Saturday, January 30, 2010

the journal

I mentioned in the previous post about a journal cover I was working on. It's a gardening journal, and the notebook inside has a couple of pockets inserted throughout, good for putting in whatever pleases you. I like it well enough that I gave it to Donna, a friend at work who retired yesterday. So now I have to make another one for me!

I especially like the little lady bug, butterfly, and rooster buttons that were it a little personality. :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

January happenings

Seems like a big part of January is connected to thoughts of organization. Even if we only get one little part of our life organized, it's a help, and often spurs you on to other tasks.

My most recent accomplishment is that I've straightened out some silk ribbon that I bought for my crazy quilting (cq-ing). It came in a big baggie, all stuffed in together. Thankfully not tangled or knotted, but still a jumble.

Once completed, nice and neat, they are pretty much sorted by color and easy to identify what I want to use. All it cost was less than a dollar for two little squares of felt, after I used a couple I already had on hand. I simply wrapped the felt around some cardboard tubes (paper towel and tp holders) for a contrasting background, then wrapped the ribbons. A lady on the HGTV board had posted this idea, and I liked it.

I have also taken a look at how many plastic bags have been accumulating around here. Every trip to Target or Walmart, or anywhere for that matter, adds to the stack. Recently I'm really trying to make the effort to take my own shopping bags, eliminating additional clutter. I keep a few in the back seat of my car, and only occasionally forget to take them in with me. I can already see a difference. I'm certain my bit of shopping this morning, using 2 of my own totes, would have been at least another 3 or 4 of the plastics. Much better.

I've cleared some work shirts out of my closet. With retirement on the horizon, I've pulled out all but one to get me through the remaining casual Fridays. Then, woo-hoo! Every day will be a casual day!

Oh, and my current project...a journal cover. Another Friday night happening over on the HGTV message board, this one a class on how to make them. It's coming along well. Should finish either today or tomorrow.

Better scoot. Have a good week!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

this and that

Another week down. They're flying by these days, aren't they?

Early this week on the way in to work, it was cold and drizzly, and there were lots of birds on the telephone lines/high wires. The funny thing is, they all seem to congregate in one place! Right across the street, there might not be a single one. Of course that particular day I didn't have my camera, but it fascinated me that they were so consistent in their proximity to each other. If there was a larger gap in between two birds, one could slip into the space and not throw off the spacing one bit. I had my camera with me on Thursday or Friday, and got one pic. Same consistent spacing. Not the clearest, but here it is.

One of my Christmas gifts to Lily was a sewing basket with puppy dogs on the outside, and I put in a few supplies for her to learn embroidery. Now that the holidays have calmed down, I was able to spend a bit of time with her yesterday and introduce her to the art. At this point she's getting used to holding and threading the needle (we're starting off with a tapestry needle so it's nice and big), and getting comfortable with it. She's going to be a quick learner...lots of concentration!It was also David's birthday, so happy b'day David! Here he is, with Elise snug in Daddy's arms.And I realize I forgot to mention on here what I received in the January package of my secret sister swap...a gift card to Lowe's (one of my favorite places!), some pretty pieces of fabric, and a couple of fresheners to go in the air filters so my house can smell wonderful. I think I've told about it earlier, but monthly throughout 2010, the BSSers (big secret sisters) give packages to their LSSer (little secret sister). Then in December we reveal our identities to the LSS. Sadly in going with this, I can't post what I make and send, because she might see it and guess who I am. Anyway, here's what I got. Thanks BSS!

Friday, January 15, 2010

have a little faith

One of my favorite authors is Mitch Albom. Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, For One More Day. And now, have a little faith.

This latest was on my wish list for Christmas, and I've taken my time reading it. A few pages each night allowed me to digest it a little more, but it can easily be read in a short period of time. Without being "preachy", its about the power of faith carrying us through our worst troubles.

Albom's 82 year old rabbi asks him to deliver his eulogy, prompting Albom to visit with him over the next 8 years, learning more about the man as a rabbi and as a person...a person with faith.

During the same period, he's learning more about a Detroit pastor, a former drug dealer and convict. As he get to know the pastor and the people in his decaying church, he learns of the pastor's faith and his reliance on that faith to serve his church.

As the blurb on the inside cover says, this "is a book about a life's purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man's journey, but it is everyone's story."

As with Albom's other books, I know I'll be reading it again. It's got my recommendation.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

a little mystery

Over on the HGTV message boards, in the quilting and sewing section, the participants come up with all kinds of things to keep your interest up. They have a variety of swaps, such as nickels (5" squares), I Spy charms (little squares of a designated size with character or novelty type prints suitable for an I Spy quilt), postcards (made of fabric and suitable for mailing), and whatever anyone thinks up that they'd like a variety of, like vintage sheet squares.

For those interested in paper-piecing, there's a project underway that every few weeks you're given instructions for the next round. A lot of people take advantage of these as a good way to learn a new method in an encouraging environment.

And of course there's the secret sister group. I'm in that this year for the first time. The hardest part about that one is that if you post pictures of what you're sending to the LSS (little secret sister), they can guess pretty quickly who their BSS (big secret sister) is. So I'm making things to go in that direction, but can't really post about them.

