Monday, June 29, 2009

Thank you all for bearing with me. I have not forgotten that when I began this blog is was primarily a quilting blog with just a touch of this and that thrown in for fun. Lately there has been a lot more this and that and precious little quilting. That holds true not just for my blog, but in my daily life. All work and no quilting makes Libby a cranky girl.
Today that changed . . . . in a small way. Still change is change and I'm all the happier for it. Here's a peek at what I got to do.
Two nearly completed small diamonds for my hexagon stars. When last I stitched on this project, I was adding more star rows to the top. Before I got to the end of my finished stars, I ran out of diamonds. Good thing they stitch up quickly. I should have enough to finish my rows in just a day or so, provided I continue to find a few minutes here and there to stitch.
I've also had a little time to think about the big changes that are ahead of us. I'm looking forward to the adventure of it all. Still California has always been my home. A piece of my heart will remain here forever. And I've been thinking about some of the things that I will truly miss.
Hubby reminded me of this just a few days ago. As far back as I can remember, Santa sat atop a building on Santa Claus Lane right next to the ocean. I longed to stop in and visit that village. But even at my youngest, I knew this was not REALLY where Santa lived. And if our family was driving past it was probably because we were taking a trip to a place where I knew it's most famous resident did live.
Still year after year, Santa was always there to cheerfully wave us on our way. Years went by, I became a grown-up with every opportunity to stop in and visit that little village. But somehow the whole thing seemed a little run down and not very inviting. It was comfort enough to know that Santa was there. Then an group of investors (and apparently non-believers) bought the place with visions of making the prime beach front real estate into something modern and profitable. Santa was taken down. Thank goodness some kind hearted folks of Santa's faithful came to his rescue. With a new paint job and location, he happily salutes everyone who passes him on the 101 Freeway. Hubby and I always return the salute.
Because I do not want to spend my time pining for the familiar, I've made a pact with myself to do a little cyber-touristing. When I find myself thinking about what will be left behind, I turn to the internet to seek what I will be going to. While the roadside Santa might be filled with all sorts of kitsch, I found this place in Massachusetts that looks like just my cuppa to explore. I bet there's a gift shop. One where I can buy some flour to bake bread or maybe bake some cookies to leave on the hearth for Santa.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My how the week has flown by. I hardly had a minute to put a stitch in any project. When the day's work came to an end, there wasn't enough energy left to hold a needle. The good news is that things are really coming together nicely. Soon enough I'll be spending my days stitching away in an effort to not make a mess that can't be cleared in a few moments.
Instead of a new quilt project, I'll share a few of the things that we worked on around the house this week.
The painting over of the red walls is complete and the room restored to a bedroom.
I couldn't resist keeping the room decorated with an Americana theme.
The rest of the house has undergone a make-over, too. Here's what you see when you come through the front door.
I can't get over how spacious it is.
The garden continues to amaze me. Look at how crazy the tomato plants have grown.
Greer has gone from being a garden guardin' gal to becoming a tomato stake. She doesn't mind being a support to the garden in any way she can.
The pumpkin vines are really taking off, too.
I love how they are starting to climb up the fence. Those little curly tendrils that grab on as the vines grow make me smile.
Here's a little peek at the celery patch.
Just looking at it makes me want a tuna sandwich for my lunch tomorrow. I think the menu is set.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Today from the garden.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Talk about stash reduction!
All of my quilting supplies are about to be boxed up as part of the declutter/make our home look roomy campaign. I knew that I was not going to be able to do without something to keep my hands busy, so not everything will be packed away.
In order to give myself some variety to assuage boredom, I've chosen several projects that have been on-going or categorized as UFOs. All but one will not require my sewing machine. Of course, both hexagon projects are a part of the mix. Also there is the queen-sized whole cloth quilt, a wool applique pillow, A Penny Saved, supplies and patterns for punch needle and even a knitting project. If that doesn't keep me busy, then there will be nothing left for me to do but shop.
We got the ball rolling with a realtor today. We were so pleased to hear that all the work we have doing is getting our home right where it needs to be. We have a few maintenance items scheduled over the next week to tweak the curb appeal which puts on target for listing on July 1.
We were given a couple of suggestions for taking out some small pieces of furniture in the main living space. But the best news of all - I don't need to paint over the mural in our bedroom. I've always known that it might not be every one's cup of tea and that it would probably be painted over eventually. Still I will sleep well tonight know that I don't have to do the deed.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day to my partner in parenting (and everything else in life.) You are just the best!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Looks like the two coats of primer worked.
After an early bedtime last night, we were back at work early this morning. The good news is that only one coat of the new paint color was needed. Hubby has sweetly volunteered to paint the baseboards tomorrow. After two days of breathing fumes, I'm a little loopy.
Here is the only evidence you need to know why I like digital photography.
So far I've found three disposable cameras and two 35m rolls of film - all undeveloped. Also, I believe there is film in our 35m camera, but the battery is dead so I can't verify that right now.

