26 January, 2022

The Lost Week

If you know me, you know that I'm a planner. I write down everything:  "to do" lists, daily and weekly goals, I even commit our meals and menus to paper. I go so far as to mark up my planner with different color inks to signify levels of priority and importance. These pages, ordinarily, appear as a veritable text rainbow, filled to overflowing with scribbled tasks and notes.
🠄🠄🠄🠄🠄🠄
Here's my planner page from last week. Nothing. Zip. These stark pages will bear witness to what's now known (to me) as the lost week. So, what did I do all week? Where was I? I was right here, on the sofa by the fireplace under a quilt with a book! Doesn't that sound cozy? It really wasn't, the stomach bug plagued me for five solid days. So, that's really not all that blog-worthy, really; but what I'm struggling with this week is the fact that it's impossible to make up for lost time. Intellectually, I know that, of course; it's the emotional realization of this fact that cuts deep. My "to do" lists have migrated over to this week, Mr. G reminds me that it's okay to let it go.
 
He's right. I'm reminded of this long-ago poem that I cross stitched and hung in our infant son's nursery. Priorities are dictated by the situation at hand. I suppose that I can/should scrawl RECOVERING across those blank pages, that would satisfy my need for a written record of productivity. I wonder what color ink that would require? I could assign a sickly green, I suppose. 🤢 All kidding aside, I have trouble being side-lined, it's not in my nature. But, what would I say to my own family and friends who needed to give themselves time to heal? I'd strongly encourage that, I'd reassure them that a recovery period was necessary for a full recovery. Why, then, am I so hard on myself, why do I have trouble self-granting that very same grace? I don't know, but I am trying. I'm grateful today for restored health, believe me; I have a whole new respect for how quickly that can turn around! 
I'm healthy again, Mr. G. and I both are,
blessings abound,
life marches on...
and it is Good!

19 January, 2022

In, and Under, the Weather

Since my last post was about winter storm Izzy, I thought it appropriate to continue the weather theme. This time, though, is my report from crawling out on the other side after being under the weather. Suffice it to say that there's been a LOT of reading done over the last few days, I hadn't the energy for anything else. Each one of these reads were good; very good. The Children's Blizzard is one of historical fiction, dealing with the blizzard of the Great Plains in January of 1888, happening unexpectedly on a relatively warm day. Someone who happens to read this blog emailed a few weeks ago to tell me that her grandfather lived through this event! This is a brutal retelling of the occurrence and its aftermath; made even more so when one realizes that it actually occurred, this one will stay with me. The character development in both Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe and Stars of Alabama is rich and compelling. Interestingly, and completely coincidental, is the fact that I read these back to back and they both take place in small towns in Alabama. I recommend all three for great writing and pure escapism. Hopefully I'll be back soon with more from the sewing space, just when I thought there was light at the end of the tunnel, recovery-wise, Mr. G. has managed to come down with the same thing that I have. 

It's a good thing we have nowhere to go, 
we couldn't if we tried.

Life is Good! 

18 January, 2022

Snowy Sunday

To no one's surprise we awakened to snow on Sunday morning, right on schedule and as forecast! A few hearty souls braved the elements to attend worship; all told, we ended up with about 4 inches before it turned over to sleet. Today we have crusty, icy snow remaining, the roads and driveway are still a mess. We've been warm and dry at home, I finished a book yesterday (will report on this month's books read later on) while cozied up beside the fireplace. With nowhere to go, I'll try and find something to occupy my time at home again today!  😉

Life is Good!

