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Sunday, December 2, 2012

And Now--Christmas

Can you believe it? I have a Christmas tree. It is small. It stands four feet tall from table to top. It has fourteen ornaments on it including the golden bird at the top. I made some bows from hand dyed wired ribbons to give it some depth. They look really nice in there. There are no lights nor any garland. Rather simple. . I like looking at it. I don't know if anyone else will see it.

 It is a young tree that comes from Noel Tree Farm in Litchfield New Hampshire. So it is freshly cut and requires to have the water level checked every day. Most trees out there have been cut sometimes two months ago and have no shelf life really. I went with my sister Linda and my mother to get our trees. I saw Linda's yesterday and it is big and beautiful. She has Christmas everywhere in her house. I don't mind. My life is a lot simpler than hers.

Right now I am spending my time working on Linda's Christmas scrubs and the ornaments I am designing for this year. So there is little time for making things Christmassy for the house. Next year. And then I have this very special box I am working out to send out as soon as possible in hopes of repairing a very damaged friendship. So little time and so much to do. How I love this time of year.

The New Home

I could not even take pictures in the end of the former apartment. It ended up being such a nightmare that even thinking of it was painful to the point that I ended up seeking energy work from an old friend Robin. Robin and I did not part on good terms when I left for Oregon, but we ended up repairing it quite quickly and life became quite gentle as a result. One revelation after another.

My sisters Linda and Suzanne took action and found this incredible apartment through an old friend of the family in the house right next door to where we all grew up on Brown Avenue. The McDonald's house. When I go out into the yard to my car I can see on the hill the roof the the cabana my father built which held the lawnmower and various "stuff" that I know not what it was. Looking out this door, there is the pond where I learned to swim in summers and skate in winters. There are the woods which occupied so much of our time until we grew old enough to no longer run the forest. My father taught me how to build camp fires there. How to carve out pieces of white birch bark to make cups for drinking stream water. I had a love of birds and used to collect their feathers and even bird wings. I know....

So many memories.  So here I am. My neighborhood. With the greatest landlords on the universe.

This is the entrance into the kitchen. Sliding glass doors from which i can see the pond. Pine Island pond. To the right is another house which I believe used to be the Blaisedell's house. On the other side of that house is a brook over which the pond empties. The brook feeds into a river and I am sad to say that I do not know the name of that river. So constantly, you can hear the sound of the waterfall. Very steady, very peaceful. I just love it. There is the Manchester Airport on the other side of the pond but I rarely hear planes. I think they come in from a different direction because it is a busy airport. A lot of houses that made up this neighborhood have been torn down to widen the street when they built the airport. So there is a lot of traffic but I don't have a problem getting in and out of the driveway. 

People ask if the traffic bothers me. It could if I let it. But I don't. This little apartment itself is very peaceful and I am so grateful for it that nothing bothers me. I am just happy to be here.

 Views of the kitchen.

 Lots of counter space and you can begin to see how many cupboards there are.


 On top of the cupboards and over the kitchen window there is shelving for me to put prize pottery.

The few teapots that I saved. Every evening I choose one to make my tea. A ceremony I was not able to have on Laval Street.

There are two steps going down from the kitchen to the rest of the apartment. Then a tiny wide hallway leading to the living room. These are some of the baskets I saved from storage. I could not keep them all as there just isn't enough room here. That's OK. I made a commitment to at least save all the Bolga Bags. A fiber artist never has enough Bolga Bags, Some things just cannot be given up.

The living room is the smallest room. Suzanne gave me a small sofa which fits in perfectly here. In front of it is my antique Chinese leather chest. To keep my living room organized I keep all my paper work, pens, bills, writing things, everything that normally would be hanging around my computer and sofa. The room is too small to have clutter. So this chest is perfect to contain all this and keep the room looking smug. In the far left corner is a table which holds plants. Not much sun comes in the few windows in this home. I have to find the right plants for this lighting.

The is the opposite wall where there is the unit that holds the television as well as a chair and a knitting basket. Always a knitting basket somewhere.

This is the hallway leading down to the sewing room and the bedroom Originally it was two bedrooms but as any seamstress will attest, the master bedroom will always end up being the sewing room 

This  tiny room is my bedroom. It also holds the twelve bins in which are packed all of the kimonos. I never show it to anyone. I just sleep there.

Here begins the views of the sewing room. It does not look big, but my cutting table is huge. The lighting is poor so I have lamps everywhere.

The sewing table in front of the window. It holds only two of my four sewing machines.

The floor is slanted and the ironing board would fall over if it were not for the props I have for the outer legs to stand on. It is temporary until I can think of something more permanent. 

