Prep for the trip!

Morris's  duffel bag was the first thing packed as well it should be.. All  his stuff plus extra towels as I'm sure they will be needed if he is running on the sandy beach.  His favorite bed is already in the car.

Next was the necessities for the spider bag. My favorite travel magnifying light by Brightech and an extension cord... I highly recommend this jewel of a lamp ...only $29.99 at Amazon and one of the best buys ever.  It rolls right up and fits in my sewing tote.   Then my chatelaine and needle book.

Then my ribbonwork book, the gorgeous ribbons Shirlee sent me and a bag of ribbons from my stash,  I have been waiting patiently to get to this stage of this project.  It's like the icing on the cake...  I was a very good girl and got all the greenery base done and now doing the flowers is my reward.  And doing them in a condo with an ocean view is even more special... If doing ribbonwork is too exhausting I can go to the hot tub in the club house while DH is walking Morris

My flowers are all going to be worked off the bag and attached in clusters... similar to these which are  used for millinery trade.

At this point my plan is to use some of my special buttons for the centers of some of the flowers.  I have some really cool buttons that I treasure... These are a good example.  They are very small (3/8") turn-of-the century shoe buttons and they are dyed bone...   I found them in a button shop in Portobello Market  when we went to London in 2015. After I hauled these buttons halfway around the world, it would be a sin not to use them on something special. I did use some on the suffrage crazy quilt.


Spider Bag and Morris's Vacation

Although I took the spider bag along, Mexico was not conducive to stitching.  If I had the time there was inadequate light.  But I did make some progress with ribbon leaves.  After all the leaves are finished I plan to go over them in spots with alcohol ink to add more definition.

Also after the greenery is all done I will go back in and enhance most of the webs.  (see pink lines).

When I was doing a lot of round robins I always made extra blocks so I would have one available if I decided to join at the last minute.  I found a black one that will be perfect for the pocket on the back of the spider bag.

For the last five years we have gone to Seaside Oregon in October with some friends and stayed right on the beach...no dogs allowed in our condo.... and every year we abandoned Morris with a sitter.  We would watch all the dogs cavorting on the beach and many times each day we would say "Oh Morris would just love this."

So next week Morris gets his own vacation on the beach with our full undivided attention.. Lots of walks, belly rubs, cuddling, meals on time and treats galore. 

We are going to Westport, WA for 5 days while the cheap winter rates are still on.  I plan on doing no cooking, lots of stitching on the bag and watch the waves roll in and out from dawn to dusk.

I'm also leaving the laptop at home so don't expect any posts for awhile.


Our villa....villa boda

  There were 3 villas on the grounds and we  shared one with my son and his wife and another couple.  It was the smallest villa, "Villa Boda", and had 4 bedrooms, 6 baths, 7000 sq/ft.  It was just lovely.   It was all open and airy and exquisitely decorated.

There was plenty of room for large gatherings and a fully equipped kitchen which you could cook for yourself (which we did) or hire someone to cook.

The view looked over the rain forest to the sea.

All the bedrooms had their own bathroom and this is ours.  Check out the shower.  I had to use the little stool to see myself in the mirror which was obviously hung by a very tall man.  The price varied by season and I believe our villa was about $380 a night which is not bad if it were shared by 4 couples. On the way home we had to pay $80 for a very shabby room in a Day's Inn near the airport. And the bathroom was nothing like this.

All the wedding party stayed in the main villa which was HUGE! There were at least 20 people staying there. 

One section  was 2 stories with a roof top party area. There was also an outdoor pavilion where the young people  gathered for dancing in the evening and yoga in the morning. 

It was at this magical venue that my son gave away his only child, his beloved daughter Madison

Madi lives in Alaska and did an unbelievable job organizing this wedding from there.


A kiss for grandma!

I'm home well and safe. The wedding was absolutely lovely and I knew the venue was remote but I didn't realize it was on a mountain in a rain forest.  More about that in another post.

This is one of the shots set up by the photographer.  Madi is  29 and Ryan is 33 so they have their feet on the ground and they seem very well matched.

 I much prefer this candid shot because it captures the festive atmosphere of this whole 5-day event.

My son and his wife and DH and I were the only people out of the fifty there that were over 40 so we pretty much hung out and watched all the 30 somethings  having a grand time.

There were lots of pictures taken and I had this same grin in every one.  I just had a grand time and will share more in a the next blog.  The jacket and the necklace were a hit and also my funky shoes..

DH took this picture of Madi and I.

But this picture is my very favorite and it is the one I'm going to frame.


Check out these dumplings

Our dinner Sunday was on,  then off, then on again... When we woke up we were snowed in so I cancelled the dinner.  DH thought he could get out with the 4=wheel drive...NOT.    About 11am the plow came and cleared our road.  First thing he had to do was pull DH out.    So I called everyone and the dinner was on again...We had the duck with sweet potato crepes and blackberry/plum bourbon  sauce and dessert was a sour cream pear tart...

Today I am using the confit to make duck dumplings with plum sauce. I put the duck bits in the food processor, added an egg, soy sauce, ginger, Chinese 5 spice, and some onion..   I see a another culinary quest in the offing... I bought this little contraption to make dumplings but it is pretty useless.,,, but I think this is something fun to learn by hand...sorta like ribbon folding with dumpling wrapper.  I made one with it and hand folded the rest.

I have visions of serving them looking like this but actually they are looking more like this...

but I am intrigued with how to do them and there are endless videos on folding them

My favorite restaurant is a dumpling restaurant in Seattle... Din Tai Fung is a famous chain that has restaurants all over the world.  While you stand in line waiting to get in you can watch the help folding dumplings... I'm hoping to get there for my birthday.

Like any craft there are those who really excel.  I can only dream on being able to fold these works of art.  There are even dumplings folded to look like ducks and have a  duck filling.  I saw a girl folding dumpling wrappers which she said were Cinderella shoes... and they did indeed look like tiny slippers.

The best is this fish dumpling. Don't you just love it... I would feel guilty eating  it...

Well tomorrow we leave for Mexico and I am little anxious.. A limo is supposed to pick us up at the airport and take us to the wedding venue which is quite remote... I sent DIL pictures of us today in case we disappear she will have something the authorities can use while hunting for us....  more later on the outcome......
I am packing and hopefully we will get out.  We have been drifted in three times in the last two weeks. We were drifted in again yesterday.  Our neighbor plowed last night and it took him over an hour to get to the end of our road.     We had such a mild winter and now it wants to go crazy...
The spider bag is progressing and I'm done with the lace leaves and will start on the ribbon and thread leaves and am taking it with me to Mexico.. There will be plenty of people around to thread needles for me...
I hope to finish all the greenery sitting by the pool.  I over-dyed some more ribbon to take.  This much ribbon fits in a cup and I add a couple tablespoons of water and a few drops alcohol ink.  This ribbon was yellows and pinks....now green. 



Today everything is ducky!!!

With the bad weather, being gone and being sick it has been more than a month since I have fixed a "company" meal and I  am on Sunday..  DH especially requested I serve duck crepes (one of his favorites)  and I found a recipe  for duck breast in sweet potato crepes with a blackberry sauce..

I wonder why so few people cook duck... It couldn't be easier to cook than in a slow cooker. Besides being delicious it is really quite economical for a special meal. When on a restaurant menu it is usually a very pricy meal but I can get a duck for $2.98 a pound which compared to beef or seafood, is quite cheap and I can get 3  meals out of a six pound duck..  So today I thawed a duck, cut it up and it is in the slow cooker... I put it on a bed of onions, rubbed it with poultry seasoning and stuffed the breast with parts of an orange....added a little white wine and it will be done tonight and I will cool it overnight in the frig and take the meat off the bone tomorrow. I save the skin separately and put it under the broiler until it is crispy and delicious and then slice it thin and use it as a  garnish.

