Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Sunday, May 31, 2009

This piecing is addictive!

So I had this fabric I had bought at the flea market in Honolulu - already cut into rectangles - scraps from a garment manufacturing sweatshop no doubt. And I had been planning on planning a lovely, well organized, "Planned" quilt with them. Not just whacked together randomly, but laid out with forethought and consideration. I was putting my fabrics away, and this package of parts fell out of the cupboard and - well, just a few seams. And then just a few more. I was chain sewing and before I knew it, every patch had been joined to another patch. then I thought I would just stick a few patches together to see how they would work up. Before I knew what was happening, I was whacking together sections and slapping together colors, and then, unless I wanted to deconstruct a hell of a lot, I had to use this section here to fill out that section there and voila, another comforter is born. (I had the jass station on the radio. It might be Duke Ellington's fault that I got so carried away.)

Mostly blue side.

Mostly red side.

And the survivor rose is blooming. We had planted a lovely peachy/apricot hybrid tea rose here at the corner of the house, and the next winter was very severe, and the rose froze out. sigh. So in the spring we whacked off the dead canes and re-considered what to plant there. And as we thought, new shoots began to rise from the root stock. Hybrid tearoses are often grafted onto old rose species rootstock to partake of the old rose vigor. This old rose root survived the cold that killed the hybrid, and began to thrive in it's original glory. I don't know which single-blooming climbing red it is, but it's so willing and hardy that we don't have the heart to get rid of it, even if dark red isn't the color we would have chosen to go with our light brick facade. This old red is an honest to gosh success story, and the petals, if I remember to harvest them, are divine in potppourri.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

We got this far

With practice, we have learned that big pieces make for quicker assembly times. (DUH) So, cutting five inch wide strips gives us a quilt top in one day. We still need to batt and back it, and tie the sandwich together. But this one, though pretty , seems kind of boring to me. I want to randomize it a bit, and I am thinking maybe buttons sewn down in strategic places. Random, sparkly buttons. What do you think?

And here is my sling chair in the apple tree. No dangerous falls from this one. And in the hot afternoons we have been having lately, it is positively euphoric to swing and doze and be a happy, well-fed animal at rest in the shade.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Good morning photos

The desk top computer is dying, and I can't figure a way to transfer the address list, so would you all be very kind and send a quick note to so I can put you in the new database? Thanks ever so!

I'm sitting in my "office" space, watching the sunrise and catching up on blogs on the laptop. My office has a marvelous picture window, and it just sucked me outside into the dewy morn (my slippers are soaked) to take a few photos to share. Roses are blooming. Ah, the perfume!

Calla lilies always look so cheerful and eager.

birdwatchers will notice, silhouetted against the white car, is a Steller Jay. My grandpa wouldn't let anyone shoot jays because they winter over in the woods, and he enjoyed their company amidst the cold and isolation.

My Queen Elizabeth climbing rose is up into the maple tree now. Go Bess!

And the dogwood is starting to bloom. DH bought me the dogwood years ago. It has grown and prospered just like our marriage. It's tall enough to shade the car now.

MJ is coming over to sew today. We will be piecing comforters. Who knows what we may achieve this time? Pink and girly colors, I think. It's such a cheerful lovely day!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm not crazy

It's been a glorious day today! Sunny, mild, fresh and - well - glorious! I had two hours of work, then four hours to kill before a meeting with a pshchiatrist to talk about the depression (which the Prozac has dealt with. There is a bit of lag time getting fitted into the Doctor's schedule.) The doctor's office was 5 miles from the college. Home is 18 miles from rhe college. Rather than drive home, then drive back, I took myself out for a leisurely lunch at the Singer Hill Cafe- two blocks from the doctor office. I had a turkey wrap with humus instead of cheese. Oh yum! And sesame slaw, and cups of tea, all in a light-filled, airy setting, with pleasant music playing in the background. I settled in a nice old overstuffed sofa and pulled out the laptop. No wifi access, so I got in about three hours of delicious, delightful writing time! What is it about writing in a public place that feels so self-indulgent and satisfying? Is it the freedom from the nagging of housework? The vibes of life's rich pagent parading by? The vanity of appearing busy and intelligent? (Naw - if anyone even noticed me, they probably thought I was playing solitaire.)

Anyway, the time flew. I made it to the Doctor's appointment in good time, and got a clean bill of health. She suggested that I should walk outside half an hour a day - in the daylight - five days a week. Also a light box and some extra vitamin D. I'm up for that. DH is already making plans to build a box.

When I got home, I hung my sling chair in the walnut tree. I settled into it, and listened with some trepidation as the dead limb from which I swung creaked ominously. Then it creaked again. I began cautiously to gather my feet under me when CRACK_! down it came! It didn't land on me and I fell on nice cushy bark mulch. Lucky, lucky me! So I brough the whole apparatus over to the apple tree. The limb is much lower. My butt barely clears the ground, but I'm not worried about a long and jarring fall.

We went for a little walk with friends in a local bird sanctuary on Monday afternoon.

The wild roses are blooming. What romance. What poetry. What a lovely place to live!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

just keep sewing

They're each about 24 inches square They may not be done yet, but the fabric scraps are all used up. I don't think they go together, but oh MY they were fun to make! A spider spinning webs from her very own body couldn't feel any more satisfied with her creations.

Monday, May 25, 2009

snowball fight!

Here's my snowball. where's yours?

On Saturday DH and I took a road trip to visit my Brother, my dear SIL and my mother, who is ninety something. My dad would be turning 100 this year if he were still alive. My brother is 72. I, of course, am just about 21 and still as fresh and strong and lovely as ever.

This is the country where I grew up. Lots of sky, lots of view, and not much else. It got so you knew every tumbleweed by it's first name. Central Oregon is a stinking desert, and as soon as I moved to the verdant valley, I put down my roots and GREW!!

(oh, and for my Aussie friends, those snowcapped peaks are the Three Sisters. Not much like the sisters outside of Sydney.)

On Sunday, DH and I went to the local farmer's market. Not too much in the way of edibles yet, but the flowers are blooming beautifully! I even saw black Irises being carried away. The usual potters and bakers and jewelers are in their usual locations, the usual people were wandering around with their usual dogs, the band was a group of old hippies called "Bodacious", playing guitars and singing home-grown 60s rock and roll. ANd doing a grand job of it, too! DH bought me a bag of kettle corn, and a cup of mango sorbet. It was yummy!

Today, Monday, we are going grocery shopping, then meeting friends for lunch, then heading home to continue playing with our new toys. I still haven't put my new sewing machine away. I keep sewing smaller and smaller scraps together and getting led merrily astray. What to do with a 24 inch square pieced bit that is just lovely and doesn't go with anything in my house? I'll come up with something if I just keep sewing.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Odds and ends

Here is my able filing assistant. She keeps the paperwork safely coralled and pressed down so it won't get up and run around.

We live in a rose-covered cottage. Getting lots more blooms on the roof than we are down where I can get to them.

If I stand on tiptoes and hold the camera waaaayyyy high, I can get a pretty picture. If I want cut flowers. I'll need to get a ladder.

The room where I conduct GED tests for 16 hours a week has nothing decorative on the walls. It's starting to look a lot like the walls in the County jail, so my boss has given me permission to bring in something for a shot of color. I used left-over bits from the quilt I made for my niece and created a cheery, colorful hanging. It may not be art, but it sure beats unrelieved white.

And here's fly fluffing a flannel baby quilt. Everyone knows that everything is better with a kitty.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I made this.

This is one of those things that happens when you just follow your fancy. I had this gorgeous hand-dyes bamboo yarn from Teresa Ruch and, not having a project in mind, I cast on for one of my beloved mitered triangle shawls. Cast on two. Increase in each stitch - 4 stitches. Increase in the first stitch, k1, place marker,inc in next stitch, knit1. Turn. increase in first stitch and first stitch after marker till it's big enough.

