Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gravid Garden

Inside the house, Malcolm, Edgar and Charlie are all tuckered out. This is the usual scene, day after day after day.

What makes them so tired? I am certain that when I am not looking, they sneak into the Studio and wreck havoc. I have proof. I opened the door last week and found this:

I don't remember dumping all that junk all over my sewing table. It must have been the cats. They're in cahoots.

Sometimes they go outside and make mischief out there. Edgar showed up yesterday morning, quite pleased with himself. He'd been playing in the neighbor's sprinkler.

Edgar, you look silly like that. All magnificence flies out the window when your mane is wet.

But enough about cats. I promised Garden. Look at this!! I do believe the bird of paradise is going to bloom. oh. hey. Are those cannas, invading from the back side of the fence? I believe they are...

Is this a different strain of bird of paradise? Or does redder mean riper and closer to actually blooming?

More iris promising more spectacular color.

I've been monitoring this yellow one for days. When are you going to bloom? I am sure you are my lost buttercup yellow baby. Are you? Are you? When are you going to bloom?


Who are you and where did you come from?!!! I don't recognize this at all. This must be one of the plants I bought a few years back at the Porterville Iris Festival. Only one of the four bloomed, and I thought they'd all either died or been pulled out. I'm so glad I was wrong!!

And there you go. I'm watching the buds as they get bigger and bigger. One of these days the garden will explode and EVERYTHING will be color, right? Or not. I don't know. It's all new to me this year. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Blog Award?

Wow. I don't know what to say. Really. A "Blog Award"? For me? I've seen them on various blogs, but never paid a lot of attention. They've always seemed, shall I say, a bit self-indulgent. But this one is pretty. I like the flower, I like the sky, and I like the name. I also like its stated purpose, which is to acknowledge "bloggers who inspire others with positivity and creativity."

Thank you, Peggy, for putting me on your list! I am truly honored.

I'm not one for "chain letter" activity - I've made it a point to break every "chain" I've been handed since 1982 (that's a story in itself) - but this one seems to be different.

The rules for accepting the award are:

1. Put the logo on your blog or within your post. check
2. Pass the award to 12 bloggers.
3. Link the nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award. check

Okay, 2-4. That's going to take a while. I've already linked to Peggy near the top of this post.

Twelve bloggers that inspire others with positivity and creativity. Here goes nothing.

1. Allie, who makes the most gorgeous beautiful crazy quilty art. She also gardens.
2. Lisa, who also makes gorgeous crazy quilty art. Her photography takes one's breath away.
3. Wanda, who is more productive than a dozen quilters. Her thumb is also green.
4. Deborah, who creates without a machine. She is the master of "reckless embellishment."
5. Kim, who rivals Wanda in productivity. She's a whiz at rescuing wool and giving it new life.
6. Vicki, who "field trips the web" and shares all kinds of links to get your creative juices flowing.
7. Del, who generously shares her quilt collection online. She also likes to road trip.
8. Melody, whose blog got me hooked on blogging in the first place. Color. LOTS of color!
9. Robin, who blogs from Hawaii. Beautiful family, beautiful quilts, beautiful photography.
10. Tanya, who blogs from Japan. She shares her life, her quilts, her cats...
11. Penny, who recently returned to Oklahoma. She quilts and loves all things Samoyed.
12. Victoria, who doesn't blog as frequently, but when she does, it's worth waiting for.

whew! Choosing 12 is tougher than it looks. There are many other blogs that I read, but to find those who exude "positivity and creativity," and blog regularly...that's actually a bit of a challenge.

And now, I'm off to comment on those 12 blogs. Thank you, Peggy, for the award. I will try to live up to it. And I hope the rest of you take the time to click on this list of blogs that I read with regularity. You might just find another one or two to add to your personal list of "favorites." Enjoy!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pop! and other things

I spent the morning in the lovely town of Porterville, visiting with the Porterville Quilters. I didn't just visit, I was their program. I've been there more than once, but this was the first time I've noticed this statue on the corner of Henderson and Main. Has it always been there? Why have I never seen him? He's very impressive.

Salute the Farmer
Porterville, CA

As I said, I was the program. I don't do a lot of programs, simply because I'm not often asked. I usually present a trunk show, but today they asked for something different.

Because I am Chairman of Best of the Valley, they thought I might know what judges think. hmmm. Does anyone really know what judges think? Or do we just know what we get in our comment sheets? ;)

I thought the best way to find out would be to take some of my show quilts, find the judging sheets from various shows, and let the quilters decide for themselves. I actually think they had fun. I know I did. I could send the same quilt to two different shows. One judge would say "tight, secure applique," the next would say, "applique stitches need to be secure."

If you're going to enter a lot of shows (which I've definitely done over the past 20 years), you need to develop both a bit of a shell and a sense of humor. Here's proof of my morning's work. (Thank you, Wanda!)

