Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Next Art/Craft?

The completion of the crazy quilt block gave me an opportunity to change my evening activity.  Of course, I had promised myself that I would get back to the rug hooking, but there are other things I also want to do and/or need to do.

So here's a list:

  • Rug hooking - complete Autumn Perch 
  • Crazy Quilting - start Spring block
  • Knitting - Start one of many knitting projects
    • oops, sew the pockets on the shawl before I can claim it finished
  • Wool work on the log cabin table runner
At least that's all that comes to mind right now (there are probably more).

Anyway, I've hit on a scheme that may work.  Or not.  At least it's a plan.

Last night I worked on rug hooking.  At this point I'm working on the night sky around the moon.  Since I'm trying to add the rays of light against the deep sky, it's all an experiment which may or may not be successful.  Only time will tell.

The spring block has still to be cut out and then assembled before the "interesting" stitching can begin.  The base is ready, the materials for each piece chosen, and I'm eager to start.

Tonight I started a knitting project.  It's a relatively easy project which is why I chose it.  First I thought it might do as a travel project, but I decided to drop that since knitting tools aren't always viewed enthusiastically on airplanes.  That may mean that I'll put it aside and pick up a knitting project that was started last year and put aside as problems arose.  The two I"m thinking about won't be too dreadful to fix, but they will take both time and close attention.

Today I cut out two wool leaf shapes that I plan to embroider, but then I thought it might be smarter if I hadn't cut them out.  Embroidering the wool while it's a larger piece would be both easier and the wool would have less of a chance of ravelling.

So there it is.  Alternating among the projects has the advantage of keeping my interest keen, but it also might hinder concentrated, consistent work.  It also may not work if I find interest waning in one or more of the projects.

Time will tell.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Caterpillars and Milkweed

When I think of the milkweed plant's flower, I think of a pink flower.  That's the sort of milkweed we always saw growing in ditches when we were growing up and that we have in the back yard garden.  A couple of years ago I discovered that milkweed can also have a white flower and immediately sought, found two, and planted them in my white flower garden.  Last year we had two monarch caterpillars, but they never got to the chrysalis stage much to our sorrow.

This year the milkweed flourished in both locations, and we have seen solitary monarchs flitting about so today we checked the white ones for caterpillars.  The first thing that caught my eye was this:

In the photo above, you can see the white flower of the milkweed and, if you looker lower down and slightly to the left, you may see a caterpillar.  It's not the monarch caterpillar, but it's quite stunning in its own right. The next photo is a close up of that caterpillar.  It's a Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillar.  I think it's stunning!

And just in case you're wondering, D found two monarch caterpillars while I was busy oohing and ahhing over the amazing one I found.  Here are the monarch caterpillars:

There is one on either side of the picture; the one on the left obviously hatched before the one on the right.  I hope that since there aren't two very large caterpillars that may in some way protect them from (mostly insect) predators.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Love Affair with Zinnias

Earlier in this flowering season, I talked about my love of zinnias.  They can be counted on to perform under almost any conditions, give any garden a shout of color, last as cut flowers, and continue to bloom for a long time.  Their form is simple, and they are rugged.  Nor are they too picky about soil conditions or watering.  If one treats them well, they will reward one.

After yesterday's wind and heavy, heavy rain, the very tall zinnias were almost all lying on the ground so I went out and staked them all.  I also cut off almost all the blooms that hadn't already been deadheaded to encourage the plants to recover and put out new buds.  In the pictures you'll see some ragged and/or tired blooms from that storm, but they can still make one smile:

The zinnias above and below are in a very thick, large glass bowl.  Seen from the top in the photo above and seen through the glass below.  The second shot intrigues me as I think it has the appearance of a paperweight.

And this is a pretty standard shot of mostly zinnias (with a red coneflower to keep them company) in a vase.  Such a cheery sight first thing in the morning!

I'll finish with a bit of a palate cleanser.  This is the Casa Blanca lily that is fragrant and beautiful.  Another favorite that is planted in the fall.  I feel quite lucky that the critters allowed this one to live and flourish!

Gardens are good for the soul, don't you agree?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Second Lascaster, PA Painting

Once again I forgot to photograph the first day's work on the new painting, but I did take a photo  today after the second day of work.  It is another in what I hope will be a series (notice "series" with a small "s") from the trip to Lancaster.  And, it's worth noting that this one already has a name.

While on our trip through Amish country, we were fortunate enough to have lunch at the home of an Amish family.  Not only did we have the pleasure of eating foods made using their recipes, visit the barns, talk with members of the family, and purchase various food/household products, we also were able to take some photographs as long as none of the Amish were in them.  That did give me the opportunity to take pictures that I found fascinating - mostly in the barn, but also a few around the house.

We were there on what was a day that laundry was done.  They do use gas power so they have more modern washing machines, but I don't know if they use dryers or if, like many of us, they hand clothes to dry only on good days.  And this is the subject of the painting.

Here is the second day of work on "Washday":

There is quite a bit of work yet to be done, and it may only the first version as I'm not sure I like the dimensions of this paper for this subject.

Also, I had planned to paint the sky first and add the line of laundry afterwards but changed my mind because there are white items on the line as well as the dark.  That is one reason why the sky below the clothes line appears to be a mountain.  That really has to be changed!  Also, the building is larger than I am happy with.  

Some things to work on and maybe somethings that need a new size.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Barbara's Block

Well, the time has finally arrived when I can say that the crazy quilt block dedicated to my sister Barbara is finished.  Now all I have to do is write about it in my Crazy Quilt Journal as I have with the other blocks.


You may have noticed that there are numerous "references" to flight, and if you noticed the uniform Barbara is wearing, you'll understand the reason why.  There are also references to sewing which won't surprise anyone since the entire crazy quilt is about women and stitchery of one kind or another.  The VW bus has its headlights, the little smocked dress is on its hangar, all seams have been covered, embellishments are stitched, and the caduceus is in place (in her time, one had to be a nurse to become a stewardess).  

There are many other details which all gave me great delight to design and execute, but I am looking forward to starting the next block which will be one of the four seasons to be used as the cornerstones for the quilt.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

A Day for Bonsai

D asked me if I wanted to go to the Bonsai Club meeting today; it was a workshop with a visiting expert.  I really like the members so even if I wound up painting as I did the last time when it was primarily a meeting about the upcoming show, I said yes.

The workshop leader was a Korean woman who spoke very good English and was a terrific teacher.  Her specialty is accent plants.  At a bonsai show, people show their trees and often have very small accent plants that make a more complete display.  Young Choe gave us a lot of information about how to select the correct plant to go with tree.  It included things like they should represent the same season or they should complement each other physically (like leaning towards each other), or their colors should be harmonious, or that they grew in similar locales.  

I had never heard or thought about any of that!   Oh well, here is our teacher with her accent plant, a moss ball.

Then we all were to choose plants (as with many other arts odd numbers are preferable) that would harmonize with each other.  We didn't have bonsai trees with us so we didn't have to worry about that yet, but some members clearly had one in mind.  

I chose plants by height (small, medium, tall), color (red, light green, dark green), and leaf type (spear, round, jagged).  We were also warned to make sure that all plants were compatible as far as growing conditions.  I wound up with seven plants which I knew were too many for a tiny pot but thought I'd be able to eliminate some as I planted.

While I was doing all that, D was doing the same thing.  The big difference was he had purchased a super pot.  I didn't have one, but I was planning on making a "moss ball" in which I could plant my lovelies.  However, D had a better idea; he suggested we pool our plants and work on one grouping for his pot.  

We had a wonderful trying different arrangements using some of the plants we had both selected and came up with what I think is a really lovely result.  Other members also had lovelies to show.  

Here they are:  The first one is Dorothy's - it's a little difficult to see because of the plants in the background, but it is a lovely weed.

The next one is a beautiful, large collection of plants that live in wet areas.  Done by very good friends of ours I hope this will be in the upcoming bonsai show.

And here is ours. I waited to take the photograph until we got home where I could choose a neutral background.  This one is small as the pot is only about 3" in diameter.  Even so, it's hard to really pick out the different plants.  The background grasses are spiky, one low plant (ginger on the left) has a glossy, round leaf, and the other plant in the front has a more lobed leaf.  All soil has been covered with moss.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Lancaster PA Painting Finished

Well, I can't decide on the name of this one, but the painting is finished.  Sharon had a few suggestions, and I had a few areas on which I wanted to work.  By the end of class, we agreed that it was done.

This is what I had posted yesterday.  The painting appears darker in this photo than it does in the final version, but that was merely the vagaries of my editing.

This is the finished version.

