Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best wishes in 2012!

From my home to yours


Cheers!





May 2012 hold all the best for you!


Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 recap

As I get ready to move forward into 2012, I did a quick scan of my 2011 posts to see what exactly I did this past year.  In general, I was busy with business.  I think my year was not as productive as I would have preferred, but there were many thinks that never get posted.

Here are a sampling of what I accomplished over the past 12 months:

Quilting -
Applique floral wreath quilt top (to be quilted soon!  I promise)
Kaleidoscope quilt top (ditto)
Lap quilt completed and brought to quilt shop/for sale

Friday Night Sew In -
Participated six times (goal for 2012 is every month)

Green and Health related changes -
Decreased coffee comsumption/switched to roasted barley
Added barley as a major player in diet
Ditto kale
Experimented/added more "from scratch" recipes
Biking started out great but health issues sidelined me (hope to have this resolved this summer)

Reading -
America's Women
Pioneer Woman, High Heels to Tractor Wheels
A Year by the Sea
...and a few others I can't remember!

Knitting -
Finished my vest in time for the cooler weather

Survived the Hot, Hazy, Humid summer of 2011!
Hurricane Irene
The infamous Halloween Snowstorm

Family health issues kept me busy, but seem to be mending


Not nearly as much progress as I'd like to see, but ENOUGH of the looking back.  It's time to plan for the future!  I'll share those plans on Sunday :)

Right now I'm taking out one of those quilt tops and want to finish it this coming month.

AND....if you hear of any good on-line challenges, please let me know.....  greenvtr[a]yahoo[dot]com

Best wishes for a wonderful New Year!


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Thursday, December 29, 2011

America's Women, the book

Knowing that I have a thirst to learn about the accomplishments and real-life experiences of women throughout history, a co-worker loaned me her copy of America's Women and two other books when I was on medical leave in 2009.  I read through the two novels and was soon back at work, with this one book setting by my comfy loveseat....waiting.  I read in spurts and couldn't nudge myself past the first few pages for two more months.  However, when that thirst returned I was drawn right in to the fascinating history of our fore-mothers here in the United States (which is admittedly similar to the history of women worldwide.  The details may differ but the struggles are the same.)

Gail Collins (author) put an incredible amount of detail in her book beginning with Virginia Dare, the first known female in the US colonies, and ending with our struggle of equal recognition for equal endeavors.  I found myself reading about four pages at a sitting so that I could absorb the information!  The names, dates, and places were so exact....so complete.  It was like a full college course on the subject within the hardcovers.

It reviewed the Salem tragedies which I had studied before, but also went into new territory for me.  I devoured the chapter detailing how some women taught young freed (former) slave girls, bucking the system that demanded that they were not to be educated.  These brave women even had their schools and homes burned for their beliefs.  They and their students chose not to buckle to pressure.  Bravo!

I had previous read first hand accounts of women's experiences as nurses and enlisted personnel in WWII.  Here I learned about how the government only created the womens' corps as appeasement and used them (mostly) to fill in desk jobs or to test airplanes before sending the machines into battle.  (If the plane crashed, who was lost....?!)

I read throughout the summer and fall, sometimes sitting at the picnic table outside work at lunch while gleaning what I could from those passages and the mid-day sunshine.   I may look for a copy to add to my permanent bookshelf.  It's that good.  And I highly recommend this book if you have the time and the resolve to learn about America's gutsy women.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More end of year financial stuff

Several years ago I used to read financial/debt reduction/frugal living blogs.  One of them had a terrific excel budget spreadsheet, which I downloaded.  It wasn't anything fancy, just a basic worksheet where you would list your monthly income along with fixed and variable expenses.  It could be continuously updated and was a great way to plan for my year.  Finance for a Freelance Life offered it again for 2010 along with some other spreadsheets that look interesting.

I have tweaked this spreadsheet several times over the years, adding a breakdown of each catagory and linking cells to auto-fill.  At the beginning of the year I can plug in my anticipated monthly income and known expenses, and guesstimate how much I need to set aside monthly for things like car repairs.  I can plug in how much I'll put into savings (lol.)  And on payday each month (yes, I get paid once each month!  It's actually pretty easy to adapt to that), I check to see if I'm on track.

This year depleted the nice little savings account I had been building.  A few thousand in brakes, rotor grinding, new tires, 60K mile service, and some other unexpected bills took the egg out of my nest.  But the good news is that I had carefully built that nest and can start over again.  I already have.

It's a little more work than just setting cash aside in envelopes, which I have done in my more distant past.  But it is entirely worth it just to see your money grow as you become more disciplined in your spending/saving.  It's comforting to know that the cash for property taxes will be sitting in an account because you've budgeted for it for all these months.

