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Archive for October, 2012

In Search of a Cheery Halloween – Addendum

Just wanted to let you know I finally got it done. It wasn’t easy since the dizziness was full tilt this week for some unfathomable reason, so concentrating or seeing what I was sewing was extra hard. Not one to ever give in, I finished it yesterday and went in search of a ribbon to hang it from the dowel. I walked all the way to the quilt store, really only a half mile each way, only to find they were closed on Mondays. Why did I not remember that? So I trudged back to my second floor apartment with the groceries I figured I may as well get while I was out. Are you feeling sorry for me yet? No need. The sun was out and the leaves were blowing in the breeze. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful day.

So this morning I went through my stash knowing full well I had neither black nor orange ribbon. But low and behold, I found something that would work. I’ve made this little design before for a friend with a Halloween birthday. I’m learning something each time I make it. I have one ready to finish for another friend but it will have to wait a bit. Nothing fancy but festive for the season. Machine embroidery is so much quicker than hand embroidery and I got to do a bit of stitching in the ditch to quilt it. I’m now officially ready for the trick or treaters.

Home Sweet Home, Bats and all

You gotta love ric-rac

Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there. ~Josh Billings

From my heart to yours,

In Search of a Cheery Halloween

Wow! It’s hard to believe that I started this blog one year ago on Halloween. I was lamenting back then on how it just wasn’t my favorite holiday for many reasons. I didn’t grow up with Halloween. I was 11 on the first one and 13 on the last one. Now my kids, they made Halloween fun for me. They had homemade costumes, trick or treating for candy. We didn’t have decorations but loved seeing them everywhere.

Growing up I remember my parents celebrating the German version of Halloween but it was for adults. Kids got a babysitter. That was usually me. At least my parent’s version of it went that way. It was called Fasching which is like Karnaval or Mardi Gras. A lot of dressing up and partying. It starts November 11 at 11:11 a.m. and ends at midnight on Shroud Tuesday. Different parts of Germany celebrate it differently. It’s no longer the holiday it was originally but then, none are.

Much later in life when I was married to my last husband, I started taking decorative painting classes because the things being painted were just too cute for words. He had grandchildren that I adored so we still did a bit of Halloween. I put these out each year when possible. I’ve decorated my new apartment even though the children apparently don’t trick or treat around here. It seems the few children who live here, go to functions for their tricking and treating. It puts me in a festive mood when I come in the door. What do you think?

Here are the characters I painted.

I gave up filling it with candy since I ended up eating it.

Smily pumpkin face at each end

Witchy Poo now spends most of her time at my daughter’s house.

Frankie now has flowers instead of candy backing him up.

Come in if you dare. The pumpkins are organic 🙂

Adding a touch of class by the door

Scary has never worked for me. I go for cute since I’m a fraidy cat. I don’t do scary movies either. Wouldn’t you just know it. Decorations by the front door were given to me or from the thrift store. There is a sewing project on my table that may make it for Halloween, just not for my post.

Happy Halloween everyone.
From my heart to yours,

In Search of That Leap of Faith

My sister retired from her job last week. She drove a bus throughout the city and suburbs of Portland, Oregon for 15 years. On my very best day, it’s not a job I could or would do. Driving a city bus is akin to living in a house on a main street with no lock on the doors. You never know who will walk through.

She really liked most of her passengers but each day brought its own special challenge. The threat of violence from a passenger that was asked to pay for their ride or move their feet off a seat to make room for another was a daily reality. She has enough stories to write her own book. The problem is, the stress has left her with the inability to remember an appointment time made just as she tries to write it down.

Her family and friends that care are grateful she is making this leap of faith. We know she will find other work to sustain her, but right now, she needs to rest and recreate. Jobs and life choices that leave a person so seriously drained will inflict damage to the body and the mind. My sister and children have been there to encourage me through my own leap of faith and now we will be there to encourage hers.

So we celebrated last Saturday evening with a surprise party put together by her girlfriend. We met at her favorite East Indian restaurant in downtown Portland. I have never eaten East Indian food. We were brought up on very bland food and I have not ventured very far from those staples. I will never be a foodie, but my education was about to begin.

My sister treated my daughter to a new ethnic restaurant experience each year on my daughter’s birthday for the last 7 years of living in this area. So her education was well ahead of mine. I let my daughter order for me and she did very well. I really enjoyed my spicy food. A cocktail before dinner helped me be more adventurous. I usually pick a German restaurant for my birthday but I think I will learn from my daughter and continue to try new things. We are all taking leaps of faith in one way or another.

A co-worker gifted my sister a journal. Perfect since she is writing her way through this complete change of lifestyle.

Now she can write a book

My children and I together bought her a pocket watch since she is trying not to look at her wrist ever minute to make sure she is on time. It’s a hard habit to break. The inscription read, “It’s time to work at living”. I now have to change the ring tone on my phone for her. It was from that song that goes, “I’m in a hurry to get things done. I rush and rush until life’s no fun.” I’m just not sure what her new ring tone will be. It will be interesting to see where the adventure leads.

It’s time to work at living

You can see the workings from both sides of the watch

Have you ever made a leap of faith and what brought it on? For me, Bells Palsy was the wakeup call. I’d love to hear how you figured out that change was necessary and how you leaped into your adventure.

From my heart to yours,

In Search of Ingenuity

It’s been a very quick three weeks since moving into this wonderful apartment. What I have discovered is, I need two more hands and more muscle. My son is always after me to build more muscle and now I wish I had listened.

I’m pretty strong for a woman my age and in good condition for the condition I’m in. When fatigued, the tippyness gets more acute so I have to be more careful. Who would have thought Bells Palsy could do that to a person. The need for two more hands and more muscle has to do with getting boxes and cabinets up the stairs, as well as moving furniture around.

Since I have no extra hands and become a little soft since becoming ill, I used a little ingenuity. I took those cheap, little, though quite heavy cabinets, pivoting them corner to corner up the stairs. Boxes of books and fabric went up the same way. I didn’t have enough hands to take a picture of myself but my grin was massive. Nothing was lifted and I was able to balance against the railing.

So here is the almost completed sewing station made from those upcycled cabinets that were pivoted up the stairs.

made with upcycled cabinets


Have you ever met a woman who liked the way the furniture was placed the first time? After looking at my dresser hold up the TV for three weeks, the realization that I hated it there, set in. I also want to bring the triple mirror that goes with it up from the garage before a box falls on it.

So I figured out how to maneuver it out from the wall, slide a smaller dresser behind, slide the TV directly onto the smaller one, then slid the dresser into the bedroom. There were beads of healthy perspiration involved but by golly, the job was done without unhooking any cable equipment or the TV. Good thing because my daughter is my tech support and she had other commitments at that moment.

Just to show you it was no lightweight dresser. Solid oak and heavy.

Oak dresser

Yes, I took the drawers out before moving it.

I have moved entire houses of furniture around without heavy lifting for years. Never from the outside in, but now I see it can be done. So, how do you hang heavy pictures alone? It’s like a puzzle, creativity in a different form. When it’s done, I get to spend more time writing, sewing, and all the other fun things that will make a long wet winter enjoyable.

A lot of determination and a little perspiration can go a long way with a healthy dose of ingenuity.

“Any problem can be solved with a little ingenuity.” MacGyver

From my heart to yours,

In Search of Nature in the City

The apartment complex I chose, very carefully, to move into here in Oregon City, is located between several busy streets. So imagine my surprise at waking up to a rooster crowing each morning. What a wonderful sound. That rooster is getting lazy and sleeping in later each day though. I have no idea where he lives, but he needs to be advised that I still need my wake up calls a bit earlier in the day.

Last Monday, I walked down the street to take care of some business. I like not needing a car for every little thing. I discovered that there is an estuary running through the apartment complex. Apparently, others are aware of it as well.

Feeding the ducks seems to be a favorite pastime around here. I have also noticed that everyone stops for the ducks when they decide to cross the road to get to more of the estuary. No matter the hurry, everyone waits for the last little one to follow mama duck.