But I'm guessing what you're really wondering about is the "pop!" I noticed it late this afternoon, as I was washing dishes. It did it!!! The iris that began to bud in the garage survived the trauma and bloomed today.

Welcome little iris, I am SO happy to see you!!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Signs of Spring

Maybe it's the let-down after weeks of upheaval. The yard I was familiar with is gone. Very few signs of it remain. That means that iris won't be blooming, daffodils and narcissus are gone, and I can't find hide nor hair of a Johnny Jump-up anywhere. We've got a lot of walk-on bark and some teeny tiny plants that they promise will grow. Eventually.

Yesterday I wandered around back, and was excited to find a few signs of spring.

The first was this iris, which was a bit mis-treated when the work was being done.

Do you see the bud in the left foreground? It's about 6" tall, and has no leaves. It's doing its best to bloom anyway.

Right next to it is this bud. At least it looks like a bud. It's pushing up from the rhizome, since all of its leaves have been sheared off.

This is the healthiest (most normal) bud of the trio. I expect these three to be the same color, since they are all growing together. The question is, what color are they? I have no idea...

Remember the poor iris that began blooming in the garage? I stuck it in the ground, expecting nothing. Its desire to bloom is strong, and I think it's going to succeed.

None of my iris plants look beautiful this year, but I'll take what I can get. I'm feeling desperate.

My little orchids are going gangbusters. Most of them had their tops sheared off - I have no idea how that happened, but it looks like the weed-whacker got them. Despite the damaged leaves, many are beginning to send up spears that will soon burst into red-violet blooms.

Ho, ho, ho, what have we here? Is this Bird of Paradise REALLY thinking about blooming? I've only had one bloom ever, and I've had 4 B of P plants for at least 5 or 6 years...Do they like upheaval?

Finally, pictures of the back would not be complete without some pictures of the cats. NotMyCat is on the diving board, Charlie is in the foreground, on the lawn. I think NotMyCat has a 10' rule. Any closer than that, and he growls. Charlie's a lover, not a fighter, although he's been known to tussle if there's food involved.

My daughter says I need to change a letter in NotMyCat's name. She says he's NowMyCat. She has a point. The last time I took him to the vet for his boosters, she found a pellet in the skin under his jaw. I found another one in his chest. Someone shot this poor cat before he found us. No wonder he thinks we're sanctuary!

Finally, here are Charlie and Edgar. It's not often that they sprawl this far apart. Usually paws are touching or one is grooming the other, or they're squashed in a space only big enough for half a cat. I think they're watching bugs right now. They are easily amused.

That about wraps it up. There ARE signs of Spring around here, if you just look hard enough. When it really gets here, things will start to grow, right? Right!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Zoom Zoom

We took a quick trip up to the Bay Area over the weekend, to deliver the piano.

That meant that once it had been dusted and vacuumed we had to get it back into the van. Surprisingly enough, we were able to do it with 3 people and 2 mover's dollies. The miracles of Physics...or something

This was our destination: Yes, the sky was REALLY that blue!!

We brought one of the boys and met another of them there. And then it was moving time.

It was a bit of a challenge to get the piano out of the van and onto the sidewalk. The easy part was rolling it to the elevator and to the condo. The biggest challenge was deciding where to put it. First it went here, then over there, then down there. I think this picture was taken after the third relocation. This corner originally held a very full book shelf and the couch. We flip-flopped the entire contents of the room. These guys were awaiting their next set of instructions.

The contents of this wall went to the other side of the room. Once there, everything was too regimented. When we moved the piano at an angle, the menfolk didn't seem to like it so much, but it looked very welcoming. Somehow I missed getting a picture of its final resting spot.

However I did get a picture of this guy, in the space behind the piano. Hey! We're missing a set of muscles! Where can they be hiding? (He has a tendency to pull up a piece of carpet and take a nap.)

The other task accomplished on Saturday was to deliver a belated birthday card. Happy 23rd, Daniel!!

And I think that's all I've got for you. Hopefully I'll have more this week...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thursday's Guild Meeting

Most of the things that I have been busy doing have been quilt related. They just don't involve much quilting on my part. It's getting to be mostly quilt show, most of the time. I can't believe it's in less than a month!

Yesterday's guild speaker was Ellen Edith. I had never heard of her (I hope it's not rude to say that), so I wasn't expecting anything much. oh my! What a hoot! I thoroughly enjoyed her program. She gave a slide show presentation of her autobiographical story quilts, then had the quilts there in person for us to enjoy. She gave us permission to photograph them, so I took a couple of shots to share with you.

This first illustrates how they get the cats out of the house when they leave for an extended period of time. Apparently calling, "Here, Kitty, Kitty" causes them to hide under the bed. But if they burst into song, singing "Rawhide," the cats head for the door and demand to be let out. She's not sure if it's the song or their singing. ;)

The other quilt I took a picture of celebrates her sister's cat. We've all had a cat like this. She goes hunting outside, then brings her "treasure" inside the house and lets it go...always still alive. It's called "Violet's Catch and Release Program," and there are mice and birds hidden all over the quilt.

