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February 2021

January 2021

Snow!

SnowWhen I woke up this morning there was snow coming down outside my windows. :) Unlike most Marylanders, I like snow so the view was pleasant. :) It is still snowing out as I type this post and I'm not sure how much we will get in total. Being as close to the cities and the coast as we are, we usually don't get much more than a few inches.

I spent most of today in a drugged stupor, sadly. My neck issues are flaring up again and the heavy duty muscle relaxants I take to reduce the pain and inflammation tend to put me to sleep. :P It's not a happy day when I wake up in pain.

I have managed to do a couple of good sewing things in the past few days. I finished making up the blocks for this month's Queen Bee for my Stash Beehive (#4):

StashbeeThis month's queen asked for positive/negative red and white Sawtooth Stars. I had to go out to Springwater Designs (my local quilt shop) earlier in the week and buy red and white fabrics - apparently I don't care much for red as there is very little of it in my working stash. Shrug.

I got sidetracked sewing scraps together in a new-to-me way on Saturday (during my Columbia Friends zoom meeting). I dug out my warm colored scraps (red, pink, peach, hot pink, orange, etc.) and, using dark purple as my 'leading' started sewing. Much slower and more fiddly way to use scraps than my go-to log cabins but very cool, visually! :) No photos, yet.

I'm hoping the snow gets cleared away from the streets in time for me to order groceries on Wednesday.

:) Linda


Recovering

Jeweled bugI have always had a fascination with insects - and this one is especially enticing. :) Beads, gemstones (that's malachite, that green marbled stone), handwork AND bugs - what more can you want? :) This glorious creation is one of many shown on this web page. Take a look and enjoy!

I have been incommunicado for some time (longer than I thought! eighteen days without a post), dealing with what I _thought_ was a cold (and yes, I got a negative on my Covid test) ... but turns out to be an especially bad outbreak of allergies. Well, that's what my doctor thinks and I agree (reluctantly). Sigh. I've been on antihistamines and anti-inflammatories for two weeks and it is starting to ebb (not go away, sadly, but get better). I have been doing little more than sleeping, eating, reading and the very occasional errand. Borrrrring!

Today the shun shined into my sewing room window so I managed to do a little work there as an excuse to soak up some photons and make a little progress. I joined an intra-guild swap with my modern group to make Valentines post cards and managed to finish mine to send. Here are photos:

Rose postcard entire

I'm calling this my Wonky Rose postcard. Along the theme of Valentines Day - a rose for your love. :) Here is a close up of the center showing the big stitch quilting I did:

Rose closeIt's a bit big for a mailable post card - 5"x6.5" - so I will take it in envelope to my send-ee. First I have to find some appropriate holiday candy for her to go with. :)

One of the errands I ran earlier this week was (among other stops) to go to the Mother Nature shop and buy a new feeder for my bird station - a guaranteed-to-be-squirrel-proof suet feeder for the bug eating birds in my neighborhood. I am pleased to report that, so far, no squirrels have invaded the supply (unlike the decimation they wrought with the usual suet holder/feeder I tried before). Also, the birds are eating themselves happy. I came home today from another set of errands and caught a (very distant) picture of a small woodpecker helping herself:

WoodpeckerI _think_ this is a Downy Woodpecker. Probably a female or at least not showing breeding season plumage. Happy with the goodies, that's for sure. :) 

While I was at the Mother Nature store, I also looked for a second 'shepherd's crook' to hang my other seed feeder but they were out of stock. Maybe next week? :) I enjoy looking out my front window to see the little birds come to the station. I love to hear their songs in the spring and summer so I figure I should feed them through the lean times, too.

Otherwise life has been quiet lately.

Linda


A Finish!

Tada2

I don't finish things very often so I feel that I should take a bow here ... even though it wasn't easy. :) Today during our Friday Sewing Together time, I finished my Scrub Rose wall hanging. Well, except for labeling it. Have to think about just how I want to do that. :)

Scrub rose small

I promised that the edges _are_ regular and even, though they don't look like it in this photo. :) Can you see the quilting textures? You might have to click and embiggen to notice them. This measures about 15"x24" and uses hand and machine embroidery, hand and machine applique and machine quilting. The dark blue circles are hand dyed wool, the rest is cotton quilting fabrics. I am sooooo pleased. :)

Now I have to get in touch with my designated partner for the Modern Quilt Guild mini swap and let her know this piece is coming - as uncertain as the mail has become lately, I intend to send it off soon rather than wait until the February 2nd deadline.

