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!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Be Happy - Today's The Day For It!

Today is the International Day of Happiness -- I hope you are celebrating by being happy!

Of course we've had more snow.   We are starting to feel the promise of Spring and are hopeful that we won't have any more significant snow, but we know here in Michigan that things could still go either way.   Since my last post, of course we had Pie on Pi Day.  And corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day -- passing up the lenten fish that my fella loves so much.  For those who were concerned, our local Archbishop issued a special dispensation that allowed corned beef on a lenten Friday.   We love corned beef so much that we had it again on Dominoes Sunday!

I finished another bag from my fabric stash, and -- to my great amazement -- finally managed to make my first two french knots ever in embroidery.   I have been trying to make a french knot since I was less than 12, so this was an unexpected delight, and perhaps proof that even old dogs CAN learn new tricks!

I am hoping for a few mild days.   It would be good to take a walk in the sunshine.   Now that's a happy thought.  :)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mid March

I simply cannot get over how fast time is flying by.  It's nearly the Ides of March already.  It's been chilly and damp here in Mid-Michigan, with a few days thrown in that were too warm for the season.   I am cherishing the last few cold days.   Our local Grand Traverse Pie Company has a great fireplace where we can sit with our pie and coffee, and I confess that I do miss that in the summer, although I keep eating pie despite the lack of fire.  :)
Search and Rescue activities continue, with the usual variety of trainings.   We do outdoor drills and planning exercises, map and compass skills and, a fan favorite, practice a variety of knots.
And of course I sew.   My blocks continue to reveal my tendency to jump ahead and not really read the instructions.
I do better with bags, and even though I have no current use for them, I do enjoy making them.

My 12-year-old grandson created a little logo for me, and I sew a bunny button into each bag along with the tags.   We use the name "Reigning Rabbits" because the kids and I play a game where my screen name is Bunny Queen because of the wild rabbits that nest under my front porch.  When they were little, we told the kids that bunnies lived here because I was their monarch.  And of course we liked the play on words with 'Rain' And 'Reign.'
I am following a "40 Bags in 40 Days" decluttering group on Facebook, and -- although goodness knows I am not actually decluttering with any regularity -- I am finding inspiration in the changes people make once they get motivated.   I did pull out a few 'heirloom' hats that belonged to my grandma and that no one seems to want, and gave them to a woman who collects such things.   I'm also making lists and taking photos of things I want to get rid of that someone else might want.    I'll circulate those photos to family and then to agencies and will hopefully begin to move out some of the bigger items that I no longer use.  Baby steps.  The big things distract me from being able to really dig into the smaller things, so I am hoping that moving them out will provide the burst of motivation that I have lacked so far.
The local birds are starting to return to my yard.   I should put out some seed to help them out while we all wait for green things to start growing.    Much as I enjoy the fireplace and the heated seats in my car, ahhhhhhh, I am ready for Spring.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Marching Forward

This was the last block I did in the February colors.   It's a huge block, large enough to make into a baby quilt if I add a border or two, and I am thinking I just might, with a minky backing.   But not today.   I may be Marching Forth (March 4th, get it?   I crack myself up), but I am still a slacker at heart.
The March color is red, so I am starting on that.   I have to laugh at myself.    Every single block I make has at least one mistake and it is, I'm afraid, evidence of my character that I see them and leave them.  All of which to say, yes I know that you see them, too, but there is no point in pointing them out.  There will be no perfection here, so don't dare expect it.    And it has nothing, nothing I tell you, to do with the glass of wine I sometimes sip as I sew.
We had snow again, on the first of March, and there has been snow on and off since then.  It is cold again.  Today when I stopped at Wendy's for coffee with friends, I came back out to my car to find that, in that short time, an icicle had formed between the body of my (very dirty) warm car and the cold pavement.
Thank goodness our Search and Rescue drill this month was indoors because I definitely had my sissy attitude going.   We worked on knots and safety harnesses, always a fun training and definitely a perishable skill.
I got my Canadian Park pass in the mail this week.   We hadn't planned a Canada trip before they offered the free pass, but now it is definitely on my wish list for the year!   That, and a trip to view the total solar eclipse in August.   I have a lot of hopeful short-travel plans this year, wishing like crazy that at least a few of them actually happen.  :)
On the food front, I made a bittersweet, intensely chocolate pudding this week for family and friends.   I didn't tell anyone the secret ingredient until after they tried it -- the pudding itself is vegan, which is nice for my lactose intolerant friends, but it is so rich that I 'cut' it with whipped cream and loved it.  Bon App├ętit magazine, where the recipe originated, says it is nutritious enough to eat for breakfast since -- wait for it -- it is has 6 grams of protein AND is made with avocados.   Oh yeah, baby, breakfast of champions.      Life is good.   And so nice when it is good tasting, too.  :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February Ends

