Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Too much work!

I've been working too hard lately! It's summertime and the living is supposed to be easy, but not the past week or so. 

For one thing, the project Paul and I started a few weeks ago to make a cushion for a window seat in Paul's new apartment turned into a real challenge.  Everything seemed to be going well until I sewed up the last seam and realized the top and bottom pieces weren't matching up, leaving the top askew.  I rewatched the video I was following, checked the measurements of the pieces, ripped out my stitching, decreased the amount of pressure on the pressure foot and tried again.  Still askew.  Grrr.....  On the third try I painstakingly pinned the pieces together, matching up the corners carefully and placing pins every quarter inch or so to ease in the excess fabric.  Success!  It only took three days of presevering, but it was finally finished.  Cheers all around!  

And it looks great on Paul's window seat. 

Second, our sour cherry tree has a bumper crop this year and I've been picking the wonderful cherries, which is quite the little job.  After picking them you have to clean and pit them.  I made this messy job more pleasant by watching the newly released season 3 of Virgin River on Netflix while I worked.  

And then comes the yummy part, using the picked, cleaned, and pitted cherries to make delicious treats.  Hmmm... good!

July 17th was Paul's actual move in date.  I thought it would be done in one hot, sweaty, busy day, and it was.  Paul did a great job of planning his move and it all went well but it was just was a lot of hard work since we didn't hire movers.  Now it's taken several more days to clear out of the old rental place.  The other two roomies and their families were leaving town and Ben and I volunteered to make sure that the final cleanup and walk through got done.  As you may recall from your own moves, "empty" doesn't really mean empty.  It means empty of all the stuff you want, not all the stuff you don't want, like surplus food in the kitchen cupboards, trash, and assorted unwanted furniture and belongings.  The kids did a pretty good job, but making the final sweep has taken some effort.  On Ben's part, it's meant moving some furniture and boxes; on my part it's meant clearing all the unwanted food and "stuff" out of the kitchen.  We hope to wrap this all up soon.   

Well, not all my recent efforts have been "too much work."  I've also been working on my sunflower piece, which is both challenging and lots of fun.  Here's a few peeks. 

The photos I'm using in this piece were taken last year in a lovely sunflower garden down the street.  Here is a shot next to it taken just last week.  I do love sunflowers!

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Morning Report

It's a pretty morning here.  Later in the day it will be hot, but at 9:00 AM it's nice and cool.  Apparently we had a heavy rain last night, though we slept through it even with the windows all open.  That's our weather pattern right now; cool mornings, hot afternoons, thunderstorms building up during the day, often followed by rain and sometimes hail in the afternoons and evenings, though sometimes there's just a "big blow," which is quite dramatic even without rain and hail. 

All the rain is great for the garden.  The dahlias are finally up and growing fast, the marigolds, zinnias and cosmos are blooming, and our cucumber plant (contained in a pot on the patio) has a flower! 

We had a fun 4th of July weekend, with a series of dinners both here and out.  That Handsome Dog Gus came to dinner with his guardians on a night that threatened rain and heat so we ate inside in the air conditioning.  With seven people in the house and two dogs messing around with each other, things got a bit tight occasionally and we sent the dogs outside a few times.  Here they are waiting in the heat to come back in.  Don't worry; I can assure you they had a great evening!

Right before the big weekend Ben & I went to Corrida to celebrate our 43rd anniversary, and that was a fun and delicious night.  After dinner we headed out to Corrida's beautiful rooftop patio to enjoy the cool night air.

Everything is opened up here in Boulder to the point that masks are only required in a few places and my quilt guilds are starting to plan in person meetings again.  I'm evaluating how many of these meetings I really want to go to nowadays, realizing that I've quite enjoyed having that time to sew at home.  I'm still making scrap blocks and charity quilts and have this exuberant sunflower piece underway.  It's currently about 24 x 40" but I think it may end up a bit bigger, as I'm pretty sure I'm going to add some flowers along the bottom. 

And Paul and I have a little project as well, making a cushion for the window bench in his new apartment.  We're off to a good start, having found this nice grey fabric yesterday as well as a good piece of foam which we covered with batting.  Today Paul is coming here to cut out the pieces.  It'll be an interesting journey since neither of us have done this kind of thing before.  Thank heavens for Youtube videos!  

I took this photo yesterday in nearby Niwot after my SIL, Dawn, and I finished a three mile hike around the town.  It's a mighty cute photo, but I have to ask you:  Does Dawn look like she just finished a three mile hike, half of which was uphill in the hot sun?  It amazes me how fresh she always looks, when I'm dripping with sweat and have wet hair!    

And here's Turbo, having his first taste of an ice cream cone.  I think he was thinking, "Hey, you guys eat this good stuff all the time?" 

Well, it's going to be a calm day spent mostly at home.  I'll do a bit of gardening, work on my sunflower, write up some notes from some genealogy I'm trying to do on Ben's family, work with Paul on the cushion project, get out with Turbo for a few walks, and have a good dinner here with Ben.   

