Sunday, October 15, 2017

Learning Something New

As some of you may know, I have been doing some kind of needle work almost all my life, starting when I was about 6 years old. I have sewn my own clothes. I make quilts. I have knitted many pair of socks. I crochet all sorts of things. And I enjoy doing all of those things for the most part. However, recently I have become bored with the projects I have been working on. Yes, like many crafters, I have so many WIPs (works in progress) that I doubt I will live long enough to finish them! But, like I said, I'm bored. Let's learn something new!

For some time, I have wanted to learn a new craft. I have looked through the catalog for the local adult learning program and nothing strikes my fancy. A while back, I was reading a book and one of the characters was doing pastel painting. Eureka!

Several years ago, I tried painting with acrylics. I was not very good at it. Oh, my pictures came out looking somewhat like the step-by-step instructions, but I wasn't enjoying it. Mixing the paint resulted in mud many times instead of the nice color that I wanted. I still have those acrylics, but I doubt I'll ever try them again.

When I was inspired by that book character to think about pastels, I looked into it. I found a craft that I could try without investing too many dollars. Less than $20 would purchase a cheap set of oil pastels and a pad of paper. So, I signed into Amazon, ordered those supplies and in a couple of days I had my paints and paper and was ready to start.

My first attempt was an apple. I was going on memory instead of getting an apple and using it for reference. I think it turned out OK for a first attempt. What do you think?

Well, that is OK, but what about working from a picture? I looked online for a simple picture of my favorite flower -- iris. I gave it my best attempt and here's what happened:
It actually looks like an iris! Still, it's an amateurish painting, but it's a start. Turns out, I really do like making pictures with oil pastels. I have a lot to learn. My next attempt will be a bird, maybe a cardinal.

Learning something new is exciting. It stimulates my brain and gets my creative juices going. And now I have supplies on hand that will help me ward off the boring days of winter. Maybe I should get another pad of paper...just in case!

As always, thanks for reading my ramblings. I would love to hear from you with feedback on my newest craft.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

When did we get so lazy?

I doubt that anyone will read this post, but that's OK. I have something to get off my chest. If you are one of the unfortunates who decided to click on this post, I apologize for the rant. I hope you will forgive me.

It seems to me that there is a pervasive element taking hold in our country...or maybe our generation. I don't know which it is, but it seems to have developed since the advent of social media. Or maybe it's more apparent since we started sharing our lives on social media. The pervasive element of which I speak is laziness.

Let me provide an example. I follow a couple of "clubs" on Facebook that have a large number of in at least 10,000 people.  Both of these groups post a lot of photos. I love looking at the photos. Apparently others do, too, because instead of reading the narrative that goes along with the photo, they will post a comment asking a question that is answered in the narrative. Now, maybe I'm being too picky. OK. I guess I am being picky, but why is it so hard to read before asking questions? My parents raised me to ask questions if I don't understand something. However, they would provide guidance and expect me to find my own answers. Therefore, I grew up reading and then asking questions.

Why aren't we all taught this way of learning? I don't know. Did it start when we started plunking kids in front of the TV and took a hands-off approach to parenting? Maybe it is a result of single-parenting. No, I don't think that's it. I know too many single parents who taught their kids in ways similar to the way I was taught.

I don't know the answer to this. I'm sure that psychologists and sociologists have studied this. I don't care enough about the reasons to do my own research. I just had to blow of steam today.

Thank you for reading my rant. Now I will fade into the background, a place where I feel most comfortable. Spring is coming. Who can be grumpy when the earth is bursting to life around us?

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It's Finished!

I have finally finished the quilt I was making for my niece. In an earlier post, I said I was using the Attic Windows block using heart blocks left over from an anniversary quilt as the focal point in the block. I even posted a photo of a block. Well, here is a photo of the finished item:

I think it turned out very nice. There is only one instance of having like blocks side by side. See the two pink hearts in the middle of the photo. And I worked so hard to try to avoid that happening. Oh, well. This photo makes the two hearts immediately to the left of the duplicates look the same, but they are not. The top one is blue and the bottom is green. And some of the windows look empty, but they aren't. Those windows have light colored, usually yellow, hearts. So what do you think? It actually does kind of look like a window -- if you squint your eyes and move back as far as possible. :-)

Good news on the cancer front. I had another 3-month follow-up visit yesterday with the medical oncologist and everything looks good (his words!). I am a year and a half out of the end of chemo so my anxiety lessens with each healthy doctor visit. I still have the port-a-cath, but I hope to get it removed when I can switch over to six month visits, which should happen sometime this fall. It doesn't hurt, but it's a bother having to have it flushed to make sure no clots form. I did find out recently that I can wait three months before having it flushed. I was told at the beginning that it should be flushed every 6-8 weeks. I've been having it flushed every six weeks because that times well with doctor visits. So now I'm switching to three months. Saves a little money because insurance doesn't cover all the cost of the flush. Nonetheless, I am very happy that I continue to do well. I feel good most of the time, which is a good thing. All in all, I'm very satisfied with my life.

In an early post this year, I mentioned the positive thoughts jar that I was going to keep. Well, it was a good idea! I do add thoughts to the jar, but it's not happening every day. To be honest, I seldom have thoughts that aren't positive so it's hard to remember to write down special thoughts that occur. I don't remember most of the things I have written down so opening the jar at the end of the year will be a treat. I must remember to add to the jar, though.

I've started working on the baby quilt for my new great-grand-nephew who is due in July. I'm using English paper piecing in a hexagon and diamond pattern. Something like the diagram below:

I like fabrics from the 1930's so that's what I'm using. Since it's for a boy, I am using "boy" colors -- blue, green and yellow prints for the hexagons and solid blue, green and yellow for the diamonds. I'm just getting started so no photos yet.

That just about does it for this time. The SWANs meet tomorrow night so I'll take the Attic Windows quilt for show-and-tell. They've watched me working on the blocks for what seems like forever so I'm sure they will want to see the finished product.

As always, thanks for reading my ramblings

Thursday, February 27, 2014


In recent days, I have begun to notice something about my actions that I'm not sure is a good thing. Procrastination. I seem to be adept at delaying action on tasks that I don't want to do/am bored with. It's a long-standing ability that I have. I first noticed it when I was in college 30+ years ago. I would find anything that I could think of to do to avoid studying or writing papers. Well, apparently not much has changed in the last 30 years!

As I mentioned in my last post, I am making a quilt for my niece. I enjoy the quilt and I enjoy the quilting process. However, as I near the end of projects, I sometimes get a little tired of working on it. Such is the case with my niece's quilt. I have just a few blocks to quilt and then stitch the blocks together. You would think I would be doubly excited to work on the quilt. Well, you would be wrong. This week, I decided that I need to transfer some of my favorite recipes that I have stored on my computer onto recipe cards. Keep in mind that I have printed them out on regular paper so I can follow them as I prepare the recipe. And I have backed up all my documents onto a thumb drive. Nope. Not good enough. I need to have them on recipe cards. While that is probably a good idea, I really need to focus on the quilt.

Yesterday, I decided to amp up my efforts on the quilt and got a lot done. Then I realized why it was so easy to refocus. I'm delaying doing my taxes! Yes, procrastination has reared its ugly head again! My plan for today is to do my taxes before I start anything else. And my taxes are really easy since I don't have enough deductions to require the long form. But it is an unpleasant task that I put off for some unknown reason. So, what did I do? Decide to write a blog post about procrastination. Makes sense, doesn't it?

So, that's it for today's post. I'm going to discipline myself and work on my soon a I finish this post and check email and get something out of the freezer for dinner and.... Well, you get the point. I WILL finish my taxes today, but I may not have time to do any quilting. C'est la vie!

Yours in putting off until tomorrow what you should do today.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How will I ever find time???

I think I may have written about this before, but it seems as if every time I am nearing the end of one project, my  mind is already jumping ahead to the next one. In my last post, I mentioned the quilt throw that I am making for my niece. I have about half of the blocks finished. As always, I am doing everything by hand in the pot-holder quilt method. Here is a photo of one of the completed blocks:
I'm using the Attic Windows setting. This photo doesn't really do justice to the block, but I think the finished product will be really nice. Sure hope she likes it!

Now that I'm getting close to the finish line on this quilt, I'm jumping forward to the next quilt -- the one for the new baby coming in July. I really enjoy doing English Paper Piecing so I am going to make the baby quilt using EPP hexagons and diamonds. I'm still working on the layout, but I have all of the paper pieces cut (using freezer paper) and adhered to the fabric and about half of them have been basted. I hope to finish the attic windows quilt within the next month so I will be able to focus my full attention on the baby quilt.

Annnndd, I'm even thinking ahead to the next quilt after the baby quilt! A great nephew is in the Air Force and I think it's time I make a quilt for him and his wife. I'm tossing around patterns -- flying geese (to honor his service)? Homeward Bound (because he hopes to be stationed back in the states soon)? I just don't know. Fortunately, I'll have a while before I have to make a decision on that one.

I'm doing pretty well at keeping up with the positive thoughts jar. There have been a couple of days when I forgot to add to the jar, but that's been balanced out by the days when I put two or more thoughts in the jar.

Apparently I don't have enough to occupy my hands or my mind because I keep finding new things that I want to try. The most recent thing I ran across is on a blog called Thread Head and the craft is Romanian Point Lace and can be found at I'm going to give this a try when I have a chance. Maybe this will be my ornament for the 2014 SWAN exchange.

Yesterday was another followup visit with the medical oncologist. I am now about a year and a half out of treatment so I'm hoping that all tests for the next six months are negative so I can move to seeing the doctors every six months. And get this port taken out! While it doesn't hurt, it's a pain in the behind to have it flushed every six weeks. Not having it flushed could mean a blood clot and that wouldn't be a good thing, especially since the port catheter is in a vein near the heart. So for the next few months, I'll continue with the flushing and hope that all of the tests continue to come back negative.

Enough chatter for now. It's time for me to get back to the I can get this one finished and start on the next one! Or work on the shawl that I started knitting back in the fall... Or try out the Romanian Point Lace. So many things I want to do; so little time!

Thanks for reading my ramblings.