My sister, Frankie, of Just My Opinion, is not happy to be just my sister. She has also applied to be my Fairy Godmother and I think she may beat out all the other contestants!
Last weekend, Frankie and her youngest daughter, our artist-in-training (AIT) came for a visit. It was MUCH too short, but they were able to arrive Friday night, and could stay until Sunday morning. Believe me, if you could see the Day-Timers for these two women, you would know how blessed I was to have even that much of their time.
I THOUGHT that the reason for this visit was to blitz the sewing of a new quilt top for Frankie. This summer she called me while she was standing in the midst of a fabric sale (be still my beating heart!) and asked me how much fabric she needed for a log cabin quilt. I was surprised to be able to give her any kind of sensible answer, but she seemed happy with my response, and brought the fabric to show, the next time she visited.
I'd cleared off the table in the quilt studio in preparation for cutting the strips. I thought we would start early Saturday morning and zip right through this to give her a completed top to take home. She had other ideas.
It was supposed to rain on Saturday. The clouds were out west, and I thought it would be rainy all Saturday. Frankie had mentioned that she wanted to help me clean up my gardens. It's about a month too early to put them to bed for the winter, but they were looking pretty woolly, and needed attention. She decided that we needed to get out and put a couple of hours in before the rain came.
"But, the quilt..." "We'll get to it."
So, we put on our gardening clothes and gloves and trouped out. Frankie decided to start in the herb garden, which of all my gardens needed the most help. The herb garden sits to the north of the house, even with the kitchen. I can look out over it as I work at the sink. She asked me what could go, and what needed to be trimmed, and went off to collect her tools. She brought the entire compliment of loppers and rakes and hoes and shovels from home!
The area immediately to the east of the herb garden (on the north side of the garage) is rather like the poor relation in my yard. It really needs to be cleared, so that I can have a paved patio installed, but at the very least, I should put down landscaping paper and mulch or gravel. It was a mess of weeds and equipment, and it was driving me crazy.
While Frankie cleaned up my herb garden, I used the string trimmer to cut back all the weeds. Then, I moved three different sizes of Weber grills, the sieve I use when cleaning dirt from pots, the saw horses, and some potted plants onto the newly cleared area. (Frankie, I planted chrysanthemums in that little box at the front of the garage!)
The front of the house looks vastly improved, and so does that area north of the garage. But, the herb garden.......WOW! Frankie cleaned the walkways. ALL of the walkways! I tend to get one side or the other when I get to working on the garden, but she got the entire path! Even the little areas that lead to the lawn, where I traditionally heap up weeds waiting to be picked up! It looks astonishing! I know...a picture is worth a thousand words. I promise to take pictures and post them here.
Frankie cut back the rudbekia, and the oregano and the chives, and the lemon balm. She ripped out the spent basil plants, but had the sense to leave the lemon verbena and the columnar basil. We decided to leave the purple coneflower, which looks really untidy right now, but it feeds the finches, so it gets to stay another month. We both like the look of the lamb's ears that has escaped the formal bed to grow in the walkway, so we agreed to leave those, too. It looks absolutely wonderful.
I should also sing the praises of AIT, who got out of bed to pick up loads of weeds and run them to the back in a wheelbarrow that had a tire going flat! She made things fly for us, and I can't praise her enough for her part in all this.
We worked for close to four hours! I was really glad to "tweet" and call a halt. We were both at places where we were willing to quit, in other words, DONE! My herb garden is glorious! Thank you dear Sis and Niece for all you did!
Oh...I forgot to mention that they spent about half an hour pulling grapevines from our shrubs. I can't wait to see the finished project that Frankie is working on. I believe she is creating a grapevine Christmas tree.
As for the quilt top, it was interrupted once more. We all showered and had lunch and the girls went to buy a pair (or more) of shoes for AIT. She is a college student and has discovered the necessity of having good shoes. She found a pair of shoes and a pair of winter boots. Frankie found a pair, too, so shopping was a success.
When they returned, tired, I cracked the whip, and insisted that we work on cutting the strips for the quilt! I ironed fabric and handed it to Frankie, and she cut the strips. We were two thirds of the way through the project when I had to fix dinner, so she kept cutting and got it all done. AIT and I worked on dinner, and we put out a bowl of mixed fruit, tuna melts on English muffins, and a huge bowl of salad with strips of chicken and practically every veggie in the house!
After dinner, Frankie thought she was going to be allowed to rest. There was some mention of aching muscles, and how long a day it was, but I was of a mind to SEW! I told her she could sit, but I wanted to make up at least one block to see what it looked like. Well, with the method she was going to use, I actually ended up with three finished blocks and part of eleven more, but who's counting?
I know she was exhausted, but there was a satisfaction in being able to put up those blocks to see what her quilt was going to look like. She was surprised, as we frequently are until we can see them on the design wall, but not unhappy with how they looked. I wish she had left them to me. I'd have been happy to complete the blocks for her in return for all the gardening help she gave me. Perhaps, when the project is further along, Frankie will post pictures of the quilt.
We breakfasted together Sunday morning, before seeing our visitors off. AIT needed some time to work on her homework, and they have a long drive home. I always hate to see them go. Dear Husband and I will drive down to their home in Indiana in October, and their entire family will be with us for four days at Christmas, but I've been spoiled this summer, seeing my sis several times a month. We may need to live closer together when we are all retired!
It was a GREAT weekend, and it's been a good week so far. Thank you, Frankie and AIT, for all you did. Don't you all wish you had family like this!???