Thursday, October 31, 2013

Catching Up

I normally participate in Wednesday's Hodgepodge, but I didn't get online until late yesterday evening.  I intended to get caught up and have a post ready to go for this morning ... I composed it on my iPad, only to find that it had disappeared when I left the Blogger app for a few minutes!  Note to self: SAVE SAVE SAVE. ;-)

When DD got home Tuesday morning, she had an excruciating lower back ache ... She drafted me to stay and watch the Ts so she could take a muscle relaxer.  Added bonus: taking T#3 to his swim practice and T#4 to her ballet class (or as she calls it her "ballerina class"). 
I know I'm not objective when it comes to my grands (what grandma is?), but isn't she adorable!  (Forgive the poor quality - all I had was my iPhone, and it's obviously not designed to take action shots.  Because it couldn't be the photographer, right!)

Yesterday DD was doing better, so I had a full afternoon to do whatever I wanted ... and I wanted to stitch.  I tried stitching together some of my hexagons - and I had no flare up!  Woooo hooooo!  I did take my time and babied my finger, so I wasn't able to get my first block completely pieced, but I'm making progress!  I still can't hand quilt yet, but I'm finally able to to get some time with my needle and thread.

I got caught up on blog reading last night - it's amazing how far behind you can get when you don't get online until late in the day. I also watched the game, but I don't want to talk about it. :-(

Hope you all have a fantastic day!
Nana ... aka Kathy

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Weekend Wrap-Up

And an odd weekend it was.  It started out harmlessly enough with a trip out to visit my Dad.  I'm hoping that it was just a bad day for him, but he sure was even less mobile than he was the last time we saw him a few weeks back. :-(  We watched the Blues play (and lose) that evening.

Saturday was a quiet day spent at home. I spent the afternoon trimming the excess fabrics on my hexagons.  Here's just a little bit of what I was able to accomplish ... the hexies in the center are untrimmed, the ones on the left are trimmed, and that's my little pile of trimmings on the right. ;-)
I can't stitch, so I thought that perhaps I could at least make some kind of progress with the hexagon project. Even though I still long to spend time with my needle and thread, my spirits were lifted to at least make some progress. ;-)  We watched the World Series that evening ... wow, was that a dramatic ending to the game. I've been a Cardinals fan for at least 55 years, and I've never seen nor heard of a play like that, let alone one that ended/decided the game!  :-o  

After church Sunday, we stopped by DD's (they went out of town to visit DSIL's sister) only to be greeted by blaring smoke detectors - every. single. one. Not being the least bit mechanical, DH and I tried a number of different "remedies". We tried replacing the batteries, we tried turning off every circuit breaker (except the furnace and the refrigerator), we tried removing the batteries ... all to no avail.  Finally after some consultation via text with DD, we concluded that the best idea was to disconnect the detectors (they're also hard wired).  Thankfully we only had to disconnect 4 of their detectors - and were able to discover what DD suspected: the detectors have exceeded their "life expectancies" so it's time to replace them anyway. By the time we finished up, it was almost the middle of the afternoon so we stopped at Panera for lunch/dinner. After my success with scissors on Saturday, I had hopes that I might be able to figure out how to baste my hexies without using my index finger - I had tried before but couldn't seem to get the hang of it without using my index finger. This time I actually developed a fairly decent rhythm and might have been able to get several hexies basted, except I noticed that it caused a bit of a flare up of my finger, so I had to stop.  :-(  Alas, the Cardinals didn't seem willing to take advantage of their good fortune from Sarurday night and lost Sunday night's game. 

Have a marvelous Monday!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Friday's Musings

Now that we've seen two World Series games, all I can say is now that is more like it!!  

I have good news and not such good news regarding my finger. The good news is that overall, I think it's doing a little better. The periods of tingliness are a little less frequent and some times I'm scarcely feeling the tingliness unless I press the finger tip with a nail from my left hand. I'm going to hope that means that it's improving.  The not so good news is that the tingliness flares up on occasions even when I haven't really been using that finger.   ??   I also have to admit that I'm getting pretty discouraged - not only does having to rest the finger mean that I cannot so the things I enjoy (quilting, hand stitching, machine sewing, etc.) but it also means that I can't do some of the things I really need to do (as a result of shoulder issues, I have very little strength in my left arm, and having to favor the finger makes it difficult to rely on my right hand for many tasks).  

Yesterday we drove over to St. Louis to drop off my sewing machine for its annual tune up and repair. I've got a mini retreat to attend on November 8 (praying hard that the finger won't force me to be a "no-show") so I will need my machine back and stitching like a charm. 

Winter is here ... we had a low of 27 last night!  Yikes!  So much for fall. 

Got a busy day ahead - spending the day at my dad's and watching the Blues play tonight.  Hope you all have a fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge



I can’ believe that it’s been three weeks since I've participated in the Hodgepodge.  Surprised smile  I guess if there’s an upside to having to take a handwork break, it’s that I am getting caught up and able to resume a more normal routine … including the Hodgepodge!  Why not join in the fun!


1. When it comes to good manners, what two top your list of most important?

Two?  Just two?  Ok, I’ll choose “please” and “thank you” since common courtesy is the foundation of good manners.

2. Let's open a proverbial can of worms...
Common Core.  Are you familiar with the term (talking education reform in the USA)?  If so, care to share your thoughts? In your opinion, what is one of the biggest issues schools (in your home country) face today?

I am not familiar with Common Core, although any references I’ve seen to it haven’t been positive.

3. Name a celebrity whose fashion sense you admire and share why.

I can’t answer this: I don’t follow celebrities, so I’m not familiar with their fashion sensibilities … not that I worry too much about the latest fashion trends.  If I had to define my own personal style, I’d guess that classic casual would come close.

4. How are you affected by the changing seasons?

I suffer from Raynaud’s, and I have very little tolerance for cold (which alas, is getting worse as I get older) … so I’m very definitely affected physically by fall and winter (and to early spring).   I am also affected spiritually by the changing seasons, finding encouragement in the rebirth that spring brings.  And I’m emotionally affected … I enjoy the changing seasons.  Even though I would prefer to live in a warmer climate (on the beach of course! Winking smile), I would definitely miss the lovely fall colors, the beauty of falling snow, and the budding leaves and spring flowers. 

5. Scariest book you've ever read?

I don’t care for scary books nor scary movies, so I don’t recall reading any books that scared me.

6. What time of day are you most hungry? What's your go-to snack?

If we’re talking outside of meal time, I find myself needing (more like wanting?) a snack mid-morning.  I usually grab something starchy Embarrassed smile, even though I try to keep healthier options available.

7. Do you lean more towards being too needy or too independent? Which do you find harder to deal with in others?

I suspect that I lean toward being more independent … no surprise considering that I am an introvert with some self-esteem issues.  I find it more difficult to deal with those who are extremely needy because their need seems to be unending.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

My doctor recommended that I continue with the rest and ibuprofen … I am to “listen” to my finger.  If I get the tingliness, that’s a sign that the nerve is being damaged and that I should stop whatever I’m doing to cause it.  She did give me hope by saying that everyone she’s seen with this has healed although it took anywhere from a few days to 6 months.  I’m praying that I won’t be one of the 6-month healers.  After reading about a quilter on the Celebrate Hand Quilting Facebook group who learned to adjust/compensate so she could hand piece and hand quilt during her long recovery from major shoulder surgery, I was determined to find a way to do some handwork of some kind … without damaging that nerve.  I’ve become pretty adept at avoiding using my index finger so I was hopeful that I might be able to do a little basting of my hexagons.  Alas, it was just too difficult/cumbersome too work without using that finger that the process was no longer relaxing or enjoyable.


The Cardinals face the Red Sox tonight in Game 1 of the World Series … GO CARDINALS!!!


Ok, that was two thoughts, but since I’m three weeks behind, I've got some catching up to do.  Ha!

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Weekend Wrap-Up



Hard to believe that the weekend has come and gone … but oh what a weekend it was.


The weekend started out slowly.  Since I couldn’t do any handwork Crying face, I managed to get a little caught up on work around the house and started work on T#2’s Halloween costume.  I got it all cut out and the sleeves attached to the tunic.  By the time I put it away for the day, I rediscovered why I’m not a fan of garment sewing … and this was an easy, peasy 2-hour quickie pattern.  Winking smile  Our evening was spent up at the YMCA, watching T#1 swim the 200-yd freestyle event (that’s him in the lead). 

photo (1)-001

Forgive the poor quality … this was taken with my iPhone.  We got home just in time to see our Cardinals clinch the NL pennant … they are World Series bound!! 



Saturday morning I attached the hood to T#2’s archer tunic … I’m not going to finish it up until I can take it with me on Monday to mark the sleeves and tunic for the proper length for hemming.  The rest of the day was spent at the YMCA … a long day, an exhausting day, an absolutely fabulous day!  I just LOVE watching my Ts swim competitively, and the time spent with them between events is just frosting on the cake!  Red heart  I wish I had a picture or two of the day … T#3 swam his first breast stroke event (and wasn’t disqualified … being DQ’d is fairly common for breast stroke newbies as they want to revert to the scissors kick), T#2 swam her first 200-yard free style, and T#1 swam his first 100-yard butterfly (the fly is his best stroke, and he absolutely rocked the event … finishing almost 30 seconds faster than any of his practice tries). 


