Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April Showers bring the flowers

After a long cold winter, I wasn't sure if the Iris had survived.

Thank goodness for their hardiness

The peonies are showing signs of promise

Another survivor

This is Miss Nellie Moser, clematis.  Remember I said she had dozens of blooms.  Ta Da

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

First Blooms of the Season

Clematis, Nellie Moser

Nellie has dozens of blooms and dozens more on the way!

Solomon's Seal--rapidly spreading--go Solomon go.

A hardy perennial--I was sure this one had not survived the winter

Sweet wild violets--on so pretty, on so invasive.

Bath's Pinks Dianthus--step aside the front door and their heavenly fragrance will almost take your breath away.

Sweet potato vine, creeping Jenny and Old Maids--porch flowers for Grandmother Bessie

Doesn't look like much now--our kitchen garden--tomatoes, peppers, and basil.  Herbs--parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.  Gardeners are eternally optimistic

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Garden Center

This time of the year Garden Centers are over flowing with beautiful flowering plants.

Look in any direction and there are rows and rows of beautiful colors.

Annuals, herbs, veggies all for the choosing.



Strawberry jars waiting to be filled.

Grandmother Bessie called these annuals Old Maids--they were some of her favorites, mine too.  Of course, some of these came home with me.

Digging in the dirt!  Great weekend plans.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dogwood Winter

Grandmother Bessie would call the drop in temps and cold winds "Dogwood Winter."

The dogwoods are glorious this year.  Drive in any direction and the dogwoods are blooming.  

I planted these flowers last fall.  During our cold winter they turned brown and looked dead.  A few warm days and bright sunlight have brought them back to life.

Miss Nellie Moser clematis will soon be blooming

along with her companion friend, The Fairy rose.

The peonies will be blooming

Daylilies will be blooming and the bird bath will need a good bath.

Miss Knock Out Rose

and Miss Red Japanese Maple are in competition for "she whose foliage most looks like red velvet cake."

Time in the garden--just what I need to cure those winter blues and ailments.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Colonial Gathering--Strawberry House

Colonial Gathering Kit #2
Strawberry House
Scarlett House

Look what the postman delivered today!  Can't wait to thread the needle and get started stitching.  Note to Miss Callie Mae Calico: the fibers are under lock and key for safe keeping.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Trials and Tribulations of Hollyberry Farm

Have you ever had one of those pieces of needlework which seemed to be jinxed?  You know, the ones where you stitch the flower or motif with the wrong color, or the border doesn't match, or you cut the linen to small?  This is the story of Christmas at Hollyberry Farm.

When Stacy Nash released the design Christmas at Hollyberry Farm in 2012, I was so excited.  I had been on a mission to find Christmas samplers and Hollybery Farm had all the elements I wanted in a Christmas sampler.

The first challenge with this sampler began when I changed the fibers from over dyes to silk--sometimes there is no substitute and I have to use the "close enough" guideline.  When using the "close enough" guideline, I highly recommend writing down the original color/number and the substitute color/number. It is even more helpful to know where you have written this information and it can be located!

The second challenge was my mission to reduce my fabric stash.  I put the sampler aside to work on quilts.  While I made a dent in the fabric stash, there was no Christmas sampler for 2012 or 2013.  

Challenge number three happened the weekend my eye blew.  Making borders match can be tricky when everything works in harmony and all the stars stitches are in alignment, stitching with a one eye handicap makes borders a little more challenging.  For the record:  my surgeon says there was nothing I did to cause the problem and there was nothing I could have done to prevent it.  Whew!  Needlework you are in the clear.

Challenge number four involves a certain feline member of the Thistle Manor household aka Miss Callie Mae Calico.  You see our Miss Callie Mae loves ribbons and fibers.  She searches for them, she stalks them, she hunts them like prey, and she is sneaky, sneaky.  Yesterday morning I noticed she had something caught in her paw and she was having difficulty walking.  Upon closer inspection, I realized she had a skein of NPI silk caught in her paw and more silk fiber in her mouth.  Since this was not our first silk fiber rodeo, I knew not to pull the fiber out of her mouth, to cut the fiber and allow her to swallow.  (Our first silk fiber rodeo taught us the fibers and ribbons can actually cut the tissues of the digestive tract.)  Thankfully, Miss Callie Mae was caught before she swallowed the entire skein and was none the worse for wear.  The same was not true of NPI #134.  Let's just say stitching with silk fiber full of cat slobber is not cool.

Stitching continues on Hollyberry Farm, the sampler is nearing completion.  The colors are a bit different than the original, the borders almost match, Miss Callie Mae has made her contribution and the sampler is a one of a kind.  With all these challenges, my love for Christmas samples has not been diminished.