Sunday, November 19, 2017

Art & Emotion & Memory


Art by Anne Patay from ArtPropelled.

Often, late at night, when I am too awake to be able to go to sleep----I open Art Propelled and look at ART.  I have a sketch book handy and pencils and pens.  I should include pastel crayons.  And I make a drawn "note" to myself on some combination of color, line or emotion that I notice.  This "bird" spoke to me and I am reminded of how long I looked at it before reaching for the sketchbook.

I think (know) I could look at this artwork for the rest of my life and still not see it enough.

I am reading Grafton's Y.  Nearly finished. PBS tonight starting with Father Brown.  I don't know if our Patriots are playing today.  I know the game is in Mexico but can never figure out WHY. Or why they play in London for that matter.

I am doing two loads of laundry.  One is drying and the other rinsing by the sound of it.  I have to remind myself to sew a ripped section of my work sweatshirt.  The front pocket.  I kept losing my scissors yesterday.  A morning and afternoon Boxwood Tree class yesterday.  I wasn't teaching but did help with cleanup.  Boxwood smells like cat pee.

I somehow agreed to work three days next week.  Black Friday was added to my week. Not that we have anything on sale. But the Christmas Trees are in and all of the Poinsettias will arrive Wednesday.  I was asked if I had the Point's MAP ready.  I usually make index cards with placement  of the colors and different varieties and then staple them to the tables.  I guess no one else can write on index cards or staple.  If it wasn't so ridiculous--it would be funny. So..that will be my Wednesday.

Raining today but 50 degrees.  An hour's drive west and it's in the 20's and blizzard conditions.  Snow.  So I am driving because it's only rain.  To the supermarket to buy things for Thanksgiving dinner.  Before the weather shifts and we have snow.  

I want to work on the abstract fabric work on my easel.  But I have wanted it to have a name.  Stormy keeps coming up.  But Stormy what?  Sigh.



Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dark Again with Rain


At work, it's Christmas.  But at the grocery, it's Thanksgiving.

We are making and decorating wreaths at work.  Like Santa's Helpers.  I wish we were making ones like this but ours are "less wild".   I, personally, like a wild and stormy wreath that looks like it collected it's berries and cones in the wind.  Not on wired picks.

I have a new read--Grafton's Y.  It was on the 7 day shelf.  Yippee.  I finished Still Life by Louise Penny and realized that I had READ it that first time around.  I was positive when Gamache fell down the basement stairs and broke his leg and Clara was thinking there were snakes slithering around on the floor.  It was a very deja vu experience reading that first book again.  It foretells all of the drama and sadness to come in the future novels.  Like having your fortune told.

I am trying to recover from my day at work yesterday.  Too much standing in one spot doing the wreaths.  And then cleaning up which includes "sweeping" which is TERRIBLE for my breathing.

My Wednesday co-workers have decided to have "treats" next Wednesday (pre-Thanksgiving cheer) and I am making 1970"s style Rum Balls.  I looked up recipes and think I have a good one but needed ½ cup of Rum.  So I went to the liquor store and bought two small "Nips" instead of a whole bottle.
The rum I got is from Barbados.  Bacardi didn't come in the little bottles.

These little bottles are quite cute.  Too bad they are the "tipple of choice" for most of the alcoholic homeless population here in my Town.

I did do mending on my black shawl on Tuesday at Art Co-op.  And one of the others mentioned adding a thin gold thread line winding around/through the new patch.  That was an excellent suggestion--just the thing it needed to "fit in".

I am thinking we'll be having a very toned down Thanksgiving next week.  Turkey Breast not a whole bird.  Sweet potatoes and baked acorn squash (daughter loves it).  Some sort of green vegetable. The cognac/orange cranberry sauce.  And of course stuffing and gravy.  I often make mashed white potatoes also.  As to the dessert--last year daughter brought a spice cookie/Cool Whip thing and it was quite delicious.  I may suggest she make it again.

Last year I walked with my friend on Thanksgiving morning.  Not so long ago.  It seems like forever ago.  I miss our conversations.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Garden Moon


It's always dark.  Well, it seems that way to me these days.  And cold.  Snowing.  Very light tiny flakes.  Melting on contact with the Earth.

