Thursday, June 30, 2011

Three Cheers for the Red, White, and Blue

We are going to be celebrating our nation's birthday in the mountains this weekend.  Here is a little bit of Americana to celebrate the Fourth of July.

The entrances to the Heritage neighborhood are all done up in red, white, and blue flowers.

One block up from us is Marshall Farm Road.  Where it is extended past Rogers Road, they have added a traffic circle, and have decorated with a huge fountain and two smaller ones.

All around the circular garden are American flags.

This large home in Heritage has a proper flagpole with the flag on display.

Star of the Garden, pieced and quilted by Jeanne T. McBrayer for Carolina Longarm Challenge

I hope you all have a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend!

Latest Customer Quilts

I have been working hard to try to finish some quilting commissions recently.  I just finished quilting a stunning log cabin Christmas quilt.  It was pieced by my customer Teresa's mother, whom I have not met.

Teresa chose an off-white cotton thread called 'Parchment," which coordinates with the warm block centers, and also allows the quilting to show up well in the white areas of the blocks.

The fabrics in this quilt could be interpreted as Christmas fabric, since there are holly leaves, red ribbon, and poinsettias.  However, it is not so "Christmasy" that the quilt cannot be used or displayed year-round. We originally planned on doing an all-over design, perhaps even a panto.  As I loaded it up, I decided it needed to have some beautiful quilting to enhance the perfect piecing.

It is not custom-quilted, but I stitched leaves, swirls, ribbons, and flowers that curve over the very linear design of this quilt.

Did I ever mention that is my favorite type of quilting?

The back is a snowy white-on-white fabric.  It has great texture with all the quilting.

And, as I was going through my quilts-in-waiting, I remembered this one that I never finished for my sister-in-law Debbie. 

There was a tension issue on the back of two areas with micro-stippling.  Ripping it out took hours and hours.  I worked on that this week, and requilted those areas.

Then, I remembered that I had already made the binding for this quilt, and was actually able to locate it in the euphemistically described "disorganized" sewing room upstairs.  I was almost finished applying it by machine when I realized that it was about two feet short of the perimeter!

I could not find any more of that blue fabric, so I searched the stash for something that might work.  Surprisingly, it was a hand-dyed blue fabric that matched almost perfectly with the tone-on-tone muted blue print of the original.  Can you tell where they join?

So, I am almost finished hemming it, and it will soon be delivered to Debbie.  It will join its mate that I delivered last Thanksgiving.

I have only had these since my father's 85th birthday weekend, which was September 2008.

Can you tell that although these turned out beautiful, I did not exactly relish working on them?

I have one more to go of these quilt tops pieced by Debbie's grandmother.  That will make about six of these quilt tops that were languishing in plastic bags in Indiana until Debbie rescued them and brought them to me to finish.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Back Home

I was gone on vacation for two whole weeks.  It was fun to survey the yard and see what was in bloom when I got home.

I planted marigolds, zinnias, and mixed sunflowers in a garden bed at Easter.  All but the zinnias are in full bloom.



 I have quite a variety of day lilies, which are putting on a big show right now.  Among my favorites are this double orange day lily

and this lemon one.

The lavender next to the little pond is going crazy, and is covered with bumblebees.

There is a nice stand of red monarda, or bee balm, in the back.  These are among the herbs and flowers I planted to attract hummingbirds.

I was so glad to get my dog back from the kennel.  She has had a week to let her hair grow back after being "shorn"  for the summer.  I think she has lost some of the scalped look.  Her fur is still nice and soft.  We went for a walk on the green way this morning.  She always enjoys a nice drink from the creek.

We had just started on our walk at the Wake Forest end of the green way, when I heard a rustle in the woods nearby.  I had not even gotten my camera out of the bag, when I looked up and saw a large doe walking in the opposite direction along the fence.  I froze in place, got out the camera, and we slowly backtracked until we spotted the deer near the end of the fence.  It crossed the green way and disappeared into the woods.

We did not see any other wildlife quite as exciting, but we did come across this nice shy box turtle near the creek.

It is good to be back home.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Best Birthday Gift Ever

If you have been reading this blog recently, you may remember that my father, Pete Turner, has recently been very ill with pneumonia.  After a week in the hospital and a month in a rehab center, he was not showing much sign of recovery of strength.  My sister, Katy, moved him into her house to take care of him several weeks ago.  What a difference a little TLC has made!  From not being able to sit up by himself, he made it down to the beach with us on Tuesday!

We thought the stairs up to the beach cottage would be a problem, but he made it by himself with just a cane.

We went out to eat each night.  On my birthday, we drove to Ocean Isle to meet my uncle Jerry and his wife Missy for dinner.

Dad got to play with his newest great-grandchild, Jake Turner.  In this picture, Jake is with two of his great-grandfathers!

As if all this were not enough, Dad asked if I brought any art supplies to the beach.  Oh, yes!

His first painting since he got sick was a birthday card for me, complete with poem!

None of us would have believed all this would happen just a few weeks ago.

Here is Baby Jake in the Hawaiian shirt I brought home for him...

and here is my daddy in his.  I wasn't sure he would ever get to wear it!

Thanks to everyone for your prayers and good wishes.  They worked!

We are home now, tired but happy and feeling very blessed.

Monday, June 20, 2011

While Kasey Was at "Summer Camp"

While we were at the beach last week, our Kasey went in the kennel where she has stayed several times.  I decided to have her shaved while we were gone, so she would be cooler this summer, with less chance of fleas and ticks.

She went in looking like this:

And she came home with Charlie today with this new look:

How about the back view?

Oh, my!  I hope she enjoys being cool!

(And I hope her beautiful long feathers will grow back!)

Morning Walk to Bird Island

After Bryson and Melissa left this morning, I decided to walk down to Bird Island, the unoccupied end of Sunset Beach that actually crosses the state line into South Carolina.  There used to be an inlet of water separating Sunset Beach and Bird Island, but it closed up after one of the fall hurricanes years ago. 

The houses at Sunset Beach are all set well back from the dunes and protective vegetation.  There are long wooden walkways at every block to get to the beach.

When I stopped to take the above picture, I realized that the two little boys on the walkway with me were my great nephew Elijah and unofficial great nephew Ben.  I told them I was their Aunt Jeanne, and walked them down to the tent where my Turner relatives had parked their stuff.  I got invited to dinner with nephew Jeremy, his wife Rhiannon, new baby Jake, and the rest of the family tonight. 

As I walked down the beach, I was struck again by the beautiful open beaches once you pass the last street on Sunset Beach. 

I thought maybe I would walk to the first American flag planted on the dunes, but I felt pretty good and kept going.

Here is the second flag.

Since I walked that far, I decided to keep going all the way to the jetty.

Along the way I saw at least twenty-five of these nasty-looking jellyfish washed up on the beach.

There were a great many "half dollars" and some "sand change", but no intact sand dollars.

Can you see the pelican flying over the waves?

Finally, I arrived at the jetty.

I love watching the waves break on the rocks.

It took me two hours to walk down there and back, and it has taken me two hours to recover!  By the time I got back, it had gotten terribly hot, I was out of water, and my feet and ankles hurt.  A couple of Advil, a shower, a shrimp salad, and air conditioning have brought me around.  Think I will head back down to the water!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Changing of the Guard

All the McBrayers have gone home from the beach except for my son Bryson, his friend Melissa, and me.  All of Charlie's brothers as well as his sister and their families were here last week.

Instead of going home Saturday as usual, we have rented another cottage until next Saturday.

After a nice Father's Day brunch in Calabash, Charlie, Dave, Emily, and my granddog Roo had to leave to go back to work.  Well, not Roo!  Melissa and Bryson are working in Myrtle Beach tomorrow, so they got to stay over another day with Mama!

We spent several nice hours on the beach, but a storm came up and we had to make a quick exit.

The new cottage is on the ocean, so we got a great view of lightning hitting the water for several hours this afternoon.

It got nice and cool, and I think the storms have passed.  Time to fire up the blender and make the margaritas for Bryson and Melissa's last night!

My brother Chris's family has arrived, and they have three cottages on the back bay.  I am very hopeful that my sister will be bringing my father down to stay with me tomorrow, and my brother John should be here on Tuesday.  Charlie will be back on Thursday.  Love both my families!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Spectacular Sunset

Last night's sunset started out golden, reflecting on the waters of the inlet and marsh behind our cottage.

Then some big storm clouds on the mainland rolled past.  The sky and water turned purple and orange.

As it got darker, the color became more intense and dramatic.

Then there was a lightning show in that big cloud on the right.  I was not able to capture that on camera.

A memorable night at Sunset Beach!