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Posts tagged ‘sewing’

Walking Backward

We ended  another month! How does that happen and why am I  always surprised? We are all sheltering from something we can’t see so our activities are limited.

Deep purple Lily on my walk

My walks were getting a bit routine. I usually start up the hill, go around the first left corner and text my quilting friend that I’m on her street. Since she is being extra cautious, she comes out on her front porch to wave and say good morning. We have a little conversation the whole neighborhood can hear from six feet apart and she sometimes shares what she’s been quilting. It’s more fun when you can show your work to someone that appreciates it. I get there early in the mornings. (For her)

Then I walk up another steep hill and finally start down again. I decided yesterday to go the other way since I’d left even earlier and stop at Emily’s last. Maybe she’d be awake when I got there. Changing my routine had me noticing things I had not seen going the other way. I think that applies to life in general. If we keep doing things the way we have always done them, nothing changes. Going backward changed my perspective on the neighborhood. Now I am carrying that idea into other areas of life to see what I can shake loose.

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Today I finally finished the leftover quilt and the binding is attached to the front. I’ll hand stitch it to the back while I watch TV or listen to Ted talks or YouTube. I already have a project halfway done that I can’t show yet until all of our group are ready to share. I’ve also turned over the two charity quilt tops I finished first. Emily gave them to me already cut out. I did make some changes in the fabric since some went missing. It happens.

I’ve learned how to use Zoom to connect with our PF support group and wave at my sister at her house. We have learned to zoom together since we can’t get together. So many are using all kinds of media to connect. It feels a little backwards too. They kept telling us before to stay off the social media and spend more time in personal contact.

Metal sculpture puppy

While I Zoom, I do what I always do when listening a long time without speaking, I work on my embroidery. I did a lot of this at PF group so I don’t fidget. Embroidery keeps me focused on what I’m hearing rather than what’s playing in my head.

slow work in progress

#6 Hoping to start #7 soon.

The weather dried up enough to get a lot of weed pulling done. I filled the green waste can up and my daughter took it off the hill for me. It gets composted by the city and I’ve worked until everything hurts and yard looks almost nice again. As the rain comes to an end here, my list of outside chores goes up.

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I’ll be posting less in the summer due to other demands. You really don’t want to see the list. Bored is not in my vocabulary. In a given day I go from one thing to the other until sleep claims me. I spend my sleep hours thinking up more things that need to be done.

I am…enjoying the moments

Do you like to change up your routine to gain new perspective on old habits?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

A Roll

It’s been a while since I’ve done any creative work. First one must dig out and put order into the space where creativity happens. There has been no shortage of projects placed in my hands in the last two months or more.

It was clean yesterday

First, here is one I finished for Christmas and forgot to photograph. My son and his wife really want to live at the beach so I made this panel up for them. They have no wall space left so it hangs in front of his desk.

Seating for two at the beach. I think it needs pressing from the shipping.

Many of us have found projects we no longer chose to do so the reasonable thing is to pass them on to someone who is more inclined to finish them. I have  fabric that I’m going to pass on to a quilting acquaintance who does quilts for Veterans. I like the word ‘finish’ and hoping that’s the word for our winter as well.

Another quilting friend gave me two sets of embroidered donkeys. Her heart was a little broken looking at them as her granddaughter thinks quilts are for old people and didn’t want one for her  baby boy. The joy of making something for her great-grandson was lost. So I will do my best to complete it and find someone that will cherish it. I did make a mistake right away by letting myself get distracted when trimming them down. They are going to be much smaller now than I originally thought.

At our last gathering for hand sewing, Emily had each of us reach into a paper bag and pull out a 5” charm pack to make something from. A couple of us are not very creative on our own so Emily brought me a pattern to use and walked me through the first part. The wonky stars have turned out to be quite the challenge for me. Emily eventually remembered how they were done and will take me through it this week.

I also finished five embroidered aprons out of seven in the last year or so and am starting on the last two. I’m also hand sewing  the binding on a quilt top Emily didn’t want to finish. I put on the border, batting and back then quilted it before machine stitching the binding on to one side. Now I have simple handwork for our groups gathering.

