Sunday, October 23, 2016

Home Improvement

Another big strike project was painting.  I painted the entryway and stairway single-handedly using an edging tool on a telescoping pole.  I was sure I'd break my neck on a ladder or scaffolding getting that area done but I hardly had to step higher than a chair using that pole. 
We chose satin paint in a lovely taupe, kind of a cappuccino-with-cream kind of color.  It looks so much nicer than the flat pale cream color that was throughout the house when we moved in.  It showed absolutely every mark.  You'd walk by it and it would leave a mark.
Between the entryway, the foyer, the living room, the dining room, the hallway and the kitchen, it took about 3 and 2/3 gallons so I've got plenty left for touch ups. 
I love this picture of all my rosaries.  I took them all down when I moved my shelf and it reminds me of Pope John Paul's childhood church, the Basilica in Wadowice, because visitors hung thousands of rosaries on the gate inside one of the chapels.  They look so pretty all draped together.
On the subject of religious items, I was excited to finish painting so I could finally hang up my mezuzahs.  Mother brought me this one from her last trip to Budapest.  It hangs between my bedroom and sewing room doors.
This one I bought in Krakow and was particularly excited about.  It is hanging inside our front door which I'm aware is technically incorrect.  I know it should go on the outside of the house but there is vinyl siding out there and nothing to nail it to.  Also, I wanted to see it every day and protect it and the prayer scroll from the elements.  I'm so happy to finally have them hanging up.
Mom came to stay with us for a week and helped me paint my bedroom and put up this "headboard" made of mock tin tile back splash panels.  She bought them for us as an early Christmas present.  The color of the walls was inspired by Clementine Churchill's bedroom at Chartwell which was painted "duck's egg blue".  This was the closest we could muster and I love that it goes with all my textiles and a print I'm going to have framed when I have some petty cash.
Mother remarked that the space above the headboard needed "something".  I then remembered I had a real Marimekko panel I picked up in Finland years ago that had been sitting in a box in my sewing room ever since the trip.  Mom and I visited Stockmann's which is Helsinki's answer to Harrod's and patronized the fabric/wool/haberdashery department.  Marimekko is THE fabric souvenir to bring back from Finland but it is very expensive, as in $30/yard so we quickly found the remnant bin.  I spotted this piece, only 32" long, but I loved the colors and knew that some day I would do something with it.
Mom had the very good idea to make a casing at both the top and bottom of the panel so I could hang it both ways and quickly give the room a new look by turning the panel the other way up.  I love that I'm slowly bringing things out of my stash to decorate my home.  I've been traveling for 15 years collecting objects along the way and now that I have a house, I finally have a  place and means to display and use them and that makes me very happy.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Strike Sweater

Not stripe sweater, as the photo would imply, but strike sweater because it was finished during the nursing strike.  Dave and I weathered the second strike that began on Labor Day.  We were fine in the end albeit a little anxious because it was open ended and not knowing when exactly it would end was unnerving.  I started saving money this spring so we had something to live off of while I wasn't working and we just tightened our belts and stayed put all summer.  I'm not going to lie and say this hasn't ruined my summer because we didn't get to go anywhere or do anything substantial.  The objective was always to save money and/or avoid expense.  Tomorrow I go back to my first shift and I can't wait to be a wage earner again!  I'm sure the mood will be interesting.
When I wasn't picketing, I got a lot done around the house, including finishing my blue sweater!  I knit a red version of this for my sister a couple years ago.  It took me days to sew it together because I just didn't want to keep at it and finish it.  I still need to sew the buttons on but I want to see if I have enough matching Maynerd buttons to complete the project.
I also painted my entire upstairs living room, hallway, kitchen, entryway and foyer as well as my bedroom.  We'd bought the paint and poles a few months back when I was still working and Menards was having a rebate sale.  I knew I'd have time during the strike to do the labor and it looks beautiful.  I'll post pictures of that later.  Meanwhile, here is the back of the sweater.
Here is an outtake pose for the back of the sweater.
I also cooked and baked an awful lot during the strike because I made everything from scratch to get by cheaply.  We really didn't have to buy a lot of food during this whole thing, literally like dairy and a few veggies because we were still eating out of the garden.  I have become a coupon fanatic and stocked up for this for months.  I have a freezer full of meat and a pantry full of pasta, grains and baking staples.  In a way, I enjoyed the challenge of devising a dish using up any inventory that was going to ripen or expire and then freezing and later incorporating leftovers into new dishes.  Dave got a little spoiled because I'd have a fresh baked after school snack waiting for him most days.  Here is today's apple pie I was particularly proud of.
I also fried up 3 of my eggplants today.  I have two more that are still rock hard so I'll let them sit on the counter for a few more days before I do anything with them.  I can eat these rounds like most people eat cookies.  Num num!

This isn't a place I really want to discuss the strike.  On the whole I'm disappointed it came to this and with how it all turned out.  I am glad to be heading back to the bedside tomorrow.  I've also been very humbled by the whole experience.  This made me realize how truly fortunate and blessed I am and how much I take for granted and it wouldn't hurt at all to slow down and live a little simpler all the time.  We can all manage our resources better but we get caught up in convenience and leisure.  Tonight I am thankful for my family and all that I have.
Enough said!

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Jacques and a mug

I have never shopped on Black Friday.  I would never wait in line for the newest electronic device.  Today I was here in Woodbury at the grand opening of the new Sur la table store and I waited in line for an hour because the first 50 shoppers received a free signed Jacques Pepin cookbook!
Here is the book, all 435 pages of it!  I absolutely love this man.  I've watched him cook with Julia and later solo and with his family through the years on PBS.  The store was was promoting a line of cookware featuring his artwork.
And speaking of PBS, when I got home, this had arrived in the mail for me!  Early summer I started a sustaining membership to support Eastenders even as we were looking down the barrel of a difficult summer as far as a nursing strike goes.  PBS is so important to me and even though today marks day 39 that I have been on strike this summer, I still think it is imperative to support our excellent tpt station.  Today was truly a red letter day!  Now I'm going to enjoy a cuppa and peruse my new cookbook!