Sunday, January 20, 2008
This is one of our bottle brush trees; a Texas native. As you can see it is just blooming like crazy. The butterflies just love this tree as do the hummingbirds. In fact, one day when my DH and I went outside we heard this strange buzzing and high-pitched kind of chirp nearby. We looked around and found that the bottle brush tree by our pond was covered in what seemed like a hundred hummingbirds. They were flitting from limb to limb and were fussing profusely with each other. I guess no one wanted to share their self-declared "personal" flower. It was fascinating to watch them. Today; however, it is too cold for both butterflies or hummingbirds. Tomorrow, who knows. Our weather has all our trees and flowers so confused. As you can see in the background of this picture, most of the trees are without leaves and drab. A couple of days ago, we had temps in the upper 70s, last night it was down to 31. One day jeans, the next shorts. This has been the case the last few weeks - "yo yo weather". I think that is why the "Texas Crud" is so rampant as well. Almost everyone I know is dealing with coughing and runny noses.
I love to garden and perhaps when the spring weather returns and "after" I have cleaned up my flower beds from the "yo yo winter weather", I will show them to you. I have gradually planted lots of native Texas plants. I have tried so many beautiful plants, scrubs, trees and flowers because I just love them all. But, alas, I have lost a lot (which of course hurts my feelings and my pocketbook) - either it gets too cold, too hot, or too dry for most of them. And, with my age creeping up and aches and pains creeping in, I am trying to make my flower beds more "maintenance friendly"; hence the Texas natives are making more and more of an appearance in my yard.
Now on to sewing! Yes, I have been able to sew a little mixed in with daily chores. As I have previously mentioned, I have joined in a Valentine Exchange with an online group. I seemed to know right away that I wanted to do a fabric card of some type and had a general idea of what I wanted to try for the outside front. I cut a heart shape out of some lovely dupioni that had a crisscross pattern on it and padded the underside of it. I added some hand-dyed lace to the edges of the heart shape and then added a beaded picot with small pearls. The inside of the heart was done with hand-dyed lace motifs, roll ribbon roses of hanah ribbon, some variegated green silk ribbon tucked in here and there, a sprinkling of Kreinik green metallic thread and a small porcelain butterfly.
A couple of days ago, I posted a picture of the inside I was working on, but since then, have completely redone the inside. I had an idea for sandwiching the outside and inside fabrics together in such a way that I would have a type of binding edge folded over from the inside fabric to the outside edges - well, try as I may, that wasn't working with my chubby little fingers, so I just went for the old standard, sew it right sides together and turn it inside out. I left a portion of the bottom edge open so that I could tuck my hand inside to stitch on the silk print, lace motif pieces and flowers on the inside of the fabric card and then slip stitched the opening when done. I bound the left side of the fabric card with a wide blanket stitch and also went around the front edges with the same Kreinik gold cording in a small blanket stitch to give a kind of lacy looking edge affect. This was a lot of fun to create and great practice to keep the creative juices flowing. I do hope my exchange partner will enjoy it - it is off in the mail tomorrow.
In the meantime I have begun another project. I have pieced together a block which will be partnered with seventeen other blocks and made into a quilt which will be shown in a gallery for a while and then donated to a hospital. I have been involved with a group that makes a quilt every year that we donate to a hospital or other project of encouragement.
The first quilt we put together was given to Mary Fisher as a tribute to her work with women and children suffering with HIV/AIDS. The theme for the quilt was angels inspired by her book, Sleep With The Angels. This is the block I did for that project.
We then did a quilt which now hangs in the Joe Arrington Breast Cancer Center in Lubbock, Texas to encourage and inspire women facing the challenge of breast cancer. Here is my block. The butterfly woman is a design I came up with many years ago and it just seemed to fit with the scripture I chose for the block. "...but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar like eagles." I even added three little love bird feathers I happened to have.
Last year, we put together a quilt with the theme of hearts. Each year, a theme and a color scheme is chosen that we hope will come together into a quilt that will give the gift of love and encouragement to those who see it. This year's theme is spring and butterflies and the colors are yellow, green, salmon/peach, periwinkle/lilac and ecru. I also find it interesting to look back at the pieces I have created and note the changes that have taken place in my work, my focus, etc. I so enjoy learning and hope to always be moving forward.
Here is the block I have pieced for this year's project. Now to let that illusive idea float in on how to embellish it! To me, that is the God part of any project. I truly believe that any gifts we have, including those "light bulb" moments, come directly from God. I know I don't have any talent at all other than what God shares with me. I just have to have faith that I can get my fingers to work the ideas that come to mind into something that will share beauty, encouragement, and joy with those who will come in contact with it. Joy after all is such an awesome gift from God and one definitely meant to be shared.