Wednesday, December 13, 2017

UFO List 2018

A lot of bloggers are making lists of Unfinished Objects (UFOs) this time of year.  In lieu of New Year's resolutions, they're making lists of things they intend to complete next year.

Me too.

For all the good that will do.  I'm still MUCH better at starting things than I am at finishing.  I'm a process person and once a quilt top is made into a flimsy, there's a part of me that just does not care if it ever gets layered and quilted. 

Sad to admit for a grown woman, right?  LOL!

I work better when there is a purpose for what I'm making and a deadline to make it by... like someone's having a baby or an operation.  Then I seam to be able to buckle down and go to the finish line.

My partial list includes this sweater I started for myself, I'm not saying when...



I need something to work on in the evening that isn't dark colored.  Since it's getting dark so early these days, I need more light.


More about the UFO list later.  I don't want to pull a muscle doing all that typing!

Suffice it to say I have a big quilt pile.  I now have a total of five layered and pinned.  I just have to make myself sit down at the machine and get started.

Sew on...


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Gratitude

Today I am thankful for the talents of physical therapists!  After just a couple of sessions with the talented Courtney I am moving, walking, sitting and bending with no pain in my back. 


It's amazing what can be done.  Although I am also thankful that the injury wasn't worse than it was, it was bad enough that I couldn't function normally.  So let's give a cheer to those PTs who save us from ourselves, I guess.

Last time she had me run through all the exercises that she assigned and then added the stationary bike for five minutes.    After that she reminded me how I should be stretching, and how I should be lifting.  Use your legs, not your back!  Yes, I did know that from the last back injury, but we forget, don't we?

 I'm thankful that I can get back to my normal activities, but I'm concerned that I have too much to do!  All that Christmas shopping that I was avoiding is now on a deadline that's shorter than the daylight in Wisconsin in December!

Tuesday I took my favorite auntie to get an amplified phone for her house.  She has hearing aides and can hear her cell phone OK but she doesn't always hear it ring when it's not next to her.  And her home phone (land line) is not loud enough.  She's putting it on speaker and holding it up to her ear! 

Shades of the old-fashioned!
The phone she got is loud and has a loud ringer.  And it has a volume control, an answering machine built in, and it hangs on the wall, all requirements for her.  The only thing that needs to be done now is to hang it up and program it.  I'm letting her call her younger son to do the hanging, because I think drywall repair may be involved.   And wall patching is not in my resume.

I do have a big pile of projects to get to... my UFO bin is scandalous but at least I have a few of them layered and ready to quilt.  Wish me luck! 



and last but not least, here is a gratuitous photo of a cat and her girls...


Sew on...

Friday, December 1, 2017

Oh My Aching Back!!

I've been in some degree of agony with my back and shoulder for several days.  I know, stupid, right?  Yesterday I finally got smart and went to the doctor.  He sent me over for physical therapy since I appear to have strained muscles in my back during Thanksgiving weekend.




It hurt when I did twisty motions like fastening the seatbelt in the car or getting out of bed.  I thought it was the re-injury of a herniated disk from a dozen years ago, but both the doctor and the therapist think it's not. 


So the other night when I was in the sewing room, when I dropped things, they just had to stay there until I could get up and bend over very carefully. 


I told DH that it was all that manual dishwashing I was doing.  From now on, I'll need cleanup staff if they want me to do all that baking!


So today I'm feeling better, although getting out of bed was still a bit of a challenge today.  I have some exercises to do and more therapy for the next couple of weeks.


I really wanted to get some sewing done, but I have to avoid sitting in one place for too long.  Did you know a good limit to put on sitting is 20 minutes?  That doesn't seem like a very long time.  Unless you're back hurts while you're sitting...


I have made some progress on the pile of quilts to quilt.  Two more are now layered and pinned.  Miss A's quilt top and back, both pieced, are now ready to layer and pin.  Now just to get them quilted -- not a good time to be told NOT to sit for longer than 20 minutes I guess!  Ah well...


