Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Buzzing by with Another Cross Stitch FFO

 


I finished stitching “Summer Wishes and Bumble Bee Kisses,” a design by Primrose Cottage Stitches, last week and fully finished it yesterday.  I had purchased the hive backing board from 141 Designs a few months back. The plywood boards arrive unfinished, but it was a simple matter to paint them using acrylic paints. The black board on the bottom shows through the cuts in the top adding dimension. 

Yesterday, I was also able to prepare the backing for one of the quilt tops that I finished. Yeah!!! I fortunately already had backing for the second quilt. Making quilt backs is not one of my favorite things to do; the same goes for adding borders!

Fingers crossed that we might get some rain today. There have been some thunderstorms locally over the last few days, but not even a thimbleful where I live. Each of the last six days the temperature has been 95+, but the temperature tomorrow may only be in the high seventies or low eighties. Double Yeah!!!

Keep cool!

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Life Is Just . . .


 I knew that I would want to stitch this cheerful piece from the moment that I saw it. Life Is Just is a design from Cathy Habermann of Hands on Designs. Her patterns are always fun and delightful. The tiny dangling cherry charm was included with the pattern, and I copied the way she finished hers. 

Today is our fourteenth day with a temperature of 90+ degrees. Things will improve possibly as early as Wednesday. The meteorologist said that the past three weeks have been the hottest three weeks in local weather history. . . not  a record that we appreciate setting. If only we would receive some meaningful rain as my gardens are toast at this point. I’m just trying to keep my pots and hanging pots going, but when you see the photos of the raging wildfires in California and the devastating flooding in Missouri and Kentucky, you won’t hear me complain about our weather conditions.



On a happier note, yesterday afternoon I attended a terrific performance of The Music Man. My young cousin Miss T. loves being a member of The Arlington Children’s Theatre. All of the cast clearly enjoy performing. The high school student who portrayed Marian the Librarian had a beyond amazing voice. She could walk onto a Broadway stage tomorrow with her incredible voice and range. It was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. 

I was able to meet my friend Laurel for an early lunch at Mia Ragazza on Wednesday. Though the temperature was in the nineties, we sat under an umbrella and the heat at that point wasn’t too bad.

Recommendation!!! The other day Gayle King mention that she has been enjoying The Lincoln Lawyer, a new series on Netflix, so on Friday night I decided to check it out. Well, I’m not one who usually binge watches anything, but I watched four episodes that night!!! I had to force myself from starting the fifth episode. I guarantee that you will like this legal thriller. It has been so popular that Netflix has already ordered ten episodes for next season. Try it; you won’t be disappointed!



Finally, in defense of weeds. . . here is one of the prettiest weeds in my garden. Just look at that blue color and delicate form.  I looked it up and it is a Common Dayflower weed. Surely that must just be a matter of perspective referring to it as a weed as its tiny blossoms are down right lovely. :-) 

Follow up from last post:  Checking my email, I found a message from Bookbub indicating that the out of print biography of Bella da Costa Green, An Illuminated Life by HeidiArdizzone, is now available for both Kindle and Nook for a limited time period. The price is only $2.99. How amazing is that!!! [For those who did not see my previous post, Bella da Costa Green was the remarkable women chosen by J.P.  Morgan to curate his library. The fiction piece is The Personal Librarian.] I had a feeling that with the huge success of this book, the nonfiction, out of print biography might become available.

Stay cool. Stay safe. Have a good week. 

Sunday, July 31, 2022

We’re Having a Heat Wave


 The weatherman said that we have concluded the 4th warmest and the 5th driest July in recorded history for our area. I am up to date with my daily cross stitch temperature chart. Each paw represents five days, and the deep red color signifies a day with a temperature of 85+. We have had nine days so far over 90, and we are expecting more of the same this coming week which means I don’t even have to bother putting the deep red floss away. :-)

Is the heat my excuse for not posting since July 9th? Not really as I am lucky to have central air. I’d like to tell you about all the wonderful trips and marvelous adventures that I have been having, but that would be a big, fat fib. :-) 

With this heat, I haven’t done much gardening; I’ve just pulled a few weeds and tried to water the plants enough to keep things going. 




