Monday, June 28, 2010


Little Emerson (granddaughter) turns two soon, and I'm accomplishing one of my goals -- to make her a doll for her second birthday. As I worked away on this rather other-worldly creature, I began to call her Pammy. Emerson may name her whatever she wishes, but to me she's Pammy. I used Butterick pattern 4090 to make this simple "baby's first doll." The instructions called for her face to be drawn on with permanent markers, but I just couldn't accept that "quick and dirty" method. Still, I'm not good with faces, so I copied the face my mother put on my doll Mopsy and embroidered the details. So much better! So, Pammy is finished now but she needs a few clothes -- simple shirts and diapers with velcro closures that little hands can manage.


Mike is home from his tour of western Oregon. There were no mishaps involving life, limb or motorcycle, but there was a mishap. I know he wants to tell about it, so keep watch for his travel updates.

Mike was tired when he arrived home, but Nellie and I were tired, too. Nellie was not happy that Mike went off and left us again. She isn't sure which of us is the leader of the pack when Mike is gone, and I think she worries that it might be she. I've always said that in Nellie's mind I fall behind her in the pack order. Anyway, we took our walks and I put food in her pan, but she ate less than usual, stayed outside during the day and was restless at night. Today she invited herself into the house and slept on her pillow for hours. KW

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Our girl Hallie was here last weekend, including Father's Day. One of the accounts she manages for her Seattle-based employer is a Lewiston business. She flew into Lewiston Thursday afternoon, attended an employee benefits fair at the Lewiston business Friday afternoon, and visited a friend from high school days Friday evening. Saturday we went to the farm for an overnight stay. She flew back to Seattle Sunday evening.

Hallie always brings treats to Nellie. Here Nellie waits patiently as Hallie unwraps a special organic dog treat.

Hallie weeds the raspberry patch on the farm as Nellie ponders something -- possibly a rodent.

Hallie suggested a wider fence for the cherry tree we planted this spring. The deer had munched it here and there -- not badly, but we certainly want to protect it. I grated some Irish Spring bar soap and we attached it to the fencing. Worth a try.

Hallie and Mike return from a walk with Nellie in the lead. A family backpacking trip is planned for the first week in August. Practice is in order.

Lovely yellow wild roses grace Curfman Road. We would like to transplant some to our yard, but they are very "stickery." I don't know if I could start from a slip or not, but I might be able to dig up a very young shoot. These are on the road right-of-way, and I know the county wouldn't care. These wild roses can be problematic.

Mike left yesterday morning (Wednesday, 6-24) for the coast to complete his motorcycle geocaching tour of Oregon, taking the camera with him. Mike and I have a "share and share alike" philosophy that works most of the time. You'll just have to imagine me sewing, gardening, and walking the dog. Summer seems to be here, so Nellie and I are taking our walk early in the day while the air is cool. Even so, she became overheated this morning and unapologetically plopped herself into a mud puddle. I had to wash her down. KW

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


After a warm evening in Medford Sunday, I awakened Monday to overcast skies but it was still pleasant. I had to make an out and back trip to Grants Pass in order to log a cache in Josephine County. Even though it’s only 30 miles, a short distance on the Interstate, it’s like going from arid desert country to the cool mountain forests.

A GPS receiver is not a three dimensional device. It can get you fairly close to any location horizontally but not necessarily vertically. Therefore, I ended up parking on the Interstate for a cache that was located near an underpass below the freeway. I quickly scrambled down the hill and was able to locate the cache in short order. I climbed back up and was on my way to the next one but I had to go a ways in the wrong direction to exit and return. The next cache was off the Interstate and in a fairly secluded area. Even though I had two caches in the county the next one was only a couple of blocks away on a dead end street so I thought I’d try for it. It ended up being a waste of time because I was unsuccessful in finding it.

Time to leave this area so I headed back east and then turned north toward the Crater Lake area. I had wanted to visit Crater Lake but the north entrance was not open yet due to snow and I didn’t know how much time I would have. I was now traveling in dense forest and it was fairly cool. I found a beautiful spot with a rushing stream where there was supposed to be a cache called “Old Cabin”. I must have looked for at least a half hour to no avail. In the thick tree cover and mountains my GPS was jumping all over the place but you would think I should be able to find a foundation or something. I reluctantly left for the Diamond Lake area, the old stomping grounds of my hunting partner, Ken. I didn’t get to explore that area as much as I would have liked because I was running low on gas. The one cache I did find I wished I had worn my motorcycle helmet to go after it because the mosquitoes almost took my head off.

