This is one Mean Old Lady!

This is one Mean Old Lady!
Self-portrait: 'Quilter on Fire'

Friday, September 4, 2015

Recent works

I have been blogging less and quilting more--not least because I need to complete many projects that have languished for too long.  A recent NQA show in Little Rock spurred me on; I entered three pieces--


This is 'Rooster and Plaids,' and I gave up about 50 squares from a quilt I had planned and worked on for more than a year....simply because I pinned the central medallion up on the wall right over the plaid blocks--and loved the look!  
This one is a take-off
on a Gauguin Tahitian landscape....made in response to a challenge ('landscape with a tree and a bird') and quite the learning experience to create.  Took me way longer than I had planned/hoped/expected.

This one might look a little nutty.  Each square was appliqued with a small heart shape over the course of, well, about 12 years of PTA meetings.  The fabrics were from clothes I made daughter Laura, a maternity dress, my first quilt, and God only knows where else.  They didn't 'belong' together, there was no master plan, and I was in despair of ever making them work together.....and then Sharyn Craig came to our guild in Little Rock and opened my eyes!  This setting is called 'Twist and Turn,' and it made the blocks dance and work together.  It's far from a perfect quilt, but it's priceless! 

None of these quilts garnered any recognition, but I hope that people enjoyed seeing them.

My criterion for a successful quilt is this:  does it make me smile? 

These do.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Fame and Fortune Await....?

Good afternoon Elaine!
I'm writing an article for the Loudoun County Virginia Master Gardener newsletter about asparagus and would like to use a photograph you have on your blog in illustrating the article.  I've inserted the photo below so you can see which one I'd like to use, as an example of a healthy, weed-free asparagus bed in a home garden.
I would greatly appreciate it if you would give me permission to use the photograph. If you do, the credit line would read Photo courtesy of Elaine Walizer at
Thanks so much!

So, some gardeners in Virginia will be viewing my asparagus patch (post-cutting, when the sprouts were ferned out and manure had been applied.)  Of course I was happy to grant permission.  Isn't the Internet amazing?
This is a different photo--it's Spring, 2015...I had just weeded and set up the soaker hoses (which have been largely superfluous in our wet, wet weather.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

April Showers bring May Showers....

Our chilly wet Spring has continued.  I put my long-sleeved tops and sweaters away only to bring them back out for our trip to Fayetteville (the DHubby's 74th birthday) and subsequent weeks back home.  Every once in a while we have a dry, sunny day, but then another front moves through....  The yard couldn't be mowed for an entire month (March 31st to April 30th) and was quite jungle-like.  I began referring to one area as 'the water-meadow.'  I was wading out to cut asparagus daily.

But I must say, the plantings have been quite enthusiastic!  The irises were followed by the roses:

'Crepuscular' has dawn colors; 'New Dawn' is pale pink; and 'Little Pinkie' is a brighter pink.  

These amaryllis over-Winter in the garage and then begin coming back to life in February.  The darker red one had four blooms and the striped one just these two.

 The pomegranate never bears fruit, but the bright orange blooms are striking and attractive.  These probably did better before the live oak on the side of the house got so large.  The shade was deep, but improved when we had some limbs cut back.

The elderberries in the yard are all 'volunteers' sowed by the birds.  In Ohio they grew to about 6' at best; these are 9-12 feet tall.  Last year I did not cut off the heads and I had tons of berries, so I made jelly.  This year I will try to give them away or something...the flowers are so fragrant, and when they fall from the bloomheads it looks like tiny stars are scattered on the brick walkway.

During the 90's the DHubby and I made a couple of trips to upper NY state--a lovely area!--and at a barn sale in Brockton I admired a garden in the yard.  The little old lady gave me a spadeful of this plant--saying she did not know the name--and I kept it going all week until I could get home and plant it in our yard there in Ohio.  I've shared starts with neighbors all over, and I brought some with me to Arkansas.  I have it in several beds now, and I love that it has spread.  Every year the bright yellow is a joy to see.  

The big hosta has two bloom-stalks coming up; the mint (you can see it in the close-up above) is of course everywhere, and the violets are finished seeding.  Now it's just a matter of weeding the trumpet vines out and keeping my eye out for poison ivy...  

We have had *some* warm days, and a few dry ones, but the copious rain continues this week.  I begin to think we need an Ark!

Friday, April 10, 2015

SPRING at last!

After the Winter we had, we were hoping for a quick warm-up.  That didn't happen; in fact, we had the wettest March on record since someone began taking notes.  Temperatures stayed cool and slowed everything down.  Even the hummingbirds eschewed the usual arrival (although I plan to put out the feeder today.)

But, at last the first asparagus tip emerged in the bed, and now I am cutting twice a day...and the flowers are glorious!

 The redbuds were first the check in.  When we moved here, this tree was maybe 2' high.
The violets are also quick to come up.  Originally, this bed was filled with overgrown, diseased hybrid azaleas.  The only one that was spared is the one with its roots entangled in the crepe myrtle's.  The bed is heavily shaded, but irises and Missouri primrose, hostas, elephant ear, and some bulbs all thrive there.  The iris bed to the right of the walkway has a tiny redbud volunteer that I am keeping and a   Brave Little Dogwood (with a single flower.)  

Here it is!  

Lamium appeared (possibly via bird) in the bed, near the azalea.  It shyly flowers at the same time as the violets.  

Japanese irises are in bloom (and will bloom again in late Summer/early Fall.)  The vinca minor ground-cover has periwinkle-blue flowers.  Soon the live oaks will renew their leaves (which drop heavily in the Winter cold here) and the deep shade will explain why no grass would grow in the yard!

The pink azalea at the corner of the house (see the left side above) had never flowered in the very shady location.  In fact, I didn't realize it was there!  Then a serious ice storm eliminated one of the trunks of the live oak on that side of the yard.  More sunlight...and voila!  Flowers!  

The wisteria in the back yard--asparagus in foreground, Little Pinkie rose to the left--has a heavenly fragrance.  Big bumblebees are all over it.  This year I will cut it back heavily.  (It has already destroyed the little trellis I had put up.)  The trumpet vine is just beginning to green up; it won't put out its orange flowers until late Summer.  

Here is a close-up of the vinca...

...and the view across the street to my neighbor Betty's pretty landscaping.



Sunday, February 22, 2015

"Thursday's Child has far to go."

Most of you who visit this blog know that the DHubby and I have two children, both now in their early Thirties.  Laura, also known as PhysicsDaughter in some venues, has had a long road to travel insofar as her health and well-being.  She was nearly 3 days old when she crashed--an emergency quickly followed by her transfer to the NICU at Children's Hospital of Cincinnati, surgery for a serious heart defect, and a complete change in all our plans.   She has battled many chronic health problems and, after complications during her second heart surgery caused ischemic spinal cord damage, she has dealt with physical disability since the age of 7 months.  

We can't say it was easy, but it wasn't all gloom and doom, either.  Laura was precious--a fractious, difficult baby, but at the same time responsive, alert, and determined.  Joy was as much a part of our lives as medical issues and physical therapy were, I assure you. 

So--I'm an Old Softie, and sentimentality has led me to collect quite the battery of mementos and souvenirs.  I get them out and reflect, shed a few tears perhaps, and feel the happiness.

But now we need to downsize.  As with the April Easter Egg Tree, I've been substituting photographs preserved in the blog; memories no longer tangible, but just as much loved.
Here is one more:

Laura's spinal nerves were affected from the level of the aorta and all points south, with the right side suffering the most damage.  Physical therapy was augmented, eventually, by bracing.  Laura, extremely active and impressively stubborn, kept trying to stand and to walk.  These are the set of braces she had on when she succeeded in taking her first unassisted steps.  (They are switched; the one on your left is the right orthosis.)  She was about two years old.  

I told you I was mushy!  

When Laura was last here, she was waiting for new (considerably more modern) orthoses to be delivered.  I gave her these and suggested that the wonderful new orthotist might enjoy seeing them.  They were quite a hit.....and now join a little 'museum' collection of devices at the medical center.  They have a new home, but a permanent place in my heart.  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Paul's Pet Parrot in Paradise....

I belong to a quilt guild in Little Rock called QUEST Quilters.  There is an annual challenge to members to create a quilt using a given theme, or a particular fabric; there are other specifications sometimes.

This year's challenge was to make a landscape quilt that included a tree and a bird; minimum size was 20" x 32".  The quilt had to be complete (quilted, bound, and labeled) by the December meeting.  

Sometimes I don't participate--but if the theme grabs me, I usually jump in.  I'd never made a landscape quilt, so this got me interested.  As a jumping-off point, I knew I already had my bird!....a parrot I'd copied from a calendar illustration.  I had made templates and assembled the parrot's body, wing, tail, and feet--even including a bias strip branch for him to perch on.  He lived up in the corner of my design wall for years!  (The ideal quiet!)  I decided to put my parrot into a tropical setting, so I looked at some art prints by Paul Gauguin, who famously spent (or misspent) time in Tahiti.  Using a good print of 'Tahitian Landscape' as my inspiration, I set to work, figuring I could whip this piece out in a week.....

Of course, I had wildly underestimated how much time it would take, especially since I added thread-painting to give the grasses texture.  This piece uses raw-edge applique, turned-edge applique, crayon color enhancement, dense quilting, and is entitled, "Paul's Pet Parrot in Paradise....with apologies to Monsieur Gauguin."  

(If you look up the original, you will see that I took a lot of liberties--it isn't, after all, a copy.  I'm satisfied with the piece and consider it was worth all the time I put into it.  Now, back to my previously-scheduled quilt projects!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fall Already!

How can it be Fall?  The Summer was so busy--filled with contractors working at the lake and delays due to weather (though no one wanted to complain about the rain, because it's such a relief to have the drought conditions abating.)  We had a very good crop of figs despite the winter damage to the tree, and I had modest success with the garden.  

I'll share the scenes:

colorful fungi....

the final jalapeno peppers

the prettiest this chrysanthemum has ever looked, thanks to its new location in the garden bed at the base of the rain gauge

the Missouri primrose spreading in promising fashion along with the ubiquitous violets

 arugula ever-present in the garden, and if you look closely, a volunteer marigold (doomed, of course)

butterfly bush behind the brave Japanese maple--a real survivor through several summers of harsh conditions

....and the last roses of Summer....

Rose 'Crepuscular'

Asparagus bed--post harvest

Lake Conway Mutti und Kinder