My daughter pointed this link out to me. I hope you can watch the video ok - I think this lady is a True Artist, albeit in a very 'outsider' style. :)
PS Here is the original article.
Well, this is interesting....for some reason I cannot get the photo above to display in the correct orientation. Sigh! I think I forgot to share the tote bag I got in the swap last winter at the Modern Quilt Guild Retreat in PA. I really like the bag - it has pockets on each side and is very roomy (and easy to carry). Funniest thing about the swap was that the person who made this bag also got the tote I made. :) I've been reserving this bag for taking things to and from the Baltimore MQG meetings. :) Seems appropriate.
So many things have been happening since I last posted, I've completely lost track of the order of events as well as exactly what _has_ happened. I guess the highlights will have to do. :)
Hugh and I have been going out on weekly adventures to enjoy the summer time - we've had truly lovely summer weather this year (mid 80's, medium humidity) rather than the more brutal time we usually have (high 90's, high humidity, fierce sunshine). We went on another visit to the Robinson Nature Center - let me share the few photos I took there:
This is one corner of a wonderful example garden that shows what any householder can establish in a small patio space. Here you can see several kinds of bird feeder, flowering plants designed to attract birds and butterflies, etc. There were also bat houses, toad shelters and other kinds of feeders and bird houses in the opposite corner.
Black-eyed Susans which are iconic of the state of Maryland.
A large stand of what I know as Joe Pye Weed, a common wildflower of the midwest and eastern states. Very favored by bees and butterflies:
I don't know if you can see them, but these flowers literally vibrated with bees humming and butterflies sipping. :)
I don't know the name of this wildflower but I thought it was lovely! Also heavily visited. :)
I took other photos, but they turned out poorly. My hands really are shaky - I think I probably ought to look into some kind of small tripod for my camera ... or maybe one that is self-leveling?
There is a place on the route I take regularly through the old section of Ellicott City that makes me think of my Mom everytime I pass by. There is a really large circular area planted in Surprise Lilies - called that because the green leaves come up in spring and then die away; flowers pop up in late summer as a 'surprise'. My Mom loved these flowers:
I managed to stop on the narrow road to take a photo recently as the lilies were blooming. This is about half the circular planting area which is probably 30 yards across or so. Very distinctive! Here they are in whole:
Another day when Hugh as I went out (I _think_ it was last Friday), we visited the National Aquarium in Baltimore. We used to have annual memberships there when the kids were young but I dropped it after they were grown (got into a snit because I could no longer buy a 'family' membership that included myself, my husband and Hugh; would be forced to buy a 'couple' and 'individual' memberships for much, much more $$, even though Hugh is totally dependent on us). It cost $75 for the two of us for entrance fees - seemed like a LOT to me, though the place is incredible (and likely incredibly expensive to maintain:).
We took a LOT of photos as there was an entire exhibit (Australia) that wasn't there the last time we went ... I made a photo album here (look at the right sidebars) to hold them all. I love this place and will probably go buy a membership again - two visits a year makes the membership cheaper than admissions. :) We only saw two out of the three main areas of the aquarium that day as I got totally exhausted doing that much. It was very, very crowded (who would know - beautiful day outside and everyone wanted to tourist indoors;). I was flat out tired by the time we got home - did just about nothing all the next day to recover. :)
I've finished knitting all the pieces to my cardie - now I have to sew them together and finish the collar band. I know many ways to make seams in woven fabrics - I don't know why I'm hesitating to sew knitted pieces together. Grin! Even experts get fearful. :P
I am also crocheting my first baby item - a small (newborn to 3 months) sweater for the coming baby:
Since I took this photo, I've completed the body and started on the sleeves. The yarn is a very soft cotton. I'm eager to see how it comes out. :) Generally I prefer knitted garments over crocheted ones (I like crocheted laces and toys better), but this was so cute I had to try it. :) Luckily, tiny baby items do not intimidate me for finishing times. Grin.
Tomorrow Hugh and I are supposed to go to the Zoo (unless it is really hot, like it was today...then we'll put it off until Sunday). Saturday I'm supposed to go out Row by Row shop hopping again with Barbara and Patty. Whee!
