Tuesday, August 23, 2011

exploding B&B cabins

I finally finished my Mom's birthday present. It's a lap sized quilt. I bought the log cabin pieces precut from eBay. I sewed them together and figured out the placement. Then my favorite thing; a trip to the fabric store to get fabric for the borders. These came from JoAnn's Fabric.
All machine pieced and quilted. It didn't take too long just a couple of weekends.

I've bought a couple of these precut log cabin kits from the same store on eBay. I've been really happy with all of them. Jordans of Oregon is the store. Cutting is my least favorite part of quilting, so this is one shortcut I love!

Here is another of her kits that I'm working on:
That one is for me, and it's been up on the design wall for about a year. I've got 12 more blocks to make, then I have to audition fabric for borders and backing. I've seen some really nice asymmetrical pieced backings lately. I think I'm going to try that with this one. I want it for my Queen sized bed. I keep stopping work on this and doing quilts for other people. oh well.

I'm thinking of lots of purple for the borders. It's my favorite color so that will dominate with just a little of the pale green. Maybe some Flying Geese, I just got a new Flying Geese Ruler and I want to try it out.

The squares lined up under the log cabins have been up there even longer. Guess I'll finish it someday. I kind of like knowing I've got things to work on if I get bored or broke.

I've got one more of her kits set aside in beautiful shades of teal and turquoise for my son. I can't wait to work on that one.

Then I want to do some Sunflower Place mats for my sister in law. I've been searching for the right fabric but haven't seen it yet. If I don't I've got some other ideas for her. She is going through and extremely tough time, just got diagnosed with MS along with Chiari and may need to have surgery. Maybe I'll make her a nice snuggle quilt instead of the place mats. She could use a hug I think.

Here's another look at the one I just finished, with Lilly giving it her seal of approval.

Fairy Village

I'm a little late, but I saw that back in May a lot of people in the blog-o-sphere were making these Fairy Villages, so last weekend I gathered up all my supplies and made this one.

I bought the little birdhouses at Dollar Tree and cut a doorway in each one and painted them in bright colors. I still want to make a flag for the top of the houses.

I made a path out of glass pebbles also from Dollar Tree, and the Dolphin Statue is from an old wind chime that self destructed.

I banner is made from some take out chop sticks, a cord from a broken necklace and I cut out the paper triangles and stamped them with the words happy day.

Some black river stones are balanced between the houses, a couple of ground covers and a "tree", and an enormous mushroom in my favorite color rounds everything out. I still want to add a table and a couple of chairs or maybe a hammock. I'm still waiting for the right idea to hit me.

For now it's living on the dining room table, but I want to get a small table to put it on in front of the window.

In the meantime, Fairies Welcome!

Monday, July 18, 2011

coming along

We worked on the front yard all day on Sunday.
We got all the ground cover planted, Purslane and Sedium. The Purslane is all shades of pink, orange and yellow, very bright and cheerfull. The Sedium is medium green and then we also planted Stonecrop, acid green and my favorite.
We put some square pavers in with the ground cover so the we'd have somewhere to step to weed the garden.

The front garden is growing wonderfully. I've got Coleus with GIANT leaves, one with the acid green and one with deep purple. My two favorite colors. And I've been able to root some cuttings so they will multiply!

and Bougainvillea, I planted this last year and it didn't do well at all. It got really leggy and the grasshoppers ate all the leaves. It's actually been able to bloom this year, but still really leggy and not many leaves. I've got to read up on it to see if it blooms on old or new wood. I'd like to cut it back so it bushes up more. I might have to just suffer if it's old wood.

and Flax Lilly; they've really done well for me and I plan on doing them all the way down the side of the driveway along with Daylillies. That's a project for next year, I'm just full of plans.

and there's 3 or 4 bushes that I can't remember what they are called, but the butterflies just love them. They are pretty much carefree, just water, I almost never fertilize. Of course I do add a couple of bags of compost in the spring.

This year I added 1 mystery plant that Patrick brought over, someone had dug it up to be replaced from his office landscaping. They said the freeze got it. Looked all right just a little burned, we planted it and wowee! A gorgeous Hydrangea.
I planted another to go with it.

On the left we planted an Angels Trumpet or Datura. This one is deep purple and creamy white. It got it's first bloom about a month ago and it hasn't stopped since. It usually produces about 3-4 blooms at a time. They last about 3 days and every day they look different.
Now I want to get the peachey-pink one for the other corner.

