Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pretty Flowers

The African violets on my kitchen windowsill are blooming their little hearts out right now.  I guess they feel Spring in the air, even from inside the house.

It just makes me happy to see pretty flowers in as many places as I can get them.

 The azaleas are in full, glorious bloom outside, so of course I have a few of the flowers on the kitchen countertop.
Not flowers, but still  pretty - today's egg harvest.

One of the azalea bushes in the front yard.  Sorry, I waited a bit late (after six) and the light was not that good.  This one, for some reason, has two different kinds of blooms on the same bush.

I got this little baby girl quilt top sewn together last night.  It was not quite as easy as I thought it would be to get Margaret's beautiful stitchery in there perfectly, but I finally did it.

Her stitching is really exquisite, and you might be able to see there at the bottom, I added a line of decorative machine stitching all around the edge.  I really like how this one is working, so far.  I plan to get it put together and quilted tonight.  I have the backing picked out already.

I'm not sure exactly how I did it, but I let this little quilt get out of here Sunday without getting its final portrait taken.  Bummer!

This is as close as we get.  At least you can see the front, the binding, and the  Victorian circus print on the back.  The little boy, our great-nephew, will have it by now.  His Grandmother, Mr. Muddling's sister, was in town for a few days and we had a family get together here at Muddle Manor on Sunday.  Lots of fun, food and people.  We do not have a big house, but we do have a lot of fun.  
There is an older song titled, I Hope You Dance, that I like.  Try something new. Let your creativity shine.  Dance!

Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, February 25, 2012

New Growth

The little plum trees in the back yard have covered their branches with promises of tart juicy plums later in the season.

The peach tree outside my sewing room window has peaches for the first time.      I hope, I hope, I hope they thrive and grow!

All sorts of little bits and pieces are bursting into bloom out there.  Spring is here!

Meanwhile, it looks like the girls may have been trying to tunnel out of the chicken yard.

"Web of lies!"

But, since my minions have been doing a pretty good job of cleaning up the garden, we won't look too far into the attempted escape.

This is from last weekend, a great little steakhouse the desk lady at our motel told us about.  She said it was the best in the area and I think she was right...
I didn't get a picture of the outside when we were there on Saturday since it was raining and dark, so we went back the next day, because of course I had to show you.  They had men there working of the door, but you can see that the building dates back quite a few years.  It's in the little town of Winchester, Texas, and the Post Office is in the front of the restaurant.

I especially like this sign posted on the wall.

I finished the latest tumbler quilt.  All it needs is a label and we're done.  Hopefully I'll get it delivered next week.  The backing fabric is an all-over print of these brilliant tiles.  I used this Phillip Jacobs shell montage fabric for the border.

The light is not good outside today.  Sorry I could not get a better picture.  This quilt is for an 80-something-year-old friend of ours.  She became a widow over three years ago.  We've known her and her husband for a lot of years and she has always been an inspiration to me.  She's one of the strongest women I know, while still always giving honor and deference to her husband.  She has three children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren!  I sewed all their names into the quilt.

It's cooler here today and sort of gloomy, but there's always plenty of pretty fabric here in the sewing room to brighten the day!

Hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


One of the definitions of favor is unfair partiality.  I like that!  That is what Mr. Muddling and I had last weekend at the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center in La Grange.  We were driving around waiting for noon when the Quilt Museum opened and we chanced upon the Czech Museum there.  It was not even open yet, but as we walked around on the outside looking at the sights - the people inside opened the door and let us in.  We were asked the sign the guest book and given a tour by a member of the Board of Trustees!  Wow!  It was so interesting, and there were lots of textile items there that were just amazing.

They were having the grand opening and dedication of their Music Museum that afternoon, so everything was in readiness for that and we got the benefit!

I was especially impressed by these blue print fabrics.  We were told that it is a batik-like process using hand carved wooden blocks to apply wax.  The fabric is then dyed and later the wax is removed to leave these intricate designs.

Here is a picture of one of the carved blocks.  Can you imagine carving something like that?

One thing they were understandably proud of was this gorgeous crystal chandelier which hangs in the banquet hall.

As you can see, it is a replica of the one hanging in the Prague Castle.

Notice, also, that they had the good taste to include chicken art in their textile array.  There are also restored houses, a store, a twin log barn and a brand new amphitheatre.  Lots to see.

It is such a beautiful place, and we could see the great pride they had in it and in their heritage.  Did my heart good to see people honoring the contributions of those who have gone before.  It's way too easy to forget and to act like we actually deserve all the blessings we enjoy here.  But people fought and struggled and died to obtain those blessings for us.  Good thing to remember.

Hope you enjoyed sharing a bit of our little trip.

Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I'm Back!

 My Honey and I took a little trip to La Grange, Texas this weekend to visit the Texas Quilt Museum.  We had a lot of rain the day we left and some more after we got there, but today was beautiful and we enjoyed the rest of the trip.

There was no picture-taking allowed inside the museum (bummer!), but there is some wall art on the side of the museum depicting quilts, so I guess we'll just have to be content with that.  Inside there are some beautiful quilts, as you can imagine, but since I couldn't take pictures, you'll just have to take my word for it.  Or you could go and see for yourself.  There is also a garden area on the side, with some pretty nice seating.  The signs say that they have planted a traditional flower garden, such as grandmother might have had, and that we can expect to see flowers there next year.

