Thursday, November 29, 2018

Thursday Distractions

As I am trying to ease back into blogging, I keep thinking of the days of the week and traditional things I have blogged about on those days in the past. Political Tuesdays, WIP Wednesdays, Randomday on Saturday, Finishing things on Friday (HA!), book reviews on Sundays, Design Wall and Stash Report on Mondays. Well, politics is simply too toxic these days, but I'm still not ruling out writing about it. I don't even know if anyone is doing Design Walls and Stash Reports anymore. WIP Wednesday just whipped by yesterday (if that's even still a thing), and by the evening when I thought about it, I had to do my Augustine translation for Latinstudy. (It's City of God, and at 1/2 - 1 heading per week, I will be about 200 years old when I finish it... I just did the math... another rabbit trail). 

The truth is, my life is more full of things to distract me than it ever was, and I am and always have been a willing victim to distractions. It's either a very good thing or a very bad thing that I'm not teaching. I'll go with good. Most of the things that distract me now were ways I coped with stress when I was stressed out beyond bearing. Now that the stress is much better, I can go from distraction to distraction most of the day, every day, only touching the ground long enough to do the driving, shopping, cooking and minimal cleaning.

But do distractions make good blog fodder? Knitting and quilting certainly are, because of the pictures. Here's one from the months when I forgot to blog; my friend Joyce's destash of a bunch of sock yarn. Some of it has been made into socks already and I'm itching to start another pair as soon as I finish the super-stretchy bind-off on the purple/green Socks that Rock.

Other distractions: Duolingo, where I now have Italian, French, Dutch, Swedish, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Romanian, Chinese, Irish, and Polish. For a few weeks I managed to do at least one lesson in each of them, but that was maybe a bit too OCD. I also have an unofficial course in Latin on the Duolingo forum, which is hard to gauge how many people are using, and its corresponding Memrise course, which is doing pretty well and gaining students steadily. I haven't been adding new lessons to it very often recently though, because it gets harder at the more difficult levels to think up good sentences.

Speaking of looking for good sentences, I love the Tatoeba website, which is basically a giant multilingual database of sentences. I contribute there as CarpeLanam as well. 

Other geeky distractions:,, my Kindle with its ability to check out books and audiobooks from the library. I have always enjoyed playing Civilization IV, and picked it up again this summer. I finished a game playing the Indians yesterday, and started one playing the Japanese today (yes, I'm trying them all in alphabetical order.)

And I admit to having Facebook for friends and family, Twitter for news and politics, Instagram for pictures, and Pinterest for recipes, mostly. You can waste a significant amount of time on social media, but only so much before it gets boring and you get distracted by something else. I cook and garden (a bit) and read. And my family is growing and changing; we are half-empty nesters now, and Quarta went on college visits a few weeks ago. Blogging is the one outlet I have that can cover all of these "multifaceted" (as Joyce was kind enough to call them) aspects of my life. I do it for myself, and to keep a journal of my life. Still, the most interesting bits for other readers, especially if I can manage to get photos, are most probably the knitting and quilting. That's why they are the easiest to blog about. But then I feel the need to switch gears and cover another base sometimes, too. Distractions are everywhere.

So as I continue with this very eclectic, often erratic blog, thank you to my readers and extended family who check in from time to time.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Good Fortune Mystery Monday Link-up 1

Well, I am in the process of coming back to my blog after months of neglect, and it is in large part thanks to the Good Fortune Mystery Quilt. Every year, scrappy quilters all over the world start stitching the day after Thanksgiving on the clues released by Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville. The first gathering of photos from the first clue can be found here at Bonnie's site. You can also download the first clue, but be sure to keep checking back for all the clues because they will go away after the Holiday mystery season is over!

I'm happy to report that I finished all the pieces for the first clue this morning. Or did I? I know I'm going to be changing up the colors somewhat, and I think I'm going to substitute blue for orange. But the little four-patches were so cute, I couldn't resist making a few in blue instead of red.
 And even a few in green.
I really like the checkerboard effect, so I think having a bunch of extras of these in various colors isn't such a bad thing. Especially since I haven't made a definite plan for the color scheme.
 It's a messy process: I was able to get right into it, though, because I had my boxes of strips in different colors and widths already cut. This is thanks to Bonnie's scrap user system, which is something I've been converting my stash to over the last several years of mysteries. When the clue came out, all I needed to do was open the box that contained strips in the width called for, and get out the neutrals and reds (and blues, and greens). Instant gratification sewing, very little extra cutting needed. But the tradeoff is the family room is a bit messy and the cat wants to sleep on the pile of neutral strips I haven't used yet.
Um, yeah, I should probably put those back in the cupboard. Lots of old fabrics being used up, and no new fabrics bought so far. I do think my reds are a little low, and yellows as well. I'm probably going to use yellow in the place where the green goes, and green where the blue goes, and blue where the orange goes, and keep the red where it is.

Oh yes, I am also trying to make myself finish up On Ringo Lake from last year. I cut the setting squares and triangles called for in the final clue. Next comes the assembly. also a somewhat messy process. The mess just seems be a part of quilting. Maybe if I actually finished more projects and stuck with them. Well, it does feel good to be back in the quilting area. I will try to dig myself out of the piles of WIPs.

Friday, November 23, 2018

More Dusting of the Blog; Thanksgiving

 As my few readers know, I took a very long hiatus from blogging, from January until October of this year. The catalyst was a broken laptop, but I also got distracted and worked on things I haven't usually blogged about in the past. So we are catching up, but today will be more traditional, post-Thanksgiving. I know how to blog about all the homemaking business of Thanksgiving. The pies are always made the day before. I made the ones on the top: Chocolate Bourbon Pecan pie (plus some extra filling), two Apple-Pear-Cranberry, and the Birthday Blueberry on bottom left (Steve's birthday is the same as Thanksgiving this year; he was born on a memorable day for those above a certain age.) Quarta made the Pumpkin Pie (extra filling in the tin) from a Binging with Babish video. The butter crust was particularly tricky. Mine were just made with Crisco. I don't even really measure anymore.
 After pie-baking most of the afternoon, Steve took me out for Chinese. These adorable cuties were parked next to us. Quarta is fond of using words like "doggos" and "puppers" and I have to say, they made me want to use them too.
 I love the fact that I have a well-stocked herb garden that can be harvested even in the late months of the year. Actually, the parsley is growing as a weed and I need to plant some in my herb garden. But our gardening philosophy is to encourage weeds that we like. I have no process photos of the bird, or, sadly the group of us at dinner: it was only 5 of us at home, plus Steve's mom. Daniel is in Scotland visiting my sister and eating haggis instead of turkey.
After dinner Quarta went to visit her friend whose family was having a feast at their church for all comers; then when she was dropped off in the evening, my friend, her friend's mom, left us two slices of Pie-Caken, which is a thing she has learned to make. I will stick to basic pies, but I did have a third of a slice (pecan) for breakfast this morning.

And now, one of the main reasons I needed to dust off my blog. This is my most recent photo of last year's Bonnie K. Hunter mystery quilt, On Ringo Lake. It is not much farther along than this. I have made all the necessary blocks, but I have not connected them into a quilt top yet. One of the reasons I need to keep posting on my blog is to keep myself accountable with various quilting and knitting projects. When I am not blogging, I may not be quilting at all, and I may only be knitting in small increments. And even worse, I am certainly not keeping my sewing room neat and tidy. But, Bonnie has just issued the first clue of this year's mystery quilt, Good Fortune. Once again I am feeling the siren call of starting another scrappy quilt project. Some people shop on the day after Thanksgiving. I prefer to eat dessert for breakfast and start a mystery quilt that I have no guarantee I will finish. The obstacles are great this year:

  1. I must clean my sewing room first, at least enough to be able to use the cutting table, ironing board, and sewing surface.
  2. I must also make adequate progress on finishing On Ringo Lake, ideally within the first few weeks.
  3. I know I want to change the color scheme, but I'm not sure yet how. I am leaning to changing Green, Blue, Red, and Orange to a more country/vintage palette of Yellow, Green, Red, and Blue. I don't really want to work with orange this year since I used a fair amount last year. But I am still dithering about the changes I'll want to make. Fortunately, dithering about the colors is something I can do quite easily while blogging!
  4. The odds are very high that I will get distracted again and stop blogging, and therefore, stop sewing. Christmas is coming. Daniel is posting pictures of the Highlands. I might decide to start another language. 
You will notice that I did NOT list "I don't have enough fabric" as an obstacle. I have enough fabric to make about ten years of mystery quilts, only I might have to change the colors on them. Well, here goes, signing off and maybe I'll start in on some light cleaning now.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Dusting off the Blog / Graduation

When you are not at all a techie person, anything at all can cause technical difficulties. This is embarrassing, but I basically fell into a blogging funk last January, the day my old laptop died. We got a new laptop that day. But when it came to writing another blog entry, everything looked different. The writing isn't a problem; I'm not afraid to write. It's the photos. And for some reason the Photoscape app I used to use looks totally different on the new laptop, probably a much more recent version, and I was confused about how to navigate between the photos I've been taking more and more on my new (well, 2 years old) I-phone and that get stored in a different cloud than the old pictures. It seems like it should be simpler. Actually, I was just able to figure it out, more or less, but that was kind of my excuse for neglecting my blog for so long.

And the librarian, historian, writer and generally opinionated person in me has been missing this outlet for several months now. Facebook is just not the same. So, I will strive to conquer the hassles of graphic interface and photo editing in order to get my blog voice back. Some important milestones have gone unblogged until now:

Emma graduated from High School! She will receive her final diploma in 3 years when she completes her current transition program, which she is enjoying very much. Previously known as Tertia, she is now a young woman and entitled to be free of anonymous blog names.

We received the invite to the Honor Assembly. We knew about the departmental award for Life Skills, but we didn't know that she would receive one for Choir as well. Miss Bravo was a student teacher in her choir class her Sophomore year, and this was her first year of teaching on her own. I was just fast enough to snap a blurry photo, but I do love the expressions on the faces of the Admin folks sitting on the platform.

Even more blurry, my photos of the graduation ceremony itself.  But I have successfully broken the photo-editing barrier, and I'll declare victory and post this.