Thursday, April 21, 2011

Latest quilt top completed!

I experienced an enormous surge of energy over the last couple of weeks, and got the new quilt top finished. I put a sizable dent in my stash of African fabrics, but there's still way too much left. Click on the picture to enlarge it and see how many different fabrics I used!

There's still a huge amount of work to be done before it's truly finished... making the backing, doing the quilting, binding it, and, lastly, embellishing it. I have some great ideas for embellishment, and can hardly wait to start playing around with some of my wonderful African beads!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I've had several people ask me if I've run out of cats, since my Cat of the Week project fizzled out a few months ago. The answer is, "Far from it". So, I'm launching it again, but it'll more likely be a less ambitions Cat of the Month event from now on.

One day, at least a half dozen years ago, my Sistah, donnio, was sitting at a table outside of Mel's Roast, our favorite coffee house in downtown Vallejo, when a tiny little tortoise shell kitten ran up to her out of nowhere, and jumped into her lap. Like everyone else on the planet, my dear sistah "just couldn't have another cat," and so, like so many others before her, she called me to see if I could handle "just one more." Since I didn't have any Torties at the time, I said I'd give it a go. So she boxed the baby up in a wine box from the restaurant next door to Mel's, and brought her "home". As expected, she was totally adorable, and Martin and I were both hooked after one look at her. It became obvious from the start that this little girl had some serious personality, and when I mentioned that fact to the nurse at the vet's office, she claimed that tortoise shell cats definitely had what she called "Torti-tude", which put them very high on the list of "interesting" pets.

Things have gone splendidly ever since Sarah joined us - she fit in well, but soon let everyone know who was now in charge, and the others seemed to accept Her Bossy-ness without a fuss. The only problem over the years has been with her weight. Once we had her spayed... she splayed... and she's turned into a lard-bucket of massive proportions. We've made many attempts to "trim" her down, but she's resisted all of them, and remains our Queen of Bulk. Amazingly enough, she's very agile and performs maneuvers that belie her bulk, and, often, make us gasp in amazement. Still, she's a bit of an embarrassment to us. Of course, all we have to do is look in the mirror to realize from whence comes her predilection for pulchritude!

No way could she fit in this box ever again...

One last look at "Svelte Sarah"...

Starting to "bulk out"...

She still tries to cram her bulk into unseemly small spaces...

She's a serious sun-worshiper...

She seems to delight in this pose, which never fails to alarm us...

This is the ultimate "Sarah as Blob" presentation:

The End.
Hope you enjoyed meeting Sarah!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Aeonium atropurpureum 'Schwartzkopf'

Also known as "Black Rose" or "Black Tree" this plant is native to the Canary Islands, Cape Verde Isles and Morocco. I'd had it for well over three years and it sat in its pot and grew 3-4" each year - didn't bloom or do anything interesting, but was merely content to sit in the back row of my succulent garden on the back patio and look benign and relatively pretty.

Then, one day, about five months ago, I noticed the stalk was suddenly many inches longer and a small protrusion was poking its way out of the center of the rosette, and starting to look like a tiny radar dish:

Within a week it had gotten larger and started sporting little nodules:

Which looked like this, up close:

And like this, head on:

The stalk continued to grow until it was over three feet long and the head was beginning to bow under the weight, when one day in late February, it looked like this:

It continued to offer this beautiful display for almost six weeks, until it finally started to fade a few days ago. I'm not a very conscientious gardener, but I have the greatest admiration for nature, and how She manages to work her way around me and produce such wonderful exhibitions in spite of me!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me!

The Love of My Life... makes me wish I were a cat so I could have nine lives with this man!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Welcome, Winston Sanford!

There's a new baby in our lives... grand-nephew Winston Sanford, born yesterday at 1:17 pm. He was a few days late, and mom Kristen was totally ready for him to arrive. Kris and baby are doing great, though I imagine both of them are sleeping solidly at this point. Dad Alan and Gramma Hilary, who was in town for the event, are probably enjoying some down time as well. Today was Gramma Hilary and Grandpa Robert's 43rd wedding anniversary, so W. was a pretty cool anniversary present, I'd say! Winston will soon join his beautiful big sister, Zoe Alana, and super-dog Einstein, and the house will rock with new baby excitement and perhaps a taste of chaos as well. I've got to get my butt in gear this weekend and get a quilt made for the new arrival. The fabric is washed and ready to cut and sew, if I can just tear myself away from my current quilt in progress. I never got Zoe's quilt made when she was born, so I'll have to knock that one out as well... Hopefully, the baby shower won't be for at least a couple of weeks...!

Here's the man of the day... just a few minutes old... kicking, screaming and flailing his fists in rage at having been evicted from his nice, cozy "nest" inside mom... (can you blame him?)

And here's the formal, "all cleaned up" presentation photo!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Halfway there...

Nothing very exciting has been happening lately. Best thing... the rain has finally calmed down - none for almost a week now. The days have been warm and delicious! My one-man weed management squad showed up today and started digging the front yard of the studio house out from under a carpet of three-foot high weeds. I'm surprised we haven't had any complaints from the homeowners' association - perhaps they're still trying to dry out too. Thanks to my injury, absolutely no work has been done in the yards since the beginning of December, and everything's just an unbelievable mess. Speaking of my injury... I'm now walking without any assistance from walker, crutches or cane. I'm kind of stiff most of the time, and I walk very slowly and deliberately, but it'll get better with more practice. I'm driving again, and that's just soooooooo fine!!!

I've been spending a lot of time in the studio working on the strip quilt. Today I completed segment four of seven, and got a good running start on segment five... should be able to post a photo of that in a day or two.