Bobcat In The Woods

Bobcat quilt pattern, Big cat quilt pattern | Whims And Fancies


Bobcat pattern on Etsy


I love cats and that includes big cats too.  In March I got a request for a bobcat quilt pattern for a school mascot and accepted it right away.  I wanted to give my block a stylized feel, so instead of using fabrics that would resemble fur, I focused mostly on just the colours.

The pattern is for a 16″ block.  It has only a few seam alignment points, which makes the block easy to sew regardless of how complicated it looks.



Bobcat Big Cat Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies


Bobcat pattern on Etsy


The pattern also includes alternate sections without the stripes.  That eliminates a lot of piecing and, in turn, a lot of sections.  It is an intermediate-advanced pattern because of all the details.  This large cat quilt pattern is available on my Etsy shop.


I really love how it turned out.  I am not sure yet if I am going to incorporate the block as part of a quilt or make a wall hanging with it.  Since I can easily imagine those markings on a kitty-cat, this block will always represent a cat to me.



Perylene Green Daniel Smith | Whims And Fancies



I have been playing with the colour green this month.  We are always in need of bookmarks.  I found a scrap of watercolour paper in the perfect shape of a bookmark on my shelf.  After an exhausting Saturday, I painted these trees using Daniel Smith’s beautiful Perylene Green.  I have been using the bookmark ever since.



Wildflower Expo Skyline Park Napa, CA | Whims And Fancies



Last weekend was the wildflower expo.  Unfortunately, for various reasons we couldn’t make it there on Saturday when they would have had more plants.  We went there on the cool and drizzly Sunday morning after breakfast.  They still had a wide variety of local plants for sale.  Although most of the plants were too young to have blooming flowers, there was a lot of information available and a group of very knowledgeable hosts to help educate us.



Wildflower Expo Skyline Park, Napa, CA | Whims And Fancies



These are the plants that came home with us.



Deep Purple Douglas Iris | Whims And Fancies



One of them is a Douglas Iris.  I spotted this flower on one of the plants and that was immediately followed by the plant being in my little cart.

Other than sewing, painting and planning the garden, I have been updating my website a little.  I added “Free To Imagine” as a tag line.  I also created a new template for my pattern files so they have a better look and feel.  It was a busy week, but the stolen moments of art gave me much-needed balance.


Happy Crafting,



Wandering Camera – April Linky Party

Camera And Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies


Welcome to this month’s Wandering Camera linky party – the April Edition.  Thank you for sharing a little bit of your world with us by linking up in March.  I am also loving those photography and camera experiments you are doing.

I kept the link-up open for little over a week the last couple of months, but my wonderful friends posted about Wandering Camera even after the link-up was closed.  So, to give ourselves a little more time, I am extending the link-up to two weeks.  I can’t thank you enough for your support!

March was a month of rain and wind with intermittent sunshine.  Spring came early for us and I discovered the world of wildflower photography while enjoying being outside. However, by the end of the month, I was brutally reminded of my allergies.  It will get a lot worse as Spring comes into full swing, but I will try to keep myself distracted with photography as much as I can.

The latter part of the March photos is concentrated around wildflowers.  They are so pretty, you can’t blame an outdoor girl like me for admiring them.   Here’s my photo set from March in chronological order.


Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies

1. Lord Vader is unhappy with my Lego progress

2.  Brownies

3. First signs of spring

4.  Rain-soaked fence


Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies

5. Wine field in the rain

6. Street light reflecting on the wet sidewalk

7. Rain clouds make for beautiful sunsets

8. New pencil case with my little Viking penguin Olaf


Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies

9. Start of a herb garden

10. Charlie cuddled up on a rainy day

11. Downpour

12.  Flooded creek


Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies

13. Sitting beside my relaxed friend while listening to the patter of rain and reading

14. End of our walk

15. Pink wild radish

16. Redwood Violet


Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies

17. Spring Vetch looking like pink butterflies

18. Old Man Of Spring – I love his crazy “hair”

19. Home-made granola for those long hiking days

20.  Captured raindrop


Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies

21. Coming down again

22. March knitting

23. Strange red-yellow sunlight filtering through the clouds

24. Teasel


Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies

25. Yellow Owl’s Clover – they are tiny!

26. A happy and healthy Montague on his new quilt

27. Larkspur – I call them pixie hats

28.  Sun dog


Photo Linky Party | Whims And Fancies

29. Western Blue-eyed Grass flower

30. Painting of a Stone building

31. Found a duck pond during a lunch-time walk

      Cat Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

Can’t help but share a little sneak peek at my new block


Spring has either arrived for some of you or on its way to the more patient among you, bringing more flowers in April and May.  I have learned a few things about flower photography over the past few weeks, so I thought I’d pass them on to you.


