Thursday, April 7, 2016

A discovery about myself and yoga...

The other day I went to a vinyasa flow yoga class at another studio that opened near my house, and even though it was geared more for a beginner to vinyasa, I still found it as difficult as I always have. I keep thinking I will get into doing the faster flow yoga but it keeps not happening. A lot of it is the up and down movements, too fast for me now.

Then I went folk dancing again over at the Temple and had whatever a Jewish epiphany might be called: I like my yoga slow and my movement to be dancing. I think I always have and it somehow took a new awakening for me to see it again. I love to dance but do not go do it often enough. I am going to start going to Contra dance and English country dance again too. Since there isn't a NIA teacher in Sacramento these days (which was my dance exercise of choice for a long while) I will get back to folk type dancing.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Post Cards...

Another thing I finally did was get to the post office and found some new mail art in my box. So last weekend I visited my arty friend Leslie and while she did numerous amazing arty things, I got these mail art cards done and ready to go.

The backgrounds were already done and in my pile of "do something with these!" so I added dots and more dots and lines and a couple of quotes from this large print book Leslie had. I need to get over to my library sale book room and find a large print novel like this for cutting out totally random phrases!

I still have a large pile of finished backgrounds to play with. Maybe now that this 6 week long cold and cough is GONE I will be able to find that arty mojo that seems to have taken a hike and get more done!

Hamentaschen and some sewing...

I did these last week but am finally catching up on the blogging side of things... 

Ok they are pretty lopsided but they were still yummy. I love this time of year because the spring makes me think of hamentaschen, the 3 cornered treats that come out around Purim. I haven't made them for a few years because for a while Solo apricot filling had high fructose corn syrup and I don't want to eat that. Now they don't but the formula is changed. It is no longer that thick rich with apricots filling, but more of a gelatinous pie filling. Still it was what I had so I made them. I morphed a couple of recipes from online but mostly went from THIS one but they needed a little more flour and some baking powder.

And not only cooking... I did some sewing!

I took this WASHI dress class at Country Sew and here is the tunic version I made:

I took the class because there were some dressmaking skills in it I wanted to learn/relearn:  shirring, including hand rolling the bobbin with elastic thread, fitting darts (which I hate), and finishing the inside for a more professional look. I used her online sleeve addition too because I didn't like the little sleeve that came with it. I serged most of the seams and understitched the neckline as well as topstitched it. I forgot to serge the sleeves and when I look at it I can see the difference between nicely finished seams and those seams. Learning curve!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Spring is coming...

From a rainy winter we are coming into a lovely Spring...

Apricot blossoms...

Narcissus and daffodils...



And a view of some of the front yard.

Looks like I have some weeding to do in the coming weeks!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Back from Oregon...

I have been in Oregon... and Blogger did not function well on my tablet so I just didn't worry about it. Back now and going through my photos. I spent a few lovely days on the coast in windy and rainy weather. I loved it! And yes, I bought fabric! More info soon...

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Back to quilting and the blog...

It has been a slow start but I am gathering old projects to finish and moving my sewing area into my art room and generally making a mess of things around here! I have started the process of changing where I sew. I was tired of using the eating table for my sewing because a) it is a small table and b) we never could eat at the table unless I cleared it off every night which I didn't...

So my other "art studio" room is undergoing a transformation into more of a sewing room and crap is everywhere! And now I am leaving for 10 days in Oregon and you know what? It will just stay a mess til I get back! Not going to worry about it!

But I did get the table runner I was making for my sister done and I will be giving it to her in a couple of days when I see her. She saw it mid-blocks but hasn't seen it done. And she doesn't get the cat! (That is Phoebe, dutifully watching what I was doing on the bed since I didn't have a long enough table to set it out!).

The back is just the purple fabric.  The surprise is that I got variegated green and purple thread and serged the edges instead of traditionally binding them like a quilt. I thought it was a cool more casual look and I love how it turned out!

A close up of the serging around the edges:

And now I am really jazzed to start some of my other quilting projects when I get back. I found a really cool lap quilt on Pinterest which I want to use as inspiration for my own modern scrappy quilt and then I have a lot of other unfinished projects (UFOs) to get done. My intention is one UFO a month or at least work on one as well as any other newer project. We shall see!

