Thursday, November 27, 2008

Blog Giveaway

Gosh, it's been a week since I last posted. Lots of visiting, eating, and walking. I walk everywhere around in the town my dad lives in. I figured out what these oddities were soon enough, but I thought them rather interesting. As always people find a way to make art out of utilitarian objects. I made a flicker set of some of these wire and cement baskets around town. The first person to guess what they're used for will win a prize...what would you like a fat quarter after I get back to the U.S. or maybe a postcard from here in Brazil??

I made a flicker set of them here. Check out all the different shapes and sizes.

Today's featured fruit is jabuticaba. There is such a wealth of fruits here. The mangos are downright obscene in size. Happy Thanksgiving to all. I'm thankful that I'll be heading home in a couple of weeks. It's been great visiting my homeland, but I do feel I'm a foreigner here. Most of the time I'm on sensory overload. The noise pollution is unreal, and this is in a "small" town. Of course nobody here believes me when I saw I live in a town of only 200 people. I'm headed to another colonial coffee with my cousin, Edson, who is helping me make arrangements for travelling. Because this is a small town, I can't easily get to where I want to go by bus, without going out of the way first. Oh well!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rare sunshine

The days go by with lots of excellent, cheap food. Yesterday afternoon my cousins and I went to "colonial" coffee buffet at the supermarket. There was such a variety of traditional savory dishes which I love. There is one in particular, emapada, which is a pie crust with hearts of palm stuffing, that is my favorite. They also stuff it with chicken or beef, but always the crust melts in your mouth. I picked up the tab, and for four of us eating rather well it was less than $15!

It was a rare sunny afternoon and afterwards my cousin drove us to different scenic spots around the town. The highlight for me was a park where I caught this Crested Caracara having a meal. We were able to get pretty close. I've been lucky enough to see one before in TX, but never quite this close. This morning while hanging clothes out on the line at my dad's I was treated to a rather large green parrot eating apples off the neighbor's tree! I must admit I get rather excited to see these birds in the wild. I've yet to ID the parrot though.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunshine again

Man, I wasn't expecting the cooler weather we had the last few days. I brought mostly warm weather clothes, after all it's spring here, and generally warmer. It was cold and damp last night. Today the sun has broken through, and of course, it's a bit muggy now, but I'm very much solar powered, and though I love the lush green of everything here, I get easily depressed without my sunshine.
The picture, though very inviting, is from Sao Paulo, a lovely park. They normally serve refreshments there, but it was the wrong time of day for it, and again, a rather gray day.

This was another park where I went my second day in Brazil. It had beautiful stands of bamboo, and so thick and lush that it dwarfed my friend. It was in the city of Sao Jose dos Campos. We strolled the park and saw a lot of birds and then enjoyed a fruit slush made with Acai. It was quite tasty, but I have no idea what the real fruit is like as the slushy was made with a fruit paste which was mixed with guarana...the national soft drink also make from a fruit, loaded with caffeine, and of course sugar. At least for those not inclined to consume high fructose corn syrup, it is not a problem here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Party Sunday

Yesterday I wasn't able to get online, except late in the afternoon, and using my cousin's computer wrote a quick email. I can easily lose myself online, and didn't want to be ignoring my cousin's hospitality.

I drove my dad's car to my other cousin's husband's family farm. They raise sheep, have a few horses, and I don't know what all. There is someone that lives there and takes care of all that. They use the huge BBQ pit there and it is well equipped with picnic tables and always a happening, party place. There is a variety of meats, and as soon as the first, choice cuts are ready, they start serving. Then there is a full sit down meal when the rest of the meats are done. This goes on for an hour or more.

I entertained myself with a long walk around the area looking for birds. I got the see the Buff-necked Ibis on the ground, and it was great to get good long looks at them. There is a pair that roost in a pine across from my dad's house, and it seems so strange to see these big guys up in the indigenous pine which are really quite extraordinary and only grow in this area.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Days going by

Not much on the crafting front around here, though yesterday I did buy some twine to either crochet or knit a rug. When I was here before the twine was only available in an off white, and now there is a wide variety of colors.

