Thursday, September 21, 2017

Little Art Piece--Right this Minute

I transferred this at original size for those Readers who wanted more detail.  This is how the work is going so far.  The lizard just below the mountain now has an eye.  The little house has become more enhanced.  Happier.  Lots of things are happening in the lower half now that I don't need a "beast" down there.

I am liking the lower third a great deal.  I am now wondering what to do to "balance" the center which seems to be "lifting" too much to the right and is "too pink".

Nothing I can't layer another color over and continue stitching.  Lots of thread work here.

Other women who work with fabric and thread can agree--as the work learn.  And what you learn is sometimes better and sometimes just learning.  Finally in the bottom third I am making progress.  Letting go, I think, of preconceived ideas of what the work "needs".

Now I need to make the top two thirds work with that lower third.   Beginner work.  More advanced work.  If this was a work on paper (of words) the delete button would be used.  On paper with a pencil--the eraser.  On canvas with paint--a layer that covers all.  In oil--the still moist paint scraped off.  In fabric---the scissors.  We'll see.

But I am 55% happy with this.  And will continue.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Roll With It, Baby

Today is the day the curser decides to be in the center rather than the left margin.

Today is the day I promised the dental tech that I would REALLY floss every day.

Today is the day I said NO to the four pack of delicious Brownies at the grocery store where I went to buy floss and a bag of local apples.  Not Brownies.

Today is the first day of my seventy first year on this planet known as Earth.

I always have big plans to live a better, happier life after my birthday.  Sometimes that feeling lasts a day or two.  And then something happens that throws it all off--like the margin thing right now.  I know how to fix it (I think) but what I tried so far hasn't made much of a dent.

I used my new art book (with real art paper--good for pencil and I think other art supplies) but I started with pencil and drew (in the book) a few things that were floating around on the desk and table on index cards.  I love white index cards.  4 by 6. Now I have a few ideas to work on and expand.  Nine patches, flowers, circles.  These are things I enjoy using in my work. Also a few insects or moths.  Why I don't know but I drew three variations.

Today is the day I have to decide how to go forward with the Circus Tent Swing Shirt I purchased in May from South Street Linen.  Yes, I looked like a wide red linen circus tent in it.  I can possibly lay it out, inside out, and do some basting to see if I can limit the width in some way.  Alter it. Super expensive and I can't see how I would EVER wear it out of the house again.  
Made me look wider than I am tall.
G says it didn't look like that in the store where I tried it on.


I have now watched three full football games.  
No, I don't know what is going on with that, either. It's a safer alternative to watching the news?

Still reading Louise Penny's Glass Houses.  Dark.  Very dark.   Depressing. 
I have to stop every few chapters and do something cheerful.  Pet the dog.  Walk to the Garden.
Almost not wanting to continue.  The plot isn't that interesting.  And the characters I like so much and who seem to have such a good time together.  Not so much in this book.  Everyone is just Off. 
Even descriptions of the two rescued puppies is sinister.  Is the little one even a dog? 
Anyone else read it? Care to comment?

I'm going to make myself some lunch.  Read my book.  Check the mailbox for mail. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Seventy One

It seems old.  And Then it doesn't.  Happens Monday.

I have been "contemplative" the past few days.  Reviewing what has happened and was has not.  What could be and what will never be.  Past mistakes.  Lost opportunities.  Victories.  Lucky Breaks.
The Good The Bad And The As Yet To Be.

And that's okay with me.

The Mature Adults got to go home early today at work.  I was ready to be done.  I had been on my feet all day, talking for two hours while I taught a class on dividing perennials. My voice got thready which is new. We had a BOGO sale on perennials.  Boss said we did good.  Had me order more from the Mother Ship. People in the class mentioned a "great sense of humor" on the Rate The Teacher form.

That's about it for this post.  I am tired.  Have the new L. Penny book--Glass House.  Just finished the newest Longmire book--Western Star (ended with a cliffhanger--hope I don't have to wait a full year.....)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sunflowers & Seeds For The Birds

The One sunflower seed that germinated in my garden this year made three or four (still waiting) big flower heads full of seeds.  A few, I hope, to save for next year's sunflower.  But all the rest are "for the birds".  They flutter around and hang from the flowers.  Picking and eating the fresh seeds.

I have brown paper bags (sacks, some call them) filled with cut tops of drying plants.  Seed saving. Dill seeds.  Pink Zinnia seeds.  Calendula seeds (so oddly shaped).  A few onions have put up seed heads as well but still green.  Have to wait till the heads are nearly dry and brown.

My Herb Garden (remember when I wrote about making separate bed squares for each?  Well, they did very well.  The Lavender plants even flowered--all season.  On the porch I have the annual herbs. Verbena.  Ornamental oregano.  Lavender that will only live thru the Winter in a house.

I also have my years old Bay Laurel and Rosemary.  My rosemary got pruned by the tall fig tree that fell over in the Wind and cracked a big tall center branch out.  So not tall and stately anymore.  Now wide and flat.

Tomatoes keep coming.  From the plants at work that haven't sold as yet.  From my own plants--slowly turning colors other than green.  And from friends dropping off "Extra" tomatoes.  Two bags a few days ago.  Delightful.  I am also fermenting seeds from the most delicious tomatoes to then wash and dry and save and plant.  The fermenting (with a bit of water and the seed pulp) helps to release the seeds from the gluey pulp.  Once they release, I rinse, strain and then let them dry on paper toweling.  Once dry--they go into a labeled envelope.  Paper.  So they stay dry.

This summer, I am going to just drop the seed pulp into the garden bed.  Every year a few end of the season tomatoes get left in the garden and little plants start coming up.  They usually grow into nice sturdy plants.  Or I will start them in milk jugs in February.  Outdoors.

I went to the Art Collaboration meeting on Monday.  There were four of us and the talk was lively. I worked on the little art piece.  Add more and more stitch.

The incentive for this work was Jude Hill of Spirit Cloth. going back and listening to her videos.... a key part in the work--in the very beginning--a name.  I have only called it the little art cloth.  The name doesn't give me any "story" to work with.  Which may be why no one really takes much notice of the cloth.  It isn't interesting.  Has nothing to tell them.

I wonder if it's too late?  "The Cloth With No Name or Story"  Now that sounds sad.

I'm at the point where I need to decide to make a Beast or Not.  Today.  If I don't decide then it will be  "The Cloth With No Name, No Story and No Beast".

And I will have to start all over again with a new that has something to say.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Painting Fabric

Some fabric artists dye fabric.  I never tried--but since I paint in most mediums and use acrylics I have had experience with paint patterned clothing (accidentally) and know first hand, that once dry--it is forever.

And that's the whole point of fabric dye.  Forever.

I have a little painting station made up of foam core board covered in a heavy duty plastic garbage bag.  Period.  And a six pan mixing container made of plastic that may have cost 99 cents.  My paints are the 4 for $1 on sale acrylics from JoAnn's.  I tried the good stuff from the art store--same results.
I try not to use paint thick.  I mix it with a great deal of water and then just paint the color on the dry or damp fabric (this time I used wet and won't be doing that again).  I paint.  Paint some more.  Splatter some colors on the fabric, on myself, on the kitchen floor.

I really, really like splatter but really, really do not like the clean up after.

This piece, up top, looks great here, different in person.  It's still not completely dry but I figured you all were wondering about that little art I was working on and wanted to see some progress.  To distract you for not having done any stitching........ did it work?  I had gone to Goodwill on Friday. And it was a very good day.  Lots of 50% blue tags on linen pants (mostly the small sizes).  In such cute colors.  A few shirts. A very large white linen swing skirt heading off to Deb's dye deck next Spring.

So, I watched the hurricane news and used my scissors and seam ripper to take all the pants apart.  I like to paint flat single thickness.  Some of those pants were really WELL sewn.  Some had double seams.  Zippers.  Etc.  The shirts.  Well, usually the shirts are well worn and softer than any pants I have ever gotten at nicer to take apart. Except for cuffs and button thing down the front.  Oh and the collar and that section along the shoulders.  All double thickness and extra tight stitching.  Endless. Seam. Ripping.

Anyway--back to painting.  After the painted surface is completely DRY (really!!!) then I iron or  press the cloth.  With Steam.  Ironing makes all the difference to painted cloth. Irongin before it's completely dry means cleaning the sole plate on the iron or buying a new iron.