The roses are still going strong, putting out new growth and flowers. I've got a pink Floribunda, I have no idea of the name, it's been there for a long time and struggled for many years. This year it's been given some loving attention and is thriving.

That's on one side of the arch and on the other is Don Juan climbing rose. This was just planted this spring and it's doing so-so. Really legging and lost some leaves to mildew. I've had this variety before with the same problem, so we shall see if it's a keeper. May just pull it up next year and plant Clematis there. On the corner there is a miniature Floribbunda, Fairy Rose, pink and in constant bloom. Gorgeous plant!
The Lavender has calmed down and is looking a little weak, I may try adding some compost there, but I think between the rain every day and the heat they are taking a beating.
I have 3 Society Garlic here among the Roses and Lavender, they are doing a great job of keeping the bugs away! I plan on getting more of these, attractive and useful. I have a bare spot to the left of the big pink rose bush where some annuals are past their prime, they will do nicely there.
Except for this guy, I HATE these guys!!!

I've got 2 Blueberrie Bushes on the property line on the far side of the yard. We planted them this past spring and they produced well. Escpecially since they are less than a foot high. I want to see how they do for a whole year and if they make it I want to do a whole hedge down the side of the yard. They grow pretty big and bushy, about 4-5 feet tall and wide and covered in berries in the spring. Blueberries freeze well too. Couldn't get a good picture of these, they just look like a tiny little shrub in a sea of mulch.
Next weekend we're digging up the rest of the path in front of the rose garden and over to the gate to the vegetable garden in the side yard. Can't wait for all this grass to go!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


I spent most of the day attending my friend Beth's Wedding. She looked beautiful and they both looked beyond happy.

I know her from work so several coworkers attended. Really nice to see people out of the workplace and in their fancy clothes.

The venue was beautiful, The Rusty Pelican, the ceremony was outside right on the water and the dinner overlooked the bay with floor to ceiling wall to wall windows. The Mullet were jumping like crazy all afternoon.

It's been raining here all week, but she got lucky and had sunshine for the ceremony.

I wish them happiness, patience, compassion, adventure. Congratulations!
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

work and Play

So my son built me this table-shelf. It took a couple of weekends and we had to take it apart and redo it once, but I'm really happy with it.
I drew a picture of what I wanted and Patrick bought the supplies and we all helped but Sam did the bulk of the work.
There used to be a rusty 55 gallon drum topped with an old wooden pallet in this spot. This looks so much better and more useful too!

I still need to paint it. The wall is white and that won't change because it's vinyl siding. The porch posts and ceiling is turquoise and the door is deep purple. I love the look of the wood, but I think it needs some protection. I'm still trying to decide between painting it all funky and bright or doing a stain.

I have a lattice to add to the back, it will give the table a little bit more stability and give the Mandevilla vine something to climb on. Mine is red and pink, gorgeous. I don't have a pic of mine but here's a stock photo

I planted it right in front of the porch so it can climb the post and then the lattice. It will screen the back porch from the neighbors yard and give a bit of privacy and shelter from the rain.

And here is our latest project; we're making a mulched path from the driveway/front door to the garden. We were wearing a path there anyway, so I decided to pull up all the grass and put in a path and ground cover.

The path will be on the left of the picture and goes between the Crepe Myrtle and the rose bed in front of the house. By the driveway it will be about 4 feet across and narrows by the tree to about 3 feet and then widens again in front of the house.

Between the path and the front garden which is the garden on the right of the picture will be ground cover. I have Ice Plant, Sedum and Stone Crop. I'm also going to do some oregano; it spreads like crazy and smells great when you brush against it.

We got all of the large area in front of the door by the driveway done before the skies opened up and dumped gallons of water on us. We had a great time relaxing on the porch and watching the rain.

The Crepe Myrtle has MORE baby birds! The first batch hatched and grew and flew away and about 3 weeks later I noticed some activity and we now have 3 new baby Mocking Birds. They just hatched Saturday. So fun to hear the peeps and see the bright yellow-orange wide open mouths sticking up out of the nest. She built it just above my eye level so really easy to watch.

Next weekend we'll continue to dig up the pathway and put in the edging and mulch and plant some of the ground cover.

In the meantime, we've been taking advantage of the late summer sunsets and going to the beach after work one night a week. I love living close enough to the beach to do that. It's about a 40 minute ride and so worth it. I would love to move even closer but Patrick's not going for it. I'm going to keep working on him.

