Friday, August 29, 2014

White Hostas

   A posting of photos taken this past week of a favorite subject, white hostas.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Row by Row - Ladybugs,Pinwheels, and a Good Deed

     The "Row by Row Experience" for this year will be coming to a close at the end of the month. For those who may not know, quilters across the country are scurrying around to quilt shops to get patterns and fabric kits. The theme for this year was the seasons. You simply need to visit a shop in person and ask for the free pattern. It's been kind of crazy but lots of fun. On Thursday, my friend Marilyn had a free afternoon and wanted to do something. I suggested we go visit a couple of quilt shops. :-) She laughingly agreed and off we went. Our first stop was Knit One, Quilt Two in West Boylston. The pattern there was a series of cute little birdhouses. Upon the suggestion of the owner, we headed down the road to O'Connor's Restaurant, a lovely Irish pub for a late lunch.  Fortified, we headed next to Quilters Way in Acton. The pattern and kit there featured autumn leaves. Though I intend to make a spring/summer quilt, I did purchase the kit which perhaps I will make into a wallhanging or table runner.
     I have finally, actually, unbelievably completed my first row. This pattern was offered by Franklin Mills. There are two other Massachusetts quilt shops which chose ladybugs for the theme of their patterns. (Ladybugs are our state insect.) I selected this one as it also contains pinwheels which are in a number of other patterns. I used dotted fabric in the pinwheels. Let's see; that means I only have to make seven or eight more rows. :-) The theory is that since I have posted one here, it will motivate me to make the rest. I sure hope it works!

     Speaking of insects . . . if they creep you out, stop reading immediately. This morning I was in the backyard with Emma and my camera as I often am. Later, when I started up the porch steps, this is what I nearly stepped on.

I though he or she was dead and was just about to brush it away, when I saw its little "legs" faintly fluttering. It couldn't seem to turn over, so with a leaf, I gently rolled it over.

It didn't seem interested in flying off, and I just kept shooting. What would you have done? Anyway, he or she was probably worn out from its struggle and seemed unfazed by my camera.

 You have to admit; it's weirdly fascinating! Look at that face and those eyes!!! Click on any of the photos, especially this face one, to see a larger version. After a few shots I put a tiny twig in front of it and it crawled on. I then carried it over and placed it on some plants near the fence. Good deed done for the day! Anyone have any idea what this insect is???  In case you were wondering when I checked sometime later, it had flown away.

UPDATE: My friend, who is also named Janice, identified this as a cicada. Their "lacey" wings are really quite lovely. :-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pierced Ears for Emma?

     Oh!!!  No!!! Did Emma go and get her ears pierced? ? ? Well, my dad always called me with affection, his "crazy redhead," but no, I'm not that crazy. Emma went to the groomer this afternoon, and when I went to pick her up she was sporting some stick-on bling on each ear tip. She looked adorable and it gave me a good laugh. :-)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Butterfly Chasing

     Today was an "Italian" day. I met friends at a coffee shop for Italian conversation practice this morning. Later after taking Emma for a good walk, I settled into one of my pink chairs in the backyard to catch up on my Italian homework for tonight's lesson. My camera rested on the other pink chair as I observed a beautiful monarch on my butterfly bush. Whenever it would land, I would put down my homework and attempt to shoot it. I'll be the first to admit it; these aren't great, but I do like the composition in both photos. A gentle breeze made focusing difficult.   Maybe I'll have better luck tomorrow.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Autumn Tablerunner

     I made this autumn tablerunner  today. The pattern used was "Triangle Frenzy Swirl" by Bunnie Cleland at Artistically Engineered Designs.  This company has a series of patterns which use the 60 degree triangle ruler and striped fabric. Here's the fabric (before cutting) which was purchased on Thursday when I went fabric shop hopping in New Hampshire with friends. The wine color is exactly the same shade as the paint in my dining room.

I made the autumn table runner longer than the lavender table runner which I made in a class at  Heart in Hands quilt shop last week.

On our shop hop we visited six shops which were really not all that far apart. Quilters in NH have many quilt shops to explore. At each, we picked up the "Row by Row Experience" pattern and a few other goodies besides. 
       This fabric will make a good backing for an upcoming garden quilt.

These two fabrics also came home with me. I haven't any idea how I will use them, but they were so whimsical that I couldn't resist. And yes, a few other odds and ends also came home with me.

