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How to Paper Piece a Quilt Block November 30, 2016 09:03

Paper-piecing is quite simple when you get the hang of it.  This new video demonstrates the paper-piecing technique on the quilt block "Agave with Stained Glass".  For this pattern, the blues and aquas used in the paper pieced strip are striking, however, other colors like reds and yellows would be equally stunning!


Elk in the Forest June 02, 2015 16:39

This is the essay I wrote that's included in the Mountain Habitats Block #3 Elk in the Forest pattern

The Magestic Elk

Scary Business

Overnight camping on Buffalo Peaks, Colorado, with my dad and brother was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. I was ten and we’d hiked during the day and set up the tent near evening. Snuggled deep in my sleeping bag, in the middle of the night, I heard something moving outside - a lot of somethings moving right outside the tent. I was petrified but the terror started next. Loud animal sounds echoed in my ears – bugling it turned out. Elks bugling outside the tent made the entire night one shaking nightmare.

Mud Perfume

Bull elks (males) are the ones that bugle to attract the cows (females). Bulls also rub trees and will bathe in urine-soaked mud pits as attractants.2 In fall, harems of cows form during the rut or mating season. Bull elk may duel with antlers to take over another bull’s harem. Older bulls with the biggest antlers usually win. Harems are made of many females with just one or two bulls. In late May, the 35-pound calves are born spotted and scentless to avoid predators.

Frozen Lakes & Poisonous Lichen

Animal predators of elks include: bears, mountain lions, wolves and scavengers like eagles and coyotes.[1] Strange things kill elk, too. On March 21, 2015, thirty-one dead elk were found floating at the Snake and Greys Rivers intersection on the border of Wyoming and Idaho because they were trying to cross the ice, broke through and drowned. Local authorities estimate death tolls were more like fifty elk but they only found the thirty-one. In addition, Jackson Hole Daily’s Mike Koshmrl reports, “A toxic lichen that grows in the Red Rim area southwest of Rawlins has wiped out droves of elk at times. Fifty died from it in 2008 and 300 were poisoned and fell dead in 2004.”[2] Elk are also susceptible to chronic wasting disease and brucellosis.

What else eats elk? Why humans, of course! Hunting elk is big business for states. Hunters are beneficial to thinning out herds and state’s provide licenses for to keep healthy numbers. Of course, if you do not wish to hunt the 500- to 700-pound creatures and haul them out of deep woods, elk meat is available online. At elkusa.com, elk tenderloin is $34.95 per pound (minimum 2 lbs) and elk hearts are $4.79 per pound (5 lb minimum). At jhbuffalomeat.com elk jerky sticks are $9.25 for ¼ pound.

Burned Bark & Conifer Soup

Humans & bears eat elk, but what do elk call a meal? In summertime, elk eat grasses, forbs and aquatic plants. In winter, they also eat tree bark, twigs and even burned bark.[3] Burned bark and conifer soup is on the menu. Exactly how does one digest bark? Elks have four stomachs: the first for storing food and the other three for digesting.1

Even though all elks have stomachs, only the males have the distinctive antlers which have a story of their own. Antlers drop off in March. They grow back with a velvety coating which rubs off. Antlers begin hardening by late summer. By September, antlers are solid bone and can weigh up to 40 pounds.1

Antlers are so valuable that each May the National Elk Refuge near Jackson Hole, Wyoming has an Elkfest. Antlers are collected on the refuge and sold at auction. Only staff and Jackson District Boy Scouts are allowed to collect the antlers. Each year on overage 8,901 pounds of antlers are sold for about $101,798. This equates to $11.27 per pound.[4]

Where the Elk Are

National Elk Refuge in Wyoming is home to the Jackson Elk Herd made up of 11,000 individuals. Another spot to find massive elk populations is Yellowstone National Park which winters from 10,000 to 20,000 elk in six to seven herds. Gibbons Meadows, Elk Park and Lamar Valley are good places in Yellowstone for viewing elk.3 Distributed mostly across the western half of the U.S., elk currently number about 1 million.1

Historically though, elk lived all across the United States, Western Canada and down into Mexico. At that time, elk numbers were estimated at 10 million.1 Two of the six subspecies of North American elk are extinct: the Merriam’s used to be found in the Southwest and Mexico and the Eastern which was east of the Mississippi. Four species of North American elk remain: Rocky Mountain, Roosevelt’s in Coastal Pacific Northwest, Tule in Central California and Manitoba in the Northern Great Plains.2

Amber Elks

In 2012, Cambridge University archeologists in Northern Germany unearthed an 11,000 year-old amber figurine in the shape of a female elk. Experts claim the figurine was most likely attached to the top of a wooden staff.[5] Elk have been important for at least that long and another 11,000 years into the future if we learn to live with them and learn the way of the majestic elk.

[1] http://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/elk.htm

[2] http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/news/environmental/elk-herd-perishes-in-palisades-reservoir/article_4862bab8-b58b-5bb0-be23-3939b8f01c01.html

[3] http://www.rmef.org/ElkFacts.aspx

[4] http://www.fws.gov/refuge/national_elk_refuge/

[5] Veil, Stephan, et al. Antiquity, Sept 2012, Vol. 86, Issue 333, p.660-73

 


DMC Floss & Just Cross Stitch Ad April 20, 2015 15:35

As early as next week I'll be adding about 1/3 of the DMC six-stranded floss and bulk Darice floss spools to my inventory.  All the colors needed for Raspberry Lane Crafts cross-stitch patterns will be available - except the metallics in the Magic Butterfly Collection.

