Looking for answers to life's questions

Finally Finished

It’s hard to write a blog when everything you do takes so long to finish. I have been very busy completing projects that have been in the works for years!  I have a bad habit of starting several projects simultaneously. These are  two more in line, ready to be started. I’ve washed, starched and pressed the fabric needed. Cutting will take a great deal of thought as to what pattern I use for each; plotting and planning the layout.

Cultivate kindness will go outside my door in the hall.

The quilt for my new couch.

Can’t seem to capture the color of the couch. It’s the lightest shade of the teal.

I’ve been doing a lot of hand embroidery the last few years because it’s portable and takes up very little room when I’m on the move. I take it with me when I house-sit for my son, or go to visit friends and other family. A couple of these projects traveled to Germany and back with me and I worked on them when good light was available.

Embroidered on these since before covid started. Turned out too big.

I need nine days a week. One for writing and one for gardening

This one was half embroidered by a friend who was no longer interested in completing it. It was small and appeared quite simple. Looks are definitely deceiving here. The border directions made me what to pull my hair out. ( Marlene does not follow directions well, on every report card.) It looked so simple but somehow, my brain balked. I called my son and told him if I didn’t figure out what I was doing wrong, I’d have him come and help. It was so simple and made ridiculously hard that I really want to do another and see if I can make it easier the next time. Yes, insanity runs in my family.

How hard can it be?

Finally finished

Gingerbread blessings has special instructions to color next to the embroidered lines. I bought crayons to try it but I have not been courageous enough yet to finish that part of it. I also have another one exactly like it ready to work. I’m thinking of using more colors on the next one. It felt a little boring like this but I loved it when my friend, Arlene framed hers. She does amazing work and always inspires me to try my hand at things.

Ready but not colored

Finally finished also

What to do?

Should I color it?

This last one looked a lot harder than it turned out to be. I fell in love with the design and wanted it done right away. There are tiny beads at the tops of the pins and a button that give it dimension. The border turned out to be simple enough for me to finish without blue words. It needs outline stitching and after starting it, I pulled out the stitches and drew a faint line all the way around. I sew crooked…everywhere.

Still needs some work

Lines will disappear later

I’m writing this in the Senior center away from so many distractions because my apartments air conditioning is not working. Someone will be here later to see about it being repaired. I have all the coffee I can drink and I’ve had breakfast here as well. How lovely and convenient is my life!

Do you ever regret projects you start on but make yourself finish anyway?

The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t. Joshua Baker

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Comments on: "Finally Finished" (63)

  1. It’s great to hear from you Marlene! And like you I have multiple,projects that move towards completion at their own pace…I just assume that it’s part of being creative, and living a full life. I see that the results are beautiful, and that makes it a worthwhile.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Lou. I feel like I’ve had no time to look up lately. I don’t mind working on several things at once, as long as something finally gets done. I need to get all the projects finished that I have already started (yes, there are more) because no one will know what to do with them if I can’t. Raw materials are easier to pass on than partial projects. You probably know all about that. Now for some breathing space. 😉 Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Your couch definitely looks gray in the photos so I hope the teal in the fabric helps to bring out the real color. You’ll have to post another picture when it’s finished Marlene. I’m glad you feel more settled and ready to tackle projects. How is your daughter doing? Since you are now in son’s territory I just wonder how she is doing and hope you are able to stay in touch often.

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    • The couch is a very soft teal and the chair won’t be here until Sept. I too hope the colors in the quilt will help bring out the light teal of the sofa. It has to wait until I get the kindness wall hanging done. My daughter is doing well and is staying with a friend during the current heat wave. She has a lovely place but no AC. We text each day and I have asked her to call and chat for a couple of minutes on the weekends. I’ll fly up to see her in Oct because I miss our girl outings. It’s very different with a son though it was hard when they were down sick for a couple of weeks. Yesterday was our first visit. I’ll see my sister and friends when I fly up. I will get back to reading blogs now that I am more settled. I didn’t get to read yet how your visit went and really want to know. I’ll be around more now…I hope. Thanks for the visit, Deb.

