Friday, June 16, 2017

Mid-Way Through the Mid-Way Month

Little bits of sewing are still going on, but I have slowed down since taking my sewing machine back upstairs where it "belongs."   When I had it downstairs on the dining table I sewed every spare minute, but my house always felt a bit cluttered, which I do not like.   I am trying to rethink the best way and place for it going forward.   Meanwhile, I've sewed more little bags for no good reason,
and I learned from Barbara at Cat Patches about a "I Found a Quilted Heart" project so I made up a few of those, too.  A great scrap buster and a fun idea, sort of like geo-caching.   The idea is to hide the hearts in public areas with a tag that invites people to post their "find" on Facebook or a website.     I think this will be fun, and I am all for anything that gives people a smile or a reason to feel hopeful about their fellow humans.

It has been beautiful here this month, and I am so glad I took the few minutes to plant flowers in my window boxes this year.  I love seeing them.   It is just too dang bad that I was too lazy to actually plant a garden, too.
My backyard has become a visiting place for a whole bunch, a murder, I believe it's called, of crows.   They start calling out to each other as soon as I go out to put fresh water in the bird bath and the crowds begin to assemble.   They quiet down when I am done, before I go back inside, and then they bathe, wash their food, and generally enjoy themselves before leaving again, my birdbath dirty again with bird debris and leftover food.  It's a nice diversion for all of us.

My sweetie surprised me a little bit ago with a no-reason Apple watch.   I was completely taken by surprise -- I would never have bought one for myself, but we are Apple folk, for sure.   The other day, as we sat side by side, we realized that, at that moment, we had 7 different devices in action between us.   The watch has been more useful than I would have expected, and receiving and answering texts is one of my favorite things about it, although being able to 'share' a heartbeat with my honey has been fun, too.   But it also  has activity circles that, in a perfect world, would close each day after beginning each morning as a small dot.   I am having the darndest time trying to figure out how to make my circles close, doing more and more each day with no success or movement of one of the circles.   My goal this weekend is to figure out what I am doing wrong so that I can have the satisfaction of a completely circular display.   
We spent last weekend on a golf course, although neither of us plays golf, because one of the families we worked with a couple years ago in search and rescue puts on an annual golf benefit for us and the other groups who helped them look for their dad.  Although their story did not have a happy ending, they are determined to bring good out of it, and they have become great champions of search and rescue as well as mental health and suicide prevention groups.  It has really touched me the way that they have channeled their pain, anger and loss into something positive for the community.   These days I appreciate reminders of the goodness of people more than I ever have before.

'Saw Wonder Woman last week -- fun! -- and going to see the Pirates movie tonight.   My guy likes movies, I like popcorn.   A match made in heaven.  :)   Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June Already!

Another year is flying by.   It has been a gorgeous week here in Mid-Michigan.  If it weren't for the needs of nature (and especially of bug control by deep freeze) I would like to have this weather all year, low 70's with a sweet breeze.     It's bunny season in my neighborhood -- I saw 14 of them on my walk last night!
Things are generally quiet in my life, just the way I like it.   A couple of weeks ago my fella and I went to the annual Ham Radio convention in (Xenia) Ohio, "Hamvention," a rare road trip, and of course we had a good time there.  
On the way home we stopped at Tony Packo's in Toledo, a restaurant my brother recommended that was apparently made famous by Klinger on the television show "Mash."    We got lost on the way there because of a road closure, and I was really regretting suggesting this little side adventure, but when we found it, I was so glad we had gone! We tried everything.   Yes, really, pretty much everything.   It's a small menu.  They serve Chicken Paprikas (pronounced with a sort of "sh" sound on the end) that tastes almost exactly the way my family recipe tastes!  With little dumplings that were way lighter and tastier than Grandma ever made.    I was amazed, it is a dish we have never found in any restaurant anywhere, and that we have never heard pronounced that way, either, outside of our family.   I guess we don't hang with the Hungarian crowd -- my grandfather always identified himself as "Czech" and it wasn't until after he died, and I came into possession of his birth certificate and Bible, that I learned he was, in fact, Hungarian through and through.   They also served a hot chili dog that we enjoyed, and the head-exploding garlic dills we had when I was a child, and even make those little sour cream cucumber slices that my grandma used to like.   My guy preferred the hot dogs, chili and soups to the Paprikas and dill pickles, but I could have eaten those dumplings and gravy all week.   Both of us wolfed down the warm cherry strudel with ice cream, though.  Anyway, much as I love Hamvention, it is Tony Packo's that I am looking forward to on our next trip down!  
My guy is out of town this week to settle a family estate, and so I am keeping busy doing the (many) things I should have done long ago but didn't because I spend so much of my time with him (no complaints!)  I planted my pots and window boxes and weeded the garden, more or less.   I painted the front porch and created a folder that I need for Search and Rescue interviews.  I dusted and vacuumed and organized a closet.   I wasted more time than I should have, but at least I got a few things done!
My front porch has been an ongoing frustration.   I paint it every year, and every year it fades to mostly bare wood.  The past couple years I've used the paints and stains recommended by my local paint store;  this year I read reviews and tried something new.  Fingers crossed!  On the plus side, I discovered a "paint mitt" at a local dollar store, a big fuzzy mitten with a waterproof lining, and used it to paint the thin rails that surround the porch.   What a great invention!   I wore it out on the rough wood spots, and loved it so much I went back to buy more, but they were gone.  Next time, I guess, I'll have to make my own, but it will be worth it.    Maybe not life changing, exactly, but a great painting tool!  (Don't mind the dirt that's already been splashed up by the rain on the bottom rails!)
I'm trying to take a little time each day to just sit on the patio to enjoy the lilacs (finally in bloom!) and the breeze, too.  It's a nice place to have coffee in the morning if it's warm enough, or iced tea in the late afternoon.  
Although I mostly just sit and watch the bunnies, birds and squirrels, I have embroidered a little more on poor  Abigail, who is likely to be mostly neglected until it rains or snows.   She puts on a brave face.  I learned about Abigail and her equally lovely Bag Lady friends from Barb at Three Cats Ranch.
I'm still sewing, although not as fast as I should be, given the size of my stash.   Little bags and key fobs, and another top that turned out well enough to wear (although my necklines are still wonky), with many more in the works!

I think that, like anything, it's just a matter of practice, so I plan to keep at it.  Hopefully I'll have lots more to share in the weeks to come.  All I need to do is overcome my lazy nature!  

Last night I ate my supper of roasted veggies, Michigan asparagus!, with a glass of red wine, looking out at the flowers on my patio, and thought about how lucky I am.  Life is good.  I hope it is good for you, too.  And that's not just the wine talking.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bag It

Today I am linking up for the first time to Cat Patches Bag Lady Linky Party -- I finally bought one of the adorable Chickadee Hollows' Bag Ladies of the Fat Quarters Club!   I am a much slower stitcher than Barb, though, so I will likely be working on and linking the same one every month while she makes the whole dozen of them.   I chose Abigail, partly for her name but mostly for her "quilter and fisher" mission.   Frankly, she looks like she might make some of her own clothes, too, and the ones I've been trying to make are just as wonky.
Speaking of clothes, I made a raglan shirt this week -- I am wearing it today but only because I don't plan to leave the house.   It is too big; sizing is going to be a challenge since I refuse to let anyone help and don't have a dressmaker's dummy; and my neckbands are still awful.   Oh well.
I made a kimono, too, for fun.   It might actually see the light of day, or at least the early light, when I sit with coffee once the weather gets warmer.  I can wear it over my hunter green or navy blue nighties, which I also made.  I do love the kimono fabric, a slinky navy and green, and it was fun to sew.   Both designs are from Patterns For Pirates,  one of the pdf on line stores I frequent.  My nighties were sewn from pdf patterns from Love Notions, another favorite pattern shop.
It is a gray and very gloomy day here.   I have water in the basement.   But the flowers are blooming so it is hard to begrudge the rain.   My kids have the most beautiful plants,

but even I have a few blooms today.    My 3 red tulips are blooming, the same 3 tulips that have been there since I moved in 8 years ago.   Other people's tulips spread; mine have taken a militant stand against procreation.   But the dogwood tree that I tried for 3 years to kill, thinking it was a weed tree, is blooming for the second time.   And my weeping something is in full bloom after a pitiful showing the past couple of years.

And more eggs from my chicken loving friends.
Life is good and I, for one, am trying to see it as sunny side up, and to bloom, or maybe over-bloom, where I'm planted.    Living alone as I do, it's a good thing that I crack myself up.  :)

Friday, April 28, 2017

I Heart Flowers

We have finally had the most beautiful weather, with a smattering of 40-degree chills thrown in to remind us that we are in Mid-Michigan.  My kids have a beautiful perennial garden, and I have enjoyed every bloom!  My brain was hungry for color, I think.  And so, with nothing new to report, I give you . . . flowers.  :)  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Springing About

It is finally Spring in mid-Michigan, and absolutely beautiful!   A few flowering plants are starting to show themselves, but there's not a lot to show yet, as far as growing and blooming goes, but the sunshine and blue skies make me happy.

I am sewing, not as much as I should, but steadily.  I've made (yet) another tote, some storage bags for my unfinished projects, and mesh beach totes for my Grands that I will use as Easter baskets.   I also made a couple of little surprise bags to send to two bloggy friends, using the pattern of the purse that I use every day -- I realized at the last minute when I was packing them up that I'd put the zippers in backwards, but I decided to call it a design decision and sent them off anyway.   Clearly I am not a perfectionist.  

We've had a couple of searches in my Search and Rescue group, and my grandson had a day t his week, so I've had some time to tromp in the woods.   It restores the soul.

