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Annual Spring Report 2019

Not much has been posted on my blog the last twelve months, but this post goes up every year. It is fun to sometimes look back over the years to see just how “normal” the spring time has been.

As for this year, it will be placed in the “not normal” group.

I cannot remember everything being so early before. We have had a very warm and dry April, and during the last week, everything was suddely in full bloom, including the fruit trees, which normally bloom at least 3 weeks later than this.

All kinds of bushes normally blooming in May, has either started to bloom, or are already in full bloom, like the red rhododendron bushes.

All the narcissuses are in full bloom, or are finished, depending on variety and placement in the garden. Even the tulips are nearly finished.

The ones above normally bloom in June, but have now started at the end of April.

Our lawn is in full bloom too, so the bumblebees should be happy, – or maybe they are already overworked with everything else that is blooming.

Even the wild blueberries and the strawberries are in bloom, and it was not yet May when these photos were taken.

Today, on May 1st, we are further inland at our “cabin”. It has obviously been a bit cooler here, as we can see the tulips have just started to bloom, and the leaves on the trees are  bit smaller. But still very early here too.

A happy wagtail on top of our roof. I hope it does not eat too many bees as they are needed for their job just now.

 

🙂

Eldrid

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Annual Spring Report 2018

I am a bit late in writing this up, but the photos were taken on time, – on May 1st, and then again when we arrived home on May 3rd.

On May 1st we were further inland visiting family, and this is how it was like there. The ski slopes were still sporting a good amount of snow, although they had been closed for a couple of weeks already.

No leaves on the trees yet, but the fields were quite green, although it looked like the snow had only just disappeared from the fields and was still lingering in the woods nearby.

The garden outside the flat, facing south, had one blooming mini daffodil, and a few budding tulips, and quite a lot of dandelions sprouting everywhere.

On arriving back home on the coast two days later, the picture was a little bit different. Fields were not as green, but the woods had started to change their colour. No need to mow the lawn just yet. The bulk of narcissuses were still not in bloom, but with growing buds.

The ones by the south wall were in full bloom. The crocuses were finished, along with the snowdrops.

The flowering currant was in full bloom, and had been for a few days.

Rose bush was sprouting new leaves, and so was the spiraea bush, but no white flowers just yet.

Tulips by the south wall had large buds. At the time of writing they are in full bloom, since we have had a few warm days lately.

All in all: a quite normal spring.

🙂

Eldrid

Annual Spring Report 2017

It is interesting to look back on my previous spring reports to see how they vary from year to year. This year seems fairly normal.

Even though the crocuses were record early due to a mild winter, both March and April have been quite cold, so the pictures taken on May 1st is almost exactly like last year.

The woods have just the smallest hint of green to them, and this is mostly due to the last couple of days when the sun came out, and it is warming up. There is still snow in the mountains from the latest snowfall not many days ago.

The winter tyres have just been removed from the car, washed and are drying in the sun, and the summer tyres are on, – more than a week later than the general rules allow. However, they were needed just a few days ago.

The cherry tree has large buds, but no blooms yet. Just as well since there are few insects around.

The bulk of our daffodils are not out yet. The exception besides the early ones is the ones in sheltered spots and next to the south wall. The tulips by the south wall are also budding.

The flowering currant has been in bloom for some time, but the spiraea bush has just a hint of green around it, but no blooms yet. However, with the nice weather we are having now, it will not be long, I expect.

The sheep are enjoying the good weather too, although the lot in this photo were a bit worried. Someone with a dog, – on a leash, mind, as it should be this time of year, – was crossing the field below, so they ran for higher grounds. Lambs were separated from their mothers, so there was a lot of bleating and running around before the little ones got back to their respective guardians for a comforting suckle. Then all was well, and they could settle down and enjoy the glorious day.

 

And so do we. The weather forecast for the next week is glorious.

🙂

Eldrid

Lagre

The Quilted and the Non-Quilted Feast

The first day of our tour we spent sightseeing in Moscow, and in the afternoon we ended up inside the Novospassky Monastery, where a delicious meal had been prepared for our international group.

novospassky

We were to dine in one of the towers that sit on every corner of the wall surrounding the monastery.

The entrance was through a low door in the inside wall, up some long and narrow steps to the gallery, and again ducking through low doors and into the tower room.

It was a lovely sight: tables already set with lots of delicious food, old cupboards against the walls holding beautiful pots and crockery, traditional costumes on display, along with various crafted items, – and everything lit only by candles and the natural light coming through the small windows, filtered through blue and white glass.

Many old and newer samovars were displayed around the room and on the steps to the upper room:

We were told that we were going to have a traditional Russian meal, – as in a feast, – and our guide inside the monastery described each course as they were served: what they were, a little about tradition and production, how they should be eaten, etc.

I think there were more than ten different courses, – I lost count somewhere during the meal, – and all of it was delicious; the pumpkin soup, chicken and mushroom pie, pancakes with caviar, fish, pork, cucumber rolls and everything else.

We had sweetened mint flavoured juice to drink, – very good after a long and warm day out in the streets. Then there was cake and desserts along with hot tea made from lots of different sour fruits and berries, and sweetened with comb honey.

What a treat!


 

A week later we went into another monastery, in Suzdal, and inside one of the churches there, we laid eyes on another feast.

22 year old Xenia Shlyakova had single-handedly provided a full table of yummy food, – all made from fabric and set onto a large, handmade, table cloth.

There were all kinds of food:  fish with both red and black caviar, mushrooms, and chicken…..

……. pelmeni, cucumbers, roasted pig with vegetables, goose and apples, prawns with lemon and strands of dill……

….. breads in a basket with an embroidered napkin, and decorated bread or cake.

Bearing in mind the topic of the festival was Love, and Wedding, this would probably be the kind of decorated bread made especially for weddings. Note the poppy seeds on the braided loaf, – they are all tiny french knots.

Of course there were desserts too, – fruit, berries, cake, and cookies.

No feast is complete without something to drink.  In the bottle there is moonshine, and my guess is tea in the teapots and the samovar.

I wondered a bit about the boot on the top of the samovar, but Mr. Google informs me that it is used instead of a bellow to fan the fire inside the samovar.

And then the tea is sweetened with comb honey, – everything so neatly made, down to the last detail.

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One the artist’s beautiful quilts was overlooking the table.

 

Both feasts were amazing experiences, and even though the last one was for the eyes only, it is remembered just as well as the one which we could also taste and smell.

 

🙂

Eldrid

 

 

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Transforming a Pillow

The mention of shoddy in my previous post, reminded me of a pillow I rescued from the bin when sorting out things at my parents’ house last summer.

shoddypute

I think it originally came from our grandparents’ home, and I remember sleeping with that pillow when I was a little girl. It was very lumpy back then, and even worse now. Nobody else wanted it, and my first thought was to toss it, but then I rather liked the two fabrics it was made of, and since it would also be good for supporting the breakables during our drive back home, it went into the car instead of the bin.

shoddy

Back home I opened it up and emptied the filling into a plastic bag. This is what shoddy looks like after it has been inside a pillow that has been used for more than 60 years. Very lumpy indeed.

shoddy2

Shoddy is made from old woolen garments, like the socks in my previous post, which have been shredded and carved into fibers, and then carded and made into fillings for pillows and duvets. Close up, one can see some of the original threads and many different coloured fibers.

shoddyputestoff

I washed the fabric and put it away in a plastic bin.

Then we bought a new sofa, and I needed a couple of new pillows. I had seen one in a recent quilting magazine which gave me some ideas, and when looking through my stash for some background fabric, the old pillow came to mind.

kutte

I brought it out, and decided to use both fabrics, and I could even keep the old seam. I cut it one ruler width from the seam on both sides, and then cut the length into two parts, one for each pillow.

Then I added strips of a blue cotton damask fabric, which I had dyed myself many years ago. The two backgrounds are a bit different in size as the inner pillows I had available were of two different sizes. I also turned the stripes horizontally on one, and vertically on the other.

quilte

Then both backgrounds were layered and quilted with a wavy, on point, grid.

teikn sirklar

Next, I drew lots of circles in three different sizes on paper backed fusible web. They were ironed on to the back side of many different yellow, orange, red, and some purple scraps.

 

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Then I placed my “flowers” on the green and blue background. I moved them around till I was satisfied with their placement, then ironed them down.

 

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I sewed around each circle using the satin stitch on my machine. Since the background was layered and quilted, there was no need for a stabilizer.

stilk

I drew some stems with chalk, and then sewed them using a wider satin stitch.

blad

In order to make some leaves, I ironed strips of different greens onto fusible web. Then I drew some leaf shapes in different sizes, and made some templates which I used to draw on the paper side of the fusible web already ironed to the strips. I cut out lots of leaves so I would have some to choose from when distributing them on the background.

blad2

When I was satisfied with the placement, I ironed and sewed around all the leaves using the satin stitch.

ferdig1

Then I only had to make backings for the pillows. Since I did not have zippers available, I made the envelope style backing. I use that a lot.

ferdig2

And onto the sofa they went.

🙂

Eldrid

Annual Spring Report 2015

May 1st has come and gone, so my annual spring report is overdue, but here it is.

spring15a

I guess there is no such thing as a “normal” spring, but if there were, this would be close, I think. At least this is very close to my memories of what spring used to be.

spring15b

Since we were going away on May 1st, I took these photos in the evening the day before, and nothing had changed much overnight, so I think they count as May 1st photos.

We have had a relatively mild winter with little snow here on the coast (inland dwellers will tell a different story), but the spring has been quite cool, especially April. The leaves on the birch trees have just started to come out, but very slowly.

spring15d

 

spring15e

The daffodils are budding, and a few are in bloom.

spring15g

The exceptions are the ones by the walls facing south, they have been blooming for some time. The crocuses are all finished, unlike the very cold spring 2 years ago, when they were still in full bloom on May 1st.

spring15c

The flowering currant bush is also in full bloom, ….

spring15f

…. but none of the rhododendrons have shown their colour yet, – not even the early ones.

spring15h

The tulips by the wall are ready to bloom, and were opening up when we arrived back home two days later.

spring15i

The rose bush has got some green leaves, but the spirea bush only has a hint of green on it.

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No leaves on our old rowan tree yet, but it is budding. We still have snow falling now and again.

As we travelled into the fjords on May 1st, we could see that there was still a lot of snow in the mountains, and the greenery varied from quite green to none at all, depending on whether the slopes were facing south or north, and on the altitude. Some high lying farms inland still had their fields covered with snow.

 

 

🙂

Eldrid

Fair Weather Hexagons

The weather has been nice, – in fact more than nice: really, really hot for these parts of the world.

That is when I pull out my ongoing hexagon project and sit in the shade, cutting, basting and sewing.

hexagonjuly14a

When making the shorts shown in the previous post, I ended up with a lot of odd shaped remnants, perfect for cutting up into hexagons. They have all been basted, along with a few other remnant pieces laying around my sewing area.

hexagonjuly14b

A few have been made into flowers, with a few background pieces added, ready to be attached to the growing top.

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I am starting to think that this will become a small throw for the sofa. It is wide enough by now, but has only a third of the desired height, so I will need to add about a hundred new flower blocks, plus some half blocks to make the edges even.

I see I will need a lot of fine weather to finish this one 🙂 🙂   Bring it on!

🙂

Eldrid