Jul 18, 2014

Checking in

Before I get the "are you okay?"  inquiry,  just busy, inside and outside the house.

Outside:  I have weeded, hoed, chopped, sprayed all along the edge of the bank in back.  It took me a few hours over two days to get down the row swear that kudzu is like a phoenix rising from the ashes.  You think the roots are dead and then when you start hacking it, you discover that the little sprouts that are coming up are springing off the stuff you thought was dead and gone.  Not only will it trail on top of the ground sometimes at close to a foot a day and attaching to whatever it can find to attach to, it also grows outward underground.   Some of the roots are about 1/2 or more in diameter and it is like hitting rocks with the hoe.  Also you have to be mindful that there are low spots, animal holes, fire ant mounds and where you see the kudzu is generally off the edge of the bank.  You can't get too close and I sure don't want the riding lawn mowers going anywhere that close to it either!

I've swept and I've raked attacking the dead leaves from around the bushes on the front.  Now that the stuff has dried out, I can see where the pieces were left behind when Robert pruned the bushes. The side by the a/c could still use some attention but that is not happening for a few days.

We had some rain (1 inch to be precise) with more due in tonight and tomorrow.  All the rain did is encourage the fire ants to start digging.  I treated a few of the mounds that were in my path to the brush pile and in the backyard where Oscar could get in them, once he was in for the night last night.  To be honest I do not know which of those two awful things I hate worse, fire ants or kudzu.  Maybe the ants as at least kudzu has a few useful purposes.  Very few, to my way of thinking but you can make baskets and wreaths, use it for silage, make jelly out of the blossoms which tastes faintly grape-like I am told.  Fire ants??  I know God made them for a reason but tell me what it might be.

Inside the house:  well, all that yard work makes for more laundry with sweaty clothes.  I am caught up now though, until I decide to out and do something silly like clean up the utility shed or vacuum out the car, LOL.   I've cleaned, cleared and shredded paper stuff from his filing cabinet but mostly I was looking for a misplaced paper that I need for the HHS paperwork I need to file.  Found it!

Tuesday I waited past the time the donation truck was supposed to come pick my stuff up.  They finally showed after a phone call an hour later.  Among the things I parted with was DJ recliner.  No one, including the cat, sat in it.  Remember how he always wanted in there with or without DJ??? It was like he knows that someone is missing.  No fun sitting there if you didn't have to fight with Kitty Daddy for squatters' rights??  Anyway, the handle was a bit hard to operate and it always took up so much room in the living room.  I didn't need to keep it as a shrine to my husband.  Anyway, I was up moving around the remaining pieces of furniture and vacuuming at 9:30 Tuesday evening.  Skyler just wanted to know where the love seat was headed and when the kitty eating machine was going to stop.  There is only so much you can do with a fire place and entertainment center stuck in place.  Still, it looks a bit more spacious in there.   I have since discovered that it must be a position in the room sort of deal rather than the love seat itself, as he has been sleeping on the coach now that I switched the two around.   He can see the kitchen and whatever Oscar is doing or he can see me coming up the hallway.

What else? No sewing this week though I have been thinking about it-----a lot, LOL.   The house is reasonably cleaned after that vacuuming and sweeping binge.  I didn't wait three days to unload the dishwasher.  Cooking has been more of a re-heat thing as I try to get the freezers emptied out a bit but I guess that is the beauty of leftovers.  I did make some spaghetti sauce in the crockpot the other night thinking I would make some lasagna when we  had a couple of cooler days.  Like do it in a couple of loaf pans, maybe??  Didn't happen but only because I had another bit of ground beef something thawed out.  It may morph into something else by the time I decide to use it.

I have made a decision about what I want to do for an upcoming hop and ordered what I need to make that happen---that took care of a few hours this morning but then I had already decided no outside stuff today.   I have a list going in my head of what I need to do sewing-wise.  I doubt that two of them will be completely done in time for my upcoming trip but there is truly no rush on either of the gifties, really. USPS works for me and buys some time.

 I did manage to cut out Lily's baby quilt though after hoeing the other day, it was a little hard on the hands to use that rotary cutter.

What am I doing with these?  Well, the strips should go pretty well with the wall hanging I made her with the aquas.  The #8 strip was one that I used in it while the others are mostly from the two 5 yard quilt packets that I got some Bolines of Indian Creek when I was in Pigeon Forge earlier this year.   AND I am going to make a chevron quilt with them using the tutorial from Crazy Mom quilts.  A white solid will go between the strips.

Would you like to see a few more adorable baby pictures?  Lily is home now with her folks as of Tuesday I think it was.  My sister is an OB nurse but not at the hospital where Lily was born.  Her hospital uses the Bella Baby Photography while the hospital they used is getting the service in August.  I think as a special favor to my sister they arranged to travel down and take some posed, professional pictures of our little peanut.  I put on my own watermark but they get all the credit for these wonderful pictures!  You should not be surprised to see her wrapped in the Pittsburgh towel as Daddy is a big anything Pittsburgh fan (family is from there originally, I believe).   I have Mommy's permission to share these.

AND then we have the critters to contend with:
Case in point, Skyler does not respect boundaries, at all.  Look at him!   I put that gate up to keep YOU out, Mister, when Oscar is IN.

Yeah, like on THAT side looking at Oscar from afar, not right in his face.  I have considered just taking the gate down and letting him chase that nosy thing through the house.  Thing is, Oscar would head right for Sky's food bowl and you don't feed Skyler dry food on demand.   Treat bites, yes but not dry food.  Oscar still goes at the fence every once in awhile barking like crazy but other times they are both walking around the kitchen table sizing each other up.

Oscar meanwhile has the cute thing down to a science.  I still am not sure what his signal is for needing to go out  to do his business so periodically I open the back door and "come on, Oscar, let's go out".  He inevitably lays down on that throw rug, and shows his belly and almost dares me to make him go.  Of course, it almost always works making me one of the most indulgent mamas around.  One look at those big brown eyes even with me being on to him, LOL.

If it has quit sprinkling, I think I'll take my dog for a walk.  If I don't have to referee these two, I might even think about sewing.  Stranger things have happened, LOL.

Jul 13, 2014

before and after

Busy day today and I am afraid that Oscar is getting short shrift in the walking department today.  No trip into the park and he will have to settle for a couple of trips up and down our lane.  I'm tired!  LOL.  I did go out and toss his little tug of war toy around a bit in a semblance of "fetch" so maybe that will help?

That bush I showed the other day that needed some cleaning up around?  Here is "before",  the one dead center in the photo.

After I got the loppers and rake out and wore myself out!

Once I got showered and cooled off then I decided to box up some of my cookbooks for donation.  Center Hope's truck is coming on Tuesday to get some other stuff I had phoned about so I thought now was a good chance to weed them out.  There are two more small boxes in the car as well.  One is going to Friends of the Library and the other, a donation bin.

Essentially I was able to clear out most of this bookshelf but then some of it is shifted to the other one.

I can tell that there is a difference even if you cannot----downsizing.  One whole shelf and half of another were emptied out.  Yes, I shifted more back in.  A few more may be going as well as all those cooking magazines as they sell those at Friends of the Library too.  I just don't feel like sacking them up at the moment,  LOL.

Yesterday was guild day.  It was so neat to walk in and see all the quilts hanging, decorating those walls at the center.  Not that I had one to share but that was my choice.  There is another challenge for the second half of the year that has a Proverbs theme.  Jill passed out envelopes that contained a proverb, mine being "Don't judge a book by its cover".  So I make an object like a quilt, wall hanging, art piece that represents that in some way.  I forget now what the other 3 had but it should be interesting!

We also drew for the opportunity quilt and it went to someone from the Birmingham Quilt Guild.  A couple of our members knew her.  Only takes one ticket!  I am not sure if I had a picture of the quilt finished up but it used that Granny Square pattern from Blue Elephant Stitches' blog.  I have a few blocks made for what will probably be a donation quilt at some point using the same pattern.  It is a fun one to make really.

