September 26, 2009


Mrs. Chomondelay clematis, May

Mrs. Chomondelay clematis, September

Butterfly Weed, June

Butterfly Weed, late September

Black Lace Elderberry, June

Black Lace Elderberry, September

Though the petals are barely hanging on to many of our perennials, and colors have faded to paler shades of their vibrant summer hues, a different beauty is emerging in our garden now. Seed pods, dried flowers, and berries adorn our plants where flowers once were. To me, this stage of seasonal shift is a magnificent peek at the inner structures of plants and at the efficiency of nature.

These photos show the flowers in May/June, and again in late September. The 3rd and 4th photos are of a "Butterfly Weed" — not to be confused with "Butterfly Bush", and too beautiful to be confused with a weed. This is the first year we've had it, and it's been amazing to watch those intricate little pink flowers transform into quite unexpected seed pods! Just look at how neatly those seeds are stacked into the pillowy spires and how well-equipped they are for air travel on the slightest breeze. My husband, Pete, took a bunch of the seeds and tossed them in the air to see how far they'd go. We had no idea that they'd spiral upward and disappear against the white clouds of the sky, vanishing over roof tops and wherever they finally landed.

We couldn't help but to think ahead to next summer's blooms when our neighbors would wonder where their new, mysterious and beautiful plant came from.

September 22, 2009

Viva Verna!

At last, Verna has arrived! Here's a glimpse of my very first finished fabric collection (pinch me!) for Moda that will debut at the Quilt Market in Houston in October. After months of fine-tuning, I can't believe the fabrics are finally folded, rolled, and bundled! This collection is a celebration of spring with earthy browns, april shower blues, vibrant sprigs of green and blooms of pink, yellow and tangerine. I'm determined to make something with these...eventually...once I can get myself to cut them up. Oh, and once I actually learn to quilt.

Yes, I am truly a beginner in this area, but have been practicing with a rotary cutter and have gotten better at sewing straight seam allowances. Woohoo! Luckily, I also have a great teacher/consultant/mentor. My aunt Julie has been quilting for many years using everything from her father's bow ties to her son's boxer shorts for piecing materials and inspiration. She recently told me that when she and her family would go on road trips, she'd often scout out local fabric shops for pit stops, but that her family would sit in the car while she went in to browse! I actually never knew she had such a passion for this craft so it's been joyful for both of us to connect through this mutual interest. We've had some of our own "road trips" to quilt shows and shops and I think she's happy to have some company walking the aisles...I know I am!

Julie is well into her third year of being (pancreatic) cancer free. Each time we get together, I'm so deeply grateful for her presence, her generous spirit and her perspective. In some small way, I hope the fabric I designed holds some inspiration for her because she is truly an inspiration to me.

September 7, 2009

Labor (free) Day

This weekend, I actually managed not to turn my computer on! Instead, I spent some much needed time in our garden taking note of all the subtle (and not-so-subtle) shifts from late summer to early autumn. Flames of color glow vibrantly in every corner...not by accident. It's right around this time of year that the hummingbirds begin their migration. A few years ago, we planted a native species of honeysuckle and have several potted begonias and zinnias that have become an annual pit stop for the amazing little birds at the onset of their long journey. If you sit really still and keep your eyes peeled, you may spot one too!