I have been using painted cloth in my art quilts for over 15 years now and I look forward to stitching even a small bit into a piece I am working on--- like the little art piece.  And I didn't have anything that was "right" so I had to make something.

I painted more things but this one was nearly dry and more true color wise.

I am also reading.  Sara Blaedel.  A Scandinavian mystery (thriller) author.  I am reading book two now and read books one and three over the weekend.  I also have checked out books 4, 5, 6 to read in the next two weeks.  About a day and a half per book.  Well, that was with hurricane coverage and seam ripping.  So they could go faster.  Or slower if I can start stitching on the little art piece again.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Little Art # 3 and #4--Possibilities

So- I finally went up into the attic to see if I had more than the 6 inch square of the black with pink and gold flecks.  I had gotten thru almost all the boxes and shelving and was starting to feel like that fabric was just...gone.  I was shoving things back into that last container and as I shoved--the flecked fabric I was searching for--sort of popped up--like Kleenex in a box.

Anyway, I was so relieved.  I had almost a full yard.  It has always been my practice to buy yard cuts. It's the "need to have "enough" mentality I learned from my father and his mother who suffered in the Great Depression--they had nothing.  So--spent the remaining time on Earth making sure they always had more than enough.  Which leads to an amazing amount of empty jars, bottles, fabric and balls of string.  In my father's case--jars and jars of nails, screws and various metal things.

So--always buy a yard.

Up top the pictures are in the wrong order.  The bottom one is #3 where I added the newly found print to the bottom to make the piece a rectangle.  It also gives me more room to expand 'the story".  and then you have #4 which works off the Beasts in Jude Hill's work.  Now, yes, this is a copy of one of Jude's Beasts.  And it is NOT going to be the beast I use if I use a beast.  I just wanted to quickly see if a beast worked here.  And I think it does.  Mine might become a wolf howling at the moon.

So--comments are encouraged.  Sort of like the critique done at a workshop.

I had liked the beast on the square but it covered up most of the thread work and G protested.  The beast was closer to the moon and the house.  Protective.  I may still limit the expanse of the new fabric at the bottom and then be able to move the beast upward.

I read Jude Hill's Spirit Cloth blog everyday--digging into the archives for hours at a time.  And I LOVE the things she makes and the invisible stitch and the glue stitch and the "fake" appliqué method.  I use them all but my work can never look like hers.  I don't have baskets of old threadbare cloth.  I have "new" cloth.

So....often I am loving the method but not happy with the result due to my fabrics.  Colors. Etc.......
But I need to work with what I have.  Sometimes turning the fabric over and using what we would call "the wrong side".

Work yesterday was okay.  I got to go home early and was thrilled.  so, I can read the "writing on the wall" as they say.  Short-timer's attitude.  But the lunchroom had jelly donut holes and ice cream in the freezer.  And a big sunflower plant pulled out of the dumpster.  The birds are enjoying it.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

My Little Art Work Continued

I added a little house, some flowers and re-arranged the bottom half.  Lots and lots of thread.  My friend (who stopped by unexpectedly and thought everyone here would be asleep) said it looked like a desert scene.   That was before her cup of coffee.  I surprised her and myself by being awake and dressed before 8am.

I think there will be "more" at the bottom edge to make a rectangle instead of a square.  Though squares are nice.

the more I work on this--and stitch and stitch--well, it is becoming more what I had hoped but still just a "learning" piece.  I have a lot to learn about this way of stitching.  I may need to go back and re-read Jude Hill's Spirit Cloth series.  And the "What-iffing" portions.  I really wanted a moon. That was my starting point.  Then something for the moon to sit on.  Then stars.

These pieces are supposed to tell a story or share a memory.  This one is just about me wanting to make a picture with a moon.

That little circle on the house is only pinned on--I don't like it now that I am looking at it--so it will be coming off.  Perhaps a few more flowers.  I always like circles in what is likely the Earth.  Seeds. For plants, ideas etc.   So it goes.  Really--I am hitting publish and going into the kitchen to remove that circle dot.

Monday, September 04, 2017

What A Big Mirror For That Small Bathroom

This is what the mirror/glass guy said as he left the house.  After installing the self same mirror.

Well, today I was helping G measure for the shower curtain rod (tile guy said it would be a "waste of money" to put in a glass  door) and the large mirror is directly across from the tub in which I was standing.  I think I may have gained 80 pounds since the renovation began.  Or--more horrible, this is what I have always looked like.

I am letting this sink in.  Most of my clothes fit.  So, that is why it was such a shock to see myself in the mirror.  But...... once seen, hard to un-see.

This is a little something I am working on--this picture was taken after breakfast and it's now dinner time.  So... lots has happened. And most of what happened was better than what is here.  A new picture tomorrow.

Trying to watch less news--it is having a terrible effect on G.  Making him moody and depressed.  So, less news here.  I do watch when he is not around.  Do have the Sinner to watch when I have time alone.  Three books to read--I haven't started any yet.

Against every grain of common sense.....I went in to work on Saturday when an SOS call came.  Three call outs and they had only three employees left to run the store.  Now I am on the schedule.  One weekday and Saturday (9 hours).  It was okay.  I fell right into the rhythm of the place (10 years experience).  Tomorrow I visit a friend's new house and garden.  To help with a design.  Then Wednesday work at work from 8 to 3.  Then Saturday.  G just shook his head and said "I guess you aren't ready".  I may ask for a real check instead of direct deposit.  And then have cash to spend on frivolous things.  It's only 15 hours a week.  Hardly a fortune.  Hardly anything at all.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

When A Plum Is Not A Stanley

A friend who originated in Virginia, came to bring me more Super Snow White tomatoes and seeds so I could grown my own next year--she saw my plums being prepped for another batch of preserves.

Damson. She recognized it immediately.

I went in search of ID on a fruit tree website.  There was Stanley.  His fruit not looking anything like what I had picked.  Then I searched for Damson and there was my fruit, my pit and my resulting preserves--described as if they had spooned my preserves and tasted them in my kitchen.

I may call the tree Stanley but it's not the tree's name. Not what I purchased. It's not a Prune Plum.  It's a Damson Plum--the very best plum for preserves.  Perhaps the only plum for preserves. Turning a rich magenta when boiled down with 4 cups of sugar.  Thick.  Flavorful.  Like nothing else.

And I have such a tree.  I have these plums. Here in Maine. And I have 10 half pint jars in the store cupboard.  To enjoy at my leisure.  I feel like the Queen of Plums.

Some sort of magical thing must have happened in all the years (8 or 10) I have waited for Stanley to make fruit.  Set fruit.  I have no idea.  Perhaps his label was misplaced?  Exchanged?  I wonder if all the other Stanley's I had to choose from were also Damson? Or just this one?

Anyway--however it happened I am so thrilled to be growing a Damson Plum here in Maine, in my garden.  I am looking forward to many, many years of plum harvests and pots of magenta jewel like preserves.  Enough, I hope to give as gifts.  Someday.

I am reminded of a post on Orangette where a Reader in another state sent a large carton of Damson Plums to the blog's author so she could make preserves.  At the time I wondered why this Plum was so special.  Years ago, and finally........I get it.  Got it.

The Queen Of Plums.  And that's what I will be calling my tree from now on.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Imagining Being Carried Over Deep Water

The child must be looking back at his home and his mother.  Worried.  The stuff of nightmares for years to come.

Here in Maine--dry.  Drought.   Overcast with a chill in the air at night and in the morning.  Wearing more layers of clothing.  In August when I am usually exhausted from the HEAT.  Strange Times.

The Plum Preserves are so delicious (and pretty) that G wants a Plum Cobbler.  Okay with me as I don't want to waste even a single plum.  This is my first harvest from a tree that's had ten years or more to settle in.  Stanley has been moved twice.( I really do try to make my fruit trees happy)  Started flowering three or four years ago. No fruit. I purchased and planted a Beach Plum and they flower at the same time and this seems to be what Stanley needed.  A pollinator.  Even though his name tag says he can do it alone. Now to find someone to make the Beach Plum fruit.  She doesn't fancy Stanley.

So, after I hit publish I am going out to pick more plums.  I now realize preserves are better if most of the plums aren't completely ripe.  Tart. So I don't have to wait--can pick them all today.