One of the disposable cameras contains pictures documenting my participation in the Breast Cancer 3 Day walk in 2003. The blue camera is from our Hawaiian vacation in 2004. The others I cannot place, but I suspect that at least one 35m roll of film is from a visit to Washington D.C. in 2000.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The days are flying by quickly as we prepare to put our home up for sale and begin a new adventure. So many things to think about and do. It seems like we fall into bed at the point of near exhaustion every night.
One thing on our list is to return the space we used as an office back into a bedroom. The room was emptied and today we said goodbye to the red striped walls.
I remember well painting those stripes. It was my first experience with red paint. Wow - what a lot of coats it took. Then there was the tape. Lots and lots and lots of blue painters tape to mark the lines.
Now the process in reverse. Here's how it looked after one coat of primer.
And after two coats of primer.

I stopped there, gave the ceiling a fresh coat of paint. After everything dries well over night, we'll get a nice neutral color on the walls.
This week I also said goodbye to my worms.
They have been adopted by a friend whose husband has been caring for worms for a long time. I got lots of valuable advice from them when I first got my bin. I know they will be loved and well cared for in their new home. I was so afraid I might have to release my little friends into the wild. I'm so glad to have that worry off my head.
Not everything was a goodbye, there were some some surprises, too. I spied the first pumpkin. It wasn't that long ago that the seeds were in an egg carton on my kitchen counter.
And the tomatoes. It is going to be a bumper crop this year.
It's almost 5 p.m. That's not too early for bed, is it?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Time for a little blogger bookkeeping. Now I don't believe anyone would really hold my feet to the fire over this one, but I still want to be on the up and up.
When I first started this blog, I shared my 'first' quilt. It's a triumph in doing everything wrong. Poor piecing and crummy fabric choices only begin to scratch the surface.
But the truth is this is not the first quilt I made. I knew the true original was packed away in a box somewhere in the rafters. Today it surfaced - ta da!
This is my real first quilt. Made while awaiting The Princess' arrival, it should probably be called a whole cloth quilt. It came as a kit for crewel embroidery. The blocks are pre-printed in color and each letter or image is outlined with stitchery. It's turned, envelope style with an eyelet lace ruffle trim, the tied with the same yarns as the crewel embroidery.
The batting has shifted quite a bit, but overall it's in pretty good shape. Now that it has surfaced, it will be staying with its rightful owner, The Princess.

Monday, June 15, 2009

As we begin the process of collecting and packing a lifetime of possessions, it has become clear that before we begin this new adventure in life we will be taking a few a few trips down memory lane. Some will be tear filled remembrances while others will make us laugh at what we did and how far we've come.
Today I came across the blue cloth binder that records my time as a Blue Bird and Camp Fire Girl. Neatly arranged on the inside cover is The Blue Bird Wish and Law of the Camp Fire Girls. Reading them brought a smile. I could have never imagined that the goals and ideals I worked hard to achieve would be just as appropriate and useful in my everyday life 40 years later.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

More June gloom remains in our weather forecast. Still if you will look carefully, you'll see that the sun is shining brightly over our house today. While it may not be literal sunshine, it is as bright as can be. Back in early spring, Hubby became a statistic of the down economy and was laid off. Over the last months he has been engaged in a tireless job search that came to fruition today.
Big changes are in store for the whole family. We will soon be pulling up stakes and moving from sea to shining sea. This will be my new local quilt shop. I'm planning on becoming a member here. We will enjoy all the glory of fall colors. There will be snow in winter and maybe even a white Christmas.
Maybe I'll get to meet a few blogging buddies - Yvonne, Annie, Chris and Paula are all nearby.
Trust me when I say our heads are spinning right now. So many things to think about and put in order. Please bear with me if I'm lax in posting or commenting over the next several weeks. For now I'll leave you with a quilt that I came across recently in some of my decluttering - a New York Beauty. I used a pre-printed foundation and all brushed cottons.
Soon we'll be just a short train ride away from the real thing.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A quick glance at the calendar tells me that the days of spring are numbered and summer will be with us in no time at all. This spring has been a long one, filled with unpredictable weather, fun in the garden and cleaning - lots and lots of cleaning.
Since mid-March, there has been a slow and methodical de-cluttering going on. That has resulted in lots of full cans at the curb on trash day, several trips to the Goodwill donation drop-off and a few trips down memory lane.
Here's a peek at the latest journey -
No, your eyes are not deceiving you. That is in fact a stereo with a 'semi'-working 8-track player and it is right here in our home (okay, it's in the garage.) It is the stereo I had in my room back in the 70's. Check it out. It even has the ability to record onto a blank 8-track tape. Imagine the hours I spent making mix tapes before they became all the rage. It was no easy feat to time out my favorite songs while attempting to avoid the dreaded track change mid song.
Years ago, Hubby and I got rid of all but our two favorite cartridges. When I stumbled upon them in the dark recesses of a cabinet, I just had to see if they would still play. The sound quality is bad, track changes iffy, but Hubby and I were singing along none-the-less.
The Princess took her own trip down memory lane over the weekend. Since her return home, she has missed her favorite German meal from her favorite restaurant in Landstuhl. Over the last several months, she has been prowling the aisles of our local German market for just the right ingredients. Take a look at our Sunday dinner. . . schnitzel with homemade spaetzle. Oh, boy was it good. Hubby and I will encourage her to keep her skills up by asking her to prepare this one for us again and again. She has got one delicious specialty on her hands.
Nothing new on the quilting front. My work on the hexagons continues. Each bit of progress heightens my drive to keep going. I want to see it finished so very badly. The bad news that accompanies that, is every other project is currently being neglected. I hope to get myself into the cubby soon and stitch up something to share.

