Sunday, December 18, 2011

California in December

We had a great time visiting California to see my family, and enjoy a trip to the San Diego Zoo Safari park. The palm trees were gorgeous, and the sunny blue sky was amazing to see. Boston is great, but we really enjoyed the scenery and the sunshine. We stopped at a fruit stand in Temecula, and bought red oranges and grapefruits and wanted to buy lots more. George and I stood by the car in the parking lot and ate 2 oranges each right there! Delicious.

Home again, and now it's all about Christmas. We are busy decorating the house, and had a great trip to the outlet mall and our favorite store: Villeroy and Boch, where I bought some beautiful Christmas plates and a tea setting. I love the festive colors of Christmas, and we leave our decorations up until February.

Blogging has been something that has gone by the wayside of my busy life. I'm very grateful to have such a nice family to visit in California. Onward with the holiday plans!

Enjoy the season!

Safari park picture taken by Devin!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lemon Meringue Pie

We have decided that we really like making these. I learned that baking a pie crust should not be done while watching The Name of The Rose on TV, or you might overbake it by 5 minutes and have to make a second one from the remaining crust. So, this is not perfect, but definitely a labor of love.

And a really nice treat on a Sunday afternoon.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Thunder's Apple Tree

When my cat Thunder died three years ago at age 17, we planted a very small apple tree in her honor. Last year we were not quick enough with the spray and the borer caterpillars had a picnic on the leaves. It was sad. This year, we were out there with the first warm spring day and sprayed every weekend and watched it closely. It had an abundance of healthy leaves & blossoms. Most of the apples seemed to develop down low.

A problem.

During the night, little night animals would come and pick off the apples one by one. We have skunks, raccoons & woodchucks and any of them could have been the culprit -- or maybe all three. Anyway, all summer we have watched as the apples become fewer. Now we are down to just this one.

So, here is a picture of our one apple for which we have high hopes.

Have a great day.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene means a lot of waiting here in Boston

Hurricanes are so much fun to watch on the weather channel. So much going on. I'm sorry for people who have damage and flooding in their homes. I have been assured that our gutters are all facing the right direction. I was beading today at my little kitchen studio, and heard a freight train of rain coming down the track. It was a huge downpour, and I was glad when it stopped. George went out for some last minute supplies and got soaked. I shut all the windows and made popcorn.

Tomorrow is church, and since I'm the cantor, we will try to get there if it isn't dangerous to drive. But, it will probably be too rainy to take the chance. They'll have to do without me, the ten people who do show up.

This has been a slow hurricane, with a lot of talk, anticipation and concern.

And lots of time to turn into the weather channel for more updates.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Clean floors

On July 18, the movers came to move us out of the upstairs, and the floor men ripped up the old carpeting and sanded and varnished the floors. It was a huge undertaking. We chose not to worry about it until it was time to pack up, which took a whole weekend. The floor sanders worked for four days - the last 3 applying 3 coats of polyurethane. The kitties were moved into the den, with food and litter. They took it like little troopers, and didn't cause any problems at all. Our bed was moved to the living room, where we slept like kings in the middle of a large suite - actually enjoying that part of the process.

Hell came. On Friday, July 22, the movers came back again to move all the furniture back in (we kept it in a UHaul truck in the driveway). It was 103 degrees -- the hottest day in Boston on record since the 1920's. It was a roaster. We put a case of water and Gatorade on ice. The freezer wouldn't even freeze drinks it was so warm outside. We know. We tried. The movers were great, and worked very hard and I tried to keep everyone hydrated. George and I sat in lawnchairs in the shade when we could find any, and helped organize where the boxes went. Somehow, it all got put back into the rooms, but we still had a big mess of boxes and furniture and clothing that needed to be put away. It was 90 degrees in bedroom, and that is WITH a window air conditioner cranking the whole time.

The good news is that we survived this. The floors upstairs are beautiful. The old stained rugs are gone and we are enjoying more space since we gave away carloads of furniture and clothing. I know where everything is, and most all of it is unpacked and put away. The kitties were great about the move, and never made a peep through the whole process. George didn't have a heart attack and I survived the heat and lived to tell the tale.

All good.

Have a great day.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A loon swimming near the dock

The lake

Vacation at First Connecticut Lake, New Hampshire

We always have a great time, but this year our vacation at the cabin was spectacular. We had beautiful cool sunny weather, and lots of time to fish, swim, sightsee, take pictures of critters, play cards and I made a couple of beautiful beaded bracelets from a complicated pattern I was eager to try. It was a splendid vacation, and I only got two bug bites -- and that is a big deal since I am allergic and they can be really troublesome to me.

We didn't find the Pileated Woodpecker I sought, but we did see a beautiful young male moose with velvet brown antlers standing in the middle of a small out of the way road called East Inlet Dam road. It was breathtaking to see him standing there calmly, and before I could reach for my camera, he ventured off into the dark woods. The side of the roads are covered with wildflowers. The sun shines brightly and still the woods are dark as night. We saw lots of loons and had a particularly wonderful loon concert at 2:30 a.m. on two separate occasions. The loons call back and forth across the lake when everything else in the world is quiet and dark. Amazing.

