Monday, July 13, 2009

Our weekend out of town; The Story.

Our weekend;   The Story.  I have a peridontist appointment about every three months, in a town about 2 + hours from where we live.  So we have turned it into a weekend getaway, and a visit with my mother who lives in a nearby town to the town where my peridontist is located.

Had my peridontist appt Friday and the report was good - some small improvement actually.  Not much improvement, but far better than deterioration.    Then we went to my mother's home, spent the weekend. and then came home to our animals.   Our cat and dog remain at home, and so our time away is limited to a safe duration for the cat and dog to fend for themselves.  Now that my cat bite is healing and the cat is healing, life is returning to normal.   (A couple weeks earlier the cat was bitten by an animal, and in not knowing she was bitten, I picked her up, more rather tugged her out of her hiding place and she bit me…not at all her usual behavior, she is a very loving cat.   We didn’t see her wound at the time, but knew something was wrong with her.  Arthur spotted her wound, and we took her to the vet, who gave her a vaccine, and told me was more concerned that I get myself to hospital to treat the cat bite.  I did, was vaccinated and given antibiotics, the incident reported to County Health, the cat quarantined at our home for 10 days and we are both mending without incident, the primary concern being exposure to rabies).   When we returned home, our dog Jake resumed eating again.  He misses us when we are gone and gets sad - depressed.  Dogs have feelings.  Oh, and our cat too, she has feelings, misses us and glad when we return home. 

After my peridontist visit on Friday afternoon we drove to my mother’s home, picked her up and went out to eat.  We live in a rural town, and there aren’t a lot of restaurants or places to eat, so we enjoy the opportunity of eating out at different restaurants on the days of  my peridontist appointments.  It’s an eating out together date we look relish.  Choosing a restaurant in the town where my mother lives proved not to be as obvious as it might seem.  We kind of scoured what we knew to be restaurants in her neighborhood, opted to go further away, settled on Black Angus, since I was hankering for a nice steak lunch.  We got there and it no longer has lunch, open for dinner only.  Must be the economy.  The hour was growing late into the afternoon, I was hungry now, and we had not eaten breakfast that day,  or at all, so we wound up at (oh yuck!) Old Country Buffet.   Arthur likes the many choices of buffet restaurants, and sometimes so do I, but Old Country Buffet is not one of my favorites.  We both really enjoy the buffet variety of primarily healthy choices at  Sweet Tomatoes restaurant, but there were none the town where my Mom lives.    

Saturday Arthur spent the day home, defrosted Mom’s freezer for her because it had become so full of ice that the ice on all the shelves were touching each other, no room for food.   He took care of some other taskings for her, then spent the rest of the day fooling around with installing stuff in  his old fashioned computer.  Not the laptop kind, the big bulky kind.  Some guy he knows had given him some Linus software to download or told him about it.  Anyway, it was a dead computer (not working) and when Arthur finished the download it sprung back to life, installed Windows XP and is sort of functional again.  He was delighted.  Still needs an audio driver and something else that would permit it to link to internet.  He was just intrigued that it started working again...kind of like a guy tinkering in his garage with his power tools, only Arthur likes to tinker with puter.

Saturday I took Mom to Farmers Market in Proctor area of Tacoma.  That is a district that more resembles Portland or some Seattle districts; organic, green living, conscientious choices - that sort of thing, and an amazingly cool, fun grocery store with very upscale item choices.  For a mere $309.00 you can purchase a wheel of gourmet cheese!  An experience in itself.  (I’m being a bit snarky – it would be very unlikely we would ever spend that kind of  money on cheese.)  We visited a new consignment shop in her immediate neighborhood – delightful items, colorful, fun, upbeat, cheerful.  I liked it.   But I didn’t buy anything, because in truth, neither of us need another thing!

And more for the hunt of treasure than because either of us need anything more in our homes, we went to a few garage sales. What was being offered wasn’t the kind of garage sales we were looking for - more like junk sales.  We had fun anyway because we toured many of the University Place neighborhoods, the million + $$ homes with breathtaking views of the Narrows water, Narrows Bridge, the outlying island.  And alongside the million + $$ homes, are more modest ranch style homes.  You can be on a ‘house of dreams’ street and turn to go down the the next street which could well be a quiet and modest street of different ranch style homes.    University Place neighborhoods are in interesting mix of income levels.   After our tour of neighborhoods,  I took her to visit Charlie at cemetary where his ashes are placed.  It is a beautiful, peaceful cemetary, a place of quiet serenity amidst the hubbub of getting from here to there.  Nice place to quietly reflect on life.  I know, it may sound like a strange juxtaposition to reflect on life when at a cemetary where the dead are buried…..but that is how it works for me.

