October 31, 2012

Weekend Visitor...

Usually, we get a little heads-up before company comes to visit, but Mother Nature doesn't always give advance notice.

Late last week, Handsome was out working in the yard in anticipation of the rainy weekend that never materialized. He came in the house at one point and asked me to escort him back to the pond. I could tell what to expect without him telling me. I've come to recognize "that look". I told Tag to wait in the Holidome. Look closely at the first photograph, and you'll see what we saw sunning in the tall grass.
I went back out to the pond on my own Sunday afternoon to take more photos to share with you today. The gator came down out of it sunny resting spot right toward me. It didn't seem in the least bit afraid of me. (Come to think of it, why would it?)
We were told when we first came to live in Florida that you can estimate the length of an alligator by trying to estimate the distance between it's eyes and the tip of it's nose. By that criteria, this gator is between 5 1/2' - 7' long.  That was confirmed when we saw it out of the water. It's probably the largest one we've ever had in our pond.
This one isn't too shy, either. As I stood on the shore of our pond (taking care to have a safe escape route), it headed right toward me. I was about five feet from the water's edge, and it was about five feet out into the water. 

My favorite cypress tree was right next to where I was standing, so I had to also be careful not to trip over the tree's knees. There are quite a few of them sticking up out of the ground, and working their way right down into the water. That's plenty close enough for me!
We usually give these guests a few days to move on. If they aren't gone within a week, we contact FL Fish and Wildlife to have them taken out of our pond. You know the old saying about house guests being like fish? (After a week, they both start to stink.) That's true, especially for alligators!

Florida alligators are fascinating to watch, but they're dangerous, too. Don't worry about the corgi. He's almost never allowed in the back yard - even when we are positive it's safe. He's certainly not going to run around back there with an alligator in the pond! I'll be hoping that this guy moves on in the next day or so, and we'll all rest easier.

October 30, 2012

Tuesdays With Tag - Photo Shoot...

Pose One
 Hi, everybody!
Mom says it's "That time of year, Tag."
She means it's time to take pictures to get ready for the holidays.
Pose Two
 Mom and Dad have their picture taken every year at Christmastime 
and, of course, they'll have me in the picture with them for their cards. 
I add that special "warm and fuzzy" quality. Who could resist?

Last year, Mom also sent out cards for me to our corgi friends on Facebook, 
and we like to do a separate card - just featurin' my cute face - for those.
Pose Three
We have these really pretty (but unfortunately highly invasive) non-native 
pepper trees in our yard. Dad started removin' them this summer, but there are 
a bunch of 'em so it's takin' a while to get them all. Mom knows we shouldn't 
have them, but they have these pretty red berries on them. They're perfect for 
takin' a holiday picture, don't you think? I also think that red and green highlight 
the color of my eyes and my fur. The corgi girls won't be able to resist, eh?
Pose Four
So, these are the four poses that Mom liked best. She does have a favorite, but 
I want to ask you what you think. Mom is putting a poll up on the top of our right 
blog sidebar. We'd like to ask you to vote for your favorite. Then we can see if 
we all like the same one. I know. It's gonna be hard to pick one, isn't it?

Next week, I'll be back at Driftwood for the day on Tuesday. 
Mom and Dad are working as inspectors at our local polling place. 
Something about doing their "patriotic duties". Don't worry. 
I'll still be back to tell a fresh lie good story to you. 'til then...
"More Waggin' and Less Barkin'!"

October 29, 2012

Memory Lane Monday - Halloweens Past...

This Memory Lane Monday is so close to Halloween that I thought I'd make it the theme for this month. Rather than focus on the spooky and mischievous aspects of the day, I'm going to share a few "dress up" memories. Perhaps they aren't specifically Halloween, but dress up is fun any time of the year, isn't it?
If you were a kid during the Baby Boomer era, you most likely had a cowboy or cowgirl outfit. Handsome and his little brother were no exception. I love this picture and I think they're adorable. Look at those smiles...and the boots!
Before we came to Florida, I was a Sales Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics. The last year I attended Seminar in Dallas, Texas, our party theme was "Fabulous Fifties". You aren't surprised to see that I dressed up as one of the Pink Girls, are you? My girlfriend, Wendi (not pictured) is a hairdresser, so she was all too happy to give me a bouffant hairdo for my long hair. We had a ball.
I looked to find the one photograph that was taken of Handsome and me early in our relationship when we went to a Halloween party. I made my own velvet cat costume, and a long, hooded robe for Handsome. He went as Merlin and I was his black cat. Sorry I couldn't locate the photograph to share with you, but I promise to look more throughout today. If I find it, I'll scan and include it here.
I'll close today with a photograph of Kessie dressed as a witch. I think I may have shared this picture with you before (a long time ago), but I can't share a Halloween memory without including her picture again.

I hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween this year. I just can't imagine anything more fun than choosing a costume and getting dressed up. Be safe, take care of the children and don't eat too much candy.
Thanks for joining this Memory Lane Monday. If you have a memory to share, please write about it on your blog and link back here (below). If you don't have a blog, go ahead and share a memory in your comment so others can read it.

October 28, 2012

Sunday Scripture...


October 27, 2012

My "Life of Pi" Quilt...

In 2004, I received this book as a Christmas gift from one of our sons and his family. I opened the cover, and from the very first page I was pulled into this wonderful story. In fact, I enjoyed the book so much that I decided to make a quilt.

Now, understand that I only made my first real quilt in 2002, and I was quite happy to enjoy my first quilt for quite a while before making a second. So, designing, choosing and creating this quilt in 2004 was a real undertaking for  me. I was determined to "make it work", so I individually cut blocks, sewed (and frogged) and kept at it until I finished it.
I had so much fun choosing fabrics that represented images, places, and characters in the book. The book was teeming with images that came to life in my mind: fire coral, a zebra, a tiger, sea turtles and schools of fish. Every single fabric used was significant to the book.

When I was finished all the piecing, I added five photo blocks (and the label) to the quilt before it was machine quilted by a local long-arm quilter, Jane Schurr. The first time I washed my quilt, all the color bled out of the photos and I was the only one who knew what they represented. I could have cried! I've learned so much since then. The only image that stayed true was my quilt label.

The book has recently been made into a movie (which debuts in November), so this week I finally decided to grit my teeth and fix my Pi quilt.
Remember that all of my images were sewn to the quilt before it went to the long-arm, so all of the bobbin threads were between the front fabric and the batting. I also chose to sew them on using an intricate vine pattern, rather than a simple straight stitch, so, yeah...frogging these stitches took me the better part of one and a half days.
After I removed all the faded images, I went back to my printer and generated all new images that are represented in the book, but weren't represented in the fabric - a hyena...
and flying fish..
 ...meerkats, and
...a female orangutan. Of course, the center of my quilt, is the boat with the main character, adrift in a small boat on a vast ocean, which was a scanned image from the book's cover. (You can see it in the third photograph above.)

When my quilt is washed again, I'll treat it first with Retayne© to set the ink in the photo blocks. This isn't going to happen again! I can cuddle under this quilt when the movie hits PayPerView and know that my quilt will now last for a long, long time.
Before I close today, I just want to remind you that next Monday is Memory Lane Monday. I'm going to share images and stories of Halloweens past. I hope you'll come back to join me, and if you have a story to share on your own blog, feel free to link back here so we can read along.

October 26, 2012

Finished Patchwork Pumpkins Runner...

I'm ready to share my finished Patchwork Pumpkins Table Runner (pattern by Shabby Fabrics) with you.

The pumpkins were pieced patchwork and then appliqued' onto the block fabric, along with a stem and leaf. After I finished that, I embroidered the tendrils onto each block stitching a stem stitch with three strands of embroidery floss.
I machine embroidered the assembled blocks and finished with the binding. It's almost 60" long and 12 1/2" wide, which is just the right size for our dining room table.
I tried it on the buffet, and I think it looked great there, too. For now, I'll leave it on the table, but if I decide to do something different for the table, it's nice to know I have this great place to showcase the runner.
I guess it is possible to have a touch of autumn in south Florida. In fact, I'm inspired to add a few other pieces. Now, for a little cooler weather and we'll be all set!

October 25, 2012

Ivy League Fabrics...

Shabby Fabrics just debuted a new fabric line from Northcott Fabrics. It's called "Princeton" and I have the perfect project in mind for it.

In the event that a certain person (essential to my every breath) would see this, I can't mention any names. It's going to be used to create their Christmas gift this year, but I'm sharing the secret with you, so "mum's the word". Promise?
Just look at these gorgeous prints and colors! I have what I need to make a queen size quilt, and I'll be working on it so I meet my deadline so it's quilted in time for Christmas Eve. 
I finished hand sewing all my pumpkins yesterday and will assemble them into my table runner today. I'll have it finished in plenty of  time for our Saturday morning coffee group, and I'll share a photo of it with you on Saturday, too. I always know when I've made a "hit" because Handsome tells me he likes it, too. He told me today that he thinks it's going to look great on our dining room table. It just doesn't get better than that!