My son uses the phrase “an object in motion stays in motion” often. Let’s hope this object stays in motion once on a roll.  It will be a slow roll.

“Creativity takes courage.” –Henri Matisse–

Are you finding new momentum to roll with in this new year?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Loose Ends

I was so grateful to see a new year come in with a little hope attached to it. My first few days were primarily about rest. Having my morning coffee and making to-do lists.

I still need a straw to drink coffee.

It took another week or more to take all of Christmas down and put it back into storage. Then there are thank you notes to be written to some extra generous friends.

Gift from a most generous friend

I did take some time to do a little something fun. My son recommended a movie so I walked the mall for exercise first and bought a ticket. I saw the film “Last Christmas” It was NOT what I expected. I was so excited about it; I went again with my daughter on a weekend day. There were 6 people in the theater both times. It was one of the best movies that I have seen in years. It had a little of everything including an ending I didn’t see coming. My daughter loved it too and had fortunately brought plenty of tissue. It’s one I’d buy to have in my small library of movies.

Last Christmas movie

I meant to tell you about our unorthodox holiday. We celebrate everything. Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah and Christmas time birthdays. It’s a very fattening holiday season. Christmas Eve, my niece and her mother came to celebrate with us. We had matzo ball soup for dinner then my niece and her mom lit the menorah candles and we watched them burn as they said their prayers in Hebrew.

Lighting first candle together

We exchanged a few small gifts with each other. My daughter and I added to their Jewish/Christmas tree ornaments that gets put up in my nieces home each year. Her mom has a crazy sense of humor as the Angel and the star of David are hanging sideways on the tree. She says it’s because she is height challenged. It was a lovely and peaceful way to incorporate all ways of looking at life. It’s really not that hard. Just being respectful of each other.

Hanukkah/Christmas Tree

In case anyone is curious about my daughter’s car that was donated to the Humane Society, it auctioned off for $975. Most of that goes to the animals.

 

I’m working on a new health routine this winter. I’m still walking five days a week. We often get breaks in the rain and it only takes 30 minutes. Because of the chronic cough from IPF that plagues my days and sleep I’ve found some new tools to help me. We used to joke about my aunt and her love of Jagermeister. But now that she has reached the age of 84 and outlived her entire family, I decided to take another look at it.

When I read the ingredients, I was stunned. Turns out it’s a wonderful cough suppressant. I’ve been sleeping much better and longer. It doesn’t take much. I use a small cordial glass and put an ice cube in it.

My philosophy is in sync with Mary Englebeit’s

One cough drop in my mouth just before falling asleep and I’ve been getting almost 7.5 hrs. Works much better than Brandy or medications. I’ve tried it all.

My daughter’s philosophy.

Now I’m ready to get back to work here and in the sewing room. Wish me luck. Lots of projects are waiting for this procrastinator.

Is your new year off to a good start or are you still trying to get a foothold on it?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Solstice

Yesterday and today the sun rose and set at the same time. I’m waiting to see what happens tomorrow. Will we get that extra minute or two of daylight? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE winter and all it brings. Mostly the lack of blistering heat, though I am solar powered so lack of daylight really seems to be slowing me down. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It has nothing to do with age, right?

Molly Ann Dahlia

October starts the countdown with dragging out Halloween decorations. I tried to make something new this year but it failed twice. Once the machine messed up and the second time, I did. I’ll try again later after the new year and see if I have better luck.

The Halloween mistake, machine embroidery

Then November gets darker and days are even shorter. I finally get Autumn decor out and looking nice when I have to take it all down and replace it with Christmas. I’m still not ready. I made an embroidery for a friend who is a bird and animal whisperer. They always pose for her so beautifully. I was hoping to add a little levity to her special day.

machine embroidery for a giggle

December is filled with activity. We had a quilting/sewing meeting at a member’s home for a potluck. Pam went all out to make it look so festive for us. Her husband joined us for lunch and wondered if we were always so talkative and noisy. But of course! Her husband helped make the cute flower pot pants for each of us. He did the wood part; she did the pants part. We each went home with one of these adorable sitting pants pots. We were also stuffed to the gills.

