Gypsy's Travels

Friday, April 30, 2010

Projects on the Runway

My sister and I took in a great fashion show last night!

Every year, the University of Texas (UT) hosts a free fashion show showcasing the designs of the graduating Seniors from the Division of Textiles and Apparel. It is quite an extravaganza and well-attended by students, locals, and out-of-towners, a total of 5,000 last year. Prize winners are determined by a panel of judges who are fashion industry professionals.

Designing around the "High Voltage" theme, the students presented and array of eco-friendly and tech-smart garments. Most of the fashions were highly wearable and the crowd let the designers know what they liked. We happened to be sitting in the midst of some students who were as avid about the presentations as the sports enthusiasts are about  their games.

Apparently, this is one of the best undergraduate design schools in the country.....awww....I bet they say that about all the schools....
They do have some of the latest technology. The students can make their own design and have it printed onto fabric.They also design graphics using Photoshop and print the design on a Mimaki TX2 1600 digital printer. There were some awesome scarves shown which had been made by using that technique.

In the past, students had to work all year to earn enough money to put on the end-of-year show, but now the University Co-Operative Society sponsors the show. That leaves the students freer to concentrate on their work.

One of our favorite parts of the show is the exhibition. Students from several different levels and different classes, exhibit their work and stand by to give explanations. It is fun to see how much they grow with every course and how creative they can be. My favorite part of the exhibits is the vintage collection display.

We will be looking forward to next year's May sometime.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A New Baby!...

...Well, sort of....
A couple of years ago, I baby sat for the three little hearts while ABW & Gunner took R&R in Hawaii. As a thank you, they brought me an orchid  that had my name. I have nurtured the small plant and watched it put out new pups (is that what you call the new plants that come up by the main stem?). orchid is going to have a bloom! I can hardly wait....

Friday, April 23, 2010

I Walk in Your Midst.....

Surely you have received one, or more, of those e-mails that delight in pointing out the silly mistakes of others. You know the ones I am talking about, they usually end with the phrase,  " They walk among you." I try to not to pass judgement, but sometimes I can't help but laugh. maybe the person was distracted? not paying attention? had a mind on other things? I have done a few things in my life that I wish I could retrieve, especially when the person observing me looked at me with THAT look.

I sprayed the outside of the house with Spectracide to help deter creepy crawlies seeking refuge from the summer heat. I followed up by a good cleaning under the baseboards of the cupboards. Such activities are certain to bring out the survival modes of all the insect pests in existence, and there are MANY in Texas. It was no surprise when I found a "scorpion" languishing in the hallway. They tend to appear after I have cleared out any spider webs that might have restrained them. I bravely stomped on the offending critter which promptly stuck to my shoe. After hobbling to the kitchen so I would not disperse the remains, I tore off a paper towel and wiped the bottom of my shoe. Then I did what any self-respecting housekeeper would do - I checked the paper towel to examine the results. All my efforts were rewarded by the sight of a long, curled thread. ....well, it LOOKED like a scorpion when I first saw it.
 I walk in your midst....

In spite of all my good intentions not to, because I am never very successful at it, I try to grow vegetables every year. I have gotten better, having gone from a full garden plot to just a few things in pots. It is amazing what you can grow in pots. This year, I successfully grew some lettuce and planted a few other things, some of which came up and a few of those produced fruit. I was surprise that my parsley, with which I have never had a whole lot of luck, appeared to be proliferating rather profusely. This was flat and I prefer the curly variety so, although I obediently chopped bits of it into various dishes, I determined to plant another kind next year.
The parsley was growing much faster than I could use it, so I examined the bottom to see how much I could cut and dry or freeze. Wow! The root was the largest I have ever seen! Since there were several plants, I decided to pull one up and see what was happening. I easily extracted it from the loose, rich soil and what to my wondering eyes should appear but..... a carrot! I had forgotten I had planted those in the other half of the pot. No wonder the "parsley" didn't taste like parsley, it was carrot tops.
 I walk in your midst.....

I won't bore you with the details of the hot check I sent to the IRS. I wakened from a sound sleep at 2 a.m.  the morning after mailing said check, realizing what I had done. I wish my memory were as efficient as my subconscious. The bad news was - a "good" check would be late; the good news was - I wouldn't have to go to jail.
I walk in your midst...

My Jazzercise class meets every day, but at different times . I thought I finally had the times down after showing up at the wrong time on several occasions. Thus it was with some irritation that I arrived and found no one there one day. The instructor is seldom late, but it does happen. I marched up to the desk and asked what was going on.
 "This class meets at 11:45 on Fridays and there is no one here," I said feeling my irritation like a burr under a saddle.
"That may be." the person at the desk answered, "but this is Thursday."
I walk in your midst.....