Sew on...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving, Not Just A Holiday

The great American Thanksgiving weekend is coming up.  It's not just about food and football anymore either.  I'm not sure I'm happy about that.

Thanksgiving is one holiday that I just love because it's about nothing more than the food and the attitude.  Giving Thanks.  Eating the turkey and all the sides, and groaning from the amazing bounty.



It also brings to mind those who don't have such an amazing bounty, and begins what I like to think of as the Season of Giving.  Charitable donations go up, people collect and distribute food to the disadvantaged, friendliness toward our fellow man goes up (not everywhere, but lots of places, keep your eyes open for the opportunities!!)

Of course there's that Black Friday thing going on too... I boycott that big time!  I absolutely abhor that stores are open on THURSDAY for Black Friday.  For goodness sake, what about those retail workers?? Don't they get to enjoy Thanksgiving too?? 

OK, I'm better now.

Thanksgiving used to mean the beginning of the Christmas season.  These days it's stuck in there between Christmas in July and the real deal.  Some people complain that Christmas decorations go up way too soon and the stuff in the stores is out there before Halloween!

I sympathize with them, you want to enjoy each season in turn, right?  But the ATTITUDES of thanks-giving and Christmas should be year round, don't you agree?

We should care for each other and be kind on a daily basis.  Also on a daily basis we should be thankful for everything we have, whether it's little or much.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17.  This I firmly believe!  I am blessed, and following all these blessings comes the obligation to be a blessing to others.

Opportunities, people.  They exist, look around.  Find one and take it.  You will also benefit in many more ways than you can imagine.  I like Engineers Without Borders, The Salvation Army, the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, my church, my Quilters groups, and others.  You find one or two that you like and see how it works.


One thing I'm not sure I'm thankful for is the endless and I do mean endless stream of mushy Christmas themed movies on the not one but two Hallmark channels that we get.  DH loves Christmas or at least used to love all things Christmas but now loves only certain parts.  He's no longer thrilled with the decorating but that Hallmark Channel!!  Oh, does he love that!

Reindeer Games.  Enchanted Christmas.  A Boyfriend for Christmas. A Bride for Christmas.  A Cookie Cutter Christmas.  A Christmas Detour.  The Sweetest Christmas. The Mistletoe Inn.  Switched for Christmas.  Finding Santa.  The Christmas Train.  On and on.  And on...

Multiple showings, multiple viewings.  By the time Christmas comes, I'll be heartily over it.  Give me a dose of murder and mayhem, quick, before I die of a sugar induced coma!!

I have thus far avoided the radio, with its marathon of holiday tunes.

Not that I am being a scrooge about it.  I do love the holidays.  I just wish that the feeling would be distributed over the whole year instead of all piled up in one two month glut and then nothing.  It's the attitude we need to spread!  Giving Thanks all year round, and keeping Christmas all year too.

I'm working on it!

On a side note, this year I celebrated (?) 20 years of work for the same company, although with mergers and name changes that designation is debatable.  I guess that's what kept it interesting!!


And my Friday Night Sewing Family recently assisted my dear auntie in almost completing an amazing new quilt pattern and technique.  It's a quilt as you go, so finishing will be done in a way none of us has used before.  It should be fun!

Give on...


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"Bye For Now", Nancy

The world is a very sad place today.  Nancy Zieman of Sewing With Nancy (link) and Nancy Notions passed away yesterday after a long fight with cancer.


I met Nancy a number of times for various sewing events and never met a more gracious and kind person.   She epitomized the Christian in all of her business dealings, and although I'm not personally aware of how she acted in her personal dealings I'm sure it was no less.


Nancy was a member of Peace Lutheran Church in Beaver Dam.  I know this because I attended many seminars in that church during Sewing Weekends, and it was no secret they valued her as a member there.