Then came the potluck at my pulmonary fibrosis support group. We always get a lot of good information there but this time we had food. I brought a meatball and noodle dish in the crock post. The rest was finger food and dessert. I also made Watergate and brought pies since my daughter was joining us as my chauffeur and caregiver. It was a small group this time as the rain was coming down buckets. There are no pictures of this event. Too busy asking questions and feeding myself.

In between all of this, I’ve been trying to do a tiny bit of sewing. I can’t show you all of it because one is a gift. I made a panel wall hanging that I put in the sewing room window. It’s been waiting a long time to get done. I also made window sill pads for Gracie with Christmas flannel. My son asked me to find a way to keep them from slipping off the sill when Gracie gets up. Hope the nubby slipper bottom fabric does the trick.

Solstice for me is a time for quiet reflection. According to CNN Travel, these celebrations symbolize the opportunity for renewal, a shedding of bad habits and negative feelings and an embracing of hope amid darkness as the days once again begin to grow longer.

Winter in the window

We give some thought to our new direction for the longer days to come. In the meantime, I just finish a batch of pumpkin bread to go with the banana bread that will be gifts along with four pans of dark chocolate brownies. They go into gift baskets too. We are in our weekly cleaning mode with an extra push. I’m having the sewing/quilt group here on Monday this week and they have requested Matzo Ball soup. Brownies are for dessert along with pudding shots. They went over very well and Pam’s pot luck. Old doesn’t mean you have to be stodgy.

I haven’t been walking as much this month but when I do, the scenery is very interesting. Most people here don’t decorate outside for several reasons. Expense and ladder fears. Most of us aren’t allowed on a ladder anymore but I have my daughter to help. We make a good team. These are neighbors decorations. I just have a few lights.

Do you celebrate the Winter Solstice in any way?

Happy Solstice, Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year too. Happy Everything. Celebrate life and all it has given us.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

 

Speed

Have you noticed that the months of November and December go faster than any month of the year? It’s like these two months are on speed and I’m on molasses. The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas always finds me totally unprepared and way behind schedule.

Set myself up an assembly line in the den so I can watch Christmas movies while I work.

We know it’s coming with 12 months notice. It comes the same time every year and each year I’m behind in my list of things to get done. I’ve even shortened the list to a minute fraction of what it once was.

Someone apparently likes pink. Not my favorite..

Sleep doesn’t come easily when your mind is letting you know all night what’s left to be done before mailing is no longer possible. Since I make most my gifts from what I have available, my creativity has to work overtime as well.

 

Many days are taken up with fun things. Last weekend I went to the Hazelnut Festival in Mt. Angel, Oregon with my blogging friend Crystal, at Conscious Engagement.  There are better photos on her blog. She did the driving, I bought lunch. Santa was on the porch calling us to dine.

Having a chat with Santa

It’s less than an hour away from my house and two from Crystal’s. It turned into a beautiful day but quite chilly. They were wise enough to hold it in a large hall out of the elements. I bought a lovely hazelnut cake made by the Benedictine Sisters to share over the holidays. There was Chocolate hazelnut handmade pasta to make as a dessert. I can’t wait to try it. Hazelnut butter and so many things made with them I had a hard time leaving it all behind.

I’m dancing to the music

Next week will be full as well. Sewing group will have their all day (5 hrs) gathering to share our finished projects and our gifts for each other. Mine are ready for the bows.

Each one is a little different. For quilting friends.

Even the Pulmonary Fibrosis support group my sister, daughter and I attend will have their monthly gathering at a restaurant downtown. Thank goodness my daughter is a wonderful chauffeur. The drinks (if we imbibe) will be on us but the nibbles are gifted by the foundation. The chauffeur never imbibes and drives. I taught her well.

