Saturday, April 26, 2008

Thinking about moving

Thinking about moving. Out of an old, inefficiently heated/cooled house into an apartment. I have lived in an apartment before, but OD is looking forward to it.

Yes, I will giving up a "house" with a yard and 2 blocks from downtown to move about 3 miles. But cheaper rent, less on utilities, closer to work (about a 30 minute walk versus 50 minutes), right behind a store (that has a Starbucks inside it!), with swimming pool and fitness room.

So am working tons of hours so I can afford to move and have someone do the moving for me. At 50, I can't physically or mentally move all the house stuff by myself with a couple of friends. I'll pack, open the door and say "meet you there".

But right now I am trying to reduce everything by 50%. I started looking at the JUNK I have and don't even use or need. So over the next couple of months I will go through and get right of stuff. Decided not to yard sale stuff. Just too much junk and too much effort with the hours I will be working. Will keep you posted.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday "Stuff"

This is one of the bags I recently made and gave away. One was a gift to a truely generous heart and the other was a birthday present to a co-worker/friend. The results of these giftings is that I am being encouraged, prodded, poked, shamed into doing more sewing of totes to sell.

I have had in the back of my mind for a long time now to have a "craft table" about Thanksgiving at work to sell different things. So this year I guess I will do it. I can do the tote bags. I have a simple pattern for for heat pads filled with rice/flax seed I can use the scraps from the bags for. I have some book/journal covers I want to make also. Have a stash of beaded book marks already.

So, in addition to the additional Ren Faire sewing I have in mind to do, I will throw this into the mix. Writing and sewing will now be my life! That makes my decision not to plant a garden again this year really nice. I will have a couple of tomato plants, some basil, but not the 50-100 tomato plants I have had in the past. I am going to support my local farms.

Well, need to sort through my sewing on the table and get "organized".

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Last Day of Ren Faire


It's the last day of Ren Faire and after 2 weekends of cold, rainy weather we FINALLY got a break. Yesterday was warm and cloudy and we did have a period of downpour (as opposed to drizzle) and then clearing. Today, is sunny, comfortable (Baroness Wharton removed her sleeves) and beautiful.

Of course, as per my usual way of doing things, I have walked the faire way to many times, so I brought my laptop and found an internet connection via the fairgrounds network and am happily visiting blogs, writing and making my to-do list for what I want to accomplish before next year's fair.

But we are tired. After a week of 12 hour days (I work for an airline, need I say more) and then Faire, I really wish I was napping about now. But I have tomorrow off, with a list of house cleaning chores which reaches to the "needs to be swept and mopped floor".

And you know you are tired when you drive up to your house at the end of the day (last night) and 1 house away you pass the local power company truck and the street blocked off and a fire engine down the road. I had electricity, but my neighbors down the nearby street did not. And both OD and I were too tired to even find out why. Turns out during the downpour yesterday a large pine tree fell on the power line. Luckily no one was hurt and it was only a few people without power for a few hours.

So have about 3 more hours before I walk down and check out the final going-on's at the Royal Glade and get prepared to pack up and flee, I mean depart, for another year.





Sunday, April 06, 2008

Ren Faire Pictures

We are now 2/3 of the way from Ren Faire, only 1 more weekend to go and, hopefully, the last weekend will be dry and warmer. This weekend was at least about 10-15 degrees warmer (50-60 degrees), but still chilly and rainy.

The pictures don't really show her feathers in her hat to any advantage unfortunately.
But as part of my duties I put out hay both Saturday and this morning to hopefully make the walking a little better since most of it is on grass. Or rather mud now. One of the vendors takes pictures and will supply garb if you wish. She was so glad I was putting hay down in front of her booth she gave me a free sitting and I asked if she would take OD's picture instead - or should I say Baroness Wharton. I wanted a "professional" documentation of my sewing abilities.

So here it is. I want to do more beadwork on this set of sleeves. The bad thing is that every time I walk around I find more and more that I want to do, different bodices, different sleeve treatments, beadwork.

But she made me get in one of the pictures. Don't you like my new short do? It took me 2 years to finally convince someone to cut it this short. I like it. And the picture doesn't show 10 extra chins the way that I am leaning over, so this is one of the few "public" pictures of me.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Friday posting x 2

To show I haven't forgotten my "crafty", more hands on leanings and to prove I haven't been just a couch potato during my rainy vacation, here are a couple of items I have finished (or at least semi-finished).

First is the log cabin quilt I started almost a decade ago I believe. I finally have the top all pieced and have the backing (one big 108" piece of a beige on beige floral patterned flannel). I just need to get the batting (thank goodness for Joanne's coupons) and then I will complete. I am just going to tie the quilt rather than quilting it for 2 reasons. One, it's huge, 6 feet x 6 feet. Two, I'm lazy and quilting it would take forever.

The center of the blocks are from a piece of flannel I found ages ago which was patterned like cross stitch samplers and back then I was doing cross stitch night and day. So I cut out the houses to form the center of the blocks and then just used random flannel strips I had for the "logs" around the "cabin". I can't wait to finish this up and replace the decades old comforter I have on my bed.

The second item I have been working on this week are these tote bags. I had made 2 already for the Texter (skulls and monkeys) and her step-mom wanted some to take back to her family in California next week. Since she is taking the Texter with her on the trip (and they are making a surprise side trip which I can't mention yet) I told her to get the materials and I would sew them for her.

So the Tinker Bell (purple ones) are the ones I made for her. Made a fabric subsitution on one of them by using purple pre-quilted fabric for the bottom and replacing the black webbing she got with a light purple.

This is one of the 3 other totes I am making. I know a couple of them will be gifts for people, but I might make a few to sell. I have a lot of fabric I can use. Just need to get some more thick interfacing.

But I am really pleased with my color combinations, mixing stripes, florals and patterns together and they come out in an attractive tote bag. I do need to refine my sewing on of the bottom of the bags. I can't quite get the corners
"pretty" enough for me, but they aren't bad. One of the problems with making these bags is I like them all and want to get them. And while a girl can't have enough tote bags, there is a limit.

So, I have put in a good morning's work (completed 2 of the 4 bags), it's time for a sandwich and a nap.
By the way, I did mow my front lawn between rain storms.

Slow Food versus Fast Food

I just finished this book, after buying The Art of Simple Food. I had heard of Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, but had not really put 2-and-2 together.
After reading the book, I started thinking about "slow food" and how being a locavoire (someone who eats locally grown and produced food) is slowly catching on and for once I seem to be on the edge of a trend. God knows I have never followed any fashion trends!

But something which stands out to me is if fast food is so great (and we can see what it has done to our bodies and yes, I'm guilty also) how come our memories are not tied to fast foods. How many times have you said "that is the best hamburger I'm ever had" and it came from the drive through lane?

My memories of food show that I have been a locavoire most of my life in a small way. Some of my first recollections are standing in my grandfather's back yard. As a child, you could live out there during most of the year and not have to go inside to eat. There were 2 apple and 2 peach trees, a plum tree, a cherry tree (which died when I was young), raspberries, blackberries, green and purple grapes in an arbor. There was a huge garden. At least it looked huge to me, but I understand the lot was only 1 acre in town, so it couldn't have been that large. But there was always corn, tomatoes, beans, peas (field, not green), asparagus (which I have only learned to appreciate as an adult).

I can picture my grandfather cutting up a peach, warm off the tree, so I could eat it. Looking back, I realize that pocket knife was also used to cut up his tobacco and anything else that needed cutting outside, so it's probably a good thing I didn't think about it at the time. But the flavor of that peach, sunshine warm, with the juice running down my throat and often my face is not one you can drive through and ask for "one peach to go, sun temperature and juicy".

I hid out in the grape arbor and feasted on grapes as the summer waned. Ding, my granddad's fox terrier, also ate grapes, as long as I fed them to him. I can remember the grapes being harvested and hung up in long cloth bags and tied to the rafters in the shed to drip down into a galvanized bucket to be made into grape juice and jelly. And the smell. That wonderful grapey smell of real grape juice and the juice being cooked into jelly. At 50, I can still remember how careful you had to be when opening a new jar of jelly and remove the paraffin seal my grandmother used. If you were really careful, you could press down on one side and the other side would flip up and you would pull the whole seal off. Otherwise, it would break and you would be pulling paraffin chips out of the jelly.