Do I walk alone or have you had any similar experiences?

Landscaping the Hardscape - Outside the Fence

Landscaping in progress at The Gallery at 1318...check it out....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Oh, Cedar!

Buying on the greenbelt was one of the best decisions we made when we bought this house about 10 years ago. The trees, fully clothed in summer, screen the neighbors and provide refuge for animals. We hear owls and coyotes, we see evidence of armadillo, and we are frequently visited by rabbits, various birds (hummingbirds, cardinals, flocks of doves, blue jays, mockingbirds, and others I can't name), butterflies, wild turkey,squirrels,lizards, and the inevitably hungry deer. Less often, we find snakes, scorpions, opossums, raccoons, and once we found a ring-tailed cat
The grandchildren love the greenbelt. Although it is within calling distance, they view it as a vast wilderness and have creatively tailored it to their own imaginative views.

 Here is picture of the "fort" which they built with the help of some adult muscle.
There is a path nearby, worn by children's feet,  which wanders into the "woods" and diverts down the way. One direction leads to the "Indian Village" and the other to "the pioneer settlement." Dewberries, mustang grapes, and wild plums are available seasonally. Other, nonedible, nuts and berries provide "food" and a sometime creek (runs when it rains) adds to the elements of adventure.

 On the edge of the greenbelt is a large cedar tree. It was a lovely, well-shaped tree when we moved here. It reminded me of Christmas every time I looked at it and I have even seen snow on it a couple of times. It became such a part of our lives that I never even took a good photo of it, although it is often viewed in the background since it made a nice backdrop.

Visiting deer often hovered near the tree, and it grew and grew. The poor tree did not age well. It provided many walking sticks, hard as stone, when branches broke off and lay aging on the ground. These were rescued by the children and used in a myriad of ways. Branches grew too heavy to be supported and limbs began to droop. During the season, we were inundated with yellow pollen. The tree strived to produce and spread.

I peered inside the spreading, drooping branches, and saw the heart of the tree.  A strong straight center which would likely reach skyward when relieved of its burdening offshoots. With some trepidation, I made the first cuts.

It is not easy to cut a cedar limb with a bow saw. I spent a couple of days and manged to clear some limbs, but the challenge was increasing. My neighbor's friend took pity on me and cut a few more limbs, but we mad little headway. Not only was the wood hard to cut (they make fence posts out of limbs like these), but we were faced with the dilemma of disposing of an ever increasing mound of cedar cuttings. I snipped and snipped at the geen needles and smaller pieces so they would fit in trash bags to be hauled away, but the mound just seemed to grow. I was concerned it would take several months to dispose of everything.

I finally opted for professional help from someone with a chain saw. He worked steadily for a total of 10 hours to cut the agreed-upon limbs and haul the excess away. He also cut the limbs into lengths suitable for campfire use. I have about 1/2 cord of wood.
I was amazed how much room the tree was occupying and how much it had spread since we moved here. plants I had placed near the branches' ends some time ago, were 3 feet inside the area of occupation. I am left with a large circle to be cared for. There are a lot of rocks and weeds are sure to proliferate now that they have sun. I may indulge my dream of having a rock garden.
Anyway, the tree looks happy and healthy and its future looks bright.
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Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Garden by Design

Work is underway on the garden at The Gallery at 1318, commonly known as 1318. Work is almost completed on the house and addition, too. This is exciting when you understand we started the renovation / rehab / addition of the property over 4 years ago. I reasoned that similar projects in the area were completed so slowly because the occupants were doing the work themselves. Since I am not that handy, it would be reasonable to hire the work done and that would also speed completion. NOT! The trials and tribulations of the project have been sporadically journaled.

NOW, we have moved our attention to the garden and I am SO excited. There again, the start was slow as I sought a landscaper to help me develop a plan and implement it. After phoning SEVEN landscaping businesses, NOT ONE returned my calls. I perceive this as a symbol of some of today's / this generation's root problem.

The eighth call was made to a young man with a business called Garden by Design. He was one of the ones I called from a "rehabber's list."
"He won't call back," my daughter told me.
"Yes, he will," I insisted.
"What makes you think he's any different from the others?" she asked.
"He is my last hope," I replied.

Stephen did call and was incredibly nice, professional, and knowledgeable.
"I won the bet," I told him.
"Why?" he queried.
 "Because you returned my call!"
"Why wouldn't I?" he asked in disbelief.
What could I say?

Stephen came with ideas that lined up with ours exactly. We were on the same page! DD checked his references - Impeccable! She looked at gardens he had desgined - Awesome! He and his crew have started and we look forward to the results!!

The old 14th Street Mall just a couple of blocks away is now close to being finished. Things are looking up in Old North!