Tea and Sketch in Lisbon

Last month, we travelled from Coimbra to Lisbon.

While I was waiting for the Museum of Modern Art to open, I found a cafe at the back of the Betrand Bookshop.

I love the shape of their large teapots.

This is an ideal spot, as it is in a quiet street perpendicular to two busier streets.

Behind me, is the busy street entrance to the Bertrand Bookshop.

At the end of the block in front on me is the busy street one block over from the entrance to the Museum.

I was grateful for the quiet here, before and after my museum visit, in this pleasant quiet spot, as I waited for my husband to join me after his visit to the Marine Museum.

© 2022 Kathryn Hardage

Completion of Pat’s robe

I did finish my husband’s robe. He has been enjoying its warmth and  comfort through the winter here in Portugal.

Pat’s Robe

The apartment is built with concrete brick block, a wonderful way to stay cool duirng the long warm seasonal temperatures.

During the winter, too. Very cool.  I took to wearing my warmest coat inside, which I had knitted and lined and which I wore outside during the season in Missouri of snows and winds.

Here in Portugal, I wore several layers which did not include the knitted coat when I went walking outside or sat outside at a cafe to draw. It was not as cold there as it was inside the apartment.

We warmed the apartment with two portable gas-powered heaters, one in the offfice/studio,  (i.e. liviingroom), for a couple of the coldest hours in the evening, and one in the bedroom a half-hour before bedtime.   We turned them off until we needed them the next time.  

All my homemade quilts which I had brought with me were utlized during the coldest cuople of months.  We added and then shed them leading into, and now out of, those cold times.

They are resuming their places along the walls once again, decorating the plaster over block walls as they hang on portable clothing racks which I bought for the purpose.

It is still cold in the mornings on the south side of the apartment until the sun gets high enough to warm the air inside.

Last February, we were in Penemacor in the east, walking distance to the border with Spain.

We moved to Coimbra in July, where we are celebrating the beginning of our second year in Portugal.

What a wonderful new life we are experiencing.

© 2022 Kathryn Hardage

Progress on Pat’s Robe

A year ago, I laid out the fabric and pattern to start making my husband a robe. I am lining the aviation fabric he picked out with fleece in his favorite color, yellow, for extra warmth.

The pattern is Folkwear Pattern #113, Japanese Kimono.

I love that there is a booklet explaining some of the history and culture surrounding this traditional  garment.

Last winter was chilly.

I did not finish the robe construction.

This August, after moving to Portugal, I have resumed the project.  I have basted the inside yoke to the lining and outer fabric,

then sewn the neckband across the basting and down both sides of the robe.

I am grateful for the progress, and have some hope for finishing it for him in time for this winter…

© 2021 Kathryn Hardage

Moving to Portugal

We have been living in our new apartment in Coimbra Portugal for one month.

This is a result of our visit to Europe for six months in 2019.

It was a life-long goal for my husband and me to travel around Europe. 

We had sold our house and sold or donated all our belongings in order to free us up for other possibilities.

We loved visiting Spain, Portugal, France and England, with a return to Portugal.

Before we flew back  to the United States, we had decided to apply for long-term residency in Portugal.

We arranged to get our National Identity Number, and opened a Poruguese bank account.

A few months after returning the the US, and toward the end of my husband’s seasonal business, we began the appliction process.

Then we got shut down by the health crisis.

We had to make arrangements to stay in the US, acquire a few necessities, and wait until the borders opened once again.

About six months later, we began the application process again.

It took us from August to January to complete the paperwork, including securing a lease in Portugal.

We arrived in Penamacor, in central Portugal, near the Spanish border at the end of February, two months into our six-month lease.

Penamacor, Portugal

The city was still in lockdown, so our activities were mostly self-provided.

We both read, I did arts activities, my husband walked and  wrote essays about his explorations of this Medieveal mountaintop village.

In a couple of months, restrictions were lifted, and we were able to walk around town, enjoy the cafe in the public garden across the street fro our apartment, along with a sculpture exhibit and vocal concerts.

After a four-month stay, an apartment opened up in Coimbra, and we were able to move in.

This time, we have set up our bookshelves and are well into enjoying our new  location.

I continue to sketch in the cafes here, after getting started on it in Penamacor.

Sketching in the Jardim in Penamacor

Walking in Penamacor began at a sharp angle as soon as we stepped out of the apartment, since it  was at the  top of a mountain.

Walking in Coimbra begins on the flat, since our apartment is next to the Mondego River, whih runs through the city.

It gets quite steep soon, though, as we walk up to the Botanical Garden.

We drove to Porto to pick up the sewing machine I bought  while we were in Europe two years ago, (our landlady stored it for me).

Now, I am back in action after a long period where everything was  packed in the US since November 2020.

I feel so much more like myself now that I am sewing again.

We will ride the bus for the first time tomorrow since we have been back to Coimbra, on the way to our Portuguese language classes.

It feels like a great start to learn more about this beautiful culture and to learn to communicate here.

© 2021 Kathryn Hardage

Committing to What I Love To Do

I am a city girl who always wanted to grow up in the country.  The soonest I could do that was after my adult work life in a performing and teaching career as a symphony cellist, raising a family and retiring.