The Holiday Open House at work was fine.  Good coffee.  Took most of Sunday to recover my energy.  And that's what bothers me.  One day at work and then needing to rest the day after just to get back to normal levels of energy.

By doing only one step at a time--I managed to finish another baby quilt top.  One day two tiny  squares sewn together (machine).  Press.  Next time a set of two sewn to another set of two.  Press. The next time (days in between) I sewed four fours together.  And then, after another few days, I sewed all the 16's together to make the center.  Took awhile to choose a first border.  And even longer (much searching in the attic storage boxes) to find the outer, wider border.  Daughter finally chose.

Now it's pressed and in it's envelope.  Ready to fly off to Connie.

I have no plans to make anything else other than some Christmas Pot Holders with the Charm Pack the same Connie sent me last Christmas.  I like making Christmas items at Christmas not other times of the year.  I have a few bits of my own fabric to co-ordinate with the Charm Pack.  Very Cute.  Should be FUN.

Reading.  One book in print and another unpublished and still in re-writes.  Both good reads. Now I am going to attempt Louise Penny's first Gamache mystery.  Still Life.  I tried it years ago and found it deadly dull.  But now that I have read (and enjoyed) all the following books--I am thinking I might as well try it again.

I have a work on the easel.  Abstract.  It has no name.  I refuse to move forward until it either has a name or I take all the bits off and start over.  Someone said it reminded them of Lake Superior. I've never seen Lake Superior (in this life) so I have no idea.  And than was before more bits got added.

I have no idea what we will be eating tonight.  Freezer and fridge are still empty.  I had hoped insurance would send me a check.  Nope.

Riley is taking a nap--I think he has a good idea and will join him in a short snooze.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Hard Frost: Winter Appears


The hard frost came overnight and this morning my head hurts.  Like a sinus headache or a hangover. Daughter appeared to drop off a table top wooden easel for my fabric work or even a painting if I feel inclined.  Very nice gift.  She found it at the G-Town Dump.

Then we went into the ice frosted garden to dig up chipmunk chewed carrots for the chickens.  Also the collard greens and the last of the kale.  Hungry chickens.  Now daughter is worrying about them during the Winter.  She worries.  Born that way.  Same as me. I saved my celery the day before. Thinking ahead.

The table and chairs are looking better each passing day.  G is wanting  something larger.  I keep saying I want this.  Eventually he will stop asking.  Get used to having SPACE all around him, sun shining etc.

A friend from my quilting days asked to borrow my Round Robin quilt and Bev's.  I told her that everything had gotten packed and was now "lost" but that I would search.  I found mine.  Had a heart stopping search for Bev's.  And then found it.  Had fallen off the pile of antique quilts onto the floor.

Friend and I looked at the two.  Bev's is so beautiful.  The six of us did a row on each of the quilts.  They began with a block we made for ourselves.  Bev's is so beautiful because we all loved her.  We wanted to do our best work for her.  I guess I went all out.  Mitered corners.  Hand appliquéd leaves on a Baltimore styled vine with roses in the corners.  The quilt lay across the top of her coffin.  I cried.  Am crying as I type.

My quilt is also beautiful.  Both were hand quilted by Bev.  Mine and hers.  She asked to quilt it for me.  I said yes, please.  

So, perhaps that's why my head hurts.  Too many memories coming hard and fast and then the tears.

I made some sugar free jello.  Raspberry.  Later I will make a third pan of cornbread using corn grits. That's three pans in about two weeks.  Ten days?  Old recipe from the Grist Mill where I bought corn meal back in the day.  I still have two servings of the German Lentil Soup.  Also leftovers of Thanksgiving turkey.  It's a very simplified meal.  A deli turkey half breast, packaged gravy mix, Stove Top dressing, baked sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli.  Delicious and served once a week until G's birthday--he was born on Thanksgiving Day way back in the Dark Ages.  I'm thinking it would be excellent served on Thanksgiving day as well.  Just for the three of us.

I am planning to make pumpkin whoopee pies for G.  With cream cheese buttercream filling.  We can set a candle in each.  Festive.

