Friday, February 27, 2015

The Weather, and Under It

OK so maybe we don't have as much as the East Coast.

We have enough to make the birds unhappy...
And DANG but it's cold this week!  The normal high is in the low to mid 30's but we've been having below zero temps and/or wind chills for what seems like months.


And to top it all off, this week I'm under it.  The weather I mean.

This should give you some clues as to how I'm feeling.

Taking a lot of this.(I know, I've kind of got that same fuzzy feeling in my head...)

Drinking lots of water....
Using up a lot of these!

My boss says I sound like a frog on the phone.  I have coughed so much my sides ache, and not in a good way!
I am looking forward to a NICE quiet weekend of vegging on the couch.
Although I did get a new package of yarn yesterday --  but knitting doesn't seem too strenuous as long as the pattern is easy.  I grabbed up a kit for a baby sweater from the clearance section of Love of Knitting this week and it arrived quickly. 
Yeah, that much I think I am capable of.
As long as no one moves my tissues.
Knit on...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Comment or not... as you wish!

Whatever I did to restore comments apparently only works on new posts.  Perhaps because I had a thirteen year old helper rather than the requisite nine year old, or I read the directions incorrectly or something.

Regardless, you may now comment if you choose on new posts.

Sorry about the older ones.  :-(

Sew on...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

No Comment...

Evidently somewhere along the line, either through change in Blogger or the infamous User Error, the ability for you the reader to comment on my blog posts has become invisible.

Rest assured that I am working on it.

I think I have to get a nine-year-old to help me.

Sew on...

Monday, February 16, 2015

Leftover Bits - Stash Control

Just like making a quilt or garment leaves scraps, so does knitting and crochet.

I had a bag, a box and a fishbowl that were all full of tiny balls of yarn left over from previous projects.  I'm talking small -- too small even for making doll sweaters.  Some of them could have made doll a SLIPPER, but really, how many dolls want only one slipper?  I'm not changing yarns and weaving in ends in a slipper that is less than 3 inches long.

So I decided to try to use all of those bits and crochet an afghan for the back of the sofa.  When I first learned how to crochet, I made an afghan using a neat pattern that put stitches down a row from where you normally do, and alternating them every ten stitches or so created a kind of zigzag pattern.  Done in colors with black and white thrown in for contrast makes a striking garment.  Plus I love black and white stuff and I have LOTS of black and white yarn.

The beauty of this method is that you don't have to have 'the right amount' of yarn, they don't have to even be the same kinds of yarn, although I found out that if you're using pure, shrinkable wool with acrylics and washable wool, you could have a problem, so all yarns should at least be washable.  If not, you'll be dry cleaning or hand washing a blanket!

In the zigzag pattern, you did one row at a time, going right to left as is normal in crochet, and cut off the yarn at the end of each row. 

You can see where I changed colors in the gray stripe just before I ended the row... I had run out of yarn completely so I just tied the new one on.  All the ends are hanging loose, like eyelashes where the color changes.  The black row has one stitch that dips down into the previous row and forms a point.  I even tried some shells for a couple of rows.

The great thing about this project is, it's done, the stash is busted, and it's warm when I toss it over my legs on the couch.

Crochet on...

Not Being Perfect...

Ever had that feeling??  Sometimes I feel like I'm really off -- a salmon swimming upstream, or a bird flying north when everyone else is going south.

 I sit near a guy in our office who makes a lot of noise.  We're in open cubes, and when he's not here, it is very quiet.  When he IS here, well, for instance today he kept saying
That's not something you want to hear all the time -- I mean it's OK if you're making toast and it gets a little burned, but if you're designing a retaining wall or a jet airplane, that's not a good thing!  (He isn't doing either, so don't panic!) 
Sometimes it's just that you're doing the right thing, but going about it the wrong way... like sewing the left sleeve in the right sleeve opening.  Or picking up the stitches on the wrong side of the neck edge of a sweater.

 We've been hearing a lot in our state recently about people who are driving the wrong way on the freeway.   It's OK right up until the moment you run into someone and cause a major accident.  This usually happens around 3 a.m. after bar close and generally involves an excessive level of blood alcohol content.

Then there's the Toilet Paper thing... there's a big debate.  Rolling off the front or rolling off the back.  For most of us, it's just a matter of preference.

However, if you live with a cat or even a toddler, there can be a wrong way to do it.  

I mean I try to do things the best way possible.  I get upset with myself when I make mistakes.  I'll admit it, I'm a Type A personality most of the time. 

However -- it's good to acknowledge that we're ONLY human.  I've been hearing a lot about giving yourself permission to make a mistake or have a bad idea.  I was watching a TV program, and a very creative person said that for every wonderful idea she has, she may have 40 or 50 stinkers.  Wow!