The next cache east of the Diamond Lake area required a pleasant hike of close to a mile back in the woods. The woods were much more open here and I wasn’t bothered by the mosquitoes. At this point I was worried about running out of gas, however. Fortunately, I found a little town that to my surprise had a gas station so I gassed up and had some lunch there. I guess I haven’t mentioned it, but I carried my lunches consisting of a little canned snack such as sardines and crackers. I also had an ice pack in an insulated pouch to carry some milk and pop.

Now I was heading north toward Bend on highway 97 that I call the Highway from Hell. Even though it is a two lane road the traffic is heavy to put it mildly. There are occasional passing lanes which is the only salvation. But the worse part was the wind. If you’ve ever ridden a motorcycle behind a big semi on the Interstate you would know what it was like. The wind is like a big invisible fighter clubbing you left and right.

Two of the caches I got in this stretch were on dusty gravel roads off the highway – not pleasant on my bike. One at a convenience store at a wide spot in the road was interesting. The write up said the cache was behind a planter which was on the porch of the store. I looked and looked but there simply wasn’t room for a cache back there. Finally I saw it. It was an envelope made from duct tape that you had to open to get the cache log.

Even though I’m forced to plan quick caches on these purposeful trips I like to plan an occasional one that gets me off the beaten track. This one was located in the desert between Redmond and Prineville. It was a mile hike in the desert with snow covered mountains in the distance – very refreshing.

This was the shortest day of my journey arriving before 5:00 in Prineville which is a nice little town that is home to the Les Schwab tire company. In fact, two caches I got there were outside of town near their big warehouse. I had a relaxed evening in town and was able to access a computer in the motel lobby to post the caches I had done the past two days.

I was on the road again the next morning before 7:00 heading north toward Madras and then Hood River. I picked up several caches along the way but the most memorial events were not the caches. Again it was windy and cold with lots of traffic. At one point I came upon vehicles (mostly big trucks) backed up for about a mile with no one moving. I couldn’t even see the front of the line to see what the holdup was. After hesitating a few seconds I got in the passing lane and eased all the way to the front to find that a semi had collided with two cows. I figured the worst that could happen was my being sent back to the end of the line. I politely asked the Patrolman if I could go on through and he said, “Sure, go ahead”. I couldn’t believe it! Made sense to me though.

In addition to the wind I soon hit rain and then snow. Fortunately it didn’t last too long. The sun came out and I found a nice spot to take a lunch break where they erect temporary scales on the side of the road. There happened to be a nice cache out in the woods there too.

My afternoon (and evening) was spent on the Washington side of the Columbia where I picked up a few caches for next year’s Washington counties quest. The wind had to have been blowing 35 to 40 mph but gratefully it was now a tailwind. Near Kennewick I had a nice stop at Plymouth Rock State Park which is a little island. I hiked out in the sagebrush for my last two caches of the day and trip. I didn’t arrive home until 9:00 p.m.

Overall this trip wasn’t as pleasant as some I’ve made but I did ride some great roads along with some not so great ones and I accomplished my mission. I traveled 1,550 miles, logged 46 caches in 14 Oregon counties, 3 Washington counties as well as checking California off my states list. Tomorrow I depart for the Oregon coast leg of the mission. M/W

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Finally it seemed like a decent weather window for my second trip into Oregon on my quest for logging a geocache in each county. I departed Saturday, June 12th, a little before 7:00 a.m. The temperature was in the upper 40’s which is cooler than I’d like but at least it was dry. The first leg of the trip was the same as the last one which was in Washington. To take a break I stopped for one cache in Washington which was hidden near a big tree in thick brush down an embankment near a creek. I entered Oregon near Milton Freewater and then turned east at Weston toward the little town of Elgin. This was beautiful scenic country much of it forested and with many curves and hills – ideal for motorcycling. I logged several caches in Umatilla and Union Counties before reaching Elgin. One near Elgin required about a half mile hike out in the forest, had a beautiful view overlooking a valley and had not been logged this year.

From Elgin I turned west going through LaGrande and continuing on westward. It was more open country between Elgin and LaGrande but soon got back into the winding hilly forested roads. These were some of the most fun motorcycling road I’ve seen. After passing through John Day and Canyon City I arrived in Burns about 6:00 pm where I found several other motorcyclists staying at my motel. Some were from Canada and one from North Carolina. I had a nice stay at the Silver Spur Motel, dinner at good old Subway and even a treat at the DQ.

After breakfast at the motel I was on the road again before 7:00 heading south toward Lakeview. My first stop was at a rest stop in the desert. This cache involved about a 1/2 mile hike up a hill in the desert. It was a beautiful morning, not quite as cool as the one before but it took quite a bit of searching before I located the cache. Only Mickey Warnock (and maybe Milo) could miss a turn out in the middle of nowhere. It was located at a service station which was the only building for miles around and I guess I was looking at that. At any rate, after about 20 miles I realized my mistake (I knew I wasn’t supposed to be heading toward Bend) and had to turn around.

I found a couple of very nice caches before reaching Lakeview. One was at Lake Abert which is a beautiful alkali lake in the desert but the noseeums were terrible. The other was at Chandler Wayside and involved a steep hike up a hill. After being on a motorcycle for a long time the caches that require a bit of exertion are welcome.

I had two caches lined up in Lakeview but wasn’t able to find either one. One was actually in the museum which was closed as it was Sunday. Although I didn’t find the cache at the other location either I got a good picture of a couple of quail.

From Lakeview I ventured south into California because it was the only state west of the Mississippi that I had not logged a cache. I got two caches on the east side of Goose lake which straddles the border. I had lunch at one which was a beautiful spot at a Willow Creek Ranch memorial.

After lunch I retraced my route back to Lakeview where I gassed up before heading west toward Klamath Falls. I logged one cache between Lakeview and K Falls which took care of Klamath County. Highway 66 between K Falls and Ashland is a wonderful motorcycle road and I saw several other motorcyclists taking advantage of it. I picked up three caches on this stretch which was in Jackson County.

I arrived in Medford at the Rodeway around six o’clock. It was a much bigger city than I had imagined. I had a sandwich at a Burger King and got a couple of caches in town. After returning to the motel I lubed my chain, showered and hit the sack.

To be continued….. M/W

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Mike returned last night from his Oregon geocaching tour. I think he had a good time but seemed relieved to be home. He doesn't get a lot of sympathy from me. I figure any discomfort he experienced was self-imposed.

While Mike was away, Nellie (the dog) and I stayed home. And while Mike was away, summer came and went. The high on Sunday was 89 while this afternoon we're at a chilly 54 with some light rain.

Mike plans to write several posts about his Oregon experiences, but he's not ready yet, so here's one I wrote while he was away.

It's been known from the beginning of time that you can't patch old fabric with new. Jesus used this fact as a practical illustration for spiritual application. So we all agree that for the optimum end product we should use new materials. But it has come to the point that we have to think about what we're throwing away, and we seem to be experimenting with uses for old textiles in order to keep them from the burgeoning landfill.

Re-using textiles is not a new concept. Remember our pioneering ancestors who kept anything that might be useful. Clothes, curtains, and such were made from feed sacks, and then the feed companies began to play to that, using a variety of pretty prints. Some children went to school dressed in feed sack fabrics. "And we knew who they were, too," remarked a friend who lived through that time, implying that maybe it wasn't as great then as we like to remember. Today we're looking for those prints in replication. Quilts might be made from the feed sacks or from the better pieces of old clothes. One of Grandma Ina's patchwork quilts was done in dull woolen scraps with the exception of one deep red piece of velvet. I'd love to know the story of that quilt. A child's coat might be fashioned from a man's suit or overcoat. When I worked at the local museum, one of our dear volunteers made a vest for me out of a pair of her husband's old slacks to show how it was done. For that to be successful, you have to coordinate the broadest part of the female anatomy with certain wide spots in the slacks. As interesting as this re-use project sounds, I never wore that vest.

