Monday, March 20, 2023

Baby Quilter in the Making

Well, did you survive the time change? My husband says he doesn't know why it bothers me so much, as I have the time and freedom to just take a nap if I want to. Actually, I'm more apt to get up with the light, so it seems I'm being lazy not to be up til almost 8 am. By June I'll be up before 6 am to go for a walk while it's still relatively cool. 

But Daylight Savings Time means I can be at evening church events again, like Ladies Night Out. With my sparkly ghost vision, driving at night has the potential to be hazardous, and I hate to be dependent on someone else for a ride. I know people would be happy to help; it's just hard to give up my independence--she said while being married to a stroke survivor who has no use of his left side. Insert eye roll.

We had a really warm, nice week the end of Feb. Ziva and I were able to get a couple of good walks in, before the freezing temps and blustery wind chills shooed us back inside. I have no idea what this plant was, but just had to get a picture.

Of course, I don't know what kind of bush this one is, either, but the flowers were just so dainty yet hardy, I snapped it, too. Couldn't get many, because Ziva was running out of patience, but I'm toying with printing these out and framing them. I think they'd fill a small wall space really nicely.

Hazel spent a weekend with us, I think it was over President's Day. She loves to explore in my craft/sewing room, and now that she's older, I feel more comfortable letting her do that without worrying she'll poke herself with sharp scissors or pins, or bump her head on the metal corner of the ironing board while I work on small projects. I love that she's so into arts and crafts and working with her hands. 

Soon she declared she wanted to make a quilt. I have several small quilts she uses as doll blankets, and she decided she wanted a large one for her mom. So we started the process. First we went through my fabric bins and auditioned some scraps, and she actually has a very good sense of color! We didn't have a pattern chosen, because I didn't foresee her getting very far with this, but hey, we all start somewhere, right? 

I sat her down at my machine, put the pedal on a small stool so she could sit in my chair and reach it, and gave her a lesson on machine sewing. She learned how to turn the machine on and off and not adjust the feed dog by mistake, straight forward sewing, reverse stitching, needle down, and why you need to know where your thread is when you start sewing. I threaded the machine and showed her the bobbin but I thought we'd gone over about as much learning as she could do in one session, so we grabbed some scrap fabric and let her just sew on those awhile.

After about half an hour, she informed me she thought she'd better start with the basics before making a quilt. If I'd said that to her, she would have thought I was holding her back. Instead, I agreed that was a good decision, and we moved on to other things.

But I am so delighted she wants to learn to sew. It was not something Dawn was interested in, and actually, the only C she ever made in college was in the costume design class she took in theater arts. It wasn't until it came time to make Halloween costumes for her daughter that Dawn ever voluntarily did any sewing, and then it was whatever she could do by hand.

I scored a Brother sewing machine for Dawn from the Buy Nothing group, but we've not been able to coordinate our schedules for a teaching session. Hazel already knows more about machine sewing than her mom, so she may end up being the one to use the Brother. With her great sense of color and her already wild imagination, I can't wait to see where she goes with this!

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Back Again?

 Jiminy! Has it really been 3 years since I posted here? I missed the whole blogging through the pandemic thing. Did you think I succumbed? Has anyone else gotten all caught up in Instagram and YouTube and strayed from blogging? I need to catch up on events and maybe switch to email notifications of blog posts. 

Let's see if I can do a quick summary of the last 3 years, and then I can decide whether or not to continue this blog. 

The corneal infections recurred for several months, but finally healed and I got the cataract removed. The scarring makes lights look like sparklers, and gives me shadow vision in that eye, but I didn't lose my eyesight, so I'm grateful.

Dawn, Hazel and I all got Omicron, but  late in the game, so we all had light cases, and no residual problems. Jack never got it, despite being exposed by all 3 of us, but he has his own health issues. 

His prostate cancer has returned, and has been found in a lymph node, so is no longer curable. They also found liver cancer last summer, but were able to remove the tumor, and the area was clear. Now he gets regular MRIs to watch for more. The goal is to slow the progression of his prostate cancer as long as possible. He has no symptoms, so again--we are thankful!

Dawn is now working at the University's Law School, not teaching at this time, but working with the students setting up internships, counseling, etc. Now she gets weekends and holidays off, works normal daytime hours, and no traveling. Much better for them, as Hazel is in second grade, and will turn 8 years old next month. (How did this happen??)

Finally finished Dawn's sofa quilt!! It was a long time before I could even see well enough to thread my machine in less than 15 minutes' time, and it is not an heirloom quilt by any stretch of the imagination, but they've had it to snuggle under this winter, and it is well used. (So glad to also get rid of the guilt in it taking so long!) Here it is laid out on my king-sized bed:

I have been paring down a lot of things, giving away bunches to members of our gifting group. I've given away lots of Halloween props (kept my skeletons, lights, and sturdier tombstones), given away unsentimental Christmas ornaments and decorations, bought a smaller tree, but put a second one in the guest room, so Hazel can have a tree there when she comes to visit.

