Monday, December 4, 2017

Barbie Dog and a Big Bird

 Like everyone, I had a busy November.  Nope, I didn't have to prepare one thing for Thanksgiving.  Alyssa took it all over.  Corey and Alyssa work well together.  She cooked everything with little help from me.  Corey took over setting up tables and all the lifting and reaching that Terry usually does.  They invited a longtime friend, his girlfriend and their son.  My grandson Kyle came and it was actually a riotous time after dinner when the kids related stories of when they lived near each other and went to school together.

We did NOT do any Black Friday shopping, however I did buy a few things on line.  On line shopping has become my way to go, except I do like to shop for fabric in person.

When I woke up Thanksgiving morning, I glanced out the kitchen window at the pond on my way to get a cup of coffee.  I did a double take and the first thing that went through my mind was to wonder why we left a yard ornament out when we put the rest away.

 It was a fleeting thought when I realized that was actually a live bird at the pond.  He zeroed in on a fish swimming under the ice.  I was thinking I had to chase him off when I blinked my eye and he was gone.

We live really close to the river and a Blue Heron will occasionally visit looking for a snack.  I wonder how often one visits that I don't see.

On Halloween during the Trick or Treat hours we had two deer visit, but I couldn't get their picture before they ran off.  I was pretty surprised they were where they could be seen with all the people and traffic in our neighborhood.  It was certainly MY treat to see them.
Boscoe and Harley are BFFs.  I love this picture because it shows the difference in their size.  Boscoe weighs about 110 pounds and Harley weighs about 15.  They are together constantly and always playing. 

Tyson rarely plays with Harley.  They do run together but do not play dog games.  I call Harley Boscoe's Barbie Dog.  Their personalities are very much the same.  Corey has told me that he will leave Harley with us when they move and so far he may take Tyson, but I really doubt it.

As you might guess, our house is a circus and it keeps us constantly laughing.

Grateful:  Today I am grateful that Corey, Alyssa and Nic cleared the leaves from our yard this fall.  I have been having a bout of sciatic pain that has been going on since about a week before Thanksgiving and Terry has the Shingles.  This is the second time he has had them.  Don't let anyone tell you that you only get them once.

Tell me something funny.  Tell me a funny story about something that happened this fall or a joke.
We all need to laugh more.
xx, Carol

Sunday, November 12, 2017

It's Slow Stitching

When I was young, I did a LOT of stitching.  Making clothes, embroidery on clothes, cross stitching on clothes with waste canvas were second nature to me.

When I went to work full time when Laurie was in 1st Grade, being a full time working mom with a husband who was an over-the-road truck driver, canning and gardening took more time than I actually had.  Hand and machine sewing were put on the back burner.

I have always loved old Crazy Quilts, but not the frau frau pieces with laces and silk ribbon.  I loved the pioneer crazy quilts that were stitched and embellished with beautifully hand stitched seams and motifs.

I never understood the Slow Stitching Movement until now.  That's me...intrigued with hand stitched inchies 10 years after their fad.  Loving the look of Boro stitched fabrics long after "everyone" was talking about it.

I Googled the definition of Slow Stitching and found a few blog posts about it.  It is referred to as stitching a slow project by hand, whether it is cross stitched, quilted, embroidered or appliqued.  It is taking the time to reflect on what you are sewing.  That makes sense to me right now.  Add FOCUS and RESTFUL to the description. Reserving time for me without a break to let the dogs out or do anything for anyone else but ME.  I have much been lacking that in my life, especially now with my grandson's family living with us for the next several months.

So I will not refer to Boro stitching the patches on this jacket anymore.  It is Slow Stitching and it's restful.  Now I will have to find time to machine sew.  Finding quiet time for THAT is more difficult.

I am linking this post to Kathy's Quilts who encourages Sunday Slow Stitching.

Grateful:  Today I am grateful for quiet time used think deep thoughts to better understand myself and others.

Are you able to dedicate quiet time to just think about whatever pops in your mind?  Looking out the window is good for that too!
xx, Carol

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Ok, It's NOT Boro But It's ME!