My mother, a teen-ager in the 1920s, told me that she did not have new dresses of her own. Instead, her wardrobe consisted of the dresses she made over from her mother's cast-offs. (As an aside, my Mother's parents were conservative but not poor.) If Mother liked a particular dress, she could hardly wait until it was handed down. However, in my time, my mother was finished with the concept of re-using fabric and said as much. She saw re-use as something she had moved through – something she no longer had to do. In the '50s and '60s, my growing-up years, she loved the availability of wonderful new blends and experimental fabrics. She could measure the quality of fabric by feel as well as by sight. She rarely skimped on quality and lamented it if she did. She subscribed for swatches from several mail-order fabric clubs based in New York City ("Fabrics 'Round the World" was one) until we began to see more quality fabrics in our regional stores. So, it was an exception for Mother to re-use fabric, and if she knew what I'm doing, she would cluck her tongue and say, "Kathy, can't we just go to the store and get you some fabric?"

So what is it I'm doing? I'm making doll clothes out of worn embroidered pillowslips. I'm cutting around the thin sections as best I can in order to preserve the embroidery. Here's a photo of Shirley Ann wearing a nightgown embellished by embroidery done by my mother. The pattern for the gown was originally published in 1930 for the Patsy Ann doll. I did a lot of the work on the gown by hand.

And now I'm off to prepare the guest room. Hallie is coming tomorrow to meet with one of her accounts here in the valley. We're excited because she's going to spend the weekend with us. We'll go the farm. KW

Sunday, June 13, 2010


When I was a little girl, I learned to sew by making doll clothes – first for my own dolls and then for my nieces'. (By the way, within the last year, three of those nieces became grandmothers – and they weren't the first. The picture is of Becky with granddaughter Allyn, my great-great niece.) Looking at retro doll patterns is a trip down memory lane for me. For any doll, there might be several patterns available, but Mother would make me choose just one. (Hah! If only she could see me now!) She would encourage me to compare the patterns for content, noting that they were mostly the same with certain exceptions. For instance, this pattern might have the underwear but the other would have the pajamas, or whatever. I had to decide which one I wanted. She might eventually consent to let me have the pattern not chosen, but only one pattern at a time was purchased. She was a wise lady; I recognize that she was teaching me to make good choices, to think from the standpoint of the marketing ploy involved, to avoid excesses and duplication and not to buy more than I would use. Nowadays I indulge my inclination to collect patterns, so when the lady at the eBay store Favorite Huggables said, "Choose six patterns and I'll include a seventh free," I agreed to get right back to her with my list.

Then there was the fabric. Seldom did we buy fabric for doll clothes. We made do from Mother's stash, which was abundant, but she had rules. Doll clothes were made from scraps only, not larger pieces. The challenge was to find a piece – or pieces – that would be adequate. I became adept at using the scraps. Mother would not let any remnant be cut if there was more than a yard or so. Reasonable, yes, but as I worked through that stash, the possibilities became more limited and so did opportunities for creative sewing. As I grew older and formed my own opinions – that happens, you know – I came to resent the rules because I knew Mother was never going to use those pieces she so carefully guarded. (That was insightful on my part.) It never occurred to me that I might have negotiated for a different deal. I might have said, for instance, "Look, I'd like to have more patterns and my own stash. I'll spend my allowance / babysitting money."

That was then and this is now. Now I can afford my flights of fancy and I set my own rules, though obviously I haven't forgotten my mother's training. But – it's hard to have a truly retro experience. Things change over time – not just people and places but products and methods. You can't go home again, as they say. In my childhood days, many women sewed for their families and the supplies to support sewing (called sewing notions) were available everywhere, even in my little home town. The store was called Watkin's Dry Goods – an old-fashioned name even then -- but we could get patterns, thread, zippers, etc., and some fabric. For more selection and a better price, we would drive the 42 miles to Lewiston, where such goods were readily available in several convenient locations. Now we have just one store in the Lewiston / Clarkston community supporting the broad range of sewing interests – Jo-Ann – and the available selection is not great. For instance, the other day I was looking for straight-edged lace to embellish the little garment I was making, and I could find nothing that fit the description. After an indepth online search, I finally found it at I ordered plenty.

