When did he begin to shuffle


When did he begin to shuffle and I began to creep? When did we get old?   While we lived at the farm, my husband   walked  everyday to the mailbox 1/2 mile away.  Every day I watched him from the kitchen window as he started out with his long purposeful stride while swinging his arms to some inner rhythm.

 One day I noticed he stopped swinging his arms and his stride had turned into a shuffle.

 My daily walk was through an adjacent forest where I maintained a mile-long trail. I enjoyed the smell of pine needles, the song of birds, and the varied wildlife.

 Ever fearful of falling, I have begun to creep along.  And when my feet hurt, I hobble.    Most of ny friends now discuss  such things as which walkers move easily over rough ground (ones with larger wheels).  911 vehicles are a common sight in our senior neighborhood

 Now I walk around and around he circle where we live.  I can't get lost and there are people who will notice     when I fall.

 As I walk, I listen to Lawrence Welk and remember the forest. I remember  the day an owl flew right by my head and landed just ahead of me.  We both stopped and stared at each other.   I remember the eagle in the tall pine snag, and the I remember the turkey that frightened my dog.   I'm so grateful to have all these mememories to recall while I creep and hobble along.


 I always enjoy the quiet that comes after all the frenetic Christmas activity is over. The first couple days I just want to  snuggle up with my dog.  That  only lasts a couple days, and then I'm bored.   I want to have a project besides cleaning closets or drawers. There are a few that are coming to mind. The days are getting longer now AND just thinking about it  lifts my spirits.

  I tried something new Christmas Day. I marinated the turkey in buttermilk.  But I can’t see that it made any difference. Since I had extra buttermilk, I made some delicious buttermilk yeast rolls, which was a new recipe.  

 The only thing I will do for a few days is rotate my amaryllis.   Last  year was the first time I bought amaryllis that were encased in a plastic wax.  You don't have to pot them for water; they just grow.  This year I specifically looked for the same kind of amaryllis.   I moved them from spot to spot.  They will last and bloom until Valentine's Day. 


A party to r remember

Recently we received an invitation to a Christmas party. DH has to read everything to me and get it on our  calendar.  He read me the date, the time, that we were supposed to bring a food item, and--last but not least--we were to bring a white elephant gift.

 Now, from my life experience, a white elephant gift is something that is inexpensive, insubstantial,    and part of a party game.  So I made a salmon spread,  dressed up in my Christmas finery, and thought about  a whitrf elephant  gift.

 I still had  three lovely  Honeynut squashes from my ganden.  Relunctantly  I would be willing to share one of them with someone.  So I polished it all up and put it in a fancy bag and we started off to the party.

 All went well until it was time to do the gift game.  As people begin opening the white elephant gifts, it was immediately evident that I was unaware of something very important.  All the gifts were neither insubstantial nor inexpensive.   I looked over at my  husband and he said “Oops. I forgot to tell you that the gift was supposed to be  $20.”  As I watched gift after gift being opened, I sank  lower into my chair.  Luckily, a friend  opened my squash and expressed great joy.    I immediately decided I was going to have to make it up to her. 

 I had the highest number and was the last person to pick a gift. There was only  only one gift left and it was a small red gift bag.  When opened, it was an Amazon gift card for for $50.  So, someone else had misread their invitation.  But it made me doubly embarrassed. I not only brought the cheapest gift. I went home with  the most expensive gift. But all’s well that ends well, because when we entered the gift card code it said it was invalid and had been already redeemed.  It turns out that my beautiful squash was the most prescious gift of all.




It's not that I mind winter.


The first thing I think of when I awaken is how many days until the days start getting longer.  It is SO close now.


It's not that I mind winter. Actually, I like quite a few things about winter.  I really wouldn't want to live  where there was no winter.  How boring to have the same climate year-round.  I think that nature intends for   living things to have a rest during some time of  the year...but not too long.

I lived in Alaska for many years, and the winters were much too long and too dark.    


By fall, I am tired of digging and I ache in all my joints. It feels good to listen to food shows   and try new recipes.   All year we always wake up at 6:30 and eat breakfast about 7. There is about a month in the winter where the sun comes up just at the time we eat breakfast. Life is good when watching a spectacular sunrise streaming through the kitchen windows.  If I want to see a sunrise in the summer, I have to get up at 4 o'clock.

