My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rule Breakers

Happy Holidays

Well, "Project Clean Up My Big Bunch O' Blog Drafts" went well when it came to reviewing and deleting, obviously not as well when it comes to completing and posting! Most of them turned out to require more time and effort to finish than my hibernating self has cared to expend, but here's one that was nearly done and that I had a lot of fun putting together. Hope it'll provide as many chuckles for you as it has for me! But should any of these tempt you to go forth and be naughty, remember: Santa's watching. :-)

No fair!

"Hell, there are no rules here. 
We're trying to accomplish something."
~Thomas A. Edison

Let's face it. Some rules are good and necessary, but some just seem made to be broken. 

Sometimes subtly...

And sometimes not...

And lest you think it's just dogs who are engaging in acts of civil disobedience...

Photo by Marcia M. Olinger, Caledonia, Michigan

Adding "please" and an emphasis on "not" doesn't always work either...

Then again, sometimes you're just better off complying...

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hitchin' a Ride

Happy December!

The Monday after Thanksgiving was usually the most demoralizing day of the year in our UPS household. But not this year! Pretty sure I have yet to see BW's feet touch the floor since yesterday afternoon! :-) I thought we'd be going all-out with our decorating and other holiday activities since this will be the first year of our married life that BW's available to truly help with and enjoy it. But I think we're both still decompressing, because neither of us feels inspired to go to all the trouble. So we've decided to enjoy a restful, simple, minimalist holiday season and spend some time on various de-cluttering and organizing projects. Thought today I'd begin with my blog, sorting through the ridiculous number of draft posts I never got around to finishing and/or publishing, and finally delete, complete, or post them as appropriate. 

So to start with, here's one that's been languishing in my drafts since May 2013! No idea what came along to interrupt my train of thought for a year and a half. :-)

When I first saw James Neiger's incredible prize-winning photo Great Horned Owl and American Crow...

I couldn't help but wonder if a similar sight gave NASA's engineers this idea! :-)

NASA's Space shuttle Endeavour riding piggyback atop a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, 
lands at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Facility in Southern California on 20 Sep 2012 
during the final shuttle ferry flight.
Photo credit: Z. Pearlman

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

2014 Fiber Arts Show

As my long-time followers who pay attention to such things know, October was the month of Sheridan's annual Fiber Arts (mostly quilts) show, which I usually document each year in multiple posts. But this year, not so much. I was underwhelmed when I first ran into the library at the start of October to do some camera-less recon. Usually the place is ablaze with an abundance of brightly colored, lively-patterned quilts, but I found the overall effect of this year's display comparatively drab. A couple of quilts caught my eye right away, but I couldn't even get to one of them (the Halloween one, which will make its second blog appearance here) because there were two people working at a table in front of it who wouldn't budge, and just gave me crusty stares as I tried in vain to peer around them at the quilt. (I've never seen anyone working at that table before, the vast majority of tables and work areas being on the main level). Adding insult to injury, one quilt glorified killing animals for "trophies," complete with a couple of ghastly photos of their victims pre- and post-slaughter. Ugh! After the quilts I spent a few minutes checking out the other fiber arts and was very drawn to a couple of them, but frankly I left the quilt show disappointed, miffed, and with no intention of returning with my camera or doing a post on it this year.

But the show is at the library for an entire month and I am a frequent borrower of books and DVDs, so I couldn't not look up and see the quilts on the mezzanine above every time I was there… and a couple of them, at least, kept catching my eye. And later when my friend Pam shared a compelling description of her favorite quilt, I realized I'd missed it completely. But perhaps most galvanizing of all, I was seriously pissed about not getting a good gander at the Halloween quilt! So I decided to give the show a second look and a second chance, accompanied this time by my camera as well as by Pam, as part of our "Apollo Picnic" outing...

The most colorful side of the mezzanine so the only one I'm bothering to post.

The colorful "Scrappy Tulips" quilt on the left was the first quilt I noticed on my initial visit, and it kept grabbing my attention on subsequent library runs. Its neighbor, "Twin Peaks," grew on me over time - its neutral pallet isn't as eye-catching, but the design and quilting are beautiful. I can easily picture this on an antique four-poster bed, a handsome centerpiece in a warm and tranquil bedroom, and it's probably the one I would have most wanted to take home...

