Friday, December 31, 2010

Bloom Where You Are Planted...

I hear that phrase repeated a lot, and nothing brought it home like my yard this morning.

It's been Jack Frost nippin' at your nose the past couple of days, and the lawn was white.

Apparently the frost came from the south - the house faces north - because you can see where the frost line abruptly ends. Live on the wrong side of the frost line, and good luck making it.

Live against the wall of the house, and even the calla lilies are surviving? I was certain they would be in a frost-burned crumpled heap.

And if you have the good fortune to be planted in the backyard, why, you might just think about blooming in December. Is this Bird of Paradise a loony bird or what?!!

And now, after that brief garden interlude, I can think of no other reason to postpone my "let's clean up the house for New Year's" assignment. Not my favorite, but it's gotta be done.

Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Still Cleaning...

Part of cleaning means "finishing" before stashing away. My machine stitched out three labels yesterday, I sewed them on last night while watching "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."

I cleaned more today...Here's the quilter's view...

I think the cat's eye view is better. See that nicely vacuumed carpet? There's a lot of it now visible. Two days ago, you never would have known it was there.

I spent a few hours out at the NussHaus (Nut House) with a plumber. drip, drip, drip is now not. Well, there are still two drips that require special parts, but they won't be dripping for much longer.

I paid the first installment today. Now it REALLY feels like ours. :)

Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cleaning House

I should start this post with a picture of a shovel. It's what would really help, if I were serious about digging out my Studio and unearthing something to work on. Instead, you can supply all visual imagery necessary. You've seen enough pictures of my Studio at its worst. Think of that, then multiply by two. Or three.

Yeah, you get the picture. :)

We've just wrapped up a few delightful days with our kids. They came to visit in shifts, so although we got to spend time with all of them, it was not simultaneous. We're down to two in town, Adam leaves on Friday. School resumes on Monday. Two quarters left, then we'll have a stable full of college graduates. woo hoo!!

I thought you might enjoy seeing part of the living room "mess." Malcolm claims he has no interest in dolls, yet he perched here for quite a while.

Now why would Mom pull out Sweetie's baby dolls at this juncture? Was it just a trip down Memory Lane? Or did something spark the interest? hmmm.

Stay tuned for that one...

Now, back to trying to mine the Studio...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


"Joshua's Ocean"
Suzanne Kistler 1990

JK December 28, 1988

Monday, December 27, 2010

What Do You See?

Do you see the big picture?

Do you see only the bad? (Even when there's something special coming out of the mess?)

Do you see only the beautiful?

I was tempted to post only the last photo, without words. But, since I see the big picture, and all its parts, I thought I'd share them with you.

You notice I saved the best for last. :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Disaster Area?

No pictures today, although I may go out later with my camera.

Apparently our town has been declared an official "disaster area." All it took was 4 inches of rain. Our yearly average total is 8 inches.

We had a nice dry spell yesterday, but this morning, the water has once again started falling from the sky.

Anyone have an ark handy? ;)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Name of the Game is...


And more rain. And more rain, just for good measure. We're .11" from breaking the December record from 2001, and a mere 1.28" from breaking the all-time December rainfall record of 6.06", set in 1955.

We don't live in a wet land, although we live in an area dependent upon water. The highway is closed because of flooding, and several local streets have water up to the houses. It's quite the experience, but all photos of people in the newspaper have revealed people smiling.

Much better to have an abundance of water as a novelty, I suppose. The only unhappy voices I've heard have been from the orange farmers...their groves are too wet to harvest their crops.

It's always something.

On a different note, the Chupa-doggy seems to be adjusting well to her new environs. Today we'll take her to the vet, to make sure she's as healthy as possible. I saw her tail wag yesterday, and it was a nice thing to see.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Maybe Not The Ugliest...

but she's close!!!

Her name is Chupacabra. She wandered onto a client's dairy over a month ago, and decided to stay.

Obviously she's a show dog, with the nice posture, the clipped ears and the bobbed tail. What's not to love?

The dog vet estimates that she's about 10 years old. As she's been abandoned, and she decided to offend and insult the primary dog of the dairyman she adopted, he looked to us to offer her a new home. The walnut property needs a dog on the premises, and the boy needs a dog. We'll see how this works out. She did come with a good return policy. In fact, we hear she's a come-home dog, and may return to the dairy - 10 miles away - on her own.

On a prettier note, I cleaned my kitchen.

When the counters get this cleared off, it's worthy of TWO photographs.

I promised pictures from the Itty Bitty Christmas gifting - here are many more great ideas: honey, pomegranate jelly, soap, a pail, a striped festive fabric bag, a Quilt Art engagement calendar, udder cream, dried pluots, Jan Krentz playing cards, a post-it note pad holder for the phone, an embroidery pattern, a little quilt holder, a little quilt, an ornament, and a Merry Christmas embroidery. whew!! Love it all!! Thank you, Itty Bitties!!

Other than the dog, the only thing new around here is rain, rain, and more rain. It poured all night, and our pool, which we siphoned on Thursday, is once again full. See the tile, behind the duck? You should be able to see another repeat of the tile pattern, but the water covers it. I don't think we've ever had to drain this much water from the pool in the same month, let alone the same week!!!

I did get the lights on the tree yesterday. Now on to the decorations!

Half Done? Barely Begun!!

First, I promised a picture from yesterday's Itty Bitty Christmas party. (Notice the lovely embroidered "Merry Christmas" stitchery, a gift to each of us from Leslie.)

L to R: Wendy, Elaine S., Charlotte, moi, Sue, Elaine B., Leslie

Our Christmas lights are half done. Pete calls them finished. I'd like to see the span between the garage and bedrooms filled with a string of lights. He's thinks it's fine, thankyouverymuch.

The only reason the tree is even in the house is because it started raining outside. It's been inside since Tuesday, but I haven't touched it. Maybe tomorrow.

I don't know why, but I feel more scattered than usual this year. Am I trying to do more? No, not unless you count the last two weeks of November. That block of time was filled with more than I ever would have imagined.

I'm just...scattered.

If you find my brain, please send it home to me. I miss it!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sew Faster! Sew Faster!

I haven't been near my Studio in a week.

That's a lie. I've been near it, I just haven't sewn. I've used it as a dumping ground, as usual. Sheesh! Do I really even leave all the cupboards open! How do you expect anyone to be able to work in there?!!

Usable ironing board space? No, not really.

Surely there is space on the sewing table? No, not really.

Aha!! I've found it!!! The one clean spot in the entire room. A place to put my feet.

By the time I was able to sit down to sew, it was after noon. And I had an 8:30 breakfast date this morning. Will she or won't she be able to meet her sewing goals in the allotted time? I can sew those cards in...6 hours! haha! Name that tune? How about name that sewing goal!

This is what the table looked like, once I got started.

Here's when I really got going...

And here's the end result. I finished the machine work last night, then got up at 5:30am, to do some beading and embellishment. I got 6 of the 9 cards finished in time for breakfast with...the six Itty Bitties!

More on that tomorrow, right now I've got to get to bed. I'm fading fast, and it's not a pretty picture. :)

P.S. All of my quilted cards measure 5" x 7", just in case you are interested...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Monday's EVENT

Did I promise you pictures from Monday? I think I did. That was the night Sew Eclectic got together to celebrate Christmas. Pat and Mel were our hosts, as they have been almost every year since our group was born. Those two have the gift of hospitality, displayed in a manner not often seen.

Not only do they put together a marvelous meal, they decorate to the hilt. Do you think I will ever get to the point where I even BEGIN to think about decorating details, past, "ummm, I need to start with a tree..." ? I seriously doubt it.

Here's a close-up of one table's centerpiece. My mom used to do things like this, she took a class in flower arranging to learn how. I think she found the time once we (all five of us) were out of the house. It's never crossed my mind (until now) that an option like that was available...

There was a "big kids" table...

And a "kiddie" table...

And while Sew Eclectic feasted like queens, Mel stayed in the kitchen as overseer.

Wonderful things came out of that kitchen.

After dinner, there was a flurry of gift giving. This is when I passed out my garden/produce gifts. In return, I came home with these lovelies. grr. Blogger. Jealous again?

I thought you might like seeing these, as there are some wonderful ideas for gift-giving.

There are lotions and potions and a hand-embroidered felt ornament, a felt stocking, notepad, fat quarters, a packet with a hand-dye PLUS hand-dyed silk cocoons!, a potholder (filled with 2 layers of batting and a center layer of...therma- or insula- something?), a postcard, a bookmark, and a coin purse made from a fat quarter I'd given the maker a year or so ago. How fun!!!

Did this help? Did you get any last minute gift-giving ideas?

Finally I give you the piece de resistance...Sew Eclectic, Christmas 2010

Back Row: Suzanne, Barbara D, DeAnn, Pat, Kristin
Middle Row: Sara, Beth, Elaine, Barbara S
Front Row: Wanda, Debbie, Charlotte, Sharon, Deolinda

You can still see our gallery show through December 24, at Arts Visalia. Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Bit o Gifting...

I hinted at my odd gifting selections this year. My husband thinks I'm a bit tetched in the head.

First, I brought a bag of cooking persimmons, to pass around the room for those interested.

Next, I passed out some of these:

I bagged them, giving out two or three corms a piece. These "beauties" will grow up to be orchids, that grow best when ignored. My kind of flowers!

Finally, I went to this bin of harvested coxcomb.

The seeds look like bug poop. It's not. They're seeds. Really.

I bagged them with planting instructions on one side (scratch into the ground, full sun, ignore) and a photo on the other.

On a different note, I hear that my niece's birthday package arrived yesterday in Alaska. Her birthday is not until tomorrow, but she already got a peek at her card.

I quilted the snowflake, then embellished it with beads. I LOVE the effect!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Party On, Dudette...

It has been a busy weekend, that much is certain.

Not only have I been busy, the walnut trees have also been busy. They've dropped all of their leaves, which have turned an unremarkable orangish brown. Their barren limbs stretch in a skeletal manner towards the grey fog-filled heavens.

The pictures I took on Friday were apparently an extraordinary opportunity. Our new neighbor tells me that never has he seen such golden beauty, and he grew up tending walnuts. I may have to enlarge one of my photos and frame it!

In between admiring nature, I've been partying. Party on Thursday, parties on Friday, party on Saturday. I have another party tonight.

On Saturday, we took our College/Career Fellowship out for a day of fun. We started off in Fresno, ice skating.

What? You didn't know you could ice skate in Fresno? I wouldn't have thought of it, but yes, you can!

This was my first view, as I entered the ice: in the foreground is my oldest son, just ahead of him is his dad. Wait for Mom? Apparently it's everyone for himself out there.

By the time the skating session drew to a close, hubby was having a grand time. Look at that smile!

Here is our group, as we wait for the Zamboni to clean the ice.

And here I am, to prove that I was, indeed, there.

After skating, we came back to Visalia, then went to El Rosal for some dinner. After that, our church had a Christmas Dessert Theater, featuring "Dave The Horn Guy."

Dave was pretty amazing, and as goofy as he looks, he's got quite the talent. He knows how "ridiculous" his talent is, and milks it to the max. You should visit his website, for free ring tones and just to see what he's got to offer. Apparently on Friday, they're releasing a Dave The Horn Guy App - you poke him and he honks! Check here, for more info.

That's all I've got for you for now.

Tomorrow I will show you my goofy "what a weirdo" gifts that I'm giving to my Art Group tonight. My husband just shook his head. Seriously? You're giving that to your friends?

Well yes, indeed I am. I think they will like them. Won't they? I'll find out tonight.