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Trends and Faboo at Quilt Festival 2017 Houston

The show has always been fabulous but this year’s showing seemed more subdued. Perhaps it was post Harvey recovery or maybe it was the glow of the Astro’s championship. Each year I pick a quilt that is my favorite in the show–and this year there wasn’t one.

img_6820-m This was part of a quiltmania block of the month with each block including a cat or a dog. Sepia monochromatic pieces were in abundance in all categories but thankfully not with the token bit of red. One piece had a lovely unusual background of strips featuring a white daisy.

img_6794-mCanadians outdid themselves in representing their country–the rolling 9 patch seems to be a favorite.

img_6813-mBut the best quilts were those of Haiti. They were intricate story pictures of axioms, current events (earthquake), and every day life.

I did not manage to get information about the creators of these pieces and so am posting just a small fragment of their work. Please do not use them but enjoy them.

Somehow I managed to be at the Rare Bear booth when Rob Appell and Jenny Doan came by to work on the bears and then Alex Anderson appeared—she and Jenny had never met. Both Jenny and Rob needed help in threading their hand sewing needles to finish up the bears.

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Ominous

Sylvia Weir Ominous Week 44 challenge was something ominous. It seemed far to easy to find some nasty looking clouds except we had beautiful blue skies and sunshine the entire week. Since I was in Houston I decided to see if I could find something there.

I tried the lily pond which sadly had only three blossoms–the murky depths filled with algae looked somewhat scary but it is hard to focus on cloudy muddy water–and it just looked like a mess–and a poor shot.

Then looking at all the rebuilding, and huge cranes atop large buildings–how did they get them up there? Helicopter?

And what if that boom fell–wasn’t there one that fell in a city this past summer? What if it hit a large totally glass building and I was standing there looking up?

Maybe not so ominous but that was the best I could find.

 

We are the Champions

GRB is located only a block or so away from MinuteMaid Stadium–home of the Astros. Although the Astros were playing in LA while we were there, fans congregated inside MinuteMaid to watch the game on the giant screen. Traffic was incredible–but not as bad as Thursday when there was a celebratory parade through downtown Houston. There was a sea of orange and blue in the streets.

 

img_6701-m1Look at all those baseballs!

img_6765-mWe spent our day with Philippa Naylor learning about fancy seams and insertion of zippers–a fun class and we lined up next to her to have our photo taken. This day we chose to wear pink—actually I wore pink quite reluctantly. It seems a better choice for someone petite and dainty. I am on the left in this photo.

img_6698-mAlthough Houston is recovering from Harvey, there is a lot left to do. Discovery Green’s lawn is yellow–and no-one can walk on it; the sailboat pond is gone with large layers of some sort of plastic being laid down; there were only three pond lilies in the adjoining pond–which was filled with trash–the fish are also gone.

img_6748-mThe World Series was a welcome relief to the sadness of recovery and the championship even more welcome.

Houston Strong

An hour extra in the morning means time for photo editing before getting back to work—-and the unloading and re-sorting and re-organizing of things I bought, things I took, laundry, going through the mail and a few snuggles with the dogs.

We stayed in the Residence Inn on Main Street just south of the Medical Center–a conglomeration of several humongous hospitals. The first floor of all the buildings were under construction due to flooding from the nearby bayou—dry wall dust was everywhere but the staff were cheerful and the Krogers next door was fully stocked–easy to run over and collect something for supper.

img_6729-mI spent an afternoon wandering around downtown photographing buildings—usually the same buildings I have photographed before as they tend to be my favorites. George Brown Convention center has been enlarged immensely; there are now several surrounding huge hotels and several eating places. The front of the building had streamers floating over yellow umbrellas sheltering tables and chairs. On Friday night there was a fabulous gymnastic exhibition with teenage girls wearing sparkling harlequin outfits.

img_6717-mAs it was November 1, I wanted to find a church to spend a few moments in—and that turned out to be Christ Church Cathedral–the second Episcopal Church in the Republic of Texas. The interior of this church is splendid with immense stained glass windows on three sides. And then there was the loose brick with St. Joe on it—I coveted—but did not abscond with it.

img_6753-mI was also pleased to see the old Texaco building on Rusk had been renovated to include luxury apartments and is now named The Star…after Texaco moved to a new building–the building fell into some disrepair and had homeless people sleeping under its veranda–smelled of urine and booze–but now it is sparkling.

img_6733-mA look at the Pennzoil building–my favorite and it was time to head back to the GRB.

