Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Back from Amish country, with an updated link

I spent last weekend in the Lancaster, PA area. Partly to visit a friend, partly to see the new AQS show in Lancaster and partly to do some shopping. I had been pretty good all year and had shopped my stash first for every project. That doesn't mean I haven't bought ANYthing, just that I have tried to buy less. However, when one is far from home, knowing one cannot drop back in if one changes one's mind, it does tend to allow one to be more liberal in her spending. Yes, I am sad to say, I went on a rather gluttonous shopping spree.
First, the quilt show. It was at a different venue than the last time I saw the Lancaster show. Whether this was because the old venue was unavailable or because AQS wanted something different I cannot say. I can say with certainty the old venue was better! The quilts were poorly arranged - and poorly lit in places. The vendors seemed to be the focus of the set-up, with the quilts a bit of an afterthought. It was hard to see the quilts or the vendors in some ares. And the fact that the show was on four floors of two different buildings, with a long line to get the shuttle from one to the other meant many of us missed parts of the show! Hopefully next year, they will fix a lot of this. I have hundreds of pictures to weed through and will put most up at snapfish. (if the link is active, they are there) And hopefully it works this time! (sorry!)
My hostess was a most gracious friend who drove several hundred miles over the course of several days to get me everywhere we wanted to go. her dog accompanied us on a couple of the excursions. Isn't he a sweetie?
A sad thing happened while I was there. I couldn't believe how green everything was. They are three weeks or so ahead of us in the spring department. Magnolias- one of my favorite spring sights- were starting to blossom. Then there was a frost, and the buds turned brown. I sincerely hope that doesn't happen to me, but with temps predicted to be near 80 later this week......
Been in the garden already and will post pictures monday- ish. :-)

I am grateful for:
a husband who doesn't mind me taking a few days for myself
a friend willing to put up with me for a few days
spring flowers in bloom
my kitty who missed me very much while I was gone
electricity ( mine was out a while last night)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Inspiration everywhere

So far I am LOVING spring! I can't work in the gardens yet, because it's so muddy, but I can enjoy the early blossoms! The bees were out in force yesterday afternoon. I always amazes me that they are there for the very first blooms of the season! I got a chuckle out of the fact that some blossoms had two bees on them, and one guy was doing his best to get into a flower that hadn't even opened yet!

We are still moving from room to room as the carpet is installed. My bedroom looks like a furniture warehouse! And I am suddenly aware of what the sewing room would look like if I couldn't use the guest room as well. Hard to believe I was once satisfied with that tiny space. I should have take a picture of it to share, but I couldn't get far enough into the room to take a picture!

I have managed to get some work done in between the packing and repacking and unpacking.
Somewhere recently I read of a woman who uses her leftover bits of sock yarn to make shoelaces. I just had to try it, but since sock yarn seemed a bit fragile I got some thin nylon twine at the Hobby Lobby. I'm going to have to make another pair for my step-granddaughter now!

I also got the quilting finished on a piece I started around 5 years ago. I never quilted it because- as usual, I couldn't decide how to do it. Last spring I layered this and was planning to just hand quilt around each applique shape. I didn't end up getting started on this for a variety of reasons, so it sat for several months. Then I found Leah Day's 365 filler stitches blog. I was inspired to make this quilt a little more interesting and try to improve my skills at the same time. This is the result.
The center designs are some of the ones Leah has shared, but the borders were my own designs. My quilting will not win awards, but I like the way it turned out.
I call this piece "Raspberry Creamsicle". The colors were inspired by a piece of fabric with these colors; but I don't think that I ended up using it in the quilt.

I am grateful for:
Sunshine and time to get out to enjoy it.
The rare times I find a true rhythm while machine quilting and it just feels right.
Sharp scissors for the times it's not right.
The birds singing, especially the mockingbird who seems to live right outside the front door.
Time spent with family last weekend.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Save the Ladybugs!!!

