Saturday, March 30, 2019

Spring is here

Everything is so green now! The trees are covered in leaves; azaleas are blooming in many yards, and the temperature is perfect for sitting out on porches and patios. Here is the view from my front porch. I even spent several days power washing the paving stones along the front. I may be the only one who sees them, because everyone except the mail carrier and UPS guy use my back driveway. But for springtime it seemed like a neat thing to do.

In my backyard a Lady Banksia rose bush is getting established and I am training it to run along the fence.

We don't have Texas bluebonnets, but this little ground cover, Ajuga, is making a nice substitute.
 My pansy bed was planted in November and I have enjoyed blooms ever since. There is a huge parsley plant (enlarge to see) and lots of oregano; I added basil and a rosemary plant. My "Rosemary Christmas Tree" didn't survive the winter.  You can see it here if you want to look back.
The oxalis (fighting for space with oregano) looks like large clover that I want to pull like weeds. But then it has these lovely little pink blooms that make me realize I shouldn't think of it as a weed after all.
The hostas die down and are covered in pine straw for protection over the winter. It is exciting to see them beginning to fight their way through the straw.
I have only one houseplant--a Christmas cactus. It lives on a table by an east window all year. Even though it is supposed to get a certain amount of dark in order for it to bloom, it forgave me for this neglect and produced a slow but constant blooming period from November through March. Here it is at the end of March with perhaps its last three blooms.
Two blog posts this month! There is hope I will do better next month.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Marching through March

Or maybe I should say Zooming through March! Winter officially ended after only two below freezing nights to worry about protecting the orange tree and geranium. The geranium seems to love winter and is covered in blooms.
Geranium (with pine pollen on leaves)
My youngest granddaughter got married in Texas, and Linda and I had a lovely trip over to see all those Texas folks. We were a couple of weeks too early for bluebonnets, so I will enjoy pictures.

Mark and Melody Ginn with all six daughters and families
Nephews almost stole the show with their cuteness
I've been playing with fabric-wrapped cord bowls; the wrapping takes more time than sewing, but this was a good diversion for the trip. Elizabeth had to try this one on for size.

My life is usually pretty uneventful, but this week had some unexpected excitement. About midnight one night I was getting up from the computer and was startled to see a SNAKE coming out of the wheel of the other chair in the room. He wasn't actually coming out--but about 24" of him was sticking out of the slit in the wheel.
Diamond black king snake

 Another part of him (containing the tail and some skin) was on the floor nearby. I have no idea how he got there and particularly how he was so tightly bound inside the wheel. What to do at midnight? Who could I call to come? The chair would not roll with the snake tangled up inside one of the wheels. He did not have a triangular-shaped head (indicating a poisonous snake), and I thought he was a king snake, which is known to be a good snake which eats bad ones. My solution was to get a thick wad of paper towels and grab him and pull him out--easier said than done, but finally done and stuffed into a box and tossed into the garage. The next morning I saw that he had survived long enough to try to get out of the box, but the pulling and stretching had done too much damage for him to survive.

Enough excitement for one night.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Finishing Up Some Things

Isn't it satisfying to finish something! To claim that you have finished seems to imply that you faced challenges and overcame difficulties. Sometimes it just means that you showed up and persevered.
Lately I have finished a couple more Interleave quilt designs, a jigsaw puzzle, and some yard tasks.
Moon Over the Mountain Interleave

Interleave #4-Buildings
It helps to iron after adding each strip, and this miniature iron was very handy
 by the sewing machine
Tarbaby demanding attention
Azaleas are starting to bloom. We'll hope for no more frost. The loropetalum bush is about to be covered in color.
Early azaleas

 On some rainy days, a puzzle was entertaining; however, puzzles can be so addicting that a few spare minutes would often lead to hours into the night. And I had to discourage cats from napping on it.
The finished puzzle

Rahrah staying out of the way

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day brings about a multitude of feelings of what it means to love and be loved. It is so much more than only romantic love, and I am blessed that my life is filled with love. Love for and love from people and cats.
While friends up north are enduring blizzard conditions, my geranium is happily putting on blooms. I brought it in for two nights but it seems to enjoy these 40-70 degree temperatures.

My friend Leanne Green taught my Southern Fiber Artists group her technique for making cord bowls using fabric-wrapped cotton clothesline cord. Here is a beautiful bowl she made for me last fall. It is about 15" wide by 8" tall, embellished with bugle beads.

I decided to see if colored nylon cord would also work. Here is my small bowl made with camo-colored cord.

I've been working on an Interleave design called Moon Over the Mountain. It is ready to trim the edges and add a black binding. My friend Jackie Watkins is a master at these, and she shared her technique with me.
Winter weather (either here or on TV) seems a perfect time for a jigsaw puzzle. A friend shared this cat-themed puzzle with me and it has been fun to make. Tarbaby tried to help. Puzzles are a real time suck and I can avoid all sorts of necessary activities like cleaning and sleeping when there is one on the table.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Cold January

During Quilting
After my cat bite injury, surgery, and IV antibiotics, it is great to get back to quilting. This is the second "jelly roll race" quilt that Linda and I are working on. I have it quilted all but the borders and binding. The beginning of it is pictured in my blog post of November 28, 2018.

The first of the two is made of jelly roll bandana fabrics with black squares placed randomly.

Quilted all but border

Here is the bandana quilt ready for quilting:
Bandana Quilt with Linda and Mark

I was given a box of sewing supplies dating back to the 1970s and 1980s. There were the expected spools of thread, pins, scissors, bobbins and one curious plastic jointed tape labeled Sleeve Former by Roberta F Bush, who had patented this tool in 1976.

Old Sewing Tools
Sleeve Former

Sleeve Former stretched out

Linda and I have had fun with hair color this fall/winter. My blue is several weeks old, but Linda had her purple done just before this picture was made.

Colorful Hair 
Tarbaby in his favorite place

Thursday, December 27, 2018

December Is a Blur

My usual Christmas decoration
I usually try to recap my year and celebrate with reports of quilts and art I have made. This year December seems like a bad dream.  On December 1 my precious cat Tarbaby bit my L index finger when I picked up a bag of crackers he mistook for his treats, and I developed a terrible infection with severe pain, doctor visits, antibiotics, until I was hospitalized for surgery to clean out the wound. IV antibiotics will continue for several weeks at home and I am hopeful of regaining flexibility in the finger. So quilting has come to a screeching halt.
What an innocent face

Home from hospital with bandage under 5 stitches
The IVs take two hours at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Luckily I can move about with the yellow ball in a zipper purse on a lanyard around my neck. No IV pole! The medicine is in a yellow ball in a pouch. Here's a full ball and an empty one. I learned how to get these started on my own. I've binge watched lots of Cary Grant movies on the Turner Classic Movie channel.

Elizabeth trying to help
My tree was a shaped Rosemary plant which I will set out in the flowerbed to replace the overgrown bush I had cut down. It has a delightful scent that I really enjoy.
My Rosemary Tree

A rare sharing of my lap
 Oh, yes. . . I turned 83 today! (I see it is past midnight, so it was yesterday.) I am looking forward to a healthy, accident-free year of quilting and art in 2019. There's a quilt just waiting for binding.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving--Mark's Visit

Son Mark came for a pre-Thanksgiving visit. He gets so much done when he is here. An unexpected achievement was making friends with Tarbaby--which is HUGE if you know Tarbaby!--tying up the wisteria bush, petting Elizabeth, planting pansies, power washing the flowerbed stones, getting my TV/DVD remotes sorted, getting my blog to accept comments, getting my computer information and passwords into a safe storage instead of on bright pink pages beside the computer, getting PBQ stuff to storage unit, dealing with frozen Kindle Fire PaperWhite, canceling Norton that I was paying for but not using. All this along with giving Elizabeth lots of demanded attention. I wish I could have photographed all the little tasks and problems he solved for me. He even helped Linda and me get two quilts layered and ready for quilting.
Tarbaby accepting Mark's petting

tying up wisteria vines
Roy used to love to pick the flowers to bring into the house to me
Lady Banksia rose and wisteria 

power washing flowerbed stones

My password filing system--bright pink pages--no longer

Computer tasks with  Elizabeth's help

Layering quilts help
For many years my family celebrated Thanksgiving at my brother's home in Austin. Roy and I would drive from Mississippi through East Texas and pick up our parents to go on to Austin. Terry Weeks and his wife Kay still host and invite any family and friends who can come. It is a great time to get to see my nephews and nieces and other friends who love to go to Terry's. Such happy memories and so much to be thankful for!