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June 2020

Dawdling

 

dawdle

[ dawd-l ]
 

verb (used without object), daw·dled, daw·dling.

to waste time; idle; trifle; loiter: Stop dawdling and help me with these packages!
to move slowly, languidly, or dilatorily; saunter.

verb (used with object), daw·dled, daw·dling.

to waste (time) by or as if by trifling (usually followed by away): He dawdled away the whole morning.
 
 
It has been eight days since last I posted here. I usually don't let so much time lapse as I use this blog as my diary, more or less, and life DOES take place in the between-times. :) I have been reading a great deal ... and sewing some ... I managed to finish the applique on my Sprouts shiny project:
Sprouts
Yes, I purposefully made the last little inflorescence all blue (with a bit of purple:).
This reminds me ... I once had a quilting friend tell me that 'you like any fabric at all, Linda, as long as it has a bit of purple in it!' LOL. 
I haven't started quilting the sprouts, yet, as I decided I'd better click-to and make my Stash Bee block for June. The month is nearly over already! This month's Queen asked for a block of our house/home ... which meant I needed to draft it up first ... and then, when I was out for a brief pickup at Springwater Designs today, I found some fat quarters of prints I liked to sew it together.
Stash block fqs
Our house is sort of dusty blue (vinyl siding) so I chose that blue/gray stripe (it's a color shot yarn dye of some kind) ... the two black background prints are for the roof (I liked that the text print has sayings about home on it:) ... the gray lettered print is for driveway/front stoop ... the brown for tree trunks and our deck ... that nice Zen Chic lines print for the windows and patio door ... and the two sky prints because I liked them both and couldn't decide between them. :)
 
I sat down this afternoon and sewed up about half the block ... but had to quit because my sewing room was too warm and stuffy (despite the rotating fan) for my comfort. I'll finish the block tomorrow (and take a photo) so I can mail it off to its new Mom. :)
 
My niece Amy's second child, Kennedy, is now 11 years old (I _think_) and has taken up sewing with a passion. Here she is modeling a new dress she just created all by herself from an adult's tshirt:
Kennedy

I am really impressed with her! She has long enjoyed illustrating fashion and playing with design ... but I had no idea she was so hands-on creative. :) Makes my heart happy!
 
What else have I been doing? Mostly a lot of gentle living ... Hugh and I went grocery shopping this morning (masked and distancing). I had a gutter person come to give us an estimate on cleaning our roofs and gutters ... $85 to clean didn't seem too high to me, but four times a year is silly. Once or, at most, twice a year is more than enough - even with a house surrounded by as many trees as we have here. I think I will seek some more bids. :)
 
Always, in my back brain, the following things mull around:
IMG_20200623_172644_087
I found this one someone's blog this week ... and it describes perfectly how my mind is working lately. Sigh. I wish I felt that I could do more than I have been ... but safety comes first. I can't be out demonstrating - endangering not only myself but my husband and son as well ... don't have the body for marching about any more, either, sadly. I have long been aware of the inequities in our culture ... and have done even more thinking about that lately (I always tell my children that the day I cannot learn something new is the day I die). Muddled, mostly.
 
I hope to do more sewing this week - once I finish this Stash Bee block, I AM going to start working on a sofa quilt for my daughter. I also want to get back to cleaning out my new sewing area and picking up my house downstairs. Lotsa tidying needed there!
 
:) Linda

Peaceful

Orange peace flowers

Here are some lovely orange flowers I found in the front planting boxes outside Peace a Pizza in Catonsville where I stopped for lunch on Friday afternoon (after my manicure and waxing). Such a surreal experience! It had been three months since I was inside a restaurant ... eerie and somehow very odd. :) I have no idea what these flowers are ... would love to know (leave me a comment, if you do, please?!). Clearly they love hot sunshine as there was plenty on Friday. 

Yesterday and today have been more overcast though the temperatures are mild (mid 70s to mid80s) .. and roaming thunderstorms that are, at times, very heavy. Today was the scheduled meeting of my Sew&Tell group ... which we held via Zoom again. Sooooo good to see and hear everyone! :) Came a huge thunderstorm with rain flowing down my sewing room windows right in the middle of our meeting. Pouring down! I'm sure the grass and trees are happy. :P

I"m still plugging away with my sprouts squirrel piece so thought I'd share some more random online finds today. 

First, if you have a desire to learn how to draft complex geometric patterns, I found a site with classes where they teach Islamic tiling:

1-Jeea-Mirza-Watercolour-600x571

I have always adored this kind of patterning ... click on the photo above to go look around the site. Lotsa gorgeous eye candy. :)

Next, I spent a couple of years making fabric postcards and mailing them all over the world ... several years ago now ... but there is still an active community of online swappers. If you are interested, here is a good tutorial that I found, written by a science-geek colleague. :)

100-day-project-640x427

I'm off now to find some lunch and read my Nora Roberts book for a while ... possibly followed by some more sewing.

:) Linda


Rare Pleasure

Hiroshige_5_Festivals_Pleasure_Quarter_Kashiku
You'd think by now I would have learned to be more careful with my image searches. :) The picture above is of a rare print by Hiroshige of a Japanese courtesan of 1826 (click on it to read the particulars). My search for 'rare pleasure' generated all kinds of hits - vintage song labels of that title, devices of questionable usage, prize winning horses, rare paintings ... talk about a Brownian walk through reality! :)

Today was a lovely opportunity for me to enjoy being away from home. My manicurist called yesterday to tell me that the salon where I go for grooming was open and I went off today, posthaste, to enjoy same. Waxed facial skin, manicured nails ... such indulgence. :) I even stopped in at an eatery and had a yummy slice of Chicken BBQ pizza for lunch. Been at least three months since I ate sitting in a restaurant! Simple pleasures but precious. :)

I've been sewing for the past few days, working on a squirrel project ... I glue basted some paper leaf shapes a month or so ago using bright fabrics and I decided to make them into a mini quilt. First I pulled all the 'low volume' scraps out of my basket to piece a background:

Sewing crumbs

I start with strips and sew small pieces onto them ... going along with more-or-less random joining until I have a big pile of 'twosies' - two fabrics pieced together into assorted sized units. This takes a bit of time (at least if you have the number of scraps I did:) and needs its own fuel:

Chocolate fuel

Then I joined my twosies into 'foursies' ... sometimes I go on from there but for this purpose, I stopped and trimmed the bits into 3.5" square units:

Crumb blocks

I managed to create 76 squares. Using 72 of them for an eight by nine block background left me a little room for free choice (of those 76, 15 had green prints in them which I figured to use as part of the background for my leaves).

Then I got all excited and appliqued the first line of leaves - using glue stick basting to hold the leaves on with no wiggles and a narrow zigzag stitch with invisible (monopoly thread) stitching.

Sprout stalk

Whole sprout

That green slate behind the fabric is a very nice antique 'blackboard' with magnetic steel behind it. Both my kids had one (curtesy of their paternal grandparents) and so I still have my son's as my new sewing room was his childhood bedroom. :)

I have removed about half the paper forms from my first leaf/flower petal stalk ... I _thought_ I'd be able to get the papers out with just a cut slit in the background behind each leaf ... but that did not work. I actually have to trim away to create a 1/4" (more or less) seam allowance in order to get to the leaf seam and unglue it. :)

I am thinking to put three stalks on my piece, of unequal height. I made 42 leaves ... so lots of room for improv placement.

This project makes me happy! I don't know for sure just how I will quilt it, yet ... the fun of that is saved for the future. :)

We are having mild (mid70s) temperatures, high humidity and intermittent thunderstorms here ... I brought my blue cups succulents indoors and will bring the others in, too, once the rain lets up (started pouring just as I got home from Catonsville earlier today). I hope they will get enough light in the windows I chose for them! At least they won't drown. :)

:) Linda

 

 


Media

Bg_46241473894616
Here is art by a woman (of color) who works with an unusual medium - duct tape. Her name is Anna Dominguez and she lives/works in Chicago. See her photo at work here. You can watch a video of her at work here. I find her art fascinating ... and ... honestly ... if she can do it with tape, we should be able to do something similar with fabric! I like her color/texture sense. :) Click on the photo to see more of her work.

The past few days have been very summer-y here in eastern MD - hot and humid during the day with roaming thunderstorms and rain that is heavy at times. My little succulents are still on the back deck and seem to be doing fine. I did take the time to empty the accumulated rainwater out of their drainage dishes ... they don't like to have wet feet. :) I am thinking to bring the small ones into my house tomorrow (if I remember) but the mother-in-laws-tongue I will leave outdoors for the summer. I do that most summers as it seems to enjoy growing on the north side of our house - indirect sunlight, heat and humidity. Occasional water falling. :)

As I was sitting to eat my lunch yesterday in my  comfy armchair in the corner of my living room, I turned my head to the left to glance out the front patio door and got a surprise. That part of our front yard is heavily bushy with four or five Euonymus growing together to create a sort of hollow green space right in front of the door. Usually when I look into that hollow I see little birds or maybe a squirrel scooting through the green. Yesterday what I saw was the smallest white tail deer I have ever seen - a doe maybe 18" tall at the shoulder - with her fawn, a tiny white spotted baby barely a foot tall. I got a (woefully inadequate) picture of the two of them - taken through the window and bushes:

Tinydeer

To the left is the doe's head and the little deer is just behind her in the middle bottom of the picture. I was surprised to say the least. The doe laid down and started chewing her cud while the baby poked around the open space, looking out at the people moving around and dogs barking. At some point they left but I did not catch that. I am thinking the doe is likely to be a new and very young adult with her first fawn. Generally the deer in this area are much bigger than she was. I was tempted to put out some corn or such for her to eat ... but they eat all my flowers as it is. I decided that I really did not want to encourage her. :)

I spent much of yesterday and today working in my sewing room, sorting through 'stuff' such as the monthly boxes I have accumulated from the Fat Quarter shop's Sewing Boxes (subscription service I decided to take as a treat for myself). I was surprised and pleased by how many assorted notions and projects I have accumulated. No end of more-or-less brainless sewing to dip into when I don't feel like making decisions. :)

I also opened the various holiday gifts I was given by members of my Sew&Tell group in December. I just have not had the will to look at them until now. I have to write thank you notes tonight - it was Christmas in the summer today. :)

I finished doing the machine quilting on my butterfly wreath project. Now I have to find my collection of 12 weight Aurifil threads (I _think_ I have a spool of each color they make) to do the hand quilting I want to use to accentuate the central flower and the butterfly wings. No telling how long it will take me to find those goodies ... but I found a nice zipper pouch to keep them all in when I do find them (one of the notions in my monthly boxes:).

Life is going along quietly here. We are still pretty much in lockdown since my husband and I are in the most vulnerable age bracket for the virus ... and we have type A blood which is as much as five times more susceptible to the corona. :P 

I signed up to take a Zoom class with a famous beader, Eleanor Pigman, tomorrow afternoon.

14137998_1521049961242366_84923430347357368_o

Also the Baltimore modern group has their regular zoom meeting from 1 to 3. Never any end of things to do if you look around.

:) Linda

 

 

 


Short Day

2

Here's a scary infographic for you ... how much sleep is too little or too much? Sigh. I, for sure, am getting too much. :P

I have no idea what the weather outside was like today as I did not go out. I think I need to insist to myself that I get some outside air every day - even if it is only a few minutes. I need to feel the sun and smell the air. (grumpy with myself)

My daughter pointed out that my photo of kneeling policemen the other day may well have been staged. :( I will go edit that post and leave some trails. I'm a fairly straightforward person .. it is difficult for me to understand or even anticipate behavior that is so crooked, so tricksy as to pretend to be one thing and actually do another, worse, thing. No matter how old I get, I suspect that I am entirely too innocent in today's world. :(

I managed to do a little housework today ... and some sewing. I basted together and starting quilting on my butterfly wreath project:

Quilting

I also failed to prevent a mishap. I _try_ to be sure to turn the iron in my sewing room OFF when I'm not using it. Apparently I forgot today ... and my new fan probably is at fault for blowing the iron over to sit full face on top of my lovely folding ironing board ... and making a nasty burn mark on the surface. :(

Burnmark

I don't think there is any way to remove the mark ... except to recover the board eventually. Sigh. Maybe it will remind me to be more careful? Certainly made a perfect image of the sole plate. :P

I preordered a book by Laurie King that came into print today ... and is on my reading screen. Titled Riviera Gold, it deals with the life of Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holmes. Yes, _that_ Holmes. I've read the entire series to date and enjoyed every one. Highly recommended, especially if you like period stories (this one is set in the between-world-wars era).

Other than read, sew and sleep, the day has been extremely quiet. How much can you do when you are only awake and vertical for about 8 hours? Grr.

Linda


Glorious Weather

Iu

Many beautiful flowers bloom in June ... and, of course, if you include the entirety of Earth in your calculations, that is a wide list. :) The weather has been glorious today here in eastern MD and many flowers are blooming. If you click on the photo above you can go read about what blooms in Cumbria in June. :) Very pretty!!

I thought I'd write my post before bedtime as I usually do ... but when I say 'today' this time, I'm really talking about yesterday clock-time. Sat up late this evening reading a good book (Lake Silence by Anne Bishop). I usually have more control of my reading compulsion. :)

The first thing I did today once I had gotten up and dressed was go outside to check on my little plants. Succulents are supposed to be watered only every week to ten days ... so I decided to designate Mondays as Watering Days (or Checking On Watering Days:). I gave each plant enough water to keep them happy (fingers crossed) and checked that each one seems to be firmly rooted into its pot. Hopefully all is well - plants are slower than animals and more subtle at signaling distress.

After I ate lunch, I sat down in my sewing room and assembled my Butterfly Wreath blocks. That took about an hour but went very well - foundation pieced patterns generally give less trouble with joining units as there is a firm (no pun intended) limit to their dimensions. :) Then I spent almost two hours tearing out the paper foundation. :P

Generally I loathe removing the paper ... it's one reason why I have experimented so much with non-removable foundation materials. Today, though, it went easily ... and felt almost like a celebration. Who knows why? :)  Once the papers were a huge pile of confetti in my trash bin, I took the top outside for a photo op.

Butterflywreath

Wreath2


Wreath2

There is nothing blooming in my front yard right now so I chose to stage my little top (about 18" square) over the pachysandra ground cover growing under our Japanese maple tree. Dappled sunlight, as you can see. I'm pleased with my flimsy ... now I have to find a backing and batting and set in to quilting it. :)

The rest of the day was spent quietly doing housework (emptying bags of 'stuff' and putting it away) and reading. Pleasant and easy. Tomorrow will be harder work - my son and I are going to clean and update his bathroom (fingers crossed it only takes one day:).

:) Linda


Thumbing

Green_Thumb

Do you know the English language idiom 'to have a green thumb?' Click on the icon above and read about it. :) I come from a family of Green Thumbs - my Mom was a dedicated gardener, mostly of flowers, and my Dad, as a farmer, had practically been born with green fingers on both hands. :) Myself, I am generally a Black Thumb ... mostly because I am too forgetful. Anything I grow has to be able to survive on benign neglect. :) The only houseplant we have had for years here Chez Schiffer is a mother-in-laws-tongue originally given to me by my paternal grandmother years ago right after we got married. I don't know where she got her plant from but she had it all my life ... likely her grandmother or an aunt or cousin. :)

I finally got motivated to buy a decent pot and some good soil to repot my MILTongue plant and finished doing that today. While I was shopping, I picked up some small succulents as I am told they are easy to keep alive. Fingers crossed! Here is how it all looked after I finished:

Medium lace

This pot is about a quart in size. The little plants are happy together, I hope. :)


Medium lace

This is the MILTongue ... that pot is maybe two gallons in size. The plant has plenty of space to spread out and grow.

Threebluebowls

Those three blue pots are each about a pint in volume. Eventually the little baby plants will need a new home ... but not for a while.

Right now all three plantings are resting in a protected corner on our back deck. I am hoping they adjust to their new homes pretty well. In a week, if all goes well, I will take the medium and small plants into the house (I am debating exactly where to put them right now). At the rate we have been getting rain this week, they ought to all be happy on the porch for now.

Potting these things took way more energy than I expected. I mustered my soil bags, pots and plants on a small table on the back deck and worked on the project yesterday and today. Made a huge mess (one reason I try to do repotting when the weather is warm enough to work outdoors) ... and had to sit down to rest twice. Still, it got done and makes me happy. :)

Other than that project, I've accomplished very little today. I read some ... and talked to Skip a while ... and played a bit of Stardew Valley ... ate ... took an afternoon nap (a short one for me of only 1 1/2 hours). Easy, pleasant day.

The weather outside this afternoon was glorious! Warm but not hot, breezy but not windy, pretty blue skies. It was a joy to be working on the deck.

:) Linda

 


Steady

04Ackerman-superJumbo

See these people?** THESE are the cops I want to have working in my neighborhood - ones who have the protect and serve idea right to heart. :) I _think_ these are Atlanta workers (might be wrong about that).

I've been pretty much avoiding the news for the past couple of days ... as much as it can be avoided. I am still in too unsteady an emotional state to take much upset (sadly). My happiness quotient was upped today by the weekly Zoom meeting of my Columbia Friends from the Baltimore modern quilt guild. :) So good to see what people are working on ... and to listen to how much I do NOT know about contemporary trivia based on movies. LOL.

While the group met, I sat and sewed - finished, really - a simple project. Maybe a year ago now I finished a punchneedle embroidery and sewed borders on it. I FINALLY assembled it with a backing and hanging mounts:

Punchneedle

Remember this? Too bad you can't touch it through  your modem. :) The texture produced with punch needle work is wonderful - like a very fine rug. I used a muslin interlining to help give support to the border prints since the embroidery itself is a bit heavy ... so I chose not to put any additional batting in my tiny quilt.