I travelled the internet looking through finance blogs and came up with some interesting sites offering spreadsheets.  If you are interested, you may want to check this one....it's like working with the envelope system.  Or this one from Microsoft.  Or perhaps you already have a terrific system and can offer advice?

It's a good time to start planning for next year....let's make it a great one!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Yearly gift

A few years ago I realized that my children would be "in the dark" as to my finances/taxes/insurance/etc should anything happen to me.  And of course, if they have to step in to clean out my home and close my accounts, I want to make it as easy for them as possible.  So one month while I was filing my bill statements, I decided to make a list for them.

I wrote down the contacts for my employer, insurances, and retirement so they could access anything that was due to me (them), and then listed any possible accounts that they would have to clean up and close. I typed up a form on the computer, leaving extra lines just in case.  There are workbooks in stores and online for this, but my accounts wouldn't fill a book....I'm keeping it simple ;)






For a few years I was quite content that I had done a good thing.  Until one day I realized that this information changes....!  Each new job changes the contact information for 401Ks and possible employer-held life insurance.  A move can be a change in homeowner's insurance policies or mortgages.  I discovered that this list is not static.  Even though it may stay the same for years, one year can bring big changes.

So now I try to revisit my list as the old year closes to update any changes that may have taken place.  I can go confidently into the new year knowing that I've made an unpleasant job a little easier for my boys.  And it's an easy way to review my own situation, to see what I need to improve.  I've got peace of mind.  And they've got a gift they don't need yet :)

This year I've put another "list" with it. I've put photos in one of those dollar-style "Mom's brag books" and written down the "history" of family-related objects so they'll know what has been in the family and any possible story relating to it. Because there will be no chance to ask questions later! In an ideal situation, when I'm rocking away in my ol' rocking chair surrounded by loved ones, I'll be giving away my treasures and describing how they came to end up in my possession. But for now I'll gamble on the cautious side and make sure everything's covered..... ;)



P.S. For those who have another adult who shares your finances, this should be much easier.  If you are in an independent status right now, it might be something to explore as a way to review your financial situation.  Another form of preparedness, if you will.

P.P.S.  My sons have all been told that this list exists, and it's whereabouts.  Since that's not high on their priorities right now, I have occassionally reminded them.  I'm sure 1:3 should be good odds at remembering  ;)


Wishing you peace and prosperity in the New Year!


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Friday, December 23, 2011

~ Season's Greetings ~



May you enjoy a very Merry Christmas!

Peace on Earth

And goodwill towards all men.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Some interesting tidbits for holiday thoughts....

I can't resist a weird headline.

I haven't had much time to scan the news on the internet lately but this wicked bad headcold has me wrapped in a lapquilt and jammies, catching up on the world.  I was tickled to find the two following articles.  You just can't make this stuff up!

They've found that your wonderful live Christmas tree may make you sick, or at least give you allergic reactions.  The mold spores will release in the warmth of your home and bother anyone suseptible.  I'm sure you can guess what the recommended solution would be....artificial.  And if you don't want to go that route you can "wash" your live tree before bringing it inside and remove it as soon as possible once the holiday has passed.  I just can't picture the Walton family washing their lovely real tree.....and I certainly hope you don't have this problem.  And if you do, please know that you are not alone in that.

Along with being able to rent a designer fashion or purse through the internet, someone finally figured out that parents will jump at the chance to rent toys for their children (kinda like Netflix.)  For a nominal monthly fee, you can browse through a selection of toys suitable for your child's age and development.  And the provider states that the returned toys are thoroughly cleaned before you receive them so you won't be skeeved when the package arrives.  Why couldn't I have dreamed up this one???

I hope you're enjoying wonderful time-honored traditions this holiday season!

Pssst....let's remember the reason for the season   ;)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Coffee.......less

It’s true.  My total coffee intake for the past 9 days has been one cup.  This came about in an odd way.  You see, the day before Thanksgiving I went to a Nutritionist.  But let me back up a bit…..

My family is prone to problems with both cholesterol and Type II diabetes and I’ve been somewhat laxidasical (sp?) about keeping my cholesterol numbers where they should be, but not so high as to warrant an alert from my doctor.  (* Note: my “good” cholesterol number is extremely good and my triglycerides are great.  It’s the Total and the “bad” that need fixing.)  So I asked for a reference to a Nutritionist.