The  past couple of days have been difficult for our country - I just hope there are negative consequences for the people who attacked our legislature. There need to be deterents for armed insurrection beyond general outcry! Sheesh.

I had a video conference with my doctor this morning ... he is prescribing me some meds for this (I think) lingering cold/congestion ... and sending me for Covid testing on Monday morning. Sigh.

Hope the sun shines tomorrow like it did today!

:) Linda


More Gray

M8PeIrHrGUPsRjNDXuNi_urbanxstitch1In my on-going theme of needlework in very public places, how about this image? :) This ultra sized cross stitch ducky parade was created by an artist known as Urban XStitch.  You can go here and read about him/her and other 'pushing the envelope' embroidery artists working today. It tickles my fancy to think of looking at ducky embroideries on my neighborhood fences. :) (Especially here in Columbia where I live with our covenants and architectural committee approval requirements:)

The weather was bleak today - more heavy gray, wet (but no appreciable rainfall), chilly (high 40s). Unpleasant and a good reason to stay in and sew! I managed to do a few house chores (chiefly gathering and taking out the recycling for tomorrow's o-dark-thirty pickup) and read quite a bit. I did do a little more quilting on my Scrub Rose wall hanging:

Bottom
BottomI like the texture created from matchstick quilting - I chose to do mine in irregularly spaced rows for a more 'natural' look. I might be able to finish this tomorrow - just have the upper right quadrant to go. Oh, then I have to do the free motion parts in the bloom itself. Hmm, maybe two days to finish?

My machining time is being cut short by difficulty with my neck - I have some fused vertebrae in my neck (C4,5,6 I think) that pinch my spinal chord - a fairly common arthritis by-product. Lately they are acting up more than usual and looking downward (like toward my machine) is giving me pounding headaches and makes my hands go numb. Sigh. If it's not one thing, it's another. :)

Looking forward to tomorrow - maybe there will be some sunshine?

:) Linda


Adventures in the Rain

Image-1I tried out Facebook's Avatar generator this afternoon. The pic above was the best I could approximate myself (my hair is darker and streaked with gray but that was not a choice, only all gray was). Doesn't look a lot like me ... but it is cheerful enough. :) The reason I was playing with this?

I have been a member of Mimi Dietrich's Grad Class (original edition) for a number of years, starting from when they met in my shop. Mimi has some kind of 2021 swap idea that involves our self-portraits in fabric for this year (I will learn more about it tomorrow at our first meeting via Zoom for the new year). :)

What was my adventure? The weather was what I would label 'nasty' today - cold, wet, heavy gray rain with a sharp breeze to chill. Yesterday during our Saturday zoom, a friend from my modern guild, MJ, offered up a free serger to first comers. I stuck my hand up immediately as I've contemplated buying one but never fell off the fence - I just thought it might be useful for garment sewing and such.

Today I drove to MJ's house - somewhere in the northwest part of Baltimore county (I just go where the GPS tells me to drive:) - and picked up the machine. Sooooo exciting!! :) I really didn't ask much about the serger/overlocker before hand so imagine my surprise when it turned out to be a Bernina series 1100. She and her husband were so sweet and loaded it into the backseat of my Bolt for me (thank goodness 'cause it is heavy - had to have my sweetheart carry it inside when I got home).

It looks something like this (but this photo was taken from an EBay sale):

S-l1600I have to clear away space in my new sewing room area to set it up (and find a table for it to work on) so it might be a while before I start sewing with it. As I am de-crapifying my stuff, I am finding fabrics and patterns I've purchased over the years for garment making. Will certainly post any progress I manage to make! :)

I did not get any sewing done today. The drive to MJ's and back took almost two hours with the rain and my general unfamiliarity with the terrain. Once I got home, the chill drove me to huddle down in my comfy chair in the living room to read, work the crossword and watch my husband play his video game-of-the-moment.

Tomorrow it's back to 'normal' whatever that might mean in this new year.

:) Linda


Gray Skies

Copy-of-NOLA-feb-07-004-e1416516818916Do you know about The Sewing Machine Project? Here is the info from their website:

The Sewing Machine Project is an organization based in Madison, Wisconsin, bringing sewing into peoples’ lives by offering sewing machines, tools, and education. The organization was founded in 2005 by Margaret Jankowski after she read an article about a woman who lost her sewing machine during a tsunami in Southeast Asia. The story inspired Margaret to begin collecting sewing machines to send to those whose lives could be mended by creativity.

Since then, The Sewing Machine Project has donated over 3,000 sewing machines to locations around the world. In addition to collecting machines, The Sewing Machine Project also offers classes through local community centers and free mending at three Wisconsin locations. The Sewing Machine Project hopes recipients can use these machines to learn new skills, build self-confidence, and potentially contribute to their livelihoods, as well as the well-being of their families and communities. Recipients are also encouraged to pay it forward in a sewing-related way.

If you are interested in donating a machine or serger that you no longer need, The Sewing Machine Project accepts donations at various drop off locations. You can also volunteer to help prepare machines for shipment or teach an education class. You can also donate money to support the organization, preparation, and shipping of machines, along with their local classes and national curriculum.

I only personally know of one other machine donating project, one that redirects treadle and hand-crank machines to a women's fair trade cooperative in Guatemala. As much pleasure as I get, personally, from my sewing activities, I enthusiastically support these folks.

 

Today was gray and heavily overcast most of the day. There was a break in the clouds and some sunshine got through my sewing room windows in the mid-afternoon. As usual on Saturdays, I sewed and chatted with my Columbia Friends while working on more quilting of the Scrub Rose wall hanging. I managed to finish matchstick texturing the bottom half before I broke to eat a late lunch.

After lunch my son helped me refill the bird feeder and set up the new squirrel-proof suet feeder I bought while out getting more black oil sunflower seed last week from Mother Nature, the local bird feeding shop. I've tried simple suet feeders in my yard before - I regularly see nuthatches, downy woodpeckers and the like but they don't come to my feeders very often being chiefly bug eaters (go, eat those bugs!!:). Sadly, I never succeeded in finding a way to discourage the squirrels from eating most of the suet we put out. This new feeder is made by the same folks that invented the squirrel-proof sunflower seed feeder we use so I have faith that it will keep them out of the suet, too. Can't wait to see if new birds come to our feeding station. :)

Hugh also consented to hold up my quilt for photography (despite the chilly temperatures outside on our deck):

Aboriginal

This is my improv medallion quilt, made with Australian Aboriginal print fabrics by M&S Textiles. I love the pointillism of aboriginal designs and really enjoyed making this project. I was surprised that my son liked it, too - he rarely expresses an opinion of any kind about my quilt making. :) Hopefully you can see the stitched texture of the spiral quilting pattern I chose - executed by my friend Daria Phair in Catonsville. Click on the photo to embiggen. :)

Supposed to be much the same weather tomorrow. I have to go out for a while in the mid-afternoon (secret errand, to be revealed later) and I hope the rain holds off.

:) Linda


Oh, Happy Day!

UnnamedHappy New Year!!! 2021 does not have a high bar to jump to exceed 2020, eh? :) I spent today in my most favorite way (well, most but one:) - sewing with friends. 

If you click on that beautiful galaxy up above you can go read about it on The Daily Galaxy newsite. :)

Today, being Friday, my friends Barbara, Patty and I met on Zoom to Sew Together. They were both working on different clues of the Bonnie Hunter mystery, Grassy Creek. I decided to sandwich and start quilting my Scrub Rose wallhanging. I have not machine quilted for quite some time so I felt a need to practice a bit before starting on Hope. :)

Here is what I got done this afternoon between 2 and about 4:30 pm:

Matchstickside

I opted for irregular horizontal matchstick quilting in the 'ground' area of the flower (below the blossom).


Matchstickside

Here you can see how much I got finished ... I like the texture of matchstick quilting but it is tedious!

The weather was, again, ponderously gray and wet today - dim and cold. It started raining heavily sometime during our Zoom and I was very grateful, listening to it ping on the lower roof outside my window, that I had a solid roof over my head and a warm house to be cozy in!

:) Linda