Monday, February 1, 2016

My night.

My wild nights these days include - for the most part - a small dog, a sewing machine (usually), a book (almost always), and a cup of tea.  As I age, I find that early morning is my favorite time of day and have come to appreciate going to sleep early as well.  Back in the day I remember falling asleep with a book at night - often very late at night.  These days I usually fall asleep before I even open the book which is fine.  I spend much of my time alone now.  Well as alone as I can be with four dogs - two of which are almost always glued to my side or sitting on my lap.  I thoroughly enjoy having a cup of tea and reading - right now I'm reading Gillian Flynn's Dark Places.  It has taken about a hundred pages before I was hooked but I'm enjoying the story.  It's a little dark for me but since I plan on a little Gladys Taber next, I'm not too worried about the mood I'll be in after finishing such a gloomy book.  Right now I only have 1 book going - unusual for me - but I haven't had a chance to stop at the library and pick up the Billy Bryson book that is being held for me.  Bill Bryson always makes me smile.

 It's nearly 10:00 - I've been sewing for the past 3 hours.  I want to read but it is 2 hours past my bedtime.  And I don't think Dark Places is the book to read before falling asleep.  These are my problems at the moment.  It is amazing how my life has changed in a matter of months.  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Ties to the past.

It’s not that I don’t have enough time, it’s that I have too many ideas, see too many beautiful things that I would love to make.  I guess everyone has that problem.  When I think of how much beautiful fabric I buy – I should feel guilty. I don’t though – not in the least. Now that I don’t have small children, I don’t feel that I am being the least bit frivolous when I buy a bit of fabric that calls to me.  And here’s why:  Seeing beautiful colors or whimsical prints remind me of the good times in my life.  I just ordered a bit of Michael Miller fabric with a retro-kitchen/home economics theme.  When I first laid eyes on that fabric with those appliances from the 50s, I immediately was taken back to the old farmhouse on the hill where I lived when I was a little girl.  I have a lot of vague recollections of that place but more so I get really good vibes when I think of that time in my life.  I remember the tire swing out back – actually it may have been a wooden swing, a kind of treehouse I built in an old apple tree – the treehouse was actually just a couple pieces of old board but I could sit up there away from everyone (mainly my little brother, I suspect) and read.  I remember a window at the bottom of the stairs that went into the ‘other room’.  I remember a built in desk, a set of windows at the far end of the living room from which I could see into the kitchen and sometimes my mom would stand there and wave at me.  I remember the mudroom and standing in the mudroom listening when my brother’s bestfriend’s mom stopped by to tell my mother that she had caught the boys swimming in a sewer.  I remember the time I looked out the window after our old barn had been razed and remember feeling as if I were in a different world.  I remember the time my big brother found dynamite in an old shed……..or maybe I just remember hearing about it.  I could go on and on and on.  But that’s what my fabric does for me – it takes me back to time that was different and sweet.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My cookie day.

Today's my day to share a recipe for the cookie exchange. Over the past couple of weeks, I tried to think of the cookie recipe I would share.  There aren't too many cookies that my family doesn't love.  Well.... they don't love oatmeal and raisin which happen to be my favorite and they are not huge fans of peanutbutter cookies - the recipe I've decided to share--but anything else, they will eat.  I'm pretty sure that my mom will be somewhat surprised that I am sharing the story behind the cookie but in spite of that, the story is what makes the cookie special to me.

When I was a kid - fourth or fifth grade I guess - my mom worked as an aide at the elementary school in the little town where we lived.  My mom was a good cook - she doesn't think so, but she really is a good cook. She also bakes really good cookies.  She's not a fancy baker but her cookies are good.  Anyway, one fall she started baking for Christmas.  Back in the day my mom would freeze the cookies she baked for Christmas. God help the kid who snitched cookies from the freezer!  Anyway, mom baked these peanutbutter cookies but she didn't freeze them because she didn't think they turned out.  She thought they were dry and burned so she put them out for us kids to eat.  During this time I stayed home from school because I was sick, probably with a cold or sore throat. I can remember drinking hot tea and eating those cookies.  And to this day, I don't believe I've ever had a better tasting cookie.  Whatever mom did to those cookies, they were the best tea-dunking cookies ever!  I probably ate two dozen of them on my own.  40+ years later, I can taste those cookies as if it were just yesterday.  Even though I was sick, that cookies-and-hot-tea day is one of my best memories.

Peanutbutter Cookies

1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs

Cream all of that together

2 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Mix this together and slowly add to the butter mixture.  Allow to chill at least an hour - it makes rolling into balls easier.  Preheat oven to 375.  Using parchment paper, place walnut size balls about 2 inches apart.  Criss-cross with sugar dipped fork and bake for about 10 minutes (watch carefully)

So enjoy the recipe - and if you do happen to bake them a little too long, enjoy them for their most excellent  tea-dunking properties! Thanks mom!

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you had a chance to visit the other participants!  Please continue on with the hop and visit the others I am fortunate to share today with listed below!

December 1

December 2

December 3

December 4

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Another old girl with a lot on her mind.

Something I didn't post when written: This is my treadle that I love so much.  I love, love,love her sound.  It took me awhile to get in the groove but I did.  It's not as simple as stepping on a foot peddle and the stitches follow.  No. You have to time the stepping of the treadle with the turning of the wheel so as not to have the machine go backward and break the thread  I still need more practice.  But i love it.  Today - like many people - I'm sitting with the attacks in Paris.  Trying to wrap my mind around it but I just can't.  I know there are people who don't like the French, who say they treat American tourists poorly but really? how do we treat tourists? Or international students? Or anyone who looks different than we do?  My brain can't handle this all.  On Facebook there is a quilting group that is having major drama.  really?  quilting? When there are moms and dads, spouses, sisters, brothers across the ocean who have lost an innocent family member for what?  For what?  I know that we are told to look at the big picture.  But how is that working for us?  When we stop looking at the world at a family level, it is easier to point out the good guys and the bad guys. It makes it easier to hurt when the other people are unknown to us.  I am tired. So tired.  I'm afraid of this world.  Looking at the big picture makes it easier to hate.  And I don't want to hate.  All I know is that fellow humans have been hurt and are hurting because of the hate of other humans.  I'm afraid of the hate from unknown people, I am afraid of the hate of people I know.  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pretty good for an old girl.

It no secret- I love old stuff.  And not just because I'm old. I think we've lost a lot in the so-called improvements throughout the year.  Granted, many improvements are good - cars are safer, paints are safer, plastics are safer. . . But some things would have been best left alone.  I mean, look at those stitches! Perfect! And that is all she does. Sews. She just sews. And that is all I need for her to do. This old girl has been around for over 100 years and I'd be willing to bet that she'll still be going  strong in another century. 

I think the newness of things is just frustrating because as I've aged, I've noticed how disposable things seem to have become.  Including people.  Sometimes I feel like one of the old Singers - quite old, the surface is not as bright and shiny which seems to put some people off but despite outward appearances, I can be a workhorse.  And lots and lots of experience in its (my) history.  It seems as if when we get older, assumptions are made - that we are not smart enough or strong enough.  But like the old sewing machines, sometimes we are best at what we are meant to do.  
    My old Singer makes a perfect straight stitch and it gets the job done.  I don't really need anything more than that to make a beautiful quilt.  Similarly, I need to accept myself and not measure myself against the newer models.  And that just may be a piece of advise worth sharing.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The final colors of fall.

The last of the colors - I hope not but if so, these last few days have ushered winter in the best way possible!  In fact, on my walk today it was hard to believe that it was November. While not as vibrant as at the end of Spring or early summer, the arboretum was brilliant: even in death the foliage is breathtaking. The colors are quilt inspiring! The leaves of the oak trees were especially beautiful - a mosaic of green, orange, yellow and reds - all in a single leaf! 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sin City.

Three full days in Las Vegas was about 2 1/2 days too much.  Don't get me wrong - I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to be able to attend a conference in Caesar's Palace, all expenses paid.  I learned a lot and had a good time presenting at the conference.  But still, I think I would have enjoyed it more at a less hyper location.  The resort was beautiful, the food selection was wonderful, the rooms were comfortable but it is mindboggling to leave a place at which people are gambling tens of thousands of dollars and then, just a few steps away, see people without homes who are asking for spare change, etc.  I'm not naive enough to believe that all the people sitting on the sidewalks were using money they were given toward food and shelter, and I am a sucker - there was a man who had a puppy (a pretty healthy looking puppy) and that was it for me.  I gave the guy all the money I had in my purse, which wasn't much.  And maybe, probably, the guy used the money for something other than food - human or dog - but I decided to err on the side of caution.

I wanted to visit old town Vegas to get a glimpse of what it used to be like - back in the days of Sinatra, Martin, and the rest.  But with the conference, there just wasn't time.  And I have no desire to go back on a vacation.  But I did see some neat things - the statues in Caesar's palace, the living statues, the gondolas in the Venetian and all the bright lights and music.  But the things that caught my eye most of all, was the exhibit of antique sewing machines.  Not sure what the store was - but there rows and rows of all different types of antique machines.

I realize that many people love Las Vegas. The shows, the slot machines, the action are really appealing to some. For me, I guess I'm just more comfortable staying close to home.