Well, I think I will take two Tylenol and then meander off to the sewing machine and sew my Depression Era-esk blocks into something like a rectangle and then think about borders.  Get on with the work at hand.  Then the cornbread.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Living Small Has Great Appeal


There is too much room here.  Too many places to "put" stuff.  If there was less room for things, I could possibly have less?  Would that be feasible? Or perhaps just have less.  In a large space.
My daughter already says my bedroom is looking austere.  I am giving things away.

I have a dream.  That I actually dream.  When I am feeling over whelmed (like now).  I dream that I become a wanderer.  Just one room I call home. Far from what I had called home.  Just a bed.  Perhaps one table. One chair. One cup.  One bowl.  Always white.  Everything white.

What did Thoreau write?  One chair for solitude.  Two for company.  Do I want company?  Yes. But only some of the time. So, perhaps two of everything.

Thoreau had paper and I write here, on air.  What would he think?  Air is too much company?

I can feel change coming.  I have no idea what it will be, but I think I need to change. I need to stop doing things the way I am and change myself again.  Like an every ten years cleanse of the personality and habits.  Shedding one life and creating another.

What to keep and what to let go.

 (G and I) took apart and carried the long, wide table (10 or 12 feet long and 40 inches wide) out of the dining/family room.  Unscrewed it.  The heavy wide board table top is in the garage and the rest (legs, sides) is out on the front porch waiting to be broken up.  G will possibly use the  table top boards to make other things.

Instead, we brought down from the attic the very first piece of furniture we bought as young married people.  A round rattan table and four rattan chairs with caned seats.

Why?  Because when our son was visiting and the four of us sat around the table---- the big table wasn't conducive to the old days.  When we sat around that round rattan table to play cards, yahtzee or just eat a meal together.  The big rectangular table wasn't cozy. Wasn't family.

I said, one evening, that I was thinking about that rattan table and chairs.  And G said right away--  let's bring it down.  So, it's now in the center of a very large (not austere) space.  Cozy.  Looking like it always should have been there.  And it makes me so very happy to see it there.  Bringing back so many good memories of our first apartment in Georgia when the table and four chairs was ALL the furniture we had--(making payments every week).  Until distant family took pity on us and gave us an old bed.  Lord, we were poor. And yet we were so happy.  Together.

That table and chairs brings it all back to me.  Living really small (smile).

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Big Rain, Wind, Power Outages


I've been missing.  Electricity.  How on Earth did we live without it for hundreds of years??? Well, we made do the first day with candles, the little burner on the gas grill and a generator heating water and keeping the fridge and freezer cold.  Then the generator shorted out when "stupid me" heated water for tea with the hot pot and not the microwave.  Too much energy surge.  I knew better.

The the food in the fridge started thawing, G got a piece of food stuck somewhere past his lungs but not into his stomach.  That took awhile to get past.  Heimlick (spelling) didn't help much as it's for choking without air not what he had--he could breath.  And then the little book light started fading.  I couldn't read from 6 pm dark until morning.  Yes, yes, others suffered more.  I am just letting you know the trivial stuff.

So.  November.  My freezer is empty (all  the food is gone).  Some ice.  Finally got fresh milk and yogurt from the re-stocked grocery yesterday afternoon.  They had to get rid of all the fresh food in the stores.  Insurance reasons.  Still no produce to speak of. Restocking is slow. But there is bread again.

We got power back late on Tuesday.  Took a shower.  Did a load of washing.  Read my book.  The simple things in life.  Those who didn't get power on Tuesday night will be waiting until Saturday. That's a very LONG wait.  The sound of generators running was ....................... ugh.

Very big fallen trees still line the sides of roads.  Just pushed to the side so traffic could resume. Down the road from me a field of grass is covered in power lines and cracked poles.  On both sides of the road. There are no power crews.  End of the waiting line.  The crews are doing the work that has the most "bang"--getting more homes back up---and the lines with fewer residents wait till the end.

So.  I have missed reading your posts and learning of your news.  It's been solitary.  Power came back but phone service just arrived today.  Cell service is spotty.  My computer needed a reboot and my "page" was lost and needed re-building.  The plumber is making a short stop to see why we have no heat in the "old radiators" in the bedrooms.  So, still very cold at night here.  Fall is here.  Dark at 5 or 5:30.   The Dark Days as they were called in Germany.  Soon, it will be dark at 4pm.