Back

I don't know if you can see the mounting triangles a the top of the back here - maybe you'll have to click-enlarge the photo? I need to find a short piece of lath to hang this with - I'm thinking to put it on the door to my new sewing room.

Yesterday I finished sewing together the last butterfly block (6" finished size) for my wreath. This one is Indigo (mostly):
Indigo

Over the coming week I hope to sew together the nine blocks I've made to create the top for my butterfly wreath. Then I can quilt it - probably by machine and maybe with some big stitch hand quilting, too. Here's a pic of the nine blocks as they are now:

Entire

I am pleased with this - though it is a bit busier than my usual. :) I managed to get the central flower shape to stand out like I wanted ... and the butterfly colors to arrange correctly. Now to get it quilted. :) I don't think I will put any additional border(s) on it ... and I'm debating whether to bind it in the usual way (with some color(s)) or make facings to finish the edges.

I hope it is a little cooler tomorrow. I bought some small succulents for myself when I was out yesterday buying potting soil for my mother-in-laws-tongue plant (which badly needs repotting). I am eager to get those pots finished - I started working on them today but the heat/humidity chased me back indoors. :P

:) Linda

 

** Info from my daughter:

"Most of the pics of cops kneeling with protesters are staged for PR and in several documented cases not much after that they attacked the protesters they were previously kneeling with.

If you can stomach it, there's an example about half way down this page.
(I didn't watch most of the videos on that page, because I definitely couldn't handle it.)"


Losing It

In_The_Cloud

Today was very pretty, weather-wise. Another overly warm but breezy and pleasant early summer day. My son observed early this afternoon that we went straight from late winter to early summer weather this year with a very minimal pass (maybe three days) on spring weather. :P

It turned out to be a tough day for me, emotionally. sigh. There wasn't any obvious reason, I was just lost in the clouds all day ...

I had to go out in the late morning to run two errands. First, I stopped at the post office to find out what happened to a package I had shipped. Turns out I forgot to put my return address on it (major sighs) ... so, when the person who was receiving it did not pick it up on time, the post office sent my box to the Dead Letter office where it was destroyed. Bummer!

My second errand was to the local grocery store (Giant) to pick up a few things we could not find at the big warehouse store we shopped in yesterday. That went ok, thankfully, and I found all but one thing on my list.

However, the news this week and my stress levels have been colliding ... by the time I got home and ate lunch, all I could do was sit in the corner and cry. Major bummer. Sometimes life is just too much, I guess. I was tearful on and off all afternoon ... so I kept a low profile and tried to chill out. Played a little solitaire, tried to sew with no enthusiasm, tried to read with ditto. Finally gave it all up and made supper (quiche) for us quietly by myself.

By evening I was feeling better so I did manage to sit down and sew a little. I made the center half of my last butterfly block for my wreath mini-quilt - Indigo:

Indigo half

I had some excitement fussy cutting the dark indigo batik for the wings ...but the results came out ok, I think. Tomorrow I will piece the side triangles for this block unit. Maybe I'll start on assembling the mini - there are nine blocks in it, so assembly will be pretty easy (except for the part where removing the paper foundation is a pain:).

Tomorrow I have to go pick up two prescriptions at the pharmacy so I'll have another opportunity to go out. Funny how simple errands have become major pleasures in this season of shutdowns.

:) Linda


This Has Got To Stop!

Black-lives-matter-protest

Do black lives matter - as much as white? YES. Do I support the police - YES: community oriented police that have no ax to grind and treat everyone fairly. Brutality? Makes me speechless. I. Just. Can't.

Bad enough we have to deal with disease and now unrest - I do not condone violence but I sure  understand it. I grew up in the segregated South, in a lower middle class working family of rural origin. Even so, white privilege was a real thing (even though I had no idea what that meant). Sigh! Just aghast and speechless.

 

 

Today was a pretty day, weather-wise. I went out to run errands ... which included dropping off sheets to Stephanie, our Linus quilts chairperson (the guild uses them for backing kids quilts) ... and grocery shopping with my son. 

I managed to sew some - finished assembling the book block top:

 

Book quilt top

Here is my second favorite book cover and one that seems apropos today; this woman is my sister in several ways:

Black book scientistSpeechless.

 

 

Along the way, reading other people's blogs for a bit of calm this afternoon, I saw these (on Mary Stori's blog). I think they are beautiful:

Mary Stori_Detail copy
Mary Stori_Detail copy

Here's hoping we can get to some peaceful CHANGE in this harried world.

Linda