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Indigo from India

Several years ago I bought two lovely large cotton batik indigo pieces in Colorado. It was my plan to quilt them together so as to have a double sided light weight quilt for summer nights.

I decided I wanted to use flannel as the batting; and as I have been diligently working on the quilt tops that have accumulated over the years—I’m not fond of basting===clean off the dining room table, put down popsicle sticks to mark the centers, tape and pin and roll—but with a long arm–basting is now a breeze—or actually not needed except at the edges.

I loaded up the bottom, smoothed out the flannel lining and put on the top layer.

Now what?

I had planned to use a deep warmish cranberry red as the thread—thought about doing fancy custom work—and then realized it would not be very visible so why go to all that work.

Pantograph it was.

Each row takes about 15 minutes to complete. I finished up three rows; my back is not happy doing all this standing–and came back to it the next day—–but——the laser light did not work.

Turned everything off and then back on again–still no luck. Called the dealer—I needed a new laser light–and it would be easy to install.

Laser light arrived yesterday.

Installed without a hitch—I did need to use the flashlight to see where the hex fit on the side.

I am now back up and running. Did three more rows and quit for the day—maybe tomorrow will be another two or three rows—I think there are about 6 rows left.


and here is a detail of the stitching


Designing one or two things

My mother, like many quilters, had a lot of unfinished projects, starts of projects, sample blocks, partially cut out quilts. I have been working diligently to complete some of these projects, to make something out of those samples and bits and pieces.

This is one of the–four small tulip blocks along with some half square triangles.


then there is a challenge (that I created) in the local fiber art group

This one is inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s use of abstraction to display her emotions


and a new project—bees on flowers. I used beeswax to batik a grunge green; I’ve made the bees—free embroidered on wash-away and a light green sheer; now to do the flowers.


here are the bees in process


and a closeup of the finished bee


UFOs in the land of fiber

Starting a new project is always fun and exciting—and maybe like others, I suffer from the ‘my ambitions and ideas are bigger than my hands can finish’ syndrome.

I have always had more than one project going, trying to pair an older one with a newer one to keep up the excitement and interest. But two years ago, I stumbled upon the American patchwork UFO Quilt challenge.

First you pull out the old projects—I had already done that and put them in boxes and labeled and made a list. Then you choose twelve and fill in a sheet from one to twelve. If you are really brave, you post it on their facebook site.

Then each month, a number is pulled and that is the project you work on for the month. Sometimes you think–oh, no, why did I put that on the list—but once started, it gets easier. I haven’t finished all the projects I listed–as some took a lot more time than I thought they would—and work was especially busy—and I like to have them completed–stitched, quilted, bound, and photo’ed.

And of course, one of the guilds I belong to decided on the same challenge—but they had to be different—so that meant EIGHTEEN projects.

I can say the stack of quilt tops is diminishing; the project boxes are emptying—but I seem to e adding new projects along the way—but trying very hard to show restraint.

Here are two from this year—one was quilted and the other finished into a top and put into the to be quilted pile.


this was a round robin; it started with the center camel batik from Africa


left over strip pieces from a workshop with Nancy Crow

and here is a closeup of the quilting


Getting updated

One of the requirements of keeping a license in Texas is mandated continuing education including ethics. They must also be approved by the state Family Practice organization. Fortunately they put on some great conferences and the ethics hours are always a breakfast or lunch meal so relatively painless.

This year I attended the conference held in The Woodlands. The lectures were mostly interesting although I skipped the last half of the one on medical marijuana and CBD oil in favor of walking along the waterway behind the hotel.

The weather was absolutely perfect, sunny, cool but not too cool—perfect for walking. I really wanted to take a ride on one of those duck/swan/goose boats but did not see where they were launched.paddle20ducks2-mpaddle20ducks-m

It is not up to Riverwalk in San Antonio but it is pleasant.

There are various benches along the waterway–each one different.chiluly20chair20with20refletions20in20glass20building-m

I found a group taking Quincinara photos and another taking high school graduation photos.quicnineara20photos-m

Then there were the tile murals under the bridge.




A Fixer Upper

Living in a house that is over 100 years old has its challenges. It seems there is always something that needs repair or refurbishing.

Wallpaper began to peel off the stairwell wall—a two story high wall—with ten foot ceilings. I had hung that paper hanging over the stairs on an extension ladder with the help of my middle son who steadied the ladder and helped me maneuver that long sheet of wallpaper–I ended up with glue on my hair, my clothes, my shoes—but it was hung—and it was lovely for many years. But then we installed mini splits and had actual climate control—the paper began to peel off the walls.

Scaffolding was not to be rented by anyone, paper-hangers advertising their skills only worked on eight foot ceilings and no stairwells—and so we tried a long pole with a roller on the end to glue up the paper—this worked well for some smaller areas but one strip peeled back about a quarter of the length—making it impossible.

Now that I am older I do not want to hang over the stairs to rehang that paper—middle son is no longer here to assist.

Husband came up with this idea:


And we will be hanging a rod for me to display some of my art quilts.

And…..the lighting fixtures in this house are all original–except for the ones we replaced with ceiling fans. There were two sconces in the attic—I took them along with a chandelier from the breakfast room (now a ceiling fan) to a place in Houston to see if they could refurbish them.

They are absolutely gorgeous:


Two more sconces and two chandeliers are awaiting their refurbishing; we live with two single bulbs in the living room and dining room in rather dim light—I am not so interested in romantic lighting while trying to work the daily crossword puzzle….but it shouldn’t be long before we will have plenty of light with all the reflections from all that brass.

Sunsets in Del Rio

One of my jobs involves doing disability exams for social security. This means a lot of driving and one of the places I go is Del Rio.

I usually leave around 9 or so and arrive around 5. I don’t drive particularly fast and I have to allow for traffic snags, the bridge being out in Channelview, road construction everywhere, and the occasional accident.

Del Rio is a border town with many people living in Mexico, getting medical care and medications in Mexico. The Rio Grande has been dammed creating Amistad Reservoir, a huge lake with lots of fishing. The surrounding area is desert with yucca, palm trees, and various cacti.

This last weekend, I hiked along two trails; was pleased not to see any creatures who had lost their legs in their ancient family tree. The weather was perfect–not too hot, not to cold, and with just a snitch of a breeze.

The reservoir was relatively full and the grass and vegetation looked lush, compared to other visits when just scuffing my shoes made me wonder if that would ignite a fire.

The sunset Saturday night was spectacular and taken from my second story room.


Friday night sunset from my window overlooking Veteran’s Boulevard in Del Rio


View of the reservoir from one of the trails


Another view of the reservoir with some of the fishing floats constructed of huge tractor tires


Sunset Saturday night; photo does not accurately display the gorgeous colors; looking toward Veterans boulevard in Del Rio Texas

More photos of Texas from this year are in this gallery:

Zen from a different perspective

Two dogs live at our house.

Although both are rescues and both are Border Collie mixes, they have two very different personalities.

Dora is husband’s shadow and guards him wherever he goes. She warns us of people walking by on the street and notifies us of bicyclists, skateboarders, and people who dare to show up at the dog park without a dog. She is very particular about who she allows to pet her—and definitely not children. Dora proudly fetches the morning newspaper and makes sure it is quite dead before dropping it.

Toby, on the other hand, has never met a stranger. She loves children–and will knock them down just to lick their face. She can French kiss anyone accurately regardless of height. Squirrels and pigeons have no business being in the crepe myrtles in our back yard, ditto possums and cats. She is incredibly excited to let Dora fetch the morning newspaper as she knows she gets the same treat just for not running out the door.

Each night we must watch TV with the dogs; sometimes Toby looks like a little boy sprawled out in front of the screen but then she will lie on the couch—totally relaxed.

What a life!dog20zen202-m

Farm Buildings and Those Blue quilts

farm20building20on20display20in20houston-mIt is always exciting to see your work hanging in a public place and even more so when people stop to look and talk about it. My piece Farm Buildings hung at the International Quilt Festival in Houston this past week in the Tactile Architecture section. It will travel to other shows around the country and world and will return sometime next year.

The entire show, as always, was wonderful but most spectacular were the lovely blue and white quilts. it was even better than the red and white quilt show some years ago.


I took a lot of photos of the show but did not capture all the names to give credit—-so those are for my viewing pleasure as are previous shows’ photos. The show is always well organized with each piece presented as a piece of art–and handled gently. The show sets a high standard for other shows.

Here is just a small view of all those blue quilts:


I returned home with a basket of threads—I was searching for a particular thread–light colored with sparkles in it—I may have been successful—but it will go on the quilt destined for entry into next year’s show.

I haven’t been able to update this blog or upload photos for a few weeks–our internet is poor at best despite multiple calls and technician visits from AT&T. Maybe tomorrow’s visit will result in a new line…but I”m not that hopeful.

Satsumas and a change or two

satsuma20ripening-mSome years ago we planted a satsuma tree in our front yard—actually Lee planted it for me as Toby had dug it out of its container at least three times as I had hoped it to be a surprise birthday present for my husband. The tree miraculously survived and has produced satsumas in abundance last year. This year it does not seem quite as loaded down. Last year, we would pick a dozen or so and think we had picked the last of them….until we ate all of those and went out again and found a dozen more. We ate fresh fruit for nearly three months!

There are a few that seem to be ripening now and the branches need propping up….along with an abundance of lemons on another tree out at the shop. I froze lemons one year and used them to make some absolutely wonderful lemonade. I also made salted lemons which I pureed, some with dill from home-canned dill pickles and some plain—used over chicken or fish with a bit of olive oil. It is supposed to be good on Lamb as in Moroccan style cooking but lamb is not something easily found in the grocery stores here.

Along with what passes for fall here, we are trying to do a few repairs and updates around the house. One involved rehanging wallpaper that had come undone with the humidity here—and then some electrical repairs. Living in an old house means some odd a light switch at the door that turns off an outlet but not the overhead light.


A honey of a job

Bees are some of the most fascinating creatures. Although the ant is depicted as industrious, I think honey bees are far more organized and incredibly busy fulfilling their tiny little task in the hive.

Some years ago, I took a class in Asian Art—we studied some of the huge statues in India–imagine your entire life’s work as being one small square on Buddha’s forehead or the right side of his left nostril. Bees fortunately do not think about their ultimate destiny—they just concentrate on the job at hand.

There are lots of amazing details about the life of bees, how many trips they make to make a drop of honey or how much work it is to make the wax that seals the honey and so forth.

From my perspective, harvesting honey is a sticky time-consuming task. I process the frames in my kitchen and no matter how careful I am, everything is sticky when I finish. Like processing fruits and vegetables, it is always hot work and I can understand why there were summer kitchens.comb20honey20processing-m

This year we split hives and so our honey harvest was not so large as it could have been. Bees are now harvesting goldenrod pollen along with nectar to store for the winter ahead. img_3799-mThat yellow glob is pollen headed for storage in the frame—pollen is the equivalent of our steak or pork chop or chicken leg.


If you want to be a beekeeper at your laptop while not having to wear a beesuit in the middle of 90 plus degree weather; take a look at this gallery of photos: