Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gourds and quilt

 I found these interesting gourds at a vegetable stand in New Jersey.  To me, they look like a gaggle of geese.  The bowl is also a gourd.  I got that one on sale at our local birding store a few weeks ago.

The other photo is the beginning of a quilt that I am trying to produce.  I picked out the fabric this summer at my favorite fabric shop in Hammondsport, NY.  Kate was with me and helped figure out how much to buy.  This week, when I was stuck at home with no car, I finally finished cutting the pieces.  Now I'll be arranging and re-arranging them until I find a pleasing pattern.   I do not like the one pictured - too much emphasis on the green.  Since I am a novice quilter, the quilt will probably not be finished until I go to visit Kate in February.  I might get the pieces stitched together, but will want Kate to advise me and remind me of the steps as I go along.  Meanwhile, I'll have fun playing with the pieces.
I finally got my car yesterday AM.  The problem was a strange one.  It seems that there is a heater in the back of the mini-van.  I never turned it on, as no one ever sat there.  However, it may have been on from this summer.  The kids sat back there and fooled around with all the heat and A/C controls and I never thought to check on that.  Anyway the pipes for the heat back there had rusted or corroded and the heat was, I think, getting into the engine.  Anyway, it caused the heat gauge to register very hot.  It would have cost $600 for the part, plus labor to fix this.  So, I just asked the mechanic to remove the whole thing.  Since no one rides back there, I don't need a heater in the back.  The cost was significantly less to just remove it.  It's good to have transportation again.  I was going a little stir crazy.  I can walk to the post office and grocery store, but that's about all.  Bus comes once an hour to either Columbia Mall or Laurel Mall.  So, it's not as if I'm really trapped at home.  However, it's good to have wheels again.

In November, I am getting new floors.  Vinyl in the kitchen and master bathroom.  Laminate in bedrooms.  New carpet for the stairs and upstairs hall.  I shudder to think about having to box up all the stuff that is on shelves and dressers.  I'll take photos of the work in progress.  The installers will be here for 3 days, week after next.

Monday, October 25, 2010

trip to New Jersey

I drove up to north western N J to visit a college friend.  She lives in a very small town - they have a post office, but nothing else except about a dozen homes.  Her house was built in the 1940s, I think, but has an open floor plan, which surely was unusual for the times.  The area is very rural - the view out the back is of a dairy farm.  The countryside is so beautiful, especially with the fall leaves.  We ate out twice and spent Saturday browsing around in antique/junk shops in a nearby town.  I had a great time and, amazingly, managed not to buy anything!  It must have been my friend's influence, as on the way home, I stopped at another store and did buy two cheap items - some old buttons and a child's rake.

The drive up was not too bad, as I could enjoy the fall colors while I sat in stop and go traffic on the Baltimore beltway Friday AM.  The drive home had no bad traffic and was fine until just south of Harrisburg, PA when I noticed that the temperature gauge was reading above the HOT mark!  I pulled off at the next exit and added some coolant, as there appeared to be none in the overflow box.  I waited a bit and went back on the road.  Almost immediately, the gauge went back up, all the way.  So, I pulled off again and considered my options.  I called my brother Tom for his advice.  He said it might be the thermostat, and advised me to call AAA and get a tow.  I did that and rode all the way to Laurel in the cab of a tow truck.  I never realized how high up those cabs are!  You can see way over the traffic, but the ride was very rough.  My car is at the garage now and I'm waiting for the owner to call me and tell me how much this repair will cost!  At least the tow was free!  Thank goodness for AAA.
View from the car along one of the back roads.

 Looking across the valley.
 This lake is just a short walk down the road.
This is an old, abandoned mill at the end of the lake.

Friday, October 15, 2010

dinner and a show

 This wreath is hanging on my front door.  The scarecrow is in the front yard.  The birdcage with the little owls in it, is in the living room.  I bought the birdcage at a yard sale last weekend.  Saw these owls at Michael's and couldn't resist them.

Today the weather is beautiful.  I'm hoping to get outside for a walk sometime later.  The leaves are beginning to turn red and gold.  Trees behind my house don't get very colorful, but others in the neighborhood do.  Maybe I'll get some pix when I go walking.

Last night, a friend and I went to see "Rent" at Toby's Dinner Theatre.  ( We had free tickets compliments of my granddaughter, Olivia.  She won them while she was visiting this summer, but didn't have a chance to use them, so I got them.)  When I called to make the reservations, the ticket seller asked me if I knew what the show was about.  I guess I seemed uncertain, because she proceeded to tell me that it included scenes about AIDS, homosexuality, dying, profanity, sexually suggestive dancing and more.  I had to chuckle, as I told her that although I am an old lady, I am not offended by those things!