In the winter there are also lovely foggy mornings that turn into glorious blue crisp skies.  In the winter I actually have fingernails and there's no dirt under them.  


Winter also has  advantages not often memtioned.  There are no yellow jackets and pesky flies.  And there is very little mud to track in the house,   And finallly it is much easier  to pick up dog poop in the snow.    








Talk to me


I just love it when an inanimate object  talks to me.

I can remember as a child   listening to the radio as I cut out paper dolls.  Does anyone play with paper dolls anymore?  I loved  the mysteries like The Shadow, The Whistler, and Inner Sanctum.

Then along came tape recorders, television,

and answering machines.  And now a whole new array of talking machines with Alexa being the most vocal.  She helps me find my phone several times a day.  Of course, now even my computer talks.  And the car patiently tells us where to go.


A couple years ago, Lilac City Services for the Blind gave me a talking watch which I love.  It announces the time every hour on the hour.  And I can ask it the date and year in case I forget.


Now, a new member of my talking machines has joined the household.  My benefits from my Health Insurance provided me with a talking scale since I could not read the digital scale anymore.  Not only does it give me the weight, when I step off the scale, it tells me “Goodbye.” What next ?

I'm behind on blog posts  right now and have a mental queue ready  to be dictated. But I am trying to learn a new way to do my blog post that will not be quite so conplicated.  It involves using the text reader in  Word and not depending so much on Narrator.   Of course it involves learning a new set of keyboard commands.  Also a different way of assembling the material as well. 


I'm at a very awkward stage where I'm continually messing up.  Hopefully, I will get it straightened out.  I wish that I had learned how to do all of this while I could still see, as it would have been so much easier.   


"Ban Boring Breakfasts ."

 Thought I would share my progress with "Ban Boring Breakfasts ."  I am doing pretty well.  The first one was corn fritters with leftover corn on the cob.  They were delicious, but next time I would add more peppers and top with sour cream.  

The second one was ricotta orange crepes. For the filling, I just added some orange marmalade and orange zest to ricotta cheese.  After I used it to fill the crepes, I made a sauce of marmalade and orange juice to go over the crepes . This was my favorite. and it was yummy yummy.  Next time I will fill them with ricotta and peaches mixed. 

Then on Sunday, we had salmon with hollandaise sauce and poached eggs.  This morning I followed Flora's suggestion and made a breakfast sandwich using charred sweet bell  peppers, scrambled eggs, and prosciutto on a ciabatta bun.  But I think I'm going to pass on her husband's recipe for making an omelet.   

Next, I have some lamb meatballs in the freezer that I'm going to do something with for a jazzed-up breakfast.   Maybe on a baguette with olive  tapenade and mozzarella.


I had a plan...

The other day I was looking forward to my favorite kind of day: a "cookery day."  Before I even got out of bed, I had a plan.  So when I got into the kitchen, I fixed first beets, then rutabagas with olive oil and covered them with foil and put them in the oven to roast. Next I washed the figs and added a little cider and put them on simmer to make a compote for waffles.  While the figs were simmering and the vegetables were roasting, I was going to make a custard to try my new ice cream machine that I recently got at the thrift store.   I poured the custard into the machine and turned it on.   I was instantly aware that I must have done something wrong by the loud noise and the custard that was flying around the kitchen.  I had to stop the machine and get the custard out.  In the process I spilled most of it on the kitchen counter.  

After I cleaned up the mess, I tasted the beets and they were okay. But the rutabagas were pithy and needed to be trashed.   And when I tasted the fig compote, it was too seedy and needed to be sieved.  As I surveyed the disaster zone, I knew I needed a new plan.

The original plan had included me making a batch of crepes and deboning some leftover duck for dinner.  The new plan included soup out of the freezer for dinner, a book on tape, and a nap. It's great to be flexible.


magical, awesome, marvelous, magnification machine

My magnificent, magical, awesome, marvel
ous, magnification  machine  arrived yesterday.  I knew from early summer that I was in line to use it.  I had been anxiously awaiting its arrival.  The model is Acrobat  and it's made by Enhanced Vision, which makes a large variety of aids for the vision impaired.  It has a camera that projects on a screen. The screen has great magnification ability.  I'm anxious to start trying to learn all it can do. 