While the rest of you are bringing in your plants for the winter, I just put some out. My deck off the kitchen is my wealth area, according to Western Feng Shui. Many people, my son among them, thing Feng Shui is a crock. I’m not taking any chances, especially with the wealth area. So my daughter and I planted purple flowers in a purple pot. I’ll be looking for gold there real soon. Need to keep that flow coming in.

Hunting down another quilt store locally, we stumbled on a little plant shop and found some Heather plants. I’ve never seen any before but named my daughter for them. So I had to give a try at growing them. The backdrop to them in this city complex is just wonderfully peaceful.

I have some really peaceful views out of my kitchen window and off the back bedroom deck. Not bad for a city apartment.

On an early morning run to the grocery/everything store, I caught a bit of movement out of the corner of my eye at the opposite end of the estuary, but did not think to take a picture. Unfortunately, I have not seen them since. At first they looked like they might be cats, then maybe beavers. Asking around, I found out they were nutria. An aquatic rodent. I gather they are not particularly welcome, but what an interesting sight in the city. I found a picture and information at this site.

Nutria, Nutria Pictures, Nutria Facts – National Geographic.

Finding a way to connect with nature is essential to health and well-being. I am so grateful to have found so much of it here in my city dwelling. I swear I feel wellness zipping to me. How do people live without it? I just can’t imagine.

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~ Albert Einstein

From my heart to yours,

In Search of Organization

I had another blog written but it just didn’t seem to want to be posted. I finally figured out why. I’m not ready to tackle the subject of focus when things are still so disorganized.

I’ve been in my wonderful little apartment for a whole week and things are finally starting to take shape. Even though I still have to work a bit and rest a bit, little by little, I’m finding the floor. Almost all the boxes I allowed brought up to the apartment are unpack and I’ve found things I haven’t seen in 2 years, as in my rag time quilt that has been carefully wrapped around antique lamps. I didn’t waste space with bubble wrap if I could help it.

I’m a typical Virgo and abhor clutter. I also have a lot of stuff for indulging in my creative endeavors and that creates clutter. What I want most is to have the clutter organized and that takes time and work. What’s the point of organizing? When you spend 20 minutes looking for something, it kills the flow of creativity. I’m still looking for the hammer I brought up from the garage this afternoon. What a waste of time.

My sister wanted me to go into an organizing/cleaning business with her. We were both raised by the same German mother, military father where clean and organized were a requirement. With four children in our house we still passed the white glove inspection every time we moved out of base housing. Through the years, I have become a bit more relaxed and my sister has become a bit more fastidious. She’s a minimalist that wants to toss everything and I’m the crafter that wants to use everything. We are both getting a little stiff in the knees to be doing all that hard cleaning and I may not have that much energy anymore except to help once in a while.

In order to bring order into this new space, I have to find a way to replace the organizational tools I’ve left behind because they no longer worked for me. This week, my daughter and I made a trip to a building supply place and found a beautiful sheet of plywood (on sale) and they kindly sliced the 4×8 sheet lengthwise for me. I have no power tools… yet. Then we found a reclaimed building supply place that takes donated unwanted fixtures. We found four small cabinets with drawers at a yard sale price, that will bring the plywood tops to just the correct height for sewing or crafting. I really need a big project in the middle of this move like I need a hole in my head, but without it, I can’t get organized. Organization makes creativity flow easier and better. Everything needs a home. My home will be so much happier and creatively productive when everything in it finds its home.

Right now my bedroom dresser is holding up the TV and it’s paraphernalia in the living room. My t-shirts miss it. I have no desk so that will be the next project. You can see where my priorities lie. I found stamps in the sewing room today so I’ve designated one drawer in the dresser will hold them along with pads and pens until the desk becomes manifest.

Up-cycling is fun and another way to be creative. There are still no chairs for my ugly, second-hand, drop-leaf, pretend dining room table that doubles as a cutting table for fabric. I paid $10.00 for it and have used it for over 10 years. That’s up-cycling at its best. Chairs will appear later from somewhere, when I need them. o

I’ll take pictures of the sewing/craft table when it’s done. I’ve never done this sort of project on my own before so it’s both exciting and terrifying. Are you the carefree or the organized type? Always open to great tips and ideas.

“Clutter-clearing is modern-day alchemy.” ~ Denise Linn

From my heart to yours,