Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Staying at home...

I'm restless and unsettled, but not depressed.  Checking the news multiple times a day doesn't help the constant low-grade anxiety, especially since nothing really changes--at least not for the better.  The news is always Covid 19.

I thought about Duchess Goldblatt's  comment (I love her twitter feed):  "I’ll tell you children the same thing I tell Hacienda. You get 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night to read the news. That’s it.

That is so much harder than it sounds.  A simple solution, but a complicated response.  Like not touching your face, shaking hands, or coming within six feet of another person--takes a little time to re-calibrate those  automatic responses.

My days are filled with mostly mundane things:

  1.  I feed the cats.
  2.  Walk around restlessly.
  3. Make smoothies for the worm farm.
  4. I actually harvested two small buckets of worm castings and
  5. distributed them into garden pots.
  6. I boiled some eggs for my salads. 
  7. Sliced some lemons and put them in the freezer. 
  8. Froze some of Fee's homemade vegetable soup (so good!).
  9. I do my yoga routine daily.
  10. I started adding some qigong, and both make me feel better.
  11. Walk around restlessly.
  12. Read.
  13. Do laundry and other chores. 
  14. Text friends and family.  Usually adding or laughing at a C 19 meme or joke.
  15. Finally managed to start a new hand stitching project.
  16. My goal of walking at least two miles a day is usually in the house because of the rain.  I'll set the timer for 10 or 20 minutes several times a day.  Walking with intent instead of the meandering I do from being unsettled.
  17. Read blogs. 
  18. Eat Ritz cracker(s) slathered with peanut butter.
  19. Wait for 5:00 and wine.
  20. I read Nan's blog post and added the "daana" routine to my own practice.
  21. Watch the birds on the feeders.  Rain or shine, they visit the feeders.
  22. Garden when we have a dry day or two.
  23. Think about what we can have for supper.  
  24. Check for recipes and ingredients.
  25. Read.
I find it interesting that my usual go-to solutions, reading and embroidery, are not as satisfying.  It is the physical things that take my mind off our new global situation:  yoga, qigong, gardening, walking.  :) Hopefully, they will help counteract my other entertainment which is eating.

  Between breaks in the rain, I've gardened.  Weeding, cleaning up, planting some vegetables, harvested some worm castings and distributed into potted plants. 

 view from other end

small batch of worm castings,
I've gotten plenty more.
Lenten Rose

How are you keeping busy?
What helps you deal with stress, anxiety?

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

As We All Adjust to the New Normal

 Positive Notes:

Incoming Mail

Amelia had a postcard made from B.E.'s latest art work. :) 
Made me and my mailbox very happy.  


I've made several collage postcards lately
and three went out today.

to Mila

 to Max

to B.E.
(oops, misspelled Colette)

letter to Erin

National Women's History Month 

Some great links for parents girls and and for educators: 
Interesting resources for Women's History Month,  
WASPs of WWII,  
The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park
 American Women and the Invention of Computer Programming,
Alice Ball, the young woman who revolutionized the treatment of leprosy

Italians on separate balconies enjoy a community meal at a distance.  Love.

I need to settle on a stitching project to keep me busy and peaceful for a while.  I've continued to keep up with my yoga and walking goals, but the third goal of getting out at least once a week has been struck from the list.  

What are you doing to keep busy, what plans or projects do you have in mind?  Keep well.

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Yesterday, I sat on the back porch reading and watching the birds feeding in the rain. All of a sudden there was a whoosh and mourning doves, finches, and sparrows  all took off at once.  I looked around to see what had startled them and saw this Cooper's (?) hawk settle on the fence.

I waited for him to fly away, but after about five minutes, I realized the rain didn't bother him and he was in no hurry to leave.  I looked at the time and decided to wait and see what happened next.  I kept reading and glancing up at the fence for the next 20 minutes.  All he did was turn his head back and forth, scanning for prey I guess, even though his presence had scattered all small things, including squirrels, from the area.

A week or so ago, flocks of cedar waxwings swooped back and forth in our neighborhood looking for holly trees.  Our neighbor has a large holly that was full of bright red berries, and the cedar waxwings descended.  In short order, all the red berries at the top of the tree were gone.  

