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December 2021

Last Day of the Year

Hny 2022 w - happy new year 2022 wallpapers images a (9)

Today, as the last day of 2021, was a very good day for me. The weather was mild though damp. My friend Barbara drove back from her family holiday trip to the midwest late yesterday so she, Patty and I got together for our usual Friday Sewing Together time this afternoon. I took along my chicken scratch embroidery project to sort out - you may remember that this was the Snowflake Sampler block of the month (more or less - some months had two blocks) program by Blair of Wisecraft Designs. 

I discovered that I had only done about half of the patterns (I did think I had done more:) ... and the very first block I made was just not up-to-snuff by my standards when I looked over it. After I made a list of the to-be-finished blocks I ripped out the offending (to me:) embroidery and started in on replacing it. That kept me gainfully occupied for the rest of our time together. :)

I have so enjoyed my time with friends! Another activity today was the Artsy Meetup Marathon via Zoom, organized by Kiala Givehand (isn't that a GREAT surname!:). 24 hours of mixed media classes - paper arts, altered books, book making, etc. I watched several classes realtime and will see the recordings of the rest. I am truly enjoying the event! 

While enjoying the first class this morning, I decided on my 'word' for 2022 - CONNECT. I am truly awful at keeping up with other people. I guess I just assume everything will be fine if I don't hear otherwise. Sigh. I intend to stay in better, regular touch with the folks I love this year!

Another New Year's tip:

Hny 2022 w - happy new year 2022 wallpapers images a (16):) Linda


Ordinary Errands

BridgeToday was a very typical Maryland winter day - heavily overcast, mid40's to 50's in temperature, pending rain. Bare trees and all! The birds and squirrels flocked to my feeders all afternoon - as good a portent of weather to come as I have found here. :)

I had a doctor's appointment in the early afternoon which gave me an excuse to go outside for a while. Following my (routine) appointment, I did some errands to make it more interesting. Chuckles on that - dropping my Netflix discs at the post office and delivering plastic bags for recycling at our local grocery store were not the most exciting errands I could imagine. Grin!

My daughter called in the early evening and we had a nice chat. It snowed where she lives in southern WI and the two little boys were outside helping their father shovel snow (for some values of 'helping':). Quiet indoors!

I had a very pleasant zoom meeting this evening with Liz Kettle - embroider and chat together. Recently I found a stack of photos from a long-ago visit by friends to this area and chose several of them to use in embellishment. Generating collage 'fodder' just for fun. The pic above - of the bridge in Tenny Park, Madison, taken in winter 1996 - was great for some simple stitching.

I also did this one:

CalderA friend taking photos in the big atrium of the East National Art Gallery in DC - Calder mobile above. ;)

I also took out the recycling (pick up is early tomorrow morning) and did dishes (daily household chores) ... ate and ... oh! I weighed myself at the doctor's office. 239 pounds - even allowing for differences between scales, that is about 32 pounds I've lost since my surgery. :) Still working on eating less at one time and more often.

Yesterday was our 46th wedding anniversary - we ordered Chinese takeout - and I'll be working on eating my orange chicken for several more meals.

:) Linda


The Light Returns!

Winter-solstice-yule-wolf-owl-raven-and-moon-blessings-stephanie-laird

Today will have the least daylight of 2021. It is Winter Solstice - after this, the days will lengthen again. Praise Nature! As a lifetime sufferer with Seasonal Affective Disorder, I treasure the return of the light! :) If you like the image above, you can click to go to the Fine Arts website where you can order prints, cards, etc. :)

We are celebrating today by having a new water heater installed. :P Our admittedly-ancient water heater finally croaked last week ... believe me, washing dishes (never mind my body) in cold water is an adventure I could live without. LOL. I am lucky and blessed with a good friend (thank you, Barbara!) who let me take a hot shower at her house or I'd be, um, not too presentable. Grrr.

Life is on 'repeat cycle' for me lately. Sleep (too much), eat, read, play solitaire, repeat. :P I did start making some small beaded ornaments (intended for my grandsons, eventually). Had to stop my first attempt, take it all apart, and begin again. These ornies are constructed on a styrofoam ball base - and the white showing between sequin spots just did NOT do it for me!

Here is my re-think (sorry for the focus; took these shots in low light - eyes are way better than machines in those circumstances):

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I realized as I was working on my original attempt that I should be offsetting each row of sequins to get better coverage. I began by trying to spell out my grandsons names in alternate colors .. but they just did not show up enough to make the effort worthwhile. Shrug. The assembly of large sequin-small sequin-bead on short pins is S-L-O-W! Once those are made, putting the pretty dots onto the ball is easy. 