I have it on loan from Lilac City Services for the Blind.  I sing their praises often.  I was curious what other clients used it for and was told that it was used mostly for reading.  Most people  give up trying to use it for handwork.  

It's a specific skill to be able to work with your hands while looking at a screen.  I  figure I have an advantage because I worked with magnification for so many years when I was painting buttons. It has come at the perfect time.  Work in the garden is winding down. and long dark days are looming ahead.

When I meet someone who has been diagnosed with macular or has a friend or family member diagnosed with the disease, I urge them to contact Lilac City Services for the Blind.  If they are not in this area, seek out the resources they do have available.  Invariably the response is that the person in need is not quite ready to get help.  Of course, the time to seek sources is before you need them.  Everything is so much harder if you wait until you need help.
I will be posting my progress with my lovely machine as I get used to it. I have high hopes that it's going to change my life.


Silly solution to a silly problem

 There are obvious things that you're not going to be able to do when you are losing your sight.  Things like driving a car, threading a needle, reading a book., and hammering a nail.  

But there are lots of little things that never even cross your mind.  Little  things that you will have to struggle with that seem so inconsequential that they seem silly. 

One such thing was was getting toothpaste on my toothbrush.  I either got it to my mouth and there was no toothpaste on it--or there was a great big glob. If there was no toothpaste, it meant I'd dropped it on the counter or in the sink or down on my shoe.  When I tried to clean the sink, there were great globs of toothpaste dried like cement.

I tried  colored toothpaste--to no avail.  I tried switching to a powder and put it in a spoon and dipped my brush in it.  And it was  also a mess. I finally gave up and  went looking for my husband with my toothbrush in hand.  He would adorn my toothbrush with the proper amount of paste.

But I but I always want to do things myself.  So I kept looking for a solution. because my husband  wasn't always there every time.  I want to brush my teeth. And I think I found the solution.  Even though this seems like a silly problem, the solution is even sillier.  I put the toothpaste on my tongue. I can feel how much I've got. Then I just pop my toothbrush over the toothpaste and I'm good to go.  No misses ever.  Very low tech but it works.

I was so eager to share this with Cheryl from the services for the blind. So on her next visit, I brought out the toothpaste and she immediately said, "Oh just put it on your tongue and brush."  So it seems lots of other people struggled with this silly problem, and they all found a solution before me.


Rise and Shine

 On most days for breakfast we have  granola or sometimes oatmeal.  I know it's time for something special when DH laments. " I'm going to get to get my granola going."This translates to me that DH needs attention.

I have some standby breakfast menus on those days.  They include Belgian waffles with pecans,  avocado toast with prosciutto, a cheese omelet, and on a really special day, eggs Benedict.  Nothing too exciting if you've been doing the same things for years and years.   

Lately, I've been listening to an Australian cooking show on TV, and they had a breakfast competition.  I loved the ideas.  One was corn fritters with maple-glazed  bacon-and-eggs. Another was salmon and poached eggs with hollandaise sauce.  Another was lamb meatballs with scrambled eggs.  My favorite was chicken livers and mushrooms on toast.  And why do avocados always have to be on toast?  One of their dishes had avocados and red peppers sliced on top of scrambled eggs.  And sne shredded her potatoes and cooked them in a waffle iron.  

I haven't made crepes for ages and I meant to try Bobby Flay's lemon ricotta pancakes. I'm going to try them all this winter and look for even more unique  breakfast menus.

On days I've fixed a large breakfast, I don't have much interest in fixing a big dinner. We usually just have soup from the freezer.


Bully for the bullies

I'm hoping this photo shows a bully hosta next to a sedum in a pot.   Photos are a real problem.'  

I'm looking at my garden in a new way as I tidy up for fall. There's definitely some changes to be made. When we moved here I thought the garden was small enough that weeds  couldn't get ahead of me.  But during the  summer when it was in the 90s, I just couldn't work outside and the weeds did, indeed, get  well ahead of me. 

So I have some areas I'm going to have to  replant with bullies. Unlike  plants that play well with others, bullies are very dense  and keep weeds at bay.  As a rule, they have sturdy foliage and growth habits but aren't invasive.  Sometimes bullies are just the right plant for the right spot.
Some good bully plants I have are pulmonaria, hosta, achillea, daylilies, hellebores, iris, and Joe pye weed.    

