Monday, December 31, 2012

Welcome 2013 -- Best. Year. Ever.

 As many of you have noticed, I am a list maker.    I make lists for every day and every project and every dream of my life.   I apparently think there is power in the written word, although there has rarely been enough 'power' for me to actually get the things on my lists done.    But this year I am taking a different approach.    My New Year's Resolution for 2013 is a simple one.   Simply this:   I am going to make it the Best Year Ever.    I have some ideas about what that might mean, but I am going to be flexible about it and hopefully open to new adventures and opportunities as they arise.   I have watched a lot of people die this past year, and I know how fragile health and life is.     Would it have been a good idea to make this resolution 30 years ago?     Indubitably.   But all I have is the now, and so now it's going to be.

I'm like an old house; the more I fix, the more I find that needs fixing.   As a start, there is exterior work to be done.   I've already begun to walk a mile several times a week, and I've joined a gym where I hope to do circuit training at least once a week.   All of the strong, beautiful women I know who are my age or older exercise regularly.    It's no longer an option, it's going to have to become as regular as breathing if I want to have the best of anything.

And of course, there is a lot of interior repair needed, too.    I am more aware all the time that it hasn't been inadequacy, or lack of prettiness/skinniness/smartness/value that's held me back from the things I want.    More than ever, after following the Books by Women on Sew We Quilt, I am more convinced lately that it hasn't even just been fear; but that it's been that pervasive shame that springs up from that treasure-trove of embarrassment and humiliation that so many of us carry through our lives.    Yes, you might as well know:  I did go to school once as a little girl wearing my skirt inside out.   My mom wasn't good about noticing what I did or wore or wanted, so I was on my own from the time I was very small, and I wore more than one poor choice of outfit over the years.    To this day, if anything I wear brings notice, I assume that it's because it's inappropriate somehow, never because it's nice or attractive.   I've carried the assumption that every failed relationship failed because of me, and that every job disappointment was because of something missing in me.    It's just another way of making myself the Center of the Universe, I guess, but in a way that gives me no benefit.   I'm going to try to stop taking that negative credit for things that don't go my way and embrace, instead, the wonderful randomness and unpredictability that simply happens as we falter through life.   Sometimes things work.  Sometimes they don't.   Sometimes there's chemistry.   Sometimes there's not.   No fault.   No blame.

I have enjoyed being more creative and crafty this past year, and I want that to continue.   I hope to piece at least two quilt tops, and try some other crafts.

I want to bring more of the outdoors into my life.   I have a kayak.   I have a fly rod.    I have a gun.    And I live in a beautiful state.    I hope to find ways to explore it all.

And I hope not to do it alone.   This will be my biggest challenge.    I've been alone a very, very (very) long time.  I know all about the odds, and how against me they are.    I might be past my sell-by date.    I might not be flexible enough to fit someone in.   But I'm going to give it my best shot.

And I'm going to try to freeze frame these moments with my Grands.    They are such a delight.    I am already so very lucky.

Happy New Year everybody.    Welcome to 2013.    It's going to be the Best Year Ever.

December UFOs

Although I feel like I've done more sewing/quilting/crafting this year than ever, I didn't start much this month.   I guess December was spent finishing projects, not starting them.    Here, for my blog-land friend Cat Patches, are my last pitiful beginnings for 2012:
I  started to turn this wonky block into a pot holder.   It still needs to be bound and finished.    I made a couple of others this month, and haven't quite gotten the hang of sewing the binding yet.   The ones I've finished look VERY homemade.    I'm hoping to perfect the method sometime this year so that I can make them as gifts for next year.   A perfect use for all those little scraps that are cluttering up my house!
And I finally cut out the pieces from a clutch purse pattern that I am hoping will be good for gifting.   Of course, there is no pressure since Christmas is a full year away.   And let's face it, I am not feeling very motivated these days, with the cough-y crud that seems to have taken permanent hold on my life.    But hopefully I'll be full of vim and vinegar again soon, and I hope these projects won't sit in my sewing room for long!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Craft Project Plans for 2013

Cat Patches has posted a "2013 New FO Challenge" and she made me think about what projects I would like to do next year.     I actually finished this years projects, which makes me wonder what I could have done if I'd thought of it before the year was mostly over!

