Saturday, July 12, 2008

Technology Weekend

Mike has spent the weekend installing our new computer and converting our old computer into an entertainment PC for our television. I was of no help but you can see that the girls were just as helpful to Mike and his technology as they are with me and my sewing.

So now we are putting all our movies, tv shows and music onto a hard drive so we can look at lists instead of going over to the dvd collection. We are also hooked up to the internet so we watched I think Mike is enjoying himself, I just hope I can figure out how to watch "Pride & Prejudice" on Monday. :)

Monday, June 30, 2008

The View of Linda Mar

I want to talk about the view from our dining room window. I spend a lot of time looking out that window. I am also sure that the kitties spend most of their awake time at this window watching the world pass by. I keep my bird book and binoculars by the window and the girls have any number of small rugs and baskets to sit in while looking outside.

Here they are obviously napping, but just before this, they were looking outside.

Whenever I post pictures of our backyard I want to start talking about the garden and how much work we have done and how much more we need to do but what I am really thinking about is how much pleasure I get from seeing the changes in the plants that are out there as they are, watching out for "Bruce the angry humming bird" and his little flock, checking on the progress of the pear tree in the neighbor's yard, or how my little succulents are fairing. I watch out for the neighbor cat who I always shoo away from bird hunting with a high and extremely non-threatening "shoo kitty" which he does obey but only because he pities me and my poor attempt to being stern with a cat.

Today I saw this robin chasing a grass hopper, which was pretty entertaining. Cornel, Ralph and I sat shoulder to shoulder on the floor watching the race.

I just love sitting next to the window and watching the happenings in my yard. Sort of like a nosy neighbor but with birds, not people.

This picture here is of my strawberry plum preserve that tastes delicious and that I made yesterday. I feel a great achievement since our pepper jelly we tried last weekend is still soaking in the sink and we are hoping the water solubility of sugar kicks in at some point or those jars are done for.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Wedding Gift for a Childhood Friend

My friend Phil is getting married this coming weekend. Phil and I have been friends since high school. We used to be neighbors and I would often give him a ride home and would give him rides to parties. As a matter of fact I think he was present for many of my most scary winter driving moments as a teen. Like getting stuck, fish tailing down my friend Cassidy's hill, trying to change a tire, trying to check my oil! (Funny how when you start thinking of one thing, you recall many more. Is a memory forgotten if you forget to think about it?) He was also the only other person I knew who built Star Wars models. All this took place in Bemidji, Minnesota and more than ten years later I will be attending his wedding which is an hour from where I live, in Northern California just off CA Hwy 1. How small the world can be!

His wife-to-be, Liz, appears to be a sewer herself. They are both campers and hikers and love Pearl Jam and Neil Young. How much we have in common! So with that I made them a picnic blanket that I hope they will use at Yosemite, the LA beaches, Bridgeschool and more.

This blanket is about 60 by 65. I used duck cloth for the bottom so it is water resistant and heavy. The top is linen with a border of pieced cottons. I planned the blanket to be folded up in thirds before rolling so I measured it out and added buttons to both sides for help folding it up. I love any excuse to use my buttons!

I embroidered the corner using the paisley inspiration from the border fabric for the design. The card is home-made as well.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pressed Penny Hanging

Mike and I have been collecting pressed pennies since pretty early on in our relationship. It started with this penny that Mike brought back from Crater Lake on a trip to Oregon in 2001. Since then we have collected them from many places including most of the national parks we have been to. It is fun to pack quarters and pennies in our hiking pack and ask park rangers for help. Funnily enough, every park ranger we asked always knew where the machine was. Pressed pennies were a very inexpensive souvenir which was good as we didn't have much spending money after saving for the trip itself.

For the last seven years they have been just sitting in a bowl that we would only occasionally look at whenever we would add a penny to the bowl. I wanted to make something for us and I thought these pennies would look great on a quilt. I added some pine cone buttons because I have a pine cone collection and we have many memories of my stuffing our pockets, packs, glove compartments and more with pine cones. It takes us weeks to find them all after we have been home from one of our trips.

