Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One is Silver, the Other Gold

Last week, my friend Glory had her old friend from England visit here in SE Virginia. Suzie brought her lovely daughter, Alexandra with her. I am always so excited to hear that Suzie is coming. She has lived an exciting life, traveling to ALL parts of the world. Her stories are mesmerizing and always with a wry twist (she is English, afterall). Even with all her worldly advantages, I feel so comfortable being around her. She knows the world of servants, royalty and lets just say it, money. She came to my house for dinner when she visited last year and My Sweetie and I enjoyed every minute. She is a delightful guest. I will never know if she enjoyed the meal or was horrified to eat on the back porch with sleeping dogs near the table. She is just that gracious. Now I have the acquaintance of her daughter. So my friend's old friend is now my new friend. I love sharing, don't you?

Speaking of old friends, I have an old friend coming to visit on Wednesday. We have known each other since second grade, but I have not seen her since her wedding in 1976. Carolyn lived across the street from my family when I was in grade school. She had no siblings, but plenty of friends. Her mother was so loving and kind, always including every girl in the class for an afternoon play date some time during the year. I was always around. My mother worked, and back then you just let yourself in after school. Carolyn's mom often took me places after school with her as if I belonged there. Daycare? Sitters? My sister came home an hour or so later and was supposed to watch me, but it was more the other way around.

Anyway, we moved away after the 6th grade and like any childhood relationship, I cherished what was, but was unable to continue our friendship. I attended Carolyn's wedding, and talked to her a time or two after and just lost touch.

Several months ago, I came across Carolyn's e-mail address while looking for something else on the web. I wrote her a note, joined Facebook and was able to find several other old friends as well. Now I am in the midst of cleaning and cooking in preparation for her visit. I hope to post a few old pictures soon, as well as some current ones. I bet you will be able to tell who is who. Check back Friday for updates.

See that thingy over to the right? It tells where my visitors to the blog come from. I really wish they would leave a message so I could visit back. That's a hint.....

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Parallel Universe

I have fallen behind in posting, but will make an effort to catch up in the next few days. Several weeks ago, my friend Isobel hosted a quilting retreat to Capon Springs and Farms. I was lucky enough to be included in the guest list. If you haven't heard of Capon Springs, you are in good company. Most folks don't know about them becaues they have never advertised. Never.
Capon Springs is a mountain resort in the West Virginia panhandle not far from Winchester VA. It is nestled between two mountain ridges and is named for the clear spring the bubbles up on the property. There are drinking fountains that run constantly on the property, but that is not the thing that really makes this resort unusual. There are no televisions or phones in the rooms. Cell phone reception is available only on the golf course. The only TV sets are in the recreation building. There are no locks on the doors. Really.
Whole families come here for a week at a time just to be together. Imagine. Just be together. Board games, card games, long walks, camp fires, reading by the fireplace and eating together. A parallel universe and it is beautiful, warm, welcoming and stress free.
This is where we stayed. That's Isobel in the red sweater.



Here is the dining room where three meals are served each day, family-style.
Since every day is a slow news day at the resort, the management asked if the other guests could come see out work. It took us about five minutes to put on the impromptu quilt show in the little auditorium. What quilter doesn't like to show off her work?

If you ever want to do nothing for a week, this is the place to go.
More pictures.....
It was such a peaceful place, that I just had to share. I didn't know that places like this still existed. Now I know, and so do you.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Like Minded People

Way back at the end of September My Sweetie and I attended the Mother Earth News Fair, a sustainable living extravaganza held at the Seven Springs Resort in Pennsylvania. I had skiied there years ago, but had never seen it without snow. It was a great choice for the fair.
We went up a day early to volunteer for Mother Earth News to help with the set-up and a sneak preview of the events for the weekend. I had the most interesting job of cutting strings and tying knots in the end for volunteer and vendor badges. Hundreds of them. This got me a pass for the two day fair. Well worth the effort.
Later in the day, we went to see Fallingwater, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's best residential designs. It was wonderful. So timelessly modern and filled with fabulous art. I would show you the pictures that we took of the house and each other there, but the guide said that all images of the property belong to the foundation and we would be shot or something if we published them anywhere (even on a blog). So you will just have to believe that we were there. Better yet, you go and see for yourself.
The Mother Earth News Fair was wonderful. There were about a dozen different seminars every hour on everything from raising chickens and garden cover crops to solar heating and organic gardening. I wished there had been three of me so I could see everything that interested me every hour.
I found this chicken tractor that was so well designed and attractive. Too bad it was sooo expensive and too big to bring home in the truck. I guess we will just have to build our own.
We took a break from the crowd and rode the ski lift up to the top of the mountain to get a better view. It was a lovely day. This was just the outdoor exhibitors. There were hundreds more inside. Isn't it amazing what can happen when like-minded people get together?
That night we returned to the campground for dinner and to see the medieval reinactment folks who were also staying on the same property. It was so much fun talking to them. I thought they would all be like Dungeons and Dragons dweebs, but it turns out that they were artists, social workers and other professionals. We even met an astrophysicist. Turns out that they are a really interesting bunch who know how to have fun.
I am so glad we bought a camper. We are going places we would never have gone otherwise.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Waiting

