Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Best years ever...

Have I ever mentioned how traumatized I was in turning 35? When I was in my twenties, my friend's sister had her 35th birthday and despite the fact that she was great-looking, all I could see was her age.  It seemed so old to me at the time.  So when 35 came knocking at my door, I saw all my "hot" years come crashing down all in one day.

I swore I saw my first wrinkle that very day. It seemed that my bust line dropped an inch at 8 in the morning, my backside looked somewhat flattened by noon and my long legs developed cellulite at the dinner table. Luckily, I snapped out of it, as shortly thereafter I met Dave in a country-western nightclub - him sporting a white dress shirt and me rockin' my tight jeans, boots and silk blouse...we were ever so hot!

As my birthday approaches this weekend, all those body changes that were in my imagination over 30 years ago have, alas, materialized.  But what's different is that I'm finally "starting" ( I use the word loosely) to be comfortable in my own skin. I did have an brief foray into the world of Restylane, but it didn't last. I am destined to have my mother's face, lines and all.

What is beautiful about growing older, if it can be said that old is beautiful, is that your brain knows where you have been, how far you've come and it starts to honor life in a whole new way. My brain knows instinctively that all that I am today is a reflection of the collective wisdom stemming from my own experiences in the past...some horrific, some challenging, some exceptionally magnificent. I learned from my mistakes, got stronger in the face of adversity and most of all, learned to cherish what's here and now...today.

My mom is rockin' 88, looking trimmer and more healthy every year.  I guess that bodes well for me if heredity has anything to do with it. Her new-found healthy eating habits made a huge impression on me, as well as those of friends like Suzan, Peg, Cynthia, Denise, etc.  All these lovely women are focused on healthy lifestyles, good eating and being "all they can be"!

Though I'm not especially fond of the number 66 (one more "6" digit, and we all know what that is - LOL!),  I'm not overly bothered by my age. I appreciate and enjoy the blessings of life that have been afforded to me - my home, my creative endeavors, my good health and my wonderful husband. We will celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary this August, and he still loves me in my tight jeans.  Who could want more?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Morning Irritations...

This morning,  I am trying to get some sewing done before my knitting peeps come over this afternoon, and the inevitable tyranny of the machines takes over. My Serger is an ever present reminder of how I am not in control. It's not like I'm an irritable person by nature, but I have to admit that there are some things that just drive me up a wall.

But first among those things is re-threading my Serger...

Since I'm making a list of Laurel's irritations this morning , then I have to add sitting by my pool amid dive-bombing wasps and yellow jackets. 
I guess they need water as they just seem to hover around the pool area. 
I set this bad boy up today - I wonder if it will solve my problem?

 Thirdly, I can't figure out how weeds get into my flower beds two days after I pull them out. Where is my gardener?

Speaking of sewing, what ever happened to the patterns where there was only one size included? Obviously it's more economical to have a gazillion different sizes - they only have to make one template.  But you tell me which of these little lines is my size...and then follow it if you can!

Lastly, how long does it take for a fig to ripen? Really! 
I have goat cheese and caramelized onions ready!

I'm really not this crabby all the time... there are at least five things that made me smile this morning...really!

Like remembering this evening on the lake earlier this week...

and tools that work...who invented these things? I love them!

and watching Miss Bella in the morning sun...

I will never get tired of seeing this every morning

and last but not least, I am always thankful for my creative gifts.

For the FabricLady

Laurel. Mama said there'd be days like this...

Sharing this morning on 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

"It's not a diet..."

A few days ago I posted photos of a wedding cake that I made for friends on Facebook and remarked how difficult it was to be around all that sugary sweetness when you're on a "diet". 

I was referring to the Whole9 nutritional way of eating, a Paleo approach to eating healthy advocated by my friend Suzan, the FabricLady. I had no sooner made that Facebook comment and up pops Suzan's reprimand (I'm surprised she didn't capitalize it, given her passion for Whole9):

"It's not a diet...."


Call it what you like, it fits right into my wheelhouse, this style of eating. I have been enjoying lots of eggs, meat, veggies and fruits.  I've eliminated pastas, breads, white "stuff" (rice, potatoes), most dairy, processed foods, 
and....what for it....wine!

That's not to say I haven't deviated in the last month with a glass here and there, but for the most part,  I have been pretty good.

I love tomatoes and it's the only vegetable that I have room for in my tiny raised garden bed.  
This year, I had a bumper crop...the cage fell over from the weight.

My sweet Owen raiding Grandma's garden...

It's NOT a diet in the sense of the Adkins, Jenny Craig, etc. 
(which I have tried all of them)
 but for me, it's an 
eating lifestyle that consists of good, healthy food 
and I love it!!! 

I feel better. Now I need to start walking again.

Side benefit of eating healthier? I've lost 10.5 pounds.

Laurel. Happy Sunday!

P.S. If you want to learn more about eating Whole9, go to Suzan's Blog, FabricLady.  She writes about it all the time!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Let them eat cake"

I wrote about making wedding cakes last year in "Making weddings is not for Sissies". Recall that I promised to make this cute young couple's cake in a moment of wine weakness and dang if I didn't do it again. But this time, I didn't forget that I committed to some old friends a small cake for their renewal of vows.

So bring on the red velvet and vanilla with butter cream icing. Just because it's small, doesn't mean it can't be elegant.  Just type in "small wedding cake" into Pinterest and see what you get - so many cute cakes!!

