Thursday, April 17, 2014

Where Has The Time Gone??

I looked at the calendar today to check the date for something I was working on and it's April 17!  Where has the month gone??  Where has the year gone?  Does time really run faster these days or is it my imagination!?

Two weeks from today I'll be driving my car north to beautiful little Beaver Dam, Wisconsin for Sewing Weekend... WOW I AM EXCITED!!  Nancy's Notions warehouse will be bulging at the seams with stash enhancement opportunities and all the latest gadgets and patterns.

I love books and I love sewing, and books about sewing seem to send me right over the edge.  I have winnowed my collection of things that are outdated or unused.  I wonder if any of you picked up my old books at the Goodwill?  LOL!

Last month I cleaned out a small area in my big storage closet and tossed scraps and bits of old interfacings and stabilizers, discarded spools of thread where there appeared to be only wisps on the spools -- not enough for even filling one hand needle.  I also consolidated needles into full or nearly full cases and tossed all the empties.

By the way, did you know it's better to put all of your bent and broken pins and needles into a small container than just to toss them in the trash??  Oh yeah, ask me how I know this.  Also you should not just toss the container when you're done, most cities have a time for 'hazardous waste disposal' where you can get rid of things like old paint cans, etc. and you can toss your broken pins and needles at the same time.  And don't even THINK about using old dull needles in your sewing machine, or for anything else!

So the point of this whole post is that hopefully I am cleared out of old junk and ready to restock in Beaver Dam in a couple of weeks.  :-)

Color me happy!

Sew on...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Judy Made Me Do It!!

Most mornings I do the same thing, my regular routine... I get up and shower, get ready for work, go downstairs to greet the hubby and grands, make my lunch and drive to the office.  Today, hubby said "the computer's broken", which really means "I saw something I didn't understand, can you please fix it?"

It was a pretty easy fix, a Microsoft message that didn't require response, but then I had to check the internet, because he has to check the bank statement and his lottery numbers or the whole day will go badly.

So I checked a couple of my favorite websites, Rita's Sew Fun blog and Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times. 

Judy loves a yarn shop in Colorado called the Loopy Ewe.  I've seen her blog about Loopy challenges, and her yarn stash grows with the most gorgeous colors of hand-dyed yarn that I have ever seen.  And when she knits these wonderful yarns into garment she posts photos that make me jealous -- first of the yarn and second that she actually completes things!

I saw a scarf she knitted called the Hitchhiker.  There's a reference to a book about 43 steps or something, I know I'm not getting it right, but this scarf has one edge that curves around your neck, and the other has periodic decreases that create little steps.  You can find the pattern like I did, on, which is a site for knitting and crochet projects and patterns.  You join for free, but the pattern is not.  I bought it and made one with some variegated yarn I had, which turned out really well.  If I had taken a picture before I gave it away, you'd see it here.  (Next one, I promise.)

Today I also checked out Just Quilting, a blog by Denise Russart who also sews and knits.  She was talking about having sent in an inspiration for colors for hand dyed yarn to guess where, Loopy Ewe!  Her color is called Denise's Mandarin Duck.  OMG the picture of the duck is gorgeous.  She said Judy had asked her about it.

Of course I HAD to go look at the yarn at  I had to. 

Judy made me do it!

I ordered some -- not the Mandarin Duck, I started looking at the colors and the other hand dyed yarns, and before I knew it, I had five skeins in my cart.  I bought some red/teal/black/white called Lisa's World Fair Celebration dyed by Lorna's Laces, and some green/teal/brown called Lark which is dyed by Huckleberry Knits.

I'm going to try the Loopy Challenge for the second quarter of 2014, which is to knit (and finish and post a photo) of something made with multicolored yarn. 

If you read my blog you know that my speed is little things that knit up quickly.  Baby sweaters, doll clothes.  Scarves.  Maybe some socks.  This challenge will have to be done by the end of June.  Wish me luck!

Hopefully I can do something for myself.  I was thinking of another Hitchhiker that I will keep. 