So now I am heading to Oregon, land of incredible fabric stores -- NOT that I need a single morsel of new fabric, but any of my quilting or sewing readers that has never stopped any of us in the past! Hah!

But I am also going to the coast and some other fun stuff so I will post some pix here and blog from my tablet along the way.  Aside from fabric hunting, my sister is having a big birthday bash, I will get to see another cousin later in the trip and who knows, yoga on the beach anyone?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Wild Geese...

Today in yoga class Denice read Wild Geese by Mary Oliver.  This poem has flitted in and out of my life over the years. I first heard it when Jan Haag read it in our creative writing class at Sac City College many years ago. I had taken that class just as an easy way to get some units for my continuing credit for my teaching credential and it turned out to be a key turning point in bringing me back to writing.  Then I heard the poem a other times and most lately a few times in yoga classes at It's All Yoga. Seems a lot of yoga teachers like Mary Oliver poetry.  And again this morning, my first yoga class of the New Year and Denice read it to the class. I figured it was time I posted it so I would have it at my fingertips:
Wild Geese   by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

And HERE is Mary Oliver reading the poem.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Word for the Year... 2016

I had been thinking a lot about my Word for the Year lately... and even chosen one I thought might be good for it (play) and then in yoga class the last day of 2015 another word came to me that has taken a stronger hold in me.... BE.

The more I thought about it the stronger the word became. So many things have been pulling on me lately (who am I now that I am retired, what do I want to do with my life now, how can I make new habits that would make my life more of what I want it to be, etc)... and though all of it a simple breath and the one word just comes though... just BE. The rest will take care of itself.

So along with this came thoughts of what this new year's CDF's (core desired feelings a la Danielle LaPorte) would be. Last year my words were unencumbered, aligned, vibrant, connected, and mindful. I decided to rework a couple of last  year's words and add a couple of new ones. So for this year my core desired feelings are:

UNCLUTTERED: Still working on the unencumbered, decluttering thing and hoping to muster more energy towards it this coming year.
MINDFUL: I liked this one from last year and want to continue feeling it.
PLAYFUL: Incorporating the idea of play, I want this year to be full of movement (yoga, dance) and just more fun play!
COLORFUL: Feeling the pull to get back to art and sewing, wanting to incorporate more color into my life.
GRATEFUL: An extension of working on this in December (thanks mostly to the Facebook Gratitude group) I do feel grateful for so many things in my life. It seems like a good thing to continue recognizing what they are.

So with that I wish anyone who happens to stop by a joyous and wonderful 2016! Thank you for being a part of this chapter in my life.

Happy New Year!

I know I post this poem often but it is still my favorite for starting a New Year...

For a New Beginning
by John O'Donohue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


I love potatoes. It thrills me to think that I can go out into my yard and pick my own. In my fantasy yard I would have rows and rows or barrels and barrels of little yummy taters. Considering that organic yukon gold or red potatoes are anywhere from $1.50 up to $3.00 or more a pound, it makes sense. 

In my real world however, my harvests are pretty tiny. But this was just an experiment. In September I took a few old yukon golds that had sprouted and were destined to be thrown away and chucked them into an empty planter barrel. Tossed some soil on them and as they grew, kept adding more soil and straw. Then I forgot about them. And yesterday morning when I went out to check the lemon tree I found the barrel. All the plants had died down so I figured I should check for potatoes. And I found these... not much but it did tell me they do grow in fall and into winter here. Like I said, an experiment. And I am sure they will be delicious steamed with some butter and dill.

I will try again in the Spring... 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Sunny Christmas morning...

After a few days of much needed rain, Christmas opens with a sunny sky and a lot of birds! I heard some hummingbirds fighting outside my window so went out to investigate. Apparently they all wanted to feed at the feeders, which of course was an impossible thing to photograph but I did manage to get one hiding in the shadows.

This is the orange tree they like to hang out in as it is right near 2 feeders. I am glad to see they are still around. I was wondering where they had gone when I didn't see them for a couple of weeks. Guess they hide out from the rain just like we do! This year the oranges actually taste good too! Goes to show what enough water and nutrients will do!

