Saturday, August 30, 2008

Wheel of Life

Have you ever thought about the Wheel of Life? This is a theory that all of life is like a wheel and every person and thing has a place on it. As the wheel goes around some of us are at the top and some of us are at the bottom. I remember in high school when we were studying King Lear, using the symbolism of the Wheel of Life to relate what was happening to the various characters. A variation on this is that the gods control the wheel and our places on it. If this is true, WHO THE HECK DID I OFFEND?? We worked hard today. DH is washing out five gallon pails that have been used to store dirt for five years ( Don't ask) so that I can use them for my dyeing. I have been busy sorting out the studio and basement so that I can start my dyeing--since the finished project has to be submitted by Sept 28th--and remember that big meeting weekend that I have to do all of the coordinating for? Well, I went to the fridge to get a soft drink out of my two a day ration--it felt warm--the damn fridge ( 2 1/2 years old) isn't working!! And the big across the bottom freezer isn't working either--and hasn't in awhile. All that food!! Investigation shows that somehow, the damn thing got turned off!!? Who do I blame??!

Home again

I got the parcel from UPS, opened it and discovered that the jar of black paint had broken. But I phoned the company in Toronto and they were great about sorting everything out and sent me a replacement bottle--by UPS. We went to the lake on Wednesday and came home Friday afternoon. Pulled in to the driveway, and there was the UPS truck behind us delivering my replacement botle of paint.

The lake was a different story. We got down to discover a real mess. The kitchen was filthy. the very small work counter covered in grease and congealed egg yolk! The floor was covered in popcorn, and other stuff we didn't try to identify. They had taken their wet garbage but left the dry--quite a bit of it. In the house itself, we had to clear a bunch of dirty towels away to even get into the bathroom! The beds are usually left ready for use, but we take our own sheets regardless. When we went to change the beds, the linen had obviously been used.

Now, we share this property with another side of the family, and this hasn't happened before. The place is a bit of a dump, but we try to keep it clean, so as to keep vermin away--always a problem rural areas. My DH, who is quick to anger, called his sister and explained his displeasure. We weren't sure who might have been using the place, as we knew our niece had been out of town, but knew that it would have been someone who had got the keys from them. So I had to start cleaning up. Considering that we only have cold water, and I hadn't taken any cleaning supplies or equipment, it was quite a job. I didn't finish with laundry until Friday morning. We later found out that, while my niece was away, her oldest son had taken his younger sibs down, as expected, but had taken a bunch of buddies as well--young men in their early 20's. Are we surprised at the result?? NOT.

Thursday evening, my DH had a chat with the local Fire Chief. Evidently there has been a problem with campers in the area dumping their garbage in the bin at the local fire hall. ( Garbage disposal in the area is always a problem. We haul ours back to the city and include it in our home garbage) It is enough of a problem that they had actually gone through some of the garbage trying to identify who might have left it. My SIL's name came up, so we were being asked to pay for one bin to be taken away--$120.00. They were asking, and hoping for compliance before sending an officail letter and imposing a fine. Rather than phoning my SIL again and getting into another confrontation, DH gave her phone number to them. We have no idea how that played out, but I'm betting the $$ come out of the small account that is kept for maintenance of the property. That annoys me, because it means that DH and I are paying half the amount.

Now I'm trying to finish all of the work around the house, as well as working on the arrangements for the big meeting weekend later in the month. This means that we are now coming up to the third week of nothing but housework--all day, every day. I'm tired. This afternoon about 2:00, my body said enough! Now I've had a nap, and I'll tackle the work again, but boy!! Do I ever need some studio time.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I am being screwed around by UPS!! No delivery yesterday despite the assurances that it would be here. I checked the tracking number before bed and discovered that the status had been changed to read that delivery was on hold because the receiver had requested that it be held until a delivery date could be arranged! I was livid! But the office was closed and I had to wait until this morning to call. The girl I spoke to ( it's a 1-800 number and they refuse to release the number of the local offfice) apologized and said that she didn't know what was going on, but she suggested that we might want to consider going to the local office to pick the parcel up. I agreed that this might be the best option with us going out of town for the next three days. She further suggested that maybe she could have the local office call me to verify that the parcel was actually in the local office, so that I wouldn't be going half way across the city to pick it up only to find that they didn't have it. That was at 9:15 this morning. Still no call from the local office. I will wait another hour and then call again. I also plan to call the shipper to tell them how unhappy I am with their rush service.

In the mean time we are still up to our elbows in the kitchen. Our tomato crop all ripened at the same time, so we have been making tomato sauce. We are preparing food to take to the lake, doing laundry to take to the lake, and trying to make something for supper tonight. We have just realized how very hot this is making the house, and I think I'm going to put the A/C on--reluctantly, because it's an absolutely beautiful day outside.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Life gets in the way

Where, oh where, has my life gone?? Sautrday night I told DH that I would go into the studio and start to sort things out so we could seriously think about washing the floor. (Yeah, I know, we've been talking about it for weeks) I started slowly and --WHAM!!--he came to help. Well, when DH helps it means that everything is done to his plan and schedule, and I get to 'fetch and carry"--in MY studio. This might work if he had a plan or schedule. I had wanted to sort all the crap out as it left the studio, so that I wouldn't have to carry it back in. I had boxes to sort into--one for the Embroiderers' guild, one for the Quilters' Guild and one for the local thrift store. I also had two five gallon pails for garbage. He decided to move everything, no matter what it was, into my little store room or into the sitting area adjacent to the studio.-, after all we had to do that to wash the floor and wasn't washing the floor what we were there for? By the end of the evening, the floor in the studio had been washed, and nothing had been taken back into the area. The rest of the basement was in total chaos. Then he decided that he had done enough, and maybe I should sort some of the junk before it went back in.

Yesterday, I finally got a start on sorting, and mentioned that I had a lot of magazines that needed to go somewhere else. Well, he came in like a cyclone and 20 years of Quilters' Newsletter Magazine, Cross stitch and Country Crafts, Piecework, American Patchwork and Quilters, Piecework, and one other were hauled out of the basement, loaded into the wheelbarrow and taken to the curb so that the re-cyclers could haul it away today. Then he says that there were three magazine holders left that he thought I might want to sort through. I think that he really wanted those magazines out of the house. Duh! You think!??

So I mentally "girded my loins" and figured on starting serious sorting and cleaning today. OH NO!! he has other ideas. After annoucning last evening that we would be spending three days this week at the lake with our DD and DGD, today we had to make pies for the freezer! I guess the work was a trade off. Even though my hips and feet have been screaming with pain the last few days, I made the pastry and put the pies together, standing, while he pared the apples--tiny little apples off our tree. There is no way my hands could have peeled, cored and sliced all those apples, as we went through 6 dozen, and produced 10 full sized pies. We gave several dozen apples to the neighbour, and threw out any that fell off in the recent wind or were bruised. This is a very productive little tree!

Now, I have been wanting to go back to the sequence dyeing to see if I can produce something for the "Black and White" challenge from the Fiber Art Connection of Southern California. The deadline is September 28. I've ordered my dyes from Toronto and the tracking system of UPS shows that they arrived in Winnipeg Friday afternoon. So we have been sitting at home the past three days waiting for the delivery. Nothing! I called today and was told that it is scheduled for delivery today, and that they may deliver any time before 8:00pm. This means that one of us has to stay up stairs beause we can't hear the doorbell from the basement. But--I'm now having doubts that I'll be able to get anything done before the dealine-especially with going to the lake.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Post Office

I had sent a quilt to California for a show. I mailed it August 10, and was concerned because I hadn't heard that it arrived yet, so I tracked it through the Post Office. According to them it was only sent out to the destination yesterday. Since it was going to a PO Box #, it may not have even been picked up until today. I'm surprised that it took so long. I was really worried about this one, as the original entry to the show was sent on CD and never arrived. I ended up having a late entry via e-mail. So, if Idon't hear from the lady in California in a couple of days, I'll ask her.

It's always a leap of faith to send these things out into the world. We put our heart and soul into making them and then, just like children, we give up control and hope they do okay.

Me and the clay

Today I took my course in using polymer clay to make beads. I went prepared to take pictures so that I could put them up here, but it wasn't possible. I had also been told to make sure I took my pasta machine, but when I got there, there were six machines set up. Maybe part of the reason it's so hard to find pasta machines here is that the teacher has bought them all.(LOL) Any way we made a "cane", or sausage shaped piece of clay with several colours in it, and then we made beads using the "cane". My first effort was nothing like the sample, and darned if I know what happened. The teacher made up a little one, the right way, so that I could move on to the next step. Now, I'm determined to make one the right way so that I can figure out what went wrong! but i came home with aobut 10 beads. Most of them are quite large. At the end, when we were able to do our own thing, I made a few flat beads, that I might be ble to use in my collages.