Here is mine:

Tasted good too!

Laurel. Best wishes to my friends for many more years!!!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Farmer

Magpie Tales

Mag 177

photo by Agustin Berrocal

The Farmer

Hour upon hour stringing snap beans
Canning tomatoes and corn
 Peeling lugs of peaches in the shade,
Picking blackberries with the rattlesnakes
Fifty cents a gallon
Bright coins burning holes in pockets at Woolworth's.
Children sitting amid the tall grass
Shucking piles of corn lit by the morning sun
Weeding young melon sprouts
Row upon row in the afternoon sun 
Digging in the soft red dirt
Starchy treasure unearthed in the evening sun
Yukon Gold for the dinner table
Bragging that everything he cooked 
came from the land
Taking for granted earth's bounty, we ate then
Remembering now, at my urban table, how he smiled
Corn stuck between his teeth.

Laurel. Farm to table...oh yeah.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Viking on Steroids

I'm headed to Berkeley this morning to deliver a few outfits for the FabricLady, proving you can go fishing for three days, celebrate the Fourth of July and push your sewing machine to the limits. At one point yesterday, I was sure I saw smoking rising from my Viking during a brutal siege with a knit top. I sensed that Colette, my ever present mini-me, was anxious about the welfare of her friend...I am sure I heard her sigh from the next room...

The Viking is a marvelous machine, though I say this knowing that just when you start complimenting something, it promptly goes South on you. At the risk of feeding its ever hungry ego, I love the way she (there are girl Vikings, right?) hums under pressure. Sewing machines these days are indeed complex...not like the old steel Singer with the knee pedal that I learned to sew my 4-H projects. But this complexity is also a blessing in that there are so many adjustment possibilities - a magic combination for every fabric and every project.

I'm pretty "old school" when it comes to sewing, so I forget that my Viking can conquer the sleaziest organza, the toughest denim and the stretchiest knit. In a recent post, Suzan talked about her love of knits, so learning the limits of my sewing machine and serger have been enlightening.

For instance, I probably spent an hour messing with the settings trying to get the right stitch, the right tension, etc. to sew on the lightweight knit shown in Suzan's post. Me and the Viking we truly at odds until out of the blue I think "the Presser Foot, Dummy"! By dialing down on the pressure put on the fabric while it feeds through, I eliminated that nasty bunched up look that I'm pretty sure Suzan might frown on.

There must 800 gazillion stitch settings on my machine and finding the right one for this knit fabric just took time and experimentation. What worked for the heavy ponte knit skirt of last week was not going to work. 

I've made a lot of knit tops so I'm pretty set in my ways.  However, you're never to "old School" to learn a new trick. I got this cool fusible stay tape at the FabricLady's store, StoneMountain. Actually, Suzan handed it to me and said "Here, try this!"  

Easy to apply, easy to use...magic! I do have one aside on this product...Do not drop this little roll - it is not wound very tightly and before you know it, you have 22 yards of tiny little thin tape in a twisted heap on the floor - trying to re-wind it onto the roll? NOT! But I digress - on this knit, I serged the tape on to the wrong side. You can also just iron it on...


Flip that puppy over, iron it (it's fusible!) and sew the hem like normal. It gives the hemline a little more stability yet maintains the stretch of the knit. Love it!!

Such cute little glass buttons...

Such a cute little top!

Chalk off another victory for the Viking.  I think I wore her out yesterday sewing things for the FabricLady, all the while, listening to Colette sigh from the other room.  I guess I better make something for her this week before she becomes violent and tries to choke the Viking...

Laurel. Sew nice.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Totally Random 2...

Sometimes you read a blog and you wonder "Who is this chick and where's she going with that?" I think that's why I love Nancy at A Rural Journal's meme on Fridays. It's a weekly linkup to share 5 facts/things about yourself.  I love the randomness of it all, reading about other bloggers' lives and loves...

If you know anything at all about me so far, you know that I AM Random. My brain's normal path is to traverse one side and create something beautiful and then randomly obsess over the long term yield on my IRA. Right brain, left brain...operating separately and somehow simultaneously. Totally random.

For instance...

1) I like to take photos of my feet...not because they are exceptionally cute or anything.  They are a picture of where they have been on any given day. When they travel, they want to remember that they had a great Chardonnay at 5:00 that day, or that they walked for miles just to see that waterfall.

2) I love flowers in my home but rarely treat myself. No reason...I just forget to buy them...or Winco just doesn't seem to have a good selection...or I think I'll save some money by picking something from the yard...

3) My sewing skills are not perfect...there, I said it, FabricLady. Some days either the stars are not aligned or my biorhythms are on the downswing and it just doesn't working for me. But I trudge onward,  wrestling with every seam, ripping, trimming, ripping. When the sewing gods abandon me, I usually throw in the towel, but some times...I fight to the death. Oh yeah, and I have an unusual allergy to working with Polyester, I guess.

4) Being on the water in a boat is among my favorite ways to de-stress. Two or three hours is the equivalent of a weeks vacation...and to actually watch a trout jump on the end of your line? Sublime. 

5) I love my home...everything about it. I love summer mornings in the courtyard and evenings by the pool. It's not a castle, but it makes me smile...

Laurel. Wishing you a peaceful summer weekend!

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