Blooms, Bees, Butterflies, Pups, Bunnies etc.

Some scenes around here from the last week or so…many critters in this post, just like the last one! :)

My privet bush was in bloom last week,  and I picked a bouquet to bring indoors to enjoy the heady scent.

Many bees were visiting the bush that day and as luck would have it a pretty butterfly had landed there as well.

bees and butterfly on privet collage

butterfly collage

butterfly 2

Beginnings of blooms in my yard,  and bunnies here and there in the neighbor’s yard, who had been away for awhile…it’s been mowed since then though it got worse than this before they came home from vacation to do it :)

floral and bunny collage

Growth : The echinacea has deepened in color. Peppers, green beans and  tomatoes are growing and cucumbers are flowering. The lavender has begun to bloom. And I was so pleased to see the grapes…this will be my first crop; the vine is 3 years old this summer.

grapes etc collage

Joyce, from What Happens at Grandmas, had asked if I was going to use the grape leaves in any recipes. I do believe that she has a Greek in her extended family and I think that she should post a grape leaf recipe on her blog and then I might! : )  I’d like a tried and true tested one, please :) If you’ve never been over there, it’s amazing…she’s some sort of super-grandma, lol…very creative and crafty and over-the-top! And she’s been adding extra grandkids left and right…she’s got a baseball team coming along : )

My daisies are still blooming as well as the spirea bush, and the rose of sharon bushes are coming into bloom…no pictures of them yet but here’s a updated photo of my son’s pup. I’ve been taking photos of him for a Facebook album for my son, to keep track of his first year.  He’s such a sweetie  ( HA! The pup not the son!  Just kidding:)

KOOPA

And to be fair lest they read my blog and get jealous, here are my own dogs…photo taken on a rainy, cooped-up-in-the-house day last month.

Jugsy and Lily black and white

Speaking of rain, I know that many of us are not getting enough, and many of us are getting too much. Last evening we had a torrential downpour. These generally last 5-10 minutes…this went on for an hour or more.  In the collage I have a picture of my neighbor’s yard and drainage ditch flooding for awhile. I took some water in my basement…got it mostly dried up before heading to the antique mall the next morning, though.

heavy rain collage

And I did catch the tail end of a rainbow afterwards…

rainbow

You  might also enjoy:  Tuesday Treasures : Thunbergia  or  Pretty-Pretty” & Other Randoms  or “The Compass” from my other blog. 

Sharing at : Savvy Southern Style

Critter warfare around here

If you read this blog regularly or are vaguely familiar with it, you might remember several posts over time about my blue jay visitor. He comes and calls for me, or I go out and whistle for him, and he gets some peanuts.

This has gone on for a year or two but lately there’s been some critter warfare around here.

There’s a bitchy robin that’s been interfering.  She’s got a nest around the side of the house in the Rose of Sharon bush and she is very territorial and she just doesn’t like him at all!  He has no interest in her or her nest…he just wants to come for his peanuts but unfortunately he’s not learned to do that quietly and the minute he starts to announce his presence she goes after him. She dive bombs…right by me, the squirrel visitors, him…she’s fearless and nasty as can be.

“I cannot BELIEVE that you called me ‘bitchy”!  Well you can just kiss my tail feathers! ”

robin from the backside

“Just look at me!” Aren’t I just a picture of sweetness and light?”

bitchy mama robin

The blue jay says ” That lady is not sweet at all. I want my peanut but it’s ridiculous how she’s going to chase me around before I can land safely. But at least you are focusing your camera on my landing strip so that people can enjoy how handsome I am when I do, versus HER chasing me around…since that’s all just a blur, anyway! ”

blue jay and robin ready to battle him

“And one day…that little squirrel was sitting on top of the wicker chair on the porch and she flew right over him, scaring the daylights out of him…oh no, she’s just bad news!  Little squirrel, how did that make YOU feel..I know that she drives ME crazy…”

little squirrel tuckered out

“Thank goodness that we don’t have to deal with her too much ourselves!”

finches and squirrel collage

” We hope that she settles down, and doesn’t attract the Grim Reaper here! ”

hawk collage

“Wish me luck, guys…I’m going in!”

blue jay

” It took me months to train this human to run out with her peanuts whenever I called and no crazy mama-robin is going to ruin that!”

blue jay 2

“Made it! I can’t wait till her babies leave the nest and she’s outta here!”

