Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Got out of work early today, so I'm officially on vacation until Monday!  Tomorrow I'll be at my older sister's house for Thanksgiving dinner with her husband Tim, our Mom and Sandy's close friends Nancy & Mark.  My silly pooches, Lily & Rocky are invited also, so they can visit their furry cousins, Lola & Bruno ... Sandy & Tim's dogs.

Last post I commented on a Cleveland Pear tree that was turning colors, and managed to take pictures of it before the leaves all disappeared ... this tree is one of the first to bloom, and one of the last to turn colors.

And here is the back garden all cleaned up except for the ornamental kale.

This is a picture I took last week, we got a small amount of snow ....

And this is what it looked like today!  We got more than a small amount of snow last night ..

Rocky doesn't mind the snow at all ... shortly after I took this picture, my neighbor Sally came over and got Rocky to take him hiking.  She's my dogs 2nd Mom!

The pond is starting to freeze over .... the non-frozen spots are usually over the areas where the underground springs come in.

Had to take this one of the snow and the purple barn.  I've been struggling with the back door to the barn and the doors to the donkeys stalls.  The barn has sunk, so the doors are all too long ... so they scrape on the ground.  The back door was frozen in place the other night and I had to chop the ice to get it to open, and then again to get it to close.  The guy that does these types of odd jobs for me, told me in September that he would get these fixed on a rainy day ... the rainy days are gone!  So I called and left him a message that I already had to chop the door free ... and came home yesterday to find all the doors fixed.  As I told the dogs and the donkeys ... these simple little things (closing doors) shouldn't be so difficult!  And what a relief for them to be fixed.

Lily just loves the snow, and this is a common pose .... nose and face deep in the snow to sniff whatever creatures are tunneling under the snow by the pond.

And yes, she's on a leash and Rocky's not.  I've been letting her off leash occasionally and she was doing really well listening to me and not running off ... until Sunday morning.  I took her off the leash and she took off to Sally's house .... so at 8:30 am I'm screaming for her to stop, come back ... and following as quickly as I can.  She finally allows me to catch her, as she's eyeing the deer trail that runs off Sally's driveway.  It is deer hunting season, so no more off leash for her for quite a while!

A couple pictures of my big silly cat Bailey ... is this the universal "male" pose?  LOL!  Belly towards the fire and back legs spread wide apart ....

And drinking out of the kitchen water bowl ...

I've started working on a quilted runner for the top of my buffet, where I put out many of the Santa's I collect.

I found this fabric panel on EBay, a Laurel Burch panel.  She's known for her colors and cats.  I actually bought 2 panels, one I'm keeping together and adding a backing to for the top of my dining room table and one that I am cutting apart and spreading out for the top of my buffet.

I bought some iron-on interfacing and ironed it on the back of the panel:

And then carefully cut the panel apart.  I tried to be careful with what edges went with which square.

I had also found some black fabric with gold dots on it for the background.  I measured the buffet and then sewed and cut the fabric to fit.

And now I'm trying to decide where I want which pieces ... and have moved many of them since this arrangement ... but should have them placed shortly.

This weekend I hope to have finalized their placement and start actually sewing them onto the background, and then figure out how I want to quilt them in place.

So don't get too stuffed on Turkey and all the fixings, enjoy your time with family & friends!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

End of garden season & New Orleans

Today I finished cleaning up the gardens .... YEAH!  We've had multiple frosts, the trees are almost bare and I've even seen a few snowflakes.  The only outside chore I have left before winter is to wrap some trees and bushes in burlap to protect them from the deer.

I'm not one of those gardeners that mourns the end of the season, I am glad when it's over so I can move on to some other things I like to do inside.  For example, I just recently made lots of new earrings and necklaces .... this first picture is my dining room table converted into my craft table ....

A selection of new earrings ....

A necklace I made using some really cool handmade glass beads ... I bought these beads a few years ago and couldn't figure out what to do with them.  Their holes are very large so I needed something to hold them in place, and found I had what I needed to make a necklace.

This one has an interesting set of stones I bought as a set ... and then strung them with some silver accent beads.

A selection of some of the new earrings I made.  They all have surgical steel French wires and rubber wire bumpers on the back so you can't lose them.

Some of the new necklaces I put together.  I try to find interesting pieces to use.

Some more Fall color .. the last of it for this year.  The sun was setting and peeking through the trees.

I love the contrasts of the clouds and sun in this picture.  That's the dairy farm up the road from me.

This is a Mum that is the latest flower to bloom in my gardens.  I sold a bunch of it this past spring and I hope those that bought it are enjoying the late blooms.

This Larch is about the last of the color in my trees, though my ornamental pear is looking really nice today.  And I didn't take a picture of it!

I went to New Orleans this past week for a Reverse Mortgage conference.  This is the second time it was in New Orleans, and was a really good conference as usual.  The Reverse Mortgage industry is a small group as compared to the regular mortgage industry.  So we tend to be a close-knit group of people.  I've made some very close friends over the years, and really enjoy seeing them annually at these meetings.

The conference was held at The Roosevelt, a Waldof Astoria hotel and conference center, right in the French Quarter.  I took these pics of the hotel for my sister Sandy, she's an interior designer.

I arrived early on Sunday, the conference started Monday morning, and my friend Steve and I decided to visit one of the cemeteries.  We asked the concierge for directions and were told that we were too late, that the cemeteries were closed for the day.  We decided to head out anyways and see if we could at least peek through the gates.

I don't know what this is, but thought it was really interesting.

Birds of Paradise are flowers I've only seen in floral bouquets ... this was so cool to see this huge clump growing in front of someone's house.

And I love how this palm tree is sprouting up out of the sidewalk!

So we arrived at the cemetery ... and could see some of the tombs over the fence ...

But we lucked out ... the gates were open!!  A woman that was walking around taking pictures told us that the cemetery is open later around All Saints Day (Nov. 1st) because many families come to the cemeteries to care for the family tombs/crypts.

Love the wrought iron fence!

Many different shapes and sizes.

We were told by the same woman, that there still is a Society for the Relief of Destitute Orphan Boys.

We saw many of these statues ... on the front it says "Erected by the Woodmen of the World".  I had to google it, and found out it was a "fraternal benefit society" ... to me that means it was one of those secret societies ...and is based out of Omaha, Nebraska.  It operates a "large privately held insurance company for it's members".   Here's the Wikipedia link, very interesting:

This one was definitely a little freaky ....

There also were a lot that looked like this ... I think these were probably cheaper to make than the smooth stucco ones.

A family crypt that covered many generations ...

We were trying to figure out the color on this one ... I was thinking that it was the mix that was turning it red and not deliberately colored red.

This one had obviously just been whitewashed and really stood out because it was so pristine.

And the only colored one we saw besides the red stained one ... maybe trying to really make it stand out?  (And another one of those Woodmen statues)

The cemetery was directly across the street from the Commander's Palace, where we had dinner.  I was told this was where Emeril Lagasse learned how to cook.  The food was excellent, I had a local fish that was pecan crusted ... it just melted in my mouth!

I'll finish this blog post with recent pictures of my furry friends ... they missed me while I was gone, but were well cared for by my friend Mary and my neighbor Ron.

Silly pooches on the couch:

And the donkeys enjoying the Fall weather ... they are also happy the hot humid days (and the flies) are gone!

Until next time (or next post) ......