Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ein Prosit!

Ten minutes ago, I hit "Send" on the final chapters of my dad's book to the printing company. 

Nine and a half minutes ago, I cracked a beer.  There is no one awake here at the moment to toast this momentous occasion, so I am raising my glass (bottle) to all of you who may have wondered during the last several weeks whether I had given up sewing or blogging (nope! and thanks for hanging in there!).

Ein Prosit! ~ Cheers!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Sundry 7-22-12

The Good, the Bad, and the Owie

Good:  Look what came in the mail yesterday!  Cynthia of Home Matters 1st made me a shirt!  It is cute, cute, cute!  

She did such wonderful embroidery with the little owls and their sewing accessories.  Aren't they adorable?

The shirt color is one of my favorites, and it fits perfectly!  

Never mind my weird expression.  I was yammering at my husband giving him tips on how to take a decent picture, to let the camera auto focus before mashing down on the button (impatient much?), stand on the same level so he's not looking up at me like the Statue of Liberty (he didn't listen), and don't snap the picture with my eyes closed or mouth open (to which he responded, "Well, shut up then.")  Hmph!

But back to the shirt - I LOVE IT!  Thank you so much, Cynthia, for your thoughtfulness, time and talent, and generosity!!

Bad:  Well, it's not that bad but just to keep it real, I thought I'd tell you a thrifting tale that didn't pan out the way I expected—a thrifting fail.

In other words, not every pick is a winner.

Stopped at the St. Vinny's yesterday and found they were having a 50 percent off store-wide sale.  I actually didn't find much, but I did spy an interesting piece of framed art that appealed to me, first of all, in its colors and, secondly, in its primitive/folk aesthetic.  It looked, from this side of the glass in the frame, to be an original signed watercolor by someone named "Doris," which was all of the signature I could read because the mat seemed to be covering up the rest of it.  Being that it was priced higher than just about every other piece of framed art, I was obviously not the only one thinking along those lines.

It had some condition issues, but I mind started churning up all those Antiques Roadshow stories where some lowly piece of folk art found in a dilapidated barn somewhere fetched megabucks.  I don't usually let my imagination run wild, but it looked like a signed original watercolor, and did I mention 50 percent off?

Well, you can probably guess where this is going.  Yep, took it home, out of the frame, only to find that it was a print, maybe from a magazine, not an original.  It had been glued (the never-going-to-come-apart kind of glued) onto foam core board, and the colors had badly faded to boot.

I do still like the subject of the piece and found out a little about the artist, full name Doris Lee.  I'm sure the lesson learned and knowledge gained is worth at least what I paid for the piece, but it's sure not the find I can retire on.  Dream on!

The print is going in the garbage and I'll keep the glass frame to reuse.  I do still like the colors, faded as they are, so I'll keep the photo of it for inspiration.  Seems like they might work well together in a quilt.

Owie:  Do you say "owie" or "ouchy"?  It was early morning when I banged my left toe on something hard and immobile, so I bit my tongue rather than say anything.  I just winced and tried to walk it off, thinking that'll be another bruise.  Mind you, it doesn't take much.  I bruise like a banana.

As the day has worn on, it has gotten worse.  I sit here with ice on my left next-to-pinkie toe and am pretty sure I broke it.  It hurts like a (mother- or son-, you fill in the blank) and is swollen and turning colors.  I don't think there is much one can do for a broken toe, according to Dr. Google, except ice and stay off it.  Oh, and whine to the internets.  Check, check, and check.

By this time next week, (in addition to my toe feeling better) I hope to be done working on the project for my dad and ready to make some noise in the sewing room again.  It's been nothing but *crickets* in there.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Black Raspberry Iced Tea

A generous gardener gave me two pails of raspberries a couple weeks ago, one red and one black (the raspberries, not the pails).  The red ones got eaten pretty quickly, all by me because I'm the only one who likes raspberries up in here.*

The black raspberries were seedier, which is not a deal breaker for me, but they were languishing longer in the fridge until they looked like they didn't have much longer to languish.

Not wanting to see them go to waste, I threw them in a saucepan with a tiny bit of water and a tinier bit of sugar, maybe about a tablespoon.  I simmered them for only about 5 or 10 minutes, just long enough for them to soften and break down into juice.  Then I pressed the slurry through a fine-mesh strainer over a measuring cup until I had pressed out all the juice (look Ma, no seeds!).

