Saturday, March 30, 2013

Another week gone

In a flash!  Where did it go?  My calendar isn't telling me.  Let me see.....there were the usual cookings, cleanings and vacuumings, a quilting bee, meetings with contractors, Craigslist transactions, long walks in the evenings, swimming at the health club, work, sewing, filling bird feeders, shopping.....  I guess we were busy!

Photos of grands have been spotted on Facebook.  Isn't he the cutest?  He's the image of his daddy.

Some of the 151 prepped t-shirts are now a quilt top.  The rest are waiting for Julianne's design talents.  There are three more bags of t-shirts sitting behind me waiting for the holiday weekend to be over so I can get on with them.

Since Friday was a holiday for The Tramp and the weather was gorgeous, I dragged him outside to work on the gardens.

 We got the gardens placed and filled and started adding the grids that make them Square Foot Gardens.

The Tramp fussed with the little fountain and got it working again.  :-)

He's also been amusing me with some of the many short music videos stored on his computer.  He found a software program called Beamer which will show them through the TV and stereo in the Sandbox.  It's been everyone from KD Lang to Benny Hill to Louis Armstrong to Herbs to Dave Dobbin to Chet Atkins to UB40 to Michael Buble to Gilbert O'Sullivan....just to name a very few.  Last night's eclectic selection included The Muppets performing Bohemian Rhapsody.  Gotta love it. :-)

We had another pleasant day today which included sun and warm temps, a trip to the library with Dad, lunch at Mellow Mushroom, and visits to garden centers and Home Depot for more garden bits.  The garden on the left is waiting for a trellis and warmer season plants such as tomatoes and cucumber.  The garden under plastic is filled with vegetables and ready for yet another chilly night.  I have a pile of seed packets waiting to be planted in the other garden.  I need to read them all, make lists and get organized in my head what should be planted where and when.  Yikes!  While I fussed, The Tramp tore out two of the row of azalea bushes that sit in the middle of the yard.

They are now re-located along the fence.  Judging from the difficulty we had killing the remains of others we've removed I suspect they'll survive as long as I don't forget to keep them watered.

The new compost bins are starting to fill, and it's definitely better with a front so the dogs can't get at the food scraps!  Heh.

During quiet moments in the Sandbox I've been plugging away at the Sweet Potato quilt blocks.  I'm determined to not leave it as another UFO!  I finished a few more tonight and pinned them up on the wall to see the effect.  It's still not my color palette but it's looking ok!

While I sew (or type) and the music videos play, all around us dogs are in repose.  Maisy gives up early on and is off on her bed in our bedroom.  Ivy always stays where she can keep tabs on me.

I got a rare photo of Ngaire where you can actually see her features.  :-)

Yes Ivy.  I pointed the camera at you.

You too Ngaire!

Oops.  He's playing the Goodnight Kiwi video.  Good night!  Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cheddar and Sweet Potatoes

I think the last post ended with this pile of t-shirt scraps.  Well, after I counted and wrote my invoices it turned out to be the remains of 151 t-shirts.  Yeesh!  Our outdoor trash can was so full this week it couldn't quite close.

Adding to the drama down at the Other House, we got a message from a neighbor early in the week that someone had smacked into our mailbox.  Sigh.

Fixable though.  Gotta look on the bright side!

So now we are back to normal outside and talking to contractors about the repairs on the inside.  Please tell me nothing else is going to go wrong!!

The weather has been bright but cold.  The magnolia trees were in beautiful bloom until it got down to 26F a couple of nights ago.  So overnight the trees went from pink to brown.  :-(  This is the one we can see from our back windows.  All brown.  Such a shame.

The bradford pear trees around the pond are holding on, but like everything else they look a little sparse to me this year.

Thursday night was guild meeting and we had a wonderful lecture by Pepper Cory.  She is very knowledgeable, articulate, talented and a complete hoot.  The lecture was on the history of Amish quilts.  Fascinating.  And she had several beautiful antique quilts to share with us.

I had signed up for Pepper's Saturday workshop so spent Friday evening getting packed up for class.  We put on Rocky Horror Picture Show to keep us company and The Tramp entertained me singing along and sharing tidbits of information about the movie.  Fun!

Now it's DST it meant I was up before dawn this morning so I wouldn't be late!  Behold the pond at 6:48 am EDT.  The birds weren't even up.

The workshop is called Sweet Potato Quilts.  Pepper has a love of orange, gold and yellow in quilts....not my usual color palette.  This is the inspiration Carolina antique quilt from Pepper's collection.

One block.

The Bernina Record got it's first workshop experience.  :-)

No pink or purple here!  I decided to go out (way out!) of my comfort zone and honor the sweet potato theme.  So my background fabrics are bright cheddar and brown.  Some other time I'll explore the question why certain shades of orange are named after a white cheese.  Why aren't they called annatto orange??  Can you tell I live in a household with a cheddar culture clash?  The Tramp doesn't understand what he calls "neon" cheddar and in turn I don't understand the New Zealand penchant for cheddar on pizza and in lasagna matter what color it is.

I didn't finish sewing the block (18") together into a star.  I think I'd rather make a bunch more and then have fun shifting them around on my design wall to get the most pleasing arrangement.

This is a version of the quilt (note the checkerboard effect in this one) made by Pepper.  She pointed out to us how the lavender in the start points ended up disappearing into the grey background.  Live and learn!

