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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day December

Poinsettia blooming behind the huge Amaryllis bulbs that Robyn gave me at Thanksgiving. This is how much they had grown by December 7.

Detail of throat of one of the Amaryllis blooms.

Large quantity of Amaryllis blooms by Christmas.

Detail of actual small yellow green blossoms of Poinsettia with the bright red bracts surrounding.

I didn't post about what flowers I had blooming on the 15th; the weather was so miserable and cold and the garden so dead, even my back door potted pansies froze. But my indoor flowers are going blooming like mad and brightening my holidays, so I thought I would do a late post for December. If we can't have flowers outdoors in the depth of winter, at least we can have them blooming indoors. I even have a flower stalk beginning to come up on one of the orchid plants.
Check out other Garden Bloggers Bloom Day reports for December at May Dreams Gardens.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More Hexagons

Given my fascination with hexagons in quilts, I had to purchase this triangle ruler when I saw Denise demonstrating it to another customer at the Creative Cloth Closet in Canon City. I can picture all kinds of possibilities using this ruler. To start out I dug a set of Christmas fabric fat quarters from my stash and cut out enough triangles to make four place mats. The fabric under the ruler is the one I chose to back the mats.

Here is my progress so far. In order to fit them on my narrow design door, to photograph them, I overlapped the mats. I plan to use fuseable batting to sandwich the mats and then use gold thread satin stitch to embellish the seams and finish the edges. I'll do anything to get away from putting on binding.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Another Quard

Here is the front and back of the quard I just made for my Aunt Lucy in Albuquerque. It was her 83rd birthday so I made this to send from my Mom and me. The family photo, that was taken on Saturday after Thanksgiving, was printed on cotton and fused to the front. The greeting was printed onto adhesive backed cotton and ironed onto the back.

I've decided that this is better than buying a ready made card at WalMarts. I have the materials on hand and cards are not inexpensive to buy these days. I looked and looked for cards for my aunts and couldn't find any that were appropriate and these are a lot more personal.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Birthday Quard

My Aunt Esther, in Bakersfield, California, had her 90th birthday in November. Being in the hospital slowed me down but here is the birthday quard I made for her. That is a photo of her, from around 1938, printed on cotton and the fabric is a vintage taffeta from my Granny's stash. The greeting was printed on silk ExtravOrganza.

This was such fun, I need to do it more often.
I wish I had enough of that taffeta to make a long skirt for Christmas.

Monday, November 30, 2009

More Roses for Mom

I found a pink rose fabric, so I made some more pillows for Mom's room, to go with the commode cozy and pillows made of the green background fabric.

Her room is looking so cozy and I was pleased when I got positive comments from the kids, during their visit on Saturday.
Her neck rolls were previously covered with legs she had cut off of a pair of old knit slacks that she no longer wore. I thought it was clever of her to think of that, but they had seen a lot of wear and tear and were in need of refurbishing.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Holiday

We had a wonderful time at our son, Carl's for Thanksgiving dinner; staying with daughter, Michal Ann in Wheatridge; visiting the Denver Zoo on Friday with the family; and having lunch in Colorado Springs on Saturday, with family at Guiseppi's (in the old C. S. RR depot); and then visiting Mom with the family on Saturday afternoon. This is a photo of the family with, Gramma Evy, in the parlor of the Friendship House.

There is an album of photos, taken with my new Canon Power Shot camera, on my
Facebook page. Joe says he think I'm becoming a Japanese tourist, taking photos of everything, whether it moves or not.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thrilled Over Early Christmas

I came home from WalMart yesterday and told Joe about a camera (Canon PowerShot SX120 IS) I had seen on sale and did he think I should get it since the 6 year old Canon Elph has about seen it's end of days. Only problem was, they didn't have any instock, but had some coming soon.

He came back from his trip to Pueblo this morning with a sack from Best Buy. In it was the same camera (10MB; 10 optical zoom), a 4 GB Flash Memory card, and a blue carrying case. He thought I needed it before we went to Denver and Boulder for family Thanksgiving. I am ecstatic! I've been out trying it and comparing it to my beloved little Elph. Beloved because it is so small I can carry it in my purse all the time and it is easy to use. This one is a bit bigger but will still fit in that huge purse and it has a huge screen compared to the other, not to mention tons of mega bytes and optical zoom!!!