We had an excellent conversation and she answered as many of my questions as time allowed, never dismissing my queries.  I asked about all the healthy “hints” we find on the internet.  She was knowledgeable about them and explained why I should or should not believe each one.  But the reason I immediately put my trust in her came about when I asked her to explain how these problems start in the human body, what is actually going on in there, and she did so in full.  I am one of those people who need to understand the situation.  Just telling me to put my foot on the clutch then move the shifter doesn’t work.  I want to know what the clutch does.  Once I know that, it all makes sense.
Anyway, she’s a believer that folks should follow a more vegetarian diet by eating more grains, legumes, and deeply colored veggies.  I’ve already been eating quinoa and I love my morning oatmeal, but she explained the benefits of barley.  Barley has a unique quality (from beta-glucan) of pulling some of the cholesterol from your digestive system with it as it passes through.  There are several sites about this on the internet.

In my entire adult life I’ve eaten barley perhaps ten times, always in a soup.  I didn’t know how it could be prepared.  But I left that meeting, bought some dehulled barley (her preferred option because the hull optimizes the benefits), and found some recipes online.  The first one I tried – Carrot Barley Stew – was a winner.  I’ve made it twice and love the flavors.  And it’s very satisfying.  Next I’m even going to try using the grain as porridge.
But, stumbling around the ‘net I found that roasted barley has been used around the world to make a hot beverage similar to coffee.  Postum (from roasted grains) was popular in the US and just stopped production a few years ago.  I actually remember seeing the jar in the coffee aisle of the grocery stores.  Those of you who have known me for a while know that I stopped brewing coffee last winter in my efforts to cut back on electrical usage.  (There’s a post on that back here.)  So my one or two cups of cold-brew and occasional cup from the quick stop were no big deal, but I was fascinated about this new revelation.  Then I found this.  I ordered some from online and I’ve been enjoying my cup of Kaffree Roma every morning.  I even keep a small container in my desk at work.  But wait….there’s more!

I’ve found instructions for roasting barley to grind for use in an automatic coffeemaker!  And if that isn’t enough……there’s RoBarr, the creation of a very smart woman.  Imagine!  I can stop drinking coffee, a drink that is imported and has all those bad connotations, and switch to something from right here in the US.  (Picture me doing a Happy Dance:)



So….I’ve switched out a lot of my diet with foods that are very nourishing and satisfying.  I’ve learned a lot.  And I’ve made another Small Change by reducing my consumption of coffee!
I’ll do the study and let you know in a few months what the effect is on my lab blood work.


* * Please talk to your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet. * *


On another note....we may see some snow mixed in with this rain by tomorrow morning……

Have a terrific Thursday!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Extended season

The advantage to not shopping on the weekend after Thanksgiving is being able to enjoy a quiet walk on the beach, which I did on both Saturday and Sunday.  While folks were rushing from store to store to build up points on their credit cards, I listened to the crunch of fine wet sand under my shoes.




The gulls were looking for food.




The remains of a horseshoe crab, looking so very prehistoric.




Barnacles holding several shells together. 




This one reminded me of angel's wings.



There were only about 20 people along the entire beach.  Two months earlier, I would have been weaving my way through beach blankets and toys.

In this section of the world we have been blessed with lovely weather which is about to change.  Tomorrow's forecast brings rain, followed by colder temperatures.  Perhaps I should find my coat now.....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

button, button.....

My vest is almost complete, having spent a few evenings knitting the neckband and seaming the sides.  Progress was stalled for a few days while I hesitated over buttons.  I narrowed it down to two choices....

these look like they were cut from a seashell...




and these classic vintage faux leather knots...




I'm leaning towards the knots, so I can use the other ones on something linen-y.  The knots always remind me of those wool plaid blazers with the elbow patches. 

I love Autumn wool plaids, capturing the rich colors of leaves, squash, and wine.  I saw some beautiful plaids as I wandered through JCPenney last week.  One skirt in particular caught my attention.  It was a bias-cut maxi!!!  I wore one very similar back in '75 and '76.  It was a favorite of mine back then (sigh!)



I've been watching these for the past few weeks.  This is the best display this little plant has ever had.  Such a delight to open the drapes in the morning!






It's a gorgeous day, here, so I'm heading out to get my vitamin D.

Wishing you a wonderful day!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Greetings!


 
I'm thankful for having met ALL of YOU  :)

 

Happy Thanksgiving!
Best wishes!

Joan

Last week a friend had to have a procedure done by a specialist and would be under anesthesia for a bit.  I drove her for the appointment and brought along a book to read in the waiting room.  Actually, I brought an extra book in case this one didn't meet my expectations.  However, I found that I couldn't put this one down and finished it at home that night.  Those of you who have known me for a while may remember my posts about books on women who I admire (here, here, more here.)  This turned out to be another book written by a woman with drive.

A Year by the Sea, Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson is a small book and a fairly quick read, but there much insight in it.  She makes a physical separation from her husband of many years to find herself, spending a year at a family home by the shore.  It takes a special woman to strike out on her own, not knowing what she'll find...or what she may be giving up.  Digging deep into yourself can be a frightening thing.  Joan made the most of her year, as should we all.  I was inspired by this true story.  This is the first time I've ever underlined sentences in a book, always having treated them with utmost respect.  But there were two passages that spoke to me and I wanted to save those thoughts.

I recommend this for a quick wintery weekend read.  If your library doesn't have it, ask them to borrow it for you.  And let me know how you like it.

Have a great Tuesday, folks!

Monday, November 21, 2011

New digs

We're still settling in at work.  It's kind of exciting, with so many new things there.

These are some of our neighbors.





Here's a view of the late Autumn scenery surrounding us now.  The colors are dull and rusty this year due to the hot-hot-hot Summer we had, but I don't mind looking at this while I'm out for my lunchtime walk :)





I'm wondering if I should bring in my snowshoes this winter ..... (* wink *)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A-hem.....

It was my most interesting Friday Night Sew-In, producing this....



I should have trusted my instincts when the number of stitches picked up around the neckline made it pucker.  The finished neckband was too tight so I ripped it out.  So here's where the vest stands after blocking the pieces and stitching the shoulders together on FNSI....




Productive?  Yes.  There may not be a finished vest, but I am more confident in my instincts than I was yesterday morning ;)

I also hemmed two pair of pants that were purchased at the secondhand store almost three months ago.



Thank you, Heidi for hosting this month's FNSI!  I soooo needed some warmer slacks for work!

I'll be stopping by to see what all this month's participants have created.  Use this link to see some great works and inspirations, and have a great Saturday!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In tonight!

The other day I revisited some blogs in my bookmarks and found that tonight is scheduled for Friday Night Sew-In, the once-per-month evening dedicated to creativity hosted by Heidi.  I've participated many times this year and eagerly signed up for tonight's party.  After all, I've got some projects already begun.....

I found quite a few great knitting books this past summer at the secondhand stores.  Last week I chose a pattern and some yarn to make a vest for myself (unlike the last few years where I knit gifts for everyone else ;)



It was relaxing to let my fingers fly over sections of patternless pieces, laughing at the thought of passing slipped stitches over and tracking k2, p3, k8, or RSS and t2r.  Somewhat zen-like.



The three sections need to be blocked (tonight) so that I can assemble them and add the neckline garter edging tomorrow.

And tonight I will also be tackling this.......




I'm moving away from my more traditional color schemes to stretch my imagination :)


Have a great Friday!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank you to our Veterans


Thank you for your service to our country.







Thursday, November 10, 2011

1.3 miles

.....is my new walking route.  Our company relocated to a brand-spanking new building.  The finishing touches are still being completed on our offices but we've moved in anyway.  It's in a hilly area which means I'll be able to get quite a workout at lunch by completing the loop created by the way the road runs.

The move was exhausting and we're still getting caught up.  Lots of extra hours at work but it was worth it!  I'm certainly looking forward to the weekend.

Have a great Friday   :)

If you're looking for it, it's out there on the web....somewhere!

(Please note that this post is not intended to stir up a political debate.  On this blog I do not discuss "politics", but that which revolves around it.  That being said......)


Shame on CNBC.com.

I choose to be an informed citizen and am a bit of a news-hound.  So I wanted to watch the debate last night but, having no television, found that the sponsoring station (CNBC) did not run a live feed on their free access website.  Instead, they chose to show it on their premium site, CNBCPRO.com.

By contrast, earlier this year the PBS-sponsored debate was shown on the PBS website and the Washington Post-sponsored debate was shown on their site, both gratis.

Funny thing about the internet, though.  I was able to watch the debate without paying a premium.....on a European website  ;)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Catching up


The least few days were spent on a whirlwind road trip to northern New England.  Along with seeing some friends and family, I had a few errands to complete.  I brought my lap quilt to a shop where I once did hand quilting on consignment.  I'm thrilled to reconnect with the creative folks there and look forward to working with them again.




 
I also sold some sports equipment that sat in my storage room but the money from the sale didn't sit in my pocket for very long.  It was spent at my next stop, a secondhand shop where I found the car-mount bike rack that I had bookmarked on my laptop some time ago.  This very slightly used model was priced at one-fifth the online price :-D  (And, of course, I wouldn't have to pay  for shipping.)  his rack doesn't interfere with the rear wiper and has side straps to prevent sway and tipping.  But my favorite perk is the great clamps.  It installs in seconds instead of a half hour of adjusting and tightening the straps of my previous rack.