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Three Fun Photographs

Here's a few fun photographs for your viewing pleasure today.

Isn't this cute?  Of course it's Paul and that's his friend and new roommate Jessie.  Paul's current lease ends July 31 and his two roommates are heading out of town to return to college, leaving Paul to find both new digs and a new roomie.  Luckily, his friend from high school (and the daughter of our neighbors) was also needing a new place so they teamed up.  

In a blink of an eye they found a newly remodeled two-bedroom-two-bath apartment in great location with nice amenities such as a pool, a dog park (yes, we love our dogs here in Boulder!), and a gym.   The complex offered two weeks free rent if they moved in this week, as the management wanted to get folks in well before the "back-to-school" rush of students in August.  Jessie moved in yesterday and Paul will gradually move in over the next few weeks with the goal of being out of his old place by mid-July, when the other two roomies leave.   Smiles all around!

I finally got a great photo of Turbo playing with his friend Rachel.  They are half siblings, sharing the same mother, and are about a year apart in age.  Turbo turns two on July 11--can you believe it? -- and Rachel turns one sometime soon.  They've known each other much of this past year but Turbo wasn't much interested in the young pup until she got big enough for the two of them to wrestle and roughhouse together.  Now she weighs as much as he does and suddenly they are racing around and tussling together.  Such fun to see!   

See anything interesting in this tree? Hint:  Look for a bird with a long beak and a white throat.  It's a hummingbird sitting on a nest!  How cool is that?  If you don't see it, don't worry, there's a close up below.

I came across this little bird while I was watching Ben rock climb the other day in Eldorado Canyon.  I was up on the Fowler Trail looking down on Ben and his partners as they got ready to climb.  That took a long time.  Finally they started climbing, but not Ben; no first it was Sandy who led and  then Gina followed.  That all took about 90 minutes.  Good grief, I'd forgotten how boring it can be to hang around waiting for a climb to get underway and waiting for "your" climber to get his/her turn.  So while Gina was making her way up Turbo and I stretched our legs by walking back and forth along the Fowler Trail.  At some point I just happened to look up and saw an unusual flash of white up in a tree.  So I stopped and waited and looked and looked and I saw the white patch again and looked even more closely and saw a long black beak and then I knew what it was.  I'd never seen a hummingbird sitting on a nest and I was quite thrilled!  

Eventually I tore myself away from the bird and her nest and headed back down the path and saw that Ben was actually climbing.   Here's one of his first moves...

..moving on up...

...and gets to a corner which he climbs around and up and out of sight. 

To watch further I had to leave the Fowler Trail and walk back down into the canyon.  I got this nice closeup up as I left.  Goodbye and goodluck, little one! 

When I was back on the canyon floor I looked up to see how Ben was doing.  He was just beginning to climb up the 100' long crack that would take him up to the top.  It made me nervous to see him there like a spider and I knew all three climbers would still have to get themselves back down.  I'd already spent three hours in the canyon and Turbo was getting pretty hot so we went home, having cleverly come in a second car.  It's been a long time since I've seen Ben climb in Eldorado and I think it will hold me for a while! 

Saturday, June 19, 2021

A Walk Around the Yard

Let's take a walk around the yard and enjoy the beauty that is June.  We can start with the garden by the door, now blooming with many white flowers, including a Mexican geranium and some salvia.  

If we walk counterclockwise and out into the street we get a good view of the north side with its long perennial bed and backdrop of large dogwood shrubs.  

During the twelve years this house was rented out the gardens were sorely neglected and we've spent the seven years that we've lived here uncovering them and figuring out what we have.  It was only a couple of years ago that we found two really lovely roses in the back of the bed and last year I found a pretty plant that I think is a foxglove.  But I think we've found everything now!


Near the driveway is a big rose bush that we inherited from our friend Paula's mother a couple of years ago.  We had a few blooms last year, but look at it now!  All that rain we got in May really gave the rose, peonies, poppies, and iris a boost.  That crimson flower in the front is a peony, also from Paula's mom.  

On the other side of the driveway are other roses, most of which we planted since we moved here.

And past that is a lawn and then the shed which is sorely in need of repairs which are scheduled for sometime soon.  A carpenter is going to fix various problems with the framing and then reside it to match the house.  Should look great, yes?  The garden to the street side of the shed is an overgrown mess and the irrigation there isn't working anymore, so that will be something to tackle after the shed work is done.  It'll be tricky since we don't want to fix the irrigation problem.  For the moment, I'm just glad it's green, since without water it will soon be brown and crispy again. 

To the right of the shed is a nice bed with some ornamental grasses, a couple of day lilies and a lovely delphinium.   Then we go through the gate and into the backyard which contains two raised beds where we're growing some veggies and some annuals.  Ben had the good idea to replace the old beat up railroad ties with stone, which turned out very well.   Oops, looks like I need to stake the delphiniums!

Here's a view of the stone raised beds which replaced the old wooden ones. 

Those tall white things are stakes to hold up the six dahlias when they get big.  Right now they are only inches tall, but just wait.  They'll be two to four feet tall in another month or two. 

