Friday, October 17, 2014

October Weekend

Although my sister texted me that this is the season of Duman Gloom (don't you love the way that Siri mis-spells and misinterprets?!), it has been beautiful.   Today a friend and I took a 6+ mile walk through the Shiawassee National Wildlife Preserve, and although it was damp and cloudy, it was so pretty that it almost hurt to see.   The trees were still in full color, the geese were flying in by the hundreds honking all the way,  the caterpillars were wearing their winter coats, we found a butterball mushroom the size of a human head, and I even saw a tiny frog.   Another best day ever.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Always Looking

There's really nothing new with me, but the past couple of weekends have been busy.   And so beautiful!   Michigan is really glorious this time of year, and the trees have been especially bright this autumn.

I spent the weekend before last at a search a few hours south of our area.    We drove to help another 'start up' search and rescue group with their planning and search for a missing person there.    The weekend involved long hours on the road, only a few hours of sleep, and very long days, but we were glad to do it.   Sadly, we did not find the man and I had to go back to work, but we learned that his body was found the next day, a sad ending that we can only hope offered his family some closure.    

I got to spend fun time with the Grands and their family, we had supper together a couple of times, walked the dog, and visited.   
I helped a friend make apple sauce, and picked grapes and helped make grape juice to can, although we would have had a lot more juice for later if the wasps and I had stopped eating so many of the delicious concords.   All of the bees and wasps have been sluggish in the colder weather, which is a lucky thing when you have your hands in there with them. 

I finished a couple more tote bags, too.   I made a cute goulish bag for a friend's daughter who likes the darker side.  And my Grands both liked one particular Halloween bag I made, so I made another of the same fabric since they both want to use them for Trick or Treating.  

 I also made another French-themed tote using Lindsey's pattern at Fort Worth Fabric Studio and adding an inside pocket this time.   What a great pattern!

I stopped at a local cheesemaker on one of my country drives,

and of course this is great baking weather.    The son of a friend is a fan of my desserts and of course I love having someone appreciate the things I make, so the last two weeks I've made a blueberry pie and a really delicious almond pastry especially for him.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Being Mindful

This last month has been a little rough for me, with the concussion, some personal hurts, and a steadily deteriorating work environment.    I am licking my wounds, waiting for my natural optimism to surface, and waiting out the sadness.    Meantime, I am doing what I can to keep myself busy, and enjoying the satisfaction of accomplishment in the midst of it all.    The things I am doing have been simple because I don't have the mental energy right now to do more, and many of them are pictured in previous posts.  

Although I am not sure I care even a little bit about actually getting it up and running, I am making progress toward establishing my amateur radio packet system.   I built my own Raspberry Pi, a mini computer that will form the brains of the system.    This area of work is new to me and I was surprised to find that electronics and soldering are really just another kind of craft and just as fun to do.  I still work with a mentor, but hope I will be ready soon to step out on my own.   I live a solitary life, and I need to face up to that and learn to do for myself.

I am walking again, not as regularly as I should, but a lot more than I have been.   And I am enjoying what is left of the bounty of summer's harvest.

My family got themselves a dog with an unknown past and so I have been stopping in to visit with her mid-day, while her new mom and dad are at work.   She seems to be bonding well with her new family but only tolerates me, which is fine.   I let her out to potty and give her a cookie and then she goes right back to her bed to wait for her real family.   Even so, she provides a distant companionship for a little bit each afternoon and Lord knows I need more of that since beggers can't be choosers.

The colors here have been beautiful and the weather is increasingly crisp.   I am loving the new crop of apples and the flashes of red and orange everywhere I look.   And I am happy to be wearing socks and fleece again.    Life is good, and I am hard at work, finding my way back to contentment.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September finishes

In many ways, this has not been an especially good month for me.   But when life gives you lemons, you know what to do with them.     Since I ended up mostly homebound for several days this month after my concussion, I had more time on my hands than usual and, between long periods of sleep, actually got a few things done. 

