Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

This is sekt from 1989. It is still wonderful.  We have four more years before we are out of our German sekt.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Decluttering

Decluttering frequently involves tossing things or giving them away.  But sometimes it requires a different, more efficient organization.  I have one of these paint organizers to sit on a surface, but I wanted another one to hang.  This is what Larry made me for Christmas.  It has my specialty paints in it. When he is finished, totally, I'll be able to finish putting that wall back together.  I am so ready for that.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Larry's Sign

He likes his sign.  We put it up today.  He said my present will go up tomorrow.  I hope it does because I can't do anything in my art room with it turned topsy-turvy so the entire wall is uncluttered enough to get to it.  Since it was cleared, I painted smudges. But none of my projects have gotten anywhere because of the mess.
So I sat, read, and listened to Enya. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Stinky Hugs

I am very sensitive to smells.  People who wear cologne, after shave, body wash with lingering scents, really should not hug me.  I have to wash my clothes so I don't smell like their preferred scent. I can like a person a lot and still not want their scent clinging to me or my clothes. Sometimes I don't want to be in the same room with them...much less have them touch me or my clothing.

Clean Shower Liner

I've thrown away shower curtains and shower liners because I couldn't get them to look clean.  I believe in the magic of washing as much as anybody, but if it still looks dirty, I'm not very happy.  Today I used the store brand version of woolite (one cap) and a little oxyclean. I used vinegar for the fabric softener.  I didn't soak it, just ran it through a normal wash cycle and it came out clean.  Not only did I not have to spend money on a new one, I didn't have to spend time finding a new one that I like as well as the one I have:)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Hard to Catch

A neighbor stopped by today and I saw him walking up the hill from the shop, going onto the back porch.  I went out of the art room and called out to him.
He said it was the fifth time he'd come by and couldn't find us.  He thought we were dead in the house and was considering getting his key and looking for us, afraid of what he'd find.
I felt bad that he'd looked for us and worried.  I told him stopping in the driveway and blowing his horn was a good idea because we might hear it from other buildings.
I try to remember to carry a phone with me when I go to the art room.  Sometimes I manage to remember everything.  I've been using a little basket so only one trip will get everything there and leave a hand free to carry my coffee.

Making Space

A wallpaper table isn't easy to maneuver. But my wall-mounted paint holder is going to be to the left of the window and we need to get close to the wall.  It should be ready to go tomorrow so I had to clear everything away today.  I hope I can get the table back where I had it along that wall.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Lemon Meringue Pie

This is Larry's favorite pie.  I made it yesterday but it didn't cool off enough to cut until today.  I didn't have fresh lemons so I used Real Lemon.  I wasn't too worried about that, but not having fresh lemons meant I didn't have lemon zest to add for tartness. I used orange peel from my spice cabinet.  It worked fine.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Once upon a time a clever woodworker started a couple of days before Christmas to make his wife a Christmas present.  On Christmas morning it wasn't finished so she saw the frame of the beautiful wall-mounted paint holder that would be finished sometime. It was bigger than she had envisioned and gorgeous.  He worked hard on it all day, complaining that he messed up and had to start over, he had a headache from all the bending over, on and on...oh, and there was no Christmas feast!  The lemon meringue pie she'd made since it was his favorite obviously didn't count.  I guess the pork chops (too dry), turnip greens (didn't cook them long enough), baked sweet potato, dressing, didn't count, either.  To top off the wonderful day, he took the television off mute so she could hear a re-run of a show she doesn't like.
Thank God their children called:)  It was a good day.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My Christmas Eve

It's Tuesday, so I went to volunteer even though it is Christmas Eve.  I did all my little tasks but decided not to stay the whole time.  So I came home early and realized I'd left my coffee mug there and drove back.  Then I decided to trace scenes onto the Christmas ornaments I've been busily base-coating.  I found nice pictures that fit the shapes.  But my transfer paper is old and I couldn't get the designs onto the ornaments.  I tried freehanding the pictures on using a pencil.  I only did one and thought, "Patience is a virtue." I'll wait until I have transfer paper that works.
Going to the hospital makes me very thankful for my many blessings.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Wire Baking Rack