And here you can see the backyard itself which is Turbo's domain.  All those white round things in the grass are Turbo's balls.  

Bit by bit we're giving attention to the plants around the sides of the backyard. About half of the green stuff you see are "junk trees" and shrubs, but last year we did plant a clematis and a Nine Bark shrub which are both doing great this season, and for the first time the two rose climbing rose bushes are blooming; yippee!  You can see one here. 

As we come around the back we approach the patio which covers the space between our house and our next door neighbor.  This photo is taken looking towards the backyard.  We have several nice bushes and plants that the landscape company planted.  Much to my surprise they all are thriving.   

And we have added several pots, some with flowers and some with herbs. 

The little pots on the wall are holding mint.  Gotta have mint!

Well, as you can tell we have plenty of garden to keep us busy.  And you might think that it takes us a lot of time to keep it looking ship shape, but really it doesn't, even without hiring any help.   

Ben manages the grass, including growing and cutting it.  He's also ready to do any digging needed to put in new plants and any whacking needed to get rid of dead ones.  And he is a great pruner. 

I'm the procurer of all small plants and we team up when it's time to buy big or expensive ones.  I do most of the planning and I do the unsung but vital job of keeping the grass dog-waste free.  

We've learned over the years not to grow things where you can't see them easily or can't water them easily, and those lessons have saved us a lot of time and disappointment.  

But most importantly, we stop gardening when it "feels too much like work,"  knocking off for the day before we are too tired out.  When it stops being fun we put the tools away, get cleaned up, and take a break.  After all, you have to stop and smell the roses!

Monday, June 7, 2021

On the Camera

It's June and that means the iris are in bloom.  This one is especially pretty, don't you think?  Belongs to a neighbor, and not to me, but I can certainly enjoy it!    

And the early poppies are also open.  Isn't this one devine?  I love poppies.  The ones in our garden are all "late" varieties and haven't opened yet, but they will soon.  As will the peonies and roses.  By the end of June the whole neighborhood will be a riot of color.  

Usually we can look forward to seeing a large stand of poppies in the meadow in front of the Flatirons, shown in this photo I took in June 2019.  Unfortunately, the city decided that poppies are "invasive" and ripped them out last fall, which was quite sad.  

But I've spotted a few survivors, such as this lone soldier.  I sure hope it multiplies!  

Did you notice all the green in these photographs?  I can assure you it's not usually this green around here, even in the springtime.  But this year we've had plenty of rain, so much that the drought in the Denver area has been declared over; yippee! (Though other parts of the state are still suffering.)  Our 3.65 inches of rain in May left everything green and beautiful.  It seems to also have brought a high amount of yellow dusty pollen which made a big mess and has left us all coughing and sneezing more than usual.  But a little pain is worth all the beauty, right?  Turbo's red coat sure looks good against that green. 

Ran across this cute photo of Paul and his friend Bryan from back east, along with Bryan's girlfriend, Bella.  They came out here last year and liked it so much that they came back again in May.  It was great to see them. 

I love this photo I took of fun bottles lined up on the bar at Jax Seafood House. 

I was quite charmed by these three ducks in a row by the irrigation ditch in the cemetery near our house.  

Turbo studied them for a while before deciding they were boring compared to the gang of squirrels who run up and down the trees and otherwise taunt him when we walk through the cemetery.   

June means graduation for some young people, including my two nephews who graduated from high school in nearby Niwot.  It was a well managed ceremony with excellent talks by the Principal and three students, and the weather was delightful.  Everyone was happy and had a good time.  

But probably the boy's parents were the happiest! Big smiles all around!  

We've been doing a lot of yard work, though I find no photos of any of it.  I do have photos of my studio work, including this one which shows a little piece as it sat for months waiting for me to figure out what to do with it.  I liked the hand stitching I'd added to the center and needed to stitch the large vertical area of the orange/brown fabric,  but how?  

I thought some more hand stitching would be fun and found a stitch called "the sheaf stitch."  It took a bit of practice but after I mastered it and added some to the bottom of the orange/brown area on the left, I didn't like it.  

It was easy to rip out, and I decided to use machine stitching instead.  Here you can see that I added geometric spirals on the bottom sections and curved ones at the top. Then I faced the edges to neaten them up.  Once the whole thing was finished I decided that no, it wasn't.  It needed a band of turquoise around the edge as a contrast.  So I made another little quilt to serve as a background and provides that contrasting edge of that cool turquoise fabric which I love so much.  It's still not officially "done" as I still have to tack the two quilts together, make a hanging sleeve for the back, create and sew on a label, and take better photos of it.   Whew!  Sometimes it seems like these last steps are just work; all the fun parts are over and you just have to put your nose to the grindstone and finish up! 

I'm eager to move onto a new project.  I've taken three of the photos I made of sunflowers last year and had them printed on large pieces of fabric, a service which various companies are offering nowadays.  And I've collected an interesting group of fabrics that compliments those photos.  So the project is putting them all together somehow into a cool art quilt.    

Lots of fun ahead!