I am starting a pot of soup for our supper.  And then I am going down to the office, turning on the desk lamp, turning on the sewing machine and stitching little patchwork squares.  But, before I do that--I may have some toast and make a cup of tea.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Electrician, Doctor, Diet & New Book


Doesn't this look good?  I am going to buy whatever it takes to make this.  Chili.  I even had the Taco Salad at Wendy's today after my Lung doctor visit.  My weight.  My weight & my lungs.  Who knew that one would affect the other?????  My chili may just be beans and sauce over the rice--with olives or avocado--sort of lower calorie.  I may even have packages of home made chili beans in the freezer from the Winter I started with dry beans and bags of dry chilies and made something--adding things, tasting etc until I arrived at something I liked.

So.

G is moving furniture into the master bedroom.  And the new mattress.  I am dragging my feet. I don't know why but I kind of like the bare minimum look.  The echo of feet on the wood floors.

The Electrician arrived and moved all the switches.  Found the sconce wiring in the beadboard wall in the dining room (lost for almost 4 years).

A new author and a new book The Lake by Lotte and Soren Hammer.  This is book 4 and I am going to try and "forget" plot spoilers regarding books 1, 2, and 3 which I have NOT read.  Another Copenhagen setting.  I've been to Copenhagen and loved it.  The kids loved it also.  I need to find new authors as I have misplaced my book list.  Sigh.

Anyway--time for bed and my inhaler.   Oh, I also got a flu shot.  The high dosage one for lung
compromised elderly patients.  That's me.  That's G.  That's also our dog Riley (who didn't get a shot).

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The New Normal Or Abi-Normal


We're having meatballs and marinara tonight and for the next few days.  When I cook (and it's not as often as I have done in the past) I cook a lot so we'll have stuff to eat for days.  When I was Elimination Food from my diet--I made meatballs and sauce quite often.  I could eat just meatballs. No pasta.  Some sauce.  Some cheese.

But that was then......and I have regained any weight I lost plus much more.  I seemed to have eaten my way thru renovation helped along by daily ice cream at Dairy Queen.  Oddly enough.  My clothes fit.  The scale says they shouldn't.

G and I tried and finally succeeded in setting up the traveling easel he purchased for me years and years ago.  The Jullian wooden box with legs from France.  Leather handles and carrying strap. (I see on the internet that it is no longer made in France but now in China and no longer as beautifully made)  It's been in many attics we have lived in.  Waiting.  We had to watch a YouTube video to figure it out. My "board" is now in the upright position and my newest cloth is pinned to it.  I have changed things, fabric, positions etc almost every time I walk past.  Still no name.  So, no stitch.

I am wanting to stitch. So much.

I cleared the area surrounding my sewing machine.  I found the brand new container of sewing machine oil.  I found the thread and pre-wound bobbins.  Now I just need to clear all the "maybe" fabrics, for the cloth on my easel, off the cutting board and cut four strips to add a thin border to a baby quilt top I am making and sending to you, Connie.  And, in addition, find the larger fabric piece that was going to be the wider outside border.  Attic?  Who knows.

G has asked me to help in the collecting (mower) of fallen maple leaves.  I am to dump them in a bag or carry them to the vegetable garden and add them to the beds--to compost and feed the soil.  We also have the maple leaves across the street in our neighbor's yard.  Got to get them up before the oak leaves start dropping.  They are terrible.  Not good for compost unless you have 10 years to wait for them to break down.  I don't know for sure, but in 10 years I'll be 81 and possibly not gardening too much anymore.  So....maple leaves.

I am currently wearing my pajamas.  so, I guess getting dressed is on my agenda.

Oh, I did manage to empty the freezers--the hall fridge and the kitchen fridge--of all the expired and frost damaged things.  Also all the unlabeled items.  Mysterious frozen rectangles.  Fruit that was no longer fruit.  Well, I think it was fruit.  All gone.  Now I feel like I can have a 'fresh start".  Early in the renovation I emptied the store cupboard of all the expired cans and bottles of things.

For once, I am feeling like I have the "upper hand" so to speak.  Now....leaves.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

October- Warmest In Forever Here In Maine


Well, for those of you wanting to see something new on the design board--here it is.  I added a darker blue under the top edge of the painted fabric (light blue) and that has helped, but the phone is charging so no picture this morning.

