Saturday, October 31, 2015

Things I Learned in Year 59 #2 Emotional Hygiene

"Emotional Hygiene"

A term I have never heard


Part of taking care of myself

is taking care of

my spirit.

Taking care of my spirit
My attitude
The ways I choose to think

Is essential to a happy life.

So this year I learned to watch out for things that drain my spirit.
Even if they are true :-)

I have fought hard to learn to see truth.
Now I need to fight to create new truth.

Yes, I struggle with depression.
But I also WIN.

So I am strong and I need to remember that.

Just like I learned to brush my teeth every day so I can keep them.

I need to bolster myself up every day,
I need to be my own best advocate
I need to believe in me
I need to remind myself that I am strong and vibrant and happy.

So I can stay that way.

Because I choose it.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Gossip :-(

When I learned through the newspaper of a controversy involving someone I know,  I sent an email note of support and condolence to her adult child (I didn't know her email)  And corresponded back and forth a little.

Truly, it's not my business but she is my friend.  And that is enough.  I can be her friend regardless of the truth of the allegation.  And I can grieve with her family for the pain they are all going through.

In a separate incident, I met with some friends yesterday.  And the newspaper article came up.  And was fodder for jokes and comments.

I kept quiet.

No one there knew that I knew either party.

And some of them knew both - apparently well.

But I am bothered that I kept quiet while the gossip rolled over me.  I usually do.  Keep quiet that is.... when it's gossip.  I did make some non-committal comment about nobody being perfect.... and try to change the topic.

and that is the truth.  No one is perfect.

I mean... who has walked in another's shoes?

Who's to say that I could not have been embroiled in the same situation?  Who's to say that I might have made bad choices?  Or been crucified by public opinion - if I had put myself in the public eye.

But I am sad for the families.  I am sad for the pain.

I am sad for the people who think that another's pain is funny.

And I am still conflicted about how I should have behaved.  Somehow I feel by my very presence that I am tainted.

What do YOU do when gossip rolls around you?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

How I Cut Up My Fabric Scraps....

Starting with a very odd shaped piece of BLUE.....

I have no idea what was made from this piece of fabric.... I think it was given to me....  but my first action was to press it very flat.

I looked at it with an eye to my end product..... squared off pieces with no irregular edges.  I want to end up with squares and rectangles I can use in scrap quilt projects.

I started by cutting off the tiny strips..  which might be trash...

.. or, once measured, might yield

an inch-sized rectangle for my collection... so there is ONE piece for me.  Set aside in a "Blue one-inch" sandwich bag.

Next....   still working to get that one big rectangle to the left...  I trimmed off the bottom piece...

Once I trimmed the selvedge edge (which some people don't :-), I had a 2.5-inch strip.  Assuming I have no specific project in mind.... I would put it into a "Blue 2.5-inch" bag.   If I DO have a specific project that uses 2.5-inch squares, I would go ahead and trim that up and allocate the remaining scraps to bags or trash...

..And then one more piece to cut off the bottom to square up the larger piece...

This one is 4-inches - again, I would either put the strip in a "Blue 4-inch bag" or,

as in this case, I had a project, so I cut it up into 4-inch squares.  Either way works and gets put in the bag (or with the project)

Oops!  One more little piece to trim off...

..which yielded another one-inch piece...

..and there  you have it!  That large irregularly shaped piece of fabric is now in usable shapes and sizes for the projects I chose in a prior post...

I put each sorted size in a zip-top sandwich bag and then into a designated container for BLUE.    As time goes on, I will have quite a collection of the various sizes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

WIP Wednesday Oct 28, 2015

I was at the beach last week and I took along my handwork (binding and embroidery) and my sewing machine (quilting).  And I got quite a lot finished.

I finished a gift

I particularly love the backing fabric... it has been in my stash for a while while I wondered what to do with it

Now I need to hook up with the recipient... Can't wait to see her face!

You've seen these before but I finished the binding on this one - still needs the label and I an add it to my growing collection of "quilt stories" to be published here next year :-)

and this one - I finally finished the embellishments on it - embroidery and a few buttons....

I finished the machine quilting on my jelly roll quilt and trimmed it up.

 I still need to bind it but I've put the fabric in a safe place and will have to discover that place before I can finish!  I am sure you know how that works!

I spotted a problem while machine quilting that I will hide with an applique later  (what is applique but fancy patching anyway, right>)

Had a bit of an epiphany while walking in a garden and somehow saw this little sight... and dreamed up a quilt block.  2016 is for starting, right?  I have the idea sketched out and will probably start before then BUT am continuing on my current path of working on and finishing current projects PLUS gifts for now....

So.... I already know I will be doing a little personal designing in 2016 - woo-hoo!  Didn't see that coming :-)

More binding to wind up some of the porch series (from Elanor Burns book Quilts Through the Seasons )

Spring  Porch throw

and wall hanging

and one of the Winter Porch wall hangings

2 more lovies to add to my stack - I think I am at 29 of 31 now and almost done, thank goodness!

and a hexie to add to my growing collection....

 I did a bit more machine quilting... and have lined up more quilts to be basted next weekend when I have a window of time for it.  I think I have 4 more basted and ready to machine quilt....  3 tops ready to sandwich..... 2 tops (the grandboys) that need me to piece the backings....  2 tops and backs that need more love to grow them bigger :-).. and more that I'm not thinking about yet :-)

In the meantime, cleaning out some of the handwork and finishing things up feels GOOD!

I visited a couple of quilt stores while at the beach and found fabric to finish the grandboys' quilts and work on the grandgirls.... and more to play with, of course!

So there is my week!  What's on YOUR craft to do list?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

70 Days Left in 2015..... Day 295/365


Sobering thought...

What do I want to accomplish in 2015?

Time to get cracking!

well... what did I SET OUT to accomplish?


and enjoy

every single day.

I can honestly say that I did that to the best that my SELF and CIRCUMSTANCES would allow.  All days are not enjoyable..... but there ARE bright spots in EVERY SINGLE DAY.

And I have definitely grown the habit of looking for and finding those spots.

I am a happier person all the way around.

I SET OUT to find


And take advantage of whatever adventures came my way.

Now I am sure that I have let some pass me by...... BUT I have grabbed hold of lots of them that I would have ignored in the past.

I continually asked myself "Why not?"

And I recognized and admitted my fears.

AND I blew past many of the fears by trying new things.....

and HONORED the strongest ones by allowing myself TIME and GRACE to leave some of those alone to heal some more.

I also gave the name ADVENTURE to things I have been too afraid to do....  which includes meeting new people, driving new places, and spending time alone.  Things that are not comfortable are ADVENTURES.

So... it has been an accomplished year already.... and I have grown more joyful and more adventurous.

So - it's time to stay the course....  and move forward in other areas.

I started a 75 day program to work on health and strength and body composition by the time I turn 60.....  Okay - I am calling it a program but it's mine.... logging food, water and steps.... a goal of increasing daily steps to 12,000...  daily green smoothie and cut veggies/fruit.... and continuing the process of eating more unprocessed foods.  I do need to do strength training but haven't made much progress there!  I am losing weight and sizes though so that is good....

Crafting - I am winding up quilts and other projects and that is reported elsewhere on this blog.

Business - (personal)I will work on Saint activity programs and begin a posting of my second children's history book.  I also need to create a plan for continuing the series in 2016. (family) keeping the books up to date for tax prep.

Household - working on our winter apartment (my house is was too big for two of us so we created a 3-room area to heat in the winter)  AND on decorating the rest of the house.  ** I need to create some concrete goals to accomplish in the next 2 months**

Also need to can some salsa & make pear jam SOON to make room in the freezer.  I haven't really canned much since I went to Hawaii.. I just froze the ingredients. [I also never finished my Hawaii trip posts BUT without hearing from my readers, I probably don't need to!]