My first visit with Santa in over 30 years.

This holiday is once again going to be quite different from others. I’ve been gifting from my collections and making lots of bowl cozies for family members to give as their gifts to friends. Since they already have theirs, the making of these others will be my gift to them. I’m slower these days but finding a rhythm.

6 cozies made for my sister so far. She gives them as gifts

Today will be baking day. A favorite for both my daughter and me. We usually spend Saturday’s together and baking in my better-appointed kitchen than she has is fun and tasty. I can only say, I wish you were here. Now it’s time to start our breakfast.

Beginning of baking

How are you doing with timing?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Lost and Found

Last night, while reading my Chicken Soup story just before dropping off to sleep, I saw a rather large (in my peripheral vision it was the size of a small tarantula) spider run up my bed to my pillow. I will not tell you the stream of words that came out of my mouth.

I jumped up out of bed and stripped off my nightgown to make sure it wasn’t hiding on me somewhere and before I started stripping my bed., I put on snug fitting pajamas just so I would know for certain I had nothing on me.  I then got out the vacuum and tried to move the bed. It weighs a ton and I was shaking so much my strength was missing. I gave up and went to sleep on the sofa for all of four hours.

Camellia to take your mind off spiders.

What does this tell me? I need to do some more cleaning out. I have been continuing to purge since Alys’ visit but last night set up a more in-depth purge. I had bags of fabric (hiding) under my bookcase headboard that I’ve been wondering where it should go. After pushing the bed out and dragging all those plastic bags of “I’m gonna” fabrics out, they are now in the thrift store box. Vacuuming and searching brought no results for the spider so I’m still quite jumpy.

Bags in the going box

 

Going through bags to go

I will admit that going through things is a good idea and have been bragging to anyone who would listen about my Alys adventure. I was looking through a bag on it’s way to the thrift store when I found a treasure rolled up in other things. My mother had finished this needlepoint for me well before my move to Arizona in 1999. I couldn’t figure needlepoint out but mom excelled at it and I loved the design. With everything that happened during the ensuing years, this needlepoint went missing. When I showed it to my daughter, she was stunned and agreed that it had to be framed and hung. She helped me to pick the mating and frame since it will one day grace her walls.

My mother’s handwork more than 20 years old

 

On the wall where it belongs.

My Alys worship affected one of my sewing friends who frequently spoke about buying a new, easy to carry machine. She knew just what she wanted and was going to go shopping. But first she had to do a little closet cleaning so there would be room for her machine. At the next gathering of our sewing group, she had to do a show and tell. It was her new machine and it’s little carrying casethat she found in the back of her closet! It had been there so long, she had to refresh herself on how to use it. Of course, we had to help her get it all figured out so she could quickly enjoy her find.

I’m having a glass of wine tonight in hopes of a real night’s sleep. Cheers.

good stories start with alcohol

Have you ever lost things only to find them years later right where you put them? What does it take to get you to part with things that you “were gonna” use? Hopefully not a big spider.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

An Artist’s Date

I’m really not trying to fool anyone here. I am no artist in any capacity but as I had all of Julia Cameron’s books out two weeks ago as well as my workbook, I was inspired.

When my daughter came for our Saturday together, I put on the tea kettle and she started her laundry. We sat down to decide what we would do with our day. I was thinking at first of helping her start on a summer dress that is waiting to be made. Then it occurred to me that I was ready for something out of the ordinary.

Ms. Cameron is very big on Artist’s Dates to unblock creativity. They should be done alone but I drive very little these days while my daughter is an excellent chauffeur. I suggested that after we had our brunch out at Bob’s Red Mill where she could do some grocery shopping for the following week, we go to a thrift store, a dollar store and another little junk shop nearby for some inspiration.

I found notebook paper for a dollar to put into the binder I’ve had for at least 20 years that has been only used for decor so far. It is now the holder of my morning pages. Then we decided to go look in a fun antique consignment shop in a suburb where she once worked to see any changes. It’s been three years at least since our last visit. This time I saw the soda fountain. How did I not notice it before? We purchased nothing but had a good time looking.

