Saturday, July 31, 2010

Kitchen Remodel

My days as an electrician's helper are over and we have moved on to buying appliances.  First a real dishwasher.  We have lived in this house 11 years with an apartment size dishwasher, which is 18 inches wide instead of the normal 24 inches.  Through all of our research on line, we have come to the conclusion that there is just too much information on the web, at least in terms of rating and opinions.   We walk in the store with a brain full of data, look around and dishwashers, listen to the sales person and walk out with information overload.  We've done that twice and did not buy a dishwasher.   We have not even explored stove, refrigerator, counter top, floor and back splash!   We were sure we wanted stainless appliances, but have discovered it shows fingerprints and dirt more than white or black.   And with 2 dogs that is something to consider.   But, the kitchen would look SO nice with stainless appliances.  So, we go back and forth.   It's not really a roller coaster ride, but we are going round and round!   Soon, we will decide and the ride will stop and I can get off.  I hope?

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Oh, I'll let you all in on my secret. I love Johnny Depp. He is "easy on the eyes" and he plays great parts and does it well! This is a clip form Chocolat, from the middle of the movie, about 10 minutes long. There are few Depp movies I do not care for but Chocolat is one of my favorite all around movies. Depp is only one of the fine actors in the movie. You can read a review here If you decide to see the movie, make sure you have some chocolat close at hand!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Good Vibrations

I've learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel
Maya Angelou

Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Courtesy of FoodTV - Alton Brown's Macaroni and Cheese
Today was my sweetheart's birthday.  I won't say how old.  He is a kid at heart and that is really all that matters.  He keeps me smiling and laughing.    He wanted strawberry shortcake for his birthday cake and  I whipped that up this morning.  My Mom and Dad joined us this evening to share in the birthday wishes.   I made a special dinner last night, something terribly gourmet . . . shake 'n bake chicken and baked macaroni.   Yup, we live quite a life here!   He loves shake 'n bake.  And baked macaroni is another favorite.  I've made one way for all of my life.  But I got a bit curious several months ago and found this recipe from Alton Brown of Food TV  It is not difficult to make (watch the video!) and it's really good.   The secret is the cheese.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fibre Projects

Watercolor "Pears"

Rug Hooked Wall hanging - 18" x 18"
I have recently learned to knit and I've just finished my second scarf.  Yippy!  I had always wanted to learn to knit.  Thanks to the patience and teaching of several friends I can knit, nothing to fancy though!   I also learned rug hook around the same time.  That requires a bit more of my attention.   Rug hooking was one of those "come take this class with me" moments.   I'm glad I did.  I had a lot of fun and was completely mesmerized by all of the colors in Karen's fabric room.  I just stood and started at all of the fabric and all of the things Karen had made, the wheels spinning in my head.   Karen is a great teacher and a wonderful lady.  The picture of the scarf did not come, it was too dark.  So here is my second rug hooking project.  It is about 18 inches square and  make a nice wall hanging.  It is a bit too big for a chair pad.   It is a pattern I designed, with the help of Karen Worthington from Blue Tulip Woolery, based loosely on one of my paintings, also shown.  I have lots of other ideas . . . the story of my life!   Lest you think I am avoiding painting (or is it me that's thinking that?) I do have 4 paintings started, and I'm trying to go at it a bit slower, but more steady.  Not quite ready to show my progress.  I bit too revealing at this point.   Soon, though.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Great Aunt Used to Say . . .

it's hotter than the hinges of hell.  I haven't thought about that in a long time.   And I'm not going to explore where that comes from.  My imagination, and yours, can probably do just fine!   But jeepers!  It's been really hot here in Jersey for way too long.   My  husband has decided that as bad as the winter was, with all the snow he'd rather have that.  And he's doesn't like winter!  And it's not even August yet.   We thought we might retire in a southern state and avoid the cold winters, we are wondering if we should rethink that.   But, we must be thankful for what we have, including a the ability to choose where we live, a house to live in, and on some nights, central air.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Carry out a random act of kindness,
with no expectation of reward,
safe in the knowledge that one day
someone might do the same for you.
Princess Diana of Wales

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Regular Visitors

Twins heading across our driveway towards the house.
One of the twins, watching me in the window.
We live adjacent to a state park and have quite a bit of wildlife in our yard.   Bears are more common in New Jersey than the most people might think.    Thankfully, I've only seen one.  However, it was right outside by kitchen window helping himself to the bird feeder!  Made me a bit hesitant to venture into the park in the mornings with the dogs.   Yup, you can call me chicken!   I think I might fit have some feathers!   Rabbits and squirrels are very common and much less scarry!  Raccoons have become a somewhat regular nightly visitor to the bird feeder and the feeder now has to be brought in at night before we go broke feeding the little dudes.  There is the occasional fox sighting but the sight of a fox during broad daylight is not common and usually not a good sign.  But, the most regular visitor we have are the deer.   Several years ago we fenced in our back yard for the dogs and fenced OUT the deer.    There are very few plants deer do not eat, or at least taste.  There are several books on deer proof landscaping, but we have found many of the "safe" plants to be fair game for the deer in our area.  We had to make small fenced in areas in the front yard for flowers and plants to protect them - or have none which was not an option.  Although it is frustrating to loose plants to the deer, this time of year is so special to watch the fawns play and grow up comfortable that our yard is  home.  It's very special and I would not trade it.  It's the reason the entire yard is not fenced in.  What is  the point of living in the woods and fencing it out all.   I could not get a video of the fawns playing but have a few pictures as they are so comfortable that they come right up to the house.   In May, a week old fawn wandered up to our front door and spent the better part of the day lying in the sun, waiting for its mama.  That's not where she left it.  Something spooked it from a safer spot and it ran and decided inside our fence by the door was a good spot and settled down at our front door.   We were held hostage in the house watching it until it left mid afternoon.  It was very special to watch.  So tiny.  And now we see him/her playing in the yard.   Makes me happy!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

We still need rain.  A brown yard is not attractive.  I begin to worry about the woods that surround us.   And the weathermen say we are headed into a 10 day heat wave.  Thus the reference to the dog days of summer.   But what are the dog days of summer.    Thanks to Wikipedia I learned that The Old Farmers Almanac lists the traditional timing of the dog days as the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, coinciding with the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major.   Ancient belief suggests that the Dog Star was somehow responsible for the hot weather.   Who's responsible for the rain?   I think daily prayers for rain are in order.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away

Finally, it is a rainy day.  We need rain very bad here in Central Jersey, and many other places.  The grass is brown in many places.  I believe the green areas I see, may be weeds, crab grass, things of that sort.   We are watering the garden, but some municipalities are putting a moretoreum against the unnecessary use of water.   Just this morning my husband was trying to remember when he last mowed the yard.   We decided it was before vacation on June 25th!   This past winter when we had several feet of snow on the ground I thought how wonderful the slow melt of the snow would be for the grass.   And it was.  But now we need a little water, please.   My grandmother used to tell me time flies the older you get.  And she was right.   I will enjoy the summer, water or not, because before I know it, winter will be here again.   There are lots of things I like about winter, but, there are some things I would change, possibly the length of it.  Spring and Fall could be longer then.   Hmm, if we are working on a perfect world, I should probably start with something a bit more pressing?  Oh, I'm just dreaming!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Real goodness is always simple.
Simplicity is so attractive and
so profitable that it is strange
that so few people lead truly simple lives.

Leo Tolstoy
from This Day's Smile from

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Sunday

Trying to choose our next car
Car Show, FontHill, Doylestown PA
We went to the Road Angles car show at FontHill in Doylestown today.  It is one of our favorite car shows of the year.  We used to go to lots of car shows.  We now only go to a few now.  We go early, sit along the edge of the parking lot and watch the cars arrive.  It is really the best way to see the cars.  The look best when the are in motion and I don't have to walk around in the heat.  Yeah!