I added a little embroidery here and there with important dates, like our wedding anniversary. I also put in a symbol of things here and there, like a sand dollar. Talk about stuffing your pockets! I have many memories of Mike and I negotiating just how many sand dollars Mike was going to assist me with smuggling off the beach. I have beach sand in every jacket I own.

I think I had more romantic visions of the piecing and quilting. However, I don't know what the vision actually was, I realize now it was out of focus. But I do like this project and can always make something different if my day dream ever comes into focus. But as we live in a rented house with furniture pieced together from family hand-me-downs, garage sales and multiple dumpsters I think it looks nice and we have definitely enjoyed looking at our pennies and recalling many good memories. Simple, just like the pennies.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

If you don't like buttons, this blog isn't for you!

At least that is what I warned family and friends when telling them about my blog! My parents send me, more than occasionally, boxes of crafty wonder. This pile of button loot is just a part of the most recent box. The part of the box that excites me most! Look at all those buttons they sent me! They filled two gallon sized zip lock bags to the brim. I can't wait to cut off the old fabric and threads, wash them, organize them by color and get bigger jars for my button collection.

You can also see a new bundt cake pan and some hand embroidered dish towels they sent along as well. I will have to celebrate my button collection with an apple bundt cake.

I warned you, if you don't find buttons fascinating, this wasn't the blog entry for you!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Life on the Prairie

(Trista, Dominic, Phoenix)

My cousin Trista has a very busy life in South Dakota. She and her husband Dominic are building a life, ranch and family from the ground up. In addition to their busy farm, they now have two little boys; Phoenix 2 1/2 years old and Forest 2 weeks! She is quite busy and only manages to post a few pictures of life on the prairie on MySpace once in awhile. She recently gave me permission to post some of those photographs here so that more of our family and friends can see them.

(Their home)

(life on the farm can by tiring! Phoenix)


(Little Forest)

Phoenix received one of the very first quilts I ever made. His arrival was one of the inspirations for me to start learning how to quilt. I made a John Deere quilt.

Forest's quilt shows how much a girl can improve her quilting skills in two and a half years! Phoenix's quilt was my third quilt ever made. Forest's is nearly my fortieth quilt ever made!

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Book of Cacti & Other Succulents

I bought this book at a little used book shop in southern California in June of 2003. I was on a road trip and having just moved to Oregon had no plans or thought of ever living in California. I did have thoughts about cultivating a wonderful succulent garden.

I finally read this book for the first time, now living in California in June of 2008. I rent a house a mile from the ocean and have gathered a few succulents to begin what will most likely be a humble gathering of tiny succulents. Most likely adding only what I pilfer from beaches and neighbors’ yards.

I thought I would learn about how to propagate these little plants; I didn’t expect lessons on life and people.

(echeveria or Panamint Dudleya, or some sort of Hen & Chickens, growing in
my yard when we moved here. I have been watering so they have been flourishing.)

Quote 1

But perhaps the thing that really seals the attraction between succulents and those who love them is the quiet lessons they teach of endurance and faith in life. How well they exemplify the virtues of patience and economy, the wisdom of lying low and rolling with the punches, of storing within ourselves those vital resources we will need in times of adversity. Succulents are strong plants, and they make those who grow them strong.

Chapter Two: Understanding Succulents, Page 18, Claude Chidamian

(fl: These aeoniums are from my garden and weren't doing too well in their old spot,
br: a succulent also from my garden which I thought needed some tlc too.)

Quote 2

Understanding succulents is like understanding people. They seem odd and different until we learn something about them- where they came from, how they developed, how they were meant to live and grow. Then we begin to see beauty where there was only strangeness; we begin to feel a strong attraction where there was only fear and indifference before.

Chapter Two: Understanding Succulents, Page 17, Claude Chidamian

I have more pictures of succulents from my garden on my flickr page at: