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!  :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Flying By

The month, good grief, the YEAR is flying by, but I am still waiting to feel like I've got my feet firmly planted underneath me.   If I ever had any motivation, it is eluding me now.  Does anyone else have the February Blahs?   Not enough sun, not enough warmth, not enough exercise.  I need to get my mind moving!  Even my sewing has suffered.   I made, or more correctly I tried to make, a light cardigan jacket this week and it was a bust.   It doesn't fit, it looks awful, there is nothing about it that I want to salvage.   So I'll move away from that pattern and try another tunic of some kind.     The sewing takes only an hour or so, but the procrastination about cutting out the pattern can take weeks!
Last week's solstice block had hearts as part of the design, appropriate leading up to Valentine's Day.    I had intended to make the block in sea greens and white, but I ran out of the white so I added a little sunshine.   It's an odd color combination and I like it.

I have another Solstice block pattern that is cut out and ready to sew; my self-imposed deadline is tomorrow night because the next pattern will be released tomorrow morning.  It could still happen but it hasn't happened yet.

My February purse is done, cute and Spring-y.   It has little bows that tie on the sides to give it shape.  It was easy to make, as purses tend to be, and I may just make another if I run out of other projects.   I am gathering fabrics for my March purse, which will be a tote-style bag in brighter colors.
And I found the cutest Bride/Groom fleece fabric so I made an impulse throw to send to a friend who is planning her wedding.  I made it and popped it into the mail on the same morning.   I also finished yet another blanket for my brother, who is getting older and doesn't take as much care for his comfort as I think he should.  I love those super quick projects, they are so satisfying when not much else is getting done!

My mind seems lately to be spinning with problems I cannot solve and so shouldn't stress about.   I am crankier than is usual for me and feel less optimistic.   I know from my many years of experience with my moods and reactions that this is nothing more than a bad habit, and the time has come for me to start again centering myself and controlling my thoughts.   Life is good, my personal problems are small, and there is no point in spoiling my days over problems and issues outside my control.   This week's mantra:  feel it, release it, move one.   And breathe.  

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Mid Month

Still sewing, there isn't much else to do on these cold winter days, unless I want to clean and organize my house -- and of course I don't! -- thank goodness my sewing machine can save me from that! Here are the projects I've made the past couple of weeks:

One of my goals for this year is to sew something that I will actually wear out of the house.   Too soon to tell, but this might be it.   I also have a cardigan cut and ready to sew and I am hopeful that it will be useable.   Neither is like the jeans and tees I usually wear, but neither is entirely awful, either, and it would be nice to dress, at least once in awhile, a little more like a 'girl.'
My guy gave me a tshirt for my birthday last year that says 'not my monkeys, not my circus,' so I made him a sock monkey to include in his Valentine's Day package.   It was kind of fun to make a toy again!

It has been Cold. As. Heck. here this week, but beautiful, with the sun peeking through ever few days and the moon getting bigger and bigger.   There are many things I love about this bleak time of year.  My fella was gone for a week.   He doesn't drink so while he was gone, I did.   Wine with dinner a couple of times.   Lovely.   Not as lovely as dinner with someone you love, but not entirely shabby, either.
When my honey got home, we went to something we had been looking forward to for more than a year -- the Lego Batman Movie.   Like any self respecting 12 year old boy, we laughed our fool butts off.   There are so many advantages to being too old to care what people think.   No matter how old  you are, I hope you are having fun.  :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Stop The World I Want To Get Off

Things have undoubtedly been this crazy before.   After all, I've read about such times in high school history and civics, studied them as an undergrad in college, learned about the legal battles that went into forming our rights in law school, and studied the ethics of it all when I got my theology degree.  Surely we will regain our senses soon.

Meanwhile, I am sewing.  Pillowcases (for a nurse who was recently engaged);
Another purse:
Quilt blocks for no apparent reason:
A pink hat by special request:
And the most recent Solstice block in the "February color", which I love.

Outside the sewing room, it is cold!
So most of us are finding indoor fun.  My granddaughter's art class was asked to help decorate our local "animal care center," formerly referred to as the dog pound.   They did a great job and it was fun for both of us to see several of her creations transferred onto the walls!

Not much else is new except that,  oh yes, I finally succumbed to the LuLaRoe craze when a couple of local people set up fundraisers for our Search and Rescue group.   I felt I had to support my peeps, so I bought a few pair of leggings.    Now I'm not young and not thin, so I doubt very much that I will ever consider wearing leggings outside the privacy of my own home.   Of course, as the family record keeper (my sister) would be quick to tell you, I said the same about capris pants, which became the foundation of my summer wardrobe as soon as they stopped being trendy.   At any rate, I do love my new leggings, which I wear under my nighties in the morning as I dawdle over coffee.    I am trying not to buy more because, goodness knows, I don't need more encouragement to dawdle!
Stay warm, stay safe and if you can, stay sane.  :)