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Posts tagged ‘sewing’

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

A Short Long Story

I’ve been ruminating on how best to write a sad story where no one ends up feeling sad. My goal in life has always been to look for the silver lining in every event no matter how challenging. Challenges follow all people throughout their lives. The Golden Years are no exception and not always as golden as one would hope.

The sun keeps rising no matter what else is going on.

If one looks at the challenges that are in front of them honestly, one will always see there was probably some part they played in creating the challenge. That’s where I’m standing now. I take full responsibility for the challenges that are now ahead of me and will find the silver lining in them.

There are decisions ahead that I really am not looking forward to making. The ruminating on the best course of action is one that so many have made. I’m not unique here. I just need to keep pressing in a forward motion.

I’ve made 8 so far with material to make more. I wish I sewed faster

A week ago, my last husband passed away after a long and hard illness. He had just had his 79th birthday and I have not seen or spoken to him in the last 5 years. Though I had hoped we could remain on friendly terms, his adult children had other plans. I have missed him even though I knew the choice I made was the best one for everyone concerned. He is now no longer in distress or discomfort and I have never wished him anything but good. This is where I keep the long story short.

There are often rainbows before and after storms

I am now faced with a significant reduction in income that I found out last year was going to happen. Trying to ready myself for it did not happen fast enough. I think it’s been boiling in the back of my mind for months but I couldn’t figure out a good plan. Denial only works so long.

 

As I talk to other women my age who are living on their own quite happily, I find many are also trying to keep their heads above water in so many ways. While speaking with a neighbor about the possibilities of employment, she offered some insight as well as admitted that she would never be able to stop working even though she is well past retirement age as am I.

It’s not a comfortable place to find oneself. I saw my own mother outlive her money after my father died. Like I said, I am not unique here. I’m trying to bring in a little light to a subject that I think needs attention as well as explain my distraction and absence. It’s life in session and I’m in class. Lesson learned and more to come.

You can almost see where the bottom of the rainbow landed

Do you have a little light?

 “She must protect herself. There would be no one to do it for her. A plan started to prick up its ears inside her, slowly, but getting stronger.”
~ Catherynne M. Valente, “The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There”

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

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What Spring?

It’s here, technically. Too warm to snow must mean spring. April showers and all that stuff. Well, we have had plenty of those. We had our wettest March on record and April has been no slouch. Our flowering trees didn’t.

Add high winds to that rain and you have a disaster in the making. My neighbor directly across from me has lost a major portion of her back yard and the two on either side of her have lost quite a bit as well. When I finally got a look at it, I was thinking a moving truck was in order immediately. Somehow, everyone there seems comfortable sleeping at night. The management, landscape and work crews from the park as well as the owner are here almost every day to check and see if anything has changed. There are no trespassing signs up and plastic fencing to keep everyone away. I didn’t get a photo being too stunned by what I saw. The buck is being passed around quite liberally.

High winds took down the fountain and brought someones metal roofing into my yard.

Two doors down from the major portion of the slide I noticed a rather tall tree that I don’t think had been leaning before taking direct aim at the house where an infirmed woman lives with her grandson. I was concerned. So I did what I could. I talked to the neighbor that knows everyone and everything. She said she would mention it to one of the work crew. I watched the tree as our April winds picked up and lo and behold, there was the entire entourage from park owner, management and crew watching as a professional outfit dressed to tackle the job. I have to admit, I got very little done that day other than watching the process. An old friend’s words came back to me as I watched, “You can’t beat a man at his own game.” The professional tree trimmer made short, safe work of the project.

My friend, Emily was coming over to organize fabric with me and I had to admit to my preoccupation with watching the poor tree come down. I hate to see trees get cut but this one had clearly lost its footing and was possibly going to hurt several people.

This week was a bit more productive. My friend, Sabine brought me a Forsythia bush she had started from one of hers and some ground cover. It took all day for me to carry buckets of heavy, wet clay out of a hole to the top of the terraces so I could plant the shrub. I got my exercise that day. The ground is a soggy mess with no drainage. I’ve added amendments and quality soil to give it a good start. The climbing rose bushes I dug out by the front steps last fall have oddly survive the serious neglect they got before going into more of that miserable clay in the back. The two lower terraces have been weeded, and hydrangea’s trimmed up.

