WiP Wednesday

I haven’t checked in on a work-in-progress Wednesday for a couple of weeks. I may have slowed down now that I’m back at work, but I still make a point to spend an hour in the sewing room whenever I can. Today I’m linking up here:

 

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

 

 

 

 

Here’s what I’ve been up to!

A couple of Saturdays ago I couldn’t find any more excuses for putting my taxes off.  Who looks forward to that, eh? Not me! So I told myself that as soon as I finished my taxes, I could work on the April Treasure Chest Block-of-the-Month as a reward. With that motivation and a couple of cups of strong tea, I got right to work and finished them in no time!

And then…my reward! Voila! The Greek Cross!

 

I’ve also been making some 6-inch stars for Nora’s quilt:

 

After all that, I had the thought that maybe I should clean my sewing machine. So I took off the needle plate and prepared myself for a linty mess…but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, considering that it’s literally been YEARS since I last cleaned it.

 

I’ll leave you with some beautiful light from the Lake House this last weekend. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Earth Day Presentation at Yukon College

…because sometimes I DO write about things that have nothing to do with quilting!

Today at lunch I went down to the “pit” (our Yukon College common area) to listen to a noon-hour presentation by the Kitchen-Kuiack family, who were the winners of the Canadian Geographic Energy Diet Challenge. 

Marguerite and Brian and their two daughters, 17-year-old Simone and 12-year-old Marika, came to share what they learned and how they did it. But they didn’t just talk, they also shared several of the two-minute videos that Simone had made as part of the project.  In total they were required to make 32 videos and post 32 blogs during the 3-month challenge. Wow! The videos we saw today were funny, engaging and informative and I thoroughly enjoyed them. I have been trying to track them down on the web so I could link to a few here, but unfortunately I haven’t had any luck. If I can find them later, I’ll post them then. Anyway, the family also passed around samples of various types of LED lightbulbs for us to see…these replace both the old-fashioned incandescent ones and the newer low energy fluorescent ones,. But better than that, they were able to talk about what they liked and didn’t like about the different types of bulbs. In fact, after hearing them talk, I’ll seriously consider replacing our “new” low energy fluorescent bulbs with these lower-energy LED ones when they wear out. The family also generously shared copies of their electric bills (down a whopping 32%), passed around a watt-hour meter (a little device that shows how much power whatever device you plug into it is using), and shared some of the more innovative outside-the-box ideas that they tried out, such as using grey water to flush the toilet.

They mentioned briefly that all of the participants in the challenge had to make and use a solar oven, and that as a result they used 51% less cooking fuel! Wow! I would have liked to have learned more about that. I think that is something we could definitely use here in the Yukon, so I may have to do a little research of my own. That would be a cool summer project for the Lake House, eh?

17-year-old Simone also took part in the Shell Canada driving challenge and shared some of the things she learned there as well. I was happy to see that many of the driving tips were things I already do. For example, I like to manage my vehicles energy much the same way I manage my bicycle, by coasting down hills (instead of powering down them) and coasting to stop signs & stop lights instead of powering up to them and then braking. However, I was also happy to learn some things that I hadn’t thought of, such as pretending there is an egg under the accelerator pedal, or pretending that there’s a full glass of water on the dashboard. These little imaginings should help to smooth out acceleration and deceleration. Smoother driving with less braking will definitely make a considerable difference in the amount of gas I burn (and have to buy).

After the presentation, I even got to plant some arugula and pea seeds to take home for my windowsill for future healthy munching!

I work in a cool place. Thanks for hosting this great lunch-time presentation, Yukon College, and thanks to the Kitchen-Kuiack family for sharing your experience with us. 

Happy Earth Week, everyone!

A Broken Day and a Pretty Dress

I haven’t written anything about my experience with menopausal depression for awhile. I don’t want to be one of those people who complain endlessly about their health, so I try not to talk about it too much. But since I started with that first post, (if you want to follow along, look under “depression” in the drop-down categories) I guess I will continue. Please stop reading now if it’s going to drive you bananas!

This is my third week back on the job. The first week, I only came in for two days. The second week I came in for 3 days. This week, I’m back to full time.

Wearing the everything-is -okay mask again has been tiring, and I’m exhausted at the end of the day. I’ve had a couple of small anxiety attacks at unusual times, too. For example, at the end of the day when I’m lying in bed I’ll suddenly start to panic. Kelly holds onto me and tells me I’m safe and that it will pass. God bless my husband.