I love the idea of homesteading.  The first skill I learned was quilting.  I took a quilt sampler class and made a quilt with twelve different blocks.

A friend taught me how to can fruits.  After that, I got the Blue Book of Canning book published by the maker of Ball Canning Jars.  I began going through the recipes.  I took a pressure canning class to learn to preserve soups and stews.  I built up a pantry for three to six months in various years.

I took Master Gardener and Master Naturalist Certification classes.  I took workshops in organic  gardening, water catchment, and backyard chickens. I took Permaculture Design Certification.

Then, when my husband retired, we really did move to the country, in an off-grid 12’ x 20’ cabin.  It felt so wonderful to be surrounded by Nature.  I was able to calm down from my pressured city life over the three years we lived there.

I began making “Meditation Drawings” a series of lines and small repetitious figures surrounding a particular word.  I wrote meditations to go with the topic.

The work load on my husband was intense, since we were behind the curve on getting water catchment and off-grid energy systems going.  So we moved into a nearby town of 12,000.

Because I still had some lurking emotional issues even in our beautiful woodsy setting, I explored the possibilities of working with a therapist.  After almost two years of work, I was able to understand the sources of my panic attacks and to manage them.

I continued to explore more homesteading skills and became a beginning weaver, learned to knit from a pattern, and took workshops on spinning.  The local quilt shop became a regular Friday night gathering with deep friendships.

One day, I realized that I was surrounded by things I love to do.  I am so glad I made the commitment to discover that.  My life is so fulfilling.  Everything I have done has contributed to realizing my desire.  I am so very grateful.

© 2018 Kathryn Hardage

“the power of my heart’s desire”

Creating with fabric is my passion.

I like to work with small pieces of fabric and combine them in a pleasing way along with a message.

This is message #275 from my collection “Angel Messages Come to You”.

“I feel the power of my heart’s desire spreading into everything I do.”

Here is how I did the layout.



I saw the blue coyote trickster/flute player fabric in my collection and wanted to bring out the orange highlights.



I placed a small rectangle of textured orange fabric  behind a small piece of orange southwest fabric.



I placed some more orange southwest fabric over a dark blue craft fabric for a tiny square  “button”.





The texture of colorful design is expressed in another small fabric “button”.





My statement reads: “I feel the power of my heart’s desire spreading into everything I do”.



Here is my sewing sequence.


I sewed around the statement, which I had printed onto orange card stock.

Then I anchored the orange southwest fabric over the textured orange fabric.




I sewed around the outside of the textured orange fabric.






I anchored the dark blue craft paper by sewing the color textured fabric “button” onto it, while keeping the tiny “button” of orange southwest fabric pinned in place.






Then I sewed the orange southwest “button” in place.




I sewed around the dark blue rectangle of craft fabric.








I trimmed the threads.





I can sew this to the top of a journal cover for a spiral notebook.

I may use it along with other quotes to create a wall-hanging.

It may become part of an installation about color.

It could be sewn on a bag.

I enjoy creating for the possibilities.

© 2018 Kathryn Hardage

Playing With My Food

On the way home from a conference, I decided to make food choices that would make it easy to eat while on the road.

Since my husband was driving, I was able to create spinach wraps around cheeses and pre-sliced summer sausage.

We sliced up a pie I had baked (not homemade) before we left.

Of course, we had the usual assortment of crackers, granola bars, and chips.

My favorite construction was a stalk of celery, filled with cream cheese, and topped with a green onion embedded in the cream cheese.

Here is a short version, created after I cut and revived the celery in jars of water in the refrigerator.

I enjoyed the play with food shapes, and, of course, it is a delicious combination to our taste.


© 2018 Kathryn Hardage


Garden Freedom

(written August 23, 2018)

Today, I went out early and added a tomato cage to support a beginning grapevine.

Now, I will be able to plant a hyssop plant next to it to help deter insects.

While I was outside, I cleared the tall grasses from a raised bed which has two large herb plants in it.

I also brought cuttings from some young trees and bushes to break down in it as a hugelkulture bed.

Each of these steps is filling in my yard to become a tiny food forest.

This is a freedom I am literally cultivating, so I have a very local food source.

I am grateful to take these steps as I fill in the outline of my desire.

As a city person with no knowledge outside of what I have read, putting these steps into actual physical form is a challenge to me.

I am finding my freedom step-by-step as I try out the next idea.

So far, I have about twenty berry bushes and grapevines combined, and now, I am adding the herbs around them to deter insects.

I have asked the city to stop spraying my yard, and a few more birds have returned.

It is important to me to practice a more conscious life-style to reduce my carbon footprint and to steward the little part of the earth where I live.

This will also result in better health as I gain more freedom in cultivating perennial vegetables organically and plant fruit trees.

I am also discovering a style of planting that works for me, small raised beds with a variety of plants in them.

This way, they will all protect each other from insects which favor groups of the same plant.

There is a long list of things which I desire to do, and they are happening step-by-step.

© 2018 Kathryn Hardage