Sunday, July 20, 2014

Deck Ramblings

Yesterday, I went to the big town where the local quilt shop was having a 70% off sale on fabric. I wish I got more now that I'm home. I also picked up a bottle of my favorite Moscato (not at the LQS). I was feeling inspired when I got home and I pulled fabric and started cutting. Unfortunately, I quickly grew bored. It was too nice to be inside so I poured a glass of wine, grabbed my Kindle & sat on the deck.

My husband says I look morose in the pictures I take of myself. So I had him take a few pictures of me. I'm in my pajamas wearing no makeup and I still think I look better than any I've taken of myself.

The CSA box is all going to good use. This is a bunch of napa cabbage I stir fried in soy sauce. It was delicious.

 I'm starting on a new cross-stitch project. It's a big one as you'll see below this rooster. The finished project makes this rooster look small.

This is just a picture of the finished product. I haven't done it yet.

 I've been having trouble with my sewing machine lately not sewing an accurate 1/4" seam allowance but I've procrastinated fixing it. This means, basically, that I just haven't sewn. I finally fixed it as you'll see...with a piece of duct tape. Duct tape can fix anything.

 Fred is enjoying our new deck furniture. He makes sure to sit on each piece and get his white fur all over it.

My lobelia looks like blue lightning.

I have a nice view of the basketball court and the woods from the deck.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Another Week Bites the Dust

It's been another week since I've posted. Good thing I've taken pictures or I wouldn't remember anything that's happened and you would get a post full of the books that I've read. Maybe I should do one of those anyway. We'll see.

We had gutters put on the new house. They match exactly. I'm really pleased with how they turned out. The house still looks pretty and I can hardly see the gutters.

We have raspberries and wild roses growing all around the perimeter of our yard. The bees are abuzz this year.

I managed to get out into the field a few times before the neighbors hayed it and stuff my face with wild strawberries. The kids never care much to go with me but Charlie, my dog, and Fred, my cat, join me. Charlie, even though he's blind, snarfs around the ground and eats what he finds. Fred lays in the grass and meows intermittently. He just likes to hear himself talk. We're all pretty happy.

Last year, I had fresh flowers in the house all summer long. This year, I haven't really cared to set that goal for myself, I don't know why but I just don't care. But this week, as Charlie and I were walking down our road, I noticed these purple flowers that have never grown there before. I knew I had to cut some for the kitchen. So even though this picture looks like mostly daisies, it's the purple flowers that were my focus. They've already wilted and are tossed. If I were good like last year, I'd go get some new flowers but I just don't care. The water smells like a toilet after a few days anyway. I'll stick with my flowers outside.

This is last week's CSA box, which'll look a lot like this week's box: a few heads of lettuce, green-top carrots, garlic scapes, bok choi and kale.

As we were heading home from out-of-town yesterday, we drove into this storm. It looks pretty scary but it was just really rainy. I thought it was really beautiful.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

No Crafty Things Update

You can see most of the salsa garden in this picture, taken from above. Tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, banana peppers. Also visible are some of my petunia baskets which are all hung now around the deck and in front of the garage. Busy! Busy! They look so good but I don't have any pictures. Maybe next time.

This is my first sweet pepper! Just waiting for the rest of it to turn red before I pick it.

This is my catmint/hosta garden that I keep at our campsite. It's doing very well this year. The catmint smells glorious. It's a transplant from a garden I had at home. I've had it for about seven years now. I just love the purple flowers.

Charlie was groomed last week and he feels like silk! He is such a good camping dog. We spent the Fourth of July weekend at the campground and he barely barked. Every once in a while he sensed a dog passing by (he's blind so he can't see them) and he'd bark just a little. Otherwise, he just basked in all the one-on-one time he got with me. I took him with me everywhere.

My Butterboy is growing up so fast. He is starting to look like a teenager. Oh my heart!

I got both of my boys to smile in one day! Momentous! They were already pretty happy from a day full of swimming and camping and milkshakes so it was pretty easy.

