Knitting Kitchen Cloths

Two events started this knitting project: (1) I mailed to Charleston the EPP hand-sewing project I had put together to work on until I can move into my Charleston house as it would take up too much room in my car AND (2) when sorting “stuff” for the move I found a bag of cotton yarns I had purchased so grandchildren could learn to knit. But, the three covid years didn’t deliver grandchildren to my house in Maine who wanted to learn to knit.

I really love to have hand work to do at night–so I started knitting these cloths for the kitchen. It is a good project as my stack of these cloths, which I use to dry my wet hands, was growing low and some cloths were getting worn and shabby looking.

I’ve finished the top three cloths now and am working on the fourth one.

The 4th cloth is being knitted in a moss stitch, which I’ve never made before now. I like the seed stitch (see the aqua/purple cloth), and the moss is the same except one starts with even stitches (seed with an odd number of stitches) and in moss one knits TWO rows that are identical and then two rows that start by knitting a purl into a knit and a knit into a purl, as with the seed stitch.

You can see the moss stitch creates wonderful texture.

The other two completed cloths are just a garter stitch (all knitting all the time)–and all of these choices (garter, seed, moss) give a heavier texture to these cloths, which I think is needed.

I have four more cotton balls, and they are all solids, so I will have fun with both the seed and moss stitches that create so much texture.

Extraordinary Attorney Woo

I finished watching all 16 episodes of the South Korean drama series EXTRAORDINARY ATTORNEY WOO Tuesday night. It is hosted by Netflix.

What a treat!

Attorney Woo is on the autism spectrum. She has a photographic memory and is a genius with regard to South Korean laws. But, as she is autistic, it takes some time for her colleagues to appreciate her amazing skills as she is very different than they are.

However, over the 16 episodes, her colleagues not only learned to appreciate her, they have grown to love her and to work together to protect her. Happy endings are part of comedy and romance, and at least some courtroom dramas, and this series brings all these threads into a satisfying ending by the last episode.

The first two episodes set up the characters and then the series just takes off and soars. Each episode features a different legal issue and different issues for an autistic woman to learn to manage, but each episode also shows how the characters stretch and grow. A full range of emotions is present, and I often found myself laughing out loud or feeling really sad about how things are developing. And one learns a fair amount about South Korean culture along the way.

There are subtitles. But I think it is worth reading them in order to experience some of the very good foreign tv series that are now available on our streaming platforms these days.

There will be a season 2.

Below, is a link to Wikipedia if you want to know more:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_Attorney_Woo

Quilty Order Out of Chaos

I’ve been working for some days now–when I have time between packing, organizing all the “moving” parts of the move (pun intended) to South Carolina, and the general upkeep of the house and cooking–bringing order to the 1 1/2-inch squares created by trimming in the Cotton+Steel project of the past years.

The pile is going down–even though I have had to cut more neutrals in order to make a 4-patch that has neutrals and colors. On the right, you can see layered blocks ready to sew.

I’ve reached the point where I can organize better by color.

Here’s a picture of strings of sewn two patches on the ironing board that are ready to be ironed.

Next I’ll sew two 2-patches together to create a 4-patch that when used, will form diagonal lines in this project–as can be seen in this picture, which also includes the 2-inch 9-patch blocks that will also form diagonal lines.

I’m not sure how I’ll use the 8-in blocks I will create with the 1 1/2-inch squares. Maybe I’ll surround them with sashing so each block is set off by itself and can shine. Maybe I’ll just but the finished blocks back into the C+S “parts department” bin.

In any case, the time spent organizing, piecing, ironing, and planning is soothing to me–so I try to make some time each day for this project.

Blender Drinks

Turkey Tracks: Recipes

I’m late to the party on making blender drinks, I think.

But when I got so sick about a month ago now and couldn’t eat, blender drinks were the way back to getting sufficient calories, thanks to suggestions from my homeopath.

What I like about my blender drinks, rather than juicing, is that one is eating the WHOLE food, and the fiber from the pulp is needed in one’s gut.

You can use a high-speed blender or, even, a food processor to reduce your ingredients to a drinkable or spoonable texture. The more water one adds, the thinner the texture.