So out in the back my lemon tree is starting to show ripe lemons. Glad there are still a lot of them. A lot of the branches had to come down earlier so Andy could get the roofing materials in place for the carport roof that he re-roofed right before the rains came. Yay Andy!

And I am trying again for a small winter garden of greens. Hoping the rats stay away this time... some kale and lettuces are starting up again.

And I noticed my potatoes container had all died back so later today I will empty it out and see if I got any late potatoes.  Time to put some energy back into the garden!

Monday, November 30, 2015


As in, "Brrrrr it's cold outside!"  (for us anyway. Wasn't it just a month or so ago I was moaning about how hot it still was?)

I live near the top entry and was so very grateful for our new electric blanket this morning! On the good side... it is now cold enough to plant my tulip bulbs so I have been starting to work on the spot in the front yard for that. This is the area I started working on yesterday:

I got all the plants cleared out of the 4x4 planter and pulled up some of the other dead stuff. I will go back out later this afternoon when it has warmed up just a tad to tend to the soil and maybe get the bulbs planted. I got my usual favs (reds) as well as a bunch of purples and oranges to plant together in a clump. I love both of those colorways (ohhh can you tell I use fabrics? haha) so I am just planting them all, even if it sounds weird. More photos as I get working out there...

Monday, November 23, 2015


The other day Tami was giving a workshop in our yoga teacher training session and through what she said reminded me of my Word of the year and the CDF's (core desired feelings based on the Danielle LaPorte book, The Desire Map). I realized it had been MONTHS since I had thought of those and decided to review them and see just where I stood with them...

My Word for the year in 2015 was OPEN. HERE is where I wrote about that.
My CDF's for 2015 were unencumbered, aligned, vibrant, connected, and mindful. HERE is where I list them but I see now I never really wrote more about them.

Now it is the week of Thanksgiving and many people are doing Gratitude challenges and such on Facebook and other social media. Or maybe preparing what they will say on Thanksgiving, the one day it seems we all have approval to feel gratitude. This has always been a hard thing for me. Not being grateful but expressing it. Lately there are a lot more articles online about how developing a gratitude practice is helpful in our lives and after so many years of cynicism I decided to tone my negative voice down and actually give it a try. So I joined the 40 day Gratitude challenge on Facebook and decided to take a look at thoughts and ideas I had set forth for my life and how this year played out.

Ok ok I am so grateful it is satsuma season (photo above)!! But seriously...

Starting with the Word for the year. OPEN. I think I have been more open to things happening this year. Where I think I have fallen down is being more open to accepting people as they are. Still needs work.

For the CDFs, I think I have had only bits and pieces of advancements with them:
Unencumbered: may need to use this one again next year. My house is still messy and I still have way too much stuff.
Aligned: I did better with this one and have a very positive feeling about bringing more yoga into my life. I am feeling more aligned physically but also mentally/spiritually. I have never been a religious person but I still feel there is some spiritual awareness that runs through my core. The yoga teacher training also helped me reawaken some of this curiosity.
Vibrant: I had hoped to do more art this year. Perhaps that is something again for next year. I have been feeling the loss of artistic mojo extremely powerfully these last few months.
Connected: Both good and bad on this one. I have been in touch with some people and relatives I had not been for a while, and some of that has brought sadness as well. Two of my cousins (one on my dad's side and one on my mom's) both passed away within a couple of weeks of each other last month. It makes me sad that I did not make more of an effort to stay connected. But also I have noticed the last few months I have been more introverted and have not gotten together much with people or made efforts to be more connected.
Mindful:  This one sort of laid dormant for a while then lately I am being much more mindful in several ways. Part of this is from an expanded awareness of mindfulness through the yoga training program and some of it is taking hold of my food issues and being more mindful of what and how much I am eating again.

So now I am thinking forward to next year and wondering if maybe I just need to give my words and ideas another year to percolate or is it time to choose a new word and cdfs? No hurry, no worries... just a thought that is taking hold this morning. This morning where I was grateful to wake up in a nice warm bed in a paid-for house.

What are you grateful for? Do you keep a gratitude journal? I am curious what other people are doing to align things/actions/thoughts in their lives... feel free to leave a reply.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Time to get going on this...

