Category Archives: Around The House


When I was a little girl, MeMum gave me this antique picture and I’ve had it hanging in my bedroom ever since then.

Thimbleanna:  Trees


by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain,
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

So, I’ve always loved trees. MeMum, the English major, saw to it. That’s why it always kills me when we have to have them cut down. We’ve been in this house for 15 years and up until now, we’d lost about 18 big trees due to wind damage from a wall cloud and that nasty ash borer a few years ago. This week we added five more big trees to the list.  (Which means, we’ve lost about half of our trees.  And I know this is probably boring most of you to tears, but this blog is a record of parts of our life and I want to remember my trees.  ;-(  )

We lost three sugar maples to verticillium wilt.  I’d never even heard of that *(&(^*@#% and the loss of these three really make me want to cry  –  they provided our prettiest color in the fall.  The picture below shows the one that was in the best shape of the three — it’s hard to tell with the trees behind it but all the leaves are shriveled up.  The first two completely lost all of their leaves a few weeks after the shriveling started.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

We also lost what they said was a hickory, but I’m not convinced.  The top half of this tree completely died out.  We debated topping it out, because the bottom was still lush and pretty, but there was a lot of bark damage so it was best to let it go.  The tree guy thought this was due to root damage.  Here it is after the guy had cut all the bottom branches away.  I had big plans to get up early and take pictures of the trees before they started cutting, but they beat me to it.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

And the fifth tree.  Remember this ash that we treated and tried to save?  This was my favorite tree because it was so unique — no branches until the very tippy top.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

It took two years, but the treatments didn’t work and this is what it looked like the morning of our sadness.  (That’s what I’m calling it haha.)

Thimbleanna:  Trees

Another shot of the tree cutters — the foreground is the best of the three maples and the background is that tall ash.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

While they were here, we also had a few trees trimmed.  At one point, I ran into the house to get something and I heard a bunch of screaming.  It scared me and I thought maybe someone had fallen or been cut by one of the chainsaws.  I went outside and all the guys on the ground were laughing.  The guy up in a big oak tree had a little fright.  On the way up the tree, he poked at a squirrel’s nest and nothing happened so he assumed it was empty.  When he got higher in the tree, up next to the nest, two little squirrels jumped out of the nest and into his lap.  He wasn’t very happy LOL!

The other tree we had trimmed was a paper-bark birch, another favorite.  (I promise, they aren’t all favorites!)  It’s really susceptible to breaking during ice storms and the branches were hanging too far over the house.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

Here’s a picture of the afore-mentioned squirrel guy who is part monkey.  This guy was amazing.  I was a little worried that he was going to drop a branch on the house, but they all hit the ground.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

Poor little birch tree had a pretty severe haircut.  It still looks pretty from the front though, and I know all too soon it will be grown back out again.  In the meantime, the roof should be safe.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

So, a sad week here — I hope yours has been better! I’m off to contemplate which of our remaining trees will become my new very favorite tree while I work on my trip around the world — it’s almost time for our next set of instructions and I’m just 1/2 row from being all caught up.  A progress shot next time!


Poppin’ In

Hey Kids.  Just a quickie update.  It’s still really busy around here — I’m hoping it will start to slow down a bit next week.  I’ve barely been home this week, but I’m making the most of the time I am here.

Thimbleanna: Gardening

I was a machine tonight — I think you would have been proud LOL.  I rushed home from work after yoga and in three hours I made two different casseroles, planted 2 flats of begonias, ate dinner with hubby (it was quick), ran to get a haircut, and packed for market.  (Oh yes, boys and girls, it’s quilt market week! )  And the best part is that I did it all in my yoga pants.  I blame them for my increased productivity!

Thimbleanna: Gardening

Sadly, there’s tons of yard work left.  I’m hoping to get to it sometime next week.  Most of the beds look like my happy little oregano plant (it survived the harsh winter!) above — full of leaves and weeds.  Oh well, it will all get done eventually.

Thimbleanna: Gardening

And, just for documentation purposes, I thought I’d show you my little garden . Another moment of productivity — weeded (it was full), three tomatoes, three squash and lots of zinnia seeds planted and covered in an hour.  Aren’t gardens fun?  So full of hope and promise.  Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.  I’m hoping for a no hail spring this year.  Oh, and no yoga pants were involved. There may or may not have been jammy pants at 7 a.m. in the morning though.

I’m looking forward to my little market break. Anything you want to see while I’m gone?

I’m Dreaming …

…of a White Christmas and it’s looking pretty iffy out there. We finally have snow, but we’re expecting a little warm-up on the weekend.  Fingers crossed that it won’t all melt! I loooove snow and we got a nice little storm over the weekend. According to the weatherman, we got 7″. It’s so pretty out the back window.

Thimbleanna: Snow

Well, how’s your holiday prep coming along??? We’re in the single digits now — only 9 more days until Christmas! I finally have a little decorating, a lot of shopping, and a little wrapping done. It’s a mess, really. Super Secret Sewing took several weekends but that’s been conquered now — Yay! And yesterday was the annual gingerbread baking day. I learned a few years ago that the gingerbread needs to be made earlier than the day before the competition to allow the gingerbread to dry out a little. That seems to help with all the cave-ins.  (Btw, here’s the link to our recipe — you still have time if you’d like to do your own gingerbread houses this year.)

Thimbleanna: Gingerbread

So, not much to show, but there has been a LOT of work going on around here — around your house too, I’m betting.  And, I’m thinking, if you’re getting tired, you should treat yourself to a little surprise!  ;-D  I’ve put a few Moda precuts into my little shop just in case you decide to treat yourself.

Thimbleanna: Fat Quarter Towers

(L to R:  Printemps by 3 Sisters, April Showers by Bonnie and Camille, Color Me Happy by V and Co and Le Bouquet Francais by French General)

I also have some charm packs of April Showers listed just in case you need a last minute gift for a quilty friend or two.  Or (it goes without saying) YOU.  Did you buy yourself a gift yet this year?  I haven’t bought mine yet, but it’s almost certain to be fabric LOL.

Okey Doke.  Must run.  Still a little secret knitting that needs to happen.  Good Luck with the next week — Be Good  to Yourself!!!


Happy Happy

Zip Zippity.  Just like the rest of the year, November has whizzed by and here we are at the end of the month.  And it’s Thanksgiving for all of us in the U.S.  Yay!  I’ve been off work this week and I’m having a wonderful time just working around the house.  I’ve been cleaning like a mad man — the price you pay when you ignore the cleaning all year long.  Not much sewing done this week, although I did manage to cut into the pile of fabric I showed you a week or two ago.  Five hundred and some-odd tumbler pieces.  I’m thinking this will be a fun, easy quilt.  It might be put aside for a bit though — you know, Christmas sewing and all.

Thimbleanna: Tumbler Pile

Today was Pie Day (not to be confused with Pi Day which involves equally delicious baking.)  I made the usual Apple, Pumpkin and Pecan pies for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow and therefore, I must document them here.  ;-D  Lisa had a fun post a few weeks ago about apple pie and she used the same leaf-shaped pie crust cutters that I have to decorate her pie.  I’d only used those leaves around the edges of the pies, so I thought I’d try it her way and I think it looks so cute!

Thimbleanna: Thanksgiving Pies

Being at home, doing all this domestic stuff makes me SOOOOO happy. TheManoftheHouse asked me yesterday if I was enjoying my week off. I wanted to say “Are you kidding?????” HAPPY. Happy. Happy. Happy. And here’s the cream on top of the week — we got a new bookcase.

Thimbleanna: Bookcase

A new bookcase is always HAPPY-inducing, but this one makes me deliriously HAPPY. Seeeeeee????

Thimbleanna: Bookcase

Do you know what this means??? I won’t have to climb that rickety old ladder to get into the attic anymore. That makes me SCREAMING HAPPY!!!!!!!


Ok. I’ve settled down now.

If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, I hope you have a safe, healthy, HAPPY Thanksgiving!!!


The Calm After the Storm

Finally, we saw the sun today, here in ThimbleannaLand!  We’ve had days of rain and drizzle and water and water and water. Get the picture? Look at my happy little Shasta Daisy. Water = Happy!

Thimbleanna: Shasta Daisy

On Saturday we. got. dumped. on. Buckets. Along with some hail. I had six pretty little rows of zinnias coming up and I watched out the window as they got pelted to death. I thought they might recover, but Sunday brought a steady rain that just pounded a lot of the little leaves into the dirt. So sad.

Thimbleanna: Hail Damage

Not sure what to do about them — guess maybe I’ll try some more seeds. Summer will probably be over by the time they really get going though.

In other news, Nicolette and I had a little e-mail exchange about our Steampunk blocks. We were both having some problems and she mentioned that she was going to order some templates that have holes for marking the seamline in the corners. I thought about that for awhile and then decided to make some templates with the holes. I use the big templates to mark the cutting lines and the little templates to mark the stitching holes.

Thimbleanna: Steampunk Templates

I can’t believe the difference it makes to have those little corners marked. I line the dots up and the blocks I’ve made using the new technique have been just right. No more wonky centers (not that it mattered that much, since they’re covered by a circle of fabric) and no more ripples on the edges.  This block doesn’t look very straight, but it’s square.  I’m almost sad to cover the center — I’ll probably never get another one like it LOL.

Thimbleanna: Steampunk Block

Just a thought, in case you’re going to make the Steampunk quilt. Think about getting the templates with the holes in the corners.

Not much else going on around here. It’s going to be a quiet 4th of July and I’m a little sad about that. The kids are all scattered this year. I know we’ll have other years when we’ll all be together, so we should probably just enjoy the quiet (haha — firecrackers!) with MeMum and BigDaddy. At any rate, if you’re in the US, I hope you have a Happy and Safe 4th of July!!!