Saturday, August 17, 2013


The before and after pictures of our landscaping aren't as dramatic as I'd hoped. The differences have to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. But we know both the front and back yard are much improved from just a few days ago.

What isn't visible in this before photo is a scraggly front yard tree of undetermined origins. It simply had to go.
Now, in a more prominent position is a Bismarck palm.

It's a blue-green palmetto with really large fronds - slow-growing. That suits us fine.

Flanking either end of the house are two 6-foot-plus tall Palatka holly trees. Landscaper Jamie says they'll have big red berries during winter months.
Compared to the day we bought the house (above), you can see that plants have now been dramatically thinned. It's generally agreed that spec houses are over-landscaped to make them look more attractive. Thinning is recommended to allow healthy growing space. All pine straw bedding was removed and replaced with pine bark. Rock was an option, but it's recommended that new plants are given a chance to develop a good root system before stressing them with the heat that rocks attract and retain.
The low, bushy palm near the lamp post is a European fan palm. Around it are three allamandas which I've seen in other yards with profuse yellow blooms. 

They'll be more impressive when they're larger.

Two Hawaiian Ty plants flank the front door. The color is such an attractive contrast to the house. They'll be more impressive when they're taller.

Next to each Hawaiian Ty, along both sides of the front sidewalk, are three golden yellow ixora plants.

Behind the lamp post is a plumbago. Landscaper Jamie says they're blue! He explained that they grow so well, they're almost considered a Florida weed. The bush can be a show stopper when it has matured and is covered with blooms.

In back of the house we previously had nothing in the yard. Just the grill, sitting on a pad. The pad was extended to allow more space for opening the screen door, and two beds were created.

At the end are a purple blooming Mexican petunia, and a large, red blooming bottle brush.

Across the back of the lanai, two more holly trees - of the "oak leaf" variety - flank four more bottle brush.

Closer to the lanai are three more Mexican petunias, and two variegated ginger plants.

The yard and beds had been irrigated before, so it took only some repositioning to keep it that way. With occasional trimming, and an annual application of special palm fertilizer for the Bismarck, we'll be able to keep everything looking good. Low maintenance, and color is what we were aiming for, and I think we achieved it.

Already, three hibiscus plants in the front beds are happily blooming.

Now I have two flourishing palms in two places... in my front yard, and put to use in my sewing room! Life is beautiful. God is good. Linda

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Really Random Thursday

I've never done one of these Really Random Thursday posts that Cindy at LiveaColorfulLife has infamous-ized, but I find myself with a variety of happenings to share.

It's really nice having our son, DIL and grandson living only 90 minutes away. Usually, they come for a weekend a couple times a month. We find all sorts of fun things to do. At home, there's a toy box full of stuff worth a couple hours of play.

Last weekend found us heading to Tavares to ride the Orange Blossom Cannonball, a train pulled by a 1941 diesel engine. This coach car has been made famous by its appearance in several movies, including Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

The train clickety-clacks along at about 20-30 miles an hour, clanging and whistling at crossings. Austin liked the noise!

At one point the train stopped so we could take in an unexpected view. This is the Blue Rhino propane facility in Tavares, the site of the July 30 explosions of propane tanks

More than 50,000 of them blew up, shooting and skittering off in all directions. Some were on nearby roofs, and across the train tracks. A local man reported shrapnel everywhere on his property.

Unbelievably, no one was killed, though there were several injuries. More fortunately, three propane tank rail cars had just left the day before, so it all could have been much worse.

In the Sewing Room

Every once in a while I get a wild idea to sew for myself. I love wearing skirts, skorts (hard to find!) and dresses, so when I saw this pattern online, I ordered it. Since I wear a size 4 in commercial clothing, I thought a size 6 was the right size to cut. Wrong. I had to alter it by letting out - to one-quarter inch - both side seams and the front seam. Next time I'll make a size 8.

This week has seen something that I've been wanting and waiting for since moving into this house in June, 2012. Landscaping! Our house came with the spec landscaping that consisted of way too many bushes and no color. Workers arrived at 8:30 Thursday morning to tear out all our plants and trees. We went from this...

... to this. All gone in under an hour. Four holly bushes were later replanted, and more plants will arrive tomorrow.

 In the back, sod was removed to prepare for bottle brush bushes...

... and enlarging the pad for more grilling space.

The big plants were delivered, and I was excited to see my longed-for palms: a Bismarck Palm and a small European Fan Palm.

Because eight to ten men were here all day - and each day finds hundreds of workman in our area, building houses and improving on homes - a mobile lunch cantina makes the rounds. It stopped at the end of our driveway and captured some business. I wonder if it wouldn't be a sort of interesting job, driving around and selling food...

Landscaping will be completed Friday morning. Before and after pictures soon! 

Being frequently in and out of the house today to consult about landscaping, in between times I began another sewing project - making engineer caps for my grandsons. I found an engineer cap tutorial here, and this is as far as I've gotten.

