Friday, June 12, 2009


Here it is the end of the week, and I've been absent most of it. Well, absent online; so very present at home.

Last week, Tom generously offered to build extra shelves for me in my studio and double the size of my craft table. The place has been a mess for a long time and got even messier when I brought home boxes of items from the storage unit to sell on Etsy (which I will do more assiduously once I get my studio tidied enough to photograph things).

Anyway, I figured that I'd first clean up, Tom would do his thing, then I'd re-stow my stuff into my better-arranged space, and everything would be hunky-dunky. Of course, at the speed I move that would have taken until Christmas or beyond, and Tom's been married to me too long to not understand that. So, laboring under my false illusion, I la-la-la-ed my way through tidying up last Friday and Saturday and Sunday. Then Monday we got the lumber, Tom assuring me it would take him a while to get the shelves cut and painted. Tuesday morning, I mosied out to find he'd taken everything off my one existing shelf and stashed it all willy-nilly: atop my craft table, all over my cutting table, on my sewing table (all of which were already stacked high) and in both chairs. In other words, everywhere. I was grumpy, to say the least, but now that I have three 8-foot shelves where before I had one and most of the sewing side of the studio's pretty darn close to tidy, I've cheered up considerably. The craft table's almost done as well, and I'm thinking I should prepare myself. Right now he's assuring me I don't have to do a dingdong thing for him to set it up. We'll see.

Once it's finished and I've tidied completely, I'll take pictures (which I'd best do pretty darn fast cuz Lord knows it's not in my nature to keep things tidy.)

I'd intended last week to work on the flower for the pillow I discussed earlier, but of course I haven't had a chance. The silk came in, and it's gorgeous and I wanted to get right on it, but didn't have a spare space to cut on. Oh, well, needs must when the devil drives.

BTW, here's my choice for fabric for roman shades for the studio. It's 100% linen on sale at Denver Fabrics for $6.95 a yard. They have some great deals on their end of season sale. Check it out.

I'll take pics of the shades too once I've got them done. (Should I say here that projects take me forever to finish? I do finish; it's just a long time coming.)

Gotta go now. Y'all have a great weekend, ya hear?

Monday, June 8, 2009

And more still

So these are the pics I didn't post yesterday. First a wildflower closeup. This is nettle. Horrid plant, beautiful flower. 
And here's my Maxie again. I think he likes sniffing weeds as much as he does herbs.
Tom's growing tomatoes in an EarthTainer. That sucker's heavy so we're keeping it on his lawn trailer, just in case we have to move it around. Can't wait for those suckers to get ripe. 
This is Tom's cacti garden. I want to put river rock around the plants, but Tom plans to move the bed farther from the greenhouse so he can mow around it with the John Deere.
See how wild it looks beyond what we've cleared out. It really isn't. Directly behind this plot is a dirt road to just beyond our property where the road is paved and has several high end homes along it.
This is our greenhouse. Tom's built a pergola/lattice over it to kind of protect it from our summer sun. (No matter how neat and tidy our yard looks in the front and middle of the property, these are the work areas--and look like it.)

And here's Tom's in the ground (ITG) garden. At the far left is bell pepper and tomatoes. (ITG isn't doing nearly as well as EarthTainer.) In the middle are beans.
On the end, cucumbers. 

And that's the end of our garden tour, folks. Check back in a couple of months and we'll see how the garden grows.

Ta, y'all.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

More of the Same

I took my camera with me again this morning as Max and I wandered. This is a wonderful time of year, before things begin to really heat up. Some of what I shot I'll share with y'all today, some tomorrow. 

First, the house from the front. 
Funny how once something's recorded, details become more evident. The plants really need to be trimmed. Unfortunately, I tend to pay little attention to the front, mostly because on my morning sojourn with Max I'm still in my pjs and even if I weren't I don't want Max around front--we live on a well-traveled street. Later in the day, I rarely remember. 

Trimming's gonna take some dirty work so I need to get myself geared up for it. I didn't realize how huge those bushes have become. And the roses need tending--they always need tending!--far more than the bits I do on my way to pick up the morning paper.

On one side of the house--that's the south side--you can catch a glimpse of my studio. Looks like a nice little guest cottage, doesn't it?
On the other is a peek at my big post oak... 

with the caladiums under it.

Yunno, I was thinking the other day that if I were a stranger driving past my house, I'd want to live here. Actually that's how we bought this house in the first place. 

Five years ago, building here in the golf course district was booming. Tom and I would occasionally drive around just looking, even though we weren't in the market for a new house. We still had to finish remodeling our lake house and wanted it done before we thought of moving on. But we liked the outside of this house, loved the stone. Every time we passed though, someone was working on it so we kept on going. 

Still, I'd been talking about it to my sis Ginger so one Sunday she, my SIL Sunny and I came out, thinking we could maybe check out the floor plan. But--the house was locked. While we were peering in the windows, the builder showed up and asked if we wanted to see inside. Did we ever! As soon as we'd taken the tour, I called Tom. Almost everything he said he wanted in a house, the builder had done. And the house was reasonably priced. Three days later we committed to buy.  

We finished remodeling the lake house the following spring and sold it in two days. Remodeling's much easier when you don't live there!

(Yunno, what I just did is something Robert Newton Peck called the "the gorilla in the phone booth" in his cool little book on writing Secrets of Successful Fiction. It's in the chapter on mental meandering and is not something you're supposed to do!)

A closer look at my front bed. You may think I've gone crazy with garden ornaments, but I believe I've shown remarkable restraint.  :)

Back in the back, this is the row of boulders I spoke of the other day. Behind it we let the property go natural.
A closer look at Tom's shop.

And our cute little outhouse where we keep all the nasty chemicals, which I don't like using, but which Tom insists on keeping, just in case.

Come back tomorrow for the rest of my property tour, deep in the heart of the Texas hill country.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Mama's Birthday and Other Miscellanea

Today would have been my mother's 95th birthday, and I have faith that, had she lived this long, she would have been just as adorable as she was 'til the end. My granddad lived to 94 so it wasn't unlikely Mama would as well, but, yunno, man proposes; God disposes. Still if you have a moment to spare, send a birthday thought to my mom in Heaven. I know she's there. (Whoops! My 'rithmatic was wrong; she'd have been 93.)

Now the miscellany: yesterday I asked for help in the final finishing bit on my nine-patch pillow, and Maire of Procrastination Diary, bless her heart, came up with a terrific idea. Maire doesn't get personal on her blog, and nor will I, but in the past she's shared pics with me of her home, and it's exactly the kind of place I'd choose if I had my druthers: a nice little cottage in the city within walking distance of shops, and she's decorated it vintage style, which also suits my taste. So when she suggested I add a red flower to the center patch of my nine-patch, I knew she was spot on.

I was already in the middle of making a felt brooch using a vintage pin I bought while in Eureka Springs. 
It's definitely not the right color, but I love the brooch on it. 
I had at first envisioned something in silk. Turns out that though I have lots of silk bits, I've nothing of the right red so I backed up to felt. Now I'd like opinions. 
This is the flower I made using two colors of red felt. Love the old button...
but it doesn't have the impact of the vintage brooch, does it?  
Here it is, in situ. Should I go larger with the flower? Just change the button? Hold out for the silk?

Don't be bashful, folks! I know I don't get tons of visitors, but I don't need tons of opinions. Just y'all's, whoever you are. Thanks. And ta.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Design Dilemma

Okay, I have a design question. Sometimes, I just don't know when to stop, or when enough's enough. Left to my own devices, I'd probably load everything I make with every bit of tacky bling I could find.

I made this pillow several years ago. At the time, my best friend from high school had an antique booth and she was offering my pillows in her shop. Before this was completely finished, she closed shop and so I stuck it away. I made it from a cutter linen dish towel that I totally loved. The main design had a great big hole in it, so large I couldn't darn, which I did a lot of in vintage linens back then. And then I found this remnant chenille piece and decided to do a nine patch with the two. Normally with a nine-patch pillow, you border it with a different fabric and the squares are smaller, but who ever said I was normal?
The center stacked button adornment I recently added, but I'm not liking it. Still it looks quite plain with nothing--that's where the border would have helped. So I was thinking I might add tassels on the top two corners. Now with the pics below you'll have to call on your imagination cuz I used what I have on hand.
This first is a close-up with a black tassel. I'm thinking maybe a white with bits of red in it. Or maybe equal red and white with just a bit of green. (Oh, and I forgot to instruct you to ignore the cup towel I tucked behind the pillow for contrast. The dark blue of the chair obscured the tassel.)
Now, imagine the center button stack gone and the tassels white and red and equally sized.

Am I on the right path, design-wise? Oh, and fyi and not for decision-making, this is the back. The closure's not yet stitched, and I haven't fully decided whether I should go with the button tabs or put button-holes in the band. (If you can't tell, I used practically every inch of each fabric in the manufacture of the piece.
Any help y'all can give me will be greatly appreciated. C'mon, guys, just a comment, just an idea. And thanks in advance.

Ta, y'all.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rainbow Clouds

I know that if odour were visible, as colour is,
I'd see the summer garden in rainbow clouds.
~Robert Bridges, "Testament of Beauty"

This morning I walked through my garden with my camera and I'd like to share the pictures with you. I took a master gardener course last year and my garden looks like I flunked--I didn't. What's there is there by the grace of God and not too much toil of Nancy, but I still think it's beautiful. So does Max. 
That's wheat grass he's sniffing. Or rather I think that's what it is. It was labeled "cat grass." The bloomer is garlic chives.
Isn't he a cutie? Max in contemplation.
I think he's getting tired of having his photo taken. Those damn paparazzi!

I've shown this view before but it's one of my faves. This time my caladiums are exploding with color. Click on the pic to check them out.

This is toward the back. If you click on the pic, you should be able to see the row of granite boulders that were uprooted by a bulldozer when the water company trenched to the street behind us. We had a friend use his tractor to align them, or sorta kinda. It's actually a stone curve.

And this is a closer picture. The vine is the cross vine I showed in bloom earlier. Unfortunately a spring hail storm killed the flowers but the vine's flourishing.

This is my herb garden. And no, I haven't finished all the work I intended. The mulch still ends just before the fountain, which is still bare of the surrounding stone I intend to add. But see how pretty it looks even without my help. Okay, maybe my poor little parsley plant's not doing so great but you wouldn't be either if Tom pulled you up by your roots just so he could center you in the pot. (It was a self-sown seed.)
As was this. It looks like some kind of lettuce, but I'm afraid to try it. (My sister's friend's niece died after eating a plant she thought was cilantro. It was hemlock. Have you ever heard anything so horrible?)

And this. Both are probably weeds, but I find their foliage interesting  so I'm letting 'em show me what they got.
This hides in the herb garden along with a few other bits of statuary. I love items in the garden that just kind of peek out. 

This is the other side of the garden. The front of my studio--and yes, I still have the paper on the french door from when we replaced the glass. Shame on me! And yes, the rubber insulation thingie's sticking out at the bottom. I feel like taking a scissor to it--when I notice it--but I'm sure there's a proper way to replace it. Note to self: check the internet!

And Tom's workshop behind mine. I totally adore the colors we used on his shop. And why, you ask, did we make his so different from mine, which matches the house? His sits on a separate piece of property and we decided to keep the look different in case we ever want to sell it.

And that, my friends, is a walk through my garden. I love this time of year, love the time I spend in the garden and love how beautifully everything's growing right now--in spite of me!

Ta, y'all.