Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Check It Out, Please

Yesterday I finished some of the double zippered pocket wristlets that I have been working on, and added them to my etsy store this morning.  Here's a link to the new items posted.  Please check them out, and post a comment here on how you think they look and what ideas you think I should explore.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Injury Report

My favorite sewing machine, my Janome 6600, is injured - and it's all my fault.  Sometimes I have what I call "mental-pause", my daughter calls them "brain farts".  But whatever you call them, they can be serious.  Yesterday afternoon I was mending one of Kristin's white doctor coats.  I was going to do it so perfectly, sew the seam and them finish the edges like they were already done.  Only problem was that I had the 1/4" foot on the machine. And after sewing the seam, one of those senior moments took over and I tried to finish the seam edge with a zigzag type stitch.  Anyone who does any sewing at all knows that you can't zigzag with a 1/4" foot.  In just a second, the machine made a loud noise, the needle broke, the machine jammed and "shouted" for me to stop for safety reasons.  I turned off the machine, but when I turned it back on I got an E1 error message.  I was devastated.  Daughter Mary googled the error and told me what to do to clear it.  And it worked, but I got an E2 message.  This one indicates that I have jammed the machine and blown a fuse, and of course the fuse needs to be replaced by a technician.  And, a technician I'm not.  So while the Janome rests before going to the sewing machine hospital, Rod got out the old Euro-pro.

If the Janome is a thoroughbred, then the Euro-pro is my draft horse. I loved this machine, but the bobbin winder broke and then I upgraded to a better machine.  It took a few minutes to re-acquaint myself with the machine.  But soon I was sewing like we had never been apart.  I finished one of the sock monkey quilt tops, and started the other.  Hopefully, I can finish that top today and get them sandwiched this evening.

Mary starts a summer job this morning, so I will have all four grand kids today.  How she got the job is an amazing story.  She had been so stressed about finances over the summer since she wouldn't be working.  Last Sunday, the speaker at their church referenced life's problems as being a storm that you must trust in God to bring you through safely.  As she was leaving the service, she told the pastor's wife that she needed to hear that, since her financial worries were definitely a storm that she could not control.  The pastor's wife put in a good word for her at the day care center where she works, Mary had an interview on Tuesday and starts work today.  And the name of the day care center . . . . Noah's Ark.  So again, Noah's Ark has brought a Christian through a storm.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Musings of an Amateur Philosopher

I have had the feeling lately that life was moving too rapidly and that I was short of breath just trying to catch up.  We had planned a Father's Day Celebration for this evening - a bonfire with all our extended family.  This past week has been a rough one for the family, several of us have been dealing with our own specific problems - some physical, some emotional, and some financial.  I don't really think that any of us were feeling festive, so we have canceled the bonfire and decided to spend a quiet evening with just our immediate family.

My mom has been gone now for six weeks, and I'm not sure how I'm doing.  And then yesterday was my dad's birthday, and that didn't help my sadness any.  This morning, I went out to sit by the pond in an attempt to clear my head.  I looked at the pond in a different way.  Other years our pond has been home to many tall plants, Japanese iris and cattails.  This year we have smaller plants - the parrot's feather, the water hyacinth, and the little water lily.  The Japanese lilies bloomed as usual. 
I never understood why the water hyacinth was called such until yesterday when I went out and found this.  That small and simple water lily was displaying a beautiful flower.  And I came to realize that although  in this world, I am small and simple that I, too, can display my own special beauty.  

I watched the fish and noticed that some dart around the pond like they are in a road race, while others swim slowly and gracefully.  And I came to the conclusion that I want to swim gracefully, I don't want to enter the race.  I dug out my Simple Abundance book.  It always offers me comfort and hope.  And I decided that I need to start a new gratitude journal.  Nothing fancy, mind you.  Just a small journal, in which to count my blessings.  And I am reminded of one of my favorite hymns - Count Your Blessings.

                When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
                 When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
                 Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
                 And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done. 

