Thursday, March 15, 2018

Back from outer space...




It seems like years since I've posted!  Thank you for the emails of concern about where I was...sorry I did not at least post to say I was OK and would be back soon.  

Truth is, every day I thought I would post the next day.  Next thing you know, it is three months later!



I hate posting without something almost interesting to say about quilting or crafting with actual pictures.  There has been little time to sew.  (But there are actual photos depicting evidence of actual sewing in this post!)

The holidays were CRAZY, hectic and exhausting, as I am sure they were for all of you as well, and the new year has brought joys and difficulties.

Family travel the day after Christmas to the Philadelphia area kept us busy until after New Years.  Riley helped me make cookies in preparation for our trip where we saw Steve's ailing Dad and sibs/families.



And then there were the annual "you've got more stuff in your stocking than I do" pictures from Christmas morning.




We've been finding more deer than usual, and in the weirdest places!



When in PA, we played a FANTASTIC game that I highly recommend!  It is called "Watch Yer Mouth."  You play by wearing plastic 'dental/mouth spreaders' (included) and then try to get your partner to understand the phrase you are attempting to read aloud from a drawn card.  We all looked hilarious, sounded even funnier, and were all sore after from all the laughing.  





After Christmas, I realized there were so many things I needed to get accomplished outside on the property WHILE THE SNAKES WERE STILL ASLEEP and temperatures not oppressive.  Winter is so short here, so it can be really a busy time.  

Blueberry bushes, grape arbors, Dogwood trees, flower borders, etc. were suffering from a few years of neglect and were overgrown with the wrong kind of vines (wild grape, honeysuckle and vines with WICKED thorns!  I may shoot myself if we get kudzu on the property...).   

Two long rows of grape arbor had not been cut back in almost 10 years!  I had to cut back to the nub!  No muscadines this year, but hopefully the arbor will be healthier and produce more in the next few years.

A couple hours of hacking didn't make much of a difference only about two feet.



I finally finished them...I had to cut them back to the minimum...no grapes this year, but they will be productive and pretty next year.




The blueberry bushes (there are over 40 of them) were crazy overgrown and had not been pruned in several years.  Some had "woolly-booger" crowns of grape, honeysuckle, and thorn vines.  I cleaned them out, carefully pruning to preserve as many fruit buds as possible. 

Before:




After:







I am still trying to get the pruning piles hauled to the burn pile. There will be a handful of blueberries from each of those tiny flowers...yum.



The forest will overtake property if you let it.  Dad worked so hard to clear areas that were previously heavily covered with trees.  I will keep battling Mother Nature to preserve their efforts.

I've also been systematically trimming lower branches that whack me in the face when I mow. Thank God only about 30 out of 800 acres of our Treasure Forest are somewhat cleared and get mowed!





We got the chipper working so we can dispense with all the neat piles of branches when the saturated ground will support the heavy equipment without making ruts everywhere.



Now I can start another pile of limbs!

It was a weird Alabama winter.  Normally mild weather turned extremely cold too many times, with warmer spurts of super heavy rain between.  It is impossible to think that North Alabama could still be in a drought!  We even got a little snow a few times that hung around due to the low temps.





The ground is spongy, causing water to seep out everywhere when you walk.  Thank God we are at elevation!  A lot of people in Colbert County have been dealing with flooding.  It is hard for the farmers to prepare and plant their fields.

Our catfish pond is just an inch below capacity at the dam.  It freaks me out that the fullness may undermine the earthen structure.



The rain has also caused a new pond to develop in a low place on the way out to the fruit orchard.  I've never seen that happen in that location!




Riley was in a play at U of Alabama..."Vinegar Tom."  Of course we had to drive down to Tuscaloosa and see at least two of the seven performances.





Even with all that, I have managed to do a little quilting.  I got the outer borders on my "Little Treasures" quilt.  It is ready to baste and start the hand quilting.








(none of the pictures in this post are this dark or dull...not sure what is going on)

I was experiencing "design constipation" with the continuation of the diet/food quilt tops (one for me, one for my therapist).  Not only was I not seeing how to complete them, I was having trouble choosing fabrics for sashing, borders, etc.  I have one a little further than the other one.




I still don't have my two pieces of design wall mounted...very hard to take good pictures with them leaning and flopping.



Having finally decided upon some hopefully-clever-phrases to put on the next border, I prepped letters for the first quilt and have finished the hand stitching of them.  



I find there are a couple of empty spaces between the phrases.  I have been thinking of additional treats that I can "kill off" without repeating any of the methods already depicted.  It is a little more challenging, as the width of the border is only 4 inches.

You can tell from the following sketch that I have been WAAAAY too bummed out, worried and frustrated by the news and the state of things.  Here I am, killing off "Ronald McDonald," "Wendy," and the "Burger King" by hanging.  WAAAY to grim and evil for a quilt border...I will NOT be using this one!
  

I have a better, cuter idea without picking on these fast food icons.

Meanwhile, my "Contentment" quilt has been on vacation visiting two AQS Quilt Shows, Daytona Beach, Florida and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  I am not sure how I feel about my quilt getting to go to the beach and Amish country without taking me...sigh.  It won a third place ribbon in Florida and the Pennsylvania show starts next week.

I finally decided to finish my version of "Rabbits Prefer Chocolate" (Anne Sutton) and got the outer borders done and backing chosen and prepared.  It was hand appliqued years ago before I started my current method.  

Of course I changed the outer border...

There are very few smooth curves on those bunnies, chicks and eggs!






And, I am still slowly losing weight...a little over 50 pounds since Feb 2017.  I am also still trying to get situated on the right combination of "happy drugs."  I feel so much better and more energetic with the medications and I think I have been making up for the first two years here when I was too sad to do anything.  

There is nothing wrong with getting a little help, especially after the last four years.

Oh, and my computer hard drive died and decided to take all my files...documents, blog and Internet store stuff, and PHOTOS...with it!  

I nearly had a stroke.  Steve was finally able to recover my data off the old hard drive.  

I had to get a new computer with, of course, all new updated programs to learn.  Steve loaded my old stuff on the new machine and I am slowly finding stuff.  I was without a computer for a while...agony.


Whew!  There they are...all my excuses.  I really didn't think it had been so long since I had posted (until I saw email from some of you, asking about me - thank you!).  

I think being so isolated out here "on the mountain" I lose track of all time.  I should probably go to town more often.  I knew I wasn't sewing much, but I was so focused on outside tasks (I REALLY DO hate snakes...).  There were days I was even working outside in the lighter rain!

I am driving to Huntsville tonight for Quilt Guild, so I will see people...a 3-hour round trip.

Totally worth it!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)


30 comments:

  1. I was thinking about you this week and your post beat my email. Glad all is well!!

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  2. you have been so very, very busy. Congratulations on the weight loss!! so good and I bet you feel a bit better from that alone. Love seeing all the photos of your property and your quilts - take care and enjoy the spring

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  3. I was just thinking about you this week. Glad to hear all is well. Quite a spread you have to maintain. Talking about the property, not your figure. Fifty pounds .... eureka! I broke my ankle a little over a week ago and have lost 5 pounds just from lack of appetite (due to depression). Talk about cabin fever! Anyway, good to hear from you. Take care.

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  4. So glad that all is well. You have been very productive outside and sometimes we need to take a break from blogging to take care of things. Take care!

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  5. Welcome back. Glad you are OK and what a ride on your blog. You covered a lot. Congratulations on the weight loss.

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  6. Good to "see" you again! It took me a while to find the right combination of "happy" pills, and every once and a while, we (me and doc) have to shake them up, but it is worth it in the end. Take care!

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  7. Family and personal time is always first, but so nice to hear from you again. Wow - you really tackled a lot of outdoor jobs! I'm not a fan of snakes either, so working while they are still 'sleeping' sounds good to me. Your handwork just keeps me in awe - congratulations on the weight loss.

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  8. glad you are back...love your work

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  9. So happy to see your post in my email. Congrats and more on the weight journey and if meds help with the emotions or lack of, then take them! I think you should move during snake time. I know I would scream and then have a heart attack if I saw one of those snakes near me. Two years ago at a quilting retreat a long garter snake wiggled across the walk in front of me and I screamed even though I knew it wasn't a poisonous snake and it really just wanted to get from one side to the other side. Get the outside stuff done and then stay inside. Maybe your husband will pick the blueberries this year. Thanks for the post.