This is Fred's favorite spot in the house. He is not a cuddler, he is a sinker. If he thinks you are going to turn on that faucet, he will turn on that charm and let you pet him. If you don't, then he jumps down and pads away in a huff. "What a waste!" he thinks. We rescued Fred as a much older kitty from the local Humane Society (they had him for TWO years before we adopted him!). He is pretty set in his ways and those don't include being petted, snuggling, or being carried. He will lay NEAR you and if he's in a good mood you can rub his head a little but, too much, and he will run away. We've had him about two years now so I don't think he's going to change. We love him anyway.

We had a pretty stressful Fourth weekend and I am glad to be home. We had a mini-emergency on the Fourth which caused us to miss all the fireworks. This is the life of a special needs family. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sometimes life gets the best of me

I know I said I was going to write here more often but I just can't catch a rhythm doing it. Life gets the best of me I guess.

I had volunteered to do some pattern testing. So I got the pattern and ordered the fabric from Canada which took some time to come. I got it just as we were preparing for my daughter's grad party. As soon as we were done with her grad party I was hit with a week-long bout of endometriosis pain. Then, when the pain cleared up, I sat down to start cutting fabric and discovered that my rotary blade was dull as rocks and I had no spare! It was just one thing after another. FINALLY, I got the replacement rotary blades in the mail and got to cutting (see below, ain't it beautiful??!!). Then I started sewing and my 1/4" seam allowance was off by a teeny bit. Not a lot mind you, but after I've been through all of this and I'm up against a deadline I threw in the towel. The universe is just not on my side for this one folks. I love the pattern and the colors and the fabrics and I will do it, but I just can't make it by the deadline which was yesterday.

After I was feeling better, my youngest son and I set out to mulch underneath our back deck. We bought 8 bags of mulch and went at it soon discovering that 8 bags of mulch didn't get us very far. Neither did 16. It took us 22 bags of mulch to finish the job! Then I put in this little garden which took me another entire afternoon. There's two lobelia, two transplanted chives and two transplanted bearded irises. The entire project was a ton of work and I could not have done it without my son's help.

The rhubarb was looking ripe so with the help of my daughter (not shown) and son, we made strawberry rhubarb muffins. Holy cats were they good!!

One night we decided to go out for ice cream.

Two nights ago, LilG spent the night at my parents and went fishing with my dad. He caught this nice smallmouth bass and generally had a great time being spoiled by grandparents.

The greenhouses are all having sales so I got a flat of salsa veggies for cheap. All mature plants with small fruit already growing on it! We'll be enjoying salsa soon!

I also got baskets of petunias 2/$7! We'll be hanging them from everywhere! Our last house had nowhere to hang them but this house has a nice deck and a bare front that needs some cheering up. I'm pretty excited.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Deck, Farmshare and Diet Update

It's been a beautiful week. We've been busy. LilG has been helping me mulch underneath our deck. I want to add a garden on both sides of the stairs. I thought we would be done by now but it is taking much longer and is a much bigger job than I had thought.

I bought these lobelia plants in anticipation that we would be done by now. Oh well. I'm just happy the weather has held up since it was originally supposed to rain all week.

Perhaps the most exciting event (for me at least) was we got our first farmshare box. Because of the persistent winter, i.e. snowstorms in May, the box was a bit light. But I was happy to get anything at all really. We got two huge heads of butterhead lettuce, a gigantic bag of spinach and a bag of braising greens. Braising greens are greens that are good cooked. Later this week, I think I'll fry them up in some olive oil with garlic and ginger for lunch. Ooh baby. And all of it is just so much more tender and flavorful than what we get at the grocery store. Tonight I made myself a butterhead salad with strawberries and almonds and Annie's papaya poppyseed dressing. To die for.

 I've been at the almost-Vegan diet for 1.5 months now. I've lost 15 pounds. You can really see it in my face. No more double chin. Yay! A lot of my clothes are starting to hang on me (can we say "buttcrack alert!!"). I don't want to buy too many clothes as I go since my goal is to lose another 15 pounds. Since my last update, I've been pretty good about not cheating. I ate a tiny piece of my daughter's graduation cake. I also had one wine cooler.

I experimented with adding cottage cheese back in. Horrible horrible failure. I definitely know now that I cannot have dairy. Besides the cottage cheese incident, I have been illness-free for the past 1.5 months! I'm also experimenting about adding chicken back in. I already know that red meat and pork are too hard to digest for my ulcer-ridden body. But I'm hoping that chicken may be different. This diet isn't about proving a point that I can be completely vegan. It's about figuring out which foods do and don't work for my body. Even if I can eat chicken, it doesn't mean I'm going to eat it all the time. Just occasionally. Like when we go to a restaurant and there aren't any other options, which we've avoided so far but there are a few restaurants that extended family like to frequent that have no vegetarian or vegan options that I can handle.

What has made the biggest difference for sure has been cutting out sugar. I no longer have any sugar cravings. I crave ice water instead of Mountain Dew. It sure was a hard road getting here but I'm glad I did it. Now the big question is, do I allow myself some of the delicious sweets when I bake the veggie goods like chocolate zucchini cake or strawberry rhubarb muffins???

Monday, June 16, 2014

VW Bus & Rocks

I finished cross-stitching the VW bus! I snapped a picture before I even pressed it. It turned out so cute. I'm going to make it into a throw pillow cover for the living room couch. It will match well. Now if I could just get my motivation up to go into my sewing room! I've had rough go of endometriosis pain lately and haven't felt up to sewing. Today is the first day in about a week that I haven't felt rotten.

It was nice outside today so instead of sewing I got outside and, with the help of my youngest son, got started on the first of the infinite gardening there is to do outside our new house. We laid down ground cover and mulched under our new deck until we ran out of mulch. LilG, who is not so "Lil" anymore, found this awesome rock and gave it to me.

I'm pretty lucky that I have sons that are going into high school this fall and still are thoughtful enough to find me nice rocks. Here are two other rocks my boys found for me.

I've also been busy with eBooks and audiobooks. I forget if I mentioned this before but I discovered that my library has a ton of books available online. I'm on my second audiobook- a British mystery. I also read Mindy Kaling's Why is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? which I enjoyed. I started on another book that was supposed to be funny but I might switch to something else a little more serious as I think I'm a little funnied out for the time being. It is supposed to rain for the next week so it sure will be nice to listen to audiobooks while I (hopefully) sew.

Thanks for reading! And thanks for commenting, if you do!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Gypsy Wife, Grad Party and Summer Plans

I've done a few more Gypsy Wife Quilt blocks:

The second picture doesn't show them sewed together but they are together now. I just don't have a more recent picture. 

I'll be taking a break from the Gypsy Wife Quilt for the month of June. As I mentioned in a previous post, I've volunteered to be a pattern tester for Lorna over at I'm really looking forward to getting started and I'm just waiting on the fabric to be delivered from Canada. I wouldn't have had much time to work on it this past week anyway because I was so busy preparing for my daughter's graduation party.

I took a picture of the cake but it's upside-down so this'll have to do since the cake is now all gone. We had my daughter's grad party Saturday. The house was packed but everyone seemed to have a good time and got along even though they didn't all know each other. I sure am glad it's over though. It's a lot of stress planning and preparing to make sure everything runs perfectly. Luckily, it did so now I can relax and enjoy the summer.

So, what are our summer plans? 

We are all signed up for the summer reading program at our local library. Including me. We started going to a different library recently and this one has a programs for both teens and adults! And the rewards are sweet like books and giftcards and a drawing for a Kindle! Talk about motivation! 

We will, once again, be doing our weekly CSA (community supported agriculture) farmshare. This is where you pay a lump sum of money to a local vegetable farm and in exchange you get a big box of vegetables each week. It turns into a big family thing because we all work to put up the food so none of it goes to waste. It's actually quite enjoyable, especially as the season goes on and we can make stuff together like salsa.

Camping! We like to camp. We have a fifth wheel and the campground we stay at for the summer has all the amenities so we aren't exactly roughing it but there are no chores to do. Plus there's a pool and a river to play in.

I also hope to make some gardening progress. Since we are living in a newly built house I am starting from scratch. It's hard to even know where to begin. My mom is going to give me some baby lilac bushes so I will start there I think.

Now that the kids are older, it's hard to know what to do with them. I used to bring them to parks and playgrounds and lakes every day. Now they don't want to do stuff with their mom and they are past the playground age. Too cool for that.

Oh well. That's life. At least, after all we've been through, my kids and I get along pretty well. I'm really lucky to have that.

Thanks for reading this far! I hope you leave a comment! I love comments!