Monday, December 27, 2021

Christmas Cheer

 In our part of the world Christmas Day is most often gray and wet. We actually had a white Christmas this year! It began about mid-morning on Christmas Day...

One little rosebud on my Queen of Sweden bush.

 But kept falling the rest of the day and overnight.

It got even deeper after this photo was taken. We're seeing some of the lowest temperatures I remember ever experiencing up here too. It was all of seven degrees Fahrenheit when I got up this morning. Thank goodness our power has not failed! The sun is out now, and while the snow looks heavy and wet I doubt it will be melting away soon. The real problem is the ice underneath the snow. One branch of that rosebush has been frozen to the porch railing. We had to work to get the patio door open at all to let the dog out this morning too. 

We're hoping the roads will be made safe for travel by mid week so our daughter and her family can drive over for our delayed gift exchange. We haven't spent any real time with those grandgirls in two years, for obvious reasons. Our son and daughter-in-law in Arizona set up a Zoom call so we could see the newest granddaughter in action. That was delightful. 

The gifts I received this year were diverse and thoughtful. I was very impressed that my good friend and my sisters-in-law all thought to provide me with safe bar soaps. I'd run into difficulties finding my favorite brand and variety of bath soap in the fall. C~ made a friend through Ravelry who makes soaps specifically for people with MCS. She ordered three bars and a bag of "coffee grounds" for me. The two darker bars have coffee grounds in them (I'm not sure why or what benefit they may offer) and the bag contains shards or off-cuts from when the bars are made. It will be fun to try them out. 😊

The box with the snowman on the lid was chock full of little bars of my favorite soap.

There was also a little box of pins with cute little bird toppers that didn't make it into the photo shoot. The stack of books was very welcome as I'd run out of things to read. Having a lightweight paperback in my hands may keep me from trying to sew again too soon. Brand new paperbacks seem to be safe for me - so far, knock on wood. I sure miss being able to check books out of the library though. That's the best way to discover new authors and genres to read in my experience. And far less expensive! 

The poinsettia plant was a late arrival from my husband. He's been suffering from insomnia and overlooked it when he was rounding up the gifts for under the tree. The poinsettia represents a professional flower arrangement to be delivered each month for the coming year. Woohoo! That really lifts my spirits. 

Oh, and how could I forget?! James felted up a couple of toadstools for a friend of his, then went on to make this for me!

 I wish I could capture the texture better for you. There's real dimension to the log on which the mushrooms are "growing." The leaves surrounding the picture were leftovers from an Oberon costume he'd made some years ago.

He did a very neat job of the back of the piece too. Better than I'd done with an embroidery I left framed in the hoop I used to stitch it!

As we approached Christmas I thought my arms were improving and had hope of being able to pick up a needle again soon. I don't know if the holiday activities have aggravated things or what, but I'm having more pain again which is very discouraging. I'm desperately hoping I won't have to have surgery for a multitude of reasons. Crossed fingers, positive thoughts, prayers on my behalf are all encouraged and welcomed. 😁

Monday, December 20, 2021

Full Stop

 I  made some additional progress on the new quilt top out of the Parts Department. Built a couple of 12" blocks out of 6" parts and then sashed the blocks with scrap strips to mimic the Chinese Coins columns I intend to put between and on either side of these three columns.

But now I seem to be suffering from a flare of carpal tunnel syndrome. I tried a bit of needlework...

And had to quit due to the shooting pain up my forearm. This was meant to be my ATC for week 50 of the #52tagshannemade project. My hope of having a complete set of ATC's by the end of the year has evaporated. I am determined to fulfill the final prompts eventually, it just won't happen this year, darn it. There won't be much, if any, progress on quilts in the immediate future either. Both arms are acting up actually, the left less than my dominant right side, but enough to keep me from using either to the extent I normally would. {sigh} This is NOT FUN. 😒 I am feeling more like the Grinch this Christmas than Sally-Mae Who (or whatever her name is). 

May your holidays be brighter than mine this year! ❤️

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Scrap Happy in December

 How is it possible that we are halfway through the month of December already?! Having just finished up what's absolutely necessary in preparation for Christmas I turned my attention to busting some scraps. 

First I sewed up these 3" (finished) half-square triangle units.

And then I sewed up another batch. 

 There are over 100. I have no idea what I'm going to do with them yet. 

The destruction wrought by a spate of tornadoes through the central US over the weekend spurred me to get out blocks from my Parts Department to see what I could pull together for a potential donation quilt.

 Pondered them overnight, dug out some parts I'd made that I could turn into a few more 12" (finished) blocks, and arrived at this point:

I'm thinking I will build this quilt in a strippy format (vertical columns). These pieced blocks will be the focal columns and I'll use the leftover 6" Chinese Coins strips friends in my local guild made for the four alternate columns. It remains to be seen how well that will work.

I now have blocks for these three columns but still have to decide what to do about sashing them. 

 It will definitely be fabric I already have on hand. I have fabric that's been donated from another quilter's stash I can probably use for a back... but let's not get ahead of ourselves! 

This scrappy link party is hosted by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden with participants all around the globe. Everyone posts in their own time zone on the 15th of each month if/when they have something to share. There will be inspiring projects in an assortment of mediums. 😊

KateGun, Eva, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen, Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear, Preeti, Edith, Debbierose

And if I don't get back here again before the year is over, I hope all my readers have a safe and happy holiday season! 🎁

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Christmas Sewing Finished

At least for the time being. I'm not planning to do any more than these 14 potholders but you never know!