Mind you, all this busy-ness is interspersed with incredible inaction - I've read more books over the past three months than in the previous three years! Also with physical therapy and knee exercises galore - and I _am_ getting stronger.
Sometimes it is hard to tell which is the 'chicken' and which the 'egg,' eh? :) Are hexagon designs popular online because of their presence in home decor (attested to by the rug hanging in the IKEA Marketplace shown above), or are hexies finding their way into home decor because they are so popular online? :)
Yesterday (Saturday) I drove north through Baltimore to the IKEA store at White Marsh. Remember that I bought an EZPass when I thought I would be driving down to Gaithersburg last Monday? I needed to use it before the money I had paid went to waste - so decided to drive through the Ft. McHenry Tunnel (toll) to get to WM (and thus activate my EZPass). :)
I had not been to IKEA for several years (I don't remember exactly when my last visit was, but I do remember that it was in the immediate pre-Christmas time frame). This Saturday was overcast and humid though not overly hot (mid-80's?) and I'd swear that every third person in the entire Balt-Wash metropolitan area had decided to shop at IKEA that day! I have _never_ seen it so busy and we've been shopping there since the store was built. :)
Hugh chose not to go so I was alone and could stroll through the store at my leisure. I walked through the showroom slowly, taking note more of the wall and window decorations than the furniture, to be honest. I did spend a bit of time in the table area - Skip has offered to set up our surplus laserjet printer on my computer directly so I don't have to wait for him to be home to print things out (the printer we have is networked via his machine to the three 'puters here at home and he won't open access to his machine unless he is at home; my husband does IT security as part of his job and is, imho, a bit paranoid about his machine:).
Anyway, I need a small table of some kind to put the printer on to keep the carpet fluff and kitty feet out of it. So I spent a little time looking over the small side tables and office possibles. I found two that looked likely and took note of their names and locations in the self-service warehouse. :) There were so many shoppers that I had no choice but to move slowly through the place, so the perambulation was not at all tiring. :)
When I finished looking around, I took the elevator up to the resturant area. I like the food they offer and it is reasonably priced so I usually eat there when I shop. Amazingly, amongst all the strangers, there at the door of the eatery was Becca (from the Baltimore Modern Guild) and her guy! She extolled the virtues of the almond chocolate pie which (of course!) got my tongue watering. Grin!
Although I _am_ on a diet, I have found that it is best for me to not deprive myself of sweets when I want them. I only eat actual sweets occasionally and so I figure their calories (empty though they might be:) into my daily allotment. I chose a really tasty shrimp and egg openfaced sandwich and the almond dessert:
I am definitely not a 'foodie' (despite my bulk:), so I'm not sure what made me take this photo. Maybe it was the teeny, tiny shrimp (the smallest I have ever seen)? :) It turned out that the sandwich and the dessert had the same number of calories in them according to the MyFitnessPal ap that I use to keep my food journal (it was recommended by my nutrionist and so far has been excellent:). Delicious!
After lunch I strolled through the ground floor Marketplace - picking up some new kitchen towels and wooden clothes hangers ('racks' was what we called them in my natal dialect:). Also looked at each of the two tables in the warehouse and chose one (luckily light enough that I could lift it without trouble). The checkout aisles were so crowded that people were being impatient with one another and every possible register was open. A lady was moving through the crowd handing out cookies (Sweedish ginger snaps) and candy (Sweedish fish) to keep the peace. :) I, of course, took a pass on those.
By the time I was on my way home, it was raining so the overcast skies had some excuse. Traffic was very heavy on I-95 southward, but moving along. I was reminded of how long it has been since I've visited Ikea by the amount of road construction going on along the way - none of which I had ever seen before. By the time I got home, I was too tired to take my purchases indoors and I spent the evening quietly, with my leg up, watching movies on Netflix and knitting.