I played hooky from church Sunday morning … I woke up with a headache and just decided to take it easy as we had another day at the YMCA.  Thankfully the meet wrapped up a few hours earlier than it did Saturday evening.  We had dinner at DD’s and were still home at a respectable hour.  Even so, it was an early bedtime here at Chez Nana.  Winking smile


Other than sewing up T#2’s costume (by machine), I didn’t get in any stitching this weekend.  I’m here to tell you that passing up my needle and thread has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do; thank goodness for the swim meet … that kept me busy for much of the weekend.  My finger doesn’t seem to be showing any significant improvement … could be that it’s improving slowly so I don’t notice any improvement??  There are times when it feels about as close to normal as I could hope … yet there are times (when I’ve had to use it more? and sometimes like Sunday afternoon at the swim meet where I really didn’t use the finger) when it’s about as troublesome as it was Wednesday.  I’m trying to rest it as much as possible, but that’s easier said than done since it’s the index finger on my right hand (my dominant hand).  I had hoped that resting and ibuprofen (for any inflammation) would bring healing, but tomorrow will be the 7th day … I guess I’ll make an appointment to see the doctor. 


Have a marvelous Monday!

Friday, October 18, 2013

My Daybook for Friday October 18

I just love reading Daybook posts … it’s such a delightful way to get a glimpse into a blogger’s everyday life.  It’s been a good while since I’ve done a Daybook … so here’s my version.

FOR TODAY – October 18, 2013
Outside my window…
the sun has risen … the skies are such a pretty pinkish orange.  There doesn’t appear to be a cloud in the sky.  A delightful day, I hope.
I am thinking…
that resting my finger and taking ibuprofen for inflammation might just do the trick.  I noticed yesterday that my finger was feeling almost normal … of course, with it being the index finger on my dominant hand, it gets a lot of use, but at least it looks like there’s hope that this will clear up … I’m praying that it will be soon as I’m anxious to get back to work on my Storm at Sea and my hexagons

I am thankful…
for my hubby.  I spent yesterday afternoon getting caught up on recording transactions and reconciling bank accounts … and several were for our trip last month.  That brought back all kinds of wonderful memories and reminded me how blessed I am that DH and I are so compatible when traveling … our trips are doubly enjoyable.
In the kitchen…
there are a few dishes air drying … I need to put them away.
I am wearing…
a long-sleeved t-shirt, jeans, a fleece hoodie, and socks … and am tempted to go add another layer.  Even with the furnace on and the fireplace going, I’m still cold.  Sad smile  I’m thinking we will have to bite the bullet and set our thermostat a couple of degrees higher than we did last winter. 
I am creating…
quilts … I’m always creating quilts!  Winking smile  Although as mentioned above, I’m taking a handwork break in order to give my finger a chance to heal.

I am going…
to work on a Halloween costume for T#2.  She wants to be an archer (inspired by a character in a game for mobile devices).  I found several patterns at JoAnn’s of archer costumes in her size … of course, they were all sold out.  Fortunately I found a pattern in an adult/teen size … since it’s a tunic that she’ll tie with a rope “belt”, I figure that if it’s a little too big, it won’t matter.  If I can get it sewn up over the weekend, that should give us plenty of time to make any alterations. 
I am wondering…
if the Cardinals will win this series or if they’re going to disappoint us like they did last year when they were ahead 3 games to 1 in the National League Championship Series (NLCS) … only to lose the next 3 straight to lose the series.  Sad smile

I am hoping… that T#3 will remember to turn and swim back on his 50-yard event this weekend
I am looking forward to…
seeing my Ts swim this weekend.  Their team is hosting a 3-day multiple-team tournament this weekend.  Tonight T#1 swims the 200-yard IM (individual medley, where he will swim butterfly, breaststroke, backstroke and freestyle for 50 yards each).  All three will swim several events tomorrow afternoon and again Sunday afternoon.  I just LOVE watching them swim competitively! 
Around the house…
windows and doors need to be washed, hardwood floors need to be cleaned.  I’m going to try to take advantage of this quilting break by getting some overdue cleaning done.
A favorite quote for today… “People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.” ~ Lewis Cass
A few plans for the rest of the week:
sewing T#2’s Halloween costume (see above), watching my Ts swim (see above), fighting the urge to pick up needle and thread (see above)Winking smile  I also have plans to make a pot of soup and some pumpkin bread.  When it’s cold like this, a little comfort food will hit the spot! 
Have a fabulous Friday!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Good News and Bad News

The good news:  I've installed Blogger on my iPad and am trying a post from my iPad. We will see how this works.