 
Thursday evening was beautiful, cool, and crisp.  We went for a walk around the shopping area in town before a light dinner.  It was so enjoyable to see the shop windows changed for autumn and all the lights on the streets.  I haven't taken many photos lately and had forgotten about the delay before the picture actually snaps on my camera.  I apologize for the fuzziness on this photo.  I guess I'll have to go back to get a better shot ;)





I did discover that 5:00pm on a Friday is NOT the time to drive through Northampton, MA.  On my ride home I wanted to find Webs, enticed by the billboard on I-91 for this huge yarn store.  Unfortunately, it took 20 minutes to drive about 2 miles off exit 18 and I never found the store.  (I has passed the street where I should have turned.)  Fortunately, because traffic was moving so slowly I was able to see a lot of interesting shops.  I'll be taking a trip back there some Saturday morning with comfortable walking shoes.

I stayed inside today.  The October snowstorm started here before noon and I really don't need to go out for anything.  The tree branches (still in full leaf) are covered with snow and heavily bent.  The predictions of possible power outages from toppled branches are coming true, many folks are without electricity.  I'm all set with plenty of easily accessible food.  I've just taken this Apple Almond Ginger Cake from the oven.  It smells won.der.ful!

(Note: This post was delayed. The power went out 4 hours ago, as I was typing. This end of the city was part of the 500,000 homes out of power in southern CT.)



Stay well!

Fast and Furious

In just a short half hour....




......and the flakes have gotten larger since this photo was taken.


Photo courtesy of The Nor'easter.  Stay inside and stay warm!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

There's plenty of cute stuff over at Bent Objects that will make you smile!  Have fun   :)

I'm heading north for a few days.  I'll be back on Saturday with photos and stories.....

Friday, October 21, 2011

The beginning

My camera is now fully charged, after missing many terrific pictures these past few weeks including a flock of geese flying overhead yesterday.  I stop in my tracks whenever I hear a goose signalling the others and I wait until I can watch them pass by.  Yesterday's flock was a moderate size, about 20 birds.  The drop in the weather will soon bring larger groups.  My camera and I are ready.

After an incredibly hot, humid summer the nights are now in the 40's and the days reach into the low 60's.  My lunch break finds me taking advantage of those last few warm rays of sun, sitting outside the office.  This past weekend I finally closed my bedroom window, and during Tuesday's rain no windows were left open at all.  I have not even looked at the thermostat, yet.

Ah, Fall....are you ready?  Have you found your sweaters and started layering clothing?  Are the flower beds neatly cleaned for winter?

It's Friday, friends.  The weekend is upon us.  I hope yours is wonderful!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's been a while, hasn't it?

I just cleaned a two inch thick layer of dust on this keyboard.  Really.  Well, not quite ;)

I did miss each and evey one of you, whether you are a regular commenter, or just stop by now and then ;)    And I did miss reading all your adventures when I couldn't log on.  That was part of my excuse problem.  My "new" laptop computer went into the shop twice...for a total of five weeks.  The screen did some wonky things and went black.  (~~~Withdrawal shudders.~~~) 

And I've been busy.....

I am almost finished with my small lap quilt (or large wall hanging) which will be going to a quilt shop next week to be put up for sale.  This one was created around some antique patches that were found in a secondhand store.  It is now extensively hand-quilted, which I believed would be a fitting tribute to the patches and the woman who sewed them.  As soon as I finish the binding I will post the completed photo.

Next on my UFO list is the kaleidoscope quilt made from vintage housedresses and aprons.  This will be my first attempt at machine quilting, but I think it is a fitting project.  It's simplicity deems a simple solution.  I've got some time in November devoted to this.

Psssst, Cherie!  I went to Brooklyn last month to visit my son and had a great time.  It was a Saturday so we stopped at Smorgasburg and went to a few of the vintage mall/markets.  Meeker Street is slated as a definite return visit.  It's a good thing I can't tote a sewing machine home on the train ;)  Mast Brothers Chocolate is yummy (especially the Stumptown Coffee bar), and Momofuku cookies are THE BEST!  I'm planning a trip back there in early spring as a revival after the holidays but I'll schedule it so I can go to Brooklyn Flea this time....and I'm saving my pennies so I can splurge ;)

More to come!  There's so much catching up to do...

I hope you've all had a great summer!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Crop yields and safety

I heard an interesting tidbit on the news the other day.  It appears that here in southern CT, the hot summer created a bad year for the acorn crop.  I really should have noticed that because of the oak trees right near my deck.  There are almost no acorns on the ground now, just the opposite of last year when I posted this.

But the next bit of information caught my attention.  Due to the lack of acorns in the woods the deer population must find other food, mostly fresh grass.  Here, the most convenient fresh grass for them is at the edge of the woods.  Which is also on the edge of the highway.

Drivers, please be cautious.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

funny, but I just can't think of a title for this post

My apologies for becoming scarce here and for the lack of quality in my postings over the past few months.  Life can sometimes pull the rug out from under you, so I will be taking an indefinite break from writing here to focus my energy where it is needed.  I hope to return with a fresh mind when this is past me.

In the meantime I will be visiting my wonderful blogging friends, of course!  I enjoy the humor, creative inspiration, and great tips from all your blog posts.

A heartfelt "Thank you!" for all the warmth you've brought to this little site.  Enjoy the rest of the summer....or winter, depending on your location!  When I return we'll have some catching up to do  ;)

All my best!

Friday, July 22, 2011

And a good time was had by all!

Depending on the weather report you listened to, our temperature was anywhere from 98 to 103 with a heat index of 117.  Well, once it goes over 90 and is humid, it doesn't matter anymore....it's just plain hot.

So, were we foolish to drive a half hour to sit in a field of dried grass for a concert?

Maybe.


Maybe not.


We had a light supper and some icy cold bottles of water and created our own shade with umbrellas.  By 7:00pm the sun sank beneath the tips of the trees.  The opening band began at 7:30 and got everyone excited.  They were great.  And at ten past 8, the main act began....



The crowd was pumped!  Even though only two original Spinners are still performing in the group, they gave the audience what they came for.  In the 90 degree weather, with stage lights glaring on them, they danced and sang and joked.  By the end of the second song their shirts were varying degrees of damp to soaking wet but they continued as if it were a spring day.










What a total surprise to take a look behind me to see how many people were sitting on the field and the hill, all the way up under the trees by the road.  I couldn't even venture a guess.

As we started driving back, the thermometer on the car dash read 89 at 9:30pm.  This craziness is supposed to break Sunday night and drop into the lower 80s.  That sounds good right about now.

Have fun and stay cool, everyone!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hot summer nights

What happens when you type "free concerts, (your area)" into Google?  I turned up a link to a great website for my county with a list that filled 4 printed pages.  I've got free entertainment for the rest of the summer, whether I want to hear oldies, top 40 hits, blues, big band, or even watch Toy Story 3  ;)

On this hot, stuffy night I sat on the town green beneath large shade trees with a few hundred other folks.  We listened to a talented group on the gazebo playing top 40 hits from the 60s through today.  And the nicest part was that it was more comfortable sitting outside than it would have been inside.  I'll be back here next week, when the scheduled group will play Frank Sinatra's songs.

Due to a once in a lifetime opportunity, I am opting out of the Friday Night Sew In for this month, although I'm sure I'll be sewing over the weekend.  Instead of working with thread and fabric I'll be listening to that great group, The Spinners....outside...a few miles up the Merritt Parkway.  My lawn chair is in the car....I'll pack up something for dining al fresco....and tap my foot to Rubberband Man.

I'm also getting anxious for a good bike trip.  My short rides around here are just a tease and I'm looking for new sights.  There are a few close enough to be a day's excursion.  It may all come down to flipping a coin!

Summer is short, and we've got to get enough summertime fun to last through the winter.  I hope you're finding lots of great things to do, too!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

This is what I've been doing

I haven't been typing here because I've spent a few evenings on this......





I am thrilled with the vintage "look" of this quilt top.  The Kaleidoscope pattern is perfect for old fabric.





I'lll be stopping at JoAnn's today for a medium-toned green fabric which I'll use for a border strip and the binding.






These two together really have become my tribute to all our mothers and grandmothers, who worked hard to make their homes warm and friendly, and their families healthy and happy.





I've also been reading, biking, went blueberry picking again, and, oh, right,.....working ;)


Have a wonderful weekend!  I hope yours is filled with sunshine and happiness  :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pull up a beach chair and pour yourself a lemonade....


......'cause I'll be sending out your book, Rosie!  Your comment (#8) was chosen by the Random generator.


Please email me at greenvtr[at]yahoo[dot]com with your address.  I'll have it in the mail tomorrow!


Thanks to all who responded!


Have a wonderful Sunday  :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

equation


0 red + 2 blue = Mmmmmmm!


I missed the strawberry season, what with work and storms and committments, but I am determined to have delicious berries in my freezer this winter for my oatmeal, yogurt, and smoothies.  So after spending the day with Mom, I scooted up to the bestest PYO in my area and almost filled a tray with blues.  The picking was so good, they were almost jumping into the basket.  (Not to even mention the ones that made their way to my mouth.....I must have eaten my whole day's worth of fruit while I was there!)

There were quite a few families with little tots there today.  They manage to fill a little pint basket or two before the children lose interest, but kudos to them for introducing their tots to farm fresh goodness.

