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the cow jumped over the moon

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happy holidays!

I celebrated the Winter Solstice with Denise and a bunch of her friends. Women only. It was fabulous. I got there early (hurrah for a reliable vehicle!) so I could spend some time with Denise, and we talked and talked while she was cooking, and then her friends started to show up around 6:30, with lots and lots of good food. We ate and talked.  Made our head wreaths and then wrote our New Year's wishes on small pieces of paper, and then burned them as offerings in her wood stove.

A pottery student gave me a selfie stick on our last class (when we took that photo of us all with our Empty Bowls, I had joked that we needed one to take a good photo of all of us) so I was playing around with it, and finally got a good photo of us all!

happy holidays!
oops!

happy holidays!
That's better - but now I have to figure out how to take a good photo in low light on my phone.
Here's Sephora on Christmas Eve Eve:

happy holidays!

Christmas morning, I picked up my Mom from Mass. She was staying with my Brother C and his wife for the weekend, and since they were at their church, I was able to pick Mom up and take her back to their home.  Again, thank goodness for this reliable vehicle!

happy holidays!

Before we painted our bedroom, there was a built-in cabinet on one wall. When we tore it out, we found some old wallpaper still on the back wall.  So we saved the best square of it.  For my holiday present this year, Robert found a frame, and without the glass, attached it to the wall.  Then he mounted a cross-stitch portrait of Clara Bow that a friend had made years ago.  I love it!

happy holidays!

We keep our holiday decorations up until the Feast of the Magi.  Today, I am doing laundry, putting away paperwork, and we watched the Liverpool/Stoke game on TV. Here's a view from my chair.

happy holidays!


Wishing you all the best during this
holiday season!

happy holidays!
Dried tangerines for stained-glass-ish decorations


car and bowls

Wow, two posts in one week!

Here's the promised photo of me in our new-to-us car, with our cool peace sign seat covers that were part of the deal!

car and bowls


Today, a bunch of my former and current students (some of them made the bowls last Saturday) came to the studio in the morning to help glaze the Empty Bowls bowls. I loaded them into the kiln for the glaze firing; will unload on Monday and get them to the community services center for their Tuesday event.

car and bowls
Some of the bowls getting ready to be put in the kiln.
Afterwards, I came back home, and Robert made us grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, and we have been watching soccer all day long.  I did do a load of laundry.  The MLS Cup starts in about 45 minutes - I'm not sure who to cheer for, so I think I'll just sit back and enjoy the game.

I really need to finish painting the woodwork around the windows.  Sheesh! Seriously, it's been five days just to paint this one window!  I'm hopeless.  My excuse is that I can only paint when it's light, because it's hard to see at night even with the lamp on.  (hahahaHAHAHAHAhahahaa) I only need to do touch-ups!  Okay maybe I'll finish tonight when I'm watching the game.

car and bowls
The top photo shows the light-green color of the woodwork;
we, or I should say I am painting it off-white instead.

some summer things

We spent Friday evening with some friends - wonderful conversations and food and spectacular views. So good for my soul.

some summer things
D didn't know I was taking this photo of her. 
 We were at P and M's place, a few minutes outside of town
As the sun faded, the bullfrogs were stating their positions on matters of territory, and I had never heard that fog horn noise they make before.

I love this idea - window wells put together to form a huge raised bed. Would love to do this surrounding a stump in our yard. There were a few strawberries left - yum!

some summer things
Michael said he found and bought these at the dump - I'm going to have to try to find some.
What else?  Oh, I'm joining a Fantasy Football/Futbol/Soccer league - hahaa, we'll see how that turns out!

Jackie mentioned that she would like to see the before/after photos of the hallway - so here you go!  This is the front hallway - the first thing you see when you enter our home.

some summer things

The first photo of the front hallway/stairs was taken when we first took a look at this house before we bought it - yes we bought it even with that god-awful blue on the stairs.

The second/middle photo is when we had a hair-brained idea to strip the wood and stain it - our house is over 140 years old and the wood of the stairs isn't the greatest. Plus I was testing that green paint color out. So it sat like this for a long time - no wonder we rarely had people over.

The third photo is the front hallway complete!  Robert did an amazing job (I helped, a little). We stripped the white paint off and stained the banisters, but just painted the stairs, doors and the walls. I never liked the color yellow much but it is growing on me and the paint color I picked out is fabulous if I say so myself.  (See the brown door in the last photo?  That is our only actual closet in our entire house; we have a sort-of closet off our bedroom but it doubles as a walkway to the bathroom.  Old houses can be charming, annoying or weird, depending on the day.)

