Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Against the Odds

 Every day is a risk. You win some, you lose some.

 I've tested positive for Covid. I'm fully vaccinated (two shots) and boosted. Yes, it's a bummer, but so far, for me, it's nothing more than the usual flu with fatigue.

How I got it is (ultimately) unimportant. I'm not interested in a political discussion. This is simply my way of telling you that I'm going to be offline for a few days while I recover.


Oh - I didn't  break a rib.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

The Pantry Stash

 

Two years ago (OMG!!!) we were all told to prepare for a two-week quarantine. Get what you need in case you can't leave the house. I did that, and put my non perishable items in these two blue bins.

Who knew I could get groceries delivered, and getting fresh vegetables was the least of my worries. Since then I have occasionally dipped into these two blue bins, and it was a PITA to lift them and move them around. During Christmastime I put everything "junky" into that room, so it really needed a good cleaning. At the same time I have been getting very tired of trying to store and retrieve things from the lazy susan cabinet in the kitchen. AND storing the bowls that grace my table each month was getting problematic.

I decided the best solution was to rearrange the closet into a real live pantry. Of course that meant emptying the closet, clearing the lazy susan and reorganizing one step at a time. Well, you know how it goes - when it's important enough, nothing will stand in your way. It was nice to use my cart to move the canned goods from the lazy susan.

I decided that anything that was going to be stored on the lazy susan had to be something I used regularly, and the I would limit storage here to two items maximum. So even though I love garbanzo beans, only two cans will live here. The rest will go into the pantry. It was great fun to clear this out. I also found a small flashlight which will live on a hook on the inside cabinet door to light it up so I can more easily find what I am looking for.

After a couple of hours the new pantry looked like this, and it was good, but I know the upper kitchen cabinets were overfull, and since I've already fallen off the footstool once while trying to get to stuff up there I knew I needed to clear those out too. So I went to the hardware store and bought four 48" shelves. That gave me an additional fifteen inches of storage per shelf.

So this is what it looks like, and I am thrilled. Yes, I know I have a lot of stuff, but this way I can see it and I know exactly what I have. My son calls my kitchen "the kitchen of endless possibilities," because I can make pretty much anything I want.

The really good thing though, is I know what I have and I can safely reach all of it. I "almost fell" on New Year's Day as I was cleaning up and putting away the Holiday decorations, and I may have cracked a rib. (Remember I have arthritis in all my joints and bad osteoporosis.) So this is also a safer option for me.

This should not have been a surprise. The items in this bin are all past (well past) their "use by" date.

Next up is to clear out and sort the stuff that was in the other side of that closet. It's going to be a process, but it's nice to get a big part of it done.


 

Oh, THIS is fabulous, you'll love it. You Can't Wrap a Baby in an iPad.


Thursday, January 6, 2022

Being Lazy

 


My studio is a mess, my office is a mess, and I've got the post holiday blahs so instead of doing anythig I really ought to be doing, I've been watching TV and doing this jigsaw puzzle. I think I started this a day or two after Christmas, after I finished putting all the decorations away.

Last night I worked on the features of the face and the green in the upper left corner.

On January 15 I'll be raising the prices of my tutorials. I've also updated the bird tutorial ever so slightly. If you already have a copy, you don't need this one. It will be released on January 15, at the new price.

 

Go Australia!

 


 


Saturday, January 1, 2022

2022 Calendar

 

I've been making calendars of my quilts now for a few years now. This is the seventh. I've also made one of Millie and one of my quilting students. (Millie is often featured on the covers of my calendars. I particularly like this photo of her, completely unimpressed with my work.)

The one for 2022 is mostly quilts I made and finished in 2021, but not quite. I didn't make 12 quilts in 2021. Oh well. 

I add family birthdays and anniversaries and other stuff I find important, like the beginning and ending dates for the Major Tennis championships (You can see the Australian Open dates on the January page, above.)

