Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Replacement Comforter

Oh, Golly! Life sure spins on a dime sometimes! Just last week I was leading the life of sloth and ennui and suddenly it feels like I haven't even been home for a month! I've worked 2 back to back shifts of 12 hours and 10 and 1/2 hours respectively. And Saturday I took a little jaunt to visit a pen pal in prison. And I barely had time to change my linens for a Halloween Theme and now it's Halloween already today!

And tomorrow is November.
I have so much to talk about I don't know where to begin! My friend since Junior High, Bee, came through for me in a big way and sent me an old but wonderful laptop to use while at work, and it has been a lifesaver. I loaded up my Sims game and I am content!

A few weeks ago, I got out my down comforter to discover it had died a Black Mold Death. That stuff is rather vicious in California and one mustn't become damp. Ever. Apparently this had not gotten dry completely and it was mildewed from the inside out. So I had to throw it away. Goodbye, my lover! Goodbye my friend! You have been the one, you have been the one for me! I can't tell you how many nights I slept warm and toasty while those around me froze their tushes off at Civil War events. (Yes, I had my down comforter on my cot: you didn't think I would ROUGH it, did you? I like to play dress-ups, not suffer!

Oh it gave me a pang to throw it out and face the facts that I wouldn't be able to afford to replace it anytime soon.

On Friday I heard quite a commotion in the vacant apartment in my building, and not one to mind my own business when there is snooping to be done, I went down to check it out! Talk about hitting the Bonanza! The maintenance guys were cleaning out the #4 unit which had been abandoned. And I was welcome to take anything I wanted. I scored! Everything he had was brand new from Target, and I got a set of lamps, a set of 3 matching candlesticks, tiered. I got all kinds of wire wisks and a very good stainless steel spatula. I also got these elephants.

And in that very day's mail my cousin Billie had sent me this elephant cookie cutter and an elephant shaped recipe card for elephant sugar cookies! Can't WAIT to bake those! Elephants are my sign.

But Wait! There's More!

Thrown in the middle of the bedroom floor in a jumble of jeans, pillows and other bedding, I spied the corner of a pure white down comforter sticking out from the heap. I grabbed it right up and took it outside into the light. It didn't appear to have any man cooties on it; in fact it was as clean, pristine and brand-spanking new as everything else this guy had just up and left. Just to make sure I tossed it into the biling pot with a good cup of Bleach and dried it on HIGH heat and now I have myself a beautiful replacement comforter!

Wonders will never cease. Aren't you glad about that? Happy Halloween everyone! Remember, we celebrate this ancient holiday in order to get our sugar count up to danger levels, so start chewing!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Another Day Another Foccacia!

Or however you spell it.

Went to meet my new client yesterday, and I'm sure you will hear lots about her. My fervant prayer was to have someone this time that I could: Eat with. Cook For. TALK with. Laugh With. Make a Difference.

After those last clients who were anti-food, anti-conversation and anti-laughter, it was about time I got someone more akin with the reasons I got into caregiving to begin with!

This lady is only 62 but she had suffered a massive stroke when she was 42. Imagine that? She was in a care home for one solid year learning to walk again, talk, read, sit up, roll over, play dead.

Here's the part I want to vent about: When she finally was well enough to come home and take up life again with her dentist husband and two children, she discovered that her husband was a rat bastard of the First Degree. One evening as she was laying down recuperating he got all dressed up for a night on the town and he told her he was going out on a date! She said, "I didn't know married men went on dates!" And he told her that he wanted to do things with his life. Go skiing, go to concerts, surf, hike, play polo, do extreme bungee jumping. And she just didn't fit in with that plan. So he divorced her.

Can you imagine being 43 years old, facing the challenges of life after a massive stroke and having your husband dump you because being married to an invalid wasn't hip or trendy enough to suit his world vision?

So I had to bake her some foccacia bread:
Ready for the Oven
Here is my recipe for it. It came from the web somewhere but it is tried and true, believe me. I've baked a hundred of them at least.
Easiest Focaccia Bread

· 1 teaspoon white sugar
· 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
· 1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
· 2 cups all-purpose flour
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In a small bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with flour; stir well to combine. Stir in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all of the flour is absorbed. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly for about 1 minute.
3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
5. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface; knead briefly. Pat or roll the dough into a sheet and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush the dough with oil and sprinkle with salt.
6. Bake focaccia in preheated oven for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on desired crispness. If you like it moist and fluffy, then you'll have to wait just about 10 minutes. If you like it crunchier and darker in the outside, you may have to wait 20 minutes.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

There's got to be a Morning After

Gentle Readers: Take Note!