You might also enjoy :  Baby Squirrel  or  A Puppy  or  Baskets & Laura Ingalls Wilder  or  Simple Meals Using Fresh Ingredients

Sharing at : Frugal by Choice / Cozy Little House / Savvy Southern Style

Tasha Noel Embroidery ; July 4th weekend Slow Stitching

I finished up this little embroidery for the Whimsy Quilt. I’ll cut it down to size to match the other little blocks.

girl with chicks embroidery for whimsy quilt

Long ago I’d ordered a Tasha Noel panel and made a few things out of it. I still had this little block, and since I enjoyed the relaxation of embroidering it I decided to continue on and use the other two blocks that I had left from the panel for the Whimsy quilt. Then I’ll go back to appliqueing, EPP, or whatever whim strikes my fancy for the quilt down the line…

So I started on the second one.

I took this photo on late Friday afternoon, and it’s what I will be doing on Sunday as well. A bit of one and then a bit of the other and some reading in between. I had caught up with the grass and weeds in the early a.m. on Friday before the next round of rain, and Sunday is a day to relax.

quilt in hoop and embroidery

Meanwhile, I decided to look around on the Internet and get another Tasha Noel “The Simple Life” panel for when I am in the mood to embroider again. It’s an older line but there are still plenty of opportunities to purchase either this pale pink, an aqua, or the red one that I ordered from Old Country Store Fabrics, where it was on sale. This is a nice place to order from…good service and even a handwritten note included with the shipment. I am mentioning that because sometimes if you look for something older, you will come across it on Etsy or Ebay or even a shop for a high price. Not so here…it was on sale because it was older.

Anyway, once it arrived, even though I’d ordered red, it seemed to be very red to me…as I was used to the pale pink blocks. I washed it in hot water in the kitchen sink with a color catcher, and it did leak a bit… and then I  hung it out on the line to get a photo. Comparing it to the pale pink, in the collage below…

tasha noel pink versus red

I did manage to work on some English Paper Piecing starflowers this week while my mom was in the hospital…good that I had a few prepped…but they are not done so no pictures at this time; maybe next week :)

You might also enjoy :  My Niece’s Favorite Side Dish: Zucchini Casserole  or  Big Bold & Beautiful Butterfly  or  Home Tour

Sharing at : Kathy’s Quilts / Cozy Little House / A Stroll Thru Life / Savvy Southern Style

A quick Mom Update & Some Silly Kids and God Bless America

Thank you everyone for the kind words, thoughts and prayers in response to my post about my mom the other day. God must listen to bloggers because they are going to be kicking her out of the hospital and moving her to a skilled nursing care facility for awhile. She might actually have a chance to get better there since there’s no way to sleep or rest at the hospital. I took my little grandson there to visit yesterday and I was there for a good part of the day today but the lack of sleep is wearing on her. They wake you all night long checking vitals or what-have-you and I think there’s less of that at the other place.

Now as to silly kids…it’s probably because the photographer is silly? : )

My DIL wanted a photo shoot with the kids ; she wanted to get some updated pictures to have printed and framed. On a nice cloudy morning with no harsh sunlight a week or so ago, we headed up to the lot next to the local library.

Is it even remotely possible to line five children up against a tree and have them all look perfect and normal for a group picture, let alone add their mom into the mix ( who wasn’t dressed for it according to her ) ?

No.  One child’s eyes will be closed. One child will have a silly fake ‘cheese’ smile, and so on. Out of all of the attempts for a formal photo only a few were close to decent but I expected that. The best photos that I’ve taken over the years of the kids grouped together is when I try to do anything BUT a ‘formal one’. So while the DIL sent a few ‘decent formal ones’ off to be printed, here are MY favorites :)

The kids are used to this by now…having to ‘pose’ for a few pictures and then they can’t wait for me to say it’s time for monster faces, or to run around, or whatever silly thing that I tell them to do….

For instance :

priceless

Or:

kate and tallica bw

Or:

kids and tree cinema

Strangle the twins :

strangle your sisters

Be silly:

everyone do silly

Or be the Brady Bunch :)

black and white collage all

When I was explaining to my mom how the blogging world is also like a prayer group sometimes, she was quite overwhelmed and very touched and said to tell you all thank you and God bless.   Wishing you and yours a wonderful and safe 4th of July. In a perfect world, for this weird weather year, all of you in the West would get rained out and all of us on the other side would not! :)

Memory Lane :

God Bless America!

flags fly in the hood

You  might also enjoy : Raspberry Coffee Cake ; a Recipe Winner  or  Making Delicious Pickles with Little Kids ( recipe ) 

Sharing at : Common Ground / French Country Cottage / Cozy Little House / Savvy Southern Style

My mom : heart attack

My mom’s in the hospital. She had a fall preceded by a heart attack or the attack came after…not sure. She’s fairly housebound and gets around with a walker. My sister lives just a few minutes away so when my mom called her ( taking about two hours to crawl out of the bathtub to the phone…how awful! ) she and my brother-in-law went down and got her dressed and settled. At the time they didn’t know that she’d had a heart attack, and neither did she.

brent and mummy DS

Meanwhile as I pieced the events together, I had called her a few hours later. I don’t really talk about me and she doesn’t talk about her. She wants to hear what’s going on with the grandkids and great grands and we might discuss the weather and so she never mentioned anything about falling and what when on earlier!

Later, however, my brother-in-law stopped in and she couldn’t get up off the couch…extremely weak. So he called my sis and then they called 911.

After initial testing, we found out about the heart attack. She’s currently in the little hospital that is about five minutes from me. Down the line she’ll be moved to one much farther away when they run special tests to see if there are blockages. For the moment the cardiologist doesn’t want her moved. She has a blood infection, cellulitis, and a UTI. He wants her to be much more stabilized first and there are other tests that they can run there.

It’s a nice little hospital…all of the nurses thus far are very nice and the cardiologist is good-looking :)

brent and mummy

Mr. Good Looking mentioned today that he’d check the results of the echo cardiagram and that she’d probably have a stress test tomorrow. I asked how they did that for people that can barely walk let alone run on a treadmill!  He said they can do it just by using a certain medicine that mimics the stress test. Amazing…

MY stress test for the day was getting home and trying to get the grass mowed before the rain moved in again. This is such a ridiculous summer, weather wise. There’s been many a day that I think that it feels as if we are living in Seattle, yet they are currently having a dry spell and heat wave!

As to medicine, I took some to my mom today.  Here in PA., before our tomatoes are ripe, the next best thing to them is when Arkansas tomatoes hit the grocery store. I had one sitting on the windowsill for two days to assure that it would be fully ripe. You know how hospital food is…and she’d had little appetite thus far.  I cut that tomato up, put a little salt and coarse ground pepper on it, added about a teaspoon of Italian salad dressing, and took it along with me. It’s good that I did because any sane person would want that versus the peas / carrot mix served at lunch.

The good news is that this was probably a mild heart attack. She’s not in ICU or anything. So far having her at the hospital right down the road is nice…my sis and I will split shifts and I can easily run back and forth.   Still if you can say a little prayer, much appreciated :)

sunrise

Prior to that I had taken some photos that I can use for a few quick posts here and there, and I hope that all goes well but I did want to let you know, in case I can’t visit around as much as I usually do. Or in case it’s all okay now but something worse happens… I am going to stay positive about this. There’s power in prayer and positive thinking! :)

And then I also have other medicine for her.  My DIL’s family had a surprise birthday party for her 80 year old grandma on Sunday afternoon and clearly some of the candy was blue.   I need to take this little grandson of mine to see his great-grandma as soon as I can get my hands on him again…though I imagine he’ll have a normal tongue on that day:

brent blue tongue

You might also enjoy :  Grandkids in the Morning

Quilting Prophecy : Harper’s Weekly 1872

I thought that any of you interested in quilting, handwork in general,  or history would enjoy this quote from 1872.

” The Patchwork Quilt “

“There was a time when American housewives prided themselves on their neat and often elaborate patchwork quilts; and merry indeed were the “quilting bees,” when the women, young and old, married and single, used to gather at some neighbor’ s house to take a hand in the work…

There are few parts of the country where this custom still lingers, cheap manufactures having superseded the necessity of the branch of domestic industry. Here and there may be found some old grandmother who still clings to the habits of her youthful days, and employs much of her time at the quilting-frame…The next generation will know them only by tradition, and by such pictures as the one we give on this page.”  __Harper’s Weekly, December 21, 1872

Isn’t it wonderful that this gloom and doom prophecy did not come to pass? : )

An all time favorite of mine from that era : Pot of Flowers, 1870, Pennsylvania.

