Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Garden

The red peonies are open, and they are gorgeous.

Obviously, they're staying.

I'm happy with most of what's around the big landscape rock in the front yard. Yes, the rock looks like an alligator (or a crocodile). I do NOT like the cement head at the tip of it. It gives me the willies and if I could find somebody to take it away, it would be out of here. I like the Deutzia at the left. I've planted a river grass (Chasmanthium River Mist) to the right of the rock, and added three Dusty Millers and a Columbine in front of the rock. Most of the flowers in the front yard seem to be pink or purple - colors that attract hummingbirds, so I'm going to stay with that theme. I'm glad the pink front door fits in!

In front of all the other stuff though, it's a different story. The wild thyme that filled this space has mostly died because of all the road salt used last winter. Not much I can do to prevent that. I'll have to see if it comes back, otherwise I'll have to find something else to put there.

To enter my house through the side you pass under the carport. I've placed a collection of pots to one side to make it interesting (and also to prevent visitors from walking into the wind chimes.)

These are mostly different Coral Bells (Heucheras), but the pot in the upper right has a Hosta, some Phlox, a Pulmonaria and a Brunnera. The giant white Irises are behind these pots.

I've filled in all the holes in the Shade Garden, and I removed the garden cloth. I was worried it was preventing the soil around the plants from getting any water and drying out. They already look better.  There are fifty plants here, Heucheras, Hostas, Carex, Lamium, Columbine, Phlox, and some others whose names I can't remember.

And I got a gas grill (situated quite nicely next to a big patch of rhubarb),

because all this work builds up quite an appetite.

Friday, May 29, 2015


After pairing and sewing a stack of tumbler blocks together, I decided to lay them out on the floor to see what they might look like.  It didn't take long to figure out that this would look good no matter how I put it together.

Thank you ladies. Deutzia is the little white bush out front. It's certainly a keeper.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Tumblers & White Flowers

 I've been pairing up the tumblers and sewing them together.

It's fun discovering things in the garden. These large white irises are at the end of the driveway, just beyond the carport.

 This is the bush I asked about last week. It's  in flower now. Maybe somebody will  be able to help me figure out what it is.
These two were taken with my phone, so I apologize for any fuzziness, but you ought to be able to click them to enlarge and supersize for more detail.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Stack - The Plan

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you this picture of a stack of fabrics.
The strips are 4" x 11" and I think there are 200 or so of them.  So what did I do with them?

I asked Julie if she'd cut them into tumblers using her Accu-Cut gizmo. (I think that's what it's called.)

So I sent them to Tennessee, Julie cut them up, and they came back yesterday.  "I liked looking at the colors and fabrics you chose," she said when we talked on Sunday. "It's going to be a very pretty quilt."

I picked the colors and fabrics thinking of Spring. I sewed a few random pairs together to see what they might look like. It's going to be a table quilt.

So, OK, here they are:

Winter - "Picnic Table"

Spring will be the Tumblers (above)

Summer is the Blue Deco

Fall is the Fall House Top (away being quilted)

And last is the Christmas Random Plank.

All were made from fabrics from my stash.  (Yikes!)  I wanted them all to be scrappy, yet different. I don't think the Spring one is going to take long to make. I think once I get started it'll move right along.  You all know I love to watch Tennis on TV. Well, the French Open is going on right now, and I can sew and watch tennis at the same time. How good is that?

Yeah, I know I'm nuts.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Blue Deco Done!

I added the binding to the Blue Deco quilt. As you can see I use pins, and I use a lot of them. I prefer them over the binding clips. I can simply sew over the pins, which makes it a lot easier than the clips.

So here's the "official" photo of Blue Deco. Looks good, but I've long been an admirer of Julie's "beauty shots" of her quilts, so I have been trying my hand at it.

This sculpture of a moose is in a recreation area of the community I live in.

He's on a little peninsula that's surrounded by a pond. I like the reflection of the quilt in the water, and the shape of this metal crane in the foreground.

At the other end of the pond is this little bridge.  You all know I'm not a fan of "cute" but this works.

I also took a picture of "Lightning in the Night Sky" from the other side. This angle had the added advantage of a purple Rhododendron in bloom in the background.

Of course, a fence shot is always good too.

Julie's rationale is that a quilt is more interesting to look at when it's slightly crumpled, so you can see the quilting. It's taken me six years to realize she's right.

Of course, living in an area where there are lots of interesting places to show off a quilt doesn't hurt, either.

Monday, May 25, 2015

In Place

Judy in Michigan wanted to know how I hung up the little Welcome banner. I used two of those Command hooks. The little banner has a sleeve, but I don't have a rod the right size. Until I get one, I'll use the binder clips and enjoy the banner.

Most of the shade garden plants are now in the ground. I've had some of these plants almost six weeks, so some are in rough shape. I'm hoping they'll perk up now they are in the ground. I'm going to have the landscape guy install the edging bricks, so I didn't plant the plants that go right up against the edge.

The grill got another workout for dinner last night. I was tired, so dinner was limited to grilled tofu (yes, you read that right), grilled asparagus and grilled corn.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


In New England, where I live in the northeastern US, when you go to somebody's house, you go in by the side door.  The front door is used rarely, and only for special occasions.  So when you come to MY side door, this is what you see.  If you open the storm door (it becomes a screen door in the summer when the glass is removed and a screen fitted in its place, as above.)

Open the screen door, and you see my pink side door, and the Welcome banner, which, dear Meagan, is well protected from the elements.

For those of you wishing to see photographs of the shade garden, my apologies. I got sidetracked. I, um...



I didn't do it. I went out and bought the edging bricks, as I said I would do. Then I went back to the big box hardware store and bought a gas grill.

On the plus side, the steak, asparagus, red onion and potatoes I cooked on it for dinner last night were divine.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Shade Garden...

O. M. G!

The landscape guy came yesterday and I was thrilled.  When I got home he had already finished, and left me this.

It doesn't look like much, but it's nice dirt!!!  Since I am planning a garden that will grow over time he suggested I cover it with the black garden cloth and cut holes for the plants. This will cut down on weeding between the plants as they grow to full size.

So after watering it, I lay down the black garden cloth. Then I had to go to the hardware store for the staples to hold it in the ground. Tomorrow I'll have to get edging bricks because when they removed the old ones, they disintegrated from age.  And I'll get a few bags of those marble chips to hold the cloth down against the house.

Then the fun began. After some discussion, the garden space was enlarged, so I had to order more plants to fill that space. (You know how it is!)

This was my original plan. Below it is my list of additional plants I ordered. (I got them all on sale!)

Then I got my graph paper pad, and made a scale drawing, cut out little shapes for each plant and worked out where they would go.

Can you see the row of extra plants at the bottom that I couldn't fit in? My bad.
After that, it was time to lay out the garden (and try to figure out my handwriting).
I'll plant them tomorrow when the sun is out and the bugs are someplace else.  I can't wait!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Whatzit? (Again)

WOW!  You ladies are GOOD!  Thank you so much for identifying the plants in yesterday's post. How fabulously helpful. May I ask you for help again today?  This small plant is in my front yard. right now it's about 18" - 24" tall.

I'm looking forward to the long weekend. I've got a landscaper coming tomorrow to clear out some old mulch, till and then add loam to a long plot on the north side of the house. I've got plans for a shade garden to go there, but they got sidetracked when I discovered there was several layers of that black garden cloth underneath a big pile of old mulch. Grass had tried to grow through the garden cloth, so it was a PITA to remove. As if that wasn't bad enough, there was only two inches of dirt under that, and under that was all sand.  Yuk! So after tomorrow, I can get some plants in the ground. I'm pretty excited.

As for the front yard, I have to decide what I want it to look like, but the ground there is in worse shape than the side garden, so that will take a lot of preparation before I plant new plants. I've decided to plan it out the same way I decided to lay out my house when I was planning the move last year - with graph paper. I'm going to measure out the garden, figure out what's there, and then make little graph paper circles to represent the various plants I want to consider, and the plants that are already there. Then I can move everything around until I get an arrangement I like. 

Thanks again for the help.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

More Garden Stuff

I don't understand this.

There's a lot of pretty color in back of the large landscape rock in my front yard.