October 24, 2012

Patchwork Pumpkins...

Before we headed to Wisconsin, I showed the girls the Shabby Fabrics website image of this pattern for a Patchwork Pumpkin Table Runner. We all wanted this pattern, so Kathy and Nora ordered one for each of us, plus extras for future sales. When we got to the shop last Saturday morning, all of our patterns were waiting for us.
I almost never do holiday themes, but I will do seasonal themes from time to time. This pattern was irresistible to me. When I got home from the shop, I sorted through my stash and assembled the fabrics that would be used in my runner. I began working on it on Sunday afternoon.
I started stitching on my block at Paneras over coffee and conversation with the knitting/crocheting/sewing girls. I still have the leaf and stem to stitch down on the first block, but I have all four blocks appliqued' and awaiting my hand sewing.
The pattern calls for two different colored leaves (two of each), so I'm showing you my choices. I just know that Brenda and Fay will have theirs completed by Saturday. They usually machine applique' their blocks and I like hand stitching mine. We'll see how far I get. I'm looking forward to seeing mine finished and adorning our teak dining room table through Thanksgiving.

If your heart skipped a beat when you saw this pattern, you can click on the pattern title above. It's a link to order your own copy.

I wish you a joyful and creative day today!

October 23, 2012

Tuesdays With Tag - Pure And Simple...

Shhhhh. Sometimes fewer words are better than many.
I really love Dad.
That is all.
'til next week,
"More Waggin' and Less Barkin'!"

October 22, 2012

Cutting Edge...

I took this photo a few months ago. I was cleaning out the work drawers in my studio and realized that I have amassed quite a collection of scissors. You already know I love pincushions and all things acorn, but even I didn't realize that I'd been collecting scissors!

You'll see my beautiful green-handled Kai scissors. They have a serrated edge which holds even the slipperiest fabrics. There are Gingher scissors of all types and sizes, along with dressmaker shears in two sizes, antique Sheffield scissors and a treasured pair of embroidery scissors in a tooled sheath that I purchased when I owned Stitches in Wisconsin.

There are scissors for applique' work, machine embroidery work, a pair that leave a pinked edge, and there are pairs of snips, large and small. There are bent-end, curved tip and hooked to get under the tiniest, finest stitches. There are scissors that fold, too.

Arrrgh! As I looked at my photograph, I realized that the beautiful rabbit embroidery scissors that were a gift from my blog-bestie, Shell May didn't make the shoot. In my defense, they're attached to the gorgeous pincushion that she made for me, so I keep them in a needlework case that travels from room to room with me. I promise to share them separately another day.

I also forgot my heavy-duty, needlepoint canvas-cutting shears and my scissors used just for cutting multiple layers of fabric for those raw edge quilts and garments. They're safely tucked in the back of a drawer in my sewing cabinet so I missed them.  The latest addition to the collection - a small pair of embroidery scissors with a British flag paint job - didn't make it into the shot either. Next time.

In my defense, I will remind you that I have three different sewing/serging machines that reside on three different cabinets, so it's hard to keep them herded into one organized group. In the interest of efficiency (yea, that's it!), each table has its own set of scissors (and needles and threads and other tools). That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

What do you call a collection of scissors anyway? A herd? Or a flock? How about a "litter" or a "pride"? Hmmmm. I think I like that one.

Are you a collector of special things in your work room? What do you find yourself looking at whenever you head into a quilt, needlework or fabric store? Certain tools, like rulers? Come on. Spill. I won't tell a soul. Your secret will be safe with me.

October 20, 2012

Birthday "Boo"...

Fay's Birthday Quilt
There are seven women in our Saturday morning coffee group. Fay, Kathy, Nora, Flo, Joni, Brenda and me. I am so honored to be a part of this group of beautiful and talented women.

This year, when one of us has a Birthday, the rest of the group creates a quilted hanging with a Sunbonnet Sue depicting the Birthday Girl's special interest, or in keeping with a theme that fits her Birthday month. October is Fay's Birthday month, so the group created one with a Halloween theme for her.
Each member completes a different part of each hanging. My job is to create the special label for the back of the quilt, and then to hand sew it to the quilt. Mine are always the last pair of hands to work on the quilt. I get to see everyone else's work before it's gifted to the recipient. I think that's pretty cool. The girls really outdid theselves this month. Don't you agree?

We'll present Fay with her Birthday quilt today at the shop. I can't wait to see the look on her face!


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