Saturday, May 31, 2008

Whew! What a week. It might have been a day shorter, but it sure seemed a day longer. I won't go into details, but a couple of weeks ago I had to have one of those serious "sit down, this is going into your personnel file" conversations with a very talented worker who yet keeps letting her various personal crises interfere way too much with work and has left some very important things undone - one of which was not sending in recredentialing papers for one of our insurance carriers on time, which meant that the doctors can't be preferred providers again until the paperwork is done. Not a good thing at all. It's a minor carrier with whom we have very few patients, but it should never have happened. Anyway, she's doing better on the surface and there's not any specific or tangible thing to speak about, but I think she's going here and there in the building whispering. Next week there will have to be another conversation.
We keep having rainy spots and teeny bits of thunderstorms. This is looking out from our front porch a couple of weeks ago, and the leaves are even fuller and lusher now. Our weather this spring has been more like England with frequent but not torrential rains and lower temperatures - hence the heavier than usual blooming of pretty much everything from irises to bushes to trees. The honeysuckle fragrance is especially heavenly right now.

I've finally decided what to do for my hand-piecing project - I'm going to dig out the Quilt Patis that I bought a few years ago and try to do a small grandmother's flower garden project!
Beth is making good progress with her begining effort. I haven't seen it yet, but she's got all her blocks together and rows together and ready to do the border. She just did simple 3" squares to mimic an old scrap quilt like MeeMaw used to make, and started with a table-topper type size. But for a girl who's never had the remotest interest in doing any hand sewing of any kind - pretty impressive! She's been looking through some of my quilt books and has decided that the idea of strip piecing has definite merits, although I personally can't imagine doing that by hand. We're going to get some batting for her today and try to get her quilt sandwiched so she can start hand quilting. She wants to try using my hoop.

I'll leave you with another view of the interesting old quilt I got at the flea market that I think I won't be able to cut.

Enjoy the weekend!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ah, the luxury of two days in a row at home! (Took Friday off to have a really long weekend.) One goal was to rearrange the computer/piano/fabric/cutting table/craft/junk room. Wellll, when Beth finished with school at lunch yesterday she came out so we could get started with pool time, so . . . er, I'm nowhere done with the room. However, Beth and I had a great time at the pool sunning and swimming (even tho the water is pretty chilly at 71 degrees!) and working on plans for the drama production we hope to do at school next year - Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. We're thinking of using the 60's for our "look" because you can do all sorts of things pretty easily. We'll have to do the play in the gym more or less theater-in-the-round style as the stage is way too small. I've been co-director for 2 productions of it already, and she and I were both in one of them as singers. If you've ever seen it, you know it's a really fun show.

We talked about some other things, too - quilting and hand piecing! Beth's never been interested in doing handwork of any kind, and while she loves quilts she hasn't wanted to actually make one. Well, she's just finished reading the first 2 books of a new series Judith Pella has out that incorporate quilting into the story. We joined forces to buy the books because we knew we'd share them. (we read lots of the same things and swap books back and forth) I read these first and passed them on to her. Well, the books are set "way back" and though a few of the women have sewing machines, most do not - so there's lots of hand piecing as well as hand quilting. Beth has decided to try out some piecing by hand on her summer break and suggested that we have our own 2 person sewing circle - work along at home and compare progress, etc. on the weekends when we're at the pool. So I may try hand piecing, too. Got out these kind of loud fabrics above to think what I might want to use. Haven't a clue what blocks to try.

Obviously I need to do some arranging of fat quarters - shirtings with bright stuff??

Anyway, I'm looking for inspiration. Maybe instead of looking at the fabric I should get out a quilt book or two to see if something grabs me and looks like it might lend itself to elementary level hand piecing. Doesn't sound like too painful a task, does it, to browse through quilt books?

So I guess maybe I'll do just that. We've got planned leftovers for supper and I've already cooked a roast for Sunday dinner. Tons more chores need doing, but I'm on a self-declared holiday after all!

I hope everyone is having a safe and enjoyable holiday time with family and friends.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A few more postcards almost ready . . . still have to do the edges of some of them and trying to decide whether or not to put ribbon or rickrack there . . . someday I'm going to spend some time practicing this whole stippling thing. I think it's just that I don't want to "waste" fabric or batting or time. But when I'm trying to go around the embroidery and then the machine vibrates off the edge of the table while I'm stitching (which really happened several times before I realized that the tablecloth under it was responsible) it's just not going to be good. However, these will go to folks who will enjoy the fact that they're homemade and who won't be persnickety about the details.

