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Posts from the ‘Home and Children’ Category

Stitching Away

As a person of exceptionally high risk, I’ve been very much confined to house; a few outdoor walks around the neighborhood, and some time at what my husband calls my playhouse—an old rice farmer’s house in the country that has not had other people inside for over two years—so I think I’m okay there. Most of my artwork is stored there along with some art supplies and my Gammill quilting machine. I’ve been working away at reducing the number of tops to be quilted…..basting was one of the hardest parts until that Gammill—now even small pieces are basted on that wonderful piece of machinery.

But I digress.

Evenings are spent watching some sort of movie (if the internet is down) or Netflix or Amazon prime. I usually do some handwork, putting on bindings and labels or prepping hexies (done with that for awhile) or hand-piecing. But this past month I’ve been working on some hand stitched portraits in a class with Sue Stone.

Here they are:

img_3684-mThis is on walnut dyed hemp. Husband took this photo of me perched on the side of the fireplace in the cabin where we lived when first married. One nice thing about doing these stitched portraits is that wrinkles disappear–not that I had any at 22.

img_3685-m She was the ward clerk in a small rural hospital

img_3686-m husband’s cousin, a nurse, working the virus; photo lifted from the internet

img_3687-mbaby picture of me at one year of age

I haven’t watched the videos for the next assignment; the other students in the class have been posting some quite spectacular stuff. Although hand-work is not my forte; this has stretched me—first in looking for suitable subjects and the backgrounds and then in the renderings. It has been a fun adventure. I’m planning to mount all of these on stretcher bars.


Bunnies and ducks and a bear

One of the things my mother did well was embroider. She spent many hours in the backyard of her girlhood home embroidering with her best friend from next door. Somehow I ended up with these embroidered little creatures. I scanned the embroideries, resized and printed on some cardstock to send to my grandchildren.

The  cards were definitely not perfectly printed but then this is an experiment and a learning curve for me.

Those embroidered creatures were in an old enveloped marked Mautz paint; Dad was a painter and used their paints preferentially for his work in painting houses and barns. He far preferred barns and one year he painted the fairground buildings and the Catholic church; he didn’t like houses because ladies always had their pretty flowers planted around the sides and he was supposed to move his ladders so as to not disturb the plantings.

Here are the three embroideries I chose for Easter cards for my grands.





I did learn a few things with this project; rotate the pieces before uploading; smugmug has a nice editor but photoshop elements is far more robust. I also learned I needed to change to print size to much large to keep all the image on the print-out. The cards are printed; waiting for me to write a little note to each grand=child and then to pop them in our mailbox to send on their way.


Peas and Lettuce and a Lemon Tree

Being of Midwestern stock and of the rural variety, a garden was a regular part of life. Each January the seed catalogs would appear, brightening up the dull gray, white and black of the outdoors to visions of summer with outdoor activities not associated with loads of extra clothing. We tended to forget the mud season otherwise known as mud season and of seasonal floods with wagers about whether or not Stark’s Sporting store would flood again this year.

Everyone planned their garden about the same way, a row of zinnias (they grew fast) and marigolds (to keep away the rabbits and deer) and then tomatoes and carrots and lettuce and peas and sweet corn and green beans and squash or pumpkins. Maybe one or two experimental vegetables that looked so fun in the catalog

Now on the Gulf Coast of Texas it has taken me awhile to adjust to our four season gardening. Lettuce was planted in December and was slow to sprout but now I have it in abundance. lettuce-m

Peas were planted in January–had to plant twice, the seeds kept coming to the top of the soil. There isn’t enough to make a meal but as garnishes and as dippers for the spinach dip I made the other day, perfect


And then there is the lemon tree


This little tree produced a dozen lemons the first year and we were delighted; the next year triple that and since then so many lemons.


The blossoms this year are plentiful and fill the air with a delightful scent—the bees are working that tree along with the clover—plenty of honey to process in the near future.


Stars of Yellow

Like one of two of you, I have been checking social media on a too frequent basis. What is real and what is rumor? Angry comments are mis-directed fear–fear of the unknown and panic has spread from official to official to regular persons who are spending far too much time on social media.

I have been taking advantage of this time to work on some projects. I will admit to no social distancing from Vivian—but Vivian has never been to Walmart, the dog park, Krogers, or church—she just waits patiently for me in the back room of what my husband calls my play-house.

The play-house is a 100 year plus old rice farmer cottage with the dog-run center wide hallway and two rooms on either side plus and upstairs of three rooms. Vivian lives in the back room where I can see a few of my beehives, a good view of the water tanks filled now with lettuce and English peas. The grounds are covered with blooming white clover and the bees are busily working that clover.

We monitor those hives as this is swarming season; Toby and Dora were thrilled to visit and wander around and inspect the sugar cane we planted about two weeks ago—yes there are a few sprouts so we will be able to harvest our own sugar cane in about two years and then I will have to figure out how to make sugar from that cane (maybe I’m kidding here)

Back to Vivian. Vivian was my grandmother’s name and I gave it to my Gammill quilting machine. We have become good friends and like my grandmother, she works hard.

This quilt was made from some stars my mother hand-pieced–eye-balling the 1/4 inch seams which means no two were identical and some green and white triangles my dad cut out for her when her hands could no longer function due to neuropathy from chemo. They weren’t perfectly cut either—and I could have recut everything but just wanted it to be what it was—a joint project between my dad, my mom, my grandmother’s name-sake and me.

it’s all done except for the binding and the words for the label.


Zooming In

After taking Plaquenil for about six months, I began to notice some really strange visual things—sparkly colors, reversing colors of images. After reporting this to my ophthalmologist, I was scheduled to see a retinal specialist. He did some sort of fancy scans and it was determined I was one of the unlucky few to have Plaquenil deposits around both macula–the site of our most acute vision. Plaquenil was immediately stopped and very slowly some of my vision has returned. However, not enough to use that tiny little view finder on my camera.

I could be frustrated with having to use the pull-out window on my Canon SX 50 but sometimes the results are rather amusing particularly with the zoom feature.

One of our favorite spots is the tertiary treating area at Tyrell Park here in Beaumont. There are long walkways around each containment area, the occasional alligator can be spotted along with hundreds of birds.

This was an avocet on an overcast day and my attempts to get some good closeups. That camera can take photos of the water droplets on a duck from a considerable distance but that doesn’t mean it can tell I want the whole bird in the photo, not just its legs.

Tell me what you think!

Here is my subject.


First attempt with actual bird parts visualized. I omitted the ones of the just the water.


And another try.


so I back up the zoom and find that silly bird again.


my best effort—and I decided it was going to have be good enough.


Staying Busy

fallen20blossoms-mWhile some people are parked in front of their computers doing virtual tours of museums and dairy farms and checking out books from the New York Public Library, I’ve worked on our taxes (not done yet), cleaned floors ( a never ending project with two dogs), gone to work (careful to stay the required 6 foot distance), canceled airline flights and conference attendance (internet access is not reliable enough to do much of anything consistently ), re-glued up some wall paper, matted some prints, took apart a beehive( with husband) and made three splits–we’re both crossing our fingers hoping they will queen themselves, and now back to working on those UFO quilting projects.

Tired of being mostly indoors—I worked some on the never ending vines that creep up along the house and smother the azaleas—-and took a nice leisurely walk around the neighborhood to capture some flower photos. I live in an old neighborhood so there are also some wonderful old houses to photo..they all smiled for their picture. And then there are the odd bits of things I find interesting–the texture of rusting metal on the side of what used to be an ice house.

Here is the link for the photos—there are previous years photos as well—so for those of you who are looking at snow–please don’t be too envious. It will soon be baking hot here.




Another Finish …….Almost

My mother worked diligently to piece a quilt for each of her grandchildren. They were meant to be given on the occasion of their wedding. I have been working away at this project for some time and have decided that perhaps one or two of them are not planning of being married—so instead of holding them in perpetuity, I am finishing them.

This one is for my oldest son. It isn’t as large as some she made but it is large enough to make a great TV watching quilt—a tradition in our house as it tends to be a bit on the cool side.

The binding is lacking—but it is otherwise done—and I have just two more left to do.


and just so you can see my wonderful quilting—a pantograph but one of my favorites.


Birthday Boys

Today is the birthday of several famous people—Dr. Seuss, my mother, and most importantly Oliver–my youngest Grand son.

His older brother’s birthday is about a week later.

While his older brother is more sedate and bookish, Oliver is busy with a capital B. He is much like his father—charming, smiling, but always moving.

It was hard to capture him in a still moment–but here he is—working away on his tablet.


A Finish for University of Texas

This quilt top has been in the line-up for completion for several months if not over a year. My oldest son is a proud graduate of University of Texas, receiving a Phd in Analytical Chemistry and is a member of the Texas Exes in Fort Worth. The group raises money for scholarships for students to attend U.T.

I used a pattern written by a group that makes Quilts of Valor–the only caveat to using the pattern is that it is not for individual profit but for a charitable purpose.

It is now bound and ready to travel to Fort Worth for their next fund-raiser—-maybe to join the Teddy Bear I made from UT themed fabric earlier this year.


Mirror, Mirror On the Wall

This week’s photo assignment was ‘mirror’. I knew immediately what image I wanted to capture—but it depended upon the electrician’s work schedule.

Our house is over a hundred years old and has original flooring and light fixtures. We’ve replaced  a few things along the way; updating some of the wiring, replacing broken plumbing pipes, installing mini splits for climate control (a vast improvement over open windows and ceiling fans in the summer and huddling around the gas fireplace in the winter.

But then there were the light fixtures. In some decorating whim of the seventies (I think), we had shag carpet on the stairwell (removed within a month of our moving in) and painted light fixtures. There were some other oddities—the water heater in the corner of the kitchen and the boarded up kitchen windows, the double sink double drainboard cast iron occupying nearly eight feet on one wall and  burst plumbing pipes.

One night while I was waiting for my back pain to ease, I entertained myself by just looking at stuff on the internet. I discovered a place in nearby Houston that would refurbish and rewire old light fixtures.

I took them a set of sconces and a rather plaint chandelier that had been in the breakfast room. When they were finished, they replaced a set of existing sconces and I decided to take the dining room and living room chandeliers in for refurbishing.

It takes some time for all of that to happen; we had a single light bulb in both rooms—mood lighting—romantic in a way but really tough to see the clues in the crossword puzzle each morning.

The chandeliers have now been successfully rehung—the rooms are bright and cheery and I just had to brag on how pretty they are.Sylviq Weir Week 2 Mirror

Here I am trying to get the perfect shot:


Just to keep my humble, I took a photo through the mirror of a dresser (grandfather’s) looking at another mirror which served as a hat repository–and a place to check self before exiting (grandmother’s). hall20mirror-m