Our guest family has flown.

We watched the nest all day today, but they’re all gone, safely out into the blue.

Yesterday, there was a bit of busyness, lots of Mama and Papa zooming to and fro. Sadly, we missed The Launch, but today, all was quiet. I think they must have gone either early morning or last night. The nest is fully intact, so it was a safe exit, rather than a tragic event.

Mouse is relieved at having ‘his’ open door into the backyard available once again. I’m a little relieved because it means I can now get out there to sweep and wash the deck, shake out the cushions and wipe down the table and chairs. Entertaining season is almost upon us, and the Husband needs to give the barbecue grill a bit of love.

I’ll leave you with a bit of bluegrass I love dearly, which is rather appropriate for the case:

I’ll fly away – Alison Krauss

A Scrappy Milestone

I know, I know, this is the wrong day.

But I’ve been hammering away hard at finishing up the blocks for the Hopscotch quilt and it’s done. All blocks are now complete.

I confess to a sense of relief. Oceans of 3 inch squares can be, well, dull, no matter how brightly coloured they are. 20 was enough, or 22 if you count the ones I used to make the recent book bag.

I don’t have a photo of every single individual block, since by the end I was moving them around a fair bit to get a layout I could live with. But here are the last 4. If you’re reaching for your sunglasses, I don’t blame you!

ScrapHappy Day will feature other scrappy projects for a while. I need to take a break from this before I start the task of sandwiching and quilting the blocks, and then joining them all together and binding it all. I have several ideas in the pipeline, so you won’t go short of colourful scrappiness.

And in other domestic news, I am happy to announce the hatching of Baby Sunbird(s?).🥂🐣

Mrs Sunbird is no longer sitting; she and Mr Sunbird are now business shooting to and fro with beakfuls of hatchling-fodder, mostly of the wriggling insect variety. Since this is a sensitive time, I’m respecting their privacy and restricting access to that area for both man and dog. Which is why this photo was taking through both glass and the screen door. You are seeing Mrs Sunbird moments after stuffing something leggy into a gaping baby beak. It must be a relief to stretch her wings after all that relentless sitting.

I’ll try and keep you posted. Hopefully I’ll be lucky enough to capture the next life-stage for your entertainment!

Time to go and look at something fabricky that isn’t a 3″ square.

Trying it for size

They’re back.

The sunbird couple are flitting around the nest again. Not constantly, but regularly. Mrs SB spent a good hour this afternoon sitting in the nest with her head out the hole (see her curved beak sticking out on the right?). Whether she was assessing it for comfort, fit, ambience or location I don’t know, but she was there a good while. Maybe she was even laying an egg?

I’m going no closer than I absolutely have to. As it is, we’re reluctant to use the back deck for fear of disturbing her. Mouse, of course, is totally unconcerned, and as this is his route out to the back yard to do his business, he trots happily under the nest without paying it any attention. She ignores him right back… I do hope they’re planning to stay and raise a family. It’s usually two eggs, I believe, so maybe we’ll be seeing a pair of tiny curved beaks opening wide for nectar and insects from the hardworking parents. And of course, situated where they are, they’re safe from both larger predatory birds and cats, and extremes of weather.

On another note, I have one seam left to go on Twilight, always the hardest because I’m wrestling the full weight of the quilt and trying to keep quite tiny seams straight.

Tomorrow should see it done. Once more unto the breach, etc.  I also have the binding made and rolled up neatly, waiting for that bit to start. I need to start thinking about a label!

So, progress on all fronts!

Slow, like a slow thing

…. that’s very slow.

Which is a fair description of my progress on Twilight. It’s getting done, but in short bursts. Unfortunate, because QAYG needs concentration and a decent chunk of time applied to each section. Still, at least there is progress.

I have two thirds of it assembled. You can see the top and middle sections are put together, the bottom one is still to be done. After that, I will have the two long seams to do, always the worst part because the sheer weight of the thing drags and makes sewing accurate small seam allowances difficult to maintain. It’s my main reason for assembling it the way I do; minimise the number of long seams you have to do, and you minimise the potential issues as well as the definite stress! I know people who do their QAYG assembly row by row, and I don’t know how they do it!

I really like how the very dark blue sashing makes the colours pop and gives definition to each individual block as well as bringing the whole thing together.

