Saturday, May 30, 2009

Wordzzle Saturday

I'm trying the Wordzzle challenge from Raven's blog again. :)

The words for this week's ten word challenge: parasite, meals on wheels, crows, it's my fault, everything but the kitchen sink, on sale, patriotism, the love of my life, library card, common sense

I never wanted to be a parasite on society, but here I am, one tired, dependent old lady. I don't get out anymore, so the high points of my day are visits from people society pays to come. Our mailman arrives before noon, with his circulars, junk mail and bills. The bookmobile, every Tuesday, enticing us with a bus full of large print to check out with our moth-eaten library cards. At least it isn’t just me. Every day, the three of us old widow-women are waiting outside on our front porches, like crows in a row on the telephone wire, wrapped up in our sweaters against the nip in the autumn air. You’d think we’d have the common sense to wait inside where it's warm, but no, we’ve become slaves to our routines. Each of us has our quirks.

I pick up my binoculars and turn to the left. Ellen’s front porch looks like it holds everything but the kitchen sink. She often has carloads of tourists stop and ask if things hanging there are on sale. Wind chimes and mobiles dangle from every crosspiece or beam. She finished one made of old silverware yesterday, and now tiny pickle forks clank dissonantly against the butter knives and spoons. Ellen doesn’t like my binoculars, she says I am a nosy old spy. I wave, but she doesn’t wave back.

As loud as I can, I call over to Mildred, next door on the right. She's a little deaf, but too vain for hearing aids. “New flag, Millie?” Her husband was a Navy veteran, and she kept both her flagpole and her patriotism, even though he's gone. Today she glares and turns her back to me. I had the love of my life a full ten years longer than she had her husband, and she resents me for it. Not that it’s my fault, you understand. I hadn’t held my Larry’s hand as we walked past her porch to make her jealous, but because those last few years, cataracts made him feel more secure if he held on to me when we shuffled round the block. This morning, I shrug my shoulders at her rebuff, because I know in ten minutes, she’ll forget. Millie doesn't remember things so good anymore.

Here comes the Meals on Wheels volunteer, driving her van around the corner, loaded with those pre-packaged dinners. She had the gall to try to get us to eat our meals together, once, but Millie and Ellen refused. I drag my walker closer, and smile. I like the Meals on Wheels lady. She talks to me.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Silflay hraka, u embleer rah!

I have good garden news and bad garden news... :)

The good news first, I have snowpeas! Now I have to decide how long to leave them there before I pick them. How much bigger or thicker should I let these get, anyone know?

The bad news... I must have a wild rabbit. The quote in the title is from Watership Down, by Richard Adams, and if you haven't read the book, you can either go get a copy or google the phrase. Just realize, even if it's a book about fluffy rabbits, it's an adult book. Silflay hraka is not a nice thing to say to a rabbit. :(

I came home from my quilt guild meeting Tuesday night and went out to check on my garden. It was dark, but I have a motion activated floodlight outside my back door, so there was plenty of light to see by. And I saw blooms! Yellow squash flowers. I promised myself that I'd wake up earlier Wed. morning, come out and take a picture to blog by.

Wed. morning, bright and early, I went out with my camera and the two blooms were nothing but a few confetti size shredded yellow bits around a bloomless stalk. I'd been raided.

I didn't plant my squash to be some rabbit's flayrah. My solution was to go inside, scoop up about a gallon of well-used kitty litter, and sprinkle it around the outside of the wading pool. Now, two days later, I have new blooms, and so far, they haven't been nibbled. Fortunately, with two indoor cats, I'll never have a lack of rank-smelling kitty litter, but how long do you think that'll continue to ward them off before they realize it's all stink and no cat? Anyone else have any good solutions?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Squash, Tomatoes, and Sugar Queen

It's been raining a LOT here in Memphis, over this Memorial Day weekend - and when it's not pouring, it's looking like it's about to. My veggies are loving it though! The squash plants don't have many leaves, but there's whole thickets of buds about to emerge. I can't wait till they bloom.