February is just hours from being gone, the year is (more or less) 1/6 over already.   It's true what they say about age, this downhill journey is going a lot faster than the climb.   

There is, as is so often the case, little to report.   Still, as my mother used to say, no  news is good news, which I always took to mean that when life seems ordinary it means that there are no big dramas or problems on your mind, and that's a good thing.

My brother sent me home from my last visit with two cans of wild caught salmon from Nelson Crab and told me to see what I thought.   I am not a fish eater, and not a canned food user, but I am a sucker for testing recipes and using foods that are foreign to me, and my brother knows it.    I used the first can, king (or chinook) salmon, to make salmon patties.   They were a huge hit, my DIL and grands loved them.   The king salmon was mild and delicious, even for someone (like me) who doesn't like salmon, and not smelly like tuna, which surprised me.   I commented that it didn't taste fishy and my granddaughter corrected me by saying that this was exactly how delicious fish should taste.  My son was working late and I wonder whether he got to taste them at all, because they were disappearing quickly when I left for home.   The second can, coho salmon, will be used for a salmon noodle bake.   I was dreading this whole adventure but now I am looking forward to opening the next can!
We enjoyed our annual King Cake, as we have every year since my son's family moved back here from New Orleans, shipped directly from Joe Gambino's in New Orleans.  They arrive unfrosted because of the shipping and the kids enjoy frosting and adding the colored sugar.  We always cut our King Cake on the Friday before Mardi Gras.   As I'm sure you must know, King Cakes are a Carnival tradition during the period starting on 3 Kings Day and ending on Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent begins.   They traditionally have a bean or plastic baby, and the one who gets the slice with the token is the lucky one, or the King of the event  -- or maybe just the host of the next party, depending on how you play the game.   My grandson got the baby on first slice, a rare-ish event since we usually don't find it until later, and a delight for him.   One of these years maybe I will get the baby!   Or maybe not.
I also made Rice Krispies treats in the traditional Mardi Gras colors, purple, gold and green.   I used Peeps for the marshmallow and pressed the layers into a loaf pan, a super quick and fun microwave confection that the kids thought were pretty neat, although the colors weren't as bright as I'd hoped.  They tasted good, too, slightly different from the traditional recipe, but just as good.   I'll make some other colors for Easter, I suspect, when we will also have our annual Peeps war, where the Peeps joust in the microwave with toothpick swords.
Not much more sewing has gotten done, but  I found a button in my button jar that I was able to use to finally finish my February purse, just in the nick of time!
My goals for March include sewing two items of clothing, not yet cut out, several Solstice quilt blocks (I am two weeks behind already!), and my March purse.    It is even possible that I will get a little housework done this month, despite the real and equal possibility that I won't.    I had a strange dream last night, about a fried fish that came back to life as a beautiful blue and red koi, and my basement full to the ceiling with trash bags of items I was ready to discard.   Perhaps my dream self thinks it is time for a few changes around here!

Happy Fat Tuesday!   Enjoy it while you can!  :)