I am building a little cloth house like the ones Jude Hill builds on Spirit Cloth.  I have two containers of fabric down here but seems like I don't have what I want.  What I need.  So I will carry the Depression Era prints back upstairs and go looking for some aged and raggedy scraps.  I may even add a "beast" to the little cloth.

For years and years, I had a good sized waste basket (a real basket) that I tossed the cuttings of fabric into.  I made all sorts of lovely abstract work out of that scrap basket.  But it's empty.  And I feel quite lost without it.  So if anyone has a scrap pile they would like to donate---email me.  I may have to venture over to Goodwill and look around in the size small section of the Ladies.  Little prints.  Large prints. Florals.  Abstracts. Animals.  To cut up.  The ones on sale.  The markdowns.

And have ice cream before or after.

It's 3:30 and the house is dark--need to switch on a lamp.  How very odd.  Good thing I found three books at the library.  They may not be anything good but at least I have a book.  I need to make a few more requests.  Get on the lists.  One of the authors has most of a shelf in the mystery section.  So, if her book is good--I have a new author.  Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tomatoes From Friends

My tomatoes have "miles to go" before they get ripe.  So, I am thankful to gardening friends who sent over their overstock of tomatoes.  One box (yes, to my delight it was a box of them) had many named varieties.  The Snow White was ripest and small so I worked on washing, halving, salting and eating them. (such hard work--laughing)  The Grower said they were almost "too sweet" but with a generous amount of salt...just right sweet.

I have a recipe for a Tomato Margarita that is made with tomato juice.  Sounds like the Snow Whites would be excellent in that.

The very large pink Brandywine is going to be served tonight with cheese and basil in a Caprese.  Not the 3.45 pound one the gardener had taken a photo of --on the scale--- but the next largest.

My early summer Away Job was to water these plants.  I was also charged with adding ties to hold the heavy vines and branches up.  So it seems they are "close friends" of mine and I am proud of the delicious offspring.

The other gardener has planted Siberian tomatoes--small to medium and very prolific.  She will have tomatoes well into October if we miss an early frost.  She has what look like Early Girls, Brandywine, Sungold Cherries and a plum tomato variety.  She has forgotten what she planted.

My friend also has the best looking butternut squash.  Huge.  They need to dry and cure in the sun so she can store them for Winter eating.  We ate tomatoes, crackers, cheese and cucumbers at her house yesterday.  For snack.  We skipped the offered gin and tonics.  Too early.

I returned home to my slow growing garden.  I still have September if it stays sunny.  But we are wrapped in our blankets at night now.  So, I wonder if I have the time will take for ripe tomatoes.

Well, time for breakfast.

Oh, and I am working on an Art Quilt Project.  With dyed fabric.  With my own painted fabric. With Deb's "dirty dyed thread".   It's looks promising.  Finished the one book and now reading the Robotham.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Loose Wires & Connections

Well, these now have plates on them.  Connected to many lights.  Dimmers.  Still no Plumbing .
So there is light.  There is no water.

The small circle on my left shoulder blade, where I have three "bite" marks from a spider we think, heals and then opens and bleeds.  Today it decided to bleed.  Now it is bandaged yet again. I have been taking Prednisone off and on all summer.  So if this was "something" the steroid would have taken care of it.  When it doesn't bleed-- it leaks a yellow, sticky wetness.  Then it drys up and goes away.  Most of the summer it has had a bandage.  The whole of last week it was completely healed, dry and uncovered.  Until last night and then this morning.

I am midway into Ruth Ware's new book "The Lying Game".  It reads well but I am not feeling the "chill" described in the liner notes.  This is just a book about women telling lies--to each other, themselves and to everyone else they have contact with.  Not even big lies.  "how are you?"  "Fine" when you aren't.  Yawn.

I have two more days to finish before it's due.  Our library now has 7 day books for quick readers. No waiting in long lines for bestsellers.  I can generally read a book in one to three days time.  In the Winter I will read a book a day if I can find good books.  And, good books are getting hard to find these days.  I have another book waiting.  It needs to be read by September 5th.

Yesterday I made a "Greek Salad" from a website I read everyday.  Supposed to make it in a glass canning jar and take it along for lunch.   Fill jar from bottom up.  Tomatoes.  Cucumbers.  Red Onion slivers.  Colorful bell peppers.  Black olives.  Feta crumbles.  Oh--I forgot--the dressing in the bottom before the tomatoes.  And a few leaves of spinach on top.  I made it and it was terrible.  Not the veg. the veg is always wonderful.  The dressing.  I was belatedly reminded that I like my Greek Salads with Ranch Dressing.  If I can find enough cherry tomatoes in the garden today, I will make it again, but this time with Ranch.

Our TiVo remote has stopped being able to turn off the TV or lower or raise the volume.  Everything else works.  So we pull the plug out of the back of the tv when we are done watching tv.  I watched the last five episodes of season 5 of Longmire last night and then pulled the plug.  You are supposed to be able to "reprogram" the remote but...............

Riley now is back on the Invisible Fence Program.  Collar, repaired wires around the perimeter etc. He was going "walk about" as they say in Australia.  His Vet says he doesn't have doggie dementia  but just is intelligent enough to realize he can just "go" and so he has taken advantage of our complacency.  There have been improvements in the collars.  Now he hears a buzzing as he gets close--before he gets the shock.  The buzz does it for him.  He backs up.  I still have no idea where he is most of the time.  He has his own interests and places to visit but they are now inside the wires.

I have an artistic fabric piece in the "works" but I need more fabric.  So I am waiting for a package from Deb Lacativa.  I also have those 2.5 inch squares to stitch.  My book to read.  Summer is coming to an end.  It seemed both too long and too short.  Just as I seem too young and too old.

Friday, August 25, 2017

This Is Not A FAKE Blog Post

Gosh, are you as tired of  the word "FAKE" as I am.  Fake news.  Fake President.

Anyway, it's late August and I woke up needing to run to the bathroom.  And after that, I needed drops in my eyes.  The August trots and itchy eyes.  It must have been the peaches.

I am trying to make my life simpler and nicer.  Doing good things for others and for myself. Yesterday was my first venture into the world of "experiences" offered by the college art museum here in Town.  A "drawing workshop" in the drawing exhibit which covers hundreds of years of work. By reservation and ticket only.

The workshop consisted of a brief outline of "what to do", two pencils, paper and a clip board.  A docent at the museum offered to get me a chair.  I must look like I need a chair?  I did a drawing of a portrait by Henry Matisse (1935) and a segment of a pencil still life by Marsden Hartley from 1939.
The instructor promised to stop by each of the participants as we worked for some coaching etc.  I never got to meet her.  She spent most of her time chatting with the museum curator.

The best part of the evening was when I went to pick up my two drawings from the floor (where we were told to "exhibit" them) and another participant said "I like yours (the still life) better than the original".  I said thank you and burst out laughing.  And then I returned my pencils and clipboard and went home.

Life here at my house is hardly quiet.  The Blue Angels are in Town for the weekend and the jets are screaming over my house most of the afternoon.  At times it seems like they might crash nearby, they are so low.  I live 6000 feet from the end of the runway.  When we first moved here, 26 years ago, the trees weren't as tall.  My son and I sat out on the yard and watched as the Angels flew over us.  I took pictures with my old Nikon.  In the pictures you can see the pilot's heads.  That close to us.  They still fly the same paths.  Only the trees block most of the view except when all four scream right over the middle of my street........lord, I am always sure they are going to crash.  Flying so low.

We have a retired four or five star admiral (6th Fleet) living in the adjoining Town.  The Blue Angels fly over his salt water farm, upside down as a tribute to him whenever they are in Town (which seems like every other year).  Really low and then up into that open formation.  He was Top Gun of his "class".  And a very very nice guy.  I know his mother.

I picked two nice sized green peppers yesterday for G's kabobs.  I usually wait for them to turn red. But they are edible in either color.  I also made him some steamed rice.  I had his dinner ready for the grill before leaving for my drawing experience.

I pressed (with the long missing iron) fabrics and cut 2.5 inch squares and now I have the stacks of six colors set up and ready for assembly of little four patch blocks.  I have way too much pink. I had to dig in containers in the attic to find more blue and yellow and green. (depression era prints).  I plan to sew them together by hand.  To keep myself "busy".