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      • I’m happy to hear you’ll spend some time up north this October. It’s such a pretty time of year and, as you know, one of my favorites. I’m sorry H had to escape the heat at a friend’s place. The Northwest isn’t supposed to have brutal heat, but that and many other weather situations have gone by the wayside. Sigh. I love that couch, and I love teal. I’m so happy you have a new one.

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      • Thanks so much, Alys. I’m still too cluttered here and energy is a bit sluggish but I know it will rebound shortly. I’ve had to stop the parade of helpful things come in the door. 🙂 You know what I mean. I will be so happy to see the matching chair in September. I’m not sure how the trip will go since all I can take is the little portable concentrator. I had hoped to spend my BD there to continue tradition of sorts but Sept is not a good time to go anywhere. The whole thing could fall through still.

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      • Marlene, it’s a shame that your airport is so far away. It would be nice if everyone could come to you instead so you wouldn’t have to worry about your concentrator. I know you’ll do what’s best when the time arrives, but by golly, I can hardly believe we’re now entering the second week of August.

        One unsolicited tip: follow the one in one out rule. It works well everywhere, but especially in small spaces. It can work with books: borrow from the library or buy a cheap copy online, then donate it to a Little Free Library. With groceries, only shop from a list. And with fabric, perhaps a one-year moratorium until you get through some of what you have. You can even have fun with this by creating a special journal. Leave the journal by the door and let visitors know of the challenge. I know you’ll feel better when you feel less cluttered and less “closed-in.” You always make the best of everything life serves you, Marlene. xo

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      • I think the only fabric I have purchase in the last year has been for the couch quilt. Oh, and some heavier stuff to recover a thrift store headboard. That will be a project in the next few months. I’m giving away quickly and when the kids come back next week, we will do more hanging. The aprons went on the wall upstairs in the common area where it will remain. I’ve cleared a bit more this week and it feels so good. That’s 2 wall hangings that have gone into the common areas. Any book I read now is a kindle unlimited free. I’m in walking distance to the library and the library upstairs and the one in the SC are packed. I think Chicken Soup is all I put any money into and have given away an entire shelf of them before leaving Portland. No one is allowed to buy me gifts anymore. Four more bowl cozies found new homes yesterday! I have your notebook that I write projects into on the sewing room shelf and have been writing in it the last week to update. Feeling much more energetic this week. Will do a machine embroidery this morning for the kids to frame and take to CA as a gift for her aunt. Another piece of fabric used. 😉 Going through it like hotcakes these days. I can see now what still needs more organization. As a Virgo, it’s vital to my nervous system. I too wish the airport were not so far away. That trip is a hard one.

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  3. It’s good to see another post from you, Marlene. You’ve been very, very productive in the sewing room!! It sounds as though you’ve settled happily into your new home?

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  4. You are a multi-talented person Marlene. Love your new digs!

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  5. Sis
    You have the tenacity of a beaver. Working for years on your project’s and and they are always completed. Plus very beautiful.
    Have fun!
    Love
    Aspen

    Liked by 2 people

  6. There’s a note of contentment and peace in your writing these days, and I’m very happy to hear it. That sofa definitely needs a quilt, though! I can *just* see a hint of palest teal in the shadows seen in the photo. May I have your new address?

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    • Thanks so much, Kate. Yes, I’m feeling more peaceful and contented these days. Accepting of what is. The room itself is so dark and oppressive that I wanted a light color on the furnishings for a change. I’ll send you photos of the fabrics I have ready for it with my address if your e-mail hasn’t changed. Light in this place is a real problem.

