Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sometimes It's a Blessing When We Lose Someone

My mother, who my kids called Ama passed away the day before Christmas as I was reading one of her favorite books to her, The Wind in the Willows.  How fitting that the granddaughter who was named after Ama's mother, Cecilia Keegan, was in the room with me at the time.

Keegan   and Ama
This passing was not unexpected in that Ama was 96 years old after all. She had also developed some pressure wounds at the  nursing home that got terribly out of control causing her to be in pain much of the time even with medication.   So, while we will all miss her, it was a blessing to see her freed from her suffering.

Rest in Peace

Anne Cecilia LeBlanc Young Bressette

Born in Long Lake, New York

December 13, 1917

Died in Saratoga Springs, New York

 December 24, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I'm sure this beard had nothing to do with his gf dumping him....

This is what Kiefer normally looks like,

but for Novembeard, he got a little carried away IMHO. This is just too much facial hair unless you're making a fool of yourself on some reality show.

 He started looking strange,

kind of evil,

and just plain scary.

He threatened to keep it until the new year.  I don't think he quite understood the November part of this thing.  He started in October.  BUT he has come to his senses (again, that may just be my opinion).  It's not quite a clean-shaven look, but I'll take it over that beard any day.

The gf is still gone, but I'm sure everything will work out for the best.  Remember when your mom told you that?  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What Is It With Bra Fitting Lately?

Apparently boobs have come out of the closet.  I saw an entire infomercial claiming one can finally get the right fit if they would only order some special kit.  Then, I saw a blog post about how the Reddit bra fitting forum changed someone's life.  Okay, maybe it just made it possible for her to finally figure out how to get a bra that fit well, but she was really raving about it.  Who knew a bra fitting forum even existed? 

I wandered over to Reddit and, sure enough, there is a huge community of women who are not gonna take that fits-good-enough bra anymore. Be warned that visiting may result in hours and hours of learning about the hows and whys of bra fitting along with some extensive giggle-inducing measuring.  As it turned out, I am a size that no regular store is ever going to carry which, in turn, landed me at a lovely little shop with this sign:
Madame Pirie's Famise Corset and Lingerie Shop.  I can't even think about how much money I spent that day. I'd say it was just the excitement of finally finding bras that fit so well, but I'm pretty sure the sign had something to do with it, too. 

Now I'm kicking myself for not buying a couple of these contraptions when I was in the Container Store.
They are zippered bra cases to prevent squashing in the suitcase.  I took the photo cuz I thought, "Who buys this stuff?"  Now I know that they are for people who spend way too much money in the lingerie shop.  On the bright side, the new stuff is so pretty Brian didn't complain;-)

Monday, October 21, 2013

I Just Wanted a Bit of a Chalkboard

You know how you see all those chalkboards in kitchens around blogland with greetings and menus and such?  I wanted something like those, and I had this bland door in the kitchen.  Sooooo....from this

to this

Brian was not thrilled about this idea at all.  I could see some seriously clenched jaws while I attempted to get him to agree.  I promised that it would have greetings and menu kinds of things, but art happens.

There was a Tim Burton fan in the house.  This is so much better than a menu, isn't it?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Beach Themed Repurposed Window Frame

Absolutely beautiful, isn't it?   It's hanging in the lobby of the Atlantis Hotel on Cape Ann in Massachusetts.  The artist, Maryellen Gigliotti,  captures the essence of Cape Ann's coast in this piece. Maryellen has a business, Beachscapes by Me, in Gloucester.  Here are a few more of her pieces.

Lucky you if you live in the Gloucester, Massachusetts area.  Maryellen will be selling her art at local fairs this fall.  The rest of us will have to wait just a little while for the upcoming opening of her Etsy shop  or contact her through her gmail account, maryellengiggliotti at gmail dot com.  Have your own special beach mementos?  Maryellen will use them to make a special piece just for you.  

Can't leave without giving you a few pics of Cape Ann's inspiring coastline taken on our September trip.  We often visit ocean locales for our vacations, but this is the first time I've ever seen this brilliantly rich deep blue water.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Have You Ever Refinished Kitchen Chairs?

I knew this wouldn't be much fun, but I had no idea how hard it would be to refinish chairs with lots of grooved spindles.  I HAD to do it because this is my idea of a new kitchen set

--lots of metal and very little wood, and this is Brian's idea for the new kitchen set

--no metal and lots of wood. 

Rather than spend money on something I didn't want, I decided to refinish the chairs to our kitchen set that came as a package deal with my husband thirty years ago.  That would be thirty-plus years of grubby hands wearing off the finish

and seat cushions.

After four horrific days of trying to strip and sand spindled chairs, they are finished.
Had I any idea how hard sanding spindles was going to be, I'd have gone along with Brian's choice.  I will never, ever refinish another piece of furniture.  On the other hand, I do really like the fabric for the cushions.  It an indoor-outdoor fabric from Joann's. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pinterest Fails: The Dryer Balls

I've made the felted wool yarn and tin foil dryer balls.  Both have failed for me, and here's why.

First, the felted wool dryer balls that I first posted about in January worked for nine months.  Then the inevitable pills that formed on them started coming off on my clothes.  What are all these little brown balls on my clothes?  Pieces of the dryer balls.  Can't have that!  It's just making more work for me. 
I did two sets of these felted yarn balls, all from 100% wool yarn.  After the first set pilled almost immediately, I bought more expensive yarn online that was supposed to have longer fibers to eliminate pilling.  They pilled just as much as the cheaper wool yarn from Joann's. For the price of the yarn and the amount of work required to do the felting, these are not worth making for their nine-month lifespan in my not so humble opinion. 