The bad news:  I suspect I'm going to have to take a break in needlework.  Tuesday evening I spent an hour or so trimming the hexagons I've been working on.  The company from which I bought the precut papers suggested using 2 1/2" squares do fabric for my 1" hexagons.  Since I am the queen of anti-preparation (I am NOT a fan of any kind of prep work, including quilting. I'm always too anxious to get right to work on my projects), being able to quickly cut my 2 1/2" strips and 5" charms into 2 1/2" squares so I could start basting my hexagons sooner was music to my ears.
The hexagon on the left is an untrimmed one; the hexagon on the right has been trimmed. I figured that trimming back the excess after the hexagons were basted would be a fairly mindless task that I could do while watching TV ... and during that night's ball game, it seemed like a perfect time to trim. 

After an hour or so, I noticed that my index finger on my right (dominant) hand was rubbing the scissors (a standard pair of 4" fabric scissors), causing some pain. I assumed that a blister was forming, but when I looked at my finger, it looked fine so I kept trimming.  When I was done, I discovered that the pain I was feeling was due to what I suspect is some kind of nerve issue - I'm guessing that there's a nerve on the outer part of my finger which was rubbing/pressing against the scissors?  I have to admit that I was a bit concerned when the tingliness and pins-and-needles feeling were still present when I got up Wednesday morning. The finger is not numb - there's feeling in the finger, but there's also pain - not enough to incapacitate me/my finger, but enough that I find myself favoring that finger and using other fingers as much as possible. 

I tried quilting Wednesday afternoon ... and while I could quilt, I needed my needle grabber to pull my stitches through the fabric and my stitches were slightly less consistently sized. I quilted for a couple of hours that afternoon, and after dinner, I thought that I'd trying basting hexagons ... I thought that perhaps basting hexagons might be easier on that finger, but after basting a half dozen or so, I realized that I used that finger more for basting than I did for quilting. While I can't be sure whether the pain is any worse this morning, I can't help but wonder if either or both activities were good for that nerve?  The thought of not being able to quilt or do any kind of needlework - even temporarily - is causing me much distress.  I love quilting enough that I'd be willing to suffer through the pain - if I could be assured that I'm not causing any long-term or permanent damage. 

My first inclination was to just deal with this, figuring it would pass ... but now I'm wondering if I ought not go see my doctor ... if for no other reason than to know how to treat it and to know if/when it is safe to work with my needle and thread. :-(  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Little of This, a Lot of Not Much


While I am getting myself into a routine, it just doesn’t seem to include much time online.  And while limiting my time online has long been a goal, I didn’t intend for blogging time to be what was sacrificed.  Winking smile 


It was a nice, quiet weekend at Chez Nana.  I made progress on the Storm at Sea and on my hexagons.  We watched the Cardinals pull off two unexpected wins over the Dodgers.  And we had a birthday party for little T#4! 


Speaking of T#4, today is her birthday … she turns 4!  One of the benefits of watching the Ts while DD works the early morning shift is that I will get to be the first one to give her a happy birthday hug … the downside will be that it breaks my mama heart to think that DD’s mama heart will be hurting that she didn’t get to be the first one. 


Fall has arrived here!  The leaves on our new trees in the backyard have started to turn … the colors are gorgeous … we chose them especially for their fall color, and they’re not disappointing.  And the weather has definitely become fall-like … although it’s bordering on becoming winter-like with lows in the lower 40’s and even upper 30’s in the forecast for the rest of the week.  I’m going to fight turning on the furnace as long as I can … thank goodness for a gas fireplace that I can switch on in the mornings to take the chill off (although DH likes to point out that the cost of running that fireplace is about the same as just turning on the furnace Winking smile).  And thank goodness for heated seats and a heated steering wheel on our new van! 


It’s time for me to head to DD’s … but I’ll close with a picture taken 4 years ago. 

New Nana


Have a terrific Tuesday!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Tap Tap Tap … Hello? Is Anyone There?


I know … it’s been forever since I posted last.  Surprised smile  I wish I could report that we just got back from a week in Hilton Head … nope, nothing glamorous or exciting … it’s just been busy here … with good stuff … but exhausting nonetheless. 


Today is the first day since early September where there’s absolutely nothing planned (other than watching Cardinal baseball this evening) … and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to a quiet day at home.  I ought to take advantage of the “day off” and get caught up on housecleaning, bill paying, etc.  But if you guessed that I’ll probably spend the day with needle and thread, you’ll be spot on. 


DD is now working a regular schedule, and while she’s scheduled for 3 days/week, she’s been working 4 days the last couple of weeks.  No complaints here … it gives me another morning with my Ts!  Red heart 


My Cardinals came back from being 1 game from elimination to win 2 games straight to advance to the next round … they’ll be facing the Dodgers tonight in St. Louis.  In the first round, most of their games were afternoon games so I was able to get to bed at a fairly reasonable hour (given that I’ve been waking up unassisted at 4:00-4:30 AM) … unfortunately most of the games in this second round will be night games … I suspect there might be afternoon naps in my schedule next week.  Winking smile


DH got a good report from his test last week … thankfully we won’t have to go through that for another 10 years. 


T#1 finished 2nd place in 4 events and T#2 finished 3rd place in 1 event at the swim meet Saturday.  Poor T#3 … after swimming shorter events all summer (from one end of the pool to another), he had 1 event Saturday that was a little longer … he needed to swim down, turn and come back to the starting block.  So what did he do when he reached the end of the pool?  Climbed out.  When it became obvious that he was going to climb out, everyone at that end of the pool was trying to tell him to stay in the water and swim back … but it was so noisy that I’m guessing he didn’t hear or understand.  When it became clear that he wasn’t supposed to get out of the water, he jumped back in and still didn’t finish last!  Alas, it was for naught as he was disqualified.  Sad smile  Hopefully that won’t happen again!  Their next meet is a 3-day meet a week from today. 


I’ve made a decision on my hexagon project.  Instead of a Grandmother’s Flower Garden:

photo 2

I’m going to go with a Martha Washington’s Flower Garden:

photo 1

I drew my inspiration from a quilt shared on the I Have Been Hexed and I Like It Facebook page:


I love the tumbling blocks effect in this setting.  (Note: the hexagons on my blocks above aren’t pieced together … I’ve just got them positioned to see how each block would look in my colors.)  I’m making decent  progress … I have all my 2nd row and all my 3rd row hexies basted … and am basting the red “path” hexies. 


I’m also slowly but surely making progress on my Storm at Sea. 

photo (1)-002


And speaking of … it’s time for me to pick up my needle and thread and get busy!


Have a fabulous Friday!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday’s Musings


I certainly thought that this week would be a quieter, more relaxing week … wrong!  It’s been another busy, busy, busy week … at least this week’s busy-ness has been of the enjoyable variety!  Winking smile


DD worked 4 days this week, so I got to spend 4 mornings at her house, with 4 of my favorite people!  Red heart  She’s no longer “in training”, so she’s now working the early morning shift … which means I’m up early (that’s not a problem) and functioning (ah, there’s the problem!) … at least it’s the same shift each day.  And I still have plenty of the day left to do the things I enjoy … sticking around DD’s for more fun or heading home to spend some time with needle and thread.


Speaking of, I did get some quilting done this week.  It’s slow going … I’m quilting a little more extensively than I normally do … double echo stitching, which means that there is a good bit of stopping and starting.  I run my needle through the layers as often as possible, but sometimes I just have to make a knot and start over.


I also have done a bit of working on my hexagon project.  My original intention was for it to be a portable project, but it’s so mindless, that I find myself turning to it when I need to be able to focus … like when I watched NCIS (oh. my. goodness … was that an emotional episode or what? Crying face) or the Cardinals’ first game of the playoffs.  I’m still undecided whether to make a Grandmother’s Flower Garden or a Diamond Hexagon (I’m not sure that’s the name of the pattern) … the DH takes more hexies per block, so part of my decision-making process will include seeing if I have enough hexies in the fabrics I’m using. 


I’m really enjoying English Paper Piecing.  I learned to do handwork early on … as a teen I enjoyed embroidery, as a young adult I enjoyed crewel work, as a middle-aged woman I enjoyed counted cross stitch, and now I’m enjoying hand quilting … obviously I’m drawn to working with a needle and thread.  I’m  not sure why I resisted EPP so long … but I’m certainly intending to make up for lost time.  Winking smile  I am already planning my next project and am searching for EPP papers for a few other projects that would seem to be perfect for EPP.


The busy-ness continues … today I’ll be taking DH to the hospital for some routine testing and tomorrow the 3 older Ts have their first swim meet of the 2013-14 YMCA swim season. 


Maybe next week will slow down and be a more relaxing week … or maybe this busy-ness is just a fact of life during this season of my life.  Red heart Red heart Red heart


Have a fabulous Friday!