Saturday, May 20, 2017

Now Can We Put Away our Snow Shovels?

Our big late snowstorm blasted through here on Thursday, dropping about five inches of heavy, wet snow that threatened our trees and and newly planted spring annuals and made the day quite miserable.  The precipitation alternated between rain, snow, sleet and even some hail.  You know that I didn't want to leave the house but I had to run the library at a quilt guild meeting, so off I went.

The meeting was about miniature quilts, a couple of which you can see here.

I was greatly impressed by this little piece which measures 12" square so each animal is about two inches large.  

The patterns came from this book, but in it each block is much larger, somewhere between six and twelve inches.  To make them so much smaller took a lot of resizing and intricate cutting and piecing, which I'm not into but is still impressive.

Besides the speaker the meeting featured a display of about thirty quilts that guild members made for Blue Sky Bridge. a local group that provides support services for victims of child abuse.

It was gratifying to see these quilts, including one this one I had made with pirate fabrics, and know that they would be put to good use. 

When we came out of the meeting we walked into a sleet storm.  It was very unpleasant to dig ice and snow off our cars while the sleet pelted down.  And it was cold!  

When I finally got home I did what I wanted -- spend the rest of the storm sewing.  I got out a bag of batik scraps and began making free-form pieced blocks.  When I got tired of that I found some batik flower fabric and cut them into blocks to alternate with the pieced ones.  After a day of this I had a completed top for a little baby quilt, 24"x30",  just the right size for the guild's NICU outreach program. 

Between the snowstorm and the ensuing hard freeze the worry was that we'd all lose the annual flowers we'd just planted in the glorious summer-like days that preceded the storm.   There was a lot of ice and snow about.

But this morning it looked like all my plants had survived with the possible exception of the poppies which were heavy with their big about-to-open flowers.  We'll give them a few days and hope for the best.

This morning the clouds lifted over the Flatirons and it is bright and sunny today, though still fairly chilly.  The snow is already gone from most of the yards and streets, though up in the mountains it will take a while for the thirty inches they got to gradually melt.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


There are crazy things in the news today, and I'm not talking about Russia.  I'm talking about the weather forecast!  I'm talking about snow!  

Actually, I took this screen shot last night.  This morning the forecast is up to 3-5 inches for Thursday and 1-3" on Friday.  Of course, anything could happen.  But still....  And we just got the annual flowers planted and the snow tires removed.  

The historical record for this area includes a late May snowstorm of 19"!

The other crazy thing is what a busy day I had yesterday getting ready for the big music awards and banquet at school.  We expected 350-400 people and while we had it catered (BBQ) there was still a lot of work involved.  I won't bore you with details, but I thought it was telling that my iPhone health monitor recorded that I walked 4.5 miles yesterday just shopping, setting up, and cleaning up for the event, not going for a walk or a hike.  And so many details to remember; I thought my brain might burst!

I love helping out the music program, we had a lot of helpers, and I actually enjoyed the event, but I'm sure glad it's over!  My chum Sara took this photo of me going a bit crazy with these super-cute music cake pops that someone brought to the party.  

Today I'm off to the Denver Art Museum to celebrate a friend's birthday.  Should be a nice reward after such a busy day yesterday.  

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A Few Things to Smile About this Week

Another day swamped with "News of the Weird" from our political scene leads me to join my friend Lee Anna as she focuses on more pleasant topics in her Thursday "I Like" posts. 

I had a big smile on my face when I left the Verizon Wireless store the other day with a new iPhone 7 Plus.  The amazing camera was the big draw since I use my iPhone almost exclusively for taking photos nowadays.  The only reason I went into the store was that Paul wanted to buy a new screen protector for his phone.  But while there found out I could upgrade for only a one time fee of $30.   Pretty sweet! And pretty great photographs.

 I checked out Paul's Facebook page and found this photo which was darn cute, what with Spikey perched on his shoulder.  Can you see that the photo in the back showing image of Paul with his sax is suspended in air?  The whole idea was for Paul to look like a magician, hence his odd scowl and floating photo.

I loved this sunset.   

 The other day Ben and I were driving home and spotted a huge, tall crane up the block.  We wondered what was going on and realized that it was lifting an old hot tub off a neighbor's deck!  Ben said it was "Spring clean up, Boulder style."  

My new phone has a much bigger screen than my old one and is good for reading magazines using the Zinio app.   I remembered that you can take a photo of an iPhone screen and snapped this one so I could be reminded of its message.

That message had some influence on my studio work this week; here is currently what's on my design wall.   

We saw a fox actually crossing near a "Fox Xing" sign up the street.  For three years I've watched for a fox there and was tickled to finally see one!

But the best smile of the week came when the dentist said those magic words, "Everything looks great.   See you in six months!" 

Friday, May 5, 2017

It's May!

Early May is a busy time for anyone involved in schools, which I am, not only as a parent of a high school student but as an active volunteer for the school's music program.  Starting last week and running through May 16 I'm helping with three band and orchestra concerts and a big end-of-the-year music picnic and awards ceremony.  The band concert on Tuesday night was a fairly small event but tonight's concert with its five orchestras is going to be huge.

We gave these roses to the graduating seniors at their final band concert Tuesday.  Today I'm picking up twenty-four roses and two bouquets of flowers, which should make the car smell heavenly!

