Monday, August 31, 2009

Caution-whine ahead

I have been wandering some of the blogs I follow catching up tonight, and it just seems that everyone is really creative and busy and I am letting life pass me by. I don't know why this funk has settled in, I have been having a few great days and today it was sunny and cool and I put the top down on Miss Lucy to drive home from work.

I know I am supposed to take things slowly and work my way back up to full speed ahead, but when I do nothing I feel like I should be doing something, even though I know that rest=healing and I still have so much healing to do. I think I am suffering from a caffeine dump, I had a lot of coffee at work today, and didn't have any soda under my desk so I got it out of the machine and it was caffeinated which I hardly ever drink.

I think I need to go have some cheese with my whine. I think I am feeling sorry for myself. I think I will go to bed after I have some milk and cookies.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Well, here it is

Well, this is my very first quilt EVER. I am so proud of it. It is for Sarah to cuddle under while she is doing all her reading for her honors thesis. It is one of the quilt kits I bought online in my fit of craziness, but it turned out pretty good. There are definitely some places where the "dancing geese" don't exactly match up, but Lou says that's part of the charm of handcrafted. The back side brings in one of her favorite colors, green, and some blue with little froggies all over the place: and no, Omi, frogs do not fly-ever-no matter what you think. I machine quilted it by sewing "in the ditch" and she did not want any extra stitching in the triangles. Her quilt, her choice.

This project helped me realize why the first sets of coasters I made seemed off. I was using a mark on the plate as a 1/4 inch measure, and it's a hair wider-so none of my rounds matched the way they should have. Now I know to use the presser foot, and since I have other coasters cut out to stitch, I'll try it on them.

I'm going to wait a little bit before I start Lilli's quilt, she'll get to pick whether she wants the geese or windmills. I didn't like the colors of Sarah's as windmills, that's why I didn't give her a choice.....Lilli's materials are blues and lavenders, not her usual first choice, but the package was called Lily Rose, and I had to buy it for my Lillian Rose. I'll do the back in pinks, her colors, and even if it's a little nontraditional, who cares?

My new game plan is to start planning holiday sewing next week and then begin when we get back from Providence and taking Sarah up to school. I have most of my stash material organized in plastic bins now and will be able to see exactly what I have to play with. So far I haven't had any luck finding Insul-Brite locally, but I may just order it online so I can make some of those microwave mitts Kathleen was talking about. I think I need to give my hands a rest from the crochet, my fingers have been cramping a lot lately.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A new sting

It's official: I've been stung by the quilting bee. I have never really quilted before, though I have been buying books on quilting for years. (Just goes to show: all these years I've been saying if you can read you can learn to do anything, so reading all those books finally paid off). Friday night, when I couldn't sleep, I started on one of the three quilt kits I recently bought online. Since Sarah is going back to school soon, I started with her lap quilt. Now, I know there are a lot of places where points don't match up or sewing lines are skewed, but boy was it fun! I did a variation of the flying geese block pattern, and working with triangles that size was a good introduction. I changed around the colors from the picture because I wanted more contrast in the top. Then to bring in her other favorite colors, I found a cute frog on lilypad print in greens and blues for the backing. All I have left is the binding and making a label to sew on. I will post a picture when I finish the binding. It was definitely a cool project.

I am starting to have some feeling in my breasts, so the nerve regeneration must be moving along. I really didn't expect this for another three months. It's weird to have these body parts that you can see but not feel; and like "the wet spot", nobody tells you about it. I didn't see anything in any of the literature I read. The only comment close was that the body can take up to a year to "settle" into its new shape. I'm hoping mine doesn't change too much, I knid of like what I have now......

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The good news: she liked it!

Well, I got this really nice email from Dayna, my partner for the Lucy swap and she really liked her package. It's so nice that she responded right away, I don't have to worry if she got it, etc. Personally, I think the Jell-O is what really makes the package.

So, I'm thinking it's about time to stop entering swaps and start getting some sewing done for inventory, and what happens? I read about Aunt Pitty Pat doing a Halloween swap that sounds like real fun, and a fast turn around. Of course I signed up, and think I might try some stuff from the fabric origami book on it. Then, if I like it, I might incorporate that into some other things I do. Once again, branching out instead of refining---hmmmm, do we see a trend here?

I got my hair cut yesterday, nice and short. Since it's been so hot around here it is definitely still top down weather. It'll be fun when we start the monthly drives to Cleveland, especially if we take the scenic route.

I am so proud. Lillian, my older daughter, has made her first set of curtains for the kitchen window in her apartment. The picture of them is very cute, and taking after her bargain hunting mother, the material came from a sheet she found at Goodwill.