This black raspberry juice or light syrup I popped back into the fridge.  Then I'd add a splash of it (1-3 teaspoons) to my iced tea every day.  It gave it just the right amount of flavor, a hint of sweetness, and a beautiful deep pink color. Yum!  

This little shot glass full is all I have left.**  The berries have stopped producing in the garden, so the next batch will probably come from the store, fresh or frozen.

*Do you think raspberries are like cilantro—you either love the flavor or hate it?

**The shot glass photo had me thinking of the communion glasses at my small-town Lutheran church growing up.  Back in the day when we had real wine with communion, which I found out later was usually Mogen David donated by the tavern up the block (only in Wisconsin?).  I felt a little gypped when I later joined the Presbyterians**** who serve only grape juice.  I guess that's what a liberal Lutheran upbringing will do to you, if dancing, Boy/Girl Scouts, and Mogen David are okay!***

***In the words of Garrison Keillor:  Lutherans believe that it is OK to poke fun at themselves and never take themselves too seriously.

****You know you're a Lutheran if:  Your Presbyterian friends can't understand why Garrison Keillor's News from Lake Wobegon is so much funnier for you.  More jokes here, and they're mostly true!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Wave

I'm fine with most kinds of waves...





...just not quilt edges. 

So the order of the day is to keep calm and get the seam ripper.* I've got some unsewing to do.

*Isn't that an adorable mini quilt?

Monday, July 9, 2012

White Elephant

I passed up this vintage elephant teapot a week ago at Goodwill, even though I liked it a lot. When I saw it again yesterday, at 50 percent off, I liked it 100 percent more and bought it!

I wish I knew the maker, but the only identifying mark is what may be a mold number, 2104, at the base of it.  A bit of internet searching didn't turn up any further clues.

Also snagged a Missoni zigzag platter at Goodwill.  It seemed the perfect colors as summer heads toward fall in a month or two.

I'm just popping in here quickly today.  Posting may be light for awhile as I proofread my dad's book.

Meanwhile, work continues on the string ring quilt as time allows.  The black and white stop border just did not seem to work, so I went another direction, finishing the end black and white squares into the border.  Now I'm piecing a narrow mini-piano key (for lack of a better description) border from the dwindling string ring scraps I have left.  This will be followed by a final wider outer border of the crosshatch background fabric.  The binding will be in the black with white dots again.

I am using every last bit of the crosshatch fabric, which is why the outer border isn't any bigger, but I think it will fit my bed when all is said and done!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Beach Day

When it's a sizzling, fry-an-egg-on-the-concrete-hot day, where do you go?  For us, it was the beach.
First, though, on the way to the beach, we did a little thrift shopping.  I netted two new leather purses, a ladies black leather vest, and a pair of ladies black leather Harley-Davidson lederhosen.  Okay, lederhosen is not the correct name for them, but I don’t know what is—overalls? Shorts with leather straps? I haven’t a clue, but I do know they’re pretty sweet, and hopefully someone will be happy to nab them from me on eBay, perhaps just in time for Sturgis.  But I digress.
Harrington Beach State Park is one of my favorite beaches on Lake Michigan.  North of Milwaukee, south of Green Bay, it’s about halfway between Port Washington and Sheboygan.  It's usually less crowded than the bigger beaches, especially on a weekday or the day before a major holiday.
It’s cooler near the lake, and indeed that was the case today.  High 90s inland, mid-80s at the lakefront.  We walked the smooth sand along the shoreline, letting the cool, clear water lap at our feet, with only gentle sounds of surf, seagulls, and conversation carried on the wind. 

We've been there many times, even when conditions were less than ideal.  The last time we were there, a number of years ago, the personal watercraft were out en masse, making it seem more like a racetrack. 

One time, on a hot and humid day inland, we arrived at the lakeshore to find it completely fogged in.  We spent some time on the beach anyway, though it was strange to enter what seemed like another world just a few steps from our parked car.

Another visit coincided with a massive die-off of alewives littering the shore.  That was not a particularly good beach day.

Today, though, was about as close to perfect as it gets.  If asked to imagine my personal “happy place,” it may well be this.

I hope you get your holiday happy on tomorrow—have a fun and safe 4th!