Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rambling On, Again

I've been working diligently on my aunt's quilt and all the blocks are done -- I said D-O-N-E!   Now to do whatever squaring up is needed before stitching them together.   
This is the how they'll be laid out but all the way to king sized, hence the 55 twelve-inch blocks.  Gonna be a honking big quilt.   I'm loving how the colors look.  From a distance, the tan looks like a solid but it has tiny white, irregular dots on it and it looks wonderful.  I'm thinking of quilting in a pattern that has lots of curves and loops to help soften the angles.  And I'm also looking at a variegated blue/green/gold thread to give it some highlights.  


It has been very cold here the last two nights --  25 and pretty calm last night and 27 the night before with winds up to about 20 mph.  That's nasty cold weather for us Floridians.   We even make the birdies go ice skating once in a while.  


All my plants are in the garden house, but one of them that had been damaged earlier bit the dust.  It is a rather delicate plant anyway.     Plectranthus (Mona Lavendar)  They are very easy to grow and are easy to propagate from stems, so it's only necessary to buy one in the early spring.  Had I brought the plant into the garage, it might have survived, since the garage is warmer than the garden house.  There's no insulation in the garden house.  :(  


This kind of weather, while not totally uncommon for us, is not the norm.  And we've had two rounds of really cold weather already this year.  Now, I'm ready for our normal stuff!!   I was out and about today and, although the thermometer said only about 50 degrees, it was beautiful.  I took my jacket off for a lot of the time because the sun was very warm and there was no wind.  
We have many little birds visiting us every day.  There's usually a flock of chipping sparrows and more goldfinches are arriving by the day. 
Some days they share the feeders and some days not.  
Last week while on our birding outing to Blackwater, I noticed this hornet nest hanging from tiny branches of a tree.  We were stopping to check a swamp area for wood ducks and as I got out of the car, there it was.  The late afternoon light wasn't wonderful for picture taking, though.    That was the longest birding day for me in the forest.  Birdlady friend picked me up at 7:30 and dropped me back home at 6 p.m.   And we had a fabulous day, including a look at a flock of snow geese flying overhead.  
These little guys amuse me to no end, but they can be really obnoxious.  At least this shot caught him eating an acorn, for crying out loud, instead of my birdseeds!  


Daily we have many, many birds in our yard.  Just in this picture which represents about a 15 foot wide span, there were 5 cardinals and a chipping sparrow. 


Today I bought food for them, and while spending a bunch didn't get everything that will be needed very soon.  They eat very well, however.  And I even bought peanuts today for the squirrels in hopes of luring them away from the feeders.  


Our Christmas was very low key and spent here at home.   I wish all of you a wonderful New Year filled with good health, peace and happiness. 


Y'all take care.  





Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Wish

As I sit here on this rainy Christmas morning, I am so thankful for all the good things in my life.  And one of those things is the chance to share a bit of my life with you, my cyber friends.  My Christmas wish for all of you is peace, love, good health and happiness.

Merry Christmas!!  


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Birds and Blocks

Looking back, it seems I get around to a new post about once a week or so.  It isn't planned that way.  It just happens. 

I have to tell you about an exciting adventure while birding last week. We were ostensibly looking for ducks on this outing, so we headed toward a lake up in Blackwater forest.  Not a duck in sight -- well, one  female bufflehead, but that was all.  

HOWEVER -- as we were watching the cormorants fishing, a bald eagle flew over.  That's not uncommon for our area, but it was noted.  A few minutes later a second one appeared, this one a juvenile.  Again, nothing uncommon.   Then a few minutes later, the most amazing thing occurred!!  Within less than five minutes, there were seven (yes, 7) baldies circling around overhead and skirmishing. Two adults and five juveniles.  Now that was truly an amazing sight for our part of the world.   I think one of the adults wanted to teach a juvenile the meaning of boundaries, so it attacked the youngster.    They were way too far away for my camera to capture much of them, but they were truly magnificent to watch.  