Last night was a birthday party at my cousin's house for her son. They are big meat eaters here the farther south you go, the more meat they eat, with Argentina being one of the biggest consumers of beef...or at least it used to be. The party was a BBQ, and a lot of the houses here have a permanent built-in place for BBQ with a big fireplace style chimney. The meats consisted of several cuts of beef, including T-bone, chicken, and farm raised javelina. It was all good, and though I normally don't eat much beef, I had to at least try it. The javelina was quite good.

The birthday cake was store bought, as my cousin's aunt no longer makes cakes. Her cakes were well known throughout the family. I share a name with her, Hilda, and here I'm always referred to as Hildinha (little Hilda...I wish). Phonetically it is HILL DEEEN YAH, only the H is silent at the beginning of words.

The birding here is great. This morning I took off in the morning mist and just outside of my dad's house there was a rather large flock of Guira Cckoos. They are raucous, and were flying from rooftop to rooftop. Then I got a look at three Buff-neck Ibis, which I want to see better, since they were just flying by. The Rufous Hornero is common here, and maybe tomorrow I'll get a picture of one. They are also rather noise.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Traditional dessert

The day dawned with gray, a slight fog, which I'm told is pretty common here. But as my dad and I walked to his favorite restaurant, the sun broke through, and now I'm complaining because it is too hot. I'm wearing shorts. Don't see too many women my age wearing shorts around here. Oh well, at least they pick me out easily as not being from here, and are willing to forgive my missteps!

The food is well made, plentiful, and cheap, in comparison to ours. Restaurants that serve buffet style or buffet, by weight, are the norm, and I ate a wonderful lunch of fresh salad greens, with little hard-boiled cornish hen eggs decorating it, and I sampled a lot of the dishes, brown rice and beans, gnocchi, farofa, golden fried potato pieces, and friend polenta. A nice variety of delicious food for $3.50. I didn't realize they also had little tiny shot size plastic cups of caipirinha, the national drink. Lunch included dessert, and I had "pineapple stroganoff," which was fresh pineapple in a light creamy sauce. My dad could have actually had some, as it wasn't super sweet which is the norm here.

This plate of "sweets" was at a friend's house. The little wrapped yellow ones are my favorite, "quin din de ya ya," made with egg yolks and coconut. The white ones are coconut taffy. My grandmother used to make them, and they are sort of like divinity, but just melt in your mouth, and also coconut. The brown ones are little squares of "doce de leite" or condensed milk squares. I think I ate a dozen of yellow ones over two days. I think there is a lone "doce de abobora," or squash sweet, which I never liked. Anything that can be cooked with sugar and made into a solid is done here. They also make the same thing with sweet potatoes...I prefer my sweet potatoes fried!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More Fruit

It's supposed to be spring here, but it's pretty cool, and very wet. It rains a lot during the night, and very damp and drizzly during the day. Actually cool, and I brought lots of short-sleeved shirts and shorts! Of course, like at home, they say the weather is crazy and not normal.

My dad and I walked to a larger grocery store, maybe about a mile from his house. I got two huge mangoes for 50 cents, almost a pound of apple bananas for $1.50, and a guava, which was a little out of season for another 50 cents.

In my dad's little yard there is a lemon tree and an orange tree. There aren't any oranges yet. The lemons are orange colored, and look rather ugly on the outside. I thought they were oranges past their prime... The flesh is orange colored, but they are indeed sour lemons.

And here is the cut lemon and guava. The guava wasn't as nice and ripe as usual, and so a bit of a disappointment. It surprises me that there are lots of different yuccas around in yards here, and other succulents and cacti. There is a huge prickly pear that is flowering on the walk I took yesterday afternoon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

So much for NaBloPoMo

It's hard to blog everyday when you don't have access! I made it to my homeland. Got my passport early morning Friday, and then packed my bags. I know, I should have been already packed...but that's not how I work. And so I'm going to journal this trip on the blog so that I'll have a record of how it went.

I think so far I forgot to tell anyone. I had a reservation on a flight that left ABQ for DFW at 3:55. I was thinking that only an hour in Dallas wasn't going to be enough especially if my plane was a little late, and I had to rush to another terminal to catch my international flight. I called and changed it to an earlier flight that left ABQ at 2:10. Good thing. When I got to the gate, quite early, they were announcing that the 3:55 flight had cancelled!! If I had been on the way to the airport, I would have been too late to catch the earlier flight and would have most likely missed the flight to Brazil.

I sat next to a woman, a jewelry designer from Sao Paulo going home, Leticia Linton. She's on the left in the link. We conversed, and had some things in common...she's also married to an American, but he lives in Sao Paulo. Other than that, I am so NOT Brazilian, it isn't funny!

The flight was fine, long, and I got up a few times to walk and stretch. Leticia helped me fill out my customs form, and she didn't think I needed to declare peanut butter or Reese's peanut butter cups. I got through customs without a second glance. I found out later that apparently TSA opened my suitcase, and opened two of the three packages of test strips for my dad's glucometer, and then they must have decided that the third one was the same thing!

I met my friend Cybelle at the airport, and then we went by bus, comfortably to Sao Jose dos Campos. It is on the way to the coast, and a pleasant city. It is home of Embraer which manufactures small jets that used all over the world--including the US. I had a different idea of where her sister lived.

Sunday evening we came back to Sao Paulo. It is an amazingly crowded city. Everyone is in a hurry.

This is the view from Cybelle's brother's apartment, there are buildings as far as the eye can see and then some. Traffic is absolutely crazy, and even the locals agree. I expressed an interest while walking in a city park by designer Burle Marx, to see a cashew fruit, since I was only familiar with it from pictures...Before I left Cybelle's brother went to a little shop and here they were on a plate. The fruit has a kind of sticky sensation on your teeth like overly green bananas, but if I squeezed the juice out, it was tasty. Not to die for, but good. The fruit hangs with the nut at the bottom. I kept the nuts, which according to informed sources will sprout if planted. Maybe I can get one to grow, if it isn't confiscated as contraband.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Getting down to the wire

I still don't have my passport in hand, but it is on its way here from Albuquerque and according to my postmistress will be here in the morning. Overnight or Express is not a guaranteed thing when you live in the hinterlands.

I'm not as bewildered by running Windows Vista as I thought I would be. Things have gone rather well, and I found I could use the Qwest DSL modem/router to create a network and access all the files on the laptop. It's nice to have my bookmarks and a lot of other "essentials" that you forget you use everyday, until they are no longer there.

This has turned out to be my favorite quilt. It was a vintage top that Pat gave me from her cousin's family. We use it every day while sitting watching TV. It's just perfect for two people, and extra warm and nice folded in half for one.

Guess, I've procrastinated long enough, and better get to packing. I still haven't talked to anyone that can pick me up at the airport in Brazil on Saturday, but so far everything is working out, albeit a little too close for comfort.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Good changes

I didn't manage to blog yesterday, but it was a good day. Got a lot of things handled including buying and setting up a new computer, from which I'm posting this.

My dad's blood sugars are coming down nicely now that he is on insulin, and so it may not be quite the challenge I imagine to get him under control.

The country has a new leader and that change was wonderful to watch last night. I don't think I've ever been so involved in the American political process, since I am not citizen, and don't participate in the election process.

Still trying to work with transferring files between the laptop and desktop, and so this post will be brief.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Ahhh, the time change...

I had already been waking up much too early, and now with setting the clock back, it's a truly ungodly hour, but I thought, what the heck? I'm getting adjusted to Brazil time until I checked, and they are now five hours ahead of MST, for where I'll be spending most of my time.

Right in the midst of working on the Frida quilt, I had a change of direction and started on a baby quilt. I really liked the batik elephants and decided to try a hex block quilt for a future grandchild. No urgency other than I might be too old and no longer quilting by the time I'm a grandmother. Well, there are many good reasons why I prefer liberated quilting and simpler blocks. My friends have already been warned they will be keepers of my memory and remind to stick to what I know! I ended up having to applique the hex top to fabric because of failed attempts to make blocks fit in to "square" it up. It's less than the heirloom I had envisioned in my mind's eye, but I'm sure will find a good home for a newly diagnosed diabetic child.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Fall is finally upon us...

Our trees have been slow to lose their leaves this year. Our peach tree, which sadly due to a late hard frost was devoid of peaches, is putting on quite a show of losing its yellow leaves. Some of our other trees, apricots from which we have yet to enjoy fruit, have brown, frostbitten leaves which refuse to let go. After a few freezes, we've been enjoying Indian summer with daytime temperatures in the 70s.

I didn't blog about it because of the rawness of the pain, but we had to put our longtime cat friend, Frances, to sleep not too long ago. At over 21 years of age she had had a long life, so it wasn't unexpected, but still didn't lessen the pain at all. Shortly before that a new kitty came into our realm. We had decided that we weren't going to have anymore indoor pets, but I couldn't resist feeding this poor little waif that showed up. I dubbed her Grayfeather because of her color and the fact that she was light as a feather. Although she isn't allowed in the house, she knows I'm a soft touch and spends time with me in the sewing room (attached to the garage). Like all cats her favorite spot is among all the fabrics that happen to be cluttering everywhere. When Jackie visited, she renamed her which I added Houston, nice ring, Frangelica Houston Grayfeather. Surely she is destined for greatness.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The best laid plans...

Or life is what happens while you're making other plans. I wasn't prepared for the changes this past week. My 82-year-old father who returned to Brazil to live after my mom passed away, got sick. After a week of dry mouth and dry eyes, he was finally diagnosed with diabetes, not surprising since his mother and two brothers were diabetic. My Brazilian passport expired two years ago...I know!...and so now I'm renewing it, trying to get things in order so that I can go there and help care for him, stabilize him, and bring him back to the states.

I was thinking of trying to participate in NaBloPoMo, and so I'm going to make an attempt. The daily writing and unloading of thoughts can't do any harm. Don't know that I'll be able to do it daily, but making the effort.

While I wait for my passport to be express mailed back to me I have time to sew, quilt, make gifts for the abundance of relatives I have and will be expected to visit. My last trip to Brazil was 1996, and this one is not going to be a vacation, though I'll do my best to get some enjoyment out of it. I expect to be gone a month--the expense of the trip hardly warrants any less time, and I don't know what kind of challenge getting my dad stable enough to travel will be.

On a lighter and definitely happier note, Lindsay passed her state boards on the first try, and is now an RN. And so, since I don't have to write it all with this one post, I'll end with a work in progress, my Frida quilt. I've had the fabric for a quite a while, and finally decided to get on with using it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Days still getting away...

I always vow to be a more frequent blogger, one of those people who write frequently and whose blog I enjoy reading, and then I finally decide to post and it's been a month or two. How does that happen? I do have some work to show for my not blogging time though.

First, a long time WIP (although truthfully there was not a lot of progress being made). I started this shortly after I got my longarm which is now a year and a half old already! It is going to be a cover for a piece of foam insulation we use in our bedroom window at night in the winter and to block the solar gain in the summer. It began as necessity when we bought our little old house with single pane glass, but adds insulation to our better quality windows now. We use very little heating or cooling as our adobe house tends to hold the temperature pretty well. I had intended to do a lot of handstitching on the wool, being inspired by Spiritcloth whose work and blog I really enjoy. My hands don't cooperate, and now I'm just trying to finish the hand quilting on the one mountain on the right, having put it back on the longarm and doing a lot of texturing on the other mountains.