1.  I've already started making pot holders for next Christmas -- I've made three and messed them all up, but hopefully the learning curve will soon turn in my direction! 

2.  I have an idea for a project for a new friend, but I want to wait a bit and see if he actually remains a new friend before I invest any time in the project.   If he does, I will make it for his birthday.   Or more likely freak him out way before the right time.   It was funny, the idea came to me in the middle of the night, and awakened me right out of a deep sleep.   He is the only one I know who would appreciate it, if anyone would.     It's either clever or pathetic and overdone, too soon to tell.    I'll post it if I actually make it, but it's planned out and ready to go.   Fingers crossed.

3.  I want to make pieced quilts for my grandchildren.    I am having so much trouble just figuring out how to ditch quilt the potholders that I will probably have someone else quilt them if I get them done.

4.  I won some beautiful yarn that I want to knit into a hat before next winter.   I'm still searching for the perfect ridiculously easy pattern.

5.  And finally, after making a dozen or more coin purses this year, I want to make some clutch purses next year.    I have the pattern and the fabric for the first two, and I am really hoping they are as fun as the coin purses were!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Moving Along

It has been a productive week.    I made a couple more little purses and a potholder, I finished my brother's Christmas gift, and I went on my first date in ten years.    I'm not sure yet how well any of them turned out, but I'm giving myself credit for trying.


Happy Solstice

The day has been dark and dreary and much too cold, but winter is half over and that has to be reason to rejoice!    This feels like an in-between time in my life, neither good nor bad.   I find myself withdrawing at work, not wanting to feel all the sadness.   I find myself toying with the idea that I should be working more on happiness than on wrapping my mind around death.   Death comes soon enough, whether we are ready or not.

Many of the people I work with have lost their spouse.   They are filled with stories, especially this month, of strange experiences that comfort them.    The light that only works at night, when he would know that she is afraid at night without him.   The object that appeared, in plain sight, only after he said aloud that he didn't know where she kept it.    The music, or television program, that turns on by itself.

I do not tell them my beliefs, or my dis-beliefs.     I do not point out the obvious, that there are natural explanations for almost everything.   I tell them to hold those stories close, not to share them too freely because of the danger that people will explain away the details if they do.  I tell them that no one can explain away the comfort the experienced, or the connection they felt.   I tell them that nothing about love is logical, but it's still the truest thing we know.    

I don't tell that that, to my shame and surprise, I am so jealous of them.    Not for the love they lost, but for the love they had.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Every Time A Bell Rings

I had a conversation with a man recently about holiday movies.    He told me that his favorite Christmas movie was It's a Wonderful Life.   

Now, full confession time, so you sentimentalists had better cover your ears.     I watch that movie almost every year, and it annoys me each time.    I mean seriously, the world would NOT be a more terrible place if George Bailey had never lived.    Am I really supposed to worry that his little brother would have drowned by falling through the ice without George, when it is unlikely the little kid would have gone sledding at all at that age without a big brother?   And if the pharmacist hadn't had George working as an errand boy, he might not have mixed up the medicine until he'd had time to grieve the loss of his son, and so the poisonous capsules might never have been made.    And so what if Mr. Potter had taken over the bank and it got harder to buy a house -- didn't we end up there anyway?   There was nothing particularly important about George's life, and it was silly of God (and Clarence the angel) to try to prove differently.    And, of course, charming conversationalist that I am, that's exactly what I said.

Ah, the man responded.   I can see why you wouldn't like the movie.   But that's not what it's about at all.     The point is, that George didn't have the life he wanted, sometimes because of his own bad decisions, and sometimes because of things outside his control.    But when he finally opened his eyes and looked, he discovered that he still had so very much to be grateful for.   It wasn't a wonderful life because he was important, or because of anything he'd done in the past.     It was a wonderful life because he still, despite it all, had reason to be grateful.    And so do we.