So - there we go.... just a few projects for the next 70 days....  keeping in mind that the next 70 days include:

New Year preparation

and all the attendant chores of decorating, cooking, traveling and family management.

Yeah.... maybe I don't need to make a long list of regular stuff.  Maybe the holiday and family survival is list enough!

How about you?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

WIP Wednesday - Oct 21, 2015

This last week was all about getting ready to go to my home away from home, the BEACH at Nags Head, NC!

And, first I get to report that I did indeed finish my grandson's quilt... in time to wash, dry and deliver before I left town!


Back with autographed squares
Not fancy but my own... designed and stitched by me :-)  It feels absurdly cool to say that!

My second goal was to work on a class I am taking - Advanced Virginia sampler.  All blocks having to do with my home state - and a higher skill level so I can improve.  In other words... stuff that is HARD and I don't want to put the time into it.  <sigh>     But here is one of them....

Colonial Pavement block
But I know I need to take the more advanced classes in order to improve.  So there ya go...  I managed to finish 6 of 9 in the days before the trip...even with the more difficult cutting techniques.... that left me with little triangles.  Have I ever mentioned that I don't like to store triangles in my scrap bin?

When I am doing several projects at one time (which is my usual method of working), I usually have a scrap project that I piece in between so I don't get confused.  In this case, I am stitching the triangles together

stitching triangles between quilt blocks
pressed and ready to square up for the scrap collection.

I finished the tops for both grandboys' Christmas quilts.. and the girls' are measured and being thought about.  I will need more ideas and fabric for theirs!

I packed several quilts to finish both binding and quilting so I should have some finished products for next week..... packed some of the bagged hexies left over from Hawaii.... and cut more pieces for the grandboys' Roads quilts

I will take these so I can trace the templates and cut out pieces so they will be ready to work on later.  I had run out of the 4-inch squares and 5.5-inch squares

AND..... ta da....

3 more lovies..... 27 of 31 DONE!  With a little more persistence, I will be finished soon.  Am taking some yarn with me to the beach so we will see!

What have you accomplished this week? 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I saw the Pope!

What a random thing for me to do......

I love this Pope.  I knew he was coming to the United States.

I think that because I am kind of an unplugged Catholic right now (I do not really have a local faith community to belong to and my husband is not religious at all), it did not occur to me that I could or would go to see him.

I mean, with no real practicing Catholics in my daily life, I am not around the buzz or excitement of my religion.

Not an excuse - a reality.  [I'm beginning to think I might be being led to create the buzz :-)]

Anyway, 3 weeks before the Philadelphia weekend on  Thursday afternoon I got an email from the diocese extending the registration for a diocesan pilgrimage bus trip for 24 hours.  I had til noon on Friday to commit.... or not.

My unrelenting focus on my current year's dual themes - "Finding Joy" and "Adventure"....  made me stop and think.  Why not?

   That list was LONG.
        A) I don't know anyone going
        B) My spouse won't go
        C) Bus trip?  NOT comfortable
        D) I would have to have a roommate to defray costs
        E)  Have I mentioned that I do not like crowds?
        F) I have no idea where I will be staying, eating, etc.

But I kept coming back to
     Why not?
      Why would I miss this opportunity?
      When would this ever be in my grasp again?
      What else was more important this weekend?

So I asked my husband.... "do we have anything going on that weekend?"
 He replied, "No"
And I said, "I'd like to go to Philadelphia and see the Pope."

And that was that.

Of course, I didn't think much about it after that because I would have freaked out entirely.  I just made reservations and decided NOT to worry.  I started thinking a couple of days ahead knowing I wanted to pack as light as possible.

2 nights at an undisclosed location.... 2 LONG days sandwiched between 13+ hour bus rides......  LOTS of walking.....  I managed to take one mid-sized carry-with-me bag with healthy snacks & water... a small crossbody purse for my tablet and the universal fanny pack.  Done.   And, yes, I took a couple of hexie flowers to stitch on the bus :-)  I couldn't help it.