Too much of this:

Makes you feel like THIS:
(Puking Punkin' carved and photographed by Miss Pea one of my favorite bloggers who makes me laugh every day and who is an AWESOME pumpkin carver! I know all my readers Read Her First! Thank you! www.peascorner.blogspot.com )
So my birthday was just bizarre in ways I can't even begin to describe. Oh, heck, why not? But first, I want to thank everyone who came over and Wished me a Happy Birthday in Blogger Land, it really means so much to me! When I think of all the months I sat writing this blog with nobody reading it! Just knowing that I have people who will pop in on occasion to see what is up with me, hoping to share a laugh or to look at my lastest creation or vintage find makes me feel SOO GREAT! I thank you ALL! (Even the occasional spammer who posts a comment wanting me to purchase something fabulous but mysterious over somewhere else. At least he/she/it FOUND me! tee-hee!)

Anyway, I have time for the briefest Birthday Review so here it is: I think this 50th birthday could rightly be called, "The Year of Everybody Else's Animals"

My birthday Lobster Lunch was cancelled because my friend Patrick's old Chocolate Lab took a turn for the worse with his diabetes.

My Own Mother who calls me without fail never called me all day! It's astonishing! My phone rang at 6:45 pm which is 9:45pm her time, and she told me she was already in bed for the night when it dawned on her she may have neglected something! Turns out, she had gotten up on the morning of my birthday to find water all over the kitchen floor and a completely deadened refrigerator. The rest of the day was spent in a frenzy to find somewhere to store the frozen goods, mopping up and driving all over to find a new fridge. The worst part is that in the middle of all that hoopla, her big fat cat Mr. Ears had a stroke and lost the use of this back legs and was at the vets until they could figure out what to do.

On top of that, in the middle of the day, I went down to check my mail and came face to face with a giant bloodhound! He was heading up my narrow stairs and determined to get inside my apartment. He knocked me right over as he shoved me aside. I had no idea they were such LARGE DOGS! Do you know I have never seen a bloodhound before? They are not common as pets out in California and I never saw one in Indiana, either! He was the most beautiful soft caramel brown color and had those droopy ears and eyes. He was very sweet but I have no idea where he came from! He wasn't wearing a collar but he was so well groomed I know he belonged to someone.

Maybe he was looking for the possums, racoons or dangerous fugitives I always have landing on my stoop. Either way, I said I should go look up what it MEANS when you get a bloodhound on your doorstep on your 50th birthday. Something needs sniffing out? Find the Trail to Happiness? I don't know but I'm open for suggestions!

Once Again, thank you ALL for your wonderful comments and birthday wishes!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me! The Big 50.

Well, It is 5:32 in the morning as I write this and in 2 hours exactly the phone will ring and my Mom will say, "50 years ago at this minute you took your first breath in the world! It was a rainy autumn day and the leaves were gold." Because, you know, the weather report at the moment of your birth is an important detail not to be forgotten! That always cracks me up, I have no idea what the significance is! But I love it anyway.

So, here I am savoring the last 2 hours of my footloose, fancy free and immature 40's. Must knuckle down, I suppose, now that I'll be 50. Start scoping out to see who gives the Senior Discounts to those 50 and older. Must take on the Mantle of Maturity and all that. Hope it's pink satin and is lined with rose floral chintz with an Ermine Collar! I'd wear a Mantle of Maturity if it looked like that!

In honor of this Important Birthday of 50, I've compiled a list of 50 Things About Me: Enjoy!

50 Things About Me

1. I won’t kill a spider! I have to trap them and turn them loose outside.
2. If it’s PINK, I love it automatically.
3. I have never completely overcome my aversion to the smell of sweat and gym class and cannot bring myself to exercise!
4. I am an absolute pig in the kitchen, and I hate to clean up my own spills.
5. I’ve always wanted to have ‘people’ to do things for me! “I have people to pick out my clothes.”
6. I love crows. REALLY love crows.
7. I fantasize endlessly about decorating and designing houses.
8. I long for my old, fit body but not my old, fit brain! Because I can't remember it!
9. I see dead people! Really, I’m not kidding. They’re everywhere…
10. I am not as fond of people as they think I am.
11. I struggle with a wee case of agoraphobia. I have to FORCE myself to leave the house, even when it’s to do something fun.
12. I love carnivals of any sort and always want to go and ride the Tilt-O-Whirl.
13. I watch movies the second and third time around so I can look at JUST the costumes and the sets! I look at the wallpaper, the china, what is sitting on the end tables, etc;
14. If I could, I would live my whole life in my pajamas.
15. I hate coffee mugs. It's a proper cup and saucer, for me!
16. I refuse to wear a ‘logo’ hat or tee-shirt and give anyone free advertising!
17. If my feet aren’t happy, I’m not happy. Pedicures and comfortable footwear are a must!
18. I smell everything.
19. I try never to nurse a grudge.
20. I won’t own anything that is ‘too good to use’.
21. I eat off the ‘good china’ every day.
22. I can’t stand plastic and try not to have any of it in my house.
23. I almost drowned twice.
24. I love Asti Spumanti, especially the pink kind!
25. I actually prefer my pizza cold for breakfast the next day.
26. I am trying to break myself of the habit of using a BIG word when a simple little word will do just as well.
27. I think organized religion and excess religiosity are nothing but superstitious hoopla.
28. I am not afraid to be lazy and prefer it over being hyper.
29. I want to walk out my front door someday and just keep walking. Really. And not stop till I get to Tierra Del Fuego.
30. My biggest fantasy is to buy little houses and fix them up and give them to people.
31. Sports and sporting events of every kind bore me to sobs.
32. I am not the least bit interested in children or their accomplishments.
33. I have a crush on Tony Blair. You know, the British P.M.
34. I like my own company the best and prefer to be alone most of the time.
35. I would love to ‘time-travel’.
36. I hate the ocean. I don’t like the sound, the smell, the sand, the beach! I want nothing to do with it! (Except of course the food that comes out of it!)
37. I have never had enough oysters. I’d like to eat my weight in them and walk away smiling.
38. My secret indulgence is to take a nap whenever possible.
39. The Day after I graduated from High School I boarded a Greyhound bus for New York City! “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere..”
40. I once built a cement pond by hand in New Jersey. Dug the whole thing with a shovel and poured the concrete and everything. I even stocked it with fish.
41. I like bananas because they have no bones.
42. I am a licensed Esthetician.
43. I was briefly engaged to a Kuwaiti Prince.
44. All my ‘scratch cakes’ come from a box mix.
45. I still have pen pals! More than 8 regular ones, in fact.
46. I was born with my left foot turned around backwards and I’ve been coming AND going every since. No kidding! I was in a cast until I was two and a half.
47. I traveled across Mexico with 100 bucks and one straw bag in my possession. One pair of shoes, one broom skirt, one whole winter. Best trip I ever took!
48. I make my own soap the old fashioned way with lye.
49. I still want to see Paris, Venice, Old Vienna and dip my toes in the Ganges. Someday.
50. I am not ready to ‘settle down’ yet. Maybe never.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Breakfast of Champions

Ah, the delightful palette of the French, who created such a splendid soup!

I was craving French Onion Soup last night. I think it is because the weather is colder and it always reminds me of one of my earliest reenactment memories. It was the Feast of the Hunter's Moon at Fort Quiatanon on the Quabashe River in Lafayette, Indiana. Smoke fires and Indian Lodges and drums, drums in the night. And giant cast iron pots of steaming French onion soup boiling over an open wood fire on a tripod.

My Cousin was just telling me about how wrong it is these days that kids tell their PARENTS what the family will be doing. Instead of the other way around like when we were kids. These days, it's all kid-centric. Family Vacations must be Water World or Disneyland because it has to be All About Entertaining the Children. God Forbid we don't Schedule an Activity for every moment of their little lives! God Forbid the Adults get to have an Adult Excursion and just drag the kids along so they might Learn Something!

Here is a quote from my cousin:

As a Child, I went wherever my parents Took Me. Didn't you? I mean, we were always packing up and going to the Sunday Rodeo over in Albion, or taking the horses camping, or going to the racetrack in Michigan with Uncle Bob's racehorse. We always had a bunch over for 'whatever' to eat on Sundays--barbecues in the summer, chili over a woodfire on the ice in wintertime, when the guys all got to race in their cars around the lake! I just remember all the fun and high gig there was just hanging around with my own folks. We knew interesting people.

I realized that I got most of what I know and love from those times I followed my family around. I don't think it is supposed to be the other way. How do today's kids know who to be like? How do they know what they want to be? Their parents are so busy following them around, busy reliving their own childhoods!

In our day it was pretty much All About Our Parents, when you think about it. Somehow I get the feeling that people on both sides of the soccer field are missing out on that.

Well, I really agree with my cousin! My dad built and sailed iceboats, and we went along for the day. He crewed for a motorcycle race team, and we went along to all the race weekends. He and Mom had matching Honda motorcycles and a gang of friends who went for day trips up to Mongo and the Elkhart River, and we rode on the back of the bikes and ate salty dried mushrooms out of jars from little wayside General Stores. The list is almost endless! I was exposed to all kinds of people and all kinds of lifestyles and philosophies. It was a rich and rewarding heritage and I dearly love those memories.

Today, life seems to be about ferrying your children to their next sporting event. How did we lose our focus? Especially since teaching our children to be competitive little monsters has not really taught them to be decent human beings.

The Feast of the Hunter's Moon and going places with your Parents and playing with whatever you found and whomever you met along the way...well, it just doesn't get any better than that.

So I whipped up a big pot of French Onion soup and here's my Memory Breakfast! French Onion Soup!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A mess of purses

Well, I am paying the price for drinking fully leaded tea and sewing for 12 hours non-stop yesterday. I was having so much fun while it was happening but I went to bed feeling like someone had pounded me with a ballpeen hammer and shot radioactive dye through all my nerve endings. Ouch.

(Oops! Photos wont upload (AGAIN!!! Grrrrrr!!!) so I'll try again later.)
Okay, Here we go!

Today I am laying low and enjoying the fruit of my labors and have switched to non-tannin tea, a nice green Jasmine Tea instead.

I wanted to post this picture of the kind of mess I make when I sew. You get to see the cute finished project, but here is the REAL story. The bed is heaped with fabric, scraps, and strips, the floor is full of thread ends and scraps galore and the mess spreads on out to the ironing board and the whole room. I had to vacuum for a LONG time when cleaning this up! (The perfect sewing room would have a tile floor! Quick sweep and you are done!)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Purses and Moths

I really have a moth infestation. I can't figure out where they are coming from but in an apartment that has almost every square inch covered in vintage cloth, old quilts, upholstery fabric and linens of every short, shape and size, it's a daunting task. I don't own a farthing's worth of wool, but that won't stop the clothes moths who will eat cotton, too.

I don't care for creepy crawlies! Moth Larvae are little wormies that are a pasty color and Ewwww!

To save myself from being totally creeped out I made this bag:

You know, when in Buglam, Sew something. These purses are so fun to make I have a few more in the works. This is much more fun than finishing up those quilt tops I started on because these go so quickly, use up lots of scraps and don't require precision!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ding! Cake's Done!

Finally got this finished and I must say, that after getting off to a rocky start, this went along smoothly and was swiftly finished. I REALLY like it! It's very perky and just right for my Birthday Table, I'd say.

Okay. I have this BAN, see, on buying new fabric. Because I have PLENTY of it, believe me! I could start now and sew my way through the next ice age and not run out. So, until I use up some of what I have, especially the "ufo's" (**unfinished objects** i.e. quilt projects well begun but not half done) I am not allowing myself to buy more fabric. OOPS! How did these 5 pieces of ultra cool uber-retro funky Christmas fabrics find their way into my bag at walmart yesterday when all I was doing was buying toilet paper?

I don't know, but if you think I could resist the penguins in pink scarves then you don't have a spot of whimsey! Or you must think I don't have one! But you do and so do I, which is why I had to share my shame with the world because these fabrics HAD to come home with me!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

If ya want it, ya haf ta sew it!

Tired of looking for useable dining napkins that were affordable and of a recognizable fabric like cotton or linen as opposed to ultra-suede and micro-fiber which seems to be the trend right now, I opted to simply make my own yesterday.

Who wants to wipe their delicate lips on pleather, I ask you?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A Couple More

Part of the Bag Hoopla is that I have a lot of birthdays coming up in October and November, so I wanted to get started on some 'prizes' for my cousins. However, I may not have the energy for it and gee I guess that just means I'll have to keep what I've made for myself! These two, however, ARE slated for gifts. I made them both yesterday and had fun doing it.

This one has a fun cell phone pocket on the side since I know she uses a cell phone all the time.

This one turned out rather awesome. It is made of strips sewn willy-nilly with all the raw edges showing and then using a sapphire blue thread I used a decorative stitch all over the place to cover the raw edges. I just made it up as I went along. She likes blue so this should be a big hit.

And lest you get all envious about how much work I'm cranking out, I should confess that I sew so I don't have to think. It's more productive than falling face down in a trough of booze and there is no hangover! Tee hee!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Addendum to Yesterdum

Blogger would not let me load these yesterday, here is the Trader Joe's covered tote.

This is the one that needed major overhauling and it just didn't photograph that well but I love the fabric so much.