The cabin is comfortable and welcoming. The swimming was cold, so we ventured into the lake only once, but it was fun. Fishing was..., well, fishing wasn't. We had only a couple of nibbles, and George caught a fish that only a loon would be proud of, about 5" long. We didn't really try hard to catch anything. It was more fun to play cribbage by the lakes and rivers, and just enjoy the scenery.

Can't wait until next year!

No fish, but lots of fun with worms.

George is in the background - fishing off the dock.

Our kitchen table at the cabin...homemade apple pie - yum.

Wave goodbye to the cabin until July 7, 2012

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

So many beads, so little time!!!

The Bead Dreams competition showcases and special jewelry art made to benefit Japan Relief.

The Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee; 2011

George and I had a great time at Bead and Button this year. He plunged right in, and visited booths, attended the demos, talked to people, found interesting things to share with me and generally enjoyed the whole experience. I was thrilled! I had more fun this year than ever before. George was there to help me carry things, and never once did he encourage me to stop whipping out my credit card. This year I went with a plan, and I knew the booths that I wanted to visit. My impulse purchases were very few (always
fun though). I took a great class with Katie Hacker while George took a much needed nap, and we had a couple of good meals; Benihana and Mader's German restaurant -- a must visit in Milwaukee! The inspiration that I came home with will carry me well through a year of jewelry design. I can't wait to get started. Here are the pictures:
This is the pendant that George bought for me as my show souvenir.

The large and spacious main lobby of the convention center, where the Bead Dreams entries are in glass cases. Makes my heart pound to think about it!

We really enjoyed the demos this year; this one at the Fire Mountain booth. Lots more demos than I remember, and stuff to learn wherever I turned!

This nice lady at the ISGB helped us buy a beautiful dicroic pendant, with all the money going to Japan Earthquake Relief. Everyone is SO NICE!

The Bead Social on Saturday, with an auction and proceeds to go to breast cancer research. We won the table prize, and had a great time!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Finally finished

One good thing is I generally finish what I start. I worked on this pair of socks for more than a month, because I stopped to do other things. But, finally, I finished them this weekend, and now I can go onto the next knitting project - a white T-shirt to wear on my vacation.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My salad

George just went to the kitchen and made this delicious salad for my dinner. Twenty-three pounds down!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Six Tips for Your Crafting Life

Recently a Twitter friend sent a post from The Interweave blog that has inspired me. So I have my personal six tips for my crafting life here. I'll list them, and then I'll elaborate.

1. Put your craft at the top of your priority list, and not the bottom.
2. Make a project board out of wood, and put everything you need on the board, in plain sight.
3. Gather your inspiration and put it in 3 ring binders where you can find it easily.
4. Listen and Learn: spend time looking at other creative people's work -- listen to creative people and learn from them
5. Listen to good music that inspires you as you create.
6. Learn to love organizing. Time spent putting things away neatly, and labeling them for the next session is not wasted.

Crafting is my priority. Design your day around your craft and decide what you want to accomplish that day. Don't waste your crafting time doing housework or worrying about things that aren't getting done. You are an artist, and your creation IS what is important.

Walking through Home Depot one day, I found a beautiful 4 foot square piece of oak. We sanded it and rounded the corners and stained it with two coats of pecan Minwax and two coats of polyurethane. It is a lovely shiny thing that keeps all my stuff handy. I thought of this when making metal clay jewelry one day and my brushes kept disappearing in the clutter around me. Clear the distractions. Create a space with great lighting. Buy an extra Ott light or two and keep them handy when you need them. When bringing your craft on a trip, make sure you bring your own lighting. Once I tried to repair someone's jewelry on a towel in kitchen lighting, and it was a disaster. Bring your light with you!

3-ring binders are my salvation for keeping my ideas in a safe and permanent place. I have several large binders, one for knitting, one of magazine articles & inspirational pictures, one for beading ideas and techniques, one for beading class lists and a diary of beading classes. These large and colorful binders are close at hand, and I refer to them several times a week. Some of my knitting patterns are 20 years old, and I know of no other way that they could still be referenced if I had not started my notebooks. Many old ideas are still good ideas!

I spend a lot of time on the internet looking at other people's blogs and looking at the links that they put on Twitter. If they think it is important, and they are wonderful creative people, then it is worth my time to see what they think is worthy. My creative life is my own, but a shared creative life is twice as much fun, and probably ten times more fruitful.

Music is a great mood mellower. Listen to music that soothes you and makes you happy. Ideas will flow.

Learn to love organizing your beads, yarn, knitting supplies, etc etc. Spend time organizing; know what you own and where it is. Creating goes much easier when you are relaxed and in command of your materials!

And my 7th tip? Have fun and don't be critical. First efforts are not usually your best efforts. Give yourself some time to learn and hone your skills. Relax, and love the time you spend creating!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vegetables are us

Beautiful baby bok choy that George bought for me at the farmer's market today.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's the little things....

This is the balloon of the season. I gave one to Lucy, George's granddaughter, and I gave one to the young lady who was crowned Queen of Hearts (lowest score) at our Heart's party last night, and George went out this morning to get me one for Valentine's Day. It's the little things that make me happy.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Napoleon's army in a shop window

French Market Restaurant on Decatur Street

The Hove Parfumeur Ltd on Royal Street

New Orleans details