Mike left Saturday (June 12) on his Triumph motorcycle to geocache in Oregon with a dip into northern California. Messages last night and this morning indicate that all goes well. KW

Friday, June 11, 2010


These are pictures I took during our recent stay at the farm. We're in town now, and Mike is packing for a four-day county-by-county geocaching tour of Oregon by motorcycle. I'm staying out of his way.

This cool, wet spring, if not appealing to humans, seems to be good for the young Montmorency sour cherry tree we planted. I believe I see new growth. We probably could have planted the evergreens after all. We were just afraid of drought conditions.

Several years ago, when neighbor Pete was tearing down the old Wright home, he said I could have any of the flora I wanted, and I transplanted some iris to our house. This year it rewarded me by blooming profusely.

But sadly, Grandma Ina's old spirea bush is dying. The rodents burrowed into the roots, killing it. I felt badly until I realized that the spirea grows abundantly there on the farm. If we choose to replace it, it will be a simple matter of transplanting a bush. Perhaps it's even time for renewal of this treasured bush.

We were grateful to see that the recent rains somewhat filled the pond, which means the old cistern also has more water. We use the cistern water to irrigate plantings around the house in the hot summertime.

Here's evidence of a bit of country politics. This new stop sign was installed a couple of months ago. Why? Is it because of increased traffic? No, it's because a couple of the neighborhood country roads were re-named -- adjusted somewhat -- supposedly to better configure them. The problem is that it's really one road, but the Curfmans don't want to live on Miller Road, and the Millers don't want to live on Curfman Road. Since the abrupt name change now occurs midway the road, a stop sign was placed to mark the end of one road and the beginning of the other. This is one stop sign we won't be heeding. No need to -- honest.

And if you're familiar with this corner, maybe you notice another change. The old Richardson homeplace was torn down this spring. It's sad to see the old places go away but really no sadder than seeing them deteriorate beyond practical repair. I believe the house had been uninhabited since the late 1950s. I'd love to have this old gate, and look at that profusion of iris. Maybe I'll ask the owner if I can lift a few for my iris bed. KW

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I am delighted with this "gently loved" "Kit Kittredge, American Girl," which I purchased through littlemarymixup on eBay. I was the only bidder on this particular doll – who knows why. The picture showed her as perhaps a little more than "gently loved," the starting price was perhaps a little high, and she had no clothes. I won the bid and promptly had buyer's remorse, but see how well it turned out. Maybe she just had my name on her. As I unwrapped her beautiful face, Mike said, "She's a beautiful doll. Did you know she was beautiful?" And of course, I did know that the American Girl dolls are beautiful, but I didn't know what to expect of this doll.

Kit comes to me via Connecticut where she was the favorite of a little girl who grew into other interests. Kit needed a new life, so she has come here to pretend she's Shirley Ann, Girl of the Ridge. She's going to help me explore and illustrate what life was like for a farm girl living on a ridge in central Idaho in the '30s and '40s. Her new persona is an idea that has been gently unfolding to me over the last few years -- buy an American Girl doll, then make a wardrobe and quilts representative of the era. Once I got past the point of wondering if I really ought to make myself grow up, I found a lot of other adults happily playing in this way – perhaps even my childhood best friend.

Doll clothes with their tight corners and quarter-inch seams are not easy to make and are thus a reasonable endeavor in the perfecting of sewing skills. Making doll clothes allows for practice where the outcome isn't crucial. Failure is not daunting because the investment of time and money is not great. You can start all over if you want to. You can make, re-make, and make again. You can give creative expression a whirl and the doll will never complain that she doesn't like it. And it was thrilling to discover that sewists have explored the way before me by using patterns published in the 1930s for the Patsy Ann doll. I'm looking forward to using copies of these patterns which I purchased through the eBay store, Favorite Huggables. I even found a couple of patterns in my mother's collection that might work for Shirley Ann. And of course, when Emerson has an American Girl doll, Shirley Ann can model the clothes that I make for her.

I promised myself that Shirley Ann would not appear naked again, but I needed the doll before I could use the retro patterns, which might need a little altering. I made the apron from a contemporary pattern using two retro 1930s fat quarters. The quilt I found amongst some old doll clothes of mine, but I don't remember where it came from.

