Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Breaking a Commandment

Coveting. That's the one.

I want my neighbor's dirt.

Sunday afternoon, my neighbor Christy asked permission to park her dad's truck in my driveway to work on a vegetable bed for her to grow her tomatoes and okra.

Yes, it is beautiful and yes, I want one - or two. Mike gave me 2 raised beds for my birthday a few years ago, but they had to stay in Columbus. I loved working in the soft black dirt and being able to sit on the side and plant and weed. Here the soil is just hard clay, and it's no fun to dig in.

I had to laugh at Gaby's comment from yesterday. I wondered about the "old tires" around the trees and figured she had me mixed up with someone else, but then I remembered what is around the trees on my side yard.

I guess it is to conserve water. Keep down weeds? My father-in-law says it might be to protect small trees from the mower. I don't know, but I think they've outlived their usefulness and need to come up. Those trees are not the healthiest in the world, so I might try to perk them up soon - somehow. I'm not sure what they need.

I got a picture of that wonderful wisteria up the street when Darby and I walked early this morning. It's breathtaking even from my kitchen window a block away.
A couple of other pretty things. The weeping willow is huge, just beautiful. There's not much blooming on our streets right now.

Darby ready for her outing.
I've worked some more on the quilt and now have about 60 blocks out of around 100. I'm still enjoying it but running out of different fabric.

I tried to ignore the mistake on this pair and probably could have gotten away with it, but I knew.
Mama has to go to the doctor in Prattville tomorrow, so I think we'll come home the back way and visit this fabric place that she used to go to 50 years ago. It's mostly upholstery and home decorating fabric, but there are a good many cottons there too. If it's still open.

I took my embroidery machine to Opelika yesterday, and they agreed to look at it but that it could be 2 weeks before they got around to it. According to how much cat hair they find, Gaby!

I did do my first investigating of a possible new sewing machine. I've been saving my money, and now it's time to narrow it down a little. We have Bernina at the quilt shop here and Viking at the JoAnn Fabric store and then Janome and Brother in Opelika. I was pretty excited about 2 they showed me yesterday, the Janome Horizon and Brother Laura Ashley. Not too different in price but still pretty expensive.

I know I would get good service and support here at the quilt shop but not quite sure I want to pay the extra money for a Bernina. I know they're probably the best, but I'm weighing my pro's and con's and might be just as happy with a cheaper one. I'm not sure how good the service and support is with the JoAnn shop. The salesperson has not been overly helpful when I've bought a couple of attachments there. She would probably get more interested if I were looking at a sewing machine though! That seems to perk those salespeople right up.

I'll have to test drive a few. Some of them cost nearly as much as a car.

Quilting machines are competing to see who can give you the most space for fitting a quilt under the arm. This is pretty descriptive.

I'm reading what I can and hope to make a good decision.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Life on Forest Edge

Good news is that the weather is wonderful - warmish and sweet-smelling with all the trees blooming in the neighborhood.

Not so much my yard. I wandered around the yard with my camera and found a few bright spots but more things that need a lot of work. The weeds have a head start already in the herb bed, but I do see the rosemary under them all, and a couple of others.

The rose has buds.
And the maple tree is putting out those sweet little leaves.

The strawberry plants are blooming along with the pansies, and that clematis that I thought had not made it through the winter is budding under the pyracantha blossoms.

This lantana is a problem. It's gotten so woody that I can't get it up without a lot of digging, and it's blocking Darby's dog house.

Not that she ever goes in it. She just sits at the back door and shivers and looks pitiful when it rains.

I've mentioned the tree before that the yard boys kept mowing down, but this past year it's gotten big enough to fight back.

I called it a ginkgo at first because I had no idea what it was. I made an Arbor Day donation once and received a bunch of little sticks that I started in various places. I grew the dogwood in a big pot for a couple of years until it died, and there is another one that's slowly growing. But this one seemed to like the place it was planted (in spite of the trimmings) and is rewarding me with blooms.

Alan told me it was an Eastern redbud, I think, or some sort of redbud, and I do believe it is. I think it's going to be pretty in a few days/weeks.

So what I have I done this week? Looks like break things. My computer keeps giving me threatening messages and blue screens in spite of about 4 virus protectors and anti-malware things I've installed. I have everything important saved, so I'll take it downtown tomorrow for the guys to take a look at it and try to revive it.

Mama's computer turned pale today, and she can barely read her emails. She said she was dusting it, so I've played around with the controls but can't seem to make a difference. She may need a new monitor.

And the 3rd in the string of bad luck is the worst of all. My workhorse embroidery machine.

It's worked so hard these past few months embroidering all those little designs for Isley's quilt without a glitch, but I tried to do a simple little applique last night for Emily with these fabrics

(so she doesn't lose hope on my starting her quilt) and it wouldn't go to the center of the hoop. I messed around with it a little bit and decided the carriage is way un-calibrated - maybe even broken. I don't remember doing anything different, but it sure looks a little wonky and won't go to its proper home when I push that button.

So it's off to Opelika to get that fixed but not until next week. I hope the repairman doesn't find a cat toy or something blocking it.

In the meantime, I made a few more blocks for Elise's quilt. It takes over 100 pairs of blocks, so I'll be working on this for quite awhile.

I made a trip to the library yesterday and decided not to go downtown and just take what the Pike Road one had. Not much in terms of audio books, nothing really. I'll try these 2 but don't have much hope for them. I started one of the books last night and struggled through a couple of chapters and gave it up. Boring. I'll start the Ken Follett one and see how that goes. The other 3 ambitious books I brought home are the interesting one about "Parenting Your Dog" with some good ideas for trying to get your ideas into their little brains. One is a sewing book that I read to Emily last night without her having the benefit of the pictures, and another is a landscape book - just for fun. No pressure on anyone. Not at all.

And since I had to make my weekly trip to Wal-Mart with Mama, I rewarded myself with these 3 bright dish towels.

And that's it for another week.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Creeping Back In

The lack of inspiration to write anything on this blog bothers me, makes me feel guilty, and makes me worry that I will wish in a few years that I had written everything down. I'll (as always) try to do better. I can't drum up any interest in changing the layout, making it look nicer, or anything like that.


Big news. THE QUILT has its baby.

It got finished and mailed to Washington.

And here is Isley herself - in person. Parents Stacy and Kyle declare that she is perfect, 7 pounds, 9 inches, 21 inches long.

She's beautiful, and I can't wait to meet her.

I do have a little bit more to show on Elise's quilt. I'm trying to make a few pairs of blocks a morning.

Some work and some don't. Here's a reject. It just didn't get along with the others.

It's a fun quilt to do. Let's see if I'm enjoying it this much when it comes time to match up the rows and put it together.

The weather is finally getting nice after all that rain and wind. I'm hoping to start taking Darby out for walks in the mornings and enjoy some of it. Today it's church, quick trip to the grocery store and work until 7.

Later - Just saw this on Facebook. I have no shame about stealing pictures from Facebook!

Isley's going to have to fight dad for her quilt, it looks like.