12 May 2012

Rambling on an Island

Once upon a time I loved to write. 
Everyone said I was very good at it.
Friends, teachers, professors.
I took notebooks with me everywhere and wrote
just for fun.  I was even fascinated by the very
physical act of writing, though my penmanship was,
 and still is, awful.  But oh, I still love a good pen. 
Sharpened pencils are the best.  And paper. 
And journals--they make my fingers twitch.
I have some pretty wicked editing skillz that help
with my kids' homework and husband's presentations.
But I think the last time I wrote something--
I mean, really wrote something--
was over 11 years ago.  Wow.
What happened to that writer?

Life happens, you know?
No, I don't write anymore but I'm still
very drawn to it. 
In another life, I'm an author and I have a cabin
where I go to work.  There, I'm so inspired that
words just flow like the breeze through the
open windows.  The breeze carries the deep 
scent of each tree and flower outside;
my words--my stories--carry deep, 
impressionable lessons and meanings of life.
They'll touch people's souls, change
their minds and win their hearts.

I've been pondering all evening why it is exactly
that our lives are so interrupted.  Why we just
can't, or won't, find the time to chase our 
passions and silly little notions.
Why do we keep our lists in buckets,
 and not out on our mirrors?

What would you do if you had a day--
one day a week or even just one day a month
that was set aside for what you want to do.  
Just as if you are at work.
Friends and relatives can't call you to ask favors
or just to talk because they all know
you are working.  If an event comes up then,
nope--sorry, you can't make it. You're booked.
You are committed.

Well, aren't you committed to....being you? 
I've been wondering, "What if I chose one day
a week that is mine (ours)?"  I know we should
not be selfish and that we should be self-less.
But lately I think there's just less and less
of that self. 

What would happen
if I told extended family and friends
"Oh, sorry--that day is off-limits."  No parties,
games or dinners.  No phone calls.  No favors.
  That's my Island Day.  "I'm unavailable."

I'm probably sounding a little rude, and maybe
anti-social but c'mon.  Admit it--you're intrigued. 
One day where others cannot "mess" with you.
And husband & kids are not "others," by the way. 
They're right there on the island with you.  
They can't be reached from the outside either.

You're laughing now.  I know--it's impossible. 
Comical even.
But doesn't it sound kind of....just sort of....

What would you do with your Island Day?
I would find that writer.
The poet.
The artist and the chef.
And maybe the designer, too.
I haven't seen them in forever.

06 May 2012

10-Day Occupy Sewing Room

 Nothing makes time fly like engrossing oneself
in a project (or five?).
So when the DH is on a business trip,
need like to get a lot of projects going.

Basically, it's Occupy Sewing Room time.

While he's in England and Switzerland
(pout, pout)
these next days, I'm going to get a nice,
early start on my Summer Stitching.

(I've been wanting to do this one forever!)
 Days and days of serious fabric domesticity.
(can I say that?)
I really don't even have to make dinner.
(I have easy-fix meals planned like deli sandwiches, Mexican food
fixings made up from Cinco de Mayo, etc.  The kids are all old enough
to create their own dishes, though I'm sure I'll make a meal here and there.)
Ms. Pouty McPout-Pout is staying postive. 
Going to order up lattes and put on music.
(I love how these fabrics look together but sorry, it's cloudy here--had to
use a flash. Maybe the next update pic will show more...)
First up will be to finish that Summer Day quilt.
These little pieces aren't going together as
precise as I would like but I'm fighting my
normal self and just going with it.

Then the Betz White Kaitlyn Bag.
It's gorgeous!
I seriously could not have picked out a
bag more "me" myself!
(Did that make sense?)
(Anyone else just nuts about all the bags out there?)
Other things on my "keep busy" list:
Antique shopping
Clean windows and carpets (boring!)
Read one/some of the 5,000 books on my list

Inviting Herb into Your Life

With warmer temps, the herbs are thriving.
They love lots of sun and, if you keep them
well-watered, they can take the heat.

Unlike a lot of vegetables, herb plants are
pretty and edible.

Roses in the center of one of my herb gardens.

So, if you feel you don't have room for a garden,
why not grow them in with your flowers?
A well-groomed herb will stay beautiful and green
the entire growing season.

Here in Kansas, I've found that herbs grow very well
in a mostly-sun/full-sun area that is protected in the
winter.  Thus, my best herb garden is on the south side
of my home. 

But they will need water every day
in the hot months of summer.

I always keep an eye out for recipes that use
lots of fresh herbs--fresh makes all the difference!
I'd love to publish a cookbook of herb recipes someday.

