Thursday, December 31, 2020

Bring on the New Year!

   Year 2020...... not the most productive in my life.  Major efforts were made into a collage.  

   In the center is the wonky Court House steps quilt.  About half of these blocks were made prior to this year, and being in lockdown was a good reason to assemble them.

   Upper left,  just strings, and more string blocks!  This turned in to my Chaos Quilt, or what I thought would be the pandemic quilt.  I figured by the end of this one the pandemic would be history.  And the joke was on Chaos it became.

   Lower left is the spool block quilt.  Lots of spool blocks were made during the Spring and Summer months for this one.  It is as yet unquilted.

 Top right, by late summer I was in dire need of some light in my world.  Not just sunlight, but illuminating light of hope.  So I naturally turned to create a watercolor project.  It too is unfinished and waits to be quilted.

  Lower right, is mine, but created by Sir Old Man.  He fulfilled my request for a bright spot to hang on the garden shed.  The cardinal has long been my symbol of Hope.  And now it is always in view.  The wooden  barn quilt block is 16'' square.  

   As the year ends I am working on assembling about 100 Easy Breezy blocks.  These have been my leader and ender project for the year.  And rather than begin something new, I plan on getting at least one top quilted.  If I need to just stitch I can always make a few string is a good never ending project for me.  
  What did I learn in 2020?  
   It was brought home to me to listen to my body.  Diagnosed with Erosive Osteoarthritis put a halt to machine quilting this year.  I found it painful, so I decided to not do any quilting for 6 months at least.  I believe it has helped the severe inflammation in the wrists.  I picked up crochet again to try to keep my fingers moving and nimble.  That too has seemed to help.  Overall, things in moderation are possible, so I think one quilt top quilted is doable:)  Big smile.

  Although I am home most of the time anyway, I need to get out.  I need to  see people.  Even a ride to the drugstore, or the open produce market is a treat.  My body may be breaking down, but my heart still wants relationship with others.  

  Small joys are all around us.  You must look for them and take time to enjoy them.  Fifteen minutes in the sun or just sitting on the porch to watch the blue birds.
The glorious colors of the sunset behind the trees ends the day well.  The sweet small of apples in the fall, and the earthy scent of burning leaves remind me of the season's change.  Full moons, and meteor showers, and wonders in the sky were seen and marveled at this year.   

  And Sir Old Man has one more 
barn quilt to finish  this year.

  A Double Star pattern caught his eye earlier this fall and He decided to make one  to hang on the front of the house.  For this one, he wanted a more rustic appearance.  The wood was destressed a bit, and routed to create the look of barn wood. It is well sealed and will be under the eaves for some protection.  

And tomorrow we do it all , come on 2021, give us the best!

Happy stitching.  

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Other endeavors

   Wednesday was a cooking day.   Sir Old Man served as assistant chef.  He wanted to act like the "behind the scenes help"  that are not seen on TV cooking shows!  He is an excellent stirred, grater, mixer and cleaner-upper.  None of this would be possible without him.  

  I wanted to make chutney like we had from Honey Baked Ham....the cherry-cranberry chutney is wonderful mixed with the Unexpected cheddar cheese from Trader Joe's on crackers.  It is good with ham and figured it would be good with pork too.  So he went shopping for the cherries and  both sweet and tart!  He usually does go overboard when I make a special request.  

  I found a simple recipe on line, and tips to pit the cherries using a chopstick.  Don't do the chopstick one, it did not work for us.  Instead we resorted to milkshake straws!  They poked out those pits nicely.....and of course, I was wearing a bit of juice when we finished.

  We ended up with 3 of the small half pint jars--I think--and half of of the larger.  Anyway, it turned out good, a little thinner than I wanted, but very good.  Into the refrigerator it went.

  And on the remainder of the cherries.   Easiest thing to do was refrigerator cherry jam.  Since they were pitted I just halved some of them and chopped up the rest.  

 Just a little over 3 jars.....the little leftover was gone this morning on biscuits.  A little bit tart but good.

  Since cherries are good for inflammation and auto-immune issues, I hope to enjoy these.  I get the cherry juice when we find it, but this past year there has been not to be seen.

  One more thing to put together....soup for dinner.  Chicken spinach with tortellini.   The spinach kick I am on is in an effort to raise my iron levels.  Lab test came back and looks like another deficiency has developed.  I fear it is really an absorption issue rather than diet.  I will see what the doctor says tomorrow.


  One more thing....I pulled out crochet hooks, ordered a couple of cakes of cotton yarn and started crocheting this past week.  My hands and fingers are stiff and hurt, but keeping them working is  better  than losing all use of them.   I pulled out the knitting bag stand that my girlfriend, Doreen, bought me years ago.  I got everything in it to begin. 

   Then I looked at that cake of way I wanted to rewind it.  I found a long enough dowel to slip thru the center of it.  The dowel ends rest on the side of the bag.  I could pull yarn off and begin....but the dowel kept slipping off and making a mess.

  Enter the light bulb moment here!   I hunted up 2 medium bulldog clips.  One on each side of the bag.  The dowel can just fit thru the eye part of the clip.  I was able to happily begin crocheting and focus on the stitching rather than the dowel and yarn.

   Crocheting for short spells is ok, and the pain is not bad.  The good thing is the fingers are less stiff.  So hoping I can get better tension on the stitches now.  I am making a masterpiece but trying to keep moving.  

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Shed decor!



   Yep, Sir Old Man came thru in time, actually ahead of time for the birthday gift.   Mr. Red Cardinal was painted and sealed from the weather for his permanent location.  

  I tried not to nag or pester him to get it installed.  I was really patient, or at least I pretended to be.  

  The barn sign was added to the newly painted garden shed.  The perfect finishing touch to add a bit of a bright spot to the shed.  I love glancing thru the window of the sun room or the sewing room and seeing the bright red.  Makes me smile.

   No current finish to share, but these are a few of the wall hangings I shared with my Bible study group today.  And spent time telling the stories that went with them.  


    I also shared this one...Higher Hope. 
I love the jewel tones and how rich the colors become like stained glass in a cathedral.   And it is time to rehang it in the sunroom, as I love the full colors in it during the winter months.  

  I put aside the collage piece as I was frustrated with it.  Maybe in a month or two I will try again.  I have the continuing leader and ender blocks to sew and the latest watercolor is pressed.  Enough for now.  Happy stitching.
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