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  7. Your place looks great! I have a few paintings that I haven’t finished, been sitting around for years. My problem is that if I leave something for a while I tend to not want to finish it. I’m weird. LOL When I get to painting again (which is going to be very soon!) I will let you see what I’m working on! I love your outlook on things! ❤

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    • Thanks for the visit, Jackie. Miss you. I had tole painting project that I couldn’t finish in class and didn’t like how it looked so I put it away for more years than I can count. One day, I took it out and decided that it just didn’t matter that much so just have some fun with it. You can see her on some of my Halloween posts. Witchypoo turned out ok and no one noticed my lack of perfection. Oct 2019 Big Eyes. I quit being so hard on myself after I finished her. I’m looking forward to seeing some of your paintings. Keep at it.

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  8. You are one busy woman, Marlene. Your embroidery is lovely; every piece is wonderful. I envy you your patience and talent for such things. Regretting projects I start? Probably every book I’ve ever written. 🙂 Just kidding (sort of). Love to you, Marlene!

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    • You can’t regret what you finish. It’s what lies in wait that we often regret. Thanks for stopping by, Maddie. Looking forward to the next book. Keep me posted on it.

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      • Oh, I’ve never regretted finishing a book. It’s when you get to the half-way part of the book, and it lies there stagnant for ages – that’s when regret seeps in. I’ll be finishing the first in a new series next week. The book has taken me three years to write! I had a lot of regret starting a new series and feeling like I should have just let it go.

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      • I do understand that, certainly. I have trouble getting a blog out much less a book.

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  9. Don’t get me started on crafting projects that I’ve not finished. Some I forced myself to finish, like you; others I totally ditched after years of sitting in a cupboard. Sometimes I’d refashion or refresh them into something else completely. That way I could get enthused about them again.
    Your embroidery is beautiful. I do love the gingerbread figures.
    Hope the air con will be fixed soon. Are you feeling those heat waves that are up in the northern hemisphere?

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    • I’ve ditched a few projects myself when I realized it wasn’t worth my time to agonize over them anymore. Time is a precious commodity.
      The air con was fixed the same day. It was caused by a plugged filter on the furnace. I had asked twice for a new one only to be told it wasn’t necessary. There were 5 of us that were checked that day and all had the same issue. The manager who refused to give me a new filter was so embarrassed I didn’t see her again that day. She snuck away through another door. I’m laughing on the inside. Filters are cheaper than a repairman. 😉 Thanks for the visit, Amanda. I’ll see you soon.

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  10. I try and look at this thru the eyes of my wife. I know she’d say colour it. If you don’t you’ll never know if it is worth it!! As for the drive you nuts instructions, she loves those sorts of crating puzzles. Shame I can send her across!!

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    • I agree about the coloring. I’m going to give it a whirl very soon. I always tell people when they ask if I like putting puzzles together that I have my own. It’s called quilting. The brain got quite the workout on that one. The directions could have been written better though. I’m going to have to find quilters that can connect through Zoom. 😉 Thanks for stopping by, Geoff and hello to the textilist.

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  11. It’s always nice to hear from you and to see all of your projects, Marlene. You amaze me! I try to finish what I start, but some things seem to take longer. Your embroidery is beautiful! I’m happy you’re settling in and enjoying your new home. It looks cozy! xo

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    • I love that I can live in a small space but have access to larger areas when it’s feeling a bit tight. Going upstairs in a while to join ladies handwork group. We will have lunch together today so I have access to a social life as well. I have stacks of embroidery and quilts to make. Any wonder little writing or reading is getting done? 😉 Have a great weekend ahead. Hugs.

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  12. Finishing up projects and loose ends is good for the soul… and creates more space. Maybe 7 days per week will be enough 😉
    Lovely work Marlene!
    P.s. Yes to coloring🌈

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    • Thank you, Val. I think I will color it along the stitch lines. I’m still giving things away to make more space. It feels better. I’m not gardening anymore so one day soon I’ll only need 8 days a week. 🙂 I really just wanted the quilt to be a bit more balanced.

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  13. I can’t quite believe how many wonderful projects you have got over the finish line. You sound very well settled, with furniture, bus pass and somewhere to go when it’s too hot.Clearly this was the right decision for you. Keep going on your UFOs. I tend to have NYS projects galore, i.e. Not Yet Started. My biggest pile is yarn for Baby cardigan’s. Baby P will have grown out of them before I finish.