Friday, June 05, 2009

When I was a little girl, I remember going with my mom to visit at the home of one of her friends. The picture that comes to my mind is sitting around her kitchen table, the women chatting away and on the counter were multiple loaves of whole wheat bread rising on the counter. A wheaty, yeasty aroma filled the air. To my young eyes, it was like a magic show as those loaves grew bigger and bigger as the afternoon progressed. From that time forward, I longed to have that same delicious smell in my own home. Over the years, I have experimented with different recipes and techniques, taken classes and poured over books in order to recreate that magic in my own kitchen.
My skills and confidence have grown over time and I've begun playing with recipes, making adjustments here and there. Some of my ideas didn't pan out. More than a couple of tries have ended up in the trash. In the last couple of weeks, I have landed on a group of ingredients that seems just right. The result is the Libby Blend Bread.
Starting with this recipe, I began making changes and substitutions in ingredients. Trading white sugar for brown, I also reduced the measurement by half. Two tablespoons of melted butter rather than vegetable oil. Six cups of white flour became 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup rolled oats, 3 cups white flour, and 1/2 cup flax seed. The finished bread has a nice flavor that is perfect for sandwiches or toast. Mom always said not to play with my food, but I think it might be okay to play with a recipe.
Out in the garden, the pepper plants are beginning to perk up. They got off to a very slow start this year. The poor little things have survived being planted in a spot where they don't seem to thrive. Not to mention being stomped down more than once once by a certain puppy dog.
A little over a week ago, I harvested the castings from my worm bin and applied it to the suffering peppers. Within a couple of days, I began seeing a few blossoms.
Seeing the happy plants makes me happy, too. Won't be long before we're roasting peppers and making salsa.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Our June gloom weather pattern is continuing. It has been days since the sun has broken through for us. As I said in a previous post, there are many that find this weather pattern depressing. But if you can just look past the sky, you will see there is lots of beauty and vibrancy of color all around.
The jacaranda trees never look better than when the sky is gray.
This one is in our neighbor's yard, but the canopy reaches into ours. There is no doubt that they are messy. Still it's easy to forgive the mess when you are bathed in a lavender glow at this time of year.
The garden is flourishing. That tomato plant is nearing the 5' mark! The squash is not far behind.
If you look at the top of the fence, you will see distinct wetness. That is from the heavy mist that comes from all the fog. Not only is it wetting the fence, but it's watering the garden too - helping us to save water.
The pumpkins and potatoes are doing quite well also.
Not all of the pumpkins that I transplanted have survived. At first I was more than a little sad over them. Now I can see that the ones left will need all the space. Who would of thought I could be outsmarted by pumpkin plants?
The only one not thriving under the cloud cover is Harper. Here she is waiting out the 'wet paw protocol.'
Even though we keep a towel by the door to dry her paws, they are never completely dry. We try to make her stay on the rug to avoid little puppy toe prints all over the hard floors. Just like a little kid she wants to test our mettle by sticking just one paw over the line. It would be easy to become a little miffed but that face just melts my heart.
Over the last week, I have been completely immersed in stitching the hexagon stars.

After I added the next 9 stars, I began putting together some of the partial stars and diamonds that will become the outer edges of the quilt. The finished width will be 56 1/2". I'm guessing that the finished length will be somewhere around 80". That will make for a very nice lap sized quilt. I couldn't be more thrilled with how it's coming together . . . . and to think that just a couple of months back, I was considering banishing it to the UFO pile!