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  10. You have been busy, Teresa! Lots of work accomplished! Thank you for posting. You are right at the top of my blog reader, always!

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  11. So good to see your property. Especially wonderful to spend time with you last night. We need a private retreat--when two busy people can chill and quilt...

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  12. I'm glad to read that your absence was not health related. It's good that you accomplished so much work on the property. Better to have the outdoors uncluttered before the hot humid weather starts (to say nothing of avoiding the snakes). That chocolate bunny quilt is one of my favorites even if it doesn't meet your current standards. It's a lot better than anything I could produce. Enjoy your coming spring. It will be a good two months before we can really get into the garden (upstate NY).

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  13. Your "Little Treasures" quilt is full of wonderful designs. I like it very much.

    Your property sounds like it needs a full time gardener to keep it in control. Maybe two of them. I am not much of an outdoor person. The whole place would be overgrown and the house hidden by it if it was up to me to care for it.

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  14. Welcome back. You were missed.

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  15. Glad to see you back.... Congrats on the 50 lbs! When it comes off slowly it tends to stay off... 2 lbs a month is my goal - from now till ...? All of the outside landscaping work should certainly help.

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  16. Always happy to see your lovely stitching! Probably a good decision about the hanging border - lol

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  17. its always fun to see what you're up to. fun quilt applque as always!

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  18. I have missed you, but you have more than made up for it with this delightfully loaded post!!! Thank you for all the eye candy and catch-ups!

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  19. When do you have time for quilting anyway with such a beautiful spot to live?! Love your work. Love that you have a therapist! Love that you are open about all the "fun". Thank you for being you!

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  20. Just finished reading your long post - I always enjoy looking at all your photo's and the stories that go with each of them. Good to see you back on-line and congrats on the weight loss - you should now have more energy to keep up with your list of 'to-do'jobs :)

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  21. So glad to see your post. I always look forward to seeing what projects you are creating. Smart woman for getting help when you need it. It's tough to suffer through depression and it's nice to see you're coming out the other side.

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  22. It was great to see your post come up....I know that feeling of good intentions - "I'll do a pot tomorrow...". Glad you were able to manage it. You have had a lot going on...and it's nice to see you have had some creative time too, in amongst all that tree/vine/bush trimming.

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  23. Your "excuses" are accepted (completely wore me out.) It's good to see you back again.

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  24. So happy to hear what you are up to! You work too hard my friend!
    As always you make me laugh out loud and inspire me with your posts!
    Post soon.... :)

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  25. I am so glad everything is well at your home. I missed you but know how life can sometimes takeover and before you know it it's been months instead of weeks. Welcome back. Enjoyed the catch-up post.

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  26. So happy to see you have been well. Great job on all your clean up. Sometimes that kind of work is a great medicine in itself. Glad all is well.

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  27. It is delightful to read your post and all that you all have been doing. It may not seem like it, but you certainly have made many positive accomplishments. "Watch Yer Mouth" sounds like a fun game and a great way to exercise one's facial muscles. Lol. I must have been sleeping as I do not recall "Little Treasures." Hope you find time to post here and there.

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  28. So happy to have you back! And kudos to your for your wight loss and the quest to get healthier. It is a struggle for sure. I don't know how you got any stitching done at all with all that property work! We don't have poisonous snakes in Maine so they don't bother me. If I lived in the south I would steer clear of them too! You are such an amazing designer. I always look forward to seeing what you are working on. Congratulations on your Contentment quilt. I wish I was going to Lancaster this year to see it!

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  29. I'm going to Lancaster on Saturday, and am so excited to see Contentment in person after watching its construction on your blog. Way to go on all your outside work, and especially on your self-care which is so important in these turbulent times.

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  30. It is so great to see your newsy post Teresa, you have been such a busy bee! your quilts are just stunning, and it was so nice to see what you've been doing.
    Chatter soon
    Hugs
    Tazzie
    :-)

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