 I actually made 16 potholders, one more set than I really need.

No doubt I will find someone or somewhere to gift them. 😉

I'm having trouble with my new eyeglasses. (They're not that new anymore - got them about six months ago.) We've changed out the nose pads, installed something called a nose bridge, and still my nose feels like it's been bruised at the end of a day wearing them. I cannot function without my glasses. Well, maybe at very close range but that's all. I'll be calling the vision clinic to order up the new prescription for my old frames in the morning. 

I have fallen behind on the #52tags project. I know, I haven't been sharing most of my ATC's for that project here. They go on Instagram when I've completed one and remember to post it. Probably won't be doing much on Instagram after this year. I'm just not a social media kind of gal. I have been thinking about a year-long project for next year though. One piece a month probably, like the Bead Journal Project I did for a few years. I do like journaling through my textile work one way or another. I intend to get caught up with my ATC's for #52tagshannemade but holiday preparations get the higher priority at this time of year. 😊

Monday, November 15, 2021

Scrap Happy in November

 Honestly, if it weren't for this link party hosted by Kate and Gun I might not update this blog for weeks at a time! I way behind on reading the posts of others too. Oh well. I'm doing the best I can. 😌

I have begun a few more potholders since my last post. 

Most will become gifts for the holiday season so I won't show more of them yet.

These are turning out to be a great way to use up some of my older yardage. At the same time, they create more scraps to use in future blocks.  The only new material that goes into them is the heat reflective layer that goes between the two layers of scrap batting. 

The new scraps - and a lot of old ones - are going into more blocks for the Parts Department.

Not that the Parts Dept. is in any real need of them. 😉

 The greater need is for me to put them to good use somehow!

Some of the blocks added to the Parts Dept. recently were made entirely of batik scraps. All of these blocks will finish at 6" square (in spite of how large they might appear). The potholders finish at 8" square.

 Hopefully one of these days I'll have the well-being to begin a larger project.

Below is the current link list for those who usually participate in our Scrap Happy Day postings on the 15th of each month. They may or may not have a scrappy project to share every time but their blogs are inspiring nevertheless. 😊

KateGun, Eva, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule,
Gwen, Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Esther

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Beginning With Endings

Here at the beginning of November I have finally put the last stitches in the binding of my batik Crowns quilt and laundered it.

 It's just under 60" square and will be donated to our local hospice organization. I have also finally laundered Sticks and Stumps, which is headed for the foster care program.

It's about 51"wide x 60" long. 

It was quite an ordeal to get these photos. The wooden clamps were only hanging from push pins for all these years. They finally fell out and wouldn't stay put. So I had James come in and put actual nails in the wall. The goal was to place the nails to allow for any of the most common width quilts I make to be hung. That involved some figuring, which neither of us was particularly suited for at the time.  What's done is done now and I'll do my best to make it work. 

The big question now is, what will I start next? (And how soon?!)

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Small Finishes

 Apparently the potholders I made for family members almost 20 years ago need to be replaced. It's good to know they've been used and have held up for so long! It was my SIL who made the first request. I whipped up a pair for her last month or so and sent them off. It doesn't appear that I took pictures of them however. It was that effort that prompted me to make potholders for the fundraising auction for the Disabled Artists Foundation in November. Just this morning our daughter told the tale of her set of potholders. Still in use, but crusty and stained from use. So I made a new set for her:

She's still a fan of frogs, just as she was 18 years ago when I made the first pair for her. 

 I think my first efforts were foundation pieced onto batting, and typically crazy patch. Now I find it easier to just cut the strips to piece the top. There's a piece of batting under the front and the whole cloth back, and one layer of the heat reflective material in the very middle. I used a decorative stitch to secure the layers this time. Not pristine, but sturdy. The pseudo feather stitch fills the white space better than simple straight stitching would have done. 

The other small finish I have to share is another needlepoint coin/credit card case.

 This one began as a blank canvas and the patterning is my own design. I truly thought I'd found the center point accurately before I began stitching. Oh well, can't win 'em all!

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Four Plus One

After the interruption on Scrap Happy Day I managed to create parts for four sets of potholders.

Here they are a few days later...



Christmas Pigs and Gnomes



And a fifth set!


 These are on their way to the Disabled Artists Foundation Inc. (dAFi) for the November fundraising auction. The auctions are held online, via YouTube, on the second Saturday of each month. The proceeds make it possible to send art making supplies to folks who benefit from creative endeavors but are not able to purchase supplies for themselves. Some of the artists make and donate items back to the organization for future fund raising. It feels good to be able to make things that benefit others one way or another. 😊

Friday, October 15, 2021

Not So Scrap Happy Day

 I have been in the land of fiction most of this week, even though I knew Scrap Happy Day was looming. I wanted to sew, I just couldn't make myself do anything. The lingering effects of exposure to toxins. I did get a few scrap blocks made up for the Parts Department since my last blog post.

This morning I finally felt like sewing again and started two log cabin style blocks intended to end up as potholders.

All but the final two strips along the top and bottom to complete the blocks. At this point Luna had a seizure. She's been on an anti-seizure medication for not quite a month. Apparently it's not a high enough dose. She will be seeing the vet this very day to look into that. Meanwhile, I've had to stop to clean up the carpet and see to her recovery. Things will get better one of these days. In the meantime, here's the link list for others who are putting their scraps to good purpose or just have interesting blogs for you to peruse.

KateGun, Eva, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule,
Gwen, Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Esther