I have the space to put up lots of shelving.

At one end of the room there are three sliding doors behind which is a full closet and storage. Lots of storage in this house.

More shelving.

A view of the room from that long closet. There is another window there.

We had Thanksgiving on Saturday as Linda worked the holiday. I had everyone over to my house. It was wonderful. I cooked the turkey. I made a huge restaurant tray of stuffing which I designed myself. I just had the lst of it while writing this. I don't know why we don't cook stuffing all year round. It is so delicious. Everything was very traditional. Mashed potatoes which I whipped up in the Kitchen Aid. Sweet potatoes cooked with buttered brown sugar and oranges. Jellied cranberry sauce. I did cook brussel sprouts with salt pork and shallots. As traditional as everyone wanted dinner to be, that dish was quite loved.  Linda brought butternut squash which we all love.

I made these rolls. A dough had to rise for 24 hours. Then it had to be cut into 60 balls and placed into 20 muffin cups and baked with a lot of butter. They were delicious but, eight people can only eat so many rolls. to there were plenty for others to bring home. I rarely eat bread so I didn't keep any for myself.

Around the table was Melanie, my niece with her son Hyrum and her friend Paul, Linda, my baby sister, Suzanne, my second sister and her husband John who had the most beautiful men's shirt I have ever seen, my mother and then myself.

Once everyone was seated and the food was laid out, I didn't do any fretting.  I planned dinner for three and we were sitting and plating at ten past three. It all went so smoothly. It was wonderful. 

Linda brought a chocolate cream pie. Melanie brought a pumpkin pie (for some reason that picture did not come through) and I made this triple chocolate bundt cake.I was amazed at hoe many of us had a piece of each. I can't remember what I had. I think I had the pumpkin.

A view to the pond from the closed in porch. It is peaceful back  there. I often find myself taking a few moments to contemplate the circle. How fortunate I am for having the family who has given me so much. Not only the family here, but the family in Oregon. My sister Denise.....

Friday, August 3, 2012

Improvements on the poppy

Try as I might, I could not get this photo to come out clear. But you can see that it has changed.  It is a far cry from my first entry on this flower. It has taken on texture. And more color..

I went out in search of those little wires, I think they are called pistils? Nothing in town. So, I took a piece of paper cut it three inches long and made these cuts so fine that I am sure there are nearly seventy cuts to the paper. 

I figured out a new way of attaching the wire into the center so that the flowers would not slip off the stem. I used my round nosed pliers and made a circle  which sits at the base of the center and then everything twists from there. No glue this time. Only stem paper. Wrapping is tricky, but it becomes easier with every new poppy.

This is one from the first batch that just has a simple center. It is also too large.  I also started putting on seven petals on the light colored flowers. They are so beautiful.

Just above the poppies you can see the sweet peas. And when I studied pictures of poppies, there are many colors and not all the centers are black. It is a very fascinating flower. Flowers.It is a joy just having them on the table.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


 Recently I came across a company that carried this wonderful crepe paper. Nothing like I have ever seen before. They also had some free patterns one of which was for making Sweet Pea flowers. I ordered a couple of colors and my sister also gave me some of her paper. So between the two types of papers, I fashioned the flowers. I was fascinated with the process and how beautiful these flowers were. My first attempts were by far not perfect. I needed to develop technique. I used to make paper flowers when I was a hippie back in the 70's, but nothing like this. They were the typical huge things that were perhaps 12 inches wide in crazy colors and I would give them out to people downtown proclaiming "Peace and Love to Everyone". Flower child.

Amazingly, I have not been able to find any books on the making of flowers. I am sure they are out there, but they are hidden from me. So here I am making my own patterns and trying to figure out my own techniques.

  1. I found that if I type in a flower on Google there is usually a link to images and it is a good reference to quite a few great views to what I am looking for. This is how I figured out how to make the poppy. I also never realized how many colors this flower comes in. 

This is my first attempt. The one in the middle was the first. You can see that the center of it is way too big. I also used glue to hold it in place. It is rather fragile. The petals however are a good size. The front one is much better when it comes to the center. I really have to find tendrills however to make this flower look more realistic. And I didn't have any brown paper so I used a green and will have to paint them brown in the end.

Making the  template for the petals was not as difficult as I had thought. I suppose it is because I have seen so many of these flowers in my life that guessing was easy. I will however, make a size a bit bigger also. but not much bigger.  And I want to also make the seed pod but that will take some work as color is important and it has that flat cap to it. And I can't find a good image for the leaf.


 Try as I might, I could not get a good picture of the design of the petal. . This is how the petal begins. I cut it out and delicately pull out the very top edge with my thumbnails. You can see the ridges. Then I put a slight bowl into the paper just below that. I make five of these.

 This is the end flower  with the painted centers now smaller. I found, after the second one, that using glue to fasten the center to the wire is not the correct way of doing it. If I just use the floral tape it is perfect and solid and much less messy. I made the last one is a very pale pink. They come in several pinks and yellows, oranges, and some are even variegated. And some petals are shaped differently.

Interesting, isn't it?

Friday, July 20, 2012

The car

I have spent the entire week in mental hell going over and over trying to put everything into perspective as to how I was going to handle this whole issue. It just doesn't make any sense. But George was insistent that I wait till I get the second opinion from his garage which he and I had been going to for over twenty years.

OK. Then I can get their assessment on paper and deal with the issue from there. Off I went a bit ago. They put the car on a lift so we could all three of us see for ourselves what the condition was.

Nothing. Nothing!!  It looked really healthy under there. Am I blind? What am I looking for? There were a couple of spots that were peeling but I was told that that was an outer coating and that the structure underneath was in great shape. The brake lines look new. The muffler was obviously new. I just saw no rust. And we were not dealing with just a mechanic here. This is Gerry, the man who owns the place and who's wife I have known in the fabric business forever. Just a really great man. He walked us through everything. I asked him that - if I needed to have him inspect this car today, would he do it, being an inspection station. He said yes, absolutely. He said his son might fix the air conditioner, as he is certified to do that. If not, I will take it to this other garage just up the street, another reputable place which George is very familiar with from experience. But there should not be a problem.

This car looks great. I can stop crying now. My faith in humanity is restored. I can finish knitting up the little "monster toy" for a newborn boy who has arrived this week. I no longer have to be afraid that, while on my way to somewhere out there, the bottom will fall out from under me. And my mother will be safe in the seat next to me.

I don't understand however. How could a garage paint such a blatantly bleak picture on something that obviously looks so good and charge me almost $60 for that opinion? And they call themselves "Mom's Garage"???

Friday, July 13, 2012

Remember This?

My mother has been complaining for two months that my air conditioning is not working and I have kept putting it off. Finally I made an appointment this week and I dropped it off at "Mom's Garage" just down the street a couple of blocks. Two weeks ago I had brought it to Advanced Eurosport where I bought the car to see if it was just a matter of putting in some freeon (sp?). But they told me that the generator was not working and I would need to have that fixed as they didn't do that there. So last night I dropped it off and put my phone by my bed as I knew they would call me with their diagnosis sometime before I usually get up this morning. The man who owns the garage had told me it would cost between $300 and $600 to fix when I talked to him yesterday. . OK. We will deal with that.

The news ended up rather bleak. He called about 9:30. He told me that he could not do anything with the car as the repairs would cost more than the car was worth. Aside from the issues with the air conditioner, the whole structure of the front of the car and the floor boards of the car are badly rusted. It happens with a car that has as low mileage as my car has with its age. When it sits for years it rusts. He made it clear that this car should never have passed inspection when I bought it. When you buy a car from a small dealership and they say they will take care of the inspection, it should raise a flag.  How was I to know? I told Eurosport that I needed a dependable car to drive my elderly mother around. I just assumed that they would be reputable in their recommending a safe automobile for us.

Mechanically, the little thing runs really well. I get good mileage, it runs smooth, I have no problems. It's too bad. I have until October to decide what to do. I don't know. It is a trust thing. I don't know.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


When did this happen to me?  I have not always been afraid of heights. Golly, I have flown myself over the mountain area in New Hampshire in a two seater plane. It was thrilling. I didn't even have to think about it. I climbed the ladder and got into the cockpit. And away we went. That was when~~ in the late 80's.

Now I can't even climb onto a one step stool. I can hear you all laughing. Go ahead. I will put cotton in my ears. I am sure somewhere I have some silk batting I can use.

It is just after ten o'clock in the morning. Yes, I am up early. I have to frost yet another cake. How many chocolate cakes have I made since my return to New Hampshire? Oh and one cake I made in three colors. Pink, green and blue. Quite beautiful, it was.

The light has burned out in the entrance way. I just replaced that six months ago. It's not like I have that light on all the time. OK. This is the morning I change the bulb. Where are the men when you need them. I took out the dining chair. It took me less time to take out the new bulb than it did to just get up on the damn chair. My heart was pounding so hard you would think I was having a heart attack. (where is that silk batting).

