Friday, December 20, 2019

Christmas 2019

This has been one of the hardest years for me for buying or making Christmas gifts.

I don't know why, maybe it's because the grands are teens now and the buying of toys is kind of a thing of the past.  NOT that I'm wishing there were more small kids, or that the ones we have should not get older... but teens are harder.

You cannot buy the girls clothing unless they approve.  You. Can. Not.  Or the thing you buy will most likely never again see the light of day, unless they toss it in the donation bag and someone else's kid wears it.

Ask me how I know this...  no, never mind. 

So, sadly, there is no further need for making clothing for their dolls either.  I have really enjoyed the knitting and sewing for these small beauties.  Maybe I can find another outlet for that.

I found out a few years ago that most of THOSE handmade items got donated too, instead of being brought back to me for my own version of recycling.  :-(

Through a number of snafus with a local department store delivery department, an order I placed was delivered at my old address.  It was something I seriously needed, so I hopped into the car and drove there, surprising the new tenants and picking up the package.  Much to their relief, I may add.  The poor woman was describing how she chased after the UPS truck when she realized it wasn't her item!  To judge by all the porch piracy on TV, not many would do that!

To return the favor of keeping my package safe, I brought her a box of doll items for her small daughter on my next trip through town.  I hope she enjoys them when she opens the box in a few days!

This year's baking still remains to be done.  Not sure when that will be happening.  I don't need the sugar, but DH has such a sweet tooth!

I hope your holidays are merry and bright.  Don't forget the Reason for the Season.

Bless you all...

Friday, November 15, 2019

Happy 18th, Erica!!

Today is my oldest grandchild's 18th birthday.

How did she get so old and I stayed the same??

Wow.  Just.  Wow.

I was looking for some baby pictures and there's nothing on this computer, because she's already lived longer than two of my laptops.  Not that THAT is a proper comparison or anything.

I remember the day my daughter told me she was pregnant.  We were in a Baker's Square restaurant having lunch.  She told me she had probably conceived while DH and I were in Hawaii, celebrating our 30th anniversary.  Our one and only big vacation as a couple.  I was still on jet lag.  I think she took me to lunch so that I wouldn't have any distractions when she told me the news.

I cried.

Well, that's not news exactly.  I cry at weddings and baby showers and all highly emotional occasions, like my son's band playing at the local tavern.  Ha ha...

So the day she was born I was rudely awakened at 1:15 a.m. by the phone.

"Hi Mom, it's me, my water broke."

"Did you call your doctor?"

"Not yet.  My first impulse is always 'call my mom'..."

"OK, call your doctor and then call me later and let me know when you're at the hospital."

I tried to go back to sleep.  Ha ha.  I had to go to Madison for work.  People were expecting me for a training class I was teaching.  That was a 90 minute trip at the time.

At 8:00 when I arrived I got a call from DH.  "She's in the hospital and things are going fine."

OK, let's get that class going so I can get back to the family.  About 10:30 he called again.  "The baby's backwards and they're doing a G-section."

"You mean C-section."

"Whatever.  They're going into the operating room now."

"OK, call me when you have more news."

I finished the class and they were just setting up lunch when he called again.  "We have a baby girl."

OK, I knew that, from the ultrasound a few months prior.  So I asked "How big was she, what did she weigh?"

"Oh, I don't know.  I forgot to ask."

LOL!!!  Husbands, men, whatever!

Anyway, I drove back to where we lived, dropped my stuff off and went to the hospital to meet my first grandchild.  She was so tiny then, although she was an average size for a baby.  And so sweet and lovely even then.

 I have dozens of photos of her cute little face and beautiful brown eyes... This is the only one I could find on this computer, it's of her as a small child.

But here she is now, a stunning beauty, with brains and talent to boot.

Happy birthday, baby girl!

Rock the day!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

November Thankfulness

My dear sister-in-law Bobbie, who lives on the west coast, loves to post to Facebook and posts the most fun things, especially photos of my baby brother and his long beard and his red flannel shirts!

On November 1, she posted 30 Days of Thankfulness, and I thing there was a hashtag there somewhere.

I decided that I would post along with her daily.

So far, so good.  I've posted something every day, I think.

Nov 1 I must have started late, because I can't find a post for the first...