Last night was the first high school graduation at our Christian school, which is pre-K through 12. (This is just our eighth year of existence!) It was a great and wonderful time. Because the school is a ministry of our small church family, we've been involved from the beginning. Evan was on the Board for a long time, and I've been on the Board for the past 3 years. (first and only woman there, too!) Last night was an exciting and also humbling experience. (our colors are purple and gold - notice the purple font????)
And here's my favorite teacher . . . teehee - our daughter Beth!

Some of the teachers lining up just before the procession into the gym . . . these are some of the greatest folks in the world

Adjustments, always adjustments . . .

Beth has a minor in music and has directed the chorus this past year, so she was asked to lead some of the kids in singing a special song. It made her really nervous since she's never actually had conducting classes, but she did a great job.

All in all, a wonderful evening full of both memories and anticipation.
Blessings and gratitudes: all the wonderful blessings God showers on us, with the school being especially on my mind right now, wonderful husband and daughter and son-in-law, a beautiful sunny day that I'm at home and the ability to take the day off before a long weekend to get a real break

Sunday, May 18, 2008

beautiful spring!

Aren't these geraniums gorgeous? Actually, you can only see one of the big ones and the edge of the other one in this friend Erin gave me 2 HUGE beautiful ones for doing some embroidery blocks for her and her girls for a family baby quilt.....quite a thank-you!!! These are truly the largest and most perfect geraniums I have ever seen - they should be entered in some sort of show or contest!

And I ALWAYS have to have some purple petunias on the porch - I love the color and most of all the sweet fragrance. My friends the hummers like them, too. When I walk out the front door, the smells just grab me and give intense pleasure . . . pleasure of the present and pleasure of the evocations of wonderful past times as well. These are in a hanging basket and I've got some in window boxes on the porch floor as well.

This old-fashioned multiflora rose is on the hill above the kitchen and just hums with all its bee visitors. It also must be home to lots of cardinals, because earlier in the year I could look out in the mornings and see anywhere from 6 to 9 male cardinals perched in its branches with several females scattered about between them.

and here is a bit of honeysuckle that lends its own distinctive fragrance to the air . . .

and, of course, the mock-orange . . .

This is an incredibly beautiful spring in southern middle Tennessee . . . I hope you are enjoying your own reminder of fresh beginnings and growth . . .

God has blessed us with a wonderful place in which to live.

Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forever.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Back to a little quilty stuff

Here's a portion of my flea market quilt showing the little square in a square blocks. Notice how the red strip is going different ways - I'm guessing scraps were used according to their size with little regard for design. Those triangles are TINY!
And I just love the way some blocks seem to be somewhat planned and some blocks seem to be quite spontaneous.
There is more blue (with the white) than any other color, but there's even some yellow.
I'm not at all sure I'm going to be able to cut this quilt!

It's just too cool! And I just love the whole scrappy thing going on. I can imagine all sorts of scrap scenarios and winter times when any kind of quilt was desperately needed and family members remembering their flour sack or shirt or apron or pajamas when they saw their quilt . . .

And, for a completely different quilt -

here's the memorial quilt I mentioned months ago - the daughter of one of our nurses was killed in an auto accident and folks at the clinic from doctors to nurses to clerical staff wrote on blocks for a quilt for Rhonda, the mother. There are Bible verses in the middle and some folks quoted or made reference to verses in their blocks also. I've got to do some embroidery flowers in the borders of the central verse section. At the bottom are pictures of Stephanie, the girl who was killed, and also a packet of red KoolAid - because she started the girls in band at the high school here (inclduing my daughter) on the adventure of coloring their hair (very temporarily and just for fun for ballgames). It was such a hoot - I videoed girls who came to our house before the games to color their hair and threatened blackmail to them until one of them laughed and reminded me that I was allowing this and helping this and that the blackmail would probably backfire! And it was all such a huge joke - I mean, girls putting KoolAid on their hair being bad?? This when kids are drinking and doing drugs and sex and getting tattoes?????? One shampoo and it's gone?? C'mon!
Here's the block done by her doctor . . . Paul....RDM is also one of our docs...also Linda...etc...

and here is the bottom with a picture of Stephanie and of a red KoolAid package

Gratitudes...I'm thankful for....