Our outing yesterday was unremarkable in both variety and quantity.  Birdlady friend called this morning very excited.  A red throated loon was in the sound behind her house and since it is a rare bird for this part of the country, she wanted me to come over to see it.  I went, but didn't get there before it had already moved on.  However, we spent an hour or so moving down the beach trying to find it.  No luck, but saw lots of brown pelicans, jillions of buffleheads and lots of common loons, along with the regular sea gulls, terns and such.  That's the thing about birding -- you just have to be at the right place at the right time.  You can improve your odds sometimes, but ultimately it all comes down to luck.  

I've started on my aunt's quilt, only to discover that I really dislike one of the fabrics I had chosen.  It's a nice fabric but it just didn't work with the others.  So I spent a couple of days thinking and figuring a new arrangement.  I'm winding up using the same pattern, but using only two fabrics in the quilt instead of three.  I think it's going to turn out well.  Here are the blocks which will be arranged alternately to make a king sized quilt. 

Thank goodness I had bought a considerable amount of extra fabric or I wouldn't have enough.  I'm scrimping even now to make sure I have enough.  My thought is to have the quilting done in a curvy, floral so as to soften up the lines.  And use a green/blue variegated thread.

Our weather has been so strange.  Right now its in the mid 60's outside at 10 p.m. However, I took my plants out of the garden house only today after having them there for the past several nights because of below freezing temps.  Hopefully there will be some rain tonight.  But, they'll have to go back in tomorrow afternoon because we're expecting temps down into the mid 20's for the next three nights.  Then back up again.  It's hard to deal with this stuff when the temps fluctuate so much.  I hate to leave them in there so much due to the lack of light, but it's too much to haul them in and out every day.  Sometimes we just open the double doors and let the morning sun shine in on them, and then close the doors later in the day.  

A few weeks back when Birdlady arrived to pick me up for one of our outings, this is what greeted her at the front stoop.  


See?   It doesn't take much to please me sometimes!!! 

That same day, she drove me by this tree stump that had been transformed by the ranch owner. 

Y'all take care. 



Sunday, December 5, 2010

Quilts, Quilts and more Quilts!!

Have you ever tried to explain the quilting process to someone who has no idea?  Hubby came into my sewing room today and saw that I was starting on a king sized quilt for my aunt.  Hubby's simple questions was:  "How do you get it put together?"  First, there was the explanation of picking the design, then figuring the pieces and how many is needed of each, and then how many strips to cut and the need for absolute accuracy at this point, 'cause there ain't no going back if you get it wrong!!   Then, his question was "but, how do you get them together"?  So, I took a couple of pieces and showed him how it was done (at least in theory for him).  And again the question, "but how do you get the blocks together?"  So I explained that to him.  And again the question, "but how do you sew the blocks together?" So, I took my quilt diagram and tried to explain how you sew blocks together to make rows and then sew rows together to make larger sections (if necessary) and then sew the larger sections together so that you handle the whole top as little as possible.    And then the question, "but what does the lady you take them to do with them?"   That entailed an explanation of the sandwiching of the layers and the quilting.  Since I have some pieces trimmed from the last two quilts, he is able to see what I'm talking about there.  He's not known for visualizing things -- he needs a picture!  

He's never wondered about my quilting this much before and I've been quilting for seven years, here in the same house.  Hmmm... what is on that boy's mind??     

 When I saw one of my aunts a couple of months ago, she asked "Would you make me a quilt?"     I was flattered tremendously and immediately said yes.   Then, she sweetly added "but it'll need to be king sized"!!!!!   I could have backed out I guess, but she's very dear to me, so I figured I could press on with this project.   She assured me that she expected to pay for it, but we'll see how much of it I allow her to pay.    I have only two aunts remaining, my mother's younger sisters.  One is 88 and I made this little lap quilt for her birthday back in February.  She has always made quilts (including one specifically for me using Hawaiian prints) and crocheted beautifully, so I figured it was time for somebody to make a quilt for her.  She was totally delighted when she opened the box and realized what it was.  






And here's a picture of the two sisters. 


This new quilt is the younger one (82 yrs old, in the black).  Both these ladies are very special to me.  Neither had children for years so I was their substitute child until I was about 13 or so.  Then they both adopted children and I got booted from my preferred status!!    However, up until then I spent lots of time with them, being spoiled rotten and being allowed to do things I never would have gotten away with at home!  


