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Posts tagged ‘spring’

Spring, Sprang, Sprung

It’s here today and gone tomorrow. Spring finally showed up and I put out my welcome sign. In the next moment, we went back to winter then summer and finally spring again. What we had of spring was lovely  Everything is confused except the bees. I’m listening to them.

 

Dressing in layers is the only way to go these days. We get a cold rainy day then a scorcher.  One day I have lots of energy to put into the yard  The next day I’m spinning my wheels and sitting trying to decide if I can do anything of use.  I’ve been here in my cozy home for four years at the end of this month and made so many changes.

 

Spring is the month I can get the most work done outside and even inside. Once I could open all the windows, I took a day to clean my oven. Four years ago, it took 4 hours to clean that nasty mess the previous owner left for me. Now it’s taking me a whole day to clean a rarely used oven. Looks like some of my spring, sprang.

Ground cover spreading and front porch in need of serious help.

Weeding on the hill and the front yard took lots of rest periods that would never have happened four years ago. But the end result was worth it.

 

The entire top of the hill was covered in these sticker weeds. Birds carry the seeds everywhere as does the wind.

 

 

beginning of the weeding

 

Still more work to do but a good start. Lower bed is the Oregano and Thyme.

I have been gifted with pieces of many plants from friends around here. I take those gifts seriously and nurture them to the best of my ability. Of course, I gift in return. A neighbor came looking for Thyme to cook his dinner.He said what I gave would have cost him $5 for a small bundle, he wound up with triple for a thank you. I’ve offered my Oregano as well to anyone that wants fresh. I’ve passed on ground cover and anything that I’m growing that can be split. It’s how the world should work. I get a lot of my plants from a fellow blogger and photographer, Sabine.

There are lots of projects on the list. This week I had the distinct urge to take care of my window trim as it was the last cool, cloudy day on the sunny side of the house. If the butterfly bush blooms, it will be covered in bees which are not conducive to standing on the ladder with black paint. I’m embarrassed to say it’s taken two years to get to this. I’ll do the one on the front porch tomorrow. Then I must sand the stairs and railing on the front porch and re-stain. Today I can’t move. Old feet on ladders takes its toll. I’ll wait for the next surge of energy.  They don’t come so often anymore.

So I’ve hung up the Welcome Summer sign since my spring is sprung anyway. How about you? Are you ready to welcome the next season or is there still a spring in your step?

This one goes up Memorial Day and stays until after Labor Day.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

After Alys

It’s hard to explain but the best I can say about Alys’ visit is that a switch was flipped and I saw a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Clearing so much out of my line of sight seemed to lift a weight off of my shoulders. After a short rest, I walked into my organized sewing room and got to work.

All my projects were listed in order of priority. I started with making the kitchen curtains from fabric given to me by my sewing friends. They were coming to my house for sewing that week. It had been laying across the curtain rod since I decided that’s what I wanted to do with the fabric.

Butterflies and flowers

close up view of fabric

Then came a machine embroidery, quilted for a friend who I felt could use a little lift. I had planned to mail it as soon as I finished it but as I finished the binding at my sewing group, my friend Patti said she needed it for the Senior Center’s quilt show because they didn’t have enough to show. It was a fund raiser for the Senior Center and Meals on Wheels. How could I say no?

Next came the shirt Patti asked me to make for her almost 10 months ago. She gave me the fabric and I had to decide how to piece this puzzle together. It’s the first one I’ve made in at least 10 years. Patti seemed happy with it. It’s called a Big Shirt to be worn over another like a light jacket and this one is made of flannel.

I made a cover for the pillow I need in my car. The old one had long gone to the trash and I had a new form in my closet and even had the cover cut out. That’s as far as it got until the shirt was finished.The serger was out and ready for the shirt so pillow cover was next in line. I’m a little taller in the seat again now.

Since they were all sorted and sitting in a reusable zip lock I started on bowl cozies that had been waiting not nearly so long. Batting was already cut so I just cut fabric and marked it for stitching. They go quickly but not quickly enough for me to make for sale. I sew to make gifts. It’s not an easy way to make a living especially if you don’t see well and sew like I walk, wobbly.

There were fun to do but take a bit of time.

So now there is only one project that I’ve procrastinated on for well over a year, as the pattern is one I’ve never used and directions are sketchy. I’ll tackle that next week when the rain starts again. I expect a few uninterrupted days together to get started now that my courage is up there.

I’ve spent time working in my yard pulling weeds which always makes me feel calmer. That’s the plan as long as the rain holds off. bumble bees are working hard out there already so I have to time my work carefully. I’ll keep you posted but it’s already looking much better.