She will be missed so much by all who knew her personally and professionally.  If you sew, you probably owe a debt of gratitude to Nancy and her crew for some knowledge or inspiration at some point.  She developed notions for Clover Company, and was a part of the Baby Lock community for years.


I won a Baby Lock sewing machine at a seminar at Nancy's a couple of years ago.  I treasure the memories of ALL my sewing weekends there, probably 20 in all.  It won't be the same without Nancy.


But given her deep faith, I'm sure that some day I'll see her again in heaven, and it truly is just a 'Bye for now"...


We mourn, but we're grateful for the time we had.


Sew on...

Monday, November 13, 2017

Catching Up on To Do Lists

Seems like there's always something ELSE I should be doing...

Maybe you feel the same way.  When I'm at work in my office, I am thinking about all the things I should be doing at home.  And if I'm working at home, my mind keeps bringing up my UFO list from the office.
It's worse when you have multiple responsibilities.  I am not just an employee at my job, but also the leader of our church quilt guild, the raffle queen at the library quilt guild, and the church treasurer.  Not to mention a member of a family with duties there and a member of an extended family with duties there too.

Not that those things are duties exactly, but they sure do have to do lists associated with them.

Last weekend, Miss E was in the high school play.  that brought up chauffer duties, as both girls do not usually end up in the same place at the same time, and there are only so many places you can be in simultaneously.  So Drama Queen got dropped off and we trundled Miss A over to meet her mother.  We ended up staying out for dinner, an occasion that does not happen as much as I'd like these days! 

I'm also trying to put together a small demo project for the church ladies for this weekend, plus I need to get organized for the November raffle which happens at our library guild meeting tomorrow.

I think I'm set for those.  HOWEVER I did not actually do any of my own sewing this weekend!! 


Last night I went down to the sewing room to GET ORGANIZED.  AGAIN.  Someone gave the church ladies a bag of fabric and I'd brought it home.  I sorted it out while catching up on reruns of Doc Martin from PBS.  We ended up with seven half yards, about a dozen quarter yards and a pile of small cut up ends and remnants.  And one piece that was about a yard and a half in size plus some miscellaneous junk that I tossed.  I ironed it all.  (Obsessively, I can't put fabric away all smooshed up.)

THen I spent some time trimming up some odds and ends of my own, and cut up two more quilt kits.

Which brings me back to my to-do lists.  Still to do...

  • Three Christmas quilts, layered and ready for machine quilting
  • Two tops done, ready for layering
  • Fabric for two backs, needs ironing and trimming/piecing
  • Unknown number of kits for quilts and other projects, awaiting start
  • Two sweaters requiring buttons to be sewn
  • Two or three knitting projects, on needles, in process, just need to apply hands and time to finish
  • ...well, I'm sure you get the picture.
When they turned the clocks back, they should have left that extra hour in!

Ah, well, there's always tomorrow...

Maybe YOU can find some time to sew on!




Friday, November 10, 2017

Finally Friday!

Today I am in the actual 'office' office.  The trip down here was surreal, I didn't recognize the new stadium when I drove past, because a LOT has changed since my last trip downtown.  It's starting to resemble a building, with windows and brick on the outside and everything.
Milwaukee Bucks new stadium last month
Maybe the next time I have to come down here fewer streets will be blocked around it.

While I was listening to my morning conference call the fire alarm in the building went off.  It's loud, excruciatingly so.  People were grabbing their coats to leave, and I was terminating my connection to the call, when it just went silent.  The business directly above us is having some renovation done, and every time someone is doing construction in this building, the fire alarms are set off.   Ugh!!  My ears are still ringing.  Possibly because it happened a second time about an hour later.

HEY!! Are you listening??
I scheduled my Paid Time Off for the holidays.  Usually I take the Wednesday before US Thanksgiving to start my cooking, then I take more time between Christmas Eve and New Years Day.  This year, with Christmas Eve on Sunday, Monday is a holiday anyway so I only have to burn four days of PTO to get the whole week. 

