Friday, September 28, 2007

Embroidery Day Continued

This is how we started the day yesterday, when Annie got the idea to go to the city. Today has been foggy and drizzly all day, and we've popped some corn on the stove, and Annie's been embroidering and I've been knitting.

** Deep sigh**

It's so nice to just be at home when the weather's like this.
Have a great weekend friends!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Happy Meal? or Don't Look Vegetarians!

Annie loves to go to Chinatown and visit this one, out of the way, "fish store" where they sell live fish, turtles and frogs for eating. We were having a pleasant "embroidery" morning, *just imagine sweet classical music playing* when she asked if we could go over to Chinatown and get a fresh fish for dinner. O.K! Why not? *now can you hear the Jaws theme?* So we gussied up and drove over the bridge to Stockton and Jackson, had a light nosh of delicous dim sum near Portsmouth Square, then hoofed up the steep block to this whole-in-the-wall shop. The busy clerks pretty much ignored us, thinking we were just tourists, and helped numerous Chinese customers, which was perfectly fine with Annie, since she loves seeing who chooses what, how they kill it (right in front of you with a wooden club) and how they clean it. It also thrills Annie to no end to round up any turtle or frog that is trying to escape and return it to it respective enclosure. *imagine the thanks she getting from the animals!* So, can you guess which of God's creatures we had for dinner tonight? Look for the one that has the really scared looking expression on it's face.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ooooh LaLa!

Look what arrived in the mail today!!
Eight Perfect Peaches!
When I opened the box, the intense, warm peachy perfume instantly made my mouth water. I unwrapped each one from it's precious receiving blanket, and stopped to take these pictures before standing over the kitchen sink and devouring two, while Annie slobbered one beside me. Mmmmm.

I've been on a quest all summer to eat the perfect peach, and let me tell you, I've kissed a few toads in the process. I had a few really good ones, and we kind of got into the doughnut peaches. You know the little doughnut shaped ones? They we're pretty good. And one day my friend Joan was eating a peach and said,
"You want some of this peach?"
(She knew nothing of my quest), so I said
"Is it a good one?"
"Good enough," she said as she handed it to me and walked away to wash the juice from her hands and arms.
Well, it was one of the best peaches I'd eaten all summer! Wow! To me, a bad peach, all mushy, and bland, is just soooo bad. But a good one? Absoulute heaven! Juicy, sweet, thin skinned with a slight sting to each bite. You know!
So, now that Fall is on it's way, I feeling bummed because I really don't think I've had enough really good peaches.

Until now.

The little darlings!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fast Forward Fall

I tried to wait until the first of October to break out the
Halloween decorations. I did! But it rained on Friday night and I had to re-arrange in the basement to fit a few things down there that couldn't get wet in the yard, when Annie spotted the Halloween box and started pulling it all out and getting so excited! Oh well, what's a few days? And besides, what better reason to decorate than we were having our Santa Cruz friends, Dana and Jasmine, as overnight guests to celebrate Jasmine's belated sixth birthday? We had a wonderful visit and the girls played and giggled late into the night, and even though they tried, were not able to fall asleep together on the bed they made in the living room as they had planned.

Then yesterday, we met friends in Half Moon Bay at Arata Farms where we bought pumpkins, petted kittens, and played around the farm for a few hours in the warm Autumn sun. Ahhh! So we are fully getting into the Fall mode and I don't care if it's still September! I'll try to take pictures of the foyer that we decorated with thick cobwebs, spiders, bats and snakes all threatening to get tangled into your hair as you walk in the door. I do love this change in seasons, and I'm looking forward to all the festivities up ahead.

Stay tuned for upcoming October posts like
Catching Hummingbirds , and
I Know I'm a Blogger-Bore.

Both in the works!

Friday, September 21, 2007


Just like people, some birds photograph better than others. And some birds are camera hogs, just like some people, just hamming it up and jumping right in front of the camera. So here are a few pictures to introduce four birds from our new flock. Each one, Claire, Hans, Livian and Dandilion all love to get their picture taken. I took a ton of pictures, and these four kept getting right in front of me over and over again.

There is one bird I am totally in love with, Harry, and he is so handsome, but he will not let me get a good picture! I think partly it's because he's so active and young. He's curious though. He gets close, looks at me and twitches his tail feathers, and as soon as I focus...he's gone. I'm going to keep working on it though, and you'll see what I mean! He's devilishly attractive.

