Saturday caterpillar update

So today our big caterpillar hadn’t eaten since…the night prior. I was freaking out that this was it, he was surely dying, and when he started doing this weird heaving/twitching thing I thought that surely we were witnessing his final moments. He did this long enough for me to panic and send messages to my monarch mentors, and then he promptly started properly molting and I was relieved.

Link to time lapse short video of him molting:


He was VERY still after that and didn’t eat for another few hours, which had me worried, too. But then he started munch, munch, munching, and I relaxed again.

Link to time lapse video of him eating a fresh milkweed leaf:


And since I was taking videos, here’s a like to a time lapse video of one of the little guys:


Head count as of 7/25 PM:

1 tiny caterpillar hatched yesterday
2 tiny caterpillars hatched today
1 small caterpillar, likely getting ready to molt (just hanging out on the side of the cup)
1 large caterpillar, just molted







Attempt at raising monarch butterflies

One of my goals when buying a house with a yard was to plant some milkweed to help the monarch butterflies in their great migration. After moving in, on my first trip to the local garden center I made sure to pick up a swamp milkweed plant to see if it liked our yard’s conditions. To my surprise, early this week, up sprouted a HUGE common milkweed plant behind some of our perennial landscaping!

UntitledLily came running to me “a monarch! A monarch butterfly!” and we nearly ended up late to her swim lessons on Monday after watching two flutter around the yard, landing on these surprisingly tall stalks. Untitled

Then, much to my upset, our landscapers accidentally pulled the milkweed on Tuesday. He felt horrible, and I know for other people they likely would have considered it a weed and he would have gotten in trouble for NOT pulling it. I still cried. And replanted it. And only the stalks came out and no roots so I’m hopeful it will return next year, but I don’t think the replanted stalks are going to take.

Anyway, this made me look at the underside of the leaves…just in case. And much to my surprise there were monarch eggs!

11059356_10101262538979047_2871874153345668851_n(Bottom right turned out to just be dried milkweed sap…I knew it didn’t look quite right to be an egg.)

So, knowing that this large plant likely wasn’t going to make it, I brought the eggs inside. And also knowing that I had accidentally eliminated some milkweed in our yard I went out to the local garden store and bought four more plants.

I also went out and checked our young swamp milkweed that I had planted a few weeks ago, and much to my surprise…eggs!

UntitledAnd even a caterpillar! 11755234_10101263314569757_2594373653747686347_n This made me check the new plants and even more surprises! A BIG caterpillar came with me from the garden center and I didn’t even notice!


So everything came to live with me inside, which I am still quite terrified about. I did it though because they have <10% survival rates in the wild, given conditions and predators, and 90% in captivity so that they can be released. So I’m going to give it a try. We’ll have started with 2 caterpillars and 8 eggs (half on common milkweed, half on swamp milkweed). The first common milkweed egg from the dying plant hatched yesterday.

IMG_3293Unfortunately that little one didn’t survive overnight. I’m not sure what went wrong. So we’re already at our statistical 90% rate and we haven’t even really started. Eek. Another one of the eggs is getting dark (meaning it’s going to hatch SOON), while the rest are all still white. I wonder if they’re duds. I hope I don’t mess this all up! Untitled


“Favorite Things” Quilt

This idea came to me toward the end of Lily’s year of ballet lessons which finished with her recital dance song being “Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. I happened to see a fabric with raindrops and then a fabric with roses and it all clicked in my head and I knew I just HAD to make this quilt.

Raindrops on rose and whiskers on kittens,
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens,
Silver white winters that melt into springs,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels,
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles,
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes,
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes,
Silver white winters that melt into springs,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the dog bites, when the bee stings,
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad!

I don’t want it to be a literal exact translation from the song necessarily, but I want to incorporate as much as I can from the song. A lot of these will be relatively easy, but I’ll probably forgo schnitzel 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-07-11 at 8.55.13 PM
This first one was my first bethlehem star block and I was instantly in love.

Screen Shot 2015-07-11 at 8.56.00 PM
This block added “whiskers on kittens” to the “raindrops on roses.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-11 at 8.56.24 PM

And here’s “when the bee stings.”

I have two more blocks planned (a paper pieced bow for “cream colored dressed with blue satin sashes” and an apple for “apple strudel”). I also know I’d like to do a flying geese block for the “wild geese” line. The rest I have ideas bouncing around, but nothing solid just yet. It’s fun to watch this unfold!

Try Something New Every Month: Drunkards path quilt blocks, sewing curves

I’ve never sewn a curved seam that lies flat like this drunkards path quilt block before, and much like my TSNEM paper piecing project it involved a lot of me staring at it until I finally just dove in and tried it.

I printed this template (sized up like 120% on my printer so it was a little bigger to work with) and cut out some pieces late one night…

Then I cut out the rest in the morning and set out to work…

Thanks to this YouTube video by Donna Poster I was able to get a grip on what exactly I was doing. Knowing that the circular inside piece was supposed to be longer than the outside piece helped my brain a lot. It was also hugely helpful knowing that the first and last little bit at the beginning and end of the curve was the only non-bias parts to be sewn straight, and then the rest could be pulled and stretched to work together.

A bit wonky, but not a terrible first block…

They started whipping up relatively fast…

And eventually I had this diagonal little diddy…

This is for a swap though, and I haven’t quite finished the rest of the idea in my head yet, so that’s all for now without revealing too much 🙂

P.S. I love my sewing view. Seriously.

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