I stood in for the secretary Irene, returning the favor as she covered for me during my term at one point.  When she told me (because I needed her minutes for the newsletter inclusion) and the President that she would be unable to attend, I volunteered.  After two years in the job, I thought I might be the most logical choice.  

The girls and I had lunch out and then went on to Ashville since the three of them are all doing the quilt shops block of the month.   I elected not to go shopping.  Don't need anything at the moment except some Frixion pens and it can wait.  Still, nice to have a girlfriend day.


My sister told me today that it is okay with my niece if I share a picture of my little great niece.  She did have to have a surgical procedure On Thursday.  As of last night she is recuperating in a transitional room so her parents can tend to her but with staff near by.  Initially they said she might be discharged tomorrow but my sister will confirm that later.

So here is Lily with her daddy.  What a cutie pie, huh?  I'll get to meet her in person next month.  

About time to scare up something for supper.  The idea of cooking has little appeal (What? and I have all those cookbooks to help me do just that???) because it is so blamed hot or I just finally got cooled down, one or the other.  The appetite slacks off when it gets so warm and nothing really even sounds good.  HMMMMM

Jul 10, 2014

a view from the yard

 The baby birds vacated the nest earlier in the week.  I had been watching and first one disappeared and then the last one was sitting on the edge of the nest, like it was too afraid to take off.  A few hours later, I happened to be looking out the kitchen window and spotted it flailing around in the bed at the base of the Rose of Sharon bush.  I sure hope it gets the hang of what to do with those wings or something like my dog is going to get it.

So this morning for about an hour while I still had some cloud cover,  I finished taking some of restof the branches off the gardenia bush.  Two wheel barrels full of brush for the burn pile.  This was all the further I could take it down with the large pair of manual loppers.  It will take the electrical version or a chain saw at this point.  I don't know that anyone should trust me with electrical appliances other than the ones of the kitchen variety like blenders, mixers, panini press, LOL.

This mess at the base of the Rose of Sharon needs to be dealt with.  It is the remains of two types of lilies--angel trumpets and day lilies.  DJ would take all that thatchy stuff out over the winter months and we would start all over again in the spring/summer.  That didn't happen this past year.  Robert did take some of the low lying branches off so he could use the riding mower recently but that is all the attention it has had.

Then  we have the lilac bush that has a big hole in the center of it.  Those are not native to Alabama and this was DJ's pampered princess bush, having to augment the soil and all that.  I don't want it gone but I do need to get that dead part removed.  Robert and I talked about it .  Again, I don't know that I can saw it out of there.

I pulled some weeds along the "fence" row before I called it quits this morning and came in to cool off and shower.  Enough yard work for the day.

Looking back to the south of the lot, you can see the variety of crape myrtles.  That lilac/light pink one needs that weedy stuff cut away from its base too.  That might be were I head next actually as it is near the burn pile.  That little heap you see near the pole.

I was dismayed to see that there is some kudzu vine mixed up in the holly bushes between the white myrtle bush on the left and the myrtle tree.  I pulled some of it out but those bushes are huge and I doubt I will get up on the ladder to get at it.  Years ago this happened and DJ and I reclaimed that myrtle bush from the vines one fall some time back, cutting it back and pulling out the old canes.  This is the best I have ever seen it flower. DJ would be proud of that!  Then too, the dark pink one was just a small, small planting when we moved in and growing quite crookedly at that.  He figured out a way to stake it up without damaging the trunk and it looks great now.

Still no rain.  Dark clouds over head in spots and humid but I think this is one of those rain events where some get it and some don't.   You can probably see how dry the grass is looking in some of these pictures.  Robert ran the mower through that side of the driveway but just to knock the weeds down, more or less.

The happy news I have to report is that Baby Girl R is here, my little great-niece.  My sister the baby's nana was messaging me off and on throughout the day.  When I went to bed, there was a possibility of a c-section and then the phone sounded at about 1:15 in the morning.  She was born with 15 minutes of Wednesday the 9th to spare.  6 lbs and 14 oz. 19 inches long, looks like a lot of dark hair.   There was a pre-natal health concern that showed up on the ultrasounds that will need to be addressed with surgically tomorrow.  Please keep the family in your prayers.  I get to meet her and love on her next month!  Little Girl is the first great-grand so we are all pretty excited!  While I do have a picture of her, I do not have permission to share it at this point.

