Wednesday, October 31, 2012

So Sad

I had a whole porch full of tiny trick or treaters and had to tell them I had NO CANDY for them.  I guess parents today don't know that you only go to homes with porch lights on.  Mine was off.  And the kids were walking to my house in the dark.  Sigh.  Riley went crazy barking.  Probably scared the little ones.

A quiet day at work.  Flowers for a weekend wedding filled a large Suburban.  What a riot of red and white roses and gorgeous lilies.  A coworker's mom lost her battle in the hospital last night.  We are all saddened by her loss.  A wedding and now a funeral.  Life is such a blend of happy and sad.  The news from New Jersey and New York is also happy and sad.  So few have died.  So many have lost everything BUT their life.  Your home is your safe haven.  I watch and remember the pictures from Japan.

Tomorrow.  Will be a better day.

Happy Halloween

Here it is the end of October.  Why is time flying so quickly now?  Time to go to the library and get the Spooky House.

It's not snowing this year.  We had a huge storm last Halloween.  This year, even at 11 pm, it feels quite tropical outside.  Last night the clouds were moving fast over the full moon's face.  The wind was soft and warm.  Then a few minutes later, rain was pouring down, beating on the windows.  Then quiet. This "hurricane" is still flexing it's muscles.  Luckily, Maine is getting the tropical side of things.

Hope you get "treats" today and no "tricks".   I'm off to work.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It's All Over-- Stormwise

We had a very brief period without power, I think it might have been 45 minutes to an hour, and then there was flickering and the power came back on.  Got to watch the very end of DWTS.  The house is so well insulated that we could barely here the wind.  I did hear the gusting rain though.

Now everything is wet.  Nearly all the leaves are off the oaks.  No branches on the lawn.  The garbage men are here at the regular time picking up.  Everything is normal.  Doggie day is open so I will go to work and Riley will go there.  Maine was very lucky, again.  Not everyone can say that.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Storm Has Arrived--19:35

Winds are blowing.  Rain is falling.  I'm going to take a shower while there's hot water.  This is supposed to be over in a few hours as the storm makes landfall.

The pot roast was sublime.  I just wish I had time and excess calories available to make the flourless chocolate cake Diane N suggested.  Perhaps tomorrow.

Future Master Bathroom

As you can see, I am interested in the "spare/bare" look of future decorating around here.  I am not actually going to get these shallow sinks.  A friend has them and water splashes everywhere and you can't wash cashmere sweaters in the sink.  Something I do often.

Riley and I are well fed and waiting for the storm to begin.  We are having drizzle.  Very light breezes. I saw on the news an hour ago that Pennsylvania is already having high winds.  Which makes me wonder if the local stations are just trying to be "included" in the Big Storm as a way to gather viewers? High tide is now.  Well, the first one.  Second one is at 11 pm tonight.  We are prepared for the worst.

I have a lovely 6 pound chuck roast in the oven, not the crock pot.  My grocery had them on sale for $2.99 a pound.  I have a cabbage to cut into cole slaw and potatoes to boil and mash for tonight's dinner.  Plenty for leftovers by candlelight if the power goes off tomorrow.  Whether I go to work tomorrow depends on doggie day care being open or not.  The sun seems to be trying to shine.  The last of the oak leaves are fluttering gently, but not much.

I'm still in my pajamas.  Since I did the necessary grocery shopping last night after work, the only reason to go out is to pick up G's library book.  I could just suggest he stop and get it on his way home from work.  Breakfast was bacon, eggs and red grapefruit.  I am having my second cup of coffee.  The last load of laundry is in the dryer.  I think I will change the bed sheets and get them into the washer.

What I want to do is travel down to the workroom and play with fabric for an hour or two.  Perhaps even paint some fabric.  I watched QA on PBS and saw Marsha Derse printing and painting fabric (in much the same way I do, except I don't use dyes or resists).  Now I want some silk screen inks.  I have the dye and resists if I seriously want to start down that path.  I am just sort of "afraid" of the dyes.

I am trying to find a very simple flour less chocolate cake recipe to make for myself.  One of the high school students had a small portion of the cake she made at school to share with me.  She is just not sure the recipe she wrote out for me is correct.  Eight ingredients.  We have eight items in the recipe  but L thinks there was melted chocolate AND cocoa.  If we add the cocoa then we have nine items. So I have to either find a recipe that matches on the internet or wait until I see her again at work.  Perhaps next Friday.  Her little sample was delicious.

