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March 2020

Quiet but Friendly

Zen lifeThis seems like a really good time to practice if one wanted to pursue a zen life, eh? Not many distractions, plenty of solitude for meditation. Actually, I enjoy meditating - my (former) partner Kathy helped encourage me to start when she invited me to attend her Quaker meetings. I"m not very good at sitting still and quiet so meetings were a revelation to me (raised, as I was, as a Southern Baptist). Wonderful!

Even so, too much quiet gets on my nerves ... so I am happy to have had the opportunity to stay in touch with my quilting friends this weekend. Of course, Patty and Barbara are on direct line - we text together regularly to share what we are working on. I got to add two Zoom sessions - one Saturday, one Sunday - this weekend to my tech rep. :)

I'm still not sewing much - still cleaning and de-crapifying my space - but it was wonderful to see what other people were working on. I am going to have to get my ashes in gear and try to do more. Might be a bit hampered by my body, though. I think I have some kind of virus - been sneezing for two days (thought it was allergies - every blooming thing is adding to the particulate matter in our region:) - and (warning: possibly tmi) I have had (ahem) intestinal upsets today. Sigh.

I will have to struggle to wake up early enough in the morning to call my doctor and ask what I should do. I don't have a fever though my joints ache as if I did. :P I definitely think I will be not going out for the next week or two. 

Of course, when I am wickedly busy with too many things to even _think_ about sewing, I twitch to sew ... and when I literally have all the time in the world to sew, I am inert. Honestly, I am such a contrarian. Silly girl!

Talked to my daughter twice today. The younger of my two grandsons is TWO years old today. I watched him learn how to take off his own sleepers this evening - definitely hitting that 'I want to be independent' stage. :) So cute!

I think I will probably not be going to physical therapy this week either. Gotta remember to do extra exercises. :P

I am reading a lot. Probably averaging two paperback book's worth of prose every day (yes, I read quickly). Trying to stay warm and dry (been damp and chilly here). Keep my wild birds fed. You know, life-as-we-know-it-lately.

:) Linda


Wiggle, Wiggle

Quarantine questios

I thought these were good questions to meditate upon daily ... during this very odd time. I can't say I've done very much of interest - well, of interest to me, yes, but hardly historic - over the past five days since I last posted. :)

Last Thursday (Spring Equinox) I had upper g.i. xrays with barium contrast - actually, they were fluoroscope (live) images. The barium (nasty tasting white chalky mixture) looked black on the scope because it impedes the xrays. I got to see my throat/stomach as I drank the stuff and it traveled through me. Fascinating! All wiggly and real, too. LOL. 

The point of the xrays was to see if anything was amiss in my stomach area ... and the fluoroscopist said I looked 'highly normal'  - yeah! That was the last hurdle toward my bariatric surgery. Now it's waiting until the surgeon's office calls to set a date.

I am still going to physical therapy. I had an appointment this afternoon. We had to take a step backwards in my treatment because I'm having increased pains in my arm and hands ... today I got to spend a half hour of bliss with a hot wrap on my shoulder, followed by extensive deep tissue massaging. Sure felt better afterwards. :)

I've been reading quite a bit (Illona Andrews' Magic Mage series and Clean Sweep series among other books). I haven't watched much 'tv' as my husband is home, too, and I don't have any headphones/earbuds at the moment (old ones broke) to keep the sound down - he cannot tolerate the noise, poor man, or the distraction.

I have also been working on cleaning my soon-to-be functional sewing room. Almost there but I have to work in measured doses. My stamina still isn't what I would like it to be - half hour vigorously working, hour to recover is the rule right now. :)

I have been especially enjoying reading my blog list lately - it substitutes somewhat for the social isolation. Most of the blogs I subscribe to are for quilting, embroidery, or mixed media arts. I do take a daily look at the abstracts for archaeology research, too, as that is kind of an avocation of mine. Recently two artifacts were found in Indonesia that are the oldest portable art objects ever found - I _think_ they are about 26,000 years old. This one, particularly, caught my eye:

Pocket-sized-01

It's about half the size of the palm of your hand and about six inches long. We're not sure what the image is supposed to be - the article writers speculated that it might represent the sun as it is similar in appearance to younger things found in the region. I was excited that it appears to be a hexie shape. :) Apparently there are red pigments still in the grooves - when it was newly made, it probably showed as bright red lines on the stone. No idea what it was for or how it was used. The other one found with it shows a faint image of a big feline of some kind.

