Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas in the 'Hood...and beyond

So, I'm a little late putting up pictures from our third annual "Drive around and look at Christmas lights" evening. And these were actually taken on the second night as friends Gwen and Bob offered to drive me back to some favorites from the night before when I did not have my camera with me.
Some of these might be a little blurry as it was cold and taking pictures with gloves on was kinda tricky. Some might look a little crooked, but that's because we live in a hilly town and some of the streets didn't like my tripod.

How clever are these folks!?

Nothing says the holidays like rotting fruit over the front door. Actually, I really like this. And the pine bough cross on the door is lovely.

Everyone in this neighborhood had a small tree in their front yard with white lights. Maybe these folks could invest in a little longer extension cord next year so it doesn't look like the tree stepped in lighted toilet paper on the way to the front yard.

There is a house not far from mine that has a lawn covered in blow-ups. We call it "Blow-up Guy's house." It is a very fun place to drive past.

And of course Nascar Santa is included in the display.

Blow-up Guy also hosts Santa on the three nights before Christmas. Rain or shine. And while the kiddos stay in the cars, he comes to them to take last minute requests.

Snoopy has the official countdown at the end of the driveway.

A block or so away from Blow-up Guy's house there is a lighted runway for Santa. New this year is the addition of a helipad.

This is one of my favorites in my own neighborhood. It is an odd assortment of lighted tree forms and I love that they are all different. It's kinda representative of my neighborhood, too. We're all a little different over here.

Don't you just love this?! It is the Festival of Lights after all, isn't it?

This looks like the quintessential gingerbread house to me.

And this was part of a much larger and extensive display, but I really liked how the tree at the edge of the yard could stand on its own.

Once my family arrived in town, we drove around again and looked at lights. It was a little rainy, but we all enjoyed it just the same.

Friday, December 18, 2009

iQuilt

Yesterday a ballet mom friend - Heather - came over and we played all day. Her dad works at the Apple store and got all these t-shirts to wear, but I gather he's not really a t-shirt kind of guy. Heather decided to take them all and make a quilt, but she'd never made a t-shirt quilt before.

She came with the shirts already cut and the interfacing ironed on the back.

First - up on the design wall in raw form for initial placement. Then they got squared up to as large as the interfacing on each would allow. I did some preliminary calculations on the graph paper and we determined the width of each column.

She had found this fun background fabric with colored snowflakes all over it. It wasn't what she was looking for in the beginning, but it turned out to be just the thing. Of course, the first things cut from the 4 yards of snowflakes was the backing and the outer borders.
Heather was kind enough to send me these pictures as I somehow left my camera at work.


Then the fun began. To make it as large as possible, we added these great strip-pieced stripy pieces. Heather says they look like elf stockings.

Adding in bits of background here and there, it all began to take shape.

Once all the outer borders went on, we pinned it up for one last picture before basting it.

I think the whole thing exceeded both our expectations! It turned out great! Can't wait to hear about Dad's reaction when he opens it Christmas.

Monday, November 30, 2009

And then there were six.

This past Saturday, as part of our Thanksgiving festivities, my family and I went to see The Blind Side. This has been on my must see list since I first heard about it months ago. Not only does it involve Ole Miss football, but it also involves a couple who were my contemporaries at UM. It’s a pretty remarkable story – one I wish we heard more often. It’s the story of a family who opened their home and their hearts to a young man whose hard life had left him with nothing. Not only did they commit to being a safe haven for him, but they went so far as to become his legal guardians. He became family. They became family.

Friends at work started a project over four years ago. It began when they fostered two little sisters – 22 months and 9 months.

At some point, I decided I would make cuddle quilts for these two girls.

Adoption had been discussed, but the arduous journey through the court system dragged on for years.

And then sister number three was added.

And then sister number four.

And a couple of weeks ago, after much delay and anticipation, their family increased officially from two to six in just one afternoon.

And I got to deliver four quilts to four little girls.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

APQ Update

After a couple of sew days with my friend,
there are now nine complete blocks.

Seven to go.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hotty Toddy

I've been away from the blog for a few weeks. Been out of pocket.

I went to the big quilt show in Houston for the first time. Pretty amazing.

My favorite great-aunt passed away after a valiant battle with cancer. Three times this woman went up against breast cancer - and while in her 80's, too! I'll have to tell you about my Aunt Kat another time.

I've hosted both my bee and my art quilt group.

And I made a trip to my alma mater to connect with friends.

A visit to the Ole Miss campus never fails to put me back at a time and place in my life when there seemed to be endless possibilities and new discoveries around every corner. The friends I made in college are still my friends today. And I can count on them. There's a freedom and an ease in our conversations that belies the shared experiences of a maturing time in our lives. A time when we were becoming independent thinkers and adults - no longer children. No pretensions. We all know better.

The campus of the University of Mississippi is exceptionally beautiful. I'm not the only one who thinks so either. And you can almost feel the ghost of William Faulkner as you walk the square in downtown Oxford. He is still there, you know.

Every home game weekend, the biggest and best house party in college football sets up in the Grove and the Circle in the heart of campus.

People pay big money these days to hire students to set up their tents and tables. Why didn't we think of that when we were there? We could have raised a bunch of money for summer mission projects.

The tops of pop-up tents as far as the eye can see in any direction. There is no way to adequately photograph it all.

The next generation has arrived ...

and others are waiting in the wings.

She was just too fast for the camera. The tape on her back lists mom and dad's cell phone numbers just in case she scooted out of familiar territory.

Something I've never, ever seen on campus, much less in the Circle. She was a bit anxious 'cause her "mama" walked away for a moment.

A cleverly named necessity.

The old man and the tree.
The largest catalpa tree in the state of Mississippi.

Good food, good friends, good times.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Jack and friends

Last night, before the rain got here, I walked around the block with the dog on leash in one hand and my camera in the other.

The guys at the end of the block have added a big spiderweb at the end of their porch complete with one huge spider.

Their flower beds are covered in orange and purple lights and have all sorts of jack-o-lanterns strewn about.

I think this pair just discovered the skeleton couple
on the settee behind them.

Next door to the guys is neighbor Peggy. I like her worried pumpkin.

This house is in the next block over. Last year I snapped a shot of their car with the tag that reads "Ghastly." The white lanterns to the right are actually plastic skulls. You should click on the picture to get a better look. I love the chandelier.

After walking the block, I headed up the hill behind me to this address. Every year this place is decked to the hilt at Christmas and Halloween. All of the remaining photos are from this one location.

This old wooden trailer sits right next to the railroad track.
I imagine engineers get a kick out of these.

I love the use of plastic trick-or-treat pumpkins and white lights for this string. It has such an old-fashioned feel about it.

This is a view down the sidewalk in front of the house. Can you imagine being a kid on Halloween (or anyone else for that matter) and walking through this magical scene?

I got spooked a little taking this shot. Had the tripod set pointing up the steps and saw a big shadow pass right over me. Turned to see a big ghoul hanging from a tree swaying in the breeze.

But my favorite thing is this sweet fellow. There are always several vintage light-up figures scattered about the property and this little bear all dressed up as a ghost tucked in amongst the bushes is the most adorable.

No ghouls here after all.