Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Gypsy Jabbers: Moving Boxes

That Dreaming lady took me for a ride, all by myself. I didn't have to share the back seat with Tucker. It was mine, all mine.  First we went by that place that smells funny and has that lady in white who pokes me. I wasn't happy at all. We walked into the place and that Dreaming lady wouldn't even let me sniff the butt of a cute hound that was nervously waiting there. My lady took me over and had me step onto the piece of wiggly floor. I did it like a pro and even sat on command.  The Dreaming lady said the wiggly floor is a scale and she was very happy on account of my losing 7 pounds. That bothered me a bit 'cause I don't remember losing anything. I mean, if something is missing it is usually 'cause I ate it. My lady gave me some scritches and said she would be feeding me a bit more dog food and a bit less green beans. Sounds good to me! We didn't even stay to see the smelly lady in the white coat. We went straight back to the car. Now, that's the kinda visit I like! Well, except I didn't get any doggie treats. That woulda made it the best!
Next we drove to the building where that Dreaming lady has a dad. He fed me some treats, so,at least I got something!  I think I shoulda gotten more on account of the losing thing. 


We took a walk around the building. I had all kinds of admirers and I was really good. I didn't bark even one time - Tucker woulda made people very mad if he hadda been there on account of all the noise he makes!

When we were at the building visiting the Dad I hadda go into a funny, freaky box that moves. I don't understand it. 

First, the shiny doors close all by themselves, with a whooshing noise. 


Makes me worry about my tail. What if it squished me?!

Then, the Dreaming lady pushes a button.
I wonder how she knows which one to push?


Then it makes funny sounds. 


It creeps me out! 
But, the creepiest thing, the mostest freaky thing is that when the silver doors open...

<Cue creepy music>

I'm not where I used ta be!

How freaky is that?
Have you ever been in a moving box?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Living the Legacy

My mother, a Home Economics major in college (I don't think they even have a course in Home Ec, let alone a major anymore!) used to sew most of our clothes. 


She taught me to sew. I used to make Barbie clothes by hand before graduating to making my first dress at 10 years of age. How well I remember Mom's old Elna machine with the green paint worn to burnished steel where her hand brushed the frame as she advanced the hand wheel to bring the needle up or down and to get the machine started. Mom gave me my first sewing machine when I went off to college. I was touched, and I continued the sewing tradition, to some degree, sewing some of my clothes, many home furnishings and lots of clothing items for my boys and friends.  

In her later years Mom took up quilting. 


She loved picking out the perfect swatch, considering both color and pattern, to create the look she wanted. 


Mom preferred to make small quilts. 


She loved the planning and creation process, and always wanted to move on to try another technique, pattern or color.  


Also, like me, at this point in her life, she spent a great deal of her time on a motorhome. Small quilts were easier to work with in small quarters. 

I never quilted. When Mom died I took her bins of fat quarters (A fat quarter is a one-fourth yard cut of fabric that usually measures 18" x 22" instead of the typical 9" x 42" quarter-yard cut), her books and her tools, figuring that one day I might try quilting. 


That day has come, and I like it! I think that my dabbling with painting, and learning more about color has contributed to my interest in quilting. Perhaps, since I now understand a bit about color, that is one less new thing I have to struggle with, freeing my aging brain to tackle other aspects of quilting. 

For our "handmade" Christmas I decided to tackle a quilted jacket for Holly (DIL's mother) using a sweatshirt as the base, as a gift. This is one I bought years ago, and I liked the Bohemian look of it. 


But then, I found an online video that described a way to cover the sweatshirt entirely with material. This solved the problem of not finding the specific green or blue hue that I wanted. 

I snipped, and sewed, and snipped some more. I emptied numerous spools and bobbins of thread. I had a carpet comprised of bits of cloth and thread, punctuated with an occasional pin. And voila, I had a jacket! Wow! I impressed myself. I didn't think I could do it. 

But then...

I tried it on. The jacket was a bit snug for me. Uh oh. It wouldn't fit the gift recipient. No one told me that quilting through layers of material would make the garment significantly smaller. Well, now I know! 
I started over, using a pattern instead of a sweatshirt (I didn't like the short sleeves, larger neck opening and shorter length that comes from trimming a sweatshirt). I sewed like a mad woman, and by Christmas Eve had everything but the trim and buttonholes completed. I left them undone for last minute alterations. The jacket was finished just in time for Holly to head home. 

I liked the experience. I found a fabulous quilting shop in my hometown - how could it be that I have lived here three years and never knew of its existence?! Well, to be honest it is on a street I have only travelled a handful of times! And, of course I am a very carful driver watching the road at all times, not the shops in plazas along the road! ! I am looking forward to learning more about the craft ... when I return from our travels!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Stalled

So, here I sit...with nothing to do! 
What an incredibly foreign feeling!

The last few weeks have been so very busy. 

I made gifts for all:

I painted gourds,
both big and small,


(Thank you, dear DIL, for sending pictures!)

I dusted off the sewing machine
and made wool hats for all:


I tried my hand at quilting,
here's jacket one of two.

As you can see, 
I didn't lack for something to do!

Then we found out we're gonna be Grandparents in May,
(Oh, what a great feeling... what a great day!)

So I made this soft pillow creature for the babe on its way!


Every baby needs cowboy booties for their feet
Thanks to Holly (mother of the mother of the babe to be)
I have a picture of the ones I crocheted.. how sweet!


I had to clean the house and get guest rooms ready. As you may recall, one of my November projects was to get the basement habitable and pleasant. Son #2 declared it to be cozy and inviting! He was quite pleased with his own man cave!

My vacuum decided it wouldn't suck. Well, that sucked! So off we Dreamers went to get the replacement, so at least some dog hair could be removed before guests arrived.

The Christmas tree decided it didn't want to stand...so off the guys went to find a better Christmas tree stand. We got it upright and decorated just in time!

Then, there was the food.... We enjoyed our family's traditional Swedish smorgasbord on Christmas Eve, with lots of interesting dishes. I will have to say how lovely it was to have my DIL's mom as an assistant chef in the kitchen! Son #1 prepared breakfast for all one day, treating us to his purple cornmeal pancakes. And, we created a portable Christmas meal to take to my Dad's. 

What a whirlwind of activity! 

Family came in on the 20th and 21st. Then it was over, with another burst of activity as folks packed, decorations were pulled down and hastily put away, laundry (was it 5 loads, or 6?) was washed, dried and folded, and rooms were put back to rights. 

We put one person on a plane late on Christmas. My brother and his wife left the next day...in the snow. We made a trek to the airport with two others yesterday. And, sadly, son #2 just left. 

All is quiet. Too quiet!

We were supposed to leave this morning. Bright and early. Our motor home is in Florida, awaiting our arrival. However, Mr. Dreamy received an email late yesterday that the service center still needs a part. Trust me...there was a lot of blue air swirling around upon reading that pronouncement. It didn't seem prudent to make a 1600 mile drive with dogs and stuff...only too find out we couldn't begin our winter wanderings. So...here we sit until Mr. Dreamy can touch base with them tomorrow. 

Frankly, after the rush of the past weeks, it feels good! Very good, indeed!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday, as well, and that perhaps you are also enjoying a bit of a break from the insane rush of Christmas!


Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Passed

Christmas came,
and Christmas passed.

DIL's mother, Holly,  giving Gypsy some lovin'

All of the memories
will surely last!

Back of my brother, CS, D. Our lovely TV fireplace, my SIL.

Had fun with my boys,
they even got toys!

D

CS torments dogs with his robot.

Had visits with Dad,
what fun was had!

We Dreamers, Dad, my brother and his wife.

Dad and his wife.

My DIL, with babe to be (happy, happy me!)

My brother and his wife.

Dogs admiring the white Christmas. 





Thursday, December 18, 2014

Warm Holiday Wishes

Buy a few ingredients...


Prepare a few jars….


Mix, mash and fill….


Add some ribbon...


and libation...


… and prepare to share warm wishes
for a happy holiday!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

My Report Card

At the beginning of November I posted a list of projects I wanted to accomplish during the month. So, now it's time for show and tell…

1. Prepare gardens for winter.     Incomplete. But, it isn't 'cause I didn't do something!! The only thing that remains unfinished is turning the vegetable garden, and putting a fence around the tulips. I decided wracking my elbow wasn't worth it.  Grade: C

2. Create!     In progress. I have completed gifts for one son and the MIL. I prepared the gourds for painting.  (Oh, how I wish I could put pictures up of the gifts I made… but I know at least one recipient checks out my blog now and then!)    Grade: C+

3. Complete the sweater I began knitting for my grand niece.    Still knitting! I did make some progress, but I still have a sleeve and a half and trim. Grade D

4. Enjoy Dad.   I get an A+ in this. Well, maybe a B. I hauled out some items and visited almost every day. I made a cushion holder for the gel cushion he uses in his wheel chair, to keep it from slipping forward, and I made a side-support for the wheel chair, since he tends to list to the left, his weaker side. I found some 'tools' at several different 2nd hand shops (did you know that the word 'toy' came from the word 'tool'?). Dad constructs with MegaBlocks and tinkers with an Italian gear toy. I also found a nifty architect toy tool, where he can design houses. It's a bit beyond him, but he does use it now and then. I also found a knobby ball that, with prompting, helps him exercise his left hand. My favorite thing, however, is the "console" I made for him. Perhaps this should raise my grade for creating! What do you think?




It keeps him busy!