We went back to Proctor district that evening to have dinner at a niche Mexican restaurant (not a restaurant chain) because Mom said she heard good things about the food and atmosphere there.  Lively atmosphere with mix of old and young people dining.    I had a Taste Assault dish called Chicken Mole, although it would be better named Chicken in Mole (prounounced molay)  Sauce, because the sauce was Outrageous -  6 ingredients, and I can remember plums, almonds, mole (an unsweetened chocolate), and some other ingredients.  It wakes up your taste buds like wowza!   Not hot or even spicy, flavorful would be the word I would use to describe it.  Flavorful with each bite.  Arthur took a menu and will experiment at home with making the mole sauce because I liked it so well. 

Sunday we took Mom to her church (St Andrews Episcopal Church).   A bit of history here; my mom lost half her sightedness recently and is vision impaired now.  Mom had been saying she felt she needed something inspirational amidst all the doctor appointments and bad news.  Along the way, I decided to call the Priest at St Andrews to talk to him about Mom.  When she was a child, she attended Episcopal church in Spokane.  I explained to him her childhood church exposure, and her current medical condition with being sight impaired, being told by her doctors not to drive anymore. He agreed to visit Mom immediately and arranged for someone to pick her up and take her to church on Sundays.  

She has been to St Andrews now, a few times, and wanted us to visit her church.  We wanted to visit it also, as I enjoyed the upbeat conversation with the Priest - he was energetically young, even though he isn't young.    That Sunday they had special guests, a singing group who livened up the entire worship service with renditions of the hymns done to foot tapping music.  Guitars, tambourines, horns, and one of the gals playing guitar was barefoot!   Felt like we were at a campfire gathering!  Geesh!  But the worship service having a combination of traditional liturgy, the laying on of hands for healing, the Eucharist, and the lively music with a welcome invitation to all does reflect ‘The Emerging Church’.

We loved the church, it had accommodations our little church building isn’t equipped to have, and if we lived in that area, we would likely attend that church.   Afterwards we ate at a restaurant in her immediate neighborhood that she is fond of - an old fashioned restaurant left over from approximately the 1950’s era.     So lots of eating this weekend, way too many calories, and Mom had a nice weekend.  So did we.  

Oh and at the Farmer's Market I bought some snow peas that were priced below what is usually charged for snow peas, so I bought enough to freeze.  Bought a couple of tomato plants already bearing tomatoes, and a basil plant.   I didn’t plant a vegetable garden this year, and haven’t spent much time outside with the herb and flower gardens, so keeping it light this year.   Weather hasn’t been too cooperative where we live – cold, rainy, then unseasonably blistering hot, then cold again.   At the market, I found a growing salad bowl planter that I wanted and Mom bought it for me for my birthday gift.  The planter has growing  lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro plants  - salad ingredients, and that is the extent of my vegetable garden this year.   Except all the herbs I have been growing for a few years now. 

And I was delighted to learn about a lovely tasty sauce called Chimichurri?  Oh, I tasted some at the market, and just had to buy one - lime Chimichurri.  Great to use as braising sauce for grilled vegetables, on meats, or just straight on healthy chips or fresh veggies.   Taste delight!

It was a rather sweet weekend.  Last year around this time, we had visited Mom and she and I went to Lavender Festival on Vashon Island, ferry ride over and back, a beautiful, clear, sunny day, making the waters deep blue and picturesque. There was a Farmer’s Market there too, and we visited that Farmer’s Market

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Book; American farmhouses : country style and design

American Farmhouses: Country Style and Design American Farmhouses: Country Style and Design by Leah Rosch

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I like to study the architecture of homes of bygone eras.

View all my reviews.

Book; Forgotten Household Crafts

Forgotten Household Crafts Forgotten Household Crafts by John Seymour

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
From the point of view of someone who grew up in Europe, it was more intriguing to read not only the how it was done, but the perspective from a child growing up, seeing the results of how it was done.

View all my reviews.

Book; The Arts and Crafts Movement in the Pacific Northwest

The Arts and Crafts Movement in the Pacific Northwest The Arts and Crafts Movement in the Pacific Northwest by Lawrence Kreisman

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Actually it was quite comprehensive and regionally specific.

View all my reviews.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Oil Painting is so much brighter though

I created 5 new paintings in a day. I was really into it that day. Two oils and three acrylics. Trying acrylics was new for me, see the post below.

Here is one of the oil paintings, and you can see the paint is so much more vivid.