But this gets pretty boring. So after I had garterstitched untill I was sick of it, and the ball of yarn was NOT getting smaller (Teresa gives awesome yardage) I decided that what I wanted was a small scarf with a ruffle. So I increased in each stitch for the next two rows. Then I carried on with stockinette stitch for two inches, and even though there was STILL a quarter of a ball of yarn left, I decided it was just big enough and bound off.

Isn't that ruffle pretty? And the bamboo drapes soooo nicely!

Lots of ways to wear it, too. It even does duty as a small shawl. I am just STYLIN' today!!

By the way, speaking of stylin' Kate remarked that she cringes at finding she has navy socks with black pants. I once went to work wearing one navy and one black shoe- Almost the same style. Didn't notice till my first bathroom break and then decided to see if anyone would mention. No one did. People don't really pay that much attention to one another on a daily basis. Besides, on "What not to Wear" they espouse wearing black, brown and navy together. All my shoes are black now - except for the silly ones.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

hooray, hooray, a sunny day!

By the way, Kate, the connection between white shoes and Memorial Day? One of the "laws" of fashion is that you may wear white shoes only between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Iris alert

Isn't this a lovely little patch to greet us on the way into work? And just think, we have finished the last working Monday in May of 2009!
Look at the lovely veining in the petals. What a treat!

Are you ready for Memorial Day?

What a busy weekend!

The mail arrives late on Saturdays. And it brought me a present! Donna Lee made me, out of the kindness of her heart, Tofutsies!
Are they not beautiful? And they are sooo comfortable! Wowser! I love hand-knit socks, and I'm far too impatient to knit them. You have to pay attention to things like heels and patterns, and then you have to do the whole thing all over again.The dreaded second-sock syndrome. I can manage simple ribbed tube socks, but those just ain't pretty, and these are! Thank you, Donna Lee!

DH and I went shopping, and much to my amazement, I heard a voice from the produce department calling out, "Eat meeeee!" Look at that artichoke! Is this not a glorious huge thistle? DH agreed to buy it and cook it, but wouldn't even try it, so I had the whole thing to myself, and it was the most delicious artichoke I have ever eaten in my life! I think artichokes are happy food, because you are SUPPOSED to eat them with your fingers! It took me hours to devour it. Vegetable bliss! I'm going to go see if it has any buddies still in the store.

The roses are beginnning to bloom. This one has lost it's tag, so I don't know the name, but she's hella hardy, surviving frost and blackspot and throwing out party-pink blooms that smell like Grandmas's handkerchief drawer. Swoony sweet roseamundo!

Sunday morning I rolled out early and toddled off to the Knitting Guild of America sales show. I didn't bother with any of the classes, just headed straight for the vendors. Rather a sparse showing, and, due to the economy, a lot of worried faces. Can't say that I did much to help the situation, either. I picked up end of show deals. A pound of hand-dyed merino from Newton Country for $35. What? It's worsted weight, pink and purpple, wool, and on sale. What's not to like?

And I bought a basket woven in Ghanna. Again, end of show sale, only $25.

Nice and big and good for anything you need. Just because I already have four similar baskets from the same guy doesn't mean I didn't need another. They are so sturdy and they hold even more than you would think. I can load it almost too heavy to carry.

And then we went to see "Star Trek," and like everyone else in the nation, we enjoyed it vastly!! What a dynomite concept - The original crew in a new generation! Well written, well acted, well executed, and with Nimoy's signature sense of humor! We'll probably go see it again.

The happy food, the happy movies, the happy weather (sunny and mid 80s) and the increased dosage of Prozac are doing the trick. The grey fillm is lifting from life, the bad dreams have stopped, and the disturbing impulses haven't intruded for days now. (Like, at least one or two days already.) Those impulses were the worst part of it. I'm used to the committe of personalities I can identify in my own head. They're all aspects of the essential me. But these impulses are cold and unfamiliar, as if from right outside myself. DH assures me that everyone gets them from time to time, and I think he's right, but they were getting so loud and frequent. I can understand why people would believe in demonic posession. There's a Russian proverb to the effect that, "You can't keep the birds of misery from flying over your head, but you don't need to let them nest in your beard." Good ol' Prozac gives me a metaphorical clean shave!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

a long and rambling post . . .

Friday morning was sunny and warm. MJ and I met and went for a walk in one of our upper-scale neighborhoods. (Eastmoreland) Most of the homes were built in the 1920s and have been well maintained. This is the Reed College neighborhood and many professors and deans and so on lived here. The streets were planted with trees which have grown huge and venerable. The rhododendrons are the size of trees. We strolled along enjoying the greenery,
And the magentary,

And the pink dogwoodery.

MJ is a notable athlete, but very kindly kept her pace throttled back to my feeble strength. We paused often to discuss different houses, identifying this as craftsman style and that as prarie style and the other as dutch colonial or federal or tudor(The faux half-timbering gives it away every time.). There were a few 50s era ranch houses, and one intriguing stucco bungalow in an art-deco style - I think. And color schemes and garden ideas and window treatments - we walked and talked and had a marvelous time, and I wasn't even worn out at the end of an hour and a half. MJ is a kind and wise woman. IF the first time is gentle and pleasant, I'm likely to be willing to go for future walks.

Then I came home, with endorphins charging around my system, and settled down to the sewing machine. Using some more of Amy Lane's donated flannel, (With bunnies and teddy bears printed in pastels) I made an arrythmic baby quilt. It's not at all symmetrical nor even properly balanced, but it used the scraps just about completely.

Then I took the scraps from the yellow, red and green dino quilt, added left-over navy blue flannel and came up with yet another kid-size quilt.

And as for knitting at work, I have been using scraps there, too. Measure out how long you want your scarf to be, then triple that. Make a slipknot there, and do a LONG tail cast on. break off the yarn about six inches long, and let the end dangle. Pick up another yarn, let about six inches dangle, and knit back. Repeat untill you have used up almost all your yarn. Bind off. Take three adjacent strands of the yarn at the end, pull the strands snug, and tie an over-hand knot. Repeat all across both ends to make fringe and trim to tidy. Wrap around your throat, or put it away with lavendar in readiness for Christmas or the first brutal cold snap.

At breakfast this morning, DH gave me the ripest of the strawberries off his waffle and told me I didn't eat enough happy food. Then we went grocery shopping and he made sure there was lots of fruit for me. Strawberries realy ARE happy food, aren't they? I don't mean those styrofoam things they strip-mine down in Texas. I mean real, tender, sweet, juicy berries. Soon, oh soon the brief three weeks when the Hood berries are in season will be upon us, and I will eat myself into a strawberry stupor. Hood berries are too fragile to ship out of state. If you want to taste bliss, you'll just have to come and visit me in early June. I'll make shortbread and real whipped cream and we can eat a whole flat of berries for dinner, and put sliced berries in our breakfast champagne.

When we got home from the grocery shopping, DH got the bikes out and we took a little ride around the neighborhood. About 3.5 miles. My legs were starting to feel it, and we figured it was better to take it easy, rather than suffer later. Yes, I'm a wuss and a wimp and a flabby old broad. But this can all be changed with patience and determination. And more fun walks and bike rides.

So now I'm sitting in the backyard, exaulting in the warmth and the sunshine, and keeping company with old blind Jack-cat who likes to sniff the air but doesn't car to venture more than about three feet away from me. Quiet and happy for both of us.

I am quite astounded at how many of us are having bad dreams and trouble sleeping. WE need to load our heads with more happy stuff! Happy movies, happy books and who cares if they're "worthy" or not? Look at the movies from the Great Depression. The good guys won, the bad guys lost, the guy got the girl and everyone broke into song and dance. More of that, please.

What's your favorite happy movie?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

another day

DH loves to give me flowers. I found a place to put them where the kitties can't knock them over, and the light just fills them. Aren't they lovely?