This next project turned out better than expected. It's to be a donation quilt. It was hand pieced and had been languishing in my friend Pat's stash. It wasn't her work, nobody would even think it was if they had seen it! I had this idea to quilt it heavily to hold it together. Four to five (big, longarm) bobbins worth of thread later, I had invested too much into it to quit, and had to persevere, and finish. I've since told Pat to remind me that a pantograph would have been adequate for it. If nothing else, all that thread should keep someone warm, and it looks okay from a distance.

And another project which had a deadline, a wall hanging for Pat's birthday. I used one of the "santos" in a panel of three that she gave me, and then a lot of found treasures from the house she bought in Willard. I'm always looking for and finding buttons, coins, and bits of glass around our house. I continued that when we went to do some yard cleanup at her place. I imagine (and because I'm already of an age where I can make up stories--or should that be, again of an age) that a child must have dumped out his mother's button jar, because most of the buttons were found right outside the entrance to the outbuilding which I have dubbed her studio. There was also a little toy truck tire and some less than stellar treasures that I didn't use. Oh, and the bamboo cane it's hanging from was found in the attic by the guy that did the roofing. Time for lunch!
I'll try better to be one of those people.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Infrequent blogger

I do love to read blogs and follow along several, but never seem to be able to consistently keep mine updated. Oh well, such is life. We had a quick getaway to Colorado to visit Jackie. Had wonderful weather, lots of thrift shopping, and just long enough of a visit.

She has a great view of Pike's Peak from her apartment. And yes, that was snow on the top. It was mostly melted by the time we left last Monday. We took the scenic route going east from Colorado Springs and then heading south through the San Luis Valley. It had been a long time since we'd driven through that area.

So much catching up to do. I'm getting ready for fall--aired out the down comforter and washed the duvet cover. Our days are still warm, but there is a crispness in the air. I'm going to try to keep up with this better, but no guarantees.

Friday, July 04, 2008

charity quilts

charity quilts
Originally uploaded by neonquilter
It's been over a month since I posted, where does the time go? As if anyone keeps better track of their days. Though there are so many people who manage to chronicle their days by blogging. I delivered these quilts yesterday, and Lindsay had her likely last appointment with Dr. Kaufman, her pediatric endocrinologist. I'll still continue making quilts for newly diagnosed kids. It gives me an outlet for trying all manner of techniques.

Testing using flickr for posting this. I couldn't seem to get this photo on via the ordinary entry.

Monday, June 02, 2008

June already?

The skies have been beautiful when the wind isn't blowing nonstop. This was part of twin thunderheads a few nights ago.
I don't know where the month of May went, but it was productive. We got the living room flooring done, and slowly I'm returning all the "stuff" that we took out in order to lay the floor. I was really productive with quilts, and together with Pat over Memorial weekend, we were able to get quite a stack of quilts to donate.

I also tried a small whole cloth quilt to practice the techniques I learned at the class in Paducah. It's a lot of work, and not something I'll likely do with a bed size quilt.

I finished blocks for a swap on, but still have a row robin row to create. I'm also going to try to get a bed quilt made while Dale is taking a much needed camping/hiking vacation. I would have gone with except my knee is making even walking a pain, so I'm better off at home.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Commisioned Work!

My dad is here visiting from Brazil. He was thrilled with a gift bag that I put his birthday present in, which had sunflowers. He makes trays and framed pictures using glass tiles, and adapts designs from cross-stitch patterns. I had a cross-stitch design of sunflowers which I then gave him. Just before he left to go visit my half brothers, he asked if I would make him a quilted wall hanging with sunflowers. He wasn't able to adapt the cross-stitch design and get what he wanted for doing something with the glass tiles.

I gave it some thought and decided to use some sunflowers fabric I had in my stash for sometime, waiting for an appropriate application. Having made one "convergence" at the retreat in AZ, I thought I'd try again. I played with "pebbles" for quilting the center and did minimal beading, after trying to embelish with buttons, larger beads, etc.

