Monday, October 29, 2012

Make Do and Mend, and a Blue Monday Give-Away

"Make Do and Mend" is a phrase from World War II that was more commonly used in Great Britain during WWII.  Food and clothing were rationed after about 1940, and frugal living was a necessity.

(This links with BLUE MONDAY bloggers because I love the blue banner! But wait, there's more!)

Smiling Sally
Did you have a grandmother or a great, or a great-great who saved string, reused aluminum foil and saved vegetable seeds from the past seasonal crops?  Of course, you say.  

One of my favorites messages about mending and reflecting on aspects not only referring to simply repairing clothes, but also speaking to the issue of healing spirits was written by Susan Kittredge, a pastor who read her message on NPR back in 2008.  Her entire story can be found here, and it is well worth the read.  She said, in part:
...I have come to relish the moments when I sit down and, somewhat clumsily, repair a torn shirt, hem a skirt, patch a pair of jeans, and I realize that I believe in mending. The solace and comfort I feel when I pick up my needle and thread clearly exceeds the mere rescue of a piece of clothing. It is a time to stop, a time to quit running around trying to make figurative ends meet; it is a chance to sew actual rips together. 
I can't stop the war in Iraq, I can't reverse global warming, I can't solve the problems of my community or the world, but I can mend things at hand. I can darn a pair of socks. 
Accomplishing small tasks, in this case saving something that might otherwise have been thrown away, is satisfying and, perhaps, even inspiring. Mending something is different from fixing it. Fixing it suggests that evidence of the problem will disappear. I see mending as a preservation of history and a proclamation of hope. When we mend broken relationships, we realize that we're better together than apart, and perhaps even stronger for the rip and the repair.
Now comes the part about cleaning and preserving needlepoint.

In this spirit of preserving, part of this past weekend was taken up in revamping a footstool I make twelve years ago with the ottoman top being made of a piece of needlepoint.  The best part?  The needlepoint is now about 100 years old.  Yes, really.  My great aunt made it in the early 1900's while living on her Texas farm.  It was under glass for many years, and was passed along to me.  I took the picture apart, discarded the frame and glass, and used it for that ottoman.  This is a picture I took several years ago of the needlepoint. had not been cleaned in all those 100 years until yesterday.  Granted, it was under glass for about 85 of those years, but for the past decade it has been used for feet, shoes and dogs to perch on.  Did I hear you say "yuck!"?

After scrub-a-dub-dubbing the ottoman skirt, sewing a seam on the bottom ruffle, ironing the fabric, re-adhering it back to the box base with staples, washing the needlepoint three times (you should have seen that dirty water in the first soaking!) and giving new trims, it is almost ready for use again.

The roses are much brighter.  All it is lacking is a knitted edge found here. I'm working fast and furiously on it.


If you leave a comment on this post and tell me something about Mending and Making Do and what you have done to make do and mend (or just that you went to the NPR site and read Kittredge's post...again, the site can be accessed here), your name will be put into my give-away for a piece of needlepoint my mother made many years ago. I will pick a name and let you know the winner once I have completed the lace edging for the newly renovated ottoman.  Then I'll show a picture of the "mended" and cleaned ottoman and announce the winner once that edge is finished.  Comments will be collected through November 6, 2012.

Here is the lovely yellow needlepoint piece, still damp and being blocked, 13.5" x 13.5" that you can win:

It is so fun to win something, and I do hope you will leave a comment.  I just won a digital download from Kepanie yesterday that she posted on her blog Knitspiring Odyssey.  It is an e-book entitled Autumn 2012 Accessories  Thank you, Kepanie!

Also linking to Time Travel Thursday:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Today is a Bizarre Day

actually, it is Bazaar Day at our church

My bazaar contribution is a pair of framed floral paintings with information about silk painting provided.

linking to Paint Party Friday
Silk painting originated in China going back to 2600 BC. Long before paper was invented/made, silk was a medium on which to paint. Silk was durable, portable, and readily rolled for travel.

Silk was chosen as an artistic surface not only because of its soft, luxurious feel, but also for its practicality. Silk is light, easy to cut into any desired shape and size and is convenient to carry. Chinese artisans prepared the silk for painting by beating it on a stone slab until the surface became very smooth. After the silk was prepared, the color pigments or ink tones were applied slowly and carefully.