BUT  I was glad I packed the way I did... no luggage to deal with!

My husband was kind enough to handle transport to the bus.... he dropped my off, I took a deep breath and walked into the room where the group was gathered.

And right away I spotted someone I knew.  Crazy, huh?  I don't know this woman well... but I have known her LONG... so it was an opportunity to know her better.  (And she saved me a seat on the bus so we had a lot of time to chat!)

I'd be lying if I said it was a comfortable trip :-)  The seats were MUCH better than plane seats.. but just about anything feels cramped after a few hours!  BUT we did stop every 2-3 hours and I took advantage and walked as much as possible.  Even when we stopped for dinner.. I skipped it and walked round and round the restaurant... I am sure people thought I was nuts but it did get the kinks out!

It was well after 10pm when I found my room and met my roommate and went to sleep.

Saturday morning, we were to grab breakfast and meet at the bus by 8:30 for an hour long trip into Philadelphia.  A little tired but excited for the day ahead... I was prepared for a long one.  My roommate was a walker like me - hooray!  So we decided to hike the 5 miles into the city rather than wait for the metro.  We hiked in, grabbed a sub at a deli before we got in the line for security.... which moved pretty quickly.
ahead to get thru Saturday Security

and behind.... glad I got there early!

Most of the day was spent milling around.... I was fortunate enough to locate a very good pastor friend who had come up separately (surprise for both of us!) ...

one little piece that my camera could catch.. can you imagine finding a friend in this?  But it did make it easy to see the Pope when he came through...

a LOT of standing and waiting and watching the large screens

On Sunday I shared coffee with a woman I had sponsored for Confirmation years ago who reached out to me from my facebook post (another bit of serendipity!)  Three and a half hours (!) in the security line Sunday... and still people in good humor.  We got in in time for Mass.... and received Communion (I was totally reminded of the loaves and fishes .... it was hard to contemplate how this was even possible).   And then a mad dash (through a surging mass of people :-) to get back to the bus.  This too was NUTS because everyone was trying to leave the city.

Major kudos to the Philadelphia transit system for handling the hordes of people safely!  And then the 11 hours on the bus through the night..... not really sleeping but no light for anything else.  I did learn - for a bus trip, you need personal lighting to keep your own hours!

Mostly what I have to share are my impressions..... so many people - and all in good humor :-)  I can't think of any other time when I have been in such a large confusing group where everyone was smiling!  I think we were all so inspired and excited to be right where we were.

Once inside, there were more people (and fewer food options so we were glad for the subs!).... and huge screens where we could view the Pope and the constant entertainment that was going on when Pope Francis wasn't speaking or moving anywhere.

It's hard even to reflect back on this emotional experience.  I can relate that there were tons of people.... and describe the lined streets.... the inner city of Philadelphia blocked to vehicular traffic - a pedestrian paradise..... the incredible safe-ness I felt hiking that 5 miles back at 9 pm due to the National Guard presence on every corner...  so many many people working to keep all of us safe.

I have little experience with large events and crowds.... but the atmosphere was happy.  Tired but happy.   The weather was pleasant... warm but with a breeze... overcast but without rain.

And I do admit.... I was there... I saw Pope Francis drive by.... less than 50 yards away.

 And the tears rolled down my face.  I was touched to the core to be this close to someone who clearly does his human best to live like Jesus.  And I still feel it when I remember.  What a role model!

And here is a take away for me.... one of many....  in my year of "Finding Joy" and "Adventure"....  I went to see the Pope.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Annual Theme

Do you envision what you'd like your life to be?

When I first started I found it difficult to figure out what I wanted in the future.

I mean.... I get all caught up in today... today's chores, today's projects, that infamous To Do List....  the closest I could come to the future was making sure I had Christmas handled,

But when I think about the future, it gets complicated.  Do I want a different house?  Do I want to write a book?  I don't really have any concrete goals. 