So, I am sending G and email to pick up his book.  I am changing the bed sheets.  I am going down to the workroom and see what I can find to do.  A very lazy day.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Wood Trim

I have winter plans for what is now the "workspace" and will soon be the guest bedroom.  Again.  The more I change things the more I go back to the beginning.  I tore down half the "quaint" wallpaper when the new window went in last summer (not this summer) but never moved past that to removing the design board or the other half of the wallpaper.

I like the idea of the boards on the wall.  I plan to use the bunk beds I slept in when I was a small child.  I slept on the top bunk (at 4 or 5 years) and my younger brother the bottom bunk.  Our youngest brother had the crib across the narrow walking space between the beds.  So much for separate rooms in 1950.  Falling out of bed could have been fatal.  That's why I was given the top bunk.  Even then I knew I wasn't wanted. But I managed to get the beds.  I had always planned to refinish them in their natural maple hue.  Now that graphite bench is suggesting a different stain.

I managed to sleep late today.  My day off.  I had cucumber salad for breakfast and oatmeal for lunch. I Googled a winter Israeli salad of cabbage, carrots, raw beet and radishes to replace my summer love--the tomatoes and mozzarella as well as the cucumbers in sour cream and dill weed.  I find I prefer a cold breakfast of low carb vegetables.  Isn't it interesting to discover new things about yourself?  Even when you thought there was nothing new to discover?

I washed some of Riley's dog toys and his bed covers today while he was outside paroling the the yard, keeping us safe from CATS.  Then I ironed 13 shirts.  Or more.  Then I used the new vacuum to clean the whole house.  It was a pain to find places to plug in the vacuum as it has a short cord.  Mostly I sat here in front of the computer.  Watched episode 4 or 5 of the new BBC cooking show with Nigella on YouTube and a favorite episode of the Little Paris Kitchen with Rachel Khoos (I hope Santa brings me the cookbook). Read blogs and news reports. Got depressed.  Made a list of things to do before Sandy arrives.  (I don't think Maine is getting more than 4 days of rain).  By then it was time for G to get home.  We had dinner and I sat at the table and paid all the bills.  Had just enough stamps.

My shopping list:  toilet paper and stamps.

PBS shows a repeat of Masterpiece on Saturday and I got to watch that as I went through the bills and balanced the checkbook.  A nice surprise.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blue Sky Orange Leaves

A truly lovely combination.  I was standing in the Nursery yard yesterday, at work, waiting for my coworker to return to the inventory we were taking of the remaining trees and shrubs, and I looked up.  The entire sky from ground to ground was perfectly, solidly BLUE.  No pollution.  Not a single cloud. Heartbreakingly beautiful.  I wished it had been possible (without looking insane) to lay flat on the ground and just see the sky.

I am exhausted.  Working.  Then coming home to landscaping tasks.  Then housekeeping tasks (which never get the time and attention they need).  This morning, while washing and moisturizing my face I stopped to look.  I had glimpsed something "new".  Dark slivers of bruises under my eyes.  Wearing my trifocal glasses covers that section of my eyes usually.  I don't remember seeing the bruises last week.  But, I admit to being very tired.  Weary.  And the muscle on the outside of my elbow joint is still hurting, but only when I lift something that puts stress on the muscle.  Which I try not to do.  But I forget and then when I sit down to watch television the muscle lets me know I used it too much during the day.

Yesterday I sliced the top layer of weeds and grass off of about a square yard of the next landscaping bed that will be getting my attention.  I even managed (with G's help) to dig up a large clump of iris.  A few iris are nice.  A clump is not.  I have about 10 (or more) square yards to clear before I am done.  The "every five year" weeding process.  And, since it's five years since I started working full time--it has been that long since everything was properly weeded.

One major accomplishment that I am quite proud of at this moment in time--- every single plant I started, purchased or was given, is now in the ground.  The back deck is bare.  No pots. Never happened before.  The next major work is a large brush fire to clear things up in the back acre of the yard.  G and I have burned brush as the snow fell on us.  Still could happen.  The leaf pile has grown, diminished and then grown again.  I planted garlic ( I said I wouldn't).