There are nine birds in all to our gang. Hans has his Eva, and Livian has her guy Atlas, and the rest are "single". I'll be curious in the Spring who pairs up and if there will be any babies. I hope so!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Finished Felting

Wow! Those were easy to make.
You barely need to know how to knit! Each slipper only took maybe 1 hour to make.
I think they are really good looking, plus the mohair makes them really toasty!

The felting procedure went like this;
1.) Put both slippers in a bowl.
2,) Put a drop of dish soap on them.
3.) Pour boiling hot water over the slippers to cover.
4.) Using a potato masher, mash slippers for a few minutes.
5.) Pour off water, add a drop more dish soap on each and lather them like crazy,
wad them in a ball, squish and squash then rinse with medium temperature water.
6. Squeeze as much water out of them as possible without stretching them out. I wrapped them in a towel and really pressed.
7.) Fit them on your feet to shape, then set them somewhere to air dry for a day or two, depending on the weather. After they dried I fitted each with a foam support insert, cut to size (from Longs Drugs) to make them more comfortable.
8.) I added puff paint in small dots on the bottom of each (in gold to match) so they don't slip all over the wood floors.

Ta da!
My next attempt will be to make a pair of mules. I don't have a pattern so it's R&D at it's most basic. If you need any guidance or support in making a pair like these, or have questions, just leave them in comments and I'll answer you! Also, I link to the original, easy pattern here, in this post.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lunch With Pop

We had a day in the city starting with lunch with Papa. It was San Francisco just the way I like it. Crisp, a little breezy, with puffy clouds over head, and two hands to hold. We walked from Pops work to a little place he'd been eyeing with us in mind, and we had a terrific lunch. The lemonade was fantastic. So were the fries. The restaurant itself used to be a train car, and the interior still had the wonderful details that hark back to an era of luxury.

From there, we headed up to the Legion of Honor where we enjoyed the sculpture, drawings and painting in their permanent collection. The grounds alone are almost enough to satisfy...architecture, stunning ocean views, the grassy fields (and climbing trees) and fountains! Annie and I talked about taking some drawing materials next time we go so we can do some art work outside and enjoy the view. We made a few movies while we were there, mostly of her darting and dancing around the columns in the entry way, oh, and other sassy stuff. I'll spare you and not load them up here.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

WIP-Sunday Night

We have just finished up a deliciously slow and "no plans whatsoever" weekend with Movie Cuddle Night*, watching The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Annie chose the movie, and we all enjoyed it. Over this weekend I took numerous bike rides, did some thrifting, knitting, and after my pitiful sleep on Friday night, I had a lovely nap mid-day Saturday. Ahhhh. Among my thrifted treasure, I found nine balls of golden amber mohair for the slippers I've been wanting to make Annie and I from a felting pattern I found on-line. They are making up quickly. I have one slipper done for each of us so far. The yarn is truly vintage, so there was a lot of breakage, and then splicing of yarn, so I ended up knitting two strands together for strength and fullness. So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my calculations, and my test ball of felt lead to wearable, cozy slippers for Annie and I.

As for my other thrift scores, I found an intact version of the old classic game Battleship ($.25), a perfectly new electric mattress pad for LaLa Pat ($5.), a vintage Christmas kitty garland ($.25), and the best of all, a wonderful bath caddy to go across the tub (which I almost bought new a few weeks ago, and then changed my mind. Whew!) that holds a book, a candle and a glass of wine ($1, and was probably $50 or more new!). I haven't taken a bath with it yet, but Annie soaked for 90 minutes sipping juice and "reading" Astro Boy.

*Movie Cuddle Night was developed by the magnificent, infamous and adorable Chloe Noelle Prior who turns seven today. Happy Birthday dear darling Chloe. Annie says she loves everything about you.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mosquito, Dr. Who & Indian Food