Wildflower Portraits

If you have just a few flowers blooming here and there like I had in March, it’s nicer to take portraits of them.


The Flower

Try to pick a flower that is unblemished and not damaged by bugs.


Lens – Zoomed-in

Start with zooming in to take a photo of a flower stalk, you can photograph pretty flower clusters that way.  If you wish to aspire higher, you could try taking photos of a single flower using macro photography.

You can set your point-and-shoot camera to the macro setting which is often marked by a little flower icon.  That will enable you to get closer to your subject, in this case the flower.


Lens – Macro

For those of you with cameras capable of using interchangeable lenses, you can purchase this Macro adapter from Opteka for approximately $25.00.  It screws on in front of the lens and turns it into a macro lens.  It’s a great and inexpensive way to get your feet wet in the macro world.

Even with auto-focus turned on, use your eyes to find the plane (surface) of focus while using this adapter.  Try to focus on the centre of the plane as much as you can.



This one is for cameras with manual settings.  You want to use a really high aperture value if you want sharp photos.  Set your camera’s aperture value between F11 – F16.  Higher the better.


Shutter Speed

With manual setting cameras you can set the shutter speed as well.  When you are looking through your lens you will notice that the flowers move A LOT with the gentlest of breezes!  So you want to set the shutter speed to at least 1/250.



Since you are restricted by the need to set your aperture and shutter speed really high, the only thing you can play with to get brighter photos is the ISO value.  Move up the ISO if you need to.  In good light hours you can use 400 or even 800 to get nice photos without any noise or graininess.  (Read more about ISO on the March post)



Petals are translucent, so you might battle with over-exposed flowers if the sun is behind the flower.  If the sun is facing the flower, then you will cast your own shadow on the flower since you are sitting between the sun and the flower.  Try to find a flower facing perpendicular to or at least at an angle to the sun.

Flowers in partly-shaded areas work well.  Overcast days are also great.  You will need to go up on ISO, but every angle is open to you.



On windy days you will need to be especially patient.  There are pockets where the wind slows down enough for you to focus and take sharp photos.  Take multiple shots.  Many of them will be out of focus or the flower will have moved out of the frame by the time you press the shutter.

Use the zoom-in feature while reviewing the pictures on your camera to make sure you are happy with your work.


Now you should be all set to go out and capture those lovely colours and shapes of the Spring wildflowers around you!  Don’t get bogged down in the details, remember to enjoy the flowers and have fun!


Now it’s your turn to share your photo posts.  I always look forward to seeing them.  Every photo is special because it suspends a moment and everyone sees the world around us differently!  So don’t compare and contrast, just have fun and see the world that only your eyes can see!


Badge to share on your post and website

Camera And Photography Linky Party | Whims And Fancies


You can add any number of links to your posts from the previous month.  The posts should have photos in them, with a story or anecdote. Your project photos (quilting, sewing, painting, knitting, etc.) are most welcome.  You can also write a new post to link up.  Please do not link up posts that are older than the previous month, they will be removed.

Please make sure to include the badge or a text link back to this site on each post that you link up.  You can also add the badge to your blog. I am happy either way as long as you link back :-)

** Linked posts not including a link back will be removed in fairness to other participants. **

Spread a little encouragement amongst each other.

I will leave the link-up open for two weeks.

Wandering Camera is a monthly event that will run on the first Thursday of every month.  The next post and link-up will be on the 5th of May.  If you follow me via email, bloglovin or facebook, you will get a reminder.

Have fun!!


Colour Play

Stone House Painting With Inktense Pencils | Whims And Fancies


During one rainy weekend in March, I started painting this old stone building on a meadow.  I may have unintentionally echoed the grey sky outside with my newly-acquired Sennelier paint.  The tiniest little dab of paint flowed effortlessly though the water.  Everything else was painted with Derwent Inktense pencils.  I was trying out those pencils on different kinds of paper.  They seem to work best on smooth surfaces.  So hot press watercolour paper or Gesso-ed paper works really well.  They do not spread very well on cheaper paper or even good cold-press watercolour paper.