 Last spring, I experimented with sedum  cuttings in old pots.  Sedums in pots are drought tolerant, easily moved about, need no deadheading, and have great fall color.  It has worked so well that I am going to do it  again next year.  It's always great when an idea works out.



Susie Wolf

I recently learned of  Susie Wolf's passing in August.  
Susie and I had so many wonderful trips and visits. That will always be so special to me. I loved it when she came to visit me in Spokane. We could be  up to our armpits in fabrics and lace, creating wonderful things.  And when I went To LA to visit her  we went to all the flea markets.  We'd be up to our armpits in fabrics and lace.
We met on Crazy Quilti International on Facebook shortly after her husband  passed and she needed a friend.  I was glad to step up to the plate.    


Duck Ragout on Gnocchi


I love having friends over for a meal.  In earlier days we would do it once or twice a week.  I could whip up a 4-course meal in no time. Now it happens once or twice a month, and it takes a lot of careful planning and two days to cook. Even still, there is always  a disaster or two.

We recently had friends for dinner, and I set a pretty table with my Bobby Flay tablecloth.
Salmon with Capers Spread
Leeks and Prosciutto Tarts
Tiny sweet green Grapes
Duck Ragout on Gnocchi
Fresh Fig and Pear Salad
Assorted Cheeses
Peach Pie

All went well except I burned the first batch of tart shells and had to do them over.   My dear friend made me lovely soft and  pillowy gnocchi.  She has often tried to teach me, but mine are a soggy, gluey mess.  Every so often she brings me a large bag of her  frozen handmade gnocchi.

We love duck, and it's such a bargain. It's usually just around $3 a pound on sale.  I can get  3 different  meals out of the duck.  One meal with the breast, one meal with the legs, and another meal with the duck confit over pasta, polenta or crepes.  Besides, it's something different to cook. 

I seldom find many nice tablecloths or napkins at the thrift stores anymore.  I think people have stopped using cloth napkins. Setting the table I I can do.  Itt's the whole meal planning that I have to rethink.....     


"Not at all is not an option."


My dad wanted a son. 
 Unfortunately, I was what showed up.  After he was divorced from my mother, I visited him one weekend a month.  
He never quite knew what to do with a girl.

If the weather was nice, he took me fishing.  I would show up with a sketch pad, colored pencils, paper dolls, something to stitch, and  a couple of books. He used to tease me about trying to sink the boat with all the stuff. 

I hated  fishing.  The worst possible thing that could happen  was I would actually catch a fish, as I would have to clean it.

If the weather was cold or rainy, he took me into his workshop and let me play with power tools. This was my very favorite.  He was a great craftsman and would be busy working on a project.  There were always pieces of wood I could put together.  I loved the smell of the sawdust and the sound of the power tools. It was always a great day.  I can close my eyes and see it now.

On the wall of his shop was an adage, "Be the task great or small,do it well or not at all."  He repeated that often to me. When I was grown, I found a  cross stitch sampler with the same adage.  I moved it with me everywhere. It still has pride of place in my living room.  It was my mantra all my life.  

But here I am in my 80s and I realize it was dreadfully wrong.
Doing something well is not the important thing and "Not at all" is not an option.  

With impaired vision, I find myself unable to do anything well.   So the most important thing is just doing it    as well as I can. 

If I could do that sampler over, that is how I would stitch it.  I finish this post with this thought:  Remember 
"Not at all is not an option."  


Taming the junipers


When you are first landscaping, the little junipers in gallon pots look so neat and tidy.  Nowhere on the label does it tell you this little shrub can get 15 feet tall and 20 feet wide.  Drive through any neighborhood, and you will see junipers that  are trying to consume the houses.  

When we moved into this house, there were two grossly overgrown junipers that needed to be removed or tamed.  Being inspired by the  bonsai-looking junipers in Japanese gardens, I grabbed a saw and began.  

The first one I tackled was by the steps. It was so huge that it was growing not only into the steps but into the skirting on the house.  It was also encroaching over the walk.  It was about 4 feet square, 4 feet tall, and shaped like a big burn.  I started at the bottom, removing all the small branches first so I could feel the structure.  Then I gradually worked my way up.    As I was feeling which branches to cut, the vision  in my head was a crooked path. 