Monday, May 16, 2011


IMAG0126, originally uploaded by corvaequeen.

new shed!

What I did last weekend

Tomatoes I picked from the garden tonight. 3 Lemon Boys, a Beef something or other and a handfull of cherry's.

I harvested about half the Collards, blanched and froze them, and the upper half is still going strong. They are about waist high now. I'm wondering if they'll eventually turn into a small tree!

We've finally got the new shed up and secure. What a chore! Took 4 weekends, 5 if you count the one buying (2 different stores) and transporting it.

First we built it, and then it rained for 3 days and nights straight and we decided that it needed the strongly suggested foundation. So we moved it and laid 5 rows of 4 20x 20 inch concrete pavers. Then move it onto the pavers. And finally yesterday: move all the yard maintainence tools and implements of destruction and painting supplies into the shed.

Friday evening I had the grandchild, all night and Saturday morning. She was wonderful, no problems. I didn't take any pics, but here's one from Easter:

Saturday was Tropical Heatwave. We look forward to this, one of the highlights of the year.
Our local community sponsored radio station puts on this huge one night only music fest every year second week of May.
This year there was 8 stages scattered throughout Ybor City and 56 bands. There's no way to see them all cause all 8 stages are playing at the same time, but if you plan carefully you can see a little of lots of them.
We started the evening off at Kristen's house with a pre-Heatwave bar-b-que. Then off to Ybor and a night of dancing in the streets!
Here's some pic's of my favorite band of the night: Cracker

That's Patrick enjoying Jeffery Broussard and the Creole Cowboys.

Then on Sunday, we moved all the stuff into the shed off the front porch. Cleaned the porch and the tables and chairs for the porch.

So nice to have a porch to sit on and now when people visit, it won't look like an episode of Hoarders!

Kristen just called and it looks like we have a date for Saturday at the Taste of Pinellas. Bonnie Rait and Buddy Guy are playing for $15 entrance fee. Vinoy Park, can't beat that, good food, great music, right on the water. I love living in Florida.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Random Acts of Art Kindness

So we were playing Scrabble the other night and we always each draw a tile to see who goes first. We both drew a V. There are only 2 V's available. What are the chances that we'd both pull it?

I found this wonderful handmade postcard waiting in my mailbox this afternoon when I got home. It's paper, fabric and laminated fabric stitched together. It was made by Jan Hodgman as a RAAK. That stands for Random Act of Art Kindness. I LOVE IT, and it perked my day right up!

RAAK is from Millande's Art Group on Ning, if you haven't been there I highly encourage you to visit and join. Wonderful women sharing their knowledge, lives, insight and kindness. I'm inspired every time I visit, and I've learned quite a bit. It's caused me to work a bit outside of my comfort zone. and that's always a good thing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Rainy days are gone, and the weekend is now

Baby tomato! This is Mr Stripey. When he grows up he is supposed to be red and chocolate striped. I've never grown this one before, so we shall see.

We got a ton of rain this week, officially 3.99 inches yesterday. My yard was a swamp and my driveway a river. The veggies loved it, the tomato plants look like they grew a couple of inches. The roses lost all their petals but overall look ok, but the impatients got all beat up.

I planted a Honeysuckle against the fence on the side yard; and strung up garden twine to give it something to cling to. It grows so fast I think if I stand there long enough I'll see it move.

On the crafty side:
I bought the equipment to make lampwork beads. Very fun! I get to use a torch!! woo-hoo!
so I've only tried it once so far and was not as difficult as I imagined. I did do one thing wrong: I set everything up outside. It was a gorgeous day, sunny, breezy and I was playing with fire.... so I set everything up on the table in the back yard. The blue part of the flame is the hottest so that's where you have to hold the glass. Well, in the sunlight or dappled shade you can't see the flame at all. All I could see was the wavy distortion in the air.
Problem two: nice and breezy. While that felt fantastic, you really don't want the wind blowing the flame around; it needs to be nice and steady.
In spite of that I made 5 beads. Not too bad for a first time:

I know that with practice I will get better, but now just to find the time to do it.
I have so many things I want to do this year.

I have 3 quilts in the planning stage and 1 a little less than half pieced.
I want to make the baby some clothes.
I want to work on layering in my art journal.
I want to go to the beach once per month.
I want to dance.
I want to continue to lose body mass.
I want to creatively landscape my yard and make it so nice we love to sit out there.