I've been thinking about it ever since.   I can't wait to see the movie again.   And every time a bell rings, I remind myself how lucky I am.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Looking Forward

Madame Samm at Sew We Quilt suggested recently (on my birthday, in fact!) that we think of the words that we hope will define 2013, a sort of mantra.    Since I just turned the page on another year,  this sort of thing is on my mind lately, and - although I usually focus on a to-do list sort of 'plan' -- this year I like the idea of turning the focus to ideas instead of tasks.  (Besides, anyone who has watched my past two years of 'To-Dos' knows that I have NOT been very successful at tasks!)    Madame Samm suggests that these words will become part of a quilting/sewing project, but for me they will more likely become part of a blog banner instead.
I know that one word that I hope will be a focal point in 2013 is HEALTH.    I have been lax in both diet and exercise, and I am feeling the effects.       Another word that I hope will be important is TRAVEL, because I know that my travel days are becoming more limited and I want to do what I can, while I can.   In a related theme, I think I'll steal the word DAYLIGHT from my sister, whose mantra is "daylight's burning," because it's a good way to remember to make the best possible use of every day.   I'll toss in the word GRAND, both for its optimism and for the adorable grandchildren I love so much.        I thought about Love, both in appreciation for the love I have in my life, and for the love I still -- however foolishly -- hope to find.  And Friendship and Fun, because I would like more of both.   But those words seemed too limited, and I finally decided that all of those hopes could be summed up with the words JOY and MORE.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Dangerous Work

I am still trying to get my Holiday projects done, so today I started on the next phase of my brother's fish-throw.    Simple, simple, simple.    I am not quilter and this is my first project of this sort.    I plan a simple machine quilt, just boxing off the squares, with maybe some hand quilting on the fish themselves.    The sort of thing that the quilters I follow would snap off in an hour.    
Two hours later, my hands torn and picked where the pins caught me, I have two of the 12 main seams done.    I can already see that my batting is barely big enough and my backing wasn't big enough at all, so it's a very good thing that I didn't have a specific finished size in mind!    I have to stop for the day or my brother's gift will be stained with bits of me, and although I intended to put myself into the project, I don't think he needs a pint of my blood!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Winner Winner!

A long day at work, with our (2nd) Annual Luminary Program.    The families who lost someone in our hospice this past year were invited to this memorial service,  so it was an emotional evening.   We worked hard to try to provide a service that would acknowledge the pain they are feeling, but also offer some hope.    People cried a lot, but I think that was a good thing.
On a (much) lighter note, I drew the winner for my Holiday Pillow Blog Hop prize and (ta dah) the winner is Kris from krislovesfabric!    I've sent her an email and will mail the package out this week.   Congratulations, Kris, I hope you enjoy your prize.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday Lane Pillow Blog Hop & Giveaway (ended)



Welcome to the final day of the Holiday Lane Pillow Blog Hope (and my birthday, as it just so happens).     And, for those of you who are new here, welcome to my blog.    This is not normally a crafting or quilting blog, it's a potpourri of angst, hospice stories, failures and celebration.    I can't predict what I will write next week because life is full of surprises, right?

I would be remiss is I didn't mention my thanks to  Madame Samm at Sew We Quilt for this and many other amazing ideas that keep these Blog Hops rolling,  and to Pauline from Quilt n Queen, who is our hostess for the Holiday Lane Pillow Hop.

The adorable Holiday Lane pillow featured today was designed by Jill Finley of Jillily Studio, and the pattern is quick and easy to follow, and fun to make, even for a newbie like me.    EVEN for a newbie like me who isn't always good at following instructions.  Where I live, Christmas flies by, but winter seems to linger forever, so I decided that my pillow should be less Holiday and more Winter.    I mostly used fabrics from my stash.      




I did run into a few problems, having to do with inexperience rather than the pattern.   I tried machine quilting my pillow top but my thread kept getting tangled and rolling back on the spindle, so I decided to outline the houses by hand with sparkly thread.    I guess I didn't pull the fabric as tightly as I thought I had, or maybe didn't use a thick enough batting, because several of my houses ended up with puckers after the pillow was stuffed.   My embroidered attempt at icicles also ended up looking like puckers.    Live and learn.   (I opted against the flange and, in retrospect, that might have helped avoid some of those puckers.   I might make a summer version of the pillow after Christmas, and I'll investigate that theory then!)