Nov 2 I'm thankful for the gift of my life and the freedom to life in God's service
Nov 3 I'm thankful for a church home and family
Nov 4 I'm thankful for clouds
Nov 5 I'm thankful for sunshine
Nov 6 I'm thankful for warm water and good smelling shampoo
Nov 7 I'm thankful for a husband who supports my fiber addictions!
Nov 8 I'm thankful that I can read, and for used books
Nov 9 I'm thankful for breakfasts, especially tea.
Nov 10 I'm thankful that football on TV gives me guilt-free sewing time
Nov 11 I'm thankful for a family of veterans.  Five of my seven siblings have served.

And today, I'm thankful for doctors and nurses and medical professionals.

My friend Julia and I were discussing our various parents and their medical issues, past and present.  I'm so thankful that my mom had good care after her strokes, and that she remained happy after she started her slide into dementia.  She was able to stay at home until the end, over 20 years ago.  I still miss her and think about her often.

Julia is going through things with her mom that remind me of our journey, and I can be a sympathetic listener and a willing ear.  Sometimes that's all you can do.  But  it IS a thing that you CAN do.

Anyway, to those good souls who care for the sick and injured, the old and infirm, and the young and newly born, thank you so much, and bless your talents and your work!

Be happy, and be thankful!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

I Had A Thought...

I read some of my favorite blogs yesterday, November 1.  Some of them were a little discouraging to me.

Does everyone have monthly goals or lists except me??  Wow!

Sometimes it's days between the times I get to actually spend time in the sewing studio.  And often when I do get in there, I have to spend an hour straightening up and deciding what to work on next.  Sometimes I just can't get focused.

Well, at least it doesn't look like this anymore!

I did manage to get my machine set up about a month after my knee surgery in April, so I really had no excuse.  Then my favorite sewing machine, Valkyrie the Viking, had a complete breakdown and went belly-up in the pool.  

I fixed that by buying two machines and tossing the Valkyrie into the nearest dumpster (after being told by the Expert that it could not be fixed for any amount, reasonable or un).

My first purchase was a Babylock Aria.  It was a little pricier than I was hoping to spend, but after I pulled out the last of the gift cards I received on my retirement in 2018, and dug into my purse for loose change, it was manageable.  I have to say I have no regrets.  None.  It was a very, very good and wise decision.

Here she is, on a new-to-me table, next to my serger.  The perfect combination!

The next purchase I made was totally serendipitous, but it's something I've had on my Bucket List for a long time.  I blogged about it several years ago, whining a little about the fact that finding a Singer Featherweight in good working condition for less than a small fortune can be challenging, what with some people buying six or seven and all that.

I have had elbow and shoulder issues in my left arm for a while, and some portable machines are so heavy in their cases that it makes dragging them to classes a chore.  So one day in conversation about machines a lady told me she had one to sell and the person who had been interested in it decided to pass on it.  The price was within my budget, and although there were virtually NO accessories or parts other than the foot pedal, it was in good working order so I grabbed it.

She is beautiful.

I signed up for Featherweight University at a local quilt shop, and learned how to lubricate and oil her up.  The instructor tuned up her tension, and she sews the most beautiful straight stitch I have ever seen.  I am in love... twice over.

So you see, I ought to be able to think of something to sew each and every day.

Maybe I need to make some lists of the projects in my bin to start or finish, and the projects rolling around in my brain.

Think about it... and sew on!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Thank Goodness for YouTube!

Today I needed to finish the toe of one of a pair of cuff-down socks I have been knitting for months... don't ask.  It was actually the second sock of the pair, so I don't feel too terrible.  I could not for the life of me remember how to start doing the Kitchener stitch to do the finish.  I did it on the first sock.  Months ago.

Did I tell you I have a good memory, but it's short?

Oh well!  Now that I can watch YouTube on my TV (as opposed to my Kindle with the tiny screen), I can see what's being knit in glorious detail, big as or bigger than life.  I know that there's a video of the Kitchener in slow motion, so I watched it, and finished up the toe lickety-split.

Thank goodness for YouTube!

As long as I was sitting there knitting, I picked up another project and kept watching other videos.

Most of the teenaged girls I know have long hair.  Some have REALLY long hair, others are 'growing their hair out'.

My grands have what I consider to be long-ish hair, long enough for buns and pony tails and the like, but not so long that they're sitting on it.

