Tuesday, September 16, 2014

slow, not quite steady

Fall is a whirlwind. It always is.

And with some unexpected events, this fall seems a little busier than normal.

Some events are positive. I was asked to teach some training classes for our county's Board of Elections. So far I'm enjoying the preparation process (though my real prep work begins this weekend), but the thought of being the official "trainer" is also a little intimidating. I don't feel old enough to be in this position. It seems unreal that I have worked as a poll official for more than 10 years, but I have.

Other events are necessarily bad, just requiring an adjustment of our schedules. I'll be posting more about that in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out how to finish up the yardwork while having very full days the rest of the week. I'm reminding myself of the mantra "little by little" as I tackle small projects in small time frames. And on days like today, I remind myself that I know what has been accomplished, even if no one else does.

I may not be winning races, but I am still walking!

Monday, September 15, 2014

turning off my brain

This past Thursday night and Friday I joined a friend (Thursday my husband actually joined me) in Quilt Carolina. If you've never participated in a Shop Hop before, you basically have a set amount of time to visit a certain number of stores. There are prizes and coupons and discounts for the shoppers who are participating. I hadn't planned on buying fabric (famous last words) as I have way too many projects queued up and in progress to add to that growing pile. But in one store, they had a discount for that day, and there was a fabric there I've had my eye on for some time.

If you're not a fabric lover, batiks are hand dyed fabrics, usually from Asia, and they have patterns and multiple colors in them. Think tie dye, but more professional and elegant looking.

There's also a pattern designer named McKenna Ryan that I've admired for years. Her backgrounds use batiks, and there's one pattern set that has had my mind whirling on our pond and a quilt that includes its creatures for some time.

I think you see where this is headed.

Anyway, I'm standing at the cutting counter with a batik and a matching solid, and one of my classmates (who works at the store) says "Ooh! What are you making?"  and I answered, "a catfish".

That's the simple answer. That's what the fabric will be used for - a catfish in a pond full of animals.

She was more than shocked. And I understand. Beautiful hand-dyed fabric, gorgeous colors, an amazing soft material, and I'm thinking about a slimy animal that makes gutteral sounds and is a bottom feeder.

I got home from our trip late Friday evening, and my brain was whirling, wanting to immediately start sketching out this quilt idea. I've made myself wait. I must finish some other projects first, but I am at least going to sketch out some thoughts for this project. I'd like to do it sooner rather than later. Some ideas just demand attention. :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

the garden that wasn't to be

Every year at this time I tell myself "I am NOT having a garden next year."  and then spring comes with all its seed catalogs and advertisements and...I plant a garden.

This year I even branched out a little and tried a few organic things I read about on pinterest...planting in small beds instead of rows and putting marigolds around the bed.  It looked beautiful, but it did NOTHING to keep the bugs away. Zilch. Worms, wasps, beetles, bugs I can't identify, and even a RABBIT  all enjoyed the efforts of my garden this summer.  But I must say, it was the prettiest garden I've ever had. :)

Strangely, it seems I've spent the least amount of time in the garden this year, but I've also had the most productive garden of any I've ever planted. Unfortunately, I didn't plant a whole lot of anything, so there wasn't a whole to put up for the winter. But we have enjoyed this summer!

As for the beds made out of pallets...mixed results. I followed the instructions and filled them full of dirt BEFORE I stood them up. And guess what?  When filled with dirt, it takes more than one person to lift them up, which doesn't quite fit the bill in my household. So I left them flat on the ground. They were a total nuisance to cut grass around, but I actually think they worked quite well. Peppers and tomatoes didn't do very well in them, but my squash and cucumbers thrived for some time...at least until Mr. Bunny Rabbit, Mrs. Hens, and Little Dog began trampling through them and sampling whatever was there. But still, I put up a lot of pickles, gave away two bags of cucumbers, and put up enough squash for stir fry that I care to use. (Although I did have someone give me several bags of squash, too.)  So I will definitely use the pallet beds again next year, though they'll be separated and used for squash and cucumbers and maybe trellis beans or peas.

I'd think in September things would be starting to die off, but one set of peas, the okra, and green beans are still slowly putting out. And since all of those got a late start, I'm actually okay with that.  

And next year?  I'm definitely planting in sections again, though the rows might be a little larger. After all, 9 ears of corn, 3 of them nibbler size, doesn't exactly amount to much.