This is the month I celebrate my "Blogversary".  I had intended to check the dates in the sidebar but will come back in after posting with the number of YEARS  (12) and 2273 Posts  The mind is a terrible thing to lose.

Somewhere between taking and sending three photos, shining up the stainless surface of my fridge with stainless cleaner/shiner and then washing off the stove......I forgot to remember to check the number of years.  I also had an important "stink bug" alert from the Master Gardener website.  G and I don't think the "stink bug" we are seeing is the "stink bug" they sent.  We also found, under leaves and branches of the weeping crab by the front steps ---a massive hornet's nest.  Empty with a big hole in it.  Yikes.  That could have been seriously dangerous.

It got down to 31 last night.  More frost on my car.  Which is parked outside because the fig tree is in my garage space.  Loaded with unripe figs.  I have my fingers crossed that they manage to get ripe. So many.  So large.  But today is going to be sunny and warm.  And in the days to follow, in the 70's.

Still no radiators.  Seems the plumber has rental units in Florida and in the last hurricane they slid off their foundations (?).  He had to go check on them and then decided to have a vacation.  Without notifying anyone.  I am not the only client who is angry.  Still no electrician.  He also has rental units in Florida.

Riley is still wearing his bandana around his neck with the pheromones to calm his anxiety.  Sleeps a lot.  Tried to push his way between me and the computer desk but gave up pretty quickly--usually it gets pretty testy between whomever is computing and the dog.  With whining and panting.

I have been cleaning out the fridge.  Doing it a little at a time.  Filling up a garbage bag and the compost bucket.  When I have what needs to go--out, I will remove the shelves and wash and dry them.  Go into the holidays with a clean fridge interior.  Blinded by the sparkle and shine. It's a big job and after it's over I have a whole load of towels and kitchen cloths to go into the washer. Plus the floor is usually wet and needs to be mopped.  And I will need a shower, clean, dry clothes and a nap.

Well, that's what is going on here.  Plus I have a large brown grocery bag (plastic is banned here) filled with peaches from my friend's tree.  MUST. DO. SOMETHING. WITH. THEM.  Made peach jam once--no one wants any of it.  So, not making peach jam.  Thinking I will peel and slice them and freeze for smoothies.  Won't matter in a smoothie if they turn brown (which they do).

Hey, A Big Thank You to everyone who reads this blog.  Some times I even get over a 100 "reads" on a post which makes me delirious with happiness.  Love you all!!!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Spooky House


My (visiting) son helped me renovate the Spooky House.  It's last outing (years ago) to the Town Library ended with a certain amount of damages.  A pile of loose parts on the flat roof and a written apology from library staff.

We (I) happened to have a small container of leftover bits and pieces in the cupboard-- enough to patch up the damages.  The glow comes from a short strand of red mini lights a double painting.  First a coat of a deep gold followed by a coat of a bright warm orange.  Most of the items on the surface were collected over a two or three year time period.  Halloween items are in short supply.  There are a number of skeleton's hanging from the ceiling (a garland of skeleton's was a very happy find) and a small rubber rat in the open doorway.

TJ Maxx, Big Lots, JoAnn's and our local salvage spot Marden's provided all the materials.  Under it all is a craft wooden dollhouse.  The Original House Idea was Martha Stewart's.  Her's was a gingerbread house.  I'm sure it's still available to view on her website--going back 10 to 15 years.  I originally made it out of a cardboard box.  So--very "doable" for crafty persons or children.


Happy Halloween Crafting if you decide to give this a try.




Monday, October 09, 2017

Bibbetty, Bobbetty, BOO!


Too much happening.  Son arriving this evening after flying cross country.  Cleaning of the house going on.  Carrying extra clutter up the stairs to the attic room.  Finally taking all the cardboard covering the new hardwood out of the master.  I even sorted my fabric scraps and (like choosing the favorite child) and kept only the ones I "think" I will need for the new work (in my quest to limit clutter).

It's humid here in Maine.  Like Florida.  Ick.  Raining, warm, damp, cloying.  G has taken the A/C units out and up into the attic.  Tomorrow it's supposed to hit 80 and of course, with all the damp Earth---it will be humid.