I can get all the tiny details in flora and fauna, especially the birds. See examples above. A Downey Woodpecker was gracious to show up at the feeders just as I needed a model. The flower is a very late Gaillardia that I planted on the south side of the house this summer, and it still thinks it is summer, in spite of the 18 degree nights we've had recently. Look at the miniscule details.

The new camera photo was taken with the old Elph.

Do I have a very special husband? Count your blessings, Granny Fran.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Look What I Found

While looking thru another of Mom's boxes, from her old home, look what I found.

Here are two cardboard templates with her notations on them. Along with these were a stack of recycled wool squares that she had planned for some comforter. There were also a few remnants of vintage fabrics she had saved.

Next were four notes to herself with longago measurements for a couple of my daughters dresses she was making as well as notes about things to do and a reminder to get the measurements from my brother Steve's daughter Regina. I feel so close to her when I see her handwriting on these yellowed pieces of paper. Granny had a genius for making things and recycling; she couldn't afford not to; she raised her family, on a farm, during the depression.

The final gem was this old early 40s pattern of a dress for my Mom, Evy. This was before sizes were changed so don't really reflect how small mother was. Daddy could circle his hands around her waist when they married.

Does anyone recognize the actress pictured on the front of the pattern envelope?

From the tattered condition of this pattern, I would say that Granny used it over and over. She was good at revising patterns for making different types of dresses. I grew up in school dresses that she made from feed sack fabric. She would have me pick out some dresses I liked from the "Monkey Wards" catalog and figure out how to make a version for me.
These went into "the box under the bed" that will one day be donated to the quilt museum that has the box under the bed project.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

On the Road to Health Again

My virtual body image.

Check out my new goals for healthy living in the Quilter's Lounge.

Rian and I are on this trip together. Feel free to join us. The more the merrier and we can support each other.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, November 2009

Hi All, I've been ill and in the hospital and am still weak and shaky, but I'm here for
Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Here is what is blooming outside today; snow blossoms. But it is wet snow and we are always thankful for that in this climate. This is the Dooryard Garden and Patio just outside the sliding glass door from the sunporch.

This Lily blossom just popped out of the bud overnight, in a dining room bouquet. I didn't know what color to expect and this is sunny and cheerful!

These Lipstick Vine blooms brighten the sunporch where we go in and out through the back sliding glass door. I am so glad that I found this plant at a local greenhouse several years ago after seeing one somewhere, I can't even remember where I first saw one, but love the way that the lipstick grows out of the tube as they bloom. This plant has done so well in this south window.

When I look out at the snow, I know that underneath are still blooming the Pansys and Violas.
On Thursday I picked a gorgeous orange one for my Mom, who was sitting in the back seat of the car, on the way home from her doctor appointment. They will appear as the snow melts and usually I find blooms all winter long, here in Colorado's Banana Belt.
May you all have blossoms and blooms in your life, today.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Commode Cozy Finished

And now for the good news! Before the roof caved in this month, I finished the rose covered commode cozy and some matching pillows for my Mom's assisted living room. I guess I should have taken a before photo of the commode, but take my word for it, this is a vast improvement during the daytime. At night it can be popped off to prepare it for nighttime visits.

I made a pillow to put on the top of the lid, so it would fill in between the rails; that way it looks like a hassock and can even be used for extra seating if needed when we're visiting her. It matches her bedspread and curtains so well, and she loves roses, so I'm so pleased that I found this fabric locally.

Wonder Woman Lives

And she is in about the same ragged condition as I am. This cartoon is one of my prize possessions from the early 80s when I had a "big lady dress up job". [That's what my college friends and I used to describe the jobs we were studying to (hopefully) get after graduation.] From time to time I dig it out and it still fits.

