Tuesday, September 16, 2014

More Stars

Finally got the latest quilt off to my quilter.  She had a great idea for the quilting and I was really happy to have her help.  While I wait the two weeks for its return, I will keep myself occupied by making the binding for said quilt so I have no excuse not to finish it up quickly.  I'm also going to whip up some binding for a table runner I sewed together last week.


I desperately needed something to do, so I raided my stash and found some Fig Tree fabrics and made a few Charming Star blocks and sewed them together for a runner for the long table next to my sofa.



Today I got it all put together and even tried my hand at simple quilting.  Um, well, it was my first attempt after all.  I'll post a photo when the binding is complete.

Time to write some letters.  Have a lovely day!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Capacity

A quart jar will contain, well, a quart.  An 8 ounce coffee cup, well, yeah.  A large vase will hold...flowers.  Some containers are easy to figure out.

What about the human heart?

I know, that's a deep question.  Or a shallow one, depending upon the view.

I marvel at the capacity of the human heart.  It is seemingly limitless. We cannot live without the heart; when it stops, so does life as we know it.  But, what about that which it contains?  When the blood ceases to pump, does the love also cease?  Where does it go?  Where did it come from?  Additionally, when the heart still beats, how is all that love stored?  Where is it stored?  Sometimes I feel so much and so strongly, I cannot help but ask how it is physically possible that a tiny human heart could hold so much without some sort of visual cue.



Theology, spirituality, love songs, and bumper stickers, they all give us answers.  Most of my musings ran the theological race course today.  I think I crashed! Moreover, answers are not what I seek.  I just marvel at it all, my questions.  I am blessed with questions.  To consider them other than a blessing would be a disservice.

I ask so many questions that I scare people away.  I mean no harm, but there are times when I feel something so acutely, whether question or discovery, that I feel my heart will break open if I cannot determine a method for expression.  My enthusiasm freaks people out a bit.  Or maybe it's my cooking.

Lately, I have been studying a fair deal of theology, mixed with yoga and a dash of self expression, stirred with the religion I was born into.  It's been a bitter drink, and poured into the container that is my heart.  My heart contains it, but I defer to the words of Rainer Rilke:


Basically, today I was thinking that my heart wants what it wants, but it does that wanting within the confines of the boundaries set by man.  Sometimes civilities prevent us from saying what we want to say, and sometimes it's fear.  And all other sundries in between.  In the proverbial nut shell, I have things to say and no means to say them. My heart keeps them.

These thoughts, however jumbled they may read, are important to me and needed airing today, and in my anguish to decipher a way to let them out, I remembered I had this blog, this space to contain my thoughts.  So, hugs to you if you made it through this soliloquy, for it was for my own benefit, but if, per chance, you gleaned something at all, then I am happy to have served.

Have a lovely day.  Live your questions.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbana, Aloysia citrodora, is a perennial shrub with a scent that can knock your socks off, even if you aren't wearing any.  The scent is heavenly!


Every year I grow it in pots to contain its size since it is known to take over the space it's given.  Here in Utah it doesn't fair well in winter, but I do try.  This year I am moving one pot into the greenhouse to see how long I can keep it.

Lemon Verbena leaves dry exceptionally well and retains its scent, so I diligently dry a batch each Autumn.  I put some up yesterday, and my house was filled with the divine scent of soft lemon.





My favorite use  for Lemon Verbena is in herbal tea blends and infusing it in sugar and whipping cream.  I will happily use my supply throughout winter, the lemony flavor gracing various recipes. And quite often, I will simply open the jar to release a bit of summer into the air.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hello Again, September.

My online presence is slowing dwindling and I'm ok with that.  I've had a good think about this blog and what to write, and all that ever comes up for me is to just chronicle what I am doing; a journal, of sorts.  That suits me fine.


Since my last post my daughter has endured jaw surgery.  She had a tooth, a molar, that never came in, but still there, buried inside.  When it came time for orthodontia, it was discovered that the ligaments surrounding said tooth had solidified for some unknown reason, and ligaments are what make movement possible.  If left in, the tooth would decay and cause terrible issues later on in life.  After seven months of orthodontia to make a space large enough, she went in to have the tooth removed.  Once past the gum line, the surgeon discovered the roots of that tooth were now solidified with the jaw bone, so little bits of jaw had to be removed.  Poor dear, she had to have a bone graft. And for good measure, and to relieve her of any further procedures, out came the wisdom teeth!  She has healed beautifully with no complications.

