Monday, June 3, 2019

I Have My Limits

We have lived in our house for 30+ years.  Our land is 3/4 of an acre.  We have always had a Wheelhorse garden tractor.  Actually we have a few...more than one...a collection really.  I don't get it, but Terry DOES.  Anyway I have used all of them at one time or another.  Until Terry bought a riding mower like THIS one.  No steering wheel.  You pull one lever to go left or right, pull both forward or backward to go Forward or Backward!  Easy, huh?  Well it messes with my mind.  Well, Terry takes care of our yard and my sister's.  Last week when he mowed, he told me I'm going to have to start cutting the grass because he felt horrible when he got done. It jostled him around too much. I accept the challenge.  However, it has rained almost everyday since the last cut.  At this rate, I'll never have to use the green machine since there are 7 more days of rain in the forecast.

My mind works differently than anyone else I know.  Like my issue with road maps.  I know North, South, East and West using a map.  But I want the top of the map to be the direction that we are traveling.  You know, just like your GPS map.  I LOVE GPS, except when it takes us WAY out of our way...then I get out the trusty map and guide Terry to a better route, lol. AND I have poor depth perception.

I have a blog friend that posted about stitching with her grand daughter.  Lots of my blog friends stitch with their kids and grands.  I love that because it ensures that the craft will live on. That got me to thinking about how I learned to sew. I'm 67 so you can figure how long it has been since I was in school.  Personally, school came easy for me and I think our educational system back then in some ways was far superior to what most kids in this area have today.  I knew I would not go to college due to finances and family situation.  Clerical classes were offered in high school and I too all that were offered.  I also had an elective each year and chose to learn to sew.  In our technical age, kids have so much more to learn, so classes offered today are far different that back in the 60s.  However, like a lot of states Indiana offers a voucher system in which they divert public school funds to charter schools, but don't monitor the schools that receive the funds.  It is one of my pet peeves about living here.

I have to laugh when I think back about when my daughter was young.  She didn't want anything to do with sewing, probably because I used to drag her to the fabric store.  She DID love the clothes I made her.  She always told me she would never sew.  However, when here kids were small she asked for one of my machines so she could make the kid's Halloween costumes.  Let me tell you, what she created was amazing and without a pattern or any sewing education at all.  Once when she was laid off from her job during a recession, she paid her bills by selling re-fashioned clothes on Ebay.  She had an eye for creating Goth clothes and sold everything she created.  It was a fad at that time.

Grateful:  I am especially grateful to know how to sew and embroider.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

There is Sun in California

There is sun in California.  How do I know?  My grandson lives in LA now and we video chat almost everyday while he is sitting in the sun on his balcony.  However, here in Northern Indiana our weather pattern has developed into 3 cool partly sunny days followed by 4 rainy days.  If you have read my blog, you know that we take a lot of pride in our pond area.  In most years, by now, my gardens would be weeded and ready to plant annual flowers when the time is right.  Sadly, this is a look at my pond from the kitchen window.  I woke up yet again to rain.

But nature carries on.  Birds are building nests and the frogs and toads are singing day and night.  We always have a Robin build a nest in a spot that is in an awkward place. We have a Cardinal nesting in our carport.  The catbird has a nest in our Honey Suckle.  There is always activity at our feeders, though a nightly visit from a cute Raccoon has made it a necessity to bring our suet in at night and refill the grape jelly each morning.  The elusive Cedar Wax wings come to the pond and is the only place I see them. Of course our beloved Blue Birds have again made one of the houses their home.  And my Crows come every day, though I think one of their offspring have separated and formed their own family.  I now have two crows and four crows coming daily.  The two are my originals because they look for me through my window when the squirrels have eaten their bread.

So, I patiently wait for the three sunny days, I revel in Nature bringing me the entertainment I  enjoy so much.  And stitch.

Grateful:  Today I am grateful that Nature has provided me a focus and the gloomy days have not brought depression.

How is the weather where YOU are.  Do YOU enjoy the entertainment that Mother Nature provides.

I DO admit that I'd rather live in a beach house.

xx, Carol

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Endeavourer's Challenge Reveal

RAIN DROPS KEEP FALLING ON MY HEAD is the theme for the May 1st reveal.

Before I started this piece, I re-read the mission statement for the group.  We aspire to share enthusiasm and inspiration, challenge ourselves, develop our own style and encourage each other.

Looking back on the pieces I have done for this group, this IS my style. I do challenge myself to try something I have never done in each piece. In this piece it's the Leaf Umbrella.  I wanted it to be 3D.  It stands away from the fabric. I found the leaves on fabric in my stash.  I cut them out and sandwiched them with batting and hand stitched the spines.  There is wire along the edges of the leaves to enable them to stand away from the fabric.

I'm not happy with the stitching on the piece.  I should have stitched them in a hoop before I added the fabric to the piece.  There are other things I might have done a bit differently, but I'm not going to pick the piece apart with criticism. I'm an optimistic person and I just couldn't think about depicting a piece about rain falling on me which usually denotes pessimism.  My interpretation comes from deep in my thoughts and from my heart. The rain is falling all around this frog with the drops plunking in the water all around him and he is happily enjoying his day.  But the frogs in my pond in the back yard HIDE when it rains. Go figure.

I have a history with frogs that started back in the 9th grade when my Biology teacher gave us the assignment to bring a frog to class to be dissected.  Since I always got As or Bs, his threat of a failing grade if I didn't show up with a frog sent me to a local creek to get one. Off I went to the creek that I crossed every day on my way to school.  I had seen frogs there and sure enough, sitting on a rock at the edge of the bank was a big old frog.  He didn't hop away when I arrived.  Brave frog that KNEW I wasn't going to net him, lol. I talked to him for a while, probably saying silly things that a 14 year old girl might say.  When I bid him goodbye, I wished him a long and healthy life. I remember that.   I didn't catch a frog, or buy the frog one of my classmates offered.  Right now I can see that teacher in my mind, but cannot for the life of me remember his name, as I told him that I would NOT be dissecting a frog.  I could not bring myself to kill an animal or any reptile.  He saw my resolution and offered the alternative of dissecting a CLAM.  If you have never seen the inside of a clam, if they have organs they all look alike. Why is that a memory that my mind chooses to remember?

That started my love for frogs.  I have quite a collection of frog figurines and will use this piece in a display I will put on my wall.

If you have been a long time reader here, you know that I often talk about the frogs in my pond and that they are one of my Spirit Animals.    They never jump in when I approach.  I'm pretty sure they like to hear me tell them how happy I am that they found a home in my pond and how pretty they are.

Grateful:   Today I am grateful for being a member of the Endeavourer Group.  It is a great group of fabric artists that are far more talented than I am, but accept and encourage me.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Ed and Bonnie - Good Neighbors

Today my friend Rose who blogs as Pics & Pieces posted a piece about her helpful neighbor.  It got me thinking about some of our best neighbors.  I think the one at the top of our list would be Ed. 

We moved in our home in 1976.  Ed quickly came across the street to introduce himself and bring us a whirly-gig he had made from yarn and dowel rods.  We cherished it until the weather just killed it from old age. We were in our early 20s while Ed had just retired from the local newspaper.  Shortly after we moved in, Terry was laid off . One morning shortly before Easter we woke up to find a ham on the hood of our car.

Ed became like a grandfather to us.  He would come over and ask Terry for help or to fix this or that.  Ed would bring us a gift of some crafty item he had made or some tool he told Terry he knew he would never use again but Terry would, like post hole diggers..  We had his wooden butterflies on our fence for many years until they also died a weathered death. Ed's wife Bonnie would bring us her specially decorated Santa cookies at Christmas.  Laurie would be sure to take them a piece of birthday cake when we celebrated birthdays including her dog's birthday.  They loved that.

We kind of resented Ed and Bonnie's son.  He was Terry's age and we hardly ever saw him come to see or help his dad.

When Ed died, he left a little monetary gift to us. We felt honored that he loved us that much, as we loved him.  He left the house to his son and his pride and joy his Model T Ford that Ed always drove in the local parade and their Air Stream travel trailer.  Soon the son and his wife moved in the house.  Sold the Model T Ford and the Air Stream RV.  He also came over and asked Terry to give him back the post hole diggers. On principle, Terry refused.