I like these wire baking racks for their intended purpose; but I also like them for painting a bunch of small things.  I can put whatever I'm working on in a contained area.  I know when I'm finished with that set and can pick up the entire rack to move it out of my way to dry.  I transfer whatever is on the other rack into a pile and load it with the next batch of stuff.  I get less paint on myself and spend less time moving the stuff around.  
Cleaning up would be quicker if I just threw stuff away.  I have these little ornaments left from when I was teaching...several dozen of them.  I'm almost through base-coating all of them, back and front.  Basecoating with a color a couple of times, krackle finish, white on top of the krackle finish about an hour after the krackle coat...wait time between the coats...back and front.  While waiting for the various coats to dry, I've been looking for small scenes to paint on the finished surface.
I'm not sure what I'll do with them when I'm finished, but they should be ready for NEXT Christmas!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Holiday Potholders

 I'm through with the purple one.  It's the first thing I've ever quilted.  I decided to make the next one with two layers of quilting batting.
I'm not finished with this one yet.  I have to sew the top closed and then stitch it down.  So far it looks better to me than the first one.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

When the Lion Feeds

I read a lot of Wilbur Smith books a long time ago.  The River God series is Larry's favorite by Smith.  I like them, too.  But the Courtney series is also really well done.  The first one in the Courtney series is When the Lion Feeds. I recently got it on audio and I'm seriously enjoying it.  The main character is Sean. He's a bigger than life character who isn't all good or all bad.

Butterfly Jeans

My jeans were threadbare at the rivets so I threw them into a pile and bought new ones.  I bought the butterfly appliques and managed not to lose them while I did Christmas stuff.  Today I really couldn't think of much else to do in preparation for Christmas, so I mended a couple of pairs of jeans.  They are the iron-on kind, but I just ironed them on to stick them in place while I sewed them on.  Mending isn't a lot of fun, but the appliques help:)
I also base-coated more small gourds and small wooden ornaments...the flat kind like I get at Hobby Lobby.  I decided to base-coat back and front and put crackle finish on, then a white layer of acrylic.  I intend to eventually paint little scenes on them.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Cookies

Butter cookies and oatmeal raisin cookies were on today's list.  They don't look great.  I got them too close together and had to cut them into pieces.  But the house smelled great and they taste as wonderful as I'd envisioned.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rearranged...Again

 This picture shows how it looks in a corner of my art room where I have things moved out.  The little chest, small refrigerator, and other stuff is piled up.  I've moved the futon away from the wall because I got tired of the wall paper table running down the middle of the room
 We put the small chest and refrigerator in the summer kitchen. That helped.
 I finally finished painting and varnishing the wallpaper table and put it on the north wall where the futon formerly resided. Now the futon is in the middle of the floor but is shorter than the wallpaper table. It isn't very comfortable to sit on, but it does provide a guest bed when needed.
The sewing machine has a tall metal holder for acrylic paints.  The extreme right shows a paint holder that Larry made for me.  To the left, in front of the window, is another paint holder.  It has the birdhouse paints and metallic paints. The filing cabinets hold supplies, too. I want the metal stand to the right of the sewing machine to be replaced by a couple of shelves mounted on the wall to the left of the window over the wallpaper table.
I did a lot today including shopping for cookie ingredients, but I left my fitbit on the charger so it looks like I slept all day.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins showed on television tonight.  Watching it, I enjoyed it and also enjoyed remembering how delighted I was when I first saw it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ribbon Yarn

The colors of the ribbon yarn are beautiful.  The scarves made with it are shorter than the sashay scarves and take me a lot longer to knit. But every one I start has had a buyer before it was even off my needles.

That Was Different

On Tuesdays, I offer magazines to the patients who can't walk around by themselves.  Today when I offered, one gave me two to add to the donated stash.  It's quite pleasant to talk to them about whatever they find interesting.  Sometimes the magazine articles offer a springboard; sometimes they already have something on their minds.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Different Book

I really like the Ishmael Wong character in the Solar Clipper series by Nathan Lowell. But I'm trying to listen to South Coast for the second time.  I like Nathan Lowell as the reader of his own works.  I've started South Coast more than once and so far the thing I like best about it is the mention of the Blessing of the Fleet.  In Bayou la Batre they had the blessing of the fleet for the shrimp boats when I worked at Alba.  I guess they still do, but I don't know.  Just the mention of the blessing of the fleet was nice.  Maybe the story will pick up but I'm on episode 13 so maybe not.  I'm a little worried that Ishmael Wong is going to veer into the shaman territory.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Watching Paint Dry

Larry wants his sign to be outside so I used exterior varnish that protects against uv rays, changes in temperature, etc.  But it doesn't dry quickly.
I've put three coats on the front.  Meanwhile I've been organizing, cleaning, etc., waiting for it to be dry enough to get another coat.
I decided to paint the wall paper table I'm using.  It will be dry enough to turn over and start on the the three coats of varnish for the back tomorrow.  I can paint the part that's under the sign then.