My Bunny Basket for spring. Painted back in the late 1980’s

Does organization make you more productive?

Happy Easter to everyone or happy spring.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

What Spring?

It’s here, technically. Too warm to snow must mean spring. April showers and all that stuff. Well, we have had plenty of those. We had our wettest March on record and April has been no slouch. Our flowering trees didn’t.

Add high winds to that rain and you have a disaster in the making. My neighbor directly across from me has lost a major portion of her back yard and the two on either side of her have lost quite a bit as well. When I finally got a look at it, I was thinking a moving truck was in order immediately. Somehow, everyone there seems comfortable sleeping at night. The management, landscape and work crews from the park as well as the owner are here almost every day to check and see if anything has changed. There are no trespassing signs up and plastic fencing to keep everyone away. I didn’t get a photo being too stunned by what I saw. The buck is being passed around quite liberally.

High winds took down the fountain and brought someones metal roofing into my yard.

Two doors down from the major portion of the slide I noticed a rather tall tree that I don’t think had been leaning before taking direct aim at the house where an infirmed woman lives with her grandson. I was concerned. So I did what I could. I talked to the neighbor that knows everyone and everything. She said she would mention it to one of the work crew. I watched the tree as our April winds picked up and lo and behold, there was the entire entourage from park owner, management and crew watching as a professional outfit dressed to tackle the job. I have to admit, I got very little done that day other than watching the process. An old friend’s words came back to me as I watched, “You can’t beat a man at his own game.” The professional tree trimmer made short, safe work of the project.

My friend, Emily was coming over to organize fabric with me and I had to admit to my preoccupation with watching the poor tree come down. I hate to see trees get cut but this one had clearly lost its footing and was possibly going to hurt several people.

This week was a bit more productive. My friend, Sabine brought me a Forsythia bush she had started from one of hers and some ground cover. It took all day for me to carry buckets of heavy, wet clay out of a hole to the top of the terraces so I could plant the shrub. I got my exercise that day. The ground is a soggy mess with no drainage. I’ve added amendments and quality soil to give it a good start. The climbing rose bushes I dug out by the front steps last fall have oddly survive the serious neglect they got before going into more of that miserable clay in the back. The two lower terraces have been weeded, and hydrangea’s trimmed up.

 

In between my naps, visits with friends, and some organizing, I somehow got a baby blanket made getting some of baby girl flannel out of my tubs and to good use. I also was able to celebrate my daughter’s birthday with her at a new Tea Shoppe. They were very nice but the food left something to be desired. I was just happy we could spend the day together before she headed to the beach with friends.


So how is your spring shaping up? Is the cold hanging on or is it being skipped for shades of summer already?

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” ~ Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard’s Egg

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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Seeing

It’s been too long but I see the light! Winter is a favorite time of year…usually. This year was long, dark and exceedingly wet. I’ve plodded along trying to summon up the energy to do things. My friend and fellow blogger at incahootswithmuddyboots.com came by to cheer me with signs of spring from her yard.

First signs of spring from my friend

The struggle with my vision has really slowed things down. I finally wised up and went back to the optometrist. My glasses that are eight months old were not working and I was scared. “Well no wonder” he says. “You’ve lost a whole diopter of vision since this last prescription.” Now I have no idea what a diopter really is even after my son explained it to me. “What caused it” I asked? He seemed to think it was because of excessive dry eye. That eye doesn’t blink as well as the other and leaks tears since the onset of Bells Palsy 7 years ago. Why am I losing so much vision now?

I bought 5 of these for my sewing group as a Christmas gift. This is mine finally finished.

The back is pink, not my favorite color but it’s cheerful.

It’s possible the C-pap machine that blows wind in my face all night might be drying out the eye if I’m not keeping it well closed in my sleep. I didn’t think that could be the answer so I made another appointment with an ophthalmologist and she verified that the eye was indeed quite healthy and quite dry.

So onto finding solutions. I put in a gel at night for better lubrication and have an eye mask to cover the eyes. My son’s ex-wife saw something online that she thought would help and I checked it out. This morning on my trip to town for lunch with friends, I stopped at the sleep study center and asked if they had it or could they get it for me. In 15 minutes, they saved me the more than $100 and handed one over after a fitting. I practically danced out of the office. No more wind in my face all night. Granted, it’s not terribly attractive but I’m hoping it fills the bill.

The wind is at the top of the head with this one.

So the second pair of glasses that were made a few weeks ago works quite well for distances but I can’t read the computer with them. Back to the old pair when I’m on the laptop. The optometrist will try to come up with another prescription that works better for both. It’s frustrating but there’s still so much I want to do, read and write. Vision seems essential to those desires.

I’ve been working on this forever it seems. Now comes the quilt around it.

In the meantime, the clutter has continued to be cleared. All of the industrial shelving from my son’s storage unit were sold and are gone from the yard. I am continuing to pare down but have found it’s a good idea to go through the boxes carefully before donation. I found a whole bundle of embroidery patterns that I bought almost 10 years ago for over $60. Everything else in the box went, the patterns are now being lined up to work.

I’ve managed to get a few other things done.

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So how are you seeing this time of year? Signs of spring or signs of autumn becoming more clear? Are you starting to perk up or wind down?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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A Cure for the Blahs

It’s almost the middle of February! Where the heck did the time go? And where has everyone been? Like myself, so many other bloggers that I follow have been curiously absent. After the holidays, and the push to get my place livable again, I found myself sitting in my chair in the den after waking up in the morning and staying there till it was time to feed the body. I read, watched some news, always in fast forward with the sound off until they came to something that didn’t make my blood pressure rise and then I was tired and took a nap. It was a bad routine of sitting and barely motivating myself to read much less write a post.

Maybe it was the full moon that caused the blahs?

Maybe it was the full moon that caused the blahs?

I was lucky to see it will all the cloud cover

I was lucky to see it will all the cloud cover

Research was necessary. I found my journals from previous years and discovered  there was a pattern. The after Christmas letdown. Some years it was like I had gone into hibernation. When you don’t have a job, it’s easier to do but I think the need was there even when I was working. Retirement age makes hibernation easy. It seems so many are struggling with a lethargy from the post-election time through the holiday until the first signs of spring peaks through.

A new book to cheer me on.

A new book to cheer me on.

I’ve been sending out e-mail and cards to blogging friends and other friends to check on them. I learned years ago that the quickest way to feel better was to reach out to others. Many of us get caught in a rut and don’t know which way to go next. We feel…blah.  My friend at Gardening Nirvana must have had the same idea.

Today started out slow again with good intentions. You know what they say about good intentions and the road to hell being paved with them. By mid-afternoon I forced myself out of my chair to the top of the terraces in order to bury more green waste. I had planned a walk that didn’t happen so instead I grabbed the rake and shovel. After digging two large holes and burying the green waste, I raked a great deal of the debris that had fallen from the trees in the last wind and rain and snow storms this winter. That’s pretty good exercise for me. Getting ready to invite spring. Then I noticed spring was popping up its little head. I’m thinking that spending more time out there will smack the blahs right in the tush and get me moving again.

The blueberry bush was a gift from my friend that also blogs at “incahootswithmuddyboots”

 

Are you coming out of the winter blahs or do you just power through without a problem?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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In Search of a Slower February

Another month gone! Where did it go? One moment I was looking at the beginning of it thinking of all the possibilities it had to offer, and the next breath I took left me stunned in wonderment. What the heck happened to all that time? I realize February is shorter than most but does it have to speed up? I won’t ask anyone who lives along the east coast or mid-west that question? They are probably ready to have February zip on out.

February calendar courtesy of my friend at in cahoots with muddy boots.

February calendar courtesy of my friend at in cahoots with muddy boots.

The weather went from this:

Winter in my Portland back yard.

Winter in my Portland back yard.

to this:

Another view of winter in my Portland back yard. Any questions?

Another view of winter in my Portland back yard. Any questions?

My son is fully ensconced in his tiny room where he works and sleeps. We squeezed real hard. I’ve had to compact my ample supply of stuff too. Fortunately, Tech support (my son) came with a bonus. Somehow, he ended up with the shelves that came out of my sewing room in Arizona. I didn’t much care for them in that small room but since they were available, may as well make use of them. So I sanded them and painted them white to disappear into the walls. I had plenty of leftover paint.

There is one valuable lesson I learned in this process. Even though I was outside, the dust from some of the sanding blew back at me and left me snizzeling, sneezing and coughing for several days. It hasn’t been pretty. But the two shelves that are already up are pretty…useful.

I did 4 of these. 2 longer than the other.

I did 4 of these. 2 longer than the other.

There is less clutter on my workspace and I’ve found things I had misplaced to keep it from getting lost. Go figure. My organization is so much better and will continue to do so as we get the other two shelves up and then build shelves for the closet. It’s been fun except for the snizzeling part.

Shelf on one side of sewing room ready to load up

Shelf on one side of sewing room ready to load up

Using wasted space and helps with insulation.

Using wasted space and helps with insulation.

2 more ready to put up. Want to drop by for tea? This is my living/dining room floor!

2 more ready to put up. Want to drop by for tea? This is my living/dining room floor!