And "real" jam and jelly on hot, buttered toast can't be described.
I make jams and jellies to this day. Working with fresh produce, straight from the local farm. Often I have gone to the farm itself to pick the fruit, much like we use to do at my grandparents. My youngest, Texter (as I call her now) loves for me to make jam and jellies because she can give them away to her teachers and watch them fight over it. And she much prefers my jams over store bought. The taste is more intense and it's nice knowing there are no preservatives in them, just fruit, sugar and in some cases, a little pectin.

When was the last time you heard someone raving over a tomato on a drive through burger? But how many hours around the water cooler can you talk about whether you put the first "real" tomato of summer on a sandwich by itself or pair it with bologna. And want to start a real war, ask about mayo versus salad dressing. Lines are drawn over not only the issue of mayo and salad dressing, but what type of mayo....Duke's or Hellman's. But with issue of the real tomato, whether you eat it by itself or on a bologna sandwich, what counts is you have to eat it over the kitchen sink because it is so juicy and drippy.

As much as I love Baskin's Jamocha Almond Fudge ice cream, what I taste and love and remember are the Sunday afternoons where Dad would make homemade ice cream. Almost every weekend during the summer we had a ice cream, usually made with what fruit was in season. Strawberry, followed by peach, mixed with chocolate, black walnut and plain vanilla. Just sugar, milk, eggs and flavorings, usually cooked up the night before and let cool in the fridge overnight before freezing the next day.

Meals in the heat of summer which contained no meat, but where all veggies, green beans, corn (on the cob or creamed), field peas, fresh tomatoes, cornbread, this is what I remember and savor in my mind. This is slow food. This is what you remember.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Journaling Changes

I have journaled for years now. I have a whole shelf where I have written in everything from a real "diary" (first one), to loose leaf paper (collage), to various journals and books. Over the years I have gone moved from straight journaling to more "art journaling". I love the collages and colors and thoughts others have created for their journals and have tried recreating the same feeling in my journals, with mixed success.

I have finally figured out one of the reasons I am dissatisfied with my "art journals"....that's not my first love, creating art, writing is.

SSSSOOOOOOO......on that note, I am going to go back to straight journaling, with allowances for occasional splashes of colors and flourishes, but back to the writing. I have a novel (actually 3 novels) in progress which I am not moving forward on I am so busy trying to be "artsy" and "creative". I had forgotten I am creative in my writing also. My "art" as such will take a backseat to my writing for now.

Oh, I'm not going to give away my paints and beads and papers, no way. Instead I will focus on a specific project I want to do rather than trying to do it all. Instead of scattering myself every which way, I am going to have my priorities aligned a little differently.

So stay tuned for my "And here there be dragons" trilogy.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fool's and its' Raining!

This isn't a very good picture of the crew, inside and early. But it was the first day of the Ren Faire last Saturday and this is at roll call.

First off, it has not rained in North Carolina in months! Friday, to set up for the fair, it was sunny and 80 degrees. Saturday and Sunday were windy, 40 and rainy! And my week of vacation.....rainy all week long! If I had known taking a vacation would get it to rain I would have taken a vacation months ago.

But both the daughter's were great. OD had a part to play, so she was out with the rest of the royals in the cold and rain. She has a new "high hat" that should arrive any day now, so thankfully she didn't have it last weekend and it get wet.

YD, or Techno Daughter, visited with everyone at the fair. She took up with the rock climbing wall people, so I think I have a discount for life there. Especially when she loaned one of them her cloak to keep warm.

I have a whole list of things I wanted to do while on vacation. OD went to Arizona to visit friends. Techno Daughter did stay with me through today, but I will be taking her back to her dad's shortly. But after freezing my assets off this weekend, I have a bit of a cold and am moving very slowly.

So I read, read blogs, knit a little and nap a lot. Maybe I'll have more energy today.