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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Going Absolutely batty!

Today, I was a good girl and went to the gym early this morning. I know I haven't posted my June weights and measures...there wasn't anything to report that was different. I think we can safely say that May was a "learning" month. I didn't lose any weight, and I didn't lose any inches, but I did gain a sense of how much food is too much! So, this month, it's to the gym twice as much as before, and half as much food as I ate in May. 'Nuf said about that!

We had a much needed lovely rain yesterday, and while today is somewhat humid, it is still a beautiful day. It's too mushy to work in the garden, so I have the windows open in the stewdio, with a cat in each of them, too. I've decided to get some things in order,and one of the biggest tasks is to make larger battings out of cut off pieces. How many of you throw your batting scraps away? I throw them away, but only if they are less than 12" wide. Other than that, I piece them together. It's amazing how many more batts you can get just by using that "waste".

Tomorrow, my friend Carolyn and I are going to meet with the manager at the Duschene Clinic about needs for quilts. The Duschene Clinic is part of the Kansas City Free Clinic, and there is also a pediatric part called the Turner Clinic. I will know more about them after our meeting, but we've donated to the Duschene Clinic before when my father died. They serve the poorest of the poor in our area. We thought we might check with an under-served organization who might need quilts rather than one that is already fully supported. I am hoping for some exciting news about that!

My friends, Shirlee and Carolyn and I decided we missed doing a quilt for charity each year. So we started with our stash and found orphan blocks to use up. That's what my pieced battings will be used for. I have 3 preemie size quilts and a toddler quilt all done and quilted so far. I found another small baby quilt in my stash as I was cleaning, and then I have one more of Shirlee's Crosses quilts to bat and quilt today.

Now, if they would only do some quilting, too!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Missouri Botanical Gardens - St. Louis, MO

The famous 630' Gateway Arch is at LaClede's landing on the Mississippi River, and it is the nation's tallest monument.

This is the courthouse where the slave Dredd Scott was tried in the 1850's. In a nutshell, he and his wife sued for freedom in 1846. Because their freedom was denied, more fuel was added to the conflict which led to the Civil War. Our hotel was right above the fountain area. It was a gorgeous view!


The fountain you see when you first enter the grounds to the Botanical Gardens is Chihuly's Polyvitro Crystals, made of polyurethane material, and they are large and hollow, which allows him to use a larger scale than glass.

These two whimsical things were in the Children's Garden, and I just love them! I think you might see something like this in my Crazy Dog garden before the end of the year! You can see the edge of the garden railroad, too, that Hubby would like to have somewhere at our house as well.

This little water feature in the Children's Garden was so darned cute! It was tucked away into a little hidden corner in a maze - almost like a reward for finding Mr. and Mrs. Peacock by sound.
This is the peek at some of the glass as you begin to enter to the Rose Gardens - there is a matching gate with the sun radiants on the other side of the garden, too.
Here I am at one of the gates.

Most of the Chihuly installation was inside the Climatron which is the domed building just behind the reflecting pool. The glass pieces floating in the pool are called Walla Walla Onions with pointed tips that resemble their namesake, the famous sweet onions of eastern Washington State.
Inside the Climatron are all sorts of tropical lowland rain forest plants. It's kept quite humid inside, and there are birds flitting all around as well. It was build in 1960 and it was the world's first geodesic dome greenhouse.

We took over 100 pictures, so I am only going to share a few of them. Remember, his work is copyrighted, and he gives permission to use the images for educational and noncommercial use. I didn't look at the program until we got home, and now I see that in all the cases, I was able to identify what the meaning of the glass was to represent. See if you get the same feeling from the work.

This series is named after the traditional art of Japanese flower arranging.

This piece was sitting across from a little stream on the bank. I took the picture, standing behind the waterfall. It parodied some of the plants on the same hillside - unknown names.

Sea Urchins


Machhia - This series is named after the Italian word for "spotted".

Mexican Hats - These were tucked into the wall by the fish area, and I almost missed them. They have little three dimensional pieces of glass stuck onto them called "jimmies".

It had gotten very uncomfortable in the Climatron after we were in there for about an hour and a half, so we ventured outside to walk the garden grounds. There was lots of shade and it was just so beautiful! It covers 79 acres with gardens, fountains, and greenhouses, so we just couldn't do it all! But we were able to spend another two hours walking around and talking about all the gorgeous flowers. We walked through the Sewa-en, one of the largest Japanese gardens in North America, the Victorian area, which also has an original country home, a garden maze and the founder's (Mr. Shaw) mausoleum, the rose garden, the children's garden, the center for home gardening, and the day lily garden. A wonderful, wonderful day!

Fields of lilies make me smile.

These were my favorites.

Henry Shaw came to St. Louis from Sheffield, England in 1819, establishing a very successful hardware importing business to equip many settlers heading west. The garden was opened to the public in 1859.

This is Mr. Shaw's Mausoleum - isn't the rose in his hand touching? It is such a lovely resting place.

Hubby says, "Thank you Mr. Shaw for a beautiful garden, and a wonderful day!"

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Another trip!