In front of it, not so much. The front yard needs a lot of work. This area isn't so bad, but the area just beyond this is overgrown. First, I need to identify what I have and decide what I want to keep. Then I can think about what I want it to look like.

 In the meantime, can somebody tell me what this is? It's a small, prickly bush, about 24" across and perhaps just as tall.

I received the magnets I planned to use to hang the Welcome banner on the side door, but they won't stick. They will stick to the other side of the door, however. I'm guessing three layers of pink paint have something to do with it.  Oh well. Adapt, Improvise, Overcome.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Garden...

I have a lot of quilty things to do. I have to finish the Blue Deco quilt. I have to sew the hanging sleeve on the back of the Welcome Banner. I cleaned the studio and sorted through all the fabric scraps, and now I have to put them away.
The site of the old waterfall.
However the garden has been demanding lately. I took apart the old "water feature" which was nothing more than a pile of rocks and a plastic bin. It will serve as a path for my neighbors to access their heating oil tank in the winter. I've replanted some daylilies there along with an Agastache plant. In between the rocks, and along the perimeter,  I've planted some nasturtiums. I'll figure out what kind of small ground cover would be best to fill in the spaces between the rocks to prevent erosion later.
The location of the shade garden.
 I've hired a landscaper to remove the excess mulch from this side of the house, till the ground and add some loam. The ground around the houses is two inches of dirt, and then sand, so it needs help if I want the shade garden to survive and last for many years. I've got a great collection of plants ready for this area, and I am very excited about it.

Planter in front of the big rock in the front yard.
The front yard needs a lot of work, but there's a lot of good stuff out there, and I want to know what's there before I start doing anything big. In the meantime I put this Canna in a pot out front.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Black Box is Going to AQS Syracuse!

Woo Hoo! My quilt, The Black Box, is going to the AQS show in Syracuse NY, which will be from July 29 to August 1, 2015.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Welcome Banner

Chris offered to quilt the little Welcome banner, so I included it with the Blue Deco quilt when I sent it to her a few weeks ago. On Sunday she called me. "Did you plan where you put the sky fabric above the house?" she asked.

Well, yeah.

"I mean, did you cut the fabric to show off the swirls? You did that on purpose, didn't you?"

Yes, I told her. I thought that fabric represented the sky and the wind blowing around here when I was making the quilt.

"Because YOU KNOW," she laughed, "It's my job to ENHANCE what's already there with my quilting.  How can I ENHANCE something that's ALREADY PERFECT?"

It was my turn to laugh, "Well, I didn't mean to make your life difficult."

As it happens, Chris had several ideas, and started something and then ripped it out, and in the end, just did something simple.  It's fine with me, it's going on the outside door, for heaven's sake.  I told Chris that one of my blog readers worried the quilt would get damaged from exposure to the elements.

"Well, you'll just make ANOTHER one!" Chris replied, and we both laughed. She's right too. When this one wears out, I'll make another, different one.

In the meantime, I've added the binding and the hanging sleeve to the back. Now I have to hand sew the bottom edge of the hanging sleeve and figure out how to attach it to my door.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Blue Deco, Quilted

The Blue Deco quilt is back from being quilted. I always let Chris decide how to quilt my quilts. She knows what to do. The Blue Deco will be used primarily as a tablecloth, so it needed to be durable, but it didn't need anything over the top. I love this regular swirl design.

As usual, Millie has to do her own QA check.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mother's Day Flowers

My Son & DIL had told me my Mother's Day present would be delivered to me at work, but they didn't say what it was, so I was surprised when one of my coworkers brought this to my office.  There are orchids and snapdragons and roses and hydrangeas and I think it's gorgeous.

My Son "gets" it about flowers. He understands how much they mean to women, and how they are a gift that keeps on giving. He knows that if they adorn my desk at work I will enjoy them all day long, and each time a coworker sees them and says "Wow, those are beautiful, where did you get them?" that I have been given another gift.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(Creative idea of the day: This is another of those times when I tell you to notice what's around you...
Yes, I placed the flowers on my desk so when I took the photo I could see photographs of my DS and DIL in the background. Flowers + photos = better photo.)