Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 28

Here is my nine patch.  Each of the squares had a circle hand appliquéd to it's surface.  Then the squares were arranged and sewn together.  All of this was done with needle and thread.  No machines.
Not even a rotary cutter.  They looked boring and unfinished.

So I took a handful of scrap pieces of fabric with me to the couch where I spend quite a bit of Time. I tried out different things.  Some I liked enough to sew down.  Some I didn't like after they were sewn down (and then snipped and removed--sometimes more than once)  This has never been pressed with the iron.  Though I really would like to press it.

The idea here was about moons but really--it's about "circles" as nothing here ever was saying anything about moons.

The next prompt for the work is supposed to be layering and invisible stitches to hold the two layers together.  Then quilting or adding embroidery stitching.  I am wondering if I should just cut all the squares apart and make something else.  Like a placemat for the table.  To set my dinner plate on top of.  I can continue to adorn this fabric square with more and more---I have another piece, much different, which has been so adorned and now is "just awful" and is buried in the scrap wastebasket.  Waiting to be cut up and used for something.  Such a waste of Good Thread.

And so ends February.  It hasn't been the greatest month.  Another storm is coming in with March.  Supposedly rain but possibly snow and ice as well.  Flooding.  There is no sun today. I am getting tired of bananas.  Haven't had a decent lunch all month.  Put sugar in my coffee twice by accident and the pot is empty.  So over sweet coffee or none was my choice.  Had to accompany G to his doctor appointments because I am the only one of the two of us who remembers anything.

I think I am well and truly ready for February to push off.  March will be better, right????

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 27

We are getting to the end of February and the end of the old pieces of fabric art.  I think you have seen this one before--but, I forget if that is true.  Getting old.  Not trusting one's memories.  The black is a very cheap black cotton I found at Walmart about 15 years ago.  This is the back side.

So, today's topic is the second side of fabrics.  The back.  I liked this side so much more that the front. It has a sort of blackboard surface to it--not completely clean of chalk residue.  I used it on a few of these long pieces.  And on this one I did topstitch over drawn flower motifs.  And then went back in with a few golden yellow stamen.   The side triangles were cut from scraps of the painted fabric I kept on the table.  As I mentioned, I wanted a cohesive set of pieces at the end.  Telling different stories but using the same fabrics.

As February is ending--with bright sunshine and mellow temperatures here in Maine-- I will need to think of some new project for the days of March here on the blog.  I am working on a nine patch handsewn piece these days and evenings.  Appliqué.  Needleturning. Hand sewn seams. I made the nine patch and then added circles to each.  And that didn't seem to be doing much.  So then I added more appliquéd shapes to each. Still not what I had hoped for but better than it was.  You'll see it tomorrow.  Sewing nine patches together by hand wasn't all that much fun.  But I do like the way the uneven stitches look.

The whole piece is imperfect.  My fingers and eyes go to the exposed stitches. It hasn't been ironed.

I like the look of perfect machine stitching and then pressing with an iron and a can of spray starch.
But the imperfection of hand sewing is always there, whispering in my ear.  Which is why I do it. Try to do it.  Always go back to the machine.   And then pick up the needle and thread again.  Back and forth.  Like the tide going in and out.

It's just that the things on the machine are so modern and abstract and the things by hand so plain and simple.  Like a split personality.  Riley wants his lunch--it's way past his meal time.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 26

Painting Fabric with really cheap acrylic paints.  Carol asked about this.  So here it is.  I buy bottles of colors I like.  Light, medium and dark.  If I want orange fabric I buy 2 orange colors and one yellow that looks good with it.  Green?  Two greens and a yellow so I can mix chartreuse.  Blues are more tricky.  A light blue could add too much white and make your blue swirls murky.  I lighten the darker, rich blues with water.  There might even be a bottle of clear "extender" you could use to mix a lighter blue.  The more water you add--the more you get a watercolor effect.

I mention blues and greens because those are the two fabrics I painted that were seen in the quilts I showed recently.

I use plain white 100% cotton fabric to paint on--nothing special but I like a tight weave-muslin is okay.  I set a square of dry, unwashed cloth on a washable plastic surface (old shower curtain or kid's plastic painting table cover).  I squeeze out paint and add water if it feels too thick and temper the colors with the darker one or the lighter one as I go. (I have a plastic muffin pan that I use to mix colors)  I then start painting circles.  Just the outside circles.  Then I wash & dry my brush and pick up a lighter or darker shade and make another circle inside or outside the ones I already painted.  I just keep going until the entire surface is covered.  I sometimes add little detail dots on the green.

Instead of circles you could make V's or W's.  Dashes or dots.  A square of lines going up and down next to a square of lines going left and right. Or just rows of squiggles.  I make circles because I like circles and they go well in the things I make.  Organic.

Fill in all areas-- do not leave any fabric unpainted.  Usually, when I am done with a "painting" I move it off to the porch onto some newspaper to dry.  I then put another square of unpainted cotton on top of the paint that leaked thru the first square and PRESS down to soak up the leftover paint. I usually have on a plastic glove when I press down.  A Two-fer.  You get a lighter more flexible "print" to use.  You could also scrap across the surface of this second print with a credit card.  Let that dry next to the other square on newspaper or paint on top with any paint you have left in the muffin tin cups.

If the paint seems too thick and gloppy--add more water.  You can test the texture on the drop cloth or on newspaper.  Or on yourself.  I now wear a wipe-able apron when painting.  Trust me.  Once this stuff gets on fabric --it doesn't come off.