I err on the side of more veggies and less fruit. Too much fruit is too much fructose sugar, so while I want the vitamins and fiber, I don’t want to overload on sugar. Of course many of the veggies I love also have sugars included. But on days I make or have blender drinks stored, they can be used as a dessert.

Note that I can’t do citrus, but that YOU could–and the addition of orange, lemon, or lime, would make your blender drink have a sparkly taste–or so I imagine.

AND, I use organic ingredients.

I have frozen local organic blueberries, so I start with a half cup of those. And, an apple I’ve seeded but not peeled. I have some frozen peach slices from a neighbor’s gift of fresh peaches last summer. And, I froze a bag of my raspberries last summer as well. I limit fruit to 1 1/2 to 2 cups–and a big blender batch makes enough of these drinks for two days. (I wouldn’t keep drinks longer than that I think.)

For veggies, anything goes: carrots, beets, celery, cucumber, bell peppers (red pepper has a lot of vitamin c) the leaves of greens (kale, chard, lettuces, a wedge of cabbage), leftover cooked broccoli and/or cauliflower. Use what you have on hand.

Add a chunk of ginger–for me about 1/4 inch thick and the size of a quarter.

And, I’ll confess I’ll sometimes add just a dollop of maple syrup (dissolves more easily than honey)–which gives a base note that is lovely. But if you want to use local raw honey (a tablespoon a day is a good health measure), that would be lovely too.

At first I kept the mixture in my blender in the refrigerator so I could re-whirl it before pouring into a glass, but I discovered along the way that if I just poured the original mixture into glasses and covered them with the silicon covers I like, it is easy enough to just remix the drink with a spoon. And, I could grab a drink without the to-do of remixing in the blender container, which was now clean and stored.

The stretchy round silicon covers have reduced the use of plastic in my kitchen down to almost no use. These lids are not expensive, and the sizes range from very small (a soda can or a can of Bar Keepers or Comet) to ones that will cover a fairly large bowl. A quick check on Amazon also showed that now some rectangle lids are available. The lids can go into the dishwasher and be used in a microwave.

Hmmm. Rectangular lids will have to wait until I’ve made it to Charleston, though. And maybe in that more urban environment, silicon products will be in local stores.

Note: pure silicon does not show any white when you pinch it. The color is true throughout.

A Sunny Saturday

Turkey Tracks

It is a sunny, cold morning here in Maine. And I have been steadily working away this morning at organizing all the moving parts involved in my move to Charleston, SC, in mid-December. And, with catching up with emails and messages to friends. I am making great progress in crossing off items in my many “to do” lists.

In just a bit I’ll stop working here and make a stir-fry with a package of gifted deer meat that I’ve been hoarding. I love deer. And lamb. I find that one either does or does not like these stronger, gamier, meats.

I’ve been able to carve out a bit of sewing time in recent days. I now have made four rows of the Traverse Block-of-the Month project designed by Tara Faughnan and hosted by Sewtopia. I did not want to fall behind during the move, and I’ve taken four of Tara’s The Color Collective classes and made her astonishingly gorgeous wedding quilt pattern, so I did not have any trouble with making these rows–once I got over the exacting flying geese rows, which I seemed to have made much harder than they needed to be.

The green and yellowish row of little squares is surrounded by its two sashing rows as I had those fabrics on hand, and it will sit at the top of the quilt. (See the previous post for a picture of the whole quilt).

So now what? I opened the box of what’s left from my year(s) long Cotton+Steel projects. There are bags of 1 1/2 and 2-inch squares, some rectangles of two blocks, and the long strips cut for the Churn Dash blocks (only a few of those left now). Sewing the small squares into blocks is fairly mindless and soothing, so that’s what I did yesterday.

The 2-inch squares will make a good size lap quilt. The 1 1/2-inch block measures 8 inches finished–and I’m not sure where that one is going yet. And I will need a few more Churn Dash blocks to make a good lap size quilt, but not many.

It’s good to have this sewing time while I wait for the Due Diligence period of the contract to finish on December 5th. After that, I will do the last of the serious packing and cleaning.

Time is moving fast, even during this quieter period.

Another November Update

Hello friends.

The contract about which I last wrote fell through. But there is another one now, so I have a new closing date (December 28) and a new moving date (December 15). The due diligence time (8 days this time) started today and will end December 3rd. And a formal inspection will be done tomorrow. During due diligence buyers can back out of the contract if an issue is found that they feel makes buying the house not a good idea for them, for whatever reason.

The great news is that if this contract holds, I’ll be able to buy “my house” in Charleston after the December 28 closing here. I am trying not to get completely giddy over that possibility.

Both sons are coming on the 16th (we are meeting in Portland near the airport) to drive me to Charleston as I cannot fly and don’t feel like I could drive myself down the I95 East Coast urban corridor for 20+ hours. But what a gift to be with both sons at once in a car for 20 hours! My life in Maine has not included driving in urban traffic or for long periods of time, so at almost 78 I feel so grateful for all the family support I am getting to make this move not only happen, but to be a happy occasion.

During radon testing in the failed contract due diligence period, it emerged that there is an air/radon problem here, but that knowledge emerged only after the contract fell through for some other reason. Plans are now in place to mitigate that issue asap.

I have learned a lot about air radon and radon mitigation over recent weeks. It takes 48 hours for a machine to test for indoor radon, while doors stay shut except for going and coming. It’s winter, so all the windows are already shut. The mitigation will involves drilling down through the utility room slab to install a vent pipe (powered by a fan) that takes the radon air outside and over the roof–and that drilling is complicated by the radiant heat pipes in the lower floor. But there is a very nifty infrared camera that can show where the pipes are–but shows the pipes clearly after the heat is turned off overnight and restarted the next morning. Brrrrr!

Since I can’t do any more packing until the due diligence period is over, I got bored. I unpacked the Janome 6600 and its Sew-Ezi portable table–which positions the machine so it is flush to the table top–and set up a little sewing station in the quilt room that is now full of packed boxes and items that “will move” from other parts of the house.

I have four monthly fabric packets from Sewtopia for the Tara Faughnan designed block-of-the month Traverse quilt project. Each month’s fabrics makes one of the rows in the quilt–and some months have multiple rows of the same design that are repeated on the quilt. I am working on row 4 now, and it has 3 rows. It’s the row at the top of the quilt with the small green squares.

Here is a picture of Tara Faughnan’s sample quilt–done in the Windham Artisan “shot” cotton solids, which I chose. Other choices were Kona solid cottons in colors or neutrals or the Artisan cottons in neutrals. All of these quilts are beautiful, and the rows are fun to make, though the two flying geese rows were super challenging for me as each row needs to measure 72 1/2 inches.

Sooo…

I will be less anxious when the due diligence 8 days are over and the air/radon problem is mitigated, but I’m getting much better at just letting what I cannot manage go. All is just going to be what it is, and I am flexible with what life puts in my path for the most part–even when disappointment occurs.

I will miss Maine, for sure. But I miss my family much more. And I’m truly excited about living close to them again. The years since John died in January 2013 have been so good for me as I learned I can live on my own and that I can cope when life gets messy.

I suppose in that way I am choosing to be happy, no matter what. And I have so much for which to be happy.

PS: I learned this week that Jackpot has been adopted by a local family–after he visited them with his foster caregiver to see if JP and the family were happy with each other.

November Update 2022

Turkey Tracks

Hello Everyone!

The house has a contract, but we are in the middle of the “due diligence” week, so things won’t be “firm” until after the required 7 working days are over on the 15th. At that time, the buyers will have to put down some earnest money that they would lose if they back out of the contract.

The formal inspection meeting is tomorrow afternoon.

The closing is scheduled for December 13th. The movers are coming December 7-8. And I will pick up my two sons at the Portland airport on the morning of the 9th, and we will begin the drive to Charleston, arriving at the latest on Sunday the 11th.

The family has been combing Charleston County for a house for me since this house was listed, and they and my agent Lisa Barkley found “my house” last week. I put a contingency contract on it, and it will also close on December 13th. I will be present for that closing, and a local lawyer here will represent me in Maine. The house is new and has all the spaces I’ll need for my quilting/sewing passion. As soon as the due diligence week is done and if all goes well, I’ll schedule the movers for the Portland to Charleston leg.

Jackpot is thriving with his foster caregiver and his new best buddy, her dog Dino. He is now also getting lots of running exercise, which he needed.

After getting some sort of serious gastro illness, which made me not want to eat and which gifted me with DIL Tami flying in to help me–alongside my homeopath who brought me food, remedies, and treatments–I am recovered and now am plugging along with what has to be done here and making great progress too. I can’t really tear up the house until the “due diligence” is over on the 15th.

