Tennessee family

Two Saturdays back, we lost a patriarch of the family.  My Beloved's Great Uncle, who was more of a grandfather, died.  His health had not been well since he had taken a fall a broke his pelvis.  But that does not mean he will not be missed.  We went to the funeral, expecting to be back last Wednesday.

There were obviously other plans.  The car now has a new transmission.  It actually runs better then when we started to have error messages.  But the  metal on metal sound was what made the decision that it was time to bite the bullet for a new transmission.  We were just a few miles from family and turned around to be safe.  Common sense was a good thing.  Yes, there were things to do at home but nothing worth sitting on the shoulder of the highway in the middle of the night.

We had time with family.  We distracted ourselves from who was missing.  I will not say it did not hurt but it was not as painful as those first few days could have been.

I made jam because family supports family.  Strawberries were purchased to support a baseball team.  They were not ripe and inedible just plain.  Add enough sugar to make jam and cook the water off, and they became edible.  There was so much water in them and so little ripe fruit that it took almost three hours to cook them down and the resulting jam tastes of strawberries and caramel.

After a lazy day, there was a fire as the sunset.  The branches needed to be cleaned up anyhow and it was just a lovely time.  I worked on two shawls the whole time I was there and they are going to need to be ripped out.  Just not right.  But I have more ideas.

We went to Reelfoot lake after church.  Ate food.  Walked through the museum.  Walked through some cypress and looked at the lake.  They rehabilitate birds of prey there so that was fun to look at.  

We are home now.  It was nice to fall into my own bed at 4:00 am but that does not mean I wish I was truly home.  It was nice to spend time with family.  I got to know them better.  My Beloved did as well.  It is like going to the mountain now.  Do not really wish to come back when you are there.  


pencilish skirt

I have admitted in the past that I like clothes from different decades then this one very much  I felt the green blouse I made needed a skirt.  I could have made something long and full, which I am fine with but I decided to make something like a pencil skirt.

Why do I say kind of?  Because I used a dress pattern as the go by for the skirt.  I did not want something TOO tight.  I did not put a slit or box pleat in the skirt back to make it easier to walk.  I find that I tear those rather quickly with my normal walk.

I like how it turned out.  I could have brought the waist band in about an inch.  Maybe two to make it tighter but I feel like I can breathe.

I might make it an inch or two longer.  But it is comfortable which is what I was going for.  I find skirts are can easily feel like they cut me in the middle.  

Notice, I am wearing hiking boots.  The left foot is healing.  SLOWLY!  I had some pain free movement today so I am pleased.  The ache, the pain does tire me out.  Not being able to do all I wish to do frustrates me.  I could not be in my figure skates long enough Monday to try to spin.  Frustrating!  But that is pushing it too hard I know.

I found another piece of furniture today.  A water damaged mid-century desk. It will be interesting to see where it takes me.  I still have the teak table to sell.  One step at a time. 


another try on bear scat

I would rather be sitting in front of a fire crocheting right this minute.  It is where I am feeling the most creative.  I have a shawl in my head I am trying to translate into reality.  But the boyos need snacks.  I tried another version of bear scat.  This is more bear bark then scat but still not quite right.  

It starts with a layer of bittersweet chocolate.

Then a layer of peanut butter mixed with white chocolate.

The peanut butter layer and the chocolate layer really worked.

Then, I chopped gluten free pretzels and salted cashews for the scat.  I doubled the amount of these the recipe I was following called for.  I should of doubled it again maybe.  Or added more salt.

I dropped the cashews and pretzels on top of the chocolate layer.  Drizzled more chocolate and peanut butter mixture over it.  It still needed more stuff.  So either another cereal or double the pretzels and cashews.  With the cashews, I might add a touch of salt as well.  The flavor was not quite strong enough. 

The boyos are eating this but because it is not as easy to grab a handful, it is not being eaten as fast.  I will get to the right combination and have a recipe at some point!  But the boyos like the variety of trying different things.


teak table

What can I say about last week?  It is over.  I am healing.  I got some rest and I continue to try to not over do.  That is so hard for me!  I did finish one of the projects that was taking so long. 

I have dining room table that I love.  But sixteen years of life, it needs some care and attention.  I have never refinished anything in my life.  I found the above teak table on the side of the road.  Someone wished to get rid of it.

This is how it looked in the beginning.  Scratched but not gouged.  There is one place in the top with a divot.  It looks almost like a bb was pressed into it.  It was made in India but it is solid teak.  I decided if I was going to learn to refinish this was a good place to start.

I took about eight hours to sand the table.  Even as I was sanding it, I realized that the original finish hid the beauty of the wood.  I did go back and work on the legs more from here.  I also went back and resanded everything again after the table sat overnight.  The humidity in the air brought up more of the grain.

Then I stained it.  The top is a Jacobean and the legs are a New Colonial.  The top stain color gives some black without it being black to it.  I thought this might hide dirt and crumbs a bit better.  The New Colonial stain actually makes the wood look very similar to what it looks like naturally when covered in finish but you can see the wood.  I really think the original creators used a colored polyurethane to finish the table.

Four coats of polyurethane went on the top.  Three on the bottom.  I sanded between layers. 

It is just a beautiful thing.  And the top is so smooth.  My Beloved told me I did a wonderful job.

I really enjoyed refinishing this.  I now know I can refinish the dining room table.  A Pottery Barn table that was purchased for about half off.  Actually more.  If I were ever to replace it, it would be because it dies a gruesome death somehow.  In this house, that is not out of the question.  Next time, I am building my own table.  It will be probably the same shape and size.  Maybe a touch larger.  

This table?  I do not have a place for it.  I am going to sell it.  It is four feet long, 18 inches high, and 14 inches wide if anyone is interested.  If you are interested, email me.


me time

I came to this space to write today and felt badly.  What am I going to write?  Most of the projects I am working on are taking time.  My works in progress are many!  And the food I am creating is a lot of requested food.  Like today, I am going to make blackberry buckle because it was requested.  I laugh at how many times I use my own recipes.  The recipe list here will always be around in some form because I use it weekly.  

The picture is of a shawl I am making.  It is one of two new crochet techniques I am learning.  Which is incredible in itself but it does not mean I have a lot of pictures of done projects.  The other technique is using a slip stitch for the whole body of the crochet work.  Just learning that one took a couple months!  And it was for a Christmas present!  It might get to my Mom for Mother's Day.  At least she may still wear it where she lives.

I am also learning how to refinish furniture.  I found a teak coffee or side table (it could also be a bench) that someone had left to be taken away.  In our neighborhood, that means it is left on the side of the street and either someone leaves with it or it goes to the landfill.  Which every comes first.   A free solid teak table to learn new things on.  I have been having a blast.  My dining room table needs to be refinished and I am looking for other free or cheap furniture to do the same with.  I may sell it.

I also need to create some new plates for letterpress work.  I start writing out all I am doing here and no wonder I look up at 7:45 pm and go crap.  That was what I did last night and dinner was going to be an hour later then that.  But it was good bread with stuff on top.  It is amazing how many meals are just truly bread and cheese.  And along the lines of things I am planning, I have not even added the six sewing projects that are in my head.  I just found out a friend is pregnant.  

The me time on the shawl last night was needed.  Quiet where I could work more on learning the new skill.  I did order more yarn for it though.  The skeins I had in the first place were not the size that I really needed.  It is okay because this is a learning process and I just keep going forward.  And I will not be able to wear this shawl until next autumn unless I am traveling probably.  It is giving me ideas for leftover yarn though.  Always a bad thing.  More projects!