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.  :)     

Sunday, August 31, 2014

August's End

Where HAS the summer gone?!    The last few weeks have been crazy.    I have worked communications at marathons, spent time with the Littles, worked on radio stuff and Morse Code,  married several couples, drilled and planned with Search and Rescue, performed several funerals, spent a lot of time at the County Fair, broke my only pair of glasses, went to many meetings, did a little cooking and baking, and worked my regular work weeks.    Whew.

Almost all of it was fun, although my last wedding had a memorable BANG to it.   We were standing outside for the ceremony and the wind picked up, which was welcome on a warm and otherwise muggy afternoon.  Unfortunately, the facility had not anchored the heavy cast iron wedding bower and it suddenly blew over, falling smack onto the back of my head.    
I was able to finish the wedding but then drove straight to urgent care, where an xray showed only soft tissue damage, thank goodness.    After a day of 800 mg motrin and self pity, I am much better, thank you, and hoping that in a few days I will truly feel back to normal.   The sweet couple is safely married, although maybe the ceremony was not quite what any of us dreamed it would be.

It has been a slow month as far as sewing goes.   I did do some crafting (shrinky dinks) with the Littles, and we painted pottery to have glazed.   We are excited to see how it turns out when we pick it up later this week!

And I finally started trying to spin wool into yarn again, with no great success.

But on the sewing front I barely started and did not finish two small projects.    I cut out fabric for another baby blanket, and chose squares for a tote bag to add to my Christmas stash.    The year is going by a lot faster than I realized, so hopefully I will complete both of those projects in September and get started on several more!

I did finish the rag quilt for my daughter in law that I didn't show in last month's post.  She liked it.   :)   I  know they are simple, but I love rag quilts, they are perfect for those chilly evenings!
 I am linking these pitiful projects up to Cat Patches monthly NewFO Linky Party because I have no shame.    Besides, after that clunk on the head, I can claim that my poor judgment and poorer performance has an excuse this time.   Truly, all kidding aside, I am feeling like a very lucky bunny.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Oh yes I did

It was a very nice July for me.  A friend and I went to Maker Faire in Detroit (I love going to Maker Faire!), where I saw tons of cool stuff and bought some marbles and some bits and pieces for my next electronic projecdt.    I spent time at a Bed and Breakfast in Grayling with my family, including my brother and niece and her husband and beautiful 18 month old daughter from the west coast.  
We went fishing and the little kids caught all the fish.  We celebrated a few birthdays, and none of them were mine, which made them better yet.   Good times!
Nice, mostly cool, weather.   Lots of fireflies.   And bunnies grazing in my back yard.
 I even found some ammunition for sale, a rare and always exciting event for me.
On top of all that goodness, I also got a few things done in the sewing room.   Not any of the cleaning tasks I set out for myself,  of course, but a few little sewing projects, so I can link up to Cat Patches July NewFO Challenge for once!    I made a pathetic looking teddy bear for the little visitor -- I was embarrassed to even show it to her, but toddlers aren't too judgy, thank goodness.    She named it Owl.
And I made an eternity scarf,  a set of napkins, and another baby blanket and a few burp clothes, all quick and easy projects I hope to do a lot more of in the next couple of months to put away for Christmas.
And best of all, I finished a rag quilt.   I made it for a gift that I will be giving in a week or so, so I won't show the final project here.   This is the first time I tried chain stitching and that was fun, and also the first time I made a rag quilt and then, after it was finished, decided to make it a little bigger.    I love the way it turned out.

There was other fun, too, but I've posted enough photos for one day, so I'll catch you up on the rest of the story a little later.  :)