Monday, February 29, 2016

In March, almost.

This floral fabric piece (this is just the top section) will be on display at the Curtis Library for the month of March along with pots and pots full of flowering bulbs that the library staff has planted and cared for all winter.

I don't know why I didn't photograph the entire piece (years ago).  Below the flowers is a lovely bowl made out of a piece of fabric I painted.  The center flower has some of the painted fabric in it's center.  At the time I made this piece, I was really into (LOL) those triangular flower shapes.  Like little cat heads.  Or beasts in Jude's Spirit world.  And I was regularly making a terrible mess on my kitchen island.  Acrylic paint spattering everywhere.  Everything in this quilt is lighter and brighter than the picture.  It must have been a very cloudy day.

I still have bolts of the white cotton I used to paint on and a full box of paint.  Why did I stop?
Those are the questions I ask myself when I am not working at my paid job.  Perhaps it was the job. Taking up 40 hours of my weeks and the regular "care and feeding" of the house and family the rest. But to set blame like that seems too easy and sort of lame.  I may have just gotten bored?

I have to admit that when I opened a container and sorted thru the contents (looking for something I never did find) I found the piece above and my heart sort of skipped a beat.  And I did spend a great deal of time running my hand over the handprinted fabric.  I never backed or finished the edges. I just seemed to have stopped and walked away.  Now, it's finished, out in the world.

Riley (the dog) is spending the day with the Vet.  Riley broke a nail on his right foot  (quite deep) and he'll need to be sedated for the Vet to remove the nail.  He spent most of yesterday licking the foot, trying to make it feel better.  I know when we finally bring him home later today, he'll still be under the "influence" and his foot will still hurt.  I am reminded of last February and the fear we all had about the growth on Riley's leg which turned out to be nothing to worry about.

March 4th will be the one year anniversary of G's heart attack.  And the kindness of my friends who took such good care of me. And Riley who pressed his head to G's chest and wouldn't move until I said "Let's get to the ER".

Friday, February 26, 2016

Darkness Giving Way To Lightness

We have had some strange weather but the days march (ha) toward more light.  More warmth.

I finished the last of the placemats, rearranged the drawer (Konda style) with the placemats folded in half then in thirds then like books, spine side up.  The napkins folded into fat squares, then lined up.  Easy to choose a new placemat and a matching or contrasting napkin.  Lots of orange fabric energy in the drawer.  Next sewing project will be more napkins made of commercial quilting fabric.

The paper notes and messages in the photo--well, there are so many pieces of things, projects, thoughts running around just now.  Yesterday I checked on my milk jug seed starting project.  A few containers needed to be watered--I scraped snow into them.  Had to watch where I set my feet as there was slippery ice in unexpected places.

That's how life seems right now--unexpected slippery spots.

Kitchen plans include Onion Soup and another soup using up the head of Escarole in the fridge (with white beans and tomato).  My plan is to try and empty the fridge and give the shelves a good wash. Fresh start and all that.  I do enjoy a sparkling clean fridge interior.

Nearly time to start my tomato and pepper seeds.  And my Amaryllis bulbs have started to flower.  Right now it's the white with a thin red edge. The proper word begins with pi but I have lost my book on proper spelling and haven't managed to get my spell check to do anything other than replace the words I type with words that are total nonsense.

I'm going to stop now--later this afternoon I have a coffee date with my fair weather walking buddy.  I can't walk/talk with this new asthma condition so we have to make do with indoor coffee and conversation.  Don't fret--I have a consultation with a Pulmonary specialist in April and my oxygen levels are 100% when tested.  The Adair put a stop to the constant coughing--which is delightful.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Patchwork--Making Something From Nothing

I have been foraging in the attic fabric boxes and closet for interesting (to me) little bits and scraps to use in making placemats.  By hand.  Not on the machine, unless absolutely necessary.

