Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bizarre Ornament Challenge

Krissy, you win. What sicko dreamed up this nightmarish ornament, anyway? So what's next, a chicken serving a steaming plate of wings? A cow firin' up the grill with a big T-bone on it?

Waste Not, Says Pappy

Just because a box of tissues disentegrates does not mean that it can't be salvaged. Mike has had this box for, well, more years than I can remember. It is such a lovely decorative accent in his office. Apparently, he does not use many tissues. Or maybe he is refilling this box. In the second photo you can see that on the top of the box, the outer layer of the cardboard (the printed layer) is gone, and only the brown cardboard remains. Also notice that early repairs were accomplished using masking tape and blue painter's tape. You can see the blue tape peeking from the edge of a later repair. Obviously, the painter's tape was not a lifetime fix, as subsequent deterioration required a more durable repair. YES--the always reliable, sturdy and non-biodegradble DUCT TAPE! By golly, this box is going to last forever.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Crazed, Snowball-Making Squirrel

This little guy kept the big birds at bay while he ran back and forth, from the porch to the tree, burying his pieces of bread in a secret hiding place. He couldn't have been eating all of it because he was so tiny. Every time he picked up a new piece of bread, he tasted it, rotated it, tasted it, rotated it...and then ran away to hide it.

He is very adept at jumping from the porch to the tree, staying airborn much further than you would imagine that he could. I got a shot of him mid-air. If I could have gotten a picture of him from the front, you would have seen that he had a huge chunk of bread in his mouth.

The birds were able to enjoy a few crumbs, though, while the squirrel was busy hiding his stash.
Here he goes, running back to the pan of bread to protect it from the birds.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How Could I Resist?

Every year I say, "No more Christmas ornaments!" Mike says the tree is going to collapse under its own weight. But how could I walk away from Mr. Potato Head putting his very own nose on the snowman? Just too irresistible!

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Room With A View

I just LOVE having a window over my kitchen sink. The only drawback is that sometimes I just stand there and watch the birds instead of doing something I need to be doing, like washing dishes. There are a couple of feeders near the window, and the birds love to drink from the tiny pond. If I move slowly, I can sneak up to the window with my camera and get some nice photos.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Moss Balls

Krissy gave me the ball 'o moss on the left. Gee, no one every gave me a moss ball before! A couple of days later I found the moss-on-a-stick (hmmm, a new State Fair of Texas delicacy??) as I was walking to the Museum of Science in Houston. This stuff grows like crazy in Houston! I'm pretty sure I don't want it in my own yard, though, and the moss on a stick is spitting out seeds, so I think I'm going to have to throw it away. But for now I'll just enjoy looking at it in my kitchen window.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Pretty Paintbrush

Have you ever bought a paintbrush just because it was visually appealing? I'm sure that this brush has magical qualities. I'm convinced that, after jumping into a fat pan of watercolor and leaping into my hand, it will produce art superior to any I have been able to make with less lovely brushes. The expectation is so great and the likelihood for disappointment even greater. So, there it sits, just looking pretty.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Far Out

I don't know why I pulled back the fronds of the Kimberly Queen fern when I watered it, but I did, and look what I found. ORANGE fungi. Like, totally far out. I think I hear the Sorcerer's Apprentice. I think I see a new quilt.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hot Fun In The Summertime

Just when we thought it was safe to go outside, summer arrived in Double Oak. Not great for gardening, but perfect for dyeing fabric. I'm glad Mike put a cover over the porch of the dyeing shed, f/k/a the potting shed, so at least I've got some shade in the 100 degree heat.

I found a small outdoor table and chairs in the "AS-IS" section at IKEA. They are the perfect size for the porch. Here you can see a clear plastic bin filled with my favorite containers (Gatorade bottles) for dye concentrates. A larger container holds the dye fixative, which I add to the concentrate as needed. Sitting on the porch is a recycled container full of water for rinsing spoons or containers. On the end of the table is the lid to a rubber tub with two yards of fabric wadded on top.

The lid is a convenient size for dyeing one or two yards. I've found that eight ounces of liquid is usually enough for one yard of PFD cotton if I am careful about applying it. I typically use this method (the lids) when I am using only one color of dye on each piece of fabric. After the dye is applied, I stack the lids on a plastic sheet to batch. Each of the lids has a two-yard piece on it, so there are about 26 yards of fabric stacked here.

I HATE wearing a respirator when I am mixing dyes, so I made a mixing box. I trimmed one side and a portion of the top off a sturdy box. I split a couple of plastic bags along one side, taped them together lengthwise and taped one edge to the top of the box. Inside are layers of newspaper and a spray bottle full of water to dampen the newspaper so that the runaway dye particles stick to the paper and don't float into the air. After I mix the dyes inside the box, I just fold the damp newspaper and throw it away.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

got peaches?

The peach crop in northern Texas was so pitiful last year that peaches had to be IMPORTED into Weatherford for the annual Parker County Peach Festival. But not so this year! Because of our record-breaking rainfall, the peach crop is so plentiful that growers are reporting limb-breaking harvests! Thank goodness--I was down to one last batch of frozen peaches. I've bought one bushel and want to get another this week. Put up so far (put up???--do I sound like my grandmother, or what?): four pints of preserves, three quarts of pickled peaches, and the rest are sliced, sugared and frozen in small bags.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Roses Always Win

I think, "I'll just do this one last thing and then I'll go inside." And there's no need to put my gloves on because I'm only going to do this "one last thing." Then, before you know it, I'm pruning just one more thing, and still no gloves because I was just going to be outside another minute or two and then go inside. I didn't realize I'd caught a thorn, or that it had caught me, until I looked down to see why my finger was stinging. Yes, that's blood. That thorn was about 3/8" long!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wild Plums

A few years ago I noticed a small tree in the front yard that was not something I had planted. I let it keep growing and before too long I realized it was a wild plum. It bore fruit, new trees came up from the fallen fruit, and now the area next to the driveway has turned into a little thicket of wild plum trees. This spring's mild temperatures and heavy rain have resulted in a HUGE crop of plums--okay, well, huge relative to the size of the "grove" of trees. The neighbors drive by slowly when I am picking fruit. It's already been established that they think I'm, ummm, different, but I'm willing to bet that they haven't a clue about what I'm doing out there. I don't think there are any other people in the 'hood canning anything.

I've picked about 20 pounds (about 1/4 of them are pictured here in the beautiful orange colander that Micki gave me) and there are still at least that many more still on the trees. Lots of fruit has fallen, too, and when I am picking I can smell the fermenting fruit on the ground. This week I've made 14 pints of wild plum jam. Yum! Unfortunately, the plums are tiny and each one yields only a couple of teaspoons of fruit, so it takes a lot of slicing to prepare enough fruit for the jam. Oh, my wrists and shoulders! But this winter we'll be happy when we are still eating homemade jam.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

When Momo Mows

Nothing is more relaxing than mowing the yard on a beautiful spring day. If I had to push a mower all over the yard, I'm sure I wouldn't think it is relaxing, but driving Lonnie the Lawnmower is easy. I wish Mike would fix my drinkholder, though, because riding around in the sun sure makes a girl thirsty. I mow selectively, taking care to leave the brown-eyed Susans, gallardia and larkspur standing. It looks kind of messy in spots, but the payoff is worth it later on when the wildflowers are in bloom. I'm pretty sure the neighbors think I'm a little odd, but they've never complained, even when I'm letting the wildflowers go to seed later in the season.

HEY! Look what I found in the greenhouse today! An amazing amayrillis (see my hand next to it for scale) and lots of little blooms on the rhizomatous begonias. I love the way those little begonia blooms dangle from the tiny stems.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Mikey the Safety Engineer Sustains Another Injury

It is a blogworthy event, although not quite as dramatic as the lightning strike while using a power tool on wet pavement during a thunderstorm. Yes, once again, Mike fails to heed his own professional advice (you know, the advice of a Certified Safety Professional and member of the American Society of Safety Engineers, also known as The Cobblers' Children Who Have No Shoes Society). Wouldn't you protect yourself with gloves if you were welding? Yes, of course you would. But professionals who know the rules are apparently exempt from them. Photographic evidence follows. This is not a stigmata, but a welding-related burn.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Apparently, posting once a month is my limit. I swore I'd push myself to once a week (ooooooh!) but so far that seems to be too big a chore. But I'm still optimistic that I'll get motivated.

The last ski trip was great, but on my birthday one of my friends broke her leg our first day on the mountain--bummer! Now we're back in Breckenridge again and what a perfect day it was today. The sun was shining, no crowds, no wind, lots of packed snow, warm enough to unzip your jacket. Today was probably in the top three of the best ski days ever.

Last weekend was quite a treat, seeing the Creativity Center in LaGrange and meeting the artists in residence, Liz Berg and Virginia Spiegel. I can see how this place would inspire you to create.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Sure, we all knew that Colorado had gotten a lot of snow lately. But when Billie, Peg, Letha and I were on the plane approaching the Denver airport, we were surprised by the expanse of white ground, as far as you could see, in every direction. The runway was partially clean, but there was still lots of ice and snow around the edges, and enormous mounds piled here and there where the snow had been pushed back from the runway. The sun was shining brightly, though and the day looked promising. When we got on the shuttle bound for Breckenridge, the driver told us that our trip would take longer than usual, but he couldn't say how much longer. We had to take an alternate route because of an avalanche that had occurred a couple of hours earlier. The snow had come crashing over the highway, covering several cars, and sending one of them rolling 200 feet or so down the side of the mountain. All eight of the cars' occupants were rescued, but the highway was closed and all of that traffic was going the same way we were. So the 1 1/2 hour trip turned into a 3 1/2 hour trip, but we were just happy to get here.

We had planned to ski today, but when we heard that the HIGH temperature on the mountain was going to be around zero, and that the wind was going to be gusting to 60 mph on the peak, we decided we'd pass. We walked to town, did a little shopping, ate lunch, went to the grocery store and came back to the condo for some of Billie's yummy chili. Tomorrow we ski.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Jose Cuervo, you're not a friend of mine tonight

Tequila and knitting don't mix. Even a novice knitter like me understands that there might be some issues if I continued knitting the afghan after discovering that my last row, which should have consisted of 216 stitches, had somehow grown to 228 stitches. Hmmm. Tequila, combined with a little lime juice, triple sec, and curcacao, is a soothing elixir after a hard day of cooking, entertaining family, giving my mother a permanent (or "home permanent" as she calls it), cutting her hair, cutting my husband's hair, blah, blah, blah. But it might have left me feeling a little too confident and could have diminished my attention span just a little. I couldn't make myself to go sleep with those extra 12 stitches on my mind, so I reverse knitted the row onto a different set of circular needles and then re-knit it back onto the original needles. Yep, I'm feelin' pretty smug right about now. And I came SO close to the 216 stitches that it should have been. SO close.