Monday, December 31, 2018

December coming to a close- 2018

Me after celebrations of the cooking, wrapping, card sending, visiting and attending:

Wishing you and yours plenty for the coming year.
Plenty of love, family, time, projects, rest, health, finances, food, creativity, BALANCE (my word for 2019).
Happy New Year!

December 2018

December was smooth and it was nice to observe some "family time" and the traditions of the holiday, "couple time" and some "me time" as well.

Near the first of the month, my youngest grandson turned 10, (my favorite number btw!).
He and a friend who was too quick for me to catch on film were having fun popping the balloons by sitting on them.

Robbi won in this endeavor.  They are great friends.  They play Fort Nite on the X-box, Hockey, are in the same grade though not the same class this year at school and have been friends for years.

Then we were back in Boston for another heart biopsy, clinic check, echo, and blood work.

While there, we were able to see "How the Grinch Stole Christmas at the Wang Theatre, it was a fantastic show.  The props, music and story line so closely followed  the Suessical book and DH tolerated it well as he'll go to honor my enjoyment of these shows.

The following two pictures are some of the architectural details within the Wang theatre.

We had a nice dinner before going back to our hotel room at the Park Plaza with an enjoyable stroll along the street.

I actually was humming the "Silver Bells," Christmas Carol while strolling and just a hint of snow was falling.

It was Beautiful yet so.o.o.oo Cold.

Our stay at the Park Plaza was very nice and comfortable besides it was conveniently located.
They happened to have an in-scale  gingerbread House of the Plaza as part of their decor in the lobby.  You could walk around the whole gingerbread table for a full view of the establishment and the accessories finishing the scene were perfect and quite nice.
It was massive and Gorgeous!

Shortly after that, my Mother sent a package for her Great Grand son #3, my  PGS#3.
It wasn't for any special occasion like Christmas or Birthday it was just because she loves him and she wanted to make this quilt.  She made a label hinting at him flying to the planets in the future and when I saw it, thought they were flying pucks, so I'm calling it "triple play" not quite a hat trick yet, lol. 

He showed me his favorite block and then started dodging away from the camera.

While spending the night, we played games as is our usual but we spent time reminiscing by looking through my blog books of years gone by.

He loved hearing stories about what happened and the roles he played within those stories.
I let him know that I couldn't produce those stories and pictures if he kept hiding from my camera.
He graciously  thankfully stayed put and I as able to take the shots.  (Not sure how long this will last!)

This pic he reminds me of Mcauley Culkin when he did the Home Alone series,
another holiday tradition we l;ike to watch and make time for. 

Then Christmas came with all the usual flurry of the season.

Christmas concerts, church services, family gatherings all contributed to make it a wonderful Holiday season.

PGD#! plays trombone for the Christmas concert, she's the second one in.

PGS#3, is in the grey sweater for his class song presentation.

I found and made some time to sit by the fire and stitch while listening to Christmas music.  Heaven!  Started a new Cross stitch project after the holiday just befor eNew Years.

As for finished projects, there were a couple of successes in that domain-

The long time WIP of St. Patrick's Day a Patch-a-bilities design took me

The rainbow I embroidered the old fashioned way, then started to play with shiva paint sticks for those coins and then Mod Podge for the white petals on the daisies so the background fabrics wouldn't' show through as I learned from Lara's book, Crafted Applique.

Then to make the daisy centers stand out better I did colonial knots, not a gazillion but probably around 35 or so until it was enough.  The next step I puttered around to make the gold piping which I used a roll of lace sold by Sue Spargo wrapped around the cording to "finish" it. 
Am so happy with the final results.

Another project that I started and actually finished in December was the needlepoint called "Liberty Stars" designed by Nancy's needles.
I  find the rhythm of the needle even in needlepoint is so enjoyable and with this design found it easy enough to do anywhere.  When company stops by I can pull a length of thread/yarn  as the pattern became quite evident to me.  With this one,  I'll wait to frame for a couple of months, perhaps get it framed later in the Spring.
Notice the Christmas themed reading glasses.

It was a very eventful year and I'm glad to see it behind me.
Things can only be up from now on.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

More finishes and back from the Framers

November seemed successful to me.

Finished my tessellated heart which has been a WIP for way too long, I continuously wonder why I do that to myself!  A top is almost finished and then it sits there, aka: percolates as I wonder how I'll finish it.  With this I decided to just meander it while I did my asthma treatments in the sewing room.  Surprisingly, it didn't take long. Then I did the next step....and then the next.

While making the piping I inadvertently sewed one strip of grunge red fabric right side out and then the other needed strip was sewn with the wrong side out.  Calling it a happy accident because I ripped out the correctly sewn one and did 2 wrong so I could get the look I was looking for.  Click oon the picture to get a closer look of the piping.  It's barely visible here.

Finished with label.  Hand sewn while in Boston waiting for another last minute biopsy needed 2 days before Thanksgiving.

Another wool finish is a class I took while at my quilt retreat last month.  It's totally finished and just in time to put away.    My son and husband think it looks more like a  llama than a deer but what do those hunters know anyway!?  LOL

She's setting around here at this step.
The Secret Santa SAL a Mystery QAL sponsored through Temecula Quilt Company, I truly love small detailed items.  Finished step one in a  relative timely manner  but then was derailed as we had an unexpected trip to Boston for another biopsy needed to double check a couple of elevated numbers.

Even then, Tufts is great to work with.  The  phone call came on Monday morning, the 19th and being just before our Thanksgiving, I quickly asked, "how about tomorrow for the needed heart biopsy" as I didn't need to worry wonder and knew DH didn't need the added stress either.  Luckily they had an opening and we left within the hour to get to Boston.  That's finishing laundry, booking a hotel, vacuuming the floors - uh-humm... okay pushing roomba's button then packing.  Oh and calling his chiropractor to change his appointment as we had to leave immediately.  Luckily there too, they cancelled his appointment that was suppose to be in half an hour and said whenever we got there, they'd work him him immediately.

Would you believe the chiropractor even tried to find last minute lodging for us too?  He is such a great person!  DH told him I already procured lodging and I was returning the cans at the redemption center and currently at the bank for $$ while he was there.  Sometimes things just fall into perspective with many blessings and a little luck.
While waiting on Biopsy day, my daughter  sent me a text and said she'd bring 2 pies and supply quite a few of the side dishes to help out for our dinner.  Sounded great to my ears!  (And they were delicious too. )

Since her Birthday was on the Holiday we celebrated with those pies, cake, Austrian tea cake and ice cream after a full Thanksgiving feast.  Played games, vegged in front of the TV and just hung out.

Thankfully we rec'd word the night before Thanksgiving his Biopsy was ZERO!   Yeah!!
Much to be grateful for.

Also back from the Framers was this:

I absolutely love the finish Michael's store offered locally.  
The mat, frame and workmanship was perfect for what I had visualized.

Nancy's Needle "Autumn Medley" in the called for threads and canvas.  The only personal-ization I did was in the diamond  squares, (the smallest squares showing in the top and bottom rows).  

love, Love LOVE  it!   smiles and giggling!


That is #3  Totally finished UFOs and a new kitted  project in November!   Yippee!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Hope your Halloween was Happy

October flew by with more happening in and around my home.  My husband continues to do well health-wise and the monthly Boston trips are becoming even more routine.  Typically I try to have a picnic or quick touristy stop nearby with the clinic visits, but didn't scope any out for October as we had so much already going on.

Our first focus for the month was repainting the outside panels of the above ground pool.  CHECK!
Years ago we used "water-filled" gallon jugs to hang off the winter cover (that's what we were told to do to keep that winter cover on).  It didn't work and those water filled jugs just rode up and down on the outside pool panel walls destroying the finish all winter long.  At that time, we used a recommended Epoxy paint to resurface the exterior pool panels.  Because we used a deeper grey tone then we noticed a 5 degree increase in water temperature.  It made make sense when you think about it as darker colors attract and keep more heat than the lighter reflective colors.  Fast forward 25 years later, that surface was getting sun fade and some smaller area blights. So with every thing else going on I thought it best to get it done this fall rather than trying to complete one more spring-time chore and who knows what we'll be dealing with health-wise at that time besides.  My philosophy of taking care of it now rather than later.   DH wasn't too keen on the idea but he slowly warmed up to it after I moved many stones to let the lower part be exposed.  Walls were washed and primed, taped off then painted with an Oil based paint.  The medium darker grey color wasn't available or offered so I thought, okay....we'll use the lighter grey and mix 2 parts of it with one part of black.  It worked and it's a very dark grey -almost too dark but now it's DONE!  Even the landscaping of returning the rocks back to the bottom edging.  Looks good and feels great.  We only have to trim paint the top rail after opening the pool next year.  We also had to replace the pool liner this year as the other one which started leaking dh destroyed it by poking holes allover it so it could drain through the winter which shredded it to pieces.....  long story, but thankfully it's over now.

On a personal focus I had planned to finish the Autumn Medley this past month, a needlepoint kit I started last year while Hurricane Irma was attacking my Mom's neighborhood in The Villages.  And sweet success, I just  finished the last stitches on it this past week.

Autumn Medley designed by From Nancy's Needle on 18 Zeigart Sandstone Mono Canvas
with the called for threads.  Caron Collection Snow- 14 -Mango, Caron Collection Watercolours #137-Copper and #255 Cornflower blue, DMC#5 #435 Very Light Brown, 437 Light Tan, 935 Dark Avocado Green and 3371 Black Brown, Rainbow Gallery Gold Rush 18 GD109C Bronze and Rainbow Gallery Overture V122-Caravan
Since attending my quilt guild in Glens Falls by myself, (I usually travel there with a friend or two) it was a great time for me to travel to KC Frames and Fabrics in Saratoga Springs to check out the framing that she could do on it even though it wasn't completely stitched at that time, I still had the two smallest leaf design elements to finish. They're both in the center areas of the top and bottom.    KC's offered an idea of one mat/frame available that I don't mind but I'm not sure if I'm in love with it after all my work if you know what I mean.

With using a mat, I noticed that just at the edge you could see the mono canvas slightly behind the last row of stitching just beneath the mat edge.  So I used a black magic marker to color three rows of the  mono canvas borders not yet stitched and then decided to stitch one more row of stitches in the same border thread used (Bronze Rainbow gallery GD109C) around the perimeter to counterbalance any loss of design by the matting and framing.

We'll see and I need to stop by some more framing shops before I "pull the trigger" on what I select.

Step one of Secret Santa sew along
The last week end was an annual quilt retreat I love doing with my friend Trudy.  It's become a pilgrimage and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it despite the weather happening along the St. Lawrence seaway.  Thankfully was able to get to the many bits I brought along to get done.  What's that you say..., well I was able to cut out the Prima Diva Clutch with all of it's parts of cloth, fusible batting and interfacings, also got part one all cut out for Temecula's Quilt Secret Santa Sewalong  and all those nine patch blocks are sewn now ( the only change made was using a black Grunge for my center square instead of browns), Step two soon.  Then was able to progress on preparing Homestead Hearth's BOM for my "go to bag".   I only have 3 more blocks to prepare and the border pieces - boy I'm  always amazed at how much time this takes!

I also took two different classes besides all the projects I brought for prep work.   One of a folded star taught by Debbie Baldwin and the other a wool project with Phyllis Acres so I felt really accomplished in getting to all I did besides the talking and reconnecting with friends.  The latter is now a current WIP now being focused on.  lol

While I was doing that dh got to enjoy some quality time with the grands.

Signing off but not before I share a pic of the grand dog with his Halloween costume.


Monday, October 1, 2018

Small successes

Trying to get into my sewing room more lately.  A successful impulse was this smaller project (it's been on my radar for a couple of years), the wonder clip pocket pincushion.   Here's a tutorial for another style that holds many more clips than mine.  I was able to pull some scraps out of my 1-1/2" squares for the nine-patched pocket and then cut the rest from other fabrics from the scrap stash.

It was done just in time to go to a quilting class on English Paper Piecing where I knew I'd need my wonder clips, aka: La Passacaglia offered in Saratoga Springs on September 13th.   What tiny pieces are used in "La Pass"! 
I managed to cut out 5 A pieces and only got two of them sewn together.  (Mom- This may end up being another decade project!, lol)

So far with 5 of the  A pieces:

Slow start - one night's work at class.

This is the fabric used for that first star center.
The fabrics selected for it (so far), I am thinking it needs some more blacks, solid colors, some very light-lights,  and those "read-like-solids" prints besides of course some Tula Pink prints perhaps.

The assortment of fabrics (so far) for La Passacaglia. 
My theme fabric that touched my heart for this quilt is on the upper right
and the upper left is what I choose to make the first configuration of the 5 star center.

September's goal of finishing this wool piece  -  DONE!

Nesting Time, a Primitive Gatherings design was my portable/totable project and has come to an end.
I love and enjoyed stitching on this wool table mat "Nesting Time",  the good Lord knows that's what I like to do too!  lol   (Love my nest! btw)

With this project I continuously tried to expand my stitching repertoire.  I own two of Sue Spargo books which helped me with their excellent illustrations.
Also on this table mat is my first ever Colonial  knot.  Thanks to a yahoo group I belong to, Lisa Bongean had a video explaining this knot perfectly in the moon Garden SAL, Thanks Lisa!

Since I was out of the fusible that was large enough to attach the backing, DH and I took an hour ride to Joann's so I could obtain some.  Couldn't believe with all that I own, I didn't have any!

Also learning how to draw on a picture with editing (notice the blue arrow above), it's good to learn new things though I feel like I'm stumbling through and on wards  in getting it done or just happy accidents!

Got the fusible for backing it - Done,
Adhered it - Done,
Stitched the edge finish - Done!

I won't be labeling this one though, it's good enough as is.

DH and I are still working on the island garden, should be finished this week if the weather stops crying, and crying so hard too.  Another project that we want to get finished is to repaint the outside of the above ground pool, so even with the dampness wetness/condensation on the walls, we started prepping that area by scrubbing the walls and moving the stones away from the bottom.

Christian Science Chapel 
As for health, we are both doing great.  While DH was hospitalized at Tufts, his nurse, Audrey told us about a sight we should see whenever we could called the Mapporium at the Christian Science Center so during last month's transplant clinic and heart biopsy visit, we visited that site and the chapels that were on the premises.  The Site is absolutely gorgeous and a stunning creation representing a moment of time on this earth.  I believe the creation was finished in 1935 and since funding besides the many global changes that have occured since that time, geographically it has 'stayed at that moment of time'.  Mary Baker Eddy had vision and altruistic benevolence.  Just letting you know now, that if you have any secrets do NOT whisper them in the globe as all sounds are amplified.

Now a Miss Teenager and her younger brother - 2018

The youngest grands going off to school, 2018.
Going into fourth and eighth grades.  Another year of learning, fun and adventure besides reconnecting with their friends.



Saturday, September 1, 2018

Saying Goodbye to August

Still playing catch up.  Am plodding along nicely too.  Dents are being made in many locations but all is not how I want it yet.  Though I know that it will happen sometime.

Highlights of this past month:

International sand sculpture competition held on Revere Beach, MA Incredible!  We saw it on the 31st of July which was two weeks after the start date  of being built.  Enjoy some photos.

 Our favorite one was this heart sculpture with the two human forms framing a heart.  To us it represented a heart donor and recipient looking over a shared old, worn-out looking heart depicting DH's which he gave up in April 8, 2018.

Cirque du Soliel at Suffolk Downs, MA:


Saw Cirque du Soliel's LUZIA in Boston at the Suffolk Downs racetrack.  Another bucket list item of mine checked off.  Incredible Showmanship besides a profound story line of a waking dream of Mexico! 

Adult kind of funny!
Or perhaps my mind was briefly in the gutter.

The contortionist's act was unbelievable in the 3 Episode.  Aleksei Goloborodko is the most flexible human I've ever seen!  Incredible show and showmanship!!!!

Was able to visit the Shaker Museum, a longed for visit as I've traveled past that exit in NH for over a decade or two with wishing to know more.

I was able to get there just before leaving NH
while traveling back from Boston from DH's
heart transplant clinic, catherization, biopsy and
blood work check up.  He had a good followup
but with the phone results called to us the next day, the biopsy showed signs of rejection (level 2) which called for altering his medications and some dosages increased.  The repeat test and visit done two weeks later showed improvements and will be seen in a couple of weeks.
He's gone through much but was stingy on this trip and refused to go to Cirque's performance, so I want alone and also sat in the car at the museum instead of enjoying it.  As I've mentioned to him it's all in the timing and we needed a two hour trip delay to be at a certain restaurant when they opened to use a couple more coupons before they expire.  He can be frustrating and so stubborn at times! 

Then our annual trip to a rental Camp in Vermont on the shores of Lake Champlain with daughter's family.  Kayak, hiking, (OK make that walking) and biking each day were highlights of our time.  Great to have such happy and quality family time!

The last day of the month an annual Labor Day sale offered at my Local Quilt shop located only an hour and a half away.  A day trip happened and it seemed like a great way to end the month.  Though I had several projects in mind I didn't do too badly with my acquisitions.  In the evening a party followed for a  family friend who retired from NYS Correctional Services after two and a half plus decades of service.  A nice was to end another busy month with some family and friends.

My current focuses are:
  • Our Health
  • The Island Garden:  Vetching experiences....
  • Working with wool- the end is in sight shortly....
  • Trying to straighten up my sewing room studio...... though knowing I 'll have to make many more messes to clean up this larger one!

During the process  
I can access the sewing machine now and many
of my WIPS are in the white drawers

PIGS and UFOs contained in a stack of Art Bin Cubed bins

At least I can open my doors containing my fabric now!
I think I need to sew much faster, ha ha!

Also, I have been doing a Keto food plan and participating with "workout warriors" for health improvements and much needed weight loss.  I am finding and cooking keto recipes.
Many are not as great tasting as their higher carbohydrate matching recipes, but I am losing weight and have stopped all my insulin injections!  Woo Hooot!!!!
Gladly I have also have tapered way off my glucose medications.  I'm feeling better and the asthma has improved too.  I plan on continuing this.

TTFN and God Bless,

September Goals:
  1. Studio cleaned up further
  2. Island Garden Finished
  3. Wool Table mat done
  4. Wild card with any one of my copious UFO projects lying in wait perhaps the wonderclip pincushion or the tesselated heart .....