My sweater project is coming right along - I have only one sleeve left to make (well, and the collar, which doesn't get knitted until you sew the sweater together). I'm really happy with how well I've managed to stick to the project, given my usual cricket ways. :)
Today (Sunday) I slept late - I'm in that insomniac stage I hit sometimes where I don't fall asleep until four or five a.m. and sleep until early afternoon. :P The weather here was overcast and it had clearly rained earlier. Not hot (high 70's maybe) but incredibly humid and not a breath of breeze. :P
After breakfast and morning knee exercises, I decided to be brave and go for a walk in the neighborhood. Uh, not brave because it is dangerous - I live in a comfortable small city area with a very low crime rate - but because the walking surface is real world, uneven and apt to be trecherous if you don't pay attention. :)
Astonishingly (for those of you who know me:), I actually thought ahead and took my house key, my driver's liscense and a bottle of water along. Thanks to my friend Aurelia from Sew & Tell, I even have a nice sling carrier for the water. :) I took a short walk that I've done dozens of times since we've lived here (moved into this house in January, 1987):
The most uneven part of the walk is at the beginning, going downhill gently along WindHarp Way. The grayed marks on the map are mostly walking paths between the houses, generally used by kids walking to school. The path abuts back yards on each side - this particular one is somewhat wooded so it is shady and cool. Still humid, of course. :P
Along the way I found something I have not seen since childhood:
This is the outgrown exoskeleton of an annual cicada. When I was little, we saw these everywhere in late summer. The cicadas hook their foot-claws to tree bark and wiggle out of their old skins as they grow. The remnants are the consistence of waxed paper and somewhat fragile. Since I love hearing the song of the cicada in the depths of hot summer, finding this skin was exciting to me. :) I _am_ easy to please. I also enjoyed the bright green of the moss growing on the tree's bark:
There might be a small quilt in this photo somewhere! :) For now, all I can do is collect ideas.
I expect I'll spend the rest of this evening on the computer - watching a movie and knitting my last sleeve, I hope. :)
PS Two patterns I ordered to make maternity shirts for my daughter arrived earlier this week. I'm looking forward to doing some garment sewing, soon. Haven't done that for a while, either. :)
Hugh and I went out on Friday for our weekly day together. We got a late afternoon start but the weather was lovely (mid-80s and blue sky). Had lunch at Fudrucker's (definitely not on my diet:) and then went back to the Robinson Nature Center (on Hugh's suggestion) to hike.
Now, I love to hike and used to do it regularly when my kids were little (uh, a couple decades ago:). Haven't been 'hiking' (as opposed to walking) in ages. Hugh has a good memory for maps and found a foot trail right next to the parking lot when we got to the center. It started off with a gentle stroll on a sidewalk type surface but we pretty quickly chose a dirt path into the woods (it was hot enough that day to make the cool woods enticing:).
So much fun to share what I know about plants with Hugh - some of the trees and plants are marked/identified, but not many. The path went up and down and was water-rutted, so I had to hold on to him to make sure I didn't fall in places. Still, it was pretty exciting to me to be able to _really_ hike after all these years.
Luckily, there were benches in a couple of prime viewing spots so I could rest (mostly on the way back - I managed to hike in without stopping:). I'm not sure exactly how far we hiked - maybe a half mile each way? Met a few folks going the other direction, including one grandpa with four year old little boy who clearly was in love with rocks (hands full of them:).
I took some photos as we went, but only the one above was worth keeping. I thought it was cool how the leafy shadows fell onto the tree stump so neatly. Would make a fun small quilt, I think. :) Usually the trees that fall just rot where they lay, but the ones that fall across the paths are obviously cut up so folks can get by.
Such a lovely day! I treasure the chance to go out like that - and I'm grateful for my almost-well knee to go with. :)
I haven't done anything much this weekend ... puttering about. Was supposed to go down to Capital Quilts for a class all day tomorrow, but I think I had better back off that outing. I don't think my knee is up to a day of sitting just yet (not to mention the driving from here to there and back). (NOTE to Self: call the shop and tell them I'm not coming in the morning.)
