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December 2020

Last Gasp of 2020

Lebanon-BaalbekThis  beautiful mosaic floor was unearthed recently in Baalbek, Lebanon during underground construction of a new drainage system. Look at that design - does it look familiar? :) It was flooring in a large palace hall built by the Romans in antiquity. There are so many lovely tiling patterns that also appear as patchwork designs. I'd call this one Clamshell and the ombre colors could be aired in any modern quilt tomorrow! Beautiful. 

Today was heavy, gray and wet. Not nice at all and cold, to boot. :P I did get into my sewing room for a while but decided not to do anything requiring good visibility (the lighting in my room needs some upgrading, absent sunshine). I added an outer border to the small improv quilt I worked on yesterday:

BabymedallionThis is as big as I think I will make this one ... lap sized for a child. I went through the rest of my improv blocks - I have enough to make a table runner, a table topper and a couple of placemats. I'll get to that another time. Now I need to go on with machine quilting the Hope project. I have been searching for my painter's tape and finally found it just as I finished up sewing for today.

Happy New Year!!

:) Linda

Nearing the End

Kirie-art-paper-cutting-octopus-masayo-fukuda-japan-2-1This is a single sheet of paper, cut into exquisite bits by artist Masayo Fukuda. I think I have probably shared her work before here ... luscious, detailed, lacy, astounding! Click her name and go see more of her intriguing paperwork.

The sunshine was bright and warm through the windows of my sewing room this afternoon, just the way I enjoy it best. :) I started off my sewing day with some sorting and 'filing':


These are (mostly) fat quarters I have 'found' as I am picking up my stuff from around the house (trying to contain my enthusiasm within just one room:). Many of them are 1930s-era prints gifted to me by my Aunt Ruby (my father's only living sister). Somewhere in my stuff is a half-finished set of blocks in the Anita's Arrowhead pattern that I will use most of these fqs to sew. There is a generous assortment of other prints sprinkled in as well. :) Now to find a drawer for them all to live in (my current drawer full of fqs is full-up).

Tonight at 7 pm was the usual weekly zoom Sip and Sew with my modern guild friends. There were only 3 of us tonight but we had a good chat and I got some real sewing done. I dug out the pile of improv blocks I sewed early in the fall using my Cherrywood hand-dyed scraps. I pondered what to use them for as I sat ... and sorted out some of them to make a charity 'reading quilt' for the modern guild donation:

Improv2This  is about 20" square at the moment. Not sure if I will make it bigger or just quilt it as is. Plenty of visual excitement to keep a child cosy, I think. :)

I want to use at least some of my improv blocks to make placemats for our table (which I have to de-stuff as well). The colors of my hand dyed scraps are rich and saturated and will enliven our little dining area. :)

I hope the sun shines tomorrow 'cause I'd like to sew more.

:) Linda

Quiet Week

12scQKR-winter-holiday-wallpaperI always think of the week between Christmas and New Year as special - outside the usual day-to-day life, a time for reflection and planning. In as much as we _can_ plan this year! 

Today I finished sewing the binding on my Aboriginal Improv Medallion quilt ... but I did not get to photograph it as my son was busy until after night fall (I had planned to take it outside on my back deck and have him hold it up for picture taking:). Maybe tomorrow?

I have still the bingo quilt to bind ... and I need to sandwich and quilt the Hope charity quilt project. I have been pondering how to do that, in the absence of a large horizontal surface to sandwich on top of - I have decided to try something suggested to me in an article some time ago, namely, basting on a wall in a vertical orientation. I intend to quilt the Hope top in quarters and then join them (my sewing space is too not spacious enough to allow for the entire quilt at one time, even if my body had the strength to handle maneuvering the mass of yardage under my Bernina's domestic machine throat:). 

I have to hunt up my wide painter's tape roll and get started. The quilting itself will not take long, I think. I plan to do mostly straight line patterning, following the design of the quilt layout itself. I am eager to get started on it!

