Thursday, July 29, 2021

I Like #221


I've been absent for a couple of weeks (and late today) because I was able to take a couple of weeks and travel around the Dakotas and Northern Minnesota camping with my family.  I left my pups with my sister, but my parent's three dogs travel with them, so it was a wonderfully doggy vacation.

Here they are sitting (snoozing) with me in the back of the truck.

We started in South Dakota where we did some hiking in the Black Hills, and then went back down to Wind Cave National Park.  We went there last year (I love the bison and the prairie dogs) but we weren't able to go in the cave last year so we went back.

The cave was super cool- the boxwork structures were very different from the caves I'm used to.

From there we drove up through lots of prairie to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.  It was lovely, millions more prairie dogs to watch and love as well as some beautiful badlands with lots of vegetation and some wind-sculpted canyons.  I'd love to go back there with more time to hike.

After that we drove and drove until we got to Northern Minnesota.  We tracked along over the course of a week or so from the west (up near International Falls) edge of the Voyageurs travel pathway all the way down to Lake Superior and then along the Lake Superior North Shore.  It was a very watery trip, so fun and different from many others.

My parents and I and the three dogs stayed in their truck camper, and because it was so unseasonably hot and dry, we were glad to occasionally have full hookups since the solar charging system doesn't run the AC very well.

At a stop along the way in Lake Bemidji State Park we took a hike to a bog and saw lovely carnivorous plants, including pitcher plants (second two pics) and sundew (fourth pic).  We were traveling with long-time friends, and Susan (shown below) introduced us to an app called Seek which identifies living things from phone pictures.  We had a great time taking pictures of flowers and plants and insects (and dogs) and looking up what they were.

We next traveled to Voyageurs National Park where we mostly did water things, but we also took a great hike where there were some really cool fungi, including this Lobster fungus.

Mom and I did a lot of paddleboarding.  It was a really fun way to experience the lakes, calm and quiet, and very serene.  I borrowed a paddleboard from my sister, and it was great to be able to go out together. We got to paddleboard in Lake Roubeax in SD, and lake Kabetogama, Birch Lake, and Lake Superior (in Grand Marais harbor) in MN.  It's hard to take pictures while paddleboarding; my mom took them through her waterproof phone pouch (which is a little hazy).  I took a few with my phone out of its ziploc, but I was always afraid of dropping it in the lake!

Lake Kabetogama (in VNP).  It was pretty hazy the whole trip thanks to smoke from the wildfires in the west and in Canada (just north of where we were) and one in the Boundary Waters (fairly near to where we were).

Jordy loves the water.  We camped at Birch Lake (glorious and beautiful and quiet and not overpopulated) outside Ely where he was able to play in the lake.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is mostly used for multi-day backcountry canoeing trips, but we just had time for a short morning canoe trip on Slim Lake there.

Proceeding ever eastward, we took the ferry out to Isle Royale National Park in Lake superior.  It was a lovely ferry ride with great views of the island and landing float planes.

The vegetation was so different in the North Woods, lots of beautiful birches and ferns and tons and tons of different types of berries.  Unfortunately they're having a dry, dry summer. The fire danger is very high and we saw lots of dried up plants, trees that were already dropping their leaves, and berries that were way tinier than usual.

While camped in Grand Marais, we had a lovely day wandering around the town, doing laundry, and of course, more paddleboarding.  We paddled to some little coves where there were little pools, cool rocks, and lots of sea birds.  Lake Superior really has the feel of the ocean, it's so very big.

The last day we drove down Lake Superior to Gooseberry Falls, where we did a lovely hike and walked down to some very secluded lake coves. 

In spite of the haziness, heat, and dry weather, it was a really really lovely trip.  I love being outdoors and traveling with my family and their friends.  Such a pleasure.  Now I'm back home; glad to be in my own bed, but otherwise going a bit crazy trying to catch up!

I know I'm late to the party, but head over to LeeAnna's to see more things to like this week!

Thursday, July 8, 2021

I like #220

 Welcome to another week of things I like!

I like seeing my friends!  I had wonderful get togethers with three different sets of friends this week and it was so wonderful to see them all.  Really delightful.  I did discover that I am very (very) bad at croquet, but the game was fun all the same!

Spooky is still his beloved self.  This week he has taken to eating all the parts of the pumpkin plant that have grown through the fence onto the back porch.  I keep coming upon him chewing up giant trailing stems of it- I think he likes the crunchy stem bits.  I always take it away, but then he goes and gets some more.  Pretty soon there won't be any left on the porch, so I guess it's self-limiting, but it's too bad, and now there are small pieces of pumpkin leaves all over the place.

And on that same topic, I loved this meme that one of our local quilt stores shared on instagram.  Given my love of illuminated manuscripts and the current residents of my household (ahem, Spooky) it seemed super fitting and really funny.  The header reads "Give me back my quilt! Bad doggie!!

I love my plants!  My baby pumpkins are getting a little bigger (Spooky's efforts notwithstanding), and I've been cutting more flower to take inside.  I love the effect of those long purple flowers.  I think they're Texas lilac, and my neighbors have a huge giant tree/bush of them that always invades my yard.  It's kind of annoying because they don't prune it and it pushes on the fence, but it is very beautiful and I don't feel bad about cutting the bits that hang over into my yard.  They add a nice linear shape to my flower arrangements to complement the very round dahlias and zinnias.