Well, I hope to make it back there after work this week for one more good load, and some to share with Mom and friends.  It's like having blue gold stored away.

I'll be sewing again this evening, and hope to post a photo on flickr to show the quilt top assembled sometime tomorrow.  My mind is racing with a few other projects I'd like to start and I may be going to JoAnn fabrics sometime next week......

Speaking of tomorrow.....don't forget about my summer reading giveaway.  Just enter a comment on my earlier post for a chance to win.  The drawing will be tomorrow morning at 7:00am.

Happy weekend, all!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Good morning and good night :)

My first steps outside in the morning are greeted by my lovely lilies.  No matter what the day may bring, I start with a smile when these are seeing me off to work.




The pretty yellow daylily was separated from a clump at my son's house, which we had planted about 20 years ago. The Easter lilies were salvaged from the trash bin last year. They took hold when I planted them and established a good root system. This year they are putting on a glorious show for me.




I ended my day with some light sewing. I'm not rushing this but I did make good progress with assembly line stitching of the quilt blocks. It's a good way to relax after work.

I've been covering for a coworker who is on short-term medical leave so it's been kind of quiet at home. I'm somewhat spent by the time I pull in the driveway.

But the lilies are waiting to welcome me back :)


*****************
Don't forget to enter a comment on my previous post for a chance to win a great book for summer reading!  The drawing is Sunday morning at 7:00am   :)


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer reading giveaway!

The birds are chirping away in the trees outside my back door, happy as can be.  The sun is already warming the air and preparing to give us another hot day.  Summer is in full force.  This week the temperature is hovering in the mid- to high-80's and threatening to touch 90 degrees, bringing the humidity along with it.  How wonderful to slip outside during lunch and feel the warmth of the sun!  Getting out of the office with a sack lunch and a book can do wonders to shake off the morning's rush of emails and emergencies.  So how about a love story to take outside on your break, to transport you away from that phone and keyboard?  How about a book written by a blogger?  One that you probably "visit" now and then.

Last week I stumbled upon an advance proof of Pioneer Woman, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, second-hand.  It is just the ticket for summer reading.  It's the full story of how the P.W. met and married her cowboy, and has some won.der.ful recipes at the end of the book.  If you'd like to carry this in your lunch bag (or beach bag!), please add a comment to this post.  I will pick one commenter on Sunday morning at 7:00am (eastern time), and it will be in the mail asap!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sewing


I did some sewing this weekend, but not on the quilt.






This lovely but simple vintage full slip was an experiment with "altered" clothing.*  It was a lot of fun to use lace from my huge collection (i.e.: stash.)  There's even a section of the hand-tatted edging that I love.

I've taken a leap and posted it in my etsy shop.  I hope someone wandering by will love it!


Note to self:  Learn how to take better photos!



* This felt so different from my re-fashions of the past.  This time I was creating for an unknown someone else!

Sunday, July 3, 2011



Happy Fourth of July!





Have a fun and safe holiday!






(Image found here.)


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Triangles together

Oh, happy day!  A few hours this morning of piecing and pressing seams, and I'm caught up with the Kaleidoscope QAL.  The cut blocks had been carefully set in place on my living room floor so that no two pieces of the same print touched corners.  What looks like a random scrap pattern really took a little time and thought to create.  I'm pleased with the progress.












This coming week, we all start putting the blocks together.

But, for the rest of the weekend....cookouts!

I hope you're having a wonderful time  :)





A happy hippo :)

I'm looking for a co-worker/friend/neighbor who might be starting to plan a family so that I can scoop up this cuddly hippo!


He looks so sweet that I may buy and giftwrap him so he's ready at the first hint of someone ready to start a family  ;)

I know the gal who made this child-friendly toy.  She doesn't live nearby so I rarely get to see her.  This past spring she told me that she was about to open an etsy shop with the soft dolls that she has sold in her area.  I was so happy for her and asked for her shop address.  When I hopped over there I fell for this guy, as well as the other cuties that she puts so much love into creating.  The details on her dolls make them so special!

Take a look at her other creations over here.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The family tree

I love to see what Rob is up to.  He's always got such creative ideas!  Well, this morning's post was a tribute to the family tree, so to speak, by showing that homesteading has been in his family for generations.

An old photo from my family's album came to mind and I was able to find it pretty quickly (thank goodness I took the time to label them!)

Gardening and homesteading has been in my family for generations, too.  This first photo is my grandfather, who had extensive gardens.  The onions and green beans were doing pretty well!






And this is Mom and me.  It looks like we had green beans with supper that night!