15 January, 2022

Battening Down

This is what happens when snow is predicted in the south; naturally there's the insanity that occurs as everyone runs for bread and milk at the grocery stores but, then, the conversation turns to anticipated snowfall amounts and, ultimately, how long folks expect to be stranded. I'm not too worried: we have firewood enough to last and I have an adequate supply of books and stitching projects piled up to get me through at least several storms. Yes, finally the weather has cooled seasonably, and those of us lucky enough to live in the south are battening down the hatches in preparation for winter storm Izzy and whatever she brings! 
This tree is a trial quilt block. Carrie Nelson is currently hosting a quilt-along for Moda called "Branching Out"; Quiltkeemosabe had tried the block and had difficulty with the directions given for the trunk. She asked me to try it out, as written. I did find it necessary to make an adjustment in the trimming of that pieced trunk unit. If any of you are doing this I might suggest dropping that diagonal cutting line to 1.25" instead of the 1". Once I changed that I had no difficulty at all in constructing this 8.5" block. The current weather forecast undoubtedly impacted my fabric choices for this one!
In other news: I managed to finish up the Wonder Flutters runner, learning to use the Wonder Curve ruler this week. 
I don't usually show customer quilts but I've fallen deeply in love with this scrappy beauty while it's been here under the needle this week. The pattern is Summer Wedding by Black Cat Creations. The quilting is Curls by Beany Girl Quilts. 
Something else that I'm enamored with is that Folded Corner Clipper by Creative Grids. I'm finishing up the outer borders on the Great Granny Squared quilt using it instead of the old stitch-cut-flip method. Those sweet little corner clippings could simply be discarded. Nope, I couldn't bear tossing them!
I trimmed these to 1.75" after stitching. I know, it's craziness; but aren't they adorable?
But, to top it all off: this happened today! We blinked!! Happy birthday, sweet girl. 💗
We can prepare for the onslaught of winter weather, 
but nothing's preparing me for time passing this swiftly!
Life is Good!

11 January, 2022

Remember?

I talk to my Dad on the phone every morning at 7:30; actually, it's more than that- we FaceTime every morning! We upgraded our communication style when COVID began, not knowing then how long it would be before in-person visits resumed; we've been "seeing" each other daily since then. He was telling me the other day how he can't seem to remember things anymore, things that used to be so familiar to him: restaurant names, places, things like that; it discouraged him. I had just cleaned out that closet (former post) to make way for Christmas decorations and found a boxful of old photographs with people in them that I wasn't sure I could identify. Thinking that this might be the perfect memory-jogger for him, as well as a great way for me to get information for labeling these photos, I showed this one to him today. All that I knew was that I'm the baby being held in this picture and that this was taken at my grandparents' home. Dad is a wealth of knowledge; as soon as he saw this scene he told me that this was my great aunt, my grandmother's sister. From there he regaled me with tales about the car in the background (I learned it was a 1947 Ford that belonged to my grandfather) where it was purchased and how many miles it had on it at the time, what options it had, and how he had "borrowed" it to take my mother on a date because he liked it so much better than his own car at the time. He even recalled what, and when, my grandfather traded it in for years later. It was the best "visit", we both enjoyed it; me in the listening and he in the happy remembering and retelling, he was really excited about that.  I'm going to pull out a few more to look at this week, it's a great way to start the day!

Life is Good!