This weekend was also the beginning of summer vegetable meals.   Last night we had the first jersey sweet corn.  And was it every good.  Anyone remember the scene from What About Boy where Bill Murray is eating sweet corn?   Yeah.  that's how good it was!  Today we had steamed yellow beans and yellow squash for lunch. I can remember meals at my grandmothers where vegetables were all we had.  And they were all fresh from the garden.  I think fresh vegetables straight from the garden made me a very picky vegetable eater.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I mentioned last month that I wanted to do two paintings.   I am very slow to get started.  There, I've said it.   I'm really not sure why it takes me so long to start.  When I have a painting started, I work at it a little bit at a time.  It's good to step back and assess what you've done.  But it seems to take me quite a while to get started.   It's as if I have some great  mountain to climb and I think about the journey but never get out on the trail and start the journey.   I suppose one of the things that presents an obstacle for me is that I started to makes sketches of what I want to paint a year or so ago if I have a specific idea in mind.   It is not my favorite part of the process.  I could compare it to eating your vegetables first, that is if you dont' like vegetables?  But it is a learning experience and it is needed as it helps to see the value in the painting before I embark on the color.   I keep telling myself the more I sketch the better I'll get.   I'm not sketching very much so I'm not getting much better.    I keep thinking back to my posting about habits.   If I could sketch each day that would be wonderful.   Finding the time is the real challenge.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Today's Quote

Graphic from

I believe in hands that work
Brains that think and
Hearts that Love 

Elbert Hubbard

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Coaching the Artist Within

It was back to work today. I need some semblance of order to my days so I don’t just rush through them. I had started reading in the mornings on vacation and decided I would try to read just for a little bit each morning to start my day off with a sense of calm and a relaxed feeling. I decided against a painting book as that requires  larger blocks of time to delve into than I can devote on a work morning.  A few months ago I had started to read Coaching the Artist Within, by Eric Maisel, but the book got buried among magazines.  I unearthed it last week while on vacation and started to read it again.  It’s really a wonderful book. He coaches artists, musicians, writers through their different types of road blocks by first learning about their lives, habits, interests and concerns and then begins to ask them tough question, questions that they just can’t ask themselves, maybe because they really don't want the answer?  The stories are very insightful.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

God Bless America

My job as an electrician’s helper continued on Friday and to Saturday morning. The electrician is pretty good at what he does. He had to do far more than originally anticipated. But, the good news is light switches are on the wall and the post is gone and the kitchen looks huge! It’s really great. Now for the next phase. Thankfully my husband is very handy and when he comes up against an obstacle he keeps at it until he figures out how to get the job done. He has had and continues to have many great ideas. We celebrated Saturday night with a barbequed (yup!) steelhead trout dinner at the home of some friends. Thanks for dinner guys. On the way home we managed to see fireworks. We ended the weekend with the 4th of July parade in town which is a big deal and a picnic after. Tomorrow, it’s back to work for my hard working husband and I go back on Tuesday. I did manage to get in some drawing and home to do more tomorrow.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Electrician’s Helper

Today we switched gears and went from a day of fun to a big project, the beginning of a kitchen remodel. It actually started last weekend when my husband removed the breakfast counter in the kitchen. All that remained was a post with three light switches (power) that had to be moved before the post could be removed. As is often the case with a project in an older home, we discovered some things we did not anticipate.  Thankfully, we work well together and being an electrician’s helper, or whatever the job calls for, it not a bad job, a bit frustrating for both of us at times though, but we work through it. But with no electric that meant as no painting and no computer for the better part of the day today AND I could not check my work email.  It turned out to be the beginning of a real vacation. I don’t think I will be able to check it tomorrow as we have to finish this project tomorrow so the power will be off tomorrow too, but hopefully not all day? And with the long weekend beginning tomorrow, at some point it just won’t matter what’s is my email box. The weather was beautiful today, the humidity broke. We took many breaks to contemplate our situation and enjoy the weather. And I continued to read which is something I really don’t get a chance to do when I’m working.