Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Does anyone read blogs anymore?

I keep posting here, because I feel like it makes me try to get things done, so I have things to show.  But I don't think anyone comes over here anymore- except the spammers, who try to leave comments.  And I suppose the people who try to piggyback on sites to look  legitimate?  (I read an article about it some time ago)

 So, it's been a month again since I posted.  I was waiting for October weather, which finally arrived.   The leaves changed slowly, then all at once, then they were gone.  I found this in the garden one sunny afternoon. Milkweed pods.
 I raked leaves into the garden to protect my tender perennials, then the wind blew.  I can hope enough leaves stuck around to make a difference. 

October was a very busy month for me- as you may have guessed if you've been sitting there waiting for a new post. :-)

 I was responsible for making sure things went smoothly when Linda M Poole visited the Museum Quilt Guild last month.  She was delightful!  We all enjoyed her class, and lecture at the guild.

Since I was with her so much, she and I we had a chance to bond a little bit- even getting silly during her lecture!

And I'm pleased to say that I- who told people I am not a painter-  did this as a result of the class.  I bought supplies to do more of it- when I have time.   The appliqué- the circle- needs a background.  I don't think the one in the picture will be the one I choose, now that I'm looking at it. 

I have spent lots of time with the grands, of course.

Jon and Kiara enjoyed going to the shelter with me on a day off from school.

And I took Kiara dress shopping for her first school dance.  Isn't she lovely?  Her aunt did her hair and makeup. 

I even had some one-on-one time with Everett.

And the big news here is I am now a (step) great-grandmother!  This is Maverick, born on what would have been my mom's 78th birthday.  I won't be part of his life, since they live in Colorado, but it was a nice connection!

There's one more new addition to our family.  Thanks to Jon telling Papa we had to keep her, I adopted one of my foster babies.
This is Enola.  Now I have two white cats.  I have also bought a few new lint brushes- it was either that or toss my wardrobe and wear only pastels.  Ugh

She has decided a quilt wadded up on the sewing table is a great place to sleep.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been enjoying an online drawing class, given by Johanna Basford.  I'm looking at these drawings and feeling pretty amazed that I did them.  I need a lot more practice, which will be easy since I am enjoying it so much!

I spent some time yesterday coloring this one.  I laughed about drawing my own coloring pages, because I have umpteen coloring books!

So, that's what's new.  I keep saying I need to limit the things I do since my time is so limited these days.  I just can't find things I want to give up.   sigh.

Please please please- pay attention, get the facts, SHARE the facts.  Don't keep quiet about all the things that are wrong in our world.  And learn to talk to people with whom  you may disagree.  We all need to find a way to work together.  Nothing is getting done, except the things being done for the wrong reasons by the greedy and evil people.  And make your voice heard- with your money, with your social media, with  your VOTE!

I am grateful for:
Staying inside to sew weather.
A happy kitty on my lap (at all times these days!)
Long chats with the kids who live far away.
A new skill that gives me great pleasure.
Hugs, always.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Waiting for October

I am SO ready for cooler weather, for weather that won't make me feel like I am obligated to be outside in the gardens trying to keep up so the weeds don't have the huge head start they did last spring.  (they will no matter what, unfortunately).  I have done so little sewing in the last 4 or 5 months and it has started to wear on me a bit.  I NEED to make stuff!!! So hopefully October will be the beginning of sewing season.

 The plants have been moved inside for the cold weather months.  I have fewer pots this year, but many of them are larger so I had to reconfigure how I arranged them.  Maybe having them in a large group like this will help them keep each other moist this winter in my very dry house. 
I finally picked the gourds from the garden.  I didn't plant them, they came up from the seeds of the ones I bought to decorate the Thanksgiving table last fall. Gourds are weird plants, apparently, because there are like six different kinds here, but I only tossed three different gourds out there.  I think.  I may try growing some on the trellis out front next year- or maybe near the deck instead of morning glories.  The flowers are very pretty and they bloom much sooner than morning glories do!