My ideas were sparked by the "free access" to Spirit Cloth's classes.  I picked up a few amazingly wonderful stitches.  The invisible tack stitch.   The Wizard Stitch.  The Split Stem Stitch.  I tried making a feather but---well, I will blame a lack of the proper threads for my absolute failure. (I got derailed for the better part of a day searching for my bags of threads-- and in the end, it took two full days to find them)

My "method" for the placemats is to cut a piece of flannel-like batting to the placemat size I have in mind.  At other times, I lay the piece I have been working on, on top of the batting and then cut. I happen to be "charmed" by irregular shapes.  Sue me.  (laughing)  I NEVER follow rules.

I don't have the thin, ancient scraps that Jude uses.  I use regular printed commercial prints.  Face up or face down.  They "needle" just fine.

I have been cutting the backing fabric large enough around the edges so I can fold it in half, once, and then pull it up over the edge of the top piece for a finished, sewn edge.  If I had to cut, fold and sew binding on--the placemats would never get made.

I have four finished and the fifth is waiting to have the "binding" slip stitched in place.  For two of them, I have used class projects that were never finished for the tops. I did have to do the invisible tack stitch all over the surface (but not through the backing) to hold down pieces that were loose. I like the "feel" of all the tiny tack stitches as I run my hands over the surface.  One of the placemats has a fabric Valentine tacked to it's center.  Made those years ago and this one got "left behind".

I am wondering if I have to add the placemats to my list of "50 things to get done" as one or as 5?
Truth be told, I am only on number 11.

In other important news, I have FINALLY made and consumed my very first smoothie.

The impetus for this "first smoothie" was a little see thru box in the produce section of my grocery. They had four varieties on display.  I chose the "body builder" kit with apple slices, carrot sticks, a lemon wedge, a chunk of ginger and a few pieces of raw beet.  I added a handful of kale leaves. I really like all the ingredients and perhaps would have been better off just eating them out of the box?

My Vitamix made all these chunks into a smooth "juice" that tasted like beet DIRT.  I added a peeled tangerine and a peeled baby cucumber to try to "sweeten" things up.  Nope.  I could only force myself to drink half---shuttering after each gulp.  Yesterday I added some Splenda to the second half and forced myself to drink it. Waste Not. Maybe I need pineapple and grapes to sweeten it all out????

I do like the "water" I make in the summer with cucumbers, mint and lemon.  I just blend until it's all "water" and then add more water and drink it.  Sometimes I add ginger root.  But that's not a smoothie.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Feeding The Birds

I sent G out yesterday afternoon to fill the bird feeders.  They were edging toward empty and, as I told G, if you have bird feeders out--you have to keep them filled.  It's a contractual thing with the birds.  Especially when it's so very cold. The birds have made a choice to hang around our yard--eating-- and if we stop--well, finding new food could possibly be impossible.

We had the usual chickadees and a new bird (for us) the Titmouse.  A very cute bird with a big brown polka dot eye.  I love anything with polka dots.  Both types were in the Weigelia right by the side of the sunporch.  All puffed up.  Trying to use the branches to cut the effects of the wind according to G.

Riley didn't get a walk.  G is very cold sensitive post bypass and it was just too cold for him.  I am having trouble breathing in cold air so I couldn't pinch hit.  Poor dog.

I spent a lovely morning reading "free" class information on Jude's blog-- Spirit Cloth.  I am now going up to the attic (unheated) to look for suitably aged fabrics to make something unique.  I don't have much.  Mostly commercially printed stuff which Jude doesn't care for.  I think she mentioned cutting up Thrift store clothing that is thin and faded.  At my Thrift store, that all goes into the rag dumpster and is sold as bulk to "someone" but not me.  I remember in the "old days" a regular table filled with a heap of faded and worn items.  But no more.  And I have never tried my hand at dye even though I collected quite a few old damask napkins.  

Instead I will go up and find some very pretty commercial stuff and make a few placemats.  Hand stitched.  Using all those lovely stitches Jude has now taught me.  Wizard Stitching.  That little tack stitch.  Split Stitch Filler.  And most of all, the feather.  I think each placemat will have at least one feather....... floating.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Orchids and the Constant Cough

These Cymbidium Orchids bloom right about now in Maine.  In the winter.  I have a few plants that were given to me by an orchid enthusiast who occasionally looks to "downsize" his collection.  This summer he mentioned that if the plants he still has "don't produce flowers" he is just getting rid of all of them.  On my last visit to the library in Town, I noticed a large, multi flowering pot of these.  So, I guess he will be keeping the orchids.