Learned a very important lesson. One must fuse raw edge applique before attempting to thread paint and thinking that longarm machine quilting will hold it down! NOT! Thankfully for zippered leaders, I took the whole thing off the longarm, and tried to do that work on a sit down machine, until I realized I should just fuse it first. I don't know why I was resisting that, because once I gave up trying to find alternatives, the fusing was easy, and everything else fell into place.

He hasn't seen it yet, and I hope he likes it and pays me handsomely for the project!! ;-) It's going to be a present for my aunt's 80th birthday. I need spending money for Paducah next week!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Lesson learned

I always prewash my fabrics, usually after I bring them home. Having heard that batiks are "ready to go," since they are boiled to get the wax out, I somehow didn't wash my batiks. Enter some batik fabric that I friend gave me, harvested from a garment. I thought it had been washed, and really liked the fabric. Used it to make the first block for the row robin I'm working on. At the end of the block making, I noticed that there is some blue color migrating to the light batik. Oh dear! So I wash the block and sure enough the water is running indigo. I used some Synthrapol, wash the remainder of the dress fabric, and think it's okay.

I finished the row, but am looking at the block and, to me, there is still some blue in the white areas, so I decide to make another. I pull another (Bali) batik from my stash, and this time I'm wiser and iron some white sheeting over it after wetting it. Sure enough it's also transferring color to the sheet. I rinse and rinse, and get the dye out of it before constructing my block. I'd hate to have a quilt spoiled due to my row! Here's the finished row, paper pieced, which I can do now, but a process I'm certainly not enamored with, unless I figure out something to do with all the little waste slivers. Paper piecing while very good for exacting patterns, is a bit wasteful for this fabric penny pincher! ;-)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Row Robins

I don't know what possessed me, it must have been a weak moment, when I agreed to participate in a row robin with some of the people that attend the AZ retreat. It must have been something about pushing myself a little in my quilting, but I feel totally out of my league.

This first picture is top to bottom, mine and Pat's rows. I had the silk screened squares and Pat added to them while I bound a quilt for her. She also wanted to keep me participating and I was uninspired and threatening to drop out.

These next rows belong, top to bottom, to Ami, Chris, and Kim. When we were discussing these rows everyone was talking about keeping it simple--as their lives were very busy. Simple?? I don't think so!

And last but definitely not least are, top to bottom, Judy's and Ellen's row. I got the honor of being first to work on Ellen's row. I've already started, and yeah, I'm keeping it simple!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Treasures unearthed!

The back entry and existing bathroom are finally finished and DH didn't take long to start on the living room. It featured a gawdawful shag carpet in reds, brown, and orange. When we lived in Colorado, our house came with a similar shag with green, brown, dark yellow. I called it my dead lawn carpet. This one looked like a lawn on fire. I'm sure things lived in there and when I vacuumed clouds of dust would emanate! Vacuuming always created more dust in our already dusty house. Pulling up the carpet revealed a layer of dirt, actual dirt, beneath the pad resting on several layers of old linoleum in an array of patterns. There are holes in the floor boards cleverly patched with flatened tin, but below the floorboards there were some treasures to be found.
He discovered four marbles, which I'll add to my marble collection, a knife, a glass chip in a green turquoise color, and a horse, which I'm thinking of incorporating in landscape "quilt" (I use the term loosely) which will cover our bedroom window blocker. I have a beautiful Ball jar full of marbles that came from a long ago auction, and I periodically add new finds to it. Also under the floorboards there was a mouse nest, though this house has been the least mouse infested place we've lived in. Field mice are a fact of life in the country, and I think they are rather cute until the take up residence in my cupboards! I also spied an intact, perfectly clean mouse skull. It's truly remarkable, but I'm having trouble getting a picture of it.

After my birds mobile, I must have still been in the mood to make three dimensional things because instead of working on my convergence quilt, I made a couple of sock creatures. They will await final adoption when just the right foster parent comes along!