Pot of Flowers 1870 Pa

* Harper’s Weekly quote taken from “The Smithsonian Treasure: American Quilts” by Doris M. Bowman.  Pot of Flowers photo taken from “Treasury of American Quilts” by Cyril I. Nelson & Carter Houck.

You might also enjoy :  Amazing Antique Quilts  or  MORE Amazing Antique Quilts  or  Make a Small Batch of Jam   or  The Fairly Tame Bluejay: Here’s What Happens

Sharing at : Kathy’s Quilts / Sew Many Ways / Cozy Little House / Savvy Southern Style / Common Ground / Sew Fresh Quilts 

Mid-year sewing projects review

Last Sunday ( Solstice / Father’s Day ) the tropical depression named Bill had finally passed over us here in southwestern PA. . Basically that had just added more rain to our very rainy week. The morning was cool and cloudy. I did some early a.m. weeding and transplanting and then went out on the front porch to hand-quilt. I took some peanuts out for the squirrels and my blue jay buddy and settled in. At one point I went into the house for some chore or another and came to the door to see a little squirrel perched on the top of the wicker chair enjoying a peanut and dropping the shell portions on to my quilt. Well that won’t do : )

While I was out there quilting, I decided that since it was halfway through the year that I should make a list. I often see quilters setting yearly goals or listing their UFO projects.  I decided to do a mid-year sewing projects review so that I could keep better track of my projects. I should also start to tag them with a name in my posts as I see so many quilters do, versus my general tags of ‘applique’, etc.

From the oldest on :

  • Last summer I made 2 house blocks. I never did get back to the house quilt project after that. I decided to start the prep work on another one this week but have not gotten very far just yet.
  • Here and there I have been cutting out pieces for an hourglass quilt. A few are sewn together. More are cut out than sewn..it’s just an every once in awhile scrap project.
  • I had also started making some granny blocks because I got inspired seeing Karen’s quilt “Granny’s Got Style” in the frame, being beautifully quilted.  As to progress here,  one row is done and a few more blocks have been pieced for a second row. This will be another every once in awhile project.
  • In the hoop: a Crosses and Losses quilt top in Amish colors. It measures about 60 x 80 and I am probably close to 2/3 done with the quilting.
  • Next in line :  four large red and green applique blocks are ready for quilting ; they just need a larger border attached prior to making the quilt sandwich and going into the hoop.
  • Once I start quilting that, it’s going to be awhile…so I thought to revisit this project :

 

Spool Star small top finished

Initially I had thought that I would stop here and just make a little display piece quilt.  I changed my mind.

I am going to continue on, making it into some sort of medallion quilt. Do I have a pattern or know what I am doing ? No, but I’ll just start with some EPP starflowers while I think about it.  I have a nice selection of reproduction fabrics generously gifted to me last year from Susan at Desertysky Quilting  that I can utilize for applique or small pieces such as stars, hexies, etc. As of Solstice Sunday I had cut out and prepped two stars of different sizes for EPP. No sewing yet. 

  • “Whimsy” quilt: small blocks of hexies, baskets, and whatever whim I come up with. This week I finished up two more : hmm…I see that my basket handle shifted a bit from the exact center...oh well the world won’t end.  I don’t do perfect here very much. Maybe someday…

whimsy blocks two more

I have started embroidering a little block for the Whimsy quilt. I had a few pieces left over from a Tasha Noel panel that I used awhile back and I can cut it to size once I am finished. I can assure you that my embroidery won’t be perfect either :) It is quite relaxing, however.

Girl feeding chicks embroidery

  • Last : during the week leading up to June 21, I had started on a new red and green applique block. Here is where I was on that day: some of it sewn down and some not as yet…and much more prep work to do for the rest of the block.

new red and green applique

Unless I start something small such as a pillow cover or mug rug or table runner, etc. I do not foresee any other finishes for 2015 other than my Crosses & Losses quilt. Everything else is slow and time-consuming and I am forever grateful to Kathy for her Slow Sunday Stitching party which is so very encouraging for us slow stitchers : )

Link up HERE for her Sunday party  if you hand quilt, piece or applique, cross stitch, crochet, knit, rug hook, embroider or anything else that is hand work and that takes awhile.