Directly across the street from where we parked was a new shop. K. Marie Vintage Ephemera. I had to go look. So much was French inspired and they were offering classes in making interesting things with paper and ribbons, etc. I know we spent a good twenty minutes browsing. I could have stayed much longer but it would have been rude as I would be purchasing nothing. Too many hobbies already.

Next door to the Vintage Shop was a…CHOCOLATE shop! My daughter, trying to be ever helpful of my diet insisted on walking me right past it and kept going. My two-year-old self almost had a meltdown. You could not pass this place and not go in! I opened the door for her and pushed her through. It was like time travel. Their chocolates and sweets were mostly from France and they had a Parisian theme going on as well as very vintage. It’s called “Enchante.” I was in love and there was as much eye candy as edible candy. It was like Alice going down the rabbit hole.

We left with only one piece of rich, dark chocolate each. I had to have a lemon marshmallow and my daughter got raspberry. We saw wish candles and tiny tiara’s plus so much more. We left with the wish candles and I think a tiny crown will find it’s way to her birthday package when I can get someone to take me back there.

Chocolate bees in the tree

I was feeling like an artist afterwards and inspired enough to continue work on a crazy quilt that has been on hold. More on that later. I think we will do this once a month.

Do you take yourself places that are out of the ordinary in your own town to inspire you or are you a strictly routine kind of person?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

After Alys

It’s hard to explain but the best I can say about Alys’ visit is that a switch was flipped and I saw a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Clearing so much out of my line of sight seemed to lift a weight off of my shoulders. After a short rest, I walked into my organized sewing room and got to work.

All my projects were listed in order of priority. I started with making the kitchen curtains from fabric given to me by my sewing friends. They were coming to my house for sewing that week. It had been laying across the curtain rod since I decided that’s what I wanted to do with the fabric.

Butterflies and flowers

close up view of fabric

Then came a machine embroidery, quilted for a friend who I felt could use a little lift. I had planned to mail it as soon as I finished it but as I finished the binding at my sewing group, my friend Patti said she needed it for the Senior Center’s quilt show because they didn’t have enough to show. It was a fund raiser for the Senior Center and Meals on Wheels. How could I say no?

Next came the shirt Patti asked me to make for her almost 10 months ago. She gave me the fabric and I had to decide how to piece this puzzle together. It’s the first one I’ve made in at least 10 years. Patti seemed happy with it. It’s called a Big Shirt to be worn over another like a light jacket and this one is made of flannel.

I made a cover for the pillow I need in my car. The old one had long gone to the trash and I had a new form in my closet and even had the cover cut out. That’s as far as it got until the shirt was finished.The serger was out and ready for the shirt so pillow cover was next in line. I’m a little taller in the seat again now.

Since they were all sorted and sitting in a reusable zip lock I started on bowl cozies that had been waiting not nearly so long. Batting was already cut so I just cut fabric and marked it for stitching. They go quickly but not quickly enough for me to make for sale. I sew to make gifts. It’s not an easy way to make a living especially if you don’t see well and sew like I walk, wobbly.

There were fun to do but take a bit of time.

So now there is only one project that I’ve procrastinated on for well over a year, as the pattern is one I’ve never used and directions are sketchy. I’ll tackle that next week when the rain starts again. I expect a few uninterrupted days together to get started now that my courage is up there.

I’ve spent time working in my yard pulling weeds which always makes me feel calmer. That’s the plan as long as the rain holds off. bumble bees are working hard out there already so I have to time my work carefully. I’ll keep you posted but it’s already looking much better.

My Bunny Basket for spring. Painted back in the late 1980’s

Does organization make you more productive?

Happy Easter to everyone or happy spring.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Back in Business

It’s been a very long month and there has been so much going on that there has been little time to share any of it.

My sister brought the plants for me to grow. These are delicious.

