Friday, July 11, 2014

For the Love of Visitors

I cannot express with words just how wonderful it is to finally live in a home that is large enough to host family and friends comfortably.  I have always been uncomfortable with the thought of hosting holidays and family events because we have always been in such small housing.  And even though its the people that make it important, knowing you can't provide space and comfort is not fun.

We have been lucky enough to have people come visit us here. Each time it happens I love this house that much more.  We not only have the room to host one family, I think we could easily host two inside and a third with the travel trailer since we had the shop wired to run electricity to it.

And the yard/property just begs to be enjoyed. There are several different areas for seating and private conversations, etc.

Spring break this year brought my sister and her kids down for a visit. It has been forever since we have hosted for them.  It was a fantastic visit and we enjoyed them immensely.  To wrap up the visit we headed to Six Flags and wore the kids out with some amusement park fun.
I have also been able to host my friends here in town for a birthday celebration. There are 11 of us so we do need a little room. LOL.  And again, with the set-up of the house, we can all be together or there are plenty of places for several little groups to be visiting together.  Love that.
This summer we had one of our best family visits ever. Hubs brother and family got to come visit us for the first time ever. Mouse's cousin is the same age so they were in heaven. And we hosted a family dinner and had another brother and his family come up to see them also. My son came. My nephew and his wonderful wife came. It was a great big wonderful house full of family from Hubs side that we have never had in our home before.  And it feels good not to be the ones that have to do the traveling all the time anymore!
These four look so much alike--hubs and his brother and our son and his. 
And these two? Thick as thieves and they got along so well. You never really know with girls how it will go from one visit to the next. These guys did great!

Loved, loved, loved this visit. Can't wait to do it again.

So now friends, you know I have the room. When you coming??

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Restless and Wild

Quilt number 42 is a baby gift for one of my all time favorite moms.  She is also the only person on the face of the earth that has no less than 5 quilts made just for her and her kids.

As former missionary's to Africa and and African theme to the other three kids quilts, we kept this one in the same theme.  I found a picture that was similar on Google and adapted it to the fabrics I had. The picture blocks and backing material are new, but many of the other fabrics are scraps from making his brothers quilts.

I would have had this one done in time.  But the Bus Driver had to go and have her baby early.

I actually found this backing material first and was going to build the quilt around it. But then I found the animal squares and this became the backing instead.

I had a hard time deciding what to use as a binding. In the end I used a different animal print than the borders and I like that. It frames the black nicely.

For the quilting I stuck with straight line walking foot stitch in the ditch again.
With the busy patterns I thought the simple would be best.

Mom and baby are at home recovering and settling in. I managed to deliver the quilt on the day he was SUPPOSED to be born. LOL. 

Maybe I can stay caught up with the next quilts now!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hypnotic Windows

I really should try to take better pictures...but I get lazy.

Quilt number 41 is a graduation present of a amazing lady I am honored to call friend.  And her daughter is the spitting image of her. Can't wait to see where this kid goes. Its so fun to watch a kid start out on their adult life.

This quilt top was made of all scraps I had from other quilts.
The back I did pick up the pillow panel of the state of Texas for. Also the long multicolored piece, which I got with another piece for the back then changed my mind. The rest is more scraps.
The binding is actually a piece I had picked up for the next quilt I was making...but I liked the way the colors went with this quilt so I used it here instead.
KL will be going to college in another state so I wanted to send her with a little bit of home.
For the actual quilting I took the easy way out and stitched in the ditch each rectangle and then echoed that shape in the green spaces. Simple but it makes the colored pieces pop nicely. 

I did not get a signature block done on this one as I was 3 weeks behind on it. I did free motion my name into a border. 

This one had not been delivered to its new owner yet as they are out of town. Can't believe I let myself get so behind on it!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Close Call Number Three

Want to hear a crazy fact about Autumn?

I have this crazy knack for walking away from encounters with poisonous snakes...without being bitten.

To date anyways.

I lived in Arizona as a kid for about 7 years.  We were taught to be careful and aware outside. There was everything from poisonous snakes to scorpions to tarantula's.   I don't remember ever seeing a scorpion but we did get tarantula's on the patio where I rode my trike.   I remember screaming for my daddy once because one was out there with me.  He told me to step on it.  It was bigger than my foot.  What I didn't know at that age was that my dad hates spiders. He didn't want to step on it any more than my 5 year old self did.

My craziest memory and encounter was not with a spider.  It was with a sidewinder rattlesnake. In our back yard.  I had just entered the back yard with my sister and one of her little friends following me. I heard a rustle and turned around to find myself face to face with this rather large snake.

I screamed.

I ran.

It hid.

We ran in the house to tell mom and then we all went to the wall of windows in the back of the house. We couldn't see it anywhere.  But the rug to wipe your feet had been kicked up to make a tunnel.  I knew it was in there. It had to be.  So I got down on the floor and looked through the glass door into that dark space. And there is was.

That gave me nightmare for years.  And to this day I get chills even at the zoo looking at snakes in their glass aquariums.

Mom called someone on the base and they sent out a guy to catch the snake.  We got to watch the whole thing from the back window wall.  And the funny thing was we lived in a military duplex and our side was fenced with chain link. The not-so-bright guy kept having to go in and out as the snake went from one yard to the next thru the fence. Finally he got smart enough to call in back-up and they caught the ugly thing.

Flash forward to my mid 20's, living in Florida with my incredibly hot husband. (Just sayin.....)  We were in military housing again, with a carport instead of a garage.  There was a door into the kitchen from the carport. By that door was the recycling bins that made perfect little caves. (Hindsight)

One evening I was hurrying from the back yard to the front to wash out Bone's hermit crab aquarium when I sort of noticed a hose stretched out from under the car to the recycle bins.  Hmm. That should have caught my attention, but I was losing all daylight and in a hurry.  So without thinking too much about it I continued my power walk and stepped on that hose.

And felt its ribs break.

And kept walking and did not look back.  I knew I had just stepped on a snake. We had also had a very funnny (to the adults) and frightening (to Bones) incident with our son running into a hog-nose on this same carport. I didn't really have time to go check it out at that point.

Hubs opened that kitchen door just afterwards and I heard him yell for me and tell me there was a snake. I said I know, I just stepped on it.  At that point I came around the side of the house to see it.

To see my husband with his face down close to see what it was.

And it was a rattlesnake.

Of course.

I do believe I let loose a blue word or two and yelled rattlesnake. Hubs moved away and found a shovel and finished it off.  It was not a large snake thank goodness. Maybe that is why it did not get me when I stepped on it.

So here we are back in Texas.

One evening recently I finished a Netflix movie about 10 at night and wanted to get it in the mailbox so I didn't forget in the morning. So I shoved my feet into flip-flops, snapped the light on as I opened the door and walked out to the mailbox. There was a weird shadow movement in my peripheral vision but we have so many bugs and geckos that I didn't even slow down. (This has served me well over the years....don't stop.)

After putting the movie into the mailbox I started back to the front door.

And there was that movement by the door.  And that was a snake.

So here we have a copperhead on the front step. He had just caught a gecko and I watched in fascination as he swallowed that sucker. And I was feeling rather thankful for that gecko at that moment as I stepped about 4 inched from that sucker. I had my phone in my pocket so I grabbed it to snap a picture. I was shaking so bad at that point that I had to take like 12 shots to even get this half way clear one.

But now I'm standing outside with the mosquito's wondering how I'm going to get back into the house. I have all the other doors locked up tight. Its too late to knock on a neighbors door.  I am also in flip-flops so trying to kill it doesn't appeal to me -- I have this weird thing about having my feet safe. What can I say...I'm mental.

And my biggest fear is that Alia is about to go to bed and come looking for me...see the front light on and open that front door. So I did what all crazy people do and texted my husband a picture.  LOL. He told me to call Mouse's ipod and see if she would unlock another door. Luckily she was still up and had the ipod near her. So I was saved.

When Hubs got home he began watching for the snake.  And one evening he called me outside. Not to the front where I knew the snake hangs out as I had seen its tail about 4 times last year but thought it was a Rat Snake.
No. Hubs ran across and killed this guy where we have the dogs.

And that is not the snake I had a run-in with on the front step.

It's too small. 

So, I have now three snake stories I can tell. And my real fear is three strikes and you are out. My luck has to be up by now.

And its 25 minutes to a hospital.

In other news
 ...these guys started making an appearance also.

And the garden is looking rather sinister now....

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Gardening Update

I don't know where time goes lately. I have a bunch of posts that I will try and get done today and set to post every other day to catch up.  I wish I could get some kind of routine down with this new lifestyle...but it evades me. The time Hubs is gone drags like a nightmare and the time he is home flys way to fast. Gotta love it.


The garden has gone insane.

Two weeks ago:
 The garden was growing great. We have had a rain consistently and hard. The plants took off.

See my flattened and squished tomato cage there in the front? Its from the middle of the tomato patch. I found it like that one morning. No other evidence of a visitor. Crazy. I am thinking deer? Maybe with some antlers that the cage caught? And then it runs out and falls on the cage? It does look like it has been sat on. Its a garden mystery.
I did get a few zucchini. I don't think I will have many more as the squash bugs are killing them off fast.  So far it is only the zucchini they have attacked...the yellow egg squash and spaghetti squash remain untouched to date.

The corn isn't coming up all that great. This was a container hybrid. They are doing okay in the containers but I probably wont use it again. The container gardening is proving to be rather stingy and sad.
The beans are coming in but I don't see anything other than leaves at this point. I wonder if I am missing a vital mineral in the soil for them.
The Asian yellow egg squash is doing really well. And they are so pretty. So far the bugs have not bothered them.
The container corn is not growing as tall as what was planted in the garden. But all of it came up, which I can't say for the stuff in the ground.
The container cucs start but then die. I have several large ones in the garden. We have had enough of those that I have given some away already.

This was our first pick of the season. I have already pickled some jalapeno's, frozen chopped green peppers and made stuffed zucchini.  So far we have only had about 4 tomatoes. There are a billion out there but they are all still green. Since I grow them for hubs watch them all start turning now that he is gone again.  I see some salsa canning in my future.

Almost two weeks later the garden is a jungle.  I have to keep pulling leaves off to make pathways. The spaghetti squash plant is taking over the whole back side.