Egg Cartons

 I am able to store a lot of my craft things in egg cartons.  Egg shells, wooden eggs, small wooden balls, small gourds...they fit into the egg cartons and then stack nicely.  I cut them apart to put the things in the bottoms and stack them.
 I've bought things to put paint on and mix paint on, but I usually use plastic lids, metal lids, and egg carton tops. It is easier to use garbage because it starts out clean and I just throw it away when I'm finished.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Easy Diet Day

For breakfast I had a two-egg omelet with a slice of ham, two mushrooms, and shredded cheese. It was tasty and filling.
For dinner I had a salad with Caesar dressing and two pieces of rotisserie chicken. 

Holiday Snack

 Green onions, white and green parts, 2 large packages of cream cheese,2  buddig lunch meat packages(I used corned beef $0.64 per pack), and 1 tsp. seasoned salt
It can be shaped into a ball, but we just put it into a container with a lid.  It can be eaten with celery or crackers.
I got the recipe from a friend. She said it is possible to spend more money on the meat, but it won't taste any better.  Of course, I had to try it with different meats...they were all good, but no better than the buddig brand which was the cheapest.
With celery, it is diet.
With crackers, it is also good.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Inside Steps

I got steps in today in spite of sleet and general nasty weather.

Almost Finsihed

I am not very good with lettering so I got a copy and carefully traced the grill hutte words.  I was pretty happy with it.  Then Larry came to check on it and asked for his name to be put on it...bigger than the letters.  So I freehanded his name on tracing paper until it was all right, then put it on the sign.  He wanted his name to be curved along the middle of the top, but that isn't what I managed to do.  Giving somebody a present shouldn't be so difficult.
But all I have to do now is put multiple coats of exterior varnish on both sides and it will be finished.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Gryphon

My husband wants a sign for his "Grill Hutte." "Hutte" is supposed to have an umlaut on the "u." He wants a gryphon and the words Grill Hutte.  Fortunately he likes how this looks, which is good.  I am not wild about it, but it's for him. All I have left to do is get the words on it and then let it dry enough to start varnishing it. 
I didn't have directions for this but he had a pattern he'd found for a stained glass picture and I looked up colors.  Painting directions would have been helpful.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Duh

My Kindle wouldn't connect to wifi today.  My wifi was working but the Kindle wouldn't even show me any options to use to try to connect.
Usually at this point I send off emails to my tech support relatives...I'm really fortunate because somebody usually knows what I need to do instead of panic.  But today I went to troubleshoot Kindle and it said several things that didn't seem to apply.  But the simplest thing it said was to hold the power switch down for twenty seconds and then turn it back on.  That worked! It was simple and I didn't shower my relatives with panic.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cutting Down Boxes

Today I went to WalMart to buy two boxes to ship odd-shaped wooden boxes.  I had a choice of too big and way too big (since I automatically eliminated the boxes that are too small). 
I got home and managed to cut one of the boxes down to a reasonable size and then tape it back together.  I had time to do the other one but I decided to wait for a different day. I didn't paint anything when I got home from volunteering...I just knitted. I really hate resizing boxes.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Switch Off

 I basecoated this twice on each side, sanding between coats.
While waiting for the paint to dry, I knitted...when I wasn't looking for stuff...like a pattern for alphabet letters and a gryphon.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Another Almost Finished Project

This is the second box...almost finished. Coming up with an idea is hard, finding the materials is hard, and then painting something that doesn't have to be turned into something else because it just doesn't look right.

Icy View

 This isn't exactly what I think of when I think "White Christmas."
The icicles hanging from the porch are also hanging on power lines.  So far we have electricity.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gnome Village Box

This one is finished.  I think it turned out all right.  It looks like the houses are sitting in a tree instead of along a dirt path. But since it is an imaginary scene, I don't suppose it makes a lot of difference.
I also finished a magenta scarf. Christmas is coming along.