I have a 7 day book checked out from the library and only 4 days left to read it.  The Lying Game by Ruth Ware.  Into The Woods was good.  The Woman in Cabin 10 not so much.  So we'll see.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Little Squares

I decided I need hand work to do inside when it's too hot to go out and garden.  The hot humid-ness of August is not good for me or Riley. And watching MSNBC is not good for my mental health.  And reading, while lovely, is only great when one has a very good book.

 I finished The Other Einstein about Albert's first wife who may or may not have written the relativity paper that won Albert the Noble Prize.  Which might be why he gave her all the money from a Prize in their divorce agreement (to keep her quiet).  She certainly did all the mathematical equations.  Albert wasn't great at math.  The book was remarkably similar to the series on cable "Genius" that I watched in the early summer.  Try and find it in the cable line up.  National Geographic station. Next up is Robotham's The Secrets She Keeps.

Took a break to chat on the phone with my friend.  Her dad is 99 and turns 100 on the same day as my birthday.  She reports that he is flirting with older women when she takes him on errands in Boston.  Not older than he is, for sure.  But older white haired ladies.  Especially the ones who are still stylish.  Made me laugh and I'm still smiling.

Anyway, back to the fabric and blocks.  I HAD to go FIND the IRON.  To press the fabrics before cutting them into 2.5 inch squares.  And I still need more blues.  Too much pink.  I haven't used the IRON in such a long time.  It might be years.  OMG!

I've forgotten why I am cutting 2.5 inch squares.

I have another sewn together bunch of pink depression style fabrics (I am sensing a theme here).  I had to go up into the attic to search boxes and shelving to see if I had the "desired" pink striped fabric for a framing border.  Geez. I couldn't find anything and am NOT going shopping but at the last minute I pulled a pile off the topmost shelf and there it was.  Deep pink and yellow.  Modern stripes.  But "use what you own" is the motto.  And, it looks great.

While I was up there I noticed a great deal of cobalt blue and all manner of greens.  So I have to start thinking about that.  I have nothing to make moons or suns.  No circles.  Spending time reading spirit Cloth and Jude has so many circles to make into things.  I guess I could try and bleach circles into some of the cloth I own.  Some of the cobalt.  Or paint circles on fabric.

But then I would have to go look for the PAINT.  I can see the next few months (maybe years) of playing hide and seek with my possessions.  The ones that got packed and moved to empty rooms.
Up and down the stairs.  Repeat.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Front Porch--Today

Still cluttered with plants and construction stuff.  I may never get the native Maine perennials in the ground but do need to get them in by Winter if they are to survive.  I have space in the vegetable raised beds.  That's where I overwintered the blue grass.  Perennial seeds need to be planted in the Fall, overwinter outdoors, grown along in the warm months, and then achieve adult status after the second winter.  Natives seem a bit trickier.  We'll see.

Most of the plants belong to my native seed starting partner.

Oh, and yes, the ceiling on the porch is painted blue.  I paint all my porch ceilings blue--like the sky.

Yesterday I stayed in as I didn't have any of the special glasses and didn't want to accidentally look up during the eclipse.  It seemed like a wonderful experience.  I hope I have the special glasses in 2024 when Maine is directly under the sun's path.

The painter is painting the front door.  He had a few days open so we are getting the door painted.  The electrician is coming tomorrow.  The plumber is............not.  So--the lights will be on but nothing else will be.  No faucets, toilet or shower.  Trite as it may sound... it's always the very last things that take forever to get done.

Tonight is Music Theater Night.  Newsies.  It's also the day the new class at Bowdoin College arrives with parents, packed cars and all their "stuff".  So parking in Town will be a "picnic".  And so will  trying to get into the grocery or a restaurant.

I spent yesterday finishing a small piece of patchwork.  A doll sized quilt.  With doll sized blocks. I finished hand quilting and then worked on the edging.  Got it finished.  I also cut a package of 5 inch squares into quarters.  At some point I will sew the quarters into four patches.  I may not have enough to make anything of any size.  I liked the packet because the top squares were all pink.  And they are. It's the rest of the squares that aren't pink.  The blue and green ones are okay but the lilac/purple ones--ick.  I know 30's quilts--which I adore have all the colors mixed together--but I am Virgo and I like to CONTROL.

I COULD cut them all and put them in a brown paper bag and randomly pick a little square out and sew it to another random square.  I COULD.  But I would end up searching in the bag for what I "really" want and that defeats the whole process.

I may go looking for solid pink.  I must have a bit in the stash somewhere.  Connie sent me a lovely piece of pink in the mail yesterday.  Thank you Connie!!!  Love the striped heart!!!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Green Tomatoes Make Excellent Pickles

Now---no matter what happens in the garden going forward--I can make green tomatoes into Bread and Butter Pickles.

Same recipe.  Same process.  Go forth canners--pickle those green tomatoes!!!!

And I learned something that European canners always knew.  The Bon Maman jelly jars--reseal.
I had the green tomatoes in one of those cheerful red checked lidded jars and wanted to taste test.  I turned the lid and "POP".  It had sealed.

Well, So NOT putting any more of these delightful jars in the re-cycle.  Jam is going in them. My jam.

Late Bloomers--Me & My Dahlias

I potted the dahlias up at the right time--but they are slow to set buds and those buds are slow to break open into flowers.  Some are over four feet tall.  I am hoping the flowers come soon.

We had MUCH NEEDED rain yesterday.  Slow and steady for about 20 out of 24 hours in the day. G is napping today instead of watering the garden and Riley is happy the rain has finally stopped.  He'll walk in the rain if he has to, but it's not on his top 10 list.

I picked some blackberries while it was raining (the rain would have spoiled them).  Soaked them a bit in case they had worms (berries so that), then let them sit out on paper towels to dry.  Now they are in the jam packed freezer.  I need to start using what's in the freezer.  Get it empty. I was going to eat the berries with yogurt but when I opened my had blue mold growing.

While I was out in the garden (in the rain) picking berries, I also was sprinkling the dirt around the stems of pepper plants and zucchini with fertilizer.  The rain would help it slowly soak into the roots.

The Tile Guy is here today trying to repair the black grout.  He got to a stopping spot and is now off to the job he is supposed to be doing this morning.  But he said he'd be back.

The Paint Guy got everything in the hall bath painted.  And then he worked on the baseboards in the hall that got put in (tardily) and then gave the entire wall it's finish coat of paint.  This all was done over two days as things need to dry in between.  So an hour or two and then away and then back for an hour and then next day the same.  We are now painted.  Complete.  So, I asked if he wanted to do the front door (he had told me the job he was working had abruptly ended).  G went into the basement for exterior paint.  Painter and I discussed paint.  We had three cans. Finally, eliminated one can.  Then decided where the remaining two colors would go.  I think that's why I needed a nap.

Also I was sad.  My dream of a black door ended with the paint choices.  My dream of a white house with black doors and shutters is also gone.  But......I have black and white inside the house.

My PBS station is completing week four of "Fund Raising".  So no programing other than people lecturing and then trying to sell books and tapes with infomercials. The same books and tapes year after year.  I stop watching PBS during this nonsense.

We have two different cable providers for PBS here in Maine.  Our newspaper lists both.  One is "fund raising" and the other is showing regular NEW PBS programing.  Programs we are missing out on. Our station will never air them or they air them between 2am and 6am with no notice or all episodes one after the other on one day (The Great Baking Show).  Endeavor will be on tonight.  The first episode of the new season.  How many weeks late???

Well, I am going to set the big canning kettle onto the stove and get it boiling.  And get my salted raw veg out of the hall fridge and get to rinsing and draining it.  Then make the brine. Wash the jars. Etc.
Try not to get the turmeric brine all over myself.

Try not to watch any more "news".  Whenever I think things couldn't get worse........  The silent crowd in Barcelona made me weep.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Blackberry Season & Rethinking Grandmotherhood

Just about soft enough to pick. But still have to really pull to get the berries to release.  And when I taste them--still a bit pucker-y.  Okay, I guess, if I made a crumble.  I'll wait a day or two.  So many this year and mostly all big berries.  I am marking the smaller branched ones--so G can cut them away.

I should buy a quart of plain yogurt and start making fruit, Bran Buds and yogurt lunch bowls.

G and I had a very late lunch at the Seadog, on the deck, overlooking the river and the green bridge.
A pure summer delight.  While we dined on lobster and mussels, a young woman was seated behind G and with her a very charming little girl.  I can't guess her age (3?) but she was talking, walking and had a full set of teeth.    She had also draw horizontal lines from ankles to above her knees with markers--perhaps wanting to be wearing striped tights?  A future artist or fashion designer?

The woman and child were discussing things and I overheard the little girl say "'well, I'll just buy it with my debit card".  The woman (who may have been the nanny), said, "well, you could try".

At this point....I realized I might just be glad I didn't have any grandchildren or at this point in my life--great grandchildren..  I would want them to be like my children were at that age.  And who is like that anymore?  They have computers and phones before they can walk.  I handed them toys.  Now parents hand them phones with games. I have overheard grandparents saying their baby grandchildren know more about technology than they do.  I expect it by 6 or 7 years.  Not 3.

I know, I know......... you don't have to say it.

I have been burn testing linens I got from Goodwill and other places--some from my mother in law years ago.  Lucky for all-- they burned (yellow) to fine, soft ash and not to hard chemical pebbles.  Onward to the L'VilleDyeDecks.

Another big haul of zucchini from the garden (why am I underwhelmed by it?).  So I went to buy red peppers (peppers in September and zucchini in July/August) so I could make another batch of Zucchini Bread and Butter Pickles.  They sit--sliced thin, salted and iced in the hall fridge.

Tile guy has been here everyday but Sunday. Grout and a few more tiles in the niches.  Yes, two niches.  One under the shower head (this niche will stay dry) and the other on the back wall.  It also will stay dry.  The one in the master is always full of water--it drains but all the bottles are wet--we should have insisted it go on the back wall.

The granite vanity top with sink attached arrives Wednesday (some time).  We have to wait a day or two before drilling for the faucet.  Or attaching pipes under the sink (drain).  Make sure adhesive is set up.  Then we order the mirror that goes behind the sink.  And the toilet goes in.  How many days left before August ends?  Will we make it?????  6.5 months......and counting.  Oh and our friend the electrician comes to hook up the in floor heat, the LED ceiling lights over toilet and tub (total of 8 switches in a standard hall bath) and then the painter.  And we still have no radiators.

I'm telling you.......if I was going to go nutcracker crazy....this would have been the  six months to do it. I guess I stay sane. (ish)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Morning Chat With My Daughter Regarding Chickens

Little known things about my daughter.  That she would pick up a chicken.  That she would like chickens.  But she does and she did.  Our friend had to band the chicks and my daughter picked them up for the banding.  Friend's chicks are now laying eggs.

I sent over a bucket of things from my garden--things I would have put in my compost.  Chickens are picky eaters.  They didn't like the purslane but liked the arugula flowers.

Riley decided it was time to pick my one singular peach off the tree.  Today I ate it.  And it was delicious and very juicy.

I was watching Hinderlands on Netflix yesterday.  In between taking naps.  I just didn't feel well.  It could be "summer".  Not a big fan of the heat and humidity.  Usually its cold dark and winter on Hinderlands.  But two episodes seemed to be taking place in a season that was not quite winter.  Still awfully dark.  Takes place in Wales and most of the roads are one lane.  I am watching because it seems like they have a "new" season three.

Which reminds me that the final season of Longmire starts this Fall on Netflix.  September, I think.  I usually try and watch two full seasons before watching the new season.  Catching up.  Being reminded of the story lines.  But now that I have actually read the books......I am usually confused.  Story lines do not match or even go together.

I harvested three long burpless cucumbers.  Got to find something to do with them.  Besides eat them with salt.  Which isn't a bad thing to do with them.  I did make a jug of cucumber, lemon and mint water and then forgot to drink it.  Easier to drink it when I was working.

My ankles have been swollen all summer.  And this week==they aren't.  Trying to think what I maybe doing different. So far--not thinking of anything that is different.

Tile guy is here for third day in a row.  Tub surround is getting close to being finished but he's into the two "niches" for soap and shower bottles.  That will take some time.

G will be walking the neighbor's dog for five days.  The two Earth Boxes full of peppers plants are just starting to use the water from the bottom.  Now I have another thing to be mindful of watering.
Blackberries are almost sweet enough to pick.  And there are lots of them this year.  Last year--very few.  Blueberries are about finished.  I have enough to make one more blueberry sour cream sheet cake.  Very nice.  Especially a cold slice from the fridge.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Thursday In August

I am just so interested in how I can take these moving images and tuck them in my picture file and then when I insert them in the blog--they start moving.  Icy cold images on sultry August days.

Make more ice.

The tile guy didn't show up yesterday, but he is here today.  Tiling the wall in the hall bath.  As much as he can get done today.  I was called upon to make a half dozen or so "decisions" on the placement of tile and grout colors.  I must have "aced" the test because I chose all the right answers.  Last one was multiple choice.  Tile guy says they always give customer choices but have already decided which of the two or three they prefer.  I chose the one he preferred.  He's happy.  I'm happy.  Life is good this morning.

I signed up for a hands on workshop that "enhances" the local college art museum's drawing exhibit. Some of the drawings are from the 1600's.  It is an amazing display, mostly from the archives of alumni donations.  I recognized most of the names from my days at college taking Art History classes. I am wondering what we might be doing in the workshop--but whatever it is--it will be me trying to open myself to new experiences.

My friend tells me the BUS SERVICE to the big (for us) city of Portland starts next month.  That means I could actually take a bus to Portland and shop or visit the museums. library etc and then take the bus home again.  Like when I was 13 or 14 and took the bus, alone, into Cleveland (the race riots were a few years later).  The bus dropped me off in the center of downtown Cleveland by Terminal Tower.  I then would walk to the central library--a huge marble building with iron gates on the rooms with special book collections.  I once spent the day in such a room reading The Sheik, a book no longer in print and a first edition and valuable.  It may have been August.  And the marble room was dark and cool and quiet.  So unlike my situation at home.  I stayed and read the entire book.  Then the 30 to 40 minute bus ride home.  No one missed me.

That tells you more than you need to know about my life at home.

After high school and before going away to my first year at college, I worked for the Cleveland Water District and took the bus to work each morning and back home in the early evening.  Everyone was happy at home that summer.  I was away at work.  Gone.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I was 17.

I was out yesterday with a good friend (we went to the Art Museum) and then I got my new glasses adjusted.  Very good today with the screen and keyboard.  I also stopped in at the local, downtown quilt shop.  Lots of patterns and things for sale but very very little fabric.  They did have a skein of the exact color of floss I needed.  So that was wonderful.  I visited with quilters working on sampler blocks.  and in doing so--saw a background fabric that looked fabulous with the same type of prints I still have in my stash.  So I purchased a yard.  Just enough.  Not too much.  They used the fabric with half square triangles and the background as the triangles sewn to the corners.  I still can't get access to my sewing machine so I will cut pieces and have a "hand work" project hand sewing the pieces together.  I think I prefer doing it that way, these days.  The cutting will be intense.  As I have to really think about how to cut the shapes.  It's been a long time.  Exercise for the brain cells.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

A Tuesday In August

New eye glasses prescription.  Trifocals.  Three lines.  Eye crossing three lines up and then three lines down--over and over, trying to find the right spot for vision.  Quite the headache.  Feeling nauseous.  Reading the newspaper this morning--endlessly.  Trying to SEE.  Brain has to figure it out.

It rained over night.  So a day off in the garden watering project.

My one singular peach was ripe--ready to be picked.  Quite the treat.  My First Peach.

Tile Guy is arriving tomorrow morning.  Wondering what he will get done.  Would be most excellent if he got it all done.  Would have to return for grout. But there would be LIGHT at end of this renovation.   It's been endless.  Epic as they say.   A Cluster **** as some others would say.

Tomorrow J and I are visiting the Bowdoin Art Museum to see the drawing exhibit.  10:30 am.

Monday glasses and Wednesday Art Museum.  Big week with two events.

August just makes me tired.  I wish I could just sleep through it.  Well, I'm going for trying to read my book.  Should be fun.  Or not.

Our employer did not like being called sulky.  She reads this blog.  So--what I meant to say was that she was super intelligent, generous and kind and has a terrific sense of humor.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Monday, Monday

Another of the pickle jars gave up it's seal.  I heard the "plop" from across the room.  Now G has two jars to eat in the fridge.  Plus the refrigerator dills. I am probably going to pitch in and eat some of them.

