Saturday, December 31, 2022

Ending 2022

 We've been through another year of blessings and sorrows, and sometimes the losses and war news and injustice seem to overwhelm our thoughts, especially contrasted with the joyful music and decorations of the season. I had my 87th birthday, and feel grateful to have dear friends and family who made me feel loved. The recent freezing weather across the US made me especially glad that a few plants were the only casualties and that I had constant power and water supply.

My leggy 4-ft Norfolk Island Pine came inside and was joined by a new, fluffy one and a couple of small ones, which I think I will keep in where I can enjoy them more. The big begonia and a smaller one were also brought in. Remember that succulent pumpkin decoration I made two months ago? I keep it under a light to keep the plants from growing taller, and it still looks great. This ivy plant I was given five years ago is thriving in its new location though still in its original pot. 

     A puzzle of colorful birds has been a good pastime for pondering problems that seem unsolvable. It's amazing how satisfying it can be to find a pesky little shape and put it in its place. Gives one a feeling of being in control of one small thing. 

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Christmas is Coming . . .

. . . ready or not! For years I rushed and shopped and decorated and cooked and wrote--often obsessing to the point of losing the joy of the season. Time and events seem to rush by in a blur, but I have eliminated many items that I used to think had to be done. I love my simple decorations and still have music from Handel's Messiah and our church Christmas program resounding in my head. It's always a joy to see the children bringing Chrismons to the tree.

I loaned some of my nativity sets to the display window at the church. The salt glaze pottery is unusual and I wanted others to enjoy it.

My sasanqua bush has continue to bloom, on the bush or on my kitchen window sill, until the space was needed for the nativity scene.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Thanksgiving, Especially for Music

My blessings are so overwhelming that I am at a loss for words. Leaves continue to charm me and make my walks more of a bend over/straighten up exercise as I gather more pretties. The persimmon tree and sasanqua bush are favorites in my yard. The croton is in a pot I can pull into the garage on freezing nights.

For the upcoming SMAA 46th annual art show next Saturday, December 3, I stitched several leafy creations using caladium, sweet gum, and black gum leaves. Rahrah spent many happy sleeping hours on the white plastic bag near the stack of artwork before deciding to check out the smooth backing of one of the pictures. I should have remembered the last time she removed a backing in the closet.

My life has been enriched by music, with the highlight being the upcoming Meistersingers performance of Handel's Messiah next Saturday, December 3, at Westminster Presbyterian Church. We sang this at Trinity Episcopal in Natchez November 6 with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra as part of the church's 200th anniversary celebration. Thursdays are my favorite day of the week because of rehearsals. It is a privilege to work with maestro Dr. Jay Dean and our amazing accompanist, Kathy Vail. 

Kathy Vail, harpsichord at Trinity Episcopal Church

Last week Alejandro Junco presented a lecture recital with Dario Martin (piano) and Roberto Palomeque (percussion) in partial fulfillment of his doctor of musical arts degree. This was followed by Roberto Palomeque's recital. These three talented musicians have a bright future ahead, and Hattiesburg has been fortunate to get to be a part of their journey. (Sorry I did not get Roberto standing behind his marimbas instead of sitting behind his drums!)

Elizabeth's main activity has been sleeping on this warm fleecy when she was not in her other favorite place--her cardboard box. It has been perfect for a couple of months, even when the TV geek squad was here, but she has decided to rearrange the top edge a bit.

Monday, November 7, 2022

The Color of Fall

I love pumpkins--real or created or artificial. Good friend Sherry Laughlin showed a group of us how to make a fall decoration with a Cinderella-type (uncut) pumpkin by adding moss and succulent plants in the center around the stem. These stay beautiful for five or six weeks with water misting every few days. 

I love this satin brocade pumpkin made by Susan Carlson's mother

The persimmon tree in my yard continues to have green and orange leaves. The black gum tree (perhaps my favorite) in my front yard is beautiful with dark and bright red leaves.  Then there are bright green and yellows to enjoy, too. Crepe myrtle are orange. And falling pine straw makes an orange carpet.
Japanese persimmon

Black gum

Black gum

Black gum

Black gum

Black gum

Japanese persimmon

Crepe myrtle

Pine needle carpet

Saturday, October 29, 2022

October Persimmons

 People in the Northeast have beautiful hillsides of autumn scenes as the hardwoods change from greens to gold, yellow, rust, maroon, orange, and I enjoy seeing these amazing pictures. Here in the pine belt, we are surrounded by huge pine trees that manage to remain green while shedding rust-colored needles in an almost solid carpet over my yard and driveway. Japanese persimmons ripen in a neighbor's yard; my tree makes beautiful leaves but no persimmons. 

Leaves on my persimmon tree

Persimmons shared by neighbor

A leaky refrigerator has eaten up huge blocks of time lately. Disconnecting the icemaker, deep cleaning underneath, and turning off the water line were temporary fixes. Shopping for my preferred features in my size requirements and learning about "supply chain issues" helped me decide I could fall in love with different features. Getting the old one moved out just before the new one arrived was tricky. 

Creating this fabric collage of a solid white cat was an enjoyable challenge. I used colored stitches to show shadows and define her shape. Nearly all cats have pink ears and nose, but white fur can't be just white. A variety of fabrics from satin to cotton helped bring her to life.

Here are a few in-progress photos during decision-making along the way. 

The MQA Gathering in Columbus was a great time getting to connect with with longtime friends. We got to display our Southern Fiber Artists Intense Color Challenge and tell the group about this project. We agreed on the benefit of studying value using Joen Wolfrom's Three-in=One Color Tool.

 My Elizabeth and Rahrah tried to get my attention while I was working on some NICU isolette covers. 

What a treat it was to get a visit from two cousins I haven't seen since they were in grade school. They traveled from Florida to Texas and came through Hattiesburg to see Linda and me.