Let your painted fabric dry completely.  I use it stiff.  For machine quilting and stitching.  If you want use it with hand sewing--mix the paint to watercolor lightness.  I have washed the finished painted fabric and let it dry flat outside.  It softens a bit.  But no color loss.  After 15 years --no fading.

Ask questions.  Give it a try.  The only downside is getting paint on your favorite white shirt.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 25

More from the archives.  The green painted fabric, the blue and a tiny bite of orange.  The gray fabric with writing is a "decorator fabric"-- I was wanting writing, script for my work at this point in time. I learned later from a quilting friend--that I could just scribble on fabric all by myself.

I don't think this piece "worked" because it doesn't seem to have a focal point.  Just all over the place. Again, I don't like the grey fabric at the top.  Cropping to a shorter, long side would help--just at the top of the blue section.

Yesterday was dark but warm.  Like Spring.  At around 11am it started snowing and now the plow truck just came by and blocked us into the driveway.  Still Winter.  G is out with the snowblower. It's the wet heavy kind of snow.  Not the best kind to pick up with the blower.  He'll be tired and out of sorts when he comes in.

Remember I mentioned working on a nine patch from Jude Hill's Cloth Whispering series?  Well, after many (way many) false starts I have a few more seams to hand sew and I'll have a nine patch. I started with the public side of the background squares and then decided to use the backside.  I appliquéd  circles to them and then removed the circles and used their backsides also.  So all the fabric is backside up.  Faded.  Soft.  Whispering.

Once they are together I can decide if it's going to be a square or a rectangle.  Then make three more squares if its rectangle (12 patch).  It has a name.  Moon Garden.  I have no idea what happens next.
The prompts are Theme, Story, Base, Grid, Surprise.  I guess I need to work on Story.

The stitching is nice to right shoulder blade is acting up again.  No shooting nerve pain at this point but it aches.  It feels like it did after the nerve pain went away.

Lunch today was roasted organic beets from a local farm (cold storage) and soft fresh mozzarella cheese, olive oil and Balsamic vinegar.  My white bowl has a puddle of deep red delicious juices.
I know on cold days we should eat warm things but I wanted to taste something cold and fresh today.

Pictures From My Life- February 24

Some of the painted fabric in blue and green (can you find the green circles?).  And, YES, I will show you how easy it is to paint your own fabric.  I just need to "do it" and take photos.

And, "space and time and desire" worked together and I looked in my pile of fabrics on my little rolling cart (for something else) --and there it was--that special green batik that I thought was all gone.  What a delightful surprise.  I had it right where I could find it---which is a real joke.

The piece at the top would have benefited from my "future" interest on the "roots" of things below the surface.  There are three seeds.  I put those in every piece.  But the leaves should have stopped at the inset rectangle and the bottom should have been an earthy color with roots etc.  Since nothing of might (-and I meant to type mine) is ever really finished-I may just cut the bottom ⅔rds off and add a new bottom.  This was made long before my Master Gardener training.

This spell check on the computer is getting really interesting. My daughter mentioned to me that on her text messages--the program on the iPhone seems to have learned her speech patterns and starts finishing her sentences before she has even started typing the words.  She finds this very creepy.

And now I am finding words I didn't mean to type which are sort of sending me "meanings" I hadn't thought of.  Nothing of might.  Is ever finished.   This gives me quite a lot to think about.

Typing.  In high school I was never good at typing.  I couldn't give over control of the keyboard-had to always look at the keys.  But... for most of my life I have typed.  For the Women's Club Newsletter--I started with looking at the keys with every word but at some point I realized I wasn't looking any more.  I was typing with all 10 fingers. No one else would type because it actually was WORK and most of the members didn't want to do any work.  The electric typewriter I used was very fancy. The text was in columns-no correction. Not a computer but it was professional grade. 1983.  And then we got the Mac and I typed the private school PTA newsletter in columns while continuing to type the Women's Club Newsletter.....there really were no volunteers.  This took days and days every month.

Pity the family if I forgot to hit "save" every 10 minutes on the Mac.  The good old days.  Then when we returned to America, I volunteered to type the Leaflet for the Morton Arboretum's Botanical Art Group (I was a new member).  Columns also but I needed to start and finish with even edges and top and bottoms and leave spaces for ads. Now that went into a real computer (always Apple) and was saved on a disc and then printed professionally.  From there I went to work for a newspaper and created ads.  Work = Typing.

And here I am....... I never could find a job typing here in Maine until I discovered blogging.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 23

More of my painted fabric with a bit of that used up favorite fabric for the flower stem and then over the right.  The left flower was cut from another painted piece of fabric.  What is so interesting about the painted fabric? It doesn't fade or even wash out when washed.  I put it on thick and it is rather hard to had stitch.  Machine? Like buttah! But I did need to change out needles more often than with regular cottons.  I used invisible thread on the zigzag setting.

I took apart a piece that wasn't working and now have a 12 inch square of the green circles to use before needing to paint more.  I can't even recall the last time I painted fabric this way.

I'm making a definite CHOICE today to be more involved.  To be more pro-active.  To think positive and constructive thoughts--rather than not think ANY thoughts (which is what I have been doing). Not thinking makes a long Winter day--even longer.

A small and very expressive chipmunk has taken up residence in G's truck engine.  He came out to check who was walking near his home--out of the engine and onto the piece holding the tire on.  Sort of like his front porch.  We stood like that--looking each other up and down--sizing up the situation--and then he decided I was nothing to worry about and went back inside the engine.  I continued down the driveway to get the morning paper.