Acylics or Oil? My New Acrylic Paintings

Trying my hand at acrylics. Reason; well oil painting can be rather toxic from what I hear and read, and you know, I'm just getting along in years and not too anxious to gunk up my lungs and system. I also have read that Bob Ross designed his wet on wet paints and thinner not to be toxic, so maybe I'm safe to continue using those products. Adapting the wet on wet technique of oil painting to acrylic paints, which dry quickly and less the medium of the oil which permits the paint to blend and stick to paints already on the canvas. I'm at a disadvantage.

Three acrylics, and I really do not have the 'art' of photographing my paintings, so pardon my amateurish photography. Early efforts with acrylics;

Vintage Finds - Collectibles

Holidays are over and the 'Company's Coming' size dining room table not needed now, so shortened it and added lighter table dressing for that fresher summer look.

I think I got some pretty good thrift deals on these plates.

-- a dozen Anchor Hocking Peach Lustre plates. While I'm not collecting these, I see the peach lustre pieces everywhere I find a collectible shop. This time, the price was just too good for me to pass up. I don't need more dishes, but hey, this is how collections get started, eh?

-- seven Homer Laughlin plates - rose edge design. This was at an estate sale, owner passed, and I am told these were her favorite dishes. They show years of use, wear and tear. But I am a nostalgia, vintage buff, and again price was too good to pass up...but I don't need dishes!!

Handkerchiefs - my latest fun thing to do..

I don't have those lovely vintage type handkerchiefs, and am at the mercy of finding them at thrift stores, collectibles and such like. So I went and found some because I found a few fun ideas for how to use and wanted to give some of the projects a try.

In my painting/sewing room, the upstairs cupola, I used the handkerchiefs to create a window treatment. The view outside to peek views I have from the cuploa of Willapa Bay will inspire the paintings, while the breeze will softly blow the handkerchiefs, creating a lazy, billowy effect.

The back door, which leads out to a not so nice mud room, is an old fashioned French Door set up, that leaves a few things to be desired. For Summer look, I want to add handkerchief curtains. Can seam sew the handkerchiefs together, or hand sew the corners together, adding columns and rows of handkerchiefs. Can pin them together, ie safety pins. Can add lengths of string and clip on with cafe curtain clips, clothespins. Lots of different approaches. Right now I'm hand sewing the corners together and have one column on each window. Will add additional columns to fill the window spaces, depending on how many handkerchiefs I have available to use.

Dance-Off! What baseball players do when rained out

Fun video, College baseball, players from UConn and USF, filled in some of the time during a 5 hour rain delay with a Dance off  Thursday, May 21, 2009.  Enjoy and wow do I envy their ‘young’ energy!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Flowers Arrived; doesn’t the gift of flowers just make you smile!


Daughter and son-in-law had flowers sent to my house; meant to arrive Easter weekend.  Since we live as far away as we do from urban centers, it takes UPS a bit longer to deliver, so the flowers arrived a couple days later than they planned, but the flowers did arrive. 


Came in a florist box that looked like long stemmed roses might be inside.    Opened the box to find fresh spring flowers, a hefty square glass vase and florist preservative packet, along with a happy greeting card from my daughter and son-in-law.


I learned later in talking to my daughter that she had chosen another arrangement, but where we are located there are no florists in close by vicinity that could accommodate the choice she made.    I am happy with what was sent – fresh spring flowers that are still looking fresh a week later.   Picture below.





Two new oil paintings - just finished and still Wet! Unoriginal title of 'Cabin by the Lake'

After a too long time away from my paints, brushes, and the messy operation that is oil painting, yesterday I completed two paintings! The paintings I've accomplished grow fewer and fewer over the years since 2006. Lots of reasons why, but I hope this change in momentum means 'I'm Back'!

I sought out the old painting clothes and found I've outgrown them (that means I weigh more now than I did when last I wore them). Time to set aside another set of painting attire, in larger size.

Painted this scene in 16 x 20 size. And then painted the scene again in 11 x 14 size, although it has variables from the larger size, making both 'originals'.
I took photo of the larger size and the paint is still Wet!

The house just doesn't have much accommodation room for paintings to dry. There is the cat who can jump up anywhere, so the paintings need to be in a room with a door that closes. And as I looked around the house, I see we don't have many 'roooms' that have doors that close. Then there is the odor of oil painting that can permeate the air. If I'm going to paint frequently, I need to figure out the logistics for these challenges.

So we put the Wet Painting on top of a wardrobe (a place the cat has not yet figured out how to climb) and I snapped a few photos ... not very good photos due to the angle of looking up at the painting, and the paint is still ..... well Wet!



Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Well I'm flattered,The Crochet Dude stopped by my blog and left a comment

So hey, thanks Crochet Dude - he actually has a name = Drew Emborsky, aka, The Crochet Dude. He left a comment at my post about using his pattern to make travel jewelry purses. Thanks Drew!

Odd coincidence or serendipity because I have a grandson (9 yrs old), nickname 'Drew' who plays basketball, x-box, football and is also fascinated with Grandma (me) teaching him to crochet. He is determined to learn and gives it a serious effort. I told him about how cool it is that The Crochet Dude has such fun patterns. The very next day we went to my granddaughter's high school art show and sitting there crocheting some fantastic hats and scarves was ---- wait for it --- a guy. Now if that is reassuring and inspiring for my grandson to know guys out there DO crochet. It will spur him on in his own efforts to learn to crochet - not like Grandma, but like 'the dudes'!

Another placemat purse; crocheted fingerless gloves, crocheted wrist cuffs

Got the packages out in the mail to my older daughter and her family.  Pictures of the tote/purse I made for her; again using placemats and napkins for the interior pockets. 

  I adapted the many patterns I found on blogs, to make some simple channel pockets for the interior of the purse. 

  I crocheted 2 pairs of wrist cuffs (above) using fun fur yarn for my two teenage granddaughters. 
And I crocheted each of them a pair of fingerless gloves (below)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I made a bunch of these using 'The Crochet Dude' travel jewelry bag pattern

Last year I bumped into a crochet blog by a Guy!  Yep, and he calls himself  'The Crochet Dude'.  His crocheted creations were different and fresh.  I was quite taken with them, and the idea of a guy who not only could crochet but come up with his own creations was enchanting!  He had a few free patterns, and I was happy to try his pattern for 'Travel Jewelry Purse'.  I liked it so well, that I made several and gave them as belated Christmas gifts.  I may have taken a couple of photos and posted, but I gave away more of the cute little purses than I had taken photos of as a record.  So I made some more and this time took photos.  

As for 'The Crochet Dude' -- well he was snapped up by the industry pretty quickly - I mean what's not to like about his creations and work!   Now he appears on radio and television shows, has his own website, books, and has left his humble beginnings on blogspot.  But he didn't kill the blog, just moved on to other things, and here is the link to some of his free patterns that got me going on making these adorable little travel jewelry bags.  They are entirely useable for other things besides just jewelry.  I like to tuck one in my purse to hold some of my cosmetics.  

Love the finished purse with it's ruffled top.  I played around with making several layers of ruffles because I so liked the look of the first one I finished. 

  And for a dual-colored purse, it was fun to put colors together and see the results.  This is one of several I worked up using different color for outside and inside.  Above is the black outside of the purse closed up.  Below is the purse opened to reveal a contrasting color of orange inside pockets.

Then I wanted more pockets, so I adapted the pattern to make an outside ring of pockets, along with the inside ring of pockets. 

Two placemats turn nicely into a hanging organizer

Enjoying the crafty ideas I've seen in crafting blogs for using placemats - or better said - for upcyling placemats.  I finished up this one in a jiffy, an organizer, using two placemats, sewing up the channels and well, I sewed it directly onto a plastic hanger.  Quick as that, I have a pretty little fabric bathroom organizer, or a cosmetic organizer or perhaps a child's room organizer.

I hope to make more of these.  A variation I did make, again using placemat, was to fold it in half along the long side and sew up four channels, making a roll up organizer which I am using in my purse. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

An impromptu chair cover with matching covered pillow

Helpful hints from bloggers prompts me to try new ideas. This is a recycle, refashion idea. Using a pillow case that I picked up at thrift store, it becomes a chair cover with enough left over to cover a small pillow.

Soft chenille makes warm crocheted scarf and hat set

Among my completed crochet projects, here is a long scarf and matching hat that I crocheted from the chenille yarn. I was showing my basket full of finished crochet projects and my mother was taken with this set. I rather had it in mind to gift it to her when I made it, so I'm pleased she was happy with it.

Placemat to Purse; made for a nice gift to daughter

Didn't do so great in keeping up with adding my completed projects to this blog. So a bit of catch up if I may. In fascination with working placements and napkins into purses or totes, I made this one for one of my daughters. Intended it for her birthday in February, and the trip she was taking to Hawaii to reunite with her husband returning hone from his second Iraq deployment.

I had some nice gray linen placemats with matching napkins, and following many photos on the blogs, I made this purse.



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