Seven more to go

This first tassel was definitely a learning experience and will make many changes in technique for the last seven.  Tassel is just pinned to the valance now and will decide final length when all are done.  Since I probably couldn't get them the same length if I tried I am thinking they will be staggered lengths.  I am going to attach the cord  to the valance when finished with  a cluster of antique gold metal buttons and bee charms.  I couldn't be happier with the final look of the valance...lots of big sloppy stitches and braid attached with hot glue but the look  I wanted is there.

I added silk ribbons with beads on the ends in the tassels.  The weight of the beads made the ribbons disappear to the center of the tassel...problem. .maybe varying the lengths of threads and ribbons would work...  It was when I was trying to get the silk ribbons through beads that I discovered how nifty the 28 gage wire worked,, what a blessing that was.  Not as much of the variety of colors show...problem...maybe separating threads more when assembling will help.  Couldn't drill the hole in the bird perpendicular...problem but I think this can be solved using the drill press. Used some Edmar thread in tassel and it is static even when wet...solution is not use it in the rest of tassels.

Some good things happened.  I found 28 gage wire was a great aid and took the place of needles entirely.  This little discovery will come in so handy on other projects in the future  As much as I hate a glue gun it is another aid I need.  I was able to use some supplies that would have been wasted otherwise.  Years and years ago I did a piece of jewelry using a jade buddha and wanted to hang 4 small brass bells on the bottom.. To get the four bells I had to buy a lot of 50 and they are great on the tassels and I will use almost all of them on the remaining tassels.

The colors of threads I used in the tassels picked up the colors in the valance.  The tassels are hanging high enough that someone would have to stand on a step stool to look closely at workmanship.. Luckily step stools are in a closet.


My tractor money and a reality check!


  •  I bought my tractor in the mid-80s. I paid $5,000 for it secondhand and it was practically new with a front end loader and a rototiller in the back.  I loved that tractor and spent many an hour behind the wheel..   It was such a great deal. I used it for 30 years and sold it for $4,000. I didn't want this money to just disappear into the general fund and  I wanted to use it for something special so I put it in an envelope  in my sock drawer waiting for just the right thing to come along.
  •   My garden is that last thing I think about when I go to sleep and the first thing I think about in the morning so that is where my tractor money will go. I've so many things that I hastily put in "temporary" beds  when we moved and they need a permanent spot.  And making permanent spots means digging out sod... I spent so much of last summer digging and dealing with sod.  I thought I 'd hire  that done along with some other major things I wanted done so I had less heavy work and could focus on planting,  I started in January to get some estimates.  and I could quickly see it would take all my tractor money and then much more to do everything on my wish list   and now that I see how expensive it is I'm going to have to start trimming my wish list.  But the biggest shock is everyone is booked into late summer already. So I'm looking at things I can do without, do myself, and things that can wait.  I am also going to have to designate a holding area for sod and deal with it later this summer.

  • Originally  I thought I'd like a new sprinkler system   But it is not critical and I can live with what I've and just adjust my plantings. And my precious tractor money will go mainly for supplies like lumber and pavers and a new little rototiller.  The main things I was going to hire help with was expanding the terrace area near the raised beds (which is now mud.)  If I can handle that then next is a paved area under my sweet pea gazebo. We had snow this morning but it quickly melted and my first daffodils are poking out of the ground..  The garden is the one place that I'm not constantly impeded by my failing vision.  


Tassels outside the box

I was really looking forward to the tassels and  immersing myself in a mess of stuff and just play.  Haven't done that for years it seems.  That was the fun part of crazy quilting...  wallowing in piles of stuff and more stuff.  Well today is the day...probably first of many.  The valance is almost finished.  I am putting the last touches on the sleeve and adding gold braid.  It us tacked up here and luckily it will fit perfectly.  I basted the gathering stitches on the sleeve by hand with a huge needle which DH kept threading for me... How enjoyable to sit with something in my lap and a needle in hand...