Fingers crossed... knit on!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Things You Learned in School...

If you've known a kid, had a kid, or been a kid, you know at some point in your school years there comes a time when you hear something and you say to yourself "Why do I have to learn this?  I'm never going to use it!"

Most of the girls I knew said that about gym class and many of them said that about algebra.  My daughter said it about algebra.  I said it about geometry!  But never, ever, did I ever say it about spelling and grammar.  My mom said swearing was a sign of a poor vocabulary, and I did NOT want a poor vocabulary.  No way.

Now that I'm a quilter and a knitter, that geometry is coming in really handy!  And I use math and algebra all the time, at work and at home.  Can you cook without knowing math?  Try doubling a recipe... I'm just sayin'.

In this country we should be proud that good education is available to so many people.  In other places education is saved for the rich, or for men, but here in America anyone can go to school.  Children, even those with disabilities that are profound, have opportunity to learn.  Adults go back to school all the time, to finish a degree, to complete a GED because they dropped out of high school, or just to pick up a new skill or two.

You can even teach yourself.  If you want to learn something, you can find a way.  Refresher courses, adult education, vocational school, You Tube, books from the bookstore or the library, mentors, friends, it's all there.  You can even learn from radio and TV.

There are references to 'talking like the man on the six o'clock news'.  Anchor people usually try to lose any regional accents and polish their speaking skills if they want to get beyond local markets.  They're pretty good at reading the news from the teleprompter or script, and most of the time they do a fine job of sounding educated.

So they must have learned things fairly well in English classes.  I wish everyone could do that. 

I have a few pet peeves in the grammar area.  One is the misuse of the words 'me, myself and I'.  As in "If you have any questions, please call John or myself" or "please call John or I" -- if John were not an option, would you call myself?  Not so much.  OK, not a big deal.

Then there's the whole apostrophe thing.  John's Deli.  OK.  Walk-in's welcome.  No.  The problem is, sometimes if you type walk-ins, spell check wants to fix that for you.  So, how about when you use it's and when you use its?  It's a fine day.  The dog lost its bone.

Boy, I really feel for people who have to learn English as a second language!  The rules can be pretty obscure sometimes! 

I read a book called Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss.  OMG I laughed SO hard, but everything she said was true...

Lots of people use bad grammar and don't realize it, but lots of folks should know better.  I know someone who wants a better job than the one she has, and she has had some interviews but no offers.  I want so much to tell her that if she could polish up her speaking skills she'd have a better chance.  You're not going to get a job if the word 'ain't' is a staple in your vocabulary.  Or if you continually use me, myself and I in the wrong places.  And don't get me started on who and whom!

I tell everyone who will listen, learn everything you can about anything that's available.  You never know when it might come in handy.  I wish they'd paste that into every grammar textbook on the planet.

Sew on...

Thursday, March 27, 2014


No, not the annoying song -- although some of you will have that running through your head like I do now.  You're welcome.

I've been feeling a little sluggish for the past week.  I have one of those girlie infections of the not fatal but really, really inconvenient variety.  That makes more than 5 in the past 12 months.  I have a referral to a urologist, and when I called for an appointment I got one - in MAY.

I need to set up an account at the urgent care, and just get an express line pass!

So I'm trying to figure out how to feel peppier.

Here's looking at you...
Then I had some floaters and flashing lights in my right eye -- which prompted a visit to the optical guy.  I have a follow up appointment next week, but so far it's just the aging process.

Oh joy. 

Work isn't helping, it's busy, it's the end of the quarter, maybe it's even a full moon.  People are cranky and they want everything yesterday.  One of my project managers just asked me about a bill we've been paying for something we've been buying annually for the past  13 years, and he acted like it was the first time he's ever seen it!

I'm praying for extra grace this week.  My mom used to say you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  Who wants flies, I want to know??  I'm working to be nice rather than swatting...

The aunties are on a world tour looking for sunshine.  I miss them!  I could use a hug right now.