This is my little 4" Garden Song piece that I worked on when I was at Turtle Moon Studio with Susan "Lucky" Shie, oh so many years ago. I made the little wheels on the inch work from fimo clay, beaded it, seed stitched it, and laughed all morning long when I was making it.

Wednesday morning finds Hubby and I on the road again! We originally planned on taking the Amtrak to St. Louis, but then we discovered that passenger service has been deemed secondary traffic on the rails, and we could be delayed as long as 10-12 hours. For a 5 hour driving trip, I think not! So, we're heading off before noon to get there by dinner time. Of course, there's a couple of nice little quilt shops along the way, so dinner might be closer to dark time than Hubby thinks:)

So, why are we going to St. Louis?

Dale Chihuly is one of my favorite glass artists. I've seen installations of his at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, at the Monterey Aquarium in Monterey, CA, and surprisingly at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. He has two special installations in the United States this year - one in New York and the other in St. Louis. They are both installed in the botanical gardens. What could be better than that? Blown glass and gardens?

Here's a little tickler for you about the installation until I get back Thursday night and post some of my own.

Monday, June 19, 2006

A bright and sunny day!

All my days have been filled with cleaning and reorganizing stuff recently. It started in my clothes closets until there are only 3 outfits left that I can wear. Most of the clothes were given away to friends, and a few went to Goodwill.

Next, I started on my two guest bedrooms where my two grand daughters will stay for a while before they have their own place. I had to put all the quilts (about 30 of them) away properly instead of laying spread out on the bed. Then I had to make the beds in children appropriate sheets and covers, wash all the towels to make sure they smelled nice and fresh, and put away all the adult accessories in the rooms away someplace safe.

Then, I tackled the former stewdio, which is located on the lowest most level of the house; now a Nanny's apt. I originally used this space for my sewing, and I even had custom cabinetry made for the stash. Then my mother came to live with us, and I moved my stuff (less the stash) upstairs to my present stewdio (formerly the sunroom), and she lived in her little apartment downstairs. Now, she's moved to a retirement community, and my son will move into the apartment. Of course, he will be happier if he didn't have to walk over piles of fabric everywhere! I have so much fabric that I just took and "dropped" in place, and several gifts and a pile of books and magazines too. It's somewhat overwhelming - BUT I'm working on a little bit of it at a time so hopefully, it will all be sorted and put away real soon!

Today, my friend Carolyn came over and spirited me away for lunch and a little shopping. I haven't purchased much fabric this year - I am loving using what I have in my stash. BUT, I just didn't have the right 30's reproductions to border my little windblown sunbonnet sue. So, today we found some - and a few other fat quarters I just had to have. And, isn't this tiny iron the cutest? I've already tried it out, and it truly gets quite hot! So, it is my take-along iron for classes and traveling! A nice happy day!
UPDATE:You can see the mini-iron's details and purchasing information here.

Of course, Clyde had to monitor the situation and give his approval!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Flag Day

I just changed the quilt on my hearth room display wall to one that is appropriate for Flag Day through the Fourth of July. It's about 80" square, and I made it in honor of my son when he was in Iraq. Now, he's coming home, and I hope he will enjoy seeing it as a welcome home. I probably should have changed out the flowers on top of the rack to something red, white and blue as well, but that's just not going to happen this year! LOL!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Hot! Hot! Hot!

We had a wonderful time at the Tallgrass Prairie near Cottonwood Falls, Kansas on Saturday. But, man oh man! Was it ever hot, hot, hot!!! Even though the wind was blowing heartily, it was hot, and stirred all the grass seed up nicely, too!

We drove out on Friday night, and had a nice quiet night in the motel room, reading until my eyes couldn't stay open. Then Saturday morning we went to Cottonwood Falls, population about 900. There we found several vendors and demonstrations on historical life in the 1800's on the courthouse lawn. We mosied around, and my favorite was the lady spinning wool from her own sheep. She did a nice demo of how it comes "raw" from the sheep; explained how she "washed" it, and then talked about dying it from natural prairie plants.
The sock she was knitting was all dyed from different plants from the Tallgrass Prairie area.

By then, it was pretty hot, and we had already consumed about 4 bottles of water each and it wasn't even noon yet. We started evaluating how long we could last, and whether we would be able to wait until 6PM when the symphony started in the hills. We decided to go to the Tallgrass Prairie site, look around, get lunch and probably leave. When we got there, we took a tour of the 1880's house that is the Ranger Headquarters, and met several "plein air" artists who were painting on the lawn. There was a beautiful 3 story limestone barn where there was a silent auction art sale, as well as a live auction at 1 PM. We decided to sit in the barn, consuming more water and soda (I even had a beer!) and watch the auction. We ended up purchasing a beautiful painting that had been completed as part of the Prairie Arts event held on the grounds. Here's the artist with the painting:
After that, Kevin decided it would be best if he returned to the car, sit in the air conditioning, and take a nap. I went up the ridge on one of the numerous trailers they used, which was about 3 miles ride up the hill. This is where the concert was going to be held, and where they had wagon rides, Kanza Indian displays, tents with historical talks about ranching, geological formations, and a lot of other things I can't remember. It was even hotter up there, if that was possible. I participated in the wildflower walk, and here are two pictures of native wildflowers we discovered:

The local cowboys were escorting the wagon rides, but I just couldn't fathom wanting to sit in a hot covered wagon with about 8 other sweating people. I just wandered around and took in the view from the ridge before I took a ride back down to the entrance again.
If you click on the picture, you will see the white tent in the lower right hand corner. That is the entrance where the cars were parked, and you checked in. You can get sort of a perspective of how high the ridge line where I was standing was in relation to that, as well as how far out the grassland ran further away from the entrance area, too.