The quilts look better in beauty shots than just shown flat. One thing about the calendars I never considered is they are a great reference of color photographs that don't have to be seen on a computer. To that end I have learned to make an extra calendar to keep in pristine condition for that reason. (Naturally I keep them all.) My Dad likes his because he can show off what I do to anybody who visits him. I use one at work and it never fails to elicit a comment. 

 I do mine on Vistaprint, and I always wait to use a coupon so I don't have to pay full price, but you can make something like this at lots of places, and you don't even have to start with January.


Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Alegretto in the Snow

 

The day after I finished the Allegretto quilt we had a bit of snow. When I saw it I hurried to get dressed so I could bring the quilt outside for some beauty shots. This was taken in my driveway. The day was partly sunny, but windy. Here the quilt is in the shade, which makes it seem much bluer than it really is.

Here the quilt is draped across the large landscape rock in my front yard. I love pictures of quilts in the snow because it is NOT where you expect to see them.

I like this picture because the tropical birds are NOT part of a snowy landscape. If you ever wondered why the shadows of snow on a bright day are blue it is because they are reflecting the blue of the sky. 

In this picture, the sun was behind the clouds, so the quilt has a decidedly blue tinge.

The wind blew the clouds away for a few minutes, and I was able to take this picture. It isn't perfect, but it was FREEZING! (It really was, the temperature was below 32F (0C) and it was really windy so with the wind chill factor it was about 15F)

You can see the colors a lot better, and you can see the quilting too.

When I showed my Mom the finished quilt on Christmas Eve, she said, "Oh, look, my quilt!!" Her partner, M, started laughing. My Mom and I have agreed that she can BORROW the quilt for 30 days at a time. You can read here for the background of that story. But she has to give it back.





Monday, December 27, 2021

Two In a Row

 

I worked hard to get my house ready for the festivities on Christmas. I cleaned. (I emptied out the silverware drawer, washed everything in it, cleaned the inside, and then put everything back.)

I decorated. I cooked. I even made a Tourtiรจre

This is a big deal because even though I grew up eating toutiere every Christmas and New Year's I haven't eaten one in over forty years and I've never cooked one before. It's really easy (you know, "in theory"). Mix leftover stuffing from Thanksgiving (which in my French-Canadian, Quebecois family is a mixture of ground pork, beef and veal with a bit of onion, celery, some dried bread, Bell's Seasoning and chicken broth... but I liked it when my mom added walnuts and chopped apple) with some leftover mashed potatoes and put it in a pie crust (top and bottom) and bake till done. Eat hot. It's probably an artery clogger of epic proportions, but it's as homey comfort food gets. I don't even know why I thought of it, but it's not the kind of thing you make in a single serving.

 (It was absolutely flat-out spectacular, by the way.)

So what I was NOT ready for when I woke up on Christmas morning was temperatures just below freezing, and rain. Freezing rain is the worst. Not to look at or to weather, but driving in it is near impossible, When it is freezing rain, Gravity Rules. You can go, but you cannot stop. Or rather, you WILL stop (eventually) but it won't be pleasant. 

You can drive in snow, and if you are prepared, and you are careful, the odds of your getting from point A to point B safely are in your favor.

Not so with freezing rain. If the road is cold, and the rain hits it, the road freezes. Driving on it is a crap shoot. Gravity is a Hard Thing. I live on a steep hill. Do I want to get into my car only to slide down the hill into the house at the bottom of the street? I do not.

By 9 AM in the morning the news was full of accidents (one 12 car pileup about 10 miles away from me closed a major highway for several hours), and by midday several highways and roads were closed. With temperatures staying below freezing all day, and the rain forecast to fall all day, it was abundantly clear that Christmas this year would be a solitary thing.

Again.

I had a lovely FaceTime visit with my son and his family (he loves fountain pens and I gave him a box to put his in) and I talked to several of my friends and every member of my family.

Before I went to bed, I even soaked in the tub. (Sorry, no action photos).

Good thing Millie kept me company.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas

 

Millie* and I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Here is what is "under" my tree. A lot of lined drawstring bags. Most are made specially for the recipients. The Dinosaur bags are in California. 