Our forecast calls for heavy rains on Friday night through Saturday. I’ll probably get more slow stitching done on Saturday than Sunday, since there’s a big surprise birthday party / picnic scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Hopefully the rain will have moved on by then.

You might also enjoy:  ( from my other blog; A Series on the Amish: Part Six )   or  Making a Rag Rug on a Loom; Completed end of February   or  Squirrels & Blue Jays

Also sharing at : A Quilting Reader’s Garden

 

Baby sparrows

I finally managed to catch a few shots of the baby sparrows in a nest on the side of my house.

Let me tell you, it’s not been easy. Usually they retreat to deep inside of the nest tunnel as soon as they see me.

Maybe they became a bit curious this time…

baby bird 3

Peek a Boo…

baby sparrow peek a boo

baby birds 2

Little cuties! : )

You might also enjoy : Birds & Blooms Late August

Sharing at : French Country Cottage / Sew Many Ways / Cozy Little House / Savvy Southern Style / Common Ground

The garden ( or jungle ) this week

Here’s what is going on in the garden ( or jungle! ) this week:

The little pink rosebush is still blooming, and the yellow one started. I picked another small bouquet.

pink and yellow roses

focus on yellow rose

Coming into bloom : yucca, yarrow, daisies and one of the dahlias :

daisies yucca yarrow dahlia collage

Daisies

A little bee is enjoying the Yucca :

yucca and bee

I’m excited about my grapevine. Three years old…it’s finally taking off. There will be some grapes this year. It’s grown by leaps and bounds with all of the rain we’ve received.

grapevine

And right on the other side of the fence, some pretty day lilies:

day lilies opposite grapevine

Everything’s grown by leaps and bounds; so much rain! The trumpet vine is always a challenge to keep in control ; believe it or not in the collage below, I have trimmed it at least 3 or 4 times already….serious trims as in a small garbage can full each week : )  It has not bloomed yet nor do I have ripe vegetables aside from my lettuce but everything is far ahead of what it normally would be; even the plants started from seed that I have in my garden cart:

growth collage

Another example is this early a.m.  photo of a bunny in my neighbor’s yard across the street. They mowed about 5 or 6  days ago and their yard is already out of control…it looks as if the bunny is in a field, doesn’t it? : )

bunny in lawn needing mowed again

I have managed to keep up but I don’t like the heat and humidity and on that particular morning I dragged out my REEL mower ( quiet ) and mowed in the wee hours versus waiting until later and using the power mower. I don’t think the neighbors want to hear a power mower before 7:00 a.m.!  It had to be done, though, as more rain was on the way.

Meanwhile, this is one of my son’s best friends. He mows for my sister’s MIL who lives adjacent to me and while I keep up with a little hand-held edger thing, about once a month I have him weed whack for me along the fence lines, etc.

bebout

He had just started and then got a text from his wife that his dog had died!  The dog is only a few years old…I remember when they got her; a beautiful Great Dane pup.  He left immediately and I let my sister’s MIL know what had happened.  I talked to him today and their dogs were outside. They started barking at a neighbor and his wife called to them to stop. She then went to help her little children to change into bathing suits and came out to find the dog dead on the front porch. Can you imagine? Both children under the age of 7.  They assume that she had a heart attack. I feel so badly for them. The children, especially the youngest little girl, are having a very hard time with it.

Well he has time to cope…we had heavy rain again and he wouldn’t be able to mow or weed whack for at least a day or two even if he wanted to.

From what I see on many blogs and comments, many of us have had much more rain than usual. My amount is what I’d call a nuisance…my heart goes out to those suffering from tornadoes and derecho winds and flooding this season thus far. And wouldn’t we all just love to share some rain with poor California!

Closing on a happier note : a future green bean : )

green bean blossom

You might also enjoy :  Puppy in the Afternoon  or  The Mouse That Ate my Car  or  Tuesday Treasures: Happy Things :)   or  Completed Sewing Projects Through 2014

Sharing at : Common Ground / French Country Cottage / Cozy Little House