I subscribe to a blog that sends daily color-theme photos right to my reader. This one from last week really struck my fancy! :) Oh to manage to produce such beauty myself. :)
I had better get more timely with my posting or I will be forgetting things right and left. It's funny, my daily life right now seems pretty boring to me ... but when I look back at a week, there's too much to tell. Grin. My 'blog' photo folder is full this time (some weeks I have to really scratch around for color to share:).
I lost another pound this week (YEAH!) - Tuesday is my usual weigh-in with the nutritionist. I'm really grateful for the last three week's losses as I had pretty much given up hope - been on a 'plateau' for more than six months. :P What made the change? I think that I have given myself permission to be more flexible with what I eat (after a year and a half, any kind of rountine foods get boring) as long as I can manage the daily caloric balance (not too little as that will send my body into 'starvation' mode, not too much) of about 1200 calories. That doesn't sound like much, I'm sure. I have to say that at least one day a week I eat less than that (how do I know? I keep a food journal) and don't feel hungry. Shrug.
My physical state is improving as I work along with the therapist. I'm down to two visits a week as of this week. My knee is still achy at a low level and not quite recovered fully (still can't bear my weight going up stairs) - but it gets better every day. I can walk for at least five minutes on the treadmill now and do the cross trainer for 15 minutes. I usually go about 900 steps on the latter - remember when I could only manage 200, in absolute extremis? I feel much better than I have in ages - more energy, more stamina. A really long day of being 'out' or two days in a row of short errands still makes me tired...but it is getting better. :)
What have I been doing? Hmmm ... good question! The 15th was my friend Patty S's birthday. I hand made a candle mat for her with English Paper Piecing and hand embroidery/quilting:
I'm not sure what made the photo so overexposed - I didn't use flash, just natural light. Shrug. I bought a nice smelling 'post' candle in 'Summer Meadow' scent and soft green color to go with this mat ... and wrapped it all in a pretty floral print fat quarter. She seemed to like it, too. :)
There are two other birthdays (belated) that I still need to deal with. My dear friend Patty R in Wisconsin had her day on June 27th (I owe her a letter, at least:) and my sister, Dodi, had a big one on July 9th (again, a letter and small gift are trying to get away into the mail:). I like sending birthday notes - I quit giving Christmas gifts (except to children) many years ago (too much mid-winter stress added onto my season affective disorder blues), so I try to remember birthdays. Not always successful, of course - terrible memory and time flows over me like a rushing torrent. :P
My son and I have decided to spend Fridays together. This generally means going out for lunch and then a short jaunt to something local. This past week we went to Panera Bread (yummy!) and then took a visit to the 'new' (three years old) Robinson Nature Center for Howard County (where I live). I visited there on a day that the place was closed last fall - remember this fountain?
I am passionate about such places and wished all the years that my kids were young that we had such a resource in Howard Co. Used to drive my kids 45 minutes (each way) to the Piney Run Nature Center in Carroll County - summer camps, programs and volunteering. :)
While we were at the Robinson, I bought a family annual membership so we can go back whenever we like. There are lots of nature walking trails - when I get my knee up to snuff, I intend to explore them. :) Hugh even enjoyed the visit (he always humors me when I want to go somewhere, but doesn't always really enjoy it:).
Here's a photo of my son (for size reference, he's about six feet tall) beside a nifty art installation right beside the nature center - it's made from small slabs of tree (Oak?) stacked together (didn't see any mortar, glue or reinforcing metals) into a sort of kiva-like structure. Has a front and back door and the top is open to the sky:
I actually managed to win something nifty from an online drawing last week (shock!:) - three good books from Quilter's Newsletter Magazine's blog. I am actually pretty excited about these as I have a nice small stash (hmm, maybe three or four quilts worth:) of Japanese neutrals (Daiwabo prints, and similar things). They are calling louder to me recently and want to be made into something. :) Here are the books I won:
My treasures pile is overflowing with new books right now! I have several that I'd like to read and review - might have to actually do some work here. :)
On Thursday, Skip and I went out to lunch at a local village center (we went to the pharmacy to get prescription refills). There was a tasty Hunan something restuarant there with pretty good food. I had Kung Po shrimp. Yum!