If you're a cross-stitcher the magazine Just Cross Stitch June 2015 edition contains my ad on page 33.  For those of you buying from a store, it is on sale April 27th.  I'm very excited about that!


Polar Bear & Cub Essay April 03, 2015 16:31

 

All Habitats patterns include an information page on the animal in the pattern promoting its conservation.  The following is the one from Polar Bear & Cub, Block #4 in the Ice Habitats Collection

 

Polar Bears and their Cubs

by

Wendy Christine

 

            Ursus maritimus, also known as the polar bear, is an amazing white giant of the Arctic realm. They spend more time in water than on land. Using only their front paws, they can swim 6 miles per hour. Numbers of polar bears range from 20,000 to 25,000 throughout their Arctic habitat in Alaska, Northern Canada, Greenland, Russia, and Svalbard (Norway). These creatures are nomadic, following their food supplies (mainly seals) with the ice floes. Although polar bears do not hibernate, there is one time the females overwinter in self-made ice dens - to have their cubs.

                                   

            Polar bears can mate from March to May but females have the ability to delay gestation until the winter months. During winter, solitary female bears dig dens in the snow, allowing the snowfall to pile over them, until cubs are born. Newborns are about the size of a chipmunk weighing about 1.5 pounds and are usually born as twins, but can be born in litters of one to three.   Cub mortality rates are about 50%. Cubs stay warm in their mother’s thick fur and drink her milk, while the mother lives off her fat stores.

 

            In March or April, the snow white cubs and hungry mother emerge from the snow den. By this time, the cubs have grown to about 10 to 20 pounds and begin rolling around in the snow in play. When the cubs are strong enough, the mother and cubs begin their nomadic routine of finding food near the ice floe edges and cracks. Then, the cycle begins again when females begin mating at about 3 to 5 years old.

 

References:

http://library.thinkquest.org/3500/polarbear.htm                                   

http://school.eb.com/article

http://www.nwf.org/polarbears and global warming/                                   

http://www.nwf.org/polarbear/pdfs/NWFPolarBearBasics_1-28-08.pdf

 “On Thin Ice” by Daniel Glick, NWF’s National Wildlife, Dec/Jan ‘07, vol. 45, no. 1

 


Green Patterns March 09, 2015 10:29

How green is Raspberry Lane Crafts?  RLC patterns are printed on 30% recycled paper (except one printing job in which virgin paper was used).  This means 30% fewer trees are used, 13% less energy is used, 11% fewer greenhouse gases are emitted, and 14% less water is used in producing it.  One hundred percent recycled paper is a bit too floppy for use with patterns but maybe I'll incorporate it for something (perhaps for my revisions work at home). (Source: Environmental Defense Fund)

My Habitats series patterns really focus on conservation of endangered animals or general education about animals.  Since my B.S. from Colorado State is in Environmental Health, I'll always incorporate pro-environment strategies in my business as well as my home life.  

If you are interested, another website of mine is the Ocean to Ozone Show at www.ocean-to-ozone.org in which I record & post a six- to  nine-minute podcast twice a month about environmental news.  It is free with no advertisements and part of my giving back to the planet and all of you.  Thank you!


Batiks.com Review February 17, 2015 11:52

Batiks are really the only kind of fabric I use.  Most batiks are imported from Bali, Indonesia and Southeast Asia.  Flannel batiks are also amazing to work with.  Today I'm reviewing the website batiks.com.  Last month I made a significant order (over $200) at batiks.com.  Batik selection was incredible.  They probably have hundreds.  I browsed "batik by color".  Other categories included "sea life batiks", "flannel batiks", "sale items", and many others.  Prices range from $12.50 to $6.  When I placed my order, it seemed like they cut the fabric the same day and it was popped in the mail the next day - so great service!  Only two problems I found with this website.  One was batiks.com did not list the thread-count, which is measure of quality.  For high quality batiks the thread-count can be 600.  If your local quilt store typically only buys high quality batiks, you may be disappointed at some of batiks.com fabrics.  The second problem I found was that the minimum cut was 1/2 yard.  Many fabrics I selected were for 1/3 yard (.33).  I did not discover until the end that none of the 1/3-yarders I ordered were in my shopping cart.  (They give you a warning page but I did not notice it.)  Overall, I would recommend batiks.com!

Superbowls & Screaming Goats February 02, 2015 11:06

The great thing about not liking either team in the Superbowl is that whoever loses, I'm not heartbroken. When Peyton and the Denver Broncos lost in the playoffs this year, I was so heartbroken I almost swore off football. This is from a person who was photographed as a baby in 1972 watching football with her dad. Katy Perry's performance motivated me to watch this Superbowl, plus any opportunity to see Brady throw a fit (always amusing). Screaming goats in commercials make me laugh, too! At my parent's house, enjoying the seven-layer dip, I occasionally watched the game, but mostly focused on finishing a butterfly cross stitch in my new pattern the Mardi Gras Butterfly Collection. I'll be releasing that new set, plus two others in a next week or so. Stay tuned...