Spring is starting to spring in my garden.  I've walked around and all the plants I worried about in the freeze are putting up tiny new shoots and leaves.  There are even a couple of flowers.  

The spirea started it.  It's opened more in the couple of days since I took this.  I think I'm going to get a nice snowball effect from it this year.  

 The white iris are always very early.  These came from a neighbor's yard.  I found one tuber on the sidewalk and brought it home and now they're everywhere, but only a couple have bloomed so far.  

And, the grape hyacinths I planted last year have given me a few flowers.  Just three, but I hope there will be more.  More important than flowers this year, the bulbs lived through last summer.  That was my worry.  They'll get bigger and stronger and I believe I'll get more flowers from them as they do, but only if they can survive the Texas summer heat.  

They came through this weekend to pick up the limbs that were downed by the ice storm a few weeks ago.    They've been piled on the curbs and sidewalks and streets.  Now, they've cleared the busier streets, but looks like they still have some side streets to clean up.  Rob and I watched like two boys fascinated by big machinery.  

Our dogs are getting older and needed a lower surface to use to jump on the bed.  We found a few tings I liked at retail stores, but Rob wanted to build something.  He built a nice chest that was lower and is hollow for storage.  

Then, it was my turn to come in and upholster it.  We chose a nice fabric that has sketches of dogs on it.  What better to use to upholster something we're building for the dogs.  It's not quite done yet.  I want to line the inside and there are a lot of threads left to cut.  But, for the most part, it looks pretty good...but don't look at it too close.    

So, that's how we spent our week.  Rob and I spent Saturday morning shopping.  We only needed a few things, and for the most part we only bought a few things, but we laughed a LOT.    

Everybody have a great Monday!  Challenge yourself to something you're not sure you can do.  You'll probably be surprised at how well you do it.  



Leaving the house

I am the worst home body.  I could stay at home all the time, just going out for supplies.  Getting to work from home just made that worse.   Last week was about getting out of the house.  

I always like to start with a quilt, so here's a quilt from an antique store we visited on Saturday.  There are quilts all over the store that they use for decoration and are not for sale.  The ones for sale are not nearly as nice as the ones on the walls and tables.  They're in remarkable shape.  Can you imagine sitting and doing all this tiny appliqué?  And the cherries are so perfectly round.  

This did not come home with us, but might have if we'd been in the truck.  It's funny how the early American furniture from my childhood is now antiques!

This did come home with me.  It's my birthday present to me.  Every so often I stumble up on a piece of Roseville pottery at a price I don't mind paying and have a very small collection.  (Small because I don't find much of it and what I do find is very expensive.)  

Didn't come home with me, but got drooled over three times and then plugged in and left behind.  It blew very fast and didn't have a speed control and was slightly out of balance so it made a good bit of noise.  

We expanded the collection of Americana glassware.  We went into a store that had marked it down to the point of being "too good to be true".  So, we helped them out by bringing some of it home.  

As always, antique dealers were happy to see us and we had a nice lunch in a small town cafe.  It was a nice drive and a great way to spend a Saturday.  

On my birthday, I decided I wanted to take Rob and Syd someplace different, so we went to one of the restaurants where my book club meets.  We had the whole schmeer, apps, dinner, dessert and lots of laughter.  And a great waitress!  She was just attentive enough that we never wanted for anything, but not enough to join the conversation.  Rob gave me tickets to see Patti Lupone in May and I can hardly wait!  

Everybody have a great week!  Do something you enjoy and try something you haven't done before.  It's good to grow.  



Making things happen

My new year's resolution was to spend time doing nothing and less time multi-tasking.  It's actually working out really well.  I find myself more and more just sitting somewhere, enjoying a book or TV and not doing anything else.  And, oddly enough, it feels like I'm getting more finished.  

I worked on this quilt this weekend.  Because of the pattern, I have my heart set on quilting a spiral that starts in the center and goes all the way to the edge.  Considering it's a continuous line, it should be pretty simple and straightforward, but it's one of the hardest patterns to quilt well that I've ever tried.  This is my third try.  It needs just that special skill that I'm trying to find.  

It needs a hopping foot, so it needs marking, but the pattern is so busy that I can't see marking, so I've tried tissue paper marking.  In the first try, the tissue shredded, so this time, I pinned the paper on and basted it to the quilt, pulled it off and the basting was my marking.  That worked pretty well.  I was able to establish the pattern and then use a walking foot with a guide to maintain the same distance and continue all the way out to the edges.  


But, even that had problems where I would adjust the bulk of the quilt because of the walking foot and get off the line.  I got about a third of the way out from the center and was so focused on the mistakes and was feeling pretty bad about my ability to do this, so I cut thread and pulled it out of the machine and laid it on the floor.  I chose a light grey 100wt silk thread for the top and a perfectly matching variegated thread for the back for the specific reason of hiding mistakes.  And, it did such a good job that I couldn't see the mistakes.  Oh, there are a few places where 10 or so inches of quilting need to be taken out and put back in, but for the most part, it worked this time.  I'm still having ideas about it.  Wondering if I can do better.  Wondering.  It's laid out across the Bernina, so I can look at it all week and decide whether I'm content...or want to try again.

In other news, we needed a new Christmas wreath.  Pretty badly.  The old one was falling apart and I kept finding pieces of it in the foyer.  We were in JoAnn's the other day and their C'mas greenery was on 70% off, so we stocked up and yesterday, I built us a new wreath.  

Pretty happy with it.  Can't wait til next C'mas to hang it again.  

Okay, Mary asked last week what we didn't have when the power went out.  Good coffee.  So, I decided I needed to learn to make good percolator coffee.  I pulled out a different percolator and made a very good cup of coffee in it yesterday.  

Then, someone reminded me I could have just used the French press.  D'oh!  So much easier.

Everybody have a great week!  Try something difficult.  Go at it with a fresh mind and spend time figuring it out and then give it a try.  Start with the rules, then find your own solution.  



Power and ice

We were affected by the TX ice storm last week.  So many trees down.  It's very sad.  Lots of deadwood fell out of the trees and anything that still had leaves was likely to have limbs broken.  There was so much ice buildup that the trees couldn't handle the weight.  And apparently, everything that could fell on a power line.  We were without power for about 54 hours, from early Wednesday morning until mid-morning Friday.  Of course, we worked as a team on resource management.  Rob was in charge of power and I was in charge of food.  Rob took care of the battery powered lights and I took care of the oil lamps and candles.  And, we spent a lot of time in our recliners, near the edge of the hearth.  Temps were only around 30 outside and Rob kept it around 60 in our living room, and I spent the two days in my heavy red wool sweater and was very comfortable, most of the time.  

These are some pictures of the ice buildup.  I thought this forsythia was toast for the year, but soon as the ice melted, it went into overdrive with blooms.

This is the huge oak in the neighbors yard on day 1.  The branches were bent to the ground.  That night, it rained more and this oak lost a lot of large limbs.  There was a huge limb from this tree that hung way too far out over our roof and last year, we had it cut back.  I'm so glad we did.  At the very least it would have been lying on our roof with the house supporting the weight.  Or, it could have come through the roof or fallen on our cars.  

There were icicles hanging everywhere.  

And, these photos are of us suffering.  We were so lost without power.  (I shouldn't make fun.  Other people did suffer.  We did not.)

Dinner day 1, soup.  Soup was easy and we ate a lot of it.  

Snug in front of the fire.  

By day two, we were playing a game called 'eat it before it can go bad.'  We did really good with our food storage and only lost a little bit.  On day 2, the fridge was starting to warm up and I moved the cold stuff into plastic storage bins and put it outside where it was plenty cold.  Then, a friend loaned us a generator and we used it to cool the refrigerators down every few hours.  The freezers never got below about 32*.  

I needed a project that was big enough to see in limited light and that I knew well enough that I wouldn't need the pattern all the time.  I picked this afghan and finished it.  I never learned to like this one.  But, now it's made and hopefully it will go to someone who will love it.  

Even when we got power back, we were being advised to stay indoors because of the falling limbs, so I put the buttons on my latest shirt.  

And, I bound this little quilt.  

So that was our week last week.  Power is becoming more of an issue in Texas, so now we own a generator...or we will when the new one gets here.  We plan to keep the one we used and give my friend the new one, still in the box along with the motor oil she didn't have but was going to need to use it.  

Everybody have a great week!  I hope all your adversities are easily overcome!