I hope this qualifies as enough randomness for a blog post. Think so? Linda

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

For a Boy, and a 3Q Finish for a Girl

Lately I've been sewing for little people in my life.

Most boys are fascinated by trains, so I thought it would be fun to sew an engineer's cap for a grandson. Doing what we all do when we're looking for something in particular, I Google-searched online and found this tutorial for making one. It's suitable for a girl too.

I already had the fusible interfacing, brim stiffener, lining, and 3/4-inch elastic, so my only purchase was ticking fabric.

It was surprisingly easily to put together. It looks nice here, but the proof will be when a cute little boy I know is around, to try it on. 

My second (of four) 3Q finish in Leanne's Finish Along is this hexagon quilt - Happy Hexagons. All pieces were cut from my stash using a Hex 'n More ruler, the "more" being triangles. 

Backing fabric is Simply Color by V&Co.

Quilting is an all over hooked spiral design.

Striped binding was cut on the bias so as to create a spiral... a barber pole effect. Gosh that dates me! When was the last time you saw a barber pole?! 
Happy Hexagons, 46" X 53"
Happy Hexagons has already arrived at the home of our new grand-niece, Jovie. Hoping it will be put to good use. 


Friday, August 9, 2013

Another Finish

I haven't finished another quilt, but I did finish teaching my first-in-Florida five-week series of beginner quiltmaking lessons. The last class was Thursday morning, and it's was fun to see what everyone created, and hear their plans for future quiltmaking. (Five of the 18 students were unable to attend the last class.)

Most students completed their quilts, and several have started another. Those who didn't finish got a little hung up on binding, but all have said they will finish their quilts. I'm so proud of them!

The Daily Sun newspaper came out to take a few pictures and talk to a few women... who said the nicest things.

A picture didn't appear with the article, but that's okay. We know who we are and what we accomplished! Way to go quilters! Linda

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Bloomin' First 3Q Finish

Lately, what I work on in my sewing room depends on which lesson I'm teaching, or which quilt needs to be readied for Quilt Fest of Jacksonville.

I've taught two different binding methods to two different groups of quilters in the past week. The hexagon baby quilt worked perfectly as my demo quilt.

I've been hand-sewing sleeves onto several quilts entered into Quilt Fest.

As I was binding Bloom, I put these pictures on Instagram. It's still my hope to get as many quilters as possible to try this great binding method which happens to be my favorite. It's different because there's no need to make folds in the binding at corners, or figure out how to get the beginning and ending tails cut to the right length. Corners are machine-sewn. (See tutorial link at right.)

When I finished sewing binding on Bloom, for the first time I used Clover Wonder Clips. The clips work great, and you can't beat the Amazon price for them.

My fingers are sore from all this unaccustomed hand work, but... yay! Bloom is finished! As much as I want to take it outdoors for a photo shoot in natural daylight, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. All that white fabric... all the rain we've had lately... entering it into a judged show... Nope. Can't do it.

So for now, here are indoor pictures.
76-1/2" W X 75" H
Bloom looks nice on our king-sized bed, but isn't big enough to stay there.

As many of you already know, I put lots of free motion quilting into this. Around each bloom, I quilted concentric circles, using the same color Aurifil thread as the fabric color. The red flower has red quilting; orange flowers have orange quilting, etc. Throughout the quilt, the bobbin thread was white Bottom Line

Batting is Tuscany Wool by Hobbs. I intentionally selected wool for the dimension is gives to the quilting. 

During the marking, quilting, and washing/blocking of this quilt, I learned a tough lesson about using FriXion pens on fabric. Though marks disappeared when I put heat to them, in a cold water wash in the machine, marks returned! I immediately put the wet quilt to soak in the bathtub, even trying Dawn dishwashing liquid and a toothbrush to try to remove marks... to no avail. After consulting with a friend, I put the wet quilt into the dryer on low temp, thinking the dryer heat would remove the marks. Nope. I resignedly blocked the quilt on the floor - using my new Strait-Line laser level from Home Depot -  and expected the worst.

Surprisingly, a later touchup with a hot iron again removed the marks, but I know chemicals are still in the quilt. I'm glad I marked only in strategic places, not on the entire quilt. In the future, I plan to be much more judicious about when I use FriXion pens.

It's nice to have white furniture that shows off these bright colors.

Quilting show on the back with a natural daylight bulb shining across it. My goal is always to try to quilt designs that make people think quilting has been done on a longarm. The viney, double-veined feathers are my favorite design in this quilt.

Bloom is labeled too (one of the page full of labels I prepared last week), and I'm giving proper credit to a great designer, Emma Jansen of Australia. If you like this pattern, you can buy it as I did through her shop: Ballarat Patchwork. Or check out all her great patterns (including Snowflake Medallion) that happen to be on sale now.

Bloom is the first of four finishes I've challenged myself to complete in Leanne's SheCanQuilt Finish Along, by October 7. I'm tickled to have this one done. Three more to go. Linda


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin