Saturday, October 29, 2011

Still a Night Owl

I have always been a natural night owl. I love to stay up late and putz around. That's when I get my second wind and my energy for doing "stuff."

Now I'm in this new job where I am discovering that I love to work the early shifts. Friday, for example, I worked 7:30-10:00 AM. A nice little stint at work, a little cash in the pocket, and I still had almost the whole day to myself. I'm still a night owl when I get to be. If I don't work the next day, I stay up late and have fun. When I have the early work shifts coming up, then I'm careful to rearrange my habits so I get a decent night's sleep. This retired life is really slick. I'm loving it!

Now that the boutique is done, I am back to sewing what I want, when I want. This small quilt (about 8" x 10") is my attempt at being modern. Or something. My quilt guild has a show every February. This year they are doing something different and asking us all to make small quilts. I had one similar to this, made of all solids sewn together randomly.. a couple months ago I decided impulsively to quilt it. After a few minutes of meandering all over it, I discovered that I had ruined the quilt. The modern-ish style did NOT look nice with traditional meandering quilting all over it. Yuck.

So when I found this smaller piece of random solids, I decided to quilt it a modern way. I like this better. For pizzazz I added the flower corsage that was given to me the year I was Featured Quilter at our quilt show. I like this look much better, and for formality, it even has a title: Solid Style. Does giving it a name make it seem a little artsy?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Books

Oh, boy! State of Wonder by Ann Patchett is a GOOD book!! Definitely a 5-star book. When I'd read the first third-to-half of it, I was describing it as "dark." That's because it takes place in a jungle, the protagonist is not comfortable with the heat, the huge insects, the snakes, the thick undergrowth... all those things made me kind of squirmy, too. And there's kind of a mystery that is not a happy one.

But... by the end I would no longer call this a dark story. At the end of the book I sat there thinking "Wow!" Not many books can do that to me.

The protagonist goes through a lot of new and strange experiences, and learns a lot as she goes through them. I felt that transformation along with her.. no longer thinking of the jungle as such a dark setting, for example.

I don't want to give away the story details, so I won't say much more. I am fascinated by how people can be such GREAT story tellers, though. How can a person have all these ideas in her head and write them down in such a captivating way?! It's awesome! I would say this is one of the best books I've read in a long time.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Boutiques and Storms

Our boutique and turkey dinner took place last night. We were very busy! Tons of people came, and we all had a good time. Boutique items were plentiful and varied. So fun! A few of my personal friends came just for the boutique part (not the dinner) and did some shopping. That was fun!

Totals have not yet been officially tallied, but I believe we took in about twice the usual amount of money for our boutique. That is fabulous news! All the money goes to programs we support in this area: transitional housing for women who are facing homelessness and addictions, a neighborhood project that supports many categories of people in need, and a homeless shelter that serves families and helps some of them move into permanent housing.

On a completely different subject, I have been thinking about the change in seasons and the inevitable snow storms we will get here. I have never before worked in a job that is open 24/7. I guess I've been spoiled. I worked in schools that would have snowdays, and I never had to force my little car to drive through the storms to get me safely to work. Now I'm in a job that runs around the clock, and I'm wondering how I'll manage when the storms hit. Our little road is often the last one plowed in this neighborhood, and we only have a shovel. It might be time for a snowblower, something my hubby has adamantly resisted all these years. Should be an interesting winter.

really not looking forward to the arrival of the white stuff

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another Peak

Our fall colors peaked a while back, and most of the leaves are nearly off the trees... now we're getting a second peak, this time of the lovely reds. This week while out running errands I snapped several pictures of the beautiful red trees that are among the last to show their full, brilliant colors. Breath-taking, aren't they?? I love fall!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

More Getting Ready

Lately I have been concentrating on Bazaar sewing. Usually I like to concentrate on Bizarre sewing, but I haven't had time for that. Our bazaar (boutique) will take place on Wed. this week, so I'll soon be back to sewing what and when I want. Hooray!

I finished this table runner. I actually started it a couple years ago and let it sit. I wasn't sure how it would finish, being this odd shape, but I decided to just go for it, and it turned out fine.

This is a prayer shawl that I hurried up and finished today. Our church participates in an active prayer shawl ministry, and they have completely run out of their supply. I finished this but sort of wish I had kept knitting, to make the shawl a tad larger. But, they put out a plea for shawls, so I finished it quickly. Maybe it will go to someone smaller than I am (most people ARE smaller than I am) and then it will fit better. I should start right in on another one.. maybe the "traditional" pattern this time. You know what pattern I used for this blue one? I made that dish cloth pattern that is knitted on the slant.. so this is a very large, half dish cloth that a person can wear. I hope wearing this doesn't make the recipient feel like a dish rag. haha! (Carol, please be serious. ... oh, OK, I apologize for my flippant attitude.) Health, happiness and warmth to the person who receives this shawl! (That's better.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Books

Books! How I love them. I went to the library this week and found State of Wonder by Ann Patchett on the Lucky U shelf. I snatched it right up and started reading. I have a week to finish it and get it returned to the Lucky U shelf for the next lucky reader.

I’m very interested in the story and happy to be reading it. Little did I know, the story begins in Minnesota! But it doesn’t stay there. So far I would say this is a “highly recommended” read. (I’m only about ¼ of the way through, but can say that with confidence.)

The other book I’m reading is The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. My book group at church chose this book, and I started it but did not finish in time for our discussion. I have had this book on my shelf for ages and finally got into it thanks to my book group. Really enjoying this one, too, but set it aside for the time being so I can finish State of Wonder in the week allotted for it.

Oh, since last week I finished Lost in Shangri-La by M. Zuckoff. It was fascinating and a good book: a true story. I learned some things and enjoyed the story line.

It’s getting cold out! Perfect weather to curl up with a quilt and a book. Do yourself a favor: pick a book off your shelf and start reading!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Need a Bag, Lady?

I finished a couple more tote bags. I’m eager for our church bazaar to happen (it’s next week)! I’m tired of sewing for it. I don’t even know if my items will sell. Probably a lot of them won’t… which is OK, but if I’m wasting my time, I’d rather be sewing some other stuff.

Oh, well… the bazaar will have come and gone before I know it. It's a fund-raiser for our mission work; maybe I will have helped raise a good amount of money for the causes we support. Some of them are life-altering for the women involved, so I’m happy to support them.

My new job, you ask? Why, yes, it is going quite well. After I completed my training and had to work solo for the first couple of times, I relaxed and became much more confident. I still feel some little fluttery heart palpitations at times, but I guess that goes with the territory. The job is inherently stressful in a few ways, but it’s fun, too. I’m glad I’m there. Life is good!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Forgotten Quilt

Yesterday before Son moved away, he (and we) had about five minutes to pop in and say goodbye to his grandparents. I was surprised to see this quilt. I recognized right away that I had made the quilt, but I had forgotten all about it. Usually I take pictures of all my quilts; somehow this one slipped through the picture-taking system, and in addition, I had never seen this quilt being used in the last umpteen years since I made it. I think I made it in about 2000 or 2001. It was early in my quilting career when I was still doing hand quilting.

I thought it was a rather gorgeous quilt! (she said humbly) It was fun to see it again and feel like it was new, at least to my eyes, after all these years.

Here is son saying goodbye to the grandparents... a couple hours later he was on a plane, moving away.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

He's gone! Our son moved away today... he's off to L.A. and a new life. (He's in the air right now as I write.) We are so happy for him, and excited, and proud. And also sad. We're going to miss him. I was surprised when hubby came into my sewing room today, weeping. It was still a few hours away from waving-goodbye-time at the airport.

In this picture hubby is trying not to cry. He gave son a hug and said "I love you" which I haven't heard him say since son was a little boy. Everyone needs to hear that now and then. I loved it.

I cried, too, of course. No big surprise there.

Son wanted to hurry and get through security and get going, while we were feeling weepy and wanting to hold on.... it reminded us of dropping off our daughter at college. She was our first child to go, and she was thrilled and excited to be doing so. She bounced around, so happy, and wanting to get back to meeting new friends, while we stood weeping in the parking lot. Such is the lot of parents as life takes us on its journey.

a friend who came to see Son at home, in his last two minutes of packing and running out the door

Godspeed, dear Son! We know you will have a blast and will make the most of your successes and your mistakes. We can't wait to hear about your new journey. Love forever!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Challenge, But Not For Me

pile of quilts for a housing program in NYC - I made the one with green binding

This week my quilt guild did the Big Reveal of the latest challenge: the LOL Challenge. You probably think that means Laugh Out Loud, but you are wrong. This one means Love Our Library Challenge. The participants had to use a book from our guild library, and make something from another person's fabric. At the end it goes back to the original owner of the fabric.

It was a great challenge for these reasons:
* they had to use a book that was assigned to them.. maybe not one they would normally be interested in
* they had to use another person's fabric.. maybe in a colorway they didn't like
* they had to try to make it beautiful, because it would turn into a gift to the fabric owner
* THEY ALL TURNED OUT FABULOUS! They were so pretty and cleverly done. (BTW, I did not participate in this challenge.)

Wouldn't you love to see a picture of them?

I sure would!

I didn't take along my camera. No pictures. Sorry. To be honest, I wanted to take my camera along, knowing the Big Reveal was that night. But, I have resigned as historian (now called photographer) of the guild. I have been kind of oozing back into the role, but don't want to be counted on for photos. I resigned, after all. So I purposely left my camera at home.... hoping they'll eventually believe me, and someone else will step into our vacant role as photographer for our guild.

Hey, on another note, I think complaining works! I complained about hot weather, and then it went from hot to cold. I was doing a sub job today, and we took the school kids outside for lunch. It was breezy and cold!!! Brr! But I am happy. I'd rather be a little cool than to be hot and sweaty.

A busy few days coming up.. some fun stuff and then helping our son move away (boo hoo). I might be absent from my blog for a few days. Try not to cry too hard.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

It's Too Hot!

Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the blazing colors of changing leaves, and I love the cool, crisp air. Something has been wrong this year. It hasn't been cool and crisp! We've had highs in the 80's! Whoever heard of 85 degrees in October??

A lot of people love this warm weather, but not I. I am eager for the cool fall temps to arrive. I hope they do. I'd hate to go from hot directly to winter! Already we are past the peak colors and leaves are falling fast. I haven't been out to take pictures because it has been too hot! Sad, but true.

one of the few fall pictures I have taken this year

I'm working on various sewing projects. Trying to get more done for our church bazaar. I have a lot more made this year than I have for many years, but I want to have lots more! We're trying to expand our boutique, and I hope we do that AND get more customers in to buy our wares. This is a non-traditional (scrappy) table runner that I finished last night.

Today at church a woman who knew me way back in the old days gave me a church bulletin that is 50 years old! I was 8 years old, almost 9. My dad was the minister. I recognize several of the names listed in the announcements of meetings and events. They're all listed by "Mrs.," of course. Mrs. John Smith will be in charge of the such-and-such meeting. Weird. It was fun to look at that old bulletin and remember being 8 years old in that church. I may have even folded that bulletin 50 years ago! We used to fold them by hand at the dining room table every Saturday.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Friday Books

I finished a book, but that's all I'm going to say.

Then I started two others: a friend told me about a free book at Amazon Kindle. My Sister's Voice by Mary Carter. I "bought" it (for $0) and am almost done reading it. I'm really enjoying it. It is about a Deaf woman who discovers at age 28 that she has a twin sister who is hearing. Very interesting story and well done. A lot of times books about deaf people are sappy, assume the reader knows nothing, or they are just not well told. This one is not any of those. It was definitely worth the price, and I'm glad I found it. (Thanks, KR.)

Another book I have started is Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff. It is for a book group at goodreads dot com. I'm only about 1/5 of the way into the book, but am enjoying the story so far. It is a true story about a plane crash at the end of WWII, and I am eager to get back to it and see what happens next.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Get That Junk Out of Here!

It’s “get rid of stuff” day at my house! This feels great!

Hubby is taking a bunch of old car oil to the oil recycling place. I won’t tell you how many years those old bottles of oil have been sitting around in our garage, waiting to be removed. Finally! He is also taking away old electronics.. burned out fluorescents, two old TVs, an old bread making machine, a computer monitor, a couple old DVD players, a toaster, and an old keyboard. Yay! I hate when that junk piles up and just sits there for months or years before we get around to disposing of them.

I got rid of some stuff, too, but in my case it was new stuff. The women’s group at my church collected paper products for a housing unit that helps nearly-homeless women get back on the right track, recover from addictions, find jobs, etc… I had a carload of paper towels, detergents, and various hygiene products to deliver and also gave them some kids' clothing that I had purchased super-cheap at end-of-season sales.

Also this week I mailed out about four packages and a bunch of letters that all had been waiting to fly out of here..

So we are feeling a little bit lighter weight around here. Unfortunately, it’s not from loss around our middles, but loss from our junk piles is almost as satisfying.

Oh, and this is the exciting prize I sent to Christine, who was the first person to guess that my recent blog title was from Fiddler on the Roof … a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a pot, a pan, a potholder, a hat.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Beads and a Nice Swim

What a gorgeous weekend! Too bad I didn't get to enjoy it too much. I was sick all weekend. Last week I knew it was coming... just had that little tickly premonition that a cold was building inside me.

Saturday I went ahead and attended my scheduled event. We had our monthly crafty group meeting at church. And we overlapped with another group and ate lunch together. I had prepared the main dish. Turns out I made way more than we needed, so I put the leftovers in the freezer and hope to use it for my next gathering of cousins which is coming up in a couple of weeks. I accidentally planned ahead!

Our crafters group had arranged to get a beading lesson. We didn't have a long time to work, but we got several pairs of earrings made. Most of us donated our earrings to sell at our upcoming boutique. I made jewelry years ago, but had given it up. I forgot how much fun it is to make earrings! Maybe I'll get back into that business, ever so slightly. Anyway, we had a fun crafters gathering. I'm so happy that group got started! I really like it and enjoy working together while getting to know other people a little better.

Today I skipped church because of being sick. If I'd felt better I would have gone for a nice, long walk. It was such a gorgeous, sunny, blue-sky day!

I was hoping to have more sewing done than I do at this point. Getting sick put a kabosh on that.. no energy to sit in the sewing room and be productive. So instead of showing you some quilty photos, I'll show you this...

..what would you do if you were swimming along, and this showed up next to you?? Eek!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

An Ideal World

What do you think? Would an ideal world be enjoyable?

Recently my niece and I discussed this… you know how a person will glibly say, “well, when we create the ideal world, this will happen” (politicians will get along, for example).

We began to think about what an “ideal world” would be like. Would we do away with deafness in our ideal world? I asked. Immediately I answered my own question: no! Deaf people have such a beautiful, expressive language and see the world in such a unique, visual way. Most Deaf people that I know would not want to be hearing! Their Deaf world is a beautiful gift for the rest of us to discover, and it has been a joy for me to experience what I can of it.

My niece, who works in the field of autism, said a similar thing. There are so many autistic people who have unique gifts in a particular area (such as math or technology.) Without autism, would that gift be lost? Would their unique personalities be something entirely different without the autism? She, too, has experienced joy as she lives among people with autism. Severe autism… that one she had to think about. Would she do away with severe autism in an ideal world? It is such a difficult condition to deal with!

Or would other people, in our ideal world, be so accepting and comfortable with people of various disabilities, that the severity would be mitigated? The world would, for example, automatically create accessible spaces. The world would operate in such a way that no one would be excluded due to hearing loss, vision loss, physical impairments, or mental illness.

In our ideal world, so many professions would be unnecessary… my own, for example.. sign language interpreting. In an ideal world, at least if you ask most Deaf people, everyone would be fluent in Sign Language. Is that what you think of when you think “ideal world?”

What about poverty and wealth? In an ideal world, would we all share equally? Would some of us accept not being so grotesquely rich? Who would get to live in the mansions, or would mansions even exist?

In an ideal world, do arguments take place? What a boring world, without any debate on issues! We’d still need politicians to set laws such as speed limits, I guess. Or would we? Maybe everyone would just agree to certain limits…. or would we become a bunch of robots (and therefore not ideal)?

Where to draw the line, in creating an ideal world, is very complicated once you begin to really think about it. It’s kind of like time travel: seems nice on the surface, but when you think about all the implications, maybe it’s really not something we want.

I have had these thoughts in my brain for a while, mulling them over. We’re even discussing them at church. We’re starting to read the entire Bible together, front to back (in a “Readers’ Digest” version of the Bible, called The Story.) The first discussion was on Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. Was it really perfect? What was it like? Did God really not want us to partake of the forbidden fruit? Or was temptation part of the plan, knowing that an ideal world would be No Fun!?

I don’t have the answers, but the questions are fun to think about! What would you do away with in YOUR ideal world?