My friends, this old house I inhabit is wearing out. Since I last posted I had another TIA (mini-stroke) and I am now recuperating from a pretty miserable virus that affected my chest. I am so weak and shaky, have to force myself to eat a little chicken broth, toast and yoghurt, and am doing a lot of cogitating (wondering).
I realize that since the first 2 TIAs I have done almost no quilting, or even sewing. The joy seems to have simply disappeared and turned into guilt and "shoulds". I'm also not nearly as excited about photography, which was an integral part of my quilting interests. I still love gardening, but have to depend more and more on someone else to do the hard physical jobs, which I used to delight in. (Like laying a patio or digging a pond or spading a garden bed.) I still love to look at the birds, but no longer feel like hauling the feed outside the fence to the feeders.
Please do not take this as complaining or whining or asking for sympathy. I am simply trying to share what changes I am finding necessary due to challenges of the aging process. Different seasons of life require different things of us. Once in a while we need to set back and decide what is really important and then do some major pruning to allow us to use our waning energy more effectively.
There does seem to be some pain and grieving involved in this process, but it is a productive, necessary pain and grief.
One of my major weaknesses has been spreading myself too thin and ending up feeling overwhelmed. I was supposed to do "everything" myself and do it perfectly and it was not permissable to burden others by asking for help. When help is offered one smiles graciously and says, "Oh thank you, but I can do this myself, I don't want to impose on you."
Do you know what happens to someone who tries to do everything perfectly? Insanity or paralysis! (and in my case, obesity; food rather than alcohol or drugs). "There is a God. It is not me." I think I saw that in some AAA lit somewhere.
Right now my family is where my energy needs to be focused. And for the first time in my life I have to realize that it is ok, and necessary, to take care of myself so I can continue to share with my family.
Thank you, friends for letting me get some of this out of my system. I ask for your prayers and good thoughts as I go thru this new growing stage.
Added after first published: I'm still having trouble getting this darn thing to keep the spaces between my paragraphs for easier reading.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Baby It's Cold Outside

It is good weather for a new sewing project. I am working on a project that I've never seen on any of the quilt blogs; a commode cozy for my mother's room in an assisted living home. She has a green comforter and sheer green curtain/blinds and loves roses, so when I found this fabric I knew it was perfect for her. I'm having to design my own pattern, since noone else has seemed to think of it. I got it sewn together except for the hem and took it to try out, and found that it was too large, so am in the process of reducing it (easier than reducing me) and will show a photo of the finished cozy on the commode. Kiddo is a "great help".

When we came home from dinner at DeRitos, last evening at 7:30 pm, the temperature was 28 degrees with freezing mist. This morning when I looked out the kitchen window I saw that most of the compound leaves of the Green Ash Tree had fallen off during the night.

The night before we broke the low temp record of 1905 by 8 degrees. This in the "Banana Belt of Colorado"! I'm used to long, warm, blue and gold Autumn days in October. I think I need to shop for some snuggly fleece clothing.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Other Side of Autumn

The Toad Haven Garden after our first freeze last week. Just when the flowers were looking so glorious. At least I do have mature mini pumpkins for the kids' Halloween. Our killing freeze came early this year, so it will be a looonnnngggg winter. Maybe I'll have time to make quilts again.
I guess I will harvest the stalks and make a corn shock to go with the pumpkins for an Autumn decoration.

Autumn Splendor

Native Flora and Fauna on the Riverwalk. Someones attempt at humor, or a lost child's toy displayed for discovery?
Autumn splendor in a Riverwalk glade.

Autumn Elm in front of Canon City Library, across the street from the Art Center.
Chrysanthemums in sunshine and shadow.

Garden in front of the Fremont Center for the Arts in Canon City.

After a cold, gray morning the sun came out and turned the world into Autumn splendor. After I had my back treatment, and enjoyed the Studio Art Quilts Associates (SAQA) "Points of View" show at the Fremont Center for the Arts, I was able to take numerous photos in town and along the Arkansas Riverwalk.
Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take photos of the art quilts, but I did get the DVD so I can look at them over and over. I fell in love with a rough edge appliqued California Oak tree, but didn't feel like I could justify buying it for the the $2500 purchase price. [It was definitely worth it, but I didn't have enough quarters.] This was a very high quality show for our area, with art quilters from around the world displayed. The annual Royal Gorge Quilt Guild show will take place the second half of October. I will be able to get photos there.