About a week in to my daughter's recovery, my washing machine broke, which took some strong language to overcome.  Let's just say that the company I chose to fix it was less than stellar.  Then my car died.  I laughed a lot, I truly did, until the Yellow Jacket swarm attacked me.  At this point I was completely done with July, but the calendar said I still had several days to go.  Well, whatever!  "Bring it on!" became my daily mantra.

And now suddenly, here I find myself sitting pretty in September.  I love September!  With surgery behind us, school back in session, and my son tucked into his new job, I have oodles of free time. That means sewing!  Well, and a lot of preserving because it is, after all, harvest time and I'm still an obsessed gardener. Two words:  Raspberry jam.

After hanging on the design wall all summer, the quilt I chose to make because it "would be quick" finished up in about two hours.  Well, it was quick, but that term is relative to the time I put into it. Oh well, it was pretty hanging on the wall all summer, and now it's ready to be quilted.



Happily, I am spending a lot of time in the sewing room now.  I have so many projects I want to start, and first up (I hope) will be all the cushion covers for the new furniture upstairs.  Of course, I am now deciding on a new quilt pattern.  I'm thinking about This One.


Oh look, I've finally learned how to add arrows to photos!  I draw your attention to the important bits of my sewing table:  Music, tea, and dog biscuits.  Everyone is happy in this room!

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Healthy Update

Hello!

After a long and arduous journey, I have returned to health. Hooray! There is no more pain racking my body, further "suspicious" growths have shrunk to (hopefully) the point of no return.  There are physical scars, but the trauma of surgery and my recovery is a mountain I have climbed and subsequently descended. It has been a painful two years, but I am whole and strong and ready for the next chapter.

I'm not quite certain where to begin again with this blog, but I do know I have been pulled to write.  After a long talk with my husband, I decided I would just start writing and see where the keyboard took me.  There is a lot going on inside my head and I believe writing about it is an excellent outlet.

So, an update of sorts?

I have not been idle as I've coursed this path to regain my health.  I have expanded my gardens, learned to quilt, cut off my long hair, read a plethora of books on various topics, written and received letters from my pen pals, baked sourdough bread that will knock your socks off, re-entered the delightful world of soap-making, and painted 75% of my house.  I've laughed and cried, I've loved and lost.  I have discovered ever more about the pieces that create the puzzle that I am. I love to learn, and this was a fantastic opportunity to continue to learn through the trials at hand, just at a much slower pace!
Sourdough currently cooling on the counter. 

I'm in the middle of the gardening season here in Utah, and I admit, the gardens are exhausting.  I am in a daily struggle with a squash plant; It's being petulant and wants to die off, but I won't let it.  I celebrated the 4th of July by harvesting the garlic, which is now hanging in my garage to cure.  We loved strawberry and pea season and are now just starting to harvest summer vegetables.



My favorite gardening activity this year has been my fairy garden.  I am in complete love with it.  Even now, as some of the plants are ready to be cut back or removed, it delights my soul.  I do indeed have a fairy living in the house, her name is Meredith, just in case you are curious.


Back in April, we finally sucked it up and painted the upstairs.  I never wanted to do this and put it off for years.  There was so much to do!  However, putting it off meant that now we needed to paint the ceilings, doors, and trim as well as the walls.  Oh boy, BIG job!  It took three weeks to complete.  We painted the ceilings, all the doors, trim, stairwell, hallway, kitchen, dining, and living room, as well as the piano room.  I fell off the ladder the first day of painting! It was funny, but also not so funny (and at the end of April I broke 3 toes, not ladder-related).

The old wall color is the brownish paint at the center top of the photo. 
Ceilings! Ick. 
My teens, hard at work fixing the boo-boos.
They're both on ladders standing about 10 ft. off the ground.


The hard work was, of course, worth the effort.  We cleaned all the carpets when we were finished, too.  And, after 18 years, we splurged and bought new furniture! Woohoo!  There are plans for a mantle to be built around the fireplace, but we need to save up our pennies again.  

I have a quilt that has been hanging on my design wall for a few months now.  I began with the pattern right before the painting.  Unfortunately, sewing has taken a bit of a break while I've been getting my house back in order.  We are now redoing the spare bedroom (old sewing room) for my son to move in to.   I will get this quilt done!



Once my son moves into his new space, there will be an empty room on the main floor of my house.  I have wonderful and exciting plans for this room!  Since I already have a fabulous sewing room, can you guess what it will be? 

There is so, so much more I could write, my head and heart are spilling over with thoughts and ideas.  Also, I have been working on something  rather awesome, taking my yoga training in a completely new and unforeseen direction.  Exciting stuff!  

There you have it, an update.  Hope y'all are still there and happy and healthy!