We're in town now. It's pouring rain -- I mean a "frog strangler," a "gully washer." Lightning and thunder and rain -- Oh my! Nellie is hiding in the kitchen. Mike left on his motorcycle to run errands in town. Hopefully he's in a dry spot right now. In other late-breaking news, brother Chuck and Joanne are in town to attend an OHS class reunion this coming weekend. They're coming here to dinner tomorrow night. Menu: pheasant enchiladas, broccoli salad, and lemon cake. KW

Monday, June 7, 2010


Mike had to go to Orofino this morning. (Orofino is my hometown -- 10 miles down the steep and winding, narrow Gilbert Grade from the old Dobson home place which we call the farm.) On the way into town we stopped in the park so that I could take pictures of the Clearwater River -- high and swift as the result of spring rains. Fortunately a levee system now keeps the river from flowing into the park and the low spots in the center of town.

These stairs ordinarily provide access to the river bank from the levee walkway between the park and the river. Now the water covers the bottom steps.

Turn left at the end of the bridge to go to Missoula (150 miles) or right to Lewiston (42 miles).

This picture was taken from the bridge looking back to the tree in the first photo.

One of the lawnmower tires wouldn't hold air, so we dropped it off at Les Schwab. We were there when I took this picture. Can you see the bare brown spot on the hill in the center of the photo? That spot is on the Gilbert Grade.

Then we went on to Napa Auto Parts where Mike was successful in finding a part he needed for the old lawnmower. Again, from that parking lot I took a picture of "the hills of home." You can see the same bare spot -- look hard.

It seemed warmer in Orofino than at the farm. Mike took his sweater off. The sun was shining in that interval of time, but as we returned to the farm, dark clouds to the west rolled in and it commenced to pour. I took a few pictures anyway. Here fog drifts across the north field.

Darkness came over the yard. And that's the way it's been for the past week. We just think it's going to clear up, and another storm rolls through. KW

Sunday, June 6, 2010


If you're one who's experienced geocaching with Mike, you probably understand. "Here –" he says, "you carry the notebook. And be sure to bring the camera." And then we're leaving the car, so I take my purse. And there I am – purse hanging on left shoulder, notebook in right hand, camera dangling from strap over wrist. Thus encumbered, I negotiate rocks, navigate through grass, sometimes hike a mile or more – all with a vague feeling of resentment. And then there's also walking Nellie in the summer or hiking along on the early autumn hunts when it's still hot. Nellie doesn't tolerate the heat well and needs water on hot days.

"I need a hiker's fanny pack," I explained to Mike. "One that's large enough to carry water, the notebook, the camera, and such items as I need from my purse." That was all he needed to begin a search for the right pack. Well, the choices were few, which always seems to be the case when you have criteria. Still, when it came it looked mighty big. I thought about returning it but decided that for all I wanted to carry, something smaller probably wouldn't work.

The weather has been unsettled with storm fronts passing through in waves. Typical of this time of year, though, when the sun is out, it's warm. When I took Nellie for her walk Friday afternoon, she cooled herself in a mud puddle. So on Saturday we tried the new pack, carrying water, a pie tin for her to lap from, and the camera.

I did find the pack cumbersome, so I left it in a secluded spot at the bottom of a hill. As we returned from our climb, Nellie got to the pack first and seemed to know it was water. She waited patiently as I poured water into the dish, then drank thirstily.

We're at the farm now, and this is another rainy day. The Snake River is over the levee bike path in low spots between Clarkston and Asotin. The Clearwater River is also high. Mike is out putting the blade back on the lawnmower. Nellie is asleep in front of the fire, and I'm just settling in. KW

Friday, June 4, 2010


It took Mike about three minutes to snap the cap off the bottle of Kraft Ranch Light Dressing, my favorite brand for years. It took minutes more to remove the inner seal. When I finally got to eat my salad, I noticed a tasteless difference and said as much. Mike agreed and commented on the blandness – no zip at all. The only favor I could discern was a faint hint of garlic, and you know that's not one of my favorite flavors. Really, I could barely finish my salad. My plan is to shake the bottle well, and if no improvement is noticeable, I'll probably mix it with some ranch dressing mix from a pouch. If that doesn't help, I have no interest in finishing the bottle. In fact, I've already purchased a different brand for my reserve bottle.

