Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Books: Wake

This week's book is Wake by Anna Hope. I had never heard of this book; it was suggested as a book for my book group, and at first I thought I'd skip it. I'm so glad I decided to read it. It's an excellent book about several people in the course of one week in 1920, still reeling from the effects of World War I. It takes place in England. All the characters are affected by the war in various ways. There is a lot of grief as people deal with loss or with what we now call PTSD. It's an amazing look at people's fortitude, weaknesses, loves and losses -- the general state of humanity dealing with grief and healing. This is a five-star book that I highly recommend.

book-o-lantern made by employees of Dakota County Library in Minnesota - Happy Hallloween!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fun Stuff I Did This Weekend

When most people talk about "fun stuff they did this weekend," they usually mean things like going for a walk, having a party, going to a movie, etc. Right? Well, when I do fun stuff it usually means sewing or creating in some way. I guess you know that about me by now.

I did a bunch of sewing of Half Square Triangles. I got pretty excited/distracted with these crazy things. I was working on a plan to get other people involved... but as I worked on these four blocks, which contain 16 HSTs per block, I realized it was not realistic to expect other people to do that many triangles. (Knowing, as I do, that some quilters dislike triangles, I had to change my plans..although personally I don't see how one can make many quilts without doing triangles!) Anyway, I got these four blocks made, and now I shall contemplate what to do with them. This is the way I roll: make something and THEN plan.

the pattern is Depression Block; I found it at quilterscache

I am also working on assembling a quilt that is just squares. I got the squares free. It's kind of boring to assemble, so I interrupted myself to fly off into Triangle Land. The squares-top is about half done, so no picture yet.

Last, I did some ice-dyeing. I did a session recently in which I was very disappointed with my colors, so I was eager to have another go at it. This time my colors are much prettier. I think it may be time to add a few dyes to my collection as I feel I have so few color options.

These are baby onesies and kid-size tops. The bigger top is an adult size Small. Not sure what I'll do with these yet, but one or two of them may show up in the silent auction we are going to do at work.

I'm reading a good book, too, but didn't find enough time to devote to my book today. Wish I could add a few hours to my days!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Back in the Game

I enjoyed Friday. I slept late, spent some time catching up on emails, did some sewing (YES! - FINALLY!), and watched "The Fault in Our Stars" on Amazon Prime. I never even left the house. It was a great day.

These are some blocks I made for Sunshine.

I finally got this top quilted! It has been waiting for a long time. It'll go to Bundles of Love and is compliments of my local guild -- one of our community service quilts.

I had an event scheduled for Saturday, but it was cancelled. I couldn't be happier! I intend to spend most of Saturday at home, too. Home = Love.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Books: Abandoned

This week's book: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. I read this book, sort of. I read the first half. I was getting bored; nothing seemed to be happening. It's about two sisters who live in a small town. Their guardians change: mom, grandmother, aunt... so their life is a bit odd, with frequent upheaval. Other than that, nothing much happens. I skimmed through the rest of the book, just to see if it would get more exciting. I couldn't tell, exactly, due to only skimming it, but I don't think I would have changed my mind. I hate to do this to a book by Marilynne Robinson; I absolutely loved her book, Gilead, and I love her writing. Yet with this one I was bored and wanted to move on to another book. I am hoping her new book, Lila, will be another one I will absolutely love. I'll read that one some time in the future.

a beautiful room in which to read

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Back Home, Exhausted

At my current place of employment I am lucky to be able to pick my own hours. I had chosen to work zero hours this week. The plan was to work on more items for the church bazaar, work AT the bazaar, and then enjoy a couple of days just doing my own thing.

Best laid plans....!! Turns out I was happy I had arranged zero work hours this week, because my mom landed back in the hospital, and I spent all week with her. I finally arrived back home tonight, Thursday, at about 8:00 PM. I'm tired!

Mom is out of the hospital and back in her home. She recovered from her Congestive Heart Failure episode. Her previous one was only two months ago. She will probably continuing having CHF bouts and at some point will not recover. The doctor said she is at Stage 3 Congestive Heart Failure. I didn't know it had stages, but I looked it up: there are only 4 stages. Stage 3 is described as follows: Marked limitation, symptoms with less than ordinary activities. Stage 4 is when one has symptoms while at rest. We don't know how much time Mom has.

Mom is living in a good place with good services. They will continue to monitor her condition. More services will be added, as needed. She had a long question/answer session with the unit coordinator today. She will be getting help with a few more activities, at least until she fully recovers and gets used to her new routine. I learned some things by sitting in on the session. I'm glad I was there to learn, and I am grateful I was able to take these days to help my mom.

Well, back at church, the bazaar and turkey dinner went on without me. I don't know how successful it all was. This is the first time I have missed it in many years. Luckily we had added another person to the area where I usually work; I'm sure they were fine without me there.

Fall colors are past peak, but still beautiful. Very soon all the leaves will fall off the trees. This is the sad part -- November approaching. I've always thought of November as the ugliest month. It's brown, often overcast (gray), and there's usually not much snow yet. Snow is so pretty after suffering through a month of brown, gray, and falling temps. Maybe that's why God gave us November: an ugly month after which we will celebrate the arrival of snow. Do you think so?

I was able to attend a choir concert at the local high school. The building is NEW and gorgeous. My great-niece is in the freshman class there. She is in the front row, 2nd from left. Her choir was excellent, and I was a proud great-aunt.

Now it's bedtime, back in my own bed tonight. What a lovely thought!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Using My Older Camera

I capitulated and got my older camera ready to go. It had been so long since I used it, I had to set everything up again, like the date and time and all that. It feels comfortable, though. My muscle memory knows just how to use it.

I took pictures of my bizarre bazaar items. Nothing very fabulous, but here goes:

potholders and knitted dish cloths

wall hanging made by an online group in a swap/round robin thing (center block is made locally by a Hmong artist)
little zipper bags and two tote bags

hats: ice dyed youth and infant hats; knitted hats

more ice dyed items: a youth shirt, socks, and hair scrunchies

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Why Must I Read the Directions?? and My Camera is MIA

My camera is missing in action, and I'm getting frustrated. Photos on my phone are not satisfying! I'm 99% sure that the camera is somewhere in this house. I must have put it somewhere stupid. I do that sometimes. Last week, for example, I was at my guild meeting, showing a purse I'm working on. It's all done except the handles. While showing the purse, I opened it up and said, "Oh! There's my phone!" I had plopped it inside there while organizing stuff to go to the meeting, and then forgot and couldn't find my phone. I must have done a similar dumb thing with my camera some time in the last ten days or so.

Jay Cooke State Park, photo from MN State Parks Facebook page

It's a bad time of year to be without my camera, because I am wanting to snap decent pictures of the gorgeous fall colors. So far I've only had the pleasure of doing so on my phone. Well, I do admit I still have my previous camera - that I used faithfully just before buying the smaller size for last year's trip to Europe. I'm afraid if I pull it out I'll have to relearn the differences between that and my more current one. Plus, I'm sure the battery is long dead. Too much work!

Lake Maria State Park, photo from MN State Parks Facebook page

Yesterday I was sewing along, using my new sewing machine, when it came time to re-thread it. The first couple of times I threaded it, I just used the little diagrams on the top of the machine, and it worked fine. Yesterday I couldn't get it right. I needed to either pull out the book of directions, or watch the sewing machine DVD how-to. Both too much work, so I swapped for my older machine with its quirks. At least I'm familiar with it and can continue to sew without stopping to learn how.

Our church bazaar is this week, Wednesday. I'm trying to finish up some stuff to have there for sale. Last night I gathered it all together and was surprised that I had as much as I did. I still want to make more, however. There are always more ideas pushing around inside my head, wanting to come out!

My mom is back in the hospital. I am too tired to do another long drive today, so I'm going to wait and go see her tomorrow. Depending on how she is doing, I may or may not be able to attend our church bazaar and turkey dinner. At least I will have made a contribution of some STUFF to sell. I hope it sells.