The kittens are growing up. It seems like I've had them longer than I have.  I have gotten very attached to them, of course.  They're the only kittens I've had this year, and they were pretty fragile when I got them, so I know I will cry when I have to give them up.

One has caught up to where he should be at this age and will be leaving me next week.  He's very sweet, and I know whoever adopts him will think he is the best cat they've ever had!  Jon sure loves him!!!

Did I mention the stitching I was doing for a demo at my art group meeting?  (Oh, shoot, I need to do the post on the ArtCGirlz blog from that, too!)
Anyway, it was inspired by Laura Wasilowski's "Joyful Stitching" book.  I had tried some stitching earlier in the year- on a project I can't show yet.  This piece was done with no design  other than a stem or two drawn on the fabric.  I enjoyed doing it and am pleased with the way it came out.  I haven't decided how to finish it yet.  I may stretch it on a canvas.  I've never done that before. 

This one is more like what I did earlier in the year; embellishing a pretty piece of fabric.  It's not a very successful piece because I matched the threads to the fabric.  I should have used  more vibrant colors.

I do like this section, though.  I may never do more on this piece, but I was thinking it could be an interesting background for something.  We'll see.

I got to spend some time in the studio last weekend.
OOPs- I wasn't able to edit these before I uploaded, so you'll have to turn your head.  

This is crater lake in Oregon.  I'm doing a rough cut landscape quilt- no planning, no pattern, just cut some fabric and make it work.  I kept thinking "I don't work this way!" while I was working.  I'll let you know how it comes out at some point.

I also got part of this panel quilted.  I bought it around 2 years ago, and forgot all about it until recently.  I wanted to get it finished for this October to hang in my "gallery"- the upstairs hallway. I cut the sections apart before I thought to take a picture, so i stuck these three on my wall.  The fourth one, the biggest one, I pinned around the metal bar I use in this spot, and hung it in the hall anyway.  If time allows this weekend, I'll take it down and finish the quilting. 

Meanwhile, it's getting colder outside and the beast is still in exactly the same spot it was the last time you saw it.  I'll finish it and use it, and maybe even admire how it looks on the bed, but I will always have a loathing for the damned thing, based on what an ordeal it has been to get it finished.  Too bad, because it's a very pretty quilt. 

I am grateful for:
The happy hug I got from the little girl who adopted a kitten at the shelter yesterday.
A wonderful weekend with the kids last week.
The kittens are healthy and nearly ready for their forever homes.
Cooler weather!!
At least one crooked politician had the integrity to admit his crimes and resign.

Monday, September 16, 2019

A Wonder Filled Weekend!

So this weekend was a busy one, where I felt like I had no creative time at all, which would normally leave me feeling a little grumpy. But it was filled with wonderful moments- the kind that make life worth living!

On Saturday I went out to work in the garden and there were Monarch butterflies everywhere!  Turns out they were stopping by to feed on the goldenrod- a weed I have in abundance out in parts of the field. 
I took a video, which I hope you can see here.  It's not great quality, but you can tell how many of them were fluttering around. 

Then yesterday morning, this sight greeted me when I went out on the screen porch to open the windows.  I have waited for years to see this cactus blossom.  It has gotten dozens of buds, but they have always dried up and dropped off before blooming. 
I suspect it is a close cousin to my other night blooming cactus, which is white.  But as the bud grew, I could tell it would be more pink.

The best part is this one lasts more than one night!  It was still there this morning!

I'm working so hard to get the gardens cleaned up before the gardening season ends, hoping to avoid the mess I found last spring.  I know there will be weeds in the spring, since they don't die, and some grow under the snow!  But by cleaning up as much as possible, I can hope the first garden bloom won't be a dandelion!

The flowers are getting leggy and tired, but there is still beauty to be found!