It's a gloomy day, and now the wind has started again. There are signs of spring, and I'm ready for relief from the wind, but it's not going to happen today.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Where does the time go?

Boy my days just get away from me, one after the other until it's been weeks since I posted anything to my blog.

I made this little "mobile" (I don't know what else to call it and my husband dubbed it as such) for a long skinny wall in my bathroom, but it was too big. It fit perfectly on this little strip of wall beside the back bathroom door, near the back entry door that we use almost exclusively. It was fun, and a good use of beads and fabric scraps.

The wind continues to blow fiercely here. Today they claimed it was just going to be "breezy" instead of windy, but now I think it's progressed to "windy" once again. There are signs of spring though, a few tulip leaves up and the irises are getting taller and greener.

Whoa,I just remembered I had muffins in the oven! Good thing they didn't burn! Of course they weren't done when the timer went off and I checked them, and I thought...just five more minutes... It's a dangerous thing to sit down in front of the computer for "just" five minutes. Guess it's back to the sewing room for National Quilting Day. I'm getting ready to load my convergence piece on the longarm. Have some ideas of what to do with it after re-discovering the work of Jane Burch Cochran.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Getting ready...

I always procrastinate. Probably not something that's likely to change at this point. I figure once you're past 50 most character traits are set in stone. And without exception I tend to do a lot of stuff I've put off doing right before going somewhere. Go figure. So of course while moving furniture yesterday and cleaning and reorganizing my sewing room today, I decided to make the pincushion for the swap I'm participating in on I don't have to mail it out until March 10, but since I received my pincushion yesterday, I was feeling a bit guilty that I hadn't yet started it. I did have an idea that I wanted to do.
Once I started on it, it was hard to stop. I borrowed the idea from Bella Dia. Her pincushions are amazing. Mine are a mere imitation, and I hope she'll consider it flattery that I tried! Of course I'm doing all of this because I'm leaving Wednesday for a quilting retreat. Am I ready with all I have to do before I leave?? Of course not. That would be totally uncharacteristic.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Lefse anyone?

Well, I was supposed to do my Week 3 check-in, but I think I'm going to drop out at this point. I'm so far behind, and I just am not into it. I was doing well with the morning pages, then my thumb started giving me grief. I moved on to morning pages on the computer, but it just wasn't the same, and I gave them up, and found more reasons for not doing the reading and exercises. With very intermittent internet connection, I've also been doing other things to fill my time.
When I married my husband I became exposed to a different food heritage, Norwegian, which included krumkake and lefse. Since I love to cook, I quickly adopted these things in my repertoire. Lefse is a very much like a potato dough tortilla.
I adapted my recipe this year, and substituted the half and half in the recipe with soy milk for my lactose intolerant husband, and I'm happy to report it was a success. It's a time consuming process which starts the day before with cooking the potatoes, ricing them, and mixing with the liquid ingredients. This sits overnight in the refrigerator, and the next day you can start rolling out the dough, and cooking on the griddle. The rolling pin is ridged and covered with a stockinette. There is also a lefse stick which you run under the rolled out circle of dough, and transfer it to the griddle. Since I make them thin and the dough is rather fragile, at this point the lefse can break and fall apart on the griddle.
I make it a point of eating many of these imperfect ones (sparing my family) warm off the griddle with a little butter.

I've never tried lefse's companion, lutefisk, but I think it's an acquired taste, and since my husband's family didn't eat it, it's not likely to make an appearance at our table. Occasionally the lefse comes out just perfect like this one.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Week 2 Check-in

I seem to be getting further and further behind with these. But I did read the Chapter and do the exercises. I'm beginning to wonder if the writing of morning pages isn't contributing to my thumb pain. I have arthritis at the base of both thumbs, and this past week it has decided to remind me of it. Guess I'll try doing the morning pages on the computer keyboard which isn't nearly as painful as holding a pen/pencil. I did my morning pages 6 days out of 7. I guess now I need to decide how much printed text is equivalent to 3 handwritten pages (on a very small notebook).