Maybe I need some retail therapy!!
OH NO, NOT this...
I think this time of year when everything is gray and brown, I get a little blue.  If I could only actually turn blue, it might be helpful.  I'm tired of winter clothes, and I can barely tolerate wearing my winter coat any longer.  I want to buy myself something in bright green and wear it for a week!

I use this method...
Trying to spend some time in my sewing room didn't work out too well last week because the place was such a mess I spent most of the time cleaning and reorganizing.  But I came up with some really good ideas for storage, using the things I already had.  And I spent about an hour cutting down a box of scraps into my favorite sizes and putting them in bins.  I almost feel ready to start a new project.

OK, I'm feeling better now.  Can't wait for spring!  I want to see the gazillion greens of southeastern Wisconsin, and my daffodils and heck, even dandelions!!
So Mother Nature, if you're reading this, bring it on. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Something in My Eye

Actually there's a lot of things in my eyes, and I'm so glad they're there!

I had an interesting experience over the weekend. I started seeing these little flashes of light, reminiscent of lightning, off to the right side of my right eye. At first I thought something was wrong with the kitchen light fixture again, but then it happened in the upstairs hall and in the garage.

Then I saw what most people call floaters. You know, where you see shadows or dots, but they're not really there.

I mentioned it at church on Sunday morning to my friend who is a nurse. She seemed concerned and told me to get in to see someone about it. I did some research on the web and found out that sometimes this indicates retinal detachment.

On Monday I called my optometrist, expecting to get a referral to an ophthalmologist, but Dr. wanted to see me right away. My eyes were dilated and he spent about 20 minutes looking into the back of my right (and left) eye with various types of lenses and lights. I think he even took some digital images.

My eyes stayed dilated for about six hours -- hard to see like this!!

Lucky me, no tears were found, but we're watching things closely, pun intended!

The retina goes around the vitreous sac of fluid in your eye;  the vitreous sac call pull away, and tear the retina, which could result in loss of vision if not repaired.  Not everyone who sees flashes gets retinal tears, but it's better to be safe than sorry!
Do you remember high school science class where they discussed cones and rods, and how some people are color blind and others see more than the normal range? I think I must be in that second group, or maybe my DH is in the first, because he'll say something is blue, and I can clearly see it's periwinkle or aqua or cerulean! I can tell the difference between shades of a color like green or red, and if I try to put together things that aren't quite right it bothers me.  That scarf with that blouse?  No way!

This paragraph is borrowed shamelessly from a site that shall remain nameless, but which clearly is as much in awe of eyes as I am:

"The retina is quite a complex portion of the eye. The retina is made up of 75-150 million rods and 7 million cones, figures which are difficult to fathom.  Images are created with the functioning of both the cones and the rods. Cones that are sensitive to light that is green, red and blue in color are absent in certain individuals which causes color blindness. The retina functions in a truly amazing way to compress the size of images to fit the scope of the optic nerve."

I have worn glasses since I was 14.  I wear contacts now, but I do wear readers for most close work.  I try to be very mindful of my vision. I cannot imaging what it would be like to miss seeing everything that is beautiful and colorful in this world. As you can probably guess, I don't do monochromatic very well or very often. I love bright jewel tones and strong color, but also pastels and black and white with any primary color.

If you haven't had an eye exam this year, I think you should schedule one. The eye doctor is the only one who's almost never going to hurt you! You only get one pair of eyes, take care of them.

If you're over 40 and are overweight, have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart conditions, or have had a stroke, you have extra risk factors. If you take certain medications you do too. Find out! People, the eye exam to get your driver's license does NOT count!!

Love your eyes. They're the windows to the world.

Sew on...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

One Way Conversations, Or Talking to Yourself?

Do you ever talk to yourself?

I do. Some days more than others. Some days no one else is listening. Some days I get the best answers from myself.

I try to have patience with people with whom I have actual conversations. But sometimes it's hard because there isn't the best connection. Like when I say something to one of the grands, but I use a word they don't know, and there's no reference point. You have to go back and explain. Then the conversation can move forward.

Or so you hope.

Email has made conversations less frequent, and often less necessary. This can be rather sad sometimes.

I had a recent e-correspondence with someone who was multi-tasking. They sent an email about one subject, which I was answering. Meanwhile, they were on to a different topic, and sent another email with a very similar topic, and RE: in the subject. You know, that reference to a previously held conversation.

My mind was still on the first topic. So I answered with reference to topic 1, and they responded with another question -- like "What? You said what now??" -- and I had a little side conversation with myself that went something like "And did you even READ my answer to your first question??"

Lucky for me, I didn't write and send that!

So I went back and read thoroughly through the email trail, and realized I was actually in two conversations with one person, and obviously not keeping up.

How much better did you like it before emailing, texting, Facebooking, and Twittering were the only way people communicated?  I don't mind emailing, or texting, or whatever.  But often the conversation would be better and maybe quicker, and certainly clearer, if it were on the phone or in person.

Face to face, you can see body language and expressions.  You get the whole effect.  You can read between the words.  Optimal, but not always possible.

If you call a person on the phone, the question gets answered or the topic gets discussed in a flow. Not always uninterrupted, but at least you're both in the same place in the conversation at the same time. So if someone does interrupt, or introduces a new topic, you have half a chance to follow along. Making rude conversations with yourself all but unnecessary.

Or one could hope.

Which is maybe why I like blogging. Stream of consciousness or writing because you are impelled to do so, on topic or just at random is more calming than trying to have multiple conversations at once, and sometimes with more than one person!

Call me old fashioned. Call me techno-challenged. Just call me!

Sew on...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Stash Report

OK, I am never going to actually tell anyone how much fabric I have in my stash because

honestly... I have no idea!

Seriously, no idea.

I know I have one large bin of each of blue, green, red, black/white, tan/cream quilting fabrics, and the green one overfloweth into a couple of small bins. I have what for me is a tiny bin of yellow, purple and orange.

I have what probably amounts to one large bin of Christmas fabric, and one more of multi-colored things that just could not be categorized.

There's a small bin of fruits & veg, and another one with florals I was always going to use for a landscape quilt. Honest. I bought the book and everything!

There's a half-sized big bin of batiks too. That came in handy when I took the class with Jan Krueger in Reedsburg a couple of years ago. Hey, I should get that top quilted, it's quite a stunner...

Honestly, I am never going to be this organized... wish I were!
Oh, I have a big bin of tops that are either ready for quilting or might need a final border before they're ready for quilting.

This is why I never count my stash.

I'm not going to tell you how many bins of garment fabrics I have. One of these days I have to get back to sewing for myself. Things I make fit me so much better than things I buy. Well, it is officially spring (according to Miss A) so it's probably time for cleaning out the closet anyway.

I spent so much time sewing and knitting doll clothes this winter that I am afraid my own spring wardrobe will suffer. Although in Wisconsin, we're still wearing winter coats every day. Some spring, huh? Who thought we could get so excited about 53 degrees!!

I did embroider the rest of the communion linens over the weekend, and while the embroidery machine was running I cut pieces for my eventual Flying Geese quilt, and also used my new template/ruler from Miss Rosie's Quilt Company, The Crumbler, to cut some tumbler pieces.

Oh, and because I used red thread instead of white (bad direction or a personal hearing problem, I don't know) on a dozen I have do to make some more, so I ordered a couple of yards of white linen from See, the stash grows even when I'm not intending it to grow.

Now I need to schedule some vacation time to sew. And sewing would go so much better if I could spend some time straightening up my room. I was cutting and making kits for the church sewing group, and it gets kinda messy when I'm doing that! I know, clean up as you go, right? Easier said than done sometimes.

Plans are coming together.  I guess spring is here, mentally if not physically!

Sew on...

Warm thoughts...

I'd love to read your comments, so please feel free to leave a little note when you've been here. If you like, become a follower! If you're interested in sharing your constructive criticism or warm thoughts, I'd like to hear from you!