One of the reasons I like to volunteer for the school music program is that it opens the door to activities that I wouldn't do otherwise.  I mean, I don't usually have any reason to buy twenty-four roses, but it's kind of fun.   

On Wednesday night I went to a performance given by jazz students from Boulder High and and a folk high school in Norway.  It was the final event in a Boulder-Norway student exchange that started in April when about twenty Boulder High students went to the Trondertun Folk High School for a week.   The Trondertun students then came here for a week.  I would never have gone to the culminating concert on Wednesday if I wasn't Chair of the music parent's group, and I would have missed a fun and entertaining evening.   

Even without all this music activity early May is always busy.   Some rain followed by delightfully warm temperatures has got the grass growing like crazy and all the perennials are again green and demanding weeding.  Last night we had dinner on the deck, the first of the season.   

On a less happy note, Ben was laid low with a toothache over the weekend.  He is rarely so sick and it was a bit scary to see him just laying around in pain.  He's now on the mend after having a back molar extracted yesterday.   You know things are bad when you're really happy to see the dentist! 

Monday, May 1, 2017

A Pretty Spring Snow

 It was a lovely spring snow of about five inches, the kind that gives us a wintry wonderland for a day and then melts the next.  Now I'm okay for the real spring weather to arrive.  I'm ready to put some flowers in the ground!


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Around Here

Around here we are having snow!  Anywhere from 3-6" was predicted and I'd say we woke up to about three this morning.  The great thing is that it's still snowing and I do love to watch the snow fall.  Mostly it snows at night here, so I'm enjoying drinking my coffee by the fire while watching the snow come down.      

A "widespread hard freeze" is predicted for early Sunday morning.   Good thing we've resisted doing any planting so far, but a freeze could still be hard on all the lovely lilacs that are blooming.  

Actually, all week we've had "unsettled weather."  The other day Ben and I did a hike up in Chautauqua, starting out with some nice warm sun and ending up in cold hail!  Here I am shivering in the brief but potent storm.  

The unsettled weather has meant that there have been some gorgeous clouds this week.

And the beautiful dark skies lured Paul out to take some panoramic views for his Digital Photography Class.  Ben is very generously allowing Paul to use his sophisticated Nikon D800 and Paul is quickly becoming quite adept with it.  

Spikey has been enjoying the signs of spring as he hangs out in the morning light coming in the windows in my studio.  I don't know how good his eyesight is, but just when you think he's not really watching anything he'll suddenly move his head like he's following a bird or a squirrel.  

The other day I forgot all about him and left him in the window while I went to a quilt meeting.  Three hours later when I came home he was still happily sitting in the window watching the world outside.

I finished a quilt this week, just in time to include it in a challenge issued by one of my quilt quilds.   I started it back in early March as I noted in this post.   The idea was to make a quilt of any size or type using one color plus white.  

I started by sewing strips of brown scraps into bigger pieces and then divided some of those bigger pieces with angles of white fabrics.  Then I put them up on the design wall and tried to place them in an interesting combination.    

When it looked right I sewed the pieces together and quilted it using straight lines.

When I showed this at the quild someone called out "Where can I get the pattern?"  Ah, sorry; that't the beauty of this process for me.  There is no pattern.  It's a unique piece, one even the creator couldn't replicate.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Heading into the Weekend

Whew!  That week went by fast!  

Ben's hard work got our taxes in on time, and we again told ourselves "next year will be easier."  

I worked hard to finish a quilt in time for a guild challenge due at yesterday's meeting.  I'll tell you about it soon but right now am taking a deep breath after meeting the deadline. 

On Tuesday I chaired a meeting of the school's music parents and, after consulting with various people for a couple of days, this morning I ordered BBQ for 350 people attending the music awards banquet in May. 

Tonight we're going into Denver to try a new restaurant.  Then I'll be back in Denver tomorrow morning to support Paul's team in the "Japan Cup," an "It's Academic" type of competition for students of Japanese.   

 It's never a dull moment around here.

But.....let me show you how our little re-do of the laundry room turned out.   We've been working on it off and on since we moved in and it's now done.  

Here's how the laundry area looked when we bought the house. 

Before we moved in we removed the cabinet above the appliances, updated the plumbing, insulated the walls, added another light, replaced the doors going out to the garage and painted the walls a pretty yellow. 

Last year we replaced the appliances and last month we added a deep sink in a snazzy and useful cabinet.   The sink is topped with an oversize plastic board so we can set things there when the sink isn't being used.  There's now a handy hamper next to the washer/dryer and a pop-up bar on which to hang clothes for drying.

Here's the sink uncovered and the showing off all the storage in its pull-out drawer. 

And here's a close up of the lovely sink and cabinet.  No longer are we washing painting supplies or Spikey's mats in the kitchen sink!  Yeah!  

Across the room is a little alcove which looked like this when we moved in.

It now holds a couple of red storage bins, a little fridge, and has a surface or two for Paul to dump all his school stuff when he gets home.

 I'm so pleased with how this renovation turned out.   Given that we come and go in and out of the house through this area all the time since it connects to the garage, and given how integral doing your laundry is, I think all the planning and work to make it as efficient and pretty as possible was well worth it.