I recently celebrated 20 years with the company, and for a thank you gift, I was able to choose to get one of those big turkey roaster pans with rack and lifting forks.  In the past I have used a disposable pan, and made lifter strips with tin foil. 
This is my 20 year award! 

This will be the ultimate reward!

I also picked up a 20 quart Nesco roaster at a rummage (used twice, I was told!) and it's big enough for a turkey, so now the only thing to decide is which to use!
Nesco brand 20 quart cooker.
I do not work for Nesco, but I do
like their roasters!
Feast or famine, feast or famine...  I enjoy using the 6 quart Nesco for chicken, I'm hoping I'll enjoy the larger one just as much.

Tonight and tomorrow are performances by the Drama Queen, so I'm thinking this might be an exciting weekend for me.

Hope you enjoy your weekend!

Rock on...

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thursday Musings

Last week I stopped in at my two favorite fabric shops and did a bit of October stash enhancement.

First I made sure to pick up my free yard where I won that fabulous drawing last April...  I picked up a really wild botanical from the Kaffe Fasset line.  It's the reddest maple leaves imaginable, at least it says maple in the selvedge!  It doesn't look like my trees any longer, since it's now cold and the wind has bee blowing like mad.

Besides, when was there ever a zebra on the loose in Wisconsin?




Also acquired were this really wonderful botanical print, thanks to the lady before me who was buying some and had it laid out in front of me...


And some kid prints for some fun.  I love the owls, and this purple was right next to it, so I grabbed some of both.

 
Then because I couldn't control myself  had some extra time, I went over to my other favorite place and picked up a few more things, including the blue print up there with the owls, and this fun piece of pumpkin print.  I'm planning to make a table runner out of some of this orange and brown. 










 




Now to get down to the sewing room and get busy!!

What are you working on this week?

Sew on...

Monday, November 6, 2017

Drama Queen 2017

Miss E has always been kind of a drama queen, at least that's what I've been telling her for the majority of her almost 16 years.  You know what teenagers are like... it's ALWAYS THE END OF THE WORLD!! 
 
 
 

And YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND!!!


I told her the other day, believe it or not, I too was a teenager once!  I know it was EONS ago, but I still remember thinking 'it's the end of my life' and yes, I did live!!  You will too.


She's actually found an outlet for the drama in this her second year of high school.  Yes, that's it!  The play's the thing, isn't it?? 

This weekend she's appearing as some sort of New Jersey gangster in the Jonathan Rand play called Murder in the Knife Room.  Yeah, I never heard of him either, but evidently he's popular with the HS Drama set, I suspect because his plays are available and don't require a lot of fancy costumes.

According to his Amazon page, the play is a sort of  mystery thriller, the host of some sort of weekend or evening event is murdered, there are a ton of suspects and a ton of murder weapons (aka The Knife Room) and your job is to guess who done it.

It sort of reminds me of


Or perhaps




although with Clue

Looking forward to a little drama this weekend!!


Rock on...



Wednesday, November 1, 2017

501 and I'm NOT Talking About Levis



I guess I missed it.  Last time I posted, I completely missed that it was post number 500.  So this is by default Post Number 501, and I'm not talking about Levis!

I probably would have come to it a lot faster, except that I don't post every day.  Heck, sometimes I don't post every week!

So what's going on?? 



You're probably tired of hearing about the Fiscal Year at work... but that consumes huge chunks of time both in September at the end of one, and in October at the beginning of the next.  It's November now (where did the time go??) and we're doing the close of the first month of the new Fiscal Year.  So my accounting department buddy Joel and I are scrambling to get things into some semblance of order.


You would think that, as a fine group of intelligent, experienced, well-educated professionals, the department would be perfectly capable of discovering the correct procedures and following them.  Yes, we changed charge numbers this month.  But we do this every year!!  Yes, we did try to get invoices at the end of the year processed in time so there was no bleed over.  Again, an annual event.

Why did we fail so often, and in some cases spectacularly?? 


Arrrgghhh!  Retirement never looked so good!  Although I guess the failure makes job security for me.  <sigh>  Joel keeps saying "are you SURE you want to retire??"


Ummm, yes.


Someone told me that when it's time, you know.  I still enjoy what I do most of the time, while I'm doing it.  But the buildup to the event can sometimes be less than enticing.


What I want to do is quilt, knit, browse the antique malls, lunch with girlfriends, visit relatives, go to school events for the grandkids, attend mid-day church functions, go to the Goodwill, haunt the fabric shops, bead things, make jewelry, attend classes, volunteer, oh my, anything but work!!  Take road trips, go to sewing expos and quilt shows, and on and on...


I want to do every new craft project I see... like this knitted hat embellished with buttons on Ravelry, and it made me want to get started right away.  Of course I have about five other projects on the needles that I should finish first.  I mean, eventually I might run out of needles so it's probably not the best idea.  But isn't it CUTE??






Yesterday was trick or treat in our neighborhood. Miss A decided to go as her favorite character from the movie The Nightmare before Christmas.  Sorry, I've never seen that movie.  Nevertheless, I was nominated to do her makeup as big sister, queen of styling, was at drama practice until past the time to go.  I probably put the makeup on too heavy, since the black crayon, indicating stitches in her face, got smeary and picked up the green color instead of depositing the black lines.


We finally figured it out.  I think she looked awesome.  I hope she enjoyed the sugar overdose from the huge bag of candy she collected.

Not that I got any of that!!  I did get a few candy bars from the scary people on my porch...


The Candy Distribution System.  Haha!! 

The other grands were adorably dressed to judge by FB, but I didn't see them in person.  There mom is a professional beauty consultant so I'm sure SHE did not have the same challenges with makeup as I did.

OK, time to hit the salt mines again.  DH and I are going to a dinner tonight to hear a Sinatra sound alike, I don't know if you could call him an impersonator exactly.  DH is looking forward to it.  Me, eh, I could take it or leave it.  I was never a big fan, but I will go because, well, wine and dinner...

Party on!


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fall Colors and Other October Thoughts

October... it's been a MONTH this month, if you get my meaning.  I've been working from home so the lack of fall colors until earlier this week didn't really bother me.  I had plenty of color inside the house!

I finally recovered from year end at work and the conference in early October.  I'm convinced that I'm ready for retirement.  Some of the things I have to do these days are just downright annoying and I find myself lacking the patience for all the corporate BS that's being perpetrated on me.  I guess I truly qualify as a short timer!!

I had to actually go to the office downtown last week and again yesterday, so I had a chance during the commute to check out fall in SE Wisconsin.

It's gorgeous.


I love red and of course if you have red maple trees, you get RED!  I mean, could it be more spectacular?  And when the sun shines through them, it just explodes.  I don't think I could spend a lot of time where the colors don't change like this!

And then right after the colors change, the leaves fall.  DH is outside today continuing the battle against the trees... this is our patio after he's been through with the leaf collection system.  He's been putting them in piles on the curb for pickup by the City.  This week he put away my table and all but one of the chairs.  Sad to say, I know what's coming!

 
I have not been much inspired in my sewing room though.  Sometimes I go down there and plan to do a lot, when all I actually do is mend or clean or move things from pile to pile.  The cousins and my aunt are going to a quilt retreat this weekend, and lack of motivation ALMOST made me want to go along, although I really don't enjoy the location of this particular retreat.  It's in a small town in a hotel that lacks even an on-line reservation system and the lighting in the sewing space is questionable at best.
 
However, they DO somehow manage to sew while they're there!!  I should be so lucky.
 
The last time I was in my space, I did sew some small string blocks because I was trying to clear out some project bins and bags.
 
These blocks finish at 3 inches!


Some six inch blocks resulting from
sewing random strips together
out of complete boredom and
the inability to plan anything!


