Monday, July 6, 2020

Orchid Joy and I've Been Gounded

Yes, I have been grounded for over a week.  No, it wasn't for sneaking in after curfew. :-)  I have been dealing with a foot issue, and I have to stay off my feet for another ten days. What have I been doing to pass the time? Hand stitching, reading, mask making, blogging, quilting, working on a jigsaw puzzle, TV watching . . . basically the same things that I have been doing throughout the quarantine. Unfortunately, I am not able to go outside to water my gardens, but Mother Nature has been helping me with that.

I am blessed to have friends who are also helping me out during this time. Miss Emma has been staying at her 'home away from home.'  Boy, I can not begin to tell you how empty the house seems without her.  It's wonderful to know that she is having a good time with her other family and her canine pals, Harvey and Bailey. Other friends have done my shopping and errands for me. I am a lucky lady.

Last Thursday, I received from my godchild and her family this beautiful orchid for my birthday. I have had fun photographing it and using some of the techniques presented in the Kathleen Clemons webinar from Hunt's Photo and Video which I wrote about in a previous post.

 The top two photos were taken on my sunporch and the color is accurate. The rest were taken inside. Camera sensors have difficulty accurately presenting blues and purples. The following images are of the same orchid.

I hope you are having a beautiful week.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Have hope and for all of our sake, please wear a mask! :-)

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Independence Day 2020 and Hamilton

Yesterday we celebrated our country's birthday, without for the most part, parades, concerts, cookouts, and fireworks. Who am I kidding? I have never heard so many illegal fireworks going off, and I am not just talking about last night. Fireworks have been going off for weeks. What is up with that??? At the end of today's zoom Sunday Mass and final blessing, Father Huy, our pastor, wondered who was shooting fireworks off at 2:00am.

It was another no holiday - holiday. I don't ever remember not hosting a gathering on the Fourth. About the closest I came to tradition was having a hot dog for supper!

How many people do you think signed up for Disney+ to watch Hamilton this weekend? It will be interesting to see how many took advantage of watching this musical.  Lin-Manuel Mirander is truly a genius. The filmed recording featured the original cast of the Broadway show. I'm thinking that millions more viewed it on TV than will ever be able to see it in the theater. It was accessible to a whole new audience. Did you stream it?

If you enjoyed it, may I make a reading suggestion. . .  Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schulyer Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. Eliza was a fascinating woman in her own right. She preserved and shaped her husband's legacy after his death. If you do not wish to read the novel, then instead please, please take a minute to read the short article “Why Elizabeth Hamilton is Deserving of a Musical of Her Own" which gives insight into her remarkable life and impressive accomplishments.  She may not have been in the room where it happened, but she was there as our country struggled to be born. Elizabeth lived to the age of ninety-seven.

Since it was the Fourth of July, I also watched as I do every year the musical 1776!

I plan to be back tomorrow to show you some photos of a gorgeous orchid that I received Thursday on my birthday. There might be a slight glitch as Blogger is transitioning to a new version. Geeezzz!!! The current version does not allow some people based on the browser that they are using to leave a comment, but other than that problem it works well. I am keeping my fingers crossed about the new version . . .

Before I go, I don't know who came up with this but it is clever!

Stay safe. Stay strong. Have hope and as a tired, angry, frustrated doctor interviewed on CNN said, "Keep the Damn Masks On!!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Rain, Rain, Go Away!!!

Hi Everyone! I hope that you are all dry and doing well after these endless days of rain. On the bright side, no one will have to water his or her garden for a while!

I have never met a hibiscus that I didn't enjoy photographing. They are a nearly perfect plant for a sunny porch or deck. The blossoms which only last a day just keep coming and coming all summer and into the fall.


These photos were taken early last week. On Friday, I attended a webinar from Hunt's Photo Education with Kathleen Clemons. The subject of the webinar was "The Painterly Photograph." In the two hour online program she showed how to create painterly flower photographs and more. She offered tips, ideas, and techniques. I just watched the entire webinar again so that I could pause it and take notes. Click on her name to see some of her truly gorgeous photos.

I believe that in July or some time later this summer Hunts will have her present a webinar on iPhone photography. Sign me up!!! To check out upcoming online classes, go to Hunt's Photo Education. They are offering a wonderful group of online classes, and the price is very reasonable. Let me just say that Kathleen Clemons was an outstanding presenter.

 The fungus among us . . .  was growing along the walkway in my front yard. The lighting was not great, and it has been raining for the past few days. In spite of that, I like this image.

Last week I trimmed some low hanging branches from the huge oak in my front yard. Look at these acorn clusters. They were all over the branches that I trimmed. You know what that means!!! Enjoy the summer because all of these baby acorns suggest that we will be in for quite a winter.

Let me leave you with this old verse . . . 

Always remember and never forget
the  mighty oak was once a nut like you.   

Stay safe. Stay strong. Have hope.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Sunshine for $12.99

Yesterday I stopped at Christopher's Garden Shop and Farm Stand on Washington Street in Weymouth to pick up a few bananas, but I was stopped in my tracks by tables full of sunshine. This plant is full of blossoms and buds. . .  instant sunshine. Who could have resisted, and it was only 12.99!!!

I saw a member of our Crosstown guild there. Well, I saw a masked face and eyes that looked familiar. After a moment or two I was able to process the info; it was Diane W. We talked for a few moments about how we were doing during these challenging times and speculated whether we would be meeting in September.

Scenes from my gardens this week. . .
 I'm looking forward to an online class on Friday morning offered by Hunts Photo and Video. The two hour class is "The Painterly Photograph with Kathleen Clemons." As you all know, I enjoy photographing flowers and look forward to be able to create "dreamy" type of flower photographs.

While watering my flowers this morning, a postal truck stopped to deliver a package. Excitement!!! It was from Missouri Star. Excitement!!! What had I ordered this time??? Fun stuff . . .  a 1,000 piece quilt block jigsaw puzzle, a pattern, a mini tumbler template, some sweet sewing machine bookmarks, and three cute charms for the zipper pulls on future project bags. . . fun stuff!!!
Mask making continues . . . if you are looking for a place to donate masks, contact local shelters. They are extremely grateful for donations of fabric masks.

On my design wall . . .  My "When Life Gives You Lemons" quilt is almost ready to be sewn together.  Alex Anderson has been offering free quilting lessons/information on The Quilt Show website and Youtube. This is her sequoia pattern. I decided to have a lemon focus. Instead of the vase of flowers in her pattern, I created a lemon tree, and of course, I had to make one block be a pitcher of lemonade. My plan is to start sewing it together tomorrow.

Have a sweet week.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Have hope.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Sunday Sampler - 6/21/20

Good Day!  This post will be a bit of a hodge podge: I'll blame it on the very hot stretch of weather that we have been having. It's far too hot for gardening, but I did manage to go out earlier to photograph this pretty rose. It's a knock-out rose that starts out deep yellow and gradually lightens to a creamy white.

Here are a few more circles that I have stitched along with the Sue Spargo "Toned-Down Circle Sampler." As I have mentioned previously, mine are not toned-down. . . and not predominantly blue as this grouping would suggest. The circles are all different colors, but these are a few of my favorites. I've stitched fifty-six so far. I have not followed all of Sue Spargo's designs as some of the "critter" ones are just not appealing to me.

Are you a country music fan? If so, did you know that they are live streaming the Grand Ole Opry every Saturday night at 8:00 on Youtube? Last night's program featured Darius Rucker and Clint Black. The Opry auditorium is completely empty except for the socially distancing musicians on stage. You can watch it on Youtube or at CircleAll Access.  It's impressive to see the many great performers who stand there each week with no flashing lights and other special effects, but rather just stand there and sing for an hour. 

Now for Emma fans . . . as you can see her coat and beard are growing back and you have to love those eyebrows!!!

  - Had you ever heard of Juneteenth before this week?

  - Why were the shameful Japanese interment camps of WWll never mentioned in our history classes? Of the 112,000 from the West coast sent to interment camps, 80,000 were Nisei or second generation, American born citizens. How could this have been allowed to happen? We were at war with Germany and Italy and yet no camps existed for the relocation and incarceration of people of either heritage.