This morning (Sunday) Robert needed some peppers as he is making breakfast, and I was able to pick our first tomatoes of the season:

some summer things
First tomatoes of the season
Time to water the garden as we haven't had a good heavy rain in awhile. But we are fortunate that in general our summer has been very very good - we haven't had that extreme heat that a lot of other folks here in the US have had.


short and sweet

It was a week ago already that Laura and Emil came to stay with us. They had spent time in NYC, drove from there to visit us on their way to Chicago.  Their visit was short and sweet, and we miss them a whole bunch. You know when you meet people and instantly it feels as if you have known them your entire life? Yep, it was like that!

short and sweet
Laura and Emil, sitting on our front porch swing, a long way from Denmark!
They arrived late Tuesday, and we stayed up until after 2:00 a.m. talking about all sorts of things. It was so much fun.  Wednesday, Robert made us a big breakfast around 10:00 a.m., and then we toured around our town a bit, pointing out this and that to our young travelers, and stopped into our friend Aaron's record shop (Hanson Records):

short and sweet
Aaron, Robert, Emil and Laura at Hanson Records
I needed to get to work at the nursery and I was annoyed I had to miss all the fun, but how wonderful that Robert, Emil and Laura came to visit me, bringing ice cream treats and pop!  And later that evening, they treated us to dinner at the Feve. Delightful!

Emil is integral to R's past tours in Europe and his three stays in Denmark, so R had spent time with E and L before. It was a treat for me to be able to get to know them. And, for you readers awaiting a perfume-post, I'll have one soon because to my happy surprise Laura is also a perfume freak!!!!

They left late Thursday morning, and it was very sad to see them go.  But I know we'll see each other again. And need to update my passport because by hook or by crook, I am definitely going to Denmark!

(Oh and we DID get our house cleaned up and the front hallway was done on time!! Phewww! I may post before/after photos soon)


saturday photos

It's a quiet Saturday.  Earlier, Robert and I went downtown to do some banking, and popped by the Farmers Market and picked up a few things, most importantly some pickling cukes.

We have a not-real Persian/Oriental rug (what is the politically correct term?) and we just scrubbed it outside and will see if it was worth our effort. It's super hot today - close to 90 degrees and extremely humid - so hopefully the rug will dry and not mold. It's an inexpensive rug, so we didn't want to send it out for cleaning. He's finishing up the painting of the front hallway - a project many years in the procrastinating, and an upcoming visit from some of his Danish friends spurred him on.

In the meantime, the A/C is on, I have some photos to post, and we're waiting to watch a soccer game (Men's US team v Cuba).

saturday photos
I love chewy candy and our grocery store has the best gummy bears.
saturday photos
Another demo pottery piece I made - featuring slip trailing and sgraffito

saturday photos
A sedum that didn't drown in all the rain we have been having....Stonecrop 'Lime Zinger'


may days

Ahhh it's May, and I'm relaxing this weekend as it is two full days off for me in a row!  May will be a bit slower as I am not teaching pottery this month, but will pop in to the community arts center to check up on things and fire bisque and glaze kiln loads as Open Studio continues.

The nursery is super busy, and I'm also working more hours for the non-profit.  We only have one plot left for the community garden - it's the most full it has been in a few years and we all are quite pleased!

Friday:  May Day was our 11th anniversary! I gifted Robert two big bags of peanut M&Ms earlier in the week, and he gathered this beautiful bouquet of flowers from our yard, and then made us my favorite meal - steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans. Just perfect.

may days
Anniversary bouquet in a Hull Pottery vase
Saturday: I missed The Big Parade though I heard it go by on the street south of us. I was just so exhausted from April that I stayed home all day and didn't change out of my pyjamas until 3:30.*  we watched some hockey (Stanley Cup play-offs - not really rooting for any team except that I always root against any team from any sport that is from New York!) and caught up on some other programs that we had taped/tivo-ed.  But at 8:00 p.m. I mowed some of the back yard - it was a jungle back there -  as by that time I felt that I needed to do something constructive.

Has anyone seen these before?

may days
Window screen hole fixers
They're cute little flowers to cover up the holes in your window screen. (I opened up the green one so you can see how they work)  I have no idea how I found these - I think I got them off Ebay years and years ago. The weather has been so nice - sunny and in the high 60s and low 70s - that I want to open all the windows, but stink bugs and wasps and ripped screens are keeping me from doing that.  Today we may fix a few screens - the old-fashioned way and with these flowers.

Happy May everyone!

* Around 12:30 on Saturday I was trying to nap, and my bed shaked so much that it woke me up. Items on the shelves clinked together. I thought it was an earthquake but nothing came up in Google news, so then I figured it was just a large truck rumbling by in front of our house.  Robert just informed me that there was indeed a 4.2 magnitude earthquake - in Michigan!

tuberculosis windows

I have always been fascinated by movies that feature apartments that have inside and transom windows. I recently watched The Immigrant  (not a great film in my opinion, but it was nice to see the costumes, and Marion Cottilard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner) and that nudged me to finally research the reason for these.

