Everything in its place

Last week flew by in a blur of busy-ness.  Things were crazy busy at work and Syd came for dinner Friday night, and we had shrimp scampi for dinner one night and that's about all I remember.  Saturday, we helped the first time home buyers across the street take out an overgrown shrub (~12' tall) that had died in last winter's ice storm and Sunday, I spent a very cloudy morning putting things away.  

I finished another corner of the arc quilt.  I laid it out so I could get a better feel for how it was going to look.  It's working for me.  I noticed that all the echo work gives it a little bit of an unintended Art Deco feel.  Sometimes things work out that way.  All art is derivative, even if I don't realize it when I'm doing it.  It's still inspired by something else.  When I finish these large black sections, I have to quilt every seam allowance in that tiny spiked border.  That's going to be tedious!  

Saturday afternoon, we were so tired that I just sat and hand quilted while we watched vintage horror movies.  It was nice to meet the neighbors.  Our next door neighbor was there with us, cutting and stacking and he reminded us that when we met them, we helped them unload their moving van and now, we're helping a neighbor take out a tree.  Not to brag, but as I buff my nails along my coat lapel and puff up my chest, that's who we are.  Anyway, I got a lot done on this little quilt too and like the arc quilt, am getting ready for the border.  Quilting a border always feels different than quilting the rest of the quilt to me.  I like to quilt the border a little different, but it has to be cohesive and that's sometimes challenging.  

 What I did in the studio yesterday was more than just straightening up or clearing the floor so I can walk through, it was putting things back in their places.  I had hand quilting tools all over the room and appliqué fabric strewn everywhere and a couple of quilts and some other sewing on my sewing surface and I could only use about a foot square space of my cutting board.  I rearranged drawers, put away thread and rulers and pens and found my green chalk pencil that's been missing about six months.  I sorted the tools and packed them away in their groups; knitting, hand sewing, machine sewing, applique and I made sure I had a pair of scissors and a tape measure in all the places I generally sit and work.  You can't tell it from this picture, but all is right with the world.  My studio will always be crowded with the things I love, but it has to be clear enough that I can find the things I love.

Anybody want to guess what my favorite color is?

Rob put halloween lights across the front of the house.  That will set a nice stage next Sunday.  We're going to put a table out and put our treat bags on it like we saw other neighbors do last year.  That way no one has to get close to one another and we can still do trick or treat.  I miss Sydney being here to greet the tricksters and give them treats.

 That's it for me today.  Short and sweet post.  I let it slip that I could do something at work and now my new boss has me doing it all the time.  He still writes after 5 asking me to do things, but I've learned to answer that 'I'll take care of that first thing in the morning!'   I've never had a boss that asked me to be on call in the evening.  I'm not caring for it.  But, I think I am managing it pretty well.  No need to be upset or angry.  And, no need to give up my evenings.  

Everybody have a. great week!  I heard from several of you that are reorganizing.  Enjoy it.  If you're like me, organization is fleeting "madness takes its toll...Let's do the time warp, again!  It's just a jump to the left.  And, then a step to the right.  Put your hands on your hips.  And, bring your knees in tight...."





Last week I made time for projects and improvements.  I took Wednesday off as a whatever day because I have more paid time off than they'd ever let me use in one go, and I spent the day organizing and quilting. My dresser drawers had reached a shocking level of disorganization, despite Rob's best efforts, so I emptied everything out on the floor and rearranged it and put it all in again.  Such a small thing, but you'd be surprised how good it feels.  I needed to replace a deep drawer with two shallower drawers in our Elfa system so we took 'our once every 20 year trip to the Container Store' (and that's exactly how I explained it to the kid behind the counter when he tried to sign me up for their rewards program).  Then, I spent a big chunk of the weekend rearranging the pantry.  Again, it's own reward.  

Wednesday afternoon, I managed to almost finish a corner of the arc quilt by filling in the straight echo lines.  I tried using the side of my hopping foot as a guide for the space between lines, but that 45* curve confounded me.  I could get most of the way around the curve in one go, but then I had to reposition the quilt to come down the other side.  Every time I did that, when the needle came up, the quilt moved and threw the line off by an ~1/8".  That wasn't going to do.  I decided instead of picking out the quilting I'd done, I would move to a fresh corner and see how that went.  I had to mark these lines to get around the curve.  It didn't take long and the result was worth it.  I know the circle full of circles looks weird, but let's wait and see how it looks in the rest of the quilt.  If it doesn't work, I can pick them out and fill that space with the same background filler.  

Life sometimes feels like a series of making mistakes and correcting them, so of course, there had to be a fly in that ointment.  Remember that temporary marking line I quilted in when I started filling the corners?  When I marked the echo lines, the last one is very close to my marking line.  I filled right up to that line, so now I have to figure out how to compensate.  Or maybe not compensate at all.  

I've decided to wait until all four corners are to the same stage before I pick a method.  Once I know the extent of the error, I'll be able to pick a way to fix it.  But, if I jump the gun here, I could end up having to correct the correction.  

