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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Boothbay Harbor - Quilty Getaway (Part1)


Last Tuesday at this time, I was driving north to Boothbay Harbor, ME,  with two friends for a 'quilty' getaway. We wanted to go to the Maine Quilts Show 2018  in Augusta on Thursday so we headed up north a few days earlier.  I posed with hard working, dedicated, Smokey the Bear at the highway Information Center.


Our first quilt stop was at Cotton Weeds Quilt Shop in Freeport, ME. If you are ever in Freeport, be sure to stop and visit this lovely shop.  It turned out to be our favorite shop on this trip. I purchased a few fat quarters, a pattern, and yardage for a table runner.




Boothbay Harbor is just an hour from Augusta, so that is where we stayed at one of my very favorite getaway places,  Brown's Wharf Inn. Here's Laurel and Edith with Captain Brown.


Brown's Wharf is a three story motel with fabulous water views from every room; that is if the fog doesn't come rolling in. :-)




After dinner, we drove over to Southport to photograph the two lighthouses. Here's Hendrick Head Light which is no longer operational and privately owned but easily seen from the beach.


Well, this is easily seen usually; this is all we saw of the lighthouse, so we headed back to Brown's. By the way, don't you just love the little red sandals in the foreground . . . serendipity!

Here's the view from the balcony of my room that night.


Sunday, July 29, 2018

Hanging Around - In My Garden This Week



My intention this morning was to post about a quilting themed getaway I took with friends to Boothbay Harbor this past week, but I'll do that next time. Instead, I thought I would share some of the many hanging pots around my yard. I had originally thought that due to an ongoing foot issue I might not be able to maintain my large garden and had even contemplated having it all mowed down. I'm so glad that I didn't as I haven't had to wear my very attractive, fashionable, big, black boot too much this summer and have been able to do my gardening.

 

Earlier in the spring, I was in my boot quite a bit, so I decided to plant "up" as in hanging pots. One thing led to another and they kept multiplying. :-) This post features record shots that I can look at when determining what combinations and colors to use when putting next year's pots together. Later in this post, I have a gardening question and something pretty, gosh darn cool to show you, but that can wait a bit.



This bejeweled beauty below was from the clearance rack at Lowe's; all it needed was a little tlc.



Here's where I need your help: can anyone identify this plant for me???



I purchased it at a garden club sale last spring, and the ladies there didn't know what it was. It was flowerless and about twelve inches at the time. I figured what the heck . . . for five dollars I would plant it and wait to see what would happen. One lady said she thought it would have yellow flowers. It does. Another said that she thought it might be a tall plant. It sure is  . . . about five feet. Here is a three quarter length shot. So, does anyone know what it is???  It makes quite an impact in my garden, but in the fall I might try to transplant it to the very back of the garden. Another question . . . can I wait to transplant it until spring when it will be much smaller or go ahead an attempt moving it later in this season???


Okay, here's the pretty, gosh darn cool part . . . I was relaxing in my pink, plastic  adirondack chair sipping my ice coffee and reading a book when I spotted a monarch fluttering about. Stealthfully (not a 'real' word but it should be) I approached with my camera and 100 - 300 mm lens in place and shot several photos of this orange beauty.


It wasn't until I uploaded the shots to my laptop that I noticed the butterfly's proboscis which you can see in the next two photos.



Click on them to see a larger version. You can actually see what is being sucked up. Wow! Pretty, gosh, darn cool!!! Of course, then I had to learn more about this process, and so, I found a fascinating blog post, The Infinite Spider - Butterfly Proboscis (Straw and Sponge) . It really is fascinating and there are lots of other interesting topics on that blog.  I'm going to put a link to that site in my side bar.

Suck up all the fun, happiness, and beauty that you can this week. 

Next time . . . Boothbay Harbor Quilting Getaway

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

After the Storm


The heavy rains came last night, but they did little to wash away the sadness felt over the tragic deaths of Officer Michael Chesna and Vera Adams. This morning I felt the need to go out and spend some time in my yard photographing flowers. Hopefully, these images will brighten your day just a bit.

