Thursday, April 16, 2015

a little bit boho

My son and daughter-in-law up North are very appreciative of lovingly-made-by-hand items. Their sweet baby daughter is the lucky recipient of many quilts and clothing crafted by grand- and great-grandmothers.

But I took this one step sideways and made the granny square poncho for my DIL.  I recently posted the "almost finished" photo:

I've just added the fringe:

And it's ready to go to it's new owner!  It has that sweet 1970s look to it, kinda crunchy and earth-momma.  I think someone who likes to go on hikes, work in the garden, and take the dog for loonnnng walks would appreciate this on a cool evening.

It came together very quickly (in about a week of evenings) and I'm thinking about making one for myself.  Maybe in shades of deep green for fall.....  But let's not think that far ahead!  It's time to enjoy Spring!  Wishing you the best for the upcoming weekend :)


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

3 plus 1 plus 1

Ahhhh, this is so much better!

I received a message last Thursday that the community garden plots would be available, and to stop by on Saturday to find out which one was mine.  Luckily, the plot next to mine was not allocated so I asked for both.

They are roughly 450 square feet, which seems to be a good, workable size.  I've been there after work to get my hands dirty and even planted one packet of snap peas.

The soil is very heavy and stays wet.  It will need some peat moss and/or compost.  But for now I'm just trying to get it to dry out.  I've made 3 slightly raised beds (in the background of the photo) and turned the soil for the 4th.  That's the very dark section in the photo.  In a few days I'll turn that into another raised bed.

So that's the 3 plus 1.  The final "1" is the first well-earned blister that I've had in years  :)

I've met a few of my "neighbors", and they're great.  Gardeners are awesome when winter finally gives up and sets them out in the fresh spring air.

Wishing you a bountiful summer, whether you garden or enjoy the farmers' markets.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Time to come clean.......and get a little dirty

(Warning, there may be TMI in this post.  Feel free to skip down to the photos)

The past two years were…. challenging for me here.  I didn’t write about it.  In fact, I didn’t write much at all.  My posts slowed down to a trickle and then came few and far between.  When things get really tough I call back the troops, circle the wagons, and reinforce my defenses.  That, and I frequent the fast food drive through and hand over my kitchen to Ben & Jerry.  Well, now it is time to open windows, take deep breaths, and shed bad habits.  But first let me clean the slate.

Three years ago my sister passed on.  She had health issues for many years and was, at that time, in the hospital.  She was about to transfer to a facility for health rehab when something went terribly wrong, which her heart couldn’t handle.  Her funeral was on a beautiful Spring day.  I sat next to our 90+ year old mother to be her support.  I have only seen my mother cry twice in my entire life.  But that day, she was broken.  It took something out of her that has never come back, so since then my commitment to her has increased.

Then, last summer Mom was ill and spent almost six weeks being shuffled from hospital to nursing home for rehab, then back again.  She suffered greatly and we almost lost her but her body was determined to bounce back, though not entirely.  She still lives independently in a very small senior apartment.  And she’s slightly weaker than before.

It was a blessing that during all this time, work had reached a smooth flow since I was driving 7 towns away every weekend and some evenings.  We had good staffing and productivity.  Then we lost a key member last fall and went into a tailspin during a very heavy period.  It took until very recently to turn things around.  It was a very tiring winter.  I’m hoping that we catch up before summer.

During some of the very worst of this, another very close, very dear relative was hospitalized in early February and has gone through several operations.  We are still praying that the infection is controlled before any more damage is done.

With all of that and the “normal” bumps in the road, something had to give.  The “something” was taking care of my health.  Meals were generally obtained outside the house and more often than not would only require rolling down the car window and placing an order in a speaker.  Although my apple every day habit stayed with me.  I stopped going to the gym and settled in at home each evening, in my cocoon.  The day I did venture back to the gym I wrenched my back something fierce.  For a week I had trouble getting out of a chair or rolling out of bed.  The doctor said that there was no herniated disc and gave me instructions for some stretching exercises and a muscle relaxing medicine.

Then came an email this past Thursday saying that the garden plot I signed up for was available and I could stop by on Saturday to check it out.  Oh, happy day!  Fortunately, I was able to also get an adjacent plot so the two together total almost 450 square feet.  Go big or go home :)  I’ve pulled my tools up from the basement and I’m calling in a seed order to High Mowing Seeds this evening.  Seven years without a garden was too long.  I can't wait to to my hands in the good dirt.

But I think the first event that started bringing me back to reality was an email from my daughter-in-law asking about crocheted baby sandals.  They were cute so I made a pair in time for Easter.  They fit my granddaughter right now, so I’ve just made another pair in a larger size for the late Spring, early Summer.  The pattern is from Whistle & Ivy.

I also found a few bloggers posting about this poncho (here and here).  I thought my daughter-in-law might like it.  It crocheted up quickly.  I’ll post about it separately sometime this week.  (The pattern is from the November 2014 issue of Simply Crochet magazine.)