I've also been quilting straight lines into the hand quilted project.  I have 7 of these block pairs quilted and the last one is marked and there are a few stitches in it.  The outer border is going to get a version of baptist fans which will mesh with the other parallel lines in the quilting, but won't just be boring straight lines.  Not that they're boring to look at, but they do get boring to quilt.  

One of the things we bought at the C.S. was kitchen canisters.  Replacing the kitchen canisters doesn't sound like a very big deal, but it really is for me.  Tupperware has been part of my life forever, it feels like.  My Mom was a Tupperware dealer...Tupperware lady as they were called at the time.  She sold it and then became a manager for others that sold it.  They provided her a station wagon to haul it in and she was always winning things, including a trip to Hawaii.  My first set of canisters were her old ones that she was replacing.  Then, she sold those and replaced them with a new set and Rob and I found a vintage set in an antique store that we added to it.  But the big ones had taken on a smell and I got a snout full of it every time I needed flour or sugar.  It didn't flavor the food, but it was unpleasant for the cook.  The smaller ones seem to be fine, so I'm still using them, but everything got rearranged and I ended up washing canisters four different times before I was done.  All the countertops and the dining table were covered with stuff (including a dusting of flour).  It's done now and I enjoyed the new arrangement to bake bread and make chocolate cake.  

Rob's been doing some Halloween decorating.  I need to get on the candy thing.  We turned our light off last year, but we don't plan to do that this year.  We're going to set up a table where kids can get candy and/or toys without having to come closer than 6'.  Hopefully, that will make parents comfortable enough to send their kids up to the house.

That's it for me today.  The MAGA cult has hit too close to home and I'm not ready to talk about it.  I'm hurt and afraid and there's people that just don't care about that.  But, there are a lot more people that do and I have to keep my eye on that instead of the other.

Everybody have a great week!  If you're like me, the organization bug hits in spring and fall and you're likely either pulling stuff out or putting it away.  Nothing wrong with that, but keep your projects small and manageable and don't hurt yourself.



Truly blessed and highly favored

 I'm borrowing that phrase from Heidi N Closet.  She won't mind.  There's plenty of room under that tent for everyone that feels blessed and highly favored.

We spent a lot of time cleaning up this weekend.  There was a lot that needed doing in the back yard now that the work back there is finished. (for now)  Picking things up, dealing with the trampling the fence builders did in my garden...they were not as careful as I thought they'd be.  I'll be digging up more and getting it out of the way next time.  And, there is a next time.  Since we ordered our fence, the house behind us has changed hands and the owner is fixing it up to flip it.  We've decided we need to be completely separate from that, so we're putting up a fence between us and that house.  Their fence is on our side of the property line, and we're not going to let them build on our side again.  That's going to be awkward, but it is what it is.  My husband is taking care of that...and I'm glad to let him.  More about the yard later.  

I finished the new left glove.  This is me taking a picture of my left hand with my right hand.  I'm so left handed it's freaky, so it took a few tries to get all the fingers in the picture.  I've left the yarn ends out because I'm thinking of taking some length off a couple fingers.  First, I figure I need to make the right glove in case I get bored...gloves with slightly long fingers are better than a glove and a half.

One of the things I needed to do was get the studio cleaned up so I could get back to normal projects.  Working on multiple projects at a time left the studio cluttered with small things that I'd pulled out, used once and then sat down.  To celebrate the cleanliness, I decided to make a mess.  I needed some inspiration to get back to the flower quilt blocks and a new needle case and pin cushion were just the trick.  And, it took that just-cleared edge off the room because I pulled my tools back out to make it.  

Admit it, you wish you had one.  The needle caddy pattern came from Becky Goldsmith at Piece o' Cake Quilts and the pincushion is two 2.5" squares sewn right side together, turned out and filled.  I couldn't find my ground up walnut shells, so I filled it with some anise seed.  For some reason, I had a lot and this is a good way to use some and it smells like black licorice.  (and sausage!)

I also did some hand quilting.  I finished up the circles and then realized that the rest needed to be parallel straight lines.  That really was the only thing that was going to compliment the curves and circles.  I wouldn't mind finishing this project soon.  It's not that I'm bored with it, but I will be glad when I am done.  It's like I carry the weight of this one for some reason...a weight I don't feel from most of my other unfinished projects.  

And, finally the yard and fences.  These are the new fences.  I think they have Rob enthralled.  For me, they're a background on which to paint leaves and flowers.  And, they smell so good!

This is the view from Linda's chair.  The shade cloth at right is because I got a little over ambitious and tried to move a couple plants while it's still too hot.  Shade and water should make that successful.  

These are some of the plants that have been dug up and potted and are waiting new places in the garden.  I don't think I'm going to try to put my plants as close together as I did last year.  They already need digging and dividing again and I can save myself that work next year by spacing them better.  

And, this is the giveaway pile.  These are recovering in the shade.  In a couple weeks, I'll be ready for another plant giveaway.  I'm looking forward to it!  I have a lot of small pots I'm maintaining that I can share with someone else.   There are a few things recovering here that are for us, but not many.  I think I counted 18 little pots of Echinacea for new homes.