Note the teenie tiny green bug on the tip of the top right petal of this daylily.




The little green visitor patiently waited for me to switch to my macro lens.


I am always drawn to raindrops on flowers as I was here with my balloon plant.



I experimented with different lens, but the majority I have posted here were taken not with my macro lens, but with my 100-300 zoom lens. That is by far my favorite lens for flower photography.


Though I have a macro lens, this sunflower center was taken with a 3T filter screwed on the end of my 18 to 55 zoom lens.  Please click on it to see a larger version of this and the other photos as I was really quite pleased with the detail in this last photo. The large versions are definitely worth checking out.


Monday, July 16, 2018

"Sometimes Life Breaks Your Heart"


Senator Ted Kennedy spoke those words at a memorial service for nine firefighters who had died in a devastating warehouse fire in Worchester back in September of 1999. Those words came back to me yesterday when I heard of the tragic death of Weymouth Police Officer Michael Chesna.  This forty-one year old husband, father of two small children, son, and brother was only thirty minutes away from the end of his shift when he was killed in the line of duty at 7:45a.m. on Sunday.  He had served two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan only to lose his life on the streets of his hometown.

Vera Adams, a seventy-seven year old woman who neighbors said enjoyed sipping her morning coffee each day on her sunporch, was also killed when a bullet pierced one of her windows.  Both were remembered tonight at a vigil on the field at the high school. The bleachers were filled and the field ringed with people of all ages. News reports indicate that 3,500 people were in attendance.

It was an amazing outpouring of support for the fallen officer,  the innocent bystander, and the men and women of the Weymouth police force. Officer Chesna's mother thanked the thousands in attendance and remarked she had never been prouder of her hometown; I felt the same way. 

At the end of the service, the police chief announced that Officer Chesna would be posthumously awarded the rank of sergeant today on what would have been the sixth anniversary of his having joined the force.

On the way home, I spotted many blue ribbons and blue lights on porches throughout town. Hopefully that small gesture and the tremendous turnout tonight will bring a small measure of comfort to the members of our grieving police force.

The Weymouth Police Department has set up a fund to benefit the family of Officer Michael Chesna.  Anyone who wishes to donate may make out a check payable to the OFFICER MICHAEL CHESNA FAMILY FUND and mail or drop off the check at the Weymouth Police Station at 140 Winter Street, Weymouth, MA 02188.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Colorful Spots in My Garden This Week




It appears that we will be having another stretch of high temperatures and high humidity this week. After church this morning, I went out to deadhead some of my flowers but within a very short time I was dripping with sweat. There went my plans to do a bit of weeding in my big garden. It will just have to wait. Speaking of my big garden, there have been frequent sightings of a cottontail in it, but so far it doesn't seem to be feasting on any of my flowers. He/she is welcome to all the weeds that it can eat as long as it leaves my flowers alone. (BTW: Emma is super fast; thankfully, the cottontail is even faster.)


 I really shouldn't stop by Lowe's any more as I am running out of room for the bargains I have been picking up in the garden center. This week I purchased from the clearance rack two yellow, yarrow plants and this cheery sunflower which is loaded with blossoms. Each plant was just five dollars. :-)
The pot the sunflower was in had a hole on the side, but that was no big deal as I always have an extra pot or two or twenty kicking around. I'm thinking this photo might be a good subject for a wall hanging . . . h'mmm . . . perhaps I'll put that on my list.



The biggest bargains, however, were these pretty hanging pots with jeweled hangers.  Really, who could resist a fancy, "blinged up" pot full of colorful flowers also for a mere five dollars? I can't imagine why they were all marked down as the petunias, verbena, calibrachoa mix will keep blooming right through to fall. They had originally cost much more than that and there were many, many of them still on the shelves.  The pots themselves were not a sturdy material, but I can always unclip the jeweled hangers and put them on sturdier pots next year. How many did I buy? FOUR!!! I even had to buy another shepherd's hook, but winters here are snowy, cold, and long so that justifies splurging on summer flowers.


