Thursday, January 12, 2023

Happy 2023!

The holidays are over and I think I've recovered!  Welcome to 2023.  Who knew it was going to be this weird?  This is still Wisconsin, it's still winter, and yesterday it was 47 degrees F.  There is not a drop of snow in my yard or the surrounding community.  People are talking about the 'snow drought'.  Yes, it's a thing.

Christmas was nice, the whole family was here.  With my son's engagement we've gained another teenager.  I think that makes 3 fifteen-year-olds!  Dinner turned out well for once.  Nothing burned and nothing forgotten in the fridge.  We ended up with all the wrapping paper again, but that's to be expected if you host.

I finally completed my middle granddaughter's birthday sweater, and she loves it.  I was worried that it would be too cropped -- I don't want to be responsible for any needless exposure of certain young body parts.  And I did make the sleeves long enough for this very tall girl.

After New Years, which for us was very quiet, I got re-energized to sew.  DH gave me a nice gift card from Quilt-agious, so I signed up for the 2023 mystery quilt retreat at the end of January.  So I thought I had better finish the one from last year!

I had a total of 48 blocks to assemble.

There are two different blocks... one with a black center and the other with no black pieces at all.  After I did the whole pile, there was ONE piece that I had to redo.  The one on the lower right was wrong - I forgot to spin the center square of the nine patch.  It should look like the one above.

This is what the center should look like once I get all the blocks sewn together.  Then there are a couple of different choices for borders.  I'm working on some blocks that look like links in a chain.  And I'm hoping that I have enough of the background fabric to complete it.

For 2023 I'm going in a whole new color direction:

Hoping that this scratchiness in my throat is just dryness... hope everyone out there is having the best January ever.

Sew on...


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Good Intentions

 As the saying goes, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".

I may not be on that road, but this past couple of weeks has been a challenge.  Today I just want to lay my head down for a tiny bit more after breakfast.  I'm coughing and I lost my voice.  My eyelids are drooping and my ribs hurt.  A tiny nap...

Things to do beckon.  I have a sweater to finish for Miss K, hopefully by her birthday in three weeks.  I'm on sleeve number 1, about halfway there.  She's a tall girl with slender limbs and a pretty smile.  I hope the calculations for the decreases to the wrist will fit her adequately.  I might have to ask her to measure her wrist for me before I'm finished.

Our quilt guild from church is making angel gowns. They are flannel gowns used for babies who don't survive birth or who die in the NICU at the hospital.  I ended up with the bag of extra small ones.  Yesterday using the assembly line method, I got six to the point of setting in the sleeves and realized that when I dropped supplies off at church, I forgot to take out ribbon for my own use.  Hopefully a short trip to pick up ribbon won't wear me out!

I also signed up for a knit-along at my local yarn shop.  The cast on party is tonight.  Of course, there are no penalties for not starting tonight, and I have NO business casting on another project at this point, but since it's for myself it won't be taking any type of priority in the works in process queue!

Yesterday it snowed all day in southeast Wisconsin.  Today the remnants of that storm are covering the corners of the grass and the areas where the sun doesn't reach.  We might have received an inch or two total, but since the ground isn't totally frozen due to the recent nice weather, it hasn't stuck.

This weekend there's a boatload of craft fairs in the area.  Since next week is Thanksgiving the holiday shopping season has begun in earnest.  I'm of course not ready for the holidays, although I DID make a Thanksgiving shopping list.  The last few days were spent organizing the chaos in my craft room and getting ready for our condo's Homeowner's Association meeting.  I'm secretary/treasurer, so I had a presentation to prepare.  Less than half the owners showed up.  <sigh> Lots of grumbling about things but no one ever volunteers to run for the board and do the work.  Situation normal, I guess!!

Gotta get to work... things to do, places to go, people to see.

I'll just close my eyes for a second.😴

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Well! There You Go~

This morning I was viewing blogs and I came across one whose author hasn't been posting on it for a long time.

You know, missing in action.

I thought, gee, I know this person is still around, I wonder why there are no recent postings.  And then BAM!  I had another thought -- gee, I haven't posted in a while, I wonder why THIS person hasn't done the same!  

And then I looked at my blog.  JULY??? Really??  OMG, what am I doing instead of blogging?  I mostly use this blog as a diary to remember all my activities.  But four months have gone by, and what have I done?

I used to blog about sewing.  I did some sewing recently.  I hemmed a couple of bridesmaids dresses for some people.   Here's one I trimmed off by about 3 1/2 inches.  The bottom of the skirt was eight yards wide!