I am determined to get my sewing machine up and working tomorrow. Sunday there was a sew-in online for a design that I want to make called Elvira. Edyta Sitar is running a quilt along, too, and I like what it looks like. So many beautiful things to make, so little time!

:) Linda


Marathon (Sort Of)

Didn't

This was my end-of-day conclusion for today. :) I had a strange day ... by dint of a mass of coincidences, I had FOUR appointments today. (And I was saying how healthy I really am last time, too - tsk). I had to make six stops (snuck an errand in there as well as a lunch stop) in total. Even I was pooped by the time I got home around 5 (having left home at 10 a.m.). Whew!

Spring is popping out everywhere in this area ... and it looks downright strange at times. Trees are flowering that are usually later along with very-early-spring trees ... and there are no green leaves or grass, yet, so it is all happening on a more-or-less gray background.

We did have some sunshine in the first half of today (along with mild temperatures in the mid50's). I managed to grab a drive-through lunch bag (sit-down restaurants are all closed) and take it down to the Dockside area at Lake Elkhorn. Sat in the sun and ate my food then read a while (a just released Mercy Thompson series book by Patricia Briggs, Smoke Bitten).

First I had a 45 minute appointment with an assistant psychologist named Amber (practice of Joshi and Merchant, here in Columbia) ... to satisfy my insurance company's requirement for bariatric surgery. Quite pleasant, on the whole. :)  Then a stop at Labcorp for blood drawing (every quarterly checkup, routine). Lunch stop and blooming beauty admiration followed by an hour of exercising my right shoulder at the physical therapist. Last, an hour at the podiatrist getting my poor feet treated. Whew!

All along the way I enjoy flowering beauty:

Drs window

This was a late afternoon sight out my podiatrist's window. Notice the red haze out there, off to the left? Those are the flowers of a swamp maple which bloom in very early spring. The pretty white blossoms to the right are, I _think_, pear trees or maybe crabapple (didn't get a good look at the blossoms to count petals). Just beyond this window to the right was hanging a bird feeder and little chickadees were swarming it.


Drs window
This beautiful copse of trees grows in front of my primary doctor's offices. I'm not sure if they are Japanese cherries or something else. Look like cherries. :) Always beautiful, every spring. That pale blue car in the middle front is our Bolt.

 

IuI saw a number of these short trees/tall bushes in bloom as I drove around - saucer magnolias.

 

Forsythia-in-bloomAlso saw a lot of these  - forsythia bushes in full yellow glory. :)

 

Iu-1Everywhere the white crabapple trees are flowering - all through the woods and along the road verges.

 

What a beautiful day! By the time I got home, though, I was whipped. :) I just have not been pushing my physical stamina that hard since I closed my shop. Not used to go-go-going all day any more. :) I was too tired to care by evening and just put my feet up to read.

:) Linda


Appointments Galore

Medical-symbol-drawing-39

Today I had my first physical therapy appointment to deal with the joint aches in my right shoulder. I was impressed with the therapist assigned to me (I've dealt with a fair number of these folks over my lifetime ... like all medical people, some are good and some are not:) ... she decided (contradicting the orthopedist) that I do not have a rotator cuff tear ... that the pain I feel is caused by the same bone spur I was suffering with a couple of years ago - now it is grinding on the soft tissues around the joint and making them tender. :P

Really, I think I am a wonderfully healthy person ... if it weren't for the arthritis issues, I'd be supremely healthy (imho:). Those issues are primarily genetic in origin (with, I must admit, some aggravation due to my weight). Sigh.

