Thursday, September 19, 2013

People Who Live In Glass Houses...

should not wave around brooms! This is a sad story about what happens when a person who shall remain nameless (starts with C) got over zealous about cleaning up the front porch and put a broom handle through our beautiful stained glass window!

Here you see the window from the outside after the damage is done to the upper portion. Shipping tape has been applied to try and prevent further breakage. This window is one of my very favorite things in the house and I'm just sick about this. When we first walked into this house this was one of the things that sold me on this rather masculine pile of wood and brick. I know, I know, it's just a thing and the world has not come to an end but I can feel sad all the same. Mr. C feels worse believe me and I'm not rubbing it in for his sake. After all this accident could have just as easily happened to me. Haven't I waved around a broom or two in my time as well? As you can see the window is set into a brick wall and custom made for the space, this is not going to be easy to replace folks.

Here's the view from inside the house. Dogwood branches for Dogwood Lane Farm how fitting. This is looking out from our kitchen to the front porch.

And now the HOLE. After a lot of team work involving our son and grandson the broken stained glass was removed without further damage and what we have here is a deep, brick oval. I kind of like the Hobbit Hole effect don't you? 

It took quite a bit of calling around to find an artisan to attempt a repair. When he saw the window he told us that he could not replace the glass as it was all antique glass no longer available unless we wanted to import hand blown glass from Germany. He had no idea how the person who made the window originally was even able to construct it as he certainly could not. The bottom line - a whole new window has to be made. I insisted on an exact reproduction of the design, he insisted on modern construction methods, we settled on a price somewhere north of extortion. Sigh. Our homeowners insurance is no help because we have an even higher deductible. 

I'm grateful we have the means to replace it at all and grateful we were able to find an artist willing to take on the task. I'll keep you  posted when the new window is ready for installation. I'm sure that will be a tale.

circa 2011 The ORIGINAL Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop 

Until next time,

Monday, September 16, 2013

I'm Back!

Oh my, have you seen my scissors? I seem to have misplaced them, along with my rotary cutter and my sanity.

This grainy picture is from a cell phone download but I'm sure you get the idea. Our retreat at Zephyr Cove at gorgeous Lake Tahoe was anything but quiet. In fact we had so much fun that I need a week of sleep at home just to recover!

Our workroom was spacious and sunny and because someone else (the Zephyr staff) is doing the cooking and cleaning up we all get to sew and sew until we drop. For some that means late into the night and for others that means perhaps a casino break is in order.

Piecing and socializing. Consulting on quilt construction details.

Here's a picture of Suzanne in deep concentration. She was working on miniatures. You can see one of her creations peeking in the background.

We even had door prizes just for showing up! Each set of room mates provided a basket of goodies. My roommates and I came up with this Italian themed dinner for two basket. Isn't it pretty? My DIL Liz made it look gorgeous, it's a special talent of hers acquired when she was a professional gift coordinator for a very fancy wine purveyor in So. Calif.

Lot's of projects were started and some even got finished! Amazing I know. 

Jeannie and Helen showing off.
And, let us not forget - Pajama Night. Another grainy cell phone photo this time of me (in pink) and my pal Bonnie obviously enjoying ourselves. I almost poked her eye out with those scissors!!

Here's to the girlfriends in our lives. They make us laugh and stand by us when we're sad, through good times and bad, near and far, constant and steady. I hope you all have such women in your life.

Until next time,

Monday, September 9, 2013

DWM/Machine Embroidery Edition

Before we get started on our sewing portion of the day you may want to cover your ears because I might mutter a curse word or two! I've been without an internet connection for the best part of  the last week (again) and I'm about to blow my top! I won't bore you with the details but we'll communicate while we can shall we?

 My friend Jeannie came over this week and we had a really fun sewing day trying out some new embroidery designs together. It isn't often that I get to embroider with someone else so this was a real treat. We both decided to sew out the same design and what really suprised us was what a difference a change in background fabric and few different thread choices can make to the look and feel of the overall design.

Here you see Jeannie's sew out on a white tone on tone fabric. She decided on black as her final outline color for a very dramatic tree. Also her moon is done in softer color gradients. Jeannie has  Janome 10000 machine using a 5x7 hoop. Her sew out is much cleaner looking than mine I think when you look really close up.

Here you see my sew out on a Batik background. I used a darkest brown for my tree outline and more contrast in my moon. Please ignore that stray yellow thread bottom left, of course I didn't see it at the time I took the picture. I embroider on a Janome 350E. We both used two layers of medium weight tear away stabilizer.

Jeannie is using her's for a table runner, once it's finished I'll try to get a picture for you and I'm making a small wall hanging. That's it for Design Wall Monday. I'm off to Tahoe for our annual retreat. I'll take lots of picture and fill you in when I get back. Have a great week and may the internet be ever in your favor.

Until next time,

P.S. Don't forget to visit Patchwork Times to see all the other design wall creations.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Happy Accident

I don't have a fancy food dehydrator. In fact my dehydrator is probably over 25 years old and is only one step up from an oven with a pilot light but it usually gets the job done as long as I remember to keep an eye on it and check to make sure things are going according to schedule. Well...

I managed to turn these luscious little beauties into this -

NOT the product I was going for! I was aiming for more of a leathery, sun dried tomato thing and what I got was more of a totally crispy, completely devoid of any determinable shape or flavor thing. Yikes! I could swear I turned that thing off before I went to bed. What am I going to do with this mess? Then a brain storm hit!

Into the food processor the whole disaster went and I pulsed and pulsed until I came up with this...

I'm calling this Tomato Essence and it's fantastic! This is the very stuff you need to add to soups and stews and sauces when you want just a hint of tomato but not too much, when you want to add depth of flavor to your dish but don't want to overpower it with tomato paste or sauce. I've already tried it in beans and pot roast and oh my! I liked it so much I did it again, on purpose! This time I used the blender to pulverize and that worked even easier.

 Right now I have a pint jar of sunny, summer tomato flavor on my shelf and I'm thinking that I'll do the same thing with those semi-hot peppers that are almost ready to pick out in the garden. What a great way to add just the right amount of zing to a winter dish. And, yes I am saving up for a better, newer dehydrator.

P.S. Go easy when adding this Essence it really is concentrated flavor. Remember you can always add more but you can't take it out!

Until next time,