Saturday, September 24, 2022

Dancing in September

Do you remember
The 21st night of September?
Love was changin' the minds of pretenders
While chasin' the clouds away
Our hearts were ringin'
In the key that our souls were singin'
As we danced in the night, remember
How the stars stole the night away, oh, yeah
Hey, hey, hey
Ba-dee-ya, say, do you remember
Ba-dee-ya, dancin' in September?
Ba-dee-ya, never was a cloudy day

Ok, so I’ve never stopped loving Earth, Wind & Fire, or their song “Dancing in September”. And thanks to some physical therapy and regular (twice daily) exercises this week, I can not only move mostly pain-free (from sciatica), but have actually done some Dancing in September. But as my audience - our cats Darla and Alfie - will tell you, it’s not a pretty sight. Do I care? Not one whit. (Truth in posting: it still hurts a lot in the morning until I do my exercises and the pain meds kick in).

Speaking of Alfie and Darla, they had their dentist visits this week. Alfie had a cleaning and was rated Two Paws Up for his healthy mouth. But poor Darla. Her teeth were cleaned, too, but she had to have nine - yes, NINE - teeth removed. She’d had three teeth removed a few years ago, so out of 30 teeth, Darla has only 18 remaining. All but one on her left side (right, as you’re looking at her) are gone. She and Alfie are littermates and eat the same food. Go figure - sometimes genetics are cruel.

Darla would NOT let us give her medicine. We tried pills, liquids, putting them in some soft food, and begging. OK, so she suffered the pain for a couple days. Once she started chasing her toys and Alfie around on Friday, though, we knew she was going to be fine. 

As for sewing, I can do that comfortably now. As always, I am mindful about not sitting too long at a stretch. I get up regularly to press, work at the design board, do laundry or go upstairs. I’ve even been spreading out my household chores by alternating them with sewing. One of the chores I’ve had to do a lot of standing for is vegetable prep from the garden. I have to say here that I never knew that roasting tomatoes (with some onions, basil, olive oil, garlic and salt/pepper) could bring out such a rich taste in tomatoes. I’m putting up lots of pasta sauce!

As far as sewing went this week, I made some progress, especially once I felt better. I finished up my Rainbow Scrap Challenge light and bright blue blocks for September.

Four 6” Bear Paws (above) and nine 4” Bow Ties (below)

I also finished up one placemat, so I’m linking to Joy’s Table Scraps party for September. I only made one placemat this month because last time we did blue, I made three. The blue solid fabric looks more gray here than in real life - I just couldn’t adjust it to look true.

Finally this month I have my first quilt finish. It’s about time!  This Bullseye Courthouse Steps RSC top has been waiting patiently for a couple weeks at least. Finally this week it got some simple stipple quilting. 

It measures 42x56”. The backing is an old Amy Butler print with a green strip down the center to widen it enough. Naturally, it’s going to Quilts for Kids. Our September meeting is later today! 

Next on deck for quilting is one of the quilts sent to me by McGill in SC. I didn’t want to tackle it until I was feeling better in order to do justice to her beautiful quilts (the second of which will be basted next week).  You’ll see that one next week.

But I did get the top webbed and then sewn together for this scrappy checkerboard top that uses up the last of that light blue denim-look chambray. And lots of dark reds and blues. The pieces were cut (some in squares, some in strips depending on the scraps) and the blocks sewn while I was having the sciatic pain. I can tell. Maybe you can, too, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. It looks fine from a galloping horse, LOL. 

The blocks finish at 8” each, so this quilt will measure 48x56, a nice size for a boy. To add a bit of interest, these blue squares with the white drawings are from a couple fabric strips that depict plans and schematics to make an AT-AT. That’s an All Terrain Armored Transport for those of you who aren’t up on your Star Wars lingo, LOL. Anyway, I hope to quilt this one, too, in the next week. 

That’s it for now, friends. You’re invited to come over and help me pick some garden veggies. I’ll give you some tomatoes and carrots, ‘kay? Better yet, how about some grapes? That’s what we (and the neighbors and Cousin Kim) will be picking this weekend. I’m so glad autumn is here!

Here’s hoping you Dance in September! xo

Friday, September 16, 2022

Down But Not Out

Well, I’m here, but I don’t have much to report for the week. 

On Sunday my leg and hip pain were so bad that we ended up going to the hospital emergency room. They did some X-rays, which showed that my hips were fine. That is, if mild osteoarthritis on the right side (where all the pain is) and “severe” osteoarthritis on the left side are fine. The actual diagnosis was sciatica  - a pinched main nerve bundle going from a possible herniated lumbar disc, traveling around the hip and down the leg that’s causing the pain and foot numbness. The cure? Time, along with physical therapy, Tylenol, and a heating pad. Light activity is encouraged, and I have an appointment with a physical therapist next week. 

So things are marginally better and will likely to continue to get better. Cousin Kim will be coming over on Sunday, and we are going to baste quilts come hell or high water. I have been doing some rote sewing in small increments of time - about 30-40 minutes once or twice a day.

I was able to sew 60 light blue string blocks. I’m linking up to Scrappy Saturday for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. The bundle on the very right needs to have their papers removed.

And 10 light blue Bullseye Courthouse Steps blocks.

From my living room chair this week, I was lucky enough to spot a cute little squirrel frolicking in our tree. Sorry the picture isn’t better, but at least I caught him. He scurried off seconds later…

I’m hoping to get more sewing done in the coming week. We’re also looking for a permanent weekly housekeeper. It’s been on My List for a few months. In the meantime, I’m prepping the garden harvest Bruce brings in. Yum… I made THE BEST tomato sauce this week! And we’re still giving lots away to friends and neighbors.

Life is good.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

A Week of Mixed Feelings

Last Saturday, a week ago as I write this, we had a fun Girls Day Out for my granddaughter London, who turned 13. A teenager!! There were four of us - London, my daughter-in-law Kim (London’s Aunt Kim), Cally, her grandma who is married to my ex-husband, and me.  Our first stop was the Blick art store in Salt Lake City, where London got to pick out her own art supplies as my gift to her. She is as talented an artist (particularly sketching and painting) as her dad Shane, my middle son. After that we went to TCBY  for frozen yogurt, as it brought back many happy memories for all of us from when London was a pre-schooler. Then it was on to a nail salon where we all had pedicures, manicures and massages. London was in seventh heaven!

Our final stop was at Wheeler Farm, where Cally gave her a heart necklace. Cally held it and blessed the necklace with the strength and solidarity of all the women in London’s life, letting her know we would always be there for her. Then I took the necklace and blessed it so that London would look forward to a bright future while keeping in mind that her family and ancestors were not only a part of who she was, but whether alive or passed, loved her and were cheering her on. Finally, Kim took the necklace and blessed it with wishes for London to be happy, practice kindness and make good choices in her life. She then put the necklace on London. Now London can touch the necklace and remember our words and love for her. Then we took a selfie!

L-R: Aunt Kim, London, Grandma Cathy, Grandma Cally

The next day, Sunday, we had a whole family barbecue at Ryan and Kim’s house. London had requested a watermelon “cake”, which is really just a watermelon cut into layers and decorated with lots of cascading fruit. I was nervous to make it, but with the help of bamboo skewers sticks and toothpicks, it turned out fine. Here is London with her friends K and S.

London is wearing her heart necklace and says she’s never going to take it off! Even the slicked strawberries look like hearts!

On Wednesday, I started having hip pain on my right side. By Friday, it was interfering with my ability to move and be comfortable, so I guess a visit to the doctor will be on the schedule. I expect it’s bursitis and can be treated with cortisone shots. But we’ll see…

So, I didn’t get as much done this past week as I’d hoped. But the bright spot during the week was a box of lovely gifted fabrics and even a partially-finished quilt (with accompanying Eleanor Burns book) from Wanda at Exuberant Color. Wanda makes regular charitable donations, and I guess I (or more accurately Quilts for Kids) was the lucky recipient this time. Thank you so much for your generosity, Wanda! It is truly appreciated! 

I did get a bit of sewing done. I forgot to show this top last week. It is now basted and next up for quilting. You may recognize the Bullseye courthouse Steps blocks I’ve been making for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year. This is quilt top #2 from those blocks.

For my Rainbow Scrap sewing (linking to Scrappy Saturday),  I  sewed 12 framed four-patches,

Twelve Little Bricks blocks ,

And these light blue checkerboard blocks (will be 8” each when sewn together). My plan was to use up the last of the light blue denim-look chambray to make a boy quilt. So I combined it with scraps and lone strips of unloved colors in my scrap stash - maroon and dark blue. It will end up somewhere in the neighborhood of 48x56”. 

That’s it for this week from the studio. I had hoped to baste some donated quilt tops, but I couldn’t manage by myself. In fact, I couldn’t negotiate the stairs down to the basement studio this morning, so I guess I’ll be getting this hip taken care of sooner rather than later.

Queen Elizabeth II
1926 - 2022

Saturday, September 3, 2022

September is Starting Out Busy!

It’s Labor Day weekend in the US - a 3-day holiday from work or school for most people. For retired grandparents, and I’m speaking about Bruce and myself specifically here, it’s going to be a busy weekend, a busy week and a busy month.  Later today, we are taking my granddaughter London, who turned 13 this week, out for a Girl’s Day Out. “We” means me, her other grandma Cally (my ex’s spouse), and my daughter-in-law Kim, who is London’s aunt, and of course London. The four of us. We’ll be shopping at a couple Salt Lake art stores (London is very artsy like her dad, my son Shane). Then we’ll go get some frozen yogurt treats like London and I used to do back in her preschool days. Then we’re scheduled for a mani-pedi at a local nail salon. It should be a fun afternoon!

Tomorrow (Sunday) we’ll have a family birthday party at son Ryan and DIL Kim’s house. There will be between 9-12 of us there. London has requested a watermelon cake, which is not a cake at all. Instead it is tiered slabs of watermelon decorated with fruit (I’ve got blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, kiwi, grapes and mint leaves). Should be an interesting experiment. Hopefully it will turn out OK and I can get some decent photos.

First off, let me take care of a few “housekeeping” things. On Wednesday (August 31), I published a Community Quilts Recap for the month of August. You can see that here. Or not if you don’t want to. Here’s a little collage of the 3 quilts finished last week before August left the building. 
The three quilt tops above came from Jo Kramer and the Cresco, IA quilters. I added backing and batting and quilted them on my little Bernina. They’ll be donated to the Salt Lake Chapter of Quilts for Kids. I finished two other community quilts in August, too, which you’ve seen earlier in August.  They’re all recapped in that post. 

Last week I told you about a darling quilt top that McGill U from South Carolina sent me. Let’s take a look. 

I’m still pinching myself over this one! It is gorgeous, and meticulously pieced. I can’t believe McGill would donate it to our kids. Thank you! I will try to do justice to it! It’s about 63” square. 

This week, a second one arrived from her, and it is also a stunner - so simple and happy.  

This is a great size and layout for QFK. In fact, I have a lot of short strips that I’d like to incorporate into several quilts just like it!  So, I’ll be basting and quilting these later in the week. 

My last August finish was a little quilt made from scraps that I showed a couple weeks ago. The size and colors of the scraps usually dictate what I can (and cannot) make with them.

This bricks quilt finished at 36x47.5”.  I knew that with both dark and light fabrics in the top, no one single thread color would be perfect. I ended up going with a light sage-y green. I’m rather disappointed at how much it shows in the burgundy, but it’s done. 

The quilting was an experiment and not very attractive, in my opinion. I often use these quilts to play and experiment with quilting designs, but I’ve come to the realization that I’m purely a functional quilter, not an artistic one. I really should stick to the basics. “Put down those flowery ideas and step away from the sewing machine!!” LOL

So, once all those quilts and tops were done, I could finally turn to Light Blue, the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month for September. A lot of us with large blue stashes just use the blue months to work through our accumulation. You’ll see lots of all sorts of blues this month from me! 

First up, two 12” (finished size) Antique Tile blocks. 

At the rate of two per month, this brings me to 18 of the 20 blocks I’ll need for a 48x60” quilt.

Next up was, of course, the elephants! Yes, the colors are all over the blue spectrum. That’s because each pair has a specific assigned quilt to go to. Next month will be more of the same - just “filling in the color scheme holes”. 

Again, these blocks will finish at 10” each. The pattern is Stomping Ground by Wendy Sheppard. 

Don’t tell Alfie and Darla, but they have their annual checkups and shots (and bloodwork) on Friday. The week after, they’ll be back to the vet for a dental exam, cleaning and who-knows-what-else. I imagine our popularity rating with the feline overlords will plummet (as will our bank balance! LOL)

I think that about wraps it up for this post. Have a great week!