And here's my cherry tomato bush, clusters of little tomatoes all beaded with drips from the rain:

And since indoors is a good place to be when it's pouring, I'm glad I've got some good books to read. Here's Toby snuggling with one of the better ones I've read this week, Sarah Addison Allen's second book, Sugar Queen. Think he's trying to tell me he's ready for a little sugar?

Sugar Queen has some original ideas, one of which I can't tell you without giving a book spoiler. My favorite device is that one of the main characters has a book problem. Whenever she needs a book, the perfect one appears. Books follow her. Even when she doesn't want them to. Some short quotes:

For a while ... she thought her great-grandparents were surprising her with books. She'd find them on her bed, in her closet, in her favorite hideouts.... Books on games or novels of adventure when she was bored. Books about growing up as she got older. But when her great-grandparents confronted her about all the books ... she realized they weren't the ones doing it.
She accepted it from then on. Books liked her. Books wanted to look after her

As the novel starts, Chloe had broken up with her boyfriend, Jake. Now she's being stalked by a couple of self help books on relationships, that she does NOT want to read:

She stomped to the bathroom to take a shower. Books never appeared in the bathroom. Like cats, they hated water. She stood under the spray until the water turned cold. Just when she thought she had washed all thoughts of Jake out of her mind, at least enough to sleep, she opened the bathroom door and found the books, stacked neatly one on top of the other on the floor in front of her.

"If I see you again tonight, I'm putting you both in the toilet," she said as she stepped over them and went to the bed to set her alarm.

When she turned around again, they were gone.

I truly enjoyed this one, as well as the first novel from Sarah Addison Allen, Garden Spells. If you read either one of her books on my recommendation, or if you've already read them,let me know!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Scrappy Quilts for Finn and Michelle

My blogging friend Finn's been posting about Frugal Friday, then she got an e-mail from Michelle who also blogs about making 'Kitchen Sink' quilts from what we have at hand, and using the odd bits and perhaps recycled fabric. A quote from Finn's blog on the left:

"... to encourage all of us all to think frugally and show the long standing tradition of using what you have in any ways that you can, whenever you can.

I'd love to see a wonderful showcase of quilts across America showing our scrappy nature and ability to combine unusual fabrics to encourage fun and frugal creativity."

So these little thumbnails are all pix of my scrappy quilts - many of them made from donated fabric, some of them from block of the month and swaps. The four above, from around 2005, when I first got a good digital camera. These below, from 2006.

I use this one with floral fabrics the most, it lives on my couch and collects kitty-fur, then gets very frequently washed. It doesn't match the living room, doesn't match anything in the house, but used up lots of 2½ inch strips!

These next four are from 2007. Can you tell I got into paper-piecing half-square triangles in a big way? None of these were bought specifically for a quilt, all entirely from stash. I just have a STABLE. (Stash Totally Above and Beyond Life Expectancy.)

I'm finally getting the two above quilted. My ability to get tops pieced far outstrips my ability to send them off, then pay for the longarmer to quilt them.

The two below are already quilted, and given away for a Christmas present. On the left, king sized quilt that used up almost all my scraps and FQ's of blues and beiges - on the right, a pillow to match (and there were also two pillow shams) that used up even the tiny remnants.

And *sighs* not posting the not-scrappy quilts, limiting myself to 4 things per year, I'm only up to 2007. Finn, you'll have to wait for another post for more scrappy Memorial Day weekend showcase! This has been fun, thanks for the idea, Finn and Michelle. :)

Snow Pea update

My snowpeas have their first bloom. :) You can see one cherry tomato on the bush behind it, if you look close.

My banana pepper plant is producing more leaves. getting bushier and greening out, but nothing exciting:

The squash didn't like the transplant to the pool. Think I must have broken some roots? Some of the leaves turned yellow, but now they are finally producing more green leaves, so I didn't kill all of them off. If you look at this pic, then scroll down to see the first squash-pool pic, there's not much difference in the size.

But you can see the double leaves of the 4 new squash I planted when I transplanted the older ones to the pool, right there in the middle. They look nice and healthy, at least! End of this coming week, first of June, I'll plant 4 more, I think.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tomatoes and Quilt Blocks

How 'bout another tomato picture to start off with? These are my Early Girl tomatoes, getting visibly bigger every time I go out and water.

I've been working on some quilting web pages and the blocks that go with them. My guild has everyone make a block for the guild president, as a thank you for her year of work. She gets to choose the block style, size, and colors. This year's pres. selected a house block, 9½ inches square, any pattern house.

The guild has a huge mix of ability levels, from beginners to national award winners. I drew the simplest house block I could in EQ, then I'm telling people they can embellish or make it more complex if they feel inclined. Here's mine:

For interested folks, here's the web page for the easy house block:

For those of you independent quilters and blog readers who've been joining the guild's row of the month quilt for this year, there won't be a new row for June. Instead, you have the whole month to catch up! Check out our guild bulletin board if you want to see some of the rows people have done. ;)

Finally, here is the progress on the ForestJane name block I'm making using Tonya's free pieced letter making techniques. Eventually, I plan to take a pic and use it for a blog header, like Tonya did for her "Incredible" header.

Much of it is still not sewn together. The crossbar of the J isn't attached, so it will be skinnier. There's nothing sewn to the right or left of the big S, so it'll also be thinner. Only thing I'm not sure about is the space in front of the J - that flowered green fabric could be swapped for a more solid green, then maybe applique a flower (red? yellow?) or possibly a light green leaf and curly vine there? Or will that make it too busy? Does it need a spot of color? Opinions?

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Bloghopping around google's Blogs of Note today, I found a neat weekly challenge!

She posts a bunch of ten random words and phrases. The challenge is to make all ten words, any order, into a SHORT paragraph. Guidelines for playing are posted HERE. She also posts a mini challenge with only 5 words and phrases.

Here are the words for next Saturday's ten-word challenge:
albino, trench, marble, assistant, Indian, What's that supposed to mean?, sound first principles, the key thing, moat, curtain

and for the mini challenge: under the surface, doomed, grand design, temple, aspirin

Here's my paragraph - I decided to try both challenges, and to tie them together into one coherent story.

Marie looked at the others sitting around the faux marble conference table. An albino, an Indian, and a soldier fresh from the trenches, what an eclectic mix. But the key thing was, they were all the best in their field at creative software design. Their new platform was going to be based on sound first principles, and protected by an impenetrable security moat.

She moved to the window and pulled back the heavy brocade curtain. Where was Carl? It wasn't like him to be late, especially for something as vital as this final, pre-launch meeting. Suddenly, a knock on the door.

Mike, her assistant, stuck his head in. "Carl's not going to make it today."
"What's that supposed to mean?" snarled the marine.
"He's dead." stated Mike.

Anna slid under the surface of the table in a faint, a crumpled puddle of orange, batik cotton saree. She'd been fasting and spending time at the temple in the days before their grand design was to be unveiled.

Marie fumbled in her purse for an aspirin. Without the information on Carl's flash drive, their press conference was doomed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May Garden Update

Meet my new crookneck squash pool! I picked the yellow to match the squash. I'm sure my neighbors thought I was nuts to be out there hammering drainage holes in a brand new wading pool, but it's perfect for a container garden, lots cheaper than buying the lumber and making one.

Besides transplanting the two squash hills I'd already started, I also poked some finger holes in the dirt (near the bottom of the picture) and started 4 more new seeds. In June, if there's room, I'll start 4 more. Hopefully that'll stagger the ripening squash times so I won't be overwhelmed. But I can eat a LOT of squash, that and tomatoes are my favorite veggies.

I've also been inspired by Deborah Smith to start a sweet banana pepper plant. I'm not sure how much one banana pepper plant produces, perhaps I'll pickle my peppers if there's plenty. *grins*

But seriously, I do love the pickled banana peppers you can get on the sandwiches at Subway, so now maybe I can have some of my own. They're supposed to be very mild, I'm not a hot pepper type gal.

Here's my tomatoes and snow peas - Now that the peonies have bloomed, I took the rack and moved it to the snow peas, so they can climb. I couldn't figure out any way to get the trellis to stand up unless I moved them to the dirt and jabbed the ends in, so I put down plastic and maybe that will keep the grass from growing up around the peas.