We miss seeing Ed and Bonnie across the street and our visits to pass a bit of time.  Needless to say we don't interact much with his son except for a friendly wave.  We DID take their trash can back up to their house when the son was in the hospital because that's what neighbors do.

I think we are good neighbors that are willing to help.  That is the Spirit of America, don't you think?

Grateful:  Today I am grateful that Terry and I have remained the good neighbors that we were taught to be.

Do you have a neighbor that is special to you?  I hope so.

Happy Easter

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Something New Here

My kitchen faucet has been a problem for about a year.  Terry replaced parts to keep it from dripping.  About a month later...dripping again.  Three times.  When my grandson bought his new RV, it had a faucet similar to this one.  I absolutely fell in love with it.  I could not find one in the stores, but I didn't look too hard in plumbing fixture stores.  Finally I got serious and started looking on line.  I found just what I wanted at  The price was right so I ordered it.  I pretty much figured that Terry would not be able to install it because it meant laying under the sink and using both arms, but usually my younger grandson Ky will come to help.  He calls working with Papa the Brain and he Brawn.  When I hoped that faucet Terry looked at it like he had never seen those hook ups before.  No problem, I called Abe's plumbing to come on over, lol.  Well, you know how one thing leads to another.  Before that plumber came to the house I was going to have to get off my butt and wash down cabinets, ceramic tiles and appliances, scrub the floor and put down a new area rug.  Oh, those are all things I needed to do, but that plumber coming into my house put me in action.  One great thing was that I had to clean out the stuff that had accumulated in the cabinet UNDER the sink.  How many cleaning products do I REALLY need, lol. So here it is and I absolutely love it.  A long time ago when the pull down faucets came out I ran out to buy it.  It wasn't THAT long before the dang thing would not retract.  I like that this once has a holder to put it in.  The facet swivels and the sprayer has a long hose. I ALMOST bought a new sink too, but I really don't need one.  But I really should paint the walls that are not ceramic tile.  One thing always leads to another.

There HAS been some stitching going on too. I added patches to my Boro jacket.  The Cubs and other teams are on one sleeve.  I have Tiger fabrics to go on the other.  I decided this jacket does not have to be done before I wear it.

I am also working on the next reveal for the Endeavourers Group and CUTTING (UGH) fabric for a quilt to Nic.

Terry and I are working at cleaning out the garage that we park our car in.  Terry is a hoarder of sorts.  This is a slow moving project and there have been "WORDS" regarding what NEEDS to be kept and what should go in that big black trash bag in the corner, lol.  Well, like I tell him, any progress is PROGRESS.  We might be done by the end of the summer.  Several years ago I bought him a cabinet system that is at the one whole end of the garage.  When we are done, if it doesn't fit in those cabinets it goes OUT.  26 feet of cabinet is PLENTY of room.  Don't you agree?

Grateful:  Today I am grateful that after 46 years our WORDS are quickly forgotten.

What about you.  Do you have any spring cleaning projects you are working on?
xx, Carol

Friday, March 29, 2019

Birds and Where The Heck Is Carol

 Terry and I were driving on a road near us that runs along the St. Joseph River.  Several times we have seen an Eagle in the area, but never close enough to get a picture.  As we were driving, I saw an Eagle fly as if to land in a tree.  Terry immediately turned around so we could find it and luckily it perched prettily and I was able to get several pictures.

I LOVE big birds so you can imagine how thrilled I was. The area where this is has a small wooded island so I'm hoping that there is a nest there.  Last year a young Eagle was flying low over our house.  I couldn't believe my eyes. I second guessed myself.  Was that REALLY an Eagle?  Now I'm pretty sure it was.
I have 3 crows.  Yes they ARE mine!!  They come every year.  Last year two of them had babies and one of them went off to have babies of it's own. It is a family of 4 and they come around, but they are not MY crows.  MY crows come every day to find the bread I leave in the driveway for them to find.  They know my face.  When they see me, the call to me and I call back.  If they come and there is no bread for them, one of them will sit in the tree in front of my patio door and look in and Caw to get our attention to let us know they are "waiting".  He will wait there while the other two wait in a tree across the street waiting for me to open the garage door and bring their treat.  After I go back in, they swoop in and grab a piece.  My three crows bring joy and I love it that they know me.