Some of my favorite uses:
Chicago-style pizza
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing (recipe below)
Soups, esp Italian
(super-easy and soo full of flavor when you replace the dried herbs
in the recipe with fresh ones--use liberally!)

Herbs need constant trimming; learn to cook with
them and this will never be a problem! 
And if you have more than you can use,
you can just dry them for next winter.

Once cilantro goes to seed, I find your might as well toss it.
Therefore, I'm careful to keep it trimmed--the above one
will be cut back today.

Always harvest herbs in the morning when their
flavors are most intense. 

I like to keep a bundle on my kitchen island
just for decor, whether I'll be needing them or not. 

Strangely, while I was writing this post, a friend
just posted on facebook this
 that new herb gardeners often make.  It's pretty
good info so you may want to check it out.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
(this is a little runny but still very good, esp with a liberal use of dill)

¾ c mayo
½ c buttermilk
2 T finely chopped fresh parsley
1 T fresh lemon juice
½ t dry mustard
¼ t dried dill
¼ t salt
1/4 t cracked black pepper

Combine mayo and buttermilk with whisk till well-blended.
Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and chill for at least several hours
or overnight. Store in refrigerator up to 5 days.

Linked to:

05 May 2012

Saturdays in the Garden

Lots of salad-eating around here.
We currently have more lettuce
than we can handle.

But nothing ever goes to waste.
Chickens LOVE lettuce so I can be
extra-choosey when cleaning it.

The new chicks hanging out in the cool shade.

It looks like we'll be getting lots of blackberries.
I'm thinking they'll be great in the home-made
yogurt this year.

The potatoes are blooming,
as are the peas and beans.

The new batch of strawberries are starting to reach out.

I have all types of squash and cukes planted now.
Does anyone know what this leaf issue is?
(Diagnosing problems in the garden isn't my strong point.)

This morning I weeded the un-mulched areas;
then I topped with newspaper and then a thick layer
of straw.  Ah, completion.

After a few years of planting them,
these marigolds pop up freely around the garden.
Because of their strong aroma, they repel pests.
And I love how they spot the garden with color.

Sunflowers now come up on their own, too.
Having these around the garden helps to
attract the bees.  As with the marigolds,
the sunflowers will also add in beautiful color.
(And in the fall, the chickens are happy to eat the seeds!) 

Tomorrow, we'll visit Herb...

04 May 2012

What To Do With These Finds...

I don't really hit garage sales these days.
But when there is a tip-off from a friend
that there's a "quilter's sale"...I'm in.

The fabrics were just so-so; none were
"quilt shop" quality but there were all these
homemade little jelly rolls ($4) and huge 
charm packs ($4) to lure me in. 
Each charm pack has about 190 squares!

Can you turn that down--even if it's mediocre
fabric?  And even if you are trying to weed
out your own stash?  This was a tough call,
but in the end, I kept it to a minimum amount.
 (25 cent fat quarters?)

~2 charm super-packs, 2 jelly rolls, 7 fat quarters~
Yes, those are my geese flying around in the background.
I promise, I'm working on them right now!

I just think it looks like some summer fun.
You know, "no-brainer" stuff.
(like I don't have enough "summer fun" in my own stash?)
Maybe a picnic quilt?  Or five?

Oh, and these:

(sorry for the lame pic quality)

This is not my style but these nine 12"-scrappy
blocks are all made up just waiting to be something. 
Any ideas?  They came with directions to make a
large quilt but it's just not for me.  

But for just $2, I could just put them together,
have some FMQ practice and then donate?

02 May 2012

Summer Sewing Plans

May is an interesting month.

On the one hand, you feel summer coming up...
when all the obligations of school melt away.
And you can't wait.

On the other hand, if you're like me, you feel
your "freedom" slowly melting away, too.
And on that you can wait.

Meanwhile, my mojo is on a roller coaster.
One that, unfortunately, is down more than up.
 So I made a list for motivation.
I'm early for this but I'm sure Fairy Face Designs
will be having a linky soon.

(You can click here or up on the tab if you're interested)
Subject to change... 
REALLY subject to change!
Possibly by the hour...or even minute.

Fall and winter are my big "stitching" months
but maybe putting this list out there will help
me to accomplish something this summer.
Anyone else feel the creative urge slide down
as the temp creeps up?

I did finish the geese (156 for now) and have
cut out the100+ strips.
Just need to put it all together...
you know...sit down at the sewing machine...
and actually SEW....sigh. 
I need a sewing power-pill vitamin.
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