Saturday, September 07, 2013

Three For Thirty :: Day Four

This is the photograph for day four of the thirty day challenge.
Mister Foo, passed out in the heat.

Heat. Humidity. Heat.

Movement is the the challenge that has proven most challenging. I will not pretend I've done anything worth sharing. Would cleaning the kitchen count? Afterwards, it was as though I had hiked through a sauna, with heavy boots, and woolen stockings. It's yucky.

As for sewing... no problem! All pleasure. I even previewed the vest pattern William wants to use for his first venture into garment sewing. Clothing patterns are hard for me. I don't appreciate their spare descriptions, the vague illustrations, and the gaps. The gaps are when they assume you know what they mean, or that whatever they are directing you to do next is obvious. So obvious, they don't have to bother being too explicit. My solution has been to do 1, or 5, read-throughs before I even think about cutting the fabric!

I added a pink blanket stitch to a really colorful floral print. I've had this fat quarter since it came in a grab bag from the Cotton Boll. Sometimes I love it, in a retro-floral-vibrant-bodacious way, and sometimes it's too much. When I began crocheting the long edge, I wanted to create something to match the boldness of the print, and fullness of those roses. I managed to create a pattern that I think of as rose petals. On second thought, after gazing at Foo's tongue... I see another inspiration for those pink petals!

Then, in consideration of the old fashion styled print, I thought about adding a ribbon through the open spaces. It's sort of like saying too much isn't enough!

This is the first time I crocheted the long side of a fat quarter... probably because I figured it made sense to complement the direction of the print. And the whole effect reminds me of a hostess apron. My mom used to tell me that when she was growing up, and aprons were in common use, there were cooking and cleaning aprons, and there were hostess aprons. A hostess would finish preparing in her work apron, then greet guests and serve in a pretty apron. Those were the crocheted ones, or made of a fabric that would never hold up to butter, or cat barf, they were flouncy, cute, darling, and usually impractical for anything other than displaying your handiwork, or accenting your equally lovely outfit. If I backed this small piece, and added ties, I think it would make a charming apron. Cocktails, anyone?

Friday, September 06, 2013

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Three For Thirty :: Day Three

This is what I discovered when I went to pick up the Picnic Quilt. I am really close to finishing the quilting, and I am eager to start on the binding, then be done! But. No. Mister Washburn Foo had other plans, and when he has plans, we have to make new plans. That's just how these things work. Cat napping: back off, walk away, think again.

How do we spell "Indulged?" F-o-o

I brought out my tea cloths, pearl cotton (size 5), an embroidery needle, and my crochet hooks. The cloths are fat quarters of fabric. I pressed them, then sewed the edges in a slim, turned seam. Sometimes I am extra crazy, and sew the seams by hand.

When I first bought this kind of heavier floss, I realized it was not going to fit wrapped around the little cards made for traditional floss, but it definitely needs to be unwound from the skein, as it comes, and prepared for crocheting... otherwise it will instantly become a tangled mess. I hit upon a solution... one I take huge pride in for divining all with my own cleverness. I open the skein into the big loop, then wrap the floss around a cloths pin. I use the label too, slipped over the end of the cloths pen, so that when I come to the end of the floss, I have the number of the color I was using.

Once my supplies are in order I cut off a long yard. A long yard means more than a yard, says the not-an-engineer. This length of floss is to add the blanket stitch to one of the narrow ends of the cloth. Now I will have a base to crochet on.

Okay, not that I was trying to make this a tutorial, but this is where my helpful suggestions come to a grinding halt. I cannot teach crochet. I can show someone what I do, but I don't know what I do. When I was five my mother handed me over to some women in a little yarn shop, so I could learn to crochet. I learned just enough to feel bored and frustrated, and like I was a bother to the ladies, who were happiest when their own hooks and knitting needles were clicking away with their grown-up chatter. But something stuck, and I am so thankful for that introduction. At the time it felt pointless, but with a life time, since, of trial and error, I have managed to make things. Real things. Like hats, scarves, blankets, bunny toys, and these edge cloths and pillow cases. Just don't ask me how!

