Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Looking outward

I seem to have a need to look out and look up.  In grade school, I got scolded for gazing out the classroom windows too much.  In high school, I would come home in the afternoon and scold my mother for having all the shades drawn and curtains pulled.  She thought it made the house cozy - I couldn't stand it.

So living in Arizona suits me - there's lots of sky and lots of gazing out and up to do.  There are vistas and cloud formations and new birds to identify. Even though Gerry recognized that I needed a house with lots of windows for looking outward, he's still prone to asking me what I'm looking at.  So many times, I haven't a clue what I'm looking at - I'm just looking.

Friday night's sunset provided a fabulous, colorful vista for gazing upon.

Imagine my surprise when Saturday morning's vista showed a new element that appeared to crop up overnight in the hayfield behind our house.

And now we have this (not my choice of vista, but at least we know it's temporary):

Totally unrelated to vistas...  this is not a hummingbird:
Nor is this:

And I haven't a clue what this is... I keep hoping for a chance at a photo of the huge raven that squawked at me our first morning here, but I have a hunch this is just a pigeon.  Very visible across the park, on the neighbor's roof, though, isn't it?  I need better zoom-ability.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Saturday evening, it poured.  The "tot lot" across the street was filled with water - it looked like we lived near a small lake.

This is what it normally looks like:
This is what it looked like last night, after the rain, and yes - in the dark:

And here's how it looked this morning.  Note the high water line along the hillside:

It doesn't take much rain to have standing water - another new experience!

Learning the new birds and critters

Those of you who are my friends on Facebook know that I've been posting a lot of photos of all the things I have to learn about the various birds, bugs, and other critters.  Some of the birds, like ravens and the hummingbird, I already knew.  Others, like the turkey vultures, took me a while to be sure. 

The birds, starting with quail:
Broad tailed grackle:
And a roadrunner:
We don't seem to have any photos of the turkey vultures yet, but will soon, I'm sure.
Today's offerings - Couch's Spadefoot:
Carpenter bee:
And, of course, the Dr. Seuss plants:

 I'm sorry I don't have photos of the turkey vultures yet - I'm sure I will soon.  The raven and the mockingbirds have avoided having photos taken, as well. 

It's just so much fun to have so many new things to learn!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The new treehouse

It seems impossible to not call my sewing/art space a treehouse, even though it is now ground level.  This all started back in North Carolina when my sewing room was above the store - the room had glorious 12 foot ceilings with nearly floor to ceiling windows.  I looked out over the back parking lot, and there were tree branches to frame my view.

When we moved to Ohio, my workspace was only 6 1/2 feet wide, but 15 feet long.  It was at the back of the house, over the walkout basement, so it still felt as though I was up in the treetops, so the name stuck.

Not so with this house - but it's a lovely sized room with a nice view of the back yard.  Here are a couple of before shots:

And here's the "after" view, taken just a few moments ago. 

Left side, as you look outside:
Left side, toward the rear of the room:

Right side, as you look outside:
Right side, at the rear of the room:
Back wall, with open closet door:
 Full view, as you walk in the door:

 And I'm still not done unpacking!

LaRue Jeannette

Needed a little kick to get the creativity going, so I signed up for an online doll class, LaRue Jeannette, with Barbara Schoenoff.  I love Barbara's doll patterns, and this one offers some unique new techniques and hints.  Here are some in process photos:
Getting dressed:

I'm currently working on the over dress.  More soon.

Fabric collage round robin

After buying this house, I found out that one of the women I've known online for years, via the doll making community, lives nearby.  I've been invited to their Tuesday meetings, but getting the wheels on here has kept me from attending.  However, I get the group emails, and was able to participate in the fabric collage round robin with the group.  There are eight of us playing.  The only guidelines were that the base piece should be no larger than a fat quarter, and that we use at least two techniques with every go round.

My starter piece is all batiks and incorporates machine applique, couching, highlighting with paint, some beadwork. (Should be clickable to see larger.)

Patio project complete

Obviously, Molly approves:

So nice, the way the artisans worked in the existing rose bush and nandina:

The old path stones were re-used to make a stable platform for the grill:

I've had my morning coffee here every day since completion! 

And these are the things we get to view now:

The Move - Part 2

Moving in required lots of analysis of what we had, what we envisioned, what we needed to acquire - and how to get things done before we settled in too much and had all our stuff in the way.  We will no doubt be making planting/landscaping adjustments for years, and have started out with putting plants in pots, and moving them around the yard.  Learning to garden in such a dramatically new climate is a bit like learning a new language.  The back yard had a pool AND a pond when we bought it (in a placement configuration that I would not have chosen, but those things are pretty hard to move), so we've had work around them.

Our little patch of green:

First use of the patio:

The pool:

Quail on the back fence, above the pond:

The first major project was making the patio connect to the pool without having to walk on gravel, and making it all look cohesive and intentional.  The crew was exceptional, true artisans, very particular about their cutting and fitting.  We're delighted.

A few before shots, with Cosmo for perspective:

And here are the first "during" shots:


Still during: