Sunday, July 30, 2017

Girls' Day at the Museum of Play

 For Kiara's birthday, I gave her a certificate good for one day of doing whatever she chose.  (I should probably have specified an upper limit, but she's nine, so maybe a trip to Paris wouldn't occur to her)  She chose to go to the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester.

We had been there about a year ago with her whole family and she's been whining to go back ever since.   I enjoyed my first trip, so was happy it wasn't something outrageous like the trampoline park (where she would be on her own as I doubt that is recommended for people my age)!

Her favorite part is the Butterfly Garden, which I think is also my favorite part.





 In addition to the butterflies, there are glorious flowers to enjoy!












Back out in the museum, we ventured into the land of the Berenstain Bears, where we found-


 
 No fabric there, though.  Ma Berenstain apparently sells her quilts. 













Kiara is a very good salesperson!









Upstairs in the toy hall of fame, I found this display amusing.  There are at least three dolls in there I played with when I was her age!


We played a toy trivia game, where once again I felt very  old, since I can remember when nerf was new.  I didn't think there were still dinosaurs around, though.

 (the answer is 1970)


This display would come in handy when I get dressed in the morning!  (some of you may recognize this ensemble!)

 This was cool- a video wall where you could be part of the scenery. When you clap your hands, your picture shows up in one of the bubbles!

After I took this picture I saw the sign saying no climbing. oops.

This room kind of made me nauseous, but it was fun! Easy to lose your balance, but the walls have that gymnasium padding!

We had a very good (and exhausting for me!) day.  I hope her next wish is just as good! (The certificate is good for one wish a year, so I'll be interested to see if she hangs on to the certificate)

We did it!  The majority (and some of the minority who have been paying attention, no doubt) banded together and showed those greedy, ego-maniacal  bastards we won't be fooled!  It's what I've been saying for years- if enough people want a thing, it happens.  Make your voice heard!

I am grateful for:
Lots of Gramma/ Oma time this week.
Cooler weather, especially the nights.
Macaroni and cheese
Not being bored at work anymore.
My shy foster baby was adopted quickly!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Speed Bumps Ahead

My schedule is about to undergo a major reconstruction due to a job change.  Still part-time and still at the college, but in a different- busier- department with hopefully a kinder boss.

So- not that I have set any records for maintaining my blog, but it will probably take a while to get used to the new "normal".  Today's post is an example.  I haven't done a lot of work in the sewing room lately, so it's a short one.  I shared last time the upcoming artcgirlz project, and my little series.  We ended up canceling the meeting because- well, summer.  But I did get them minimally quilted, and gathered a box of supplies to take along and share with the girls (girlz?) when we discussed embellishments.
Here is the current status of the project, with some of the embellishments I may use. 

The ones in the top of the picture are layered with a backing; the other one is just batting.  I'm also testing which way works better when you embellish.  I contacted Kathryn Schmidt to ask her about this, and her answer was "It depends".  She suggested figuring out where you're going first.  I have no idea where I'm going.  But I'll get there.

I got several emails last week asking me to call my senator about the healthcare bill.  I know my senators' positions are against, but called anyway and thanked them for their hard work and encouraging them to continue to work for us.  A pat on the back never hurts.

I am grateful for:
It didn't rain in last night.
How happy Jonathan always is to see me (I'm his favorite playmate, I guess)
It's almost over.
Time with a few friends at guild.
Sleeping better last night- for a change.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Mini vacation again

Thanks to the fourth of July holiday coming on a Tuesday - which is usually my Monday- I had a five day weekend last week. Due to very temperate weather, I was able to spend a great deal of time in the gardens. But I did get some sewing time in!


This is another crib sized donation quilt I've been working on off and on for a while.  I pieced the star points as "leaders and enders". This was made using a picture I saw somewhere on the internet.  I don't know where so I can't give credit.  The quilt in the picture didn't have a border.  I'm not sure about that, though. 












A member of my online group challenged us all to create a donation quilt using the disappearing four patch.  You don't have to look closely to see I cut some a bit differently from the others.  This will have three borders- two narrow and one wider, to follow the rest of the quilt.  I might even do the same piecing on the corners if I'm feeling fancy.










The ArtCGirlz are doing a sort of group project where we create a small series of pieces using a shape or color or theme, then play with embellishing them.  My theme is circles, using some drawings I made inspired by the wild dill weed I see by the side of the road.  (I didn't take this picture)




These are where I am starting.  It will be fun to see where it goes from here.
















I also finished this crocheted "amiguri" cat, from a pattern called Kattis, available for free at ravelry.com. 

No, I don't know what it's for.  I saw it and wanted to make it, plus I had yarn left from the "Miffy" bunny rabbit.