Well, from what I found out, these indoor windows were prescribed because of the lack of ventilation and light in New York City tenement apartments. Some rooms at that time had no window to the outside, so a law (the Tenement House Act of 1867) was put in place, and landlords installed windows in between rooms to help solve the problem (which didn't solve the problem, so the Tenement House Act of 1879 was enacted, and that didn't help either so the law of 1901 was put in place). I read a reference that these windows were nicknamed 'tuberculosis windows'.

tuberculosis windows

At my last full-time office job, I had a little inside office. I often needed to close the door to work on projects and reports, and for privacy when interviewing new clients or talking with staff.  Being in a closed room with no window was not pleasant.  Since the organization had a program to teach carpentry skills, the man in charge had asked me if I needed anything done with the office, and I jumped at the chance to ask for a window to be installed. Although I wished for a window that could open, they did build me a lovely window so I could get natural light in, and I was extremely grateful.

And here at home, we installed our windowed doorway between our living and dining room. In my basement 'studio', Robert put in a door that has glass panels.

tuberculosis windows
Bad photo of the glass panel doorway between our living and dining rooms that Robert
built a few years back from found window frames.
My friend Joan made that leaded glass piece for me back in  the early 1980s
when I lived in an apartment building with a transom window. 
I do realize that I have the freedom to install windows in the house for pleasure, and not for health reasons. I am not blind to the absolutely atrocious living conditions that people had to endure in those tenements.  But I do like the look.

a few things

Yesterday I attempted to tackle the weed bed.  I gave up after 15 minutes.  It's been taken over by ground ivy, so I decided that I'll gather some cardboard and/or landscaping fabric and smother the dang stuff, and then cover with mulch. I'm not sure what I despise more - ground ivy or buckthorn.

a few things

The husband spent many hours in the basement, cleaning up the floor. Because our basement tends to flood, and because we use clumping cat litter, the basement was absolutely disgusting.  So he methodically took care of that mess. The basement floor has never been so clean and sweet-smelling.

Since I was feeling guilty that I wasn't accomplishing much of anything, I pruned some rose bushes (late, I know) and then made a very simple upcycled tee-shirt, katwise-style.  I had three identical long sleeved tee-shirts (in three different colors - btw, I do that a lot.  If I find something that works, I buy a couple of them.  I like uniforms) and each of them had holes or stains but the fabric is so nice and soft I didn't want to put them in the rag drawer.

I cut away the areas where there had been stains or holes, and serged together.  I only used two of the tees to make this, and maybe I'll cut down the sleeves. I like the tunic length of this.

a few things
used our wisteria trellis on the front porch to hang the shirt on for lighting purposes
For dinner, I treated us to take-out at The Feve - he had the Buffalo Shishtawouk (with masochistic sauce) and I had The O.T. (a pulled pork w/cole slaw sandwich, named for Officer Tim).

Today I think I'll make another tee from pieces and parts.  Not sure yet. I didn't wake up until after 10:00 a.m. this morning and I'm still drinking my morning coffee.  

the mezzanine re-do

We have a really old house.  We think (and so do the local historians in town) it was built in the mid-late 1860s.  I believe the house is about 1100 square feet.  My son's apartment is bigger than this house!

There is a weird upstairs hallway that I call the 'mezzanine.'  At one point, this area was the place where I had my computer and ran an on-line store where I sold used knitting needles, but mostly it has been the place where junk ends up, as we have very little storage space, a crawl-space type attic, a damp basement, no garage....

So I decided to paint the walls, and floor, and moved my sewing things up there.

The furniture is now where I want it, and I'm now putting things on the walls.

This is a photo of my serger, and above it a lino print I did in the late 1980s while I was in college.

the mezzanine re-do

bitter cold out these couple of days

Went out and changed the waterer for the chickens as the water was frozen (the DH had given them fresh water earlier this morning).  Then I warmed some left-over oatmeal and gave them some as a treat.

I have been working on painting the walls and floor of our second floor hallway.  Also been doing a lot of knitting - mostly socks and a few hats.  Once I find the perfect buttons for this one hat I knitted, I'll post a photo of it.

In the meantime, I hope everyone who's dealing with this cold snap is keeping warm and dry!

Here's a photo of the chickens, from a few weeks ago:

bitter cold out these couple of days

happy holidays!car and bowlssome summer thingsshort and sweetsaturday photosmay daystuberculosis windowsa few things the mezzanine re-dobitter cold out these couple of days

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