Been wasting time with computer games and avoiding all the projects I have in front of me for the last few weeks... just wanted to get some reminders down for myself here so I would have to make more of a commitment to myself to do them!

But here is what is going on -- 
1. The purple and green lilacs fabrics will now be a table runner per my sister's request rather than a lap quilt. 
2. I have decided to move my sewing area back into my art/crafts room. I have not been doing a lot of paper arts lately and I am tired of not having a table to eat dinner on (it is covered with sewing stuff). So I will start this project this weekend  -- step one is to clear off the messy table in my art room!

3. I want to make some lavender eye pillows for yoga class. I have one but to me it is too heavy, so I wanted to make a lighter one. 
4. I bought a new sewing machine! It's a Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 960Q. But I don't have it yet! I got it right before a big Viking trade show and the order just went in last Friday so maybe another week or so. Photos when I get it! It is a top of the line machine (for me) and has twice as large of a neck/throat than my little Baby Lock Grace. This should help a lot when free-motion quilting. Which leads me to my next item...
5. I am going to start on what I have been calling my Japanese taupe quilt. I am not sure it really follows the ideas of that style, but it is various shades of taupe and has some Japanese fabrics so, good enough for me! I may even try a few of the more complicated blocks from my Japanese taupe quilt designs books.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

One finished and a new one started!

I am pleased with myself for FINISHING a project I started! I am notorious for starting a gazillion projects (from taking classes or just on my own) and then never finishing them. Various reasons excuses, but mostly I lose interest and get started on something else that is more fun. This time I was determined to finish the little table runner we started in LisAnn's class at Country Sew (starting photos last entry -- learning how to machine quilt and add applique). I jsut needed to review a little how to do the binding and then how to finish the binding (thanks You Tube for those videos!)...

Had to remember how to add the binding strips together. THIS is a great Missouri Star Quilt Company tutorial video about binding that I use!

 Here is the finished table runner laid out on my bed because at the moment I don't have a cleared off table to put it on!

And this shows the back -- some bright green with sort of yellowish-tan dots fabric I happened to have that went well with all the front colors. I think next time I would make a skinnier binding. I used 2.5 inch strips for the binding but since it is so thin, I think just a 2" binding strip (or at most 2.25 strip) would do so the binding isn't so large in the back. But since I don't really plan on using the back I suppose in the end it doesn't really matter!

So now that one project is done I can start on another one:  making something with a lovely 10" squares "layer cake" (all fabrics from a particular line) that I loved: Fresh Lilacs. I got the layer cake when I was in Oregon last year and never used it. I love greens and purples together so got it for "whenever"... and apparently whenever is now!  I am going to make a small quilt throw -- smallish for a quilt, something to just toss over when it is a little chilly. I think the finished quilt will be around 45" x 73". 

Here are the squares sorted into the lighter colorways.

And then the darker ones...

And now I have but and sewn them together (forgot to take a photo of this step) and now on to mixing and matching them up...

It is the same basic idea that I used when I made the Ajay's quilt a few years ago and was featured on another of the Missouri Star Quilt tutorial videos called the Double Slice quilt.

Then all the blocks will be mixed and matched to make the quilt, like I did for Ajay's quilt before. HERE is that one all spread out while I wonder what to do next!

Where I am now with this lilacs quilt:  sewing the blocks together (2 sets of slices) then will start rearranging and placing. More photos to follow!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

New quilting project...

I finally got around to taking the second of a class in machine (as in your home sewing machine) quilting over at Country Sew. LisAnn is a very kind and patient teacher and helped us all along on the project. She had chosen a table topper for us to make (before class) then learn how to applique and quilt in class. I actually got mine all quilted in class! The only thing left to do is trim and bind it.

Here it is laid out on my sewing table (which I had to clear off first of course!):

and here is the fabric I decided to bind it with.  I "auditioned" (tried out) several other light prints and solids before choosing this one. I think the rusty oranges will bring out the other oranges in the quilt piece and it is more exciting than just a solid fabric. Now just to trim the whole piece, cut the binding strips and sew them on!

Meanwhile it is going to be in the 100 degrees for the rest of the week and I have no air in the sewing area to the side of the kitchen AND I still have yoga teacher training homework to finish, so I will get this project done next week (I hope!).