To cap off the weekend, I saw a bald eagle near the swampy area a few miles from my house yesterday.  It is still such a thrill to see one in real life!

I am grateful for all of the moments that make me stop and realize what a gift it is to be getting older, even with all the aches and uncertainty!

Monday, September 9, 2019

I finished something?!!

So, I started this post a week ago!  I swear, I just don't know where my days go anymore!

This was the view on the hill as I drove to work this (Last Tuesday) morning.  Oddly enough, it looked a lot like this again today!  It's one of my favorite parts of the drive because I can see in all directions and enjoy the moon setting over the farms, glorious sunrises, mist rising out of the corn field, the cows walking out the their pasture....  (The Mennonite farmers still pasture their cows)
It's a nice way to start the day.

As the title of the post says, I managed to finish something last week!  I pieced this quilt at least 10 years ago as a teaching sample for a class- probably more like 15 years!  The pattern is from French Braid Quilts, by Jane Hardy Miller

So when I heard my niece was having a baby girl, I already had a head start on a gift for her!  My sewing machine and I had a disagreement so it wasn't ready for the shower, but she will have it in time for baby Brooklyn's arrival in October!

The theme for the shower was "woodland boho"- which I had never heard of, but if you google it, there's a lot of stuff!  So I made a sweet baby bunny label for it. Obviously the pins have since been removed!

Now that cooler weather is coming, I need to finish the quilt for my bed, aka the beast.  My machine apparently does not like sewing straight line free motion.  So I went back to the walking foot, but am using the bungees and clamps to make turning it easier.  More work, but less aggravation in the long run.  I hope.

I'm working feverishly in the garden to keep up with the weeds before I have to give it up for the year.  I am more than ready to have my sewing time back, but am also determined not to find the same mess I did in the gardens this past spring.  I'm pleased with the progress I made on some of the overly enthusiastic perennials as well.  It's always a work in progress!

I read an article about activism yesterday and the fact that social media has made us all feel like we're being active, when in fact we are not.  I'm guilty of it myself.  I donate to causes, I sign petitions, but otherwise I am not terribly active.  And I admit part of it is because I'm not willing to upset my husband by my political activism, and part of it is that none of the events are near my home.  Driving an hour, parking issues, weather, and the time involved....  It doesn't mean I don't care.  It just means I, like most people, have become overwhelmed by it, and a little complacent.  So maybe I'll write a few letters to a few people again, as I was doing a couple of years ago.  Or make some phone calls.  I'll do what I can.  It's all any of us can do!  Just do something!

I am grateful for:
A surprise visit from the grandkids yesterday!
Enjoying a process without thinking of the end result.
My husband is not a picky eater.
My kittens all purring when I go in to the "nursery"

Sunday, August 25, 2019

My first "Cancerversary"

 I joined a new subculture one year ago August 24- when I was diagnosed with cancer.  

My best friend teaches a class to nurses who may wish to go into community health care, where they learn about the fact that each culture has its own language and customs, and to recognize each culture they may encounter.  I met a sociologist once who was working on her doctoral dissertation.  Her research was to study as many subcultures as she could.  I was teaching a quilt class and she spent the day with us, learning our language- fat quarters, frog stitching, HSTs, UFOs.....- and observing how we interacted with each other.
Have you ever thought about the number of subcultures you might be a member of?  Would you recognize it if you were suddenly thrust into a new one?

So, in the last year I have learned a new language- that of a cancer patient and, hopefully, survivor.   I'm one of the lucky ones. My cancer was detected very early, thanks in part to the fact that I knew something was wrong and went right to the doctor.  So there's a lot of terms in this new language that I have learned, but not experienced.  The word all cancer patients long for is "NED"- no evidence of disease.  That's where I am right now, thankfully.  One word I see often is "Cancerversary".  I googled it and discovered it can mean different things to different people.  The most common definition seems to be the day of diagnosis.  One blogger wrote:
Some days I can’t wrap my head around the reality that for the rest of my life I’m going to be celebrating the fact that another year has passed where cancer hasn’t come back into my body.