The sewing/craft room is also being thinned out. Still have bins and bins of fabric, but have given away quite a bit, and several unfinished projects, as well as non-quilting crafts. I am not going minimalist, but I am finally realizing I can't do it all, so it's time to get choosy. My next project is to put the handmade quilt my great-grandmother (I think it was her!) started onto a frame and hand quilt it for my sister, using the Big Stitch method. I can't see well enough to do the traditional small stitches, and by adding borders to it years ago, it is now queen-sized, so -- Finished is Better Than Perfect, right? 

Most importantly, after years of going my own way, doing my own thing in life, I have come back to God. I was missing Him in my life, though He was always there waiting for me to turn around. I let my disappointment, stubbornness and anger come between us, but He has always been faithful to me, and I feel so much peace and joy now that I am right with God again. I am spending time in studying my Bible, keeping a prayer journal, and have found a wonderful church where I can be with and learn from other sinners saved by grace. 

Will I continue this blog? I think so, even if it's only for myself. I still love quilting and sewing, and plan to spend less time reading those stupid "AITJ" articles on social media and more time doing what and being with those I  love. This blog will still be scrappy, though, with bits and pieces of a journey that may not interest anyone else. So, if you're still around, thanks, and I will be blog-hopping again soon. If you've found this and hung around this long, I'm looking forward to meeting you!  



Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Buy Nothing

Sorry it's been so long since I wrote a post--where does the time go? I can't believe it's only a week til Christmas Eve! I'll catch up with stuff later, but today I wanted to elaborate on something I mentioned last time--my Buy Nothing group.

Have you heard of the Buy Nothing Project? This is something that was started by two friends back in 2013, after one of them made a trip to a village where everything was shared, including the animals, gardens, etc. When one family was finished with something, it was shared with someone else, and if someone had a need, others would fill it. Sounds a little Utopian, doesn't it? Well that sparked an idea that Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller carried out in Bainbridge, WA in 2013, and is now in over 30 countries around the world.

Here's how it works. These are FaceBook groups that are formed in communities, to keep it local, and the Mission is this:

 "We offer people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people who are real-life neighbors."

 Basically, you ask for what you need, and you give from your own abundance.Everyone has something to offer, because gifts are not only objects, but can be gifts of time, talent, or self. Some of the things being gifted or requested right now on my group's site are coats, dog toys, baby formula, Christmas decorations, a sofa, art supplies, cute coffee mugs for an after-school program, bookcase, heated vest for a flagger, VHS tapes, puzzles, a floor lamp, a go-cart that needs work, baby dolls, jewelry, space heater, rice cooker, and the list goes on. One of our members has a list of 30 families who are in need of things for Christmas, and she has been gathering gifts since October. We have donated clothing, laundry detergent, toys, bath products, towels and washcloths and a bazillion other things that she has already been wrapping and delivering.

But we are not charity groups. We are like ultimate recyclers, keeping things out of the landfill, squeezing every bit of usefulness out of of ordinary objects. Someone decided to clear out their nail polishes, and a couple of pre-teen daughters were delighted to have them. I don't drink coffee and am vegan, so I asked for coffee grounds and eggshells for my composter--and got more than I expected! And in the process, we meet each other, get to know each other, and care for each other. We have carried meals to those who have had surgery, we have shared plants from our gardens to help landscape a new home, and we have celebrated the birth of many babies. 

Want to learn more? Go to, and check for your country or town. Can't find one? Then think about starting one!  That's what I did. About a year after moving here, my daughter told me about the group she'd joined and told me I should join my local group--except there wasn't one. She declared I should just start one and so I did! We will be 2 years old tomorrow, and we have almost 900 members now! 
I hope you'll join a group, or start your own. The perks are amazing!

Sunday, November 24, 2019


My corneal infection has healed, thank goodness. Now I'm just left with the scarring. Ironic that this whole thing started in order to smooth out the surface of my eye in preparation for cataract surgery--and now it's more irregular than ever. I think my vision is marginally better. but still have to close that eye when reading, or tape it shut while driving, in order not to squint so much with the left eye, because that just diminishes my overall vision even more. Plus the light gets really distorted. I'll be on Prednisone drops 4 times a day for the next month in hopes of reducing the scarring. After the first infection, I was on them closer to 3 months, so I'm anticipating on being on the drops another month after that.

To try and satisfy my creative itch, I spent several hours this past week trying to clean up and organize the sewing?craft room. I had managed to clear out some bins, and had room to group more like items together. There were things I have no idea why I'd bought, so I got rid of a few items through my Buy Nothing group. This went to a guy who said his wife sews and always needs him to help with snaps and things and he was delighted to get it.
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I'm sure I bought it for some project, but whatever it was is long gone from my head. I must have had this thing 4-5 years and never opened it. Does anyone else do this? Buy things for a project in mind, then never get to it and forget what it was?

Or, do you hate to let go of things because you just might need them some day? Or you plan to do this great idea you saw on Pinterest, but the months go by and you just don't get to it?

I have a bunch of beads and jewelry supplies, some of which I've had for years.


I had thoughts of taking apart some old necklaces I haven't worn for decades, and using the pendants to make a charm necklace of sorts. I have the tools to make those stamped metal pieces and some charms to dangle, as well as wire cutters, and pliers, and findings, and old beloved watch faces--and I don't know how or where to start.