Given that these are going to small boys with busy fingers, I should probably be gluing each pin in ... but I didn't think of doing that until I got this far in assembly. Not going to start yet again! :)

I found a book form I bought years ago to make an altered book as I was cleaning 'treasures' out of my sewing room. 

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I bet you can guess what the theme of this art book will be. :) It's an old Reader's Digest condensed book block that has been cut into the letter Q. I never did understand the point of the 'condensed' book - why not read the whole thing? How did they decide what to leave out? Who decided? 

To prepare it for altering, I went through and removed half the pages (so I could fill them up with art work and glued in papers, etc. without making the book fan out too much. :) I have been entertaining myself over the past several nights by going through the torn out pages and cutting out words/phrases to use in collage, etc. 

Looking forward to taking a hot shower later today! Simple pleasures, eh?

:) Linda

 


An Outing

IMG_20211214_082509This article on the Slice of Pi Quilts blog today caught my eye. These look like fun to make (and easy). Now if I only had some holiday fabric prints. LOL.

It was chilly today (high of 57 F) but mostly sunny. Love those blue skies! :) I had an appointment and went out for the afternoon for a (recently) rare treat. I visited my technician, Irina, at The Beauty Bar in Catonsville for the works - in my case, a pedicure, facial waxing and manicure. Happy smiles! My toes are happy, my hands are happy and my face is happy (I am deliriously happy to be de-haired as Irina laughingly put it:). 

The whole process takes about two hours and is incredibly self-indulgent. Worth every penny, too! :)

I had thought I would drop by Cloverhill Yarns afterwards but I plain forgot to stop there. I did manage to get myself a Peach-Mango smoothie at Piece-a-Pizza (yum!) ... I could only drink half of a small size. Tasted lovely. :)

Otherwise, my day was very quiet. I watched the birds, took a nap, read a little (I am working my way through the books in Devon Monk's Ordinary Magic series). My daughter called in the evening and I got to chat with her for quite a while. Thank God for FaceTime so I can SEE her and my grandsons. Without that, I'd be crazy and itching to travel to the upper midwest! :P

I have two Zoom meetings I want to attend tomorrow. I am thinking maybe I should forego the guilt feelings I always harbor this time of year (not doing enough to create holiday, etc) and just sew for the day. I haven't done that for MONTHS. Sigh.

:) Linda


Blur

Bigstock-Sparkle-Bokeh-Christmas-Theme-148501424I guess I could claim that my life is going by in a holiday blur, but that would be misrepresentation. :) Just a plain blur, no holiday involved. :P

It's been four days since I posted. Life has not been silent, I've just been coasting quietly. I got my Covid booster shot last time I wrote. I had the same reaction as for the two previous shots - sore, swollen, itchy arm for three days. Vague brains (not sure that's a symptom specific to shots; probably just my usual:). I guess the only way I really know these things are working is that I have not gotten Covid, yet. :P

Friday afternoon I went out and sewed at my friend Barbara's house with her and Patty. I was deliriously happy by the time I left because I managed to finish the final blocks for the Zoom group block swap for Mimi Dietrich's Grad Class. YEAH!! This necessity has been hanging over me since early in the autumn - so GLAD to be finished!

Of course, as is always true, I did enjoy my afternoon with B and P. There is always the joy of going out, of seeing friends (needle friends are the very best kind!) ... and of working without guilt on something fiber. :)

Yesterday, Saturday, afternoon I got to play and attend the Columbia area Bee sew and chat - members of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild. I do so enjoy this group, too! I was trying to work on making two small sequined ornaments (one for each of my grandsons). Not as easy as it looks just about covers that task. :P I might decide to pull everything out and try again, truthfully. My results did not stand up to even my relaxed standards. Ick!

When my kids were little, I tried to get each of them at least one Xmas ornament each year so that when they left home, they'd have their own collections. Thought it would be nice to do the same with my grandkids. :)

Today, Sunday, was the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Modern guild (still via Zoom). We had an EXCELLENT lecture about Using Color by a South American quilt maker whose name I cannot recall at this moment. (GRR for blank brains). I've heard a lot of color info over the years but I thought her presentation was the most useful yet.

Two zoom meetings (both quilting) tomorrow. Hope the weather is nice as I want to go walking a little. My body is slowly healing and I am feeling better.

:) Linda


Special Days

Fls2
Fls2
Fls2I saw these lovely pansies growing an a large bed outside my doctors' office building yesterday afternoon. This part of Maryland is a fairly clement weather area and hardy flowers bloom quite late into the Autumn/early Winter here. These blossoms looked particularly brave to me flourishing under very gray skies late yesterday afternoon.

Yesterday was one of the very special days that only comes along occasionally. It was first Monday which means Mimi Dietrich's Grad Class met. We've been doing Zoom get togethers for months but last month a few members met at Bears Paw quilt shop in Towson (our usual place since my shop closed). This month sixteen of us showed up to enjoy one another's company. Mimi pointed out that next year will be the 30th anniversary of the group getting together! She has challenged us to make a 'pearl' quilt - something we might not get to but would wish to make in our heart of hearts. :)

I think I will be happy to finish some cherished already-in-progress projects while I take care of myself. :)

It was WONDERFUL to see people in person! I was feeling a bit more steady, too, which was a benefit. I drove with Patty (Barbara detoured to pick up another friend/member Barbara L.) - and we spent some tooth-gritting time sitting in an accident backup on the Baltimore beltway before getting to the shop. Whew!

Besides loving the show and tell and fellowship, I bought a few treasures in the shop. They have a VERY nice sale going on right now (-20% on fabric, notions, fat quarters). Here is my 'haul'

Haul1Some more rickrack for the Razzmatazz project

(they let me have the spool, too, since I finished it off;

I will use it for winding/storing binding)

Haul2That pretty brown wool felt in the upper right corner will make

two of these little sewing pouches - one for me

and one for a special someone.

Haul3I have the two larger sizes of this ruler and decided to invest in the smallest one;

I have used quite a number of curve-template rulers and like this brand best.

Haul4These are my favorite sandwich basting pins;

picked up more for small projects

Haul5I bought these button packets just because they were cute. :)

Shopping in person was FUN but I had a hard time focusing. I wanted to buy more fat quarters but just could not concentrate enough to choose. :P

After I drove back to Columbia and dropped Patty at home, I had a 3 pm appointment with the dietician at my primary care doctor's practice (Internal Health, Johns Hopkins). It was the first time I've met the lady and I was quite impressed. She was knowledgeable and easy to work with/talk to. We managed to come up with a considerable number of ideas for increasing my protein intake (there is a surprising array of protein-enhanced foods on the market now!) and making meals healthier. She also had two collections of good recipes for bariatric nutrition she shared with me. Win!

Once I managed to get home, I sat in my comfy chair and watched the birds at the newly refilled feeders happily. Faithful Circle had in-person meeting (regular Monday evening group) but I had spent all the doing-power I had for the day!

By way of funny item, as I was leaving the doctor's office to come home, I pulled up to a stop light and blinked when I saw this car in front of me. At first glance, I thought 'why does that car have a pair of Brahma bull horns mounted on its back?' (Remember, I lived in Texas for a couple of years while my Dad got his PhD). LOL

Horns

When I got closer the vision resolved  into normality of course. 

 

Today was windy, colder and grayer (if possible). I slept late and felt energetic enough after lunch - oh, I am now eating carefully watching the clock so I can avoid eating too fast. Took me an hour to eat my sliced deli ham and protein-fortified hot cocoa for lunch but I DID NOT get nauseas. YEAH! Discipline, eh?

I walked to the mailbox (about 150 yards from our front door - my current exercise goal distance) and back, took out the recycling (takes two trips - one for cans/bottles, one for papers), and turned around the cars in our driveway. Because Skip took the Bolt to work on Monday, I drove the Jeep to Towson. He was already home and parked in our driveway when I got back. I moved the Bolt, parked the Jeep into our carport, and re-parked the Bolt so Skip won't have to do it at oh-dark-thirty tomorrow morning on his way out to work. :)

After all that energetic chore accomplishment, I was done for the day and spent my time reading again. 

While I was getting the mail, Patty stopped in her car (she was on the way to buy groceries). I asked her to pick up an amaryllis bulb for me - and she did!! Now I have a goal to clean off the dining table so our flower can grow under the lights (pics later). Happy times!

Had a lovely chat with my daughter via FaceTime tonight. Life is good!

:) Linda


Dec. 4th - WIPEOUT

My hand

I spent almost an hour writing a post, following the prompt Cheryl set for the 4th of December - 'favorite tools.' Detailed, with links and pictures, denoting my most favorite quilt making and sewing tools. Then the computer ATE the entire essay. I'm sorry, I don't have the heart to repeat the effort right now. :(

Going to bed while shaking my head in disgust.

Linda


Friends

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Today was a day spent with friends. My favorite kind of day! :) As is usual for Friday afternoons, Patty and I met with Barbara at her house (I almost wrote 'new house' but she's been living there four years now:). Barbara had decorated with her Christmas tree (Patty helped, apparently:) and lots of lovely tchotchkes with a Noel theme. Very pretty! 

I took along a bin filled with bits to finish my English paper pieced cicada ... which is destined to be appliqued onto a quilt top intended for my oldest grandson. :) Probably the most intricate EPP design I've ever made - certainly the one with the most parts! Here is how it started:

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I had made most of the right wing already but put the thing on hold due to boredom with the procedure. Gotta get it done, though - I have too much time invested to trash the whole idea. :) You can see part of the body peeking out from behind my pattern drawing (needed to keep things aligned as I construct things - so far only glue basted together). I finished the first wing and then tackled the second one. I don't know that I would have persevered if not for the pleasant company to distract me while I worked on it!

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This shows the first wing a bit closer. As you can see, there are a lot of (non) moving parts to this bug.

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Here is the entire first wing completed and attached. By the time I got the second wing constructed and glued in place, I was so tired of the thing I forgot to take a photo. Grin. Now I have to decide whether to sew all the parts together by hand or machine. THEN it has to be appliqued onto the quilt top. Making quilts is a long process and each step has to be celebrated (or you wait a really long time for the tadas!).

The weather was very gray and chilly today. It looked like rain the entire day. Poor Skip admitted to me that he was too depressed to go grocery shopping (usually he and my son go about every 10 days or so) ... and asked me to order online. So, after I got home from Sewing Together and had dinner, I sat down to the iMac and perused BJs order form. We got our delivery around 7:30 p.m. which I thought was pretty prompt. YEAH! I did the dishes today, too (before going off to sew) ... good housewife gold star for the day, I guess. LOL.

Felt sick to my stomach again after eating dinner. Slow, slow improvement. Sigh.

:) Linda 


My Sewing Space?

535_straightCheryl's prompt for today's post is 'sewing space.' Hah! I am an organizationally challenge person (in non-politically-correct speech that translates as MESSY) and my sewing area shows it. My current sewing-at-home machine is a Bernina 535 which my husband bought for me as a 60th birthday present. My former machine, a B1090, now lives with my daughter; I used it for 26 or so years thanks, again, to my husband. His policy on buying tools is 'buy the best you can possibly afford so your tool won't limit your ability.' Works for me! :)

The room my machine lives and works in is one of the smaller bedrooms in our home. It used to be my son's (before he moved into the larger one formerly occupied by his sister) and still has several of his possessions in it. There is also about half a room full of 'stuff' we brought home from my quilt store when we closed it up - that I still have not gone through. Sigh. Nina sits on a drop-in table and within arm's reach there are my commonly used tools and most of my fat quarter collection. The rest of my stash is shoved into corners here and there throughout the house (I am in sore need of a serious clearing-out!) and is mostly lost to me. Not enough strength or energy to tackle that problem, yet. :P

I used to make my own clothes - came to quilt making from garment making - but have not done so in years. So-called fast fashion is so much cheaper I lost the desire (in the face of family making busy-ness). I am coming back to wanting to sew for myself, though. I have learned a bit about fitting over the years - enough to feel brave about making muslins from desired patterns and then fitting them to myself. I have ZERO experience with knit fabrics and that is what I most like to wear .. so that learning hurdle will have to be overcome at some point. :)

My sewing space has a wall of windows (well, half-windows as they don't go to the floor) and is nicely lit on sunny days. Could use more lighting for work ideals but I haven't decided on just how to tackle that. Most probably I will buy standing lamps as the room does not have overhead fixtures. Our house was built ('springing up like mushrooms' comes to mind) in 1974 and is, um, pared down in style. :)

I have a picture in my mind of how I'd like the room to look ... but it means work and energy I don't have right now. :P  I have tried looking at 'decorating' ideas for sewing areas but many of their suggestions seem ... odd to me. Take a look at these. I don't need a BEAUTIFUL place, I need a FUNCTIONAL room with good organization. :P

We had some sunshine today which I enjoyed briefly before falling asleep in my comfy armchair in the living room. Slept from about 2 until 5 ... which put paid to cleaning the oven area of the kitchen today. Guess I'm either still healing or I didn't sleep well last night. Shrug. Will tackle the kitchen this weekend at some point.

:) Linda