I must pack my lunch and get Riley ready to go to day care.  It's Friday.  I have tomorrow off.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Never Ending Leaves

G rakes them up.  H drives them over here in his truck.  I spread them everywhere there is bare dirt.  And still the pile seems as high as it was before I started.  The nice part is that the leaf pile has just enough grass clippings mixed in and is still heating up.  Composting.  And the BEST stuff on Earth is leaf mold.  We even cleaned out my old set of compost bins and I started layering my kitchen debris with leaves there.  Easier than trying to get all the way to the back of the vegetable garden in the winter.

I have been struggling to get ahead of the weeds in my perennial and shrub beds for the past five years (since I started working full time) and this fall I am making a big effort to remove the weedy top five inches from one large bed and plant a few new shrubs and roses and then top the open soil with chopped leaf mulch.  I was pleased to uncover a large number of worms in this soil, which was the location of my first vegetable garden 20 years ago.  It was also where I tried to grow a large number of hybrid tea roses. Tried. Failed.  I did add a home made mixture (from Martha Stewart) of additives to the soil for those roses.  It seems to have made a significant difference to the soil over the years.

Finally, (finally), made an actual dinner last night.  Roast turkey breast, baked sweet potatoes, steamed green beans and a small portion of stuffing for G.  It was SO DELICIOUS.  We were so hungry for a real meal.  G has taken his last pill and feels much better.  Has color in his face.  His voice is still thready but getting stronger.  He returned to work yesterday and it was okay.  Counting down the days until he retires on December 23rd.  I signed us up for a Medicare seminar on November 1st. Hard to believe we are old enough for this.  I don't feel ready to retire.  I don't feel ready to be old.

My last class (at work) for 2012 went well.  I had a larger than expected turn out.  We are all decorated for Christmas at work and are just about ready to start making the Holiday Greens Boxes.  The mum population is declining and the count down to the Winter Open House is starting. Poinsettias.

 I have to REALLY switch from a cold yogurt lunch to a hot soup lunch.  I have my recipe for lentil soup right here by the computer.  I purchased a bag of lentils yesterday.  It's low fat and low calorie but not low carb which is why it fills you up.  I spent far too much time trying to find something to wear this morning--38 degrees at 8 am.  It takes a while to completely transition from warm weather work clothing to cold weather work clothing.  Some of the guys at work change into shorts before lunch.  I just take off my jacket, then my sweatshirt, roll up the sleeves on my thermal undershirt etc.  Then reverse as the afternoon gets chilly.

Getting my haircut this morning before work.  Riley wants to get going.  He missed day care last week because G was home on vacation and he wants to get back into his doggie routine.  Under my feet grumbling.  Still have to pack his lunch and put coffee in my thermos.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Someday I Will Have Windows

From the floor to the ceiling.  On the entire south side of the house.  When the chimney is gone.  When I win the Publisher's Clearing House millions.  Note: I may be too attractive and educated to ever win the Publisher's Clearing House having watched the winners being "surprised" with checks and balloons on television.  Do you think any of it is real?

Worked today.  I am exhausted from waking up at 6 am and being in the car by 7 for five days straight.  Today was 9.5 hours long at work.  And my class went well.  Closing up the garden for the winter.  That's my last class for 2012. I even got a compliment for the pot of regular coffee I made for the snack table.  Strong.

G wanted to go out to dinner.  I said yes, even though my body and mind just wanted a shower, pajamas and sleep.  We went to the Memphis BBQ spot.  G had to stop eating midway through his dinner.  We had the usual deep fried smoked ribs for an appetizer.  Not as greasy as you are imagining. Just "crispy" smoked ribs--a half order.  And G should have stopped there.  His pills are making him feel and look human again.  Which is a very good thing.

I had a margarita to celebrate the end of my week at work.  Lord, I'm tired.  Tomorrow I need to finish working in the root infested bed and then iron all the shirts piled on the end of the ironing board.  I hope it isn't raining tomorrow.  If it is; I am sitting on the couch watching all 15 recorded episodes of Big Bang.

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Life Is An Experience Words Cannot Convey

Pinning these images has opened a whole new way of life to me.  See it. Take it. Use it.   I was talking about this to two different people.  One an artist and one a consumer.  The artist found this taking and using of images to be distasteful.  The consumer sees it as a way to "be reminded" of the things and ideas she wants to purchase, make, or use.  I think the artist was thinking the same things.   The "taking" of ideas to "use, make use of and sell".  Nothing actually belongs to the owner anymore.

I've been wake a long time.  My brain woke my body up.  I have prep to do for my gardening class tomorrow and I needed to type up the pages so I can make copies at work today.  One on planting garlic, second on winter protection for roses and a third on building a cold frame in the garden--which reminds me that I need a fourth on a hoop frame for cold protection of winter spinach and lettuce crops.  Really what I need is a small mock up model of the hoop house.  Just like I regret tearing up the little 3 bin compost model I had.  Little demo models make things so much easier to explain.  A picture (or a model) is worth a thousand descriptive words.

I had eggs for breakfast yesterday and discovered I stayed fuller, longer with the oatmeal.  So, it's oatmeal for today's breakfast.

My son wrote me an email mentioning that he was beginning to get nervous regarding my posts on my lack of appetite (for the foods I am allowed to eat) and the constant weight chat.  Perhaps I have caused you, dear Readers, the same?  I am eating.  I am not losing weight.  I am healthy.  My hair and nails look good.  My teeth aren't wiggling around in my jaws.  I have been around a sick person for 3 weeks and still am not sick, myself.  I have noticed I stopped coughing when I stopped eating peanut butter.  Which makes me VERY SAD as PB was my go to snack.  I may have a peanut allergy.

Anyway.  No more diet talk.  Sorry about the oatmeal reference a few paragraphs up.  It will take me time and much use of the delete button to get this down.

I WILL be having more garden and art chat in future.  Right now, well, I began after work yesterday, I am digging out all the invasive sunflowerish weeds growing in the bed behind the garage.  I filled, to over flowing, the garden cart with stems, roots and weeds.  I still need to redig the bed to find all the roots and stems.  Each will regrow a plant if given half a chance.  This is AFTER moving and reorganizing all the perennials  at WORK for eventual shipment back to the big greenhouse far away.  I wasn't sad about doing all that lifting and sorting.  I was, at least, outside and it was warm and the sun was shining.  Rain today.  Miserable at work when it rains.

We have Christmas trees (decorated), ornaments and gifts all over the store right now.  We are getting ready to start making the winter holiday boxes.  No greens yet but the cashiers up front are winding wire around pinecones for box and wreath decorations.  And it's not even Halloween.  Customers are asking for Christmas cactus and Amaryllis bulbs already.  We have neither.  Yet.  I remember my intense anticipation, that first winter, for all things Christmas.  Now?  Not so excited.  It goes by so quickly.  Yes, it seems like everything went by too quickly this year.  Is it because I am getting older? Or are we just rushing around too much these days.

Seems so long ago that I had a counter top full of ripe red tomatoes and too many zucchini.  Now I am trying to figure out where to put all the houseplants and citrus trees that I had outside all summer.  I am still refusing to turn on the furnace even though it is only 60 in here.  Well. I need to find a hoop house fact sheet to use for class.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Whole Wall Full of To Do Lists + An Earthquake

Right behind the bed pillows.  I would infer that the home owner is apt to jump up in the middle of the night with fantastic ideas that need to be written down.  Or dreams.  I don't think I have ever had a really great idea in the middle of the night, other than those dreams when your feet are heavy lead and you can't run away.  My most usual dream, as a young adult, was living in my family home (parents siblings) upside down.  Walking on the ceiling.  Analyze that.

Today started out freezing cold.  Then got a bit warmer.  Then warmer.   With each degree of warmth, I took off a layer of outerwear.  And then started putting them back on as it got closer to dusk.  October.

The guy I met at work is still bringing leaves by the truck load to me.  The pile has heated up nicely.  Warm and steamy (I can see it) as I dig.  G is now adding the leaves and grass clippings from our lawn (finally dry enough to cut) and that will get the pile's temperature up as well.  I love leaf mulch. I clipped back the false indigo stems and the peony stems and leaves are bagged for disposal.

I'm teaching a class on "getting the beds ready for winter" so I have to actually DO the work to prepare for the class before Saturday.

Last night, at dinner, G and I enjoyed the 4.0 earthquake that rumbled through the state.  A loudish rumbling (like a very big truck coming down towards us) and then a bit of rolling and bumping under us.  Much nicer than the jolt and slam of the other kind.  The dishes would have rattled in the cupboards if we had been home.  Wonder what Riley thought?

