Saturday, January 31, 2009

I have been decluttering in a big way lately. I got rid of a stack of magazines taller than me. I'm 5'4". Been taking carloads of stuff to Goodwill. It feels really good to shed this stuff. I had been feeling overwhelmed and cluttered mentally. Since the purge began I have gained some room both physically as well as in my head for some new ideas to percolate. There is more to get packed up and moved out, but progress is being made.
I have also been taking stock of my eating habits and several weeks ago stopped putting sugar in my tea. For some that might not be a big deal but for me it is huge. I drink anywhere from 3-5 cups of black tea a day during the week and a few more than that on weekends. Using a tablespoon of sugar per cup is a lot of sugar. That began the first week of January. Then I added making sure I eat 3-5 servings of veg/fruit. Then came walking at least a half hour a day and eating a handful (small) of almonds a day as well as one Brazil nut. I am walking 45 minutes a day and all the other stuff. This next week I will be keeping track of everything I eat in a notebook. I have about 15 pounds that I would like to say goodbye to. My wardrobe has been shrinking it seems lately. I want to get a handle on this before I gain any more. I know from experience how hard it can be to lose weight.
I have been reading and working through the activities in, "Refuse to Choose." I feel so much relief and hope as well as some sadness that I spent so much of my life trying to fit other people's idea of what I should be when there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that I could. Lots more to say, but I need to get some cleaning done.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Random pictures and a really happy, good day.

I woke up feeling so happy this morning. I haven't felt like this in, gosh maybe ever?! It has stayed with me so far and it is almost 2 in the afternoon. What is the cause of this vibrating with excitement state of being? Have I found a stash of happy pills? Nope. Did I win the lottery? I wish. Have I taken a "lover*"? Hell, no. What could make me this happy? A book. Before some of you get all excited and start thinking I got religion finally, it isn't THAT book. I hate to sound all chirpy and stuff but, I rarely feel this excited and full of hope. NOT EVEN FOR OBAMA did I get this giddy and that is saying something. OK, I am getting to the title, but I have to preface it with a little bit of background info. I have been struggling to find my niche. My place in the overall scheme of things. I have lots of interests. Many, many interests. I have been known to jump head first into a subject and live and breathe it until one day POOF! No more interest. I have successfully learned how to do many things. Some I do return to, others I don't. I get the heebie jeebies when I think about doing the same thing day in and day out. This is highly ironic considering I have been at the same job for almost 20 years. The thing is, I didn't choose this job, it was supposed to for a year or so. It isn't my calling, not my raison d'etre. Let's see what else can I say? I've watched friends, relatives and classmates all decide what it is they want to be when they grow up and gotten on with their lives. I have felt like a dog running after the family car as they move away. Hey guys, I am here! Wanna take an art class with me? Want to learn how to juggle? Want to....???? I have been labeled a dilettante, someone who just can't stick to anything (which is so not true), indecisive and a loser. That last one is what I've called myself for years. Until now. I have been reading Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher. I just got it this weekend after reading a post from last week (the 16th) at Selena's blog. It is rocking my world. I have so many things I want to say, but really I want to get back to the book. I will write more soon.
*Do not in anyway shape or form use the word "lover" around me with a sexual connotation, except in a joking manner or in the phrase He/She is a lover not a fighter.**
**Actually not even in that phrase.
*** It's OK to say Oh, that cat/dog/parakeet/horse/fill in the blank is such a lover.
That does not make my skin crawl. Unless the above mentioned critter is an object of lust and then, well my friend, you've got issues. Alrighty then, enough high spirits for now. More soon.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bare Bones

Winter doesn't lack for beauty, it is there. Often I forget to see it while I am struggling to keep upright in the mudbath that my backyard becomes. In Winter all of Spring's frills and finery and Summer's rich bounty are stripped away and nature's bones laid bare. Things normally hidden from view are exposed. Vistas open up and give new perspective. Scents seem crisper, sharper. Without the heady perfumes of flowers and warm earth the air seems more elemental.
After Solstice is over and the new year just beginning I often feel hollow and raw. This is when, in times passed, hunger and illness would cull the weakest from the herds-animal and human. It seems to be a very harsh, unforgiving time and yet, there is the faintest signs of softer days to come. Lengthening daylight, minute by minute. Swellings on the nodes of trees, a sign of buds, flowers and fruit in the offing.
While re-reading this I thought of my childhood on my family's farm. I had chores that had to be done regardless of the weather. Usually the weather often caused more work. One of my least favorites was to break the ice on the water troughs for the cows. I hated that. My fingers would be red and stinging from the cold by the time my Dad or Grandfather and I would get inside. When we finally got immersion coils that kept the water from freezing it was a very happy day.
In the summer, I had to help out in the hay fields. I had to straighten the rows of hay bales so they could be loaded up on the hay trucks. As I got older I got to drive the trucks. Once back at the farm I got to help load the bales onto the hay elevators. I was very aware of the seasons as a kid. How could I not be? I was outside every day. The seasons dictated what needed to be done. Now, seasons are for the most part "optional." I work inside, I live in town, I drive to work. If I choose I can walk to the store or take walks but often I am too tired, lazy or busy.
One of my goals is to get back into the habit of walking daily, not just for the exercise but for connecting with the outdoors.

