Sunday, September 30, 2012

New Project Overload!

After more than a year of just watching, I decided to try Just One quilting project this autumn.   Just as others predicted, the next thing I knew, I had several projects started and none close to finishing.    Thank goodness for the internet - there really IS something for everyone -- and Barb at Cat Patches just started a linky-thingy for people like me, who've started stuff, and she's asked us to show what we've got.   NewFOs, whatever the heck those are.    Pretty cool, though, that my internal list of shame is suddenly something to celebrate!

So here we go.    I am still working on my original project, an applique throw for my fishing-frantic brother. He has a lake-front cottage that is done in hunting-lodge type colors, with my mom's pieced quilts on his beds, but the front room will be chilly this winter, so I thought he might enjoy a little extra warmth.   It's my most-done project, but there's still lots to do, including choosing the material for the borders and backing, embroidering the eyes and scales, and actually putting it all together.   I had hoped to do more this weekend, but the quilt shop was closed by the time I got off work, and I need fabric before I can go forward.
I saw a coin purse on a blog hop that I didn't have the nerve to enter, but decided to order the pattern and findings anyway, because I love the idea of making something so cute -- the pattern is cut out and I'm ready to get started but, uh, haven't yet.   In a perfect world, the body of the purse will be finished by the time the purse handles arrive in the mail.
NOT signing up for the coin purse blog hop gave me the impetus to actually sign up for a Holiday Pillow hop -- I don't have all my ducks in a row on that one yet, but I'm gathering bits and pieces in anticipation.   Pauline at Quilt n Queen and Madame Samm at Sew We Quilt are very reassuring, although they may change their mind when they learn JUST how challenged I am.
I also 'accidentally' saw a quilt that I loved and a blog that claimed I could do it (a name like "52 Quilts in 52 Weeks" is so optimistic, right?!), so I bought the pattern and a jelly roll, and I'm ready to start cutting and sewing, the minute I get a minute.   Once the braided part is done, I still need to find fabric for the borders and such-not.
Although not quilt related, I'm also working on a prayer shawl, knitted washcloths, a decoupage idea,  a variety of test recipes, and the usual castle and fairy house projects that are ongoing with my grands.  
I won't mention the piles of yard and fabric and Stuff I have sitting in the wings for my next string of projects.   Or the list of projects I want to make for the families and patients I work with at a local hospice.     And I will never, ever tell about the boxes of projects that were started years ago and went nowhere.       I'm definitely a better starter than a finisher.    One of these days, just maybe, I'll also winterize my garden and clean my house!    But for now, I think I'll have another cup of coffee and make a[nother] list of what to do next . . .

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Would Somebody Please Start My Engine?

I have phone calls to make, a v-e-r-y messy house to clean, laundry to catch up, a disaster of a basement, a yard and garden that need to be made ready for winter, and none of it is getting done.   But I have made progress on the fishy quilt I am making for my brother!    The easy part is done, now I need to start watching those tutorials and learning how to bind and quilt it!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Best Laid Plans

I love the gulf coast, but I grew up by the Great Lakes.    I haven't been to any of them since my children were small, but last week I talked my sister into getting away for a few days and we drove to Lake Michigan on the west side of the state.    As tends to be the case with life, things didn't go the way I had planned.    My vision was that we would have some much-needed time and quiet, without distractions.    The first day there was pretty much as I'd hoped.   We walked on the beach, enjoyed the changing colors, watched the sunset, sat and talked.    

That night, though, we learned that my sister's older son had told his mom's friends that they should join us and, because (in good ways and bad) she has the kind of friends I've never had, they did.    To say I was not thrilled would be an understatement, and it took me a couple of hours to change my attitude.    Her friends arrived and the tone of the weekend certainly changed, with a lot of noise and distraction, but I eventually realized that it was not all bad.    We played a rousing game of Jenga (my sister won), I drank a little (they drank a lot), we shopped a little, ate baked goods and local food and had a lunch at Turkeyville, and the trip that didn't go my way was just fine after all.
We drove home in the rain and when I stopped for groceries, I found a pigeon shopping for birdseed.  Another reminder, perhaps, that the unexpected isn't always something to be feared.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Red Handed

Today I caught a Tomato Thief red-handed .  . .  or red jawed, at least.   There was a squirrel, sitting as boldly as brass, in the middle of my back yard, holding in his mouth a tomato as big as his head.   When I opened the door to take his picture, he high-tailed it up the fence and into the neighbor's tree.   It's a little hard to begrudge him - I've had a bunch of tomatoes this summer -- in fact, I had them again for dinner --  and he sure looked like he was enjoying his!