Here are blocks some of the other gals finished.  There were more I didn't get a photo of.  The diversity was amazing, yet Pepper pointed out how well they would all go together in a scrappy raffle quilt.  Kinda cool.

It was a good day.  This evening we had a chat with our neighbor who does astrophotography.  We turned off our outside lights and shrouded The Sandbox window with blankets in an attempt to not disrupt his view of the night sky.  He was very pleased with our backyard tree removal as it allows him a better view from his backyard as the streetlight makes things difficult out in front.  We aim to please!  :-)

Now I'm going to take my migrainy head to bed.  Goodnight.

Monday, March 18, 2013

In sickness and in health

Both are going around our house at the moment.  The Tramp is sick and I'm well.....but of course we all know that could change at any moment.

The second memory quilt of this pair went out the door on Thursday.  I was so relieved to get it done and move on to something different.  I think in the last post I said a change is as good as a rest?  :-)

So Friday I puttered around until it was time to go meet the insurance adjuster at the Other House.  It was a lovely day for puttering.

A bit of pond watching with the dogs.

A bit of bird watching too.

And it's garden watching time.  Spring is springing slowly but surely.

The birds were treated to clean feeders.

It was also a good day for gluten-free baking.  Two "historic grain" loaves are rising under the towel.  We are still having frustrating issues with our oven's temperature.  Something went right though, and The Tramp and I were very pleased when the loaves came out perfectly and didn't collapse once again!  On the left is a banana bread.  If you like bananas, a good banana bread recipe is a heavenly combination of butter, sugar, flour and, of course, bananas.  Yummy!  We hadn't been particularly pleased with any of the gluten-free banana bread recipes I'd found so far.  Weird textures and no yummy for the tummy.  Well.  If "regular" banana bread is sexy, this loaf from a new recipe is an orgy!  Besides the usual stuff it has crushed pineapple, coconut, walnuts and chocolate chips.  Swoon!  (My thighs may never recover!)

After a couple of hours with a very pleasant insurance adjuster, I was ready to do something more creative than puttering.  Soledad has been waiting patiently for attention....well, I assume patiently. I haven't heard any weird thumping noises from the Sandbox Annex.  Now the torso has a head, arms and hands.  I've added Paperclay to the neck, shoulders and wrists to cover the joints.  Once she is dry there will be sanding and smoothing to do and then I can paint her to match her face and hands.

After a stressful week and eating catch as catch can, it was nice to sit down to a "real" meal....whatever that is.  :-)

Saturday we started garden projects so spent some time at garden centers as well as Lowes and Home Depot.  It's been a real test of willpower for me to not buy all the pretty plants.  We still have so much prep work to do.  Sigh.

A few moments of rest on the porch with the dogs.  Ngaire was up on her elbows with her chin on The Tramp's foot.  Kodak moment!  Of course she moved as soon as she saw me hold up my phone for the photo.  I don't know how, but they always know.

My poor Tramp was very under the weather yesterday and only a bit better today.  So yesterday nothing got done.  Today though, I prepped nine bags of t-shirts!  That's the mountain of leftover scraps.  I haven't counted yet but it must be almost 100 shirts (for three quilts).  It will be interesting to see when I finish up stabilizing them tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


It took until after dinner to finally get some peace and quiet around here.  Today was a stay-at-home day as Red is in the shop again.  Great!  I'll have lots of time to get things done.  Right??  RIGHT??  RIGHT????   

Don't you believe it.  The phone calls never stopped coming.  Calls about the car.  Oops.  There actually is more wrong with it that a quick adjustment.  Sigh.  Calls about the Other House.  Which included calls to American Home Shield about the toilet, conversations with the plumbing company about said toilet, and a call with the plumber about the same dumb toilet.  Calls from Servpro.  "Is someone there to let us into the house?"  "No.  I gave you a key."  "Oh."  Sigh.  Also the call to say they are done and the house is dried out.  Yippee?  By this time I wasn't sure whether to thank the nice man or snarl at him.  I did my best not to snarl at Dad or The Tramp when I got calls from them.  I'm afraid I did gnash my teeth a bit at the dogs and the washer and dryer.  When ever I did get to sit down at the sewing machine between phone calls either an appliance beeped for attention or a dog was scratching at me for something.  And they time it all so carefully!  Heh.

First off, I was going to get this memory quilt finished.  With all the interruptions I'm very glad to have gotten this far!  But the borders should be a quick finish in the morning.  :-)

Mom and I went to bee yesterday and enjoyed seeing A's fabulous retreat scrap quilt.  Too bad we couldn't spread it out fully for a better photo.

The Tramp and I had a wonderful walk home yesterday evening after we dropped Red off at the repair shop in town.   Spring is springing but so far the flowering bushes and trees have been rather sparse.  I suppose the crazy weather has messed up their blooming schedules.  The turtles were out in force.

The willow tree is the first touch of spring green.

The garden is also showing some signs of life besides the daffodils.

There are many new art installations in town.  This rather steampunk looking elephant sits in front of the post office.  Some better photos here.

The flying house.

An attractive real house.  :-)

Our favorite is this horse.

On the way home from bee yesterday Mom and I stopped in the Other House to see how the drying-out process is coming along.  Roaring fans and dehumidifiers all over the place.  Yikes!

Don't get me wrong.  Everyone who has been working on our issues has been very pleasant and helpful.  I guess I'm just feeling a bit out of control at this point.  Tomorrow I'm going to have to find something fun and different around here to do.  As they say, a change is as good as a rest.  Though I may have to switch off the phones!  :-)