It seems that there is a lot of waiting going on here. Waiting for the weekend, waiting until things get organized and just waiting.

There is a new therapist moving in our office soon. That means that we need to prepare another office space for him. I hold veto power over decorating in the office. (Have you ever met a therapist who knew anything about decorating?) Anyway, My Sweetie has gone to get the new desk and file cabinet. I thought he was bringing it home........waiting.........waiting. Seems he took it to our office and is in the process of assembling the whole thing while dinner curdles over.

This is how it looks here. Waiting...


Meanwhile, the mess in the sewing room is getting better, but there are so many bags of quilts on the floor that I dare not take a picture of it to show here.

That is Buster on the left and our latest addition, Ollie on the right. I caught the only second that they held still all day.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

True Confessions

In my last post, I told of how I have let things slide. Really, I have let them just go to hell in a handbasket. There, I said it. Now I will prove it by showing you my sewing room. I thought I would get the whole mess cleaned up by mid-August. Who was I fooling?



In my own defense, I must let you know that I work nearly all the time. I work a couple of days in my husband's office as a neurotherapist. I also quilt all of the customer quilts for a local quilt shop on the longarm machine that lives in my livingroom. 300 quilts last year. If that's not enough, I started working an occasional day in my friend's bead shop so the other employees can have an extra day off. Yikes! I need a day off! (Bead shop job ends next week)



The real reason that I have created a royal mess is that I'd rather make things or dream up projects than clean up. I read on another blog about having Obsessive Creative Disorder. That's me.



Anyhow, today the cleanup began and I found my camera (!) in time to show you the challenge ahead.






This room is a whopping 7' x 11' and contains enough stuff to make a zillion quilts and about the same number of pieces of jewelry.
Stand by for pictures of progress.....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How did I get here?

I was looking back at what I had written at the first of the year and realized that I have been busier and busier, but I have not become more organized as I hoped to be. The kitchen is still torn up after the tomato canning events and the living/dining room is full of sewing/quilting/knitting and other clutter. I would post a picture, but then you would all know what a real mess I have become.
Instead, I have decided to take a room at a time and clean it up..... then post a picture. Maybe I can actually get the kitchen, living/dining room, sewing room (yikes!) and bedroom straight by the middle of August. Goal for this week is the kitchen.
Oh yeah, check out the logo for the Improv(e) your Butt Challenge. Details over at Tallgrass Prarie Studio. That is another area that needs improvement!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

World's Most Expensive Tomato Sauce

In the last post I showed the wonderful garden my sweetie made for me. I didn't tell you how expensive it was. First, there was the frame. Lumber from Lowe's. $$ Then there was a dumptruck load of topsoil. $$$ Plants. $
Since Buster likes to excavate, there was fencing.$
We have had a bumper crop of tomatoes, so I decided to make tomato sauce and can it. Thrifty, huh? We grew onions and garlic, too.
I bought canning jars.$

We want to be safe so I bought a pressure canner.$$

I spent hours washing jars, peeling tomatoes and chopping ingredients to make two huge pots of sauce.



My favorite part is my compost collection bin. We bought this little jewel $ on a vacation. They had nice little ceramic ones for less, but I figured I would probably drop it and that would be the end, so we sprung for the stainless one. It has a top with a charcoal filter to keep the smell of the garbage out of the kitchen. Now when I peel an onion or eat an orange, I just put the remains in this little bucket until I can go out to the compost bin. No more guilt over throwing out that natural fertilizer.

After chopping and stirring for hours, I finally put the jars in the canner to process.


Then, a mere 6 hours and $$$$$$$ later I have these jars of beautiful sauce. I wonder how much that is per jar?

Yes, indeed, I now have six, count 'em, six jars of sauce. Move over Ragu!