Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Walk in Springtime

Springtime is my favorite time of year to take my daily walks in the neighborhood.  I always have my phone in my pocket and often take photos.  Come along with me.

The florals are in bloom.   The hardy bougainvillea and California poppies grace many yards.

The jacaranda trees are especially beautiful while in bloom in May.

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While one jacaranda in bloom is beautiful, a row of them lining a street is spectacular.  They leave a colorful carpet on the sidewalk and street.  Some say these trees are too messy, but I think they’re glorious.  In all fairness I must admit I don’t have one to clean up after.

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With all this springtime floral inspiration, I have also turned to my stash to do some sewing with florals.

We’ve all seen lost cat signs, but I was very surprised when I saw a lost drone sign for the first time.  I hope the “skiddish” cat was found.

Some signs I don’t enjoy seeing are election signs.  California has its primary in June, and suddenly signs for mayor and city counsel appeared. There are no competing signs in my neighborhood; they are all for the same two candidates.

My dog has his own encounters when we walk.  I noticed soon after I got him that he is a “cat magnet”.  Cats will walk right up to him and go nose to nose.  The first time I was worried but now I’m used to it.  I wonder how the cats know which dog to approach.

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These incredibly tall palm trees were probably planted around the time the neighborhood began in the 1950’s, and I was used to seeing them on the corner. I’m glad I captured this picture, because they disappeared shortly after.  The sky and I miss them.

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I love the long days. When the day starts to wind down, it’s time to look at the colors in the sky.

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What do you see when you walk in your part of the world?

 

Continuing on in 2016

Getting organized in the new year?  Me, too!

Desk Carousel for Sewing Supplies

I found this desk carousel at Target’s dollar spot for $3, and it is keeping my sewing work space much neater. And it twirls!

Fat Quarters to Go - Storage in zipper CD case

I have fat quarters to go! My fabric stash is growing, and my fat quarters needed some organization so I could see what I had.  This very inexpensive CD holder with zipper and straps lets me see them at a glance, and is portable to boot.  It’s about 22 inches long so a lot fits in there.

I was thinking about projects I want to finish this year. One, a crocheted afghan, was started back in 2012.  I asked myself why some projects languish, why others are completed, and what my motivation is for making things.

Continuing Projects to Finish in 2016

These are the factors I’m influenced by:

1)  Need or practical use.

Clothes fit into this category.  I have been especially motivated to make sleeveless woven tops, because I couldn’t find ones in the store that fit. In the future, I would like to try making pants, and other casual wear for home.

2)   Enjoyment and creativity.

Embroidery falls into this category, as well as quilting.  One thing I like about quilting is the fabric happiness from collecting and sewing with so many pretty and varied prints.

3) Furthering of skills or sense of accomplishment.

I like to learn how to execute, and even master new techniques.  In the future, I would like to complete some larger projects.

4) Variety.

I like following my enthusiasm  of the moment.  Sometimes I lose interest in a particular area of sewing or other needle art, but after taking a break I’m excited to get back to it.

5) Momentum.

This is involved with finishing a project.  I usually like to finish a project I’m working on.  When I set it aside, it’s hard for me to get back into it, or remember the details.  This is why I mainly do small projects.  I lost momentum on my crocheted afghan at about the halfway point, and I needed to figure out a strategy to finish it.

My first finished project of the year won’t be the afghan.  But I do have a strategy for working on it.  I realize that the reason I couldn’t garner any momentum was because of the nature of granny squares as opposed to a pattern like a ripple.  I couldn’t just pick it up and crochet another row, but had to start numerous squares from scratch.  The first round is hard for me; it’s small and hard to see where to put the hook.  So I decided to set aside time to concentrate and complete 10 first rounds at a time so I can later pick them up and work on them while relaxing at night.  I plan to crochet the granny squares until I’m finished or I run out of yarn.

How are your New Year plans going?

 

 

 

There’s a New Dog in Town

I took a few photos of my favorite dog related things I’ve encountered on my walks around the neighborhood.

Dogs Please Close the Gate signSomehow, I always read this “Dogs Please Close the Gate” sign as instructions to the dogs, and it makes me laugh.

Lola and Shades fence cutoutsWhich one is Lola and which one is Shades?  These St. Bernards are quite an amusing sight when their big heads make an appearance.

I’ve seen this “Who rescued who” sticker on a number of vehicles:

Who rescued who car stickerI was going to crop the photo, but noticed that the part of the license plate I captured fits my theme.

But my favorite thing to look at when I’m walking is this:

Sparky on Easter Walk

As you’ve undoubtedly guessed, this post is about my new dog, Sparky.

I wasn’t looking for a dog.  I was going to a new store in the strip mall across the street from the IHOP where I had lunch with my stepmom. I happened to see him in a pen with other rescue dogs outside of the Petco store two doors down.  My eyes were drawn to a cute little dog’s face with cheetah-like black markings, and I just kept looking at him until the lady asked me if I wanted to meet him.  I said yes, and I ended up taking him home that same day.

I forgot how much energy a younger dog has!  The paperwork I was given categorizes him as a pekingese mix a little over 1 year old.  I think he  looks like a long haired chihuahua or papillon mix, and I suspect by looking at his teeth that he is more likely 2 or 3 years old.  I asked the rescue lady for his history, and she told me that another rescue didn’t have room for him and asked if she could take him. So he has been bounced around from home to home several times.

Sparky is the most responsive dog I’ve ever had, in that to correct him I only have to make an “uh uh” sound, and he stops what he’s doing.  He plays with his toys, but never grabs and runs off with my stuff.  Pepper was part terrier, and was very strong willed – barking at neighbors, the mailman and the UPS truck, tearing lizards apart, and defying my authority, so I was ready for an “easy” dog.  This guy just wants to be a companion, and to be bonded to his person. He is the sweetest little creature, and I can’t believe anyone could let him go, because I sure couldn’t.

Autumn Scenes

Fall scenes from Southern California, both natural and man made:

Fall Welcome and Pepper

 

 

That’s a palm tree to the right of the “fall” tree with a few leaves turning color. October days are still warm (80 degrees today) and dry in Southern California, but the nights are cooler.  We are in the middle of a drought with mandatory water restrictions due to go into effect next month.

Happy Fall!

Wool and Burlap Poinsettia Wreath

 Wool and Burlap Poinsettia WreathI love seeing the Christmas flower, the poinsettia, everywhere this time of year.  This holiday season my crafting vision was to make a wreath celebrating this flower’s beauty from simple natural materials.

I started with a store bought cardboard form, a strip of burlap, and thick wool felt.

Wreath MaterialsI began by wrapping the burlap around the form and securing it with a few staples.  I made 3 different sized petal templates for the flower.

Burlap on FrameI machine stitched a line down the center of each petal, although in retrospect I could have skipped this step.  When I began hand sewing the petals together, I discovered that the flower came together best when I sewed each layer of five petals together separately, and then attached the three layers together.  I added a few green leaves.  For the yellow flower centers, I pinched off small pieces of wool roving and rolled them between my fingers . I used two squares of the red wool to make three flowers.

wool petals

poinsettia flowerThen I decided on the flower placement that appealed to me and attached the flowers to the burlap wreath with wire.  I added a burlap bow and a rustic red and white plaid bow on top for additional decoration.

Wool Flower Close-upPoinsettia Wreath on DoorThe wreath was fun and simple to make, and these spectacular blooms will last and last adding beauty and color to any wall or door.

How Pepper Found his Voice- A Dog Story

I don’t know my dog’s date of birth or any information about how he came to be homeless.  His age was estimated when he was picked up and admitted to the shelter.  So I celebrate his adoption day each year.

Seven years ago I was in need of a dog. At the county shelter, I entered the doors that led to a row of dogs.  I saw a small black and white dog alone and read that was his first day at the shelter.  All of the other dogs were close to the front of their enclosures but he was way at the back.  I started talking to him and tried to coax him to come nearer.  He started to come over and over again, but was scared to cross the hump at the center divider.  I don’t know why I didn’t move on and look at the rest of the dogs.  I sat there and talked to the dog without a name.  I talked softly to him until he finally found the courage to come up to the bars.  I put a hold on him, but there was a 5 day waiting period to allow someone to claim him before he would be available for adoption.

When I came back, he was right up front like the others.  That’s the day I snapped my first photo of him.  His tag looked enormous on his small body.

Pepper Shelter

I signed the adoption agreement and named him Pepper.  They put a new sign on his cage that he was adopted and would be neutered the next morning. He would be ready to leave that afternoon after recovery time.

Finally I could take him home!   I introduced him to his new life with a house and yard to explore, toys, and blankets.  As our first days together passed and we got to know each other, one thing about him stood out.  I never heard him bark.  When the mailman was at the door he didn’t make a sound or even move; he just looked at me with wide eyes.  I began to think something was wrong and he couldn’t bark.  What had he been through?

One day we were taking a walk, and suddenly he barked at some loud kids across the street.  He had a voice!  And thereafter he barked at the mailman, the UPS man, and anyone walking by his house.  He knew this wasn’t just some place he was staying– this was his home and he would protect it.  He was home for good and not alone anymore.

He discovered the world of fashion:

Pepper Fashions

PepperPirate

Posing in his youth, and now in maturity…

My little dog with the big bark.

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