Now, if I could only figure out the title!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Lancaster PA- Painting

Much to my dismay, it appears that I have taken only one photo of my current painting although I have spent three days on it. I thought this subject would soothe my amour propre (a fancy way of saying "pride") after my disappointment with Splash!  If you remember, that was not a success, and my confidence took a hit.  So I really wanted to work on something that had a chance of turning out well.

Success does help!

Today was my third day of work on this one and that's because one - two hours is my limit for three reasons.  One, I try to work all over the surface and lay down an undercolor of pale color for the entire subject.  Second, once that is done, the surface is damp to down right wet and has to dry.  Third, it provides me with the time to look the work with a critical lens and really think about what comes next or what should be changed.

And writing this blog is also helpful.  I've always found that for me writing requires concentrated thought which results in an exploration of how I really think or feel.

It also helps to see my painting in this way and see things that aren't as I thought they were.  For examples, wow, that barn is RED!   The tree on the left?  Boring!  

And, and, and . . . .

Monday, July 16, 2018

Garden in Fog

Heat, garden, crazy quilt, laundry - you name it, it has come between me and writing entries.

Weariness after the above activities - is responsibly for my negligence.

Okay, maybe I should just have said, "You name it, and I've used it as an excuse not to write"

Actually, all would be correct.  I have been working in the garden, there are several other activities that keep me busy, and by the end of the day, I have been tired. 

I have started a new painting - a scene of Lancaster from a photograph I took from the bus on the quilt trip to Intercourse, PA.   Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photograph of it after the first day of painting, but I will take one tomorrow and write about it at that time.

Today in late afternoon, we had a sudden downpour (which meant I didn't have to water D's bonsai!).  Shortly after it stopped, I went out the front door to see if the plants semi-sheltered by the porch roof had gotten any benefit from the rain (they didn't).  While out on the porch, I happened to glance up and saw fog rapidly rolling down the street.  It was really beautiful!  

Of course, I quickly went inside to get my camera but found that the fog could move faster than I did.  Still, I went around to check out the garden and found some possibilities for a painting.  Maybe someday . . .

I'm not sure which one is my favorite because each one has its own charm.  They each also have their own challenge for a painter.  I'll have to wait and see if I take the challenge!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Moon is Finished!

Yesterday's blog didn't get written because I waited too long and was too sleepy.  That disappointed me because I actually had something to show.  

It's taken a while but the moon on the rug I'm hooking is finally finished.  I say "finally" in that it took me quite a long time since I kept taking parts of it out.  The decision to make it a golden harvest moon didn't change, but I didn't want to make it flat - meaning all one color - because everything else has more detail.  I toyed with the idea of making a man in the moon face, but didn't want to turn the rug into a cartoon.  I actually tried hooking an "oh-so-subtle" face using the craters to plot the 'face".  It really didn't work so all that was taken out. 

Finally I decided simply to hook the moon by randomly using different wools in the right yellow range.  Here's where fate took a hand. about three quarters of the way through, I noticed that in the top right side of the moon there appeared to be an eye. With a few slight changes, it became a subtle eye. That meant I could remove the completed area on the left and replace it with the same shape and colors as on the right.  Of course, that meant that the area around the "eye" would have to undergo some color changes so the eye would be more easily noticed even though "subtle".

After completing that I thought I could finish it quickly, but then I started thinking again.  This time, I thought, if the moon has eyes, shouldn't it have a smile? or a smiling mouth?  But the crow was in that space . . .  I mused.  A mouth could stretch to either side of the crow especially if it had a wide smile . . .


Can you see the eyes and the mouth?

Now I  have to put the rug hooking aside and finish my sister's crazy quilt block - that was the deal I made with myself.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Another Quilt on the Finished Pile - Almost

When tidying my studio last fall - winter, I came across an almost finished quilt with hand-pieced blocks.  In keeping with my determination to finish projects, early this summer I decided to look for the fabrics I knew I had somewhere and make the quilt one of the finished.  

Fabrics were found, borders cut and sewn on, binding made, and a quilting appointment kept.  Saturday, I picked up the quilted piece and brought it home.  Sunday the sleeve was made, the binding was machine sewn on one side, and Monday attached on the other.  Now all that is left to do is hand sew the bottom edge of the sleeve to the back which I'll work on this evening.

Here is a photo:

You may notice that the colors chose for this one is a departure from my usual choices.  Instead of bright, dynamic colors, this quilt features tonal pinks, greens, and browns - in some instances so pale that the quilt didn't photograph well.

Clearly the one thing I did not pay attention to was checking that it was squared up before giving it to the quilter!  Ah well, I'll have to make a note to myself to take care of that step in the future.

At least it's - almost - finished!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

More Garden Shots - Daylilies

It is in July that daylilies come into their own.  We are fortunate enough to have a 20 - 25 foot border of these lovely though fleeting flowers where we can enjoy them from our kitchen window.  

Then there are those in our main garden in our back yard.  These bloom a little later because every year the beech tree (also in the back yard) gets taller and shades part of this garden more and more every year.  But they are really coming along now.

This one has been a glory and a boon to my spirit for several years now and has an interesting history.  First, it was a gift from SiL A (actually both of the daylilies I am posting today are from her), and second, its name is Mary Todd.  That, which might have figured in the posts from previous years, is one daylily whose name I remember because Mary Todd Lincoln was an ancestress of my husband's (and, therefore, SiL A and SiL N).  It is a spectacular flower.

The second one, in deeper shade farther away from Mary Todd, is the first to flower of  those in that part of the garden.  I've been expecting those to bloom for over a week now - especially because of the brutally hot spell we just had - but they've kept us waiting.  This one has a softer color but a very beautiful form.

Before I took these photos, I cut many of our daylilies for bouquets in the house - enough for two tall vases.  While each flower lasts only one day, I cut stems that have several buds not yet open.  That way we continue to have new bud opening every day.  A veritable largesse of beauty!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

New Painting - Finished?

Today a painting that has frustrated me for at least two months is - as far as I am concerned - finished.  I think this is the 7th version of this subject I've attempted, and that should alert you to the fact that I found it a difficult one.  I also realize that when I take it in to my class, my teacher will have suggestions.  Before I tell you what I think she will say, here is "Splash!"

I know that my teacher will have something nice to say (maybe, "You finished it!" - that's a "tongue in chee" bit) before she tells me that it's overworked and then asks if I want to try it again.  She is very kind no matter what bad news she has to impart.  

Tomorrow I will go through my photos to a new subject.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018


D won all kind of kudos for seeing the new wall hanging immediately when he walked into our bedroom. 

Then he garnered even more accolades when he stepped closer and saw the heart block (in the center) with the date of our wedding and our initials. 

He noticed the phrases on the fabric also. 

He was very pleased and even more so when I told him I had designed it to hang over our bed and not where it currently is (squooshed between a doorway and my dresser with mirror).  So I won kudos for not hanging there in the first place as I had promised not to hang items that require climbing on furniture or ladders (I have a reputation for falling off such things).

Definitely it made my week of frenzied work on the wall hanging more than merely "worthwhile".  It was a "labor of love" appreciated. What more can anyone ask for?

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Garden Notes

Sometimes I feel that I really should bang my head against a wall because so often I overlook the obvious.  Last week I planned to sit down and write my "monthly" (meaning it isn't always done on a monthly basis) letter to my brothers.  As I do rather regularly, I dithered.

What should I write about?  I paint, I sew, I hook, I read, and at this time of year I play in the dirt.  What would my brothers find of interest in any of those activities?  Painting? No, to the best of my knowledge neither of them paint, draw, or sculpt. Sew?  No way!  I do hope they can sew on buttons if needed, but are they enthusiastic about sewing for any reason?  Again, no.  Rug hooking?  Equally ludicrous - not for males, but for the male members of my family.  Read?  Aha!  Now there's a real topic for letters that would engage both brothers.  Not the romantic suspense I enjoy; possibly not even the mysteries that are also a large part of my reading.  Non-fiction?  Quite possibly, but it isn't  the type of book I reach for often.  However, I know one brother enjoys historical fiction and both the science fiction and fantasy genres.  So there was my topic for him, at least.

Of course, once I had settled on that, you would think I would immediately take pen in hand and start writing immediately.  You would be wrong.  Since I had discovered a topic for one brother and had even come up with another topic for the other brother, I should have been able to get right to it.  Why not? you ask.  

What could I use for stationery?  I'm one of those who doesn't tear off a sheet of lined paper or grab a piece of computer paper for letters.  Stationery is important.  It sets the mood.  It lets the recipient know that this is a deliberate letter that took forethought (too much, in my case, of course) and that the recipient has been part of the particular paper, has been in the forefront of my mind.  

That's actually true, but honestly, a lot of the dithering was the result of procrastination, pure and simple.

Not finding anything I felt was worthy of this month's letter for either brother, I was about to pull out some paper that "would do".  Until . . . I thought of my garden photos.  Ta-dah!  Both brothers are or have been gardeners in their time, and both they and their wives might enjoy those photos.  

We now have a small collection of notepaper with pretty and cheerful garden photos.

Oh, yes, I did write the letters!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Update on a Wallhanging

The quilting on the wallhanging I've been working on is finished.  It isn't as lovely as a professional would have been able to do, but having it done by a professional would have taken too long. I wanted this project finished.

And it is.  Well, almost. Tomorrow I have to make the binding and hanging sleeve and then sew them on.  Once those two items are in place that's when I can really call this project complete.

Then I will move on to another project, but first, I will allow myself to do some painting.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Wednesday Already?

The week is speeding by - there's nothing really new in that, I know, but still I find myself surprised by it.  Monday was special in that two dear friends joined me in spending the day laughing and doing hand work.  Because there were visitors in the house and I was otherwise occupied, the laundry didn't get done.  Which meant that Tuesday became laundry day as well as errand day.  Fortunately, I was able to do a little sewing machine work late in the afternoon.

So here it is Wednesday and halfway through the week! There were workers scheduled for today which made it impossible for me to go to painting (since D was at an out-of-house meeting).  Unfortunately, what neither of us had realized is that next Wednesday is the Fourth of July and there is no painting scheduled.  Oh well, I'll have to work on my own. 

Tomorrow I'll be doing more sewing to try to finish a project by the end of the week.  I really have to start on one of the two next in line.  Both of them need to be completed sooner rather than later.

As far as painting?  I did do a sketch at Sunday's bonsai club meeting using Intense colored pencils, Pigma pen, and watercolor paints.  The subject was a Mugo pine that hasn't had much work done on it; it was still in a large pot.  You will notice that I changed the pot (because it was really ugly!) to a more typical bonsai pot.

It was fun, and good practice, but it will stay hidden in my sketchbook!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Dedication for a Brother

Saturday we took off to New Jersey where the combined efforts of a Historical Society and a Garden Club were dedicating a bench and tree to my brother DRBR (in the rest of this entry I will use BroD instead of all his initials) who died last year.  The drive was uneventful, but it did remind both of us helpful a GPS is!  We were headed for a cemetery called simply "Old Burying Ground" which, as you can imagine, had no street number and it was on a major (read "long") road, but Rosie (our GPS  and yes, I one of "those" who name their cars - Ruby - and other non-sentient things) got us there.

As it turned out, it was a wonderful gathering of family, and despite a few tears now and then, a happy one.  All three of BroD's children were there, and the only grandchildren missing were geographically far away.  The dedication of the bench was very moving as BroD 's wife, a son, and a grandson all spoke and women from both clubs gave very moving addresses.

Since I do not have permission to show photos of the children who were in attendance, I will simply share a photo of the garden bench:

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Garden Photos

Another day doing multiple tasks (some of them almost necessary, some of them just because they occurred to me).  In the morning, I dashed outside to capture the raking light on the garden.  It wasn't really raking light as it was already around eight o'clock.  But even though the sun was higher, I didn't get the shots I wanted until later in the day.

Then there were the runs to bank and grocery store followed by making a macaroni salad, having lunch, and sewing until I made a rookie mistake.  The highlight of the day was the visit of my best friend who came bearing gifts, humor, and a delight change of pace.  That's the kind of friend every one needs and then like me cherishes.

After that, I went outside to try to capture some of the glory of a June garden no matter how much of a novice the gardener may be.



Glass ornament - reminiscent of a Pagoda

Horse ornament surrounded by flowers

 I will have to remember for the furture that the mid-late afternoon is a good time for the photos. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Mystery Flowers/Berries

D and I went to a reaffirmation of wedding vows  a couple of weeks ago, and it was a wonderful experience.  The couple are good friends from our bonsai club, and we've know them for years.  They were also on the bonsai trip to Asia last year.  It was a quite an experience.

Like everything else, the flowers on the tables at the reception were glorious, and we were lucky enough to win them.  The bouquet had many flowers but two intrigued me more than the others.  The two were of interest because in their own remarkable quiet way, they added a lot to the overall success of the bouquet.  