But my dyes have not yet arrived, and my house is being overrun with junk, so the next few days I'll be trying to sort out the studio enough that we can finally wash the floor. We had a short, sudden cloud burst yesterday. Heavier rain than I can remember having seen around here before, and a little water got in the basement. We're not sure how, and are a little concerned about it. We haven't had this before in the 9 years we've lived here, so we believe it was just because of the heaviness of the rain. Sure hope so anyway.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


yesterday I made 6 banana loaves. Today I have a banana cake in the oven and plan to make another, as well as a batch of banana muffins. All because I wanted to save a few cents on bananas. I remembered that I had my mother's recipe for banana cake. She used to serve it with the most disgusting topping. Very well beaten eggs whites with far too much sugar. I think I'll try something a little healthier--although I guess there's nothing healthy about cake and topping. DH is off painting at out DD's new home again. They are having problems with the day care they've found in their new community, and are seriously looking for an alternative. Unfortunate, but I remember the days when my children were small--and day care was even less avaialble than now. I almost wept with joy when I found a commercial day care centre that was actually a training site for the local community college. I don't think I was ever happier about having someone else look after mychildren. Once I get the baking done, I hope to get into the studio. Wish me well!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I've ordered my dyes. It looks like there may be a delay in sending them. The chap on the phone said that I didn't want to order anything until next week when they have their big sale--first one in over 20 years. But he said that if I ordered by e-mail, I would get the sale prices. So I did. I can spend the time preparing my pattern and I think I'm going to do it up with the fabrics I have on hand. This will give me a chance to make sure the pattern works, and to test out the techniques I plan to use. The deadline for submission of photos is September 30th, so I have a bit of time. In the meantime, I still have the Embroiderers Association Regional meeting to put together for September 19th and 20th. So far I've arranged 16 billets, 7 volunteer drivers, a meeting room, a shopping trip, catering for one event, and found a committee to organize a big pot luck supper. I suddenly realized during the night, that I haven't organized catering for a second event, so I'll have to get on that today. I had planned to process two huge bags of bananas into banana bread today, and clean a whole fridge full of veggies that we bought on Saturday. A full days work, I think. I had bought a bag of cherries as well--$7.62--that turned out not to be ripe enough to eat. What a disappointment!

Monday, August 18, 2008

quite a day--so far....

We have been shopping. We've orderedour new glasses. Didn't end up at the place we thought we would buy them at. When we went there and I told the girl that we had spoken to someone Friday and had brought our prescriptions in to order our glasses, she responded with " did we call you that they were ready?"
my response "no, we've come in to order them. '
Her reply, "is all of your information on file?'
"NO, I have it on this business card"
"Yes, I can read"
"perhaps we should go somewhere else. I've offended You"
"I'll get someone else to wait on you, just a minute"
She goes in the back room and comes out
" So and so will look after you if you come back in 10-15 minutes"
This in a large high-profile store in the local mall. WE went to a smaller store across the street where we were treated politely, if slowly, and ended up paying about $200 less than we had been quoted at the other store, and got an extra pair of glasses, inthe bargain.

Then it's off across the city to buy me a respirator for using when I'm dyeing or using spray adhesive. The store has moved and no-one knows where. So back to this side of the city, and found a respirator in the local paint store. Then home to find a message on my machine that Greyhound had called and would I please pick up my package. So back downtown to discover the true meaning of "two seasons--winter and construction". But now I'm home with what appears to be a very fancy pasta machine. Wow! All the bells and whistles. and some pictures as well! Thankyou Beth!