                 Count your blessings, name them one by one,
                 Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
                 Count your blessings, name them one by one,
                 And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

                Are you ever burdened with a load of care?

                Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?                
               Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
               And you will keep singing as the days go by.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Just Checking In

It's been a few days since my last post, so I thought I'd check in.  I finished the kids' capes, and they had a great time playing "superhero".  It's funny how they can put things together.  They were superheroes playing house, you know it was sort of like The Incredibles, each with their own super power.

I had wanted to buy something for myself with a bit of the money that was left from Mom's life insurance.  Mary had been talking about the Kindle Paper White, and how she hoped to get one when she sold her books back after then end of this semester.  I was fascinated with the light, and so checked into it.  And decided that's what I needed.  It's smaller than my other Kindle, so now I need to make a nice bag to fit it.  Mary is graduating from Drexel this weekend with her Master's Degree in Elementary Ed., and in checking discovered that she didn't have enough coming back from her books to buy the Paper White she wanted.  Don't you think this would make an excellent graduation gift??

Today I am starting a new project - baby quilts for twin girls.  One of the technicians from the vet clinic where Kristin works recently gave birth to twin girls.  Kris asked me if I would make quilts for them, and since twin girls are so close to my heart, I couldn't say no.  When my girls were little, I made sock monkeys for them and decided that sock monkeys would be great.  I went to one of my favorite embroidery design websites and searched for "filled sock monkeys".  JuJu had several different packages, and since her prices and specials are so reasonable, I purchased three packages.  (One of them here).  I ordered fabric from ebay, this orange and a lime green to match for the sashing.  Today I begin the embroidery.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Just Call Me Doofus . . . with a Capital D

I've been working on capes for the grand kids from a page that I had pinned on Pinterest.  The original pinner had posted a drawing of how to cut the cape pattern along the fold.  Sounds simple enough.  But, do you know what happens when you are drawing an arc which ends at the fold????
 Just picture that you are drawing a heart on the fold.  And because the arc doesn't end flat at the fold you get this little inward dip.  Well, that's what the cape looked like - an upside heart.  So, I had to cut part of it off so that the arc ended straight at the center fold.  Of course I didn't realize that until after the fabric was cut. So, Doofus had to re-cut the capes to eliminate that inward dip. But they ended up looking OK.

I had ordered some metallic thread, and thought how "super" it would look to top-stitch the edges of the capes with the metallic thread.  I don't use metallic thread very often, and didn't remember that it works best with a metallic needle.  So, after several breaks of the thread, a light bulb appeared and I knew I had to find the metallic needles I purchased years ago.  Where would those needles be?  Of course, I said, with the metallic thread.  But noooo, they weren't there.  Just on a whim, I opened up the plastic box where I store all my needles, and Voila, there was the pack of metallic needles.  Why wouldn't I have looked there first?  Can you say Doofus!!!  But the capes are finally done. This is Krissy's and I topstitched with one of the patterns from my machine.  The photo is a bad quality, but you get the idea - right!  Now Izzy wants a mask.  It will have to wait til the weekend

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Pond Memorial

It has been a beautiful weekend.  Sunny, warm, breezy, and just the perfect weather for sitting and relaxing on the deck.  I should have been working on the capes, but when the deck calls, I answer.  I've been feeding and watching all the fish, and the new ones have bonded quite nicely with the older ones.  The sickly looking water lily that we paid so much money for, has sprouted five leaves that have reached the surface and you can see more that are growing.

My mom loved the pond - she would sit for hours watching the fish.  She and Bubby spent a lot of time out on the deck when she was living with us.  I wanted to do something special as a memorial to her, something that wasn't expected of me by today's standards.  After much pondering, I decided that a stepping stone would be a great memorial.  This is the one that I chose.  Rod put it at the edge of the pond near the deck, where I can see it every day.  You can see that the fish like this end, too.  Hope you approve of this addition to the pond, Mom.