Saturday, December 23, 2023

Busy December

December is always jam-packed with music, get-togethers, party food, letter/card writing, and gift-giving. Some people add decorating, shopping, and mailing to that list, but there is very little of that here. My quilt-robed Santa and my Boehm porcelain nativity set (which is in a china cabinet all year) are my usual. 

Music (singing or hearing) is usually my favorite part of Christmas. USM's orchestra and community chorus presented a beautiful program at Main Street Baptist Church. My amazingly talented friends Lei and Xin played a program for us at University Baptist Church. We decorate with our blue cut-out banners along with poinsettias and greenery. I picked up the poinsettias from Vesly's nursery--what a sight! Hattiesburg's Historic Neighborhood is beautiful with candles on every street. We enjoyed visiting on Jennifer and John-Mark Brown's porch.

USM Orchestra/Choirs Holiday Spectacular

Zhaolei Xie and Xin Zhang
Hanging the banners
All four banners 

Poinsettias at Vesly's Nursery

Candlit Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood

South Mississippi Art Association has its annual show in December and it is fun to show my fiber art and have it accepted as ART along with oil, watercolor, and sculpture. My Cheesecloth Man with Pipe was a hit (and sold), but this kids' art piece, "Gruffalo in the Jungle" (inspired by Ellee Rigney's drawing), drew too many comments on Facebook to count. 

Cheesecloth Man with Pipe

With Gruffalo in the Jungle

Sunflower with 2nd place ribbon
My local quilt guild, Pine Belt Quilters, works throughout the year, and it is rewarding in December to see the joy the quilts bring to the agencies that receive them. We filled several tables with the quilts and stockings, toys, and personal items. 
Rhonda Mowry and Karen Weinberg moving quilts from Choral Hall

Table piled with stockings, toys, personal items

One of the tables of quilts

Agency reps tell us how the quilts are appreciated
 (Akwete Muhammad with Habitat for Humanity speaking)
My sasanqua bush has been blooming the whole month of December. With only a few really cold nights, the begonias left over from summer still look good. I'll leave them as long as they are blooming. The larger pots have been moved into the garage. 
Sasanqua bush in full bloom

Begonias still blooming

Pots moved into garage

I love the pink carpet 

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Introducing Lacey, My Outdoor Cat

Meet Lacey
   I have mentioned several times the orange marmalade-colored stray cat that moved in under my little shop building in June with her four (about) 8-week old kittens. I didn't need another cat but I couldn't let this mama starve. After trapping and getting two kittens to the shelter, I trapped her and got her spayed and released back here. The last two kittens disappeared and mama cat came and went, sometimes disappearing for days before showing back up. She was very vocal but kept her distance. She's beautiful, with splotches of color rather than being tabby-striped.

   I called her Kitty or Mama but thought if she stayed I needed to give her a proper name. Last week when the yard guys were replacing the drainage pipe across the back yard, they discovered a dog tag for Lacey, the German Shepherd who used to live here with her former owner (how long ago before I bought the house in 2004?). So it seemed fitting for this cat to be called Lacey.

   She has gradually learned to trust me, following me to the mailbox or on walks, running to me for food, and finally accepting brief pettings and even jumping up into my lap. I have made a warm place in the garage for her to sleep on cold nights if she chooses. She enjoys watching for birds in the sunshine of the back yard, but is sometimes gone for hours--to her other home? She is my cat but on her terms. She has briefly checked out the house (when I had Elizabeth and Rahrah closed up) and seems to understand that they will not permit her inside.

A neighborhood racoon discovered free food and learned to get into the food supply. Lacey joined in the fun. I have since secured the cat food and bird seed in two Oscar coolers with locking handles.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Busy November

Along with delightful weather, I've enjoyed many musical events. My yard is bright and open but I'm still waiting for some landscape planting to be done. A drainage problem across my back driveway has been solved (I hope!) by a replaced pipe. Roots had grown into the old pipe where it had been cut during a cable installation. Grrrrr. Now I'm waiting for a heavy rain to see if the problem has been solved.

The Meistersingers concert featured Music for Royal Occasions, with organ and trumpet. 

Sanctuary at Westminster Presbyterian Church

With my singing buddies, Gwen Combs, me, Jean Claire Bounds,
 Judith Collins, Janice Gundy 

Dr Joel Dunlap, Conductor
It is a privilege to have my artwork displayed as part of  Main Street Gallery's Exhibit #4 for the months of November and December. 

More musical events--Tom Kimmel and Michael Mille were at the Back Door Coffeehouse at University Baptist Church. It was wonderful having Tom back home, and we hope Michael will sing for us again.
Michael Mille and Tom Kimmel
I have loved Amahl and the Night Visitors since I first heard it (composed in the 1950's by Gian Carlo Minotti), and getitng to hear it really makes my Christmas, so it was a special treat to attend USM's production of this classic. 
The USM Honors String Chamber Recital every spring and fall is one of my favorite events of the year. The students compete for two nights, and the winners are featured in a recital which my church hosts. Four or five groups perform and are judged for the top three winners. The talent and professionalism shown by these musicians sets them on a path for success. We are fortunate to become friends and be a small part of their journey. 
Marlene Gentile, Adelle Paltin, Isabella Marques, and Alejandro Restrepo
It has been a very musical month, but some art projects are underway. I did a program for Pine Belt Quilters showing my cheesecloth art using Mary Pal's techniques. The fall leaves are brought into the house and used often. 
Man with Pipe, cheesecloth, 12x14

Leaves on teal burlap, 8x10

Bay Leaves and Crape Myrtle Leaves, 12x12

Sweet Gum Leaves gathered on misty morning
There is lots of kitty news, but will save that for another post. 

Monday, October 30, 2023

Fall Is Here, Tree Cutting

 After the long hot, dry summer, the cool mornings are a welcome change. It's been an exciting month with dreamatic changes in the look of my property, and mornings on the front porch have been enjoyable. My trees and those next door had me almost hidden from view until you were right in front of my house. A large maple had been dropping dead limbs dangerously close to the house. Tom Dayon with Dayon Tree Service worked three days cutting trees, raising the canopy, grinding stumps, hauling away debris. The process was captivating to watch, and the crew were skilled using the backhoes, cranes, and other machinery. Needless to say, it was entertaining to watch. 

Before, view from street

Before, view from street approaching house

Before, view from street

Before, closer view (house is in left side of picture)

Before, closer view

In front yard

View from street

Taking down Swamp Maple

This tree kept dropping limbs near house

Hauling debris

After, view from street approaching house

After, from street

After, from street

After, view from porch

Cat news--Elizabeth and Rahrah have recovered from their serious UTI health issues and are doing well, approaching their 10th birthday next month. The scratchng post has become a scratching log and both are putting it to occasional use, not as popular as Elizabeth's cat tree now that she feels like climbing again. The orange mama cat is settling in and stealing my heart with her talking and rolling on the garage floor for petting. She joins me on the front porch some mornings. I must give her a proper name soon. 

I love kids' art and got permission from my young friend Elizabeth Rigney to use her drawing I had saved that her mom (Bethany Rigney) had posted a few years ago. Here is Ellee's Gruffalo in the Jungle.

In progress; Ellee's drawing in background

Ellee's Gruffalo in the Jungle

I enjoyed seeing friends at the MQA Fall Gathering in Biloxi one weekend, followed by a Betty Press class on iPhone Pictures back in Hattiesburg at Singing River Art Studio. Betty shared a wealth of information about the iPhone. The next weekend was our quarterly Southern Fiber Artists meeting in Madison. Jackie Watkins again hosted in her home, and Charlotte Timmons shared instructions and tips on fabric collage.  

Last week I tried a first-time decorating of a sugar skull for a Day of the Dead display. Hector Boldo and Jacqueline Gonzalez Wooton hosted a display and silent auction at Main Street Gallery to raise funds for the newly formed LatinX Art Association. I cut out and applied fabric leaves to my skull. Twenty skulls were on display, and the variety of techniques used was amazing! Here are some pictures. Sorry I can't give credit to the artists who decorated them. Enlarge to see details.

Poster inviting artists to decorate skulls

Painting a sugar skull was definitely a first for me. I've been gathering fall leaves and making art using these--an activity with which I'm much more comfortable. 
4x6 leaf pictures with mats