When faced with "too much to eat" my husband reverts to "teenage girl" and slowly stops eating.

I watered the garden today.  G is off cutting grass for our employer.  She is a friendly employer but gets sulky if not obeyed.  He has misplaced his hearing protectors with the good radio.  So he is quite upset.  We spent some time looking for them.  Trying to think about where he's been.  When he last saw them.  I think they are across the street.  Where he was putting down mulch--at least 10 days ago.  He says no.  He had them on when he was cutting our side yard.

I slept well the past two nights.  Lots of cleaning made me sleepy.  But last night a very disturbing dream.  I was asked by a woman I hardly knew to watch her children (they were in bed) while she went out on a "family emergency".   The toddler woke and cried and had foam bubbling from his mouth.  The four or five year old told me "she made him drink this" and it wasn't something a child should drink.  I tried calling the mother--no answer so I called a person I knew but not well and he agreed to come stay with the older child while I took the toddler to ER.  By the time he arrived, it was obvious she had given whatever it was to both.

So there we are, two strangers with two children who don't know us at all--in ER-- critical condition trying to comfort them as best we can.......and then I woke up.  Tears in my eyes yet again.

I have no idea what it means.  Not related to the 15th Century mystery I am reading... Benjamin Black's  "Wolf On A String".  Not related to anything I am watching on television.  Not related to real life---pickles and blueberries.

What a way to begin a day.  I promised G I would go and get my new eyeglasses.  So I am going to do that.  I got groceries yesterday so I don't need to do that.  A quick trip into Town. Then back home to the dog.  The dog who did not get his walk today.  Looks like it might rain.  Which would be nice. I really don't like brown, crispy grass.

In my front yard the heather is in bloom.  Some pink and some yellow green and of course, day lilies. the sweet shrub is in bud but has not flowered as yet.  Smells sweet and spicy.  In pink.  The sedum have set buds but they haven't colored as yet.  The deer are coming by night and eating whatever is not covered in netting.  Coming right to the front stairs.  Brazen this year.  And the woods are full of green leaves.  Enough for them to fill their tummy without my flowers.   I do not like deer.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Avocado For Lunch Plus Attitude Adjustments

My local grocery now has "Misfit" produce.  One day it was limes and lemons.  Not the right size (small) but still good limes and lemons.  $2.49 for 6.  Last time I was shopping--it was avocados.  Very small. Very green and hard.  Again, $2.49 for six.  I had one for lunch today.  It had taken three days for it to ripen but when cut open it was beautifully creamy green.  Perfect. And delicious with some of the misfit lime juice squeezed over the top.

The same day I bought the avocados, I purchased two red bell peppers to go in the zucchini bread and butter pickles.  They sat with ice and once that melted they waited for me to "do something" until this afternoon.  I set the big canning kettle on the stove, filled with water and pint jars.

I have been putting it off.   It's what I do these days.

I decided today it was less being tired and more being depressed.

So I forced myself to can the pickles.  Five out of the six jars have pinged.

Yesterday I forced myself to sweep and wash the floors.  I also pulled up enough dirty cardboard (supposedly protecting the hardwood floors) so I can walk thru the master bedroom to the bath on wood floors instead of dirty cardboard.  I did this labor because I had begged out of going sailing that morning.  To welcome a tall ship into Portland Harbor.  It was a good decision.  The seas went up and down. A very good chop.  I would have been sick.  When I beg off doing something (and disappointing people--ie the Host and G) I always do some hard work that I also don't want to do.  I beg off doing things a great deal.  Always have but seems that I refuse more often than I accept.

Which is why I now think it might be called "being depressed" instead of "being stubborn".

I also finished a book while canning the pickles.  Multi-tasking.  The Dry by Jane Harper.  A debut novel.  I have always brought home any first novels I find on the library shelves.  First timers work harder, rewrite more and try and have a solid story.  Later in their author lifetimes--well, they might do one and not the others.  For the money.   This book was good.  I look forward to any others this author might write.  I may have discovered who done it earlier than I was supposed to---but then I had to really wait to see if I had been right.

I also went to the movies.  G loves going to movies.  He loved going out on the boat ride.  We went to see Atomic Blonde.  Hard to imagine Charlise being so perfectly gorgeous  even when being beaten to a pulp.  G and I were the ONLY PEOPLE in the theater to see the 3:45 showing.  We moved around and tried out all the seats.  We were well entertained by the movie.  Interesting seeing 1989 Berlin and the Wall.  We left Germany in 1988.  Without seeing the Wall.  Americans weren't that popular in Berlin.  Everyone in Atomic Blonde was British or Russian.  A few Germans.

So, to overcome my "attitude" I have successfully made pickles, read a book, washed all the exposed floors in the house, emptied a bookcase and put all the books in the recycle container (they weren't worth the space they had been filling) and gone to see a movie.  I am now going to wash the orange Cheeto dust off my fingers and find another book to read in the pile from the library.  All of a sudden--they are sending me books.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

It's August--Pickle Time

My first batch of Zucchini Bread and Butter Pickles is in the porch fridge soaking in salted ice water. Getting crisp.  I had enough zucchini from my very tardy garden to make a full recipe.  I had to go out to the grocery to get two red bell peppers and one jalapeño.  I had onions.  And I always have a gallon of vinegar and a 5# bag of sugar handy.

Back to the garden.  Harvest includes:  2 burpless cucumbers, enough zucchini (green and yellow) for the pickles, another two quarts of blueberries (total of 6 quarts so far), two very nice Sungold cherry tomatoes which I ate right in the garden, basil for a tomato (Farmer's market) and fresh mozzarella Caprese salad.   I have plenty of herbs and what people call "green leaves" but haven't picked any yet.

G weeded and watered and I planted a few more tomato plants.  I think I found the Early Girls.  And the Heinz special tomato they use in the ketchup.  And, possibly, the few Italian tomatoes that germinated from the five seeds in the package I purchased.  My Cherokee Purple plant has a nice tomato growing on it.  There is hope.

And my fertilization "program" seems to be having a result.  Dark green leaves.  I hardly follow the rules on fertilizing.  But the tomatoes all got pink stuff.  Miracle Grow Tomato Food.  And Epsom Salts.  Next up will be Fish Emulsion.  The peppers will be getting a pinch of sulfur along with their fish emulsion.  Riley likes to be involved in the "pouring" of the fish fertilizer--he is in charge of licking the bottle clean.  Dogs love stinky things.

My Hall Bathroom is never going to get done.  So slow.  I have a skim coat over the drywall. The vanity is in place but not the granite or the sink or the faucet.  No tile in the bathtub surround.  No faucets etc.  85% of the tile is in and grouted.  The part over by the radiator--no tile.  The pipe for the toilet water supply is coming out of the floor and not the wall--toilet wants it out of the wall.

While we wait for the plumber to get things moving-----still walking on dirty cardboard to get to the one bathroom and the bedrooms.  And the boxes of tile, grout etc and the toilet are still in the bedroom.  Oh, and paint, big tub of drywall compound, a construction vacuum.

And if we change radiators in bedroom (we ordered new ones) --we'll have to add more baseboards-- and find a solution to the "now the wallpaper (the other one--not the one on the walls) will show and how do you want to manage that?"  More baseboards = more painting.  It's getting to be a classic Money Pit thing over here.  And if we do any of these things--we won't be able to move into the master until all of that is done.

I have mentioned that the original owner pasted four different patterns of paper in each and every room in the house.  Home owner two had most of it removed but we find nasty little surprises of wallpaper--like behind the hall bath toilet and in the guest bedroom.  She "really" didn't want the stuff to come off the walls.  And in the master-- wall paper behind the radiators.  Original. We found it under the trim work on the windows also.  One construction guy said--she REALLY liked wallpaper.  Awful wallpaper.  Like a Victorian Candy Box.  Above the chair rail, below the chair rail, the chair rail, along the top of wall by ceiling.  Four different prints.  Each room a different set of four prints.  I got a first hand description from a teenager who babysat when the house was new.  She said it was all over the house and it was even in the two story high family room.  Wallpaper from floor to the very very tippy top of the room by the skylights.  Four and even five different patterns.  Each room.