I know I made some wrong cuts, but this was a project where I had nothing to lose.  I figured if it didn't work out, I could always just cut it down. 
It took about 3 cutting sessions before I got to the point that I was happy. It is underplanted with daffodils and brunnera.

I was so happy with the result, I wanted to tackle the second, even bigger juniper.  It was  twice the size of the first one. And it was growing against the house causing mold on the siding.  I wanted the finished result to be about 5 feet tall.  Again, I trimmed away all the small branches up from the bottom and tried to make a crooked path with the  larger branches left.  It took three cutting sessions. 

I am even happier with this one. I will gradually let the top part  get fuller and will keep trimming up from the bottom until it reaches the desired height.  It is underplanted with daffodils and dwarf iris.  Now both junipers are tamed and just need trimming in the spring and fall. 


Aunt Margret's Sour Cream Fruit Tart


Next to Gma Krueger's Sour Cream Rolls recipe, which are a lot of work, the most used family recipe is Aunt Margaret's Sour Cream  Fruit Tart.  It is so easy that it is the dessert I go to in a panic because it is so versatile.  I like tarts because they require less fruit, are less work, and feed more people.

 Although I always use fresh fruit, it could also be made with canned fruit as well.
Custard Filling:
Mix 1 c. sugar and 1-2 T. flour
Mix 1 eggs and 1 c. sour cream
Combine both  
Add 1 t. vanilla and spices as desired.  Depending on the fruit (or my mood), I may use ginger, cinnamon, cardamom or 5 spice...any one or any combination...about a teaspoon. I especially love cardamon.  It is next to impossible to mess up this recipe, so it is perfect for the visually impaired, young children, or any one in need of a last minute dessert.
Pour sour cream/sugar mix into an uncooked pie shell (I use a 12" tart pan).  Add fresh fruit (pears, apples, plums, peaches, etc.).  I like to arrange the fruit, but Aunt Margaret just chopped hers and it tasted just as good.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.  (Optional): Once cooled I dust with XXX sugar and a few nuts.  

Sometimes I combine fruits... blueberries with peaches. apples with [lums,  and raspberries with rhubarb.  Once I added raisins soaked in brandy to an apple tart and topped with a streusel.  Ymumy

Not only is this recipe easy, it is beautiful and feeds about eight easily .  


Don't call 911


As smoke is billowing from the house, one of the neighbo

rs says to another:  "Don't call 911, it's just Gerry cooking."  I consider any meal a success when I don't burn up a saucepan or set off the smoke alarms.  My stove has a digital control panel which I cannot see at all. 

I tried to memorize where specific controls were, but the  results were so hazardous that I gave up. One day I was going to cook some bacon on a cookie sheet in the oven. I thought I had set it on bake.  I had missed the mark and set it on broil.  Before long, the bacon was cremated, and the grease was on fire. Our smoke alarm not only makes a screeching, screaming noise, it actually yells "Fire, Fire!"  And to top that, we have two smoke alarms.  So the house was filling with smoke, the alarms were screeching and screaming, and I was trying to get the bacon out of the oven with an oven mitt. The oven mitt melted.  At this point I ran to get a neighbor to help, and he saved the day. Now I let somebody else set the oven for me.   After it was all over, I remembered the fire extinguisher in the pantry.

I still burn a saucepan or two.  So whenever I'm at a thrift store, I check the saucepans.  If there's a good one, I buy it . I know it's inevitable that before long I'll burn another one..  

My cooking style has changed with my declining eyesight.  All my life, cooking has been a joy.  Getting up in the morning and donning an apron was always a good day. I only try to do recipes that have a great leeway for measurements.  If I do try to make something that has specific measurements, I have DH do all the measuring before he leaves home. 

For liquids, I have this nifty little device that I received from LCSB *. It fits on the edge of my measuring cup.  When I pour liquid into the cup, when the liquid reaches the device, there is a beep.  LiCSB* also provided me with a black cutting board, which is great when I'm cutting things like cheese, onions, apples, etc.--things that are hard to see on a wooden board. 

I use the stove less and less and the slow cooker more and more. I  keep a supply of packaged sauces and gravies that I could make in a minute  to cover up my mistakes.  If I'm lucky, I only burn something on one side so I can serve it with the burned side down.

If it is truly a disaster, it all goes in the trash and we have soup from the freezer.  My biggest concern is that I'll miss something when I'm deboning fish or chicken, or that I won't see mold.  I like to listen to cooking YouTubes and Bobby Flay for inspiration so I can just keep on cooking.

*Lilac City Services for the Blind 


Plants that play well tpgether!


If I could only have one flower bed, this would be it.  As a person with impaired vision , making the right  plant choices  can save me a lot of headaches down the road. This very small bed is only about 6 feet  square.  What makes it dramatic is the obelisk in the center. 

The important thing is that the plants play well together.  There are no bullies that want to take over and crowd other plants out.   And also there are no wimpy plants that can't hold their own.  All the plants in this bed are robust but well mannered  and coexist very nicely.

This was the first bed I planted after we moved here. It started out as a circle but now it's a square . I have  removed all the grass and put pavers around it. 

I planted a small clematis in the center knowing it would take a couple years for it to take hold.   So I planted perennial sweet peas to fill the obelisk in the beginning . 

Right now the sweet peas and the clematis are neck and neck.  It will be interesting to see which dominates next year. I let the sweet peas go crazy until the1st of August and then I cut them back.  They started reblooming in a couple of weeks and will bloom through September. 

The bed is planted so densly that it overwhelms any weeds trying to germinate. That makes it very easy to care for.  There's a lot of daffodils in there that bloom in the spring and a few alliums. 

My primary concern when planning this bed was that all the plants were robust perennials between18 and 24 inches tall.  Plants include Veronica (Six Hills Giant ), lavender. salvia, iris, shasta daisies, perennial geraniums, yarrow, doronicum, clematis, and perennial sweet peas. As a bonus these perennials also attract bees and hummers.


Make a pillow sham into a Yoga mat tote

 Obviously the first thing you're going to need is a pillow sham. I find thrift stores are the best source. I had six of them because I wanted to make pouches for things I have made for the grandchildren. I have always checked the pillow shams because sometimes I would find ones with special material or trims that I could use in other projects. 

The first thing to do is turn the sham over.  On the back is an opening to insert a pillow.  Hand stitch that opening closed, and then give the sham a good press.  Now you have a piece of fabric that is finished on all edges and lined. 
A great way to start a quick project.  

The pillow sham I used for my yoga mat was just the right size. The shams are different sizes so it would be a wise thing to do at this point to measure your mat when it is rolled to see if the pillow sham needs to be trimmed.

After it is all pressed and measured, you can think about adding some lace or pockets.  You want to do this before you  sew the long sides together.  I added a pocket for my phone and another for my coin purse and my card for the Y. 

Now it is time to sew the long seam.  Pillow shams vary in thickness depending on the amount of batting used.  M sham was thin enough my machine could go through easily  But on one of the pouches I had to open this long edge of the pillow sham and pick out some of the batting before it would go through my machine. 

You will need to add a strap or handle. I added the strap after I sewed the long seam, but it could be added before.  I attached one end 1 inch from the top and the other end about 3 inches from the bottom.  A strap can easily be made from coordinating material; or you can do what I did and use a belt from the thrift store.  Belts make great handles for totes and bags.  I look for soft leather, or jute.  I couldn't resist adding an old belt buckle just for bling.  It is non-functional.  The strap needs to be added BEFORE you close the bottom.

The last step is to do a running stitch around the bottom and gather it up. Tie a knot in the thread.  Just to be safe I put a dab of glue on the knot. 

Now you can pop your yoga mat into the tote and head off to class.  This tote would also make a quick and easy gift.


What do you see??

 I'm often asked, "Exactly what do you see?"  The answer is, "Not much!"   I'm in the advanced stages of macular  degeneration, and the central part of my vision is pretty much gone.  This means anything that I'm looking directly at I can't see.  Fortunately,I still have my peripheral vision, but unfortunately that peripheral vision is dim, blurry, distorted, and multiple vision.  It has turned my life upside down and taken away so many of the things that I love to do, blogging being one. 

There are two types of technology that I need  to try blogging again. The first is dictation.  I have three options for dictation:  MS Word and Gmail on the desktop, and Gmail on the phone.  Of the three options, my phone dictation works the best. After I have the post composed in my head, I dictate it to my phone and email it to myself so I can open it on the desktop
I listen to it several times with Narrator text reader at this point.  Unfortunately, Narrator does not allow me to edit while it is running.  So when I want to make a change, I have to exit Narrator and use dictation, then turn Narrator back on to continue.  

Narrator is a complex program which has over 100 commands and the commands are different with each version of Windows.  I haven't found a tutorial that fits my needs.  Luckily, Vivian from the Lilac City Services for the Blind came to my house and helped me with the keyboard commands. 
Switching back and forth is a complicated and time-consuming process.  But in the process, I have improved  organizing my thoughts before dictating and also improved my dictating and listening skills.  Editing photos is the next challenge as the type is too small in the photo taskbar to navigate with Narrator.  Coming soon are posts about my dog, my garden, and how I cope with cooking for my ever patient husband who politely eats all I burn or ruin.


Pouches 2 and 3


When I decided to make four pouches I was thinking that it would keep me busy until Thanksgiving.  What a delicious thought.  Now it is early August and I'm just about finished with pouch 2 and laying out the laces for pouch 3.  At the rate I'm going, I'll be done by the end of the month .  But boy am I having fu


The pillow sham that I used for pouch 2 was heavier than the others and had more batting.  It also had prairie points around the outside. It was a beautiful sham.  I didn't want to cut off the points, and they were too thick to go through my machine.  So I just overlapped them and tacked them .  The bottom seam was also going to be too thick to go through my machine, so I opened it a bit and pulled out enough batting to make it work. 

I thought I could use the  green gimp with my wonky way of sewing, but it just moved too much.  I gave up after about 3 in. I'm going to try tacking it down with a little fabric glue and see if I can make it work that way.  If not, I'll have to add more lace.  I'm finding that not just any lace is working.  It needs to be medium weight and about 1 in. to 1 1/2 in. wide.   I have to be able to feel the edge of it with my thumb, because I use my thumbnail as a guide for where the stitches go in and out.  The medium lace will lay flat while I'm stitching and not move about.  I have a little groove already worn in my thumbnail where the needle goes in and a callus on my thumb where the needle comes up.  The trick is to relax and trust my thumb.

The pillow sham I'm using for pouch 3 is completely different.  It is very lightweight so it will be easy to sew. Laying out and auditioning pieces of lace is the most fun part of the project. I can spend a whole evening just fussing with a lace.

A button fell off one of my husband's garments, and he wanted to know if I could sew it on.  Fat chance!  But my neighbor Georgette has threaded dozens of needles for me, and we're going to have a button-sewing tutorial tonight.  He will learn about stitch in, stitch out, stitch in, stitch out.  You're never too old to learn a new skill, they say.


Pouch One

Several years ago I made a special project for each granddaughter.  After spending all that time and work, I wanted to make a pouch to protect each project.  I started collecting neat pillow shams that I could embellish to make into a pouch. Somehow this project always got pushed to the back burner; and even when we sold the farm, I still had six really nice quilted pillow shams.  Now is finally the time to use them. 

Obviously I would have done a much better job if I had done it before I lost my sight; but having it to do now is giving me a new appreciation for all the things I did in years past.  It is a joy just to sit with my needle in my hand, no matter what the end product looks like. The pillow shams are perfect because they have a lining and, all the edges are finished.  I can get two pouches from each pillow sham. 

 I thought the lace motif would be the easiest thing to start with.  But as it turns out the lace by the yard is easier to sew because the edge is regular.  I used an old piece of dresser scarf to make a flap.  I thought I was done with this pouch, but now I realize that I can make it even better with a ruffle and a little more stitching.  I had six pillow shams, and I used one for my yoga tote.  And it will take two shams to make the pouches.  So I will have a couple pillow shams left to try another project. Of course in the meantime, I will be going to the thrift store to see if I can find more pillow shams.

This project turned out quite nice and could be used as a hand bag or as a small tote.  It's definitely got my creative juices going.      

Note:  In response to a previous comment, I will try to do another post on the yoga tote when I get better at this.  Thanks for the comment.
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