I delivered my brother's quilt to him yesterday, on his birthday.  He was thrilled and grinned ear to ear.  Here's the finished product and I'm sufficiently proud of it, mostly because he was so happy to receive it and appreciated the amount of work that went into making it.  (Its about queen sized.)


Projects like these keep me quilting. 


Y'all take care. 



Monday, November 29, 2010

Surprises

Oh, I am a happy camper!!!  I totally pulled off the surprise for my husband's birthday.  When I got home from my errands last Sunday, the kids walked around the corner of the house and asked "what are you doing raking leaves?"   Hubby was stunned.  Then, Sunday night we got him playing cards so we could keep him up late enough for the other one to arrive!!   When he knocked on the door about 10:15 p.m., my response was "what's that?"   Son-in-law said "somebody's knocking on the door".   The three of us just sat there and expected hubby to get up and answer it.  He went to the door and looked out the peep hole but the visitor had it covered with his hand!  So, we piped up from the kitchen "well, aren't you going to open the door?"  The three instigators got up and went into the living room so we could see the door, and finally hubby opened it. (I had previously turned on the outside lights so our visitor could see.) Hubby stood there staring a full 10 seconds before he could comprehend who was standing before him, and his response was "what are you doing here?"   Hubby was so happy to have them here, and it was such a joy for me to pull this one over on him!!  


Next day, I put the three "kids" to work helping with the last minute details for the birthday party.  All  are willing workers and really made things a lot easier for me through the party.  The day after, I gave them a break and we headed over to the beach. 
We spent some lovely time just hanging out over there and it was a real treat for the kids, since one is from near Bellingham, Washington where the weather was very nasty at the time, and the others are from Des Moines where winter has already arrived.


Before arriving, stepdaughter had asked for a "honey do" list for while they were here, so I obliged them!!  Surprise!!   I got my pitiful yard aerated, leaves and acorns raked, a new sprinkler control and rain sensor installed, the bird house taken down and cleaned, a new digital thermostat installed, and the big flower bed partially cleared and redone.  






As enjoyable as the week was, I think hubby and I are both very glad to have our house back to normal.    It has been a very busy week all around and as soon as we got back from the airport this afternoon, we both crashed for a long nap. 


Y'all take care. 



Saturday, November 20, 2010

Birthday Boy to Turkey Day

Been working on Hubby's birthday celebration.  He's gonna be 70 on Monday and we've invited about 30 friends and neighbors over.  I'm trying to spread all the work out over the days so I won't be a stressed out wreck come Monday evening.    That's fun, but the absolute best fun part is that two of the kids are coming, and he doesn't know it.  So far, we've been able to keep it a surprise.   Now to just get through Sunday morning and a run into town (without hubby) to pick up "party stuff" a/k/a one of the kids!!!  The other one arrives Sunday night but he'll be renting a car and will drive himself out here.  Oh, I'm so excited to see if we can really pull this off.  He's hard to surprise. 


Hubby is feeling better.  He says that this is the best he's felt in over a year.  There is no cure for genetically based coronary artery disease and you just have to deal with it as it progresses.  He is on various medications, his cholesterol levels are way beyond excellent, he exercises and yet his arteries want to clog up way too frequently.  We have no idea how long this current bout of good health will continue, but we're going to take advantage of it and take some trips.  During the winter, RV travel is somewhat limited for wimps like us.  We certainly aren't headed to anyplace colder than where we live, so that greatly reduces our options.  I'm sure we can find someplace, though.  The rig hasn't been used much at all this year.  


It is becoming more evident daily that we may need to be moving.   There's just too much work involved in keeping up a house and big yard.  Of course, neither of us has any idea where we'd like to move.   Both of us would consider a townhouse, provided that it was one floor and had a bit of outdoor space and lots of trees around. There are very few townhouses in our area, and certainly none that meet that criteria.    But, it is something that we have to be thinking about.


Do you remember thinking as a child what fun it must be to be a grownup?  Grownups got to whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.  Now that we're the grownups, we see that's not quite the case.  There are some real responsibilities that come with the privileges of adulthood.  


Not much picture taking.  But here's a shot of a pileated woodpecker at the birdbath in the back yard.  This is one of TWO pileateds that were on that pine tree at the same time.  That was the first time in twelve years that we'd seen them in our yard.  It was a glorious treat and I was lucky to have time to retrieve the camera and catch even one of them!!  




If I don't get back before then, I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family, friends, good food and joyous times. 


Y'all take care. 














   

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Creeks and Curves

It has been a very busy week.  I went birdwatching on Monday up to Blackwater State Forest, helping my friend, the Birdlady, with her survey.  This time we were specifically looking for sparrows -- checking to see who had arrived by now.  Turned out not many have arrived yet. 


So, although the birding was not fabulous, we did have a fabulous day weatherwise and just thoroughly enjoyed ourselves -- as usual.  There are stables and a campground up there that I had never visited and Coldwater Creek runs right beside it.  Oh, what a beautiful creek!!!!   I wanted to just splash right into it. 


This same creek is one of several waterways in the area renowned for canoeing and kayaking.   The water levels are low right now thanks to a combination of lack of rainfall and typical fall/winter levels.   I've never understood that, but it happens.   In the sound and on the gulf, the water levels drop significantly during the winter months.   


My quilt guild met today and there was a workshop afterwards.  Lisa Moore, quilt designer, from Sitka, Alaska taught a technique and method of curved piecing that is just plain slick!!  I've never worked with curves before, mainly because of the difficulty of getting curved seams to lie flat, and the problem of easing in the fabric.  The magic moment is created by using what's called a Fabric Folding Pen.  The liquid in the pen allows the fabric fibers to relax so that they can be curved easily.  Neatest thing I've seen in a while.  


Here a couple of shots of what I've done thus far. 
That curved seam is probably smoother than any straight seam I've ever sewn.  Yes, there really is a seam in that curve.
I am using a kit that I purchased from Ms. Moore, but some of the other ladies were using fabric of their own choosing and the outcomes are going to be more than gorgeous. 
 The curves are in the body of the quilt and the circle is part of what will be a full moon when completed.  


Also on the quilting front, I've purchased the fabrics to make my aunt's quilt.  It's going to consume a great deal of my quilting time for a while.  I'm going to have to learn how to multi-task, because I don't want to stop working on the curve technique before I've totally mastered it and it is engrained in my brain.  There's nothing difficult to it, but remembering the sequences is important for recall later.   It's my normal routine to work on only one project at the time, from start to finish.  Guess I'm weird that way.


And my brother's quilt is being worked on by the quilter as we speak.  I should have it back this weekend and it'll be ready for the binding.  His birthday is fast approaching and I am determined to have it done before then so that I can deliver it on time.


Y'all take care. 



Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gratitude

Today I attended one of the semi-annual gatherings of my siblings and assorted children and grandchildren.  Before my mother passed away three years ago, we always celebrated Mama and Daddy's birthdays near the first of May since their birthdays occurred then and were only eight days apart.  And we always had Thanksgiving at Mama's house.  Now that they are both gone, we still celebrate their birthdays but have moved the Thanksgiving gathering to earlier in the month.  We take turns hosting and since there are 7 of us in the mix, nobody has to do this very often.  We lost my oldest brother in January but his wife is continuing in his slot.  The host does the planning and usually provides the entree, and the rest of us furnish everything else.  


Today we had 30 members of our family present.  We ranged in age from 75 down to just over 3 weeks.  What a melange of characters!  And another addition is expected around the first of next month.  


These gatherings all take on their own personalities as they unfold.  Our host this time didn't make any plans until about two weeks ago and held it at his home, which was a 3 hour trek one way for a couple of us.  Hubby and I broke our drive up by spending the night with another brother who lives about half way there.  We had an enjoyable visit and saved ourselves half of the drive today on the way up.    


Since we are in the middle of our first real cold snap, we couldn't spend time outdoors like last year.  So, folding tables were up everywhere inside and extra chairs commandeered, but we all sat down to share a meal together.  Thankfully, my brother has a big house!!   It truly was a wonderful day.


There have been times over the years when we siblings haven't always agreed on things and there has been some tension at times.  But we all are seeming to realize more every day just how fragile life can be when taken for granted.  And we are making the effort to let unimportant things pass by without comment and remember only those that deserve to be remembered.  So, I'm thankful today, maybe a little more than usual, for the people I have in my life. 