I carried the "Spooky House" I made out of a wooden dollhouse kit downstairs to display in the entrance hall for "the Holiday".  It needs repairs.  But I have a glue gun and plenty of TIME so I am going to try and do repairs.  Shingles have come off.  The plastic bones that surround the windows (as trim) didn't hold really well.  Other things got "picked" off while on display at the library in Town years ago.  The "picking" off of bones etc and candy (Gingerbread House) is why the two houses are no longer on display in public (when requested).

The lights inside make the walls glow blood red.  The red eyes of the RAT by the open door--glow. Inside I have a bag full of skeleton ornaments hanging from the "ceiling".  So "spooky".  Love it.

Pictures here tomorrow or the next day--after repairs.

The new mattress set will be delivered on the 24th.  Sigh.  I didn't plan on that.  So we had to go emergency shopping for an inflatable bed.  I'm hoping our son won't mind.  It's that or sleep on one of the couches. His choice.

When the new mattress set arrives we'll be set up with two bedrooms with king beds.  And, because that is how things work, will NEVER have need for guests sleeping over.  It was that way for years--so we gave the guest room queen to our daughter.  Yep.  And I had a sewing room.  Now I don't and we don't and that's life.

I've been eating Twizzlers and need to STOP.  It's a very bad habit.  Halloween Candy.  Last year the neighbor gave me a neighborhood sized bag of Tootsie Rolls she had bought for Treat or Treat.  We have two 5 year olds living on our street.  I managed to eat them all while reading the entire Louise Penny series into the wee hours of night.  And then getting a new crown.  My friend had a half ton bag of "right" Twix.  And fed me four of them after the gin and tonic.  Sigh.  Halloween.

My daughter got me a book on dyeing fabric at home.  (spell check wrote "dating fabric")  She's bringing it with her when she comes to see her brother tomorrow.  (spell check "bother" not brother)
So.... I'm going back to my HOUSE WORK.  Bibbetty, bobbetty, BOO.


Monday, October 02, 2017

October Arrives: Still No Radiators


The Plumber has not come back, left a message or anything.  The new bathrooms do not have a heat source.  It's cold.  It's October.  And the two bath remodel is still not finished. Radiators.  Eight Months.  We do have lights over the sinks--but in the wrong place.  Will have to be fixed.

I visited my friend yesterday afternoon-- we picked October peaches.  We talked.  I colored her hair.
I missed the end of the Patriots game.  Which was a good thing, I guess.

This morning, before I even had coffee or my breakfast cereal, I went up to the attic to see if I could find pants in my "new size".   I seem to have eaten my way thru construction.  My second or third trip up and I discovered a box of pants under three or four boxes of G's stuff.  Pants.  In the extra large size.  Corduroy and mostly greens, mossy browns.  Getting hard to find at Goodwill now that most everyone is wearing leggings.  (!!!!)  I was super happy.  I also filled another bag with things I will never wear.  Someone else might enjoy them.

I have a new sketchbook.  Purchased this Spring.  I am making small "studies" in the book to prepare myself and my ideas for the next "little art piece".  Which will have a name from the start.  I have the book and a sharp pencil by my left elbow most of the time.  Ready when an idea strikes--like while watching News and an interesting pattern is observed behind the head of someone talking.

Our TiVo  "clicker" has stopped turning the television on/off and we can't change the volume level. (but thank goodness it was at a good level before the thing went wacky this time--last time it was very loud).  G spend most of Sunday trying to re program it and then called TiVo support.  In 10 days, a new remote will arrive.  The agent is "suspending the fee" for this....the third remote in 2 years.  This last one isn't even a year old. G asked the agent if they wanted us to send the old one back.  the agent said we could do "whatever we wanted with the remote......"  G and I have several ideas....  I wonder if the President has trouble with his TiVo remote.  Big T loves his TiVo.

I had a very good morning yesterday--bleaching fabrics to remove color.  I found a strange cut up scrap of black cotton that bleached to WHITE.  In splotches and dots.  EXQUISITE.  I mean I am mesmerized by the sight of it on the drying rack.  I also bleached some hand dyed quarters.  Added some character.  May go back into them with a darker tone.  Also bleached some commercial prints to see what would happen.  Nice things.  I have enough ideas and material now to make something new.