 

*Millie has been eating a senior cat food and is doing well.


Sunday, December 19, 2021

Inspiration Is A Funny Thing

Way back in August I was playing with some scrap slab triangles, but they didn't really go anywhere, so I put them away.

On my way back from getting my car's 15,000 mile maintenance I swung by my sister's house to pick up the ham we'll all be eating for dinner on Christmas. My sister got stuck on an emergency call from her work, so I waited on the couch.     

Turns out she got a new couch a couple of weeks ago. The last one was red, so the Firebird quilt fit perfectly. On this couch, not so much. I actually went out to the car to get the Allegretto quilt I had been working on while I waited for my car. I put it on the couch, and stepped back. "Nope." It just didn't fit.

I walked around her house. We both have a lot of original artwork hanging on the walls and since we are sisters, we have a lot of my mother's artwork, but she also has some of my work too. This is a painting I did almost forty years ago.

Immediately I knew where I wanted to go with a new quilt for her couch.

This isn't all my blocks, and is by no means a finished idea, but I definitely plan to separate the colors with the lighter white or cream side triangles, connecting them visually to the towel in the painting above.

As usual, this idea isn't carved in stone, and the idea may change quite a lot by the time I'm done, but I like this, and I'm excited to move forward with this. I have a lot of blocks to play with, and I will need to make more blocks, because right now I don't love the green ones on the upper left, but I'm excited to get into the studio to work, and that is the best thing.


Friday, December 17, 2021

Binding & Blown Away

 

I'm sewing the binding on the Allegretto quilt, and watching Blown Away Christmas on Netflix.


Milllie wouldn't eat the prescription cat food no matter how little of it I mixed into her normal food. I did a bit of research and found that the brand she likes (Fancy Feast) makes a version for senior cats, and packages a dozen cans of three different varieties on one box. I  bought a box, and Millie liked all three varieties. WIN!! I am hoping I'll be more able to disguise the prescription food into this food after a day or two.

One reader suggested one tablespoon of the prescription food mixed into a can of the regular (or senior) cat food, and that was a great idea. The first day I mixed 50/50 and Millie took one sniff and walked away.

One of my work colleagues has a 16 year old cat, and he says they feed her one teaspoon of (prescription) food at a time. When she eats that, she'll get another teaspoon. That's a little drastic, but it is an idea I have to keep in my back pocket.

Monday, December 13, 2021

This and That

 

This is the final gift bag for my granddaughter in the City of Angels. The gift that fit in this bag was shipped out earlier today. This bag is the Artist (or large) bag, but I made it two inches longer. 

I don't usually get a double Amaryllis, but this one is pretty spectacular. This bloom is every big as usual, about eight inches across.

I got a box of fizzy bath bombs, so now my spa tub is completely decked out, and DAMN! It looks good. I'm pretty sure I'm going to try it out real soon. But if anybody thinks I'm going to be reading my iPad while I'm soaking in the tub is crazy. I've already lost one iPhone to water (the washing machine,) so that isn't going to happen. I have a real live paperback book I can read if I want, but to me the point of soaking in a tub is just to relax, so that's what I plan to do.

While I worked on the binding of the Allegretto quilt, I binge watched The School of Chocolate on Netflix this weekend and was extremely impressed with the teacher, Amaury Guichon. His feedback was excellent, and kind, which is a rarity in "reality TV."

Finally, Millie's kidney levels are very high, and the specialized food for that would be very good for her... if she'll eat it, which she hasn't done yet. If she won't, the vet suggests I get any food she'll eat, as long as it is designed for "Senior Cats." Advice and suggestions welcome.



Saturday, December 11, 2021

Binding Allegretto

 

I finally got the big worktable clean enough so I could start attaching the binding to the Allegretto quilt.

Regular readers know I attach my binding to the back of the quilt, and fold it over to the front.
 