Tech support  (my son) put in a new hard drive and I got my files downloaded from Crash Plan. It took  a week  of leaving the laptop on while it did the work. Now I must do the filing and cleanup to get everything back where it belongs. The most important part has been my photos. There will be a lot of housekeeping going on to get them backed up to several places. I had to reinstall programs that I used every day as well.

Bet you thought I was sitting on my hands here just enjoying my down time. Ha! I wish that could happen one day. Only one yard of rock in my sister’s truck. She drove, I did the shoveling.  She’s not allowed.

We had a short spell of decent temperatures that were combined with so much smoke in the air from forest fires. First the smoke came down from Canada and Washington then the wind shifted and we got smoke from southern Oregon. In the interim, I managed to get a little outside work done as well as some inside projects.

mulch 2 yards

2 yards of mulch took awhile to move so the car could go in and out

This will be a bridging post for the next thing that’s been going on around here. Never a dull moment in Sleepy Hollow.

This fabric was a gift from my son when he went to Hawaii. Was it a whole year ago?

I’ve been making sets of placemats to sell and give as gifts.

 

With all the work I’ve done, there has been a lot I haven’t been able to get around to doing. My sewing room has been collecting dust for the last few weeks since before my company came and left. I have been looking at what is going to take priority in my life in the coming year. I love to make things for friends and family and will probably continue to do that on occasion but circumstances are changing and there is some writing that needs to be done sooner than later. Stories that need to be written for posterity while this old mind can still recall them.

So, quilting is taking a back seat for the interim. It’s been a hard decision to make as I love all the members of my group. I think they understand. As soon as it cools down just a bit; we are expecting 99 degrees this week and close to that most other days for the next 15; I will finish up preparing the outside for winter and settle into my writing almost exclusively. Losing my laptop for even a short period of time pointed out how much I enjoy the process of writing. It feels good to be back in the business of telling stories.

African Violet loves the kitchen sink area

Do you suffer any angst from losing something you work with daily? How about setting priorities and focus?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Thursday’s Child

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace;
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go;
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for its living;
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

This rhyme was first recorded in A. E. Bray’s Traditions of Devonshire 

This popped into my head this morning on waking. My mind had it wrong. It kept singing Thursday’s child works hard for a living. Since I’m a Thursday child I figured that’s why I push so hard and work so hard. The joke’s on me. I do remember thinking once when reading this rhyme correctly, that “the far to go” part had something to do with all the moving around the world I’ve done. It’s such a sweet rhyme, I think sometime my children were so fortunate to both be born on Friday’s. For them, the rhyme holds true. They are both loving and giving with tender hearts. Mother Goose, who this rhyme is attributed to, got it pretty darn close.

My son took this and sent it to me. He said this is what hard works looks like. Me sitting down on the job.

I was raised by parents that thought if you were sitting down, they would find something for you to do. If we wanted to just sit, it was done outside and out of their view.

I changed the oil, now help me up please

Working hard comes natural to me and I still do it though as I age, with much less vigor. My daughter bought a little sign for me that says “Don’t just do something, Sit there” I make her tired just watching me. There is a lot more sitting going on these days but rest assured, if I’m sitting, I’m still doing something. Reading your wonderful blogs, writing in my many journals, or doing handwork.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to sit and watch television without having my meal at the same time (yes, I know it’s not good to do that), have my laptop working or some kind of needlework to keep my hands busy.

Sewing and quilting is not as much sitting down as jumping up and down. You sew a seam and get up and press the seam. It keeps one from getting stiff from sitting. My motion tracking device reminds me hourly to get up and move just in case my knees don’t. Most days during the summer months, that’s not a problem.

There has been so much to get done that I have to make a list of priorities. My driveway is clear again so there can be no complaints from the management. Don’t look in my shed or under my beds though. Every day is “clear something out day.”  I reorganized my sewing room to store an extra board, and the top of my closet because the shelf was off its brackets. I so wish my organizing friend lived closer.  With all the work I have done, I still have far to go.

Slowly, ever so slowly the process goes

How about you, does your day of the week apply?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself