Friday, April 25, 2008


I took a couple WIPs (Work In Progress) with me to Phoenix, but I didn't actually have a chance to work on them and brought them back the same as I took them. I did give my mother two of the tote bags. I had laughed pretty hard about my lil box bag--yanno, the one that matched the purple tote, but had no zipper?--because it was the PERFECT size for a roll of toilet paper. (Hey, I was on the bus--ya just never know on the bus...)

Anyhow, when I gave the totes to my mom, I said I was sure she would find some better use for that one than a roll of toilet paper... and she said, "I'm going on a church retreat and a roll of toilet paper is a VERY good idea!" So we laughed again.

I really, really do have to get some zippers! lol!

My trip home was marred by two things: the camera fell out of my purse into my brother's car, so I have to send him the money to mail it back to me; and I got food poisoning. It took me a week to really recover and there are some lingering symptoms but I am, at last, doing much better. It has slowed down my WIPs, though!

The one I have worked on a little this week is the purple woodpecker. He now has both wings; the second is partially attached. I am almost out of the floss I am using to whipstitch him together; funny how the skeins seem so hugely long when you start and yet run out anyway!

He is a weird bird, fully in keeping with his origins; beads are beginning to dangle from his wings and heavens to Betsy, one never knows what might happen next! Because yanno *oh, whisper it softly!* the embroiderer got bored. *sheepish grin* Hey, I wasn't using those beads for anything else, after all... lol!

I do want more tote bags but I think I might take a day or so to do some "real beading" and work on Gryph's amulet bag. I do that in peyote stitch and am missing it. Beading is my primary art/craft after drawing--not that I have drawn anything since last summer--really, I just need to get busy! I brought all my pencils and some drawing tablets home from Phoenix and now I need to DO something with them... beading, drawing, sewing, crocheting, and hey--'twas quilting started all this and I STILL haven't done any more of it than I had when I started this blog!

I have GOT to get busy!

Is this Spring, fueling my drive to create? Does it happen to everyone who lives where Spring is so pronounced?

Pictures will come after I get the woodpecker finished and you just never know... maybe I will figure out that chicken pattern after all, lol!


Hope your Earth Day was a happy one! I confess that I didn't remember it until I checked my email, and so I had nothing prepared... but once I realized what day it was, my heart started singing. Each time I took the dog out, I was struck anew by the sheer beauty of this green planet, and celebrated it in my heart.

All my life I have longed for that most elusive and desired flower, violets. Growing up in the desert they were nowhere to be found; they simply cannot survive the desert climate. Even Johnny Jump-Ups cannot survive more than a few precious weeks. Real violets were simply nowhere to be found, except in the pages of storybooks.

On Earth Day walking the dog, I was struck by the softness of the day, by the beauty of the redbud trees against the green of others already leafing out and the softly brilliant blue of the sky, by the stunning golden abundance of multi-petaled dandelions.... by the sweet floral perfume of the... of the.... *eyes round as saucers* violets!!! There, growing as nothing more another ubiquitous weed, mixed in their tiny perfection all around and within the dandelions, sure to be mowed away this weekend---violets!

It was the sweetest Earth Day present I have ever received. *heart singing* I confess, I didn't expect Earth Herself to be celebrating Earth Day by giving US presents... but there you have it, She does and She did!

And then the last time I walked Lady, deep into the night, I realized that all the signs of Autumn which lingered far into Winter and early Spring are now gone. It is quietly yet undisputably Spring now; no more fallen leaves blowing down the street, no more chill in the air, no more ghostly branches in the moonlight--just softly cool balmy beauty, filled to overflowing with new life.

It was the most beautiful Earth Day I have ever had.

The next day it rained all day and that was wonderful too, although it caught me completely off guard. As a matter of fact, I had been about to put away the towel we dry the dog's feet with after her walks, because yanno... it's Spring now, so surely the rain is over for the season? Boy, was I chagrined to realize I was thinking Desert-Think again, lol... Spring in Wichita IS the rainy season! April showers and all that... it isn't only robins coming back with the Spring that turned out to be a Real True Thing, lol, it's also April showers! Now I cannot wait to see if there really are May flowers!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Made it to Phoenix

Left the tortillas at home for Gryph, though. *smiling* There weren't so many of them, after all... 8 inch tortillas don't last long.

Gryph took my picture when we finally arrived at the bus station; it was perfectly dry all day long but by the time we got to the bus station, we were both soaked and so was my suitcase. I was so cold that I didn't take my coat off until Thursday morning!

I didn't take a lot of pictures on the way but this one seemed evocative. This is outside the bus station in Flagstaff, Arizona, and it was always a highlight of my childhood to hit this intersection on a family trip....mostly because there's a fast food restaurant at the intersection and we would get lunch, lol!

The city buses made me laugh. Flagstaff is a mountain city, 7200 feet in elevation. The buses are called the "Mountain Line."
Finally, the quintessential Phoenix picture for anyone who actually lives here and is sick to death of ever-so-romantic desert-cactus-silhouetted-against-the-sunset pictures. Here, my dears. This is the real Phoenix. Life is harsh here; only the strongest survive. The weak fall over and perish in the blazing heat.

Mount THAT on your hacienda wall, all you who romanticize southwest decor! *wink*

Cath, tryin' hard not to laugh! *saucy grin*

Monday, April 7, 2008

Tortilla Girl

We start our post today by acknowledging the charming insouciance of Self-Installing Cat Accessory (with Optional Camera-Flash Eye Enhancement!) Module One as he claims a drawer, approximately twenty minutes before said drawer claimed my arm the other day.