I pin it down all around the quilt before I start handsewing. Now I can relax and "watch" TV with Millie curled up beside me while I hand sew the binding, 


In other, more sobering news, my state leads the US in recent cases per capita. I'm supposed to be hosting Christmas dinner at my house, and I am seriously considering asking my family members to have a negative Covid test result before they can spend the day in my home. This may not go over well.



Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The Spa Bath

 

After I scrubbed the tub I tested it to see if it worked. When it filled enough I tested the jets. Those work too. The cold water faucet leaks, so that will have to be fixed someday, but I'm not a big tub user so that isn't high on my list of priorities (if I had tons of money I'd rip the dam tub out, or at least get rid of the wall to wall carpeting... yeah, don't get me started.) One nice thing about my house is that both bathrooms have skylights in them, so they are always filled with light during the day. 

Anyway, I stuck the poinsettia on that corner of the tub and had a thought. Maybe the thing to do wasn't to HIDE it, but to SHOW IT OFF. I texted Julie.



So I put a second poinsettia in the other corner and did some online shopping.

By the way, this is what the quilt hides. Some things should be hidden from view.

The first thing I ordered was one of those bath pillows. I also ordered some bath bombs and an assortment of bath gels and goodies. Those haven't arrived yet, but the bath bombs will go in the bowl in the corner. It is one of Larry Sefton's bowls and was a gift from he and his wife Julie, my best pal.

I also ordered a bath shelf. Now the thing is looking pretty dang spiffy. Or "swanky" as my BIL would say.

Getting closer!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Christmas in the Bathroom

 Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts about Millie. They are all very much appreciated. It's all I can do to keep from crying. I have to remember that Millie has brought me such incredible joy, and connected me with many friends, and that was unexpected for both of us. Nothing lasts forever, but Millie has been with me a good long while, and I shall continue to enjoy her every day she is still with me.

Now, on to the Christmas decorating.

I'm hosting the dinner this year, and I got the decorations up, but I felt something was missing. (and you know me...)

You all know how much I hate, loathe and despise "cute" (except for kittens, puppies and small children related to me). I have always thought the shower curtain I chose for the second bathroom was pretty cool. (I wanted to rewallpaper the room, but chose something white before I realized the tub, sink and toilet were... beige). ANYWAY, aside from the cat vase with the holly I showed you yesterday I thought the room needed a little something. I wondered if they made any holiday themed shower curtains that weren't "cute."

Indeed they did. So now this lovely graces my bathroom. You can also see the small pointsettia I put in there too. 

Here's the view from the other end of the room. I have red hand towels to use too.

This the shower stall in my main bathroom. It's so tiny I don't use it. Instead I store extra toilet paper (hello pandemic), some cleaning supplies, and I actually hang the holiday wreath in there during the year.

But the view from the toilet is decidedly utilitarian. What to do....??

WRAPPING PAPER!!!! I cut the pieces then taped the paper to the inside of the shower door. I probably would never have thought of this if it hadn't been because I've been making the lined drawstring bags to use to wrap gifts this year. I like looking at this a whole lot better.

This is the tub in the main bathroom. It is a spa tub, and I have always thought it was so ugly and dumb I never used it and just put junk in it. Or on the edges, as in the littler boxes Millie decided she didn't like a couple of years ago... I knew I'd had to at the very least make it presentable for Christmas dinner when my guests might see it...

I thought maybe I could fill it up with poinsettia plants. So I cleared out all the junk that was in there (you already know where the bucket ended up). I thought it looked better already. I stuck a poinsettia plant in there to see how it looked and to figure out how many I'd need to fill it up. After I took this picture I took the plant out and scrubbed the tub.

It looked really good. Then I got another idea. But the execution of that idea is still in process, so you are just going to have to wait to see what happens next.


OH, and by the way, yes, I know that poinsettias are poisonous to cats, but Millie just ignores them, so I am safe. Because otherwise I could not have done this:

Yeah. I got a little carried away. You know what my son says: "You know what I love about you, Mom?

"When you go over the top, you keep going."