Sunday, March 1, 2015

March

A gauzy shawl lies over the decks this morning, trees and shrubs mantled in subtle hoar frost. Sun looking in on me through a veil. No wind. Silent.
In like a lamb.
It's daylight saving time month, vernal equinox month, seedlings under grow lights month, amazing daughter(s) birthday(s) month. (My dear blogging buddy Judy's  also amazing daughter is a March baby. Happy birthday tomorrow, Kate.)
Yes, March is one of my favorite months. It feels like anything is possible.
Can you feel it?

Monday, February 23, 2015

a side effect of procrastination

Despite my good intentions, I never got around to putting the daffodil bulbs I purchased last autumn into the ground. Finally realizing I had waited too long,  I potted them up in an old bulb pot and stowed them away in a dark corner on the basement floor.



In her amazing way, Mother Nature prevailed. Here they are today bringing a much enjoyed bit of spring to Jerome's office and maybe teasing the birds at the feeders just outside the sliders.

And my small but mighty Meyer Lemon tree that produced the bowlful of lemons in late November is now tucked into a new pot  and  telling me in the way of a happy plant, thank you.



I played bee this morning, wielding my sable brush with glee.





Wednesday, February 18, 2015

oranges to the rescue

When I was a child, I had to wear a life vest that was orange. I guess that memory awakes the feeling of rescue. And so, today orange seems to be coming to my aid…

a tangy tasty miracle you can carry in your pocket


and recently completed projects...



and flowers that bloom when you least expect but most need them to


orange.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

of hearts and flowers

A week into February.  In case you missed it, Wisconsin made the news this week on groundhog day.  It began as any other Feb 2 for the mayor of Sun Prairie, birthplace of Georgia O'Keeffe (and a great little town for quilters. ) Sunny and really cold, news cameras rolling. I guess Jimmy, the local groundhog, was peeved for being disturbed and took it out on the mayor by biting his left ear lobe. And you thought winter was making you cranky! Alas, whatever the prediction, we know winter isn't finished with us yet here in America's midwest.
Indoor garden projects are helping.

a home brew of cat grass ready to serve

onion seeds sprouting in their individual cell packs

leeks bursting forth in their mini mesh peat pots
And there have been surprises among the houseplants. All the Thanksgiving cactus are setting new buds, a byproduct of residing in a rather cool old farmhouse. My clivia, nearly a quarter century old (dare I say I've had it that long???) decided to send up a flower stalk. This plant was given to me as a tiny yearling from a dear friend, who had the most enormous, amazing plant I had ever seen anywhere. Her plant was in a pot that needed a truck to move it. In bloom it was nearly impossible to count the blossoms. My plant, which lived in my school library all the years I taught there, bloomed every summer vacation and spent that time in the principal's office. It has not bloomed since I left teaching. And here for the first time since, is a lovely little stalk of lilies about to open.



Other things are cheering us on to the winter finish line...
A while back  I hinted that Anne would be sharing some good news soon.  Well, take a look at her most recent post and you'll see what we were celebrating. I am over the moon proud of her. Isn't that painting amazing?? I am so glad she included a peak into her journal, where she recorded every step of her process. She shared her journal with Jerome and me, each of us looking on in amazement, and it is absolutely amazing. In fact, it was seeing her journal that convinced me that I could /should be keeping one of my own. (And I have been ever since. Now there's a first.)

And before the month gets even farther along, I urge you to please take some time during America's  Heart Health Month to do something for your own heart. You're important to me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

green

We fed the latest sprouts to the chickens today. They made short work of them. Seems we all are eager for fresh green…..

daffodils nearly ready to see the light of day


freshly repotted amaryllis bulbs waking from their winter nap

and soon a treat for the felines of the family (maybe Mya will leave my houseplants alone)

The stack of garden catalogs is growing taller.
I feel a certain itch in my thumbs…

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

playing

While at quilt retreat I fell in love with paper piecing all over again. It took a little while for my "little grey cells" to get the hang of it. It had been a few years since I'd learned how. And then I had used quite simple patterns with straight lines, enough challenge for the beginner. Then one day I spotted a bird in a magazine and had to try my hand at it.
I made the bird by copying the photo and drawing my own pattern on light weight interfacing. The original was less than 3 inches across.


I used it on a fabric postcard that I sent as part of an international postcard exchange. Since then I made a larger version, blowing up my drawing on my Epson. I sent that one to a dear friend.
I was sure I would make another for myself. A couple of years had passed, but I did it, at retreat.


In the way of things, the book with CD I had ordered didn't arrive until the day after I returned. That's ok, as it gave me more time to work on other projects. But now that I have it, I'm having a blast exploring what I can do with it.


The CD allows you to easily print the patterns, each in 4 sizes, right onto Carol Doak's foundation papers using my Epson printer.

It's a cozy day to be indoors working. It's snowing softly this afternoon, flakes falling gently in no hurry whatever. And without any fanfare a gift arrived from Rosemary…


may you also be blessed with art you love and unexpected graces.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

slipping past

Time was, January crept along so slowly winter seemed interminable. Not so 2015.
Late in the third week of the new year, today is sunny, above freezing, and the wild winds of the night have blown themselves out. On a day such as this, one can easily believe in spring…
Indoors, the bulbs put by in autumn are enjoying their places in the sun.



And I am reminded that my first snow drops, tucked into the garden bed along the brick walk last October, are preparing for their first appearance.

Our chickens are delighting in this bit of thaw and I am tickled by the sweet sounds of them exploring their nearly snow-less play yard. Phoebie has discovered that the soil beneath the chicken house is dry and dusty and refuses to emerge from her wallow even for mealworms. Clever girl… a dust bath in January is definitely more precious than a treat that can be had no matter the weather.
As a celebration, Friday night we ate at the local Chinese buffet in honor of Anne's recent good news. (I'm sure she'll share this soon.) It's always fun to read the fortune in your cookie, all the more so when you are able to reach into a bowl and choose your own rather than take one of a few included in your take out order.
This was mine…
There are several new things going on in my sewing room and at my desk. Having read or rather devoured Susan Branch's A Fine Romance, I quickly ordered a copy for myself and then searched my bookshelves for little books of a similar nature.


Under their influence I have begun a sketch book/journal of my own. I've never kept one before. I've often begun a written journal but have never allowed myself to KEEP one. For once I've decided to try keeping a different sort. Here are a couple of my recent inclusions…




Last weekend I attended a quilting retreat and while there spent time getting to know my new sewing machine. I had a blast trying out her built in stitches. These will go into the notebook where I'm logging my practices.




The circle of stitches is accomplished with the aid of a special attachment  The foot of the machine "draws" the stitches like the pencil of a compass. The radius is adjustable. I saw this demonstrated by Libby Lehman and just had to try it myself. Thanks, Mary, for lending me your attachment. No doubt I'll be getting one of my own soon.
I have had a love affair with paper my whole life. In the past couple years I've experimented with making boxes with papers of all kinds. Recently I discovered that Hobby Lobby was selling the very tool I had been looking for. It's made by We R Memory Keepers and makes self closing square boxes of various sizes.


Here you see two that I made with French General paper, which is double sided and presents beautifully. Look closely and you can see the tiny brads I used to secure them.


So these are the reasons why January refuses to move along as they say, "slow as molasses in January." Hope you're finding your days as full and enjoyable.