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Picnic Point and Hammocks

img_6608-mReunions are always a fun event–even though you have to read everyone’s name tag to remember who they are—and it would have been nice if a larger font would have used for those of us with forty years under our belts.

The Medical School reunion is always scheduled around Homecoming Football game. While we lived in Madison and I went to Medical school there, we lived about three miles from the football stadium–people parked next to our house to walk in to see the game. Tickets were outside of our meager budget even though I got a reduce price and first chance at tickets due to graduate school status.

My wishes for the weekend were to see Vilas Park zoo–a favorite place during our stay there, and to walk out on Picnic Point.

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The zoo has changed considerably since we were there last. Each animal species has a special environment created for them. No longer do the bears sit on the haunches and wave at us begging for marshmallows or stale hamburger buns. The retired  Rhesus monkeys are no longer there–they used to live in a circular cage. The penguins are no longer corralled into a small cement wading pool parading around miserably in what must seem to them horribly hot weather.

img_6602-mone of the displays was this tundra with the immense tires with incredibly low tire pressure. We rode a much smaller vehicle on the marshes around Anahuac during a Christmas bird count after one of our hurricanes. Here is Glen pretending to drive.

Madison Wisconsin is a beautiful city situated around several lakes, Mendota being the largest. The campus is large and spread out with lovely little pocket gardens everywhere and lots of bicycle racks. There is almost no parking on campus so people ride the bus or bicycle or walk. img_6612-mWe walked to Picnic Point–there are Indian burial grounds now marked off from foot traffic.

img_6629-mA sailboat was out on the lake–losing a lot of wind and not managing their sails properly.

img_6627-mThe capitol was visible across the lake through the trees.

Walking about campus to the designated meeting area we noted a new trend—large hammocks slung from trees with students lounging about in them reading–reminiscent of a past trial of what I called our purple pea pod camping sleeping arrangement..

Walking back to Deljoje Hall, the location of the reunion, the marching band was practicing. I was not the only one to stop and watch the band perform.

 

Everyone seems to leave when I take their photo

img_6658-mAfter a morning of weeding and general garden cleanup and attacking weeds, we both decided a nice drive in the countryside would be nice and maybe some good photo ops.

We hopped in the car, my camera at the ready in my lap and off we went.

I didn’t get a photo of Hogback Ridge–it is immense and is a protected wildlife site. The hill sides are quite steep and the soil must be quite thin as only grass grows there–few if any trees–and those are all small shrubs. There were a few late blooming wild flowers in the meadows surrounding it. I’m not quite sure how I would have taken a photo–perhaps a panorama–not in my skill set although my camera says it can do it with ease.

Our goal was the Elk Farm. Along the way we spied two apiaries–and I had to get out and inspect one of them. Keeping bees in Wisconsin is challenging due to the lengthy and cold winters–but here were about twelve hives with bees busily flying in and out. Queen excluders were on each hive–they had two brood chambers and two medium supers for honey and a pitched roof for ventilation. The bottom doors were plugged and they had just a single hole in one of the brood chambers to exit and enter. Maybe next year we will be successful in catching a swarm.

However, our mission was that elk farm.

We spied a very high fence–and knew we were there. Parking on the side of the road, I attempted to get photos of the elk.The male–doesn’t he get a bad headache carrying that huge set of horns around–sat calmly watching us. The harem though was not so calm. One or two would look and then they all got up and walked away.

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More driving and I spotted some Canadian geese–the SandHill Cranes on the first corner were too far away for photos. We stopped and I took some photos–again–they waddled away as fast as they could go.img_6673-m

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Next was stop to photo some particularly colorful trees and sumac. The Asian beetles and box elder bugs were in abundance and took great delight in taking small nibbles of me. The leaves and sumac were pretty but not enough to compose really good photos.

We went back to the farm and put up plastic over windows for the winter–safe from the horde of biting bugs.

 

Pruning

ear20of20corn-mOne of the tasks I set myself on the farm each time I visit is dealing with the raspberry patch. Raspberries happen to be my favorite berry–although blackberries and strawberries are nice too. When my father was still living and I checked in on him after my mother’s death, he would pick raspberries for me each morning for my breakfast. Although this patch is not the same patch it still brings back good memories.

Last fall I cut back the grapevine that had invaded the berry patch and we installed one of the metal gates used in the calf pens in the barn as a support. I cut away all the raspberry shoots around it and carefully pruned only the bearing stalks on the part I wanted to preserve as raspberries.

Imagine my surprise when I found an abundant new growth of raspberries around the grape vine and only bearing stalks on the part I thought would be just raspberries. Plenty of raspberries on those stalks but only a few new stalks—they bear the second year==not the first year. And not one grape bunch!

Still I pruned away again and this time covered the ground with shovelfuls of composted oat husks from the grainary. Last fall I used corn stalks from the barn—still plenty of them to go.

more20of20plum20creek-mOnce at home I face the daunting task of pruning my photos–although I am taking fewer photos these days–it is hard to select the perfect few to upload and I tend to err on the side of too many versus only a select absolutely wonderful ones. I am sure I have repeats from previous years; my taste for imagery does not seem to change much. That may be a good thing–or limiting.

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Falling Colors

img_6472-mLike little kids at a buffet of desserts–or perhaps us older ones at Thanksgiving dinner, we always seem to overestimate the time we have in Wisconsin to do all the things we have planned. Or perhaps it is because we just move slower now that we are a bit older. Maybe that Social Security paycheck weighs us down?

Or maybe it’s because we just enjoy the sights and smells and sounds so unique to rural Wisconsin in the fall.

There is is the rustling of the leaves, the views of distant hills so obvious through trees that are dropping their leaves—and the vibrant colors of those that have not.

The woods there are primarily oak–which regrettably turn dark brown or just fall off–leaving their limbs bare. But here and there are some maples–the camera makes their colors more reddish than my eyes see–but gorgeous none the less.

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Sense of Home

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to view the new exhibit in the Art Museum of Southeast Texas. It opened on September 30 and will run through December 3, 2017. The artist gave a talk at the opening which I sorely regret missing.

Richard Stout is a contemporary painter with abstracted images of his surroundings. One of his frequent motifs is a bird like image. Some paintings are quite realistic featuring a myriad of details presented in unusual angles. All of his work includes layers upon layers of colors—all expertly mixed and applied.

There were several brzz sculptures as well but they were not as intriguing as the paintings.. I could have happily carried any one of them home. I did not take any photos as I had not brought my camera or cell phone with me—perhaps a return visit to enjoy them all again.

I’ve scanned in two of the paintings included in the exhibit.img089

Thinking Big in a Small Way

Last week’s photo assignment was ‘BIG”. Texas is big, of course—and driving across Texas whether east to west or north to south is a very long day’s drive. I thought immediately of the giant heads of famous Texans along I-10 in Houston or the huge statue of Sam Houston on I-45 outside of Huntsville. That would have meant a trip solely for the purpose of taking a photo.

I decided I wanted to try making something that might not be so big–LOOK big. And this is what I came up with.

This pile of rocks from my garden pond have lain in my driveway for a year now—or maybe two. The original rubber base was filled with several holes as Toby decided there was something evil about it that needed chewing on. That base was supposed to last thirty years—it lasted three. We pulled it out and it is now under my beehives preventing the invasion of pests.Sylvia Weir Week 39 Big

I tried several angles to avoid getting anything in the frame that might suggest the rocks are actually about two handfuls in size.