What am I watching:  Curling.  PBS's Wuthering Heights but the second part was so confusing.  I still don't know why so many women love this story?? Top Chef.  Alienist.  Thinking about watching Netflix for the Frankenstein Chronicles and in March for season 2 of Jessica Jones.

Right now I am going to find out when the waning moon is in Cancer for starting seeds.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 22

My own painted fabric--the I am feeling blue. I was really happy when I purchased  the alphabet fabric in black and white.  I think I was wanting "text" fabric.  Again--from the Attic Boxes.  A whole life in boxes.

I have a pot roast in the oven--slow and low.  Later I'll make cole slaw and later still, mashed potatoes.  Five months late but I'll still think of it as my "birthday" dinner.  And there is ice cream for dessert with fudge sauce.  Perhaps a candle?

Eyes are still itchy.  The Benadryl is really helping but it dulls all the senses.  So, I  am feeling dull and listless.  Watching Curling on TV but as usual, they are only showing matches that invite the American teams.  I would like to see more of the Korean women's team and more of the Norway men's team-  Very good players.

G and Riley are out on a walk.  We might go to the grocery store when they get home. G needs things for his lunches and I think I need things to use up the béchamel sauce.  Will look up recipes.

Have two classes to teach.  One at the greenhouse on the 3rd of March and another on the 14th for the Community Garden Lecture series at the library.  Things are beginning to thaw.  Hopefully I will be more interesting in a few days?  We can only hope.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 21

Happy Sunshine Day.  The background fabric in this fantastic PINK square is hand painted by ME!  The flowers are fussy cut from whole fabric and the vase is commercial also.  I think this one should never have been in an Attic Box.  In the very bottom right corner I can see evidence of some printing.
I was influenced by an artist named Sonji Hunt.  I don't think she is on the internet any more, but if she is--let me know.  She painted fabric.  No dyes.  Just paint.  And once I tried it--I was hooked.

Another thing I loved that was lost for 10 years.  I should call those years "My Lost Years".  Grief is a hard master.

G wanted Bechamel Sauce so I found a recipe and made a batch.  A white sauce with cheese.  So now I know and can make it any old time.  Even for homemade mac and cheese.  Or cheese manicotti.
He's having baked chicken, rice and broccoli for lunch.  I'll have whatever is left of the rice and broccoli.

Taking two Benadryl for the itching of my eyes.  Seems to be working.  And I think the air in the house is very dry so that is making things feel uncomfortable.  I know that I am having some sort of reaction to an allergen because the Benadryl isn't making me sleepy.  Busy working.

That's all for today.  More Curling.  More eye resting. Perhaps some Seed Starting?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 20

Thinking about Spring.

I have been looking for a particular piece of fabric--one of my favorites and couldn't find even a tiny scrap which seemed odd.  Then I walked past the very large quilt hanging on the living room wall and--well, there it is.  The background.  I must have used all of whatever I had to make this piece.  Which is lovely.  But on a wall I don't view very often.  I made it just before leaving for Ohio and the death of my father.  I also had a one woman quilt show opening that weekend.  I missed it. 

Still having issues with my eyes.  Now it's allergies and itching.  And I often forget and rub my eye and that's it for the day.  Feels like I have sharp particles in there.  I use my drops and I rest my eyes and try to think positive thoughts.  Mostly I wish I was a "napper" and could just be sleeping.

G wants to drive to Portland.  I do not.

I want to go to the library.  But I have wanted to do that for several days now.  I guess we are in that "period" of Winter when things are no longer interesting or fun.  We are just wanting to be outdoors doing fresh new stuff.  We want it to be Spring.

I had to go back into the Attic--I am starting to get really tired of it---to find the fabric bag that goes with the circles.  I can't explain it any better than that.  I started making what I called the French Quilt with squares of French type fabric and then appliquéing a circle of another fabric on top of each square--a very long time ago.  At least 10 years.  I have a pile of finished squares (they have circles on them) another pile of squares with "potential" partner circles and then just a pile of squares.  I also have freezer paper circles.  I iron the freezer paper circles to some of the squares....etc. etc.

Spellcheck keeps changing the word circle to castle.  Or am I typing castle?

I was thinking sewing circles onto squares would be easier and more enchanting than doing reverse appliqué on the Chinese cat squiggles.

I could possibly make pot roast today.  Or not.  I think it's more like a Kraft Mac and Cheese Day. Dark, raining, dark, dreary.......  The tiny ray of sunshine in the days is that the cuttings (from a customer's repot) of kalanchoe are starting to flower.  One pot has pink flowers and the second has orange flowers.  I am finding this fascinating as I had no idea there were several different colors in the customer's very large overgrown plant.  She asked me to cut it all back and then start some in another pot but I could have any leftovers.  I made myself two 6 inch wide pots of tiny cuttings and they have just been doing nothing for months.  Getting a bit taller in January (must have made roots) and now flowers are beginning.  Now what are the chances that in a large pile of cuttings--I got all pink in one pot and all orange in the other.  Statistics, anyone?  

Monday, February 19, 2018

Pictures Of My Life- February 19

Works I made as a "Friend Of" but not a member of the Twelve by Twelve Group on the internet. Abstract fiber works.  Like painting but with fabric.  I have a collection of these.  I found them all at the bottom of a box (in the Attic).  I never liked the 12 by 20 size but it made me stretch as I worked on them. I think Jude Hill would call it "long cloth".  Each of the six uses the same handful of fabrics but used in very different ways. This wasn't part of the challenge but it is what I did to make the finished group cohesive. Don't worry--you'll see all six.  They are even here in the archives.