We are relieved that our fish in the pond survived the Polar Vortex.  The Koi didn't, but they need air in the winter and I refuse to put a heater in the pond.  I told Terry he will just have to find joy in the Goldfish.

So that leaves Where Is Carol?  Well right here.  The last time I posted, I mentioned that my MIL fell and broke her hip. Two weeks in the hospital and then to rehab.  Since my FIL passed we have not had a very good relationship with my MIL because of the horrible way she treated my FIL before he died. Terry's sis was basically taking care of her when she came home.  But my MIL is a hateful person and told my SIL off so she washed her hands of the deal.  Sometimes words and lack of gratitude just cut too deep. I'm not sure where the situation is headed, but I hope my BIL will be able to work something out with her.

At least after my MIL's fall, I decided I better get that Bone Density test my doc has urged me to get for a few years.  Results were good and the only suggestion was to take a high dose of vitamin D-3 for a month.

THEN...Oh you thought that was all?  Enough??  No, I wish.  I am currently uncomfortable with a case of Shingles.  Along my waist, right where my waistband is. And if you think that you can only get Shingles once...well that is not true.  Terry has had them twice so I am worried he will catch them from me as they are contagious.  I had wanted to get a vaccine for them but didn't because it is a live virus vaccine and with Terry's weakened immune system his doc advised against it.

My grandson moved from Oregon and has settled near Los Angeles for the time being.  For sure his move from Indiana is permanent because he got a driver's license out there and plated his cars with CA plates.  That is at least Semi-Permanent to me.

I have been stitching a bit, mostly hand work and working on the next Challenge for the Endeavourer's Group.

Grateful:  I am grateful for technology.  My grandson calls Terry at least every other day, mostly everyday.  We get pictures and videos everyday from either Corey or Alyssa.

I am not so patiently waiting for spring weather.  I THINK it's coming.  How's the weather where YOU are?
xx, Carol

Monday, March 4, 2019

Gratification Lifts Your Spirits

 This was going to be the year I would get serious about making quilts.  I have all the tools.  I have great books.  I subscribed to some awesome U-tube videos.

I have been stitching blocks that I haven't shown yet, really for a lack of time to post them.  January and February brought family issues.  My favorite niece was in the hospital and now rehab for almost 2 months with a deadly leg infection that almost killed her.  (Be careful where you get your pedicures done).  The day after Marcella's funeral my mother-in-law fell and broke her hip.  Two weeks in the hospital and now in rehab.  She expects us to visit every day, but that is pretty much impossible with Terry battling too many headaches.
But it has still had us running around too much as all of these health facilities are in different towns.  Even though the towns pretty much run into each other, it's still a lot of travel.

BUT.  When I made the basket weave piece for the Endeavourer's group, I had way more material than I needed so I decided to turn it into a small quilt that I will send to Corey J.  It's 36" square and probably the right size to cover his legs in a carrier.  They just moved to LA so I suppose they won't be needing quilts, lol.

Anyway, my original plan was to stitch in the black ditches but since my ditches don't line up I decided to tie the quilt.  I used flannel for the batting and a piece of this black "love" fabric for the back.  You may think the colors are not appropriate for a baby, but they dress Corey in red a lot and the decor in their RV is black.

So you might wonder about the title of this post.  Even though I didn't execute the pattern perfectly, I am so happy to have completed this little quilt. In the future I am SURE that I will make a "stained glass" quilt because I love the effect even though I didn't pull it off on this one.  Completing this quilt gave me GREAT satisfaction and it was a great learning experience.

Grateful:  Today I am grateful that I have been relatively healthy.  I'm ALMOST grateful that the weather is in the single digits because we stay home when it's this cold, lol.

Tell me, are you self taught in the craft you love the most, or did you take lessons.
xx, Carol