In looking back at my childhood I was never discouraged from art, on the contrary I was encouraged. That was true until it came time to pick a career, and I knew I wouldn't have the luxury of waiting to see if art panned out, and I shifted to something where I knew I would be able to find employment, the medical field.

I really don't have a problem with other people's expectations of me. I long ago gave up giving the opinions of others too much importance in my life, and aging has made me more successful at weeding out toxic relationships. I have few friends, and they are secure enough and supportive to accept me even if I "shape shift." Who knows what we could all accomplish if we had such insights much earlier in our lives.

I'm using my saved outing from our trip as a second artist date. I went to the swap meet in Tucson two days in a row, where I found a few treasures. It combined both walking and an artist date. What a great place with foods, fresh produce, and an abundance of "stuff." The best of my purchases was on the second day when I scored a set of cushions from (probably) a love seat. They were new, and worked perfectly for creating the seating area with the IKEA coffee tables in our little living room. We had been looking at a chaise from IKEA, but this was much more affordable and works perfectly.

I really didn't get out and walk. I'm recovering still from knee surgery, and walking for enjoyment isn't a part of my days just yet, especially when some days are entirely filled with too much necessary walking. I am making progress though with exercises, but can't overdo the weight bearing (and there is way too much weight to bear) or my knees complain bitterly. Maybe this week I'll walk around our home a bit.

My smaller treasures from the swap meet, a pink depression bowl (50¢), little wooden spools of knitting and crocheting silk & cotton (25¢ each), little resin Buddha (25¢)to put in a little cactus pot, and a little framed picture that was lumped with a miniature Regina red wine vinegar bottle--not in the picture. Here's hoping I catch up and make the effort to post my week 3 check-in a little earlier, but I'm not promising anything. I try not to make promises I might have trouble keeping. ;-)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Week 1 Check-in

Rather than explain at length to my readers (joke here), I'll link to another blog for the specifics of what I'm doing. Or at least I'm making an attempt.

Our trip to Phoenix and Tucson was delayed a week, and so I'm just back Monday this week. I did morning pages 5 days out of 6. Usually it's easier for me to get them in, since the mornings are pretty much my own, but with traveling, it was more of a challenge.

I had so many artist dates that I'm going to have them hold me probably until the end of the month. I'm calling our trip to Goodwill and then IKEA in Phoenix as the artist date for the first week. I love shopping at Goodwill, but just missed the everything 50% off at the Phoenix store by a day. I didn't find too many things I couldn't live without, and just got three tops, but I love just looking at everything. I tempered my shopping because I knew we were going to IKEA. We had an extensive list for IKEA, and the one must get was the ANEBODA cabinet to fit the very specific space in our new bathroom. We also got a couple of bookshelves with glass doors that will go in our back entry and in the old bathroom which at the moment is being demolished. Picked up a few things that weren't on the list...ESPRESSIVO halogen light to replace the one above the laptop which was a PITA to turn on and off. Also got a medium sized skillet, and a bunch of rugs, and some fabric yardage. I hope it is still on my clothesline. I did laundry yesterday, and forgot that I had hung it outside. The wind was blowing rather fiercely all day, and I never ventured out after hanging it outside. The photo is of my sale fabric, $1.99/yd, 59" wide! I thought it would make great backings for the kid quilts.

Got several walks in. Thursday, our travelling day was punctuated by walking in rest areas. Walking all day in IKEA was enough to do me in by the end of the day. Pain medication and sitting all the way to Tucson revived me.

I did the tasks in the chapter, and that's about all I'm willing to share on that topic. The best thing I took from the chapter is to just "do it." I have a tendency to not do anything if I can't work on some "work." My husband is just the opposite and plods along with many menial steps. They all accumulate, and in the end he has a body of work. I think the longer I'm inactive, also makes it harder to start something, like I have to paint a masterpiece instead of just doing a little bit of art. I'm going to work on just doing.