 

In between my naps, visits with friends, and some organizing, I somehow got a baby blanket made getting some of baby girl flannel out of my tubs and to good use. I also was able to celebrate my daughter’s birthday with her at a new Tea Shoppe. They were very nice but the food left something to be desired. I was just happy we could spend the day together before she headed to the beach with friends.


So how is your spring shaping up? Is the cold hanging on or is it being skipped for shades of summer already?

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” ~ Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard’s Egg

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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Best Valentine’s Day Ever

I know, I know, it’s over and old news. Something kept gnawing at me that I should write about it anyway. There is a lot of flak about this supposed amorous day that has turned so horribly commercial. I would grouse about its commercialism as well since I didn’t have a Valentine.

These hearts are new after Valentines day for next year. I needed more bookmarks for friends

These machine embroidered hearts were made after Valentines day for next year. A positive experiment. I needed more bookmarks for friends

I’ve been alone for many years now and I like it. When I was married, Valentine’s Day was not high on our list. We were practical people and the price of a card could go a long way to filling the gas tank or buying a few groceries. Valentine’s Day just wasn’t in the cards.

This year was different. Not because I met someone special but because my friends and I did something special. Our hand sewing group of six became five last spring when one of our members was moved to a retirement home by her daughter. She is in her late 80’s and her daughter had to move so it seemed time. The Retirement home is in downtown Portland and access for most us is difficult.

I gave Dolly a bookmark for the book she is reading. She reads, knits, and quilts.

I gave Dolly a bookmark for the book she is reading. She reads, knits, and quilts.

I got a text the night before from Emily that we were going to see Dolly the next morning for Valentine’s Day and have lunch with her. We couldn’t get there at Christmas because of the snow. Several of us carpooled with Emily to Pattie’s. Pattie drove us all downtown to see Dolly. The light in Dolly’s eyes was so bright and she was so happy to see us all that it lifted all our spirits. I can’t say that I have ever had a better Valentine’s Day in my life.

She even made little paper heart decorations that morning when she found out we were going to come.

Dolly made one for each of us. What a surprise.We wore then down to the dining room for lunch.

Dolly made one for each of us. What a surprise.We wore then down to the dining room for lunch.

We brought our hand work, enjoyed the cheerful company and had a show and tell. Making someone who doesn’t get out often so happy was the best way to spend that day and hopefully we can do it again soon.

I think this will change how I look at that date on the calendar from now on. How about you? Did you do Valentine’s Day in an unusual way? Any ideas for next year?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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Creeping

I thought I had loads of time to get it all done. Every year the same thing happens. I hear everyone commenting about the stores getting ready for Christmas in September, not even waiting till Halloween is done. Well let me be very clear here, three and a half months is not enough time for me.

All are welcome here

All are welcome here

Somehow, and I can’t imagine how it happens, Christmas is creeping up on me with less than four days to go. Where the heck did all the time go? It was there just a minute ago.

Could it have gone here?

Snow barely covered the ground but kids were enjoying every drop.

Snow barely covered the ground but kids were enjoying every drop.

The first snow this year. I spent too much time watching the children play in it from the sewing room window where I should have been working.

Oh, to be a kid again.

Oh, to be a kid again.

Could it have gone here?

It all froze. First time in the last 4 years we have had this much snow and freezing rain.

It all froze. First time in the last 4 years we have had this much snow and freezing rain.

Our second snow this season brought the city of Portland to its knees. The aftermath is beautiful but the 3 hour ride to cover the 22 miles from the airport after picking up my son complete wore us both out. Cars were littered over all the roads and interstate. No one was prepared for the amount of ice on the roads. My son, the expert driver, got us home without bending anything.

Nothing but gray skies as far as the eye can see.

back-porch-12-14-16-cropped

It sure is pretty if you don’t have to leave the house.

 

I’ve been busy working on things, some of which I can’t show you right now. Shh, they are presents. Here is one I made for my son’s birthday last month at his request.

My son has a great sense of humor

My son has a great sense of humor

I had a tiny photo of my tree skirt on a previous blog and a better photo was requested. I have more started but the details I add take a great deal of time. I think I’ll start on them next month.