We can have one meal with the legs as they are large, another meal  (or two)using the breast meat  and finally I get a lot of "confit" (which is a fancy word for bits) from the wings, neck, back, heart etc. and it can be used with pasta, dumplings, etc..  The Maple Leaf Farm site is loaded with recipes using duck and has everything from appetizers to duck soup.

When it is cool I save the duck fat and freeze it to use later. There is a long, delicious culinary tradition of cooking with duck fat.  If you google "duck fat" there is no end to the sites singing its praises.   The high smoke point of duck fat makes it a chef favorite; it can be cooked at high temperatures without smoking or altering   flavors. The French have known all along: duck fat is low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fat, making it one of healthiest animal fats you can eat. And a large selection of brands of duck fat are even sold on Amazon.

The day started out well with the duck but when I tried to finish the last of the cookbooks the last albums I bought didn't have enough pages and then I decided to work on the fiesta necklace and became discouraged and packed it all up and it is history for now.. So I wrote the blog and now will take a nice nap to rest my eyes and hope the afternoon goes better.


Foliage and Yoga Dog

I'm telling Morris..."inhale - exhale- relax" and he does!

Earlier I gathered up any bits in my laces that were leaf-like and dyed them.. I will use them as part of the base for the ribbon flowers. 

I used Kreinik very fine  gold thread for the webs.  It is a little heavy, but since this is a bag that will be used I went for a heavier thread.

Having  all the vines will make it easier to get a nice flowing motion to the foliage.  There will be many kinds of foliage in lace, ribbon and threads.... plus a few more webs.


Spider webs and Yoga Dog

This project is definitely talking to me loud and clear...especially since I decided to treat the back of the bag differently.  I wasn't sure how but now it is taking an entirely new shape in my mind.... coordinated but different...  Once I decided not to use that pattern it became a whole new concept.  Having the front and back the same was boring..  Who wants boring.. I should be able to finish the webs on the front this weekend and start on the leaves.

About the time I get seated to do my yoga and relax my shoulders and clear my mind, Morris burrows into my lap... We now call him "Yoga Dog"


Happy Valentine's Day.... Remember this from the 40th anniversary quilt?
This is the only crazy quilt that I have hanging on a wall and it is my favorite.


caught up and GREAT TIP!!!

No pending project has a deadline... a new experience for me... but all wedding projects are done and I can do what moves me and am finishing smaller UFOs.  One of my dearest friends became a new grandmother just before Christmas.  I found these lovely 2" MOP discs and decided to paint the baby on one for a Christmas ornament for next year.  Meet Federico, born in Como Italy on Dec. 18, 2017. 
My three oldest grandchildren are almost thirty and a year ago not one was even dating anyone special.  Now a year later all three may be married soon....one  the upcoming wedding, another soon after her graduation  and the final one has a serious interest in someone.  I never even gave a thought to being a great grandmother and now it is very likely indeed.
So while I am gathering bits for the fiesta necklace I am going to start on the spider webs... Already back tracking though.  I took the back side of the bag to CA to do the vine and never took a stitch so have decided to move forward on the front with the webs and flowers.  I can always have a tapestry back if necessary. If I have the webs done I can work on the flowers when we take Morris on his vacation in March.
GREAT TIP!!  This is one of my better ones. Many of you will recognize this green thing as a Starbuck's stopper or if you don't some of your friends will.  I started saving these little sticks several years ago because they were just the right length and shape to stir the craft paint which settles in the bottom of the bottle.  Worked perfectly but since then I have found many uses....
1. Great for applying dabs of glue
2. Mixing epoxy
3. For appetizer skewers
4. For shaping cuticles
5. Perfect to apply bait to mouse traps.

I saved them, DH saved them and soon all my friends were saving them for me.

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