Ok, Rob, maybe it is hereditary!  And this is why I've been missing my own little garden  ;)

Have you "traced" your family strengths?


Have a great Friday, and a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cutting done, and it was fun

The u-pick strawberry farm nearby is down to their last berries and the picking was slim.  Storms and committments kept me from getting back there to load up the freezer.  Oh, I'll be thinking about those sweet red berries missing from my oatmeal this winter..... but I'm determined to load up on blueberries when those are ready.  I may even take an afternoon off from work to make sure I've got a supply on hand  :)

This week proved to be a bit busier than I had planned, so I JUST finished cutting the background blocks for the KQAL last night.  I had washed and ironed the white material, so I set out to cut the strips and stacked them in rows of four, as suggested.  Before I knew it, they were done!  (With interruptions for dinner and phone calls!)  Now I envy all those KQAL crafters who used store-bought fabric and zipped right through the cutting!  Trying to get the most from odd-shaped aprons set me back on time, but I'd do it again if I had to.  I'm happy with the scrappy look.




I'll be playing with the layout this weekend.  It will be a challenge to make sure no identical pieces are placed side by side.  My living room floor will be my "design wall"  ;)

I'll be blog-hoppping tonight to catch up on everyone's KQAL progress and see what all my blogging friends have been doing this summer.  Dashing to work now.  Have a great day!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fortifying

Good nutrition is necessary to enjoy all the fun that summer has to offer.  Eating right can keep you on the ball when that ball is heading at you over the volleyball net ;)

I love to get energy (protein) from non-animal sources because those recipes can be so inventive.  So when I saw Feasting Freds Red Lentil Daal with Peas I knew that I would have to try it.  A lentil recipe with turmeric, cumin, and chili paste.....and I have the red lentils in the cupboard.






It cooked up in less than a half hour.  I didn't have the coconut milk so I probably missed out on another layer of flavor, but there were plenty of layers.  And I don't usually keep rice on hand so I had it without.  There are a few more servings in the pot so I'll pick up some tomorrow.....after the volleyball games and the horseshoes at the picnic.  I'm ready!

Scrap Happy

Last night I cut out the template for the Kaledoscope QAL and started cutting the pieces from my apron stash.  I'm glad the pieces are fairly large.  This is what I accomplished in one evening, and I'm not even halfway done.


Trying to get the most from odd shaped pieces of fabric has slowed down my progress, but I'm loving that these aprons will get a second life.  They were ones that had stains or rips and could only be salvaged as cutters.  I have a few more to cut tonight and then I'll start on the background pieces.  Those are from store-bought fabric so it will go much faster.

Getting excited...  :)

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Seen on etsy


I love this dress pattern!


The details are so interesting!


This pattern, in a vintage size 10, is currently for sale by midvalecottage on etsy.  Oh, if it were a few sizes larger.....  :)




(Note: I have no connection to this seller.  This is for informational purposes only.)




Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The thrift score

The one lesson of thrift shopping is that you never find what you're looking for on any given day.  It's certainly not like going to Macys or JCPenneys to buy a pair of black trousers for work.  Instead, you approach thrifting with an open mind and look for possibilities.

Which is why I couldn't find anything I liked that could be remade into some nice summer tops but came home with two small bags, anyway.

Along my drive to the store I told myself I would not even LOOK through the housewares and miscellaneous tables....and when I arrived I made quick work through the clothing, finding nothing.  Tables are rotated regularly, meaning that they remove a few and replace them with "fresh" ones.  They are constantly going through donations in the back room and bringing them onto the sales floor.  So, in hopes of finding something useful, I decided to wait for new goods to appear.  That's when I broke my resolution and started browsing through the miscellaneous......and stumbled upon a great stash of unused (factory-folded!) sewing patterns from the 1970s (my era!!!)

I couldn't believe that I had found so many unused patterns in one place and that no one had grabbed them before me!  But that's the second lesson in thrift shopping.....you may get to the goods before someone else....or vice versa.  The patterns were scattered through several bins so I worked like a reality-show contestant, flipping through them and tossing them in my basket.  Only one gentleman realized what I was doing and pointed out more near him.





I'm sure I won't keep all of them.  (I've sold bundles of patterns through Craigslist before and may do it again.)  But some of these are just too good to be true.  I still love some of those 70s styles.....



Neat stuff!



I love the old "Poet's" style blouses






Simplicity # 8402 would be a style wearable today :)

When they brought out more clothing bins, I found two dressy lightweight "toppers" to wear over sleeveless shells to work.  Not really what I was looking for but not half bad for a Sunday ;)


P.S.  I worked around my photo-posting problem by uploading through the Edit HTML tab with my fingers crossed.  Where there's a will, there's definitely a way  :)