On New Years Day, there was a mystery quilt up on the board, and instructions were given ahead of time on the amount of fabric you'd need, as well as the cutting instructions. While it called for batik prints, you of course were free to use whatever you chose. Then hourly new postings came up with links to directions for the next part. I had my fabrics chosen and printed out the instructions, but didn't get started on it till a day or two later. This week and weekend I made some more progress.

All was going well until I got to about my 6th round, and realized I'd made a mistake earlier. The pattern shows the focal fabric in the center, going out diagonally at each corner. I messed up, and my focus fabric on the diagonals were turned around. At the time I noticed, it was fixable, but thoughts came in that hey, there are no quilting police, and who's to know if I just leave it the way it is? Here's the mistake on one of the corners. The outer corner is okay, but as you go in diagonally you see the two light squares on the diagonal. That's wrong.

Now here's the way the corner should be. Much better for continuity and flow.

I did the right thing, and stepped away from it for awhile, and I'm glad I did. Coming back with a fresh attitude, I did some frog stitching (rip it, rip it), restitching correctly. I'd say it was worth it. Here's the finished top.
I may still add a border, then that will be about it. And I'll have to decide how to quilt it. Right now I like it well enough I may send it to my friend Ty to quilt on her long-arm quilting machine.

Friday, January 8, 2010

"911, what is your emergency"

Here we are, the coldest freakin' time of the year (I'm speaking in terms of the freezing weather specific to right now, not just January), and I'm calling 911 at 3:00 in the morning. Sheesh.

Fire detectors are wonderful, gotta love them, they save lives...but they sure are loud when they decide to go off because the batteries are low. At first they went off about 10:00, maybe for a minute, then it quit. Okay, I figured that's what it was. Then about midnight, it happened again. Okay, I get it. Shortly before 3:00 (a.m.) they went again and weren't quitting. I flipped on the lights, looked in each room, pulled down the stairs to the attic and checked, and decided to call 911. "I don't think it's any kind of emergency, but any idea on what I can do about this?" Well, a few minutes later this big fire truck with it's blinking red lights pulls up (and of course by this time the alarm has turned off again). Thankfully they listened to my request to not have the sirens going.

I apologized for getting them out of their nice warm beds on the coldest night of the year, and they were gracious. Brought in their little detector and looked around, and determined it was the batteries. But for all of them to go off? Yes, they hard-wired to each other. So, tomorrow I'm off to the store for new batteries (heck, maybe even after I finish this...Wally World is open 24 hours). Then I'll get the tall ladder out of the garage so I can change them all out (10' ceilings are pretty, but sure are high).

Aargh, gotta go, they're going off again. Wally World, here I come!

3:38 a.m. as I leave... Check your batteries people.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I did a few things, more to come

Here it is, that time of year when you take stock of your life to see what you want to change or improve. I'm trying to remember what I did this past year...

I'm sure I probably had on a list to finish some of my ufo's (unfinished objects/projects). Did I fare well? Let's say I made progress. My poor little leaf quilt did get the top sewn together, and I've started on the embroidery portion. I'm sure that will make it on the list to finish this year. I can't even remember when I started it, I'm thinking at least 4-5 years ago. But I can say it keeps rising to the top, even if only for a short while. Maybe this will be the year...

I did finish my "wild and free" and actually hung it on the wall. Seems I may have finished it in late December 2008, but it got the hanging sleeve and hung in 2009, so I'll count it.

I got a bit of a start on crazy quilting. I made a few blocks in Christmas prints, and started gathering supplies for cq-ing in general. Ribbons, fancy fabrics, embellishments. As I started to put a couple of blouses into a Goodwill bag, they were pulled back out when I saw the embroidered details on them. I mercilessly whacked off the collar to keep the trim, then threw the rest away.

I can't remember if it was on a list or not, but I did make each of the grandkids their own quilt. And I made a baby quilt for one of the fellows at work, and some burp cloths here and there. And I helped Liz with the bumper pads and skirt for little Elise's crib, along with the diaper cake for her shower. And I embroidered hankies for several friends.

In the home improvement mode, I got the gutters on the house, painted and rearranged my computer room, tore out the shrubs with the sharp pointy leafs in the planter at the front of the house, David built the planter at the sloped side of the house, I put in a little planter by the mailbox, I (not personally) put in a patio in the back yard, and squeaking in at the very end of the year was my new kitchen sink and faucet. Since the sink is in, I even hung up some curtains that I bought shortly after I moved in...1 1/2 years ago! In my defense for taking so long on hanging the curtains, that was really a pain getting into the corner.

In the lines of self-improvement...ah, there's my deficiency. But! I did get my Wii game in December, and received the Wii Fit as a present along with the Biggest Loser game/program to go with it. I'll have to see if I can control myself to not break too many things in my enthusiasm, but think I'll do fine. My few little walks in the park over 2009 do not add up to a suitable shape-up program, but I enter the new year with confidence that this year will be better.

So we come to the question at the beginning. What do I want to change or improve? Well, physical changes obviously. And I want to work more on the back yard. But I guess basically I like my little routine of living my life and taking off on the little side roads of trying this or that to see how it comes out. 2010 will be a good year.