I read an article the other day about how recycling is costing money, which is very wrong, when you stop to think about it.  But the problem is the WAY we recycle in the US.  It has all been done more or less on a voluntary basis for 40 years.  But the Europeans have a better way- to no one's surprise!
They have  "Take Back Laws"- where manufacturers have to reclaim packaging and materials.  Why don't we do it in the US?  Because the businesses that would have to spend the money to change the way they DO business would rather spend the money ensuring they never have to!  Even the e-waste laws don't really force them to do it themselves, which is why some poorer nations are drowning in our mercury laden waste.  It's shameful!  We can, and we must do better!

I am grateful for:
A cooler summer where I can tolerate being outside.
A nice quiet transition time.
Fresh fruit.
My husband is not a picky eater.
When a plan comes together. 






Friday, June 30, 2017

The May UFO is finally finished

So I'm pretty sure I mentioned that the May UFO had misbehaved and had to go into a time out in my last post (or the one before?)  Well, it cried for a while, then came out and apologized and then we were able to work together.  
What really happened was I was trying very hard to find a faux pantograph design I liked for this quilt, since I didn't want to spend days and days doing something fancy that wouldn't show because of all the different prints in the fabrics.  I had thought of circles to soften the squares, but nothing seemed right until I stumbled across a design doing a google search, that led me to doodle this design.  It's not actually circles.  You start with a sort of four pointed star and echo the arcs in each square of the block unit.  But then it looks like circles when you do the blocks adjoining it!  Aside from still having trouble getting the tension to behave when I sew backwards, I am very pleased with the way this came out!  As usual, I don't know who it's for. I may save it for the next quilt show, then decide what to do with it.
I know I've mentioned before I have a collection of mostly small/ wall quilts looking for homes.  I posted a bunch of them on a facebook page named Bits of Merth.  If you can find it, and something calls to you, let me know!

This time of year I am mostly spending my "creative" time in the gardens.  My gardens aren't planned, as much as I love the neatly arranged ones with space around each specimen and no weeds.  That is just not going to happen in my garden.  I'm a plunker.  My philosophy is to plant aggressive perennials and let them battle it out- and battle the weeds.  You can guess how well this works for me, right?
 
Here's an example of what has happened. The yarrow and feverfew are battling it out with the lizard tails and salvia, but mostly the little morning glories are taking over any space they can get.  (which is very hard on the self seeding plants like forget-me-not!)  So a couple of years ago, I started putting down rock paths in an effort to reduce the area I am trying to care for, and maybe keep some of the plants in their places.  Yeah- that doesn't work at all.  
So I am upgrading the rock pathways a bit this year.  First I dig out anything I want to save, and at least break off the weeds.  Then, I lay down my new "Garden Fabric"- the empty bags from kitten fostering.  I go through a lot of kitty litter and buy the kitten chow in large bags.  These bags are like plastic burlap.  Very sturdy.  It's always seemed sad to have to throw them out.  I've seen tote bags made from them- for grocery shopping I guess.   I have found they make a pretty good weed preventer! 
See the blue and yellow peeking out between the rocks?  I'll fill that in with smaller rocks as I find them.  We'll see how well this works.  Thankfully, with the corn field out back, I have an almost endless supply of rocks!

In the front bed, the hollyhocks have taken over this year.   My gardens rarely look the same way twice- it just depends on  what has decided to grow in any given spot.  So I can't say this is what I would have chosen in this garden, but the Hollyhocks are happy.  I just wish I had more colors.   
Sorry about all the space.  Blogger decided not to play nice today and I have no tolerance for fiddling with it today.

My reuse of the litter bags keeps them out of the waste stream (and the ocean), but the world is still drowning in plastic.  Just a friendly nag- er, reminder- to choose a reusable alternative whenever possible (Can you hear me morning coffee people?).  Opt for simple packaging when possible.  Every small change we can make could have larger and long term effects!

I am grateful for:
A husband who is happy with almost anything I set on front of him at dinnertime.
A new family is enjoying my old car.  I hope they love it as well as I did.
ice cream, especially those Magnum double peanut butter bars!
I got to send two kitties home with people who were just thrilled to get them this week!
A new opportunity- a chance to be less bored at work.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Fairy Houses

 Due to a number of- let's call them distractions- I haven't had a lot of sewing time lately.  But, inspired by the visit to Tinker Nature park, Kiara and I decided my yard could use some fairy houses!

In the little grove where my hammock sits, I discovered a deer rub on one of the trees that we thought would make a great fairy door.  A little paint, a little rope and some twigs are all it needed.  

The door knob is a decorative upholstery tack.

One of the Poplars dies some years ago, so we figured the fairies could move into the stump. (don't tell Kiara, but there are ants living in it).  I found a hunk of an old broken branch to use as a roof, and added a little swing. 

Hubby helped me make steps and made a really cool door for the house.  

Of course the door opens.  I painted the surface of the tree black with a sort of path going in.  Maybe it needs a little porch there, since the door would knock anyone off that top step?  Maybe I'll wait and see if the fairies issue any complaints.  
Working in the garden has been a challenge.  We had nearly four inches of rain last week!  It's like making mud pies. 