I used to blog about quilting.  I did finish a quilt project that was on the five year plan... I was cleaning and pulled out a bin of UFOs and this one had one border that was missing about 10 inches on one side.   I must have been looking for the rest of the fabric and never found it.  It's going to the quilter very soon, as I found something very similar that will work.  Why did it take so long?


I'm just so thankful that this one is finally out of the bin!  I'm trying to decide what to back it with, and what color thread to ask my quilter to use.  

I've been knitting mostly I guess.  I have tossed the stash (like a salad, where you mix up the ingredients, not the throw away kind of toss) and rearranged things.  I did get rid of some yarn that I decided I wasn't going to use - donated some to a local hat project, put a bin together for the preschool, etc.  Now I have a couple of sweaters I need to finish before the holidays.

Unfortunately, I also located several cakes of sock yarn that have lost their labels.  The only thing I know about them is their colors... and that they ARE fingering weight yarns.  And that I liked them when I bought them.  I'm now on a mission to use them so I don't have to feel guilty about losing their ball bands.  😦

Thanksgiving and birthdays are coming up for November.  The weather is still nice in Wisconsin, although yesterday was a near thing.  The wind was blowing so hard that our Condo sign went over, along with one of the outdoor lamp posts.  

I hope you didn't miss me too much, if at all.  Maybe it won't be so long until next time.

Blog on...

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

July! How Can That Be??

Now that I've made the rounds of the rooms in my house and changed all the calendar pages from June (and in one case May!) to July, I think I've finally figured out the date and where I am in the summer.

It only took a month...

May and June went by in a blur.  First came the end of the school year for the College Girl.  She came back home just in time for Mother's Day in May and my birthday.  Then Memorial Day.  Followed quickly by Miss A's birthday and the last day of high school for the three younger kids.  Then the beginning of summer school and Vacation Bible School, to be followed immediately by my attendance as alternate delegate to our church District's convention.  


Vacation Bible School was fun for a couple of reasons.  1.  I was not teaching, just doing craft demonstrations in the Jerusalem Marketplace.  2.  I was NOT acting as a crew leader and having to shuffle kids around in 94 degree heat!  3.  My youngest grand spent the 3 days helping out and staying at my house so we had lots of Gramma time.

She's a joy to be around.  No doom and gloom, no pouting, and she loves the little kids she was working with.  We had lunch together all three days, did some shopping and some crafting, and she helped me plan out a sweater she's asked me to make.  We took our first joint yarn store trip (buying yarn at Michael's doesn't count!)

Until this past weekend I hadn't been in my sewing room for nearly a month.  Can you say withdrawal symptoms?  LOL!  I first had to clean up, since my room becomes a dumping ground for packages and things if I'm not careful.  But just being down in that space makes me happy, and putting things away means handling fabric and notions, and who can say that's a bad thing?

So on July 3rd and 4th I was in the mood for some sewing, regardless of how mindfull or mindless it was going to be.

I seem to have inherited the job of piecing backings for the quilts for our church group, if they're wider than one fabric width.  This makes me truly appreciate extra wide backings and even cotton blends in 54 inch widths.  One quilt we had was 60x80 inches.  We don't generally make them that big, but someone made a quilt top in a bunch of lovely blue fabrics and left it for us to finish.  

There was one piece of a coordinating shade of blue fabric that I thought was large enough, but it missed the mark by about 4 inches in both width and length.  Too bad because it was a pretty good color match, but there just was no way to supplement it and make it work.  A second blue top fit better in size, so a swap was made between what was supposed to back it and the newly pieced back.

This time there was enough yardage, but it was in three sections.  It was the same floral print in all three pieces but one of them looked to be from a different bolt of fabric.  Either that or one was prewashed and the other was not... but nothing else was going to work and all the fabric shops near me were closed.  So after some math and piecing worthy of a Puzzle Master, the blue monster had a backing large enough to go around, and all that remained was a 22-inch by 27-inch piece of that floral fabric.

Good ideas, but my fabric wasn't cooperating!

Victory was sweet!

There are just two more backs to piece, and I'll be ready for the group to get back together in August.

Next thing I did was dig in the scrap bag and pick out a bunch of brightly colored 5 inch squares and sewed up some bean bags.  After VBS marketplace ended we had bags of dried beans and lentils that needed a place to be.  They made nice filling for the bean bags.  I made a total of 8 bean bags, and filled a gallon sized ice cream container and took them to the church's preschool.  Bean bag games are always fun no matter what your age.

Reading before I go to sleep has been a habit for many years.  Even if I just read two paragraphs sometimes, it always helps.  I always try to pray as I'm getting ready for bed, then find a good story to read, one that keeps my attention at least until my eyes start closing.  Lately I've read books by Dana Stabenow, John Sandford, Ann Cleves and Archer Mayor, to name just a few.

These have been read since January 1...


