Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Outside & Inside

One more shot of my giant cosmos - this time with the two mums I just bought. I got the pair for only five dollars!! I expected to pay that much for each one.

The temperatures have come down significantly. I may even be able to wear my new IBOL sweatshirt for a whole day.

It's only a medium but it's a bit big on me. It will be lovely for those gray days when snuggling on the couch with a book is the order of the day. And it will bring back memories of the Iraqi Bundles of Love project which will make me smile. IBOL Guy counts 3, 442 bundles received so far and he thinks that's going to be the final total. Now he's trying to recruit manpower and supplies to distribute the loot.

This weekend I am going to be a part of the online studio tour sponsored by Cloth-Paper-Scissors magazine.

You can check out the details here. And then be sure to swing by here again Friday or Saturday or Sunday to see the mess I call my studio! (I'm not cleaning it up, not even for you!)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Playing in the Dirt

We are enjoying exquisite weather this weekend. A day or two ago one of my sons pulled a pair of overgrown bushes out of the ground for me and I created a new flower bed on that side of the deck off the back of our house. So far it only has my poor little white peony in it but I doubt that will be the case for long. It remains to be seen whether the peony even survives. When I dug it out of its' previous location I accidentally cut through two major roots. I'm hoping the organic compost I added to the soil will help it recover and establish itself before hard weather sets in.

Look what else I found when the shrubs were removed!

Actually, when I was prepping the flower bed I hit a boulder a couple of inches below the surface. It was too big for me to try to excavate by myself and no-one else was around to help at the time. I decided to leave it exposed so I wouldn't try to plant something in that spot in the future. The dragon and its' "eggs" seemed a good solution.

We also found this that we will have to remove when the weather turns cold. I can live with them until then.

And remember this cosmos I showed you in my last post?

This is the plant it came from:

That's all 5' 2" of me standing next to it. The bed it's in is a couple of inches higher than the ground I'm standing on but it's still a tall plant!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Second Day of Autumn

Okay, I feel I should let my readers know that things are beginning to look up again. It may not last long because I went to the thrift shop this morning and consequently may have to go through another (hopefully brief) round of depression during the recovery process, but at least I'm feeling more able to cope. Even the rash on the back of my hand is finally looking better.

This business of being chronically ill is a real learning experience, let me tell you. I get discouraged because I feel so young still. It makes me wonder what in the world my life will be like when I am truly elderly.

I spent yesterday in Regency England again. Apparently I need to get as far away from reality as possible every so often. I picked up Redwall at the thrift shop this morning; I've never read it before even though I've known about it for years. Or I may reread the Magic series by Ilona Andrews instead.

I'm feeling better but I'm not ready to sew yet. Before I try to sew I'm going to have to deal with the piles that have accumulated on my cutting table. At least the ironing board is still pretty clear. And look! My mums have survived the summer and are blooming right on cue. :- )

Monday, September 21, 2009

Last Day of Summer

We are having an absolutely beautiful day today. Very appropriate for the calendar's last day of summer.

As much as we need the rain right now I'm really not looking forward to the days and weeks of gray and wet ahead of us. Still, maybe when the temps drop back into the normal range I'll be more inspired to sew. Heaven knows I haven't been sew-inclined in what feels like a long time. That may be due, in part, to the new physical malady I'm having to cope with. By itself it's not a big deal - that we know of. It's some kind of rash, mostly on the back of my left hand. The distressing part is that there's a bit of it on my eyelids too. And we have not been able to come up with a definite diagnosis. Don't know what it is, don't know what's causing it, don't know how to make it go away. The patch on my hand has spread and evolved but not really healed per se. I have a follow up appointment with the doctor next Monday.

I confess to being more than a little discouraged by all this. On top of all the other restrictions and limitations imposed by Candidiasis and MCS I've about had it. You know it's serious when even the things you normally enjoy doing are not in the least tempting. The trick is to find something, some way to tie a knot in the end of my rope so I can hang on until things begin to look more promising. The other option is to just succumb to being a vegetable on the couch.

I don't want to be a vegetable. I've got a little tiny knot in my rope at the moment. My challenge for today is to try to make it bigger and stronger. I've gotta find something fun to do, some way to distract myself. Maybe it's time to go get lost in a book. Whatever you do today, please don't let me drag you down!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ahoy Me Hearties!

Aye, tis true - today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

And I have sad news to report. Some scurvy dog has shanghaied a member of me crew:

Or the scoundrel jumped ship of his own accord. Either way, I have no-one in me crow's nest on the Bluebird. So far me skeleton crew haven't run us aground...

but I may have to run up me flag and go searchin' fer a new crew member.

S'pose I can get this guy to come aboard? ;- )

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


IBOL Guy counts 3,436 bundles of love received so far. He's even put up a video so we can all see what the warehouse looks like: check it out here.

This is such an amazing yield from the seed of one little idea. Makes you wonder what the rest of us could accomplish if only we didn't squelch those ideas we have that seem outrageous in the moment. Of course, he did plant that seed in especially fertile soil. I'd venture to say that there are few groups of people as generous and open-hearted as those involved in the textile arts.

Meanwhile, I haven't been playing in textiles so much lately. I've been drawing. Calamity Kim pointed me in the direction of and I got completely sucked in.

Basically Zentangles are organized doodling. If you buy the official supplies you're working on a lovely tile of handmade paper with archival ink. I've never had any confidence in my drawing skills but this is just pattern making, and on a small scale at that. I can see where it may have the effect of building my confidence over time.

Can you guess which holiday was on my mind when I did the tile below?

I see all sorts of similarities between these drawings and quilting. Each tile reminds me of a crazy quilt. The line drawings could easily be translated to quilting lines. Another perk I've discovered is that completing one of these takes much less time than completing even a small quilt!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Good Work!

I haven't been online much this week. But I have been monitoring the progress over at the Iraqi Bundles of Love blog.

IBOL Guy figures he's received 1,921 bundles so far. He thought he'd be doing good to get 50! Now he's getting whole pallets of boxes delivered directly to a warehouse. Amazing. The avalanche has only just begun too. What a fantastic grassroots project this has been. Just goes to show what one person can accomplish with a little help from his/her friends. :- )

Speaking of friends, this week I remembered that I still had a pile of blocks from one of the first quilt block swaps I ever participated in. There were about half a dozen of us who took up the challenge to use a print by Marcus Brothers in all of our blocks. We each made enough of one block pattern to swap with everyone else in the group and keep one for ourselves. For example, I made 6 identical blocks, kept one for myself and traded the other five for blocks the other ladies had made. We were all brand new quilters so of course none of the blocks came out the same size. That was the first stumbling block to getting them set together. I solved that problem by framing each block with strips and then cutting them down to the same size. Before I could get them set together into a top we moved across country. I've pulled the blocks out a few times since then but never could get them sewn into a top for one reason or another. Finally, after some 20 years, I guess they had matured enough for me to make them behave. (Or maybe it was me that matured?!) Seriously, I think this was probably the oldest UFO I had in my closet. It's now a twin size top that will be quilted and then delivered to a Foster Child somewhere in the region.

By themselves the blocks gave me the width I wanted for a twin size quilt but I didn't have quite enough length. Fortunately I still had a good bit of the challenge fabric leftover and some strips from framing the blocks. The challenge fabric is the light print between the blocks and the strippy border. If I were to do it over again I would make that a narrower band in the border but I'm not doing it over! This one is outta here - and on its' way to do someone some good I hope.

There were four blocks that didn't make it into the final version of the quilt top. I didn't think to photograph them for you - just as I didn't take the time to take pictures during the process of creating the quilt top. Rest assured they will end up in another quilt top, probably one made exclusively of orphan blocks. ;- )

Monday, September 7, 2009

Parrot Challenge #1

Time totally got away from me! Guess I've been kind of distracted - DH took a few extra days off and forgot to tell me he was doing so, we've been having computer issues, and one son is getting ready to move back to school. I have managed to do a bit of stitching at least. Remember this?

I'm challenging myself to make a series of beaded cards using photographs of various parrots as my jumping off point. This is the first one, inspired by Major Mitchell's Cockatoos. It now looks like this:

I still have to put a back on it but I think the embellishing is done.

And I found this box at the thrift shop. Is it perfect or what?! It originally had notecards in it, some of them with the Hyacinth Macaws featured on the box top.

My beaded cards may not all fit, depending on how three dimensional they get and how many of them I make, but in the beginning it will be a perfect home for them.

Meanwhile, on the IBOL front, the bundle count is up to 449! I have a feeling that number going to double before all is said and done. :- )

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Old Mother Hubbard

The IBOL Guy has some really powerful contacts. For example, he knows Old Mother Hubbard and Agent 51. Mother Hubbard is gathering shoes and clothing and school supplies and toiletries and even a few toys to distribute among some deserving orphans in Iraq. Agent 51 is overseeing the distribution of all the goodies. Oh yes, the US Postal Service is helping out too. ;- )

I was able to get just a glimpse of some of the things Old Mother Hubbard is sending. Look at this darling doll made by kwilt4u:

I managed to slip a couple of bags of marbles into one box too.

The orphans will receive their surprises before the end of Ramadan if everything goes according to plan. It feels so good to reach out in love to those in need.