Nature and Nurture.

This post is a bit of a hotch potch of things that have happened here in no particular order. The first picture is of a recently completed baby quilt, (I am resisting the temptation of turning this into a grandma boasting blog!) but I suppose this is sort of work related. I used bits and pieces mainly from my “Nestled in Springtime” collection, plus a few bits salvaged from the new grandfather’s shirts, and a bit of “Herb Garden” thrown in for good measure. I did all of the piecing on my sewing machine but had help with the quilting part, my excuse was lack of time but lack of skill and courage also played a part.

As we have spent so much time away from home recently, we have become increasingly dependant on a good friend of ours who minds Ted, our dog. This friend is a country man born and bred and despite the fact that he is now in his seventies, spends most of his days dog walking and making walking sticks. He was given this fallow dear antler by another dog walker who thought it might be of use for stick making, our friend however had other ideas, he thought it would be nice to have the name “Badger” painted on it and had the idea to present this to Badger’s owner to hang above his kennel. I should explain that Badger the spaniel, sleeps in a kennel inside a barn. It was for this reason that it came in my possession, I was asked to help with the lettering. Painting on an antler was a new experience for me, it was a bit daunting using acrylic paint, and I was definitely out of my comfort zone, as was the poor deer that lost his antler no doubt! I was reassured to hear that this is a natural process and no deers were harmed in any way. I have not heard what Badger thinks of his new nameplate, Ted looked rather disdainful when he found out that it was not for him.

Whilst we are on the subject of nature, I thought that I would show you this most gruesome spectacle that happened in my garden earlier today. I was sitting at my desk painting away, when all of a sudden I heard screeching and alarm sounds outside. A sparrow hawk had swooped down on an unsuspecting sparrow and clasped it between its claws. I managed to grab my camera but the shot is very poor I am afraid. I tried to take a closer shot but the bird flew off still clutching its prey, leaving a pile of feathers in its wake. I suppose the hawk has hungry mouths to feed too but I am feeling very guilty now for keeping a bird bath in front of my window. I love to see the sparrows splashing about in the water, I think they were having so much fun they forgot to keep watch. Click on the photo for all the gory details.


  1. The quilt is beautiful and we proud Nana's have to talk about our grandkids. I love hearing about new arrivals to the family. Such a joy.


  2. Hello from the other "Willow". :)

    The quilt is absolutely gorgeous and I would love to hear more of your grandchildren.

    Lovely pic of you and your honey on your sidebar!

  3. Hello Valerie, The quilt is absolutely beautiful. I am sure your wee grandson will be very cozy wrapped in it and held by his grandma. Hugs Judy

  4. Be certain Valerie that all quilting Grandmothers are duty bound to make a first (and second and third)quilt - you put all your love into it. I made one and also crotcheted a Christening shawl. When I think of it now, twenty four years later, I cannot imagine how I possibly managed it.
    Enjoy your grandson while he is small - he will be starting school before you know where you are! Good sparrow hawk photo - don't feel too bad - that's nature red in tooth and claw.

  5. Beautiful quilt (how do you find the time?). Sparrow hawks have to feed too; don't feel too guilty; it happens regularly in our garden, but right out in the open by your window is amazing.

  6. hey i'm a dad and i love to see grandma's, nana's, grampa's and granddads strutting their stuff. i love it!!! i tell my class on a regular basis to be sure to talk as much as possible with their grandparents. to really love them up while they can. to build a quiet long celebration of the fortune the kids have in their grandparents.
    on the sparrow - nature's rough and emotionless. we lost two chipmunks in much the same manner. but then i eat meat...... have a peaceful evening. steven

  7. Oh my! That picture of the hawk is just amazing. Don't feel guilty about having a bird bath by your window. I was at my sister's place recently, and we watched open-mouthed as a hawk swooped down upon the dog. He happened to see us and flew away with a screech. EEeeeek!

    By the way, the quilt is lovely. Funny thing, on the way home I found a beautiful hand-made quilt with a circle pattern on the front. I think it has something to do with wedding rings? Anyhow, I have NO idea where it came from. It was lying crumpled in the middle of the road.

  8. Ah Valerie, that quilt is so lovely, and is sure to become an heirloom!

    The nature photo is pretty amazing. The foreground is so calm and full of the artist's room, and then, just beyond that glass ... real drama.

    Thank you for sending both of these themes along to us in the same post.


  9. Such a lovely quilt made with love and care for your new grandson - I'm sure it will be treasured for a long time to come. Years ago we were walking down a country lane - I think in Dorset - when a Sparrow Hawk swooped down and snatched a small bird out of the hedge and flew off with it right in front of us - I've never forgotten it. Great photo of the hawk and also of Ted with the antler:)

  10. Beautiful baby quilt Valerie! I'm actually looking forward to more blog posts about your grandbaby! New family members are such a joy!

    Take care and happy October! xx

  11. Thank you for your kind comments on my blog. ((hugs)) The hawk didn't get the dog, because we scared him off. The thing is that the dog is too big for that bird in the first place. Tch tch tch.

    I did keep the blanket, because the road on which I found it is a country road out in the middle of nowhere. It was a lovely find. I am sad for the person who lost it, but I don't know how I'd find out who's it was.

    So I'll keep it and treasure it as one of those amazing gifts.

  12. My young cat "Whiskers" kills birds in our backyard to my dismay and recently arrived inside with the tiniest feathers stuck in his paws and mouth so I can understand how you feel. Nature is beautiful, but there is also a harsh side to it.

    I think your quilt is really beautiful and I feel quite inspired to sit down this weekend and start some kind of quilting project. I love the colours you chose.

    It's a pleasure to hear you discuss your new grandson as I miss those days when my boys were so little and your posts bring back pleasant memories!


  13. Lovely work. As always, a delightful post.

  14. Lovely quilt. Such soft, gentle colors. Don't worry about posting about grandchildren. Most of us understand. thanks for your comments. They've helped me keep going. - Jeanne

  15. Its wonderful to hear from a proud Grandma! and how lovely to have an excuse to make baby inspired things. Love the quilt. I still have one my own grandmother made for me, many moons ago, it is very precious. *ruthie*

  16. Hi Valerie, thanks for the link to Una Woodruff. I saw her work years ago at an exhibition and was amazed at the detail. Your painting appears to be in very good company with the other artwork. It is a beautiful piece - very autumnal.

    Sad about the sparrow. We get sparrow hawks from time to time in our garden. We have two birdtables and they snatch the collared doves.

  17. The baby quilt is adorable.
    Lucky you to have your camera nearby to take the shot of the hawk.

  18. Go ahead with the "grandma boasting blog" .... I can't wait until I'm a grandma!

    Your quilt is so pretty.

    Poor sparrow! Nature does have her brutal side, doesn't she?