The temperature has suddenly risen to way above normal for here in western NY. It has given me the chance the last few days to rescue some of the resident ladybugs. Poor confused little things. In the fall, when it gets cold out, the search for warm places, and wander into the house in droves. Most cannot withstand the dry heat inside the house. It's sad how many we find in nooks and crannies when cleaning. They get into the sinks for water and get drowned when we turn on the faucet! So I am happy to be able to rescue some of them. By placing them outside now they at least stand a chance of fulfilling their little ladybug destinies. And since I always place them in the gardens, the hope is that they repay me by eating the bad bugs when the flowers come up!
Speaking of flowers, the snowdrops have emerged at last! These are planted just outside the back door so I will be sure to see them as soon as they can push out of the snow every year. Behind them is an old pair of sneakers with hens and chicks. They have rooted themselves to the ground and cannot be moved to a more protected spot in the winter.
I also found one single crocus. I know soon there will be hundreds of them, but that one just made my day.

In the sewing area there is a great upheaval right now because we are having carpet installed. The man who came to measure remarked that "there is a lot of stuff in that room"- my tiny work room, where the stash lives, billowing out onto the floor most days. I have been trying to purge some of it before I get moved back in, but now I also have to empty the guest room/ studio for the next round. I hope those people on that de-clutter tv show don't get wind of this mess!

I did manage to get something accomplished last weekend. I finally made my section of the flower the art group is working on for our display in July. I used fabrics I found in my "non-traditional" fabric bin. There is two layers of synthetic organza, white moire, yellow silk and plaid taffeta. I had fun creating this piece and discovered it wasn't as hard as I had allowed myself to think it would be.
Look how beautiful our flower is so far! It will be placed on a quilted background for display.

This week I am grateful for:
Snowdrops and crocus, obviously!
The summer birds I heard singing in the field yesterday, including red-winged blackbirds and mockingbirds.
The luxury of time spent with friends.
Getting to spend time with my son last weekend.
Fewer and less severe hot flashes thanks to a new supplement I tried.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Too Much Stuff

A strange coincidence occurred today.
I had several boxes of clothing and household stuff to donate the local Salvation Army store. I got there to find a bit of a traffic jam- four other cars lined up to drop off their donations. One couple carried in 5 big garbage bags to the clothing side. You walk right into their store room to make your donations. It is piled floor to ceiling. In a way it's wonderful that so many people give their usable goods to this charity. ( Assuming of course they are actually usable. I fear many people don't sort, they just treat this organization like it's a garbage dump.)
Anyway, as I walked out I was thinking about the fact that so many people were there giving away excess stuff. And then I thought of an ad running on tv, from the evil Walmart. Here is a woman in a perfectly nice room, nothing wrong at all with any of the furnishings, but she's tired of them. So, since the big W's prices are so good on their new home collection, she can afford to change it all. Watch this ad- they actually show either one of the kids or the dad brushing all the stuff off a shelf into a trash can. This is the society we live in. Everything is disposable.
This is my biggest issue for saving the planet- changing the mindset. You don't NEED new clothes every year for back to school. But someone convinced us all we did, and so we bought them. You don't NEED to have a whole new set of tableware for every occasion. And yet someone has convinced us we will spend eternity in Purgatory if the centerpieces don't measure up.
I'm guilty of it myself. I have way more clothes than I need. It's embarrassing. And my sewing room! I am currently moved out of my sewing room, due to some remodeling we are doing. I didn't have to take everything off the shelves, but the stuff I did have to take out is mostly the fabric and tools that won't FIT on the shelves. So I am going through the bins to try and reduce the excess. It's not easy. I am a fabri-holic. I "may need this someday". I had something in mind when I bought the fabric, so why get rid of it? I have given myself a pass in this area, but it's like buying offsets for energy usage. I don't use paper plates or napkins, because of the processing required to make them. But the growing of cotton is one of the most damaging processes there is. So what am I accomplishing in the end?
There's no point to this rant. I guess I was just thinking maybe it would serve as a reminder to me to try and use what I have. To ask myself if I NEED things before I buy them. You can make a big difference doing small things- if everyone does it!

Sorry for the rant. I had intended this post to be a thank you to my online friends who played along with last week's challenge. Mine is pictured at the top of this post. It doesn't have a name. I was thinking of something with "intersections"?? What do you think? I have been given permission to share their work. So here are a couple of them.
Linda called her's Octopus's Garden

Susie's kind of looks woven, doesn't it?

Aileen's was made to show how people with Alzheimer's have pieces of their life slip away.

Lest I forget-
I am grateful for:
The sunshine which is making it feel like spring outside the last few days
The birds singing in the morning
My husband and how hard he has worked to give us a nice home
The good fortune to have so much stuff I feel guilty about it
As always, my dear friends who bring such joy into my life even when they aren't trying.