In thinking about it, I do know some things about the future that I want.
I know I want to be healthy and strong.
I know I want to be on reasonably good terms with friends and family.
I know I do NOT want to be a slave to my possessions.
I know I want enough money to live comfortably.
I know I value experiences over possessions.

..and as I go forward in life, more and more things become clear.

And I started thinking about things that would move me forward in the direction of the life I would like to lead..... because though I do not have a burning dream or desire to achieve.... the list above is still true.  So.... moving in that direction is enough for now..

Anyway - I have written lots of posts about changes I make and habits I try to form...  But I am not sure I have shared about my annual themes.

A few years ago, I decided to have an annual focus... just to see if it was something that would help me.  And that particular year, the thing that resonated with me was "Embrace Change"   My life was changing rapidly - and not all for the better!  But I saw day after day... that the only thing I could truly count on in life... is CHANGE!   And what that meant to me - is that CHANGE swings both ways.

Life changes.
If you are happy, that will change.
If you are sad, that will also change.

By waking up every day telling myself to "Embrace Change", I spent the year (ish :-) learning to appreciate what I have..... and looking past today when I didn't have.  And, you know what?  That attitude shift has definitely made me a happier person.  And I haven't forgotten.  I keep that motto with me..

Annual themes work for me.

Since that year, there was "Simplify", "Second Honeymoon", "One Piece at a Time", "Moving Forward" and this last year I had two: "Finding Joy" and "Adventure".

Each theme moves me forward to the life I want to have and helps me be the happiest best me I can.

So.... my birthday is coming in a few months (my personal NEW YEAR), and I'm working on my themes.   And I think two again, because it worked for me and it's my rules :-)    I know that "Get Physical" will be one..... time for me to push a little harder on my healthy journey... lose a little more weight, gain a little more flexibility and strength..... and, in another vein, time to work a little harder at face to face relationships.  Hugs are physical, right?  I've done well in both areas in the last year but want to continue to do better....

and I am still dreaming on the second one....  I have a couple of phrases rolling around in my mind... but am not quite sure yet :-)

I have time yet, right?

After all, it's MY life :-)

Have you tried themes yet?  Leave me a comment and share your experience.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

WIP Wednesday ..10/13/2015

It's been a busy week - where I feel like I am meeting myself coming and going....  I am going away for a week on Saturday so I am in a flurry of deciding what to take with me to work on... what to finish up now.... and what to have ready to tackle when I get back!

Our beach weeks are in a condo - sort of a home away from home and I almost always take my machine with me.  And this year I have basted projects to quilt so I will take one or two of them.  Or I will take some boxes of scraps to cut up and get in order.... and of course, some handwork.... hexies, binding, and the Hawaiian applique projects.    Decisions, decisions....

But for this week, I've been trying to hurry up and get my grandson Nico's quilt finished.  It's really cute and I'm tickled with the way it turned out.  BUT, in my haste, I messed up the binding and have had to rip out the stitches.... re-stitch and am working on hand sewing it down,  With any luck at all, I will finish today in time to wash and dry and drop it by my daughter's tomorrow. 

Otherwise I will either have to make an extra trip into town or wait til I get back from the beach.  And I'd kind of like to have it checked off my list!  I will share a photo of the finished quilt before I give it.

I have made progress however....  I have moved along in the 4 grand Christmas quilts....  one for my 3 year old BIG MACHINE guy....
This one needs one more ble border strip - then basting and quilting

the second side for my grand girls' Princess & Pea quilts

This is the reverse side.  The front is done with bright colors in a block pattern and goes with a book called Gabby Quilts for Friends.

This side of the quilt will go with my favorite version of The Princess and the Pea.  The one with the tiger illustrated by Janet Stevens.  When I started this project, one girl liked pink and one liked blue.  They've both changed a bit in the last year - so all the colors will be in both quilts!

and the math for the 2nd grandboy's quilt.... who is only 2 so mom chose something elegant :-)  I like the quilt but will probably make something more boyish next time (the Roads quilts I've shared before!)   I'll post a pic of this pretty top soon... all I did for it this week was math and cutting.