And I don't know what they are!  This is a photo that includes the two I don't know, and the next one is a closer view and one that shows how they quietly make all the difference.

Look at the textures!  See how the lower "flower" (I have no idea what else to call it) seems to hold two more flowers upright like arms raised in victory. Also the light green is chartreuse- unusual in bouquets. See how it adds a pow factor?

Then there are those green globe-like berries (again a search for a possible term). They are more quiet than the chartreuse flowers, but they do add an unusual texture for a bouquet.  They are foil for all the multi-textured leaves and multi-petaled flowers.

And I haven't even mentioned the serrated red leaves with waxy white, tiny berries!

It's so frustrating! I don't know what any of these plants are.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Over the weekend after doing some research, we finally decided to replace our cookware.  We've had two sets of cookware over the course of our 49 years, and it was time.  The first set I brought to the marriage as something I had purchased while single, and we used it for oh, about 35+ years.  Then our daughter gave us another set which we gave rather hard use.  It had non-stick coating, but as I was still working, I confess I did put the pans in the dishwasher which wasn't good for that non-stick coating.

All that led up to our decision to purchase a new set.  D went to the computer, we decided on two possible sets, and discussed our strategy.  Since my hands are no longer reliably strong (oh, the vicissitudes of age and arthritis!), D insisted that we go and actually find the sets in a shop where I could pick them up and see if I could manage them.  

Of course, our top pick was not available in any of the shops we visited, but we did find a set we liked in Macy's.  It was on sale, but the sale would end when the weekend was over.  Still we decided to keep on looking.  Eventually, on our way home after not seeing what we had set out for, I admitted that I really like the Macy's set of Cusinart Onyx, and we decided to purchase it.

Fortunately, we were able to find it on line so we bought it.  The set was still on sale and also had a $50 deduction since it was Father's Day with no shipping charges!  The only issue was having to wait about two weeks for it to arrive.

When I opened our front door today and saw big boxes, I couldn't figure out what I could possibly have purchased.  Half a library shelf of books?  It was heavy enough.  I dragged the box inside and opened it.

This is what I found:

What a surprise to receive these pans early - happy birthday to me!

Monday, June 18, 2018

If It's Monday . . .

Another Monday morning spent doing the laundry made me really think about the task.  I try very hard to keep to the schedule of doing this chore on the first day of the week in the hopes that as it becomes habit, the automatic, non-thinking part of me will take over and do the task without getting  too grumpy.  For the past ten years since I retired (yes, it has been ten years though I  can't really believe it and have to check my math every time), the laundry has been done on Monday every week unless we are traveling.

Why all the discussion about such a mundane task?  Because today I realized that all this time and thought spent on talking myself out of hating a particular job was time wasted.  I've never hated (or even disliked) doing the laundry.  While the machines take half a day to do all the washing and drying, I spend very little time in the basement.  Even though I do put in time by hanging up a lot of the wet clothes so they dry by themselves, I don't mind it. And I never have.

All I can think is that I fell into a habit of thinking.  I accepted a generally held belief without questioning it.  

None of this is earth-shattering, but it is an important realization.  I think I may all too easily travel in the land of assumptions and accept the beliefs found there without thinking them through.  I have to learn to think for myself.

I like doing the laundry, and I like keeping to a schedule.  So there!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day!

What a beautiful day it has been!  Our weather has been perfect, the gardens are full of June flowers, and the neighborhood was humming with the sounds of children playing, dogs yipping gleefully, and adults calling everyone in for barbecue.  It was a wonderful day to celebrate all fathers, and I hope that you had as happy a time as we did.

Indeed, we found out on Friday that our daughter and grandson would be able to make a quick trip to our home to spend some time with us over the weekend.  So, of course, we quickly made menus, did a flying trip to the grocery store, and started on the happy task of preparing potato salad, vegetables, chicken, and, of course, chocolate chip cookies.  We keep a pretty standard menu because we want to be sure that we have food that everyone can enjoy.  As you can imagine, we've prepared these things lots of time so the preparation is easy.  The fact that we work well together and can share kitchen space with no problems is icing on the cake (if we had one!).

By supper time on Saturday, our family had arrived (late-sh because of grandson's soccer game) and we were all together at the table enjoying each other's company and catching up on the news.  After a trip to the local ice cream stand, we relaxed and let our guests decompress from a week at work and in school.  

Today we went our to a local diner for breakfast, relaxed at home, and instead of Uno played a game of Scrabble!  Grandson used to "help" me play Scrabble on the computer when he was a little boy, and my goodness, things have changed!  I was amazed at how good he was not only at coming up with words but also with the strategy involved.  The latter made me proud of his ability to multi-task (or would that be multi-think?).

After they left, D and I relaxed in the backyard reliving the weekend.  I also took time to snip some of our blooming roses.  We don't know exactly what these two types are other than one we found when we moved into this house.  It was in the field behind us where the old farmhouse had been (we also got our lilacs from that field).  I suppose we could call it the Farmhouse rose; the other one is simply an old moss rose (it's the paler rose on the right).

Basically, we had a weekend much like every other family celebrating Father's Day and isn't that just super!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Today was a curious day in that I didn't really do anything worth while writing about. However, I did a few things.  For example, I spent quite a bit of time roaming around the yard randomly picking stray twigs that were blown off the trees.  We have oak trees in the front and a beech in the back.  Both kinds of trees drop branches whenever they feel like it or whenever some random thing - like a windy day - occurs in their vicinity.  Did you know it's hard to pick up twigs when both hands are full?  Full of twigs, of course.

Anyway, after that I came back inside and did a host of random things: cut wool strips for the moon in the rug I'm hooking, put my painting things away, and organized some of my quilting projects.  Actually, instead of "organizing" read tidying up things that were not put away properly after the last time I worked with them. 

Then I spent time researching the moon which is what took much of my late afternoon. The moon in the rug design is a simple round which in the pattern photo is a plain white.  I have chosen to make it a golden harvest moon, but I knew that wouldn't be enough.  Originally the idea of a man-in-the-moon face floated through my brain, but that would have been too cutesy and out of keeping with the more realistic shading I've been giving the rest of the rug. So instead of comic relief , I'll indicate the craters with darker gold. If it comes out as I hope it will be subtle but noticeable.

There were other things I did but nothing significant and nothing that would help me get further along with any of my projects.  Sometimes it's just more fun to do nothing!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Progress on Rug

Today the grass under the pile of pumpkins rug was - finally - finished.  The word finished is italicized because every evening I would work on it and be satisfied only to have second thoughts the next day.  

The rug as it looks now:

It may be difficult to figure out why I used all the colors I did or why I created patterns in the grass.  Here's my thinking.  Grass is not all one color.  I felt that with all the shading I did in the pumpkins and gourd a one color grass would make it look as though the vegetables were resting on a pool table.  Which would be weird.

Then - the patterns in the grass include the purpley-bluish grass under the pumpkins.  That's the deep shadow of the vegetables on grass.  As for the rest, I tried to depict how field grass might look - including the weeds on either side of the white pumpkin.

And why did it take so long to do?  As I said, what looked good to me at night just didn't measure up in daylight.  The color in one area or another was wrong; it had to be changed to be lighter or darker.  Or the shape of that part of grass would be just not pleasing.

But now it's done, and  . . . ta-dah!  I get to start on the crow after I cut the strips of wool!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Cathedral Window Quilt Block - with thanks to LF!

Today the Hand-piecing group met and had a very special lesson from one of our members on simple method to make the notoriously difficult "cathedral window" quilt block.  This block is especially beautiful, but our teacher showed how to create the block using a simple method.  It was simple enough so we all were able to make a double-sided cathedral window pincushion . . .or at least get the pincushion well on its way (most of us had one side completed before the end of class).

After supper, while watching some TV, I finished the project and stuffed it with wool pieces from my rug-hooking project.

Don't you just love it when pieces from various passions come together in one project!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Mother's Peonies

We've had a few really good days, but mostly we've had cool, rainy weather.  That was perfect for me (unfortunately, for the mosquitoes, too) because it made planting easy.  I had over 70 plants to put in, so even rainy weather made for planting time.

Since the weather has been in "off" mode, I don't have many photographs.  But then again, there aren't many flowers in the back garden, yet.

So, I'll share with you a photo of the peonies my mother (1907 - 1997) gave us.  Since I put in her dates, you can imagine how old the plants are.  Not surprisingly, you'll also know I treasure these plants.  What makes me especially happy is that with the absence of the Harry Lauder's Walking Stick which not only grew without being pruned and crowded the peony plants, these lovely flowers are much healthier.  

Not to be overlooked, in that photo you will also see the ginko tree that D just potted.   Doesn't it look healthy with all those leaves?  It will probably be awhile before D can work on it ; since it is so newly put in a new pot, he may let it grow without any pruning.  I think it makes a wonderful companion for mother's peonies just as it is!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Gardening - Still!

It was another day in the garden, and before you think I'm complaining, I'm not.  Even in the rain, I love working in the dirt.  What's not to like in planting what will become beautiful flowers?  Even in the rain.  Actually that makes the temperature cooler, and the breeze keeps the mosquitoes away.  It was a win win!

But before I get too excited, I need to show you what the garden looked like earlier this month:

You can tell it was early because the lilacs are out, and while there is a lot of green, there aren't many blooms at this point.  Except the hanging pot on the arbor.  

Tomorrow, if the weather is better, I might be able to show more current photos.

Monday, June 4, 2018

More on Hooking

Rug hooking has become my favorite night time activity.  After dinner when the dishes are done and food put away, I sit down in the family room, pull my rug hooking stand over and get started.  While I haven't figured out which one of the following is what makes this activity so enjoyable, you could pick only one of the these possibilities and be a very happy person:

  1. it's easy to do
  2. you can make the design your own (or make a design of your own)
  3. you can use any colors you want
  4. if you make a mistake or don't like something you did, it's super easy to fix
  5. once you have the hang of it (about one day to feel confident), it's goes quickly
  6. if you've chosen what your design wisely, you'll love the finished product
Here's what I've done so far:

Can't wait to get to the crow, but I think I'll tackle the grass below the white pumpkin next - where the weeds are.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Autumn's Perch - Rug Hooking

Last week I posted a peculiar look at my latest obsession - rug hooking.  I have resisted the Siren call for quite a while, but thanks to the kindness and persistence of a friend, I decided to give it a try.  My studio certainly has some wool lying around, I reasoned, so why not put it to another use (other than merely doing the usual "wool work" (sewing a pattern - like a wool bird - on fabric).  This new hobby is simply pulling wool strips through sturdy fabric (similar to burlap though not as rough).  As with anything, there are tricks to how one achieves a desired look, and that is the sort of thing I need to learn.

Once again, here is "Autumn Perch" (the name of the pattern will become apparent once all elements are hooked) the first photo of what I did during my lesson:

And here is what I accomplished during the week:

In this photo, you can see how the fabric is stretched over nails.  That may look dangerous, but it really isn't.  Those nails aren't sharply pointed like the ones used for pounding into wood, but they are small enough and numerous enough to hold the fabric taut.  They are all around the top of my hooking frame.  You can also see the lines in the pattern that indicate certain basic lines that one can hook in a darker color to show the indentations in a pumpkin.  I chose to change colors often so my version would have more depth, but that isn't necessary.  Some people, like my teacher, prefer a more primitive look which is achieved by far less shading.

Anyway, I am really enjoying not only seeing the pattern emerge but the hooking, also. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Another Art Form - Rug Hooking

For some reason the photo of my latest "Rocks" exercise in paint refuses to be uploaded from my phone. Next I will try using my regular camera and attempt to upload the photo from that.  However, it did give me a smile thinking that maybe the rocks were simply to heavy for an ether transfer.

On to my latest enthusiasm - rug hooking.  What you see below is not a spider.  It is the beginnings of a pumpkin;  the greenish stem is at the upper right hand quarter of the pumpkin shape.  The lines of differing browns mark the shadow indentations between the curves of the pumpkin.  It will be interesting to track the appearance of the design.

However, since I am new at rug hooking, it will take a while before there is any appreciable progress - especially since tomorrow I will start a three-day Quilt Weekend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Rock Day

Geology was not a subject I studied in college, and I figure that may be one reason I've had such a struggle painting rocks.  Of course, I hadn't expected the difficulty because "Zero Degrees" featured some a rather sizable formation.  Just as a reminder:

On the other hand, today's painting was about a totally different sort of rock - which I should have realized.  Not that it made things any easier, but maybe I wouldn't have felt so stupid.

It's frustrating.  For some reason I cannot upload the photograph of today's work.  I'll have to ask you to be patient (or instead I should counsel myself to be patient!).  It will be shown at some point.

I hope!