Notice the brown rice? I actually had to pay an extra 50 cents for that - can't understand why better nutrition costs more. :)
Sunday was the monthly meeting of my sewing circle, Sew & Tell. We are meeting at the Normandy Sew & Vac shop now (used to meet at my store:). It was fun to wander around the store and see what was new. They have already run out of their supply of printed quilt-y liscense plates (theirs says 'Fabric Junkie':). I did get a copy of their free pattern for the summer shop hop, with lots of summer designs. :)
I spent my time at the meeting sorting, ironing and trimming to size all the beautiful feather blocks I've received from the Baltimore Modern guild folks. We played with possible layouts for the quilt, too:
I am _really_ excited about making this quilt! I love the bright colors and energy ... gotta get my machine up and running so I can sew. :)
I think this week _might_ be a bit calmer than last. I'm still struggling with what to do with myself. I don't have the stamina, yet, to go hog wild with house cleaning/painting/rearranging (which so badly needs doing) ... so I do my three-times-a-day knee exercises, eat every 2.5 hours ... and try to do at least one chore each day. Some days I manage more. Shrug.
PS I almost forgot! The prescription refill reason was pretty interesting. I have fallen down four times since January - pretty strange for someone as sturdy on their feet as I usually am. I've also been having dizzy 'flashes' - not long enough to call spells, but very real. When I get up from exercise equipment, I feel unsteady the way you might after being on a boat for hours and stepping onto dry land.
My blood pressure has been jumping around again, too. So I went to see my regular doctor - he thinks it is all being caused by the Carvedilol I take to regulate my b.p. I am in the process of cutting off the C (commonly called coreg) and starting a newer drug with many fewer side effects (don't remember the name right now). I _never_ thought about the dizzy stuff being a drug side effect! I'm so grateful it can be avoided - I haven't been hurt (other than bruised) in any of the falls, but that has got to stop at some point. Grr.
I have probably forgotten more than I've remembered for posting. That's the down side of posting less often. (sigh) MY physical therapist is concerned that I have not yet achieved 180 degrees of extension with my knee (apparently the deadline for likely improvement is rapidly approaching) so she has me sitting in a chair without putting up my knee no more than 20 minutes at a time. This means no long car trips but, more importantly, no long sessions at the computer screen. :P
Also, when my knee _is_ propped up, I have to have it resting on my ankle (elevate the ankle above the surface of whatever it is propped on) with a weight (3 pounds right now) on my knee to push the kneecap downward and extend the length of my leg. Truthfully, I already have better extension in my left leg (surgery knee) than my right one (the original equipment;) so this is a kind of painful process. My tendons and muscles aren't used to this amount of extension and have 60+ years of habit behind them. :) We'll see - but I'm trying to follow her instructions (she says the reason for the focus is that a leg without complete extension will lead to me limping and stressing my hips and back even more in the future).
I'm was making really good progress on my sweater knitting before this change - I am working on knitting the front right side, having finished knitting the back already (the photo shows how far one ball of yarn worked up):
I guess I'll have to take my knitting downstairs now. :) I took a break to do some hand embroidery. I decided that the purse I've been carrying (or _not_ carrying) is too heavy for me to manage right now so I switched off to another, smaller one that I also bought from 31. When I saw this one in the catalog, the very first thing I thought was how perfect the flap of this 'messenger' style bag would be for embroidery. So, I embroidered it with something I think of as an iconic summer image (dandelion seeds in the air):
This project is a good example of how I usually work my designs. I _thought_ I'd do a dandelion flower head in seed as part of this design, but then I abstracted it to just the seeds blowing on the wind (at least I _hope_ they look like they are traveling away on the wind:). I used different weights and colors of thread to make the middle three look farther away than the other two. Did it work? :) Here's a close-up:
I _have_ to get my sewing room up and fuctional soonest - I want to work on the feather quilt for BMQG in the worst way. :) We had our monthly meeting this past Sunday and I was given a bunch more feather blocks.