Oh - and the boys will be getting books too, of course - a collection of Virginia Lee Burton's that includes Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and Katy and the Big Snow.

I've made progress on the crocheted lovies I need to finish.  I thought I would have them done this week too but that confounded quilt binding is taking up my brain space and time.  I have to admit that I succumbed to retail demons and did buy a little more yarn for that project.  I actually needed a couple of random variegated skeins to use up my solids AND keep my brain occupied.  So I've lost count of what I've used up - but I just added 3 skeins to the mix that will continue to use up those brights!.

I do have 24 of 31 complete though.... 2 half done.... and one started.  Still on the way and close to finished!
Next crochet project will be dishcloths for some personal requests... and then probably lap robes for the VA hospital that will help use up some of my more adult colors!

And then - just for fun..... 2 more projects I worked on

Project #1 from the Precut Primer.... by Me and My Sister Designs.  I started with the First Grade project using mini charms... I cut my own though using the same fabric.  Sorry for the bad photo - I added a close up so you can see how cute the fabric really is.

I added borders to finish it off... It is apparently a bed runner size so I will add it to my collection of finished tops that need backing and batting.... (will that pile ever be gone?  Probably not).  I did like the project and am going to continue with each project in the book (12) to increase my skills.  Next up?  Grade 2 :-)

..and some scraps used up to make me happy!  ORANGE!

I LOVE this project from McCall's Quilting!  The name is That Cat!  and can be found here.   

This wall hanging just makes me smile... (and, OF COURSE, think of more variations on the theme..... I can just see other cats in front of other colors.... aaahhhh..... another day..)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

WIP Wednesday.. 10/7/2015

Works in Progress!!

One of my fave things to share - especially when I am actually doing something :-)

And I AM!

I put these hexie flowers together on my road trip last week

I'm still not sure how I want to put them together - but I am beginning to think with all the variety of greens, I will probably have another round of off white separating them.. I don't know yet :-)  I think I have about 10 flowers finished at this point

Still crocheting away on the 31 little blankies....  I've hit 20 now!  Getting there slowly.....  this is FIVE....  still haven't bought any yarn....

Still working on quilt sandwiches....

This a scrappy wall hanging I pieced while I was finishing up the last set of scrappy blockss I was piecing....   Loving scraps and such an elegant kitty.  Hmm.... will I get it quilted and bound in time to hang it for Halloween?  Of course!  But THIS Halloween.... not so sure...

Have actually quilted and machine stitched the binding on some of the sandwich pile.....

(which, of course, now adds to the handwork pile!)

Two of these need more actual quilting on them... but they are closer to finished!

 And that is that for now.....  still working on finishing up!  Including full bed-size quilts for 4 of my grands....  pieced fronts and backs..... will do a post on those soon!

Happy crafting!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Quilt Stories: Jelly Roll Race 2015

The first time I heard of a Jelly Roll Race quilt was when a patron brought one into the shop....  it was done in muted tones and was exquisite!

She got her pattern from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  I don't usually use You-Tube because of the bandwidth usage so I searched for a print tutorial.

At the time I was thinking about making a quilt for my daughter.  She had asked for one in whites & creams.  She's particular about what she likes and I really wanted to make something she would like.  My skills are beginning to grow and I want to find something spectacular.

I found Kona jelly roll solid fabric in a range of white through cream.  (You can purchase Kona solid jelly rolls here if you like)  I thought I'd play and see what turned out!

I ended up purchasing 3 rolls and got busy!  Got the strips all sewn together... and started the cutting.  Somehow I ended up with a piece that was way too wide and way too short.  So a little more cutting and a little more creative design changing...

and here is my top!

The back is a pretty cream with swirly vines and leaves on it.  Quilted along the seam lines.. This beauty works up quickly both piecing and quilting.  Scrappy binding using leftovers..

I am thinking of embellishing the front with a large brown vine with a few leaves to match the back - but I also kind of like it plain....

What do you think?