I am attempting Jude's first cloth class on my own.  Just to learn. I have listed the simple requirements (any soft, old cloth you find--even old clothing) for the first nine patch.  Also a theme.  Which I cannot (could not) conjure.

Which brings me back to the work up at the top.  Each had a word cue.  I would mull that word cue over in my head all month and finally come to a conclusion of how to make something that defined the words. And now I have come back around to trying to making art to define the words.  My usual method is to just put fabric I like together.  And it doesn't often "work".

Working from some one else's word cue is one thing--coming up with my own was impossible. But then I sat myself down and asked--what are you liking right this minute?  Moons.

So--I wanted Moons.  I am into Moons right now.  I could just make nine squares with moons (just exactly like Jude).  But then I was reminded of the class I am teaching in March.  Container Edibles with a side of Moon Gardens/Gardening.   So---my theme is Moon Garden.

With a theme--I can now look at ideas and fabric and judge--moon? or not moon? and get rid of all the distracting other stuff that doesn't work (right now).  

Now that I consider the concept--this is how I cook.  I open the fridge and decide-- "I am making chicken soup-which of the things in here makes chicken soup ????"

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Pictures Of My Life- February 18

G vacuuming the new rug last night.  Eight by ten feet.  The same cotton "hooked" style as the other rugs for the halls and bedroom from tee shirt discards from the garment district in New York. But a different pattern--smaller circles. It has that "certain something" that changes all the plain Jane white walls and doors into something super warm, inviting and welcoming.  It's Magic.  Even this very old cherry floor looks super nice.

That big rug was $400.  No tax and free shipping.  I always wait for the big 65 to 70% discounts on There is only one downside to these rugs.  Our doors were not trimmed for rugs.  So I can't have one of these where a door would need to open across the surface. We'll have to let Google remind us to turn this rug every few months.  So the sun evenly fades it.  The side to the left of the vacuum faces South and is a wall of floor to ceiling windows and French Doors.

Woke to Fairy Tale Beauty this morning. All the tree branches had tall puffs of white snow.  The sun was shining and the sky was deep blue.  The sun is super bright and everything is melting. I was surprised that it snowed.  Haven't been watching any news--so surprised by snow!!! G is out snowblowing.  He was not surprised happy.  But he's almost finished--I can see him out clearing the mailboxes on the street.  Then he does the fire hydrant so the firemen don't have to clear that one.

Worked on the Chinese Cat some more--now I just have the fiddly little lines and squiggles on the cat's body to do.  Had to do some additional basting to hold the beige fabric down on the red fabric. I wish I could NOT do the squiggles but... they are printed.  Got the face done but the eyes--well, there needs to be some actual appliqué of eyes.  The cut circles fell apart.  Partially my fault.  Partially the fabric not being tightly woven.

Two loads of laundry to fold.  It's a good day. All the water stayed in the washing machine.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 17

Chinese Cat--I believe the cat is supposed to be "Lucky".  As you can see--a work in progress--for a long time.  That outside ring is the section I got done onWednesday.  And then the little triangles in the ears and above the eyes took so long I gave up for the day.  Just contemplating the logistics of stitch for the eyes and nose (important cat features) is more than I an manage.  Perhaps I was meant to embroider those tiny details?

Our new dining room carpet arrived.   It was on sale on at 65% off.  Eight feet by ten feet. I have a photo and will download it.  FEDx left it leaning against the garage, in the rain, near puddles. No knock or doorbell ring.  I was home.  Also could have placed it on the very large DRY porch. When G got home we carried it into the sunporch.  Checked for wetness.

Yesterday, G wanted to open the rug packaging and see it.  So, before doing that he had to move the rattan table and chairs and all the lamps etc.  Then we rolled up the faded braided coil rug up and dragged it into the hall.  Vacuumed.  Decided to change to the cherry table in the attic--- carried the rattan upstairs the cherry downstairs.  Rolled out the carpet, checked for defects, then vacuumed the carpet.  The dust and stuff off the carpet filled the filter.  Set up the table and chairs and I retired to the couch with a dizzy headache which I hoped was NOT the flu. (it wasn't)

We both love the colorful rug.  Sibling to the other rugs.  But different sized circles.  Changes the whole tone of the family/dining room.  Amazing what changes these rugs have made to the way we see our home.

All this and the news.  So I switched to HGTV and the home improvement shows I had recorded. We enjoyed the old time Mississippi accents and the Red Velvet cake.  G and I even wondered if we could live in that small town in Mississippi.  He thought we could.  It reminded both of us of the years in small town Georgia where both of our children were born.  Of course that was nearly 50 years ago.  G and I will be married 50 years in September.  Can't wrap my head around that.  Perhaps that's what is making me feel dizzy?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 16

Blue.  I don't recall making this, but I did make it.  Could have been from scraps belonging to quilting friends.  Could have been in the box of fabric and things I got after Beverly died.  And I finished it. And quilted it and..... well it was lovely to find it again.  Anything that Beverly might have touched is special to me.  About 36 inches square.  Possibly this size because that's all the fabric I had to work with.  There is more of Beverly's stash up there.  Waiting for me to be ready to work with it.

I finished my book yesterday, then rested my eyes.  I started working on the red and beige reverse appliqué cat when my eye focus cleared up.  I was going to have it's picture here this morning--but I must have moved--the picture is out of focus. I'll try again later. I practically zoomed around the outside circle but then things got very slow as I worked on the small cuts.  All I have left are the small cuts (details) so it will be a difficult slog getting the cat finished.  Lucky cat with one paw raised.

