Just Turn It Off

Don’t know about you, but I am fatigued by the endless stream of mostly negative stories about EVERYTHING. You think you can turn off the rhetoric about the 2020 Presidential Election, only to hear some story about a shopper in NY being harassed because she didn’t wear a mask in the store and now the firestorm surrounding the white police officer who killed a black suspect who was handcuffed, lying on the ground.  In my opinion, the latter deserves all the coverage it can get because that was just plain wrong, regardless of the circumstances that led up to the arrest. That said, it does not give permission for the protestors to set fire to buildings and loot stores. Those types of actions kind of turn want-to-be supporters away.

Can we please be civil with one another?  It matters not one iota to me for whom you plan to vote, whether you mask or not or the race of your partner/children.  What matters is how you treat people, because we’re all PEOPLE.

Social distancing is a misnomer.  It should be physical distancing instead. Humans need social interaction and to feel like they belong (one of Maslow’s 4 needs).  The shelter-in-place has been really hard on me mentally. I’m accustomed to dozens of interactions with kids and adults all day long.  For several weeks, it ‘s been mostly the dog and a computer screen. Hubby is holed up in the home office all day working.  I relished any opportunity to get out to the grocery store.

Now, things are slowly starting return some semblance of normal. We’ll find out 6/1 what the guidelines are for re-opening schools. I sincerely hope there’s a bit of a delay and the first few weeks are done remotely, with kids coming back the 2nd quarter (after fall break). As I’ve said before, I’ll be ready when I can find hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and disinfectant spray stocked on the shelves at my local grocery store.

Meanwhile, be considerate, wash your hands and try to keep a 6’ physical distance if you can. But be sure to maintain a social connection with those around you.

For now, I’ll be on my lower patio piecing quilt blocks while I listen to books and podcasts.

 

 

Masks and more masks

0E7CA64A-01E6-4873-AAEA-E97774BBDC3F899138B1-A4AF-4D89-8A30-C29F23DEC7FEI made over 100 masks to donate to those who needed them. This was a great way to use up various bits of novelty fabrics that had been in the stash for a while! I used the basic 6”x9” mask with 2 pleats. Missouri Star Quilt Company has an excellent video tutorial if you need instructions.

Helpful hints:

  • Set up 2 machines, preferably one with a scissors/auto thread cutting feature for assembling masks.
  • 1/8” braided flat elastic works well. Similar size elastic cording will work, but you have to knot the ends prior to stitching so it won’t come out. Knots can also be an issue when topstitching later.
  • Mini Wonder clips are helpful, as is a wooden skewer for helping move pleats under the needle.
  • Use your machine’s straight stitch with auto lock feature for topstitching. I discovered that holding threads at the beginning of my stitching meant no big knot of thread underneath.
  • Allow 10 to 15 minutes of time for each mask you plan to make.
  • Make a pleater board/jig. It was a game changer for me.  Here’s mine:
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One of my favorite pictures…

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Boomer on the “forbidden” bed at Grandma’s house. He looks so concerned. 🙂

I’ve been looking through photos to select the ones I want to include in the write-up I’m preparing for our therapy dog organization.  Grief is a strange thing. It’s taken me two months to get to a place where I could finally look at pictures of Boomer without crying. Then, I absolutely lost it when I ran across the above photo.

Once the tears dried, I continued looking at my pictures and smiled when I ran across various photos of my former quality assurance supervisor and quilt shop hop buddy.

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This chapter of my life with dogs closes as a new one begins.

Enter one highly energetic young Labradoodle named Sadie, who came for a visit and ended up a permanent member of the pack. 

 

Bias Binder Foot Success!

Rediscovering my creative mojo

One good thing about social distancing, shelter-at-home mandates and schools being closed the remainder of the school year is that I’ve had real time to spend in my studio.  I mean, with both of us now working from home, I let hubby have the official office and I moved my laptop to the sewing room. After a week of teaching online in the midst of the creative disarray that was my studio, I could no longer stand it.

It took a couple of days and several trash bags, but my studio is functional again. 

  • I’ve completed a series of bean bag frogs.  It was loads of fun tweaking the design until I found the one I really liked.
  • Designed and made a comfort quilt for a coworker who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  I delivered it to her yesterday.
  • Encouraged my youngest niece with her mask making venture. I couldn’t believe she still had the sewing machine I gave her 5 years ago!
  • Sent a care package of thread to my oldest niece, who is also making masks.  I shipped her a sewing machine a few months back and she’s been busy stitching up garments for her two young children.
  • I have dabbled with mask making, but I don’t have any elastic. I figured out the best way to make bias binding on my Elna Star (use the new long zipper foot E with straight stitch in center needle (2.5) position, with raw edge of tape along right edge of presser foot).  I found a bias binder foot in all my vintage Singer feet, so tomorrow’s task will be to see how well it works on Crystal (my white FW).

 

Farewell, sweet boy

Note:  I wrote this almost 2 months ago to the day that Boomer was in the ER vet and I didn’t think he’d come home.  I’m very grateful for the 2 additional months we had together. It is very sad to share that Boomer crossed the Rainbow Bridge today. 

Ten years ago Boomer claimed me as his human. There were very few times over the past decade that I wasn’t under the watchful eye of Mr. B.  He was my constant companion.

Boomer touched many lives and made a lot of people smile during our nine years of therapy dog work. Oh, how he loved our visits to schools, libraries and CHOA to see the kids!  He was always ready to hop in the car and ride – just to be with his people.  He loved Chick-Fil-A nuggets and puppy sundaes from Brusters.  Nothing made him happier than being able to go back to bed after breakfast whenever I was off for school breaks.  He loved petting in all forms and wouldn’t hesitate to use the power of the paw to get what he wanted.

Boomer – you were such a great dog and a joy to have in the short time I was your chosen human.  Bye, Boomer!  Mommy loves you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I rarely buy quilt patterns anymore…

Last year, a sewing friend of mine who adores Christmas (I mean she starts planning in JULY), announced she wasn’t going to buy Christmas craft magazines any longer. Publishers seemed to be recycling previous content. There wasn’t anything new for her to get excited about.

I thought about what she said.  I also chuckled as I remembered back to Christmas time with my 13 year old niece asking for t-shirts with 80’s bands logos on them. I listened to those groups when I was her age. The old adage, “what’s old is new again” certainly rings true.

I love Pinterest and am inspired by many designers, but here again, many things I like are simply a “refresh” of an earlier project or idea. There’s usually no need for me to buy every single pattern I see.  Why?

  • I already have an extensive pattern and book library at my fingertips.
  • I use EQ8, which comes with a number of ready-to-use quilt designs.
  • Similar projects/tutorials can be found online for free.
  • Like Ma Ingalls, who made Laura Ingalls Wilder’s wedding dress without a pattern in These Happy Golden Years, I’ve been sewing long enough that I can figure out basic quilt/home dec projects merely by looking at a picture and the pattern envelope.

I actually still buy books, patterns and magazines, only they must be something geared to a more intermediate/advanced level sewist or be by a designer I like (e.g., Lori Holt).

 

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