I was happy to read several reports of this type after my last post.  That man can spout all the bluster he wants, but there is a momentum he cannot stop!

I am grateful for:
Caring professionals.
The best possible outcome.
Overcoming my fear of the worst and hoping for the best.
A friend with chocolate.
A husband who entertains my silliness.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

So little to do and so much time....

Wait a minute!  Strike that.. Reverse it!

I took a few days off to have a sort of "staycation" while hubby went on his annual fishing trip to Canada last week.  I got a lot done, and had time to enjoy myself as well.

When the weather cooperated, I enjoyed being outside. We're enjoying (or enduring, depending on your point of view) a nice slow spring, where most days have been in the mid to upper 60s.  The sun is still nice and warm, so I can enjoy being outside and not sweat to death as soon as the sun clears the horizon. The ground is still pretty muddy from all the rain we've had, but I am making small progress in the gardens.

I made a couple of small fairy gardens, and am hoping the raccoons and/or chipmunks will leave them alone.




















I have an iris in bloom which has never done so before.  I'm not sure what this color is called (marorange?), but I really like it!
















I love my walkway this time of year!!












On one of the nice days, Kiara and I visited Tinker Nature Park in Pittsford.  



 On one of the trails, someone has made fairy houses in the woods!



















Aren't they sweet?  My assignment for the next time we get together is to find things around here we can use to make our own fairy houses. I think we all like to believe in fairies. 
Ask me sometime how many hours I spent as a child watching toadstools in the evening waiting for the fairies to come out and dance. 







When we got home, we got out the Fairies coloring book I had stowed away for just such an occasion.





















On the last day, I set out the hammock and indulged in a few minutes of lazing in the sparkling sunshine.  Once the trees are fully leafed out, it'll be a nice spot to hide from the sun on a hot summer afternoon.


On the days it rained, I spent time in the sewing room.  UFO #12 had misbehaved, so had to go into the time-out corner.  So I finished up a couple of other projects.



This one had been layered for a while.  It was on the UFO list at #2.  Oddly enough, number two was called for June!
This was a piece I started when I was teaching the "Four Patch Stacked Posies" pattern, way back when (when?  I don't know!).  I didn't love it, but figured it might make a nice baby quilt someday.  It has dinosaur flannel on the back, but I think it's flowery enough to work for a girl as well.   I used techniques from Jacquie Gehring's book, Walk on this one.  Nothing fancy.







This one is from a kit I got in April at the River Lea Quilt Guild show.  I'm just now noticing I forgot to stitch on the mouth.  This pattern is by Bloomin' Minds.  I shouldn't have gone there to find the pattern,because I found half a dozen I need!

In spite of today's announcement, I will hold onto hope that the momentum for sustainability and saving our planet can NOT be stopped.  I read an article today about a wind power company offering to retrain displaced. coal workers- For FREE!

I am grateful for:
Jonathan seems to have recovered from the stomach bug.
A great opportunity- maybe just what I've been looking for.
Seeing the wonder in a little girl's eyes.
My wisteria finally put on a good show.
Cookies in a cup.




Thursday, May 18, 2017

I found a friend in the garden

We are finally enjoying a few days of sunshine.  It hasn't rained a LOT this week, so the soil is even getting dried out enough to work in some spots.  One spot in my rock garden that needed immediate attention was where the cactus Al brought me from Wyoming lives.  It had been overrun by the sedum, and the ground ivy that creeps into the gardens every chance it gets.  (It's evil stuff, put on earth to punish us for our sins, apparently.  Like many of the worst weeds, the original European settlers of North America brought it with them.  Gee, thanks.)

Anyway, armed with my weed digger and a fish hook extractor I got at the sporting goods store, I went out to do battle.  As you can see these cactus have spines that you really don't want to get close to- unless you're a snail!  This guy happily crawled over the leaves (are they called leaves??) as I worked.  (Okay, I looked it up- those parts are actually considered the stems.)  When I get pricked by a spine, it stings, and often a piece breaks off and I have to perform surgery later to remove it.  But if you're a gastropod, I guess you just ooze on by with no worries!
I think I've mentioned before I detest slugs.  But I find snails  interesting and will go out of my way not to harm them.  I don't know why.
 I've done almost no sewing in the past few days, owing mostly to the fact that I STILL don't know how to quilt that damned quilt, and the nicer weather.  Hubby's annual fishing trip is next week, so I may treat myself to a personal quilting retreat while he's gone- if the weather is bad. 
 I know there are a lot of links in today's post.  I figured it might make it more interesting, since really this is about me watching a snail. 

 There are people "resisting" who can make a bigger difference.  I am very grateful for them!!!

I am also grateful for:
Hugs from Jonathan
Being able to make it work so the nice man at the shelter got to take his kitty home yesterday!
Sleeping with the windows open and listening to the toads and frogs singing for mates.
The hummingbirds have arrived.
36 years with a very patient and devoted man.