I also went thrift shopping.  I found a few books, a basket with knitting needles and crochet hooks, and a good amount of new white fold over elastic.  And a very old wool skirt (metal zipper) with wonderful detailing on the front pocket.  The skirt hem is cut off as if someone was going to shorten it, and there is a rip in the middle of the back, so it is not usable as clothing, but I am going to salvage the zipper and take the skirt apart to create a pattern for that pocket detail :)

Well, my tea is waiting.  I’ll be back very soon.  There's lots more to show you :)    Have a wonderful rest of the day.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Fun stuff on Friday Night (FNSI)

First, I'd like to thank Wendy of Sugarlane Quilts and Jenny of Elephantz for the sweet embroidery kit!  It arrived safe and sound here in New England after the January Friday Night Sew In.  I'm thinking of a few projects and this could spin off :)

Tonight's project was purely for FUN!  I tweaked a crochet pattern for Kermit the Frog to make my youngest grandson's favorite muppet: Elmo  :)

I need to get some orange yarn to make his nose, but I think that he will be presentable to a 21-month old.  He's small enough to be held and hugged by little hands.  I'll be visiting with him on Sunday so please wish Elmo luck!

.....and Happy First Day of Spring!!! to everyone in the northern hemisphere.  Mother Nature is playing a little trick on us in New's been SNOWING!!!  We've got about 4 inches of new snow this evening.  Perhaps it's really April Fools Day?

Have a wonderful weekend :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

what's in the supplement you've been taking?

I actually wasn't surprised when I heard this on the radio this morning.  My only surprise was that it was so widespread.  In case you didn't hear about it, the New York State Attorney General's office tested herbal supplements from four large retailers; Walmart, Walgreens, Target, and GNC.  In a nutshell, most of the items tested contained little to none of the ingredient on the label.  More distressing is that they found substances NOT listed on the label, including ingredients that could be dangerous to people with allergies (legumes, gluten, etc.)

For 9 years I worked in Quality Assurance in the pharmaceutical industry.  We answered to the FDA, and kept records of every batch produced (which could be examined by FDA inspectors at a moments notice.)  Upon receipt, every raw ingredient was sampled and tested to prove that it was the correct product and the right potency.  Nothing was put into our product that was not intended.  I strongly believe that the herbal supplement industry should be made to answer to the same rules as the pharmaceutical industry.  For the safety of the public, anything that is taken or administered topically or internally should be exactly what is indicated on the label.

Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I am highly supportive of using herbs to maintain health.  I go to a Registered Herbalist who works clinically and teaches as a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild.  I trust my practitioner, and know that the clinic sources much of their herbs from local suppliers (a prominent herb farm.)  And much of what I have received from them is mixed to my specific needs.

We need to be educated consumers.  As you would trust your medical doctor and know that the medicines he prescribes for you are well-researched, please also research any supplements that you are inclined to take.  Use the information in the news, and keep watching and learning.  You're important  :)


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Senior Prom 1972

When one of my co-workers proudly showed us photos of the dress her daughter wore to last year's senior prom, I couldn't believe how much fashion had changed from our gowns in the early 70s.  Or maybe it was just the area where I was raised, but we evaluated our best features differently from the practice of today ;)

So this morning I dug through my old photos and found a snapshot from my senior prom, complete with shimmering makeup and lightly teased hair.

I had made my dress from Simplicity 9356 (View 2), adjusting the length.  It's difficult to tell from the snapshot, but the sleeves did have the double layer seen on the pattern envelope.  The lightweight fabric was known as "whipped cream" and the layers fluttered with movement.

Just a few years ago, I found a copy of this pattern online.  I may never make it again but it's nice to have it.  Who knows?!  By the time one of my granddaughters graduate, it might be back in style....or maybe not (* grin *)

Actually, I'm liking the look of V 2 in that mustard-y yellow with red rick rack on the sleeves.....

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!  We're looking at another round of overnight snow and freezing rain, just in time to go to work tomorrow :)


Saturday, January 24, 2015

FNSI - progress on presents

Looking out my window this morning, I just might settle back onto the couch and continue where I left off on my quilting last night.  The huge snowflakes are coming down quickly, and has been predicted to change to rain/freezing rain today.  I prepared for this and don't have to go out.  So I'm going to try to make more progress on the quilt for my son and his wife, which is the first of many handmade presents I'm making for Christmas 2015.

(masking tape used for stitching guide)

I estimate that the hand quilting is one quarter complete (not all of this was done last night), and hope to have it done and ready to have the binding applied by next month's FNSI.

I returned to Friday Night Sew In after a very long absence and I am so glad that Wendy of Sugarlane Quilts is carrying on the tradition started by Heidi and Bobbi.  I'll be popping over to her blog to visit all the crafters who have signed up to see the beautiful things they've created!

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend, no matter what the weather!