Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Quilting Class Week Nine

Our quilting class met last night after being off last week for spring break.  We were ready to sew!

After working for eight weeks making scrap squares, we started putting them together last night.  I love the look on their faces when the blocks start coming together, and their scrap squares start looking like a real quilt. Some will be ready to sash their blocks next week.

This class is made possible by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.  Thanks!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Mountain Quiltfest

From March 18 through March 22, I was in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, for the 21st annual Mountain Quiltfest.

This is my favorite quilt show.  It is not as big as some, but it is not crowded, and there are some unbelievable works of art here.

I have been a quilter for a long time, but I can't make quilts like these.  At least, not yet.  I admire those who can, and they inspire me.

I'm not sure how many years I've been to Mountain Quiltfest, but I would guess at least fifteen out of twenty-one.  The same people work the show every year, and I feel like I'm visiting old friends.

Plus, in Pigeon Forge, there is plenty to do if you need a break from the quilt show.

The quilt show is free.  If you have an interest in quilts, I would highly recommend that you attend this show. I don't know the dates for 2016, but it is usually the third week in March.  Click here for more information.

Let me know if you are interested, and maybe we can all go together.  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
Blessed is he who comes in the 

name of the Lord!

Blessed is the king of Israel!

 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;

    see, your King is coming,

    seated on a donkey’s colt.

~John 12: 12-15

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Donkey by G. K. Chesterton

The Donkey

                                                          BY G. K. CHESTERTON

When fishes flew and forests walked   
   And figs grew upon thorn,   
Some moment when the moon was blood   
   Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
   And ears like errant wings,   
The devil’s walking parody   
   On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
   Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,   
   I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
   One far fierce hour and sweet:   
There was a shout about my ears,
   And palms before my feet.

Say to Daughter Zion, See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.  Matthew 21:5

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Scripture: The Time of Singing

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

~Song of Solomon 2:12

Saturday, March 21, 2015

First Weekend of Spring

It is definitely time to celebrate; it is the first weekend of spring!

The photo above was made on March 23, 2011, the year of the mild winter and record-breaking tornadoes.  These blooms are not open today, but it won't be but a few more days until they are.

Why don't we take this day to go out and look for something beautiful?  There is always something to find, if we look hard enough. Who knows what we may discover if we take time to look closely?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy First Day of Spring

The word equinox comes from the Latin words meaning “equal night.” Days and nights are 12 hours everywhere and the Sun rises and sets due east and west.  It happens because of the Earth's position in its annual journey around the Sun.  It marks the first day of spring.  Now, the days will get longer and hopefully, warmer. 

We have had a mean winter, and everyone I know is tired of it. We had an ice storm on March 5/6, and we pray we don't see another one until 2031 or thereabouts.  We have had enough rain to cause flooding, and a few days that made us remember that spring is possible.  It is one of the joys of living in North Alabama.

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
-Margaret Atwood

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Rosemary, the herb of remembrance, is my favorite herb. We grow it in pots and outside along the fence. Unfortunately, it is Hub's least favorite, so I rarely get to use it in cooking.  On warm days, I pinch off a twig from the pot on the front porch and put it in my car.  It deodorizes the whole car, making it smell like a herb garden instead of old coffee.

Put rosemary leaves under thy bedde and thou shalt be delivered of all evill dreames. ~Banckes' Herbal, 1525

As for Rosemarine, I lett it runne all over my garden walls, not onlie because my bees love it, but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance. . .that maketh it the chosen emblem of our funeral wakes and in our buriall grounds. ~Sir Thomas More, 1478-1535

The Ancients were well acquainted with rosemary, which had a reputation for strengthening the memory. On this account it became the emblem of fidelity for lovers.  It holds a special position among herbs from the symbolism attached to it.  Not only was it used at weddings, but also at funerals.  Maud Grieve, A Modern Herbal, 1931

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Blood Root

If you have the great opportunity of walking in the woods today, look closely.  I'll bet you can find some blood root.  Look for stark white petals poking up through brown leaves.

bloodroot (ˈblʌdˌruːt) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide] ---noun
   Also called: red puccoon; a North American papaveraceous plant, Sanguinaria canadensis, having a single whitish flower and a fleshy red root that yields a red dye.  ~World English Dictionary

The Ponca Indians of South Dakota and Nebraska used bloodroot as a love charm, rubbing the juice on the palm of a young bachelor. The Micmac Indians (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick) used the same plant both as an aphrodisiac and as an abortifacient. ~Daniel E. Moerman, Native American Ethnobotany
Many wildflowers which we have transplanted to our gardens are full of magic and charm, while others are full of mystery.  In childhood I absolutely abhorred Bloodroot; it seemed to me a fearsome thing.  I remember well my dismay, it was so pure, so sleek, so innocent of face, yet bleeding at a touch, like a murdered man in the Blood Ordeal. ~ Alice Morse Earle, Old Time Gardens, 1901

Bloodroot contains alkaloids similar to those of the opium poppy, including sanguinarine, which can depress the central nervous system.  Overdoses cause vomiting, irritation of mucous membranes, diarrhea, fainting, shock, and coma.  Most poisonings reported were from medicinal preparations.

~Steven Green and Roger Caras, Venomous Animals & Poisonous Plants

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Quilting Class: Week 8

Yesterday, we had warm, sunny weather, and everyone was feeling fine when we started working last night.  It was the last time we will all be working on blocks--some are about ready to start putting the blocks together.  

Next week is spring break in our area, and because several of us work in education, we are not meeting next week.  

These photos are of pillows that are made from scraps with embroidery in the centers. They are so easy to make.

These purses were also made with scraps, with some embellishment.  The purse on the right is green on one side and blue on the other (see photo at the top of this blog). These purses will be donated for auction for Relay for Life in May.

Let me repeat: Never throw away scraps of fabric!

This class is made possible by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.  Thanks!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Birds at Wilson Dam

Saturday afternoon, we stopped at Wilson Dam, wondering if we could see some white pelicans.

Because of all the rain we have had, several spillways were open, churning up the water beneath, and the birds were loving it.

There were many birds fishing, and lots resting on the rocks below the dam.

The white pelicans were everywhere. They are beautiful birds, and we are happy that they have decided to make our area their home. 

We were at the Visitor Center, a long way from the dam. I was concentrating on getting a close-up shot of this pelican when Hub told me to look up. A bald eagle was soaring right over us.  Needless to say, he was gone before I could get the camera focused.  I'll keep trying.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Scripture: Peculiar

 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
~Titus 2:11-14

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Spring Rains

They always come, my Daddy said, the spring rains always come.

Some years, they come in roaring storms; the rain falling too fast for the cold ground to absorb. They come with hot lightning and thunder that makes our houses tremble.

Some years, they come gentle, sweetly watering the pregnant ground waiting to birth a new season, a new spring.

We've had rain about every day this week, and the water is standing; the saturated ground can't hold anymore.  Everywhere, trees are budding, fat, just about ready to explode into bloom.  The rain has washed off winter's dirty gray, allowing some green to peep through.

The spring rains always come, my Daddy said. Winter-weary people rejoice.

Friday, March 13, 2015

January Lunch on March 12

My friends and sisters, Jan and Ann, have birthdays the same week I do in January.  Every year, we have one lunch to celebrate them all.

January was bad for us.  I had some oral surgery on January 5 that kept me moaning for most of the month.  Jan and Ann both had some health issues.  We postponed our lunch.

We all got better, then Ann went on a wonderful trip to Florida, so we postponed the lunch again.

We made dates for lunch and postponed it several more times, due to Mother Nature's confusion about North Alabama weather.  We reached the point where we were afraid to write it on our calendars, fearing another icy forecast.

Finally, yesterday, we had our January lunch.  On March 12.  We had so much fun together, it was worth the wait.  Maybe we should do it in October this year.

In addition to enjoying their company, I got this birthday present.  Jan is an artist and didn't know hummingbirds were my favorite, so it must have been a God thing.  I love it, and I love getting birthday gifts in March!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Shoney's Strawberry Pie

About thirty-five years ago, I learned how to make the wonderful strawberry pie that you can get at Shoney's Restaurant. I was amazed that I could make something that tasted so good.

It has become a harbinger of spring in our house.  When the fresh Florida strawberries make it to the stores here, we have some strawberry pie.

I'm still making it after all these years.  It is still just as tasty as it always has been.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Johnny Appleseed

Johnny Appleseed (real name John Chapman) died on this day in 1845. During his lifetime, he planted apple trees. 

 I recall a story about him in elementary school, where he was depicted as a wild man wearing a pot on his head and randomly throwing apple seeds. In fact, he planted nurseries with fences to protect the little trees, and left them in care of an able nurseryman before he moved on.  He introduced apple trees to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

The book also failed to mention that he was a missionary for The New Church during his travels, sowing the gospel along with the apple seeds.

I'm thankful for the work he did.  For one reason, apples are my favorite fruit and have innumerable health benefits. Another reason is that I admire people who are willing do a job just because it is needed.

My favorite apples are the Golden Delicious that can be found in Western North Carolina in the fall.  There is something about that mountain soil that gives them the best taste ever.  We have been known to drive to Asheville in the fall just to get apples.

The apples shown here are from Sam's.  They are about the best you can get here during the winter, but are not even close to those North Carolina apples.

There are, of course, numerous stories about little children eating copious amounts of green apples in the summer and the consequences of that, but that's a blog for another day.