Saturday, February 13, 2016

that was interesting

That was interesting!  I was bringing up a heavy load of groceries and coughed at the same time.  I threw out a rib on the right side.  Holy-moly! I couldn't breathe, couldn't sleep, couldn't raise my arms, stoop, walk, type...nothing.

After several trips to the Chiropractor I can now breathe...function.  I'm hooked up to my TENS unit so when the muscles feel like they are tightening up I can zap the nerves and keep the spasms from pulling the rib back out of place.  I'm still not back a 100% but being able to take a deep breath is so wonderful.  This has brought home the point quite forcefully, again, that breathing is optional not a given.

It is interesting that the lower back and neck are considered easy to get back into place and stay in place.  While the thoracic area isn't because of the complexity of the ribs, muscles and shoulder blades and their supporting muscles.  So, basically, I'm waiting for the muscles to give up or be retrained to leave the ribs where they belong.  And I am ready!

Which brings me Muse came to visit before all this started and I was so excited to be able to play and create with her.  Why is your Muse always feminine?  Could there be a masculine Muse?

Did you know that using a rotary cutter, ironing and sitting at a sewing machine all use muscles in your thoracic area?  I finally got the top together and I hope I get it quilted in the next week or two to show to you.

Got some other thing I want to show you too; so until I get some photos taken I hope everyone is having a good day.


Friday, December 25, 2015

merry christmas everyone

This year for Christmas I felt like getting out the tub of decorations I hung on to when we moved.  Sister Suzy mentioned this is the first time in a while I have shown any interest in Christmas or that she has had any desire either.  We discussed the toll stress has on one's enthusiasm for life.

I rummaged around in the back of a closet and found my monster tree (all two feet of it).  Sister Suzy mentioned the tree would look a whole lot better if it had lights on it.  I agreed.  So, I did a little research on how long a string I would need.  The experts on the tube say 50 lights per foot of tree!  I do not want to catch the tree on fire! Nor do I want to be blinded by the light!  Well, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby were both advertising short strings for craft projects.  We went for a look-see and I found a 35-light string that was nine-n-half feet long.  That ought to be plenty.  And, it was.  Sure makes the tree look a lot nicer!
I dug out my Greek-cookbook I picked up way back in the dark ages to do some Christmas baking.  Once a year the Greek Orthodox Churches in Wichita have a fundraiser where they make Greek pastries and such.  Dad worked with a gentleman out at the Air Patch who was Greek Orthodox.  He mentioned the bake sale to Dad, Dad mentioned it to Mom, so off we went to the bake sale.  We were hooked.  One year they had cookbooks for sale.  This cookbook is one of those collections where a plea is sent out to the parents and congregation for recipes.  The Book is called Hellenic Cuisine.  It was copyrighted in 1957 and my book is the 36th printing in 1986.  The cookbook even has a recipe for Communion bread called Prosphoron in it.  The symbols that should be stamped on it, the meanings of the symbols and how it is to be portioned.

One of my favorite recipes out of the book is Almond Roll.  I had forgot how wonderful these were!  These taste better the second day, if they last that long!  I never make a full recipe.  I can get four rolls and 28 to 32 servings with this half recipe.

Almond Rolls

1/2 pound of filo/phyllo pastry

1 pound of almonds

3/4 pound of UN-salted butter, melted

3 eggs, separated

1 cup sugar

2 oz whiskey/rum


1 cup honey

Juice of half a lemon

The recipe calls for blanched almonds.  I do not bother.  Grind your almond fairly fine, a few chunks are okay in your food processor.

Beat egg whites stiff.  In a separate bowl beat egg yolks and sugar until light and creamy and the sugar is dissolved.  Alternating, fold in, the almonds and the egg whites until blended.  Then add the liquor.  I prefer rum to whiskey and I think if you had some Amaretto that would be good too.