Think I might sew for a bit if I can remember where I put that little bag I was working on.  I think I know.  Other than maybe boxing up some books for the home pickup I have scheduled next week  I do not want to do anything more labor intensive today.  My arms and shoulder blades are already squawking a bit about the pruners!

THX for stopping by-------maybe one of these days I'll actually have something sewn to share.

Jul 8, 2014

a little of this and that

Well, I took two "holiday" days off, Friday and Saturday, more or less.  By Sunday afternoon, I was back at it.  I finally got DJ's closet emptied and vacuumed out.  Then I had to wonder how in the world that his closet rod had not snapped in two.  Mine certainly did and in a New York minute too!!   I have a ton of stuff on the shelf, and always have only now the closet is no longer stuffed with clothing but quilting supplies, completed tops and some large lengths for backings.   DJ got about 5 support bracket/rod deals and a nice metal rod and those puppies are screwed into the studs.  He did not repair his own, my guess is that he was waiting till HIS rod snapped like a twig and he had to do it, LOL.

Now take a look at this jerry rigged thing.  The bracket is NOT flush with the shelf.  The rod support does not support the rod.  Thankfully, I am basically just putting donation quilts up there and two small boxes of mementoes and banking materials.

What supports the rod and the shelf??  Well, the two ends of this 7 foot wooden pole are attached to shelf and I hope are attached in back to the studs.  Then we have this board propping it up vertically.  This end seems fairly secure but the other end is loose at the top but backs up into the linen closet area in some manner.  I put something on the floor near it to brace it for now.  BUT what a stupid way to do assembly work.

I took a break from the cleaning project and did a recon run out to Lowe's closet section.  They have what I would need if I were to try to fix it properly.  That is provided I can find the studs (they are supposed to be 16 inches apart, right?)  OR I learn how to properly do a hollow wall anchor.  Remember, I still have a hole to patch in the living room from my last effort when I lost one in the wall?  Oopsie!  I got the stuff to do it--on the to-do list.

Anyway-----here is what it looked like in there after I finally was able to log in all the on hand donation quilts on the 2014 document.   That was my Monday afternoon job.  I was taking pictures of the ones that I was not sure I had taken.  DJ is not here to reluctantly help me out with the quilt holding job so the first pictures were taken on the back of the shed where I had left some command hooks.  Then I guess with my fiddling with the rod and the extreme heat, one of the hooks fell off to who knows where.  I know I lost some curtain rings in the weeds under the shed as well.  I came in and hung a few hooks on the master bedroom wall that I want to use in some way as a design wall and finished up the job.

 Hooray!  It is going to be far easier to get at these things from here versus the old spot of the coat closet/out of season clothes in my bedroom.  Even better, they are no longer stacked up and sitting in the bedroom.   PLUS the vacuum cleaner finally has a home, like, NOT in the bathroom.

And speaking of bathrooms, I emptied out his bathroom and cleaned the best I could in there too, and then did my own.  DJ had that surgical procedure in early December and really was still on some activity restrictions when he passed away.  What I am getting at, was that he had not been able to keep up the tub/shower cleaning like he normally would.  I did my best but that soap scum, hard water scale is more challenging that my normal go-to cleaning routine.   A friend had made a suggestion of her home grown recipe that I will try---can't hurt, right?   I think part of the thing is he still has a shower door that makes it hard to physically get in there and clean unless you are naked in the shower itself.  My shower unit was broken when we moved in and I took it off preferring a shower curtain.  Easier to get at mine.  The other thing?  He has a low pressure shower nozzle.  I don't think it got enough oomph to rinse as well as it should.  Just a theory but I don't have near the problem with mine.   I know I'll have to get in there again at some point.

Before I called it quits for the day on Sunday, I swept and mopped the kitchen and utility room and vacuumed most of the house.   Wore myself out!   Yesterday in comparison was more the errand and cooking day, LOL.  Other than getting overheated walking the dog and running in and out in the afternoon heat with those quilts it was a much less physically taxing day.