I had to show this off.  I made a spice cake yesterday.  I put half in a square pan and the other half in a shaped loaf pan.  And, it didn't stick!  Syd and Rob gave me the pan for Christmas one year and this is the first time I've baked in it.  Imagine a nice pumpkin bread like this for thanksgiving!

I feel truly blessed and highly favored because I appreciate all that there is in my life.  Look at the variety just in this post and this is only part of what happened to me in the last 7 days.  My life is full.  Oh, sure, there are critics...people who feel less blessed and want me to feel less blessed with them.  But their mess isn't my mess and I don't have to take it on. There were several people this week that tried to squash my blessing and while I might have felt bad for a couple minutes, life is so full that I was able to quickly move on and get back to my blessings.  I don't want to sound preachy, but I do want to emphasize that feeling blessed is something I give myself.  It's not dependent on others.  It's how I see my life and experience the world around me.  I'd like to say that I feel this way all the time, but that's not true.  I sometimes lose track of how blessed I am and spend time feeling sad or angry.  But more than at any time in my life, I'm able to sit back and count my many blessings and disregard those that would have me feel less blessed.  

Be well.  Take care of yourself.  And, when someone tries to bring you down, pay 'em no mind.  It's the sweetest kind of revenge.

Also, stay ssssssssssoft and ssssssssssssupple.  Another tidbit from Heidi.



Words are deeds

I was reminded of that last week when I was sparring with a crazy person.  It's not just the physical act of hurting someone that's wrong.  Saying words is a physical act and can be just as hurtful.

I got the first glove finished.  It could have been better.  I've only made one pair of fingered gloves before and they're great, but I've worn them nearly out and want a new pair.  I picked this solid grey sport weight yarn, knowing that if it doesn't work out, it's just yarn.  This one is a little too small.  And, there are some errors that I didn't see until they were far behind me and where the fingers come together, the stitches aren't very tight.  I could "sew" the finger joins together, but I can't fix the tightness, so I've started another glove in a larger size.  I'm halfway up the thumb gusset.  These go really fast, so I don't mind starting over.  

Friday, we got the call that the fence builders were coming today.  Rob and I spent most of the weekend in the yard, clearing around the fences so the builders could get in to work.  When they did the estimate, they told us they'd need 2' on either side of the fence and that I should dig up or cut down what was in that area.  Rob says they'll be surprised by how seriously I took their words.  Some of what I dug up was going to be moved this fall, and now it's in pots, waiting for the work in the back yard to be finished.  We don't know exactly where the new gate is going to be, but it's likely going to change the shape of the garden on that side and now that's a mostly sunny spot, I have some plants that will benefit from being there.  I just have to remember to save space for tomatoes (keep my eye on the prize of that sunny spot).  What I didn't dig up, I cut to the ground.  It's all perennials and they'll come back.  They'll try to come back this fall, but next year, you won't even be able to tell I cut my garden to the ground.  (I can't believe I cut my garden to the ground!). 

This back corner was full.  It's the only remaining shady spot and things hung into the path.   All that had to be cleared out.  

This is the newly sunny side of the yard.  There was a mock orange that grew under the fence, so I enjoyed it inside the back yard and outside the back yard, where it was originally planted.  We already had a new starter that we'd put in at the other end of the fence for balance.  I dug up starters from both plants and have a large pot of them.  Later, when I have time, I'll pot some of those in smaller pots to give away...I'm thinking the time to give them away is early next spring when the parents are in bloom.   (You get a good view of the fence that Rob built here.  This is 17 years old and is still in really good shape.)

This is my poor camelia that I nearly lost in the February freeze.  It's coming back, but it's slow.  It has growth in that 2' cleared space, but they're just going to have to work around that.  I left this and a crepe myrtle and an acuba in the ground that they'll have to work around.  With the rest of it cleared out, that shouldn't be too much to ask.  

Every composting trash can we have is full and there are several piles of limbs for the city crews to pick up today. 

I just deleted four paragraphs about how hard interpersonal relationship are with people that don't know how to have interpersonal relationships.  Not everyone has that skill.  Not everyone cares enough to learn it.  Screw 'em!

Anyway, I just finished three really good books about women I thought I'd mention.  Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera was a wonderful read.  It's about three very different women and how they handled the challenges thrown at them in the early 1920's.  Each is a sweet example of loving a child and surviving emotional pain.  This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger is a boyhood adventure, but the strong women in the story move it forward, propelling the group from city to city and adventure to adventure.  And, It's Not All Downhill from Here by Terry McMillan.  I haven't read anything by Terry in a long time, but this book makes me want to read more of her work and soon!  This one is about love of children and love of friends and love of self.  I was inspired and uplifted by the message of hope and triumph when the main character just wanted to lay down.  

Everybody have a great week!  I can hardly wait for the new fences to be in place.  I'm so glad we had the trees cut first.  I am thankful for the good things and the good people in my life and look forward to my next adventures.  I feel sorry for people that don't have those things to look forward to.  

Happy is where you find it.