One Monthly Goal LinkUp 2016 | Whims And Fancies

Since I have been in the mood for playing with colours recently, I am joining the One Monthly Goal link-up this month in an attempt to revisit one of my earlier projects in a different colourway.


Purple Star Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

My original plan was to make a very different version of this Morning Star quilt as a wall hanging.  Since my kitty fell ill before I got to it, I made this purple mini for him back in early 2014.


Star Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

I would like to work on this gradient quilt in April.


Fabrics For Gradient Quilt | Whims And Fancies

I don’t even have to purchase any of the fabrics needed for this one.  I just can’t decided which white I want to use, I am tending toward the one on the left.


It was dry here last weekend after a long time, and we took care of some much-overdue yard work.  Since we moved into our house two years ago, we have been gradually updating the interior while just maintaining the lawn and a few plants.  This year, finally, I am going to start planning the garden.  I want to focus on mostly local, draught-resistant flowers.  To educate myself, I am planning on attending a wildflower festival in two weeks.  Until then, I am getting my inspiration from nature.  I would like to leave you with a few more wildflower photos.


Wildflowers Of Napa | Whims And Fancies


Wildflowers Of Napa | Whims And Fancies


See you next Thursday, April 7th, for Wandering Camera.

Camera And Photography Linky Party | Whims And FanciesWandering Camera


Windy March Days

Cable Pullover | Whims And Fancies


I find March to be a very fickle month.  In this part of the world, poor thing just can’t make up its mind about the weather.  There were consecutive days of blustery wind and pouring rain.  Then the sun broke through the clouds, touching everything with the warm glow that can only be seen after a clearing storm.  In the meantime, the wildflowers have been taking full advantage of the rain and blossoming everywhere, free and playful in the wind, beckoning me outdoors.

After sunset, as it gets colder, I reach for those knitting needles.  I only knit a little everyday, so my projects take awhile to finish.  I have made good progress on my husband’s pullover.  I restarted those mitts, I like how the current pattern displays this busy variegated yarn.



Yorkshire Sky Yarn | Whims And Fancies



Recently I shopped a little for next winter.  Completely swayed by the name Yorkshire Skies, I got this beautiful yarn.  It has the shades of soft pastel aqua, with a hint of faded purple and a light steel grey.  I already know the set of mitts and hat I will be making with this one.



Madeline Tosh Sample Yarn | Whims And Fancies



I adore these tiny samples of yarn.  I got 240 yards total to make a pair of mitts with them.  It will be my first multi-yarn knit with the colours of dahlia purple, cardinal red, parchment, light sugar plum and log cabin brown.  I wish I had a tiny basket to put these in!



Malabrigo Plomo Yarn | Whims And Fancies



I am venturing into the grown-up knitting world with this one.  I got a whole set of plum yarn skeins to make a cable pullover for my husband per his request.  I had fun shopping for the yarn and the pattern.



Northern California Wildflowers - Wild Radish, Butterweed, Buttercup, Spring Vetch | Whims And Fancies

1.  Pink Wild Radish  2.  California butterweed  3. Buttercup  4. Spring Vetch (my favourite)


It is nice to have those warm woollies to don since we have been putting our hiking boots on and heading out right after work. Rain or shine.  I am learning to take close-up photos of wildflowers.  The afternoons have been extremely windy, making it very hard to get good portraits of the flowers.  They are also very small, sometimes no more than a few millimetres.  It takes a long time and a lot of patience, along with crouching in odd positions, waiting for the wind to die down a little.



Northern California Wildflower Star Lily, Douglas Iris, Redwood Violet, Wild Radish | Whims And Fancies

1.  Star Lily or Death Camas ( beautiful but extremely poisonous )

2.  Douglas Iris  3. Redwood Violet  4. White Wild Radish


One of the trails we go to is also a dog park.  The dogs see me crouching at their level and they come by to play with me, running around me while trampling the flowers.  Their joy is so infectious that I can’t help but laugh out loud and play along with them.  Once they move on, I find a different set of flowers and start the process all over again.  It is a lot of fun, you have to take my word for it.



Northern California Wildflowers | Whims And Fancies

Walking in the woods


If you don’t see me here too often, you know where I will be,  at least as long as the wildflowers are on display!



Camera And Photography Linky Party | Whims And FanciesWandering Camera

I hope to see a few photos of spring in your part of the world on next month’s Wandering Camera link-up.

Happy Spring,