I didn't want to spend my first one dwelling on the memory of the devastation I felt a year ago.  I had thought of doing something big, away from home. But I had a long list of things to accomplish this weekend and none would get done if I was away from home.   So I went to the garden.

 My gardens suffered after my diagnosis because I lost the last month of the season when I would normally do the last trip around to clear as many weeds as I can, thin out some of the perennials, etc.   So I decided to tackle a part of my garden where I have totally lost control.  And, without me asking, my husband came out to help.  He never helps in the garden.  I had mentioned the significance of the day to him, so maybe he was feeling it, too.  Or maybe he had nothing better to do.   But it made the day special that he dug up a patch of those invasive perennials, and helped me gather rocks for the new border I'm creating.  We also found a couple of the wonderful flat rocks I've been using as walkways to separate the perennials and give me a place to cross through the garden.  And now this spot that was a mass of messy yarrow (see  the mess on the left side?  It was all like that)   now looks like part of a well-tended garden- until the wild morning glories pop back up.  sigh.
By the way, if anyone wants some rudbeckia (the black-eyed Susans), please let me know!

When we finished, we went and had ice cream.  (If anyone knows a place where the brownie sundae is a real soft gooey brownie, not crunchy chunks, please share!)  It was a good day!

I am grateful for:
An early diagnosis.
My husband.
My gardens are a lot of work, but I feel peaceful working out there (even when I'm breaking my back)
The late summer cooler nights.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Kittens again!

 Due to an emergency at the shelter, I have kittens in the nursery again- after assuring everyone I was done fostering.  Who could say no to this??? (click here if the picture above isn't actually a link to the video!)

So, yeah- it's been a month since I even tried to write a blog post.  I think of it a lot- which is a bit like an absentee father telling you years later you were always in his thoughts.  Big deal, right?

 In truth, I just don't have anything to show.  The only sewing I've been doing is the Telephone Line game the ArtCGirlz are doing (Oh, crap- there's another blog post to write...)  And I can't show that until the big reveal in October.  This project is kind of kicking my butt, in all honesty. Trying to figure out what the original theme might have been while looking at a single piece of the chain of work- always from the same person- is intimidating to me.  Kathi- who I get things from- is SO artistic and fearless in her work, than I often feel like my piece will be a big let down by comparison.  I know, it's not about comparing or competing.  But in the end I don't want to be the one who "clearly didn't get it" when we reveal all the pieces in each person's group.  Hopefully I have made something that not only reflects the piece I was given to work from, but also reflects the tastes of the person who will receive it.

So here is what I can show you from the last month---

I bought a very cool Hawaiian dress at the thrift store, which was way too small for me.  (I didn't take a picture of the dress before I cut it, so here's what's left of it)

I picked coordinating fabrics for it, the same way I would pick fabrics for a quilt,   and used my design wall (the floor in this case) to decide which one went where on the dress.

Here's the finished product.  The pattern is Carribean Breeze dress by Stephanie Kimura.  I'm not sure it's still available.  I've had it for years.

 My step-granddaughter got married.  She's the one I made the beautiful blue and white quilt for. 

Lucas and I took the kids to the zoo,sort of for my birthday.  I used to take my kids there all the time, but it had been a while since I took the grandkids.

This is us on the new tram to take you back to the entrance.  We were all too hungry to hike way back.  (I had forgotten this zoo is a long skinny space, rather than one you can go halfway around and run to your car for the food)

At work, we "enjoyed" the whole  "Welcome Back" assembly where they introduce new people and the president gives a sort of state of the college address.  As you can see, the speech was riveting.  I hadn't done a zentangle in a long time!

We've had some rather intense thunderstorms the past week or so.  I got home from work one day to find this sky off to the east.  I don't think this storm hit my house, but clearly someone was getting some rain! 

I was given a generous donation of scraps of yarn for my creatures. I needed a little bit of yellow, and got two whole skeins.

 So I decided to make one of the Monsters in the other book.  I don't particularly care for this guy.  It might be the color, but I think he looks like a tooth.

The kittens are from a situation where they were neglected.  This sweet baby is 8 weeks old, but weighs less than half of what she should.  (She climbed into my slipper and posed!)  So far, her name is Bitsy.  But I'm going to try and find her a warrior name.  She shouldn't have survived, but she did.  There might be a lesson in that. 

I am grateful for:
Any time I can spend with the kids.  They are the light in my life.
A bit of a vacation while my hubby is away (shh, don't tell him I said that)
Cool nights sleeping with the windows open enjoying the summer sounds.
Beautiful skies.
The people who know me, and put up with me anyway.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Sing for the Day

I'm trying to enjoy the summer, in spite of the heat and how weedy my gardens are.  So I take what pleasure I can in the small moments.  Like this toad who was sitting on my dragon's nose one morning last week.  I couldn't have imagined anything that would have given me as much joy as this did when I noticed him.

Where there aren't as many weeds, there are some beautiful flowers this year- probably due to all the rain. 

 The bee balm was blossoming like fireworks on the 4th of July!

And the new portulaca plant I got at Palmiter's in Avon is spectacular!

The bottle tree garden, just outside the garage, is my favorite this year.  I kind of dug it up and started over this year, but really I decided not to let the calendula take over this year.  This is the best pansy bed I've had in a long time.  

 I accidentally planted onions in the one garden when I dumped my compost bucket out there.  Are these the blossoms? They're very cool!

The Nasturtiums are assimilating my little fairy, which seems kind of perfect!

School is out now, so when I do my regular visit to see the kids, Kiara is there now.  I wanted a picture with all three of them together, but they didn't cooperate. 

It was 90 this week when I was there, so the boys are "naked".  Everett is growing so fast- soon he'll be crawling!

I'm still working on smaller projects.  The most recent creature is a bushy tailed squirrel.

The only sewing project I finished this week is this little cat "purse".  I've had it for years, but finally got the wool to make it last year. 
 One side is George, and the other is Marigold.
Cute, right?

The pattern is perhaps the most poorly written thing I have ever encountered.  There were pages and pages and pages of written instructions- repeating themselves for different combinations of fabric and methods of appliqué- and NO assembly diagrams whatsoever.  I had to guess how to put the handles in and ended up getting them in crooked, and too close together, or something.  The pattern says it's perfect for a phone (maybe back when phones were smaller) or a pair of glasses.  You can't get a pair of glasses in through the opening as I have it.  It's pretty much for decoration only.  I just can't understand why they would not include a few simple diagrams for the final assembly- especially given how detailed the rest of the instructions were.
     You can still buy this pattern here, and I gave some thought to emailing to ask if they've released a newer, improved version that a beginner might be able to assemble.  But that would accomplish little, so I didn't bother.  I am certainly not going to make another one.  I'm pretty sure the pattern is headed for the recycle bin.

My husband went to the store the other day to buy a some milk and a couple other small things.  The cashier asked if he wanted a bag.  He said yes, since he couldn't carry the eggs safely with the other things.  He ended up with three bags for three items.  I will admit it is possible he misheard the question- he has a pretty bad hearing deficit.  But why on Earth does any store spend the three or  five cents a bag to put things like milk into one?  I am counting the minutes until the plastic bag ban goes into effect in New York, and the stores are forced to stop handing them out.  I am hoping it will also force people to reassess their shopping habits.

I am grateful for:
The frequent reminders of how lucky I am.
Random acts of beauty all around me.
Bits of sewing time when I can just play.
The smell of freshly popped corn.
When it cools down enough (and doesn't rain) at night to leave the windows open and not run the AC.