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    • I have a closet full of NYS as well. I’ve been giving away so much as I know there is no way I can complete them all so I’m selectively passing things on…still. It’s taking the pressure off my shoulders. Trying to take my own advice of being kind to oneself. I did definitely make the right decision. I’m not working as hard on things that eat up my creative time. Baby P is a very lucky child.

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  14. I love finding projects half done – often with extras in a bag – but no idea what exactly I was doing with them. I usually rehash whatever it is and get going – mindful that I should finish them this time around!
    Love you are now getting into your projects and getting them “moving along to the finish line”

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  15. I can feel you are happy, and at last feeling settled in. Unfinished projects that finally get finished are the icing on the cake. You have the Senior Center close by, and that must be wonderful (especially when the AC stops.) I love the colors and patterns for the couch quilt. Best to you, Marlene!

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    • Thank you, Jennie. There is still a lot of settling to do but it’s workable now and with those projects completed, life feels a bit lighter. The senior center is physically attached to the apartments and doors between are unlocked during daytime hours, M-F. I poured myself a free cuppa and sat in the cool after I had my breakfast there for $7. Occasionally I have lunch which I also pay for and that helps keep meals on wheels in the black, almost. That same kitchen cooks for MOW and there are volunteers that come and distribute the meals. Some in the apartment have their meals brought to them if they are feeling unwell. There is no nursing care here so it’s not as expensive as assisted living. Definitely some advantages. I can say for certain they will be changing furnace filters more often. They also found 2 leaking water heaters while checking the filters. I asked twice for a new one because I can tell when mine starts needing help. Request was refused, twice. Won’t be a problem anymore. I’m looking forward to seeing how the couch quilt develops. No plan as yet. Thanks for stopping by.

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      • How wonderful to have the senior center attached to your building. Being able to go in for coffee or a meal sounds like a dream. Good for you to keep on top of the maintenance guys to take care of problems. I’m looking forward to seeing the couch quilt- love the colors. Yes, finishing projects feels good. Best to you, Marlene.

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  16. Hey there, hi there, hello lovely Vonderfrau 💗 Look at all that beautiful hand stitching! Should you add colour to the Gingerbread creation? I would, but I didn’t know you could with crayons. That’s cool. I’m just leaving San Jose and a wonderful visit with Alys and Mike. I was here for about 4 days. Prior to that I was in Denver, a weekend with my Shero Paige, who I design for and a whole group of girls who love to scrap too. FUN! sounds like your settled in, fabulous my dear. Sounds like I’d like your sofa too 💗🌸🌼

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    • I saw your photo on Alys’ FB page. Glad to hear you are having a good time. Hope it’s not too warm there. Portland is baking where my daughter is right now. The sofa is so light in color but the quilt when I finish it will brighten it up. I had no idea how long I’ve been choosing that color for things. It’s such a happy color. I like it with peachy colors. Oddly, my bathroom in the house I owned with the last husband was decorated in those colors! I am going to add coloring to the gingerbread men for some dimension. There is a technique to it I will have to read again on how to do it. Enjoy the rest of your trip. Hugs and love to you.

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  17. I am loving all of your projects Marlene even if they are difficult or hard.. You make a superb job of them all.. And yes I hear you loud and clear about needed those 9 hours a day…
    The colours swatches for your Quilt for your new sofa will look amazing I know when you finish it..
    I feel for you if your Air-con has not been working… here in the UK with temps here of 39C outdoors and I took the temp of 38C indoors .. We have no Air con fitted in our homes… So we were melting… It was cooler finding shade with a Hot breeze outside than sitting in our home … Thankfully we are back to our normal temps of 18c to 23c… And now have rain…. Thankfully the gardens were thirsty and it saved our arms of water carrying for a few days 🙂

    Sending you love and well wishes Marlene as you finish up your ongoing projects..
    Much love my friend ❤

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    • I was only without for one night which I managed quite well since the weather here had cooled as well. Turned out to be clogged filters on the unit. There were 5 of them that day and the manager has had a real eye opener. They were changing all the filters after they found the mess mine was. I asked twice to have a new one and even offered to pay for it but was refused both times. So a costly plumber was called instead. My house seems to hold heat as well. Winter here is much easier to deal with. I have been watching your weather as well. My daughter went to stay with a friend for several days in Portland as they were in triple digits as well and she has no aircon either. I will be hanging 9 days a week up in the hall upstairs where we gather for crafts. The walls here need help. Stay cool and happy. Hugs.

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      • Yes our home is insulated for Winter to keep the heat in lol… and cold out…. It most definitely kept the heat in lol…. These are temps we are not used to in our English homes lol… Thankfully they are short lived exceptions.
        I expect we will have a chilly winter just to balance things out LOL…
        Sending love and hugs dear Marlene… Hugs your way ❤

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  18. Marlene, it looks and sounds like you are settling in quite nicely. I’m really happy for you! Cheers, my friend.

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    • Thanks so much, Missy. It took me a long time to get settled in OC and I had much more space. I’m thinking I’ll have to offload more to make this space work for me. Just takes time and energy. 🙂 Hope things are progressing there as you’d hoped.

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  19. Marlene, I’m happy to finally circle back to comment. Mac was home, then Kelly here, and then all the usual blah blah blah. Your embroidery is beautiful. I remember a time when I always had something going. Once upon a time, I bought four greeting card frames from Current that came with floss and patterns. I finished and sent two over 28 years ago! I recently found the third half done, but my eyes are long past that tiny stitching, so I finally let it go. I’m not sure what happened to the 4th one.

    I’m thrilled to see you settling in, treating yourself to a beautiful, comfortable couch, and taking the time to engage your creative heart. I’m sure it’s been nice to be able to step out of your place while someone else worries about fixing the AC. I’m excited to see the start of your teal/aqua quilt. How nice to have all the fabric sorted out. I imagine that’s a big part of it.

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Alys. I know how hectic your summers are. It’s nice to finish up projects that I have already invested a lot of time in but like you, I’ve let go of many that no longer fill any desire to complete. Much has been passed on to more willing hands just like my friend Emily passed on the antique machine stitchery to me. I love it now that it’s complete. Soon it will hang on the sewing room wall. Must cut down the dowel a bit. Trying to figure out how the aqua couch quilt will come together is going to take some quiet thoughtfulness.
      I ordered the couch early April. Still no sign of the chair. It was quite inexpensive and light weight enough that I can move it to vacuum underneath it. There is very little to choose from here. I gave away most of my stuff before leaving Portland. I’ve never had a light colored sofa before. 🙂 Such a happy color. Hope you catch your breath soon.

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      • I think light-colored furniture works well when your room is dark as you’ve mentioned. It is such a pretty color as well. Our couch is upholstered with microfiber, making it a breeze to clean. I love it. Your quilt will be gorgeous when complete. I’m thinking, too, of your amazing custom island and that pretty paint color. I imagine they’ll all compliment each other.

        Furniture always takes forever, and it’s been worse in these days of supply shortages. We waited three months for Chris’ dining table and chairs, only to be told it would be another seven-month delay. We ended up cancelling it and buying something else. I hope that your chair arrives soon. You’ll feel more settled then, too. I hope you’ll treat us to a final reveal with the furniture in place, the shelves filled with your favorites, along with your handiwork on the walls. I hope you’re surviving the heat.

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      • I promise to update when all is in place. I will cancel the order if the chair doesn’t arrive by early Sept and do something else. A neighbor told E how much she loved the island he made yesterday as he was driving me back the 3 blocks from dinner at their place. Everyone loves it that has seen it. I will be making pillows for the sofa as well. I’m actually having fun now. Will chat soon, I hope?

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  20. You’re amazing. Talented and productive too.