All pin basted and ready to be quilted!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

First Rain

I woke in the early hours this morning to the blessed sound of rain. Oh, how I love to sleep in the rain. Well, not IN the rain, but you know what I mean. And I had a very comfy feeling that I had gotten my fall purse change-over accomplished just in time!

Yesterday, I realized my summer purse was due for a rest, and that I had several purse projects that were unfinished in some way because the end product was unsatisfactory. So I got those out and fixed them up. Here is my FeedSack Chick purse:

It needed some kind of closure so things didn't fall out of it all the time, and also a little inner cosmetic bag to hold the vials, potions, pills and chicken feed necessary for forays around the barnyard. So I made this:

It's from neat old pillow ticking fabric and it, too, has a snap closure.

A while ago I got this grocery bag out and covered the awful logo with an old quilt block. I have a few of these canvas totes around, but refuse to carry anything with a LOGO on it. Not unless they are paying me to be a human billboard, I won't stoop to it! So I always cover the painted or silkscreened surface with something of my own. I always seem to have leftover quilt blocks hanging around so it's just a matter of getting the right size. I am putting longer straps on this bag becuase the hand-grip size strap is never a good idea! Hands are for car key carrying and opening doors! Hands cannot be full of bag-handles at the same time!

If you bring your own bags to Trader Joes, your name goes in a drawing to receive 50 dollars worth of free groceries! I can and I do sign up as often as possible. Sorry, Trader Joes, this bag was once yours!:

(Picture refusing to show up, Thanks Blogspot, AGAIN!!!! grrrr)

And last but not least:

This was a cotton upholstry fabric attempt at making a 'sausage' purse. Not a shape I normally can stand to carry. I am very particular about purses, which is why I started making my own. I want pockets and a certain length of handle, and it has to LAY well on my side and not be too cumbersome or too sloppy. And it can't be too small and thus rendered worthless. But it can't be the Black Hole of Calcutta where things get lost in the bottom of it never to be found again until seasonal purse change time! So these deep sausage style (or slingbacks or whatever they are called) are not my cup of tea. So I modified it by making it more shallow, eliminating the draw string and insterting an elastic band instead, and changing the handles from 'backpack' to a shoulder strap. I'm using the chicken purse at the moment, so the jury is still out on whether the modified verison of this is going to be workable. If not, I'll gut it and save the fabric if I can.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Pretty Cake stand

Its bright, pretty and scrappy, and I am loving it! It's going to have a scrap border and then a white border and binding. I think I need new batteries in my digital, it seems like a very dingy picture. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

All Gone

Life sure seems to be full of the wrong kind of change, lately. Things going, going, gone...and not being replaced! This old trunk: Gone!

And the sofa's you see in the picture? Gone! And that pretty pink rug? Gone! All worn out, worn down, worn away.

Yesterday I recieved a very unexpected letter from my doctor. He and his wife are retiring and turning over the practice to a nice new doctor and his wife. I was shocked, stressed and somewhat afraid. I don't get on well with doctors. They don't seem to HEAR me and they cetainly don't ever seem to give a diddly-dang about me. My doctor is one of those rare, wonderful, amazing men, and it took a long time to find him. He is rather famous for being known as the 'Magic Doctor' because he does little sleight of hand tricks, jokes, and puzzles to lighten the mood and make the world spin humorously for a little bit.

I had JUST asked him if he was planning on retiring anytime soon and he had guffawed at me. This guy is so vital, alive, perky, interested in everything and tuned in, there just seems no way he would just QUIT like that and walk away.

Now I have to contend with the newness and awkwardness of a total stranger taking over my physical/medical well being. What if I don't like his personality? What if he is one of those arrogant young egomaniacs fresh out of hot-shot school?

Now, I know what my sofa, chest and wool rug felt like as they were being hauled off to the Salvation Army: "WHAT? You are just OFFLOADING us? But you LOVED us last month! We've been with you for YEARS and this is how you repay us? By just Dumping Us and preparing to replace us with something NEW? Don't we matter at all? All those years of loyalty and steadfast patronage? Couldn't we just go a way for the weekend and see how it feels? Why does this have to be so permanent?

Yeah, like that.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sitting on my Cake

I had a very hard time working on my Birthday Cake Stand Quilt yesterday. Why? Because I had an excess of HELP.

I wanted to post some pictures of the blocks as they look now, but the camera hog inserted himself front and center. Notice how he is so cutely squashing the fabric between his little tap-dancing feet. Awww!!!!

(Don't forget to click on the actual pictures so you can get a better view.)