Today I need to truly and finally clean my house, at least to the point that we can eat at the dining room table, which is currently covered with my next dozen sewing projects -- time to get moving.  Wish me luck!  :)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dragging On

I am finally, finally feeling almost healthy again.   Thank goodness!  It's taken several days to shake this pesky virus, and though I'm still feeling a little shaky, I've finally been out of the house a couple of times.  But while I was shut in, refusing visitors and feeling sorry for myself, my fella left a hot apple pie on my front porch to cheer me up.   I carefully cropped my photo-shoot to cover up how much of it I'd already eaten before I thought to take a picture.  It was delicious and made me feel almost instantly better, at least in my lonely, whiney heart.  
Another thing that made me feel better -- shame on me! -- was hearing how much I was missed at last Sunday's Dominoes game -- our young friend took my absence hard, repeating over and over again, in a mournful tone, "Gail is sick.  She is not here," and just sat shaking his head.    We were all happy to learn from this parents that, even though they will be back in town, they are willing for us to extend the season by a week.  The understand how important it is to all of  us, so we will get to play one last time this coming Sunday.  Let the Dominoes Domination Celebration begin -- I can't wait!  

I finished off one last March block for the Solstice Challenge, block #12, 'Jacob's Ladder,'  and the Rainbow Scrap Quilt -- double dipping, as always, by using the Rainbow color of the month, red, to make the Solstice block.  The bright reds are slightly different in person, but I didn't have enough of anything to make the ideal block.   Oh well.  If I run out of projects, maybe I'll try again with better scraps, because I liked the shapes in this block.     And I am working on another tote, but it seems that cutting it out while I was sick was not such a good idea, because it looks like I made a lot of mistakes.

I may have spoken too soon when I guessed that March was going to go out like a lamb -- we woke up today to yet another snow storm and temps in the 30s again.  Pretty, yes.   Tired of it, decidedly.   Whichever way March decides to go out, I am ready to let it go.     Our search and rescue group will be having an outdoor drill on April 1, so I guess I'll know for sure by then what kind of animal it decided to imitate!    Just one more day until April begins, and just the sound of it sounds Spring-like, don't you think?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Out Like A Lamb?

March is coming to an end.   I don't remember whether it came in like a Lion, but the prediction is that it will be going out like a Lamb.   The weather is mild and damp, the kind of weather that viruses seem to love.

So right on schedule, I've caught the local Crud and have had sniffles, chills and headache for the past few days, but it should be over soon.   I got sick while I was visiting my sister, which was bad for so many reasons.   She has a compromised immune system so I would never purposely take sickness into her house and I was fine when I left home, waking up later that night with headache, chills and the yuckies.  And I don't get down the hundred miles or so to visit her often enough, mostly because she is so darn busy.   So there I was, sick and sleeping through much of the visit.  

On my way home from my sister's, and before I went straight back to bed, we stopped for pedicures, generally a highlight since we can sit and chat, but my technician scraped a hole on my bunion that actually bled, so it was just a disappointing trip all around.  I'm not sure the tech knew what a bunion is because she mumbled that there was something there and she was going to get it off before she went to town with her file.   Ouchy ouch ouch.

Meanwhile, not much here is (ever) new.  Just as well.   I have had enough drama in my life to know that 'nothing new' is a good 'problem' to have.  Especially if I consider that getting sick, and having my foot injured were both new things -- no thank you.   Of course, the chicken soup my son made and brought me when he found out I wasn't feeling well was new, too, and it was delicious.
As usual, I am not sewing much, but I am sewing.  A little less this week since I have not spent much time sitting up.  I discovered that I don't have many red scraps, but I did squeeze out another block -- Block 11, "Quilt Math,"  of the Solstice Challenge (I'm 3 weeks behind at this point),  in the March color of red for the Scrap Happy Rainbow Scrap challenge.  And I made another block of random scraps that were sitting on the table in front of the sewing machine, just because.

I also sewed myself another top.   It is not really good, but it is better than the last one, and I wore it out of the house to go shopping  -- one of my goals for the year!   No one stopped me and asked what the heck I thought I was doing, leaving the house like that, so it was a win.  My slight improvement was enough to convince me to try again, so I'll cut out another top as soon as I feel better.   Then we'll see whether I will continue to do better or have just climbed as high as I can climb.  I need a lot more practice on the necklines, which so far tend to go wonky on me.  And it's a good thing that asymmetrical hems are a thing these days.  But my sister asked whether the top was a LulaRoe, and I was pleased that she believed it to be store-bought.
Today we were supposed to have our final Dominoes Game of the season, the Domination Celebration Awards Edition, but I am not feeling well enough to attend so they will have a Guys Night instead.  You can barely imagine how much I regretted having to miss today since Dominoes is the highlight of my week for these few months, but I just don't feel up to it yet.  Jack says he will reschedule another day for us to get together -- I have all the prizes, after all! -- so I will still have that to look forward to.  By then I should feel well enough to make my legendary Dominoes Cookies.

Meanwhile, for the short bits that I am out of bed, I am messing around on the ukulele, trying to work up the nerve to visit a beginners folk group next month -- with Dominoes season over, I've decided that I will need more silliness in my life, and there isn't much that's sillier than a ukulele.  So far, I am regaling my sad self with 'How Much Is That Doggie In The Window', several verses of it.   I'm not sure it will be safe to let me out of the house.   The doggies will be a'howling!