Not much to report on Chateau Sunbird. They added the porch, a little lip that sticks out over the entrance hole, and then apparently went on their honeymoon. Either that, or they decided it wasn’t quite perfect, or they didn’t like the neighbours, or something. Time will tell if they come back and move in.

Oh, and one tiny landmark. I have now lost 20 kg (44 pounds) since the beginning of May. My doctor is thrilled! I’m pretty thrilled too, as I can now wear lots of old clothes I’d put away sadly, thinking I might never get into them again. I have a waist once more!

Back to the sashing strips, I have a quilt to finish!

Being thankful

Thanks for this day, for all birds safe in their nests, for whatever this is, for life.
Barbara Kingsolver (2008). “Prodigal Summer

I’m thankful. For my life, the fact that I’m alive, for small triumphs in adversity, for peace and plenty (not merely ‘enough’). I’m thankful that in my small circle of life I have lost no friends or family to rampaging lunatics, or fanatics, or war, or disease, poverty or desperation. I’m thankful for independence, bodily and legal autonomy, for peace and modest happiness. I’m thankful for abundant green life, for sunshine, rain, and the beautiful earth.

And the birds.

What a privilege it is to watch this tiny master builder constructing its extraordinary nest. It’s over 30cm (a foot) long, and the bird’s barely 5cm/2 inches.

This nest is literally 50cm/20 inches from our door onto the back deck. Despite the regular comings and goings of ourselves and Mouse, the bird has simply ignored us as though we weren’t there and plugged on with its enormous task.

I’ve put out some offerings, and am truly touched and honoured that some have been accepted. He hasn’t gone for the dryer fluff, residue from the Husband’s cotton singlets. He’s had a bit of dog hair, but not much. By far his favourite nesting material has been my colourful thread ends, which are hopefully lining the nest – the clump at bottom left disappeared overnight. Since the nest is fully under cover, I didn’t worry about the cotton fibre absorbing too much moisture and staying soggy.

He flies to and from from the backyard with bits of vegetable fibre, fragments of dead leaf, bits of spider web and so on. The whole world is his salvage yard, and he is the ultimate artist/ sculptor/ builder/ architect/ homesteader.

I have a lot to be grateful for, including the time to watch and marvel.

Quilting, and housekeeping

Hello there, I’m still alive!

I’m so sorry it’s been an age since I checked in. A lot has been going on behind the scenes. First, some good news. My relative with bowel cancer has been given the all clear after surgery, no chemo or radiotherapy required. Huge relief all round! The family have had a tense wait for all the pathology to come in, but totally worth it. More good news. My own annual cancer checkup has shown that the Little Bugger lurking on the other side is still snoozing. No change in size or condition. Another six months’ all clear until the next MRI.

And so with that out of the way, I finally buckled down and got on with Twilight. I’ve finished all the sandwiching and quilting, and have cut all the sashing strips to start assembly, which begins today.

As always, I’m breaking the task down into manageable chunks, but I hope to have the assembly all done by the end of the coming week. That leaves just the label and binding.

As you can see, it’s only lightly quilted in my No. 2 fallback pattern, crosshatch. This keeps it very soft and drapey, which combined with the lovely hand of the fabrics will ensure a really snuggly finished quilt. I think I’ll be binding it in the same inky dark blue as the front sashing.

And finally, the housekeeping bit. The Olive-Backed Sunbirds are back, and flitting around our front and back porches, looking for a suitable place to build their amazing sock-like nest. Mr Sunbird has been dismantling/destroying the nest they started and abandoned last year, right beside our back door, with the result that it’s a sad, tattered rag and the ground below is strewn with bit of dead leaf, dried grass, fluff, hair, twig, thread and who knows what. I’m leaving it for now in case they want to recycle it, and I have put out a container of fluff, dog hair, thread and whatnot, but so far this has been ignored.

He’s also spending considerable time admiring himself. I see his point, because he is exceptionally colourful and handsome. Meanwhile, Mrs Sunbird, who wears much less showy feathers , is darting here and there, and is probably doing most of the work!

So now you’re all caught up. I expect there’ll be a bit more to tell you soon, because I have various activities planned, but until they happen and i have photos, they’re on the back burner.

Till then.