The Doctor upped my perscription from 20mg to 40 mg. and referred me to a shrink. I'll make an appointment tomorrow. I'm all in favor of shrinks, too. If nothing else, I get a chance to chat about ME - my favorite topic.

DH has suggested that I write down some of my disturbing dreams and get them out of my head that way. He's so smart! That's a terriffic idea!! Nail it down on paper and keep it out of my psyche. Solutions all around me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

a few more finished objects

a nice, quick comforter with red poppies on a white ground. Tres chic!

A bamboo moebius scarf for a local fundraiser auction. The bamboo is sooo soft and silky, but it has no elasticity what so ever!!

More bamboo moebius.

I've been putting in hours at work. Love the income, but miss the time to blog and e-mail. And well... I'll share this so that, if anyone else gets similar symptoms, you won't think it's craziness. I take Prozac because, when I don't, I have thoughts about hurting myself. I don't mean I sit down and think, "Hmmmm, I'm so depressed. Maybe I'll throw myself under a bus." No. Instead, I'll be driving on the freeway and just get an impulse, for no reason at all, to open the door and jump out at 60 miles an hour. Or I'm ironing and get an impulse to press the hot iron against my leg. Things like that. It's not because I'm feeling sad or because life is desperate, because I'm not, and things are grand. It's just a chemical switch in my brain that doesn't know to shut off. I'm starting to get those thoughts again. Probably time to up the dosage. I'm disorganized, absent-minded and not my usual perky self. I have an appointment with the doc tomorrow to tweak the dosage.

The dance and balance of those tiny chemicals is so delicate and SO important, and it has nothing to do with moral fortitude or slackness of the individual. It's like using insulin if your pancreas quits making it. Diabetes is not shameful, and depression isn't either. It's ok to get help!

OK, I'll get off the soapbox now. Tomorrow, pretty pictures.

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's all Amy's fault

Amy Lane, bless her heart, was destashing her fabric closet and sent me a few good-sized chunks to turn into quilts for the orphanage. This cute dinosaur print flannel fell out of my fabric cupboard on Thursday and well . . Joanne's had a sale and I succumbed. I got bolt ends and excellent deals and spent over fifty dollars to use up some free fabric. Does this make sense? Of course it does. But it's Amy's fault! Is this not appealing stuff? Doesn't it BEG to be used?

So here's what transpired. Bright and perky!

So bright and cheery that it suckered in a real ladybug who took a little stroll across the flannel, then flew away home.

Soon, flannel dinos will make their way to an orphanage in in Romania, and it's all Amy's fault.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Basket plaiting

Here is a tutorial on how to make a basket from newsprint. I got two pads of artist's newsprint at a garage sale for almost no money. YOu could use newspaper if you didn't mind getting filthy fingers. Or you could use just about any kind of relatively large, relatively sturdy paper. Paper grocery bags work wonderfully! (unfold the bag all the way and fold the print to the inside.)

Cut your paper into long strips four inches wide.

Fold them in half the long way.

unfold, then fold the outside edges to meet at the center crease.

And fold it up again. Your four-inch wide strip of paper is now four layers deep and one inch wide, with the cut edges tucked inside.

Weave a mat four by four or six by six or any even number by itself.

Ok, here's the tricky part. Take the center two strips on one side of your mat and cross them.

weave the next two strips up. then the next two and so on to the end of the side. When I get to the end of a strip, I clip in in place with clothes pins.

See how this works? Continue on the other side, weaving the strips over and under around the corners.

At the top, fold the ends over and tuck them under. I then use a bit of glue to secure the works.

And voila, you have a handy little basket. Weave it tall and narrow, stick in a pepperoncini jar, and you have a classy vase. Use long strips and weave a cat bed. The ones made from grocery bags have worked for my cats for years. (Remember, cats like a snug fit.) Recycle gift wrap to make trinket boxes. (Cut the strips for the top slightly wider than the strips for the bottom. Indulge your fancies!

Any questions?