Tuesday, January 10, 2017

More Weather, Some Setbacks, Slower Progress

Sunday was a snow/ice day. Church services were cancelled and we looked up one of my Dad's recent sermons on sermonaudio and had church in the living room. Monday was another 2 hour late start; today was a regular start day but Quarta had 2-hour early release. I had heard there was more snow coming so I did my run to Winco to buy supplies for the Last Noel... which is this Friday!

I browned the 10 pounds of ground beef I bought with some onions and celery and put it in the freezer for sloppy joes. I have all the supplies for punch and hot cider and Quarta and I have been baking cookies. So far there are frosted cut-outs, rosemary-walnut biscotti, chocolate-covered peanut butter balls (they would be buckeyes but they were fully immersed in chocolate), and another batch of fudge to replace what is almost gone now. Today I also made a big batch of granola.

The bad news... Peter's car, which was in an accident on the 1st, is now considered a total loss. I wish it hadn't taken so long to come to that conclusion, but oh well. That means he'll have to come home this weekend, return his rental and get a "new" car... but he might be here for the Last Noel, which would at least be some consolation. He's had a rough start to the year and the weather on his side of the state is at least as bad as here.
 These are some of the first photos I've taken on my new iPhone. Here you can see Allietare in the bottom right corner, and 11 blocks on the design wall. Progress on En Provence is continuing slowly. I can get one or two blocks pieced per day if I clear some serious sewing time, maybe more. I haven't had any serious sewing time today!
I'm liking the  pattern as it develops but I don't have any of the sashing laid out yet to see the overall pattern. I've discovered I prefer it if I trim the patches before joining them, but that takes longer. I'm not in a hurry though. I'm going to go ahead and post the link to the link-up at the Quiltville blog. I'm always amazed at how many people get their entire top finished, and quite a few have it quilted. I like my variety of yellows and purples and hope they make the quilt sparkle.
Now there's reason to hope/fear (pick one) that school will be cancelled tomorrow... over an inch and still coming down thickly. I don't think we've ever had so many snow days since moving here... the poor kids will be in school almost through June. Sure is pretty, and no ice rain so far. So here's the deal: I worked hard today so that, whether tomorrow is a snow day or not, I am determined to sew for about 2 episodes worth of Call the Midwife. I'm hoping it works. Then maybe I'll get to the point where I can start the sashing.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Randomday on a Snowy Saturday

It has been cold this past week: chapped lips, cracked dry skin and dried-out sinuses cold, 14 degrees in the mornings. It reminds me of what Ohio winters were like growing up, and what a wimp I've become that I'm not used to it anymore. But in the Northwest, when it gets this cold it usually is clear - no precipitation. Don't ask me why. For whatever reason, most of our snow happens in the 29-32 degree range, and that of course raises the odds of freezing rain when it warms up just slightly above that. So I'm looking out at a road covered with powdery snow and some churches have already cancelled for tomorrow. The children have already had 3 or 4 snow days and Tertia is looking at a lengthened school year. Quarta has spent the day baking cut-out sugar cookies for the Last Noel, scheduled for next Friday (the 13th!)
 Here are four flannel baby quilts that I finished back in November, busting some flannel stash.
 They are made in 2 layers only, no batting, and I back them with flannel and use the inside-out stitch-around way of avoiding having to bind them.
 They're quilted with an allover meander quilting and I don't sweat the puckers.
They're just about the perfect weight and flexibility for swaddling a baby or becoming a "blankie" for a toddler. My mother-in-law gave several similar ones to me when Daniel was born and they were all loved to death.
It would be a great day for soup... unfortunately I made this soup back in November and it's all used up. It's another variation of my standard Pumpkin/greens/potato soup. This time I put a fair amount of rosemary in with the onions and garlic, and it was a batch of mixed greens... I can't remember the other specific details because I waited too long to blog it! But it is a great base for healthy vegetable soup... lots of vitamins in the pumpkin and greens, and you can substitute something less carb-y for the potatoes if you are so inclined. Anyway, we finished up the black bean soup last night and I guess we won't have soup tonight unless Quarta decides to make it instead of pizza. 

Muffball is seated by my side on the sofa arm, distracted by the chirping of the cold little chickadees outside the window. She has managed to keep the long-term flea collar on since I put it on her with such great trauma last month. She is a much sweeter kitty when the fleas are under control, and the vet is a distant memory.

I have not made a lot of progress on the En Provence mystery quilt, but I have finished about 4 blocks this week. I feel like I've made a great deal of progress tidying up the kitchen, though. I am following the Declutter 365 plan so far. I also need to get a little more serious about helathy eating and exercise. I have been doing yoga routines a little with Tertia... she is so hyper-flexible and has such short limbs that she is good at some things, like touching the floor and imitating a pretzel, but she has lots of trouble and gets the giggles on poses that require fine balance and great muscle strength. Tertia getting the giggles is one of the big payoffs of doing yoga with her.

That's all I have for randomday: back to get some more piecing done while Star Trek is on in the background.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

...And, It's the New Year!

...So far, it has not been as relaxing as I had hoped. But my hopes were probably unrealistic. Peter had a car accident Sunday - fortunately, no injuries - and is dealing with needing to get back to WSU tomorrow while his car is not drivable yet. My sister had another cardiac "event" Monday and is hoping to be released from the ICU today. At under 40, she is a bit young to have heart attacks but she has a rare condition that apparently makes them more common; this time, it seems that she just needs to have her medication adjusted. All of this has not helped any plans I might or might not have had to get healthy, get more sleep, have less stress and stay positive in 2017. But as I've often thought, these holidays are superficial and self-imposed anyway. We do what we can. And God sees us through.

So to deal with all the extra stress I have been trying to control some of the things I actually can. After following it on facebook for two years I am finally starting with the Declutter challenge. Today was counters... I spent a whole lot more than 15 minutes and half of my kitchen counters are clean. I am working on getting back to regularly posting my Latin for Duolingo lessons, although that will probably be tomorrow at the earliest. And I have been busy on the En Provence mystery quilt. Bonnie was kind enough to post the last clue on New Year's Day... but it contains about 5 times as much work as any of the other clues. I feel quite content that I have all the individual components made now and ready to be seamed together into blocks and then the whole quilt. Some overachievers on the fb page have already quilted the whole thing! I can't even.
I like greens and yellows together -- Hobbit colors! Part of the fun of these mystery quilts for me is the process of working intensively with a few colors, and getting my fabrics organized bit by bit. I now feel pretty comfortable with Bonnie Hunter's scrap user's system, and most of my fabric is now organized that way.
 My 2" strips are now vastly expanded, neatly rolled up and crammed into the plastic storage box ready for the next time. I have a LOT of greens. I would have even more blues, but there wouldn't be room for them right now so I haven't felt the need to cut them. Before the "reveal" post came out, I had these three block possibilities on my design wall:
 Of course they do not include the units that were in part 7, but I was hoping to include these in the Mystery link-up post which didn't happen this week.
 Like I said, I was feeling really good about how well I was keeping up with the challenge until the last part came out and all the speedy people have pictures of their finished, and some even quilted, tops.
The finished quilt will be so pretty! We will see how much more I can get done before next Monday, but I can guarantee right now that it will not be a finished quilt by then.