So now, all fingers and toes are crossed that all continues to fall into place.

Send me loads of good luck, good energy, good prayers, good wishes, and good thoughts.

October 2022 Update

I’m doing a quick check-in so you all know I’m alive and well, but incredibly busy.

The house was listed 10 days ago, and in that time, the boom real estate market disappeared and slowed to a crawl. So we lowered the price, and that seems to have generated more interest and some more scheduled showings.

I am still culling and organizing at top speed—and making real progress too.  Days are super busy, so I’ve had little time for the blog.  The rainy day coming tomorrow will be good for sorting out my clothes and culling—one of the last tasks of the moment.  I can’t do much more until I have a signed contract, then I can start to take apart the house. I can let Recover take most of the extra furniture that is not going. Maybe I can hang on to the tv for a bit longer, though I do have audio books. The timing of the settlement will dictate what I do in terms of a final clearing out and the scheduling of the actual move. With a firm contract, I can take down quilt wall hangings and start packing the quilts for the move.  Ditto for the whole rest of the quilting/sewing endeavor.  I need to go through everything “sewing” to see if I still need or use all of it.

At this point, though, all of the storage spaces except for the one in my bedroom that holds my out-of-season clothes have been sorted and drastically culled. You can’t imagine how much “stuff” has been sent out into the community. And I’ve had such good help from two friends in particular, Margaret Rauenhorst and Linda McKinney, both of whom have worked tirelessly to help me get ready for a move which includes downsizing. Both have made so many trips to Good Will, the dump, and other places in the last 10 days and have worked to rehome so many items.

I want to note that so many of my friends have offered help, and they have made me feel loved and appreciated—and that they will miss me. I know I will miss each and every one of them.

Perhaps the biggest news is that along the way I realized that I can do this move or I can do Jackpot.  I cannot do both—especially with an injured ankle that is better but still healing.  Glenna at Sweet Pups found me two AWESOME foster women within 15 minutes of me to take Jackpot until she comes on a transport Nov. 8th—unless either of them adopts him, which she would approve as she has had a long relationship with both women.  Or, unless they find a new situation for Jackpot, which Glenna would also trust. Each of these foster women has one of her pups.  Together they run a dog-training school, and they both have the biggest “dog” hearts. It was a joy to meet them.

I turned Jackpot over to them Sunday afternoon.  And can I say that the one who is housing Jackpot had him so enthralled that I don’t think he even knew when I left, though there were good-bye kisses and hugs from me.  He is now living with this big-hearted woman and her 4-year old Sweet Pups male dog, and last night these two fellas played and played until they both fell asleep. The report today was that Jackpot was a perfect gentleman last night, is eating well, and loves playing with his new friend. There is a fenced yard, so he has a lot more freedom to go outside on his own and to run and play while out there.

Ron from Olde City Quilts (New Jersey), my Innova dealer along with his wife Judy, is coming Thursday to take down the longarm. They will store it until I have moved into a home in South Carolina and then Ron will bring it to me there. The Smith Tractor crew (Duane and Leslie Smith) will also be here Thursday morning and will do all the tasks that need to be done this time of year to prep for winter, for snow, and for the snow plow. We still have not had a hard freeze, so it is too early to cut back many of the perennials. That task may have to go by the wayside for this year. Time will tell.

So…

I’ve been thinking that I’ll have to change the descriptive name of my blog from “My Life in Maine” to…what??? The main address is louisaenright.com, so that part can remain.

Moving again is a life adventure, for sure. And I’m so looking forward to spending lots of time with my family in the months and years to come. And to continue with my quilting passion. I have so many quilts I still want to make.

I’ll post again when I have news.

 

Big News

So, clearly I have been “absent without leave.”

The BIG NEWS is that I have decided to move to Charleston to be closer to my family.

When I got Jackpot puppy and was out twice a day walking, etc., I realized how VERY curtailed my life has become.  All the richness I once knew here is just…gone.  And this property’s upkeep needs and the physical labor of it all is now seeming to be more and more difficult to manage.  The takedown of the mailbox and all it entailed to get one again, and the $$$$, just flattened me in what I now recognize is suddenly a way more vulnerable time for me.

I realized that I am alone—and have been alone—for pretty much the last three Covid years.  I go days without talking to anyone, except here online.  My support networks are also diminishing as we all age, and I will be 78 in March.

I don’t see most of my quilting friends or my fellow Lion members on a regular basis any more, and I don’t go to quilt meetings or other meetings as I don’t dare get sick here by myself.  My friends are also afraid they will give me covid, so they are very careful about not coming if they don’t feel well.  The days of Sit and Sews among healthy people are…gone.  For me, anyway.

I love Maine so much—and will miss the cooler weather and the lovely seasons.  But…. I’ve always known I would know when it was time to move. It is now time.  My family is so excited, and I will also say that while I am overwhelmed with all that has to be done, culled, etc., I am also looking forward to starting a new life adventure.  

I will sell here first, then buy in SC.  Older son Mike is “on it” in terms of helping me find a smaller house within 15-20 minutes of my two sons and which is near one of the many big and beautiful parks with trails.  The early looks at properties he’s sending show that that is quite possible to downsize but to have really nice living spaces. One of Tami’s oldest friends (who has ties to Maine) will be my SC realtor.  I can go down to 3 bedrooms, one of which needs to be large enough for the longarm/quilt room.  Maybe that will be something like a big bonus room over a garage that I’ll need in order to be able to plug in my hybrid car.  Many of the new houses we have been looking at have big, open kitchen/dining/living room features on the first floor.  And many are within HOA situations where I suspect communal mowing, etc., is done.

I’ll be able to stay with Mike and Tami until I can move into a new place in SC. And I’ll need to store furniture until I can move into whatever house I buy.  The mover I’m going to use can pick up and store in Portland until I have purchased a house.  There are a lot of moving parts—but my Innova dealer IS going to pack up my long arm, store it, and bring it to me when I’m ready in Charleston.  Whew!!  The longarm is not an item movers can take apart and move.

Family members will come if I need more help, but events are moving fast. In the last week a dear friend here has done major physical work with helping me cull, box, and move out what is not going. And family will help me drive to Charleston when the time comes.

The house was listed today. So…”it” begins in earnest.

And I know a whole new life adventure is beginning for me.

The Yak “Bone” Saga

I like the dried cheese yak dog bones that are hard, but splinter, so they are not as rigid as other choices one could make. And they are fully edible. AC Slater LOVED them.

Jackpot has a whole bunch of puppy teeth—especially the big canines—that are now being replaced by big boy teeth. So the other day I got one of the yak bones out for him to chew while I sewed in the quilt room.

Here’s what happened:

In the end, I had to remove it from the whole room as there was no way JP was going to stand for it in his bed or on the floor. It was a DANGEROUS thing.

The next morning I tried again, this time upstairs after breakfast.

He eventually discovered he could chew it, and now he’s obsessed doing just that. Here’s this morning. So now I have one upstairs and one downstairs.

Yesterday we had a great walk at my neighbor’s—and as we were heading back toward the car, I slipped on a wooden bridge that I thought was dry—and twisted my ankle.

The little boy was right there to “help.” I leashed him and we limped back to the car where I had some 1M and 10M Arnica remedies that I always carry. The rest of the day, though, was spent hobbling around—so no second walk. And I took Arnica 30cc off and on for the rest of the day. It is astonishing how Arnica immediately reduces pain and swelling. Astonishing.

Today the ankle is much better, but I will still be hobbling around. I will likely be able to take JP for some sort of walk on flat ground though—and that will be good for the ankle as well.

BTW, studies now show that the RICE treatment of a twisted ankle is NOT the best strategy and can slow healing. RICE is Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Advice now is to keep using the ankle as much as possible, that ice can retard healing as blood and inflammation are needed to heal, that elevation means rest rather than keeping the injury mobile, and that compression in RCT studies didn’t matter.

Here’s a link to one study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3396304/

So, I kept moving yesterday, but also spent some time mid-afternoon just watching tv. This morning, as I said, the swelling has reduced a lot, the pain is way better, and all is clearly much better.

It is MUCH colder all at once. I need to switch out some of my summer clothes, especially my pajamas, summer sweaters, summer t-shirts, and so forth. I’m going to try to do that with the puppy in a bit, and then we’ll attempt a walk.