I haven't been to meetings in two months and it was so exciting and invigorating to see people! I really enjoy this group - so full of energy and inspiration.:)
I am going to physical therapy three times a week now. The weather has been hot and humid which is really hard for me to endure (my car has no a/c right now) ... so, by the time I get home to the coolth, I am all in. Sit and drink cold water and let my knee enjoy the cold compress is about all I can do for an hour or two afterwards.
Last Monday was not so bad weather-wise so I treated myself to lunch at Panera Bread (delicious chicken with fruit salad!!). The flowers pictured above were in a raised planter beside the store fronts (Panera near me is part of the Dobbin Road open mall). Here is a view farther around the same planter:
I don't know who has the contract for the horticulture there, but they are doing a bang-up job imho! Such a wonderful mixture of textures and colors in this planting. :) Made my heart happy just to see it. :)
My son Hugh and I went to Baja Fresh (near Panera) for lunch on Friday. They had a shrimp with lime and greens salad that was also tasty. Love my summer salads. :)
That reminds me - last week I lost 4 pounds on the Medifast diet and this week another 2. 6 pounds in two weeks is a HUGE drop for me, so I am encouraged to get going again with losing. Eight months it has been with me on a 'plateau' of non-loss with my weight. :P I'm encouraged to go back to the 'straight and narrow' now.:)
Oops! I see my 20 have expired. Gotta go - will try to post a bit more often here. :)
PS I almost forgot. When I had that salad at Baja Fresh, there was a tiny chopped head of red cabbage amongst the greens. Look how beautiful the fractal pattern of leaf formation is:
Nature is a never-ending source of wonder for me. :)
I've been persevering with my 'taking care of myself' routine. Last Friday morning I saw my knee surgeon and he said that I am healing quicker than usual (and not to be too pushy with myself, to watch out for falls and such) and released me to drive again. Hooray!! :)
To celebrate, I drove myself to Catonsville to Cloverhill Yarn Shop on Saturday afternoon. My poor Cruiser has been sitting in our carport for four weeks without being driven - it was covered with pollen and looks more yellow than its normal dark blue color. Gotta search for a car wash soon. :)
Saturday was the one year birthday of Wae and Amanda buying Cloverhill. I had ordered a pattern from them before my surgery and it was in so I thought I'd just pick it up and say hello. Found some lovely yarn to use for making the pattern, though, and everything was on sale, so had to buy it. A nice cotton yarn in my favorite colors - pink, yellow and orange:
The photo at the top of this post shows the sweater - a short cardigan with fairly simple lines. I'm actually a pretty experienced knitter but I have hesitated to work on sweaters (except for baby ones:) in the past because they take a longer attention span. I'm trying really, really hard in my fiber life NOT to keep starting and never finishing projects....so it is an act of bravery for me to start such a lengthy job. :) I am determined to finish it so I might be working on this one for the entire summer.
I knitted the swatch (and it came out exactly on gauge, surprise!) and am now working on the back. This yarn (Cascade Luna paint) has a soft crimp to it and I really like the texture of the fabric it is creating - soft and plushy. :) I think the sweater itself will be cushy and nice to wear. Here in Maryland, a cotton sweater will be perfect to wear for almost 3/4's of the year. :)
Once I got back from Cloverhill on Saturday, I was really tired - uh, my knee was really tired. My car (and Skip's) is a standard so my left knee has to do clutch duty when I drive. I sat for a while with my nice cool water wrap on (boy does that feel good!).
Sunday I piddled around all day, finishing up other projects so I could start on the sweater. :)
Monday was my first physical therapy session for this week (I'm going Monday, Wednesday and Friday now) and I could really tell that I had not done much in the way of my exercises for the weekend - my knee was really stiff and did not bend as well as on Friday. Sigh. Gotta stick to the straight and narrow!
Monday night was the first meeting of the Wool Club at Springwater Designs. Mary Nielsen is facilitating the club so that made it fun - Mary has a great sense of humor and shares her knowledge and experience very freely. Mostly we talked about her work with various combinations of felt, wool and cotton in applique and her experiences with taking Sue Spargo classes. The club doesn't concentrate on Sue's work specifically but some of the members are going to be working on her patterns, especially the birds and the new Imperial Blooms. I am going to keep up with my determination to finish things by continuing to work on my WoolyLady 'Nature's Way' block of the month quilt.