Owner number two was some kind of trooper.  Removing all that wallpaper, painting everything, putting down hardwood floors, adding a third full bath, making a fourth bedroom.  She stayed only three years.  Imagine the flurry of workers that must have been here?  And she got it all finished.  Nothing left undone.

Perhaps that's the legacy of the house.  Renovation.  We were 26 years late getting our part started.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

August Carrots

I plan to "inspect" my carrots to see if they are ready to be pulled and eaten.  Last year I got a terrible shock when I pulled my carrots.  The chipmunks had been down in the dirt--under--- eating the sides off most of my carrots.  I pulled up half eaten carrots.  It was very sad.  I stamped my feet and yelled but little could be done.  I have to go to the store and BUY carrots.

I got my tomato patch covered (mulched) with straw.  It looks very nice.  Eventually the straw will start looking matted and begin composting.  But right now it's crisp, yellow and very cheerful looking.  I got as many tomato plants in the ground as I could before giving up.  It's hot out there. And itchy.  I planted all the "seedlings"- (2 foot tall seedlings) the ones with tomatoes already started on the plants.  I have some Early Girls, Sungolds, Romanians, Italians.  They have all lost their name tags.  I also am tending about six free spirits that are self seeded from last years tomato plants.  No idea which ones but could be the yellow ones or some of the Romanians. I am basing my guesses on location.  The yellow ones had a funny name--not Arkansas Traveler.  But maybe.  Big, juicy with yellow flesh and a bit of red across the shoulders.  Hillbilly.  that was it.  Hillbilly.

I plan to go out and pick greens and carrot tops and kale and any other green leaves out in the garden and make up some "greens balls" or patties.  Most of my arugula has gone to seed and the leaves are now powerfully hot (sharp) to eat.  The kale hasn't gotten very big yet.  And I have some parsley stems that are trying to go to seed so I can cut them.

For the first time in forever--I have basil.  And it looks healthy.  Shocking.

Also the little zinnias I call Lowe's Zinnias are in bloom.  Such a pretty magenta pink. I saved seeds from the first batch I ever purchased at Lowe's (years ago)--and that was a good thing.  As they don't carry them anymore.  Short, stocky and very prolific in flowers.  I have them in the herb garden alongside my first ever (two) sunflowers.  I planted a packet of seeds and got two plants.  Better than none.

The deer are coming right up to the front steps to eat the yellow petunias in my containers. Yes. Right up to the front steps of the house.  Brazen.  And I don't live "out in the country".  No wonder Riley is up and barking like a crazy dog.

Farmer's Markets today and the girls want more pickles. ( my daughter and my friend)  The two of them like "organic" so the Farmer's market seems like the best solution.  And G wants another jar of refrigerator pickles.  I have to decide whether to water the garden (or trust G will do it) or drive off into Town to buy my produce.  G isn't all that reliable anymore.  He tends to drift over to his new woodworking workshop and "be gone" until it starts getting dark outside.  Right now he is cutting grass on the side of his workshop.  It's new seeded grass and it's mighty tall and thick.  If I wait much longer they won't have what I want at the market--got to go.  Then water if he hasn't remembered to do it.  sigh.  August.  And, Readers, its HOT.  Sunny and ever so HOT.  ICK!!!!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Bucket --Not List

Do you have a Bucket List?

I see people I know on Facebook and they show pictures of themselves doing "bucket list" things. "here's us at a Giant's game--Bucket List". Did these people live their lives not doing things they would have liked to do???  When I die,  I don't want to have a list of things I didn't do. You didn't do those things because you actually didn't want to do them.

My Bucket (not on my list) is no longer here.  I loved the little bits of red on the yellow lid.  Next to the bucket is the radio over which I have listened to Janis Joplin, Rush Limbaugh and everything else at full volume. It's been quiet for quite a few days. I would rather not have had to listen to Rush.  Quiet Tile Guys. No radio.

There are those who might say my new bathrooms are Bucket List items.  Feel free to discuss this among yourselves.

My sink is supposed to arrive on Monday (but not be installed until some point in time that has not been determined).  I have a tracking number so I can watch as it moves across New York state and north into Maine.  The sink is traveling with towel bars and toilet tissue holders.  The granite for the sink to be undercounted to---well, that hasn't been ordered as yet or cut or delivered.  See where this is going--or better yet--not going?  But I had to "hurry" and order the sink.

Did not get the Tomato plants into the ground.  I did water them three times today.  They are very thirsty.  Mostly I have been busy vacuuming the carpets--G finally got the vacuum fixed.  It would vacuum but not pick up anything.  Now it picks up the dog hair, dust and lint.  Finally.

Then I hand washed/wiped the entrance hall tile floor.  Tile Guy walked in and out to the tile saw about 100 times on Friday and this morning (7:30 am) another 10 times.  Then I made the mistake of walking out with the dog to water my containers out front.  Then had to wash the floor again.  I had tracked in tile dust. Yep.

Been watching Netflix.  A Chef's Life.  A Russian. A Korean Monk.  Today it was Nancy Silverton.
The Russian was very odd and the food didn't look like anything I would ever want to eat. Loved everything about the Monk.  A woman.  Especially her clothes.  There was a scene of her taking trains into Seoul to teach a Vegan Cooking Class.  That coat, those shoes, those pants that gathered at the ankle.  Above those shoes.  And her food.  The Lotus Flower Tea.  So beautiful.  Everything about the segment in Korea was so beautiful.  I will watch it again.

Nancy Silverton is very strange.  She has curly hair.  She had curly hair.  Now it's all braided and wound into tight balls with many, many little shiny objects.  And her clothes.  Very strange and I am guessing, seriously expensive.  I did love the orange linen apron. I won't watch that episode again.  But the scenes with her making loaves of bread were wonderful.  I love making bread. So maybe I would watch again.

I don't know who is next or how many episodes there are this season.  The photography is stunning.
I think this is Season Three.

So, the President has a general as his "newest" secretary.  And no transgender people in the military.  And now he is saying no women.  He isn't "comfortable" with women in the military.  Having guns, I guess.  But he did say something I do approve of.  The government employees should have the same Obamacare insurance as "we the people".  Now, the government employees are not happy about that.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Pictures of The New Tile Hallway And Stairs

We haven't finished the wall next to the stairs.  Waiting for European style radiators to arrive. But the floor is in and Riley loves sleeping on it this summer.  Nice an cool.  And not slippery.  No fear of a slip and fall for him.

The hardwood stairs were covered with carpet.  We had no idea the wood was there.  Such a surprise and not sure we could have afforded the cost of having the stairs done in hardwood.  So happy the second owner of this house decided to do the work.  The guys did a fantastic job creating a new baseboard for the steps.  Nice and tall.

The hallway to the bedrooms.  The mess is in front of the hall bath (first door left).  Today it's getting a blue waterproof coating before tile is added.  The floor got orange underlayment and the heating wires. The floors in both bathrooms will be heated.  Tomorrow the tile guy is putting down the black ceramic tile (same as the hallway) over the heating cables.  Saturday grout.  And next week I hope the bath surround gets tile.  The entire hallway got new doors and knobs, white paint and under that cardboard--hardwood floors.

I had fun climbing over that pile of stuff every time I needed something from the bedroom, office or needed to use the bathroom.  Trying not to trip and fall.

That's the second bedroom (where we have been sleeping since February) and it will be hard to move back into the master.  I never expected that bedroom to be as nice as it is.  Quiet. Cozy. That bedroom will become the guest room.  I'll need to get a nice bed to go in there.

The first door to the right is the pantry (vacuum cleaner room).  If they hadn't hit water when digging the house's foundation, that door would lead to the basement.  There's a French door that closes off the bedroom wing from the hall and rest of the house.  I added two French doors to the house.  One here and the second to the doorway between the kitchen and what had been the dining room.  That was the first thing I did on moving in.  Twenty Six years ago.

I still need to get outside and plant my tomatoes.  Some of the potted tomato plants already have tomatoes on them.  Got to hurry.  The vibe from Mother Nature is a foreboding "early Winter" so time is short.  I just don't have any energy and the mosquitos are terrible.

I think the 8 months of prepping for reno and then the actual work--has just wiped me out.  I just want it to be done.  G and I had a big argument about all the Bonne Maman jelly jars I have saved.
Really.  An argument about jelly jars.  In a mood of reconciliation:  I put 18 out into the recycle bin.