I was bound and determined to get this Cupcake quilt done.  I didn't bother to see when I started it.  It's the first quilt I ever made and was meant to be for my daughter.  I wanted to hand quilt it and I wanted to hand stitch a cupcake in the center of each block.  I really didn't procrastinate working on  it.  But if you have been around here for a while, you know that my daughter and I have a tempestuous relationship that I refer to The Crazy Train or liken it to a roller coaster ride.  Every time there was a pump in the track, I put the quilt aside.  Our last episode involved everyone in the house and will probably not be rectified for a very long time..if ever.  So I finished the stitching.  I do have to bind it, but I'll do that the next time I get out my cutter and mat.  I'm not in a hurry to finish it totally.  I really loved stitching these blocks, but as I went along I was concerned how the stitching would line up on the back.  Truly I didn't worry about it after I started because what the heck, they were pretty darned close.  I figured the first quilt was a learning experience and that my first quilt should definitely be for my daughter.
 Here is a picture of the blocks on the back.  I used a few of left over blocks from the front and the rest are of the brown and pink cupcake fabric.  The picture looks a little wonky, but when you see the whole back, the stitching along the seams line up pretty well.

My blog friend Cathy nudged me to show some stitching on this blog so thank you Cathy.  I really AM stitching again.  Besides almost finishing the quilt, I have been doing some hand stitching to mend/reattach embellishments  on a few pieces of clothes for Alyssa. 

Then there is my desire to boro stitch.  Partner that with an unwillingness to dye fabrics for the patches, I determined that I would use scraps of fabrics I like, doing my OWN take on this kind of handwork.  I really didn't know where to start, but took the advice of another of my blog friends, Jenclair who advised me to just start pinning and then stitch.

Here is the start to the pinning.  The patches ARE straight, though the jacket is hanging and was not flat for the picture.  Yes, I was in a hurry to get a picture taken.  I am not going to leave any frayed edges on the pieces.  I am not agonizing over placement or theme too much.  But I can tell you that when I am done, I'm going to love this jacket.

I received the first prompt for the block I will make for The Endeavourers Group.  NATURE.  Now I know that you think...Nature...Birds...pond etc and you are pretty sure you know where I will go with it.  You will be surprised as I was.  I even started a Notebook with a thought plan.  THAT was another surprise for me.  I  AM  GOING  TO  HAVE  A  PLAN!!  In the past I have stitched thoughts on the fly and never thought it out.  Thank you Renee for a post you did some time ago about designing a Crazy Quilt Block.

Grateful:  Today I am so very grateful for Corey and Alyssa.  Earlier in the fall I made a list of all things that needed to be done around the yard and house to winterize for the coming cold.  When I went out to cut back a few plants, there they were, covering chairs, taking in landscape decor, picking up hoses, etc. etc. etc. and asking if there was anything else beside the list that they could do.   It was such a tremendous help and they got it done in about an hour.  I can't imagine how long it would have taken Terry and I.

What thing are YOU thankful today?  What are your stitching plans?  Do you have a project you are excited about?

xx, Carol

Saturday, October 21, 2017

October Leads to Leaves

I love this poem.

All my life I have resented Autumn.  I hate to leave behind the warm summer days and glorious sun beating hot on my face. As I grew older I began to wear a hat to protect my head from the heat, and a bandanna on my forehead to catch the sweat.

I still hate to leave summer behind.  But I must confess that I don't hate Autumn so much anymore. The days will grow cooler next week. (We are still above normal temps.)  "they" even say we may see a flurry or two, though it won't stick.  Just little bits of snow blowing in the wind.

I have already started to focus on what stitching will occupy my time when it's too cold to be outside.  Today will be the last warm day for a while and I have one more project to do outside, then I'm done with it.  I'm not even going to blow leaves this year.  Terry plans to mow them out to the street letting the John Deere create a long pile along the road for the leaf picker uppers to collect and cart them off.

I hesitated to add the following paragraph.  It is really my inner thoughts on how to keep my piece of mind.  Forever I have been the caregiver.  I continue that roll with Terry.  For all else...I am free.
I turned 66 the other day.  Somehow my mind did an instant adjustment:
Eliminate people and things that cause stress instead of reducing it.
Focus on what I want to do, that does not include raking.
Snow will be plowed shoveling here ANYMORE except a path to my bird feeders.
Catch up on TV watching that I have been avoiding.
Continue to do what I can to resist the direction this country is taking.
Stitch more.
Speak more...bite my tongue where that used to be a hard thing to do.

Most of my blog friends don't talk about their real inner thoughts.  Keep the conversation light.  No controversy.  Perhaps this place is our escape.  I am in the Autumn of my life.  I embrace it and hope Winter is a long way off.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Do You Slow Stitch

Remember this cupcake quilt?  Yes, I know, I probably started it a year ago.  The first quilt I pieced.  An embroidered cupcake in the center of each block.  Each block seam is hand stitched in three rows of stitching.  Or it will be when I am done.  I am close. It sits in a laundry basket by my recliner.