My Cymbidiums are up in the upstairs bathtub---doing nothing.  They set no flowering shoots this year.  In fact, it's been a few years since mine did much of anything.  I have one white one and the rest are pink.  Well, they would be if they bloomed.  They are making nice green leaves.

I had a follow up visit to my regular doctor this week.  Still coughing.  Did any of you know that a unproductive cough is a sign of asthma?  I didn't.  And for the months and months I have suffered with this cough-- and my doctor failed to add up 2 plus 2.  Now I have an asthma inhaler to go with my rescue inhaler.  One is for regular asthma and the rescue for reactive asthma brought on by cold air, shoveling snow, breathing woodsmoke. The cough has lessened and the wheezing is gone.  But now I am dizzy and feel like I have the "flu".  You know--that slightly odd drifty feeling the flu brings with it.  If I move my head too quickly--well, I shouldn't do that. I don't do well with new medicines.

I went onto a Lyme disease website last night and found a list of "managing the disease" issues.  Included was breathlessness "air hunger", unexplained chronic cough, unexplained sudden weight gain, off balance "tippy" feeling (this is exactly how I described it in my journal), word search, name block (I think I mentioned this in a post, not being able to remember names of people or things?), constant ringing in ears.  All of this began a few weeks after my three weeks of Lyme treatment pills ended.

I mentioned all of this to my doctor but she just isn't interested and she feels the 3 weeks of pills took care of it.  Period.  Yes, I know--get a new doctor.  But Lyme's isn't something doctors feel comfortable treating.  And, if it's gone on for a long time, it isn't even treatable anymore, people are just damaged.  My carpenter has a brother with Lyme's disease. And he can't work anymore because a carpenter has to be able to remember the measurement as he goes from the window (as an example) to the saw to cut the trim or sash.  He gets to the saw and has no idea why he's there.

I made overnight raised yeast waffles for yesterday's breakfast.  I would give them a B.  I would add more flour to the mix and use the preferred evaporated milk instead of the combination of heavy cream (what I had in the fridge) and milk.  We loved Waffle House Waffles when we lived in Georgia. These are like them. When I work them up to a solid A, I will share the recipe.

I am reading the second of the books written by Jorgen Brekke, Breathless.  I had to order the first Where Monsters Dwell so I could read them in order.   The setting is Norwegian. Dark, cold, brooding and quite bloody.  On Netflix I am three episodes into Hinterlands.  Wales.  Dark, wet brooding.  On regular television we are 4 episodes into The Bastard Executioner.  Medieval, dark, brooding and very very bloody.  It's a theme.   In-between, while waiting for the first of the Brekke books--I re-read a lovely little love story--Becoming Finola.  Connie you would like it.  Ireland.

In March, the Americans are back as is Orphan Black.

I made myself a wonderful salad for a late lunch yesterday (to even out a day which began with waffles).  I used my after-Christmas purchased Spiralizer to cut curly strings of carrot.  Do you have any idea how amazingly more delicious a carrot can be when it is presented in a tangle of curls? I didn't and now I will never eat them cut any other way.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Happy Chinese New Year

The Year of the Monkey.  Lively, playful.  We could use a year like that, since it's an election year and all (smile).

Snowing again today.  And it's very cold, no sun and the wind is pretty sharp.  Actually winter.
The Super Bowl was a Super Dud and we left the game (on tv) before the half and watched Downton Abbey instead.  Followed by Worst Cooks in America.  Much more entertaining.  My personal opinion on the Super bowl is that the two teams that make it were A) just lucky  B) too exhausted to play  C) or like to crash and burn in a very public display of....... incompetence.

Watching them roll around on the ground repeatedly fumbling the ball------ I would have blown the whistle and cleared the field.  Refunded the money.  Done.

I had a lovely job interview this morning.  With another employer.  Now I am trying to wrap my head around starting over someplace else.  Do I want to?  Should I?  Wasn't I just talking about limiting the number of months I wanted to work this year?  The Year of the Monkey.  Wow!

I found some pelletized seed packages.  Carrots, Beets, Scallions.  Easy to see and plant evenly. All the seeds are coated with this red clay substance--makes the tiny seeds bigger and brighter.  What fun. I don't have to do (Monkey around with) the flour paste and toilet paper thing this month.  Pasting the tiny seeds out in a grid on the toilet paper--ready to lay down on the soil surface (in the garden) and cover lightly with soil or compost. 150 of each.  Gosh.  150 carrots rather than the 20 I got this year.

My milk jug project (7 gallon jugs) is outside in the garden.  G placed all the jugs in little depressions he made in the snow.  They got rained on and now are covered in snow.  The caps are off--so a bit of rain and snow has probably gotten inside to moisten the soil.  G wondered what the odds were for any snowflakes or raindrops actually making a direct hit.  Now I don't think that matters as the top of each jug has a little white snow cap.  That will melt eventually.  And the seeds haven't actually germinated yet--they are still "sleeping".  I have two more gallon jugs and one half gallon to plant with seeds.  I asked G to look into the recycle bins along the street for more jugs ---- you should have seen me eyeing carts at the grocery--for ones with three or four gallons of milk.  A milk-jug stalker!!!

I haven't gotten the onion seeds started yet--that's my next project.  I'll be using the nice 6 by 10 inch salad boxes (with lids) I get Spring Greens and Baby Kale in.  Have to ask G to drill holes in the bottoms for drainage.  I am checking to see just how much seed starting soil mix I have on hand.

Happy New Year!!!

Friday, February 05, 2016

Hello, Again

Well, even though it was 50 something degrees yesterday and most of the landscape shrubs had fat buds and very green leaves ---- we now have snow.  Lots of it.  Started snowing very early, before I was awake, and continues into the late afternoon.   Snow globe snow.  Swirling around outside.

The dog is happy.  He loves snow.

G isn't happy.  He has to go out and snow-blow it all off the driveway.

I think it's pretty and wintery but I have no where to go--so it's okay with me.

Our daughter had to drive home in it but she's safely home and getting her own driveway shoveled.
No school here in Maine.  So, it's pretty quiet outside.

G and I just finished our usual late lunch while watching House Hunters (Naples, Florida) and one of the houses looked like something I would actually love.  Big open plan and everything white.  On a golf course.  Not that I would use the golf course.  The golf cart?  Yes.

I took my last capsule of the Z-Pak and I still have a cough--but the chest congestion has lessened. I am going to return to "Deep Couch City" and read more of this Norwegian murder mystery which keeps going back and forth from 1538 to 2010.  I ate the last few pieces of my TJ's dark chocolate covered caramels last week (or the week before) so I won't be tempted to get up off the couch to get candy.

I did some laundry and we have lots of leftovers to eat.  Not much work for me to do this afternoon.  So, I will just sit and read.  Until it gets dark outside.  I am reminded of last February--when I was cooking beans every week--trying out new dry chilies for the flavoring.  And this February we are trying to eat as many potato chips as possible with our lunches.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Well, I Certainly Didn't See This Happening

I had a tremendously hard time breathing last night.  The inhaler didn't help much and when I woke up this morning I still had what I would call congestion (no cough) and a feeling of heaviness in my lungs.  And to tell the complete honest truth--I was beginning to wonder about lung cancer.

Called my doctor.  Had an appointment but the office nurse decided, after talking to me, to send me to the ER for a chest Xray and a breathing treatment.

So there I was --wearing a hospital ID band.  I spent 2.5 hours in ER.  And the ER doctor said my oxygen levels were 100%, my chest Xray was perfect, my color was good and for my age I was extremely healthy.  And they sent me home with a prescription for a Z-Pak as the doctor thought a 2 month "cough/cold" was too long.

Everyone at ER thought I looked familiar.  From working down the street from the hospital.  So, while I rested in my ER bed I gave out helpful gardening tips and advice.

G found that fascinating.