Anyway, she gave me three exercises to do at home and I have to go back twice a week for the rest of this month. At least we can get to the doctor when we need one, eh? :)

Yesterday was the monthly meeting of my Sew&Tell group. We currently have ten members but only four of us showed up (Barbara - whose house we meet at - me, Deborah and Peggy). I worked on finishing up my fourth block from the Vintage Housewife project. I am really happy with the way my blocks are coming along ... though I must admit that I have no idea what the finished quilt will look like. :) Here they are:

Canning blk

This is the first one I made, the 'canning' block. I remember my Mom canning all kinds of foods - veggies like pickles and tomatoes, fruit like apples, chutneys and chow-chow ... good things! :)


Canning blk

This the the 'baking' block. Mom occasionally made cakes and pies ... but more common was corn bread (southern style WITHOUT sugar) or cornsticks which we had with almost every meal.


Canning blk

'Ironing' at our house included my Dad's shirts ... and Mom's nursing uniforms. I used to love watching her iron the beautiful white hat she wore as a nurse. Each nursing school had their own design - she was a graduate of Berea (KY) Nursing School and I loved her hat. :)

 

Typewriter blk

This is the one I just finished, the 'typewriter' block. I guess this stands for staying in touch via letters and such ... and yarn crafting. Knitting and crocheting were what my Grandma Hampton taught me ... and embroidery. I put knitting needles on my block - the original had a crochet hook. I knit way more often than the latter.

None of these blocks is finished, yet. I intend to sew the turned edges of all my block shapes with a narrow zigzag stitch by machine. Probably in fine threads, color chosen to match the shape. To be done ... I used Ricky Tim's Stable Stuff for the shapes, glue basting for each piece to turn the edges of the fabric.

 

In addition to the P.T. appointment, I had a meeting with my primary care doctor (William Saway, a GREAT doctor) this afternoon. Now that I have tested negative for the H.pylori infection, I can proceed with preparations for the bariatric surgery. Next up is an upper g.i. tract Xray with barium. :P Then a psychiatry appointment (I guess to decide whether I am sane???). And onward. 

I finally managed to make dinner this evening after I got home from all that running about. Bacon and cheese quiche - it turned out YUMMY. Just about as perfect as I can manage. :) I did decide to order an oven thermometer as I really don't know how reliable our new-ish oven bakes. And some silicon spatulas - don't know where my spatulas went but I cannot find any in my kitchen. Fifteen years of not cooking is plenty long enough for stuff to wander off. :)

Gotta go get my blood drawn (routine) tomorrow ... then I am going to work a while on my sewing room cleanup and SEW.

:) Linda


Uncertainty

Iu

I just love the random and unforeseen connections that googling can produce. :) I decided to search for images that might illustrate my post title ... and came up with such things as Hooke's Law for oscillation in springs ... and the disruptions of spring training in sports ... and how to deal with market uncertainty when you are a supply-side producer (like a farmer) .. fascinating. :) Of course, I chose the illustration above because of the cute kitties. Grin!

As is usual for this part of eastern Maryland (the so-called Coastal or MidAtlantic region), the weather goes up and down daily. Breezy to outright windy, cool to warmer, overcast to sunny - nothing in nature is constant in this region until the time gets well into the middle of each season (and even then there is quite a bit of variation). Weather forecasters probably hate this part of the country. :)

We are well into early spring ... and the virus situation is putting a strange and uncertain cast to all our human activities. Most of the meetings I have planned to attend have been canceled. I am resisting complete isolation - does not do my extroverted nature any good to endure social isolation! :) Small get togethers with friends are still ok in my book. My husband is much more worried than me - as is usual for him. He is concerned about _me_ catching the virus, not himself.

I think we will start ordering our groceries delivered for a while - he is the major shopping person and I am worried more about his exposure - especially since he loves Big Box shopping places. :P

Yesterday, Friday, my friends Barbara, Patty and I got together at Barbara's house for Sewing Together. OH, first I should mention our lunch out. Barbara and I went to the Walrus Oyster and Ale House in Columbia Mall for lunch. Neither of us had ever been there before. The place was largely empty when we arrived (around 11:30). You can tell things are a bit spacey with the virus - it was easy to find parking near the restaurant (the lots at the Mall are usually over-filled) ... and there were only about four other tables of people when we were seated.

We both opted to try their lobster rolls (with gluten-free bun) and French fries. The roll was tasty, imho, but the fries were substandard. The price was silly ($27 for lunch!), especially given the currently low costs of lobster. I don't have to go there again. :) The atmosphere was nice and our waitress was sweet. Shrug.

Anyway, as has become our usual, Barbara and I were continuing to work on our Town&Country project .. and Patty was laying out blocks for a baby quilt. I managed to get two more blocks made and drew off the design for a third. Lots of fiddly little bits ... and they still need to be embroidered and machine sewn:

CornerI was tickled by my detour sign in this block - we found a print with all kinds of road signs on it (detour, construction, hard hat, etc) and this one was exactly the correct size. Serendipity!

 

StadiumThis building is meant to be a coliseum or stadium. That purple bit is a flag (flagpost to be added later:). I gave my city's structure a glass top.

Remember, these blocks are only 4" square when finished. I am having fun making them but I really need to expand my fabric collection for this - gotta dig through my larger stash and see what I can find. :) I am thinking to quilt this in pieces as I go along. I have one more square to make for the center medallion (the city at night). The next round gets more fun with lots of 'service' buildings and homes to make.

Last night I thought, as I was going to bed, that I could work on house decrapifying today. Today I'm lazy (as usual) so have not started on it, yet. Up and at it!

:) Linda

PS I forgot to mention my fun news for this week. I preordered a fat quarter bundle of Tula Pink's new collection, Homemade (I keep wanting to call it Handmade:). My fabric came on Thursday and I am ecstatic! Gotta think of something great to make with it.


Sunshine - Spring?

Geese nesting

Saturday afternoon? Sunday? I took my lunch down to the lakeside (Lake Elkhorn docks) to eat. The weather has been mild ... it was cloudy that day but has been sunny yesterday and today (Monday). There are a couple of artificial islands at that end of the lake and, as you can see, the Canadian geese are pairing off and establishing territory on them. Baby goslings can't be too far behind, eh? We have more early spring signs. :)

I forgot to share this sight (which made me giggle) from last Monday a week ago - in front of Bear's Paw quilt shop where we went for Mimi's Grad Class meeting:

Lashes
Lashes

The eyelashes were the crowning glory - I had to laugh right out loud when I saw them. :) Don't know whose car this is but it sure raised my spirits. :)

Friday a week ago my friend Patty came to Barbara's house to sew with us. She brought along a beautiful 1840's (or so) era quilt to trace off. The quilt belongs to an acquaintance of Patty's and P wants to duplicate it. After I saw the quilt, I put it straight onto my personal 'must make' list as well.

Border plus

You can see the blocks, sashing and borders in this not-so-great picture I took. I've never seen this block design before (doesn't mean it isn't common:). I love this! Most people will say 'brown' if you ask them what the ugliest color is ... I happen to like brown, especially these kinds of brown mixed with a gentle pink and blue. This quilt is very old, as textiles go and in very good condition. I sure hope the owner knows how much it is worth!!

This week when Barbara and I got together on Friday afternoon to sew, Polly Mello joined us. Polly is steadily working on the borders for her Ladies of the Sea quilt (the woman has serious grit!). Barbara and I were working on our Town&Country projects. I managed to make five blocks that afternoon (bear in mind that these blocks finish 4" square and are only fused down - they still need edge-sewing and embroidery/inking):

Aquarium

This is meant to be the National Aquarium in Baltimore (well, an abstraction) -

one of my favorite tourist destinations in the city.

Corner cityThis is one corner of the inner city central square of the design, as drawn.

ObccThis is the Owen Brown Community Center, the meeting house

for the village in which I live in Columbia, MD.
ObccThis is intended to be the Maryland Science Center, another of my

favorite places in Baltimore (IMAX to the right).

People

The center of the quilt (in the original) has a five pointed star  - the central, city, square is shown at night in the original design. I decided to replace that star with a people tree image, the icon for Columbia, a planned community nearly fifty years old now. I am a 'true believer' in the principles on which the city was organized. :)

I managed to get one more block made - I finished it this afternoon. I joined the Stash Bee online this year ... and belong to Hive 4. This is the block for our March Queen:
Hiive 4 block
Sara, the Queen, asked for cheery colors in her off-center log cabin block ... I hope she likes these. They make _me_ feel cheerful. :) I still have not finished cleaning up my sewing area (think Stygian stables level of labor) so I hand pieced this block. That gave an extra soothing boost to the making. 

