Saturday, May 31, 2014

I Caved....

I confess I caved in and indulged in some retail therapy this week.  Here are my new library and stash enhancements.  

My blackberry bushes and container tomato and pepper plants are ready for the first picking.  The pepper is a jalapeno, but I also have a regular bell pepper plant as well. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Jane Stickle Triangle Blocks

Monday was spent prepping for applique handwork on three Jane Stickle triangle blocks.   After what seemed like forever, I actually got to spend a day sewing with my Tuesday group where I finished them. Here are the completed blocks, from left to right:  Virginia's Kite, Connie's Brownies, and Watermelon.  Eight triangles and four corner kites to go.

Over the past five days we have enjoyed a wonderful rain event.  The LCRA gauges closest to our house in town and at the ranch show that we received 4.01 and 3.73 inches respectively.  What’s even nicer, there was also heavy rainfall to the north in the area that feeds the lake that is the source of our area’s household water.  We’re not at the drought breaking stage, but it was such a relief to see it.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Jill Finley/Sue Garman Project is a Flimsy

My combined Jill Finley (center applique block) and Susan Garman medallion quilt design is now a flimsy.  The class with Sue was that perfect combination of working under the guidance of a masterful teacher while in the good fellowship of friends.  I was so sad when we were at the end of our session, but then my friends and I went out for a girls’ lunch together and that was great too.

I really like this little top, but the picture doesn't capture the colors all that well.  My version ended up at 49 inches wide and, except for one fabric, came entirely from my stash.

Our area continues to be drought stricken and we are now limited to watering our yards with sprinklers once a week.  We can, however, water by hand-held hose daily.  

My potted tomato plants are trying to produce and last year’s Easter lily has bloomed again.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Doing my Homework

Today is Quilt Club meeting day and tomorrow I am scheduled to attend a workshop led by Susan Garman.  During the past week I have been busy pulling fabrics from my stash and doing the homework we've been assigned prior to our session. 

The subject is making pieced borders fit.  We are to start with a 12½ inch block of our choosing and add a series of solid and pieced borders until we end up with a 45” top.  I chose to use the block from the earlier workshop by Jill Finley as my center.  Since I didn't have large enough cuts of fabrics to exactly follow Susan's design, I've had to add in more variety.

Here is what I have so far.  The white areas will be “floater” borders that will vary in width as necessary to make the pieced borders fit.  There is also an additional pieced border of 3½ inch squares around the outside that I have not worked on yet.  

Here’s hoping I have enough time and energy after our meeting today to finish my homework and get everything ready to transport.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Necessity, the Mother of Invention

The table next to our television-watching chairs is ridiculously small, especially if I’m trying to do handwork.  After putting up with my glasses, scissors and thread being knocked off and buried as well as having no place to put my thread clippings, it finally dawned on me that I had the solution right in my desk drawer.  I wouldn’t recommend this for fine wood furniture, but it certainly doesn’t bother me to use it on a glass top that already has scratches.

I also use binder clips to reduce drag from my iron’s cord.

There’s a new house in the neighborhood and soon a new family.  My mother called these birds mud hens though I know that’s not their real name.  I won’t disturb the nest now, but I do wish she had not chosen our front porch for her home.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Random Notes....

Sweet Julia sent me these lovely tulips for Mother’s Day, and they certainly made my day.  I am so blessed.

Bob is home from rehab and trying to make friends with his new left knee.  We’re going through the settling-in phase as we try to organize everything he needs in a way that gives him easy access, while keeping him comfortable.  Home health care made an assessment visit yesterday and PT should resume tomorrow.

I’m still working on appliqueing the Jill Finley blocks.  At this stage the pictures are rather repetitive, but I am making progress.  I find this an especially relaxing project, making it the perfect one to have on hand.

It’s the time of year when the turtles start migrating from one pond to another.  I moved this one from our flower bed to the water’s edge.  I believe this may be a female since she was burrowing in the ground, perhaps about to build a nest.  I rescued another one about this size from a dangerous spot on our street and relocated it as well.  The easiest way I’ve found to move these critters is to gently slide a flat shovel under them.  They simply retract into their shell until I deposit them in a new spot.  They are remarkable creatures that can move surprisingly quickly when they want to.  We also have snapping turtles in our area, but so far I have not had to relocate any of those.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Progress at the Ranch

I spent a few hours at the ranch Tuesday while an insurance rep, potential contractor and mold removal technician went over the progress so far.  The house has passed its state mandated mold inspection and it’s time to think about moving forward.  Right now it almost looks skeletal with four feet of drywall removed from every room, flooring pulled up and all contents removed.  Bob was concerned that I would find the current state depressing, but for the first time the house actually looks fixable.  The box in the lower left corner is an air scrubber that was used in the mold treatment process.

Even in severe drought, the countryside has its beauty.  May is the month that the cactus blooms.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Trying to Hit My Stride Again

Still not much sewing going on right now.  Bob had surgery last week.  He is doing great, getting stronger every day, and hopefully should be home from rehab quickly.    But sitting in dimly lit hospital rooms and cramped waiting rooms left me feeling sluggish, and not terribly motivated to do much work even if the space and light had been adequate.
Thank goodness for the connections we make with our quilting friends, especially those who share their inspirations and challenges.  Several have posted about life events that certainly put mine in proper perspective.  And, as I started reading last night, I began to feel that inner nudge to start doing something quilty again, even if it continues to be limited to a few minutes of handwork squeezed in here and there. 

About all I can report for progress is that I have finished the hand applique work on three of these blocks and finished prepping the remaining blocks for handwork.  Two borders still remain for prepping.

I snapped this photo of our neighbors’ roof-line one day last week.  It's fuzzy because I enlarged it so much.  A large colony of vultures lives in the area.  It’s magnificent to watch them soar overhead in mass during the early evening as they search out a roost for the night.  I don’t think they spent the night on our neighbors’ house, but I do believe they chose that spot to wait for the sun to warm up the atmosphere so they could catch up-drafts and launch.  It looks like there are at least 30 birds in this group and I certainly hope they never choose our roof as a launch spot!