I LOVE black fabric bleached to white.  And it is rare to find any.  Most blacks bleach to orange or rust (I know because I buy small amounts and test them). I have a piece of black that I bleached many years ago and I use it sparingly and to the upmost advantage.  Having a new piece--even as small and irregular as it is--is a wonderful thing.  I imagine I could take a piece of white and paint it with black.  But I wouldn't get the randomness of the splattered bleach.

G and Riley are out on their daily walk.  The sun is shining.  I have plants that need to be relocated to the raised beds for the Winter ( native perennials we started from seed), tubers to dry out on the driveway before going into storage boxes (dahlias), and my containers to empty into the compost bins.  The petunias have been a delight this summer.  I also need to trim the geraniums to small stumps before they go up into the attic.  And pot up the Amaryllis for Christmas. And pull up all the tomatoes and other stuff.  Will leave the peppers.  Cover them to keep them warm.  Hope they have time to turn red.

Time to begin.




Friday, September 29, 2017

Cold Morning: Is Summer Finished?


This image is from ArtPropelled:archive and is by Catherine-White in the Rock Of The Day series. I think she collects the rocks, makes the ceramic cups and paints.  Canvas under the rock and cup is her work.  I am In Love with it. One of my favorite painted cloths is very similar to this cloth.  It's why I "collected" the image.  To remind myself that I AM a Painter.

At Work.  A full sized artificial Christmas Tree is up in the Gift Shop--with lights.  90 days prior to Christmas.  Too Soon?  Yes.

I have my Fall and Winter shawl on this morning.  Still wearing a summer short sleeve shirt.  But it's cold.  Well, colder than usual.  There is sun.  So I am hopeful things will warm up.  Which reminds me--I was going to try and paint over the strange symbol the original owner of this shawl discharged on the back of the shawl.  It's misleading.  Not my symbol.  So, I think, if it warms up enough, I will try and paint some black over the symbol.  Make it not so noticeable.  I'm not sure what the fabric is. Whether its "real" or synthetic but I am going with natural as it is difficult to discharge synthetic, I think.  It's soft, light and very warm to wear in the Winter.  One of the things I would grab first in an emergency exit from the house.  It can "be" anything.  Bathing suit coverup to warm shawl.

I am having to decide:  Read my book.  Watch television.  I cannot do both anymore.  Due to the new prescription in my glasses.  If I read for an hour (which is what happened with Glass Houses) then watching the television screen was good.  If I read my "Scarred Woman" by Adler-Olsen--and I find it hard to put down--- the television images are blurry and hard to focus.  I timed how long the effect lasts--- 3 to 4 hours (after reading for 2 or more hours) and my vision was still no good for television watching.  I had been reading for several hours in the afternoon.  By morning the effects had worn off.  My eyes had recovered.  But I am wondering if permanent damage could occur?  I may revert to my older glasses.  The only thing about them was my super near vision was crap--couldn't thread a needle or read the tiny print on medicine bottles.  Now I can read super-super fine print.

I have boxes (2) of ripe tomatoes on the kitchen floor.  I MUST decide to "do something" with them or compost them.  Fruit flies and gnats.  Infesting the kitchen.  This was the year when my tomatoes were very slow (to never) really getting started.  And somehow people gave me tomatoes.  They had far too many.  My zucchini never really was productive.  Managed to only grow "just enough" to make pickles twice or three times.  No extra for zucchini patties or zucchini butter or ratatouille which in previous summer I made at least three big batches..  None for zucchini fried in a pan--I ate that every single day last summer on the elimination diet.

So--in the records of garden successes--2017 goes down as a "not so good" but--I wasn't that interested in eating produce this summer.  No cucumbers equaled no thin sliced cucumbers in sour cream dill sauce.  I ate VATS of that in previous summers. Zero this year.  In fact, I have no memories of anything  I ate this summer.  Besides grocery store brownies.

I think I will go directly to the boxes and select the best of them and make a nice pot of tomato soup for G.  With cheesy dumplings.  Ones I make in a coffee cup just like Gramma.  Stir up the batter and drop into boiling water---dumplings.  From the Austria-Hungarian Empire.

If I even had the vaguest remembrance of how it was made--I would put on a pot of the cabbage carrot veal and pork stew by grandmother made especially for me served over boiled yeast bread dumplings.  Oh, gramma.  Why didn't we write these recipes down?????????

