Monday, April 29, 2013

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

Can you imagine how many times a girl named Mary can hear that nursery rhyme?  A few times, for certain.  Although most of my weekend was spent making a few little things for the grandchildren, some of which I wrote about here, there was a little time for gardening.
Richard and I picked up a few zinnias and rooster comb, cock's comb, when we went shopping at a local nursery for some more tomato plants.  On Sunday I convinced Rich to help me clean out an area in the very overgrown, weedy flower bed near the patio. 

It's a bit shady but not badly for our Louisiana heat.  We added mulch and planted the zinnias and the rooster comb in this corner.  

The photo above is the view from the patio and the one on the right is from the back of the studio looking toward the patio.

The plants are still pretty small, but there are quite a few flowers already.  I tried finding some plants with only small, tight buds, but that wasn't happening.  I planted the rooster comb on the outside edges of the bed and in front of the crepe myrtle tree. photo of rooster comb

 I'm hoping that the plants eventually fill the space, so I planted them a little tight.  I like my plants to cover the ground.  Of course, I don't like the look I have now...chaos and weeds.

While we were at the nursery, I also picked up this beautiful mandevilla.  I have an old trellis that fit over this pot at one time.  It's been knocked down a few times and is warped, but I love the shape and design and can't bear to get rid of it.  Once the vines fill it in, it looks the same as it did new. 

I have yet to figure out what plant will survive the winters, so every year I end up getting a new vine.  I've tried mandevilla before and it's pretty hardy.  Anything that will sit on my patio must be hardy because it may well take a football to the head, uhm, limb.
I've found G.I. Joe, Matchbox tractors, croquet balls, and this weekend a pair of glasses in my flowers.

Richard choose the mandevilla color but I love it.  It's a deep pink--magenta, I would say.  I chose carefully, but I was surprised that already the vine reaches the top of the trellis. 

In the collage photo above, I have a bougainvillea, which is a plant that a friend gave me last year just before school got out.  It's greening up and has a few flowers, so I'd say it may have survived.  Yay!  It's difficult to keep anything alive here, but to do that through the winter with a tropical plant is pretty celebratory.

 And for a reason to celebrate, here's one: freshly dug Irish potatoes from the garden.  They are perfect when boiled with just a bit of salt and pepper.  I don't even add butter.  Richard has given a few away to friends and family, but I think he's planning to dig them this week to begin selling.  If the rain stops for a few days, I may end up getting dirt under my nails, again.

How does your garden grow?  Any flowers or veggies yet?  Need a few Irish potatoes?  lol

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday evening sorry

Normally I would have a Sunday Quilt Inspiration post, but I spent most of my afternoon playing in the yard, and now I must write lesson plans for this week.  So this is an apology post.  I'm as sorry as this little guy is cute!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Three Wild Friends

This weekend's sewing seems to be all about granddaughters.  Strangely enough, we haven't seen the first grandchild.  They are all busy with other goings-on, leaving us to do our own thing, except that I'd made a promise earlier this week to make a doggy purse.  And THAT means I'm not doing my own thing.

Since I'm playing with paradoxes, I should explain why I promised a doggy purse and have made instead three cat purses.  Caki called (with help from her dad, of course) and told me that they had been to the mall where she found a doggy purse.  Daddy didn't get it for her, though, so could I make one?  Of course I agreed.  What grandma could squirm out of a personal request from a 3 year old? 

Did Rory know what he was doing?  Oh yes!  He was saving himself 20 bucks times two because, you know, Grandmay can't make something for one granddaughter when there are two in the same house.  Sophie needs a purse, too.

Rory described the purse saying that any animal would do, and I should feel free to cheat by buying a stuffed animal.  That's what I did, of course.  Dollar General had a few stuffed animals but not one doggy.  So, we have here three wild cats--a tiger, a lion and a cheetah.

 Why three?  Because Grandmay has three granddaughters in the toy purse age range: Marley, Sophie and Caki. 

The first cat took quite a bit of time to modify because I didn't consider that a cheap toy might be cheaply made.  All I wanted to do was open a hole in the back, remove some stuffing, and add a zippered pouch and strap.  I ended up losing a tail and having to hand-sew it back on.  While I sewing the tail back on, the head started bobbing about like crazy and required some hand stitches, also.  The zipper was also a time consumer, but I figured out ways to avoid the pitfalls, so the other two cats came together quickly. 

