Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Wake-Robin: Three is Magic (Hiking Windy Hill)

Trillium or Wake-Robin
Spring is, indeed, bustin' out all over at Windy Hill Preserve in the Mid-Penninsula Regional Open Space.

An encounter with the three perfect white petals and trinity of glossy leaves in this small white trillium, or Wake-Robin, is a great way to exit the day-to-day and head for another realm.

When it comes to trilliums, it's easy to accept that three really is a magic number.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Going for the Green - Free Bricks!

Free Bricks bring out the artistic side
in  this Californian
Does anybody else get butterflies in their innards when they see the Free sign out in front of a neighbors house? It's not just the fact that their free, it's the idea that something somebody else doesn't want, has long-term value for me that makes them so good. You can call that being green or thrifty - but don't you think it's more artistic to repurpose materials than to make something beautiful from old rather than new stuff?

We waited a few days until we came up with a definite plan for 'em. The plan is for a brick path along the damp and boggy side of our house. We're just going to build the kind where you excavate a little, lay them down and pour sand in the cracks.

There's always that little quiver of fear that somebody else will nab 'em all, but we sure didn't want to have a pile of building resources going to waste in our yard - and looking less than attractive as they do so.

I transported about 190 of these little gems to our side yard in the back of the mini-van (two trips). Yes, I sure do miss having a bright red truck for trips like that. That truck made me feel like a real woman, but you know the back of a mini-van works. And I like being a one-car family who knows how to use their bikes and feet to get around.

 BTW I actually left about a quarter of the pile of bricks for the next guy. Wonder what they're going to make.... 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Primrosing CA Style

Primrose rises smaller
then other garden flowers.
But just so hope blooms.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Heart of Silicon Valley (Mountain View, Red Rock Cafe)

You can hear about the big names and hot companies in the Silicon Valley, but if you want to feel it happening, come by Castro Street in Mountain View.

Go on into the Red Rock Cafe and head up the narrow stairs to find people plugging away on their laptops, working and talking together. This is where they come to informal working groups, Meetups, like those for Android App and IOS (apple/Mac) developersThis is where it's actually going on. 

History is happening here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Postcard from OZ

Dear Auntie Em,

You'll never believe who I ran into here on vacation! The old guy who runs the city used to work in a circus that went through Omaha every year. I guess this is a step up for him. 

Also I made a couple of new friends. One of them used to be a field worker and the other one was a forester. They've been good to travel with, and they're really respectful, so you don't need to worry.

I've definitely got some new ideas about my career, so I know that will make you happy. There's a woman who travels around in a bubble and does a lot of good in the country. I'm also pretty sure she makes a lot of money because she dresses super nice. Doesn't that sound like me?

Hope the chickens are still laying well. I expect I'll be blowing in again any day.

Your loving niece, 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Oh Baby, it's a Wild World

We all gotta come to terms with it. 
Sometimes the world is a little wilder than others.

Friday, March 8, 2013

DTD: Planning the Duct Tape Dummy (fitting)

Do you think my DTD could
possibly be as stunning as
this naturally woman-formed tree
I happened to see on a
neighborhood walk?
I'm excited to begin planning to make a duct tape dress form over spring break, in early April. Just think I will be able to try things on my gal pal instead of ...

* Continuously pulling off my clothes in front of the sewing machine
* Running to the bathroom  mirror with a dish of pins
* Having the pins spill all over the bathroom counter. 

Well, yes that is how I currently do my a lot of my fitting, when I'm not in sewing lab begging somebody else for help. 

Of course I hope to work on this project with my sewing buddy, Susan. You remember Susan, she's the one who put her heart and soul into fitting my B5526 shirt pattern, which, (Hooray!), has indeed been altered to fit me because of all her hard work!!!!

 I don't know where I picked up the idea that this kind of project is also called a 'duct tape dummy' . I realize the Duct Tape Dummy(DTD) will be quite far down on the scale compared to the real deal, cool dress form that you can purchase or manufacture from specialty plastics, but I'm still jazzed about my DTD.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

CA Style Eatin' Enchiladas

We have been making enchiladas a lot. Doesn't that sound very California? They are easy and we feel virtuous making them. Yeh, I used sauce from a jar! - Trader Joes makes a good one. We mix in a bunch of vegetables - vary the veg, depending on what's handy. Tonight used 4 kinds of vegetables - 3 fresh (spinach, celery and yaller squash)  and one can of drained corn. Doesn't that sound like every nutrient you could imagine?  Oh, also leftover shredded chicken, and corn tortillas spread with a tad of whipped cream cheese. A tiny, tiny sprinkling of cheddar on the top - but nothing like Paula Deen style (I love that woman - but we dont' need the stick-o-butter style casseroles here). Also I made Chocolate-Covered-Katies frosting shots as a mousse style dessert. That's canned coconut milk with cocoa poweder and vanilla whipped up in the mixer and sweetened to taste with whatever you use. I used just a little bit of  Blue Agave, just enough to take the edge off the cocoa powder. There is a little bit of saturated fat in coconut milk but my Nutrition Major daughter said it is not excessive, and we don't eat much red meat, milk fat, etc. So I think that's about as much saturated fat as we have in our occasional bits of cheese.

Should have a productive evening of work after a nice supper. I hope you do too.

Monday, March 4, 2013

African Beads Embellish My Sewing (Suministros especializados/Special Supplies)

Reasons I like these speciality supplies?
       * They support Low-Income Women by buying their product (member of the Fair Trade Federation)
       * How much greener can you get? Recyling waste paper
       * Their colorful designs compliment my casual, arty, romantic style

* The Bead for Life web site says....

"BeadforLife's loose beads are the perfect way to make your next jewelry project more meaningful! Our beads are handmade from colorful recycled paper by women in Uganda who are working to lift themselves out of poverty and create a sustainable income. When you create jewelry using BeadforLife loose beads, you'll feel good knowing you're looking good and doing good!"

I received a bag of this beads for a holiday present. My sister-in-law bought them for me at a beading party, but I've since found that I can buy them directly on the web without going to such an event. Though I used to make beaded jewelry, I don't anymore. However I've sewn these lovely little recycled jems on a number of tee shirts and sweat shirts, in and around the neckline, and they add a nice touch. 

I sew them on with fishing line or heavy-duty clear thread. I go back and forth a couple of times through the hole to secure them. When I sew them onto lightweight tees, I stabilize the back side of the tee in the sewn on area, using scrap fabric or ribbon.

I usually wash my home sewn clothes in regular warm machine cycle, but I hang my homemade garments to dry. The beads haven't obviously faded after many warm/hot water machine washings, but I'm suspicious that they might do so over time if they ran through a hot dryer. I would recommend testing one or two of them in the dryer, if you like to dry your clothes that way.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pedaling Home:The California Shopper

At our local Farmer's Market,
I filled my bike basket with
CA persimmons, tomatoes, narcissus and
a locally grown orchid
The landlady of our vacation flat rental in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome, a few years back, told me she pitied Americans, as we have no open air markets. When I told her that in California we did indeed have such markets, she laughed at me and told we didn't. Such markets, she told me, are one of many things that makes Italians more fortunate than those we live in the U.S.

Yes, I know how lucky I am to be able to pedal home with my basket full of produce from our local farmer's market.

A Few Links for San Francisco Bay Area Farmer's Markets