So what is the hold up? What's taking me so long.  Why in the heck isn't it done by now.

The simple answer is the Crazy Train.  If you have been visiting her long, you know that is my reference to the times when my daughter brings drama to my life.

When things are going smoothly in our relationship, I stitch.  When things are not so good, I set it aside and lose interest.  You might guess this has been a pretty rocky year based on my slow progress.  However, even though the Crazy Train is yet again visiting my spirit, I am for the first time working on it.  You might say I am focused on getting it done and out of sight.  Gifted to be kept, or not.  Her choice.

The part of this project that I really...REALLY liked was the slow stitching of the hand quilting.  Even though I have always liked the look of Boro Stitching, I have never tried it.  All those lovely patches stitched on a base with close stitching, perhaps in different color threads.

I HATE this jacket.  Why would I buy a Army Green jacket?  Not me at all.  It must have been on sale DIRT CHEAP.  I DO that sometimes.  I have even took the TAGS off.

So I have a plan.  I am going to slow stitch lovely patches to cover it entirely.  I suspect it will take forever.  But that's ok.  It'll be my Gummy Drop Deterrent.  And I will not buy one thing to complete this project, except perhaps dye. I will stitch at my own pace.  It is a totally ME project.  A reminder to me amid the Crazy Train visit that I am worthy of a ME focus.

If you do this kind of Boro stitching, please let me know and perhaps share picture of your work.  Share any tips you may have, as I have not been able to find any references to applying the patches.  However I have not yet searched U-tube.

Grateful:  That I maintain my sense of self and sanity.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Took A Day Trip

September 30, 2017

We started the day piling Corey, Alyssa, Laurie, Kyle, Nic, Terry and me into a Nissan Pathfinder, rented for the day so we could all travel to Chicago together.  Destination: Lincoln Park Zoo.

There was a plan.

First stop was a great Cuban restaurant.  I love locally owned restaurants in Chicago.  They have a special ambiance that I am sure is unique to Chicago.  The food was better than OK but not superb.  But it was a great start to the day.  I have leaned to absolutely love Cuban food since Alyssa has introduced us to it.  She is an excellent cook...from scratch too!

We wandered through the zoo enjoying the exhibits until we came to the entrance along Lake Shore Drive where the Lion Statue greets visitors at the entrance.

That's when the plan hatched.

A total surprise for Alyssa.


They have talked about getting married and made plans on where they want to live and a business they want to start.  But the ring was a total surprise on this day.

Corey has a high school friend that is a jeweler.  Together they designed this exquisite ring with a deep amethyst focal with large diamonds on the side and smaller diamonds on the band.

The significance of amethyst is that purple is Alyssa's absolute favorite color.

This is the new family.

Nic and Corey get along well.  Alyssa and Nic fit very well into our family and we all could not be more happy that they are a part of it.

We topped the day off with stuffed pizza at Nancy's, another favorite spot that Corey found on Broadway, I think.

Corey has my love of my hometown.  He has explored it on foot the perfect way to see it all, finding the great places that tourists don't go.

Grateful:  Corey found the girl I always told him he would find when he least expected it.

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Stitching Idea for Tast

I absolutely love anything Sugar Skull or Day of the Dead.  Heck, anything skeleton can jump into my cart!  When I was in our local Meijer store, I saw this tote on the shelf from about 5 aisles away and made a B-line to it and of course it JUMPED into my cart.

I am looking forward to the next stage of TAST.  I forget which name was selected to title it, but the stitches will be issued in Family Groups.  I'm thinking that I will use the Sugar Skull as the pattern to work the stitches on.  Perhaps I'll use a few blocks.  How many stitch families are there anyway?  I'll have to check in my reference books.

I can see that I will use this pattern for a lot of things.  I see purses, totes and pillows as possibilities.

Today when I went to edit my photo using Pic Monkey, the program would not let me save the edited picture unless I paid an annual 3.99 fee.  Well, that's worth it, but not if I could find a different free service.  I found the BeFunky Photo Editing Program and was free and easy to use so it's my new Go To program.

Grateful:  for free photo editing programs.

OK, so what else can I do with this Sugar Skull pattern?

What photo editing program do YOU use?

Are you planning to participate in TAST next year?
If you don't know about TAST, you can find out about it HERE
You can also look for TAST, or Take A Stitch Tuesday on Facebook

Have a great weekend.
xx, Carol