Saturday, August 10, 2019

My Mountain Life

Good morning, friends.  I've been up to my usual doings here on the hill.  Summer is truly here and we're having our hottest weather of the year.  It's still a lot cooler than a lot of folks so we don't complain too much. 

Hubby has been walking at Meeks Park most every day and I go every other day.  It was a little warm and with the humidity we worked up a good sweat.  It's still a gorgeous place, though.
I took this picture through my sunglasses trying to eliminate the sun's glare on the creek.  Obviously it didn't totally work.  

Tonight there will be a movie night at the park with free snow cones, popcorn and hotdogs.  The movie will be Charlotte's Web. 

I've been  prepping a new needle turn applique project and am just now starting the stitching.  It's a gorgeous pattern and I hope to do it justice.  

Back in April when family members were here, I had a quilt hanger put in the master bedroom.  Right now it has my pig quilt on it because it happened to be the one I grabbed at the time. 
Its about time to change it out for something different. 

I've also canned some green beans that I bought from our friend who has a booth at the farmers' market.  I wound up with 21 pints of green beans.  They are so much better than anything you can buy at the grocery store.  
12 of the 21 pints 

Since tomatoes are at their peak right now, we like to have tomato pie made from local grown tomatoes. 

It was SO good.  We'll have more too. 

We have unfortunately had some visitors we didn't want.  This hornet nest was attached to the bottom of a shelf under the leanto back of our garage.  This one was over 12 inches long from the shelf to the bottom.  It had to go which is sad.  The nests are so gorgeous.  Some folks use the vacant nests as part of their country/ mountain decor.  Normally you see them up in trees.   

Hope everyone is having a good summer.  Y'all take care. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Fresh veggies and black bulls

Summer is here in the mountains.  We're having days of high 80's with higher than usual humidity.  Oh well, this too will pass soon.  At least we're not looking at months of hot, humid weather. 

It's that time of year when fresh vegetables are becoming more available.  I picked up some fresh bicolor corn and tomatoes at the farmers' market yesterday and we had them for dinner last night.  I sprinkled sea salt from the Camargue coast of France on them and it was delicious.   I discovered this wonderful Fleur de Sel while having lunch at a ranch in the Camargue where we saw the black bulls famous for the French style of bullfighting.  No bulls are injured in this style and they can go on to live long happy lives after retiring from the ring.  
Our trusty wagon pulled by a small Massey-Ferguson tractor

A field of champions, some retired some still active
We had a wonderful lunch at this ranch and it was during this meal that I tried the Fleur de Sel on a tomato that was included in the appetizer tray.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day but my friend traveling with me had come down with a nasty cold so she was miserable.

As my friend says, I drank more wine in that one week in France than I've likely had in the last few years!!  What can I say?  When in Rome...(or France as the case may be).....

Hope everyone is well and happy.  Y'all take care 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Home again, home again

Hello again, good folks.  I'm back home again.  I took a trip to France with my friend and while it was enjoyable I am SO glad to be back home in my own little world.

We spent three days in Paris before our river cruise playing tourist.  I'd been to Paris before but my friend had not, otherwise I would have skipped it this trip.  Anyway, there were a couple of snafus but all in all was a good trip.  
Notre Dame rising from the ruins

Obviously, one cannot get close to Notre Dame now.  It is blocked off with armed guards.

The yellow vest protesters were active on the Saturday we were there and, in fact, moved down the street in front of our hotel but we were at the Eiffel Tower at the time so did not see them.  Have you ever thought of the subway system in any larger city?  It boggles my mind how they are designed, built and operate so well.  All the time underground and out of sight.  Mostly it was good, but due to a breakdown on the line we were on, we did miss a tour for which we had tickets already.  Let's hope I can get a refund, but I'm not holding my breath. 

It's always an adventure in European hotels to see how things work.  Bathroom fixtures don't always look like we expect.  Took us a while to figure out the faucet but we got there.  Didn't like it though.

However, I did like the tiramisu.  An Italian restaurant just a few doors down from our hotel had really good food, including the tiramisu which was scooped from the dish and served onto your plate.  We ate there only once but I did stop in again just to pick up tiramisu to take back to the hotel.  Good stuff. 

I'll be back soon with more adventures.  Meanwhile, y'all take care. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Bits and Bobs

Today was Mama's birthday.  She was born 108 years ago on May 8, 1911.  We lost her on July 1, 2007 at the age of 96.    I don't know where the years have gone. 
95th Birthday celebration
At the moment, I'm not doing much sewing.  But I did get two quilts finished earlier.  One is made from Australian fabrics and is way out of my comfort zone with all the patterns and colors used together. 
Its simply a variation of a log cabin block and very easy to sew.  There are eight sets of 3 fabrics used for the blocks.  There is a total of 26 different fabrics in the quilt.  I bought the kit in Oregon where I attended the Sisters Quilt Show last July.  They provided fabric and the pattern but I had to choose the fabric combinations. 

This next quilt is all hand applique, except for piecing the blocks together and the actual quilting.  I saw this quilt at a show in Springfield, Missouri a number of years ago.  I had decided I wanted to learn how to do needle turn applique and figured that by the time I finished this quilt I'd be pretty good at it.  It has taken me at least three years to do this quilt, working on a block at a time.  I did not work exclusively on this quilt but wove it in among my other projects. 
The quilt is called Across the Wide Missouri.  It was lots of work but I really enjoyed making it.  I learned a lot and still have a lot more to learn to be more than what I think is just adequate doing applique.  

It has been busy around here.  We had company for two weeks and the "kids" were kept busy with honey-do projects.  Before they came, they all requested a list of chores they could do for us.    I got a garage door opener at last, along with a lot of other chores that hubby and I just could not tackle for various reasons.  I don't think they'd know how to act if there was not a chore list for them upon arrival.  

Y'all take care

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Spring has arrived!

Spring is here in all its glory.  Fat buds on all the trees, carpenter bees buzzing around, yellow swallowtail butterflies flitting around and the birds are singing their little hearts out.  Oh yeah, the pollen is here too.  I don't suffer from it too badly but poor hubby does. 

Our temps are in the high 60's and low 70's these days with sunshine.  Can't ask for better.

Went to dinner with my friend last night and was driving home just at dusk.  Sun had set but still showing colors over the mountains.  It was a breathtaking sight and I didn't even have my phone with me to take a picture!  It's times like that that just reinforce the feeling of home. 

My birding classes have begun again.  Mostly they are just outings.   Never know who is going to be in the class.  Some are total novices and hardly know what a cardinal looks like.  Others are far more accomplished and there are others in between.  I just like the occasion to get out in the field and look at birds.

I recently picked up three quilts from the long arm quilter.  I'm pleased with all three of them and they couldn't be more different from each other.  One is a modern geometric pattern, one is a total hand applique pattern and the other is made of Australian aboriginal fabrics.  I've finished the binding on the applique quilt and I'll wait a few days before starting on another one.  I like to break up the types of hand work.  I need to get pictures of the finished quilt and will post it later.

I'm working on a bunch of little wool applique pillows for friends at the moment.  I've got the basic stitching done and now trying to figure out how to embellish them with decorative stitches and beads....if I ever find my beads!  I've got a tube of them somewhere.

Hope you're all doing well.  Y'all take care.  

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Waiting for Spring

Yes, I'm still alive and well.   About to grow webbed feet but still alive and well.   We have had an unusual amount of rain from last fall and on through the winter.  Doesn't appear that the end is in sight either.  We've not had major flooding like some areas but our soil hasn't dried out for months. 

I've been up to my usual stuff.  I took a quilting friend who is a new birder over to see the sandhill cranes at the Hiawassee Wildlife Refuge northeast of Chattanooga.  It was a gorgeous day but very cold and windy.  She didn't believe me when I was emphasizing how warm she should dress for the day, but she complied.  Once we got out of the car and headed up the little rise, she knew exactly what I was talking about.  Although the numbers of cranes were lower than some years, there were still some to see.  

All in all it was a good day even if it did take the whole day for the trip. 

I've been doing some sewing and have three tops at the long arm quilter for completion.  They should be home in three weeks or so.  One is a hand applique quilt called Across the Wide Missouri that I started several years ago when I began learning how to do needle turn applique.  I figured that by the time I got the top done, I ought to have a good grasp of the technique. 
I admit that my stitching did improve but its still far from perfect.  

I attended a quilting retreat with friends from Florida and Alabama back at the end of January.  We met at he Grand Oaks retreat center near Scottsboro, Alabama overlooking Lake Guntersville.  I worked pretty much solely on a top using Australian fabrics.  The mixture of so many patterns and colors was way out of my wheelhouse but I will say that I love the way it finished up.  The pattern is a variation of a log cabin block and is very simple.  It's the colors and patterns in the fabric that makes it so stunning.  
It's a quite large quilt.  I'm looking forward to seeing it all quilted up. 

I also made another modern looking quilt top.  The colors simply called to me and I used grunge fabric from Moda.  The colors are very rich and lush. 
This picture doesn't do it justice.  

I made a day trip over to Lake Junaluska in North Carolina with the Franklin Bird Club last month.  I knew where the town was but had never done any birding there.  We were able to see a good number of ducks there.    I had planned a trip to the Outer Banks this winter but due to medical issues in the family did not get to go.  It's too late now as the ducks, geese and swans have already started migrating.  Oh well, let's hope next year will be the one. 

I find it so hard to believe that we will be switching to daylight savings time this weekend.  Seems to be way too early, what with Easter coming late on April 21.  

I'll do my best to be back more frequently.  Meanwhile, thanks for hanging in there with me. 

Y'all take care 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Progress, at Last

I've been working on this quilt called Across the Wide Missouri now for about 3 years.  Saw a finished quilt at a show in Springfield, MO and loved it.   It's all hand applique work so it takes time, at least for me.  When I began the project, I was just learning needle turn applique and I figured by the time I was done that I'd be pretty good.  I have improved a great deal but will be the first to admit that I'm still not "good" at it like some of my friends.   
hand appliqued blocks 
I've been putting it off but finally broke down and started the sashing strips to join them all together.  Lots of tedious measuring and cutting and I'll also have to make 47 different flying geese units to add into the sashing.  Its not hard work, just tedious. 
cutting sashing
My long arm quilter runs a 20% off deal during January and February so its a good time to get tops finished and off to her for quilting.  I can do them, but its not fun for me and turns into a real chore.  This time, I'll write the check.

Y'all take care