First,  I made another eternity scarf out of minky fabric -- this will be one of my go-to Christmas gifts and I will choose to keep at least one for myself because I love these things!   They are super fast and easy to make -- maybe 15 minutes from start to finish, so a perfect activity for those feeling-crummy days -- and they are warm and cuddly to wear.
My painted teapot was also fired and finished this month and I am happy with the way it turned out.    It is the perfect size for me when I am alone, which is most of the time.   I might use the grandkids as an excuse to go back and paint a few more pieces for myself!

I have several partial packs of charm squares laying around in my stash so I took a couple of hours (separated by long rests) to sew a couple charm totes and think I will make more once I decide whether to make others the same size or experiment with larger ones.    You can make three of them out of a single charm pack!   I got the tutorial from the Missouri Quilt Company website.   I loved the way they turned out, so then I started just making totes from some of the mountain of fabric from my stash.   All I needed to buy were the buttons for the closures, and that's only because I lost my button box in my last move.

And of course I made my ooo la la tote from the April in Paris fabric that I thought my lovely daughter in law would enjoy carrying her French classroom work to school in.
 I also made a delicious french  coconut pie, using a recipe from Dolly Is Cooking.    This super simple recipe was so good that I immediately forced my children to take more than half of the pie out of my house because otherwise I would have eaten the whole thing myself!    I sort of regretted not keeping more of it for myself because my portion was too soon gone.  :)   It was so good that I made two of these pies again for a volunteer retreat that I put on at the hospice where I work.
I won some beautiful threads from Lisa at In the Boon Docks.  I am trying them out in a variety of my projects -- using good thread makes me feel like I am pampering myself, so this has been such a treat!   For a slacker like me, September has been a productive month!

And so of course I am linking up to Barbara's September NewFO Challenge at Cat Patches.  :)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Another Tote

I saw this tote and pattern on Fort Worth Fabric Studio and fell in love with the outside pockets and the April in Paris fabric.   Go ahead and click the link to see the original -- you'll see why I was so smitten! I ordered the same fabric, but in a different color palette, from Fort Worth Fabric Studio.  What a great shop -- I wasn't sure that the green dots would work well with the Parisian pattern but a woman there (oh  my gosh, my memory is so bad -- Jodie?)  emailed me immediately and reassured me that it was a good match.   I wanted the French-themed fabric because my daughter in law is a French teacher.   I love to make gifts for her because she has such a grateful heart.   It is a joy to give things to her because she is always so happy with what she is given, it always makes me want to give her more.   It's funny but I find that it is hard to find people to give things to.   I love to give little gifts, but so many people are anxious about receiving them, and that takes a lot of the joy out of the process.    Anyway, Lindsey's tutorial is easy to follow even for a novice like me, and the tote was a joy to make in one afternoon.   It took longer to iron on the fusible interfacing than it did to make the tote!   Be sure to check out her original here, it is a beauty, but my DIL is more of a green than a pink person.    I'm making the next one in blue.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Be Gentle

Not much time to post, but wanted to make an appearance.  :)  I have been busy sewing tote bags this week.    And baking!   I baked for our volunteer retreat at work, and I baked for the local recovery drop in center, and (I confess) I baked a little for me.  :)    I performed another wedding ceremony in which I did NOT get hurt, and I have another to do on Friday where I hope to continue my string of non-injury.   And I finally tried spaghetti squash and was as amazed as everyone else.    Seriously, if you haven't tried it, do, just be sure you like whatever you put on top of it because that is what you will be tasting.  

I hope you are all busy and happy and healthy.  :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Getting Back to Normal

September certainly started off with a bang and, after a day in the hospital, the doctors decided that I had, in fact, suffered a concussion when the wedding bower blew over and hit the back of my head.    From the nausea and blurred vision, I could have diagnosed myself on that one!
Other than that, it's been a very nice week.  :)