Thursday, May 24, 2018

Gilan Sewing Kit

One of my shirts has needed a button replacement for quite awhile. So today I looked at the shirt to see if there was an extra button located on it somewhere and once and for all do something about it. It’s a shirt I got a while back at one of my favorite Midwest shopping spots that no longer exists called Zita’s. They may still have a wedding boutique, but all the rest is long gone. We don’t have what you would call a huge supply of thread and needles - just a few colors and a pack of needles. So when I looked through the bag I came across a tiny sewing package you sometimes get in a hotel. But this one was unique because it came from Rasht, Iran from the Gilan Hotel. We stayed there nine years ago when we went to visit Iran with some of our American friends. My husband is from there, and from that city. We had a small group of six and traveled all over the country, including Rasht. So now my Polish shirt has a button sewn on with thread from Iran. It’s an interesting combination since I am Polish and my husband is Iranian. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Retirement Victory Garden Rose

When I retired a little over two years ago from the Library of Congress I received a little rose plant. It came all the way from Wisconsin from four of my friends/colleagues. These are very special people - I worked in health care for thirty years in the Midwest and met these folks a long time ago. Whenever we visit Milwaukee we always stop by to say hello and have kept in touch since we moved to DC. So we planted the little plant in our garden patio. Last year it came back and bloomed. This year it’s grown to twice the height and is just starting to bud. We weren’t sure it would survive the very erratic weather we’ve been having. Aside from the fact that roses seem to be difficult to manage sometimes with all the bugs and such that like them so much. So I’ve been spraying it with the rose potion and it’s doing okay. Once it has bloomed I’ll cut it back to keep it more in check. But every time I look at it I think of our friends in the very friendly Midwest. We do miss their company - but what a great way to remember them. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hydrangea for the Wall Vase

We have two hydrangea bushes in our small patio garden. They are really too big for the space so I have  cut them down several times. But if you cut them down at the wrong time of the year, they pay you back by not flowering. And that’s exactly what happened last year. Early on we would get both pink and blue flowers that were quite large and long lasting. This year it seems the flowers are primarily pink and they are quite small. But since there are so many flowers this year, I decided to cut a few of them and fill up the wall vase. We generally get a bunch at the grocery store to keep the room lively, but when our own garden has flowers we obviously prefer to use those. The hydrangea always seem to droop during the day in the heat and sun, but come back around later in the day. I thought I could cut some of the droopy flowers and they would revive in the vase. I was mistaken again! The flowers and leaves continued to drop two days later. So I plucked out the droopy stems, and left but one that seemed reasonably good. Maybe later today I’ll try again. But this time I’ll wait until the evening when they look more alive. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Ride Home from Yekta Kabobi in Rockville

There are only a few times a year that we can open the car moonroof and let the fresh air in. Last evening happened to be one of them. On our way back home from Yekta Kabobi in Rockville, we drove along the Clara Barton Parkway along the C and O Canal after taking the Cabin John exit. The ride takes you from a park like setting with overgrown grass and trees and trumpet vines clinging along the barrier stone walls to the big city. You pass under railway tresses and old brick buildings that are scattered by the canal route. Passing through the Pallisades is the exit for Sibley Hospital - our go to place when in need. Further down the road approaching Georgetown we almost ran into a few deer literally walking along the side of the road. Getting on to the Whitehurst Freeway is the full view of Arlington across the bridge. The country begins to look more like city once we see the Watergate structures. Passing by the Lincoln Memorial steps were several people enjoying the best evening we’ve had for over a week since the rain finally stopped. The final turn is at the US Botanic Garden with the Capitol in the background. We know we are about three blocks from home and are hoping to find a parking spot close to our house. It was a lovely drive and so much nicer than on the way out to Rockville having been caught up in the snarling after game baseball traffic. It was well worth the trip on a lively Sunday evening. 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Butterball Every Day Ready to Roast Turkey

It’s been sitting in the freezer for a few months. We have talked about cooking it before it is no longer edible. So yesterday we decided to finally cook the three pound Butterball boneless skinless turkey breast. It would take about two hours. So as we were passing the afternoon watching the recorded royal wedding, we stuck it in the preheated 375 degree oven. My husband peeled the potatoes to be mashed later, and we saved the gravy packet to be mixed with the turkey juice. I do like turkey, but my husband doesn’t care for it. I didn’t get any stuffing, so it wasn’t exactly a real “Thanksgiving” type meal. We added some green beans and bread. I just have to say I am a fan of a whole turkey that is browned in the oven compared to just a part of the bird that looks as pale coming out of the oven as it did going in. The gravy ended up being quite watery, and the turkey itself didn’t have the flavor or look of the real thing. Neither my husband nor I slept very well last night - I have a feeling it had something to do with our dinner. So rather than give it another go, my husband gladly disposed of it and the gravy this morning. But the mashed potatoes aren’t going anywhere. We have had better luck with these freezer to oven options in the past. Maybe we should just stick to turkey on Thanksgiving. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Merch by Amazon LITs Pooches, Kitties and Other Sweet Faces has 100 Options

I have been wanting to sell my digital art on Amazon for a long time. But they don’t do custom pet portraits. I stumbled upon Merch by Amazon a couple of months ago, requested an invitation to create T-shirts using my images, and have been populating my little store there ever since. It’s called LITs Pooches, Kitties and Other Sweet Faces. At first I could only post ten items, then twenty five. And after selling a couple, the bar was raised to 100 designs. The shirts can only stay visible for ninety days unless they are sold. But luckily, the time frame has been extended to 180 days. It really takes awhile to be found! Unfortunately that new rule only applies to anything posted in the last week or so. Anyway, it takes a bit of maneuvering to meet the image upload specifications because I use my iPad to create images - not a desktop or laptop with software that is conducive to the specs. I figured out a way, but it doesn’t work as well as I’d like - and I can only use primarily vertical orientations. Merch also added sweatshirts and hoodies aside from the standard T-shirt’s but the color selection is limited. So now I have a well populated shop with several dog and cat varieties with a couple of birds, and some in process images of sketch to portrait examples. So please take a look around. It’s a great shirt for any animal lover. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

US Botanical Garden Visit

We walk through the US Botanical Gardens almost every day. But we don’t go inside the structure unless there is an exhibit of interest - like the Christmas trains, orchids, or stinky plants. But anytime we have out of town guests it is usually a place to stop in and wander about. It’s close to home and is just a pleasant experience. So we did just that when our friends from the Midwest arrived. It was their last day visiting and was a nice way to complete the early afternoon sightseeing. The orchid exhibit just ended, and the setting was less occupied than typical. The main lobby area seemed empty! But the beautiful fountain and exotic plants still abound. We ended up sitting in a section where the plant artists had an exhibit. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to go through the outside gardens - the rose garden was in full bloom. One can never get tired of the natural beauty. It’s a very relaxing place.