They'll make a nice scrap quilt, or
maybe a border on something.  At least
I was sewing something.
With the advent of fall, my knitting needles have been clicking again, though.  I think it's the perfect thing to do while sitting on the couch pretending to be busy while you're avoiding other more onerous tasks like balancing the checkbook or cleaning out the cupboards.
 
I made several hats recently, and have a couple more in process.  These two are for girls with lots of hair -- the one on the left is kind of poofy so you can tuck your hair into it without mashing it down, and the one on the right has a hole in the top to stick your pony tail through it.

Not mine, I don't have a pony tail and I don't think I've had hair that long in about 40 years!
 
This hat is your basic brown tweed beanie, I love the yarn and hopefully some child will love the hat.  There's a winter clothing drive for hats and mittens and the plan is to knit a pile for donation.  I have enough yarn for mittens which I'll start one of these days.

 
This hat uses a pattern I got from ravelry.com for free, my favorite price.  It's a couple of rows of knit, a couple of purl, repeat the knits, then the purls.  You get a cute set of rings that don't really show up in this photo.  Yes, I bought a LOT of this yarn... it's Red Heart Super Saver Fleck, and I have lots of skeins of all three shades of brown/tan.
 
 
While I was wasting spending time browsing patterns on Ravelry, I saw this adorable hat, a very simple pattern but done in Sock Monkey colors!  I thought about the stash (yeah, we won't go there today) and I KNOW I have some brown and white and some blue and white yarns that will make that hat!  You knit a band of white, then a skinny stripe of red, then more white, and finish up with the brown or the blue to mimic the socks they use to make Sock Monkeys.
 
I couldn't resist starting one.  After all, why did God bless me with multiple knitting needles if not to have many projects going at once?  I call in boredom management. 
 
Additionally, I have been making some baby sweaters for the gazillions of new moms that have been cropping up around me lately.
 
This one just needs buttons, and I had enough yarn left to make a little cap to match.  The yarn is my current addiction, Big Bad Wool.  It's so soft and the colors are so pretty, and I bought a ton of it...  This was two skeins worth.
 

This little boys' striped sweater is from a book published by the company that makes Superwash 220.  I'm told that no one is carrying it these days because the quality had gone downhill since it's manufactured in China now.  But my wonderful local yarn shop provided me with a substitute and I'm really enjoying the results.  It's soft and washable, and it feels nice while you're knitting.  It needs one sleeve and a front band and it's done!

Blue and tan.  Classic combo!
This one is just components so far.  You knit panels and then assemble them into a sweater with an asymmetrical hem.  I'm using Caron SuperSoft.  I have a whole big tote bag full of multiple colors, so this is an alternative to the randomly striped sweater, and it's all knit with no shaping.  It's the perfect thing to knit while pretending to actually be doing something.  <wink wink>
 
Front and back yoke and back panel
One front panel in process.  The colors coordinate with
the panels already finished.  One sleeve will be this yarn
and one will be the lighter blue if I have enough.
I gave up this week and finally turned on the heat in the house.  A low of 42 degrees was just too much to recover from, and despite all the knitting there were not enough socks and sweaters in the world to thaw me out!
 
Sew or knit on, as you choose!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

 
I know, October is almost half over, and I should have reminded you sooner... but maybe I forgot to remind myself!  I made my appointment in September. 
 
I went out to the internet and did a search for artwork for Breast Cancer Awareness.  I think we're all aware, but sometimes we think it might apply to everyone else, not ourselves.
 
Seriously ladies -- if you haven't done this yet, this is a good reminder that you should be making an appointment to get your annual mammogram!!
 
I love the humorous ones most!  This one tickled me...

 
 
Self exams are extremely important.  Your doctor only sees you annually or a couple times a year, maybe less, but you know how you 'feel' every since day.
 
This is how you do it...


 
 
 
And this is a reminder of what cancer cannot do:
 


Just do it...