Looking forward

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Time is just spinning out of control, isn’t it? September is over and before you know it the winter holidays will be upon us. As I watch my son traverse his final year in high school, I am struck by the speed at which our lives pass by. I guess I’m in that melancholy stage of fall.

While I fight off the blues, there are bright spots to contemplate:

  1. My son has been on the soccer bench for 3 weeks while he rests a pulled hamstring. Hopefully he will be back in action next Wednesday. We will not think nor talk about how dull our lives will next fall <sniff>.img_3719
  2. The fall colors have been a little subdued and we’ve had many overcast skies, but I can always rely on a few sparkles of blue from the wildflower contingent. Flax rocks.IMG_4322[1]
  3. I’ve been having fun searching through old baby pictures for the high school yearbook. Here’s an old fave that always makes me smile. He was a two-fisted daisy grabber back in the day.IMG_4327[1]
  4. I have a barren side table in desperate need of decoration & I started a Thanksgiving table-topper to try to correct this situation. My scrap baskets make me ridiculously happy — the smell, the touch, the colors — they keep me centered. When I went to Ohio this summer, Cindy sent me home with lots of scraps and yardage and bits and bobs that a friend had given her. I love the surprise of finding things I don’t recognize in my scrap bins — I am officially obsessed with the green shirting fabric here. My apologies for the dark photo — I’m going to blame it on the earlier sunsets associated with late September in the northern hemisphere. IMG_4276[1]
  5. I sent True Blue to my friend– after all my worry about it, she loved it and let me know that it’s already set up in her living room. Yay! When I quilt it makes other people happy too. trueblueGBD01

Let’s all promise to do something this week that makes that darned clock slow down so that we can savor the current moment and store it up for later.

Let us discuss: Quilting and Floating

I know what you’re thinking – “whenever Sandy is blogging and she starts to discuss swimming, we’re in for a discussion about skinny dipping at the farm pond.”

Your thinking would be correct. The scene of the recent crime.

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However, happily, I have another new kind of floating experience to share with you. This is a spa treatment. A sort of sensory deprivation experience where you are floating in an enclosed dark tank that is filled with 900 lbs (not a typo) of Epsom Salts and 10 inches of water. The water is at body temperature. You are free from the confines of clothing. Tibetan chimes are playing softly on the speaker (if you wish). The lights are off (if you wish). Then you step into the tank, relax and float away, with your mind drifting to wherever it wants to run. The Epsom Salts provides buoyancy – once you step into the tank you float effortlessly. It is healing. The water (and you) are neither hot, nor cold. (There isn’t a bug, a snapping turtle or a nosy neighbor driving slowly down the road to worry about!)

How did I find myself and our 83-year-old mother floating in two tanks of Epsom Salts, you might ask? Stay with me here…

While Cindy was visiting earlier in the summer, mom fell down a flight of stairs. Thankfully Cindy was there to assist at the time, but mom has just been hurting ever since. Different aches and pains pop up and we’ve taken her to several doctors, but she is in pain, not sleeping, and getting minimal relief with non-opioid pain killers (opioids being too scary to even consider). Post-tumble, Mom went to Florida to visit our older sister for a few weeks and someone there recommended a regular bath with lavender-scented Epsom Salts. Sue and Mom tried it and she felt better, but the pain in her knee promptly returned.

Last weekend I read an article about floating in an old issue of Life in the Finger Lakes (our version of “Southern Living” magazine). The feature was about Inner Peace Floats in quaint and charming Watkins Glen New York. (You really have to come here and vacation – Watkins Glen State Park has been voted the 3rd best state park in the country! Plus – I have heard that there is lots of wine in the area!!!)

Would you believe that Inner Peace Floats is in a building that used to house a quilt shop that I used to frequent? Now isn’t it true that everything comes back to quilting???