Tomorrow morning I have to order a sink for the hall bath, towel bars and toilet paper holders and try and return the trim kit that wasn't the right one.  On the internet. I was supposed to do it today but I didn't.  Last time I ordered bathroom parts it was extremely STRESSFUL.  And it was March.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

My Bathroom--Finally A REAL Picture

Here it is.  My black and white bathroom.  My walk in shower.  My very expensive shower head etc. The black granite counter tops and my cute faucet.  The orchid in the pot is fake but I may put one of the real ones in here on a rotating basis.  But their pots are larger and the space is rather tight.

You can just get a glimpse of the shelf at the bottom (it goes all the way across) where we store folded white towels.  That shelf and the legs that go above the floor made the vanity quite expensive. that's another word for "custom".  And you just see the glass door handle at the far right edge.  The bath is small and I may have to shimmy myself in behind the toilet to get more in the picture.

This is a picture of my master bedroom.  Real time.  This is what I walk thru to get to that shiny bright bathroom.  The closets have doors and they are already holding our clothing.  So, we have to walk around all the paint cans etc to go in and get the day's clothing.  You can see the little black hinges.  And the details of the new doors.  Next time I take pictures, it will be off the inside shelving.

This is a picture of my front entrance hall.  Lights on this morning because we are overcast and still rather cold this morning.  That's the hall bath vanity.  And the light shining into the hall is from the  window beside the new front door.  That's one of the hall closets.  The arched entry into the living room has always been here.  I love the arches.  And you can see the black tile floor (and the painter's paper and tape peeking out of the closets).  Same as in the bathrooms.  I wish there was more light but I am still learning how to take pictures!.  The room to the right is the living room.  The walls are painted (by me, long ago) a distressed Tuscan yellow.

Well, that was exciting.  I pressed the "take a picture" button too hard and too long and got ten or twenty of each.  Then had to delete.  Then forgot how to send them.  It's a learning curve thing. The pictures will get better (they can't get worse) and all can be clicked on to see larger--at least I think they can be.

Now I am going into my picture file and deleting all the pictures that I don't need anymore.  Because now I can just make NEW ones myself!!!!

Monday, July 24, 2017

My Daily Sewing Project With Do It Myself Pictures.

I started with strips of fabric.  Whatever was at hand--no going looking for stuff up in the attic storage area where my fabric is in containers.  Whatever was in the plastic tub.  And whatever Connie sends me.  And now Deb is sending me stuff I order from her Frankenworks Dye Deck.

I wove the strips into a square with loose edges.  Then stitched with floss from the floss nest in the basket.  Then added more strips, more embroidery stitches.  And then, the other night I started cutting up the big 18 by 18 inch square into rectangles and smaller squares.  Then adding borders.  See that blue Connie?  It's all about you!

The embroidery thread nest is still pretty much full.  I buy little baggies of thread at Goodwill.  I think it's from kits no longer wanted or just comes in a knot and then the people at Goodwill stuff a baggie full and paste on a dollar sticker.  I like the bags with mostly blue or pink thread, but there's some dark side colors at the bottom.

And for my newest project?  I took these pictures with my iPhone (the one I don't have a clue how to use) and sent them to myself and here they are.  Know what that means?  Real pictures of my reno.  Coming your way--not from websites or pinterest or anywhere.  Right from here at my house.

This may not sound Earth Shattering To YOU.  But it is for me.  It's been a very long time since the update on my camera downloading program got too technical for me.  Long time since my own pictures were actually "fun".  But these two were FUN!!!  

It's raining today and much, much cooler than it's been in weeks.  No workmen.  No painter.  No tile guy.  Nothing happening except for the double recipe of granola for my daughter.  Oats, coconut, almonds, maple syrup, coconut oil and finished with mini chocolate chips.  There's a small amount of cinnamon and vanilla as well.  The ingredients are in the order of the volume.  So more oats than coconut.  More coconut than almonds.  All toasted together till fragrant.  Well, not the chocolate chips.  They go in when it's all cold (room temp on a cool day)

Finished The Alphabet House.  If "life" hadn't intruded--I would have read it right thru from beginning to end.  One day.  It was that good.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Another Sunday- Plus My Opinions On LLBean Clothing

All these photos are from a very late night visit to someone's Pinterest file on black and white room designs.  Hundreds.  Thousands.  Of Pictures.

Today I made a list of things "to do".   I watered the plants on the back stoop and the large planters in front of the house.  The pale yellow petunias are re-growing after being "pruned" by passing deer. I now have the planters covered up with almost invisible deer netting.  It would seem that the nocturnal  pruning of the petunias by the deer was a "good thing" and now they are thicker, more flower buds and happier.  Who knew?

I did my watering before 10am.  By 11 am, it's too hot and humid for me out there.  Breathing is harder.  My next opportunity for outdoor things will be around 4 pm.  I have things to plant in the garden.  To say it's been a difficult summer so far.......well, that's an understatement.

I am reading a real "page turner" right now.  The Alphabet House by Jussi Adler-Olsen.  He has also written the Department Q novels which begin with the Keeper Of Lost Causes.  Alphabet House is a dark thriller.  The Dept Q books have some hilarity to them and of course a murder to solve with Carl, Assad and Rose in the basement of the police building next to the boiler room.  Alphabet House is set near the end of WW2 in a Nazi mental hospital, where two British pilots are pretending to be crazy while trying to find a way to escape.

I also found a few more jars of expired foods in the pantry closet.  One item from 2009.  A can of chocolate fudge cake frosting.  I am sure it's still "good enough" to eat.  But we won't.  Some things have too many chemical components to ever go bad.

I have been embroidering on a woven piece for a few weeks now.  Having no plans for it but needing something to do during the long days of not being able to go outside.  A few nights ago, I started cutting it up, then adding borders to the cut portion.  I intend to find out how to take pictures with my phone and send them to myself and then move the pictures from email to my picture file.  Then I can show you things.  Like my floors.  Like my bathroom.  Like my embroidery.

I did sew the new "old" buttons to my shirt.  I also removed the labels and tags from the neckline. I then removed the extra button from one Flax shirt and used it on another Flax shirt that had lost two of it's buttons (they cracked in half).  Does Flax even exist anymore?  Flax used "natural" buttons on it's clothing.  Mostly Flax clothes are linen and after a few years of machine washing are soft and really lovely to wear.  I now dry them in the dryer or let them dry on hangers.  I refuse to iron linen anymore. I wear it wrinkled.  Because who cares anymore????

The new Perfect Pants Cropped pant from Bean is perfect.  Some of the pants I would try on at the store had legs in different lengths etc.  And even in one size--all different kinds of fit.  Too big, too small, too long, too short, too wide, too narrow etc.  At the time (many many years ago 2006?) I had wanted to buy two pair of the cropped style pant.  Tried on every pair in the store in my size.  Only ONE fit me properly.  So I had only the one. As Fate would have it.....this new (from Goodwill) cropped pant fits exactly like the 2006 one.  It's like a miracle.

When I worked at Bean ( remember that?) I purchased all the Perfect Black Pants in the employee store in my size for 20 cents each.  Figuring I would keep the ones that fit me and give the others away.  Guess how many pair fit me??  Zero.  I had better luck with the corduroy pants.  About 25% of them fit me correctly.  The many linen camp shirts I bought cost me $2 and 50% of them were given away or sent off to Goodwill because they didn't fit.  Sleeves too tight, body of the shirt too skimpy, sleeve cut too short etc. and then there were the darts.

Camp shirts aren't supposed to have darts. Anyway, the darts were rarely in places a woman of my age would need the darts to be.  For awhile there, I tried to unsew the darts and resew the side seams.  But the new (cheap) linen shredded easily and once I knew how transparent the new linen was....I gave up buying any newly made shirts.  Now I only buy the ones without darts.  Antique ones. At Goodwill.  Really hard to find in XL or 1X.  But once every two or three years, I find one.

The other really amazing thing about that first pair of Cropped Perfect Pant is that I have worn those  XL (reg) cropped pants when I weighed my maximum, my minimum and all the weights inbetween from the early 2000's to 2017.  And they always fit exactly the same.  Perfectly.  Of course they are no longer black.  And they have holes and bleach spots on them.  But I love them.