Friday, September 24, 2010

Welcome to fall

I'm sitting here, scratching my head, wondering how it got to be September 24 already. I returned to CA from Taos a little more than a week ago, and the days have just flown. Two days after returning home, my DVR committed suicide (digital video recorder, for the uninitiated) and I could not watch television at I bought myself this sunflower jig saw puzzle. That was great entertainment until I realized that I was completely possessed by it, and losing sleep, so on the third evening I just stayed up until the wee hours to get it finished. So much for the idea of having it just be there to work on here and there...but then, doing things in moderation has never been my strong suit.

I also decided to wash all my quilt fabrics, instead of just using them as is. That was great entertainment for several days: washing, pulling off wads of threads, folding, stacking, refolding, restacking again...kind of like the hours I spent playing with crayons as a kid. Then I spent some evenings reading blogs about quilters who are using men's shirts from thrift stores for their fabrics. Ta da! What a great idea. Lots of stripes and plaids (which seem in short supply in quilting fabrics), plus the fun of cutting things up to reuse them. How could I go wrong?

First stop: my local hospice thrift store. Bingo! A great rack of men's Hawaiian shirts, most in size 3XL, so more fabric for the buck. But wait...the price tags...$8.00. $8.00 for a shirt in a thrift store? I can buy yardage cheaper than that. Must be the shop. Next plan: find the Salvation Army store in San Diego.

Well...that's exactly where I went today. I am still fuming from the experience. The men's shirts on the racks there were anywhere from 5.99-8.99, and let me assure you, they were nothing to write home about. But wait! I saw another spot with more men's clothes, more in the center of the store. Off I went. Guess what it was? The designer shop! Not truly designated as such, but it quickly became apparent, by reading labels. What about the prices? Well...the shirts there were starting at 20.00 each and many were in the 32.00 price range.

WHAT IS THAT ALL ABOUT??? I don't care if it IS a designer label. I thought these stores were there to help people who need to shop on limited budgets. As a former shop owner, I'm the first one to understand the costs the customers don't often consider, beginning with rent, employees, and the horrendous liability insurance costs, to name just a few. However...I feel like I'm missing something here. I thought, when I donate to these organizations, I'm making things that are in usable, if not great, condition available to folks on limited budgets. Will someone please help me understand this?

It reminded me of a year or two ago, when I started rug hooking. Following the advice of other hookers, I decided to cruise the Taos thrift shop for wool clothes to dismantle and use. One trip to the thrift shop there gave me the same feeling I had today...after find a not so wonderful wool coat on the rack for the not so thrifty price of $45.00. I was so disgusted, I have not donated to these folks again...preferring, instead, to take things to the town free box, where the folks who need things can "afford" to shop.

If you have anything to tell me to calm me down on this matter, I'd sure appreciate another perspective.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Life is just a bowl of..., it's tomatoes. Anila has an heirloom tomato plant that's cranking out these babies in our greenhouse. I have two bowls of them and need to do something to save them today. Thinking I'll just stew them up and freeze them. Any suggestions? I'm down to the wire...I only have this afternoon. Fast is good. No time for canning, or I would (actually, not enough to bother with for all the trouble).

Tomorrow I fly back to CA. It has been a great three weeks. Project Decrap is finished, for now, and it feels just great. I even managed to get some stuff weeded out here at the house. Now I'm all organized so when I return later this fall, I can get right to work on reopening my little Etsy shop.

Only five more weeks until our new family member arrives. From the perspective of the person who is not pregnant and not lying on my side all day, everyday, 24-7, it seems like it has passed rather quickly...and I know these next weeks will just fly. Awesome!

Friday, September 10, 2010


A few nights ago, around 9:30, my car horn start honking repeatedly. I was up here alone, and wasn't sure if I should grab a Rottweiler and go investigate, or hide in the house. I chose the second option. Then, at 2:15 a.m., it started again. I was starting to get creeped out.

Closer inspection the next morning showed no bear paw prints, nor little critter prints, so I went on about my business. During the course of the day, it lovingly honked at me as we did our rounds in town, and again, while I was washing the windshield. I was starting to worry it was the spirit of someone trying to get through to me. (grin)

A trip to the Santa Fe Toyota dealer solved my problems yesterday, it was a sensor going beserk. On my drive down there, I got excited to see this trailer full of fresh chile ristras, headed for someone's home in the future, whether to be eaten or for decoration. It is another harbinger of fall; I remember my neighbors in Chimayo telling me they hung them in their attic space to dry and store during winter. YUM...nothing like good Chimayo red chile sauce.

And while Oprah would have admonished me for using my telephone camera while driving, I decided this bridge was too cool to pass up. I apologize for the quality, I was driving into the sun when I took it. This was one of several art projects that happened with the Indian pueblos redid the roads north of Santa Fe some years back. I love that they celebrated their culture with art in a public place.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Heavenly scent

In town yesterday, I was surprised at my good fortune to be able to catch the end of the chile roasting season. I took these photos to share with those of you who live afar and have heard me rattle on about this in past postings.

You purchase your gunny sack of chiles in the grocery store, and included in the price is the cost of having them roasted in the gas fired rotating cylinders outside. Then, according to your individual experience or tradition, you take them home and put them up for use all winter. There are probably as many preferred methods for doing this as there are varieties of chiles. My preference is to load them in a black plastic bag fresh from the roaster, and take them home and let them sit for a while as they continue to blister a bit more. When completely cooled, I put them up in small quantities (4-6 chiles per bag) in freezer quality sandwich size zip bags and freeze them until they are needed. I have found it's just as easy to peel the remaining peels off as they defrost as it is to do them all before freezing them.

Having said first fall in NM, in a little village called Chimayo, I was under close supervision and much help from my neighbor, who assured me I shouldn't have the chiles roasted at the store, but should do them at home on my own gas grill. Well...that was an experience to remember. After inhaling the fumes all day, somewhere during the peeling and bagging process, my hands started feeling on fire from the chile juices. It was just insanely painful. It was never quite clear to me if she really did them that way also, if she had Teflon hands, or if she just had a good laugh on the new neighbor's expense. Whatever the case, while I love to smell them roasting in town, most years, I just buy them already cooked, frozen, and chopped at the grocery when I need them!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Decrapping report #1

Well this has been a great week. A pack rat at heart, I have had more fun than a barrel of monkeys going through things. I've made piles: one for the thrift store, one for recycle, one for relocation to the California house (this would be fabrics), and a pile for the dumpster. I'm feeling a bit ruthless at this point. Two days ago, I got rid of Christmas, something I've longed to do. Gone are years' worth boxes of decorations, baskets, and all kinds of other holiday tchotchkes that once had a place in my life but no longer do. I feel powerful. I can part with things! The end is in sight!!!

Yesterday I baked banana bread and put corn up for winter. This would be the corn that Anila grew in our newly fenced in garden. No small feat at our elevation and short growing period, she managed a crop of munchkin corn stalks that produced a hearty crop of mini-ears. They are so adorable...averaging 3-4" in length, I was able to put 4-6 in a one quart bag. Not that this will feed us for long this winter, but it's the principle of the matter.

Oh...and the other great fun of the week...Jackie at Canton Village Quilt Works is having a great sale this weekend...go check it out! (I say this happily, as I've already put in my stash order...sigh.)

Have a great weekend!