Next time the club meets (next month) we are supposed to bring our projects to work on...Mary is going to teach some stitches for embellishing and show us how she does turned-edge applique on cotton with starch. :)
The weather has been really hot the past couple of days (high 90's, with humidity index) so I'm hiding out indoors as much as possible. I did go to the first Medifast weigh-in I've been to for five weeks late this afternoon (gained a few pounds, as I expected). My Cruiser's a/c does not work so it was a pretty miserable trip. :P
Tomorrow I have to find a car wash to run the poor sedan through and go to my PT session in the late afternoon. Otherwise, I think I"m going to try to set up my sewing machine. I have to get cracking on making the pretty feather quilt for the Baltimore Modern guild's bingo in September. :)
Today is a lovely summer day - warm but not blazing hot, humid enough for comfort but not breathless, nice. Birds singing, breeze blowing. :) Mind you, I observe this via my windows as I have not yet been outside today. Skip is on his way home from work to take me to my fourth physical therapy session so I soon will be. :)
My knee continues to progress - the therapist said I could cut back to three exercise sessions a day which has freed up a little time for other chores. I am at the point now that I only need the cane to go up and down stairs (and mostly for safety then:). My knee still aches and the cold water pump is still very much my friend (my treat after my exercises:) ... but, for three weeks after surgery, I think I am doing pretty well!
Yesterday was the monthly session of Sew & Tell (meeting at Normandy Sew and Vac in Ellicotty City) and it was wonderful to see my friends there. I gave out the Christmas gifts I got for members (might be the latest I've ever delivered holiday gifts:) ... and had a great time catching up with everyone and their sewing/quilting projects. :)
I bought a new book while I was in the store - I am eager to make several of the projects in this:
I have been tidying places I can get to in a chair - which means that my computer/desk is finally usable again. YEAH! :) I managed to find all my current in-progress journals so I can keep notes, sketch, ephemera, etc. Very much stream-of-consciousness productions. I would not call any of what I do 'art' journaling ... but the pretty project on the cover of my new book wants to be made for a watercolor-worthy sketch book that I can carry around for en-plein-air adventures. :)
The socks are an assortment of mateless pretties that I've uncovered during the bedroom tidy (which is still only about half finished). I've been trolling through my saved files, looking for patterns to create stuffies with those socks. So far, I've found three that I want to try: a dragon, a bunny, and a monkey. Oh, and a kitty:
that I like but will have to figure out for myself as I only have a photo. Good thing I have lots of fiberfill stuffing on hand, eh? :)
I am still restricted to hand sewing - still (sloooowly) cleaning up for my sewing room. I have managed to make some progress on my EPP projects - I finished a small pincushion using hexies:
I need to find my silk thread so I can sew them together a little more invisibly - you can clearly see the beige Aurifil 50 wt. thread I used for construction. :) I decided to make boxed corners - I like that the pinnie stands nicely on the table - instead of a 'pillow' shape.
I'm working on embroidering the candle mat with hexies still - and having fun with it. Can't share that, yet, as it is a gift. :)
My physical therapist is fussing at me to wear shorts to sessions (I didn't own any:) - luckily the order I put in for shorts and tops was delivered this morning so I can dress appropriately. :) I still don't have any sneakers, though (they want me to wear closed-toe/heel shoes and I only have sandals). I will not order shoes via mail - I'm too picky about fit. I haven't been able to get Skip to take me shopping for them (I hate to interrupt his weekend relaxation).
I am soooo looking forward to my four week appointment with the knee surgeon on Friday - I desperately want to be able to drive for myself again! :P
PS The end of the six month period for probating my Mom's estate is soon. I spent a chunk of time this morning sorting through my receipts and making a list of monies I have spent - shocking how much it takes for these purposes. Gotta call the real estate agent later, too. :)
As usual, my life is crazy busy when it isn't quiet and boring. :) The past two days have been busy - happy busy for the most part.
Yesterday morning was the second monthly meeting of the English Paper Piecing Club at Springwater quilt shop, led by Patti Rusk. My friend Barbara took me to the meeting and picked me up after (she is not doing club - went grocery shopping while I sewed:).
What a pleasure it was to relax and be a 'civilian!' :) This month we worked on a Dresden Plate candle mat with a larger-than-usual circle in the center for the candle. I am using Kona solids for my project and purposely picked out eight 5" squares in what I think of as a 'Patty' palette (purple, blue, green) because those are the favorite colors of my buddy Patty S. :). Each square makes two Dresden wedges for a total of 16. I will share a photo soon (the pretty bits are downstairs as I type this and I am up; I plead bum knee:).
It was great to see the show & tell that folks brought to club - including, besides EPP finishes, some hand embroideries and some wool appliqué. I also got some visceral happiness out of browsing through the shop after club, petting the pretty fabrics. :). I quite like the row project and license plate Dawn chose for the summer hop. I am looking forward to visiting area shops during July and August to collect patterns. If I get to go to GenCon with Hugh in August, I will have a great excuse for visiting Ohio and Indiana shops. :)
In the afternoon after club, the home Physical Therapist came for my last visit. Yesterday was the 14th day after my knee surgery and she took put the suture staples. Truthfully, that was a somewhat unpleasant process - 35 staples too a while to pluck out and some of them stung, despite her best efforts to be gentle. However, it was no worse than getting the blood thinner shots (every night for 19 days after surgery - that's almost done, too!).
The very BEST part about staple pulling is that now I can take showers again!! YEAH! :) Hot running water is soooo wonderful compared to a sponge bird bath from the sink. Heavenly! :)
Thursday mornings my 'traditional' guild meets. My friend Barbara, newly retired, picked me up and we went to guild together. It was so good to see friends - some of whom I have not seen for a couple of years, others who were regular visitors to the shop. Today was Love Quilt day - they were putting together packets of 9" squares to make kits for sewing over the summer. I gave my knee a break and set out working this time. I got up to visit with folks then sat to rest for a while by turns. I had taken my Dresden project along to sew but I don't think I took a single stitch in it - too busy visiting and chatting. :)
Tomorrow will be a quiet, routine day at home. I have to spend some time researching Physical Therapists for my out-patient visits. Other than that, I think I will try to accomplish some light housework mixed with some reading. After two days out, I know I will need to rest.
I think the iPad interface (which I am using for this post) appends photos at the end of my post? You can see a picture of the small (2"x2"?) strawberry that I created there. Yes, that means my desktop computer is still down.
Yesterday (Sunday) Skip and I took my comp to the Apple store in Columbia Mall to be fiddled with. They got it to work fine for them (after reinstalling the system). I used it for about an hour when we got home and it began doing nasty tricks again. Sigh. Skip is going to have to do some more diagnostics before we try taking it back (he is convinced that somewhere I visit online is infecting the machine with a virus).
We went walking while we were at the mall (a place I have clearly not been for many months - there is an entire new townhouse/apartment complex being built on the approaching road that I don't remember ever seeing). Maybe I pushed myself a teeny bit too hard - we walked about 1/2 mile - but it felt good to get out. I had been thinking on Saturday about how stir crazy I was getting. :)
I am still doing the daily eat - exercise - rest ... Repeat. I am using the cane entirely now instead of a walker and am down to taking the pain pills three times a day instead of every four hours. Progress is slow but steady. :)
I decided not to go to my quilt guild meeting tonight so my knee can rest ... But I am planning to go to my day guild meeting in Thursday morning. I have a meeting on Wednesday morning of the EPP Club at Springwater Designs shop. Not sure how I will get there, yet (still can't drive). Guess I will call Dawn to see if anyone else in the group is near me.
Hope to get outside for a little while tomorrow. The weather is the most perfect June sort and I am missing it all!
PS Before this surgery, I spent months chatting with customers and friends about their experiences with knee replacement recovery. I am going to try to make a list here in my next post of the good ideas people shared with me - I do have to go through this at least once more and I'd like to remember the useful items. :)