So I make it up on the chair and unscrew the little thing there and remove the cover. Wow. Rather dirty. I should wash it. ~~~~~ I decide against it. I don't have that great of a relationship with heights. Only once... I can't do this again. I- I - I just can't. Now I have to get down from this chair. It was easier getting down.

I am going to put the chair back when I stop.  One of the kitchen bulbs has been burnt out for weeks. Not good when most of the work I do with my sewing is done at night. Is it too difficult for someone to come up with a light bulb that lasts longer than my life span??

I stood there for awhile looking up at the stupid thing. I made a cup of coffee and convinced myself that I can do this. I took out another bulb and stood in front of the chair. It occurred to me that the chair is higher in the kitchen than in the hallway. Or am I loosing my mind. Non. That chair was shorter in the hallway. I took the last sip of coffee I made five minute ago and stepped up (got it) to the task.

Only this time, I couldn't figure out how to get down. I have the support of the back of the chair and my sweet little task table in the middle of the kitchen. George and I had this made for us when we used to go up into the Adirondaks years ago..

I am standing there and panicking. Then for one short moment I am thinking "Just fess up and get the B-jeesus down". And I took advantage of that tiny moment and got down off the chair.

Now I have light and telling you all that yes, it is possible to do something that totally frightens you, even when it is so dumb that locking it onto your blog labels you for the rest of your life.

And how is your day going?

PS:  I often see Jody type these words in her blog and they have this line through them. I always wondered how she achieved these. And why would anyone want to strike through a word unless you don't want anyone to see that the word doesn't belong there. Why not just delete the word. So, despite that I wonder what the reason behind the doing of this, I still retained an envy that I could not figure out how to do this. I could write a whole book with every word stricken out. Another words, I've written a book but - don't read it!

Just now, while looking for the spell check, I found the little icon for the task. So Jody, again you continue to shower me with gifts. Beautiful.


Friday, June 22, 2012

5 seconds at Saks

There is a new mall in Merrimack. Today I went there with Suzanne and Mom. It was about 150 degrees out. There were few parking spaces. I have no summer clothes. I live for winter. I was a summer person. When was childhood? My father. The sailboat. Camping. Then one day I got boobs and, diving off a raft, my swimsuit strap broke and I vowed never like summer again.

Sacks Fifth Avenue. The store was cold, brand new and Suzanne was in heaven. I made hair combs with kimono silk and tied my hair back. It is getting long and I am enjoying it. I like Sacks too.

I kept drifting away from my entourage. Everything was catching my eye.

I was in the sunglasses department. Silence. There was this man. He had presence. Beautiful. Dressed in a black suit. Tie. Exquisite. Very slowly I said "Bonjours" he looked at me for a good five seconds.

"Bonjours" he replied slowly smiling. I turned and  walked away.

Five seconds of sex. Yes.

And how was your day?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

More on bugs

I know that we shouldn't be spraying bugs in the house. Chemicals. But this is the back of my left leg. My right leg looks the same. Above the knee I have maybe three bites. This is coming from somewhere. Have I developed an allergy? I think maybe bugs in the hallways or maybe in my car? I don't know. I have closely searched my chair and my bed but nothing. And if they were there, then why have I not gotten bitten above the knee? All I know is, it is horribly hot here and I am always scratching my legs.

Bugs, I just hate bugs.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

New Bug

Summer is upon us, I can tell. The bugs are here. I really don't mind them outdoors. But I can't stand them indoors. 

I have seen this one before. I know I have seen this perhaps often in my life. Something in me recognizes it although I can't, in the front of my mind, remember the visions. This is an Organ Pipe Mud Dauber. I looked through a thousand bug pictures before I found it. Maybe it is not so common. The one below is from Florida. The one I saw today was black with the typical bug iridescence.  I love that beautiful shiny blue green that appears on wings and bodies. This bug is over an inch long, maybe and inch and a quarter.

Mind you, if I saw it outside, it would be OK. But in the house, I just can't do it. It is called a Mud Dauber because it build its nests out of mud. The female rolls a ball of mud and begins to pack it. She then finds an insect, stings it, places it into the nest, lays and egg, then plugs in a ball of mud. she does this over and over creating these long tendrils.  You can find them on the sides of buildings, in gardens, even on parked cars the article said. Some people destroy them and some people adore them. The Mud Dauber eats small insects and so to the knowledgeable person, is a revered bug. I can respect that. But not in my house.

Did I ever tell you my bug story? How I woke up one night with a bug in  my ear. George was at work at the firehouse and I had to drive myself to the hospital. It took four tries for me to get out of the driveway as this bug was eating away at my eardrum. I went through every red light thinking that if a policeman put on his blue lights, he could very well escort me to the hospital as I was not going to stop until someone got that thing out of my ear.

The emergency door was not working and I had to walk around to a different door to get in. I wasn't screaming but I was making quite a commotion. The nurses grabbed me and brought me into this room and started asking me for insurance info. "ARE YOU CRAZY???" Get this out of my ear and I will tell you anything you want!!!!

So they injected some sort of liquid that was supposed to anesthetize the bug. Oh god, what a relief. And then, just as they were preparing to in, the bug started up with a vengeance.  So, one nurse held my head while the other tried different tools to dig in and get the bugger out. When finally out, they showed it to me. It was a beetle about a 5/8 inch long. They put it in a jar and asked me if I wanted to take it home.  I just shook my head.

I, up till that point, had never been a bug killer. I would find even an ant and would gently pick it up with paper and put it outside. As a matter of fact, I had seen that very bug earlier in the evening and had placed it in the livingroom among my plants. I was so innocent. In all my life it had never occurred to me that a bug would ever dare to violate my body. Ever!

Once home, I laid down to sleep and sleep would not come. I had to cover my ears. I went into my sewing room and tried to design ear covers out of chiffon and elastic. But they didn't stay on. I suffocate under blankets so that was not an option. I tried a headband but it would slip off during the night. Insomnia. It took months to get over it. One night I was just too tired and I fell asleep.

Every night, even to today, I watch for bugs in the house before bed. I don't just decide to go to bed. It is a process. In the apartment I am in now, the screens are broken and I have fixed them somewhat but I have to stuff them with towels a bit because they don't fit flush to the frame. I should get an electrical tape. That would be the best thing to do. I just never expected to be here this long. So I will take care of it tomorrow.

I killed this bug today, and I feel badly about it. I only had a natural bug spray for house plants and it was too weak for this Mud Dauber and I ended up having to hit it and the violence was unbearable. I am not supposed to be killing things. I am appalled at how affected my mind became from one single night 20 years ago!~~~

I just watched the movie "Capote" with  Phillip Seymour Hoffman playing the part. Everyone should see this.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Fresh Market

George applied for a position with "The Fresh Market". Apparently they have markets all over the country. I have never heard of them before. They were scheduled to hold interviews last Friday and they suggested that everyone visit their store in Hingham Massachusetts to get a feel for what the store is like.  So off we went on Thursday. I am not a good navigator. We got a little frustrated with each other navigating to this location, but we survived because our friendship has been a long one and a good one. I am so glad I brought my camera. While George was talking to employees I was running around and taking pictures.

 They have two hundred different cheeses. 

  I have not seen this beautiful a selection of meat since we lived in Upstate New York and had access to real butchers.

My sister Denise would just die for these breads.

There must have been at least, at least 50 different types of fresh baked breads.

By the time I got to the pastry department, I was approached by management. a very nice woman, who introduced herself and quietly asked me not to take pictures. I apologized and told her that I was just thrilled about this store. We came here to see the store as they were opening a location in Manchester NH at the end of June and George was going to be one of the applicants. We have nothing like this in our state. Nothing! We are so starved for this. In Oregon we had Zupan's, Whole Foods and New Season's and Trader Joe's. We do have a Trader Joe's in Massachusetts but it is nothing like this. It is going to be phenomenal. We have Hannaford's, Stop and Shop, the big stores. We began a 20 minute conversation about how beautiful this store is. While we were talking, this man comes out to join us. He must have been watching us on camera. She introduces us as the District Manager and he joins in.

Look at these pastries. Just to die for! I told her that there is this program that comes on the local TV station just after the news call NH Chronicle that highlights business in the state and that once the market opens, I was thinking of calling them and having them do a piece on this market. She told me that they are not doing a mass marketing and she would be interested in this. It would be a simple thing to set up, especially with my enthusiasm.  People will be coming from all over the state to shop there. Their offerings of wine, coffee and, you should see the selection of chocolate from all over the world! Oh my god!!


In the end, she said I could continue with my pictures because I was not a competitor. I reassured her she would not have any competition. No. The Fresh Market will have a breath all of its own. Not to worry. And even on my limited budget, I will spend my grocery money there. And it is going to be just down the street. So perfect.

I think I made their day. And, She gave me fresh pastry to bring home which I brought to my mother's house and we indulged in it on Sunday. A rich chocolate cake with a hint of cinnamon. I got sick because I have not been eating chocolate. But it was worth it. Yes indeed worth it.