Quilt Testers In Action

Quilt Testers In Action


Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Truth About My Garden

On most Fridays I show you pretty pictures from my garden. You may have noticed that all of these pictures are close-ups of individual flowers, or taken from quite a distance.  The truth is that my garden is a big, weedy, overgrown  hellhole  mess. As an example, let me show you the garden at the right front corner of the house.

On the left there is overgrown Russian Sage. On the right is a giant weed (Goldenrod). Everywhere else is overrun with relentlessly spreading Lily-of-the Valley, an aggressively self-seeding  pale yellow Scabiosa, an invasive grass, and another invasive weed whose name I don't remember.

How did it get this way? Well, there are several reasons. When we first moved here, the kids were young, and not involved in very many activities. They were content to play in the yard and pool with friends and neighbors. While they played, I gardened. I had a lot of time, so the gardens became extensive. Then the kids became more involved in other activities, and I was always in the car driving them, time became very short, the gardens suffered.

On top of the time issue, in the last couple of years, I have been having issues with arthritis in my hands, which has increasingly limited my weeding time.

Another factor in this messy garden situation is all the pass-along plants that I brought in in the early years. If friends want to give away plants, be very wary. There is a reason they want to give them away. Once the plants settle in, they will probably be invasive. In this particular garden, the emotional aspect of this makes the situation even trickier. The Lily-of -the Valley originally came from my Husband's Grandmother's house. The fact that they were one of the few plants left in her garden at the time should have warned me.

I'm pretty sure the invasive grass came from a bag of (cheap) grass seed that guaranteed grass anywhere. And the invasive weeds? Let's just say that a Husband who wants to practice organic lawn care really needs to spend much more time working on the lawn. These weeds aren't even something useful, like Dandelion!

A nasty situation, definitely. I have started trying to remedy the problem. In the middle of this next picture, you can see part of the same garden, where I have rescued a daylily from the clutches of the evil grass. I also dug out an entire bucket of Lily-of-the-Valley.  I used to love it, but it has to go.

In this picture, the Black-Eyed Susan, and the pale yellow Scabiosa are self-sown.  Originally there was also a well-behaved blue scabiosa, but that was choked out by the yellow one. I'm not sure how much of this will stay. The pink phlox in the background is a keeper.

Farther along in the same garden is a phlox called Laura, that I love. It will definitely stay. Behind it, the Rose-of-Sharon is in need of pruning, as it is overgrowing its space.

I have a love/hate thing with this shrub. As you can see, the double white blossoms are beautiful. 

Until they fade, at which point, they look like dirty, crumpled, tissues. There are too many of them to deadhead. I try to use my special Gardener's Vision, and only see the pretty ones.  

As for that overgrown Russian Sage in the first picture, it will get moved to some of the perimeter gardens, which will become mostly shrub beds. Perennials that I want to save from those areas will get moved to this garden. And that giant clump of  Goldenrod? It's outta here!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Don't Touch My Toes!

Weasley was looking very relaxed this evening.

I tried to sneak up on his feet.

I got pretty close. Bunny feet are so hard to resist, aren't they?

But, he wasn't going to stand for it.

How can somebun who can't see be so good at giving me the hairy eyeball?

On a weirder note, I kept having the same dream over and over last night. It had something to do with a bird wearing ruffled underpants. They looked a lot like the ruffly diaper covers my girls used to wear with their dresses a loooong time ago.... It was a bit like this picture.

Then, on my way home from driving my daughter to work, a hawk swooped down in front of my car. It had a bird in it's talons. It's swoop brought it very close to the front of the car, which startled the hawk so much that he let go of the smaller bird. While the hawk followed through on his swoop, the little bird took off rapidly in the other direction. It was an amazing sight. And, neither of those birds was wearing ruffled underpants, although I suspect there was quite a few ruffled feathers!  

Grady, Not Brady

My husband has a friend who is an artist, by the name of Tom Grady. He is on a mission to paint a portrait of someone at every age from 1 to 100 years old in one year. You can see the portraits here. The portrait for age 18 should look very familiar to you if you read this blog regularly. Isn't my girl beautiful?

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Couple Fun Things

On Saturday, I received a fun Package in the mail. Every month for their various Challenges, Three Creative Studios gives away some surprise gifts, and my name was picked recently for the Color Palette Challenge. Here is a picture of what my package contained.

There is a gorgeous striped notebook cover, with machine couched details, that was made by Terri Stegmiller. It came wrapped in some of her cute cat fabric, that makes me want to get out crayons and color, and be a kid for a while. There a some samples of a variety of products, including Mistyfuse and Transdoodle, which will be fun to play with. In the back on the left, you can just see a sample of Vicki Welsh's hand-dyed fabric. It didn't photograph well, but it's very cool. It sort of looks like a dark winter sky, late at night, with that orange/pink glow of streetlights reflecting. Thank you, Three Creative Studios, for making Saturday extra-special.

Also,, if you've been reading this blog for a while, you may have noticed that I have a "thing" for buttons. I know some of you reading this do, too. Even if you don't have a button addiction, these beauties made by Emily Eckel might get you hooked. Enjoy!

Friday, July 22, 2011

This Friday In The Garden

it is too darn hot. In fact, it's so hot that the Neighborhood Lion is hanging out in the sprinkler!

If you zoom in, you can see him there under the raspberry bushes. When I first looked out, he was chasing the water droplets, but then he settled in for a quiet shower. I had no idea that a cat would do this!