Really, really random pictures...

These boots were made for walkin'...
Gratuitous chicken pic. She is a prolific layer. So far she has taken only 2 days off since the 31st. Of course, two of her eggs=one "regular" sized egg.
Some bark cloth that I bought awhile back. It is a long curtain panel.
I will be friends with you, sewing machine, or die trying. I guess really right now it is bias tape that I want to be my friend.
A Christmas gift. A felting kit by Gillian Harris. I read about her in the British Country Living and when asked what I would like from England for Christmas the kit was my answer. The book is autographed...whooo. Here is a link to her site
Some fat quarters to be used for potholders.
Bulletin board full of clippings, inspiration and junk.

A large mushroom that I made out of Paperclay.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hmmmm...perhaps they need some knitted legwarmers too?

Another link to check out. HERE . If I could I would have a battery hen rescue. I just love hearing the little noises hens make and to watch them walk around the garden is so relaxing.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Check this out. I am a sucker for animal pals stories.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I took another bookmaking class this last weekend. This time we used pasta boxes and tea boxes as the covers and then made simple pamphlet stitched booklets to go inside. It was a lot of fun. Below in no particular order are some photos of the two I made.This is a side view of the pasta box book. It has two pamphlets and an envelope inside.
Inside I lined it with an old map from a funky atlas I got for 50cents at a yard sale. The first pamphlet is covered with a red piece of arty wrapping paper with an image cut from another piece of wrapping paper.
The side flap is from a different brand of pasta. It was a spaghetti box. I liked the image of the woman on it. I just realized you can't really see the woman in this picture. The image below of the ship is from a postcard that was glued behind the window of the box.
This is the cover with another postcard image glued behind the pasta box window.
This is the Welsh tea box. The insides were lined with old wallpaper from an estate sale. The flaps were covered with new paper made from recycled paper. The pamphlet is covered with paper made in another class. It is a brown paper grocery bag that was stamped colored with crayon, watercolored and then waxed.
The covers were made from a tea box that I saved from a trip to Wales.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Caramelized squash pizza..

In the interest of full disclosure my planned meal for last night did not go as planned. Due to some unforeseen factors I was unable to complete it last night. If you've forgotten what was on the menu there was a green salad with honeyed pecans and dried cranberries, with a light honey mustard dressing. The star of the meal was to be the aforementioned carmelized squash and onion pizza. I got the recipe here . I bought some locally made pizza dough as the recipe calls for pre-made pizza rounds and I didn't want to go that route. I was ready to make my own dough but after a couple of false starts with yeast that was too old I just wanted to get the bloody pizza made. I am very glad I perservered.
The salad was good and the pizza was really, really amazing. I "heart" carmelized squash and onions. I had a hard apple cider from Fish Brewery up in Washington. Very nice with the feta cheese, squash and the cranberries in the salad I think. I liked the cider quite a bit. It was the first time I tried that brewery's cider. Not too dry, not too sweet. Just right. Wow what a great meal. If I had made my own dough and had a local brew it would have been a bit more in keeping with my eat local aspirations-except for the cheese. It always comes down to the cheese, doesn't it? Oh yeah and the pecans and dried cranberries. Though cranberries are grown in Bandon, Oregon. I have no idea where the ones I bought came from. Now for some more organizing.

Welcome 2009!!!

A little while ago I went out to the chicken coop to check on Betsy the wonder chicken. I could hear her before I could see her, she makes these cute little clucking noises. When I didn't see her in the main part of the roost I looked in the nesting box area which has been unused since late summer. There she was, sounding a bit put out that I was looking at her in her current employment of #1 egg layer. I went back in for a bit. Later I went out again to add some veg. scraps to the compost bin and stopped to see if she really laid or if she was getting broody. I found two eggs! Both are fresh so she must have started laying yesterday. I don't know if she could've laid both today? Anyway it seems very auspicious to have freshly laid eggs on the first day of the new year.
I just went out to one of the many Rosemary plants and picked a couple of sprigs for a recipe I am making. The smell of rosemary is one of my favorite smells I think. Fresh and slightly piney. I find the taste can be overwhelming so I use it sparingly in cooking. I do like it in an orange/rosemary quick bread recipe. I should dig that out I think. I like to put it in potpourri blends for winter. It goes really well with citrus scents. I think I need to experiment with a rosemary, orange candle blend. One superstition concerning rosemary (there are many) is the wearing of a sprig in a buttonhole to aid one's memory and to promote good luck in all of the wearer's endeavors. It's raining and I have been cleaning the pantry cupboard. I store my library of magazines on the bottom shelves. Been listening to Fiddle, by Dougie McLean and some Loreena Mckennitt. All in all a pretty good way to start the new year. Hope everyone is free of hangovers. Oh, speaking of hangovers, one superstition involving Rosemary and beer is if a little rosemary is added to a keg of beer it will prevent the beer from being intoxicating. Perhaps I should've mentioned that one yesterday. Happy New Year!