Monday, March 12, 2018

signs of spring

Spring must be on it's way...

Daffodils are blooming.

My Contorted Filbert is loaded with catkins.

Birds are looking for nesting spots.  This starling came down the chimney in our bedroom. Of course we didn't realize he was up there until he had managed to shoot crap on every window and the comforter as well.  
He had wore himself out flailing around so he wasn't too hard to catch, but he seemed fine when I released him outside,  

A lone turkey made a visit to see what had been dropped under the bird feeder.  The grass is starting to look green again!

Wmart had a new display of seeds and bare root plants. I couldn't resist. 
 Zinnia and Sunflower seeds and root stock of Coneflower and Hollyhocks.

I haven't grown Hollyhocks since my first mother-in-law gave me a start of them in the early 1980's.
Seeing these made me think about her.

I opened the packages to make sure the roots looked healthy. 
They do, but one of them was a little puny.

I've never bought bare root perennials like this before. I guess I need to wait until the ground warms up before I plant them.

Maybe I'll go ahead and put them in a  flower pot indoors and let them start waking up a little.

Spring can't be too far away.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

flooding in our town

We had so much rain that the Salt River flooded our little downtown area in Shepherdsville.

On Sunday, the Sasquatch and I drove down to the flea market.  The outdoor area was all under water.

I guess this is normally an area where concrete statues are for sale.  Most are under water but it was sort of funny to see this Easter Island statue looking like he was popping his head out to take a look at the situation.

These two Bigfoot statues and a deer (with white antlers) look like they are trudging through the flood waters looking for higher ground.

 We started home on the road through town, but the Salt River bridge was barricaded.
We walked across the bridge. Usually you would have to crane your neck to see down to the river. Not today!

There's the downtown area...

The next day Lonnie and I drove down to take another look. 

Business owners had brought in trucks and trailers and were loading up their equipment and merchandise since the water was still rising.

The building in the photo below is our public library. Look how close the water is!

At home we had a little water getting into our basement, which happens from time to time.
This time it was leaking in through the opening in the wall where our electric panel is mounted.

Scary, but it has happened in the past. Nothing shorted out and we stayed away from the whole mess until it dried out.

So many people with worse problems than that to deal with.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Abbey of Gethsemani

My husband has been trying to get me out of the house more often.
When we had a lovely warm sunny day earlier this week (sandwiched between endless days of rain and more rain), he said we should go for a drive...but with a destination where we could get outside and walk around as well.

I scrounged up a "Kentucky Visitors Guide" and started looking through it.    In the first few pages I noticed the listing for the Abbey of Gethsemani in Bardstown KY.
Neither of us had been there before and it was just far enough away to make a nice day trip.

Here is their website if you are interested....

They have a visitors center where a film was shown about the daily routine of the Trappist Monks who live there.  There was also a small room with lots of photos and plaques to read about the history of the monastery. It is the oldest monastery in the US that is still operating.

The photo below is the entrance to the church, which is long and narrow and very plain looking.
We were allowed inside the gated-off visitors area as the monks filed in for one of their several daily services.

We walked around the grounds a bit.  There are two cemeteries, one for the monks, with plain small cross markers (public not allowed in that one) and this cemetery...both men and women...stones dated in the 1800s.

There are miles of walking trails on the property but there had been so much rain the ground was muddy and slippery. 

We did walk up a hill to a statue on top.   Somehow in the photo below I have a tree right in line with the statue on the hill so it's hard to make out.

They had some chairs up there so one could collapse and catch their breath enjoy the view.

We couldn't find any info about who the statue represents.  More than likely one of the saints.

It was very windy up there. It blew my ponytail apart!

Easier going back down than it was going up!

And there was a gift shop.  We had enjoyed our visit so Lonnie felt like we should buy a box of fudge to help the monks in their fund raising efforts. There were several flavors but they were handing out samples of the Bourbon Butter Walnut was good so that's what we bought.

The monks actually make fruitcakes and fudge at that location.  The gift shop had jams, honey and more, made by Trappist monks at other monasteries as well.

They also bring in income by selling books by well known author and theologian Thomas Merton who became a Trappist Monk there in 1941 and lived there until his death.

Guest houses and dormitories for those who wish to make a retreat are offered at the monastery as well.

We left with more questions than we had when we started out...leading to a lot of discussion and looking up things on the internet.

Overall, it is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit.

Friday, February 16, 2018

a finished quilt

Well, I finished this nearly a month ago. My camera has the photos dated Jan 17th and I'm pretty sure that's correct.
I remember the snow was beginning to melt that day and I hurried to finish sewing down the binding so I could get some pictures before things got wet and slushy outside.

I had intended to have it finished months ago - because it was a gift for my lovely and talented younger sister, who was celebrating her 50th birthday.

I don't think she noticed it was late though - she was in Hawaii to celebrate the day. 
As she said...Hawaii five-oh  (50 -get it? - 50th birthday?)

It was a challenging quilt to put together. The actual piecing of the blocks was easy, but the hard part was trying to get the colors distributed evenly...and really just making decisions about which color to use where. 

 I did change a couple of things from the original pattern.  One thing was the border.

As you can see below - the pattern had a saw tooth border but I thought instead I'd like to go ahead and use up some of the leftovers of fabrics used in the quilt to make a checkerboard border.

Another change...see that large section of green and gold squares at the bottom of the quilt in the pattern photo below?   It's supposed to look like plowed/planted fields.
As I was putting the quilt together this section kept bugging me.  The rest of the quilt is made from much smaller pieces and I felt like these giant squares looked like an afterthought just to make the quilt I cut half of them off.

I also pieced some triangles for the mountains so they wouldn't look so much like pyramids. But then the snow covered tops nearly disappeared in the clouds.

The blue floral backing is not the best match but I wanted to use this fabric because it had such a soft and smooth hand (feel).

I tried something different when pin basting this quilt. It's a method I read about on the internet.
  I rolled the top on to a pool "noodle", then after smoothing out the backing and batting, I lined it all up and pinned as I unrolled the top.  It's a good system - everything stayed smooth and flat.

Here is one last photo that I snagged from Joy's facebook page.  I think she likes it!

One of these days, when she gets tired of building and piloting airplanes, parasailing, stand-up paddle boarding, zip lining, snorkeling, river tubing and all of that kind of stuff...I am going to see if she would like to come over sometime and sew quilts with me.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

finished a crochet project

Back in March of last year, someone dropped off bags and bags of yarn at the extension office for the Homemaker groups to divide up and take what they wanted.

Never one to pass up a freebie, I chose some yarn and stuffed one plastic bag full of skeins to take home.

And I've just now finished the afghan I crocheted with it....

I didn't use a pattern...just went back and forth with a "half double crochet stitch".  I like that stitch because it doesn't leave a lot of open areas or "toe catchers".

 I used nearly all the yarn so it's heavy.  I have to admit - I didn't count stitches and one end is a little narrower than the other.

I like to crochet and it's easier than hand sewing while watching TV with others.  The hand sewing needs more light (which disturbs the other TV viewers) and it just needs more attention than crocheting.

But, no one in my family really likes using crocheted items so I'll probably donate this. 

I found this organization online... Warm up America.  They take crocheted or knitted  items and distribute them to those in need. 

I have a couple of other unfinished crochet projects from years ago. I am going to try to get those finished up next. They are baby afghans so they should be quick to finish.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

hummingbird cake, quilting, hens & chicks

I tried out a new recipe from my quilt group's fund-raising cookbook.  It's called Hummingbird Cake.
Of course that leads to all kinds of jokes from my family about how many hummingbirds did I have to harvest to make the cake, ha ha.

I have no idea how it got this name but it's a good cake. It has crushed pineapple and bananas but the flavors blend together so neither is overwhelming.  Cream cheese frosting- which I think you could put on an old shoe and it would make it good enough to eat.
Here is the recipe...submitted by a lady from a different quilt group....

I have been doing some sewing and un-sewing.  I noticed this on my 9 patch quilt...two very similar blocks ended up next to each other ( the blue windowpane check) fortunately it was only sewn on two sides when I discovered it so not a big problem to re-work it.

I have made some good progress on the "America the Beautiful" quilt.  
Take a look at the top center (below). That's supposed to be "purple mountain majesties" up there.
 In the photo I've got some folded fabric stacked there to try out colors.

The instructions were to just cut a solid corner of fabric to represent mountains. I couldn't stop thinking that they looked more like pyramids so I decided to do mine a bit differently...using a quilt block pattern that is actually named "majestic mountains" (below). I think I will like this much better.

I have one more birthday present to tell you about...this one from my parents.  They gave me a strawberry pot planter and some big Hens & Chicks for it and even a bag of soil to fill it up.

They have some Hen & Chick planters like this and these are the Chicks they have removed from theirs. Just enough to fill up my planter with room to develop more Chicks.

Little Miss Deer is still hanging around the yard.

We have had trouble around the house with one thing working when it shouldn't ...the toilet, and another thing not working when it should...the wifi router.     Two of life's necessities!

The toilet problem was easily fixed with a new flapper...but even with a new router, something is still wrong with wifi...specifically streaming Netflix.  The next step is to contact Netflix and/or the TV maker, Vizio.

And, I've started separating more recyclables. I thought cardboard boxes were my main recyclable item but I have found we have a large amount of plastic items that have the recycle logo on them and also a surprising amount of junk mail and catalogs that also meet the criteria.

I am collecting the separated items in the basement so I have the added bonus of climbing stairs a couple more times each day when I take stuff down there...some extra exercise!

Since our garbage pick up doesn't offer recycling service all this stuff will have to be taken to the recycle center. If I dispose of these items there and divide food scraps between the compost pile and the crows...that leaves me with very little for the garbage company to pick up...leading me to wonder if we might be able to cancel with them completely. That would be a nice savings!
I'll need to try it like this for a while and see how it goes.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

while the cat's away...

My husband was out of town for a few days and things got pretty wild around here....

Well maybe not really wild.  
I had fabric and quilt stuff strewn throughout three rooms, and it stayed that way for a couple of days.
Usually I keep this type of mess in my sewing room, but I really needed to spread out for this quilt.

Each block is different so it's hard to visualize what fabrics and colors will end up next to each other in the finished quilt.  That's why I've been avoiding working on this one for ...oh...two years or so.

So, I was able to lay the finished parts out on the floor and place small stacks of fabric along side them until I was happy with my choices.   I went ahead and cut fabric for several of the houses and buildings. I'll sew those then take another look at the layout.

Hopefully I won't have to create such chaos next time. My husband will be suspicious if I say, "Honey, aren't you ready to take an out of town trip again?"


My parents had their annual Fish Fry.   The fish is always so good and there's plenty of it...

And lots of sides...hushpuppies, mini peppers, deviled eggs, potato salad, broccoli slaw, corn cobbettes, Texas slaw....baked beans were there too...and a bag of chips!

After taking the food photos I laid my camera down and forgot to take any more photos at all. Sheesh!
Next time we're all together we need to be sure to get a group photo.


There has been a small deer up around in the yard all by herself.  Something must have happened to her mother.

She doesn't seem very alert to danger - no adult deer to clue her on what to watch out for.
I think she is still a baby, you can see she still has spots.
At least she is eating well. She likes my Portucula - just the blooms actually, and doesn't like Marigolds at all. 

Hummingbird has been sitting on his swing (that the Sasquatch made).  He is guarding the feeder from all other hummingbirds. 

I don't know if you can make out the photo below. I took it through the window and screen.
Friday when it rained all day, there were several little finches finding shelter on the upstairs window ledges.  I'd never seen them do that before. Surprised me to see them there.

It looks like the one on the left would like me to invite him inside.  Poor waterlogged little birdies!