Today's Problem

I put crackle finish on the lids of the boxes I'm painting.  I had hoped it would look better than this. But I'm planning to paint gnome homes on them based on drawings in the painting rocks book.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Not So Close

Most people observe what I consider to be a reasonable personal space.  But sometimes people step really close just to talk.  I wear blended trifocals, and the close range part of the lens in on the lower section.  So if a tall person steps up really close, the only way I can focus on them is to tilt my head way back.  That isn't especially comfortable, but neither is not being able to focus on the speaker.  So I tend to tell them they are too close.  It feels rude, but evidently people have different perceptions of personal space.  But probably everybody with bifocals or trifocals have about the same space requirements.  My uncle used to peer over his glasses.  Other family members commented negatively on it.  I'll bet I know now why he did it.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Fruit

My husband is from Grand Bay, Alabama.  That's about thirty minutes from Mobile toward Mississippi. I'd never had a satsuma or kumquat before going there.  The kumquat bushes are over headhigh and look like decorated bushes they are so loaded with kumquats. We didn't get any kumquats this year but he got a box of satsumas. They are kind of like tangerines but sweeter and virtually seedless. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

New Free Cell High

My previous straight wins score was 173.  Today I made it to 233.  I really, really hated it when I broke that run!  My percentage would have been higher if I'd noticed the statistics sooner...and undo.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Volunteering Today

I was alone today.  The other person who is usually with me on Tuesday had someone coming to try to get some of the leaves up.
So I called everybody on the list to remind them of the quarterly meeting, filled ice bags, put bath wipes in the warming unit, offered magazines, checked for cards, showed a new nurse where another warming unit is so she could get one of the warmed shampoo packages.  I had refilled the one on the main wing and they weren't showing "ready" yet. I talked to the head nurse about a notice I made to put in the public service announcements in several locations.
Then on the way home I stopped at a neighbor's house to see if she is interested in becoming a volunteer.  We are really low on volunteers now. She would make a good volunteer, but it turned out she has two toddlers as foster children. I don't think she'll have time to volunteer. Those two little ones have been in three foster homes in the last ten days. 

Turkeys

Driving to volunteer this morning I went the back way and saw a flock of turkeys right beside the road.  A male was displaying his tail feathers.  It was a really nice to see.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Painting Break

 I'm finished with the two scarves above and am knitting the brown and blue one below.
 I decided I should try some of the wine that was part of the process of siphoning. It has a really nice, dry flavor but isn't all all clear. I'm hoping what is in the carboy will end up clear and tasty.

More Gourds

When painting little things with acrylic paints, it's good to paint more than one at a time because it dries pretty quickly. So one can dry when painting the next.  I like the silver/purple best, so far.  Today I bought more metallic colors at WalMart.  The colors available only included four in that range that I didn't already have.  I'm trying to do them in paint that will be all right outside as I think they will make cute decorations for a small outside tree.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Wine Progress

 We siphoned the carboy into another one, leaving the dregs in the bottom.
This is most of what was left in the bottom.  I dumped the worst of it down the sink when I cleaned the carboy.  It is tasting better and better. I put the pitcher in the refrigerator. It is possible it will settle and we could add it back to the carboy, but I'm not sure that is the right thing to do.  At the rate we're going, I don't know how much we'll end up with.  We wanted to make a small batch to see if it is worth doing in the future as we have more scuppernongs.

Small Painted Gourd

I'm not getting many steps in on my fitbit, but I got 17 small gourds painted.  This is a Y.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mimosa and Butterflies

I finally decided what to paint on the last box.  I couldn't find the book I'd used for the four seasons motif I used on the others.
But it's cold and gray outside or cold, sunny, and bright.  I decided the memory of the pink mimosa blooms with yellow butterflies would be my theme on this one and I would enjoy that bit of summer in late November.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Photos/Reality

