Posted in Baking, Fiber, Pain, PTSD

Too Much Excitement and a Zippered Pouch

Ah, the adventures I’ve had this week! 

Last weekend, I made Madelines. They are a French cookie. I wanted to follow the recipe exactly, and I browned the butter. I’ve never done that before. Did you know that when butter is sufficiently browned, the butter foams, climbs out of the pot and explores the top of the stove? This is why I have a gas stove with enclosed burners. 

Next, the recipe said to chill the batter at least 20 minutes, then pipe the batter into the wells of a Madeline pan. Except the batter was too cold and there was no way I could pipe it. So I spooned the batter into the wells. I had used goop on the wells, but I didn’t use enough and the cookies stuck to the pan. Jim did something magic and got the Madelines out of the pan. I used more goop, and the batter was sufficiently warm to pipe. These came out of the pan easily. More goop, and more piping except I didn’t have enough batter to fill every well. Baked on goop is nasty. Getting it off the pan sucks. 

The Madelines tasted good. The next morning, I had some Madelines for breakfast. I felt something hard and swallowed before I realized what the hard thing was. It was a gold crown. Knowing it would be cheaper to have the crown reattached than to have a new crown, I spent the next week pooping into a strainer. Jim did the search and rescue part. The plan was to retrieve the crown, wash it off, then use my Instant Pot as an autoclave. No crown. Finally, I gave up and called the dentist. 

My birthday was on Thursday and we wanted to celebrate. Except I had a naked tooth that was starting to bother me. I could only chew on one side. We went to Denny’s because you get a free slam on your birthday. My mother tried to force feed me a fried egg when I was little. She told me I wasn’t getting anything else until I ate the egg. After a couple meals and me not eating the egg, she gave up. I don’t care for eggs. Slams come with eggs. I ordered the slam. Jim ordered French toast. When our food arrived, we swapped plates. I had something I could eat. I had to show my driver’s license to prove it was my birthday so we could get the slam for free. Starbucks is next door to the Denny’s, and I have the Starbucks app. If you have the app, you get a free treat on your birthday. I got my Frappuccino for free, and Jim got his two Frappuccinos for half price because it was happy hour day. Dinner and desert for two for a total of about $11. Do we know how to party or what? 

The next morning, I went to the dentist. He said he needed to do additional prep on the tooth, and I got to enjoy two things I hate. I detest getting Novocain and I got two shots. At the end of the drilling, they took an impression of the tooth. I detest having impressions taken even more than I detest getting Novocain. The inside of my mouth is small and the trays never quite fit. They are always a little too big. 

Now that I had a temporary crown and I could chew on both sides of my mouth, we could eat at a restaurant and I could order real food. Except I couldn’t. While my mouth and tongue were numb, I bit my tongue. My tongue hurt, and I needed to take an NSAID to make the pain and swelling of the gum around my tooth stop. We went to Starbucks and I discovered that Frappuccino is a great way to apply ice to a tooth. 

The next day, with a not sore mouth and a tongue that was almost normal, we went to Olive Garden for lunch. Olive Garden will give you a free dessert if you tell them you are celebrating your birthday. I ordered the Brownie Lasagna. Thin slices of brownie with cream cheese frosting between the layers and on top. Chocolate shavings on top and a raspberry drizzle. Starbucks again. I needed to order one more item to get the extra stars. The problem with the Starbucks app is it’s so easy to order far more often than I would order without the app. But I get a free Frappuccino with 150 points. I save up the points; and when we travel, we have free Starbucks drinks. 

My classes started on my birthday. I’m taking cell biology and immunology this semester. My immunology teacher said we may have talked to our grandparents or great-grandparents about life before vaccines in the 1950’s. Hey! I’m 67. I was born the year of the last polio epidemic in the US. I got all of the childhood diseases because there were no vaccines for them. I am not old enough to be a grandparent.  My brain is 35. The rest of me isn’t. 

One of my teachers was astonished to learn I’m not working towards a degree. She asked if I were taking the class for fun. Yep. We get 6 credits free each semester because Jim works for the university. I’ve got two undergrad degrees, a law degree, and no desire to have another piece of paper. One article I came across while researching PTSD was the fact that learning something new would repair the damage done to the hippocampus. It must be working because I’m finally past the worst of PTSD. No more nightmares. No more memories that take over my brain. Now, I only have uninvited memories that have no power to hurt me. They annoy me, but they don’t’ hurt me. 

I take class notes on my iPad. I’ve got an iPencil so I can make drawings in my notes. The iPencil comes with a little adapter for charging and a spare point. Both are little and easy to use. I decided a zippered pouch would be good to have and would keep the tiny parts safe. I’ve got lots and lots and lots of fat quarters and I picked out two that I thought would look nice together. I worked out the pattern. What I wanted was the contrasting fabric on the back of the pouch to continue over the top of the pouch and an inch or so down the front. Except I didn’t make the pattern right. 

Version I, front
Version 1, back

I still have lots and lots and lots of fat quarters, so I picked out two fabrics, tweaked the pattern and got the zippered pouch I wanted in the first place. I’m not sure what I will do with the second zippered pouch.

Version 2, front

Version 2, back.

Today, I’m making my birthday cake – red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I’m going to be learning how to use Wilton’s Icing Gel and to work on my piping skills. I’ve always used the grocery store food coloring that comes in little bottles. I chose the red color that has no taste. This baking stuff is fun and helps keep down the anxiety. As long as the butter stays in the pan, the batter can be piped, and my crown stays attached to my tooth. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com. Take a look at what other artists have been making.

Looking for a gift? Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art. http://www.debthumanart.com

Posted in Fiber

Learning New Stuff

I learned some things this week. I learned that saving up quilted tops until I have 4 laptop totes to quilt is not the best idea I’ve had. I’m really tired of free motion quilting. I learned that it’s possible to put too much Sewer’s Aid on a spool of thread. I learned that an incredible amount of lint builds up in the bobbin area when quilting. After I bought my machine last summer, I bought a little vacuum cleaner specially designed for cleaning sewing machines and sergers. I’ve been vacuuming out the lint from the sewing machine after each time I use it. 

I learned that I was right when I avoided the cloud. The feds don’t need a warrant to go through everything you’ve got stored on the cloud. Don’t bother telling me you don’t have anything you wouldn’t mind the feds seeing. That’s not the point. We’re guaranteed the right to privacy and we need to be careful never to take that right for granted. I couldn’t get the music I downloaded from the iTunes store to go from the laptop to the iPad. I thought I had configured the cloud to only take my music. Wrong. Damn cloud sucked in my documents. I’ve got legal documents stored on my laptop. I’ve got drafts of the novel I’ve been working on stored on my laptop. Crap. And my iPhone keeps telling me I have to set up authentication to allow what’s on my phone to go on the cloud. NO!!! NEVER!!! If my phone is seized by the feds, they need a warrant to search my phone. Put my phone contacts on the cloud, and no warrant needed. This is serious stuff. Remember, people died so you could have the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

I learned I don’t care for Dijon Wasabe salad dressing. Too hot/sharp for my taste. For years, I grew horseradish and made fresh horseradish. I’m from Buffalo – home of Beef on Weck adorned with fresh horseradish. I understand horseradish. I like horseradish. I don’t care for wasabe.

I played with different colors and different ways to lay out the squares for the laptop totes. I’m always amazed at how much the pattern changes depending on color choices and how the squares are put together.

I’ve done FMQ quilting for the top three. I was working on the bottom one when the thread got persnickety and I put too much Sewer’s Aid on it.

Last Saturday, a man armed with an assault rifle walked into the Walmart in El Paso and started shooting. 22 dead. 24 wounded. I was in shock and not doing too well for a couple days. I’d turn this into a quilt, but I don’t think I could stand to look at it.

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com Stop by and see what other artists are doing.

Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art http://DebThumanArt.com

Posted in Clay, Fiber, Pain, Peripheral neuropathy, Photography, Quilts

I’m Not Old Enough To Be This Old

My friends have been telling me I need to slow down and that I keep trying to do too much. I should have paid attention. Now, whether I like it or not, I have to slow down. 

Jim has two tears in his rotator cuff and needs surgery. One tear is “medium” and the other “major.” We’re waiting for workers comp to approve the surgery. Once Jim has surgery, he won’t be able to move his arm for 6 weeks.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on little ceramic trays because they are a huge seller for me. I’ve got a fully-manual, gas fired, top loading kiln. I’m short. The kiln is deep. Jim has always loaded and unloaded the kiln for me. There’s concern that I won’t be able to load the kiln by myself. Jim won’t be able to load the kiln at all. I’ve got two dozen little trays made. They need to be bisque fired, glazed and glaze fired.

I was looking forward to setting up at the weekly farmers market in November and December. The Saturday after Thanksgiving is a remarkably profitable day for me. Jim helps me with the market. I could probably get the EZ-Up set up by myself – provided I did enough swearing. What I cannot do is drive the truck. The truck is a standard and because of the peripheral neuropathy, I can no longer feel the clutch. It’s too dangerous for me to drive the truck. The EZ-Up won’t fit in the car. Worse, we needed both vehicles to get everything – EZ-Up, tables, jewelry, ceramics, fiber art – to the market. Setting up at the farmers market this year won’t happen.

Jim won’t be able to drive the Mini, also a standard or the truck because he won’t be able to move his right arm. So much for shifting. My car is an automatic. We’re going to be a one-car couple with wildly different schedules. We have gym memberships, but we don’t go to the same gym. I picked the gym that’s right on the way from school to the post office where I get all my mail. Very convenient. It’s not convenient for Jim which is why he has his membership at a different gym. Jim works at the local university and I get to take up to six credits for free each semester. At least we’ll be going to the same place. I’ve got classes two days a week. Although I’d love to have an 8:00 class, just about no one teaches an 8:00 class. Jim has to be at work at 7:30. My classes are both in the building next to the library so I’ll have something to do for three and a half hours before class. I’ll need to find something to do for two hours after classes and we can go home together. I have a feeling I’m going to be doing a lot of hand quilting this semester. There’s only so much studying I can do before my eyes fall out of my head.

I have my online store, Deb Thuman Art. I was considering making laptop totes to sell. Fiber art is easy and relatively inexpensive to ship. I never have to worry about fiber art getting broken. I don’t sell ceramic pieces online because of the chance of breakage and the cost of shipping. I now need to spend quality time making laptop totes. My sewing machine was in the shop for its 60,000 mile checkup and I brought it back home Thursday. I need to pick out fabrics from my 3 miles of fabric collection then start piecing a laptop tote.

I physically cannot do the things I want to do so I will have to learn to slow down. This slowing down is going to take some getting used to.

Wednesday evening, there was weird light outside so I grabbed the camera.

I’m linking with Nina Marie. Please stop by and see what other artists are doing. http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

Please visit my store, Deb Thuman Art. http://DebThumanArt.com