I love getting started on something new.  I spent a couple of days this weekend on a new sewing project, namely making a little over 200 of these fabric covered spikes.  They're for a new quilt project, I'm not sure exactly what yet, but I'm sure it'll be interesting.  I love seeing them all piled up!

Poor Blue has an aural hematoma, his ear has this giant blood blister on it and he has to go to the vet tomorrow.  He doesn't seem too bothered, I just hope it doesn't get worse today.

I love toads!  This poor guy hopped into my studio the other day and got behind one of my work benches.  Luckily I was able to extract him and safely return him to the outdoors.

I'm super excited that there is an article about my quilts in the upcoming issue of Patchwork Professional, a European Quilting magazine.

Right now they're doing a contest to pick the cover quilt for the next issue.  If you're on instagram, go over to the post below and vote for quilt A, and maybe my quilt will get to be on the cover!

I hope everyone is having a good week!  Click over to LeeAnna's for more things to like! 

Thursday, July 1, 2021

I Like #219

 Welcome to another week of things to like.  It's been raining and raining here which has prevented the temperatures from getting too hot, although it's very muggy.  Such unseasonable weather here is very weird, but my plants and flowers are glad of the the rain.  My floors, not so much.  So much rain means gallons of mud in the house.

The pumpkin plant is getting bigger and bigger every minute.  I hope the pumpkins will mature.  The first dahlias fully bloomed this week.  I have two varieties blooming right now, these perfect ball dahlias (I think they are the Maarn variety), and one Alauna Clair-Obscur dahlia (it's the purple one Spooky is sniffing).  I also planted a bunch of dinnerplate dahlias and I'm not sure if any of them grew at all (so many of my dahlias never came up this year), but I have three-ish plants that haven't bloomed yet so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that at least one of them is one of the dinner plates.

I made my first cut flower bouquet this week- I'm terrible at arranging but I love having some flowers inside!

Spooky the loaf.  He sits on my lap like this and although it's nice when he occasionally sits the other way so I get the head-end, when he is the other way he just bothers Bentley to death, so this is preferable when we're all sitting together.

Michael is one of my very dear friends and he is visiting this week from Massachusetts!  I'm so glad to get to spend some time with him this week!

I have to cherry tomato plants and they're both thriving.  I got a few regular red cherry tomatoes off one of them but the tomatoes from the other bush never turned red.  I finally realized (doh) that they're just yellow tomatoes.  I ate a bunch of them with my dinner last night, so tasty!

When I was in New Mexico over Thanskgiving last year I harvested some new cactus fruits to try to grow from seed.  I planted them a couple of months ago and at first all that sprouted were these little weedy looking things that looked like a stem with two leaves.  They weren't cactus like at all, and weren't like the barrel cacti I'd previously started from seed, so I figured what had sprouted was just weeds and that the cactus seeds weren't any good.  But I left them there (more out of laziness than anything), and when I looked at them yesterday, a bunch of them had sprouted cactus bits out of the top of the leaves!  So exciting!

Spooky chewed a hole in the last intact dog bed yesterday and spent lots of joyful time burrowing in it last night.  Sigh.

And finally, I blogged about my rainbow armadillo quilt this week!  There were three posts, please click through to read about him!!

Click over to LeeAnna's for more fantastic things to like!

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Armadillo and the Cow-finished

 Earlier this week (here and here) I shared some in process pictures and the story behind my latest art quilt, The Armadillo and the Cow.  I'm back today to share pictures of the final piece.

The Armadillo and the Cow.  c. Shannon Conley, 2021, 35"h x 49"w, Photo Mike Cox

The edges are finished with couched bright pink chenille yarn, and I love the festive feel of the brightly colored trim.  All the pink trim and pink/black doilies came from my trim and lace collection.  The little bright pink bits along the top were remnants from the vintage doilies I used to cover the head and legs.  The green trim is some that was in my stash from Georgia (thanks Georgia!) which I think she dyed a long time ago.  

The rubber stoppers were sewn on with sparkly Ricky Tims Razzle Dazzle thread, so you can see them sparkle if you look from the side.  The quilting was tricky since you only get one shot when quilting through thick paper, but the rainbow thread really makes me smile.

His head is mounted on a wire, so while not really a true bobble head, it does bounce if you bop him on the nose.  I adjusted his eye a little to make it look like he's glaring a bit suspiciously at the cow.  Like he can't quite tell whether she is having more fun than he is.

When you look at the side view you can see the dimension a little more.  The armadillo body is held on with magnets so it can easily be removed if I need to work on the background.  It protrudes about 4-5 inches from the background.  The cow is mounted on springs about 1.5" from the background, so she boings nicely if you tickle her.

I love how this turned out.  I'm still working on a hidden frame for it (mounted to the back to provide support), but it just makes me happy to see it on my design wall.  I'm still trying to think of a name for the armadillo and the cow, so feel free to leave any suggestions in the comment box!