But I digress. What I really wanted to tell you is that my mother, who was brave enough to try something new, experienced profound relief from her knee pain as the result of that 1 hour float on Monday. She still plans to go back to the orthopedic doctor to discuss the root cause of the pain, but she is currently sleeping pain free and she is moving around as normal. Now, I don’t know if it was the floating naked part (which I am certain is therapeutic  <grin>) or the addition of the Epsom Salts, but I would highly recommend “floating” for pain management.

Now back to quilting:

True Blue (from Spice of Life Quilts) has been photographed for posterity and mailed to my friend for her retirement gift.

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The tree skirt I planned for my bestie is finally completed. I will deliver it in person in November when I meet her for a fall girlfriend getaway – I bought my tickets to Tampa today!

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Cindy and I created a beautiful quilt for our mother as a Christmas gift. I’m working on the binding while I watch Pride and Prejudice (I’ve never seen it or read the book and it comes highly recommended by Cindy). I’m enjoying the costumes and the formalities and the restrained British sensibilities — while I anxiously await season 4 of Outlander LOL!

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Tomorrow is a sewing vacation day with my friends/quilting mentors!

Are you imagining fall in the north? Here’s an interactive map that will help you track peak leaf-peeping opportunities.

Float on.

 

Adventures Near and Far

Since my epic 40th high school reunion, it’s been a memorable few days.

Do you ever think of quilt tops as examples of the birthing process? If so, I have delivered this big baby. And it was way overdue.

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Adventure #1

Getting to the finish line for  True Blue has been an adventure in blue/cream/white fabric shopping and precision cutting and scant 1/4 inch sewing — and re-cutting and re-sewing if I’m being completely honest.

I’ve been hating on this baby for about a year and a half. Now that it’s together and the piano keys are on, I’ve fallen in love again. That dark border just seems to anchor the whole design, don’t you think? Now I’ve got to find the time to shop for backing/binding fabric. P.S. You may not zoom in to inspect my points!

Adventure #2

This weekend I checked an item off my local travel bucket list when Mom and our older sister (who is visiting from Florida) traveled to Palmyra, NY to witness the Hill Cumorah pageant. The Finger Lakes region of New York is the birthplace of Mormonism (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). This pageant has been staged for 81 years to commemorate the events leading up to that founding.

I brought along my Drop of Rainbow quilt so we could relax in the grass and witness the spectacle.

What a magnificent setting! The stage is built into the side of an historic hill. Over 700 actors participate in the play. Before the show begins, cast members, who are already dressed in their costumes, greet visitors who are waiting for the pageant to begin. It’s free to attend and visitors bring blankets and picnics and toys and games to entertain themselves before the show begins. What a wonderful family-focused event!

The families who form the acting corps travel from afar to appear in the pageant as an act of service to their church. They dedicate 3 weeks to rehearsals and then the show during the month of July for this special event. One lovely family from Texas, shared their experience with us. We chatted and got to know one another over my quilt.

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Adventure #3

Speaking of adventures, I’m teaching my teenager to drive! There is one more task that he must master before taking the test: parallel parking.

I have to say that I pride myself on my parallel parking skills–seriously, if there were a parallel parking Olympics, I’d be a gold medal winner. I am vain about my skills, crazy, i know.

BUT do I have the teaching chops to pass on my magnificent skill??!! On Sunday night I took my son over to the farm for parallel parking lesson #1. No pressure, of course, despite the fact that he has to live up to my reputation LOL!

At my father’s suggestion, I set up some survey flags in the driveway to simulate a standard parking spot. Dad’s suggestion came after he rejected my son’s idea of using his car as a ‘practice dummy’ on the parking course. Clearly Dad didn’t have any faith in my Olympic-level parallel parking teaching skills! What????

Happily, I must report that I was impressed with both of us — my son grasped the concept quickly and successfully parked on the 2nd try — and good thing, because it was getting dark.

Yippee! The dreaded parking hurtle may have been conquered in time for our self-imposed deadline for scheduling the final driver’s license test for summer’s end.