One thing I did today was a sort of fact-finding and accounting research for myself, following an article in Science News. Titled 'What Lifestyle Changes Will Shrink Your Carbon Footprint the Most?' it helped me assemble statistics on things we have done differently in our household in recent years. Here's my summary.

 Carbon emissions for U.S. households are, on average, the equivalent of 48 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year entering the atmosphere.

    1. Replacing a 25 miles per gallon car with an electric car reduces your footprint by 4.4 metric tons of CO2 each year. We replaced our Chrysler PT Cruiser with a Chevrolet Bolt EV in 2018.

    2. Replacing a 25 miles per gallon car with a fuel-efficient car (40 mpg) reduces your footprint by 2.0 metric tons per year. We replaced our Dodge Dart with a Jeep Renegade in 2019.

    3.Change your car's air filters regularly and keep the tires properly inflated. We do this for both cars, yielding an 0.3 metric tons decrease each for a total of 0.6 metric tons less.

    4. Change your source of electricity and purchase green energy from a clean energy provider. We use solar and wind power from our provider and have for a number of years. Luckily we can afford the higher cost of energy this represents to our household. This reduces our carbon emissions by 6.3 metric tons per year.

    There is no info in the article about what effect increasing your recycling contributions will have, etc. We have not altered our diet to consume less meat which is supposed to have a beneficial effect on carbon emissions. In total, the simple things we have done have decreased our household carbon footprint by 13.3 metric tons of CO2 per year or about 28% (assuming that we contribute the assumed 48 metric tons of carbon per household as on the average). Not too bad.

That is one positive item on our household list of changes for the better over the past two years. Of course, THIS year is going to skew the statistics since we are hardly driving at all - and what driving we do is mostly in the electric car (I do take the Jeep out every month or so to be sure it will still run:). I don't think we've made any major sacrifices to achieve our reduction, just been thoughtful with our choices. Shrug.

I've been thinking about what I will make, quilt wise, over the coming year, too. I have several projects in progress I want to finish up ... and I signed up to do one block of the month ... and can think of several 'bucket list' projects I'd like to tackle. Guess I should make a list, eh?

:) Linda

Boxing Day

What-Is-Boxing-Day-Learn-About-the-English-HolidayToday is the traditional holiday known in the England-associated countries as Boxing Day. I had never heard of this holiday until I was well into adulthood - at first, I could not figure out why anyone would particularly want to spar so near Christmas (symbolic celebration of peace and goodwill:). LOL. Go read about the tradition and learn. :)

It was sunny for most of the afternoon today and I soaked some of it up happily in my sewing room. Being Saturday, my Columbia Friends group met via Zoom and chatted while we sewed. I worked for a while with my new Hexiforms

I bought two kinds - 60 degree diamonds 2" on each side and 'flower petal' Dresden shapes in about the same scale. I pulled out the diamonds and fussy cut a star and then the surrounding set of diamonds. I think I will work rounds until I use up all the shapes I purchased and see how they develop. For now, I put them in a project case beside my sewing machine after the zoom.

I really need to go back to binding my two remaining quilted items - my Aboriginal improv medallion and the Crazy Floating blocks, both of which my friend Daria long-armed. I had already made the binding (single fold with flange) for the improv quilt so that's what I started with around 3 or 4 this afternoon. 

I managed to get the first round of sewing done - onto the back of the quilt - by the time I got tired:
BindingSee, here I sewed on the binding to the back of my quilt (I forget that Aboriginal print's name - something basic like Bush Tucker, maybe?). Tomorrow I will sew the flange down along all four sides of the front and be finished with my quilt. Goodie!!

I used all the backing fabric that Daria trimmed off when she squared up my quilt to make the binding ... and did not measure it (figured I'd deal with any shortage if/when it happened). Luckily, I had JUST enough:

ChickenI had about 6" left when I finished the entire perimeter! Binding chicken and I won! :) Lucky!!

I forgot about the Xmas gifts my daughter sent us ... heaven knows why ... so we'll have a delayed unboxing tomorrow (what a way to extend the holiday).

:) Linda

Happy Christmas!

Xmas treeWisdom from a little tree. How appropriate! :)

Merry Christmas to all! I am poking my head up from my usual semi-dark den to wish all a very happy day. Today I read about dragons and cooked a wonderful holiday dinner (corned beef with new potatoes and cabbage). Follow that up with luscious chocolates and you have Gemütlichkeit*.

(*Gemütlichkeit (German pronunciation: [ɡəˈmyːtlɪçkaɪt] (About this soundlisten)) is a German-language word used to convey the idea of a state or feeling of warmth, friendliness,[1]and good cheer. Other qualities encompassed by the term include cosiness, peace of mind, and a sense of belonging and well-being springing from social acceptance.)

:) Linda

Winter Solstice

771E1AC4-3145-46EC-8AA4-C8DBB9814E6BDo you crochet? I learned years ago and have a passion for crocheted snowflakes - the kind you can hang in a window or on your Christmas tree. If you click on the picture above, you can go to a website with a nice selection of free patterns for a variety of snowflake designs. Enjoy! I have no crochet cord thread on hand ... gotta get some and add to my collection. :)

Today is the winter solstice - the shortest day light of the year and the official beginning of winter. I always look forward to this marker of the year's passing - because the days will start getting longer from here until spring. More daylight is my idea of a good thing! :)

I managed to order groceries for delivery this afternoon ... and that was my total sum of useful actions for today. When I finish writing this post I intend to go off to my sewing room to work some more on necessary projects (up next is machine quilting the Hope donation project:). With any luck I might get one quarter finished today or tomorrow.

:) Linda


QEIII have a passion for buttons, beads and other small sparkly objects. No wonder I find this art piece attractive, eh? :) The artist, Jane Perkins, makes her work from recycled items including beads, shells, buttons, etc. I think it is quite impressionist and maybe even pointillist. If you click on Elizabeth's picture, you can go see more of Jane's work. 

I spent most of today doing absolutely nothing productive. Sigh. I even managed to sleep through my regular Friday Sewing Together zooms. The weather is heavily gray, overcast and cold - maybe that accounts for my torpidity? I woke up around 9:15 this morning and did manage to attend a FB live program with my book making club (Ali taught us to make a really nice hard-sided notebook holder). 

Unfortunately, after I ate lunch I fell sound asleep in my chair and completely missed my afternoon zooms. Sigh. I look forward to sewing with Patty and Barbara all week. My bad! Even awake in the late afternoon, I only managed to read and do a bit of Web surfing (hence the photo above).

Another fun thing I found today I will share instead of sewing progress:

AdorableAren't these little babies adorable?!? Made by a Russian artist named Elizabeth, they are needle felted. If you click on the pic, you can go see more cuteness of her making. Completely, utterly adorable. :)

Otherwise, no progress on any front (except my books-read-this-year count I guess). Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

:) Linda


SnowWe had a nice snowfall yesterday (I was hoping I could catch the falling snowflakes in this pic but apparently I missed:). It amounted to about 2" ... and would have been more if the rain that fell, heavily at times, had been snow instead! I had an appointment for a haircut yesterday morning but when I stepped out my front door at 10 a.m. there were lovely snowflakes drifting down ... so I turned around and went back inside, called and rescheduled. Yes, I lived in WI for years and yes, I do know how to drive on snow - but not on ice, and not surrounded by ignorant-of-weather drivers. I treat snowfalls like a native Marylander now (hide at the First Flake:) and give myself a snow day. :)

I managed to finish binding the second Halloween quilt yesterday. I saw a demo of a new template/ruler on The Quilt Show website and ordered it immediately; luckily it came in the mail before I needed it:

Binding ruler

This turns out to be a godsend. :) I'm not a big gadget girl so I am pleased to say this little tool was worth every penny. It helps figure out exactly where to cut the two ends of quilt binding so they can be joined together (after attaching the binding to the quilt body) - and it work excellently! I was pleased to give it a whirl. Put it straight into my little goody box for safe keeping (right beside my sewing machine; holds the special not-to-be-misplaced tools).

The binding turned up some serendipity, too:

BindingThe fabric I used had pumpkins and Halloween greetings on it ... I thought it was really nice that this finished up - could not have planned this! I wrote the label for each of the quilts along the flange (that lime green edge just below the binding). 'Course, the weather was in no way suitable for taking photos ... and I packaged up and shipped those two quilts off before it occurred to me to take photos of the finishes. Sigh. Maybe I can get my daughter to take some?

Today was sunny and chilly with lots of drippy, melting snow everywhere. I had a doctor's appointment in the late afternoon and, by then, the threat of ice on the roads was long past so I drove there and back safely. It is supposed to stay pretty cold (mid 30s) tomorrow, too. Happily I get to stay home and sew all afternoon - more bindings to finish.

:) Linda

Definite Progress

Corner miterI made sewing progress today! This is a teaser photo of one corner I bound today on a grandson's Halloween quilt. :) Each of them is getting a Halloween quilt for Christmas. LOL. I am very pleased with my binding - it turned out exactly as I envisioned it ... even _with_ the interruptions I had to deal with.

The first distraction came with my bariatric classes. Major sighs there! I was _supposed_ to attend classes one and two today (via Zoom). That did not happen because I never received the email-with-link letter as promised. Don't know why ... they supposedly had my correct email address and I DID receive the you-are-registered initial emails. Soooo, we rescheduled yet again ... and I sure hope they get their act together (NO, the email is not in my junk folder, or any other place I can find; not a newbie here). 

Then back to sewing ... next distraction was our grocery order arriving on the front door step courtesy of Ruth K, our DoorDash shopper. God Bless Her! (yes, I gave her a good tip) Bringing in and putting away groceries took a while, followed by eating lunch ... with attendant crossword solving and InstaGram skimming, as per usual. :)

Then I had to go out to a doctor's (in-person) appointment. When I showed up, it turned out that the doctor had been called out on an emergency. Nurse _said_ she had called in the morning to tell me but I never got the call (somewhere there is a puzzled person wondering about the odd call:). That was about 45 minutes wasted on travel. At least there was lots of sunshine to soak up and I did get in some walking exercise.

Finally back to my sewing room to finish the binding by late afternoon. Unfortunately it was too late to take the quilt out to photo ... hence the teaser. Better pics tomorrow.

We might get heavy weather tomorrow - rain or maybe snow/ice. Have to wait and see. Maybe I'll be lucky and I'll get another day in the sewing room?!

:) Linda

Rain, Rain

Tumblr_n9bfqsl8Qm1rv33k2o10_1280Here is more beautiful lace art by NeSpoon, that Polish woman artist whom I admire so much. Click on the photo and go take a look - I certainly prefer her taste in 'grafitti' to the usual mark making! I'd rather walk into this kind of web on my daily perambulation than Shelob's, too. :)

Today was a very quiet day. Cold (40 degrees or so) and very wet (rain, steady cold rain) most of the day. The sun did find a break in the cloud cover around 3:30 to 4 p.m. - it nearly blinded me as I sat in my comfy overstuffed chair in the living room with my digital book-on-phone after eating lunch. :) I closed my eyes and blissed out in the rays, though - some sunshine is way, way better than none in my book. LOL.

I did not sew anything today. Read, ate, cooked ... chatted with my daughter via FaceTime (my grandson's birthday box FINALLY arrived in Wisconsin and he had to call to say a happy thank you). I bought him lego airplanes and helicopters which he was thrilled to be playing with. :)

I did spend an hour or so ordering groceries online for delivery tomorrow morning. I hope the folks at DoorDash actually give those delivery people the tip I paid for! I'm so grateful that they are willing to bring the food to us. God bless them and hope they don't get sick as a result. :P

Back to sewing tomorrow ... though it is supposed to be cold rain again (getting colder - snow by Wednesday, according to NOAA).

:) Linda