Blogger HELP section that let me know how to work with images to be expanded!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

On the road . . . and up and down the road

Heading to work (or anywhere else, for that matter), we usually go up a hill and then down a hill to get to the highway. We could go a slightly shorter but slower distance if we used Mimosa Road (the road we live on), but I prefer using the highway because it is a little bit faster and because it has a center line marked and folks aren't quite as likely to stray from side to side or just keep to the middle. Things are lushly green right now, and it's just beautiful. I took a few pictures this morning. Because of last night's storm and rains, there was a bit of lingering fog/mist. The one above is at the crest of the hill as we start back down . . . I parked there where the folks go in to get their horses and that fence post is at the corner of their gap (what folks have if they don't have a gate).

This view is from just a few feet down the road, looking off to the left . . . the highway I will soon be on is kind of down in the bottom between the hill I'm on and the one you can see across the way.

Here I'm looking back up to where the car is parked....if you went back up over the hill and down, you'd get to our driveway.

Same location, but now looking down this section of hill...there's a house in a curve...and then more downhill...then another curve...and more downhill to the highway....

This is probably way more than anyone wanted to see of the mile of road between my house and the highway...but it's SOOOOO pretty! I am truly blessed by being surrounded by this beauty going to and from town. And right now the air is redolent with so many sweet scents from honeysuckle to roses. Blackberries are in full bloom as the locust trees wane. The wild multiflora roses are simply spectacular (and just out of view in this picture, I realize, a large growth of them being just around the curve to the left). Each morning I can see more shades of green and mark the growth of leaves as silhouettes are fuller and rounder and my views are constricted. This is just an amazingly spectacular spring!

Wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying the beauties that surround you. We are so blessed to have been given this incredible world to live in - God could have given us a flat, gray world and we would not have know the difference - but instead He put us in the midst of great beauties of sight and sound and smell.

Sweet dreams.

p.s. and I hope Blogger cooperates and lets the pictures be expanded for those who'd like to see them more fully

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On The Road Again

I finally did it!! I actually got one of those good deals folks always talk about getting at thrift shops and auctions and such - and I did it at the big monthly flea market at the state fairgrounds in Nashville!!! Had drooled over all sorts of textiles and metal doodads before making it as far back as the Swine Barn. There had been some bad thunderstorms the previous evening and earlier that morning, so the Mule Barn, farthest back in the fairground complex and usually home to some really good stuff (including tablecloths and quilts), was almost completely empty. Just inside the barn on one side, there was a group of miscellaneous stuff, pretty rough looking, and a broken chair with 2 quilts flung over its back. I stopped to look at them and picked one up, looking carefully for critters that might jump out on me (yes, it looked like such could well happen). Really ragged on one edge and none-too-good-looking anywhere but seemed a candidate for a "cutter" quilt - something I've never had and cutting is something I've never been willing to do even to my very worn quilts. I asked the price and was told that the quilts were $10 each. Picked up the other one and looked it over - even more pitiful. Hmmm....kept looking at them....hemmed and hawed and commented sotto voce about the poor condition and ragged edges, etc. The fellow who'd told me the price talked about how they'd found them in the very back of an old house down in Georgia....bottom of a box, etc....said they were almost scared to go into the house. I asked him if they'd taken a big stick with them and he said, "Naw, we got rid of all the varmints afore we went in thar." He was missing several teeth and didn't look like he put too much stock in bathing or shaving or any other such ridiculous activities, so I wondered what he might have been scared of. Anyway, I folded the quilts back up and asked in a kind of unbelieving voice, (as in "I can't believe you really asked as much as you did"), "How much did you say you wanted for these?" and he started to tell me $10 each again but quickly eased into $10 for the pair of them. I'd already been intrigued by the tiny triangles of the square in a square blocks of this one, so I smiled at him and told him he'd just made a sale. Of course, that meant I had to tote 2 rolled up quilts the whole rest of the day as we roamed and explored, but I was tickled to get them home!

These are obviously utility quilts who have seen a hard life after being fashioned from bits and pieces of wornout clothing and whatever fabric scraps might have been available. The square in a square blocks are only about 3" x 3" (some are less than 3" one way since they're not all that square anyway). The more I've looked at it, pitiful as it is, the less I feel able to cut into it. The folks who are scrap fans and recycyling fans could really appreciate what's been done with the various fabrics and how they've been put in to maximize length of pieces, etc., regardless of how that might look.
It's way past my bedtime, but I just HAD to get back to blogland....will post more pictures another day.
Sweet dreams.