Sometimes a photograph doesn't show reality as I see it.  For example, the autumn leaves picture looked better than the actual scene to me, maybe because it left out some of the surroundings.  Flowers show up nicely in pictures when done close up, but I don't ever feel pleased with a picture showing a lot of flowers and how they look together.
But I didn't realize I had a bunch of gray hair right on top of my head until I saw a black and white photograph somebody had taken of me. 
The picture of the foil packages of dressing I'd stuck in my refrigerator freezer showed that I need to redo my freezer:(  I hadn't paid much attention to it because I keep bags and containers of this and that to use frequently.  So it looks messy.  If I put part of a bag or container of something in the deep freeze, I'm likely to get a new one rather than finish the container I'm not through with.  I put the dressing containers in the refrigerator freezer to show it doesn't take much space to put a lot of food if it is stacked in similar containers.  But it really looks messy. 
Photos sometimes show the truth my eyes don't notice. Maybe I should shop with my digital camera and laptop.  I could try on something, get a salesperson to snap a picture, and then I'd know if I liked how I looked in it.  The mirror isn't as good.  Evidently my eyes edit what I see in the mirror.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Disposable Tins

The four foil tins stacked contain dressing. I have two more in the refrigerator to cook tomorrow.  I prefer the 8x8 pans.  I had to ask where they were.  The roasting pans were easy to find and also the cake pans.  These are called cake pans, but to me they are brownie pans.  Some stores put all of the disposable tins together, but some spread them out so a tour guide is needed to locate the right one.
Making dressing is kind of a pain so we usually make enough for extras at Thanksgiving. I have enough bowls that can go in the freezer and the over, but they don't stack neatly the way the disposable tins do.  I also have a couple of candied sweet potatoes in the tins.  Nice to not have to clean them, just toss them.  I'm pretty sure they aren't company fare, but I'm fine with buffet-style serving.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bits of This and That

Lousy weather today made it difficult to even think about getting my steps in.  Yesterday was bad enough, but today was worse.
I drilled holes in the rest of the little gourds I'd cleaned. I sponged white paint on a tableware container that I had painted six of already and given them Aunt Annie to pass out.  I can't find the book with the directions that I used on the other six.  I finally decided what to do with this one and got started.
The scarf that I started on a couple of weeks ago is pulled almost completely loose so I can try, try again.  I started with eleven stitches and somehow ended up with nine.  It wasn't noticeable until I held it up and looked at it.  I have two requests for that scarf and I don't know if I'm ever going to finish one.  I do know that I'm seriously tired of it even though it is gorgeous yarn.
Wolf chili was the last can of a flat purchased at Sam's Club.  It wasn't especially good, and I really didn't know anybody made a lousy chili.  But this time I added chili powder and cumin to it before spooning it over tamales a friend brought me from Texas.  Even Larry liked it. I still have tamales but a different single can of chili...another unknown brand.
I think it might be easier to clean up if I just got boxes, packed up everything that is a mess, and mailed it off as Christmas presents:) I started on that today:)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Too Cold

It's too cold to do my pacing on the porch to get my steps in on fitbit so I'm walking inside.  I'm not nearly done, but at least I'm getting some steps in.  I can bundle nicely for the arms, neck, and torso, but my legs just get too cold.  I'm thinking what to do.  I think maybe leggings under polartec pants would work.  I have the polartec pants, but I wore the leggings out and tossed them a couple of years ago. What was I thinking?

Nathan Lowell's Fault

 Two soft fried eggs, two slices bacon, one slice low-carb wheat bread with butter, 1/2 baked sweet potato warmed in the skillet with the bacon and eggs
Have plenty, leave some...of the higher carb portion.  Eggs: zero carbs, bacon: zero carbs, butter: zero carbs, low-carb wheat toast: 6 carbs, sweet potato: glycemic index 17 (don't know exact carb count but it is healthy)
So I ate all the "free and low" stuff and left some of the unknown healthy portion.
This is Nathan Lowell's fault.  All this blathering about potatoes with fried potatoes led me here!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christmas Gourds

 I cleaned more little gourds today.
 These little gourds are a step further along.  I was having trouble painting them, but Larry discovered the kabob skewers were perfect.  The holes were pretty easy to drill with the drimmel.  I had to try different tips, but eventually found one that worked.  I'm painting them with birdhouse paint because I intend them to be for a small outdoor tree for Christmas.
I tried letting them dry on paper towels, but decided the wire rack would be better.  Tomorrow I'll drill holes and base coat these.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Necklace

I went for a hair trim today.  She displays a nice selection of knitted scarves like I do so I was looking at them to see if there were any ribbon type scarves.  But right next to the scarf display was a display of necklaces.  The brown thing in front is an adjustable necklace.  I don't know if it is knitted or crocheted but it is really pretty and light. I'll have to look for that kind of "yarn."