It's hard to believe my baby, Sarah, will be 21 years old tomorrow. Where has the time gone? I can still remember the first day I dropped her at preschool. She readily went into Peggy's arms, knowing everyone at Montessori, but as I started to leave, she cried out, "Mommy, don't leave me here! Don't leave me here!" I thought it would only echo in my head that day, but there are moments it creeps up and takes me by surprise.

I look at the two of them, my girls, and am so proud of the people they have become. Though so very different in many ways, they are so alike in so many others: they call their family (aunts, uncles, grandfather) without prompting, they send cards for birthdays and anniversaries or "just because", they deal with each other....they keep trying to get me and Louie to clean up our stuff-mainly because they don't want to have to deal with it, and there's definitely a lot of it!

Today I started organizing the dining/living room areas, what I would have started in May if I hadn't had the fun of surgery and healing to deal with. It'll just get finished later and later.

We are due for some tremendous thunderstorms this evening that were supposed to start an hour ago. They may not come, but I'm prepared, I have my candles out and new batteries for the little radio. Unfortunately, the TV part is analog, so we won't be able to watch that anymore and since the battery on this laptop doesn't hold a charge, we won't be watching movies on this either.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another day in apron heaven

Please skip over to the apron goddesses and check out the cool giveaway from momomadeit.......but try not to enter so I have a better chance of winning. In fact, help the economy recover and buy one of Joan's aprons instead of waiting around to see if you win it!

I took a great picture of my Lucy swap package, and was about to ask Lillian how long I should expect the charge on the battery to hold since it's been from Chanukah last December, and just as I sat down to call the little sign came on, and the camera went out. So, the battery is charging and that picture will be on tomorrow.

BUT, Sarah helped me learn a new skill tonight: how to burn downloaded pictures to a cd. Now I will be able to send these cds to Omi for the picture frame she got for Si, it will be so cool.... I even put some pictures from last year on the cd for her to have a nice choice of stuff.

Tomorrow I am going to work a little on the bedroom book piles, then I am taking myself off to the fabric store. I am on a mission to find insul-brite (spelling?) an insulating material for using in hotpads and oven mitts. Since I have this cool pattern for oven mitts, and I want to try making some microwave mitts, I need to get this stuff so the pots don't burn the user (Louis). Besides, does one ever need a reason to go to the fabric store?

In case you haven't heard, there is a movement afoot (not unlike Arlo Guthrie's Thanksgiving Day Massacre Movement) to be sure that independent fabric stores don't fade from the face of the earth. It is called Project 95. Here is some information on it:

Project 95: Fabric Shoppers Unite!
When you shop at independent quilt and fabric shops, you support small businesses (often in your community) that cater specifically to your needs. Join us in this worthy cause. Shop independent. And voice your support for the movement by following the activities of Project 95 on:

Please read through this and support in any way you can.

My fingers are cramping up from typing and crochet, so it's time to say goodnight to you all, my princes and princesses of the world.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer Fun

for those of you who haven't found them yet, there is a wonderful blog at Presser Foot by two sisters who are advancing the art of sewing by using their blog as an ongoing tutorial. they pick a pattern monthly, make fabric suggestions, then walk the reader through the steps, and missteps, that go into making the pattern. They are having a giveaway in august for a darling maxi dress pattern and retro fabric, go see them and enjoy.

Today I'm going with Vera to a wine and cheese fundraiser at Strathmore Music Center. I'm not sure why, since I don't really like wine or cheese. I think she really wanted to go, but not alone. So, we'll go and see how they try to convince us to spend money.

The doctor was very happy with my progress and has released me to go back to work on the 24th. i think I can spend the week working up to staying awake all day, etc. so I'm not so exhausted when I go back.

We'll be taking Sarah up to school on the second, it's hard to believe she's a senior. I can't even think about the logistics of graduation yet.

lou and I have decided that the best help we can be to Si and Peg is to arrange to go into Cleveland once a month and help/hang out with them so that they can get everything in order for Florida. Lou is convinced it's something his father really needs to do, and arranging help for Peg will be something we work on in the next few months.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Plunge

Now that I have this cancer thing licked, I decided I needed to attack some of my WIPs and see if anything would come of it. From the leftover apple print fabric, I made three half aprons today with pocket trim/placement variation. My first "inventory"-it's really exciting! I have a few other half apron ideas to play with, and I need to settle on one or two full patterns to make. I realized today that my biggest problem has been definition: I love so many hand arts that I haven't been able to edit down what I want on my website. Alan says "one of anything is 'inventory'" but I can't go by that. I think I need to settle on a few styles, then fabricate them in various prints, and see how they do.

I finished and boxed my Lucy swap last night: I'll download a picture tomorrow. I made the tiered apron pattern I like so much, but switched it to blue polka dots on white. I included a juicer and glasses, some pearls, a "dust collector" for the kitchen table, and of course, Jell-O. I would only spent Shawnee's goody budget if we hadn't seen the oak table and the Wedgewood creamer. The table's a beauty, about 48" square, and was reasonably priced because it was missing the leaves. Lou thought it would work well with the table I have downstairs already to create a cutting area for me so I don't need to use the dining room table and be running up and down all the time.

We got the creamer for Sarah for school for her milk with tea, she really likes Wedgewood and she will be 21 next Thursday. It was a little pricey, but it adds to the collection her grandmother started for her.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Feeling fine

I think I have finally caught up on my sleep from getting up at 5 AM on Friday for the surgery. It went well and I was home in my own bed by 11:30. I slept most of Friday and Saturday, and today have only pain twinges that OTC drugs are taking care of, no need for the narcotics. I have weird looking nipples, and there has been some uplift-but until the swelling goes down, we really don't know what I'll look like. As long as the tests come back "cancer free" I don't really care what it looks like.

I still have some work to do on my Lucy swap, later in the week when I am feeling better I will go to the Society for the Prevention of Blindness thrift store and get some kitchenware for my package. It may be hard to come up to snuff when you look at some of the other packages that people are posting. I'll get my picture soon since Lou brought my camera back from Cleveland.

I am trying to re-dedicate myself to following the weight watchers plan, and therefore have set a long term goal for myself, short term goals to be worked out this week: I want to be in good enough physical shape to go camping and hiking in the Grand Canyon with Lillian next summer. The pictures she sent back are so beautiful, I want to see that place. So, over-achiever that I tend to be, I will be figuring out walking mileage goals and strength training goals to meet so that I will be in shape by June, 2010. I am hoping it will keep my blood pressure down so that I do not have to go back on drugs....

I was pretty pissed off at the black squirrel who frequents the deck yesterday. I watched as he plumped himself down in the pot of the miniature pomegranate tree and just reached over and started eating the newly forming fruits. last summer no one touched that plant and we had lots of miniature fruit for Rosh Hashanah, but this year it may be a battle to keep him out of there. Lou puts out seed 3-6 times a day, so I don't see why he has to go into my plant....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

FAS6 Lucy faces

FAS6 Lucy faces
Originally uploaded by shawneeh
here's one of Shawnee's great buttons for the Lucy, to get it on my sidebar? hmmmmmmm

Monday, August 3, 2009

On the road again

Actually, I'm off the road again, I am back in MD from OH. It was a pleasant drive except for the two sections of single lane, 10 mph 5 mile stretches due to construction and a disabled truck.

I had a nice few days in Cleveland, though I think it's a little overwhelming for Peg, and that Si didn't realize that his friends reuniting their kids for a weekend when they have one or two kids is a lot different than reuniting 5 kids, their families, and one cousin added...I'm sorry to miss the meal at Marbella's, but Lou did burgers on the grill last night, and the lobster we had Friday for his birthday was superb.

I just finished going through the mail and it feels like my birthday! First, there was the box from Lill with a dvd for me, then there was the package from the Lucy apron swap. And that little sneaky girl Tara asked for me as her partner. she sent me an amazing package: a full length reversible apron in blue/blue dots (is there any other color? of course, the Ostrachs would say it has to be purple-but I was a Neufeld before I was an Ostrach), dish towels, fat quarters of Lucy fabric, a felted pin cushion and pins, a felted bag with a Lucy lottery card, trading cards and of course chocolate. Then, she added a bottle of her gardener salt scrub--if it is anything like her other soaps, it will be heaven. I'm disappointed I can't go to the quilting retreat because of the timing, but I will be there is spirit because.....

I have truly lost my mind and ordered 3 quilt top kits from Fabric Cafe. It's hard to resist a sale, and these look like a beginner can handle them....if not, I'll muddle through anyway.

I will post a picture of my fabulous Lucy package when Lou gets home thursday night as I left my camera in Cleveland for him (he thinks I left it by accident, I probably did but this is a good save.)

I need to stop now though I have more news, but Sarah loaded her GRE test stuff on the toshiba, and it changed the magnification to HUGE and it's difficult to follow though very easy to read.....we'll have to figure out how to fix it or get Lill or Jack to explain it...

more to follow tomorrow...