My, my, my doesn't the pot on the left look a tad dull with out any beads. :-)



The blue globe above is perfectly round, so I'm not sure why it appears misshapen. Optical illusion . . .


Finally, here's the $3.00 gerbera daisy I bought last week. Bargains!!! Bargains!!! Bargains!!!

On the quilting front, I completed four more blocks for my Lori Holt Let's Bake2 quilt, and I'll show them to you in the next post. I have only a couple of blocks to do before I can stitch it all together as I have already completed the border blocks. Yippee!!!

Have a colorful week full of sunshine and happy moments!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Curcuma


Curcuma . . . it sounds like a greeting in a foreign language, but in fact, it is the name of a flowering, sun loving tropical plant. The other day after picking up a few things on the clearance garden rack at Lowe's, I also checked out the regular priced plants.  :-) This beautiful plant caught my eye and came home with me. It's a "Siam Sparkling Curcuma with white bracts and blue-purple flowers." I knew absolutely nothing about this plant, but I found information at Costa Farms .  While it would be lovely in a garden, I'm choosing to keep in on my sunporch.


I wasn't the only one drawn to this plant as I saw quite a few in other shopping carts; it's a show stopper!  It is not winter hardy in this region, but again, if you go to Costa Farms, they tell you how to save it during the winter. It is a perennial in warmer climates.


I also read that this plant is native to Southeast Asia, southern China, the Indian Subcontinent, New Guinea, and northern Australia and is related to the spice turmeric. A touch of the tropics on my sunporch . . .

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Sunday Sampler - Blooming This Week in My Garden


The past week had too many days in the mid 90s. It was difficult to keep up with the watering, but yesterday and today we have enjoyed a brief respite from the sweltering humidity. Temperatures will trend up again starting tomorrow, but the humidity is not expected to be as bad as it has been.  It is after all July, and this is what we wished for last winter when we were knee deep or higher in snow. :-)

This vibrant orange gerbera daisy above was purchased yesterday off the clearance rack at Lowe's; I always check those racks first before looking up front.

 







Keep cool and have a colorful week.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Just Call Me Betsy Ross


This flag on my front door is a panel from the Stonehenge line of fabric. I had begun quilting it over the weekend at our monthly quilting get-together in Stoughton, but I put the finishing stitches on the binding just a few minutes before friends arrived for a festive, fun July Fourth celebration. Okay, maybe it wasn't all that festive and fun, but the food was good and my table sure looked pretty with a tablecloth that I had purchased in Italy and the cobalt blue water pitcher and glasses set that my mom had received as an engagement present in the late 40s.

[BTW: in case you are interested, I stitched down the stripes and crosshatched the stars on the flag panel . . . simple but effective.]


On Friday and Saturday,  I had also worked on a few more blocks for the Lori Holt - "Let's Bake2" quilt. I need to get cracking on this quilt so it will be ready for some upcoming quilt guild shows in the fall.



There are four small aprons; these two are my favorites.




On Sunday, I went to a ninth birthday party for my little cousin, F.P.  and we celebrated all the other July birthdays in the family as well. While it was sweltering here, an hour away it was much better as my cousin lives near the water.


I celebrated my birthday on Monday, and my forever friend Cathy took me out for dinner that night.

Besides doing some quilting, I have been designing bookmarks and a flier for one guild's October show. I definitely need to take some computer classes as it was sheer luck coupled with a ton of perseverance and determination that they turned out as well as they did. :-) I know you can't read the info on the flier, but don't worry as I will give you all the details about the show as the time gets closer.

 

One last thing . . . I finished the 1,000 piece puzzle on my sunporch featuring New England signs/posters. My friend Ann Marie had said it would be quick and easy to do as there were small separate sections of color. Quick??? Not for me . . . it was a real time sucker, but I did enjoy working on it. (That's probably why I haven't made much progress with my quilting. :-) It's done now, however, but I think that I will keep it together for another week or so to enjoy. Put a big gold star on my forehead!


Keep cool and have a lovely rest of the week.