Moxie my love



 Over Thanksgiving we drove to Redmond WA to spend time with family at the home of our newly married granddaughter Sydney.  She was married in September and her new husband is definitely a keeper.  Not only is he tall, handsome, witty, charming. intelligent, polite....he loves to cook.

Not only did he make all the stuff in the picture, but he also did a ham and a turkey plus a delicious butternut squash soup to start the meal
 Absolutely everything was perfectly cooked and it was delicious.

This post was delayed because I was having so many problems with photos.  I think I finally have the peoblem solved


 Well, I have my spring necklace strung.  ..again.  It is ready for my friend to stop by and finish the strands with wire guards and add a clasp.  I actually strung it twice, After I finished it the first time, I felt it needed spacer beads, but I was nervous about doing them.  as the holes were small. 

But I pulled all the beads that I had strung and then found if I held the spacer bead in position with two fingers, I didn't even try to see the hole.  I just aimed the wire toward the space between my fingers and with a few tries I was able to hit the hole.

The holes are big enough on the glass beads that all I have to fo is aim the wire at the bead and it finds the hole.  I can do it with my eyes closed.   After this I have several pieces that need a little repair and I want to replace some earrings I lost.    I have several pieces in various state of completion. I will tackle those chores before I tray another necklace.  But this will be ready for spring, and I am thinking a nice yellow linen top would be perfect and maybe a lunch out with the friend who helped me.


with a little help from a friend

 With limited vision I am constantly searching for activities to pass the time.  Especially the evenings as I can always clean house during the day.  Well, I suppose I could clean house in the evening as well but who needs a house that clean. 

 Earlier this fall I came across this color palette and it just shouted spring to me, so I am going to try to make a necklace.   It has been almost two years since I made a piece of jewelry. I have a large assortment of mismatched glass beads and I sorted out this lot.  Plus, I had some turquoise birds and stars, so I tossed them in as well.  I want something colorful and whimsical to wear when the daffodils bloom.

The beads have big holes and using beading wire means no worry about tedious needles.  A dear friend who does a lot of jewelry has offered to do the finishing parts that I couldn't handle.   Without her help O would not even attempt this.  Friends are the greatest. So, like dear Bennie I am once again charging ahead.  I've decided just sorting beads anytime will be a pleasant and relaxing activity. Much better than cleaning house.  The one positive aspect of low vision is you don't see the dust.

ps..my computer guy finally came and fixed the browser issue I was having with blogger.  Hooray


Five-legged green cat with two tails

 I began my workaday life in Alaska as a primary teacher in 1966. I taught 5-7 year olds for ten years and they were so amazing.  If you asked a 5 year old to draw a horse he'd say "of course." It wasn;t until they got to be 7 that   they worried that their horse disn;t look like a real horse.  One day I asked  5 year old Bennie to paint his cat for me and in short order he was waving his masterpiece proudly before me. and proclaiming "I did it.! I did it!"  And he had  indeed painted his five-legged green cat with two tails.

My dad's mantra  was that it was important to do a task well or not at all.  It has taken me all these years to realize that it is not important how well you do something but it is important that you actually do it!!!...So like Bennie I am offering up my  humble birdhouses with great enthusiasm saying  "I did it! I did it!"


color, color. and more color


As my eyesight diminishes it isn't as if  my world is going black...  Instead I refer to the three "Ds"  First everything continues to get dimmer and dimmer, The second "D" is distorted...everything is warped and disjointed ... the third "D" is double and sometimes more than double images. The hardest to describe are the void areas where there are holes in the retina......  There is no black, gray or anything.. just a void. When I look at someone I can see hair, ears, neck but no mouth and eyes ....just a void.  I still have some peripheral vision in my left eye which keeps me forging ahead.  I am eternally grateful for speech recognition and text reading technology.

I do not mention this to sound dismal as it is just a constant challenge to be tackled.  I mention it to explain my current absolute obsession with color.  I want it everywhere ...on and around me.  So  in addition to masses of blooms, I want color oozing throughout my garden.  I am in love with this walk and the bright totems...both of which I want and must find a way.I care not a whit anymore on the quality of what I do and at the moment am working on some birdhouses for a structure I put in last fall. No precise lines....just the wild application of color in the manner of an enthusiastic 4-year old. Years before I would have designed, built and decorated these elaboratly.  But these I bought preuilt  from Amazon and  am using sponges to paint and loving every minute..


Years and years ago I used old windows and recyled wood to build a small mini-greenhouse/cold frame.  It was perfect for tender veggies before the ground was warm enough to plant.  But alas it being of old materials, it eventually collapsed. 

 I wanted something si

milar for here as the south side of the grargage caputures  the winter sun and is sheltered from the wind.  First I thought of actually buying a small greenhouse and then a friend suggested buying a greenhouse window kit to attach to the garage 

But it was cheaper by far to adapt one of Wayfair's arbor kits.  Cheaper, more durable, plus free shipping and easy to assemble. I didn't quite get it done before spring but it is at the top og the list now. 

The bed in his area by the potting bench is my biggest success story so far.  I started with a 6' round bed with an iron obelisk in the middle.  I planted a clematis and sweet peas on the obelisk and then set out to cram the bed with plants that would be compatible.  I chose iris, shasta daisies, a tall achillea, veronica, ornamental oregano, monarda, lavender , and salvia   and  bordered it with a low, compact perennial  geranium.  It was perfect and wild with bees all summer,  When I added more pavers to this area the circle became a rectangle but with a little squishing of plants it all worked out.

So in this area about 10' square I have this lovely bed. my potting bench,  the mini-greenhouse, decorative tool storage, and this great poly???? bench...another kit from Wayfair and it holds all the hoses, wands, sprinklers. etc/  This was never intended to be embellished but it now has crossed my mind...  I find myself sitting a lot  on this shady bench drinking my giner tea and watching the bees.




I love upcycling....giving something a second or third life is great.  But it is not often I get to give something a fourth life.  Such is the case with this piece of iron..  It started out as a headboard and then for a while it was the back to a bench in the garden at the farm and next it became part of a gate in the sheep pasture.  I couldn't resist moving it along to the new house...not sure what it would become here but it is now the decorative back to my much loved and much used potting bench.


I have always had some type of potting area.  I love to take cuttings, do divisions, and nurse along small plants,  The area by the garage (about 12' x 12') has evelolved into my "work" area and the star feature is this potting bench...  The shelves are wire closet shelving from a thrift store.  During the summer I used it almost every day and the piece of iron gives it an elegant old world touch.


Me Again!!!!

I am supposing that I have lost most of my readers since it has been about 9 months since I posted. But I have to admit I miss posting a lot. I had written iver 2000 posts and had over 1.5 million hits. Posting was a combination of a diary and a way to share my life with friends. To communicate online now  I depend mostly on the capabilities of speech recognition and text to voice programs . The speech recognition is filled with errors and I struggle with all the Narrator commands but keep working at it.  It's awkward but I'm trying to find a better way. 

I spent most of the summer in therapy classes recovering from a stroke which affected my right side.. But now I am as good as I'm going to get.

Thank heavens for my garden. It si the only place I feel normal and spent dawn to dusk all summer transforming my small patch . Most of my time was either digging up sod or dealing with it. After I dug it up I removed the soil and screened it. The fibrous parts are composting and the lovely screened soil (without rocks) went back into the beds. Now that chore is behind me and I can focus on fine tuning the multitude of plants I brought from the farm. I also have some others projects I;ve done and lots of things in the works.... hope to share it all.


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....

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