I did finish two small cross stitch pieces which I will show you in my next post, and over the last few days in a burst of quilting energy, I finished not one, but two, quilt tops. The Herring Run Quilt Guild is having a show in September and forms needed to be submitted by August 1st. In truth, one quilt only needed borders. I added a narrow inner border and a larger outer border, and I didn’t like how it looked so I had to remove them and eliminate the inner border. Now I am pleased with how it turned out. The blocks were all done on the other quilt, so it was just a matter of sewing them into rows. Fortunately, this quilt did not need borders. So, put a gold star on my forehead; that’s two quilts headed to the longarmer. Does that mean my quilting mojo has returned? Only time will tell.

(I am aware that when I changed one of the photos, the paragraph above was no longer left justified. I attempted to fix it, but it didn’t work, so if you don’t mind, rather then retyping it or losing it I will just leave it that way. Blame it on the heat.)


I’ve Been Reading . . . The only book that I am recommending this time is The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. I’m not recommending this because I think the writing style is so smooth; it’s not, but rather because the subject matter is so compelling. It is a work of historical fiction that tells the story of Belle da Costa Greene, the woman J.P. Morgan hired to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his Pierpoint Morgan Library. What adds another dimension to the story is that Belle was a Black woman who passed as white. She was the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard. Belle was a truly remarkable woman, and for that reason this book is worth reading. There is only one out of print biography of Bella da Costa Greene, and I have put my name on a number of lists in case a copy turns up. I’m hoping that since The Personal Librarian continues to be a best seller and people are fascinated by her life, the out of print biography, An Illustrated Life: Bella da Costa Greene’s Journey from Prejudice to Privilege  by historian Heidi Ardizzone might one day be reprinted. 

Yes, there are good people . . . I was driving home after Mass this morning when the traffic on Broad street was barely a crawl. Then I spotted the problem, a group of ducks was smack dab in the middle of the street. I was about to pull over to try to wrangle them safely across the road when the man ahead of me did just that. He jumped out of his car, raised his arms to stop the traffic (a few idiots had been attempting to go around the group), and proceeded to herd them out of harm’s way. They were no doubt heading to the tiny pond across from the fire station after their Sunday morning stroll.

Speaking of fowl, a large turkey was in my backyard when I took Emma out this morning. Thank goodness Emma was on a leash. Her barking didn’t faze the turkey until we started heading in its direction   whereupon it flew up into the woods.

Well, that’s it for this post. I’m going to go FFO my two cross stitch pieces this afternoon.

Stay cool and stay safe.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Garden of Liberty and Weymouth 400 Celebration



I FFO’d “Garden of Liberty” and added it to my patriotic dough bowl. I couldn’t resist stitching this cute little miss from Brenda Gervais’ booklet “Red White and Bloom.”

Let’s continue the patriotic theme. Weymouth, MA, where I live is celebrating its 400th anniversary. Weymouth was settled in 1622 just two years after the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth. The committee in charge of the celebration decided to hold four separate events. I had not attended the recent celebrations in South Weymouth and East Weymouth, but I did attend today’s event in North Weymouth which was held at Wessagusset Beach. There were three different trolley tours. I chose the Abigail Adams and Old North Cemetery tour. 

I may have mentioned this at some point, but I have always had a special affection for Abigail Adams. When I was little, I was always reading biographies from the children’s section of the old Tufts Library. I clearly remember reading about Abigail riding with her father Rev. Smith in a buggy down to Weymouth Landing. I was beside myself realizing that on those trips she would have ridden down Commercial Street which runs at the bottom of my street!!! :-()

Here are some photos from her birthplace that I took on today’s tour.





This small quilted wallhanging was beyond amazing. Click on the photo to enlarge it and you will see the signatures of  six of our former First Ladies: Claudia Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Hillary Rodham Clinton. What a treasure!!! Abigail Adams and Barbara Bush are the only two First Ladies, so far, who also had sons who became Presidents.

The tour also featured the Civil War monument in Old North Cemetery that honors the ninety Weymouth men who died during that war. 





The man with the magnificent handlebar mustache told us that fifty of those ninety men had died of disease.


There were also ladies representing the Sanitation Commission.


I had not heard of this group before, but the women explained that during the war their mission was to travel to different camps explaining about hygiene and food safety. They would also write letters home for soldiers unable to write. They comforted the dying and would write to the family of those who had died.

Back at the beach, there were food trucks and tables set up by various civic organizations and a group of Revolutionary War reenactors from the Hingham Militia.


We sure do like our history around here. :-()

Wait . . . one more thing . . . if you haven’t had enough Weymouth history, google ‘Weymouth Historical Commission’ and sign up for their newsletter, The Weymouth Gazette. Their recent publication had a number of interesting articles. Also, google ‘Weymouth 400’ so you don’t miss out on any upcoming lectures or events.

Have a wonderful week. 

Monday, July 4, 2022

Happy Fourth of July!!!

This beautiful floral arrangement was a birthday gift from my godchild’s family. John Adams thought that July 2nd would always be celebrated with parades, sports, speeches, bonfires, and illuminations for generations to come. (The Second Continental Congress declared our country’s independence from Great Britain on the 2nd. John Hancock signed the Declaration on July 4th as did Charles Thompson the secretary of the congress. The other delegates signed the document on August 2nd when it returned from the printer.)


Because I had the closest birthday (July 2)  to the 100th Birthday party last week, I came home with this floral centerpiece which will be on my table this afternoon when some friends come for our hot dogs, potato salad, strawberry shortcake, etc.,  get together. I had been with my friend Cathy at our other friend Marilyn’s home last night for dinner and later the “Night Before the Fourth” parade in Randolph. Today they will be here at my home along with another friend. The Randolph parade was a typical fun, hometown parade, and the weather was perfect.

I had spent a few hours on Thursday morning tackling my large garden, and I am making progress. A number of readers identified the purple plant growing along the side of my garage as a harebell, a member of the bell flower (campanula) family. Thank you to all who provided this information.

I spoke too soon about my turkey problem being over. The other afternoon there was a different turkey in my backyard with six very tiny babies. If that isn’t enough, I feel as if I am living in downtown Bunnyville. I had friends come for lunch on Wednesday, and they saw a number of my cottontail visitors.

Now a somber note . . . readers know that I enjoy watching quilting, gardening, and crafting videos on Youtube. In particular, I follow many flosstubers. These are people who show what they have been cross stitching and perhaps what they have been purchasing in the way of charts, fabrics, and floss. 

Another favorite channel on Youtube is “  Freisian Horses.” The videos are posted by Yvonne, a trainer at a stable in the Netherlands. I stumbled across this channel back in March of 2020 during lockdown and have followed it ever since. Her short videos featuring these truly magnificent horses have brought moments of peace and happiness. The channel has a huge worldwide audience. We have all come to know the dedication of those who work at the stable, the various horses, etc. In recent weeks we have seen the births of new herd members. We have also come to know Yvonne, a lovely young woman and her family. New videos are usually posted every few days, but there had not been any for a week. I had hoped that there was nothing wrong, but sadly there was.

Her husband posted a short video,  “Update on Yvonne’s Health.” He does not speak much English, but he had used Google translator to help him deliver the sad news. On June 21 while out riding, Yvonne was thrown from a horse. She was unconscious when found and med flighted to a large trauma center. She had suffered a serious brain injury. Her clearly broken hearted husband fought back tears as he struggled to tell us that she had been in a coma for a week. When she woke, she recognized people but struggled to speak. The full extent of the damage has yet to be determined. To give you some idea of how many people care about Yvonne, since his post on Wednesday there have been over 11,000 comments from all around the world offering prayers and support. Besides her husband, she has two boys ages two and four. If you can find it in your heart, please keep her in your prayers. Her future is uncertain and she may face many challenges on her road to recovery, but I am certain that thousands of “Freisian Horses Follow the Herd” followers worldwide will be praying for her.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

So, What Did You Do Today???