I was supposed to attend a workshop with Timna Tarr on Saturday. Sadly, when I woke up I had a blinding headache that did not respond to pain meds ... so I fell back into bed and missed the 'shop. Sigh. I did get to hear Timna's lecture/trunk show on Sunday afternoon at the Baltimore Modern quilt guild meeting. I do love her work! I only took a couple of photos:
Chicken how 2

Chicken how 2

One of the things Timna is known for is photo-realistic quilts; here are two pictures of a chicken themed quilt she made. I was fascinated by her methodology.

Endless chain
This is a block pattern commonly called Endless Chain. I've looked at it several times and thought of making it. Until I saw Timna's version, I had not realized that it is a hexagonal (rather than square) block. Now I want to make one ever more. :)

Https---bucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-437e-9518-adb32be77984.s3.amazonaws.com-public-images-edcf5a9c-40f7-4586-b899-3c325fae8075_2048x2048

Have you heard of the 100 day project? I am seriously thinking of participating ... the only problem I'm having is deciding what project/craft/art to pursue! :) I am leaning toward Stitch Meditations ... but could do Daily Drawing ... or Color Studies ... or ... What a quandary. :)

:) Linda


Daffodils!

Daffodils-flower-power-425534

When I stepped out my front door this morning I was greeted by spring daffodils blooming! I always count the blooming of my daffys as the beginning of spring, locally. The date varies quite a lot, of course - has been as early as Feb. 20th and as late as March 20th over the years. The bright yellow faces always make my heart happy.

Because this is the first week of the month, it has been a bit busier than most weeks. Monday (the first Monday of March) was the monthly meeting of Mimi Dietrich's Grad Class (Original) in Towson at The Bears Paw quilt shop. I always enjoy that day - the ladies of the group are almost all older than me (maybe two or three are younger). Anyone who thinks old ladies are staid doesn't know this group! We laugh and are raucous as a rule. :)

Today, Thursday, was the weekly Faithful Circle Quilters Guild meeting - and the General Meeting with Business that is generally on the first Thursday of each month. Lots of folks came today so the vocal buzz was loud and happy. The guild is holding it's bi-annual show in April and preparations are gearing up fast. It is always a great show ... but I am hoping to go west to visit my daughter and family in April (my niece, Amy's, birthday is April 15th). My husband is wary of my traveling this year due to the coronavirus outbreak (being in the older age bracket, he worries about me:) ... we'll see.

Show and tell is always great at the FCQ meetings - I took three photos today that I want to share here:

Debbies peacockThis quilt was made by Debbie Kastner and I think it is way cool! :) About 60" square or so.

 

Spools

Spools closeThis spool quilt was made by my friend Patty Stenpeck. She won blocks at the monthly drawing of Village Quilters in January - the chosen block design was this spool made with striped fabric. I think this is a nifty quilt! Patty said she will finish it to be a bingo prize quilt for VQ.

 

KittiesI neglected to listen to whose quilt this was. I really like the kitty fabric centers and the bright colors. 

 

I am starting to come out of my gray funk at long last. Two days ago I began this month's block for Stash Bee Hive 4 - a simplified log cabin. The bee Queen asked for bright cheery prints so I chose four different warm colors. Here are two of the colors I chose - this block is made from four of these units.

Block red

Block red
Because my sewing area is still in a state of chaos, I have been hand piecing these units. I enjoy the meditative process of hand piecing ... and I'm not in a huge hurry to finish (have all month). :) Even so, I hope to get this finished by the end of this weekend.

That _might_ be ambitious as I have a class on Saturday. The Baltimore modern guild is hosting Timna Tarr and I signed up to take her class on map making. :) Sunday is the monthly guild meeting with a trunk show by Timna which I am looking forward to also. Busy, busy. :)

This week's Wednesday cooking session slipped to this afternoon (I was not up to doing much yesterday evening - I worked hard during the day and got about half my bedroom cleaned up). I made macaroni and cheese with ham, from scratch. Nothing like home made mac and cheese to cheer one up!

I talked to my daughter and two grandsons this evening (FaceTime). They were pretty rambunctious (the boys) - at almost 2 and 5.5 years old, they can really rock and roll! :) 

:) Linda