And these are the ones that are waiting to be read.


No judgments!!  I buy most of my books at thrift stores or garage sales and some were gifts.  And my comfort is that my children and grandchildren love books as much as I do.  It comes down to us honestly from my mother and grandmother, so I can truly say it's a family tradition, and one I treasure.

Many of the books I read that are on the lighter side get passed to aunties and cousins.  Of course, the aunties don't want any swearing or graphic descriptions of amorousness if you know what I mean.  Sex is OK if it's implied but not described.  One of my cousins shares my love of mysteries and detective fiction - again, no hard core.  My daughter loves nonfiction and history. although I'm getting her to branch out into well-written historical fiction and biographies of famous women like Eleanor Roosevelt and Julia Child. 

I did buy her several cookbooks, but it doesn't appear to be working.  LOL!

It appears to be time to close up the computer and put on jammies and find something fun and exciting to read tonight.  And tomorrow after a class at the Y I might snag a few hours in the sewing room again.  I think I might even like July this year!

Sew on...

Friday, June 10, 2022

Time Flies...

 I just checked to see when I posted last and it was in March!  Oh well, they say time flies when you're having fun!  Although they also say once you're over the hill you pick up speed.  👀

It seems like just last week it was Easter, and now here it is the middle of June.  What have you been doing?  I don't know about you but it doesn't seem like I've done much, until I start writing it down.

I joined the YMCA with Silver Sneakers and I'm going there three times a week.  I found two classes that I really like and that aren't killing me (eye roll here if you like!).  I'm doing senior yoga twice a week.  There is no getting down on a mat, as many of us would need a crane to get back up.  My knees will not tolerate much abuse anymore.  But doing the exercises from a standing or sitting position gives me just enough stretching and balance to challenge the muscles without pain.

The second class is called Silver Sneakers Circuit.  Why it's a circuit I'm not sure, but we work all the major muscle groups while moving to upbeat music.  Our leader is great at keeping us moving without hurting anything.  She always says 'do what you can do'.  Great advice at any age!  I already feel better and both classes are benefitting my left knee which had a meniscus repair three years ago, and my right that need something since it's nearly out of cartilage!

The Y that I am frequenting is newer, large and very clean.  There's a day care for parents who are working out, and multiple rooms and pools.  I'm not yet brave enough to put on a bathing suit, so just floor exercises for me.  It'll be interesting to see whether my A1C goes down... fingers crossed!

The knitting is going well.  I am signed up to teach a class next week on a very cute baby sweater.  

It's called Norwegian Fir.  It's a paid-for pattern you can find on Ravelry.  I was drawn in by the cute raglan increase rows that have the look of branches on a fir tree.  It's not hard but the pattern is many, many, many pages due to the way it was written.  It took me a bit to figure out the system the designer was using.  I ended up making a spreadsheet instead of using the written directions.  Good old Excel!!  Never lets me down.  That's my math brain speaking.  I'm making another one in this lovely dark teal.

I also made some knitted bangle bracelets.  That's a free pattern on Ravelry.  They take about 4-5 grams of yarn and are made on small double pointed needles, kind of like a sock.  They're worked in stockinette stitch so they naturally roll up into a tube,  and you can make them in about 18 1/2 minutes!


I found the pattern for this cute sailor sweater in an old knitting book from the early 1990s.  I made it for a friend who's gifting it to a little girl who's just turned two.  It was very fun to knit and I learned the technique for making that rolled sailor collar on a v-necked sweater.  Also the color work was fun.  Those are small anchors along the bottom.

Our group at Church made two quilts for the preschool with their Letter Q handprint blocks.  Every year the four-year-olds go through the alphabet and when they get to Q they make a hand print on muslin to be made into a quilt.  I made the one on the left and my friend Gretchen made the one on the right.  They get auctioned off for a special project for the school.  They made the sign that calls us the famous Loving Hands Quilters.  LOL!  You can't miss with cute handprints!

The group also made many other quilts.  We recently donated the four quilts above to the Silent Auction for Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.  The proceeds benefit the synod mission efforts, planting and supporting churches and programs in many places around the world.  The top two are adult sized and the bottom two are

The auction starts on June 12 and can be viewed HERE if you'd like a peek.  

In May I went to the grand opening party for the Nancy Zieman Productions Quilt Studio and Museum in Beaver Dam WI. I went specifically to see the evening presentation from the Midwest YaYa Sisters, Rita Farro and Mary Mulari.  Unfortunately Mary had to miss as she and her husband had just been diagnosed with Covid, but Rhonda Pierce from Schmetz Needles was there to help.  Here she is modeling some of Rita's Frankensewing, as she calls it when she makes a 'new to her' garment from several that may not fit her.  Isn't this one fabulous!