I used a shirt button for the door knob.   The little snowman came from a piece of fabric given to me at a memorial service for one of our hospice patients, who was an avid (and very talented) quilter. 
 
Having to post my results on the last day of the Hop is a lot of pressure, because anyone who has followed along this far has seen some fantabulous pillows in the past few days.      Trust me, this is not false modesty -- some of the creativity in this Hop nearly blew me away, and I have tons of ideas for what to do on my next pillow!    This is my first blog hop, and my first applique pillow, and like so many, many things in the World of Never-Did-This-Before, it didn't turn out exactly the way I expected.      When I compare myself (and yes, sadly, I do compare myself) to the blogs of experienced seamstresses I follow, my results are lackluster.    I finished in plenty of time and I know that many of you would have scrapped the first pillow if you weren't satisfied and started over, but I've never had that kind of discipline with anything.    Like so much of my life, it works or it doesn't and that's that (dusts hands).

So I didn't scrap, or frog, or undo my first project, but since I wasn't thrilled with some of the puckery finish on my pillow, I decided to make a second, mini pillow using only felt applique. 
Felt is so easy to work with that it feels like cheating.    Although I now have many ideas, after seeing the other bloggers, for how to jazz this up, I am a simple person, and I kept the pillow simple.     I finished the edges of the small pillow with Martha Stewart Crafts glitter eyelash in crystal (an idea I stole from Carrie P's Halloween pillow on A Passion for Applique!    Thanks, Carrie!)
So there it all is, pillows big and small.    Thanks a lot for stopping by.    I really enjoyed my first Blog Hop, and I really encourage you other wannabee-lurkers to give it a try -- whatever you (or I) think of my pillows, the important thing is that I tried something new, I finished it,  and even if my results doesn't quite compare to the Best In Show,  I like my pillows a lot and I'm very happy I made the effort.     Because I didn't add any "Holiday" to my pillows, I will plan to leave them out all winter, even after my other decorations are put away.    Perhaps the more important thing is that my grandchildren (after I applied a little pressure) were VERY impressed.  Besides,  I smile every time I see my Holiday pillows perched on my living room couch, and really, what more could I ask of a project than that?!

Be sure to visit the rest of today's Hoppers --
Friday November 30
Linda - that other blog

And, for those of you who are still here, thank you again for stopping by to see my effort (blush), and it seems like I should offer you a snack or something before you go.   Sewing and quilting are all very well, but a homemade cookie, straight from the oven, is nothing to sniff at.    One thing about the internet, though, is that it's hard to hand a cookie across, so I'm afraid you will have to bake it yourself.     To help you do that, my giveaway is this dandy and adorable set of measuring cups --
I got a set of these clever little nesting doll-cups as a gift a year or so ago and thought they were so cute that I bought another set for you!    For a chance at winning my prize, all you have to do is leave a comment.    If you are one of my followers -- and I don't blame you a bit if you are not -- just leave an extra comment saying so for an extra chance.    I'll draw a winner in a day or so.    If you are a quilter/crafter, let me know that, too, and I'll toss in a bit of fabric.

Enjoy the other Blog-Hoppers!



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I'm So Sorry

I do a variety of things in my job, but some weeks it seems like mostly I tell people how sorry I am.    I sat with a frightened man who was transferred to our hospice for a long time one week, while we waited for his wife to arrive.  His breath was labored from the stress of the transfer and the progression of his disease, but mostly from fear, and the effort of breathing robbed him of his speech.  He gripped my hand tightly and would not let go. I stayed until he calmed and fell asleep and then, when he opened his eyes again, I told him I would go check to see where she was.    It turned out that she was out in the living room, laughing with friends, and when I said that he was waiting to see her, she told me that he'd be fine, she was in no hurry to join him.     So I returned to his room, sat and comforted him as best I could until he drifted off again. And the next morning, when she came back and learned that he was dead, I comforted her.    I am so very sorry.

End Of Month, End Of Year

The end of the month is looming, and for me the end of the month will also mean the end of my 62nd year.   I am trying to adjust to the idea that I will be 63.    It's hard to wrap my mind around.    I've been working on a new 65 Things To Do Before I'm 64 list, but so far I'm only up to 3.    No ambition, I guess.

I have a TON of knitting, quilting and sewing to do in the next (very) few weeks, but I sidelined myself last weekend by filleting the corner off my thumb.    I hate that feeling when my mind is screaming STOP!  KNIFE!  but my arm is going la-di-da-di-da.

Only two more days before I get to (have to) reveal my Holiday Pillow in my first-ever Blog Hop.    I've been visiting all the other bloggers, and MAN do I wish I had time for a do-over!   Go ahead, check out the stuff people are doing out there -  you'll see exactly what I mean.
 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Taking Off

Looked like I'd be grounded by fog this morning but the sky cleared and the first leg of my trip went smoothly. Sat by a woman who has dated a long list of judges, justices, and politicians through match.com and was very bored with it all. Now to settle in with my bottled water and mentos -- forgot my magazines at home. I hate getting ready to travel, but I love this part!












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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Where I Blog

My cyber-friend Kim at Snug Harbor Bay recently posted a piece on where she sits and what she sees when she is blogging.    I learned so much about her that I thought I'd return the favor!   Although I sometimes blog by phone, most often I sit with my laptop on the couch in my family room, arguably the shabbiest room in my house.    I sit, often in my jammies and fuzzy slippers,  on my old couch -- I love it but it is not aging any better than I am -- and conduct my trifecta of blog-television-craft.    I watch netflix movies and past season HBO shows, the news, the daily obituaries, and an embarrassing assortment of prime time TV shows.
From where I sit, I can see my back yard and the TV.      It is foggy today, but usually I can see the birdbath and feeder.      Right now the weather is getting colder, and I've been watching the squirrels gather mouths-full of dried leaves to build their winter nests.
To my immediate right is an old table,  a hand-me-down from way back in the late 1980s.   The table holds my land-line telephone, an artifact that is generally useless to me because I use my cell exclusively these days, a shell lamp I filled from early Sanibel trips, and an assortment of threads and notions, including the wonderful pin cushion I won! 
On the floor next to the couch are several boxes of magazines, patterns, yarn, fiberfill, and such.   This is not my even larger and messier fabric collection, just stuff to have nearby so I can grab and knit or read or find a recipe.
Behind me is (one of the) kids' play area(s), the office/dollhouse/castle room, and my front/living room.    Unless the television is on, the house is mostly quiet.   Way too quiet, much of the time.
 Once in awhile I tap into my nostalgic iTunes playlist, but mostly I sit with my own thoughts.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Another Beautiful Prize!

Wow, today's mail brought me another gorgeous prize of amazing batik fabrics and purse handles from Kelly at IHaveANotion. She has the best stuff and BEST customer service around. And this prize is so seriously beautiful that I am practically drooling. Lucky me! Again!! I can't wait to start cutting!


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8 Years Gone in the Blink of an Eye

My grandson is 8 years old today.    How is that possible?      It seems like only yesterday.
 
Going through the past eight years of photo files, I can see that he isn't the only one who's so much older today.      But, unlike some of us, he gets cuter by the minute.    I love him bunches and bunches.   He is the one who taught me that being a Grandma is the best job ever.

ANOTHER Purse

Not much time for sewing this week with my daughter here--we've done a LOT of shopping -- but I did get one more purse finished.











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Thursday, November 15, 2012

All Around Town

Shopping at the Salvation Army store with my daughter. She loves these places. I most definitely do not, but you can't beat the prices.





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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Visit

I drove down to Detroit after work yesterday to pick up my daughter. She was already tired from her 16+ hour drive from Louisiana, and even more tired after our 2-hour drive to my house. So far, she seems happy to be here, mellow and easy going. She is planning to make Fairy Houses with the Grands this afternoon, after she catches up on some sleep!








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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Priceless!

Today is the last day of the U R Priceless coin purse blog hop, and I got another purse done. Not my last, I'm sure! I have no idea what I'll do with them, but these are too cute NOT to make.


Off to work at 6 am for an early morning meeting, then hopefully will see my daughter, who arrived in Detroit last night with her dad. The guest room is ready, and I have flannel jammies and sweats waiting for her because it is a LOT colder here than in Louisiana!