5. Make basement habitable.  I painted. I vacuumed. I sorted and moved stuff. I put together the missing can lights and put new bulbs in. I put up pictures. I 'scored', finding two bed spreads at the Salvation Army on 1/2 price day… $5 each! I converted an extra cabinet door into a hat/coat hanger.  I remade the dresser into the vanity for the bath… AND, I cleaned the toilet! Ta-daaa! I haven't bothered to clean it since we moved in, and who knows when it was last cleaned before we purchased the house! Then, I messed it all up again in doing my sewing projects. I still need to move the exercise equipment between the two day beds. I couldn't manage that on my own, but now that Mr. Dreamy is home….   Final Grade: B-





(Mr. Dreamy helped me get the counter/sink on the dresser
when he got back this afternoon!)


6. Finish making quilled Christmas cards.


Well, I made a few. My quilling supplies were with Mr. Dreamy in Florida, so at this point all I could do is put together the cards, and use the few quilled prototypes I made before we left on our trip this fall to finish a few. Actually, after all this effort, I'm not sure I care for them. Oh well, it's better than sending nothing!  Grade: C













So, I didn't fail. I did put a lot of effort into everything. I simply had a problem finishing what I started. Uh, oh. I've heard comments about that throughout my life! 

As much as I groused about creating a list, I did like the idea of having specific things to focus on as the month progressed. Would I have accomplished as much without having created and posted the list? Probably, as there are a number of things I did accomplish that weren't even on the list.  

So, what about December?  

I think I'll forego an actual "to-do" list as almost all of it revolves around preparing the house for the holidays and for guests, and everything that goes along with that (cleaning, organizing, planning menus and getting food, gifts, etc) All I know is that Christmas will be here before I know it… and I have a lot of things to accomplish!

How about you? What are your "must do's" for the coming month?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A New Leaf on Life

I'm sorry, I couldn't resist the play on words.
But, I really do have a new leaf.
See it here?!


I have two phalaenopsis orchids.  It is hard to resist buying them at Costco or Trader Joe's. They are so beautiful, but generally, once they have finished blossoming I can't do a thing with them, except throw them out. This year, knowing we'd be traveling and house plants would not receive even my terrible standard of care, we installed them in this handy dandy greenhouse my son gave us a few years ago. 


It seems they like the humid environment. Duh! They live in the jungle, you know!! Besides the new leaf, the other phalaenopsis put up lots of roots… and a new flower shoot. It turns out it was drowning in an inappropriate pot with no drainage. I guess the flower stalk was a last chance bid to share its genes in this world! I repotted it, in orchid bark, in an orchid pot, and put it back in the greenhouse. It will probably die, now!


However, the reason I chose to select the picture above is so you can see the background. See the gapped-tooth grin in the stone on our fireplace? When we moved in a lot of the rock had fallen off. We never found the one(s) that went front and center. But, now….
Ta-daaa...



My painted styrofoam looks pretty good, don't ya think?! I'm not certain what I'll do when we turn the fireplace on. Perhaps it will have to be like dentures that have to be taken out at certain times!

Here is another example of a new leaf on life…

This cruddy, old dresser was exactly the right size to be reborn as a vanity for the sink we pulled out of the bathroom in the basement. 
I took the top off. Cut the drawers and cut the back for the pipes and drain.


I realized the vanity was going to be really short. 
So I added some height.


 After a few coats of paint…
and some details…

It's finished! 
And look, it has leaves, too!


Now I just need to wait for Mr. Dreamy to come home to help me hoist the sink on top!
Oh, and yeah, I have to decide what to do about knobs for the drawer fronts.


We have had some gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.  Last night, as I was leaving my Dad's building, I was hit, smacked in the face, by this sunset. The cerulean/turquoise blue of the sky was almost blinding. The brilliance doesn't quite translate over to the picture. But, coming outside to this just takes ones breath away… and certainly gives one a new leaf lease on life!


I hope you can enjoy a new 'leaf' on life, too!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wacky Weather

Six feet of snow near Buffalo, then 60* a week later…
Torrential rains that are forecast to bring 3" of rain near Seattle…
Tornado warnings in the southeast...

Crazy weather!

Our weather is unsettled, too.


We don't know what season it is!
We had snow...


Then it melted.
We had mini "blizzards" when we weren't supposed to have snow.
Even the dogs didn't want to go out!
Gypsy doesn't like the snowballs in her feet.
Tucker shakes the snow off his coat.


Yesterday we had ominous skies.


The clouds on the horizon turned out to be snow squalls.
The weather whooshed in…
bringing rain and graupel pelting down…
sideways,
driven by a strong wind.
Snow began swirling in the wind.

As fast as it came…
It left.
On its way to pelt those living south of me!


Scene Along the Side of the Road: Farms

Our drive through central California seemed long and frankly, boring. However, the monotony was broken by observing the produce along the s...