Friday, July 31, 2009

Photo Quilting : 4

Outside from this morning and inside from this afternoon.
Put together, and we have a day.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Photo Quilting: 3

This was a piece-by-piece day-- a square by square day-- so many errands-- running here and running there.

My son and I were caught in a severe thunderstorm (with a full shopping cart) in ripping winds, cracking lights, and roaring, thunderous groans. Another shopping cart left empty almost plowed right through me in the parking lot as I struggled to reach my vehicle. I turned back, and a kind gentleman helped me to safety through automatic, sliding doors.

At home this week, I've slowly been creating a "studio-space" -- a crafting room-- so that the front dining room/sitting area that has been covered in patchwork, strings, and needles since January is not visible to the entire neighborhood through front windows. Very soon, early walkers or runners will not have to see me sewing in my pajamas at 4:30 am when I can't sleep (yes, I could have closed the shutters, but that change would not have been nearly as dramatic). Very soon, I can have guests over without tripping over extension cords and piles of fabric or yarn.

This sewing/quilting thing has taken over-- a little.

Knitting is great for taking to the pool, Sunday school, a doctor's office, a meeting that will run too long, or a Netflix show. But, sewing and quilting take SPACE.

I'm getting there, but my husband has to adjust to the new office arrangement.

Piece. . . by. . . piece. . . square. . . by. . . square. . .

photos my me, photo editing by my son, collage by me

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Monday, July 27, 2009


This is my son's experiment. Excited by the accidental marigold rooting, he wanted to try several different plants to see if and how fast they might reveal roots. We have four jars of various plants in our kitchen window sill. This one is a clipping of rosemary. It sent out long roots faster than any of the other plants.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Changes : 6

This morning, the chrysalis turned dark-- almost black. I must have checked on it 20 times during the morning, and I noticed it gradually revealing more of the butterfly inside. In the end, I missed the actual emergence. Walking through the kitchen, I squealed-- no, I screamed-- with delight when I saw the fully formed butterfly with wings ready for flight. It happened so fast-- in the beat of a butterfly wing.

The children named her Foxy. She flew around our garden for a few moments, glided over the roof of our house, and landed on a branch in our Magnolia tree. You can see her just right and slightly up from the center of the last photo.

If you didn't know she was there, you would just see a bunch of leaves. Do you see her?

Even the empty chrysalis is beautiful.

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Weaving in the Ends

My knitting buddy tagged me with finishing the log cabin blanket we've been knitting together. While we started out switching off the knitting, roughly week by week, my looser gauge became apparent as the strips grew longer. She finished the knitting, and I get to weave in all the ends. She did a wonderful job with the knitting, the blanket is beautiful, and it will make a perfect gift for our mutual friend.

I've got more loose ends to weave in than on this blanket in the next few weeks. I've slated next week as an intensive time of cleaning-out and organizing around the house. I already started with my son's room, and it is so much better. There was stuff to throw away, stuff to donate, and stuff to move to the attic.

I need to do the same thing with the library at school. My book orders came in, and I can't wait to prepare and catalog the books for my students. Old books need to be weeded. Broken books need to be repaired. And I'm trying to come up with a new and exciting floor plan. That will be the following week's task when work officially starts on August 4th.

The school uniforms, new shoes, and school supplies are bought. Summer reading projects are in process.

This summer is is about to be woven into a new school year. . .

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Photo Quilting : 2

a crepe myrtle next to our house--heavy with morning rain
The bottom left corner is the original photograph.
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Photo Quilting

flowers from Saturday's farmer's market

I used Picasa's effects and collage functions.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sewing Together

Even while recovering from the dreaded "VBS Virus" during the last couple of days, I managed to finish a second, fun Simplicity 7229 skirt and two shopping bags (using the pattern) with a friend on two afternoons. The boys played, shrieked, and intermittently ran through our sewing space while my daughter sewed something of her own and occasionally needed help. The black cat pranced through the room chasing a rubber ball underneath the furniture.

It started to rain and storm just a little while we worked by lamps turned on for more light. The dog, nervous because of the thunder and rain, hung-out close to my feet. My friend worried about her own dog who is also afraid of thunderstorms. The calico cat came inside to escape the rain in the kitchen.

The fabric for my bags came from recycled curtains I had made for the house in West Point, MS. After toting these curtains around for several years and organizing it in valuable closet space, it will now help me tote around and organize other things. I like that.

I also like that I was able to share a new-found love of sewing and creating with a friend who seemed to find as much frustration, challenge, joy, and accomplishment in the craft as I. For two beginners finding our way through buttonholes, patterns, and sewing machine manuals, I think we did a great job.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Favorite Summer Spots

. . . watching 12-year-old Nellie who stays outside almost 24 hours a day this summer unless I go out at night to bring her inside. She hangs out in the front yard, often underneath a vehicle in our garage or in the neighbor's driveway. She has always been aloof and touchy-- characteristics that seem to come with calicos. In early June, the vet removed most of a cancerous tumor, so we are waiting and watching daily to make sure she doesn't enter a painful stage. When I bring Nellie in at night, she purrs like crazy on my chest while I watch a show or knit and stays there until I go to bed. Or I put her on my daughter's bed, and she sleeps there until mid morning.

. . . loving 12-year-old Bailey who is always happy to be with people and especially loves having the children and me home every day for most of the day during the summer. He hangs out all over the house and likes to stay inside where it is cool unless it is time to go for a walk in the morning or evening. He follows me into our small bathroom and rests on the bathmat if I haven't taken him for a walk yet in the morning. During the day, he likes to look out the front windows. He follows me to bed at night, and sleeps for the first part of the night in front of my bedside table. If I get up at night, however, he may be found on the futon in the den-- his little secret.

. . . listening to 2-year-old Charlie purr as he reclines on sewing pattern instructions I was going to read while dinner cooked. He is an indoor cat by day and an outdoor cat by night. Lately, though, we have to put him outside at night because he seems reluctant to leave the safety of the house. We switch him with the other cat because they need to exist in separate spaces. If we left him inside, he would wake us up to play at 2:00 am and 5:00 am, and we are done with that kind of schedule in this house. He sleeps almost anywhere in the house-- any bed, any chair, any sunny spot. And he sleeps a lot. He purrs when you look at him-- even when he is sleeping and he hears someone approach but is too sleepy to open his eyes.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Summer Concentrated

From yesterday's farmer's market, we gathered fresh edamame, lady peas, peaches, figs, and golden and green zucchini. My son bought an already treasured cactus, and my daughter bought a sedum for our butterfly garden.

We made progress on summer reading. My daughter and I are reading Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli together. This book surprised me with its sophistication and treatment of some serious issues. It surprised my daughter, too, because she didn't even want to read it at the beginning of the summer. Now, it has both of us laughing and crying and thinking and talking. It is a transformative book and deserves a post of its own for my Tiger Tales library blog.

My son and I read another chapter from Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins. He loves the relationship between Gregor and his two year old sister Boots. It is a page-turner that makes me want to keep reading to the end, but I'll wait to share it with my son.

Friends came over in the afternoon for a skirt sew-along. The girls sewed while the boys ran through the sewing room in various warrior costumes of power and might. We took a break from sewing and saving the universe to eat popsicles and to look at a frightened bat hiding beneath the deck umbrella.

From our own garden, we harvested basil for a double batch of pesto making. Nothing tastes more like summer to me than fresh pesto and tomatoes.

Everyone finished the day with some reading in bed. The first thing my son said to me when we got up this morning was, "I stayed up until 8:33 pm reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid!" I love that.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Changes : 5

Our "Vacation Bible School" ended on Thursday night after 5 days of wandering through the desert to the "promised land." I helped with "arts and crafts" where we made paper-plate tambourines and coffee filter flowers for celebration, painted stones to symbolize the gift of "the 10 commandments," and layered sand art to help us remember our time in the desert. Much fun was had by all, and it was a joy to watch the littlest ones of our church navigate their way through the strange and wonderful mixture of Episcopal tradition and frivolity.

While looking at the mid-July dates for VBS at the beginning of the summer, I knew that its conclusion would mark the beginning of our journey out of summer towards the beginning of school. And true to form, I couldn't sleep on Thursday night because of the lists my brain kept making about school supplies, uniforms and shoes, summer reading, and all those cleaning projects both at home and work that haven't been completed yet. Our promised land has been this summer, and I don't want to leave it. I need to find a way to carry it with us through the busy, hectic days of the school year when dinners start late, homework is difficult, and it's hard to find the time for a walk or the gym.

Seasons change, and summer will turn to fall. I just wish that the first day of school would wait till closer to fall, too.

One more change: it was one 9-year-old girl's last year to be a VBS participant. Next year she is a "helper," and oh, she is excited about that!

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Changes : 4

passing shadows and vines creeping and clinging
through the fence with sustenance from recent rains

ripe poke berries eaten by birds

sunlight and shadows dancing through the morning kitchen

mostly green Japanese maple leaves

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Changes : 3

late Wednesday afternoon: pre-pupa stage

shriveled layer of fresh skin beneath the chrysalis

the chrysalis on Wednesday night--
still light green from a recent transformation: early pupa stage

the light brown chrysalis on Thursday morning,
blending in with the pine branch and hanging by a thread

Now, we wait and watch for a black swallowtail butterfly in 9 or so days! For photos and information of the life-cycle of black swallowtails, check out these links:

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