     Left - "Scrappy Tulips"     
Pieced & Machine Quilted
Artist: Peggy Gable
Quilted by: Becky Stedtnitz 

Right - "Twin Peaks"
Machine Pieced
Artist: Marge Hamilton
Quilted by: Laurie Sheeley


I shared a photo of this next quilt in its entirety on my Halloween post, but since a couple of you mentioned then how much you liked the border around the center panel, I thought I'd share this other photo. As luck would have it, in photographing the center panel I unintentionally captured at least some of that much-admired border around it...

Detail from "Who's Watching
Pieced Quilt
Artist: Tammy Johnson
Quilted By: Karen Van Houten
From a kit designed by Heidi Pridemore


And here was Pam's favorite, and the one she most would have wanted to take home with her. It hadn't caught my eye and I wouldn't have photographed it but for Pam pointing out the level of difficulty and years of toil it took to create. And the more I looked at it, the more fond of it I became. It really is a sweetly old-fashioned and pretty quilt! It's one I would have taken home with me too, but I think Pam would have cheerfully (and rightfully) tossed me over the balcony railing to nab it for herself. ;-) Thanks, Pam, for getting me to appreciate and photograph it!...

"Crazy About Hexagons
Artist: Jane Rader
Quilted by: Janis Fall 
"These 50,000+ hexagons are mostly representative of the 1830s time period using reproduction fabrics. The toile border helped even the sides out for the binding. 
It took about 10 years to make and was a great carry-along project."


This last one was my favorite quilt overall, for its fun, creative, original (and vegan, yay!) theme and, of course, its eye-candy quotient - because you know how I am about eye-candy (not to mention fruits & veggies!)...

"The Jars"
Machine Pieced
Artist: Janet Goss
Quilted By: Janet Goss
It took Janet five years to collect the vegetable and fruit fabrics used in the quilt, 
which she enlarged from a wall hanging to king size.


And here were the two fiber arts examples I loved… no coincidence that they're both autumnal (I love autumn's colors!)...

"Birches I"
Fiber Painting
"The inspiration for this piece was my neighbors' back yard."


And last, but certainly not least, perhaps my overall favorite piece in the show… 

"Fall Fairy"
Counted Cross-Stitch
Artist: Norma Just
"My daughter bought this cross-stitch for me to make for her. She also got the Winter Woodland Enchantress… Look for this one next year if my eyes hold up!"

Don't know about you, but Norma is my nominee for Mom of the Year! And I'm hoping she has a good optometrist, because I want to see her Winter Woodland Enchantress next year. :-) I was pleased with how my photos of it turned out, but they still don't capture how truly breathtakingly beautiful this picture was. I took this closeup so you could see the tiny gold beads in her hair, necklace, belt, and blowing around some of the leaves (click on it, or any of the photos, to see larger versions)...

I may just have to buy this pattern for myself! :-)

Friday, November 14, 2014

SkyWatch Friday: Before the Skies of November Turned Gloomy

Around here November's been a month of contrasts. It began with days bookended by colorful sunrises and sunsets with sunny shirt-sleeve weather in between ~ more reminiscent of mid-September than of November. Then it suddenly morphed into a January-like monster, with a bitter, snowy week of leaden skies, single digit highs, subzero lows, and wind chills too nasty to mention on a family-friendly blog. 

Since much of this week was spent finishing my fall cleaning, curled up in front of the fireplace watching Netflix or reading, and trying out new (and delicious!) curry, mushroom soupchili, and muffin recipes rather than risking frost bite to photograph a lot of nothing, I'm sharing some of those colorful sunrise and sunset photos I took during the balmy first week of this month but didn't have time to post last Friday. And with no time today to do anything other than slightly crop a couple of them and reduce their file sizes, these are SOOC. Enjoy! 

Sunrise, Nov 1
The early morning clouds didn't linger, but provided a dramatic dawn sky

Sunrise, Nov 2
The dawn sky looked none too happy about Daylight Saving Time ending

We get fewer dramatic sunsets here than we do sunrises, but when we do get one it's a doozy. This series of photos, taken from our front porch and posted here in the order in which I took them, occurred over just a two-minute period…

Sunset, Nov 6...

And finishing up the week with another sunrise, this one taken with our iPad…

Sunrise, Nov 8

Wishing you a week of beautiful skies wherever you are

Friday, October 31, 2014

SkyWatch Friday: Tricks & Treats!

