Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I'm totally addicted!

I finished another Opulent Ornament yesterday.  This is made with Amy Butler's Lotus fabric. 

The motif on one side of the ball wasn't symmetrical, so I pretended it was.  Funny how many of my little flowers matched up anyway.

I like the other side better, but this picture also shows off the very cool sparkly stuff I got last week!

Here are the two Lotus ones together.  I'm probably going to add these to a raffle basket the ArtCGirlz are donating to the Museum Quilt Guild.  I love them, but they aren't "my" colors.  For me, the making is what I wanted, not necessarily the ornaments. 

Here are all of the ones I've made so far in a group.  I haven't really found a good way to add the hangers to them, plus I don't know where I'd hang them, so I put them on the candle sticks on my mantel.

I had them in a different window at first, and discovered they were backlit.  But even there you can see the jewel-like quality they have.
When I moved them, one dropped off the candle stick.  They are made of Styrofoam balls, so now it has a bit of a flat spot.  It doesn't detract from how pretty it is in the least, but I will have to mark them as fragile if I donate them!

I'm saddened by the killing of the gorilla at the Cincinnati zoo over the weekend.  So senseless.  And I know that kids disappear in a heartbeat, but am still disturbed by the fact that the little boy was able to get into the enclosure.  If it was safe enough for 38 years, it must have taken the boy a few minutes to get in there.  Mom didn't notice he was gone?  In a public place, she wasn't holding his hand or something to keep track of him?  I knew a guy who said: "You need a license to drive a car, but anyone can have a kid!"  (Heard a great line in a Dean Koontz audiobook on my way to work this morning: Human beings can always be relied upon to exert, with vigor, their God-given right to be stupid.)
Yes, I'm being judgemental.  And I feel very sorry for that little boy, who will no doubt be traumatized for life by this.  It's all heartbreaking.  And it damages the survival of this species.  Zoos have been very important to the breeding of many endangered animals.  This guy hadn't even reached the age to begin breeding yet.  Sigh.

I am grateful for:
My first nap in the hammock.
Fun with the grands this weekend. (Ever played a game called "Silent but Deadly"?  Try it with a 7-year old sometime!)
Some sewing time.
A friend who let us borrow his box trap and then release the raccoon on his land.  I hope that was the only one!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Flipping raccoon!!!

Last night I caught the damned raccoon right up on my porch!!  I made loud noises and scared him away, but he came back at some point.  How do I know?  There are muddy footprints all over the deck and the nest of baby spiders I was trying hard not to step on is gone.  And that soft spot in the garden is dug up again.

 I'm _this_ close to loading the shotgun and sitting in the window waiting for him.  I wonder if spraying him with water would work. (My aunt used to shoot the bears getting into her bird feeder in the Adirondacks with a water gun!)
The fact that they are known to carry diseases means I should be out there mopping the deck with bleach water every day- because I don't have enough to do around the house already!  Uch!!

*****UPDATE ****
6/15/16- We borrowed a live trap from a friend who, for his own reasons, doesn't mind having more raccoons on his land.  So far, we have relocated 7 of the little beasties.  Let's hope this family is the only group who thinks my gardens are their personal playground!

Meanwhile, on my way home from a doctor's appointment yesterday, I stopped to look for more sparkly stuff for my Opulent Ornaments.  Look what AC Moore had!!!

 I can't wait to find places for them!!

This is not the nest of babies I found on my deck, obviously.  I weeded around these guys a couple of days ago in the perennial bed.  I just thought I'd share what a nest of babies looks like.  They are already weaving tiny webs, and will be gone in a few days, especially if it gets windy.  They aren't hurting me, and may even remove pests from my garden!!  Plus, on dewy mornings, their webs are beautiful!
I used to hate spiders- like most girls do- but I have learned to appreciate them.

I am grateful for:
A few days of solitude
Grilled cheese on a croissant
Taking the first step
The self-study is finished and submitted
The kittens are doing better!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

These kittens are kicking my butt!

Remember the kittens I mentioned last week?  Things have been very rocky with them, and I have learned in no uncertain terms I am not cut out for this kind of fostering! I ended up passing one back to the bottle baby expert (and have later realized I should have passed on the whole crew!), as she was doing very poorly with me.  The rest are holding their own, gaining wight slowly and still not eating solid food.  SO basically I am feeling like a total failure right now.
I spend three or four hours a day with them!  You know why I'm a cat person?  Cat's aren't needy pets.  Kittens missing their momma are VERY needy, as it turns out.

I know, this isn't what you come here for, but this is really all I have done this week when I wasn't in the garden. It's a frustrating year out there as well. I am battling a raccoon who keeps digging up the pots and fresh plantings, in spite of the cayenne pepper I have been using everywhere. I suppose I should have tried to get some pictures out there.  Another thing to add to the list of things I've not done well lately.  Sorry.  

I did get some nice news last week- much to my surprise, the AQS jury accepted my fish quilt for the Syracuse "Quilt Week".  I honestly didn't think it would be up to their standards, but took a chance.  Every time I get accepted, I feel like I won a prize!

To make this worth your time, here are a few pictures from the Amherst Guild Quilt show I went to in April.  (I can't show many as I didn't take as many label pictures as I thought. sigh)  They are a very talented guild, and I always leave that show wanting to hibernate in my sewing room!

look how tiny the pieces are!!!

Probably the lighting, but this one glowed!

One of their "don't touch" signs!

Binding the corners and curves must have been a Herculean job!

I hope you can read the label!

So there's my sad post for this week. I hope the Russian data miners find something useful here.  (I noticed recently much of the traffic to my bog is from Russia, did a little searching and it turns out there is a huge scamming industry over there.  They use keywords in blog posts to try and steal  people's identities.  Isn't that nice?)

Some good news for a change, environmentally speaking.  Just nice to read these stories!

I am grateful for:
Quiet time in the garden- sort of nature therapy.
Encouraging words from an unlikely source.
Jamie's kitten expertise.
Hugs with friends.
Peanut butter cups

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

what I did last week...

The last week and a half has been filled with grandchildren, gardening, kittens, more grandchildren, and even some sewing/ creative time!!!

(Today Blogger is not playing nice, so apologies for the spacing in advance!)

It started last Monday when I got to have a nice visit with Jonathan!  Isn't he awesome?!!
He found Grampa's remote pockets and decided they were telephones!  He's past walking to almost running, but likes to be up where he can point and explore and touch things beyond his reach.

Then on Wednesday, someone had brought in a batch of tiny kittens, needing help to learn what solid food is.  I have been wishing for tiny kittens, but would have preferred mom was here to do this job.  
Thank goodness I have expert help!  Kiara came over to help me get the nursery set up for the babies.  They like to cuddle in a kitten pile!
 They need to be fed at least three times a day, which involves watching them walk through a dish of kitten mush, then cleaning their faces and feets before the mush gets tracked all over the room (and all over me!)  Then they all climb on me for momma time where I "groom" them the way mom would, and let them play on me.  Then I try to clean the litter pan, and food dishes so I can reload the crate until the next feeding.  They have to be in the crate until I'm sure they are finding the litter pan every time. 
I never knew how much work this part was!!  One of the volunteers at the shelter does it almost all the time with more than 5 babies!  She is now my absolute hero!

On Friday, I ran a few of  my usual errands, ran home, fed the kittens, changed my clothes and we dashed off to Wellsville to see Amy play her last regular season softball games.   Where have the years gone, and how did she get to be a senior?

The weekend was cold and rainy/ snowy. (Yes, we had snow on Sunday!)  So I stayed in and tried to finish up some projects. 

  I'm still playing with beaded balls.  This one uses an old Amy Butler fabric.  It's a much different palette than I usually use, but I had fun finding ways to make it sparkle.

 I got this panel and coordinates a year ago, but decided it would be a nice first birthday gift.  Hopefully Jonathan's parents don't mind me filling their house with quilts.  Mine is already overflowing.

I like having a bag like this for day trips- I can carry the necessities without a lot of strain on my shoulder, and my hands are free.  The old one I had was getting a bit worn, so I made a new one for my upcoming trip to visit Guy in Portland.

(Doesn't it look nice with Edith's sweater?)

Sunday Kiara came over, and we did the sharpie tie dye thing on some t-shirts.  I used too much purple, and she didn't get the whole"Keep the design simple" thing.  But we had fun doing it. 
Then she discovered the old steamer trunk in my dining room.  It not only holds holiday linens, but a collection of very old clothing. (When I asked for the trunk, my family said you have to take the contents.  I was fine with that!)

I've worn this outfit a couple of times on Halloween- most recently as Mary Poppins.
 The pink doesn't go, but the dress wouldn't stay up without an under layer.  My great aunt wore this dress for some fancy occasion.  It was always my favorite, too!

So, I had to come back to work to catch my breath!  You can bet some hungry kittens will be mewing loudly when I get home, though!

I sort of shamed a friend the other day who tossed a soda can into the trash when there were recycle bins nearby.  It's never my intention to make recycling a negative thing to be endured, so I feel bad that happened.  However, I do feel that the average American sees it as a burden to dispose of things responsibly- or better yet, not create waste.  That is the mindset I keep talking about changing.  Just as a penny can become millions of dollars, so can one small act every day change the world. I'm going to keep saying it until I see habits change.  You've been warned. :-)

I am grateful for:
35 years with a very patient, tolerant and wonderful man.
Kids to play with- both human and feline.
Sewing time!!
The DVR and movies on DVD.
Fresh wild asparagus for my hunny!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Playing with balls, and other projects

I am addicted!  Making these sparkling ornaments is just fun. Of course anything sparkly makes me happy. (My husband says I'm part crow)

They look so pretty on the mantel!

The most recent ones are made on a 3 inch Styrofoam ball.  The motifs  I'm using are almost perfect for this size, so I don't have to fiddle around covering the space in the middle (at the equator)
 I added a hanging string to this one.  I'm not sure how the ladies making the full sized (6 inch) ones get their needles all the way through the balls. And getting it to come out where you want is a tricky maneuver!  
 Anyway, I'm thinking they'll make great gifts. ( I hope)

I also finished another page in my calendar. I'm up to July now, which means I'll be able to hang my fully decorated 2016 calendar long about September!  After I took the picture, I went back and darkened the blue in the background.  There is no pink, that's a trick of the light but it's pretty isn't it?

I laid out blocks for a comfort quilt for a member of the online community last week.  Fortunately I had expert helpers!

 My first batch of foster kittens graduated last week.  Aren't they gorgeous?  It's so odd that we have so few kittens at the shelter right now.  I'm sure it won't last, but for now we are enjoying the fact that we have empty cages and are able to help most of the people who call us with animals they have to turn in.  Part of the reason, I'm sure, is the community spay and neuter grant we are using to help people get their pets "altered".  It DOES make a difference!  If only we could help everyone- or mandate it??  We help over 500 cats every year. It breaks my heart to think of all the ones we can't help.

I am grateful for:
Music that soothes my bad moods.
Some time in the sewing room the past week.
May- it's my favorite month of the year!
I saw a hummingbird this morning, and the bluebirds seem to be nesting in the new birdhouse I got!
Finding things to look forward to- even if it's only going out to pull weeds.