- Why would our President choose to hold a campaign rally in the midst of a surge in deaths due to the pandemic? Why would he say, "the virus is going away" when the number of deaths is steadily rising???

- It is reasonable that statues of rebel Confederate generals be removed. But, why were statues of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant, and Francis Scott Key toppled in various locations in the last few days?

Okay, enough of that. It's Father's Day. I was blessed to have had a wonderful dad who was a good, good man and whom I especially miss on this day.  Best wishes to all the dads out there trying their best to raise children in this troubled world.

_____________            ______________               ________________               _________________

Covid Statistics:

                World              United States                  Massachusetts

Cases:    8.8 million              2.3 million                  107,000

Deaths:     465,000           122,000                            7,828

---------------------        ----------------------             --------------------------              ---------------------------

Stay Safe. Stay strong. Have hope.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

This and That Thursday - 6/18/20

We have been enjoying glorious June weather. On Tuesday afternoon, my friends came for a sit and sew and "show and tell" in my backyard. As you can see, we observed the social distancing directives. Because of covid-19, I was not able to serve lunch; each brought her own food and drink. I did provide a basket of individually wrapped, sanitized treats. :-) :-)

This group of wonderful women first came together many years ago on Wednesday nights at Quilters Compass in Quincy. When the quilt shop closed, we decided that that was no reason that we should not continue to get together on Wednesday evenings, so we have taken turns hosting every two weeks. Sometimes there was not a lot of sewing accomplished, but the friendship, conversation, and food was always first rate. :-) We have not gotten together since the world turned upside down in March.

One of our group was unable to make it on Tuesday, and boy did she miss an awesome show and tell session. :-) Just look at what my talented friends have been up to . . .

Liz showed this bright, colorful quilt that she made for her husband.

Next up was Edith with her improv quilt.

Check out the back art.

 Even her top matched the colors in her quilt!

Maribeth has been super busy.  This spectacular chandelier quilt had about a zillion pieces!!! She was inspired by photos that she saw on Pinterest.  Click on this image to see the lovely quilting that was done by Jill Wiffen of Easton.

Maribeth has yet to met a tiny piece of fabric that she does not like!!!

All in all, it was a perfectly lovely way to spend an afternoon during these troubled times.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Have hope.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

This and That Thursday - 6/11/20

I finished another jigsaw puzzle featuring covers from the Nancy Drew series. It was only 500 pieces, so it went together quickly. A few weeks back, I read another blogger's account of doing this puzzle, so for something different, I decided to order it. Turns out that there are two versions: this 500 piece with quotes from the books and a 1,000 piece which features fifty-five covers. (Nancy Drew was a busy, busy crime solver.)

The 1,000 piece puzzle was back ordered and assuming it would not be available for some time, I also ordered the five hundred piece version. It's fun since it has quotes from various books. Look at this one which seems particularly apropos to these days.

There is nothing worse than a threatening note that
demands you stay at home, when you 're just not 
the stay at home kind of girl.

H'mmm . . . Nancy Drew would not have done well in covid-19 quarantine.

Oh, by the way, the 1,000 piece puzzle arrived the other day, but I will wait to start on that one. In fact, I ordered a puzzle featuring different quilt blocks this morning.

Now, because I specialize in providing random bits of what I consider fun, unusual, odd,  or interesting tidbits in this blog, let's talk jigsaw puzzles. Did you know that the first ones appeared way back in 1767 when an English mapmaker and engraver first pasted one of his maps on a thin piece of wood and then used a scroll saw to cut it up? It was the Parker Brothers gaming company which came up with the concept of making the pieces interlocking. The popularity of jigsaw puzzles exploded during the Depression, and today many companies are having a difficult time keeping popular themed puzzles in stock. (This info came from various sources. )

If you are looking for jigsaw puzzles, let me share two good sources: Galaxy Puzzles and Serious Puzzles.

Isn't this Knockout rose sweet?

Well,  all you smart, stay at home guys and gals, have hope, stay safe, stay strong, and we will one day once again be  . . .