     I was able to go off for the day because Emma's Auntie Ann Marie stopped by to let her out and check on her. :-) Emma is back to being her happy, energetic self. In case you were wondering, what she had was hemorragic gastroenteritis which was as nasty as it sounds. I've been in touch with Emma's breeder and will follow her advice to keep Emma on a low fat diet in hopes this never happens again.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Troubling Weekend

     This pretty petunia photo belies the difficult weekend we had. I noticed that Emma didn't seem quite herself on Friday. By Saturday she was definitely not feeling well with tummy issues. When I awoke early Sunday morning, I was horrified to discover that Emma had been very sick during the night. I rushed my lethargic puppy to the vet and she was hospitalized. She had become dehydrated and was unable to keep food down along with other problems. My poor little puppy was miserable.
     Yesterday morning I received a call from the vet indicating that Emma was doing much better and would be able to go home. What a relief! They had run numerous tests to determine a cause for her condition, but no cause was found. The good news is that she now seems to be back to her happy, energetic self.

     Just a thought on the incredibly sad passing of Robin Williams. I hope that he is now at peace and perhaps on some heavenly cloud riffing with Jonathan Winters together making the angels laugh.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Adventures with Emma - Mud Bath - Before and After

     At some of the finest spas in the world, people pay good money to have mud treatments. Emma's didn't cost a cent. It was raining gently this morning the first time Emma went out wearing her little yellow slicker. No problem . . . after a few minutes outside she came right back in for her breakfast. All was good. 
     The rain soon stopped, and the sun even came out. Emma wanted to go outside and without a thought, I opened the door and said, "Have fun!" I busied myself doing some paperwork and straightening a few things while I glanced outside from time to time to be sure Emma wasn't up to any mischief. (She has begun another excavation project along the fence in spite of my attempts to block it with fencing and rocks. The neighbor's yard always has squirrels swinging from their bird feeder, and Emma is desperate to get at them.) Anyway, after awhile I went and changed my clothes as I was soon to leave for my flute lesson. I gathered up my flute and exercise books and went to call Emma inside. 
     Oh my gracious goodness!!! A filthy, bedraggled puppy then came running. From head to tail she was covered with mud. I hardly knew where to begin. I should have washed her in the cellar, but instead I grabbed an apron, scooped her up, and headed upstairs to begin running a warm bath. You have never seen such brown, dirty, gritty water in your life and of course, Emma was shaking it all over the tub, shower curtain, walls and the door. About the only thing not splotched was the ceiling. What a huge, incredible mess. :-)  Life is never, ever dull with Miss Emma, and you have to admit, she sure does clean up well.

Thank heavens this didn't happen yesterday when I was heading out with friends on a mini shop hop. We had a delightful day visiting three quilt shops, picking up some 'row by row' patterns, buying a little fabric, and enjoying a relaxing lunch.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Lunch, and a Quilt Show

     It was a great week. Since part of the reason I blog is to try and keep track of what I've been doing, let me share some of this week's highlights. Yesterday my friend Marilyn and I attended a Red Sox vs. Yankees game. I will be the first to admit that I am not really a baseball fan; the game moves a bit too slow for me and I never watch them on TV. Having said that, I do love, love, love the "experience" of being at a game in person at Fenway Park. From the time you leave the crowded subway and start jostling along with other happy game goers you can feel the excitement building. 

     Country singer Trace Adkins who was appearing at the South Shore Music Circus later that evening sang the National Anthem. He has a very deep, rich voice, and I was truly impressed by his range. As everyone knows, our anthem is very difficult to sing well, but (. . . indulge me here), he hit it out of the park! What a voice!!!

     Derek Jeter, who is retiring at the end of this season, received appreciative cheers and loud applause each time he came up to bat. In spite of the long standing rivalry between these two teams, fans do respect talent. I met a couple from New York who were very pleased with the reception that he received at Fenway. 

     Though it was downright chilly and the home team didn't win, everyone still had a great time at the game.
     Going back to Tuesday, I went to lunch with a group of fellow retired teachers. As always, it was lovely to see everyone and to welcome a new member to our group. Most of us enjoyed the delicious lobster special. Yum! 
     On Friday, I went with friends to a quilt show in Harvich on Cape Cod. There are many, many talented quilters in the Bayberry Quilters of Cape Cod Guild and their work was truly beautiful. The vendors at the show were also good though I only made a couple of purchases.

I thought this Garden Quilt pattern by Amy Bradley Designs would be a wonderfully cheery project to work on during the winter months, and I picked up these fat quarters which I think will work well in the piece.
     After lunch and a quick stop at a quilt shop on Orleans, we headed for home. Since I had had lobster on Tuesday, I ordered something else, but I couldn't resist posting what some of my friends selected, a lobster cobb salad. What an artistic presentation.

Good friends, beautiful quilts, fun day trips, a ballgame . . . it really doesn't get much better than this. Life is good!!! Have a wonderful week!