It turns out the three are great friends and love each other very much.  They can barely wait for the little granddaughters to start playing.  I hope that the girls play as sweetly as these three cats do.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pin It Wednesday #16

Here are this week's pins.   A new board for live performances we've seen or want to see called, "live, on stage."  Come for a visit.
A board for vintage sewing machines cause they are so stinking cute!  I mean, look at this little darling.  Is even possible to be so cute?   Can I have it, please?  Please, pretty please!!???      

I hope you've enjoyed the pins tonight.  I have well over 4,000 pins on 100+ boards.  I'm pretty serious about keeping them arranged and, when I happen to pin something on to the wrong board (it's really very easy to do) I go back and move the pin. 
The easiest way to do that is to click on the down arrow next to your name in the upper right corner and choose "your pins."  The pins appear in order of capture with the most recent at the top, so it's easy to find the last ones.  You can then go to the board where you accidentally pinned the photo by clicking on the board name. 
Once at the board, let your mouse pointer hover over the photo, then click on the "edit" button in the upper right corner.  Now you have several options: change the board by clicking the down arrow and choosing the right one; change the description by typing in the new information; delete the pin by clicking on the button; or, if everything is correct, cancel.  If you make changes, click "save change." 
I hope you can used this info for your own Pinterest site.  If you have one, share the link with the rest of us in the comments.  I'd love to find a few friends on Pinterest!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wonky Stars Table Runner (part 2)

Last night I wrote about my weekend project, a wonky stars table runner, which I still haven't finished but the only thing left is the binding.  Well, not the binding since I've decided not to put on a binding. 

Instead I'm hand-stitching the raw edge by first turning both top and bottom into the quilt.  Why, you ask....simply because I'm out of fabric.  Yep, I ended up piecing the background for the top to have enough. 

It's my way: don't measure then figure a way to wiggle out of the problems.  Turning the edges in to close off instead of binding is my wiggle.   I could, of course, piece some of the solids for a binding, but I want to give this idea a try.

In the meantime, as promised last night, here are photos of the quilting I did on Sunday.  I enjoyed this quilting so very much.  I hadn't quilted feathers in a while so it took a moment.   I needed the practice and am not one to practice on blanks.  I have so little time to play that it's all serious play. 

 I like the feathers even though I can't imagine that feathers and stars go together.  This table runner is for my dining room table, and I can live with the combination, even if it doesn't make sense.  
Have you ever finished a project with no fabric left for binding?  How did you handle that? 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Wonky Stars Table Runner (part 1)

Saturday I felt that I needed a new, fun project.  I played with a couple of ideas and finally settled on a little table runner idea, mostly because it is small and quick.  I remembered to take pics along the way, so I thought I'd put together a tutorial.

Of course, I needed to choose fabrics, so  began by pulling some pretty solids and placed them on the gray background fabric. Although I auditioned more than these and needed only six colors, I decided to work with these eight and eliminate two as I progressed.  In the end the pink and dark green did not make the cut as one is too light and the other too dark.

I decided to use my Accuquilt Studio to cut the 3 1/2 inch squares for the stars.  I cut four of each color setting one aside for the center. Of the other three, I cut two in half (four each of 3 1/2 x 1 3/4) and one into four (four each of 1 3/4 x 1 3/4).  The small squares were easy to work with--I simply drew a diagonal lines and then stitched following that line.  I drew a diagonal line on the rectangles also, but note that it has to be placed in a wonky way to sew.  The best I can say is that I used the starting corner and the center of the gray square to eye the placement of the rectangle.

I made four identical squares for each star.

The next step is to trim the corners and press.

Once all the pieces for one star are stitched, it's just a matter of arranging the nine patch.  The top row is stitched, then the second and finally the third.  (Don't look at how kooky the pieces are.  I ended up cutting and sewing a whole new yellow star because I cut something wrong and the trimmed pieces are too small to rip out.)

Then stitch the three rows together.  Easy.

 Really!  It's so easy that I began after lunch and had the little piece loaded on the long-arm before coming in from the studio.

Come back tomorrow for part two of this project post. I'll show the quilting that I did on Sunday afternoon.  See you then!