Hallie called recently and as our conversation was winding down, she mentioned that she was making Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for supper. "But it's not the same," she said with a tone of wistfulness in her voice. "I'm sure they've changed it because it's just doesn't taste like it used to. Definitely not as good."

And I thought of Campbell's Cream of Tomato Soup – one of my favorites both as soup and as a cooking base. You could always depend on Campbell's Tomato Soup for its smooth tomato flavor, but these days something just isn't right with it. The smooth "yumminess" that made it one of my comfort foods just isn't there. They can't tell me they didn't change it.

And at embroidery club I heard Ann, our token young mother, complaining that Litehouse (brand) had changed the formula of one of her favorite salad dressings and now she doesn't like it at all.

What do you think? Have you noticed flavor / texture changes in your favorite foods? Well, such changes to prepared food won't affect tonight's mostly-from-scratch dinner at our house. We'll have tuna-spinach Bisquick impossible pie. Despite the recent rains, I was able to get into the garden this evening to pick the spinach.

The storms have moved through in wave after wave. When it isn't raining, the sun warms us into the 70s -- even reached 80 the other day. In the picture, Nellie ponders whether or not she wants to get her feet wet or if it would be better to continue her morning nap on her pillow. The flower pots I picked up at the cemetery on Thursday by pre-arrangement with my sister.

The NAIA World Series ended last night when Cumberland beat Lee, both Tennessee teams, 11-9. Mike and I are both anxious to get to the farm again, so stay tuned for further plans. KW

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


My segue into machine embroidery has not been without challenges. Finally last week I really got a hankering to use the machine. I had a few ideas and I went for it.

I am somewhat handicapped yet because I don't have a full complement of colors in my thread box. A modest estimate of what I've spent for thread would be about $200. The colors last a long time so it's not as bad as it sounds, but on the other hand, I have had to exercise a little restraint and ease into this a color or two at a time.

I don't know how many companies manufacture embroidery thread. Some are good and it's fine to use those threads, apparently interchangeably. Some are not good and might mess up your machine or shred before your eyes or fade and cause you to cry. Stay away from those. Regardless of good or bad, each company names and numbers its colors independently of others. When I try to coordinate the color sheets accompanying the designs with my seemingly meager supply of thread, I just have to laugh to myself. And if you're picking colors mainly by name instead of number, which you often have to do, just how do you determine these colors?

Taupe – Is taupe a real color, and how does it differ from "putty" anyway? Taupe today was silver yesterday and light gray last week.

Finding a color to be golden tan was bad enough. What's light golden tan? Well, today it was the same thread that was cream brown yesterday and yellow the day before. (I really do need to augment my collection of yellows.)

Cinnamon? Hmmmm. Or rust brown?

What color is dark stone? And how is it different from charcoal?

Cool gray, light silver. What's the difference?

Pine green, light pine green, dark pine green. Grass green. Apple green. Brook green. I don't have a color I can call brook green. I had to go with blue. I wished I'd had brook green. I'm not sure I'd know brook green if I saw it.

Now think – What's cornflower blue? Now find light cornflower blue and dark cornflower blue. Smoky blue. Dusty blue. Dark dusty blue.

I figure all that matters is that I coordinate my colors and remember by which name I'm calling which color today. I can line up the spools according to progression but it gets tricky when colors are re-used. Now which one of these browns did I call cinnamon today? Which spool did I call taupe and which is light silver?

The photo shows my recent embroidery work. The two lace edged pillowslips will become pillowcase dolls. The bicycle design was fun but is horribly puckered. I'm still learning about hooping. Hallie helped me design Mike's M-bar-W brand which I combined with a pheasant on Mike's pillowcase. And the crinoline girl with umbrella makes me happy. I searched the web for a design pack of these old-fashioned full-skirted ladies. It was difficult since I didn't know what they were called. These are the first designs I have purchased outside the user-friendly Embroidery Library. These ladies remind me of my mother and my grandmother and the ladies of the sewing circle. KW