The January 6 hearings, covid variants, Supreme Court decisions, the horrors in Ukraine, a train derailment, a divided country . . .  As old timers used to say, the world is going to hell in a handcart. I’m popping in today to tell you about something purely happy and positive that I did this afternoon.

I attended a birthday party luncheon for my friend Kathy’s mom who will soon be turning 100!!! Yes, this is what one hundred looks like. . .  absolutely beautiful. For my part, I took photos at the party. All of her many card playing friends were there; she goes to the council on aging for weekly card games. Her many long time bowling buddies were there; she gave up actually bowling a few years ago, but she still goes to keep the scores. She is amazing!


Kathy had prepared a brochure about her mom’s life. It included a list of interesting items from the year 1922:
     - Warren G. Harding was President.
     - The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated.
     -  A movie ticket cost 25 cents, a loaf of bread cost 10 cents, and a gallon of gas cost 25 cents!
     
There was a lovely write up about her life including the celebration in 2020 to mark seventy-five years of marriage. Kathy’s dad has since that time gone home to God.
     
It was a positively wonderful time. :-)

Now, I haven’t received as yet any help identifying the purple plant shown in my last post, but perhaps you might be able to help identify this rather large, blue crested waterfowl that has recently appeared in my neighborhood. 

He or she is not menacing but rather appears quite content, cheerful, and is obviously an admirer of my gardens. She, I think it is female, floats around all day in my neighbor’s pool. My only hope is that he or she stays on that side of the fence as I have seen Emma’s reaction to squirrels, chipmunks, and bunnies and I fear an encounter with this giant bird would not go well. 

Keep smiling and have a wonderful week.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Monday Morning Musings

 


On Saturday and Sunday, the temperature hit 90, so I didn’t post a “what’s blooming in my garden this week.” It was hot, but we cannot complain as the western part of our country has had a period of record high temperatures. Here are a few spots of color. 



The large white pot of petunias came from the clearance section of Lowes and was half price. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating. Go on a Tuesday, pass by the plants up front, and head straight to the clearance racks down back. The other day I purchased two large pots of petunias and a hibiscus plant. It is hit or miss. The petunias were leggy, but I broke them back, added fertilizer,  and look at them know. Also, even if a perennial has gone by, pick it up and plant it now; it will reward you next spring.

Does anyone know what this purple plant is? I’m not sure where I got this plant last year, but it is doing very well along the side of my garage. 

Now, less you think this thrifty gardener only shops the clearance rack at Lowe’s, rest assured that I also shop at regular garden centers, too. BUT, I am officially finished buying plants for this season; seriously, I am. :-)

When I take Emma to be groomed, I usually have about ninety minutes to fill: time to do quick errands in that area and usually to pop in to the thrift shop at St. Colettas to look for vintage wooden frames for my cross stitch pieces. There weren’t any frames this time, but I did pick up this small, silver plated bowl ($3) to display small cross stitch pillows. 



In the front is my latest finish . . . Uncle Sam with a Sunflower. It’s a pattern from Brenda Gervais’ Red, White, and Bloom booklet. My plan is to concentrate on patriotic pieces throughout July. 

Speaking of patriotic, isn’t this guy adorable! I love seeing how he is decorated each time I get a haircut.


Finally, a wildlife update: the critters under my enclosed deck are gone, but Emma is still on a leash in the backyard as there are many baby bunnies hiding under bushes and in my gardens. Tess, Tom, and their toddlers have not been in my yard lately. The baby turkeys can no longer fit through my chain link fence. They are, however, frequent visitors to my neighbor’s all-day buffet eating all the seeds which have spilled from his bird feeder. 

As always, the double lines indicate that I am going to present something which you may or may not wish to read. If not, do have a wonderful week.

                                —————————————————————

On Friday June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 landmark Roe vs Wade decision that guaranteed the constitutional right of women in this country to have a legal abortion. On Saturday, I read a powerful opinion piece on this subject on a blog which I follow. Wherever you stand on the issue, I would encourage you to read this articulate discourse on the subject; click on The Way I See It. . . .