I used to have long hair, because my dad thought girls SHOULD have long hair.  Not because I like it, because I have a sensitive scalp and I HATED having my hair brushed from the youngest age.  Long before the days of No More Tangles shampoo and cream rinses to de-tangle, my mom would go at my wet hair with a comb and I would cry the whole time.  I remember crying through half an episode of the Perry Como show because that's how long it took to get all the tangles out.

If we are ever invaded, I do not have to be tortured to give up any secret they want...all they have to do is pull my hair and I'll tell everything.  I will make things up.

I digress.

Last Sunday, Grand Number three, Miss A, asked me if I knew how to make scrunchies.  You know those bands of fabric and elastic that girls put in their hair to either a)hold their hair in a pony tail or b)make a fashion statement by matching their outfit.  Or c)both...

I said "of course I do"... so she asked if I could teach her how to do it, now that she has her own sewing machine and her own stash.   Uh, sure.

Therefore I did what every dedicated grandmother does, and turned to YouTube, since I was already watching, to find out what size fabrics I should be cutting, and to see if there were any good tutorials for making scrunchies.

And there are THOUSANDS.  Since it's so easy to upload videos to YT, and literally anyone with a computer can have a channel, I sat and watched an hour's worth of videos on how to make these little donuts of fabric.

Some used regular elastic.  Some used the pony tail bands.  Sometimes they used the pony tail bands whole, and sometimes they cut the pony tail band and used it like someone else used elastic.

Whew!  Who knew this could be so complicated!!

Suffice it to say that I did eventually make it down to my sewing studio and made two, yes count 'em, two scrunchies.

It turns out that the hardest part of this operation is deciding what color fabric Miss A might like.

Sew on...

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Followed Closely be Winter?

It was bad enough Tuesday, when we got a light layer of snow on top of the green grass and the piles of leaves.

But today -- oh boy this day takes the cake!!

SO FAR we've gotten 5 inches of snow.  On October 31.  It's the snowiest Halloween since like forever.  The weatherman on channel 12 says it's officially the snowiest Halloween on record.

Oh well, at least this year I don't have to shovel it!

Sew on...

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Autumn: Yes, It's Finally Here...

With cooler weather, I'm working on finishing more projects.  I guess now that it's cooler outside I'm not so anxious to be anywhere outside if I can help it.  I'm trying to coordinate my errand days better, so I don't have to drive anywhere a couple of days each week.

I do wish I'd remember to take more photos of projects I'm working on.  And I wish I'd finish more of the things I've started.

Like the Kaffe Mystery quilt.  I do have all of the blocks put together.  I just have to assemble the quilt top.

These blocks were finished before I started packing to move here -- so in 2018.

What's the matter with me that I can't just sew these puppies together??  Ack!

But let me start a new project; I'm all gung ho about that!!

Next month I'm teaching a new bag pattern.  I think I'm done with the cycle of wire framed totes.

This is the new bag, sort of finished... I was having some trouble with attaching the grommets that hold the handles in, so this is the side without the grommets.  The fun part is making the outside fabric and quilting it.  I jumped right on that, even though I still have one Wire Framed Tote to complete, and one more class of that scheduled before the Diamond Gem bag starts.

This is the old class... the Wire Framed Tote Bag.  Kind of like a 31 bag, but you can customize it so you don't confuse your bag with anyone else's bag of the same fabric!  I loved making them but I'm kind of over them too, if you know what I mean.

There's a casserole carrier from the same pattern maker.  Maybe I'll do a picture of that one when it's done.  I guess I shouldn't plan to start that until I finish up a couple of other projects.

But that might be a post for tomorrow.

Sew on...

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Sue and the Terrible, Horrible...

no good, very bad day??  Do you remember reading the book about Alexander and his bad day when you were young, or reading it to a child or grandchild?

Yesterday I had a T-H-NG-VB Day.

Everything took three times the amount of time that it should have taken.

I dropped off my embroidery machine for cleaning, and what should have taken three minutes took at least 15.  Someone was purchasing a sewing machine ON THE PHONE.  As if!  That put me behind which would then make me late for my next few errands so I skipped my second and third errands and went directly to the movie theater for stop number four.

I had purchased tickets for two different films, one on Friday and one on Sunday.  I asked for the ticket to see Downton Abbey (Friday), but they printed the wrong ticket, which due to lack of reading glasses I didn't notice immediately.  By the time I got that situation remedied, the movie had started and there was someone in my seat.  She had apparently decided that I was not coming.

I finally found an alternate seat (not easy in the dark).  I didn't even have time to purchase a $5 soda, so I just concentrated on the movie.  That was the best part of the day!

Downton Abbey was the best thing on
TV for six seasons, and the movie
did not disappoint.

After the movie I went back to errand number two, pick up an order at the yarn shop.  Only when I got there, the sweet girl behind the desk couldn't find it.  By this time it was sprinkling outside and the wind was blowing.  It was approaching rush hour and I didn't really appreciate having driven all that way for nothing!  She was about to give me a replacement order when I got a text that my order had been delivered to my house.  She said things were crazy on Thursday when they did the mailing, so free shipping on them!  I only hope the lady whose order was NOT shipped will be as happy.

Now I went out to rush hour to deliver a table runner to church.  That was errand number three.  I was dropping it off for the Lutheran Women's Missionary League coordinator for Sunday.  Too bad I had missed her by about 15 minutes.  :-(  I texted her and told her where it was, and it turned out she was at the grocery store and could come back.

Disaster averted.

Having skipped lunch, and now approaching 5:30 p.m., I decided to run to a Taco Bell, but the street I was on had been improved this past summer and I couldn't make a left turn into their parking lot.


By this time, famished, I kept going until I found a fast food place on the RIGHT side of the street, and grabbed a sandwich and fries, and a $2 diet soda.  So less than half of the price of the one I missed at the movies.  My luck is improving.

And did I mention that by this time there was hail?  Teeny, tiny hail, but hail nonetheless.  Oh, and my reading glasses?  In the bottom of my purse, broken and missing the right lens.

Oh well, as a certain fictional heroine would say, I can't think about that now, I'll think about that tomorrow.

Sew on...

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Back to The Blog!

OK All you loyal readers (all six of you!!) I fixed whatever issue I was having with the photos, my life has calmed down a little, and I've resolved to blog more frequently.

We'll see how it goes.

Last month I went to the Wisconsin Public TV Quilt Expo.  That is a great show, and if you haven't attended, you should consider it.  There were over 300 quilts in the main show, plus several smaller exhibits in other areas, including a tribute to Nancy Zieman, another one to Prince's Purple Rain, and some fabulous smaller quilts like Amish with a Twist, and sashiko embroidery.

Then I got a yarn order from Knitpicks, including a new winder.  Not that my old one was broken, but the yarn could slip off the cone and when it wound around the gears it made a maddening mess that could only be removed with a ton of patience, or a scissors.

This new one has a bigger shield and if it slips you get a mess but not in the gears.

I had previously purchased a 'yarn swift' of sorts.  It's from Chiao Gu (I think that's how you spell it) and it holds the hank while you wind, thus eliminating the need for someone to hold the skein while you wind it.  It's perfect!  And it disassembles and goes flat for storage.

I wound three skeins of sock yarn while watching Midsommer Murders on Friday.

This is the skein on the swift. The wound cake is the photo below.

This is what the next skein looked like.

Then draped over the swift.

And the cake.  And you won't believe the changes when you begin knitting...

which I haven't done yet.  I have cast on a gray blend called Hawk that is going to be a pair of fingerless mittens for Miss E.  You know high school seniors don't wear mittens, but a pair of fingerless ones will keep hands a little warm and leave fingers free for texting.

On Thursday I was sitting in Starbucks with a tea, knitting between appointments.  A small boy and his mom were watching me knit.  He was whispering to her but I didn't catch what he said.  She finally asked me what I was doing as they were leaving, actually I think she said "What are you making", so probably she recognized it as a knit project.  She said they were nice, so hopefully I get a thumbs up from the teenager too!

Knit on...

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Photo Challenges -- Mine, Not Yours!

This blog was originally a place to show off pictures I've taken of various things like all my marvelous and not-so-marvelous projects, works in process, etc.

Still having trouble getting my photos from my phone and tablet onto my computer.  I'm not sure what the difficulty is exactly, but it's getting more frustrating as the days go by.

I swear, I used to just connect the tablet to the computer and a file folder would open and there all the photos were, ready for transfer to the computer.  Now, I plug the devices together and the computer says "I detect a charge-only device attached to me".  Ugh!!  Same cord I think.  Newer computer, but same make and model as the old one... I have no idea what's up with that.  Or them, as the case may be.

Time to go to work, or at least comb my hair and put on clothes so I may do same.

Maybe I'll have some time to sew this weekend, and find a solution to my posting issue.

Sew on...