Lay a filo/phyllo pastry sheet down and use a pastry brush to butter the sheet.  Repeat the buttering of each sheet until you have about a quarter of the stack of pastry sheets buttered and stacked on top of each other.  Should be four to five sheets.  Pour a quarter of the batter at one end of the stack and spread it towards the middle.  The batter will cover about 1/4 to a 1/3 of the stack.  Roll up jell-roll style; turn under the ends and place in a buttered jellyroll pan, seam-side down.

Repeat with the rest of the sheets and mixture.  While working with one roll be sure and cover the rest of the pastry sheets with a damp cloth or paper towels to keep the pastry sheets from drying out.  Otherwise, you will have a disappointing mess on your hands.

The directions say pour the leftover butter from brushing your pastry sheets over the rolls.  I do not, because I am pretty liberal as I am brushing the pastry sheets.  The butter will bake out and then be reabsorbed towards the end of the baking.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  I usually bake until golden brown and in my oven that is an extra 10 minutes.

While the almond rolls are baking put your honey and lemon juice in a saucepan and heat to boiling, stirring to keep from scorching.  Once it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and set aside.  Drizzle about half of the honey syrup over the hot pastry rolls.  The instruction say to cut immediately but I have better luck waiting until the pastry rolls cool and then cut.  I turn the slices on their sides and drizzle the rest of the honey syrup over the cut slices to soak in.  I get 7 to 8 slices per roll.  I store them in the refrigerator.

For the other half pound of filo/phyllo pastry, I make Baklava.  I use a combination of walnuts and almonds with cinnamon and cloves and the same honey syrup.  But, that will be for another day!

I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

belle's wedding quilt

I finished Belle's quilt right before Sister Suzy and I left for a trip back to Kansas after she finished her first quarter of school.  I started this quilt over a year ago.  It spent several months setting after I started it because I just didn't feel like finishing it.  It was one of three; I started and lost interest in over the last year.
This is a tossed nine-patch, believe-it-or-not.  When I saw it out on the web in this size I was surprised at how different it looked from the one I had seen on a quiltinaday you-tube video and made for Sister Suzy one Christmas.
I just realized I made one for both Belle and Sister Suzy!  Kewl! The connection between Belle and Sister Suzy is they have been friends since third grade.  Sister Suzy was the Maid of Honor for Belle in October when Sister Suzy flew back to Kansas for the wedding.

Side Note: Flying in and out of Mesa to Wichita is a lot easier than Sky Harbor to KCI or Ok City.  Mesa and Wichita are smaller airports with only one building and you can get direct flights at a reasonable price.  Then getting from KC, MO or OK City to Wichita is an additional hassle.

I used the Crazy Short-cut Quilt-as-you-go Method to set the quilt together with.
I know I keep talking about this method of setting a quilt together. beats the hell out of wresting a king-size quilt's worth of materials in a home sewing machine!  And you end up with a nice looking quilt.

I spent a lot of time thinking, as I quilt and set it together, on what kind of border I was going to use.  The plans for this quilt is on my computer with the dead motherboard and I couldn't for-the-life-of-me remember what I had decided for a border.  So, this is what I decided on.
Belle was using fall colors for her wedding and I just happen to have some fabric that fit the bill.  Yeah, for a closet of fabric!  I decided to offset the borders instead of using cornerstones or the standard horizontal set of the border.  I think it gave the quilt the right pizzazz.  I chose a solid green for the binding and outside frame.

On the back, I used solids for the backing, setting the blocks with gingham.  Yeah, more gingham out of the stash!
I really like how the back turned out.  As you can see, I played around with different ways to quilt each block.  I was trying to hold boredom at bay.  It helped.

The quilt ended up being 96-inches square, with each block being 14-inches square.  I did not make a nine patch and then cut it.  I just built each block using a 10-inch square, 2 - 10x5 rectangles and a 5-inch square.  Most of the fabric was previous cut strips leftover from other projects.

Well the label is on.
So it it time for me to wish all of you a good day!


Monday, December 7, 2015

the state of my mind

No, I have not abandon my blog, just went through a very dry spell of nothing done creatively and a prolonged spell of melancholy.  I have come up for air again and hopefully I can reestablish some enjoyable routines again, like building quilts, knitting, cooking, and other pursuits.

My beast of burden  (the 2005 Focus) died.  Finally got an estimate on the check engine light that had been on for two years.  It was the front catalytic convert at 2,000 bucks.  Since the car was only worth $300 to $1,000 with 260,000 miles, it is not worth the repairs but it ran, and ran well.  The final blow was the car acted like something was wrong with the battery/alternator/starter and the mechanic could not find anything wrong, but all the gauges on the dash would quit and the car would die.  The car died on Sister Suzy at Christown Mall after a movie and would not restart after letting set overnight.  Called the junkyard and had them come pick it up.  Did not realize how much stress I was under about the car until the tow-truck pulled out of the parking lot and I cried from relief.

Anniversary of Hubby's death plus the financial bombshells and repercussions that have been occurring the last year did not help any either.  Things are better but it is still going to be a while before everything is taken care of.  Of course, the vultures/bill collectors do not believe there are no assets as 95-97% of all Americans have some kind of assets.  There was nine dollars and 41 cents in our checking account the day he died.  No life insurance, no IRAs, no stocks, bonds, property, real or personal that were unencumbered, zilch, nada, nothing.  So, basically, I am waiting them out by ignoring the phone, taking all the collection notices and putting them in a file and when I get his ashes interred, I will address the collection notices.  The phone ringing is stressful.  It reminds me of the financial mess that is setting in the file cabinet that I do not have the money for a lawyer to resolve.  In the meantime, the needs of the living come first, not some bill collector, in my world.

I have been stressing over Sister Suzy's first quarter of graduate school.  Will she pull it off or not?  17 hours of graduate level class in 10 weeks instead of the standard of 9-12 hours over 16 weeks.  The last couple of weeks were touch-n-go, but she pulled out A-minuses across the board.  So, this quarter is starting out a lot calmer.  She is still behind the 8-ball on books, 2 of the 4 are going to be late coming in, but she has a workable plan for those.

My sister went through a cancer scare this spring/summer.  The doctors say it looks like they got it all, so now it is in the wait-n-watch phase.  She is now dealing with the side effects of Chemo and Radiation, hair growing back, deep bone pain, weakened muscles and neuropathy.

And, for the icing on my cake of woe-is-me, my knees hurt like hell and my weight is ballooning.  Cortisol levels are way up, asthma is bothering me, and blood sugars are being stupid.  I.e. the stress of being me is getting to me.  But all is not lost, I have started mediating, again, and doing EFT to bring down the stress/cortisol levels which is helping the asthma and blood sugars.  Which in turn is helping the weight so if I can get some weight off maybe the knees will lighten up a bit.  Which would help my mental health by not being in such pain, which means I will feel like doing something.  Which...

Okay, I have bent your ears enough.  Back later with some pictures of a quilt I actually finished.  I hope everyone is having an enjoyable day.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

entrelac baby afghan/blanket

I knitted a baby afghan/blanket.  The goal was to get some yarn out of my stash.  The stash is 717 grams or 25.29 oz or about a pound-n-half lighter.  I wanted to use up all the Lion Brand Cupcake, not the greatest yarn in the world to work with.  The cut ends frayed A LOT as I noted in a previous blog post.  Another point of contention was the yarn was rated as worsted (4) and it was barely sport (3).  That was the weight of the yarns I used with the cupcake to get the same gauge.

I used one 6 oz skein of Red Heart Baby Sport (Crayon Print).  That was the variegated.  The rest was the Cupcake (Blueberry and Marshmallow) except for 5 maybe 10 yards of Michael’s Loops and Threads White Sport to get me back to the beginning of the round for the outside border of garter stitch.  I had about 18 inches leftover of the Cupcake Blueberry that I bound-off with left. Yeah!
 The blanket measured 52 inches square after washing and blocking.  A little bit bigger than I wanted/figured but not bad for a first project knitting a bias fabric
This is a close up of the border.  I knit the inside border of garter-stitch 3 time before I got something I liked.  What I did find out though was I had enough of the Cupcake to add an outer-border and bind-off so I guess the experiment in futility wasn't a total bust. ; >)  The Cupcake didn't like being ripped back that much either!

I re-knit the middle border twice.  I started with a 4 x 2 ribbing.  It was okay but nothing to write home about.  So I pulled out the diamond lace pattern for the Tappan Zee sweater and used that.  I got one and a half repeats before I ran out of yarn.  I had to redo the corners, as my idea about working the diamond lace pattern into the corners as I added stitches didn't work out so hot.  I ended up with solid corners.  I bet if I would get out graph paper and chart it, that it would have worked.  Sometimes I have trouble visualizing how to make it work.
While researching how to leave the stitches live when I finished the entrelac, I read a blurb/blurp that said you will need to increase your stitches by a factor of 1.3 to 1.4 to get the fabric to lay flat.  I had to increase by 1.4 to make gauge.  The big holes you see where I added the interior border was not intended.  I was slipping the first stitch so instead of binding-off the stitch I slipped it to the next needle and I think I should have knitted the first stitch when I turned the work to go back for that last row.  I will have to play with it to find out on the next entrelac project.

For a design-it-as-you-go project I think it turned out well.

Hope everyone is having a good day!


Sunday, August 23, 2015


Well, I decided to come up for air and post something on my blog just to let y'all know I haven't abandon it.

Sister Suzy is safely nestled in the other bedroom waiting for the first day of graduate school.  She's a bit nervous after the first day of orientation.  She thinks she may have bitten off more that she can chew.  Which I think is good, in that, she won't go into this complacent.

One hiccup is none of her books is in the university bookstore and the disbursement of student loans isn't until the third day after school starts.  However, she is not the only one and the professors were made aware.  There is some scrabbling in the background to loan some books until everyone has money to get their books ordered and in.

Got a crap load of junk in the dining room I need to go through...hang pictures on walls...quilt racks on the walls...books to put away and such.  Still got a crap load of junk in the storage room in Kansas to get rid of or find a place for here.  But that storage room has a lot less in it than when I rented it in November of 2013.  I hope to have the storage room emptied the next time we head back.  Two years is all the time I want to invest in storing stuff.  Time to let the stuff/junk go or put it to use again.

More later

I hope everyone is having a good day!


Monday, June 15, 2015

ready for sister suzy

I finally got the master bedroom ready for Sister Suzy.  Damn, I hate bunged up knees!  I took down the Vertical blinds that seem to be ubiquitous to Arizona on all windows and doors.  Oh, and patio doors are arcadia doors in Arizona, too.  You get some really puzzled looks when you talk about your patio doors until they make the connection.
Can we say butt ugly!?  I thought we could!  Also, note they do nothing to protect from heat/cold infiltration.  I don't think they had ever been taken down to clean, if the top of the bracket/rail was any indications. It looks like all maintenance did was replace damaged slats as you can see in the different shades of white in the slats.

Any way, this is what I came up with.

I went to Hobby lobby and picked up 5 yards of white flocked drapery lining.  I made a sash/black-out curtain and hung that over the door blocking out any light that might come around the curtain as well as blocking out the cold/heat.  That curtain alone cut the temperature in that room by at least 10 degrees and the A/C isn't cycling as much.  Then I hung the drapes I originally bought for the front room on the rod that the finials screw into but only used one and butted the other end up against the wall.  I used rings on the sash curtain so you can open the curtains and step out the door.  But like a dummy I got the wrong size rings for the drapery rod, so I had to just run the drapes on the rod until I can get the right size rings to finish the project.  This makes the drapes hang a little high in the picture.

If Sister Suzy wants it darker in her room, I will go back to Hobby Lobby to get the black drapery lining fabric and make another curtain.  She has a security light just outside her patio door shining on the mailboxes and courtyard.  It really lights up that room and the balcony.

Well I'm going to be off line for a month or so while I'm back in Kansas getting Sister Suzy and visiting family.

Y'all hold the fort down and don't have too much fun!