After waiting in vain all week for a hauntingly beautiful Halloween sunrise to share, I had a sky-less Halloween post ready to go… until just a few minutes ago! As my finger hovered over the "publish" button, BW called to me with eerie timing, "Come see the sunrise!" Sure enough, it was a colorful, luminous beauty that seemed to mimic a glowing jack-o-lantern…

Oh those trickster Wyoming sunrises! Now you don't see 'em, now you do! :-)

So here's my originally planned post with more Halloween fun from (mostly) ground level…

Above-ground level, that is. ;-)

First, a sneak-peek at one of this year's quilts in the annual Fiber Arts show at the library. The lone Halloween quilt in the exhibit and one of my top three favorites in the show, I thought it would be better appreciated here than on my upcoming quilt show post...

"Who's Watching?"
Technique: Pieced
Artist: Tammy Johnson
From a kit designed by Heidi Pridemore
Quilted by: Karen Van Houten

On the day of our visit to the cemetery and picnic among the "Roman Ruins" last week, we also drove by this old home in Sheridan's historic "Residence Hill" neighborhood. It was for sale when BW and I were looking for a place and we made an offer on it, but it was not to be (just as well - ideal location, but way too big and in need of too much work, it would have meant delaying BW's retirement and thank goodness that didn't need to happen!)

A spooky spider, pretty pumpkins, and comely crow await trick-or-treaters

I didn't have to wander far from the home we did end up living in to get these next photos. Our neighbors a few doors down have their place very festively decorated for fall and Halloween, but I especially love these gossamer ghosts gamboling around the festooned spruce...

And up the street in the opposite direction one is greeted by these gregarious ghouls and their hauntingly hospitable howdies! :-)

Remember our friend the Red-tailed hawk? He showed up again at dusk last Friday, perched on our next door neighbors' roof. I took some more photos of him (of course) despite the bad lighting, and really liked this one of his eyes reflecting my camera's flash. By darkening the original a little I ended up with this great silhouette ~ add a few spooky elements courtesy of PicMonkey and our red-tailed friend becomes The Haunted Hawk of Halloween! :-)

It's predicted to be sunny and 71º here today (and tomorrow) with no wind. Combine the balmy weather with the fact it's a Friday night and we're expecting a record turnout of monstrous moochers Trick-or-Treaters, though we "only" bought enough vegan goodies for the first 250 or so. Wish us (and our poor doorbell) luck, and enjoy a safe and happy Halloween! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

2014 Sheridan Annual Garden Tour, Part 4

Welcome to Part 4, the last post of this year's annual...

Finally, the final finalist from July's event! Well, better late than never. As you may recall if you saw the first three posts from this series, eight finalists chosen by the local greenhouse that sponsors the event competed for the public's votes to determine a winner in each of two categories, "Amazing Backyard Gardens" and "Amazing Estate Gardens." This large property in the neighboring small mountain community of Story was the winning Estate Garden…

Property-owner Robin and her husband spent six years converting a large area of marsh into these gardens (to the dismay of the local moose, no doubt), a task that included redirecting water to help create this spring fed pond, the centerpiece of the property...

Did you notice the three multi-colored "gazing globes" on the left side of the far bank?
They're bowling balls! :-)

One of the more relaxed inhabitants of the Fairy Garden in the woods beside the pond. 

The bottle garden in hues of blues even features a Blue Spruce!

The waterfalls tumbling from the woods to the pond and decorated with various treasures was my favorite feature of the property, due in no small part to the wonderful goat ~ a larger version of my own!....

We also loved the mellow mermaid, chillin' on the rocks beside the pond...

A trek further "inland" brings you to the beautiful and colorful Peace Garden...

…and into the presence of its compassionate guardian, a sweetly carved St. Francis, who ~ as the patron saint of all fellow creatures, the environment, and peace ~ is very much at home among the birds and flowers in a Peace Garden...

I hope you enjoyed this year's tour! Though the real gardens have been put to bed for the winter, you can visit five other gardens from the tour anytime you want...

2014 Sheridan Annual Garden Tour, Part 1
2014 Sheridan Annual Garden Tour, Part 2
2014 Sheridan Annual Garden Tour, Part 3


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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