Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's those eyes!!!..

Inspired by a fellow blogger's amazing photographs of owls, I found myself wanting to create my own owl out of fabric. I know it was the eyes, in those photographs, that grabbed my intense and colorful! The great thing about fabric is that one has so many choices of colors, textures and patterns but at the same time all those choices make it difficult to decide which ones will help create the look you want. I can spend a lot of time looking at fabrics and I do..but sooner or later you've got to decide. Below is a sampling of some of the fabrics that I chose...I knew I wanted to focus on creating a full frontal look and zero in on those big yellow-orange eyes! I found a few magazine photos to help me with proportion and detail. The blue you are seeing behind the sketch is a large sheet of Styrofoam that I purchased and attached to my sewing room wall. It is about 2 inches thick and allows me to use large straight pins to hold all my fabric choices in place.

A quick sketch and I'm now into the part of the process I really can't explain...a sort of trial and error, if you will, on what works and what doesn't! I cut out a piece of a fabric, tack it onto my sketch and stand back to see if it does what I want. If it looks good it stays if not .. I try again and again!!

When I think I have every piece where I want it I then use some fabric glue to help hold the pieces together, prior to sewing.I never hesitate to purchase fabrics that have realistic pictures on them, as I find I can cut out a section and make it work within my design. Do you remember seeing the Bengal Tiger fabric peeking out at you in the first picture? I found that if I cut out the chins of the Bengal Tigers they made a wonderful ruffle around the owl's neck. You might want to click on the photo to enlarge.

I also used some of the tiger stripes to create the breast area on the owl. The white dots you are seeing are actually the round tips of the straight pins that are still holding the pieces together.

Upon completion of the body, I use clear thread to sew my owl together and then I placed it on a dark background before adding my branches and greenery. Each leaf was cut out and attached, via thread, to the background. I added some berries and aged leaves for contrasting color.

The last thing I do before I start to quilt the background is called free motion quilting. I add closely stitched colored threads to parts of the branches where I want to darken shadows. It's kind of like painting with thread. I then sew/quilt the fabrics and batting together and create my border. For now, I 've hung this little guy in our front room..a room we pass by.. but don't use very!! Why, you ask?? Well, I REALLY needed to take a break from those big round staring know, the eyes that captured my attention in the first place and lured me to create my interpretation of an owl! My next project, I think, will be much more serene and eyes!! ;-)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ahh,.. 'tis the season...

This post could basically speak for itself... ( but I'm feeling wordy ;0....) 14+ inches of snow greeted us this morning. a familiar site as one looks outside....a neighbor clearing his sidewalk.
..even the pooch wants to get out in this 12 he still loves to romp and eat that snow!!
obviously, one of the reasons to go out was to feed the birds!! They seem to flutter onto the surrounding trees after I turn on the lights in the early they really know my routine that well...hmmm.. who has who conditioned??

a little junco...just waiting his turn...such a sweet bird...
I hear this nuthatch before I see him...
the titmouse giving me the glare..guess he didn't like his picture being taken... of my super to hear them call to each other during these winter months. We are lucky to have a pair of Carolina Wrens visit us each day!
our over night guest..
my little red birdhouse refuge...and this downy has taken up residence in it....sleeping here overnight for the last several weeks..keeping warm during these snowy times...
..its a nice visit from ole man winter but upon coming in...there's such a nice greeting of these paper whites, which just opened the other day!!
...hmmm such a nice fresh smell..

Friday, December 18, 2009

The prettiest red!!

Tis the time of the year that Holiday decorations surround us all! The reds, greens, silvers, blues and whites...but the prettiest red I've seen recently was this visitor to my backyard. He only spent a few minutes in our tree... but oh, what a beauty he was...and there was no denying that he had a gorgeous red-tail!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The return of Alice... cooper that is..

...helping me to save on bird seed, again. :(

right onto my new platform feeder..
..down onto the deck, where he then..
walks right off the deck..and climbs up through the yews to another feeder..a very bold bird..indeed!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Odds and Ends..

Looking like he heard something quite interesting this little American Goldfinch was caught tilting its head and trying to figure out what that noise was.....meanwhile having seen this hermit thrush in a nearby tree I was surprised to see him..

open up his bill and actually stick his tongue out at me..along with a little screeching noise.
Did I up set him...?? I'll never know..

but then this little Kinglet landed near my car as I was getting ready to leave and it had a huge drop of water still hanging on its the time I got my camera ready some of the water had dropped..darn!

I also found this one lone tree that was still carrying some wonderful red/pink leaves..but I have no idea what kind of tree it is..such a great color too! Just lovely to look at among all the greys, browns and blacks.

and last but no least..a great photo taken by a friend..of a Wawa bird house...Wawa is the name of a chain store/gas station here in the southeastern part of Pa. It's lone goose logo (the wawa) is actually the Lenni Lenape Indian name for a Canadian Goose. The Lenape Indians were the original people of the Mid-Atlantic area...also known as the Delaware Indians. Unlike the busy one-stop-shop, this Wawa bird house is empty and waiting for some roosting winter birds!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday Greetings!

One has to admire those creative birds!!
I do hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. A time to reflect over the past year.. and give thanks with family and friends!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Giraffe graffti!!

Some one took a lot of time over the weekend to turn a favorite hawk perch into the likeness of a giraffe. A little spray paint and some we will have to wait and see if the artist's renderings have a positive or negative affect on those perching hawks!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spotting a good thing!!

A Sunday walk with the daughter and she spots that fall visitor we all love to see!!

How cute is the face on that long-eared owl?? Just love those big eyes!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I am finding myself lagging in my posting duties these days. :( Sorry.. maybe it's the time of season or the change in the clocks or maybe it's because those little warbler birds became so frustrating to capture with my lens ...I don't know why but I began to only carry my binoculars when I walked. Yesterday, for some reason, I decided to snag the camera as I headed out the door...and boy, I was glad I did!! I had only been walking the trail about 5 minutes when I noticed this young red-tail sitting on a branch close to the ground! Whatever he had been eating was gone, I could still see the blood on his talons..but no evidence of his kill. He was such a stunning sight...such beautiful markings.

He didn't seem to mind that I was so close as he pecked the branch's surface over and over again.

I sat and watched him for about 10 minutes. How nice to sit and watch a beautiful bird of prey right in front of killing my neck, no gymnastics to get a decent shot...just what I needed to spark that ole digital hunting desire... ;-)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Good bye October....

The sun peeked out in the middle of the afternoon...calling to all of us to enjoy its warmth. I headed to the park and as I was parking the car I noticed this bald cypress tree just bursting with color! In the Spring and Summer these trees always look like evergreens to me but they are actually deciduous and after exhibiting these gorgeous colors, they, too, will eventually drop their leaves.

We are not seeing the usual autumn colors we normally see but there isn't a shortage of food. The trees and bushes are laden with fruit.

The milkweed are gracefully allowing the winds to carry its spider-like seeds into the air...

..while these orange and black beetles (milkweed bugs) feed on the juices of the seeds of the plants..

From bugs to bucks grazing in this field. I don't usually see male deer grazing together..and so I WAS very surprised when they picked up their heads to look my way!! Aren't they just striking to look at? Such handsome faces!!

I decided to sit a while on one of the many stone benches in the park. Many of the benches were made to exhibit tiles made at the Mercer Tiles Works, in Doylestown, Pa. Henry Chapman Mercer was a famous historian, archaeologist, collector and ceramist--a Renaissance man of the early 20th Century. Born and raised in Bucks County, his famous castle, tile works and museum are just a few miles away from where I live.

The late afternoon sun was showing all the colors of a fading October...and as I got up to leave I noticed that I had been in the company of one of my favorite birds. I guess he was also enjoying the last of the afternoon rays. As I drove home the sun lost its battle with the clouds. Rain again is in the forecast..tomorrow bringing a change in our clocks..but for now I guess, it's time to gather in front of the TV and hope our Phils win tonight!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Finding those posed birds!!

I was out looking for something different, something I haven't seen before, something that was easy to take a picture of... A little Ruby-crowned Kinglet landed not far from where I was walking. I know for a fact that fast and furious is a good way to describe these little birds when they are hungry. zoom zoom zoom....

...and I've learned that you always collect a huge file of bird butt shots...even if you don't try to!

I saw Eastern Phoebes, who unlike the RC Kinglets, strike a nice perched pose ONCE in a while..

and this Osprey who is a local resident at our nearest lake...seeing him WAY up there perched on his always a real treat!!

but it was this couple who caught my eye, as I made my way home. I've been looking for a small little fountain that would compliment my rather small backyard during the warmer months. I knew the moment I saw it that this was what I was looking for..the forever permanently-posed bird!! Picture ready...
Now, how far away is Spring, I'm ready!! ;-)

would like to hear your thoughts..