La Grange is a small town with lots of old buildings, as you can see.  They seem to take pride in keeping a lot of those building looking good.  That makes me happy.

One thing that made Mr. Muddling and me both laugh was the trees in La Grange and also in Columbus, which is a little over twenty miles away.  Apparently when they widened some of the streets they just left the trees there and paved around them.  It was really kind of strange to see a tree in the middle of the road and I wondered.  Well, I wondered lots of things, including, "What on earth were they thinking?"

I have some more really neat things to show you that have nothing to do with the Quilt Museum.  It was a sort of surprise Mr. Muddling and I stumbled into. But tonight....I'm going to bed.

Hugs and kisses,

Friday, February 17, 2012


Dictionaries (I looked at several) define minions as fawning, servile, underlings; or lesser beings intent on serving their master's will.  I don't know about all that.  But.  I loosed my minions to work in the larger garden bed today.  The mustard greens are way past their prime and there are weeds everywhere.  They went right to work cleaning up the mess.  You may notice that one chicken is on the outside of the fence looking in.  After numerous trips up and down the fence line trying to get in, she finally went around to the side where the gate is and joined her sisters.  The brightest bulbs on the tree they are not.  But they are endlessly amusing.

It's raining again, so they have stopped work for now.

All this rain we've been having is making the plants and flowers happy.  I think they're still recovering from the drought last year.  Houston lost SO many trees due to the lack of rain.  This year, however, we are getting a very good supply!  Thank God!

I am looking out this very window and most everything I see out there is very green and very wet.

Last night I chose this bright sashing/border material for the little monkey squares.  Maybe I can get it finished tonight.  We'll see.

Also last night I got a new shipment of 1930's reproduction fat quarters washed, ironed and cut into 2 1/2" strips, along with some unbleached muslin.  I'm thinking I'll make another Strip Twist from these.  But probably not tonight.

Because tonight I need to pack.  Mr. Muddling and I are taking a little weekend trip tomorrow, just the two of us, for a little get away.  Always a good thing and it's been way too long since we had one.  I'll give you a report when we get back!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Much Better

The tumbler is completely sewn together and pressed.  Now I need to decided what I will use for sashing.  Don't you love it when the inside looks pretty, too?

I've been thinking more about the little baby girl quilt, and I'm leaning toward a solid pink as a background for the pretty stitchery.  I think it still needs a narrow border of some kind in there, too.  

And this?  I don't know.  I was going to put these fabrics away after getting them washed and pressed and they just ended up sewn together.  Does that ever happen to you?  Seriously, I had no plan to start ANOTHER one.  But, we do have a great-nephew who needs a quilt, and monkeys just seem to say "little boy", don't they?

I usually release the chickens from their pen late in the afternoon to roam and enjoy a little freedom.  Frequently I forget to put them back in before it gets dark.  Then I have to go out with a flashlight to find Hetty.
The other chickens go to roost instinctively, but since Hetty is blind, she doesn't seem to know that it's bedtime.   I wouldn't like for her to stay outside all night long.  
Tonight I went out and found her and put her safely in the chicken house with the rest of the chickens.  I put her in a nest box, cozy and safe, listening to the contented murmurings of her sister chickens.  I came back into the house to clean their water dispenser and fill it with fresh water, then went back out and hung it in its place.  I had a thought that perhaps I'd better be sure Hetty was still in the nest box.  She wasn't.  Again with the flashlight and I found her on the other side of the yard.  That's what I get for leaving the gate open.  She's an adventurous little girl and knows absolutely no fear.  Bless her heart.  Ah, the joys of chicken herding!

Bruno thinks chickens are vastly overrated.

Miss Ru and I got our funny bones tickled so much earlier tonight reading Multicolored Pieces' post.  Her animals are about as, shall we say, interesting as the ones living here at Muddle Manor.  Nadia is a West Coast United States girl living in Tunisia.  Her life is an interesting one and her art is amazing!

Our Chloe is continually on guard against interloping felines in HER back yard.  She saw one on Sunday afternoon and I thought she would go right through that window.  Territorial, that's Chloe.

I hope you're finding plenty that makes you laugh.  A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, the Bible says, and I've found it to be true.

Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Little Progress

I really AM trying to get some of these things out of my head and out into the real world.  On my new larger design wall I've added machine appliqued hearts and butterflies to some of the tumblers and sewn together the first four vertical rows.  Peeping out behind that design wall you can see the old one with some log cabin blocks I've had for way too long.

I bought them as a pre-cut kit years ago and sewed the individual blocks together, but could never figure out exactly how I wanted to use them.  Twelve blocks is really not enough to make much of anything.  Poor planning on my part.  Now, I have a baby girl quilt I want to get made and I think these might be just the thing.

My plan is to put Margaret's beautiful little stitchery in the center with the log cabin blocks around the edges.  I'm pondering on what I'll use to fill in the blank space between the stitchery and the log cabin blocks.  Ideas?

I have several other projects in various stages of  completion.  I like to finish one thing before I start another, but somehow I've got a lot going at once.  At least I got most of my clutter under control, so it's easier for me to see what I'm doing.  (Don't get too excited - it's only in the sewing room.  The rest of the house:  not so much.)

Are you doing anything interesting?  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Hugs and kisses,