My favorite view, with one of the cowboys riding his horse to the pond for a drink of water.

Even though there were about 3500 people there, the wind was about all you could hear. It was so easy to imagine the pioneers coming through this area on their trek West. Even though it was magnificent, it was just too hot to stay, so we went back to the hotel room, I took a shower, and then we drove home, to sleep in our own bed (and air conditioning).

Friday, June 09, 2006

Symphony in the Flinthills

We are taking a much needed break from all things and leaving Friday afternoon, and heading out for Symphony in the Flinthills. It's only about an hour or so drive away from here where we live.

The Tallgrass Prairie Preserve has the largest unbroken tract of native tallgrass in the U.S. When you visit their site, be sure to click on their Photo Essay to explore America's vanishing prairie. It might have you looking at Kansas in a different light!

Here are some of the activities planned for Saturday:

  • Guided wildflower and native grasses walks led by Kansas Native Plant Society members

  • Bird hikes accompanied by Kansas Audubon members

  • History of cowboys and historic ranching in the Flint Hills and a panel of cowboys with early day stories

  • First Person Interpretations by regional historians in 1880s costumes

  • Presentations about the prairie - its birds, plants and wildflowers

  • Geology presentation about the Flint Hills

  • Education on Native American inhabitants of the region

  • Petting zoo with symphonic instruments provided by the Kansas City Symphony Auxiliary

  • Authentic horse-drawn covered wagons for rides out into the prairie

  • And then it's all capped off with a 90 minute outdoor concert on the prairie, and at the end of it, a beautiful sunset is planned. That is, unless the rain moves in.

    All in all, it should be a nice little getaway for us. Other little towns are scattered along the way, just waiting for us to discover them, too. So more reports on Sunday night or Monday. We'll be staying overnight on Friday and Saturday, just so I don't have to worry about being too tired to enjoy all the things I want to hear, see, smell and feel!

    Monday, June 05, 2006

    Sunbonnet Sue Story

    These are the closeups of the little blocks that I am working on now. I got them in Paducah the same time I got the wildflower ones . I really like this setting block, and I think it looks really cool in all the different 30's reproductions. The little painted blocks finish at 4.5", the finished size of the windblown squares are 9".

    This is my garden shed. The garden beds aren't quite as mature around it yet (as the rest of the yard) since it was mainly planted last season. There are Stella d'Oro lilies, red hot shrub roses, white and purple Veronica, coneflowers, oakleaf hydrangea, Phlox, and Japanese iris. It should be a prettier picture next season.
    The bird house is the latest addition.
    The little quilting fairy was a birthday gift from my mother. We got it at Tuesday morning in April, and I it's a Cicely Mary Barker fairy - but I hadn't ever seen a quilting one before. I love her (and my mom!)

    Sunday, June 04, 2006

    Quilting Fairy

    The Quilting Fairy has been busy here at Chez Granny's. I just wonder why she and Bonnie cat can't clean up after themselves when they get all these fabrics out to play?

    30 blocks on the design wall to be sewn; 59 fabrics (two repeats); finished size will be 45" X 54" without borders.

    Hmm, I wonder if the Quilting Fairy does letters?

    Thanks for all the well wishes. Hubby is happily home, and my mother is doing better this weekend, too.

    Friday, June 02, 2006

    After the storm

    It's been a busy week, going back and forth between the hospital and home, then between my mother's and my home. I did manage to squeeze in a mammogram and chest xray for myself (no pun intended), and oh yes, a little shopping at WallyWorld, too.

    Dear one will be released to come home Saturday morning, so that will give a bit of my own time back to me. On the other hand, we need to work out how he is going to manage to stay indoors out of the heat and still get everything done outside that he wants. I think there will be a tradeoff between my doing the outside work now, and him doing the inside work when he wants to. Both the nephrologist and the internist want him out of the heat, so now he's heard it from more than me. We'll see how that works out.

    While other people in Kansas take cover when a storm moves in, we go out and take pictures. We just love the stormy weather, and it is always different everytime you look.
    As the storm approaches from the west at about 4 PM:
    In just a few minutes it gets even darker and there's a little bit of counter clockwise revolutions to the spin

    The above two pictures were taken standing at the same spot within a matter of a couple of minutes, looking a little to the north on the second one. Then the rain came and drove me inside, where I sewed about 600" of binding and a couple of quilt backs. When the storm was over, I stepped outside again, and this is what I saw:

    And the shining faces of good old standby Jackmanii clematis is a nice way to end a dark week that promises to get better. This always reminds me that you always appreciate the sunshine more after a dark dreary day with rain.