Found a new show on HGTV--House Perfect.  Loved how they finished a very small house and was amused by the dynamic of their professional and personal (married) relationship.  The woman says or does something and the husband glances at the camera and-well, you can see how it's going to go.  She was measuring the amount of carpet edge she wanted out in front of the bed but not so close to the French doors and the husband and the helper were just.........and my husband said--don't laugh--that's YOU!!!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 15

Pollen.   Not quite ready for it yet....but Spring is coming.  I chose this photo from my files because I LOVE black and grey with that shock of yellow.  Black and grey were the colors of my Printmaking Class.  Zinc metal sheets engraved.  Printed.  My one true love.  For a year or so--I used fabric to recreate that black/grey engraved look.  I found them in the Attic Boxes.  Pictures soon.

Today my eyes are tired.  Too much reading yesterday.  And I am still GREATLY perplexed by this new author.  I read Book Two first (you all know I don't like doing that).  And now I find Book One takes UP where book one ENDED.  It defies logic.  I was about 70 pages in and I started thinking--when is this????  And then I's what happens after the other book ended.  And I'm just sitting here saying--what the hell?  If I read them in order-- one then two---I'd already know the secret in book two--ruining the whole book.

So, I am reading.  Wondering if the stupid cop (who can't shoot his gun to save his friend's lives) will ever figure out his son Theo is NOT in his bedroom with the music blaring 24/7.  I'm not the best parent--but I would open the door once in awhile to just...check?   I finish what I start.  My husband says--put it down----stop reading---stop yelling at the book.  I have to keep reading.

Two nice guys are in the garage installing the new garage doors.  Somewhere around 40 degrees.  No sun.  No wind.   I think I might put some allergy drops in my eyes and find a cozy spot on the couch and rest my eyes.  I also have a cup of coffee around here somewhere to drink.

The news from South Florida (just up the road from where our first house was located) is ...I don't know anymore.  And our local paper printed a very long list of shootings (past and present) and the number of dead and wounded.  What has happened to our children?  Is it the video games? Does it numb them to sit in front of the computer and "shoot" for hours and then--when they have problems--just pick up a gun (houses seem to be full of them) and shoot.  Do they think life will "reboot" and everyone will be alive again?  I just don't understand.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 14

Jane Kenyon- ArtPropelled

Happy Valentine's Day.  I often wonder what my college art professors would have thought if I handed in something like this in Painting 101.  We tended to scrape off a painting if it didn't work. Now you just keep painting over things until..well, it looks like this.

The house feels cold this morning.  Yesterday was warm (for Maine in February) My eyes are itching and I am going over what I had for meals yesterday to try and figure out the allergy culprit.  Nothing comes to mind as being "new or different".

G took me to a different Goodwill location yesterday as a "treat" and I was happy to find three new shirts for me and a pair of pretty print summer pants.  Pink.  At the cash register I was asked my age. Well, I was asked if I was older than 60.  I said yes I am older than 60- I'm 71.  And I got 20% off my entire purchase.  The sales associate also said I didn't look old.  Thank you.

G welcomed me to the breakfast table with gift wrapped Twizzlers.  Just what I wanted for my Valentine.  Then the doorbell rang and daughter hand delivered Turtle candies from the candy factory where she is working for the Winter.  And the neighbor sent over a squeaky dog toy for Riley.
The only one without a Valentine is G.  We'll see what happens.  We had our Valentine restaurant meal yesterday when things were more relaxed.

I usually work on Valentine's Day-at the greenhouse-- so this is my first holiday at home in 10 years.  It's nice. Daughter was off to work at the Candy Factory and she said it was going to be CRAZY.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Pictures Of My Life- February 13

Well, another trip into the Attic Boxes.  And a visit to JoAnn's for the yellowish roll and the beige one to it's right.  Everything else is from the Attic.  Pinks (the many browns are not included in the picture as they are quite boring) but the furthest one before the block is an old favorite.  The print has birds.  I know some think bird prints are unlucky but I had used this same bird print (in a darker colorway) in another small quilt and sold it right off the library wall to a guy who kept coming back to look at it and decided he could not live without it.

I could not find any small print greens in my closet or the boxes.  It seems like I donated all of them to the Linus Project or simply used them up. The visit to JoAnn's will be the last...for fabric.  The selection was too horrible to even think about.  I actually shuddered a few times.

But the lack of greens means--I won't have to use greens.  The yellowish sprigged roll will sub in for the peach.  Same intensity and it looked good when I held it up to the blocks with peach points.

I found a book to read. Book one to the book I just finished.

My prescription for my inhaler is ready for pick up so I am off to the grocery.  Driving.  Myself. I  drove yesterday and it was like learning how to change lanes etc all over again.  Haven't driven since early December.  The snow, sun, headlights and those bad lenses--couldn't SEE.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 12

Here is the square I found in the attic boxes.  Twenty four inches square but could be smaller. The background fabric is back side up.  I think Jude Hill said "fabric comes with two sides" so I often flip it over and use the second side.  I found more of one of the pinks.  And the mini black print.  I have yards of the two sided background print. The rest is just not here.  So my choices--are to just back it and quilt it as a square.  Or........... Make different stars.  I'm considering it.  What I do NOT want to do is go shopping.  But if I continue, I am going to need brown.  I really like this piece because it shows that I DID know how to sew small pieces together to make larger pieces.

Today a Coffee Date with a friend.  A good thing.

I also re-potted several little orphan plants that have been collecting here (G wants to know how they get into the house).  Fresh soil, new larger pots so they can wiggle their roots around.  Get comfortable. Stay awhile.

The nerve in my shoulder is giving some twinges--I don't want that nerve pain to come back.  And my jaw is making noises again and making it difficult to chew hard things.  Like crusty bread--which I love.  So--while I sit here I am flexing my shoulder and jaw to keep everything loose.