Finally, the tomato plants ALL have little green tomatoes. The Early Girl has the largest ones (above) with about 5 tiny ones on the cherry tomato plant behind it. The two below are on the Better Boy plant.

How does YOUR garden grow? Does anyone know what kind of yeild to expect from one banana pepper plant? Any good recipes for them if I'm overwhelmed?

And I just had a horrible thought - do I have to have TWO pepper plants at least, for them to pollinate? Or, like the tomatoes, do they pollinate themselves?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Package!

Absolutely love coming home to packages on the front porch, don't you? Especially unexpected ones. I'd ordered some books and cd's from Amazon, and thought that's what the package was, but no - it was a gift! Yay! The box was from BelleBooks, the publisher I recently started proofreading for.

Have any of you read the Mossy Creek books? I've read the first one, Mossy Creek, and the second one in the series, Reunion at Mossy Creek, but not any of the others.

A quote from the first book: Mossy Creek is "...the town that ain't going nowhere, and don't want to. You could count on Mossy Creek to stay put, to always be the hometown you remembered, the place you would never forget and never wanted to. We might make only a pinpoint on the maps of the world, but that pinpoint was a jewel."

I've got the whole series to date, and I can't wait to get started on them. I'll post a complete review when I finish, but if they're all as good as the first two, I'll like them. The stories in each book are by different authors, and typically, one author will write for the mayor, another for the police chief, etc. I don't know how multiple authors get the details tied together, but they do!

Inadvertently, BelleBooks also sent a gift to Toby and Libby. Every box has to be inspected AND tried on for size. Toby fit nicely. Libby's butt was slightly too big for comfort, but would she get out so Toby could take another turn? Noooo, not as long as Toby wanted it. :)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

They're here!

Went out to check my veggies when I got home from work this evening, and whee, I have tomatoes! Only three so far, and on the Early Girl bush, which makes sense. And YES, I know it's silly to get so excited about three marble-sized green tomatoes, but hey, you take your happiness where you can find it. :)

Monday, May 04, 2009

Letters and Growing things

Free pieced letters anyone? I'm in the midst of making a new header for my blog, and who knows, it may be a small wall hanging when I get done. Many thanks to Tonya of Lazy Gal Quilting for all the tutorials on the letter making. Jane will be added under the Forest, with the J starting right below the high spot under the OR in Forest. I'm worried that the S looks too big, what do you think?

I've also promised Tonya that I'd do a SNARL for her Halloween letter quilt she's making, and I have the fabric picked for it, and some definite ideas, but you won't see it here until I've sent it to her. :)

And then, because my last post had no pictures, I have to make up for it by adding a couple of garden pictures. Here's my whole setup... 5 containers and two window boxes, out on the washed pebble slab that serves as my patio.

And a closeup of the snow peas. Everything's really green with all the rain we've had for the last 4 days, and weathermen predict 2 more cloudy, rainy days here in Memphis before the sun comes out.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Got a bookshelf on my blog now. :) Scroll down, on the left there. It's a pretty cool widget! And very simple to stick on your blog.

You can add as many books to your shelves as you wish, sort them by:
Books I've Read
I'm Reading This Now
Books I Plan to Read

You can easily move them back and forth from category to category as their status changes. You can mark some as favorites. You can rate them, one to five stars. You pick what books will display on your blog - I decided to have a 4 book shelf, with 4 top favorites showing.

Click on my shelf, and it'll take you to my profile, showing you all the categories, the 50+ books I have on there. Hover your mouse over a book on the shelf, here on my blog, and it gives you the short review, plus a button where you can add it to YOUR shelf, and put it in the 'Books I Plan to Read' category.

Once you have some books on your shelf, you can (if you choose to) hook up with other people who read what you do. The site is filled with book clubs, some divided geographically, some by genre, some by common interest, like Mommies Who Read. Each book club has a bulletin board to post on.

No affiliation to Shelfari here, just thought it was a neat idea. And I'll be looking for bookshelves on others blogs, to see what YOU read!
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