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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Another Purse

Today's weather was so mild that it was surprising, but there was a little bite to the wind.   When I learned that my daughter would arrive tomorrow,  I went out for groceries - in my fleece jacket -- and saw people in the parking lot in tank tops.     Shiver.   To my mind it was not that warm, but maybe I'm just more of a fragile flower.

The guest room is ready, and so is my next coin purse!   Made entirely from fabrics I won from sister bloggers -- I love it!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weekend

I have been busy in my head lately but not getting as much done as I should in Real Life.    But now I have to get moving -- a couple of days ago I learned that my daughter will be visiting from New Orleans and that she will arrive sometime in the next two or three days.    My guest room has recently been re-purposed as my crafting/sewing/cutting/sorting/wrapping/fabric-storage/packing/laundry-folding room,  with no room for an actual guest, so there is a lot of work to be done before my daughter arrives.   

In the meantime -- and adding even more distraction to my already distracted mind -- I received in the mail yesterday the BEST prize package from Madame Samm at Sew We Quilt.    I love her Blog Hops because they make me believe that I can actually create something.    They are filled with inspiration.   I learn so much from the Hops that it's crazy to think that I also won a prize!    She provides prizes for participants AND for people who just comment, and I was lucky enough to get all this swag as a result, all wrapped up in a shiny, red package that made my mailbox pop.   
Not only did Madame Samm send a whole bundle of winter fabric by Riley Blake Designs, but also a spool of Gutermann quilting thread, some interesting double-pointed needles by John James (which I can't wait to try!), AND my favorite chamomile tea and chocolates!
So, at a time when I definitely should be organizing and doing laundry and getting my house in order, I am instead cutting out more coin purses (from Madame Samm's fabulous pattern) and thinking of more projects to add to my every-growing unfinished project pile.      I did finish another little coin purse yesterday -- I used transparent thread this time to attach the frame.     I know it isn't as strong as quilting thread, and it's no fun to work with, but it worked and -- with many repetitions -- seems sturdy.    Best of all, of course,  my stitches are far less noticeable.  
Using the "carrot and stick" theory, I've promised myself that I can make another coin purse later today, just as soon as I get that guest room in order, so I may have another finished project to post in the next day or so.




Monday, November 5, 2012

Coin Purses!

I didn't join into the UR Priceless Blog Hop because I was too chicken, but I WASN'T too chicken to make a few so I bought the pattern!    This pattern was a lot of fun, and unlike anything I've ever done before.     I made the first one with dachshund fabric, for a hospice volunteer who has done a lot to help us, and who loves her wiener dogs.

I made the second one out of fabric that I found in the basement.    I can't remember - did it come from my mom's stash, or something that I made?    No idea.


The third one is made from animal print corduroy.   I made this one because my granddaughter is suddenly interested in animal print, but it turned out to be my favorite.    Or at least my favorite so far -- I need to buy  more frames, but I already have a couple more purses cut out and ready to frame -- hopefully I'll be able to show them soon[er or later, lol].

Check out the AMAZING purses that the Genuine Hoppers made at the UR Priceless Blog Hop --  Blog Hops are what gave me the confidence to try many of my most recent projects.     There are so many creative people out there, with so many fantastic ideas, I just want to copy them all!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

All In A Days Work

 An unusual thing happened today.  I visited a person because he wanted to talk about death, and about his anxiety as he faced his final days.  You might think that such conversations are commonplace in my job at a hospice, but you would be wrong.   His nurse called me this morning, apologizing about phoning me on a non-work day, to ask me to set up a visit.   She laughed nervously, saying that she'd had no idea what to say to him, because she had never had a patient who wanted to talk about their fear of death before.  We are skilled at talking around the subject, with patients who nervously look away, but no more skilled than our patients are at facing the truth.