I'm totally wide awake at 1:42 A.M. because there's a mosquito in my room. I got up and couldn't find it anywhere, so I turned on the closet light hoping to draw it into the closet, then the closet light was sending daggers into my eye at just the right angle. Ugh! Then I started to think about the leftover Indian Food in the fridge we had for dinner, which was so fantastic, and try to fight the urge to reheat it and have a midnight snack. But no! I'm tired, and I'm not even hungry and I try to go back to sleep. I almost get there, but no! Annie and Billie watched a creepy episode of Dr. Who tonight (I'm not sure which vintage) with weeping angels and Annie has woken up "spooked" and is has just now fallen back asleep, and I had to pry her fingers off my nighty just to get out of bed and find the flyswatter because I spotted the mosquito while I lay there, and I just got it. Then I had to go pee, and I saw the computer and had to check my email, like someone was going to email since I checked it at ten! I'm just now realizing why I'm up! I offered a mini diet coke to my friend Justine when she visited today and I had one too. I'm not a soda drinker, (or coffee) but I always buy it when my Mother-in-Law's visits (it's her drink). It's like I'm on drugs! Evil drink. Maybe I'll just go read a bit. A wonderful blogger Dawn, has sent me a book Five Quarters of the Orange and I'm only on page 33 and I'm really into it! Totally engrossing, farming, cooking, family dynamics, WW2, and some unfolding secrets. by the gal who wrote Chocolat.

One more thing, I'm embarrassed to admit how many times I've watched this YouTube clip, but I'm including it here in case anyone else likes to look at really darling little dogs. I've watched it so many times, I've got the tune going thru my head just thinking about it. Just ignore this last sentence if you are sane, and grown-up, and realize how all puppies grow up to be dogs and they are pain-in-the-butts.
O.K. It's now 1:59 A.M.
Goodnight again.
I hope...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

1600 Pennsylvania Ave

Dear President Bush,
I saw a commercial about that war and I want to write to you to ask you to stop this war. Because bombs are wrecking the cities in Iraq. Lots of people will be killed! I'm worried if bombs will head to our city and they might wreck our house in Alameda. Please stop all wars and don't cut down any trees because I care about the earth.


Age 6 1/2

Friday, September 7, 2007

Recent Works by Annie

The works above are all in watercolors. The brand is Pentel and they are very rich and easy to use. Just squeeze, add water and voila (or "walla" as Annie pronounces.) I think they are an exciting step up from the pads of watercolors that are usually offered to kids. The painting on the table is one of the many paintings she had done of what she thinks god looks like. A long time ago I pointed out the "eye" on the trunk of a birch tree, and told Annie that I always thought of them as the eyes of god, and she must remember that because most of her god paintings look like the eyes of a birch tree. Of course the portrait shown above is a self portrait, and I love how energetic and alive it is.

The pieces below are actually two details of a very large wall mural that Annie has been working on in tempra of God and the Earth. The god with the (tiny mouth) is worried about the one side of the earth that is being filled with chemicals. I've got it hanging in the dining room and I'm enjoying the scale and the story she is depicting, just as it is.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

WIP Tuesday

Having Billy home for three days in a row felt absolutely fantastic! Ahhh. Before we moved we saw a lot more of him. Every day he was home for lunch, with us longer in the mornings and back with us earlier each evening. Now he's gone before we rise, then home later and more tired. Having him here for three days in a row made me realize how much I miss him. Annie too. On top of just enjoying him around, we were able to do stuff around here that we both wanted to do, and I could almost finish the dining room mural!

Of course the mural is "Chinese." I wanted to emulate Chinese wallpaper or screens. Only really pumped up color. With the dark wood paneling, these colors just pop. I'm a little surprised I've gone so bold and colorful. I'm normally so demure. The house just begged for it though. So, really I was just obeying the walls! There are six clusters of bamboo, peony and bird groupings, and here are three. I'm still in the painting-mode. I'll go back over it for a clean-up mode, then I'll take some pics (maybe a movie with Bloggers new addition of video.) Of course, the three little blue birds are Billy, Annie and I. Other birds include Nana, Frances Farrell, Grandma Mildred and Aunt Shirley. Oh yea, Grandpa Al too. Or maybe I still have a bird in me for Jerry Sieler. Maybe a small turkey vulture. Just kidding Pat. Tee hee.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day

One reason it felt O.K. to let go of our dear hens before we moved was that I had told myself that I would restore the aviary to it's former glory and keep our canaries Daffodil and Dandelion in it, plus add more to the flock. So we worked all day on it today and it is so exciting! It's ready! I couldn't have done it without Bill and his strength and willingness. Thank you so much Darling! I still have to outfit the birdroom with some cages, so for now they have no access to it.

I've always though our canaries were beautiful, although it is hard to see how truly exquisite they are in an average bird cage. When they have the room to exercise and enjoy a more natural life they truly shine!

Can I say that the electric staple gun is the way to go. Forget that old one. It was too hard! That and the new wire cutters that we got. So much easier than our old ones.