Adventure #4

On the way from the farm to a nearby village to find some real parking spots (and unwitting dummies) for him to try his new skill, we saw this terrible site on the side of the road.

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Andy Capps Hot Fries are sent from heaven. Littering is evil.

It was almost fully dark when we drove by and neither one of us fully understood what we had just seen. My son said “I think it was a cat wearing a scarf.” I had an impression of a chimera (too many episodes of Ancient Aliens in my recent past??) or one of those weird robotic dogs. It just didn’t computer for either of us.

So, my son did a quick 3-point turn (more excellent driving practice!) and we went back to discover what it really was: a starving coyote pup with a bag stuck on his/her head (I will henceforth refer to the pup as a he, since no wily woman would ever get her head stuck in a bag of chips with no escape plan).There was not much traffic, so we parked on the side of the road (and turned on the emergency flashers — yet more practice), and tried to get closer to see if we could help.

The pup was staggering down the road in clear distress, narrowly avoiding the sporadic 2-way traffic. I tried to call my quilt mentor to see if she and her family could help — she has a family full of wild-life enthusiasts armed with equipment and bravery–but there was no answer. My son wanted to snatch the bag off of its head, but I was terrified to let him do it. Since I have already been the recipient of the rabies shot series (other long story), I decided that I should take the risk. I talked to him and called to him and he finally allowed me to get beside him and take it off. He staggered away and headed toward a close-by stream.

As my son executed a perfect u-turn so we could continue with the driving/parking lesson, I assured him that we will meet up with that coyote pup in the distant future and the forever grateful animal will return the favor by appearing out of nowhere in the nick of time to rescue us from certain death. (I guess I read too many adventure stories.)

 

Doll in tree with quilt

Happy third week in July from New York!

My little granddaughter Avi turned 3 years old on July 3. Her momma let me know that Avi had her heart set on a bitty baby doll with its own pacifier or bottle. Love Amazon – I found a perfect little purple-clad baby with both accessories included. Yippee! Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend Avi’s birthday party, but this gift has been bothering me since I ordered it…doesn’t a baby doll need a blanket too?? Clearly.

With my son off to tennis camp yesterday, I sat down in my sewing room, hauled out my purple scraps and set about creating a surprise “just because” gift for Avi’s newest toy. The birthday girl and her mom are modern kind of girls, so I dropped back into easy pixelated mode and created a purple powered present.

Behold, my first ever doll quilt top!

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After assembling the purple and white scraps, I found some yardage of this modern and fun fabric in my stash. I’ll use a bit of it for the backing. The purple daisy print is Hubba Hubba by Me & My Sister Design for Moda. I’m planning to practice my daisy quilting pattern skills using my Bernina later tonight.

It turns out that the only doll I have in my home is a Raggedy Ann that my mother made for me more than 30 years ago. RA usually sits on my cutting table, but I took her outside for a photo shoot with the new doll quilt top late Sunday evening.

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Wouldn’t you want to climb a tree if you’d been trapped inside for 30 years??? I thought so.

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I’m pretty sure that the neighbors think I’m “eccentric”…..

In other quilting updates, I’m making fast progress on True Blue – finally! The blocks are all completed. I just have to:

  1. Attach two more rows
  2. Create a skinny border (pieces are all cut — hurray!)
  3. Attached said skinny border
  4. Build a piano key border (strips already cut, yay!)
  5. Attach piano keys
  6. Find/create a backing
  7. Drop it of at Ms. G’s and make it her problem — tag you are (almost) it, Ms. G!

Now that I type this out, it seems like a lot of work left to do, but believe it or not, I feel like the end is in sight for this project.

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I’ve learned a life lesson with this quilt. Would make a lot of different fabric choices if I could start all over again…file this project under “it’s the thought that counts” quilt.

This monster project should must be done before I leave for my Ohio trip in August. Keep your fingers crossed for me.