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.