I have started my applique quilt (a little quilt -- should I call it a quilt-let?) for my brother.   I saw a beautiful rendition in a photo on a non-quilting website, just sitting on a lap, and loved it.   If I weren't so cheap I would have bought the same colors as the original, but of course I decided to use what I  had on hand and (other than novelty and baby prints) I don't have much.    I'm going to go ahead, though, and see how it works out.   One of the things I've learned from watching quilting blogs is that things that look so-so at the start are often fabulous by the end.   Fingers crossed!


People grieve in different ways. Some people sit quietly until their loved one is dead, and then howl and cry out loud; some howl and keen through the whole process, and continue to express themselves often and loudly for months to come. Some people weep quietly, others act as though nothing much has happened. Some people hold and stroke the body and carry talismans with them later; some just want to be left alone. One man told me, “well, I'm glad that is over,” before the left the room and went back to work. And once in awhile, there is someone like the man this week, who kept going to his dead mother's bedroom door and yelling at her body, “ma, please, if you just get up again, I'll get you a beer and popcorn.” But for many of us, sooner or later, grief is a deep and silent well, a place where even the simplest tasks become impossible and where sadness is a thick, wet blanket that strangles our will and our spirit.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fairy Donuts

My grandchildren made fairy donuts this weekend.    My grandson saved his to put into the fairy houses.    My granddaughter, perhaps being part fairy herself, ate hers.

With nothing more than a handful of Cheerios, a little frosting and an assortment of sprinkles, they had a little sugar, made a little mess, and had a lot of fun.    We are already planning to do it again!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Worlds of Wonder

As most of you know, I spend my time with the dying, the dead, and the grieving. There can be overwhelming sadness, sometimes it sits like a rock on my spirit. But still, every so often, I witness a soul taking flight so clearly that words cannot define the experience. Death can be frightening and ugly and unsettling, I can't pretend otherwise. But sometimes it is so mystical as to be unbearably beautiful. Of course, that is unsettling, too. I was honored to witness one of those moments this week. Everyone in the room was shaken; the family didn't know whether to weep or rejoice, so they did a little of both. Hours later, they were still bubbling with a sort of excitement. I told them, but really I was speaking to myself, 'don't ever forget what this felt like.'

Monday, September 3, 2012

Quilt Dreams

My (only) niece is expecting her first baby in October, and her mom asked a bunch of us to make a quilt block in anticipation of the birth.     I decided to make a little quilted lion, in keeping with the African theme (since my niece and her husband both worked in Tanzania for several years).    I've been wanting to try quilting, and this seemed like a good time to give it a go.   I traced my idea onto freezer paper and cut out the pieces, and then appliqued my lion to the quilt block that had been provided.
I was really happy with the result.   I added embroidery and a little "puff" to the lion's face.  As instructed, I signed my block and sent it to the west coast.   I got a photo today of the finished quilt, and my little lion looks pretty good!      
Now I'm eager to try something else, probably something just as primitive.    I saw a quilt on Retired in Alaska, one of the many blogs I follow, and I'm itching to duplicate it, with my own twists, of course.    The sketch is ready, now I just need to get some fabric and . . . oh yes, actually make the quilt.    Of course, I have so many 'do's' on my to-do list, we'll see if it ever gets started!

End Of Summer

What a nice Labor Day weekend, with all the good things about summer rolled into just a couple days.     I ate a million hot dogs,  corn on the cob, and had a drink or two.   I picked potatoes, pickled jalepeƱos, made salsa, ate ice box cake, and made a beautiful lemon chiffon pie.    I even cleaned a corner of the basement!

I played with little kids, spent most of a day in a swimming pool, and went for a ride on a boat.

Oh yeah.   Life is good.