So, okay--- fresh tomato soup with basil from the garden.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Latest Rendition Of The Little Art Quilt



As you can see, the mid-section now has been covered over with some of Deb Lacativa's DyeWorks cloth.  And after much auditioning of colors and fabrics another scrap of Deb's went over part of the mountain.  I wanted to keep my little Moon.  And the night sky.  And the cute little patchwork house.

The Lizard is also still there.  With a strange circle under his head.

I selected the large image size in case you all want to click to see details.  A lot of thread on this.  A lot of stitches.  I would do an hour or two at a time while watching television.  Instead of reading. I REALLY like the bottom third.  It works.  The color balance, fabric choices and stitches.  I'm VERY pleased with  that part of the work.

Now I am going to try and make another.  I found an older cloth in my stash--a gift from another Deborah-- and it had the makings of several really fantastic moons.  This other Deborah got me started with this blog, with painting fabrics and with a group of quilt artists doing a series of collaborative works.  I sort of played along.  It seems"right" that she is also providing me with Moons to work with in this series of little art pieces.  And it feels "collaborative" still.

The sky in the piece above was a gift from Connie.  A selection of blue fat quarters that she had dyed. I just love the night sky it provided me with.  With a Little Help From My Friends. Thank you Connie.  And I should also thank Jude Hill and her Spirit Cloth blog.  Invisible Stitch etc.  I visit her blog often and scroll thru 10 or 12 entries.  Some with videos.  I learn so much.  The next piece will have a name as soon as it begins.  A name helps guide the design and the stitch.  This piece never had a name, so perhaps it never had a path to follow?  But it does have layers of Earth & Water under the house and mountain.

Glass Houses remained "dark" until the end.  And then there was a page or two of notes from the author.  Her husband had died while the book was being written.  Which explains the total lack of "joy" in this book.  Still good.  Just a different voice.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Garden Ending Kitchen Work


So it begins--or ends.  Today I am making the last batch of zucchini pickles for 2017.  I also have a half gallon of concord/mixed grape juice in the fridge which will become grape jelly.  This means wholesale cleaning/sanitizing of the kitchen today and the huge canning kettle of boiling water.

Mt friend Patty dropped off a brown paper grocery sack of grapes on Friday.  I picked each little grape off the stems and dropped them in the big soup kettle.  Added exactly one half cup water and set it to boil then simmer for 15 minutes.  Then strain thru the jelly bag.  then empty the jelly bag into the compost bucket.  so many SEEDS.  Chill the juice and today I'll strain it again for tartrate crystals that can damage kidney function.  Then add sugar and boil until it's jelly.

So--today is canning day.

Which means I need to put on my most messed up clothing.  And my vinyl apron so I can wipe myself off.

I worked on the Little Art Piece:   some of you will be upset when next you see it.  I covered most of the mid-section with other fabrics.  And now the top third looks wrong so I might cover it or --and this is more likely--cut it off.   This was just a "learning piece" in any event.  I was trying to get a feel for abstract work in dyed and painted fabric.  Non-representational but full of meaning. (???)

I have a large piece on the work table.  This little one is where I am making my mistakes.  Hopefully the larger piece will benefit.  So far the larger piece is three pieces of fabric and a painted moon but nothing sewn down and I need to figure out a design wall.  You REALLY HAVE to do the work vertical as that is how people will see it.  Working flat on a table top---not good. Putting the work on the floor and standing and looking down on it--not much better.

I hand basted two new seams in the Red Linen Circus Tent Swing Top.  Now I have to actually sew them.  Which means digging my way to the sewing machine and cleaning the inner parts of the machine and oiling everything.  Fun trying to get the bobbin case holder back together.  Bernina.  Three parts or maybe more--- I try and forget.  Trauma trying to get them back together and then, blind, into the bobbin thingy.  I am also thinking of making a few alterations to the huge baggy pockets--that bag out at the hip (just where I need extra "baggy-ness)---just short of sewing them SHUT.

Sewing machine and Canning.   Deluxe crappy day.


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 goes........you 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.

Alchemy?

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.  But.....in 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 cloth......one 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 Goodwill....so 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 yogurt....it 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.