Saturday, September 28, 2013


Not for the Faint of Heart

Yesterday when we walked to the car to go home from the train, we realized we left the car at the train station not the supermarket parking lot nearby. As Mr. R. was walking back he noticed this dead bird. He knew I would want to see it and drew my attention without alerting the person we take home.

It worked out perfectly because she and I had to wait for Mr. R. to walk  back to the station and come back with the car. I decided this time I was going to take the dead bird home to study, photograph, and properly draw. In my bag I found a paper towel from my painting supplies and a plastic bag that held honey purchased earlier. I went to pick it up and saw tiny red ants had already started feasting. So much for bringing it home. So, trying not to hurt the ants I placed it back on the ground and took photos with my phone. The paper towel kept blowing so it was not easy as bending down was hard on my back and my right arm is weak from the tendonitis or whatever is wrong with it. (I will hopefully find out this coming week as I finally made a doctor's appointment with a specialist.) We covered the bird with the paper towel secured with a brick at the corner, as the ants were on the towel at that point which would have blown away and I wanted them to find their way back to the bird.

The pictures are not great, and I am not sure of the identification, but I was thinking warbler. I have to look it up in my Peterson's Guide. (UPDATE: My first ID was warbler, then on the way home I thought vireo, red eyed vireo to be exact, but when I looked on the internet, I said "no way." I just looked in the Peterson Field Guide and it seems to be a red eyed vireo. I only just noticed the gray cap.)

I have found dead birds before and always see it as an opportunity to study something that is always moving up close. The last time I found dead birds when a center city scaffolding was removed I gave one to an art student at work and the other to a member of the printmaking faculty, who gave me a print of the blue jay I gave him.

It is Saturday and I have not touched my sewing machine since the end of July so I am hoping for some enthusiasm to come my way. I saw a scarf at work that I would like to knock-off. (See photo above.) Knitting is painful and slow so I find myself sitting on the couch every night watching TV until 9:30 p.m. and then going to bed. Certainly not the way I spent the last year, hardly ever in front of the TV without something in my hands to work on. I must say it is disturbing and depressing to be in a creative funk.

Wish me luck!

Baci e abbracci...

Not for the Faint Hearted

Monday, September 16, 2013

Quilting Hoop

If you have been reading this blog you know that I have started hand quilting. Although it is slow I have to say I really like it. This "tendinitis" that I have in my right arm from machine quilting "Sunny in Philadelphia" makes quilting and knitting painful but I am really enjoying the process.

I started with the Q Snap 11 x 17 inches but did not like it. It was too tight so while in Italy I only snapped the quilt on 2 sides. I also did not like that I could not rock the needle too close to the frame so I could not complete the full inside square without moving the frame. I also have a smaller one that I have not used yet.

When I returned home I started using the wooden quilting hoop (14") and liked it much better! So I was thinking that I would find some cool hoop this weekend at the Mancuso Quilting Expo at Oaks, PA, but I found a really nice handmade hoop on Etsy. I ordered a 14" lap hoop from Harry Barnett Laptop Hoops. It is light weight and allows me to easily get my left hand under and out from under the hoop. I cannot wait until it comes!

Baci e abbracci

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I am so proud of myself! Mr. R. is at the gym and food shopping and of course, he does not have a cell phone. I am cleaning ,and as I am vacuuming I smell something burning. I stop and check, start, stop and check. Nothing is caught so I figure I have to take it apart. After searching, and searching, I found a short little Phillipp's screwdriver to remove the screws, but could not get the bottom off, after taking more things apart and trying to pry it apart for 45 minutes, I finally found that I had not unscrewed two screws!!!!! So I take everything apart, clean as best I could, take off the belt and find that it is hard and has cracks, so I tried to replace it. Well due to a problem I am having with my right arm I did not have the strength to get the new belt on. I looked outside and none of the neighbors I know are out. I try using leverage with the longer screwdriver, Nothing is working and I am determined to vacuum. Then I see 3 uniformed men canvasing the neighborhood. One knocked and asked for money to support senior citizens--which I am really feeling like at that moment. I said I would contribute $5 if he helped me replace the belt. He said he would do it for free. I brought the vacuum cleaner outside and Viole, he got it on! I gave him $5 and put the machine back together and it worked!!!!

Although this started out as the best day physically in weeks, now my arm and back ache from the whole operation and a headache has started, but I got it done, without Mr. R! You know when you become so dependent on your husband to do these things, you wonder if you can still do them yourself. Yes, I needed the strength of a man's hand, but I got it completed on my own.

Back to cleaning...

Baci e abbracci.

Friday, September 6, 2013

On the Late Train

Starting the second sock on the train home tonight. I finished the first one on the plane home. Had to work late so will not have much time when I get home.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Back in Philadelphia

We are home. This year I got homesick kind of quickly. For some reason I missed the TV and was a little edgy. We had so many social commitments for the first two weeks it was rather overwhelming for someone who doesn't usually spend a lot of time with people. The smoke at the Snack Bar bothered me and since it was cool I spent most of my time in the evenings inside, but the doors were open so the smoke would come inside and the TV was usually blaring with Italian shows I could not understand. I also thought that a medical treatment that I received prior to leaving was going to take care of an health issue, but it did not and I had a couple of incidents that left me upset and depressed.

I am quite displeased with the contractor and the mess he left in the front of the house, let alone the theft of an item from the basement and the possibility of being overcharged. You may notice the new photo at the header with the missing fig and laurel trees in the front. They were taken out to widen the drive for the width of a car to fit in front of the house. Disappointing, but necessary. Knowing that Orsetto did not make it another year, it was hard to leave Orsina and the dog, wondering if I will see them next year.

On the plus side, our friends were even more generous than usual and made me feel a part of the social set, and due to the cool weather and rain, there were less mosquitoes.

Hopefully, next year will be better...

Looking forward to doing some sewing after I get my studio in order. I've just dumped everything like yarn and books from the trip in there and have to straighten it out.

Baci e abbracci