As for the tin foil balls, they didn't make it through a day. 

First, they have tiny sharp edges all over them.  No matter how much I tried smoothing them out, they had these sharp spots that I fear would damage fabric in the long run.  It just can't be good to have all these tiny points scratching at your clothes wash after wash.  I decided to try running the foil balls through with a big load of towels to see if that process would smooth out the edges.  That led to the second problem.  They were freakin' noisy!  That surprised me.  How much noise can tin foil make?  As it turned out, enough to have me racing back to the dryer to stop the racket on that first try. 

This whole process led me to researching the need for laundry softeners in general. The only reason I use softeners is to eliminate static cling.  According to the information I read, static cling is caused by over drying.  If I don't leave the clothes in the dryer too long, I don't have static cling.  That's what I've been doing lately with great success.  Off to remove those dryer ball pins from my boards.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Jutta Dobler's "Be Yourself" Course and a Little Trip to Stretch Out Summer

I've been good to myself lately! Two trips in a month AND I took Jutta's Dobler's course, "be yourself."  Jutta is a healing facilitator, intuitive coach, yoga instructor, and a Reiki practitioner as well as a great writer, poet, and photographer.  Her recent decision to shift her blogging more to her work as an intuitive coach made me realize that we all need to rethink the direction we are going in from time to time.  Life changes.  We need to make thoughtful changes to accommodate it.

Feeling more than a bit confused about what I really want to do with this part of my life, I decided to take the course Jutta has available on her website. I worked my way through the guidebook at my own pace.  Then, set up a Skype call where the coaching and intuitive guidance helped sort out any areas where I needed additional help.  After that, Jutta sent me a recording of the healing feedback. It was such a great experience! 

Oh and that second trip to soak of the last bits of summer was to Virginia Beach.  Perfect beach weather all week!
View from the balcony
Look at this bike!  That is a cup holder next to that basket.

There were yellow bikes, orange bikes, all kinds of bright colors.  The cup holder, however are what I really, really want.  And mine WILL have flowers around the edge.  Yeah, I need to get my bike repainted, too.  The silver seems sooo dull now that I've seen these southern beauties.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Even I Am Going to Have to Admit It

 Yes, autumn is upon us.  This monster--I mean leaf fluttered down as I walked by.  I think it's time for a trip south.  Just a short one so that I can pull myself together, gather up the fabric--or rather, the strength to get through our cold months.  Be back soon.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Lake Shore Trail by Shelving Rock Falls

Yup, we went hiking again.  I love this one.  It’s more of a walk than a hike, not too long and fairly flat. The majority is wide and sandy except for a small patch at the beginning of the Shelving Rock trail entry.  Can’t beat this for a path.

You can get there by boat,

The outlet for the falls.

Lots of fungi!  Chanterelle maybe???

or on horseback.
I didn't see any actual horses but thought you would rather see little trail marker instead of the other "evidence" that horse riders do, indeed, use the trail.  'Nuf said.

Lots of places to stop for a picnic, fishing, sunbathing, or our choice that day, just reading.
Nature made a surprisingly comfortable rocky chair.

Mr. E. with his ancient oversized Kindle.
View from our Rocky chairs looking out over the lake.

and straight ahead.
Every time I hike I tell Brian that what I hear is often as beautiful as what I see.  Leaves blowing in the wind, water falls tricking or crashing down, and burbling brook (Yes, burbling IS a word.) He finally said, "You do know there is a video function on the camera, right?"  THAT"S what that little squiggle is!  Check out my Shelving Rock Falls video.  I finally figured out how to get a video on my blog! Well, I think I did.  Let me know if it doesn't work.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

O'Susannah's Quilts and Gifts Shop in Watkins Glen

Look what I found tucked away just off the main street of Watkins Glen.

A sweet little quilt shop with  a welcoming staff!  While not a huge store, O'Susannah's is packed with all kinds of good things.  So many notions! Such beautiful fabrics.  And that sweet pattern that I didn't buy--still kicking myself. 

This shop is one of ten chosen from across the U. S. for inclusion in the Fall 2013 issue of Quilt Sampler Magazine. The featured quilt is hanging in their classroom area.  Go see it if you can or look for it in the magazine. 

I promised there would be no more fabric buying until I put a significant dent in the stash, but there I was in wine country with these so very appropriate fabrics from Timeless Treasures.

They matched the newest pieces of my wine stash.

I think wine-related fabric purchases while vacationing in wine country should be an exception to the stash building moratorium, right? 

If you are in the area, this shop is well worth a visit.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

You Know You Are A Redneck When...

While out biking around the campgrounds at Keuka State Park, we found this little wonder hanging.

It's a wind chime.  Really, that's what the proud owners said, and it does make a lovely sound.  You can see it blowing in the wind a bit in the photo below.  It is my all time favorite bit of campsite decor.  I must have a little redneck blood somewhere back there.
I know you want one.  Come on, admit it.  I'd make one, but the boys have all been drinking their beer from bottles lately.  My diet ginger ale cans just don't seem right for this kind of project.  So here's a close-up and tutorial for those who need a beauty like this hanging in their yard or campsite.
You tie the first can on the string with a knot using the ring of the flip top, slide the others on the string through  their rings, and tie the last one on with a knot.  Be sure to use a long piece of string because you know you're gonna to want to continue to add to it.  If you look at the first photo above you can see that the string is dragging on the ground.  These people have definite plans for future partying.