The whole tree skirt

The whole tree skirt

Lots of added detail like the gold bows sewn on before it's assembled

Lots of added detail like the gold bows sewn on before it’s assembled

There is a spot to hide a gift under the heart.

There is a spot to hide a gift under the heart.

My son flew home for Christmas and collecting all his belongings to move them into a shipping container on a friends piece of property. The shipping container was less expensive than a year’s storage fees and when it’s no longer storage for his things, it can be used as a shop and work space. So along with the Christmas decorations and preparations, we are getting ready for another shuffling of stuff and moving it. Not the best time of year for it but storage unit fees are getting astronomical. Is anyone starting to question our sanity?

Someone has to make use of these things.

Someone has to make use of these things.

I also made time to walk my daughter through a project she wanted to do and we were flying by the seat of our pants with no real pattern. We made it up as we went and it turned out pretty good for her first time. She likes using my machine so I can hover and calm when fear arises. It’s a gift for a hard to gift friend of hers. We are both proud of her.

I still have a dozen projects to finish in the next three days. What are the odds? Will the baking get done? How about you?

Is Christmas creeping up on you like a cat stalking a bird or are you ready to smack it down?

 

Since I most likely won’t get another chance, I’m wishing you all the joy this Christmas season can bring and hope that the New Year will bring a new start and peace in your heart.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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Creative Endeavors

There are lessons to be learned about oneself even in the autumn of one’s life. I’m hoping it’s the autumn and not the winter so I have lots of time left for discovery. I’ve discovered I’m a procrastinator, big time.

As I set out to complete my daily tasks, I find that procrastination can be a perpetual companion and a teacher. It tells me there is fear somewhere in the task or maybe something even as strong as dislike.

I’ve had a lot of projects on the back burner lately. As all of the outside projects came to completion, I could finally focus on the inside projects. I realized that when I would rather mop the floor, do the dishes, laundry, vacuuming or make the bed rather than sit at the sewing machine, something was going on.

The workhorse

The workhorse

It started with my newest Viking Diamond Royale sewing machine behaving badly with almost every project. We’ve had many trips back to Montavilla’s where it was purchased and it always seems to work for the doctor. It must be something I’m doing they say. I have an old Viking SE that threads and operates the same but will sew circles around the new one. The new one has a larger embroidery field that I have not yet been able to enjoy. The whole unit is packed away. I don’t need more frustration.

An expensive doorstop. The embroidery unit is not connect here.

An expensive doorstop. The embroidery unit is not connect here.

My old machine works well, my eyes, eh. They could be better so when working on precision quilts, I have a hard time getting them exact. I’m thinking it’s time to let that go. I’ve done the squares required for the quilt group and am turning my attention to more fun things to make. It has to be fun or why bother.

Making a shirt for someone is very much like making a quilt. It has to fit just right. So it goes to the top of the procrastination list. Gifts for birthdays and Christmas are moving to the top of the to-do list and can’t even look at the procrastination list. Ten weeks, people, ten weeks is all I have left.

In the meantime, I found a fun project. Microwave bowl cozies. If you still use a microwave and the bowl is too hot to pull out, then set it in the cozy first, heat and just leave it there to keep your food warm while you eat. You don’t burn your fingers that way. My son thought they were great. I had to make some a bit more masculine looking. They are made of 100% cotton so they don’t melt or catch fire in the microwave. Also handy with a freezing dish of ice cream or frozen fruit. Your hands don’t freeze holding the bowl. I started with fabric that I was going to pass on and worked my way up to fabrics that were chosen by the recipients.

I found some kits for making pillowcases in fun fabrics. U-tube has some wonderful instructions and shortcuts. I’m also a sucker for cute prints and panels. I have one for Halloween on the table waiting for borders, backing and binding to be cut and attached. They should be easy but quilting on the machine is not something I’ve mastered yet. I’ll keep at it though. I still have puckers.

So as you can see, I’ve done a little with my down time and need to do so much more. The procrastination list needs to be shredded and everything moved to the do right now list. I have company coming in two weeks and then only eight weeks to get it all finished and mailed or wrapped. Sorry for the reminder. I don’t shop for the holidays, I craft for them.

What’s on your procrastination list? Are any of them creative endeavors?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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