Next I've decided to bite the bullet and order the dye and paint that I want from the company in Toronto. The price is reasonable, but the shipping is a killer! But I'll get what I want and I can play with it over the next week or so.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Still can't sort it out

But I've found a way to get in--a lo-o-ong way to get in. Well, I tried my dyeing yesterday. It was a disaster ( except on my hands where the rubber gloves leaked). We talked this morning about trying again, but it costs a lot in terms of dye and fabric. The end result was back to the fabric store today and found a much better version of the same fabric for the same price (go figure!) So I bought more fabric, and all of the other stuff I need, except for the dye. We've decided that I'm going to use a better quality dye--provided I can get it. So tomorrow it's off to buy dye. If I can't find it here, I think I have a mail order source for it. ( The shipping costs are a killer!)Now this is not any sort of urgent thing, but I've finally found something to pique my interest after going through a dry spell. And, of course, having had a failure, I'm bound and determined to get it right somehow! but first I have to "scour" the fabric, that is take all of the sizingout and prepare it for dyeing. I believe this means washing it with soda ash ( washing soda). However, I think I need to do a little research on the internet before I actually do anything.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


It appears that the blog site has been updated. Had a terrible time reaching a spot where I could add a new post to my blog. If this continues, I may just give up--it's not worth the hassle. Or maybe I'm not too patient today. I had a late night and then spent most of it tossing and turning beause of arthritic pain. I spent some money yesterday on replenishing my supplies. I now have muslin and batting and thread. I even bought a little bit of quilted cotton to make more of my fabric purses. Now it's all sitting in the studio waiting for me to put it away. This means carefully wrappign it around cardboard tubes etc. Not a big deal, but I have nowhere to store them!

We also bought food. Went in for a few vegetables and ended up spending enough that we got a huge bottle of detergent --free! But I found flank steak. A rare treat. We also bought corn onthe cob to serve tomorrow when the grandchildren come to visit. We'll see how that goes!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Washing the floor

is going to be quite a chore. We are planning this like a military manoevre. I can see the whole task consuming our lives over the next few days. It would appear that I'm going to have to break down most of my studio, so that we can get at the floor. We'll certainly have to roll up the rug in my little sitting area and we really need to get at the floor in the laundry room. The one with all of the wine spilt on it from last time we transferred from primary to carboy. I sort of don't mind, because a general clean up is part of my ritual when I finish a piece--and I certainly have finished pieces over the last little while. But it's rained for about 24 hours now--one of those slow, steady, soaking rains. Nothing is drying because of the high humidity, and I have to wonder how quickly a wet basement floor would dry. We might be better to delay this for a week, as the forecast is for even more rain.

And that would give me more time to get myself started on a new piece. I have been taking a second look at some of my UFO's. One, that I spent a tremendous amount of time on, will probably be disgarded--although I haven't actually forced myself to do that yet. Another has been re-worked to a certain extent. I'm still sure it will never be a great work of art, but I want to pursue it anyway. However, I need to remember that even though my big deadlines are past, I still have a couple of important things to deal with in September, and it's time I started to worry about them.

Monday, August 11, 2008


for a piece that I painted some time ago and thought that I could finally actually do some work on. Can't find it. But---I've been doing some cleaning and sorting while looking for it. Where does all of this junk come from? I still have all of the quilts that I took out of the old cedar chest spread around the basement to air out. With all of the other stuff I now have spread around, it looks like a dump. So that'll be today's job. DH wants to wash the floor in the basement, i.e. my studio and sitting area. Talk about needing a major clean-up!! I have to agree with him--it does need washing. There is overspray from my spray starch, and maybe even a little glue and paint.

I had news of a little ( read small) inheritance yesterday. Now DH and I are arguing about whether we use it to buy me a new hearing aid-which I rarely use--or whether we buy new glasses for both of us. Knowing myself fairly well, unless I have a firm list of things to buy, I'll fritter it away on small stuff and not have any left for the more important things like glasses. Some of my first thoughts were to finally get the pedicure that I've been wanting for months, maybe a haircut and some new underwear, but glasses come first in my mind. Or--I could blow it all in the local fabric store! Wouldn't that be a blast? The other two times I inherited money, I did go on a small spree at the fabric store. I also have to admit that a new sewing machine came to mind, too. But I must be strong and talk DH into new glasses.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I've finished the little hanging using the gelatin prints. Once I have the binding on, I'll try to take a picture. Now I have a commission piece that's overdue. I've made good money with my commissions over time, but now they are starting to seem like work. I have no more show deadlines, and I'm not sure what direction to move. I'm thinking of trying some local shows, at a higher level than previously. I'm not sure what work would be accepted, so would be going by instinct rather than knowledge. A stange place to be. I washed and pressed the smaller sunprints I did last Wednesday. I have them all arranged on the design wall and they look great. I've worked the colours differently and I'm quite pleased with the result. I even like the impact of having them grouped together for display. I have to wonder how it will look when they are all stitched and matted. When we were in Sioux Narrows, the lady in the next booth suggested hanging some of the matted pieces on my display grid. I tried it and they sold, so this may be a different way of displaying my work for future shows. But I need the brighter colours for maximum impact. I'll maybe try it out at Ft. Whyte next spring--the next appropriate show on my schedule.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


something to watch on tv. Two hours of new episodes of Torchwood last evening. Did a bit of hand stitching while I watched, but what a great way to relax! Played a bit during the day. I found some gelatin prints that I made last spring, and worked two of them into a small quilted hanging. I realized that the method I used was the same as the one I use for the sunprints and very similar to one I have used in the past for some larger quilts. So now I have to figure out whether I'm in a rut or if this is a legitimate method that I should take advantage of. Of course, I can't think of any other way of doing things right now. There are at least three other gelatin prints that I want to use in some way. This morning we went through one of the trunks where I keep past work. What a lot of junk! DH is now on a trip to donate most of it to the local thrift store. Two of the completed tops might be worth paying someone to machine quilt for me. They're too big for me to do myself. One of the "finds" was a satin baby quilt that my MIL had a friend make when I was expecting my first child--40 years ago. Being satin and being hand quilted, it can't be washed--and has turned into a bit of a white elephant. Not sure what can be done, but I've brought it out to air. Everything smells coming out of the old cedar chest. I also found some dolls. Some are quite old and may have some antique value, but others were hand made by me, over the years. They have never been touched since, and I'm thinking of my grand daughters. The older one has a doll I made but the two younger ones haven't. So maybe I can deal with most of the stuff. Not what I had planned for the day.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Well, I ran out of steam about noon yesterday, but got a good bit of the kitchen done. Today I had hopes for the bathroom, but haven't even got started yet. I spent time this morning getting a quilt off to exhibition in California. Now that was an expense I hadn't anticipated--almost $40.00. Guess we eat Kraft Dinner for a few days. Yesterday DH found an ad in the little community newspaper for a sale at Fabricland. I've been waiting for one of their famous 50% off sales so that I can replenish my muslin--which I use by the metre. Well, the muslin wasn't on sale, but I found good quality white quilters' cotton that was on sale, and at the same price as the muslin would have been. This has a higher thread count, so will be just as useful as the muslin would have been. So I bought the bolt. Another reason to eat Kraft Dinner over the next little while. We also need to buy gas, but I think the bicycles will have to do for awhile. What more can I say?

Nothing accomplished in terms of creativity. I have a commission that I need to work on before the middle of the month, but I still feel that I need to reward myself with something creative before I go back to work that really is work. I have a bunch of things to do around my volunteer activities as well. And the deadlines for that are creeping up. Oh why, oh why did I retire? Life was simpler when I was working

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Time to step back

and take a good look at my house. I've been so immersed in getting ready for the sales that I've neglected a lot of things around here. DH has been so very good about making sure we eat and have clean clothes, but now I look around and see other signs of neglect. For instance, we haven't washed our windows this year--yet. And my pantry is out of control. I have no idea what food we have where because DH has looked after that for so long. So it looks like I'm going to have to dscipline myself and get back into the routine I once had of setting up a schedule of chores, and working creative time into the schedule so that I can get a bit of everything done every day.

I have promised myself that I'll make time for something creative as opposed to spending time making things just because I have a good idea that they'll sell. I've signed up for a class in polymer clay for later this month. Now I need to find a second hand ( cheap) hand operated pasta machine to use in working the clay. She also suggested a dedicated toaster oven for curing the clay. I've tried using my regular oven and the clay overcooked and burnt-which I coverd up with paint. I've since found out that the clay comes in colours that you work to make patterns--that it isn't painted. Guess I need a class.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

We're back!

What a weekend! It was a much larger sale than I've been in before, but that didn't mean that I made much money! We covered expenses plus a little bit. After almost selling out of my hangings in Pinawa, and working like a slave all last week to build up my stock again, I sold one hanging. But my little stuff (read cheap) sold very well. I also sold a couple of matted sun prints and collages. There was much more interest in the collages than the sunprints, but if I'd had sunprints of fern, I might have sold a few more. So I've brought home some ferns andhope to make a few small sunprints over the next day or so, that I can work on over the winter months.

Anyway, lot's of laundry to do, and I need to sort everything out, befoe it gets creased or dirty, so off the the salt mines again.