I have slipped away from my low carb diet--in the morning-- yesterday and today.  Hot oatmeal.  I even went so far as to purchase a new box of oatmeal.  Intending to continue eating oatmeal for breakfast thru the winter and also make and eat plenty of Monika's German Lentil Suppe.  These are two things I ate in quantity during the 1200 calorie diet.  Recipe coming when I make the first batch this winter. I was happy to find I did not get hungry at work and didn't experience a sugar spike.  Carbs are full of sugars.  Lunch was homemade chili with black beans and sour cream.  I'm not hungry at 5:30 so this is very good.

Time to take my shower and do a load of laundry.  Tomorrow is my VERY early day when I have to unlock the the store.  I may eat my oatmeal at work after opening the store.  That's my plan.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dark Mornings

October is, so far, darker than usual.  And wet.  It is still raining.  Not hard and steady.  Drippy and steady.  Yesterday the temp rose to the low 70's and the mosquitoes returned to harass me while I closed up the tomato bed and added leaves to the rhododendron bed that faces the end of the driveway. It's the first of the backyard a person visiting sees.  It should be attractive.

I am having oatmeal for breakfast with a whisper of Splenda and a splash of cream.  I am so tired of eggs.  I am so tired of eating cold foods in the morning.  I want comfort.  I also had two little prunes. So something sweet and something hot and filling.  Not my diet.  Well, not my diet of the past 18 months.  Perhaps my diet of the next four months.  A return to the diet of 2007?  Not really.  I am barely eating right now and still not losing anything.  I am also not feeling the "love" anymore.  My rear end weight just isn't budging.  I am thinking all the fat (I eat) has decided to take up permanent residence in my butt. I don't think I am wrong.  With 1200 calories a day, my butt was down to skin covered bone.  Much better.

There has to be a way to combine what I know about subduing the urge to eat (low carb) and the way to lose weight (1200 calories a day) to finally reach a weight I can try to maintain for the next 30 years. My downfall (of the 1200 calories) was going to work at the greenhouse and eating fast food.  Plain truth here; I ate too much.

We bought a new vacuum.  Hard choice between the Roller Ball Animal (Dyson) for $600 and the on sale Hoover for $99.  The Joanne who was once the pampered wife of a corporate executive wanted the Animal.  The Joanne thinking about a husband retiring on Dec 23rd knew she had to lower her sights to the Hoover.  I wonder if these are the choices we will face for the remainder of our lives?  The Hoover did a commendable job.  G mentioned, only once, "imagine the job the Animal would have done".  I did imagine it.  And then put it out of my mind.

So, today is a, perhaps, temporary pivotal point in how the next few months goes.  I feel like I am standing at the fork in two roads.  Choosing which way to go.  So far, when I have chosen the untrod path I have been pleased.

I don't know if anyone still watches DWTS after the past few weeks of Bristol Palin.  This untalented Tea Party Queen is still not dancing and still sending others home.  The political leanings of ABC are very evident.  Sarah Palin is front row center each week.  The judges give the girl high marks for a miserable performance.  The overnight "votes" keep her on the show while better, much better, dancers go home.  It is sad.  I feel diminished by the thought of what this means. Students who can't spell or make change with high school diplomas or, better still, college diplomas.  Teachers who no longer try getting annual merit raises because of the union bargaining.  Police who blast past traffic with lights and sirens just to get past traffic or get to the pizza joint to eat lunch.  A society where mediocre is good enough.

This is not the America I know or love.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Today Would Have Been My Dad's 90th Birthday

Dad would have been so excited to have reached 90.  He was expecting to die at 49 when he had a massive coronary.  Everything after that would have been "extra" but he worked hard to stop drinking and smoking.  He exercised by going roller skating every week and sometimes twice.  My dad worked HARD on staying alive.  I just wish he had enjoyed it more.

But, perhaps he did enjoy his "extra" life and I just didn't get it.  He complained all the time that he had never had a vacation.  I felt like the extra 38 non-working years was a total vacation.  He was often angry with me and there were years when we didn't have any contact at all.  I  went to live with him when he came out of rehab after almost dying in 2004.  Six weeks out of my life.  We reconciled.  I was at his bedside when he was dying.

Dad loved to tinker away in his workshop in the basement.  Loved to cut the large lawn he had with the riding mower.  Liked growing vegetables and making pickles.  Loved his dogs.  Loved eating apple doughnuts with his morning coffee (4 or 5am) and playing poker on line late into the night.

My dad wasn't the best dad in the world. Never said he loved me. But I forgave him that and still loved him.  I just didn't like him.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Good Work Day @ Home

Riley and I slept until almost 10 am this morning.  I was tired from a week of work and he was tired from getting a bath at doggie day care.

I finally had time to make the Atkins Breakfast Casserole.  10 eggs.  1/2 pound of cheese. Pint of heavy cream.  Pound of Jimmy Dean Sausage, browned with an onion and some green peppers.  It gets "layered" and then baked.  25 to 30 minutes at 350.  Mine baked for an hour and still wasn't firm enough for my tastes.  I ate some.  I think my oven is thinking about dying.  I left it on overnight a month ago--must have been too much.  Now, I turn around and drive back home to check that all the burners are off.  And get up in the middle of the night to see if the oven light is on.

While waiting for the casserole to bake, I washed the coffee machine, made coffee  and read blogs.  Then I had a small square of casserole with sautéed kale.  I give it a 5 out of 10.  It was better ice cold.  Maybe a 6.5.

Then Riley and I went outside.  To clean up some of the eight raised beds (4 feet by 16) and then haul the lovely chopped leaves a work customer is bringing to me (instead of the Town dump).  I planned to haul leaves in an empty 30 gallon garbage can.  I hope Santa brings me one with wheels this year.  Wheels would have made things easier.

I cleaned out the bean, corn and squash bed first.  Three cans of leaves.  Then the green pepper bed.  Three cans of leaves.  Then the zucchini and cucumber bed.  Three more cans of leaves.  Then I got my digging tool and removed all the strawberry plants and runners from the strawberry bed.  I had decided I am not a person who enjoys growing strawberries.  And what berries there were; the crows ate.  Or the chipmunks.  Three more cans of leaves.

I half cleaned the fifth bed.  Just the side where the eggplant and brandywine tomatoes had been.  The other side is still busy growing baby kale and tiny carrots.  I also cleaned the rhubarb portion of the sixth bed.  And covered both of those places with an additional two cans of leaves.

The leaf pile is already warming up (composting) so it was wonderful to see steam coming out of the leaf pile while I was digging. all three of my compost bins in the garden are full to overflowing.  The raspberries (fall bearing) had enough berries for Riley and I to share.  Then G arrived home from work and I came inside.  Riley is chewing his new bone.  I'm having a nice cup of coffee.  And I think a good hot shower and some Aleve would be just the ticket right now.  I tried NOT using my left arm for any of the garbage can lifting and dragging.  It already is hurt enough.  I really HAVE to work on building up my upper body strength.  Weight lifting like a guy.

It's now 5:20.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Red Jacket

I was thinking, planning, watching for, a new Fall jacket.  Red.  Or Dark Blue.  And then I was walking past the large bag of clothing that I cut up and use in my work.  A red corduroy jacket.  JJill.  in a double XL.   It never fit right when I was fat.  What the hell.  I tried it on.  It looks great.  All wide wale cord and shorter in front and longer and with a gather in the back.  Just like the fashions of 2012. Real happy I never made anything that "needed" a slice of red corduroy.

I also wanted to buy an acid green top. A sweater.  And in the bag of "soon to be chopped up clothing" is a lime/yellow sweater.  It didn't fit then. Fits now.  And it almost the color I was wanting to wear with the new infinity scarf I bought at the Gap.

Two new outfits.  All I actually need as I never go anywhere but WORK.

I plan on going back to the bag to see if there's a new vacuum in there.  Ours burst into junk and a cloud of smoke.  Target has a Hoover on sale this week for $99.  As much as I want to spend on the secondary vacuum.

All the tender plants and houseplants are tucked into every nook and cranny in the sunroom and foyer.  We are having a hard frost tonight--into the 20's.  Baby it's cold outside.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What I Made At Art Club

The group was investigating image transfers.  They had gotten of list of about five of the easiest (simplest) techniques off YouTube and had a list of supplies (which they had or purchased for everyone to use) and even had copies of images to share.  That's what I like about this group.  They share and they dive right in.

The surface I worked on was a shared piece of watercolor paper.  The leaf was a shared photocopy.  (I had arrived directly from work and had nothing with me) The picture of shirts is from an artist show postcard.  The leaf was a gel medium transfer and the shirts a packing tape transfer.  The two items benefited from a days worth of drying before I wet them and rubbed the paper off.