Today was Bama Belles day.   Just 6 of there.  Family situations and member illnesses are keeping a few away right now.  Still, we had a good day though short breaking up around noon.  A couple of the gals share a ride so when one leaves, they all leave.   Donna was working on personal project, a Snuggle Up. Eventually she will have 3 done up but each in a different color grouping.  Valera and I were both working on the Rail blocks from last time and getting started on the top assembly.   I know she had blocks make for one maybe two quilts  (we didn't count up and I left them at the church).   I made the 4 little blocks that I was needing to reach the 70 we needed for WTIL sized quilts and then started making rows.  Here is what mine looked like by the time I packed it up.  7 more rows to go, LOL but I left it at the church as I have some personal sewing to tend in coming weeks.

Lois had two rail tops done---one in the Fiddlesticks setting and one in the more traditional coloration.  That one is actually a fabric challenge type project.  I had three bits of yardage and said pick the one you want to try to use.  She picked the M & M fabric so the rail block colors are the shades of M & M's.  I think both tops are pretty!  Beverly liked the more traditional brighter one better but they each have their own charms, I think.   I still have a stack of blue strips cut from donation fabric so I see more of these in our future, LOL.  Really it is a nice ongoing project which I why I put my up in the closet till next time.  Beverly and Marilyn were helping Lois pin though Marilyn had pulled out a Dresden Plate project and prepping the background fabric for those too.

Here are a couple of other quilts that Beverly shared with us today.  First, a Block of the Month from the JOY group.  A friend hand quilted it for her.

This Pineapple Blossom is one for the kids.  Beverly said that the blue fabrics in it were fabrics that were given to us from our friend Theramae's estate.  We all knew how much Beverly loved blues so many of them were set aside for her.  I am happy to see them live on in this project. Theramae would love it too!  She and Jane's mom Sarah were both in their early 80's when they died and they were two of our most prolific quilters.  We miss both these dear ladies.

Beverly hand embroidered these cute redwork blocks that she said represent the 4 seasons.  She was getting some ideas on how she might quilt it.  I suggested cross hatching through the whole block as it sort of historically accurate for embroidery blocks.   She may be hand quilting it but I told her she probably should mark it before pinning. no matter what design she might choose.  Another quilt to add to the other 21 on the shelf!

What else?  My great niece (to be named Lily) should be here any day now.  AND, it looks like I will be going to Colorado next month for niece's wedding after all.  A gift from my sisters, the flights are arranged after a bit of back and forth via messaging.  Plans are, I will be heading back to Illinois with my sister and BIL who still live in the area for a few days.  That way I will get to see my folks and visit with any available family.    Meet my great niece in person!   Diane still owes me a Schooner burger and onion rings, LOL or a trip to Avanti's, either one is fine.

I see "baby drag along"quilt and Christmas tree skirts being moved up to a more immediate place on the list.  Neither is cut out but I should have all the fabric for both projects on hand.  Now that I have the Singer back I may try to finish up that little see through bag I had started.  Get one thing finished anyway.  I already gave myself permission not to do the guild challenge quilt as it had to be totally done and turned it.  It was not happening.  I'll make the quilt at some point but it will stay here for WTIL.

Well, I need to walk Oscar one more time before he comes in for the evening.  Poor doggie had to wait for me to get back from my meeting, and back from a little lunch out,  before we headed into the park for our laps.  There were a lot more people at the park including two women walking a female dog.  Between her and the squirrel sightings, he was one dog chomping at the bit so to speak.  It was plenty warm and he was really, really panting.  Now the sun should be below the tree line a bit plus we have some cloud cover moving in as our rain chances increase a bit tomorrow.  The yard is beginning to crisp up a bit and I don't think we really have had a decent rainfall in a couple of weeks.

Skyler meanwhile is in his window perch, napping intermittently.  Or he will until I bring the dog in which case, he has to be sure that he is not being left out of anything.  He needs his rest of he can get me up at 5 in the morning, or earlier!

THX for stopping by-----never know what you might find me doing lately, do you?