We spent one day this week meeting with a fellow blogger from Portland. When I saw her photographs and all the places she had been, Tech Support and I had to meet and ask her as many questions about the hiking/riding trails and photography as possible over one meal. She has been blogging so much longer than I have and we had a delightful visit. Check out Conscious Engagement’s wonderful photographs here. She gifted me with a few in magnetic sleeves for the fridge.

These look wonderful on her blog.

These look wonderful on her blog.

Tech Support is eager to get on the trails as the scenery here draws one out the door. That’s as far as I want to go but he bought a bicycle to ride since Portland is such a bike friendly area with lots of trails. In the search for a bike, he made the acquaintance of this cute fellow that wandered into the bike shop and never left. The owners call him Shop Rag and he goes up to everyone and greets them hello. Checking for treats is my guess. I’ve never met such a friendly cat towards strangers.

T.S and Shop Rag in the bicycle shop the cat runs.

T.S and Shop Rag in the bicycle shop the cat runs.

Shop Rag really runs the bike shop and certainly owns that sunny strip of floor.

Shop Rag really runs the bike shop and certainly owns that sunny strip of floor.

That’s only part of the things that made this month fly by. I think we are all ready to say goodbye to winter. The wind is blowing cold today with a fooling sunny day. I’m certain in the months to come, I’ll wish for another taste of winter, but for now I’ll enjoy the new view.

I wish they were in my yard but they are a few houses up.

I wish they were in my yard but they are a few houses up.


first flowers of spring in back yard. I don't even know what they are called,

first flowers of spring in back yard. I don’t even know what they are called,


New buds on the Hydrangea. Hooray for spring

New buds on the Hydrangea. Hooray for spring

Did February fly for you or did it slog on at a snails pace?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Pink Snow?

Spring has sprung in our little corner of the world. Winter tried to keep its grasp teasing us while we tried to decide whether a coat or a light jacket were in order. Layers are the operative word of this month. Pile it on so you can take it off. Ok, get your minds out of the rain-soaked gutters.

I’ve been a busy girl on some days. Other days I have done next to nothing. The nothing days were for observation; my favorite kind of day. Last week was my second physical therapy appointment. Wet and gray the day was not lending itself to anything cheery. I kept my head down to keep my glasses dry except to cross the street. I found out I cannot do parking structures anymore with my vision difficulties. I’m nauseous before I’m parked so I get to walk a bit more. When I looked out across the sea of cars I noticed the ground look as though covered with snow. I walked faster. Hmmm. The closer I got the deeper it looked. Oh my word, did I miss something? When I finally got a good look, the snow was…pink Yes, lots and lots of pink…blossoms. They covered every inch of ground blown or rained off the trees above. Too bad I only get to therapy once a month. I missed them on the trees. Darn!

Spring popping out through the pink snow

Spring popping out through the pink snow

it was an awesome view for me.

it was an awesome view for me.

Spring may be short this year. So many places miss it almost entirely. I knew it was here because the ducks were ducking. Quacking all over the place. Did you know ducks will eat the cat food left in the dishes on porches? No wonder they like going from apartment to apartment. On my walk back from the market the other day, I spotted these baby ducks scampering around. Mom was trying desperately to take a nap but there was so much interference. I worried about the chicks so close to the road. They did seem content to stay within beaks reach of mom.

You know how it is when you need a nap and the kids won't leave you alone.

You know how it is when you need a nap and the kids won’t leave you alone.

They are just too cute!

They are just too cute!

Looking for a dry spot

Looking for a dry spot

Now getting to the days I did do something; well here you go. I finished this quilt top I bought 5 or 6 years ago before I got Bells and could still sew. It was a kit and hadn’t realized it was so expensive but was too embarrassed to admit it was over my budget. I’m not a pink and blue kind of girl but loved the tea cups. Peach and blue are more my style but now I’m happy to have this part done with only the back, batting and quilting together to complete before binding. That will take longer than the top. What do I do with it when it’s finished? Maybe put it up for sale.

Love the teacups and satiny fabric, just not the colors

Love the teacups and satiny fabric, just not the colors

The next project was just a test of my endurance with the embroidery machine. This little number took at least 8 hours to complete the stitching. I tend to run the machine a bit slower in case of, well all kinds of problems. Especially if it’s the first time I’ve stitched out the design. The second time will be easier because I’ll know where the hiccups are. I’m still trying to decide how I will use this. Pillow, apron top or will it be a wall hanging?

Hoping the second time looks better but I loved the design

Hoping the second time looks better but I loved the design

Anyone want to put in their two cents worth? I’m open to suggestions. Have you found pink snow in your neighborhood?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself