Thursday, May 27, 2010

A very good week!

What a nice surprise it was last week to go to the mailbox and find a package of blocks from that floral swap. Remember I made blocks for a friend? Well, apparently I was not the only one who wanted to make sure she got her blocks, so there ended up being extras. The swap hostess sent me a set of them. Aren't they lovely? Thanks, ladies!

The men went on their annual fishing trip last weekend, so I had four days to myself. You'd think I'd have gotten a ton of quilting done, right? Not so. I spent much of that time in the gardens. The little flower seedlings I grew inside have been growing like mad since I put them outside and the tiny bit of soil in those starter pots doesn't hold much water. So they need to be in the ground- or larger pots! I have been planting furiously. I had more plants than spaces, so I am squeezing them in everywhere. It should be a grand display when they grow up a bit more. I don't have before pictures, but you can bet you'll see the "after"!

Here are a couple of my favorite perennials, though.
The Dianthus keep coming back year after year, both old plants and new babies. They have always been a favorite of mine. I used to grow carnations when I was a kid! These are in my shade garden. This is also where the clematis is with the bird's nest. She has four eggs now and I expect babies any day.

The Lupines are what make this my favorite time in the big bed out back. They are just glorious. I like to sit on my little garden stool near them and watch the bumblebees collecting the pollen!

When it gets too hot- or my back starts to ache- I get cleaned up and head to the sewing room. This weekend I was working an a gift for a swap. I made another patchwork tote (did I post a picture of the one I made in February?). I'm getting better at getting the colors where I want them, but the seams still do not line up very well. Hopefully the interesting quilting I did will disguise that. :-)

I also managed to get a table topper made for the table on the screen porch. I used the last of this piece of fabric, so I couldn't center the flowers. Nice how even by accident there's one so near the center!

I am grateful for:
Time alone once in a while, and then
having family around me when they return
Time with nice ladies in my class last weekend!
Shady spots on hot days
Hot dogs on the grill

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Getting things DONE!

First, here at last is the "Mother's Day gift' from my son. Some excavation in the field next to us had revealed these lovely great rocks, which I know the farmer did not want in his field. So I pondered contacting him to have them brought to my yard. But I hadn't gotten around to it. Lucas asked his friend with a front end loader to do it. I wish I had grabbed the camera when they were doing it, since the rock was nearly as big as the loader. In a perfect world, the rocks would have been the centerpiece of the big bed. But it would have required a lot more digging up and transplanting than I could do with the half an hour's notice I had. So they are on a corner near the perennial bed instead. I'll be planting some ground covers in front of them and will place the extra perennials around them when I thin.
Last Sunday was my 29th wedding anniversary. I am most fortunate to have found a man who loves me enough to put up with me all these years. He thinks he's the lucky one. I'll never know why. Anyway, he took me to a place called "the Red Garter" in Salamanca, NY. We had to be in the area that day for a family event. The restaurant sits way up on a hill overlooking the Allegany River Valley. I imagine the view in the fall is spectacular.

And now, the Finished Objects!!!!
The green and brown one is called "Grasshopper Pie with Butterfly Garnish". This is an original design using Scrap Therapy squares. I will be sharing the pattern for it with students in my summer classes at Mt Pleasant. I had a lot of fun machine quilting this one. I couldn't decide what design to use, so I used a bunch of different ones. I like the way it came out and am actually looking forward to the next piece I plan to machine quilt!

The blue one is a Scrap Therapy pattern, called Stargazing. It is a sample for the shop, but not yet on the class schedule. I used a plain border rather than piecing as shown. I have included a close up picture of the quilting, since I also had a good time with this one. I may go back and put the vine in the plain sections between the stars. I did a fun chain of square spirals in the outer border. I'll have to do that one again where it might show up. Thanks again to Leah Day for sharing of her talents, and giving me the confidence to try all this quilting!

I am grateful for:
The weather cooperating now that planting season has arrived.
Time to spend indulging my creativity
My husband's patience and love
Chocolate chip cookies
Time with my son this week

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Quick updates

I always say that being in a rut- living a rather boring life- is a good thing, Excitement usually brings trouble with it. I base my blog posts on what I took pictures of in the past week. So here are the high points of the last week.
The first thing is the full bloom of the "Silver Torch" cactus. Rather anticlimactic, wouldn't you say? The red is all wilted now- it was only "pretty" for one day. I wish I knew what creature pollinates this in the wild- why would the blossom develop like this???

The next thing is the gift I got from my son last week. I had intended to get a picture of me with them to show how big they are, but it has rained almost every day since- when someone else is home who could take a picture. To give an idea, the birdhouse in the background is maybe 8 feet away from the rocks and is 6 feet high.

The construction on the "Liberated" project is completed. I pinned it to the backing and draped it over the little bookshelves to see how it will look. (the bits on the floor will be on the sides you couldn't see in the picture)
I kind of like it. Putting it together after it's quilted seems to be the best way. Stay tuned.

I have a busy weekend and need to get two other project finished by next Friday, so I don't expect this to be done soon. (pouty face)

I'm having trouble getting things spaced well. I apologize, since I'm out of time for now. I'll try to fix it later.

I am grateful for:

I somehow lost a whole pound!
Heat when I needed it
Finding a black bunny in the dark who seemed happy I found him
A boss who lets me have a life outside of work
Time with a friend who I can see once a year and feel like it has only been a week!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I can't sew in the garden!

I've been spending every available minute in the gardens, as I do every year at this time. The weeds always get a head start, since they do not seem to go dormant in winter the way the flowers do. (Dandelions never sleep) There are a few spots I am weeding with a shovel when I get there. This spot always looks nice early because if the winter pansies and the tulips. This year, it was full of seedlings from the "stickies" my dog imports. Needless to say she has not been allowed near here yet this year- and will be kept out in perpetuity! (stupid dog)

In this bed, I fill old shoes with succulents and small flowers. Last year, I bought a dragon statue. So now I will be telling visitors the shoes are from people who annoyed him.

Cactus update. Remember the sad specimens I was working around a couple of weeks ago? They are looking more robust these days! The red spots are buds- soon they will be ablaze with fabulous golden yellow blossoms!

Meanwhile the Silver Torch has developed a rather embarrassing condition. I have been saying the bud transforms from a pimple to a nose to a penis. :-)

I have done some sewing this week. The only noteworthy piece is the fact that I have finally started the quilting on this piece to be donated to the NY State Quilter's Consortium. I did a vine and leaf thing in the patchwork sections, and used one of Leah Day's designs, called "paisley division"(or as close as I could come!) in the blank spaces. I like the way it looks so far! I hope someday to meet Leah and tell her how much it has meant to me to have her videos available to me!!! You can support the project too, if you wish. ( No affiliation, but she is sharing her talent with us for free, so I feel it's only fair to donate)

I am grateful for:
Brief periods of solitude
Rain- even when it comes with thunder and lightening
My early Mother's day gift from my son ( you'll see it soon)
Sharing moments of pure joy with my husband
Waking up to birdsong in the morning
Ice cream on a hot day