I've gathering most of what I think I want and will make this up as I go along.  I had a bunch of #12 cotton that I bought and never used.
  Delighted to finally justify its purchase .  Same for rayon which is too fussy for me to stitch with but the color and texture are perfect.  Once it is tangled it is impossible. 

I do have a  tassel maker tool but it works on the principal of one color tassels and I want tassels of MANY colors so not sure it will work.  It might work for the rayon to make mini one-color tassels as the rayon  thread is so hard  for me to handle.  In addition to the threads, I have gathered beads, ribbons and chains..

I found this example of many variations of tassels and I think it will be a great inspiration for me to think outside the box with my tassels. I'm thinking that this is one of those projects that is almost impossible to mess up.  I am counting on that.

By thee time I finished this project it should be time to go into the garden.....finally


New life and a better one!

 Most everything I loved  I moved without the slightest idea where it would fit... but it all is fitting and sometimes prettier here than at the farm.  This piece of antique stained glass is a case in point..  I bought it at a building auction  over 30 years ago. .  I went looking for old used windows for the barn and fell in love with this piece . It was without a frame and in pretty sad shape.  I cleaned and repaired it and had a window made for it at the farm on the landing on the stairs and it was gorgeous but only seen by family. 

Here it is the focal point of the house and just smashing... I made a new frame with 2 by 2s but hired a man to install the board on the ceiling that it is hung from.  Since I fell off the ladder last fall I try to avoid anything too high.

I had collected a lot of stained glass over the years and my initial plan was to use it all to make a divider here.  But like many of my plans that one was scrapped in favor of using most of the glass on the veranda....and what I don't use on the veranda I will find a place for in the garden...  I left four pieces at the farm sale that were in need of repair, the panels from a railroad dining car and the chicken panels of glass in the kitchen.   now I wish I would have brought them all as they probably ended up in the dumpster...

Morris will be glad when all the glass is out from under my bed.  That is his "safe" place during storms.


Last on list....! What list??

I can't believe that more than a year has passed since I was first excited about my birds/tassels/valance project/ I took the little wooden birds with me when we went to the coast last March...I sanded them while watching the waves roll in and out and then forgot about them through the garden season. I started to paint them before Christmas but would get discouraged and quit..  But a couple weeks ago I set about to find a way to do them and  now willing to accept them as finished at this point.  Not good but not too bad either..  Not only is my vision blurred and distorted, I am losing the small motor control in my right hand and if that is not enough I now have a  tremor developing in that hand as well.  But with magnifying lamps, patience and bracing my right hand I was able to finish... They are just waiting for a break in the weather to be sprayed with a clear gloss.

The valance itself is made from my old holiday jacket which had been around for way too long.  It was pieced velvets and trims.. Here is the last time I wore it and now it is cut in pieces in the valance.   I love that it is recycled and still loved...

I am on the fence as to whether or not add gold braid.. one day I say yes and the next day I say no... But the really fun part I have been saving for last.....the tassels.  I am using EVERYTHING in them...threads, silk ribbons, chains, beads, charms...etc.  I am going through stash and using all I can.. The tassels should be a stress-free activity and almost impossible to mess up.  What could go wrong with a riot of colors and beads. threads. ribbons...

This is the last thing on my indoor winter list which wasn't a very long list.  After a lifetime of list addiction I realized I haven't used a list for months and just try to get two things done of a day ...one before my nap and another after....


I really need of guide book to getting old

I really need some kind of guide book to getting old.  I knew  when you got old you had to worry about arthritis, diminished vision ,. and hearing loss.     I even knew that your hair would get thinner, your nose would get longer, and your ears would get bigger.  I remember hearing the phrase "long in the tooth" referring to the elderly because your gums recede but I never heard about your teeth actually shifting when you get old.. 

 I was noticing that I had more and more trouble cleaning between my bottom front teeth and when I look closely I can see it they had all  shifted and were overlapping. It look like the mouth of a teenager before they get their braces. I couldn't believe my eyes so I got on internet and   of course Google had the answer.  As you age your lower jaw grows forward and becomes more narrow consequently your teeth are all shoved together . What a bummer and what next?  Especially depressing because along with shapely ankles, straight even teeth were among my limited number of assets.

NOTE: Sue commented that she is never heard of rugelach made with fig butter.  I have to confess I've never heard of it either but the recipe called for apricot preserves and not having apricot preserves fig butter  was obviously the next option. I did part of the batch with cinnamon sugar and nuts I did the other batch with cinnamon sugar and a little  shaved chocolate/ This is not sweet at all and it is more like a shortbread. The other day on the British baking show they made Babka which is a yeast dough with chocolate and nuts....next on the cookery list. 


A "Cookery" Day

Unless you like to cook or are a foodie you might want to skip this post.... By the time I entered high school I had taken over the cooking of the main meals and loved it to my mother's delight and once she was widowed at a young age she lived on fast food from A&W and MacDonald's. She lived to 96 so that diet couldn't have been that bad for her. So I 've been cooking for  well over 65 years.. You would think I'd be bored with it but I'm not.  It helps to have a husband who is a enthusiastic eater.

Since it is too cold to garden and I can't stitch. I pass a lot of time in the kitchen and my favorite is to get up in the morning, find the appropriate apron for my tasks, and cook the day away....what I call my "cookery" days.

Tomorrow will be such a day.  I have all my ingredients out and/or thawing,  I made a yeast riser for starting dinner rolls first thing in the morning while DH is showering and then I am fixing him latkes with salmon, sour cream and poached eggs.
We had that breakfast in Norway but they used either gravlax. caviar. or smoked  salmon. Having none of these I use some of the salmon in the freezer that son sent to us.. It was one of DH's favorite breakfasts.. Since he took a bad fall on the ice the other day I have been pampering him a little bit...maybe more than a little bit.

Then I will proceed next to making lasagna with meat sauce I made last summer and simmered it for hours.  I  have about a quarter of a large fennel bulb in the fridge and I will add that as well.  Fennel is one of my favorite vegetables and is often in Italian recipes,  Many of their recipes  for lasagna call for fennel seeds and some call for fennel as well.

I will top off my cookery day by making Rugalach, a Jewish holiday pastry that  is wide open for every kind of filling.  I will spread them with fig butter and add walnuts, chocolate and cinnamon. The dough for these can be resting while I do the lasagna.

I love it when I can find different ways to use up leftover ingredient.  When I bought the squash raviolis at Costco recently it was a large bag and I wanted to do something different with them this time and found a recipe for squash raviolis with caramelized onions and a cream roasted red pepper sauce.  It was delicious with halibut.  And an added plus was I found the first of this season's Caracara oranges at Trader Joes and made a salad of them, sliced fennel, almonds and greens....hence the left over fennel. Not only will my "cookery" day pass one of the last long dark winter days tomorrow, it will have passed today with finding recipes, ingredients, and supplies,  And as an added bonus the house will be filled with delicious aromas all day tomorrow...  a great way to celebrate the lengthening of the days and spring around the corner.



Time to take stock and rethink!!!

 In the beginning last spring I was making decisions fast and furious.  It was inevitable that I would eventually regret some of those decisions.  I did pretty well except for the small area behind the raised beds and at the back of the garage.  It is only an area about 20 feet square , not big but useful  and  I'm learning that if you have a small garden every single bit needs to be utilized well. What I did do right  is planting the area around the obelisk with medium-tall, sun-loving perennials. It was looking terrific by the end of the summer and I wouldn't change anything .  I really like this circle bed and may repeat it on the other side of the garden... I also want my new little mini greenhouse here as well so it will be the main work area.  

1. There is an add-on to the sprinkler system  in this area that needs to be changed...It is beyond anything I can fix and I will have to call in professional help on this problem.  By spring I should know how it is to be planted. I'm going to have to hire somebody to fine-tune my whole sprinkler system anyway.   I have never had a sprinkler system and it is a luxury but the sprinkler heads determine a lot of what I do.

2.  All the  utilities (gas, electric and cable)  come into the house  from this area  That limited where I could plant things.  So I need to contact the utilities companies to show me where NOT to dig.  I do not want to look at all the meters and pipes etc.    I   bought some tall arborvitae that I thought I would keep in pots to add more privacy to my yard and hide the meters etc. But they didn't do well in pots and the pots kept blowing over so they really need to be in the ground  when spring comes.  Right now the arborvitae are jammed against the fence next to the compost bin....just trying to get them through until spring. 

3.Another big problem is I put the compost bin in the wrong place and now it is half full of compost and I'm going to have to take it all out and move it. I t took me awhile to figure that out but I won't be happy until I have it out of where it is. The best spot will be on the backside of the deck next to the heat pump... I plan a yellow rose bed in that area that would hide both the heat pump and the compost bin.  But I couldn't place it there last spring because that area was filled with an humongous low growing  juniper about the size of a queen size bed and it took me several weeks to eradicate it.

4.  I also bought this bench that is not all that attractive but it has a lot of storage and I'm going to have to find another spot for it as well. I When I move the compost bin I think the bench would fit quite well there.  It is filled with hoses, perlite etc.... The bench does hide the meters etc. but give no privacy.. It would be ideal if there was no underground utilities there and I could    plant  the arborvitae  between the bench and the fence.....fingers crossed.

5. In this area was some dreadful green stuff that was passing as grass that I would like to get rid completely but not sure what exactly at I want there. I'm thinking I would like more tiles or stepping stones or gravel or something of that nature. I may have to call a landscape person to give me a hand

 Spring fever has begun.  Having the snow and the cold now is giving me time to really think things through and I'm trying not to make any more hasty decisions..... right now anyway.  Not being able to dig in the dirt doesn't prevent me from planning ahead and spring will be here before I know it...


How can you tell?

Our DIL just left after a long visit and your first clue is ...???. All DHs jars of jam are neatly aligned in the fridge.... alphabetically. 

She had a covid test before she left Alaska and another one when she got here and we stayed our distance for  days as well. And then it was hugs all around.  The weather was fabulous for her whole visit and she walked with DH every morning along various  trails along our river and they   went to Idaho to see the eagles at their winter fishing grounds

.  We had wine time every afternoon and even once by the fire on the deck in December if you can believe,!!!!.  We had almost spring-like weather every day,
I admit to having on a wool sweater and a shawl on my legs..

 She is super efficient and a workaholic and  cleaned the house, detailed the car, washed the outside windows and baked a decadent chocolate torte plus fancy braided my hair, gave me a manicure and two foot massages, 

She drove me to Lowe's with my long list of supplies for projects and patiently found staff to help us find most of the items .  I can manage screws still because I can feel the driver fit the notch but I can't do a nail anymore so I had her help nail the trim around this door.  She can swing a mean hammer now!!!

 I am lucky if I get to see her twice a year and  grateful to see her this year more than ever.




Great and unusual side dish.....

 This is a picture similar to a dish I had in a health food deli last month  and fell in love with it.... pumpkin (or squash) ravioli with kale, blue cheese and walnuts  It was sold as a cold salad at the deli but I thought it tasted much better heated. I made it  yesterday without the mushrooms.  

I sautéed about a cup of each of onions and red bell peppers and 2 cups of chopped kale and then added a bit of capers and garlic.  Then I cooked the squash ravioli , drained it and added it and 1/2 cup each of chunks of blue cheese and chopped walnuts to the onion/pepper mix.  I served it with baked salmon.

It was delicious and would be lovely as a vegetarian main course.  I bought squash raviolis at both Trader Joes and Costco.  The ones from Costco were prettier but we thought the ones from Trader Joes tasted better.


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