Thursday, May 28, 2015

Linwood Gardens

 A friend of Lucas' lives adjacent to, and has worked at Linwood Gardens.  He invited Lucas and a couple of other families to come out during the Tree Peony festival of flowers for a tour.  Lucas was kind enough to let Al and I tag along!

It is simply a beautiful estate and well worth the drive if you get the chance- this is the last weekend of the festival (May 30 - 31)

We started our tour at the Gratwick Manor.

There are some lovely architectural details in the house. 
 And some of the original furniture is still there.  You don't see many pieces like this anymore!

I was very intrigued by all of the rusty old metal decorations around the house and grounds. 


My family was very patient while I took all the goofy pictures I take at places like this.  Even Cait's big, baggy hoodie can't conceal that we are still waiting for the baby to decide it's time to meet all of us.  :-)

The back view of the manor.

And then it was out to the vast grounds to enjoy the gardens. 

My favorite is the "Italian Garden"!

This path led back out to the main grounds.  I was happy to be the last one through and get this shot. 
This door was at the edge of what used to be an extensive vegetable garden, now being transformed into an orchard.  Looks like something straight out of "the Shire", doesn't it?

This tree looks like something Jim Henson created.  It's easy to see at times where artists get their inspiration.

Inside the small chapel at the back of the estate, I spotted a swallow's nest, with babies patiently waiting for us to leave so momma would bring some bugs!

It's a beautiful place. It's interesting to imagine the place as it was 100 years ago, with people swimming in the old pool, playing tennis on the grass court, walking with parasols through the gardens...

And, of course, enjoying the tree peony blooms......

I think this rosey/peach shade is my favorite.

We got a notice the other day of an e-waste collection event near us, sponsored by our state senator.  Check to see if there is one near you!  Remember, most of these items contain harmful chemicals in their components- largely Mercury.  So they MUST be disposed of properly!

I am grateful for:
Lower Humidity and natural air conditioning (a storm rolled through last night and cooled things down just before bedtime)
Reconnecting with long lost family
Shady spots in my yard where I can sit and enjoy a warm (almost) summer evening
That new (to me) flavor of Ben and Jerry's
A few days to myself

Friday, May 22, 2015

Babies and Monsters

Well, my grandson is keeping us all waiting.  (He was "due" Wednesday; today is Friday)
It gave me a bit of time to finish one more little goody for him.  Well, for his mom at first.  I found this free pattern by Rebecca Danger at the Martingale Publishing website.

I learned something I have wanted to try making this- the "Magic loop" method of knitting in the round.  I can't wait to try it on my next pair of socks now!

Isn't he adorable???  Not only will it make a great burp cloth, since it's made from dishcloth cotton, but when mom no longer needs it, it can be a drag around toy for the baby to play with.  Maybe even his favorite cuddle buddy. 

I found some monster stuffies I'll probably knit for him, too. 

WARNING- if you are arachnophobic, stop here!
(you've been warned)

Except for the baby I am waiting for, I seem to be surrounded by babies.  There is a nest of baby bunnies just outside the back door- in a spot where I was weeding just 2 days before I found the babies! 

Then when I got home from work today I noticed a funny spot near the door on the deck.  I looked down to discover a hatch of baby spiders.  Here is the best part- I think they are the same kind of spider that inspired my "Princess Argiope" quilt!  (which I just found on a board on pinterest - VERY cool!!!)

Here is some good news for everyone who - well, everyone!!!
It would seem the voices of those crying out for more efforts to reduce the effect humans are having on the planet are being heard at last.  We CAN make a difference!

I am grateful for:
I found a place to recycle my box board.
On Demand TV
A new (to me) Ben and Jerry flavor with peanut butter fudge filling
Enjoying baseball again thanks to Amy.
The magic of my favorite time of year when there are flowers everywhere!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Just plain scary!

A couple of weeks ago, Kiara helped me bring home my first litter of foster kittens,  four very sweet little girls and their mom.  They were not quite 5 weeks old. 
I gave them all "M" names.

Marigold quickly set up camp on the tower.  Some kittens just need to be up.   She is the most playful.
Marigold's love of climbing and speed gave me a big scare this morning.  I heard a thump and then a strange cry, so I went to see what happened, and found her on the floor having a seizure!!!  It only lasted a minute or so.  When it was over, she was a bit dazed for a few minutes but quickly began to interact with her sisters and behave normally.   I still had her checked out at the vet, who said he didn't see any signs of permanent damage at this point.  Seeing her play tonight I would never have believed she had been laying on the floor in the state she was only 12 hours earlier!

Minnie is a cuddler

Michelle is the one who figures things out- finding fun everywhere.

Martha is clearly not like the others! 

Mom cat decided she was ready to be without kittens pretty fast and is currently looking for a home of her own. She's sweet, affectionate and playful!!

Since kitten season is here I will issue my annual reminder to help us reduce the population by having your own pets spayed and neutered.   If you know someone who cares for feral cats, tell them about Spay Our Strays.  There are also low cost options if needed.  Call the shelter if you or someone you know needs help.  We are already turning people away.  Many of the babies we can't take in will end up being dumped, dying of diseases or simply being euthanized at another shelter.   It's heartbreaking!

No baby yet. Hopefully we are only days away....

I am grateful for:
Marigold being ok.
Time with my wonderful quilting friends.
Lots of time in the gardens this weekend (pulling weeds.
34 years and counting.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Quiltaholics Anonymous

This morning a friend in what I call my "online guild" was saying she needs a 12 step program for quilters.  In my response to her, I created what I figured the steps would be for quilters ( since, really, who WANTS to give it up???)  Another member of the group suggested I post it on my blog for others to enjoy- and maybe start a "meeting" for the Quiltaholics in your area.

Step 1- Admit you are powerless over buying fabric and starting projects.
Step 2- Accept that you were born with this weakness and it is not a character flaw, but a sign of great creativity.
Step 3- Make a fearless inventory of all of the fabric and projects
Step 4- Confess your addiction in public.  (This is best done at a quilt guild meeting, where those to whom you confess will not be judgmental)
Step 5- Make a list of how this addiction has harmed you or those you love- and realize many have actually benefited from it.
Step 6- Express some of your biggest failings by participating in the "Show and Share" portion of the meeting.
Step 7- Explain how you were able to accomplish such nicely matched points; agree to prepare a demo for the other "addicts".
Step 8- Continue to inventory and realize you ran out of the right color thread to prepare your demo.
Step 9- Contact a fellow addict to share you are in need of her support to not give in to the temptations at the fabric store when you go for thread.
Step 10- Happily accept your friend's offer to drive you to the quilt shop to make sure you only buy thread.
Step 11- Arrive to find there is a fabulous sale on that wonderful collection of fabrics you admired the last time- AND they are doing a class!  You and your friend sign up.
Step 12- Carry the message of the sale and class back to your fellow addicts, and decide to have your next "meeting" there.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Yup, I'm still here....

I've been slacking off on the blog this year, I guess.  I just haven't had much to show for my time this year. 

The past few weeks have been pretty busy as well, now that gardening weather and kitten season have arrived.  

I delivered all of the newborn diapers to Cait yesterday.  Kind of last minute, since Jonathan is due in 13 days. (and the doctor said it can be anytime now)  So hopefully she is set for a while.  I will begin making some bigger ones soon.  Many times I have lamented the effort I have put into this project.  But the diapers are adorable, in spite of the aggravation.  And how many babies have this on their bums? (appropriate for the parents!)
I wanted to do a post last week honoring my aunt, who passed away.  I haven't taken the time to find good pictures yet.  Soon.

Meanwhile, I hope those of you who stop in are enjoying the spring weather now that it has arrived.  It's my favorite time of year; warm, but not humid and oppressive, the birds are singing, and at night I can hear the peepers chirping, and spring blossoms.  The magnolias and cherry trees are in bloom, and are full and beautiful this year!
I'll try to get back on track soon. Maybe I'll take a page from other bloggers and just show work in progress.

The ground ivy has crept back to the edges of the gardens so I am going to have to try to eradicate what I can.  (I think this is another pernicious invader carried here by early settlers, like dandelions).  I have a nice sprayer I fill with cider vinegar and a bit of dish soap to use as a weed killer.  It is not as effective or long lasting as the chemical weed killers, so I will have to get into the habit if doing it every few weeks.  But- as we are all learning a bit too late- the chemicals are killing way more than the weeds!  (Sorry for all the links.  I couldn't find the article I read with all of this in one place)

I am grateful for:
The people who truly care.
Sitting on the deck with my afternoon wine, listening to the Orioles sing.
A break from diaper sewing.
The spasms in my back (from doing an ill-advised cartwheel) only lasted three days.
Healthy (so far) kittens.