Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Pebble Art

What to do on the beach when you are waiting for the boat to come back.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Plaid Shirt Reversible Patchwork Quilt

I do love the reversible method of quilting. Not only does it give a different look, but when you are done you are done. One does not have to decide which way is up. They both look good. And it is square. No getting it on crosswise.  I like it.
It has a little of the whole family in it. Mostly DH's shirts but a little but of all seven family members is included.
Made before the broken wrist incident.

Dealing with an arm cast

I passed the age of 60 without ever experiencing a cast. and due to a combination of poor balance and snow iced to the bottom of boots...my story is that I had a fight with the garage floor and lost.
The inconvenience is epic. Nobody's got time for this. Neither does anyone need the pain.

But the good news is that most things pass. Three casts later I am learning coping skills I didn't know I would ever need. And that  my husband discarded his diplomatic immunity due to kitchen illiteracy so we didn't starve the first 10 or so days.And he is a great dishwasher and floor sweeper so he's been busy even when I started cooking again.
I realize that everyone's case is different but here are a few suggestions that may help.

1. Dress it up. Cut the foot off a pair of knee high socks and put them on with the nice cuff next to your fingers. That you can wash. And it hides that stark white ''Hey I'm wearing a cast'' look that I have an aversion to.

2. If someone says what can I do? suggest an invitation to supper. Or would they like to bring pizza over?

3. A young friend made me a bracelet for my fat hand and is delighted that I often wear it.

4. Take a shopping bag to the basement when you need to carry a collection of things up the stairs.

5. Buy or find in your closet long tops and wear with leggings. Took a month to be able to do up the button on my jeans. It is a fantastic morale booster to be able to do your own buttons again.

6. Expect everything to take longer. Which also includes planning your bathroom trips with time to spare.

7. Scissors work better than a knife when your injured arm is still too painful to be of any help. Scissors even cut white chicken meat. Veggies like onion and potato cling to the cutting board when whacked in half and put cut side down.  Carrots are a whole other subject. Easier to buy cut up already, as is cabbage.  But as I have less pain using the gimpy fingers I am able to do more and more.

8. Sometimes its easier to wash my hair in the kitchen sink. I support the cast on a folded towel beside the sink to keep it out of the way and dry and use my good hand to do the work.

9. I carry a small fuzzy blanket folded up in the vehicle to support my arm on when it gets tired of riding in my lap or up on my head to take the pressure off. And a large very squishy teddy bear in the house follows me around to support my arm when needed.

10.  A little table next to your favorite chair on the side of your working arm so its easy to reach your glasses, your ipad, your coffee, your phone, the remote and so on.

And be thankful for what didn't happen. Could always be worse.  My friend broke her right wrist. She is right handed. She lived alone and ran her own business.  She has empathy. She was one of our friends who offered supper, as well as coming over to help when we wanted to have company over.

Soon it will be gone...

Can't wait.

Don't be alarmed when the cast comes off.  Six weeks of flaking skin will be lurking beneath.

the muscles have wimped out.  The hand feels heavy without the cast to support it.  Every tissue muscle and tendon are shouting for your attention.  Unpleasantly. 
But therapy is a wonderful thing and with effort and perseverance day by day the hand gets stronger and can do more.  Now, approaching the third month since the incident, I can do so much more.  It is still weak, I can hardly squeeze the clip on the skirt hangers, and so many little things are awkward but the progress has been good.  And I think it will be some months before there is no twinge when I bend my wrist certain ways, it is going in the right direction.
One day I may even fit my wedding band again.

Did I ever mention I dislike winter?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Most of the Yellow Ones

Such a short summer season here in Alberta but we stuff it as full as possible with things that bloom.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Spicy Kale Soup

Kale Soup

This makes a large batch of soup. Somewhat like borscht, difficult to make a small pot of.

5 mild Italian sausage

5 spicy Italian sausage...chop into little pieces and brown in

3 T olive oil...when browned add

One chopped onion

3 chopped carrots...fry, stirring, until onion is clear

Grate 4-5 garlic cloves, add to pot and stir for a few seconds.


1 carton chicken broth

Fill carton half full with water, swish it around and add.

Peel and dice 5 potatoes and add.

Add one can sliced mushrooms.

One bag frozen chopped kale. Or

Some salt and pepper. Might need more water.


To this I added about 3 cups leftover mashed potato that I had in the fridge.

Simmer in crockpot or low on stove for  two to three hours.

Serve with milk or sour cream.

NOTE When in a hurry or incapacitated by a broken wrist I have added frozen hash browns instead of chopping potatoes. I don't think its quite as good but it does work.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Even Late in the Season

 We stopped at Canadian Tire today. It's good to see them caring for their plants this late in the season. The ones in the wind were a bit beaten but every one has been watered and looks wonderful...except for the succulents inside the store. They need more light and are doing poorly.

Monday, May 22, 2017

More Country Blossoms

Back out to Shelley's near Tawatinaw along with both DIL'S to pick up a few things. Her plants are lovely and so well cared for.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Cleaning Stainless Steel

Pintrest came through very well.
This is what I did...
To make stainless steel gleam...
Wash off ufo spots with soapy water.
Pour some white vinegar onto a paper towel and wipe garbage can down.
Put baby oil on a rag or a kleenex tissue. Rub over the metal. Polish up with soft dry cloth

I was amazed at how long it stayed looking good.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Peavy Mart

Oh what a treat to walk into a cool moist greenhouse at sunset to the sound of radio music quietly playing in the background, a fountain trickling water, and that wonderful aroma that only evening scented stocks can produce at sundown. Mmmm! Didn't buy anything  as they were quite out of begonias but what a wonderful feeling place today.

Monday, May 15, 2017

It's That Time of Year Again

The houseplants are a little like a house cat these days. Out. In. Out.
But whatever it takes to keep them from frost and wind damage.

I try to keep the pots small and not transplant into the heavy barrels so I  don't kill my back. And group the little pots together in easy to move boxes and pails

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Shelley's Begonias

So we went to the opening of Country Blossom's Greenhouse Saturday morning. There were too many people about and I  got too shy to take pictures. So this is the one I brought home.  There were none of the beautiful Illumination begonias, the orange ones that I like to grow.  As a small producer she doesn't have priority at the supplier, and that particular brand is falling out of favor. I feel badly on both counts.  Illumination is a fantastic hanging begonia. And Shelley's greenhouse is not big. She does much of the work herself.  But it is meticulously cared for and every plant is in prime shape.
People have told me that her tomatoes are much cheaper than elsewhere. And her pansy collection is pretty nice too.
She also tells me she has the starry skies petunia but I  had missed it and was too overwhelmed to go back and search it out. So I probably missed a lit of good stuff.
I am hoping to go back when it's not crowded with opening day crowds with enough time to savor the sights of every aisle.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Hardening Off

I like to put my plants out in a sheltered situation to harden off. Here they get some wind, sun from the top and if frost threatens it's much easier to whisk them into the ship or house overnight. Then there is no set back when they get put into the flower bed.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

YIG here

So Independent Grocers has begun to bring in their plants. And pots and garden accessories.  Mmhmm!
And they are finally figuring out how to hire efficient friendly staff that acually cares if you find the plant you need. Such a pleasure to deal with friendly staff. Maybe it's the bright green tshirts 😀

Canadian Tire Plants

I am always amazed at the quality and amount  plants at Canadian Tire.  And this year they have outdone themselves. I didn't even get to walk through the park of trees they set up. But they will be there a while. I will be back.

The Water Feature

So the water fountain is in a different corner this year. But I  can still see it from the kitchen and DH complains (just a little) that he can hear it tinkling all night long through our open window. But it's the sound of summer. My own personal lakefront property.

St Albert Home Depot--the Plants Are InT

A parking lot full of newly delivered plants. So exciting.

There is a new type of petunia out. It is called starry skies.  When my friend told me about the polka dot petunia and said it was "Pretty neat" I thought "Meh. How cute could polka dots be on a flower. Polka dots belong on spring dresses." But I was quite wrong. They look like a painting of night skies. Expensive? Yes. But I  could see there was tremendous potential for growth with many branches much like a young Wave petunia. So we will see.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

SouthSide Greenhouse in Barrhead

Southside has an annoying habit of hiding the bulk of its plants out at their farm until the season has fully started.  This annoys me because I don't get into Barrhead all that often and I am afraid I am going to miss out on my popcorn geraniums.
However this is made up by the super friendliness of the owner and his staff.  Maybe its just the beginning of the season, but the smiles are big and genuine.
I am told they are developing an orange popcorn geranium.  But they won't have enough to sell until next year.  So excited!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Barrhead...Ace Greenhouse

Glamery Greenhouse

So the greenhouse season has officially kicked off with the opening of Glamery just west of town.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how many things are blooming. It was not a plant friendly spring but under the big hoops it is delightfully summer.

Many kinds of new petunias. One purple and white is Moonlight Bay. Very pretty.

No water plants this year.
A few succulents.  Regular geraniums. Martha Washington geraniums.  Begonia. Million bells. Alysum.  Fushia (not blooming yet) Pansies. Perennials.

I love the look of orange and lime green together.

Oh. One very critical item. A public washroom. Thank you Glamery. Now we can relax to see the flowers.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

cutting Tiny Tomatoes

I enjoy cutting up veggies but sometimes one has to speed things up a bit.