My "art school" background slipped out.  I just had to gently suggest that several images could be stacked on top of each other; and they could even be applied to a textured or painted background.  I had made a bookmark with a wooden Pinochio image and added "landscaping" wings. Transparent images are begging to be layered.

Not that these women aren't artists.  Several had TWO pieces in the recent 10x10 and sold both.  From the conversation, I gathered that there are buyers who "collect" their work from year to year.  Now, that is very nice, indeed.  Next month, more transfers.  I'll bring the ones I have done on fabric.  I don't know if they realize you can transfer onto fabric, though one member wanted to transfer onto wood.

I arrived home at 8pm happy that I had attended Art Club and even more excited to find a large manila envelope and a magazine.  Thank you SO Much!!!!!!  I may have to renew my subscription.  There were so many articles and images that have me dizzy with ideas.  Quilting Arts/ Oct-Nov 2012.  My friend Deborah has an article inside which I need to read before working on my "Sweet" challenge.

I was up so early this morning to prep my pot roast for the crock pot.  Now the house is smelling so delicious and I have to peel potatoes and fix a vegetable.  Finally, a good dinner.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Breakfast Pepper

I think, this winter, I will be painting peppers each morning after breakfast.  There is something here, in this red pepper from my garden that is saying "hey, paint me".  I chopped the other half up for this morning's breakfast.

The next 12x12 challenge is "Sweet" and I have an idea already.  Magical to have an idea before the night before the deadline.  I will be continuing with my experiments on the backside of that black fabric.  Drawing on the surface with chalk and wax crayons.  Then I will be adding something borrowed and new to my "tool box" of surface design.  I am excited.  I don't know about you, but when something works on fabric, I always say "sweet" to express my delight.  Let's hope my ideas for this piece turn out to be "sweet".

I think I will also be making a very large experiment on the backside of the black fabric.  I have wanted, forever, to actually draw and paint on the fabric and then stitch.  I managed to paint my own fabric a few years ago and mostly use the painted fabric in my work now.  I gave away 80% of my commercial fabric collection.  I was trying to be like every other quilter I knew.  It wasn't who I am.  It never felt right.  My work was always a bit "off" as I struggled to use commercial prints.  Now, using painted and discharged recycled fabric, I feel more comfortable.  Now it's time to actually be who I am and start drawing on the fabric.  This what has always been "missing" in the design.  The drawn line.  The topstitching on or around the drawn line.  Perhaps I will enjoy the work now????

I found a few items of clothing that had been "missing" and, in fact, had been in a big pile on top of my sock basket.  A large hand woven basket full of socks.  I was looking for the other green smart wool sock and in doing so, uncovered the lovely, soft wide wale cord pants I had gotten from Goodwill.  JJill.  So dreamy.  And the pink hoodie.

I ventured into "stylish" yesterday to go grocery shopping.  Rolled leg jeans, red ballet flats, white shirt with tails hanging out under a navy knit top.  G was home already when Riley and I carried in the groceries.  He said I looked cute.  It's almost too chilly here in Maine for ankle baring rolled jeans.

My groceries included sausage for a breakfast casserole recipe, an on sale beef pot roast for tomorrow's dinner, a large box of baby kale for my breakfast omelets and sugar free canned peaches to eat with my yogurt.  The last of my friend's peaches grew grey and fuzzy and are now compost.  I could drive over there to get more but it's a scary drive on a badly paved and curvy road.  I even purchased potatoes for mashed potatoes alongside the pot roast.  I never made pot roast for my birthday this year.  I missed having it so I am going to remedy that.

Time to leave for work.  I have the last container of vegetable soup to take for lunch.  The dog is ready to go.  He's been "ringing" the bell on the back door with his nose for  the last few minutes.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Which Way To Go?

There are times, in my life, when I have no choice.  I must just go forward.  But, it seems, that right now, I have the space to make a few choices.  To be the commander of my decisions.  Heady stuff. Rather like having been stuck in heavy traffic and then having the road ahead open and clear of traffic.

Saturday I "chose" to spend the best part of the day with my daughter.  We went "shopping".  My daughter is an excellent and relentless shopper.  I wanted new jeans.  Skinnier jeans.  Ones I could roll up and have the ankle exposed.  Eddie Bauer had some, but S thought they were uninteresting.  Onward to the Gap.   Now, I admit here, that no matter what size I am, I have never actually fit into any Gap jeans I have tried on.

I found the Sexy Boyfriend Jeans that a coworker had worn to work last week.  And, because I was shopping with my daughter, I tried on many variations of the SB.  Many sizes. Many designs. All fit completely different.  So, readers, try on ALL the available pants.  I TRIED THEM ALL ON.  Time after time.  First for fit.  Then for comfort.  Then for style.  Then to walk around in.  Then to sit down in.  And IGNORE the size of the pants.  It doesn't matter.  When pants fit and look good--the size is meaningless.

I can say, with certainty, that the $80 SBJ that I "chose" fit me the best of any of the ones I tried.  I look forward to wearing them at every opportunity, rolled up or down.  And the menswear (soft as baby clothes) white button down shirt with long tails, which will be hanging out from under all my sweaters. I will also be wearing that as often as possible.  My new "uniform".

The two of us managed to fit in a lovely late lunch at Red Robin.  I got the Royal Red Robin burger wrapped in lettuce with cole slaw instead of the french fries.  Delicious.  We had both been wanting a really good burger.

Tomorrow is Art Club.  They will be making print transfers.  I like making print transfers. So I am "choosing" to go. I was thinking of taking some "show and tell" but Art Club doesn't do that.  So, I will take whatever I start working on today and finish it there.  Last time, my pen and paper journal was interesting for them to look at as I include lots of collage and drawing.  The other two artists were prepping canvas and an old wood cigar box for collage. Perhaps they will add a photo transfer tomorrow evening.

I am reading.  I am enjoying Elementary (the new Sherlock Holmes).  I am still not eating a proper dinner.  G is still weak but feeling just a bit better each day.  He won't eat the banana I bought for him. Or the crackers.  Or the applesauce.  He is able to eat and retain the chicken soup I made for him, but that, and yogurt and toast, is all he is eating.  So, no wonder he is weak.  I "choose" to no longer participate in his "illness".

Work is still slow.  The economy or whatever.  I hardly know anymore.  Too much time with nothing to do.  Not a good way to spend the work part of my days.  Looking forward to decorating the Christmas display trees.  Perhaps the twinkling lights will bring cheer and customers?

Right now, I need some breakfast.  Starving.  Then laundry.  Then something fun.

Friday, October 05, 2012

It's Raining. It's Pouring.

And I wish I could say I have carrots coming out of my garden.  Not.  But there is the "possibility" of future carrots in November.  Maybe.

G is sick again.  He has a few days of being relatively okay, able to walk around and seem normal, and then he quickly goes back to the couch and his moaning and complaining.  This time around, it was his own doing.  He didn't follow the BRAT diet and ate things which disturbed his stomach and intestines.  I am NOT sympathetic.  He is also NOT drinking enough water.  I hand him glasses of water.

I am exhausted.  Not from doing anything exhausting.  But from this endless merry go round of illness.

This morning I walked around the house spraying everything I think G may have touched, with bleach. Doorknobs, light switches, the toilets, sinks etc.  It is amazing that he hasn't contaminated me.  It must be because we don't eat any of the same foods or eat or drink from common dishes.

I put everything he touches into the dishwasher.  Or washing machine.  The bed sheets are in the washer right now.  With all the towels.  The whole house smells like bleach.  And the dog and I are leaving soon for doggie daycare and work.  Where we can rest.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Friend of Twelve ByTwelve - Maverick

This piece, rather oddly and incredibly, combines all the previous themes with the current theme.  I see Metamorphosis, Myth and Maps here as well as Maverick. I have struggled with the four themes of this 12 by 20 challenge this year.  But this piece went together easily, which means, in Joanne's world, that it was meant to be.  The pieces I struggle with are overworked, over analyzed and just not what I wanted.  The pieces that are truly what I wanted to make, come together in a matter of minutes. As if some "other hand" was using my hands and body to make them.  My mind is shut down.  I don't think while making the really good stuff.  Not saying this is really good stuff.  But I love it. Definitely One Of A Kind.  (smiling).  And I used the remains (or false starts) of the other 3 pieces to make this.

So it's called Alien X-Ray.  12 by 20.  Commercial prints, discharged cotton, chalk, wax pastels.  Machine appliqué and quilting.