Inside, I've just about finished this tiny little quilt. I want to add some washers to the corners, but that involves a trip to the hardware store, and that seems like an unnecessary trip right now.

I will also add a little ribbon loop for hanging.  Turns out that springs are heavier than you would think. When I get the washers, the one for the lower corner by the dog's behind will need to be larger than the others, to balance the weight of all the springs on the other side of the quilt. This was so much fun to make, I think I might do more.

Have a great weekend, everybun. If you are having the heat like we are, try to stay cool, drink lots of fluids, and don't forget to check on your neighbors.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hot Enough For You?

Weasley says its too hot to move, even with the air conditioner on.

His room is the only one in the house with air conditioning. And he's not trapped in here. The door on the other side is open. He just wasn't coming out.

Stay cool, everybun!

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Beautiful Friday

It was a gorgeous day today, not to hot, not to cold, and the humidity  was down. It was just perfect for doing a little work in the garden. The weeds are way ahead of me this year, but the garden still has its beauty. One particularly bright spot this week included daylilys and butterfly weed.

Out back you can catch a glimpse of the Panther I mentioned in my last post.

He spends a lot of time staring at the house with these glowing eyes, but runs off when he knows you've seen him.

And I finished my quilt for the June Color Palette Challenge over at Three Creative Studios. Its another in the "Tile" series that I seem to be doing. I really didn't expect this to turn into a series, but it has just seemed to happen. I wanted this one to look like an ancient mosaic, an archaeological find. Because of that, some of the "tile" pieces are missing. The binding is a ragged sheer, perhaps some packing cloth that the fragment was wrapped in for shipping....

The thread sketching this time is butterflies, and once again it was done before quilting.

When the butterflies first insisted on being on this quilt, I worried that they were a little too trivial. But I thought about it some more, and realized that butterflies, representing rebirth, were actually the perfect image.While designing the original mosaic,  I was thinking about how when artifacts are discovered, they bring a rebirth of sorts to the people who once touched them, bringing them into our time, for us to carry their memory.  

The butterflies stayed.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Some Bunnies Don't Realize How Easy They Have It

This beautiful girl has been hanging around our yard all summer. I thought she was behaving strangely this morning, so I went to check things out.

Turns out she was busily building a beautiful nest, right there in the middle of the front lawn, completely exposed for anyone to see. She was still putting grass in the cavity she had dug, and hadn't started lining it with fur yet.

Not such a good idea,what with the Neighborhood Lion making our yard his favorite killing zone.  I moved the grass under cover of the shrubs and perennials (although she probably won't retrieve it). Then I filled in the depression, and blocked it off with an X-pen.

I really hope she has picked a new space for her babies that has more protection. Some place  where they have at least a slim hope of avoiding the Lion, and also the Black Panther that we have recently seen in the yard. Send a little prayer, or some good vibes her way, won't you?

As for the Old Man inside, where life is a little more cushy, he leaves you with this thought for the week. Never lose touch with your food dish, even if its empty.

Monday, July 11, 2011

An Unexpected Trip

Since the corn is late coming in at the farm my daughter is working at this summer, we decided to take advantage of her free time, and make a quick visit to  my parents. We called them one day, and were at their house the next. Weasley stayed home, doing  bachelor things with the husband. I think it pretty much involved this.

This is my parents. Aren't they a cute couple? We spent several fun days hanging out with them, and other friends and relatives that we hadn't seen in awhile.

If you are ever in the area, Broome County, New York has wonderful County parks. We visited a couple of them, and did some kayaking.  Eventually, these two figured out that the kayaks are supposed to go in the water.

And, if you ever have an opportunity to go kayaking with my daughter, be aware that she RAMS other kayakers.

Another park, another day, this time with bicycles.

I chickened out and stepped aside before she got close enough  for me to get a great picture.

There were barbecues, fireworks, quiet times in the garden, and raucous card games. Some favorite old pasttimes were revisited, like drawing on the porch floor with chalk. 

And, some time was spent playing with Grandma's button tin.

Since we got back, I have been trying to catch up, and dealing with the ramifications of my credit card number being stolen again. Since our information isn't secure now, the potential problems with "The Cloud" terrify me. I did get to play with dyeing a little wool. I did this the easy way, with water, vinegar, and food coloring.

The results are definitely not subtle, but are exactly what I was looking for.

Weasley remains unimpressed.

It was a fun time, but its good to be back. I hope everyone out there has been having fun, too. I'll be catching up with you soon.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday In The Garden

Summer is beginning in the garden, a little later than last year. We have Black (and Green)-Eyed Susans, and a nice crop of Daisies.

The Neighborhood Lion is prowling in amongst the Butterfly Weed, and some Native grasses. Unfortunately, I think he may be on a bunny hunt. I hope the bunny is smarter than the cat.

The lavender is looking fine, and smelling even better.

My favorite daylily, Miss Amelia is just starting up. There is going to be a large amount of flowers on this one this year. I'm glad to see this, because last year it didn't flower too well.

But, the most impressive flowers at the moment have to be on the Yucca plants. We have them in several spots in the yard, and they look like absolute waterfalls of blossoms right now.

And in the edibles department, its all about the peas,

and the raspberries. There is a pie in the oven right now. I wish you could smell it.

Have a great weekend, everybun! Happy Fourth to everyone in the States!