After Ellen Edith's presentation, she gave away some prizes. Apparently when I was out of the room, she called my name. I was thrilled to win this little fabric flower fairy and the cat magnets. How did she know? One of the magnets says, "Cats love a good quilt." (I think Blogger is jealous - it flipped the photo.)

I still had a few minutes at break, so I did some shopping. I've never seen her fabric designs before, and I thought I could have some fun with these cats.

I also liked this sunset-y fabric and the matching cactus print. The "relax with a 6-pack" bookmarks were too good to pass up.

When I got home, a package was waiting for me. I'd ordered a pin cushion from the Silly Boodilly's Etsy shop. I LOVE the quilting on it. You should see it in person. The texture is fantastic. Again Blogger must be jealous, flipping my picture!

Finally, I did a small amount of quilting this week. Very small. Yesterday was Elaine's birthday, so I made her this card. She's a fantastic gardener, so I wanted to do something garden-y. It's kind of ironic that I decided to add a thistle, since they're weeds. But they are purple, and it matched. What can I say? It's artistic license, doncha know? ;)

Here she is, yesterday. She seems to like it.

I asked her to pose in front of some of the irises that we've taken from our yard. I have now dispersed HUNDREDS of them throughout the county. I expect to see them planted and blooming next year, everywhere I go. :) If not, oh well. The ones I kept will grow...eventually.

Have a great weekend!!!

A Cat Post

I've been quite busy around here. It seems like I haven't had time to stop and pay attention to much of anything, let alone the blog. I'm sorry I've been absent. I haven't been avoiding you, I've been busy.

NotMyCat is still here, but he's no longer Mr. Passive Aggressive. The other cats continue to dislike him, and they don't like the fact that I feed him in a separate bowl, in a separate place. As you can see, this is Edgar.

Whenever they walk past NotMyCat's dish, and see food in it, they stop to eat. I don't think it matters whether they are hungry or not. The only thing that matters is that it's NotMyCat's dish.

NotMyCat didn't mind this time - he was up to his own shenanigans.

I think I told you he stole Charlie's comfy bed. Now all three cats (Charlie, Edgar, & Hecate) try to squeeze together on the cat tree at night. Look at this guy. I think he loves making trouble. He's mastered the "Who me? What?" look, for sure.

When I got home yesterday afternoon, Charlie went outside after a nap. He found this box, which he seemed to be VERY interested in. Edgar soon joined him. I thought there must be a bug in it. (Charlie's good at catching bugs.)

My son looked, and said, "It's not a bug! It's a rat!!"

Well, I wasn't going to get my nose in there and see. That's when I got the camera. I used the ZOOM feature.

Eek!! A mouse!!!

Edgar usually knows just what to do with them...

But this mouse was smart. Because he was able to find protection, I didn't think it was fair to dump him out for the cats. I thought three cats could handle one mouse.

Here you can see Charlie and Edgar in the foreground, and NotMyCat in the background. They tag-team mouse-watched for quite a while. At this point, they are listening to the dog on the other side of the fence have a fit.

What happened in the end? I don't know. The box was empty, the cats had gone, and there was not hide nor hair of a mouse to be seen. I think he got away. Smart mouse. And if he's REALLY smart, he went over the fence to the neighbors and far away from the Cat Sanctuary, right? Right!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Shopping at a Quilt Show

On Saturday I headed north, to see the San Joaquin Valley Quilt Guild's quilt show. I'm not sure how many quilts they had, but it seemed like a relatively small show.

It may have been small, but they had vendors. Like any concerned American, I did my best to stimulate the economy. Translation: I went shopping. :)

The first thing I bought was wool yarn. It may or may not become a gift. That will be decided at a future point in time. I loved the colors and had to have them, ergo, money exchanged hands, as did the wool. :)

For some reason I liked this chunk of "vintage" fabric. Don't ask me why or what for. I bought it. I also liked the handmade ceramic buttons.

August was the first time I bought silk, other than for my wedding dress. But, I really enjoyed making that valentine for my husband, so I've decided that I need more silk, just in case. Check out these beautiful fat quarters. (I bought 1/2 yard of the royal blue.)

The silk seemed like the perfect backdrop for the little handmade flower beads. What? You can't see them?

How about a close-up? If they look familiar, they should. I bought some from the same artist, at the Bakersfield show in January.

Finally, I "needed" these kalimbas. yeah, I know. Not the usual purchase from a quilt show but hey. They called (sang) my name. I couldn't just leave them there.

And there you go. That's what I brought home from the quilt show. It seems like there might have been more, but I'm not sure what it was. Perhaps I'll find another bag here or there. If I do, I'll show you later.

But now? It's time to get back to work on our show. Catch you later!