Sunday, July 31, 2011

Peaches and pretties

It's hot here and that means peaches. We've picked them all so far, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, black raspberries, and now peaches are in. It's one of the best things about summer, choosing a tree ripened peach....
... and taking home a bag full to eat and this morning I made a pie.

The girls came for their weekly visit last week and we walked the pier to visit the lighthouse. Elizabeth loves the lighthouse. The rule as we walk the pier is they have to stay in the middle tunnel on the way out to the end.

It's hard to contain the excitement of a little freedom - as long as they follow the rule they don't have to hang onto our hands.

Saturday Patient Husband and I went to a quilt show put on by the Lighthouse Quilt Guild in Grand Haven, another beach town north of us. He was such a sweet guy to go with me. He sat in the husband chair drinking a cup of coffee and picking out his next wife. I think the one who kept feeding him cookies is a contender. He tells me when he's in need of another wife he's going to go the the quilt stores - that's where all the women are! I told him he could definitely find one there, but to be careful, quilters know how to spend money!

I am not sure if I am supposed to credit these quilts with their maker's names. If I should do that, please, someone, let me know and I'll edit this post. I just took some pictures of the ones that I liked the most.

The pieces on this one were so eentsy beentsy and it was beautiful!

This was sweet. I like birds and this one was just simple and sweet.

This was another sweet little quilt.

This was stunning. The quilt was all garden angel blocks, it was a block of the month from Texas and the detail or extra ribbon, embroidery and bead work was very intricate.

This was very nice, a folded hexagon table topper. An acquaintance, Kristi Jo Knoll made this and it was really nice. Kristi Jo does beautiful work. I was disappointed for her in the place where this hung. It was off in a tucked away corner and it's too bad because this was one you wanted to get your nose up against to try to see her stitches (I usually always do that with Kristi Jo's work.)

So, we had a great together day. A quilt show, a couple of vendor purchases, lunch at a restaurant we used to frequent a lot (before we moved here), a walk through some of the town and along the waterfront boardwalk and then picking peaches on the way home.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

One down....

and eleven more to go....then on to the applique blocks.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer summer summer

My red quilt is coming along in pieces. I've given into the machine in the name of time for the pieced parts of this one but will do the applique squares by hand. My mom embroidered the centers years ago. I have quite a lot of her embroidered piece work waiting to be made into quilts and this one finally, finally spoke to me.
It's hot here. Very, very hot and very, very, very humid so it's just miserable. The kids need to be kept as close to water as possible.

Charlie and Cecilia were in the wading pool and slip 'n' slide last weekend.

This morning, after we girls came back from a little visit to the beach, where it's even too hot to be, Mommy decided it was time for her girls to have their hair cut. The first picture is what happens when you take your camera out of the air conditioned house into the steamy heat of outdoors. Steamed up lens. Watch the sequence of Miss Wiggle Britches as my daughter tries to cut.

All done, Mommy, this is all I'm going to sit for....

Elizabeth wasn't much better but she had used her bargaining chips when she told Mommy she would rather wait until today to have her hair cut. It's today.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer fun

The girls have been here most of this week and because Grandpa still had to go to work each day he decided to meet us during one of his out of town calls and treat us to FIVE carousel rides in a nearby town. We had enough rides to satisfy every whim. We rode on horses, otters, fish, dinosaurs, peacocks, elephants, dolphins...and I don't remember what else.

Then he took us to lunch at an outdoor restaurant where we could enjoy the warm day and watch the world go by.

THEN we walked a few blocks of the city to see the farm animals on each corner and some in the middle of the blocks. Each year this city gathers forces and they choose an animal to display in whatever artistic manner the business chooses. One year, the year they were raising funds for the carousel, they chose carousel horses. Another year pigs, another, fish. This year the theme is farm animals. We saw cows....

and chickens and ducks, and steer and donkeys and Elizabeth's favorite.......

a very large turkey!

Another day we tie dyed t-shirts with Kool-aid. Take the advice of experience. Don't do it. Not with Kool-aid, anyway. Apparently, cotton is not the fabric that Kool-aid will "stick" to so we spent over an hour being artsy, dried them, heat set them, washed them and it all washed out! Back to stage one with fabric dye in squirt bottles. But they sure loved the process.

I even stole a few moments here and there to work on the quilt I'd like to piece. The procedure this author suggests for flying geese was new to me so I did it her way even though it meant getting the sewing machine involved. But it worked beautifully and the pile of geese, part of the star, is finished.

Busy weekend coming up.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Preserving raspberries

Some people preserve their raspberries in jams. Some people make pies. Some people sprinkle them in salads. Some people use them in elegant desserts. Some people put them on their cereal or sit in a corner and eat them right out of the container. This people makes raspberry cordial. Look at that jar. Isn't it the most beautiful red? The small bottle on the left is what the cordial will look like in three months. Yum.

Raspberry Cordial

2 quarts raspberries

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

1 quart vodka

Make a simple syrup by dissolving the water and sugar. Let cool. Pour the berries, cooled syrup and vodka into a large container. Put in a cool dry place in a paper bag and store for three months. ( I don't use the paper bag because I store this in the back of Patient Husband's closet.)

Strain off the berries and sip high summer in the cold of winter.

I also make this with blueberries and can almost say I like it better. At least as much!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Raspberries and Lillies

It's high summer here and that means raspberries. Our little fruitless one likes to pick them but we couldn't pay her to eat one!

It was a hot, hot, hot day and Elizabeth was doing her best to help daddy pick but the heat got the best of her and....

she found a shady spot at the edge of the patch and sat down to eat hers. I took one look at her face and took her into the market building. The workers took one look at her and hurried to get her a cup of ice water. She's a trooper when it comes to raspberry picking.

A few days earlier Elizabeth was asking questions about an armoire I have that was painted by an artist from our area. His technique is to use pallette knives to apply the paint, making for very dimensional oil paintings. Elizabeth was intrigued by his "pointy painting" so we took her to his studio on Saturday morning. He wasn't in, but we studied the works he had on display in his studio/gallery. His name is James Brandess and his work is stunning. We fell in love with his florals many years ago and through an aligning of the planets we were able to commission him to paint the doors of our armoire.

On Saturday he had a few paintings with tiger lillies in them on display. As you can see in the background, I have a stand of tiger lillies, so Sunday we set up a studio for Elizabeth and Adelaide to paint.

I also choose this for my Snappyfriends photographer's choice photo.

I cut one for Elizabeth to look at up close. She worked on these (and others) for two hours.

She is very serious about her art and corrects you when you ask her if she's going to be an artist when she grows up. "Grandma, I am an artist NOW."

Little "Me, too!" had her own interpretation going on.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thursday morning

Today I found one last baby in the nest. I'm not sure why she's the only one left but she let me get close to say hi. The nest is right outside the door and when she sees someone coming she tucks her head down to hide. But we know she's there.

Outside my kitchen window today the lavender is filled with bees. I brought a few sprigs in to put on the window sill and tucked some into my tea.

I'm going to work on a quilt....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Holiday weekend fun

Our fun filled action packed holiday weekend began with a trip to the cherry orchard for the first picking of the year. Picking cherries is the most fun because you get to climb a ladder, and if you're five years old you've found a tree with a ladder leaning against it and before Grandma can even THINK "be careful," you're at the top showing her your fist filled.

Princess Cherry Juice was eating them as fast as we could dig the pit out.

Elizabeth and Charlie let Grandpa have the hammock in the backyard and opted to swing in the one on the back porch.

We went to town to watch the fireworks display from the city beach. The kids were already spent and fireworks are no fun unless it's full dark and sometimes it's just so hard to keep your eyes open.

But the payoff was worth it. As soon as the first boom happened and the sky lit up, they were up on their little toes picking out their favorites. We liked the ones that filled the sky and there were some new to us that looked like water falls. I love fireworks. Really love them.

Everybody left the holiday barbeque yesterday and Patient Husband and I were totally spent. I thought today that it's just not fair....when the grandkids are young and rambunctious and running WE are arthritic, old and slow. Saying goodbye is followed by an ibuprofen and couch time. Naps are wasted on the young.

Tonight, all is quiet and as I watered some pots I thought I'd share my lavender. The bees are loving this front yard. I'd love to find this feral hive.

My garden loom project of last summer has fulfilled all I wanted it to be. It's beautiful, it's woven with wool rovings and grape vines and a few days ago Patient Husband and I stood in the window and watched gold finches swarm all over it, perching on the sticking out grapevines, picking at the wool for their nests. JUST what I wanted it to be!

I don't get fussy. I fill the pots with pinks and whites so the lavender is what shows off.

It's a peaceful evening.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A few days away

The yo-yos are coming! This week I started making y0-yos for a far in the future project (far because I need 409 of them.) I sat by a campfire for a couple of days gathering circles of fabric from two different sizes. The big ones are for the 409 project, the smaller ones are there because I couldn't bear to throw away a piece of fabric (OR put it back in the drawer!) if there was room on it for a smaller yo-yo. So, as I gather and tie, I'm making two sizes. They're cute and they smell of woodsmoke.
Patient Husband and I drove north to the lake where his family spent their summers. We planned on a couple of days with his brother and our sister-in-law. On day one, we visited Hartwick Pines, a preserve of old growth pine forest that is stunningly beautiful and one of two old growth stands of pine left in Michigan. There are trees in here that age out at 350 years.

Some of the trees fell during a storm last fall and while they usually leave the trees where they fall, so many of them toppled with this storm that some had to be sawn into manageable chunks. This one caught my eye. One down, one to come someday.

I told you his name is Patient Husband for a reason! We found in a nearby town this absolutely charming and delicious 50's diner. If you are ever near Grayling, Michigan, this place is a must.
The food was delicious and the chocolate malt was thick, thick, thick. We left with big smiles on our faces.

Absolutely wall to wall, ceiling to floor Coca-cola memorabilia. I saw this date on a calender and had to share's the birthday of our son.

But check out this wall! It was even longer than this picture shows! Every inch was dedicated to Coca-cola memorabilia. You could stare at this stuff all afternoon. But we didn't because he then took me to a quilt shop! He's so good to me!

The next couple of days were spent enjoying Higgins Lake in all it's beauty. Got a bit sun burnt, though.