Sacramento, I am ready for AUTUMN!!!  And RAIN!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Post card art

Last Sunday I went to my friend Leslie's house again and we made some post card art! I had seen THIS page from Create Media (look at photo 2) and wanted to do that technique. Luckily Leslie has a lot of great art playing room in her studio!

We grabbed all our gelli prints and started cutting and gluing and came up with some fun post cards! Here is one I finished.

I have a few more partly done that I will finish soon and then send off to some of my waiting mail art friends! It was fun doing some art again -- it had been ages!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Green smoothies...

I gave myself a birthday present: a Vitamix blender. Costco had a good deal (over $100 savings) and I had wanted a better blender for a while, so I bit the bullet and got one.

My intention was to try green smoothies.

I've tried a few now, slowly working up to more than one raw kale or a handful of spinach at a time. I don't process raw cruciferous veggies (cabbage family) or raw spinach all that well so it is a slow journey to get my tummy used to it and not produce enough gas to power a small substation.  The nice thing is there is an abundance of fresh fruit this time of year so there are all sorts of flavors to try too!

I am still working on the serving size. I keep adding more stuff and then have way too much to drink at one time. I save off the rest but I would like to make a little less each time. Since the Vitamix is so super easy to clean (whirl in some dish soap and there you go!), it is not a problem to make a fresh shake smoothie each day.

Do you have a favorite green smoothie recipe? I would love to know about it!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Remembering Maggie... one year ago.

Hard to believe it is already a year since our sweet Maggie died. Remembering her today...

Monday, August 3, 2015

Turning 63...

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."
-- Seneca

So I just turned 63 today and from my presents it looks like I will be riding my bicycle and learning to play the ukulele... hopefully not at the same time!

I am not sure which is the bigger challenge actually! LOL   Either way, it will be a fun year!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hot late July days...

It has been in the 100s during the days this week in Sacramento. I think yesterday got up to 108 or 109 degrees Fahrenheit! Way too hot for me.

And the heat is affecting the garden. Even though I water as much as I can, the plants do not like these temperature extremes either!

My Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundiflolia) finally flowered! But even this plant isn't liking the heat much!

My squash plants are staring to die back, although there are still zucchini here and there.

My flowers are also dying or setting seed. HERE is a link to the milkweed I planted. The other day I noticed the seed pods are starting to pop and the seed is pouring out. I need to capture the seeds and plant them next Spring!

I did get a few ambrosia melons this year. Only one has been ripe enough to eat so far. I am hoping the other 2 will last long enough to ripen on the vine.

And the scraggly grape plants are holding on and still producing some grapes. This is near the last of the bunches. Very small but very sweet!

I have been ordering seeds for my Fall and winter garden of salad and other greens. Once the heat goes down in a few weeks I plan on pulling up the dead vines and other plants, planting lots of lettuce and some Tuscan kale. I may even sneak in some Swiss Chard plants. Andy doesn't like it so much but I love chard so I can just make it for myself!

Lots of garden tasks in the coming months. With yoga teacher training starting this weekend and the garden and more sewing I want to do, I think the next few months will be pretty busy for me. Busy and fun -- just what retirement should be!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Yoga Teacher Training Blog

I have started another blog HERE.  It will pertain to the Yoga Teacher Training I will be starting on August 1, 2015. There is a link to it in the pages tab under this blog title if you would like to view it.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep it totally separate from this blog or connect the two. After some mulling it over I decided to connect them because this will not be a separate thing in my life. I am not sure who said it originally but if "yoga begins off the mat" then yoga will live with all my other interests and the rest of my lovely retired life.

So I decided to make a somewhat separate but still connected blogs. This one will stay gardening and arts/crafts, traveling and anything else that comes up and the other one will focus on the yoga training. Either one you might happen to read, I am happy you are here. Thank you.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Apricot heaven...

They're here... well half the tree is nearly ripe and the other half which is a little more in the shade is waiting its turn for the big ripening...

Now to decide what I want to make with them...

  • dried apricots
  • apricot fruit leather
  • apricot pie filling
  • apricot jam

Of course I am sure a good number of them will just be eaten right off the tree! Off to Google some recipes!