I had two broken days in a row last weekend (Friday & Saturday). I held it all together through the work week, and then fell to pieces as soon as the pressure was off. I guess that makes sense. Today is another broken day as well, and I guess that makes sense, too.

What’s next? Well, part of my wellness plan is to attend a special course that was designed to teach lifestyle & self-management tools to people with depression and other related disorders. It takes place one morning per week for seven weeks. Sometimes I look forward to it, and sometimes I dread it. When I dread it, it’s because I’m scared and proud. I’m scared because what if being so immersed in the subject will make things worse?  And my pride doesn’t want me to be labeled and judged before I even walk in the door as “depressedNita”. I don’t want to be depressedNita! I want to be joyfulNita!

On the other hand, I look forward to being in the class because I really do want to be 100% well again.  I’m willing to  do whatever it takes to get the joyful ME back, and I’m hoping that taking this course will give me some great tools for my kit.

So the course information session was today. I went into the meeting feeling pretty good, but walked out feeling extremely shaky. At the end of the meeting, we were asked to fill out our answers to a dozen or so questions on a written form. I tried to answer as honestly as I could, but as I went from question to question, I began to realize that I’m really not as fine as I thought I was. It shook me up.

Afterwards, I sat in my car for a long time before I could drive away. I felt nauseous and lightheaded, and my chest and throat hurt. I might have thought I was having a heart attack, but I know from experience what anxiety and panic feels like, and that was the worst panic attack I’ve had in a long, long time.

I needed to be calm before going back to work, so I parked the car on Main Street and walked up and down a bit, just allowing myself to be amongst people, breathing and trying to feel settled again. I went into a store to browse, and ended up buying two dresses. Two dresses that made me feel confident and pretty the instant I put them on. Two dresses that made me smile and see myself on the outside the way I want to feel on the inside.

I like that image of myself: there goes Nita, moving towards wellness in a pretty dress.

inspiration in strange places

Thanks to everyone for their opinion on the colour choices – that was fun! Funny how this quilt is building itself. It reminds me of when I was choreographing At Last. It just seems to have a mind of its own, and I just have to be patient and wait for the quilt to reveal itself.

So as we were getting ready to leave for band this evening, I suddenly saw the little area rug in front of the door in a new light.  Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Voila! …..inspiration comes in strange places!

Your Opinion Needed!

Well, I’m ready to start putting Nora’s Star quilt together. I’ve made 15 blocks, and after squaring them up and taking a good hard look, I’ve chosen my favourite 12 to go into the quilt. I’ve also decided to sash them. For you non-quilters, sashing means to frame each square with fabric strips. As an example, here are two pictures: the one on the left is un-sashed. The one on the right has white sashing.

 

 

 

 

So, as I said, I’ve decided to sash each block as a way of pulling them all together and add a bit of extra width and length to the quilt. And I need some help deciding! I have three options: White sashing, Yellow sashing, or Navy Blue. Here are pictures of the yellow and navy blue options:

 

 

 

 

Of the three options, I like the white sashing the least. I’m torn between the yellow and the blue, but I’ll post all three for you to see. The yellow would be easiest to hand quilt, and would look nice because I’m using the same yellow for the backing. The blue would be harder to hand quilt because it has a gold print overlay. And the white would show the seam allowances. I could also use the yellow for sashing and backing, and the blue for binding. Or the yellow for sashing and outer border with a narrow navy inside border. Or just the opposite: Navy sashing and inner border with yellow backing and binding. sigh. You see my problem?

Anyway,  I could sure use your opinion! Please leave a comment and tell me what you think about the sashing in the three layouts below! Thanks!

Yellow with gold & cream flower print:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Navy Blue with gold fleur de lies:

 

 

 

 

 

 

plain white:

Permission to do nothing at all

The cabin is the one place in the world where we have given ourselves permission to do nothing at all. We each fall into our own rhythm there. Kelly loves to putter, and so for him the cabin is handyman heaven. He can easily spend the day fixing up this or that, interspersed with one or two (or three!) naps on the couch and a good session with his book or listening to CBC radio shows. I love to read and knit or sew, and can easily spend the entire day with a good book or handiwork project. In fact, I keep a special project mainly just for the lake. For the last two summers it was making the appliqué squares for Halia’s quilt. Before that I spent an entire summer knitting hats. This summer (and probably the next one or two summers as well!) will be spent on the appliquéd orange peel quilt.

So, speaking of the cabin, we spent the Easter long weekend there last week. The weather was spectacular. It was the first day that the sun was warm enough to sit out and enjoy it.

 

 

And, since the April We Be Learning Bee block was posted, I decided that that would be my weekend project. April is Jody’s month, and she requested a scrap basket wonky log cabin. So I grabbed my scrap bag and took it with me. I decided that I would make this modern wonky block in a very traditional fashion – hand pieced! So I sat out in the sun and sewed one strip onto the next with needle and thread. I even put my antique iron on the wood stove and used it to press the seams. That was very cool. My stitches are neither the smallest nor the straightest ever made, but I think the square will be sturdy enough. At least, I hope so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I read two books at the lake as well: Round Robin and then The Runaway Quilt, both by Jennifer Chiaverini. The Runaway Quilt is what inspired me to try piecing the wonky log cabin square by hand. I need to go back to the library and see if they have any other books in the series, as it’s a good one!

We had the telescopes with us, and got in some good viewing of a pretty active solar corona as well as sun spots with the solar scope. Here he is – what a beautiful day!

And he also got three clear nights in a row stargazing with his TeleVue. Sorry, I don’t have a picture of that since it was night and I’d be in more trouble than I can imagine if I snapped the flash at him!

Every one loves coming to the cabin. There’s Spooky in her favourite place…the middle of the bed.

 

 

 

Here’s Misty in her favourite place. Can you see her hiding there?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think Samson loves the sun more than the rest of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we got home on Monday, I finished a half-triangle square that I had started last week. I’ll need more than the 12 that we’ll be making in the In Color Order half-triangle squares BOM, so when I saw this pattern, I thought I would add it to the collection.

 

 

 

 

As usual, since it’s Work-in-Progress Wednesday, I’m linked in to The Needle and Thread Network, Sew Much Ado and Freshly Pieced, so head on over and check out what other crafters are up to!

That was my long weekend, a little bit late but better than never! How was yours?

Wednesday

Well, I’m going back to work this morning after 6 weeks off. I’m a little nervous, but excited also. I got up early to give myself plenty of stress-free morning time, including time to do 30 minutes on the treadmill. Yay me!  Now I’m having a cup of tea and deciding what to wear. I wrote most of this blog yesterday and will post it on my lunch hour. I’ve got to get going, so I’ll let you all know tomorrow how it went!

On to the crafting front (it’s WIP Wednesday, after all!)…

It’s been a frustrating week of experimentation in the sewing room. I had some great ideas – really great ideas – that unfortunalely weren’t so great after all. On the plus side, my various failed experiments did result in a massive influx of scraps for the scrap bin. Always look for the bright side, eh? Now I will have enough scraps to make an authentic scrap quilt. (A quilt of failed intentions?) Lol!

I did manage to finish two projects, though. Here is the April In Colour Order block-of-the-month. I love pinwheels and would like to do an entire pinwheel quilt someday.

 

 

 

 

 

…and here are all four months together. Looking good, eh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also made one more star block for Nora’s quilt. It didn’t look as much like a star as I had hoped, so I’ll applique this little mini-pinwheel to the center. I think that’ll make it look more like a star (since it is a star quilt, after all) This one reminds me of a galaxy.

I’m linking in with The Needle and Thread Network, Sew Much Ado and Freshly Pieced today, so check out what other crafters have been up to this week!

 

In other news, we had a great time at the lake this weekend. Sammy, Kelly and I had a great time playing chase-the-ball, which means Kelly throws the ball, Sammy chases it, and then I tramp out to pick  it up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Todays blog post has been brought to you by Samuel J Collins!

 

 

 

A Whole Lotta Notes!

Monday night is Big Band night.  Since we’re getting ready for our annual “Swing into  Spring” dance, we ran through a few of the pieces that we’ll be playing. Thumbing through the folder looking for a particular piece (that should have been filed alphabetically, but seemed to have somehow been filed chronologically instead), I finally found it and pulled it out. After surveying the many pencil markings I’ve made on it over the years, I announced to nobody in particular, “Wow, this chart has a lot of notes on it!” To which wisecracker George chimed in, “That’s because it’s Sheet Music!”

sigh

And speaking of which, have you seen that clown they hired over at the WalMart? I’m told he hides from stupid people. (har har har)

Now I know you’ve all probably seen this, but it’s just that kind of a day and so I’m going to put it here for you, just in case you need a good laugh this morning. Enjoy!