Think about baseball.  A player with a good batting average - the top 5 in any season - may be at .325 or so, according to Wikipedia.  The best there is in baseball may only achieve .372 in a lifetime.  That's just a little over 1 hit every three times at bat.  And home runs?  The best Babe Ruth ever did was an average of 1 in every five games.

And let's not even discuss the weatherman!

We have good days where we bat 1,000 - a hit every time.  Sometimes we strike out three or four times in a row.  So sometimes when things are not working out for you, maybe you're just doing the right thing in the wrong way... 
Take a deep breath.  Step back, look at things again.  Toss anything that isn't right, but give yourself permission to use the stuff that doesn't work as a jumping off point to fuel your creativity and do things over.  If it doesn't work, at least you tried something.
Maybe all you need is a new perspective!
Sew on...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

All Thumbs

I just tried signing in to Google to update this blog and it took me four tries -- FOUR! -- to type in my email address.  First I had my hand on the wrong keys.  Then I had one hand on the wrong keys... boy, it's going to be that kind of day.

Last night was the regularly scheduled meeting of my local quilt guild.  We had a super speaker!  Chris Kirsch is a local quilting celebrity, and evidently she started out in our guild!  She spoke last night about the connections between garments and quilts.

Her web site is here if you'd like to check it out:

and her work is stunning.  I especially liked it that she spoke about her faith and how important it is to represent it in her quilting. 

After the meeting we had some show and tell.  That's always fun, don't you agree?  We had just finished a sew-along so lots of ladies had used the same pattern.  I was again amazed that people using the same pattern could come up with such a diverse group of finished items.  There were many table runners and one full quilt among the SAL group, and they were awesome.

We always wish happy birthdays to those celebrating during the month.  My friend Suzi had had a birthday the day before and I'd made her a tote bag from one of the Nancy's Notions templates.  I'd made one for myself and she said she 'coveted that bag'.  So last week I dug around in the resource center and came up with some quilted fabric I picked up, who knows how long ago, and made one for her.  She showed it briefly last night.  Wouldn't you know I forgot to snap a picture of it before I gave it to her -- although I DO have a pic of the original:

Here it is on my ironing board. 

Sideways with the bottom and straps showing.
It's the Florida bag from Clover designed by Nancy Zieman.  We had a big piece of upholstery fabric in our stash at church, and it was too slippery to use in any of our own projects, so we split it between three of us and we all made a bag. 

My piece happened to land near that green check in the 'someday' pile, and I went "Eureka!"...  The center panels are checked, also upholstery weight fabric, as are the straps.  The whole bag is lined with muslin because that's what I had that matched.  The button came from one of my American Sewing Guild conference experiences.

The gift bag is a blue printed double-sided pre-quilted fabric that I think I got at Sewing Weekend one year.  Suzi just happened to be wearing an outfit on Sunday that coordinated in an awesome bout of serendipity... as if they were meant to be together, she and that bag!

I had nothing to show.  My projects at present are all UFOs.  <sigh>

At the end of the meeting one of the ladies told us that another of the members was lucky to be there at all -- here's the story, short form.  She got up in the middle of the night to use the facilities, and she had a pain in her back.  She took some aspirin.  She could not get comfortable and her arm started to hurt, but none of this was bad pain, about 4 on a scale of 10.  Not being able to go back to sleep she decided to call her doctor's answering service.  THEY recommended that she get to the ER.  She called 911 rather than drive herself, although she said she had considered it.

Diagnosis:  heart attack.

Heart attack symptoms in women are NOT like they are for men!  Coincidentally, this week is Go Red for Women in our building... since one of our neighbors on this floor is the American Heart Association, here's a plug for them:
And here's the web site:

Having been through this with one of the aunties, I hope everyone gets themselves informed.  According to AHA, one in three women die of heart disease or stroke every year.  33%!!  The next time you're with two other women, or three women if you're a guy, ask yourself which one of them could you bear to lose this year?  Yes, it's that big a deal.

Getting off the soapbox now... carry on!

Friday, February 6, 2015

It's Friday!

This week has gone whizzing by!  Sometimes they're like that.  Other times not so much...

Checking the Blogs:

I have my favorites, don't you?  I really should update my list because I've added a few more and a couple of people aren't blogging regularly. 

Every day I have to check on Rita Farro's world.  She's redoing her laundry room.  She has a thing for painted furniture that fascinates me.

Then I usually check out what's up at Patchwork Times with Judy Laquidara.  Funny thing, I was looking for sewing blogs and hers caught my eye because her last name is the same as a guy I used to work with, but it's not the same family.  I have to hear about Judy's chickens, and her dogs and cat, and what's going on in Texas, like how many scorpions she saw today!

I also read Carrie Nelson's blog.  I used to read her over at Miss Rosie's Quilt Company, but she recently grabbed up a position at Moda, so that's exciting and cool.

Sometimes I pop over to Madison to check in on Denise Russert.  It's her fault She's the reason I started shopping at the Loopy Ewe... !!

Recently I've been checking in on Mary Fons at Paper Girl.  Mary's been on my mind lately because she's going through some health issues but also because I am a big fan of Fons & Porter, and now Fons & Fons!  I've seen Marianne Fons speak at various venues.  Did I ever tell you that I once made a set of oriental vests for Marianne and Liz?  Never saw them wear them, but oh well...  anyway I love Mary's writing style and her fresh approach to quilting.  She's on Facebook if you're interested.  Keeping good thoughts for Mary!


I don't watch a lot.  I probably watch too much than is good for me, but there are a few things I just love.  Sewing with Nancy of course, CSI in all its versions, NCIS, Major Crimes and Rizzoli and Isles.  Noting a couple of themes here??  LOL! 

But I also watch stuff on PBS like Downton Abbey and Grantchester (both period dramas) and Masterpiece Mystery no matter what's on.

Lately on Thursdays DH and I have been watching Around the Corner with John McGivern.  He goes to some local neighborhood and finds out what's special and cool about that area.  Last night the show featured Sturgeon Bay.  For the non-initiated, you have to drive through Sturgeon Bay to get to the picturesque confines of Northern Door County.  It's in the center of Southern Door County, the gateway to vacationland, but that's another story.

So I'm watching the program and because I've been there I was enjoying it immensely!  When what do I see but a friend of mine on the screen!  Yep, I almost fell off the couch...  first the voice.  I know that voice.  They're showing a small church and I hear a familiar voice.  Then THERE she is on the screen, Nancy Bontempo!  We used to work together a couple of jobs back, and we became very good friends... I adore her hubby too, he's one of those people you just have to love.

Anyway, there she is talking about the Friends Community Church. 

I knew she moved to Sturgeon Bay, she grew up in the area and worked in Green Bay after high school.  But I didn't know she was a Friend...
Looking good Nancy!
The Hair Cut:

I FINALLY got my hair cut!!  I completely blew my January 22 appointment.  Well, it's not totally my fault... they always --- always -- call and remind people of their appointments.  Except when the receptionist takes a vacation.

And that's the one I put in my calendar as January 29.

Close but no cigar.

Turns out several people missed their appointments that week.

I still feel stupid.  And my hair was OUT OF CONTROL for almost two weeks.  UGH!


Yes, I did get something done this week:

I finished everything on this sized three months baby sweater except sewing in the zipper down the center back.  Yesterday I showed it to my daughter while Hubby was looking.  The conversation went like this:

Daughter:  That's cute.  I like the color.
Hubby:  Who's that for?
Me:  Son's co-worker is having a baby in the spring.
Hubby:  How do you know it will fit?  It looks kind of small.
Daughter and me simultaneously:  IT'S FOR A BABY!

Fabric Acquisition Road Trip:

I wrote about going to visit Janice in the nursing home, after which we went to a thrift shop and to Ben Franklin crafts, where I picked up quite a number of yards of fabric.  Mostly out of the clearance bins, but I did buy one piece of regular priced fabric.  It's a floral print with a gray background and pink, yellow and green of course.  I figured out the repeat and cut three pieces to do a Stack and Whack kind of thing.  I really like it!  But I only bought one yard and the repeat is pretty large.  I might have to go back there tomorrow.  Oh well...

Knit and sew on...

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Non-Sewing Activities

Saturday my friend Suzi, my oldest granddaughter and I went to visit a lady from our congregation who is in a nursing home recovering from a stroke.  We dropped in with a quilt from the church guild and to offer her a small bit of comfort and love from those who miss seeing her on Sunday morning.

We chose this quilt to deliver.  I'm not sure why, maybe it was the brightness or the quilting or just because it was near the top of the pile.

It must have been meant to be because Janice was wearing a tee shirt in a flowered print with yellow in it.  She smiled a lot when we laid it in her lap.  We told her how much love came with it, and prayed with her that it would aid in her recovery.

She struggled to say something, not because she was choked up, even though she was, but as a result of the stroke she struggles to say anything.  It's frustrating to be unable to convey even the simplest ideas, and my heart just broke for her.  I'm sure she's getting therapy but she's not really able to visit back.  I pray we brought her some enjoyment!

I'm determined to put visiting her again on my list of things to do.  I might find something interesting to read to her next time.

As we were leaving the building we spotted a resale shop we'd never seen before.  We decided to drop in and see what they had.  Kind of restoring the heart after feeling so sad for Janice.

Here are my most favorite finds:

This beautiful bowl is now on my cabinet with fresh fruit in it.

I cannot resist lilies of the valley.  Born in May, it's 'my' flower.
So all in all it was a good day.  My granddaughter found some neat stuff both at the resale shop and at the Ben Franklin Crafts store.  We had a nice lunch and got home before the snowstorm.

Oh yeah, it snowed.  And snowed.  And blew around.

Here's my parking lot today:

Sew on...