I hope all of you will use my good fortune today as an opportunity to reflect on the good souls in your lives.  And, then tell them how much you appreciate them.






Y'all take care. 









Friday, October 29, 2010

This 'n That

It's been a whirlwind lately but, hopefully, things will settle down some now.  Hubby had the stent repair yesterday (plus two more stents we didn't anticipate) and says he is feeling the best he's felt in a year.  Let's hope and pray that feeling continues for a very long time.  Now, to just get his body recuperated from all its pummeling!!!   The boy wants to play golf again so bad he can taste it, or even do yard work!!!   You know its something extraordinary when he wants to do yard work!!  
Not that we'd need it or anything!  Our poor yard has been neglected for years, at least since 2006-2007 when I was caring for my mother and spent so much time away from home.  And since then, just haven't been motivated to do much, compounded by Hubby's medical problems for the past two years.  

I love old fashioned flowers like hydrangeas, crepe myrtles, altheas or rose of sharon, daisys, roses, that kind of stuff.  Now, I don't grow all of them, of course.  Some are just more work than this lazy gardener is willing to endure, but I still like them.  We hope to get back to our traveling and when you are away most of the summer, you can't have finicky plants.  They've got to stand on their own with the help of a sprinkler system.  


I also got a new computer this week.  The old one has been acting up for a long time, beginning with a full crash about a year ago.  Thankfully, my computer tech was able to restore it for me with no loss of data and has performed fairly well until recently when it started being difficult.   The processor is getting ready to go psffft, so it was time for a replacement.  If you don't have the stuff on your computer backed up somewhere, please, please do it right away.  I depend on my computer way too much to lose something by carelessness.  It's easy to back up to an external hard drive or storage device and provides peace of mind you can't believe.  For instance, I've been able to load all my files and photos onto this computer and I can use them just like on the old one.  What a treat!    This one has Windows 7 and I'm finding it surprisingly easy to use.  Very similar to XP that was on the old one.


Still no picture taking, so you're just gonna have to make do with some older ones.   This is one of my favorite photos of all times, perhaps my very favorite.  I was home in Florida visiting my parents about this time of year (about 1986) and it had been rainy for several days.  Finally the rain stopped and Daddy and I had to get out of the house and I grabbed my camera as I went out the door. As we walked along, I lagged behind him for no apparent reason except wandering and looked up to see him in front of me.  I focused my (film 35mm) camera while walking and paused only long enough to click the shutter.  He never knew I took the picture.  Since it was film, I had no idea what I had captured until I got the photos back from processing.  I picked them up on a lunch hour and this is what I got. 
This is about a tenth generation because of all the scanning, cropping and converting to jpeg that was necessary to get it usable here, so the quality of this one is less than wonderful.  This doesn't actually show the entire original picture due to some damage to the original that was scanned.  Some of the composition is lost, too.  My boss at the time just went crazy over it and insisted that his artist wife frame an enlargement of it for me.  So I have an 11x14 matted and framed very nicely and it hangs in my hallway where I look at it every day. 


I mentioned a while back the quilt for my brother.  Here he is on his buckskin back in about 1965 or 1966. 


 Some time after this picture, he was riding and while crossing the road was hit by a car which topped a hill.  He severely sprained both wrists when he landed after being thrown from the horse, but nothing broken.  However, poor Sunny wasn't as fortunate and, having suffered two broken front legs, had to be immediately put down.  That was his first horse.  He has gone on to own many horses, and at one time he had eleven, but is now down to three I think.  Here is a couple of them. 
Of course, his new wife also has three, so the horse population doubled in one fell swoop.




I could go on and on, regaling all with tales of my family, but I've got to save some for another day. 


Y'all take care. 










Saturday, October 23, 2010

Role as Florence Nightingale

It has been a week!!  I think I should change my name to Florence Nightingale.  What do you think?  Hubby had the angiogram on Monday which showed a stent is nearly blocked and must be fixed but that was postponed until next week.  Because another hernia was developing on the left side, it needed to be fixed first due to the meds he would be on once the stent is repaired.  Once you're on those meds, you can't have any surgery for a year unless its a life threatening situation.  Since he'd already put up with a very large and painful hernia on the right side for the past year thanks to those same meds from earlier stents (open incision repair only a month ago -- double yuck), he wasn't about to do it again.  So, Monday morning the angio, Monday afternoon visit the surgeon, Wednesday pre-op, and yesterday the laparoscopic surgery for the new hernia.  Recuperate for a few days, followup with surgeon next Tuesday, and then fix that stent next Thursday!!   Now, don't all you guys want to join this fun?????   He is doing well, though, so we just have to hang on a while longer.  