He is adorable. *grin* And oh yes, the bruise is tender but the goose-egg is shrinking. My hand works again although my arm still gets tired.

Here we have Shave Dog, all curled up on the floor. Notice that although she was uniformly punkin-pie colored before, now that she is shaved her true colors come out. Gryph is charmed by the black stripe down her back... and I confess, I always have been too. She is all curled up because they turned our heat off for the summer.

It is, I must say, the very first summer *I* have experienced with nightly windchills below freezing. *tart look*

I am taking the Greyhound bus to Phoenix on Wednesday and will arrive on Thursday for a week's visit with my Mom. This necessitates a certain amount of cooking ahead, and so today I am Tortilla Girl. Tortillas are one of those foods that I had always thought of as mysterious, something completely foreign to my experience and no doubt incredibly difficult to master.

Heh. Tortillas are peasant food, and peasants do not have time to mess with esoteric and difficult dishes; they're hungry, after all, and tired from a long day's work.

Here is my recipe for tortillas.

  • 2 cups flour, plus up to 1 additional cup
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons shortening (butter)
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • extra flour for rolling

At least thirty minutes and up to half a day before you plan to start cooking tortillas, make the dough. Mix the dry ingredients together (reserving the additional cup of flour and the extra flour for rolling) and cut in the shortening. Mix in the water. Add additional flour as needed until you have a smooth ball of bread dough which does not stick to your hands. Knead five minutes; let rest in covered plastic container.

When you are ready to make the tortillas, heat a dry skillet on medium heat. I prefer cast iron; avoid Teflon or Silverstone--they will be ruined from the dry heat. Pinch off small balls of dough (approximately pecan size) and make into round smooth balls. Keep them in the plastic container until you are ready for them.

Roll each ball with a rolling pin and plenty of extra flour until it is very smooth and thin. (I can see the pattern on my formica countertop through mine.) Be patient and do not be stingy with the flour. Don't worry if the tortillas are not exactly round--mine were a sight at first!! Every shape you could imagine!!--they will get rounder with practice. The thinner you make them, the better.

Remember to use enough flour. *smiling* As you gain experience, you can increase the size of the dough balls to get bigger tortillas.

Cook each tortilla in the hot skillet until bubbles form on the surface, then flip and cook a moment more. Watch them carefully; they burn quickly--but make sure you let them cook through. If they have translucent yellowish places when they cool down, they are not done and can be reheated to finish them.

It takes a while to get the rhythm of rolling the dough on the counter and flipping the tortilla in the pan so that you keep a steady stream of new tortillas coming and don't burn them. Start slow and don't worry about how long it takes, until you have cooked a few and can time them.

Stack them on a plate as they come out of the skillet. Periodically turn the stack upside down as you work, so that the bottom ones do not become soggy. This stack was 2 1/2 inches tall when I finished, approximately 47 tortillas from a double batch of dough. And yes, yes I did use a ruler. *wink*

When you have finished, cover the plate, stack and all, with aluminum foil. Store your tortillas on the counter. You should have between 18 and 24 (depending on the size of your original dough balls). Any that are still there the second day can be frozen or refrigerated; wrap them in a paper towel and store in a plastic bag.

I made a pan of pecan brownies today, too. Lunch was brownies *whistling innocently* so I am CERTAINLY ready for supper! Mexican food, anyone?

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Well, y'all can probably tell by the rescued-table entry that I have this thing about recycling furniture. Yesterday Gryph spotted a dresser jusssst before the two people carrying it got it into the dumpster, so we rescued it.

Oh what a short summation of the day, lol!!!

It actually took us two hours to get it the fifty feet from the dumpster to our apartment. Talk about stubborn and heavy! We could NOT get the drawers out no matter what we did, but at last and finally (after we had missed the bus to run our errands three times) we managed to pull out all the drawers; we got the handcart and Gryph got the thing home. We piled everything into the living room and took off to run our errands.

When we got home again (and had eaten supper), we decided to put the new dresser--which is really a kitchen cabinet!--in Our Craft Room under the microwave. Good thing, too, since it is 28" and our bedroom doorway is only 20"! But I digress... anyhow, we have this problem whenever we do ANYTHING around here. There is always *someone* DOGGING our footsteps *cheeky grin* and generally making a nuisance of herself. So before Gryph started moving the cabinet itself into Our Craft Room, I bent over to pick up the doglet and keep her out of the way.

The drawer landing on us was a total shock. I thought it landed a glancing blow on my arm and cracked the dog a good one on her head! My arm hurt so badly that I was SURE the poor baby must have gotten a concussion if not a cracked skull and I sent Gryph to take care of her right away. It took me some moments to work my way through my utter disbelief; Gryph had to tell me again and again, "the dog is okay, she isn't hurt."

Well. It wasn't a glancing blow; I took the full force of that big heavy drawer along my right forearm (and I'm right-handed, too), and I have the tenderness and goose egg to prove it. Now mind you, if it had to happen, that is how I want to be... I don't want the doglet to be hurt, ever, and I will always gladly take the blow if it spares her.

But oh do I claim whining rights. DANG, that thing hurts! My whole forearm is involved. It even made my fingers numb for a while. I can type some today, but it'll be a while before I can use sissors or do much sewing. Soooo I guess I will find myself a good book and thaw out one bag of frozen peas after another (icing that goose egg) for a couple days.

Sheesh, and I was having so MUCH fun sewing, too! Luckily, cotton fumes do not spoil. *grin*