It was an interesting show.  Unfortunately, as usual at Toby's, the background music was so loud, that I missed some of the lyrics.  Most, although not all, of the show was sung.  The female lead, who was the waitress at our table, had an amazing voice - a huge range and very expressive.  Interestingly, her spoken voice was nothing like her singing voice.  I really liked the music, despite it being loud.  Luckily I had left my hearing aids at home.  The dancing was incredible - lots of running and jumping on and off props.  And those dancers could do things to their bodies that made me shudder.  How can they  jump and stretch and contort themselves while they are singing?  Of course most of them were young, but I couldn't have done that when I was young!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

a great day for yard sales

I went visiting local yard sales today.  The sun was shining, although it was chilly when I started out.  An hour later, I had taken the jacket off; when I got home at noon, I changed into shorts!  Anyway, I got a lot of stuff and it was all very cheap.  Sometimes people at yard sales price things too high, but all these folks had stuff priced to SELL!  And I bought!  I got some Halloween and some Christmas decorations - mostly outdoor ones for Halloween.  One sale was at a church and they also had FOOD.  Delicious brownies and I think from the wonderful odors, really good soup, too.  Unfortunately it was still morning when I was there, and I didn't get back there for lunch. Need I say that I ate the brownies before I got home? 

Among the items I came home with is a stack of plastic interlocking shelf things - each one 8x11.  I now have 4 blue shelves and 3 red ones - perfect in my kitchen.  I'm hoping that I can get myself better organized and eliminate some of the mess on my kitchen counter and buffet.  Wish me luck - I'm going to start on reorganizing as soon as I finish this blog.  And speaking of my kitchen, I'm getting an estimate today on replacing the old vinyl flooring.  The one I have picked is a fairly dark gray, made to resemble stone.  When the floor is installed, I'll take a photo.

 The first photo is, Halloween and fall stuff.  I also have some outdoor stuff that I didn't photo.  I'll do that later when the yard decorations are all up.  The gourd is really big - over a foot long.  I have no idea what to do with it, but I just couldn't resist.  The wood bird cage is another one of those irresistible things.  I already have a place in mind to hang it and a paper mache bird to put in it.  The Xmas stuff is packed away until December.  And yes, I know that I don't need any more mugs - even Christmas ones.  But, it was only 50 cents!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Raku firing

Last night we did a Raku firing at my ceramics class.  I LOVE Raku.  The results are always somewhat of a surprise.  The process has some moments of worry - imagine using tongs (and asbestos gloves) to life a red hot object from the kiln to a barrel filled with straw.  The lion mask was the tricky one.  I needed two tongs (one in each hand) to lift it, but I didn't drop it, so all was well.  The firing ran late, as it always does, and it was 10:30 when I got home.  Then I had to shower because my clothes and my hair smelled like smoke, from the straw in the barrels which ignites when the hot piece is put in. Anyway, it was midnight by the time I was wound down enough to go to bed.  Of course, this morning, when I wanted to sleep in, I woke up at 5:30 and finally got up at 6.  I'll be ready for bed tonight, that's for sure.

Note:  there is only one vase, but I am showing two sides, as each is different.  I used 5 glazes on it.  The unglazed parts are the gray sections.  I really like this vase.  It's different from my usual decorating.  I often carve designs in my vases.  This time, I added the decorative pieces after construction. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Yesterday's loot.

Yesterday, a local church had a bazaar.  I went in the AM, when it opened.  What a lot of great stuff!  I would have bought more, but I ran out of money.  Perhaps that is just as well. Here's what I found.  I really feel lucky on the picture frame.  It was only $1.00 and it is the perfect size for a photo of Kate and the kids that she sent me a while back.  It's not exactly a standard size, but it fit just right in this frame. (The picture wasn't in the frame when I took the above photo, as you can tell.)

It turned out to be a beautiful day yesterday.  The rain clouds disappeared and we had blue sky and sunshine.  Better enjoy it while we can, as the prediction is for more rain by mid-week.  I brought my house plants inside last night.  It's a good thing I did, as the temps reached a low in the 40s last night.  Had to do a major rearrangement of plants on baker's racks, but I did manage to fit all of them in.  I would like to have fewer houseplants, but cannot stand to just throw away the ones I have, as long as they are healthy.  House plants anyone?

This morning was chilly!  I put the heat on for about an hour.  The house temperature was 69, which is about what I keep my house at during the heating season.  However, I was wearing fall, not winter, clothes and I was cold.  By noon, I may want to put summer clothes back on.