Friday, September 25, 2009

What's Blooming?

For reasons beyond my control, I forgot about Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th (see last post). When I realized this omission, I went out and took some garden photos. [That's ChoCho visiting the veggie garden with Zinnias and mini Pumpkins in front, Patty Pan Squash, Zuchinni, Eggplants, Peppers, and Tomatoes behind him] The perennials are pretty well shredded and battered from the hail storm, but the annuals in the new vegetable garden bed are doing well; they were too small to be ruined by the hail and have recuperated well. The Pumpkins and squash leaves were beaten into the soil, but sent up new leaves, blossoms and fruit. Does anyone want some Zuchinni; we have tons from just one hill of plants. I've made one big batch of zuchinni bread and plan to make and freeze more bread as well as casseroles, from my Granny's recipe, for winter holiday meals. There are still ripening tomatoes on the vines that look awful but kept on producing. I don't grow huge amounts of vegetables for canning and freezing; just enough to keep us in fresh produce and some to give away.

Overall photo of the new garden bed, with annual flowers, herbs, mini pumpkins, and corn. Although shredded, the corn was young enough to continue growing, set tassels and now the kernels are beginning to develop on the ears. This bed wasn't built until late in spring so I knew the corn was a gamble, but since I had never grown any I wanted to try and see what would develop. This year's crop will probably be for the raccoons, squirrels, and birds rather than people.

I love these sky blue Borage blossoms and grow them for that reason rather than to use as food seasoning. What does one flavor with Borage? I guess I need to taste it and see what it would enhance.

Closeups of the Borage, Zinnias, Cosmos, and Marigolds in the new veggie garden bed.

These Bells of Ireland were seeded in front of the Sugar Snap Peas that didn't survive the hail. I have a thing for green flowers, I also have green Zinnias.

Zinnias and Violas (Johnny Jump Ups) in the Dooryard Patio Garden. The California Poppies are mostly through blooming now, and the Lavender, Gaillardias, and Ornamental Oregano plants were beaten down by the hail.
To see what was blooming around the world on the 15th check out May Dreams Gardens. In October, I'll try not to get distracted and post on the 15th. As far as I know, we have no other great grandchildren expected to take my attention from garden blogging.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What's New?

A new great grandchild.


daughter of Brooke and Donnie

sister of Miles

Olivia and her loving family live in Denver. Dad is a musician from New Orleans, now making music in Denver. Mom has been going to college and taking care of the family.

I have only seen her online. Will probably get to hold her when we visit Denver at the beginning of October.

I am so wondrously blessed!
Not so blessed that Blogger cooperates with me, however. I am not allowed to arrange the photos the way I want to this evening. What you sees is what you gets.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

California Wildfire Smoke

Would you believe that it is again in the 90s here, yesterday and today, and the sky is so hazy we cannot see the mountains clearly. The reason is smoke from the horrendous California wildfires. The Health Department has issued an alert for people with lung problems, which includes me. Do you realize that the smoke has had to cross over 2 huge mountain ranges, the Sierras and Rocky Mountains, to get here, 1000 miles away?!

But here is the blessing in a tragedy; a brilliant sunset last evening. My heart goes out to all those suffering from these fires. I wish they could have come out of the drought this year, like we did.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Goodbye and Hello

Ditto aka Buster Keaton
Once upon a time a lynx point Siamese kitty showed up at Toad Haven, kept moving closer to the house, and then moved in and adopted Joe, me and ChoCho as his family. Since he looked like a smaller version of ChoCho, we named him Ditto. Where ChoCho is big, energetic and adventurous, and hunted in the vacant land back of the house, Ditto was small, low key and snuggly and didn't wander very far from the house. When we took him to visit the vet, we discovered that he was at least 9 years old and had badly abcessed teeth, which had to be removed. Even toothless he refused the soft catfood and insisted on eating the dry Iams cat food and drinking lots of water. Over the years the cats became friends and brothers; with Ditto living up to his name when he invariably shadowed ChoCho around the house.

ChoCho and Ditto sparring

A week ago on Tuesday, when we came home from dinner with DIL Jennie, Ditto was not there with ChoCho to greet us at the back door. He didn't show up all evening nor during the night. Joe looked everywhere he could think of and found no trace of him. Noone turned him in to the Humane Society. Of course, both cats had collars with name and phone number tags. I kept checking the back sliding glass door to see if he had appeared; I missed him terribly. ChoCho kept looking for him and sticking closer to us than usual, needing extra attention and petting.

This afternoon after an appointment with my eye doctor, on a whim, I stopped by the Humane Society to look at the cats. I looked at them, murmured sweet nothings to them, and seeing nothing to interest me, I went to ask the guy at the desk if they ever got any Siamese cats. He said they had a 5 month old one and led me to the proper cage. There was a gorgeous little lynx point Siamese cross kitty curled up in the litter box. They handed her to me, and I was hooked. So I brought her home for a weekend test, to see if she was the one for us.

Little Kiddo staying close to under the bed

As soon as she was let out of her carry home kitty box, she hid under the couch. Joe got down on his tummy and managed to convince her to come out. She checked out the house, I showed her the location of the litter box, and she headed under my bed. Ditto had been shy and spent a lot of time under that bed, also, especially when we had visitors. I fixed her food and water dishes and her new box bed in the corner of the bedroom and went in the living room to read and watch TV. Eventually she came out from under the bed and started exploring. I put a smidge of the kitty tuna on her nose and she dived into the dish to eat it. In addition to their Iams dry food the cats also share a small container of kitty tuna each evening.

Little Kiddo discovers she likes tuna

Later she came into the living room and did more exploring and finally checked out my recliner and climbed up and made herself at home on my lap. I think we have bonded. She and ChoCho are curious about each other but still in the hissing at each other stage. For a while I had them both on my lap, back to back. I'm sure they will become friends in the near future.

Joe was right when he said that I had already made up my mind to keep her before I brought her home on a trial visit. Monday I will take her back to the Humane Society for the formal adoption, they will send her to be spayed at the vet clinic we use, and she will be able to come home to live with us.

I know what happened to Ditto. He showed up unexpectedly and he left unexpectedly. He was a guardian angel sent from heaven to help ChoCho look after me and when the time was right he went back to heaven, over the Rainbow Bridge. Now ChoCho has the help of little Kiddo (a cross between kitty and Ditto).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Home Grown Tomatoes

Here is my latest harvest, in spite of the hail. Note the hail damage to some of the tomatoes, and the yellow crookneck squash. The zucchini, patty pan squash, and pumpkins are growing new small leaves at their centers and the corn seems to be standing straighter. If frost waits long enough I might have more garden goodies. The will to live and procreate is amazing at times.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hail, Hail, It All Fell Here!

This afternoon, as I was preparing to go out to pull bindweed and cut down elm seedlings the clouds got dark gray and threatening, wind began to blow, rain to fall, and hail began to clatter on the roof. I started watching it from the front door and then hurried to get my camera. It kept me running from frontdoor to backdoor, taking photos and videos, as the rain and hail got heavier and heavier. The noise was deafening. ChoCho sat up from his nap on my bed and looked with alarm toward the window. Oh no! My poor garden!

Please check these photos against those I just posted earlier today.

Scene from the sliding glass door of the sunporch.

My corn and pumpkin patch, taken 4 hours later; the hail still hasn't all melted.

Joe came in and told me that the raccoons wouldn't eat the corn this year.

These were going to grow baby pumpkins for the kids for Halloween.
The Black Eyed Susans survived the falling limb but not the hail.

This is almost more than a poor old Granny's heart can take; what's left of Evan's beautiful sunflower.

But, as I told Joe, it's not as if we had to make our living from these plants, like the farmers do. [As a kid I saw what hail did to farmers and that is why I refused to date the farm boys and end up watching each storm with fear that there would be no harvest that year. I didn't realize that you can take the girl off the farm, but you can't keep her from loving to dig in the dirt.] We can clean up the mess and enjoy what remains. Our cars and house survived because these were not the golf ball or baseball sized hail stones that have fallen recently in other parts of Colorado. This is part of the gamble that every tiller of the soil makes each year. Some years you win and some you lose, but the rewards to being a tiller of soil are worth the risk.