The few organizers I've made for my sewing supplies make me really happy. Really, seriously, very happy. And when I actually know where all my sewing supplies are... boundless joy!

I know exactly where my quilting supplies are. Ahem, still napping I see. I watched him turn, and roll over, stretch, and yawn. I heard his occasional purr, his deep sleep breathing. My eyes met his drowsy gaze when he had a glance about. And while he napped, I finished the blanket stitching, then added three rows of crocheting to a new tea cloth. Kitchen towel. Tea towel. Pretty thing. I still don't know what to call them.

So, we have one sewing project, and one (or more) photographs, and then a night walk across Alex's campus (no pictures there). Three for three: Sew, photos, move. This morning I went to my quilt to see about making more progress... but...

Uh-huh... every cat wants his turn.

I may be finishing more tea towels today.

Lucky Penny, Indeed

A month ago our dear Penny was not well. Her entire abdomen was swollen, and tight. Her wings were dropped by her sides. She would not move, hardly ate. I remembered HenCam's spa treatment and gave Penny an epsom salt bath and blow dry. She seemed to appreciate both. Back in the run, I fenced off her own yard, where she would not be harassed or pecked. And by then, I was fairly certain we were seeing her last days. A chicken can succumb to all kinds of ailments, many of which cannot be diagnosed...even if you want to spend a lot of money and worry over it.

I made her as comfortable as possible. I checked her frequently. She only seemed slower, lower, worse. But she hung in there. Finally, Little Debbie would have no more of Penny's isolation booth... she kept finding a way in, and stood by Penny in a gentle, uncharacteristically tender fashion. After a week with a hen looking everyday closer to death's door, I was cautiously speculating... was Penny pulling through? I let her out of confinement. She was no longer swollen and distended. She was tinier than ever. She couldn't jump even three inches off the ground, so her roosting days seemed behind her. It was sad watching her try to get herself up there.

I stopped my constant vigil. School was starting, there were twelve other chickens vying for my attention, and Penny seemed to be just a fortunate girl, spared an untimely passing. But it's been a month, and she's back on the roost. She's laid two eggs... the only we've had from any of our girls since late June. She's the smallest chica, even smaller than the Chiquitas. Small, but determined not to be stay at the bottom of the pecking order. She's just as bossy and bullying as Kamen, Little Debbie and Shebot.

She really is a plucky little hen, a very lucky Penny. And I feel pretty lucky, too.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Three for Thirty :: Day Two

My photo submission: Foo is a Basket Case.

Ahead: Sewing fat quarters for tea cloths, and more quilting. Oh, and movement... I will be in and out of the garden today, with the animals, and maybe taking a walk. We'll see. Maybe I am the basket case.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Three For Thirty :: Day One

This is my first day of thirty... thirty days of sewing, movement, and photography. The challenge is described in Matt Cutts' TED video, and initiated by Jennifer, of Infinity More Monkeys. And realistically, I should only be doing one activity in the thirty day challenge, but my friends keep sharing their plans, and each new idea inspires me, and I think, yeah, I should totally do that, too. My foremost commitment is to sew for thirty days: quilting, embroidery, garments, and some crochet. And because I cannot help myself, I will include photography, and because I should help myself, I am challenging myself to get outside and stretch, walk, swim, wander, wonder, and move. So, I am challenging myself to Three For Thirty.

I am nearing the finish line with hand-quilting this Picnic Quilt. It's probably about twin size, and I pieced it five years ago, then it was packed away, and I only just rediscovered it. The center is a chess board, and somewhere I even have all the chess pieces I made to go with it, finished and packed, somewhere. Where-oh-where-oh where can those be?

All the birds were quilted around, and now I am picking and choosing flowers to trace. I stopped using the hoop. Hopefully I am keeping the layers flat and taut enough that I don't create any huge puckers. Even when I was using the hoop, I managed to let a huge section get bound up and scrunchy, and so I ripped out a couple of feet of stitches, and started over. It was very necessary.

Thank goodness for a cool down here. I was sitting under the quilt in record breaking humidity and ninety degree temperatures! That was kind of nuts, but I guess I do get kind of obsessed once I start sewing. I cannot put it down, and will sit, happily, for as long as I can get away with it. My finger tips are hard and tender, both. We are bound to have more hot days, so I will start a smaller, lighter hand sewing project for traveling and waiting in cars... probably more kitchen cloths.

Cool weather is also most conducive to movement, so later today I will get out and walk, wander, wonder and move.

Are you taking the challenge?
Would you like to be added to a list of participants?
Let me know. I would be happy to include you and your blog.
Either way, I hope you enjoy your thirty days.

7:40 pm...
Enjoyed extra time in the garden and with our animals. Our garden beds, that we set up in the side yard, are now between the barn and the Chicken run... in sight, we hope they will get more time and attention. Alex and Mitchell refilled the beds for me. We will need more soil, though. I'd say time to plant our cool season crops, but our summer has just begun, and I don't expect a hint of cool weather until November! The chicas are growing, growing, growing. I gave everyone a cooling mist from the garden hose, and lost of odds and ends from veggie scraps. The goats ate some tomatoes, which I thought was funny. And that was my outside and moving effort for the day. I think after a cool shower, I'll add a few stretches before sleep. Ah, sleep. I could use some.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Hello September

What would you consider doing for thirty days? Something to do, or something to stop doing, every day, for thirty days. I've been asking Geoff, and Alex, Max, and Maria. I am asking you, too. It doesn't have to be grand or complicated. It doesn't have to be good for you. It can be simple, silly, subtle. I am taking the advice of good friends, and thinking of something without hard rules, something that cuts me some slack as I navigate life with a bit much on my plate. Alex and Maria are thinking of getting in the pool every night for thirty days. Geoff said he's just going to keep working on building his CnC router. Max asked, "Why?"

Why, indeed. I have more than I can handle, already. Lots of messes, clutter, neglected chores, lots of driving to schools, and home, and back and forth. I seem to have collected a farm-ful of critters that need my attention. And I keep knocking my head on this blog. So, why? Why impose another activity, or errand, or expectation on myself? For one thing, Jennifer is my friend, and I miss her, and her blog, and I like that we might enjoy a refreshed way to connect... it does not have to be demanding, and we'll have a simple routine for getting together, even with 3, 045.1 miles between us.

The other reason this thirty day challenge appeals to me is for the practice of discipline. I need discipline. I need a plan, a course, a purpose, and I really, really need to start something and finish what I start, then step back and feel accomplished. I think. Or I could be wrong, but this feels right. And it should definitely be healthy, or efficient, or responsible, but I am going to indulge myself and make it something easy, light, shiny. Hopefully something easy, light, and shiny will spark some life into my health, efficiency, and sense of duty.

September. I cannot believe it. I am slow. I must be slow. Yesterday I shared a picture of our cats, all together, harmoniously sharing a can of wet food from the same plate. We've been waiting for the the three of them to make peace, and sit within three feet of each other, without fur flying. So, that was a lovely moment, but the hilarious things was my own shock: We have three cats! We have three cats? I could have fainted. I felt woozy, and a bit like that lady, with all those cats. I'm slow, like that. And so, shockingly, it's not last winter, or early May. It's September, and we have three cats. And the next time I ponder on all this time marches on philosophy, it'll probably be in December, and I'll be wishing I'd done something useful last September!

And now... suddenly I know! I am going to sew for thirty days. It is fun for me, and it will prepare me for the sudden arrival of December, when I will wish I had made gifts. William wants more sewing lessons, and Maria pines for projects. It's a challenge I can share, or enjoy on my own. It's a gateway challenge... I'll need to clear my desk, organize my supplies. This decision feels nice. Sewing every day for thirty days. A stitch or two, an entire garment, little projects, big things, finishing WIPs, like the Picnic Quilt... each day can be as flexible and simple as I need.

Have you thought of something? I'd love to hear your thoughts.