10 January, 2022

New Year, New Perspective

So, I've got a new perspective moving forward. Less is more, simpler is better. We'll see how it goes. Christmas is taken down and stowed away for another eleven months. It took me two full days this year, one for take down and the second for cleaning and organizing what's being put away. I suppose that's a direct reflection of getting older. That second part (cleaning and organizing) triggered additional trips to Goodwill, the Shepherd's Center and our local Recycling post. I now have a pristine closet solely devoted to Christmas items that is show-worthy! During all this cleaning, organizing and shuffling I decided that I needed a much more efficient and effective kitchen towel drawer. I love the beautiful and decorative kitchen towels that I own but I rarely use them as workhorses at clean-up time. I decided to ditch any kitchen towels that can't be washed in hot-hot water, with bleach, and pressed back into service. This is the result. I now am using only white kitchen towels for clean up with linen towels in reserve for drying wine glasses and crystal. Everything's been streamlined and simplified. My decorative towels are now delegated for show and hand drying. It's all good.
Santa's gone back  to the North Pole and Mr. Snowman is, once again, guarding the door.
One item on my Christmas list this year was Sew Kind of Wonderful's Wonder Curve Ruler. I had seen some of the patterns and their Sampler Quilt Block Book advertised and was eager to give it a try. I'm not a stranger to this basic technique, I've been using their Quick Curve and Mini Quick Curve rulers for a while now; but, I'm here to tell you, that this new Wonder Curve tool is all that! There are more registration lines on the tool itself, as well as colored indicators that make lining up, and using this ruler, a pure joy. Simpler is better! I recall cutting small pieces of masking tape and marking intersecting points and lines on my rulers in conjunction with those older generation Quick Curves to keep myself on track. This new tool takes all that work out,  the needed markings are already there and waiting. As a way of familiarizing myself with the new tool I chose to try out the pattern that came packed with the ruler: "Wonder Flutters". You can see my progress above.
With the basic exercises behind me, can any of these ↑ be too far away? I think not!

With respect to time and the learning curve (sorry, too easy!), this tool is a winner, hands down!

So, what's new for you in '22?

Life is Good!

05 January, 2022

Twelve Days

As we close out those twelve days of Christmas it's a good time to reflect on the holidays and get back to that guiding word and how I plan to respect it in 2022. I did receive two Christmas gifts for use in the sewing room that I had asked for from Mr. Goodneedle, I'm eager to try them out and will report on them after the next few days; those will be spent taking Christmas down and packing it away until next December. After a very warm weekend (New Year's Day saw the outside temperature rise to 75 degrees!) we were slammed back into reality on Monday with a storm front, the return of seasonal weather and... SNOW! The photo below was taken right outside the sewing room door just after the heavy snow started to fall. This beauty came at a price, however; total loss of power. 
Last week my husband took our generator apart; the starter button hadn't worked properly the last time we needed it and he thought it would be the perfect opportunity to troubleshoot the problem. He ended up talking to customer support and they agreed to replace the part. His plan was to finish the repair on Sunday afternoon after church, that's when the needed part was scheduled to arrive. Naturally, the part didn't show up that day as promised. Because timing is everything... Mr. G had to make temporary repairs to our generator (which he happened to have disassembled at the time) so that we could get it running and at least turn on the water and flush the commodes; ah, the joys of country living on a well!
He got the generator back together and, before long, the power was restored. Hallelujah! 
That needed part? It arrived later on Monday afternoon, after we needed it. 😉
My sister sent me an antique sewing basket for Christmas this year. This one is in beautiful shape, it's a "Princess" sewing basket manufactured in Algonquin, IL in the 1940's. All the spool pins are intact.
The tomato pincushion motif is echoed in the bottom of the basket. I'm going to use it for magazines.
It sits on the floor in the sewing room right beside my handwork and reading seat. I love it. 
Yesterday Mr. G and I celebrated his birthday with dinner and a movie. It had been a VERY  l-o-n-g time since we'd actually been to a movie theater; we had a wonderful time and this movie didn't disappoint. When we arrived to purchase the tickets we were able to choose our seats before we entered, they do a very good job of keeping distance between the seats and rows as a safety precaution; that was new, the other surprise since the last time we'd visited a theater was the price of popcorn: $24.99 for a large bag! Mr. G pointed out to my astonished face that the price did include two drinks. Oh. Thanks anyway.
Speaking of popcorn: our two oldest grandchildren gave us this microwave popper for Christmas. It is the cutest little thing, the lid is also the measure for the corn, it's just the perfect size for the two of us. I have a new-found respect today for not taking things for granted: namely electricity and  weather. As of this morning, all the remaining snow has disappeared.

Stay tuned for my upcoming report on those new tools in my sewing room; 
after I get the Christmas trees and decorations put away!  
Life is Good!