Whip the cover off the margarine. Slice right along the bottom of said cover with a serrated knife.

voila! Sliced tomatoes. I think this will work for grapes too.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Little Green Onions

That onion that went all sprouty before I got to use it.  Now I have fresh green onion to snip. Just make sure you don't submerge the bulb or the water will become nasty. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I Love Cement

Year before last I tried hypertufa and I was sorely disappointed when my creations crumbled away. So this year I bought the real stuff. A bag of post haste and one of mortar. Oh! Concrete heaven.
I can't help it. We have done a bit of concrete work about the place. We have round concrete steps at our back door. Our son was itching to try it... on someone else's concrete budget. It was worth the anxiety all the night before as I worried what would happen if the layered thin plywood forms burst through. They didn't.  
We have worked as volunteers on many a cement pour and I marvel at the way something like porridge can turn into something so durable.
But one can also make beautiful things with it. So. Here are some things.
This is the link to the excellent site that taught me this  


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Setting a Lunch Table

So this is an idea of the order of things the way we set them out.  I made this map because I just know I will lose my notebook.  I know what trays and utensils I have available.  And for the latest funeral lunch I requested four tables in a row instead of just 3 and it made such a difference.  The table was arranged so a line could go down either side and make it go quickly. I like a fast food line.  There was more room between the serving dishes and that seemed to make a big difference.
We also found that less choices can be better.  We did three kinds of meat.  One kind of cheese and one type of pickles which really simplify things.
One day I will add some links to the excellent pages that helped us arrange things.  In the mean time if you have to arrange something like this...make a plan. Make a map.  Makes things go smoothly.

Drunk Bees

David phoned about the issue down at his compost pile. He said there were bees there so he thought he would donate them the remains of a honey pail as a little gift to their industriousness. 
To his surprise they totally ignored him. Most springs they are thrilled with it but today nary a one would even look at it.
He took a closer look at the situation.  He said they were drunk on rotten banana peels. 
He says they were flying in circles and doing loop-the-loops,  landing in the sawdust areas to roll down the slope or riotously kicking holes into the sawdust. He was sure they were giggling foolishly in tinny inebriated little voices. 
Appalled by the scandalous behaviour, he tells me they were the  sensible working class worker acting like teenagers on their first drinking party.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

My Mother's Hands

Life is a funny thing. I've been reminiscing about people. Could have something to do that my father in law just passed away, days short of turning 97. Not many left of the generation born in the '20s.
Time marches along. I look in the mirror and the time line lurches abruptly ahead. I see my mother. I don't feel like my mother. But my hands feel like her hands.
I remember talking to her when I was pregnant with my first child. I knew I could love the baby to the moon and back but how would I have all the answers. My mother did. Or at least it seemed like it. She could flip the blankets, twice, and the bed was ready to tuck in the pillows and call it made. She could sew, and knit, and bake, and preserve and garden. She dry walled their house. She built furniture. Refinished stuff. Raised chickens. Made roses of craft paper. Fixed scratches. Recycled stuff. Took things apart. Put things back together.  Sewed clothes.  Her hands knew what to do. Like they had a mind of their own.
I told her I was afraid I wouldn't have all the answers. And she said it was ok. A tiny baby didn't have a lot of hard questions. I would figure it out as I went along.
And she was right and she was wrong. Some things I did learn as they happened. Somethings I had to figure out and research. And somethings I fell flat on my face trying.
Today I was cutting parchment to line baking pans and pulled out the right amount without even thinking. My hands knew. And I remembered my mother again.
What will my children remember about me when I am gone.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spring Fever

Spring is coming.  I'm sure it is.  The crows are back in town.  I saw a goose flying. The chickadees are singing their spring song.
And the planning of gardens has begun.  I have been stretching the borders of Pintrest to the limit.  Last year I tried hypertufa.  Fail.  It disintegrated.
So this year I bought cement I love working with it.  My heart beats faster when I hear the distinctive sound of a cement truck revving its motor.
So after my son made cement counter tops for their kitchen I decided I would play with the real stuff.
First bag I bought was PostHaste from Home Depot.  A little coarse,  but very real. I made the bumpy jar and the doily pot and the ice cream container with it.  There is a problem with cement bags.  They don't hold a lot.

Next bag was mortar.  I made the cement hands (stuffing cement into plastic gloves is not as easy as Pintrest nonchalantly insinuates it is).  I lost a little finger.  Not mine;  a cement one.  Then I made the basket thing the hands are on.  Lost the basket in the unmolding.  Oh well.
But I didn't like the round edges on the cement hands where the wrists should be.  So I but a few inches of cuff and sleeve off an old cotton sweater, stuffed the middle part, soaked it in cement and dressed up the hands.  The broken finger got cemented underneath  and the whole thing is aging in the garage.  I will post more pictures when I get things planted up.
I do love cement pots.  They are heavy but they don't blow around the yard much on a breezy day.
There are some terrific tutorials out there.  Little video clips that make me hyperventilate in delight. I research and research and pin and screen shot until my device batteries croak.  A word about these projects...everything I tried so far worked but there are some issues; a chip out of the bottom of the smooth round pot.  And the doily just isn't sitting flat.  It's tippy.  I think I will make up a little saucer of cement and set it in for a base.
So one has to think ahead a little bit.  Something I'm not terribly gifted at doing.  But I'll make it work.
Happy as a pig in mud...or Gramma D in the cement.