. I also love it when the spring flowers start to pop up even though we know we will have more cold weather we know spring is on it’s way

  7. Spring is popping up in my area too, daffodils, forsythia and budding trees, every day I spot something new! Your week was full of the things you love to do, making it a great week! Love your painted and decoupaged rocks!

  8. Cathy Walker

    Yes, I’m looking forward to the jelly roll quilt-along. I’ve got a Tucker ruler that I’ve never used so I’ll dig it out and get ready!

  9. Mary Ed Williams

    Hi, Carole!
    Love your daffodils – mine are up, too, and I’ve never seen them prettier or more prolific. Guess the warmer, wetter winter played a part in that.
    I am really looking forward to the “Tucker trimmer” class! Not sure about the color class yet .
    Thanks for your delightful Sunday morning blog. Gets me out of the bed!
    Mary Ed

  10. Judy Andrew

    Carole, I loved the paint & doodle technique! I will have to have a go @ this for sure! So far in my garden I have not seen anything pop up!

  11. Cindy Juarez

    Hi Carole, I always enjoy your post. Can you tell me what you put in the little sandwiches for the squirrels and about what size you cut them? Thanks so much and have a lovely day! Cindy Juarez, Port Orchard, WA

  12. Love how you changed up your header for Mardi Gras, and those cookies look yummy! Your daffodils are so pretty – so nice to see green and blooming things right now. The Tucker Trimmer looks interesting, and I love the block you made with it. I bet that’s giving you some design ideas!

  13. Hi Carole! No daffodils for me…here in the Northland (Wisconsin), we still have snow on the ground. I am “IN” for the Jelly Roll QAL! I have an ombre roll just waiting to be sewn into something beautiful. I go on a scrabooking retreat each year in March and Sept. Everyone donates a door prize, I make sewn items, and this just might be my prize! And, this project will fit in with my New Years goal to sew down the stash and use what I have first! The color class looks like fun, too. I know one of the presenters, Judy Gauthier, and love her work! She has a shop not far from where I live. Quiltmaking…the perfect solution to those cold and snowy days! Let the flakes fly and the sewing machine hum!

  14. jseccurrtwcnyrrcom

    I signed up for the Color Mixer course with your discount code! Taking any class now for $30 is a bargain…let alone multiple classes that will be available on the day or afterwards. So uplifting to have an event to look forward to!

    I get many queries from fellow quilters on color. Are you Ok with me forwarding on your blog to others who may be interested?

    Thanks for a wonderful blog on so many interesting topics!

  15. Carole, When do you sleep!? You are so busy and everything you do appears to be done with so much joy! I am looking forward to the jelly roll quilt as I have several of them just waiting for a project. As I work on Quadrille and now the JR quilt, my year long project will be given for Christmas and it is the Quiltworx Christmas Tree skirt. I hope I can actually get it done. That means more yardage out the door (Yea!)

  16. Sharon Vrooman

    My daffs are just little fingerling sprouts here and I look forward to them. Even my early tulips are breaking ground. I may have to ‘make’ my own jelly roll and play along.

  17. Kerrie Hatcher

    I’m excited for the jelly roll quilt along. I think I’ll use a Christmas jelly roll. I’m relatively new to quilting. Will the qal be easy to moderate?

  18. Susan Salo

    Here in SE Michigan the last of the snow has melted but temps still in the 20s at night. I will just have to enjoy your garden for a little while! We have had two bluebird couples here at the suet feeder several times this winter and that is very unusual. Over the past several years we might see one couple in the spring, but never in winter. They are so pretty!! I have just the jelly roll to use for this quilt. This will be a fun short-term project I can squeeze in among my others.

  19. Love the wildlife pics and florals, especially. Our daffodils/narcissus are blooming out there, too, and I haven’t seen my crocus this year – critters may have finally gotten them. However, my hyacinths are putting buds up in the middle of their leaves, and my indoor Amaryllis is blooming – 4 buds in one stem and another stem is coming up, too! I’m so excited to have so many on one plant!

  20. Patty Brenner

    I have a bunch of jelly rolls that I bought because they were pretty and on sale, I look forward to the quilt along to use up at least one of them! I love my Deb Tucker rulers, they have made this relatively new piece-er (less than 2 years) look like I know what I’m doing, lol. The bit of extra time trimming is so worth it when point match up and don’t get lost 🙂 Your rocks are adorable, I’m sure they bring a smile to those who find them!

  21. Sue Hoover

    I am very excited about the QAL. I even have a jelly roll ready to go, just need to pick a background. My Tucker Trimmer is raring to go! I love the Wing Clipper ruler and was happy to hear that you liked it a lot too. It’s so accurate! My bulbs are showing some green leaves coming through the ground but no buds yet. I did notice that my Lenten Rose is really coming back to life as well. I really need to get out there and clean the flower beds!

  22. lois92346

    Such a lovely blog today (as usual). All your photos just make my heart sing! The painted rocks are adorable. I’ll have to look further into that. I’d love to join the QAL but, though I have plenty of other rulers, I don’t have any of the Tucker trimmers. Would I still be able to follow?

  23. HI Carole! A few years ago I helped do some sewing of those Safelight bags. Are you still doing them? If so, would I be able to help again? Residents at the assisted living facility where I work had helped make some cards. Please let me know if this is something you would like assistance with again. Thanks so much, Elana

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