Here's one last pic:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Catching up

I've been so busy working in the garden I've neglected you!
We finished the Compost Bins and they are working quite well. No more stinky mess in the plastic garbage can I was using.
We also built the second bed in the side yard and fenced it in. Here's a pic of Patrick planting Cosmos and Petunias.

In the new bed:
4 tomatoes: Lemon Boy, Mr Stripey, Husky Cherry and Beef Master
2 red peppers
Bee Balm
2 basil and 1 spicy globe basil
a HUGE Rosemary bush
4 strawberries
5 bush beans
and lots of Marigolds for pest control and because they are so cheerful.

In the first bed:
Collards continue to go crazy and I will be harvesting, cooking and freezing very soon.
Purple Cabbage is starting to look luscious

the lettuce is almost gone
Freshly planted:
4 Cauliflower
4 Black Zucchini
2 Spaghetti Squash
2 Cucumber
Once the Collards are harvested I'll need to plant something in that spot. any ideas?

We spent all last weekend building a shed in the back yard. It's made of resin and is 6x8 feet. Took us all weekend to put the kit together with the help of my daughter, son and neighbor. Grandchild played in the wading pool for all of Saturday afternoon, kept herself entertained, what a jewel she is.

I don't have any pictures yet, I'll take some once I get it planted and settled in. They shorted me 26 screws so I have to make a trip to Home Depot to get some replacements to finish. Then I want to get some concrete pavers for just in front, a landing zone for the lawn mower and a path through the yard eventually. I'd love to do crushed gravel for the paths, but we will probably settle for mulch.
I got 2 ground orchids to plant by the shed, originally I thought I would plant them in front but as you can see the front is mainly doors so I'm not sure where I will put them.

This one is tall, about 2 and 1/2 feet and then a smaller one with peachy pink flowers.
I also got this little guy to protect and be a backyard mascot:

I've been wanting a bird bath and didn't like any I've seen so I decided to make my own. I bought a plant saucer and plant stand and I'm painting them. I'm going to weight down the saucer with a large quartz crystal so hopefully it won't be tippy.
I'll post some pics once I'm finished.

I also painted the bird feeder, once again no pics but will take some on the weekend. The bird feeder is done with the colors I'm doing the back porch with. I started painting the porch 2 weekends ago but the stepstool I was standing on to paint the ceiling collapsed under me and I fell. Luckily I fell on my head so no permanent damage done. Anyway the ceiling and supports are turquoise, the back door is purple and the trim around the windows in the door will be coral. I'm still looking for a saying to paint on the beam that you see as you walk out to the back yard. So far in the running:
Love Lives Here
The Amazing is Happening Now
Dance with Creation
Love is your true nature
choose love
what's your idea?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Compost Carpenters

I've been wanting to build a Compost Bin for awhile now. For the last two years I've been composting in a plastic garbage bin. It gets pretty slimey in there as there's no air circulation. So this morning after dumping the bin out in the yard to turn it; I decided today's the day. Compost building day!
Off to Home Depot for lumbar since my search for free pallets has come up to bupkiss.
Of course while we were there I dumped a whole package of nails everywhere. oops. Not my fault! Someone had torn open the end and set it back on the shelf. It was booby trapped I tell ya.

Back at home and I even managed to talk my son into helping. Doesn't he look thrilled?

and check out those Redneck sawhorses...

I'm putting them in the back corner behind some large bushes, a straight walk out the back door from the kitchen, but hidden from sight. Here's Patrick swinging a hammer.

And here we are nailing the last side together in the dark. We still have to nail a board across the bottom of front, then hardware cloth on all sides.

We also still have to build the front pieces. These will either be removable or swing open like a gate so the compost can be easily turned. They will be a wooden frame with hardware cloth stapled to it, just like the sides.
didn't the guys do a great job?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine's Art Swap

I joined in on a Valentine Swap that Lemoncholy offered at her blog: Lemoncholy's flight of fancy.
She's a wonderful artist and I love the blog, go visit.

Here is my contribution; water color and markers.

And here is what she sent me!! I love, love, love it. There is nothing like coming home on a dreary, rainy day after a hard day at the insurance mine to find lovely lovely decorated mail in the box.

It's about 8 inches long, and quilted and puffy. I'm taking it to work to hang on my cubbie wall where I can admire it all day.

I'm working on a card for the significant other, but you will have to wait till after I give it to him for the picture.