Rita's had a tough year.  She was dealing with her husband's illness and planning a move to a more adaptive home when he died.  She says sewing saved her life and sanity.  It was good to see her again.  She's in my prayers, as are many of my friends.

I made a cute bug pillow for a local nonprofit group.  It was a free pattern that required five fat quarters.  I changed the pattern to have six legs instead of four, because bugs have six legs and some child with a literal mind or an interest in science might notice!  It was fun to make, and I plan to make one or two more.

Wow, that's enough for now!  It's time for lunch.  Hope you're having a great summer.

Craft on...

Monday, March 21, 2022

First Day of Spring, or NOT?

It may be meteorological spring, but here in Wisconsin winter hasn't gone around the corner yet!  We can still see Old Man Winter with our peripheral vision.  That door doesn't close until Memorial Day... or maybe the 4th of July!  

This picture was from the June of 1957.   I'm in the center sitting on the sidewalk.  My sister is on my mom's lap, and her sister JoAnne is holding a light jacket on her lap so I know it was cool that day.  You can see that my cousin Denise is wearing a hat and a sweater.  It might have been a Sunday, since we're so dressed up and my brother David looks pretty clean.  

I'm pretty sick of cold and snow right now.  I was out last week on a couple of very windy, cold days.  The dampness gets into your bones and makes live miserable sometimes.  I can understand why people go to Florida or Arizona in the winter.  But if you only go for a short vacation, doesn't it feel hard to come back to bleh?

My aunt and cousin went on a cruise in February.  They were in the Caribbean, they visited Honduras and the Bahamas.  They said it was wonderful until they got off the plane after returning and they didn't have their winter coats!

Snowbirds do it better I think,  they leave just before it gets really cold and they come back just before it gets really nice.  However, I wonder if I'd like living somewhere so warm in what should be winter.  What excuse would there be to curl up on the couch with a book while the fireplace burns?  Or to stay in for three days because the roads are all snow covered and slippery?  Ha!  

Nope.  Winter in Wisconsin is not for sissies, so I guess I'll just tough it out until something better comes along.

First day of spring?  Not at all... regardless of what the groundhog said last month, it ain't over until it's over!

Rock on...

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Civic Duty and Other Things

Last week I had jury duty.  I deeply believe that we should all be good citizens and do our civic duty.

But UGH!  The experience was so awful!

I have to say my hubby may be right when he says the world is populated by idiots.  Evidently a lot of them live in my area.

Criminals are not known as the most intelligent segment of the population.  But honestly, half the people who were witnesses in the trial I was picked for were not much more erudite.  And some people say the more intelligent you are, the better your excuses are to get out of jury duty!  

Well, I didn't.  Get out of serving, I mean.

Jury selection was interesting.  Three dozen people showed up.  We were numbered, in some mysterious order known only to the bailiffs.  We lined up and the first 21 were seated in the jury box area.

I was number 22.

Questions were asked and answered.  One person stated that they were unable to set aside a prior experience to give a fair and impartial opinion.  The judge excused that person.

The judge said "Number 22, please replace the excused juror."  Or words to that effect.

OK, more questions asked and answered.  The judge said "We will now do jury selection, or more like deselection.  If your name is called, please stand."

My name was not called.  Those standing left.  Dismissed.  For the next FOUR years.

So, on to testimony, witnesses, the whole nine yards.  The rest of the day was very interesting.  The defense attorney was a large, loud brutish-appearing man, but he didn't seem uneducated.  The prosecutor bore a close resemblance to my oldest granddaughter.   Smart and beautiful all at once!

Some of the witnesses though.  Well, I have to give them a pass on total cluelessness, because the trial was for a crime committed in 2019.  Bad covid!  But really, would you not remember something as momentous as the theft of your property?

Oh, did I mention alcohol was involved?



I guess this serves as a life lesson.  Yes, there is bad out there.  And a whole lot of dumb and dumber.

And at the end of a couple of hours of what passed for deliberation, one very rude and obnoxious 19 year old and a couple of whatever the current name is for the school of "oh, the poor thing wasn't raised like us in a nice house and how could they possibly know that it was a CRIME??" managed to skew the concept of reasonable doubt, emphasis on reasonable.  I found myself in a minority.  Of one.

I caved.  I was unwilling to keep us all weekend, and unwilling to send back a no-verdict verdict and make the State do it all over again for the amount of money that was in question.

I believe right is right and wrong is wrong.  Actions should have consequences.  But I also believe in the Law of Diminishing Returns.

The defendant will be back in court I'm sure.  And probably sooner rather than later.  The cops will be waiting.  And the prosecutor will be more ready next time.

Rock on...