Sewed a button back on my sweater.  Not much else so far today.  After coffee I will walk over to the library and see if I can find a book to read.  Hopefully the sidewalks will be cleaned off. If I can't find a book--I did find an unfinished turned edge appliqué project.  Now that  I have my new glasses-it is possible to SEE the turned edge.  So could work on that a few hours a day.  Show it to you soon.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 11

Let The Good Times Roll!

I love beads.  I have bags full of beads.  I intended to use them to make a crazy chandelier to hang off the big branch of the oak in the backyard. Loud and gaudy colors.  I should slip a few around the neck of the Goddess on the front porch.  She's wearing only pearls right now.

On my only visit to New Orleans - it was August, 100% humidity, the home we visited had dropped ice blocks into their pool to try and get it to a "refreshing" temperature for the kids.  Everything downtown smelled of urine.  The food we ate was divine.  Loved all the people we met.

Next up is Chinese New Year.  Year of the Dog....Me!  Can't wait to read what's in store for G and I.  Both Fire Dogs. I have a window ledge that still has last year's Rooster displayed.  Need to change to a dog.  Our daughter is a Rooster.  The year was very good for her I think.

Reading The Ninth Grave by Stefan Ahnhem.  Danish and Swedish detectives solving two sides of some brutal murders.  This was on the new shelf and there seems to be a first book- Victim Without A Face that I will try and reserve.  When I checked out--very big, thick book--I wasn't sure I would be able to read it.  But, the glasses came in and all is good.  I have the last quarter left to go.

Snowed and now is 35 degrees and raining.  The snow is now sheet ice with water on top.  Going anywhere is dangerous for old people like us who don't want to risk broken hips.  Or broken elbows.
Who'd dress us?  Take us to the bathroom?  These are my thoughts when surfaces are covered in ICE. G has gone out to the woods with Riley.  Dog has to walk.  G has on snow shoes.  He has trouble walking in the woods if each foot fall sinks into the snow.  Usually, he returns with the snow shoes over his shoulder......

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 10

 Two Sewing Caddy's From The Attic Boxes

Silk and velvet.  Embroidered and be-jewelled.
Circa:  2000-2004

Both of these are finished.  The ribbon on the top of the picture was used to tie the caddy closed when I traveled.  Kept all my sewing needles and threads together.  Scissors.  The silk and velvet was sewn in a crazy quilt pattern and then all sorts of threads and needs and stitchery was added.  The more the better.  I taught classes of between 4 and 12 women how to make these.  I brought a huge section of fabrics, threads and beads.  I asked them to look thru their sewing boxes and jewelry cases--see what was there.  Charms worked well.  The circular ends of the caddy are padded to hold needles when in use.

In snowed again last night.  So the roads were sloppy this morning.  g drove me to work ( teaching a class today) and I set up and waited.  No one came.  Which was okay--I had so many re-pots to do and people were buying plants and pots and I did those--so I was busy.  And then at around lunchtime I "taught" a seed starting class in the aisle by the seed starting soil and trays.  About 30 minutes of questions and answers between the four of us.  So-a class.  My employer suggested I just walk around the store and start talking--gather a crowd.  I could make a "talking stick" announcing my intention to talk.

That "talking stick" thing just flew into my head.  There is such a thing--it's passed around and only the person holding the stick can talk.  Does anyone reading this know more about it???

I got my new prescription installed in my glasses frames yesterday.  I can see.  I can read. I am over the moon happy.  I read almost an entire big fat murder/crime/mystery from Denmark or Sweden.  No problems.  My left eye got used to the new prescription pretty fast.  Really such a mood changer to not be struggling with focusing your eyes.

I had a number of conversations with my co-workers.  It was nice to have these conversations and catch up on their "doings" as someone in my family used to say.  It was also nice to share my knowledge of plants with the customers.  Today was a very good day.  I am thankful.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 9

Picture from blog of WomanWithWings

I just LOVE this idea.  And I have a large amount of clothespins and floss.  Something to work on while watching Netflix for the duration of the Olympics.  I like the competitions not the stories. I want to see ALL of the competitors, not just the winners or the Americans or the horrible accidents.

Long ago (and far away--but that's Star Wars) I would "shop" in the Five and Dime type store we had in Town (long gone).  A store that had a bit of everything, nothing expensive plus a little restaurant.  Which reminded me (I had forgotten) of "going shopping" with my grandmother when we shared a house with my father's parents.  We always stopped at Woolworths to have grilled cheese at the counter (1950's).

Here in Town (in the early years of living here before I made friends or had the internet), I would wander around the store, buy lemon drop candy, socks and then go down into the basement and select a handful of strands of floss.  Then wind them on little plastic paddles.  I numbered them as well--at first, so I could buy more when those ran out.  I even purchased see thru cases for the collection.

I did quite a bit of embroidery back then.  Very Victorian Stuff.  On jewel colored silks and velvets. I even began to teach small classes on how to make your own crazy quilt sewing caddy. Heavily embroidered with additions of sparkly beads.  I even crossed over into Baltimore style appliqué with silk ribbons.  Truth be told- my true love in fabric and thread is Baltimore appliqué. But I also loved primitive appliqué.

See how going deep into the past can awaken what you loved once and then forgot?  In my case--it's going deep into the Attic Boxes.

There is an entire appliqué quilt up there.  Competed blocks.  Almost finished borders.  Sawtooth--hand appliquéd.  Endless little triangles on both edges of the less that 3 inch wide borders.  I think the quilt would finish at double bed size. Was supposed to only be twin sized.  No machine work. The making of what is up there in the Attic Boxes-- possibly 3 years or more.  The hunt for fabric was endless. I kept running out--because I kept making more blocks--and then needed more fabric to make the wide borders....... which are deep and have a combination of all the block motifs  appliquéd--which means having the identical fabrics.  I never actually arrived at the point of making the wide outside borders.  People died. Friends were lost.  Jobs were lost.  I was lost.

So much History in that fabric.  In the Attic Boxes.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 8

 Frozen Assets

I have always frozen things flat.  But this seems to be a "big, new idea" over at Food 52.  I did learn something from this post --to chop up onions, carrot and celery and combine in a freezer bag.  Easy enough to chop off a section of the veggies and be cooking in no time at all.  Mirapoix.  I may have spelled that correctly.

So many recipes begin with chop one onion...... and then move on to celery and a carrot.  And almost all involve parsley.  Before the power outage in October--I had rolls of frozen parsley in the freezer from my garden.  Just remove the rubber band, unroll and slice off as much as you need then roll up and band and tuck back in the freezer.  Good with cilantro but I am one who tastes only soap.  Genetics.

One Winter, years ago, I tried my hand at making (cooking) dry beans and then adding a chili flavoring.  I started with dry chilies.  I tasted and added and tasted and added.  Trying to get a complex but still delicious sauce to mix into the beans.  Some of these experiences were delicious. Others were too hot or too bland once the beans got mixed in.  But it was an interesting Winter. Would be wonderful if any were still stocked in the freezer.

Right now my freezer is half full.  There are still a few flat packages of meatballs in marinara. Homemade potstickers and commercially made potstickers from Trader Joe's and the local grocery. G likes them.  A pound of ground beef.  Five chicken thighs for the next pot of soup. Flat pounded chicken breasts to thaw and marinate with olive oil and rosemary (from the plant on the sunporch) and then grill.  A ball of pizza dough.  A half gallon of vanilla ice cream.  White and dark chocolate blocks.  I know there should be a bottle of vodka. Don't like.  One roll of parsley made from a bunch found at the grocery.  There should also be frozen blocks of buttermilk.  But I forgot to freeze the extra and it spoiled.  Oh and there is a pound or two of butter.

I read in the Food52 article comments--that cooked rice is great to freeze.  Defrosts and tastes freshly cooked.  Now that might be something to consider as we usually have Chinese take out leftovers but never any rice.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 7

A Pictorial View Of Winter's Fruit and Vegetables from Food52

Yesterday's launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Rocket was spectacular but the landing of the two rockets--synchronized--- took my breath away.  This is something I never thought I would see.  And the little spaceman driving the Tesla around the moon?  Priceless.  It brought JOY into my Life when little else in the news does.  The third rocket was supposed to land on a platform at sea.  No word if it managed to.

Snow storm on it's way.  My sinuses are starting to give me a storm warning headache.  G has gone out to do some shopping.  Collecting what is needed to make a pot of chicken soup for him. Snow Storm Food.  I requested Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  In the classic box.  And beets, if available, to roast. But NOT to eat with the Mac and Cheese.

I needed to get up and turn on some lights.  So dark in here I couldn't see Riley.

Yesterday I worked on sewing my little blocks into 9 patch blocks.  I may need to make more in order to get to the size required.

I have been wanting to order indigo seeds.  So I can grow some and make a dye bath at the end of summer.  Dye some white shirts.  Dye some white embroidery floss.  Dye some white (stained) flour sack towels.  Dye some fabric.  Dip the edges and make moons.  Planets.

There was a channel on my cable provider that had Planets on most evenings.  I would watch and really enjoyed the beauty of Space.  That channel has now been removed or moved to a new category.  Who knows.  My mind worked it's way back to Space and Planets.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 6

Rachel Collins from Art Propelled

Overthinking.  Overworking.  These are the two points at which my art works come to a complete halt or fail miserably.  I am at that point with two pieces.

I need to let them both go.  And....perhaps that is what I did with the unfinished items in the Attic? Let them go.  I could not see a clear path forward for the work in progress, and instead of continuing to "get it wrong", I just stopped and packed it up.

Which is why none of the fabrics used are packed up with the UFO.

And also, the things I am wanting to make, the style of them, might not be "for me".  I may have to dig my way onto my own path. Again.  I am forever "falling for" the work of others.  Sigh.

My eyes went "greasy" again as I read my way thru a very good book. A Twist in Time by Julie McElwain.  If you like mysterious time travel, you'll like this.  Maybe.  This is book two.  The first is A Murder in Time.  I do not put up with badly written books.  Or books with crap plot lines.

As to my eyes--I  have fingers crossed that my new lenses arrive soon?

Now....back to the sewing machine and my little 3 inch squares.  When nothing else is working--the little squares usually calm me down.  I'll be sewing strips of three to other strips of three.

Teaching a class on Edible Landscaping this weekend.  No one has signed up as of today so we'll see how it turns out?

Monday, February 05, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 5

We lost.  And they deserved to lose.  Terrible choices were made and Brady just......well, perhaps 40 is too old.  Butler the number two guy in what he does--left on the sideline by a pissed off coach.

The nachos were great.  Best part of the game.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 4

Lesamovar-From ArtPropelled

Dark. Mended. Worn. Buttoned. Remembered. Words that resonate with me.  My thoughts are often dark. My life gets mended when torn apart.  My clothing is worn (and mended) because I love what I love.  Need to keep it.  Buttoned.  Buttoned up.  Closed.  Like armor.

No sunshine today.  No warmth.  But no wind which is a good thing.

I had gone up into the other part of the attic where the clothing is stored.  Yes, we have so much we need to store some of it.  And different sizes.  I was missing a sweater.  I didn't have it in the closet. So, up I went but forgot to put on my Winter coat and gloves.  This side of the attic is quite like being outdoors.

I found my sweater but I had to look in so many storage boxes before finding it.  I also found a few sweaters I had forgotten about.  All cashmere and I think from Goodwill.  One is a black turtle neck. I may wear that next week.

And the very voluminous red cashmere cardigan that I asked for as the one thing to remind me of my dear friend Gregor. She often wore it when I went to visit.  We would talk and she would drift off into a nap and I would pull out my book and read until she woke up.  I had forgotten.  And that makes me sad.

But now the sweater is back, folded on the closet shelf, so I can touch it and be reminded. And wear it...and take a nap.  Sending my love to you dear friend.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 3

Another piece of kitchen equipment from my first year of being married.  That 8 inch square baking pan.  I made cakes and corn bread in it.  And anything else that needed baking.  Nothing else in the picture is more than 10 years old.  Glass breaks.

Today I was baking another pan of cornbread from the recipe I got at the Grist Mill in Illinois on a school field trip.  Gifted Third Grade.  Rough bunch.  They thought they knew everything--and usually they were correct.  And the recipe was fantastic as was the corn meal.

My daughter was back--to have more cobalt blue dye added to her hair.  Last time we didn't get enough blue.  This time I had her lay on the dining room floor (with my painting drop cloth under her head) while I painted the dye on the ends of her long hair.  Then we set the timer and settled in to have a 75 minute chat.  Riley was concerned.  Hasn't ever seen someone on the floor.  Wondered about it.

There's enough dye for one more try.  I may just be too old to understand this new thing.

Tomorrow is the big game.  Nachos.  Perhaps alcoholic beverages.

Luckily the game starts later in the afternoon, so I can visit Goodwill for one dollar day.

Watched two episodes of the Alienist.  Very odd.  I was trying to guess which Roosevelt was Police Commissioner.  I thought it was Theodore.  Then someone walked past him and said T.R. as a greeting and I high fived myself.  Teddy, it was.  Very dark.  Very dark.  I can't imagine what life was like back in those days.  And, of course, there is graphic everything from sex to murder to just plain disgusting stuff-- TNT.  Good Behavior was like this.  All the letters being used on the warnings. S.V.N.L.  And can also choose the "explicit" version on Xfinity which all that-plus. I don't know if we will continue watching.

G started and finished his new series-book one.  He loved it.  Sue Harrison's series of three. I hurried to order book 2.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 2

Overnight snow on the weeping crab tree next to the front door.  I figured out-- today---finally how to change or enhance the pictures I take.  Now if I can figure out how to brighten the color contrast in pictures with color..... but here is an enhanced black and white image.  Now, do you want the pictures larger?  I know some blogs are all about the pictures but usually they are selling a "lifestyle".

The fencing you see around the bottom is to save my hosta (planted around the base of the tree) from deer.  Yes, I have deer coming up this close to my front door.   My peach trees are also enclosed in wire fencing.  The deer will eat every branch off the young peach trees.

Been amazed at the voice of a singer profiled on PBS last night.  Zesham B- Cryin In The Streets--you can see and hear him on U-Tube.  I know there is a way to connect you right to that site--but it's been a long time since I tried that and...just not feeling it, right now.

"more and more I find that life is a series of disappearances followed, usually, but not always by re-appearances"  Russell Hoban Fremder

I think as we grow older--more disappearances than re-appearances.  But, in my life right now--things I made long ago and forgot, are reappearing and that is a very good thing.  I have been "doing the math" (a line from The Martian--whenever you hit a problem--do the math) and I think my life expectancy (save getting hit by a bus) is around 86, possibly longer.  I have always said I would try for 100.  We'll see.  So---14 years on the low side to get things in order.  Death Cleaning if you've heard of that.  Cleaning up your own clutter and mess before you go.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Pictures From My Life- February 1

My orchids.  I used to think they were fussy and hard to grow and keep live.  They aren't.  They are members of the "s.l.o.w" movement.  This one came home with me after a great accident at work broke off the flowering stem.  Water crashing down on the orchid table.  I noticed several buds of future stems.  So I purchased it at it's discounted "out of bloom" price.  And waited.

It's been a long wait.  Most of the summer and the fall and now winter.  And now it is blooming.  You can see two of the six (!!!) flower spikes in this picture I took with my phone. There are more on the underside and back of the plant.  I think it is very happy to still be alive after that crash in the greenhouse.  Two other "rescues" from different times are also making flowers. Loving that.

G is out snowplowing the recent snowfall.  Never ending but snow is better than ice.  And it doesn't feel as cold today.  It's February.  Sigh.  We're almost done.

I spent some of yesterday sewing 3 inch squares together.  The pattern isn't all that complicated but I keep sewing the wrong one to the wrong side.  Now they are lined up on the floor.  And I check twice before sewing.  And I am trying to get all the penguins right side up.

I am reading but finding that the books I checked out--I already read.  Darn.  My new lenses are taking a long time to get made--trifocals.  Lots can go wrong.  But I did find a new series of books for G and he is very happy the book one.

We are having baked beans and grilled cheese sandwiches today.  Yesterday I had two very large bowls of spring greens in a salad.  The beets are still awaiting their turn in the salad bowl.  It's that time of year when nothing seems appetizing.  Been there, eaten that, don't want to again.