The Process
A resist product similar to glue was applied, dried, and then Jacquard silk paints were used to created these floral pictures. Both paintbrushes and rags were used to blend colors. Paints were allowed to air dry thoroughly. The silk paintings were then rolled in newsprint, coiled into a snake, set in a pressure cooker over hot water and steamed for three hours. After steaming, the paintings were dried and stretched over canvas and stapled to the frame. Backs of the frames were then applied, finished with stock paper.

Come to the Bazaar! Spend your money!  (American Lutheran needs to pay off its building fund.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Begun as a Knitted Sock

...except it did not end as a pair of socks.  Somehow my right hand took a beating and is bruised, likely due to pure clumsiness.  And I did not want that sock to just hang around incomplete, knowing it would take a while for the bruise to diminish and the knitting to resume.  Also, rather than start those socks with a special sock yarn, I was being frugal and trying to use up some silk/wool yarn in a 50/50 blend, not smart for sock knitting.

So rather than waste the prior effort in knitting a rather striking sock designed by Cookie A. and found here on Knitty, it was turned into another accessory.

This is Cookie A. (above site) showing off her cute socks she designed.

After two rows of the lace repeat design, I bound off the sock start and added an I cord with a third color sock yarn to produce none other than an iTouch holder.

more about Cookie
Cookie is a knitting addict living in Northern California. She is particularly prone to sock yarn impulse purchasing and knitting, has a darling cat named after a mathematician, and is in search of the most whack haircut ever.

Monday, October 22, 2012

An Away-Weekend with My BFF

A weekend away with my friend Kathy up in the mountains, what a delight!

Great food, good weather in Basalt and a time to catch up.

Looking at art in galleries in Aspen...

Enjoying children having fun in the leaves on the mall...

(The little guy above stayed immersed in leaves and only his shoes wiggled when I took his picture.)

And then, some new shoes!  Kathy always encourages me to update my frumpy somewhat elderly image.  So we found these fabulous shabooties by Pikolino.  And I needed them. Really.  I did.

How was your weekend, friends?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sheltering (linked to a Sheltering Tree)

Sheltering wings, a thought and verses...linked to a Sheltering Tree

source (Bing)
"He will cover you with his feathers. Under his wings you will take refuge. His faithfulness is your shield and rampart."  Psalms 91:4 (World English Bible) 
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" ~ Luke 13:34 NIV
As an older parent whose daughters are now adults, how many times I have thought of these verses.  I have recalled them when I wanted to shelter my children from despair, from hurts, from disappointments and failures, from criticism, injustice or any hateful thing that came their way.  But how many times did I quote this verse to them when they were children, or even now as they are adults?  Not once that I can remember.

And for that I grieve - that I did not take the time to use those teaching opportunities to share God's love with them.  Now I only ask that the Father cover me with His forgiveness, and allow me to go forth in confidence.

The verse was in reference to Jerusalem, and can be read following the break:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October is ...

Breast Cancer Awareness Month, if you didn't know already.

This logo is on the front of one of my favorite black t-shirts, and I wear it with gratitude.  The logo looks better straight on; otherwise if I were to show a picture actually wearing it you might be looking for non-existent boobs.

This t-shirt usually gets a laugh when I show it off! Linking with Pink Saturday.  Here are a few of the other 125 bloggers who have linked so far:

Everything you need to know about understanding Breast Cancer is here.

Go HERE to participate in the Pink Scarf Project!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday Photo

It struck me as being cool. The curves are the same and those colors mimic!  Linking up with Wordless Wednesday.

And this links to WOYWW post.  It is a 90% completed Piper's Journey Shawl.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Greenhouse is Alive and Well

Our Greenhouse on the Grand Lawn seems to be working out fine (the "Grand" references the husband's blog livingthegrandlife).  Last evening at 5 PM the ambient temperature outside was 64 degrees F but inside the greenhouse it showed 74 degrees.  And that was after the zippered flap had been opened and we peeked inside several times during the day.

Here is a picture of the interior and where you might find at least one occupant of the Grand House reading, tooling around, or smoking a cigar...not really, but that thought has been bandied around.  There really is not room enough for two people inside these close quarters, but one or two small dogs just might wend their way there if bribed with puppy treats.

Not to be pessimistic, but I wonder how these plants will look when it gets to be ZERO degrees outside.  There are two large black trashcans filled with water under the wooden planks to give humidity, and an inch or so of bark on the bottom of the interior to help mediate the temps. Plus the walls seem to be fairly heavy translucent fabric to aid capturing solar heat. We shall see.

Yesterday was a Scrabble day with six participants who seemed to enjoy lively challenges and debate.  Here are four of them playing.

The only guy there was Allen.  He and I have been playing almost weekly for ten years.  I  have three filled out journals of  scores for each of our games recorded since 2003. Nine years' worth of scores between us.

Here is the button on my Scrabble bag:

Hope your Wednesday is going well.  I'll try to keep my whining to a minimum.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mme Ramotswe & Pumpkin Soup

Purloined from others' blogs and the Soulbrush Etsy store for a rendition of Mme Ramotswe, as well as the biblical verse that says "what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun", I bring you a post today about Pumpkin Soup.  Nothing original.  But tasty.

Source; Soulbrush Etsy Store here

You will recall that Alexander McCall Smith's character Mme Ramotswe generally went home from her Number One Ladies'  Detective Agency and made pumpkin soup for dinner.  She did it so often that it must have been tasty.  And because she was of "traditional build", I'll just bet she added cream to that soup more often then not.

So I made some pumpkin soup yesterday and felt just like Mme Ramotswe must have felt preparing this recipe, right down to her swollen ankles.  The delicious recipe was found on the delightful blog of Mrs. Thomasina Tittlemouse; the link to her soup is here.

So I roasted up a pumpkin and went to work on the soup.  I did add cream, which Mrs. Tittlemouse did not, so it made for a more calorific dish, but was it yummy!  I also added quite a bit of red pepper flakes and curry spices, as well as S&P.

Maybe pumpkin soup is not a new idea, but it was the best soup under the sun yesterday!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How To Prune Philodendrons

Now that seems like a silly post title, "How to Prune Philodendrons", but if you get as many Google referrals as I do, you will notice that the search term "HOW TO" is ubiquitous.  (I love that word.)  People constantly search for "how to" do something.  On my Google analytics dashboard page, that term of "how to" is everywhere, so this will be a test post just to see how many hits I get from this topic of how to prune philodendrons.  (Believe it or not, my post found here on pig feet is my number ONE referral to this blog! Who knew pigs would draw such a crowd?)

So even though this mundane chore of pruning household plants might not interest you, dear reader, someone out there on the world wide web might be searching for just this topic that will make me a long distance teacher.  Here goes.

If your plants are getting leggy, with too few leaves along the stem, or if the leaves are spaced out too far apart and it looks like the stem is becoming thick, scissor intervention is necessary.  Now is the time to be ruthless, all for the good of the plant.  See how large the plant is? See the stems?

OK: now for a closer look at the roots and you can really see those legs that appear anemic, woody,  and too close together.  Tsk, tsk.

Next step: get out some new potting soil, some jars with water for sustaining your cuttings, a pair of scissors, and an aggressive attitude.

Take out the soil and plant from the pot, cut through those roots, discard the old roots at the bottom of the plant, and start your cutting.
Ensure that you have a nodule at the end with a bit of a root attached as this will help the root cutting adapt to the new soil.

Discard all the leggy runners.  Keep the shorter stems, again ensuring that a nodule is attached.  You should cut off leaves close to the nodule because you do not want any green leaf touching the water where they will stay until new roots have developed.

From just one plant, here is a picture of the salvaged leaves now in water awaiting new roots to grow.

With those stems that have been trimmed, roots longer than two inches mercilessly cut off from the main stem, they can be buried into the new potting soil.  Add even more soil to the top to ensure stability of the stem.  Here are two of the newly potted plants, looking much healthier and with more room to breathe.

From three plants I re-potted yesterday, we now have five jars of leaf and stem cuttings in water awaiting their roots to develop.  One jar is on the kitchen windowsill and the other four are tucked away in filtered light awaiting the same fate.  Maybe we should go into philodendron farming since there are so many awaiting future planting.  Would you like to adopt a jar?  Free for the taking!