I haven't had a minute to even think about taking pictures.  My photography class will be over in a couple of weeks and I don't feel as though I've learned much there.  I just need to devote some time to practicing the various settings and reviewing the results so I'll know where to go for a specific situation. 


I did get my brother's quilt off to the quilter.  She won't get to it for a couple of weeks, but at least its in her hands.  Here's a picture of the finished top. 
 It's quite large at about 76x104.  There are photographs in the gold looking blocks.  He's a farmer/rancher, so in addition to pictures of the family, there are shots of his horses and cows and house.  The green looking fabric is grass and the brown sashing fabric has swirls like rope.  Its for his birthday coming up soon and he has no idea I'm making it.  


I worked on my great horned owl picture a little bit and got it to where you can see him better.  The whole time I was looking at him, I wanted to just hold him and stroke those beautiful feathers.  I don't think that would have gone over well, though. 


Y'all take care. 







Sunday, October 17, 2010

Contemplation and Thankfulness

There are so many times during the day when I think of things I'd like to include here.  The right words, the right inflection, the right idea.  But then, by the time I'm ready to start typing, its as though a bubble bursts and there's nothing left but air.  I suppose, of course, its the same for lots of others.  We can't always be as eloquent and impassioned  as we'd like.


Part of our life this weekend is the prospect of another angiogram for Hubby bright and early Monday morning.  He's been having these symptoms of problems for several weeks now and they are getting worse. If I let myself dwell on his medical issues, it gets me very discouraged.  As I look back, it seems as if fate was directing our every move in preparation for this time in our lives.  That realization, however, does not make it any easier for me to accept.

In 2008, it was exactly 10 days after we returned from an extended (4 months, over 14,000 miles) trip to Alaska that Hubby wound up in the hospital the first time with heart problems.  Obviously, they had been developing for some time, but there had been no symptoms that would alert us that he had a problem.   Since he is 11 years older than me, I had expected he would encounter health issues at some point, but certainly not at the age of 67!!!   Thus far, he's had 8 (I think) angiograms, has 8 stents, and has regularly had pain and discomfort.  There is pervasive artery disease, and even with cholesterol levels much lower than I could ever imagine, his arteries keep clogging. Who knows what this round will bring. 

I won't even mention the other significant medical issues we've dealt with for the last year, and which he may be facing again. 

As a result of these issues, our travels have been severely curtailed and our activities have dwindled to a precious few as Hubby's physical activity has been severely limited.

Although these comments may sound like complaints, believe me when I say that I realize how extraordinarily blessed I am to have the life I do.  Growing up a very poor farm girl in Florida, I never envisioned a fraction of the experiences I've enjoyed.  I'm trying very hard to keep things in perspective and realize that even though these are serious conditions, there are so many other folks with even worse things to deal with.  

I am also trying very hard to concentrate on the beauty that is around me.  


I'm trying to forge better connections with my family.  And I'd like very much to be able to develop roots and not feel as though I'm waiting for my life to happen.  




Y'all take care. 












Thursday, October 14, 2010

Train of Thought

There is a swampy area down along the road and we regularly see great blue herons feeding there.  Today, however, I actually had to stop in the road to allow one to finish walking across from one ditch to the other!!!  No camera in sight, of course.  Never had that happen before but it was really neat.   This shot was taken at Big Lagoon State Park back in March.  They are such grand birds, and stand between 3 and 4 feet tall.
Well, I tried to insert a photo of a Great Blue Heron here, but the software keeps turning it on the side.   And I'm too tired to mess with it.  


I had lunch with some cousins today.  We've had it planned for a while.  Being a ditz on occasion, I didn't look at my calendar and showed up LAST WEEK.  Made a phone call and found out I was a week early, so I didn't waste a trip to the Mexican restaurant.  So, that made lunch out two Wednesdays in a row!   What a treat.  I think we're going to try to do this monthly or so.   Three of us live here within a few miles of each other, and the fourth lives about 30 miles away.  No excuse.


I finally finished the top for the quilt for my brother.  This was just a trial run to see audition the sashing.
I decided to omit the gold cornerstones.   There is a brown first border, and just tonight I decided to use the blue for an outer border.  Looks nice.    I'll go tomorrow to pick out backing for it.  It turned out huge and I simply don't have anything to use.  I have arranged for a long arm quilter to start working on it next week, so I need to get the batting and backing  ASAP.  It's so big that I can't take a picture without help.  May not be able to post a picture until it is all finished, but I'll make sure to do so before I give it to him.


I went with my Bird Lady friend on one of her survey trips up in the state forest.  We spent most of the day Monday traveling over little two lane dirt tracks, stopping every little bit to check for what birds might be around.  We had a wonderful day.  The weather was great.  We always seem to have a good time up there.  Nobody around to bother you, although a couple of hunters were checking out the area in preparation for hunting season to open soon.  I'm sure they were quite put out to find two ladies up there in "their" woods with binoculars and bird books.  A couple of forestry personnel were also out checking on things.  One reason we went this week is to get this area checked before hunting season begins.  Too risky to be up there then.  Those drivers think the roads are their own private raceway, and there's too many itchy fingers near triggers, if you know what I mean.  Once the hunting season opens, we stay the heck out of those areas.


I still have one or two hummingbirds stopping by the feeders.  Probably will be only a few days until they are all gone.


Hubby is having chest discomfort and pains again.  He's to see the cardiologist tomorrow afternoon.  He is so discouraged right now, and ticked off, and just generally angry about all these medical problems.  Just when you think one is getting cleared up, something else crops up.


Y'all take care.



Saturday, October 9, 2010

Yippee, the Photo Worked!!

I guess I'm feeling brave this morning, or stupid.  Let's see which, okay??  Just for the heck of it, I'll try to insert another photo and see what happens.  A ton of folks on the help forum are having the same problem, so something is definitely up. 


Wow, I can't believe I got it to work so easy.  I still couldn't use the drop down menu, but when I used the sidebar to access my pictures, it then worked fine.    I was beginning to think my blogging days were coming to a halt.  Nobody wants to have to struggle to share with their friends. 

The above quilt top is patiently waiting to be quilted.  It and several others are in the armoir.  I really need to pull them out and send them off to the long arm quilter.  I haven't learned how to machine quilt using my home machine.  I have done a simple cross hatch on a baby quilt, but the throat of the machine is so short (about 7 inches) that its hard to get the bulk of the quilt through there.  


On to something productive today.  

Y'all take care. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Aggravations and Magnificence

Okay, I'm going to try one more time.  I wanted to tell you about my birdwatching trip this week.  I saw my first great horned owl in the wild.  He was magnificent.  I didn't have my camera with me when I found him, but since they are nocturnal birds, I figured he'd still be there later.  We went on our way and came back with the camera.  He was so patient with us for the longest time but finally got tired of us and flew off to a perch in a tall pine tree where, hopefully, he got some rest.


Okay, I got the picture in here.  Let's see if the rest of the post works like it ought to.  I had to switch to Internet Explorer to get it to work.  Been using Google Chrome and until today have had absolutely no problems with it.

We also saw a huge flock of white pelicans.  They were amazingly beautiful against that blue sky.  My friends were estimating it at less than 100 birds, but after I got it on the computer, I could count them pretty well and came up with about 150.  What a great sight that was.  You'll need to click on the picture to see the pelicans.


While I am getting pictures into the blog, I'm having to do lots of extra steps and this just won't work.  I have to get this clarified by somebody.

I know, whine, whine, whine....and yes, I do like cheese with it.

So, for now, goodnight.  

And if any of you who have blogs have a fix for this problem, I'd love to hear it.  You can contact me at the address shown in my profile.  Thanks.

Y'all take care.

Blogger Problems

I'm going to comment again about these changing fonts. Sometimes the size font I see while composing is definitely not the size font that gets published. Having reached a certain age myself, I want a font that is easy to read and big enough to read without a magnifying glass!! At the same time, I don't want one that pushes me away from the computer because its so big. What to do, what to do?

Now, I'm having another problem. Whenever I go to post a photo, blogger cannot access all the photos in My Pictures. It shows only part of them. What a hassle. Been fussing with this all afternoon, so its time for a break.


Y'all take care.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Busy-ness of All Kinds

 Our fabulous fall weather is continuing.  We have clear blue skies and sunshine, steady breezes, temps in high 70's and humidity levels around 35%.  That's perfection for us Floridians! 


For several days, I've had just 2 or 3 hummingbirds.  Today, however, and particularly this afternoon, there's a flock of them!!!   They are constantly skirmishing over the feeders.  Several times today, one has crashed into the window or the eave overhang while facing off.  There is absolutely no way for me to capture that kind of activity, but I wish I  could share it with you.  Their little high-pitched chirping and that unmistakable sound of wings whirring keep me company. 


The steady north wind today would likely have made for good birdwatching at the local migrant traps, but I had other projects I really need to devote time to, so I stayed home.  If the wind continues, it might be worth a drive over to Ft. Pickens tomorrow morning.  It takes me nearly an hour to get over there, what with having to cross the bridge and then head out the peninsula.    I saw a grey headed catbird at the birdbath today, and two Carolina wrens were flitting around.  


There has been a number of hawks in and around our house recently.  I know that there has to have been a nest close by, because the young ones are seen too often.  On Thursday, I saw two red-tailed hawks sitting in the top of a pine tree across the way.   The hawks on the top of a dark green pine tree against a deep blue sky made for a wonderful sight.  They were too far away for my camera, so all I could do was keep looking and drink it in.   I think they were juveniles from their behavior.  And on Friday, I saw a red shouldered hawk sitting in an oak tree not 30 feet from my back door.  I think that one was also a youngster.   Unfortunately, he didn't cooperate and stay long enough for me to get the camera.  


My bird ID class has turned out to be really just a birdwatching outing.  I'm disappointed.  I was hoping to learn some of the basics concerning classifications, behaviors, etc.  Some of the field locations are further than I want to drive, so I don't plan to attend those.  The photography class is interesting.  I already know a good bit of what is discussed, but there's enough new material to keep me coming.  
My brother and his fiance will have a very small wedding next weekend, but they have asked me to take pictures for them.  I'm flattered, but told them "you get what you get".   They are just asking for snapshots, not professional style photos.  We'll see how it goes. 


And the other "don't know how to describe it" class is turning out to be very interesting.  The best thing is the stimulation and incentive to think about those things in your life that are normally left tucked away.  I'm finding that some of the untouchable subject from my younger years have new meaning when I look at them now.  This new understanding would have made dealing with them much easier had I known then!!  But its also letting me accept some of those past events for what they are and move on.  


I've finished squaring the block for the quilt.  We had a family gathering yesterday and I took a picture of my brother and his fiance.  I decided that since they are getting married next weekend, I ought to include it also.  I spent the entire afternoon struggling to get the picture sized correctly and printed onto the fabric!  What a bout.  Then I took apart one of the other picture blocks and inserted that picture into it.    A while back I used a 50% off coupon and bought a rotating cutting mat.  What a wonderful thing!!  Squaring is always an odious, tedious task but a rotating mat makes it so much easier.  


If you quilters don't have one, run to get one as soon as you can, and get the biggest one you can afford!!  Mine is 14 inches, so can do blocks up to 12 inches.  


My 82 year old aunt also asked me to make a quilt for her, and I was flattered and honored to say yes.  Then she added a little tidbit -- she wants it king size!!!!!  I think I blanched at that comment.  However, I stuck by my word and told her I'd do it.  She has a new 4-poster and wants a new quilt for it.  She'll let me know the basic colors and then I'm on my own.  


This aunt had no children until she adopted her son when I was about 12 years old.  Up until then, she treated me like a substitute child.  Her older sister did the same, until she also adopted a daughter a couple of years later.  Both those ladies are very dear to me and they are the only ones left of my mother's siblings.  At 82 and 88 years old, I don't want to ever take them for granted. 


Y'all take care.