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    • Thank you, Cynthia. It’s been a long time coming to get these projects to completion. Getting enough settling in done to finish a few things before getting back to doing more sorting and organizing is good. Now that I have done a bit of creative work, I know what needs to be better organized. 😉 Hope all is well with you. I’m starting to catch up here soon too. Hugs, M

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  21. I love seeing your projects – before, during and after. You inspire me, because ohhh yes, I’ve started many projects (mostly writing ‘stuff’) that I think of “dumping.” In fact, I have about five novels in my files that I began years ago. And to be honest, I like them all. I just don’t seem to be able to find the time to get to them! One project at a time should be my motto. I have absolutely NO ability to do the beautiful work you do. But I sure appreciate them. Keep it going, Marlene! Now, stay cool and keep on settling in. xo

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Pam. I’m glad I waited to answer this as I pulled a very sweet card out of the mailbox this morning after my walk. I didn’t check the box yesterday afternoon. Sat in my PJ’s all afternoon. 🙂 I have NEVER done one project at a time. Some are quick and easy and some have to be done immediately. Life dictates what gets done when and I’ve just learned to trust that it has perfect timing. Yes, I’m weird that way. I started and finished something for my DIL in the space of two days while other things were put on the back burner. Don’t dump those books! They will speak again when they are ready to come to life. I would love to write like you but maybe in my next life I’ll get that chance. We all have different callings this time around. Right now, mine is for a second cuppa. 😉

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  22. I love all of the embroidery. I have never been a needlepoint person and now I feel like my eyesight and my patience are not up for the challenge. You have so many projects going on! Love the new couch. I hope your AC is in working order soon. Always so good to see what you are up to. It looks like you are settling in nicely.

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    • Thanks so much for stopping by, Jan. I always keep some embroidery going to keep my hands busy. Have never been able to do needlepoint though. Mom could do it. My brain doesn’t work that way. I can’t do cross stitch either due to vision. I can feel my way through embroidery though. They fixed the AC the same day. It was a clogged filter. I promise I didn’t tell the manager “I told you so.” I had asked twice for a new one and she had twice refused even after I offered to pay for it.

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  23. Have I really missed THREE of your posts, Marlene? Oh my gosh I am awful sometimes. But what a treat for me to have so much from you to read. I love this post so very much. Does it feel good to be completing these tasks? I get such a boost when I MAKE myself finish a pile of To-Do stuff. Ugh, why is it so hard sometimes to make myself do it? And then it feels so good when I finally do it, and don’t have that nagging in the back of my brain. What silly humans we can be to procrastinate. Anyway. That last quote made me think of another thing I do that is so silly. Because I am loathe to spend money on clothes, I often will buy something that I’m not really in love with, because it’s inexpensive. Sometimes, these things get into my closet and I wear them, and every time I wear them I think about how much the piece doesn’t fit well, doesn’t make me look good, or just is annoying or scratchy or is a color that doesn’t match anything….sometimes I hang on to these clothing items for a year or more. WHY?! I’m such a goofball. That quote reminded me of this weird habit, and how happy it makes me when I finally just give the sweater or jacket or whatever to Goodwill. What a relief to be rid of it, and why didn’t I do this the very first day? ha ha That Stitcher’s Angel, oh my gosh, Marlene, what beautiful work. I really really love that one. You have made it beautiful. I know you said it needs more work, and I’m sure you are right, but what you have already is just beautiful. I got a kick out of your nine days in a week comment too. Oh, heavens, yes. More time. I always wish for it. And if it had to be spent on gardening and writing, all the better. Your couch could definitely use a burst of colour. Speaking of that, I sent a photo to Tara of the quilt on the back of your couch in Oregon City, the one that looks inside out, because it’s such a unique and fabulous look. I’m hoping Tara (who is becoming a helluva quilter – wow) will be able to make me something like that one day. I like how peaceful and welcoming the senior center is, in welcoming you to you new life in Arizona. Have you used the bus pass? Seems like it would be a big ordeal to learn the bus system in the first place, but after that, it might be an opportunity to get around. You still have so much to think about, with being careful with your oxygen and everything else. Will you be able to use the bus very often?

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