Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 34 of 365

I've been learning lots of new things about sewing lately.

I'm not a natural born sewer. I used to sew some of my daughter's clothes when she was a toddler, but had no clue what I was doing. A quarter inch seam allowance? On the bias? Cut notches? Sew interfacing? Make a button hole? I had not a clue to any of those. Yet, I continued to sew for her because I enjoyed it.

Skip ahead 20 years later and I'm still learning. I just found out last week that I have a quarter inch sewing machine foot. I still can't make a proper buttonhole. But I've been reading up on the internet. I've been following people's step-by-step tutorials and watching how-to videos. And through the process of creating each project I've been learning from my mistakes. My seam ripper is becoming my good friend.

I have enough problems making enough mistakes on my own that I don't need the internet messing me up, too.

This week I made four potholders. For three of them I followed a step-by-step tutorial and for the fourth I watched a video. Unfortunately (as I found out much too late) the directions on one of the tutorials wasn't complete and the measurements on the video were off. So I wound up having to re-do/guess/cut corners as best I could.

And that best wasn't good enough for me. So while they may look okay in the picture, they're not up to my perfectionist standards.

And that's another thing I'm learning about sewing. I can't be perfect. My skills, although improving, aren't there yet. But I'm not sure it matters. Is there a sewing police that will check to see if my seams line up or my points are folded correctly?

If so, I'm in trouble.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Day 33 of 365

I love my red KitchenAid stand mixer. I've had one for almost 25 years now and would never go back to any other mixer. The best part is I can add ingredients, turn it on, and let it be. No standing over the mixer, no kneading, just let the mixer's motor do all the work. I recently got a more powerful, bigger one (red again) and love this one even more. I use it all the time. Like today.

It was another cloudy, windy day and I had some baking to do. My husband needed some sugar cookies for a meeting later this week so I mixed up a double batch of dough in the mixer. We're having homemade pizza for dinner so I mixed up a batch of pizza dough.

And as I was reading this month's Food Network Magazine this morning, I came across a recipe for Almost-Famous Rosemary Bread. It's a recipe that is supposed to be like Macaroni Grill's Rosemary Peasant Bread. (And I'm a sucker for a recipe that replicates a restaurant one.) Now, I've never been to Macaroni Grill and have no idea what their bread tastes like, but the picture in the magazine sure looked good. And since I just planted rosemary and should have plenty on hand later in the summer (fingers crossed), I figured today was as good a time as any to try out a new rosemary recipe.

If you like bread and you like rosemary, this is a recipe for you. Yum!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 32 of 365

Some days I just don't want to get out of bed.

Just too many things hurt.  My shoulders, my hands, my knees, my hips, and my back. Today was one of those days where everything ached. But I forced myself out of bed and took it easy for a while. Usually when I have really bad days, I do some type of organizing where I can sit in a chair and do something. I enjoy straightening shelves, organizing drawers, color coding fabric - something that is easy for me, that I get pleasure from, that doesn't tax my system, yet takes my mind off of hurting.

Most of today was just too much for even that. So I sat in the chair for a while, had some breakfast, read Readers Digest for a while, watched some NASCAR with hubby, and then finally got around to do some organizing. Actually, it was more of a straightening up project.

I've been working on several small sewing projects. I haven't finished any of them, but am getting close. Usually when I sew I pull out the fabrics I'm using and keep them nearby on the table in case I need them again before I'm done. Being I have three or four projects nearing the end right now, I have quite a few fabrics and bindings sitting out. I keep all my fabrics wrapped on boards and organized on the shelves by color, so it's been driving me crazy to have fabrics out loose.

So when I felt a bit better this afternoon, I got to work folding and wrapping my bindings and fabrics and putting them back on my shelves. I picked up scraps, refilled my iron with water, covered my sewing machine, and put my unfinished projects in a neat pile.

All projects except one.

I'm making my daughter a make up bag. We have the fabric, I have a pattern printed from the internet, and I have the zipper. I haven't started it yet, but I wanted to put it with the other projects. But I couldn't get to that project. It was temporarily unavailable. It was being used as a napping place.

It seems I'm not the only one needing to take it a little easy today.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 31 of 365

Our nice 60 degree weather has disappeared. Today is cloudy, rainy, windy, and cool. Not a good day to be working outside, so I decided to dig through our old seed packets to see what else I had to plant. Which then led me to checking on my glads.

I've never had much luck growing gladiolus. I love them all tall and colorful, but have always had problems with digging them up in the fall and replanting them in spring.  I'd plant them, they'd bloom (or not) and then I'd get too busy with school and forget to dig them out. Sometimes I even forgot where I planted them so I couldn't dig them out if I wanted to. One year I bought some that were touted as winter hardy, but after they flowered in the summer they never reappeared again.

But a couple years ago I decided I was going to try and do glads again. I was committed. I was going to mark where I planted them. I was going to make sure I didn't get too busy to dig them up and would have a dedicated container where I would store them for the winter.

Except that between the time I ordered them in the late summer and the time they arrived for planting in the following spring, I had hurt my back at work, been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and had knee replacement surgery. When the bulbs arrived in April in a box marked "live plants", I knew my gladiolus days would not happen.

Then along came my helper. (My daughter, of course.) A couple weeks later she was able to come home and get them planted. Out front, in the back, on the side of the fence, in the planter box - wherever she could find a space. My hopes weren't too high since they'd been sitting in the box for a couple weeks, but some of them did bloom. They fell over in the wind and wound up on the ground most of the time (I didn't realize at the time that we were supposed to stake them or plant them along a wall or fence for support), but they did bloom. My helper girl even dug them up in the fall for me and put them in my "designated container" with some potting soil. All I could do was hope they'd survive the winter so they could be planted again.

So imagine my surprise with the bad luck I've had with this flower when I went looking for seeds and decided to check on my glads. In their designated plastic container with a lid. Or, maybe I should say, their designated plastic container with the lid pushed off (and not by me).

I think it might be a good year for glads.

Now to just get my daughter over here...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day 30 of 365

We finally got a break in the weather. Today is the second day the temps have been in the 60s, plus today we have no wind. I've been itching to get outside and get some planting done.

In years past we've done planting over Spring Break (which is usually the 3rd week of March), but since our our helper/daughter left home we don't adhere to that schedule as much. And last year during Spring Break I was in the hospital with my knee replacement so we didn't even attempt a garden.

Just like my big plans to hang up laundry on the clothesline all summer, we have big garden plans this summer. My husband has some things growing in the greenhouse at his school, but we needed to get some other seeds started ASAP.

So today in the nice, bright, warm sunshine I planted seeds in some pots. Some of them will stay in the pots and will eventually make it to our porch and others were planted in a pot as a temporary "growing until they're big enough to put in the ground" spot. Spinach, arugula, kale, rosemary, oregano, dill, basil, cucumbers, and cantaloupe seeds are now planted. We have them on the south side of the house where it is always so warm. I guess I'm hoping the extra warmth they'll get there will make up for lost time. Kind of like me.

I guess I'm hoping this picture-a-day project will help me make up for lost time, too.