 But you know as soon as you get rid of something, you'll get an idea, or find a use for them. Isn't that always the way it is? So that part of the organizing was no more than just fumbling through the drawers, pulling out one item to give away, and shutting the drawers again.

My daughter will be swearing at my tombstone some day.

In the "making progress" department, I went to Michael's and bought some yarn. It was buy one, get one at 50% off--how could I not? And a few crocheting books. And another set of hooks because I hadn't tackled the sewing room yet, where I later found a complete set of hooks I didn't remember I had. (I am turning into my father, God rest his soul!) I began working on a hooded scarf for myself while binge-watching "Once Upon a Time". So many shows I never saw, because I worked nights and couldn't record them all, are showing up on Netflix. Hallelujah!

After I finish this, or after Thanksgiving, whichever comes first (because daughter and granddaughter are coming to our house this year and I don't want them to see), I will start on a sampler afghan for Hazel to snuggle up under while watching TV. At Michael's I bought a chest with Frozen 2 pictures on it, and chose yarn in those colors. I plan to put the afghan and some other little Frozen 2 items in it for Christmas. My hands are not as sore as they were the first few nights, so maybe it'll go a little faster than the scarf has. (The book said the scarves were quick projects to do in a weekend. Ha! (Guess that didn't include ripping the stitches out 3 times, then choosing another pattern.) Aren't the colors just scrumptious? Can't wait to get to it!

But in less than an hour, the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead will be coming on, and I need to be sitting there, yarn and hook in hand. Can't miss it!

I hope you all have a wonderful week, especially those celebrating Thanksgiving, and may you enjoy this time with family and friends!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Eyes Have Had It!

Wow, it got cold this week!  Most of the leaves are down after the big Halloween storm, but there are a few holdouts in the neighborhood. My daughter says one of her front yard trees has dropped lovely yellow leaves, while the sugar maple has dropped reddish-orange ones. She said they are just too pretty to chop up right now, so will wait til next weekend to do her last mowing/mulchng. My yard is mostly tree-less--a small maple in the front yard, a small oak in the side, and a young dogwood in the back. And a redbud in a pot right now til I decide where I can put it.

When the developer built this neighborhood, which was a really wooded area, they hauled of tons of topsoil--and then brought back only a few truckloads per yard. So I have about 3 inches of topsoil before hitting clay and rock. What a waste. The couple who lived here before us had grown too old and frail to do much, although it's evident she had done a lot when they first moved in. There were a lot of overgrown bushes, and flowerbeds that had tons of weeds growing on top of the landscape fabric. It's evident she liked purple, though--and that's my favorite color, so I'm not complaining!

I have added a few of my own, also in purple, but keeping up with so many  beds is no easy task. I hate to be like a millennial and take it all out, but the thought has occurred to me. We'll just wait and see what the new year brings.

Just when I was beginning to see a little more clearly, and had gotten some inexpensive bifocal readers to use for reading and hopefully sewing, I woke up Wed. with the same symptoms I had last summer-- swollen eyeball, tenderness to the touch, that feeling when you have something in your eye,  hypersensitivity to light, and very blurred vision, like trying to see through vaseline on a window.  Not good. I phoned my eye doctor, but they couldn't work me in til Thurs., so I agreed to see a partner at another office. It was either that, or take myself to the ER at UVA in hopes of seeing my residents from the summer.

The eye, my right eye, is infected again, and we have no idea why. It is on its way to another corneal ulcer. He had me start back on one of the fortified antibiotic eye drops I had from UVA, and got me in to see my regular ophthalmologist on Thurs. She discontinued those drops, started me on 2 others and an ointment, and I saw her again on Fri.  There was a little healing, but also a new abrasion showed up that day, though my comfort level was much better. Apparently I am some sort of self--infector, (wonder if there is a Halloween costume for that?) though why this has started now is a mystery. If they publish an article on me, I want part of the proceeds!   I see one of her partners tomorrow and then she's back in town on Tuesday, and I have strict instructions to call the on-call doc for any worsening symptoms.

So, no sewing yet. I can't see the third line on the eye chart, and I was reading the 5th line two weeks ago. This is driving me nuts. I've decided to finish packing away all the Halloween props in the shed (don't judge, I was doing that when it all went south!), do some heavy-duty house cleaning, and then I'm going to dig around in my sewing room for something else to do with my hands. Maybe I should take up crocheting again. I'd have to buy more yarn, but I still have my needles. I should probably start working on Christmas cards, even though my handwriting is likely to be shaky.

Or, I know I have some Christmassy crafts to paint, and there were some ornaments made with 2 1/2" strips of Christmas fabric and styrofoam balls I had started probably 10 years ago. Found them!
Maybe I'll finish these and make some more. Lord knows I have a ton of Christmas fabric I'd love to use up, I've had some of it so long, I'm tired of it, but this would be fun to work on. I need some more straight pins, and some beads, and more ribbon.... This could get a little pricey! lol! But hey, cheaper than therapy!