November

Are you already thinking about Christmas?   I'm working on my pillow for the Holiday Lane Pillow Blog Hop, and so I've had Holidays on my mind.     I haven't started to shop yet, but I'm feverishly working on holiday lists and plans.    It might seem early to some, but I need a lot of time to work out my budget (an area I'm NOT good at), to shop and clean and craft, and do a lot of planning for work.   When my kids were little, and I was far better organized, I was generally ready for the season by Thanksgiving.    That's not going to happen this year, lol.    For the past dozen years, I've spent part of every holiday season on Sanibel Island, and that's not going to happen this year, either.      I will be lucky enough to have a couple of days in the sun before the holidays begin, but not lucky enough to have any beach time during December or January.    Speaking of making plans, I should have planned a LOT better when I was young to have more retirement money so I could travel whenever the whim hit me!

November is my birthday month, and my grandson's, too.    I believe he is a lot happier about birthdays than I am.   At work I see way too much sickness and old age to dare complain about my life, but it's a matter of plain, unvarnished fact that I am getting older.    The pain from the arthritis in my hands wakes me up in the morning, and makes it hard for me to do the things I enjoy, like hold a sewing or knitting needle, or pull a trigger, or tie a fly.   (My knobby fingers do NOT make it hard for me to clean my house, but I seem not to clean it anyway -- I need to think of some age-related excuse for that, too!)   My birthday looms, the numbers getting bigger and bigger, spinning out of control.     Where does the time go?!    As my sister reminds me frequently:  daylight's burning.    It's time to get busy.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Not Good

Today I had a new idea for something to put on my living room wall, so I removed a hook that was already there.    It was one of the 3M Command hooks that should - and usually do - come off easily.   I've removed a bunch of them, no problem.   

Today there was a problem.     I made some garbled sounds and haven't quite figured out yet what to do about it.    But it is Not Good.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I Got Mail!

I got a bloggy-prize package in the mail yesterday, from Selina at Selina Quilts -- a wonderful embroidered autumn-themed pin cushion (scarecrow, pumpkin, crow, an acorn, and more!),  and some bits and pieces of harvest-colored fabrics.    I can't wait to work those pretty colors into one of my projects!   (and what an unexpectedly beautiful day we had here -- I couldn't get a photo without shadows because of the bright sunlight streaming through my windows!)
I started trying to machine-quilt the edges of my pillow top -- nothing fancy, no "FMQ" in my near future, I just wanted to sew blocks to hold the batting still.    As several on-line tutorials have suggested, I tried using transparent thread on the top, with a bobbin of ordinary thread.   I am doing something wrong.    It seems to work well enough, but when I cut off the threads,  the line of stitches unravels, even if I've back-stitched.   Another problem is that the transparent thread gets tangled on the spool, eventually breaking.    I might decide to hand quilt both the pillow and the fish quilt if I don't figure it out soon.

My brother called today from the west coast.    His first granddaughter was born this week to my (only) niece!      He said he was surprised by how moved he was by her birth.    That made me laugh.   He has NO idea yet -- wait until he meets her!

I finally watched the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel today on Netflix.    A lot of things haven't seemed all that alright lately.    So it's good to be reassured that it's not the end.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Groovin'

My million projects are coming along.   I discovered Madame Samm's Blog Hops, and I'm busily working on my Holiday Pillow for the Blog Hop - it has to be ready to show sometime between November 21 and 30th (my birthday week!),  and - although I am not 'hopping' in this project, I am also making coin purses that I'll reveal during the UR Priceless Blog Hope from November 5 to 13.    
I also 'joined' a Quilt-a-long with 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks, and I've completed the first braid for my braid quilt.   I need to get to the fabric store tomorrow to buy my sashing fabric and, of course, I need to get the other braids done.    I think they will go more quickly than this one did, as I had lots of beginner's frustration and had to rip out more than a few seams along the way.   But, however frustrating the process, I'm happy with the way the first one turned out!    Just don't look into the bedroom I use for my sewing projects . . . it is beyond messy.
The weather here has been fine and chilly, although we had a sudden rain and hail storm tonight, and they are talking about temps in the 80's by mid-week.    I went to the shooting range today and did okay-ish.     I made vegetable beef soup for dinner, and have a squash in the oven, planning to make squash soup tomorrow.     Another knitted scarf is more than half-way done.   
 AND I voted tonight - I am eligible now for an absentee ballot, one of the advantages of being OLD! The cooler weather and early darkness seem to get me moving!