Here is part of one flock waiting in our crab-apple tree for their turn on the holly.

despite so may overcast and rainy days, 
The Carolina Jasmine offer a bright contrast to dreary skies
that have been the norm lately.

Today, sunshine!
 The other lettuce bolted about 6 weeks ago, but this one just keeps producing.  The kale, green onions, and lettuce have kept me in fresh salad material since November.  
 Because the lettuce was doing so well, I gave in and got another salad spinner.  Years ago, I had one and liked it.  Avoiding the plastic ones, I decided on the OXO steel spinner.  It is large enough to accommodate the largesse of lettuce and kale and makes washing produce quicker and easier.  The amazing thing is how crisp it keeps the lettuce.  The only drawback is that it takes up a lot of room in the fridge.  As much as I love my salads, I can put up with it sacrificing a little room in the fridge.  

Taking a break from the decisions involved in  cleaning and organizing my studio space, I cut several different sizes for more gift bags.  I donated a lot of fabric to GoodWill, but kepts some pieces that were large enough for gift bags, and I got started.
 For really large items, I'm making some bags out of dish cloths I bought on sale and tucked away with using.

While cleaning out drawers, I found some tea bags in my stash of miscellaneous items and made some lavender sachets.  I may make some from muslin as well.  

Incoming Mail

Outgoing Mail

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Keeping Busy, but not always productive :)

I have been on another attempt to straighten and organize my sewing and craft stuff.  I've gone through my fabric stash and filled a box for Goodwill.  Added some ancient Quilting Arts magazines and even some of my beloved Prims magazines.   Started another box and filled it with more fabric and other miscellaneous items that were intended for various projects and will never be used again.  (Sometimes items move back and forth from the donate to the keep pile and back again.)  

Have to wrangle the chaos upstairs before I can play again.     

Favorite books so far this month:

18 Tiny Deaths:  The Untold Story of Frances Glessner Lee and the Invention of Modern Forensics.  I'd never heard of Frances Glessner Lee before, but she is almost single-handedly responsible for pioneering forensic science in the U.S.  A remarkable woman.  
Glass Houses is the 14th book in Louise Penny's Three Pines/Inspector Gamache series and as compelling as I expected.  

February Incoming 

From Iliana, aka  "the bookbinder"

from Hannah

Mardi Gras Season card from Teresa


Lost Words postcards to Hannah and Melody

Love the Chinese New Year stamps and have already used several.

Word Play  -- such fun!  Manipulating words to illustrate meaning.  So many good examples!

More Fun--Since it is the Year of the Rat, it seems appropriate to mention Rachie's Ratirement Home.  Far, far away in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel and her team take in rats and mice and care and rehabilitate them.  They even have a FB page.  It was, however, the best and worst rats of the week that got my attention.    

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Can't Wait

I am so excited that tonight I will get to see Ailey II.  I never thought I'd have the opportunity to see the Ailey Dancers, but they will be performing tonight at the Strand Theater.  Years ago, for my 30th birthday, my husband took me to see Baryshnikov and Peter Martins perform in Biloxi, Mississippi--it remains one of the highlights of my life.  Now, to be able to see a performance by the Ailey Dancers is a thrill I never expected to see  and it is local!


What miracles dancers reveal about the capability of the human body!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

I found James Preller's Valentine to the Earth and loved it.  (James Preller is an American writer of children's books including Bystander, Six Innings, and the Jigsaw Jones Mysteries.   Wikipedia

In this current world of bad news, do you look for positive news to cheer you up?  Positive news is out there, but doesn't get a lot of attention in the midst of all the depressing news and events.  I need hopeful.  Sometimes desperately.  When depression and/or anxiety threaten to overwhelm me, a few "good news" items can perk me back up.  A friend posted the following on FB, and I didn't have to time to view it when I saw it, but kept the link--and I'm so glad I did.

I have written a few letters and have some to answer, but it seems I have gotten behind in so many things lately.  Happily, I'm still on target with my three goals and have yet to miss a day of yoga or walking or weekly getting out of the house.  

 used vellum to make this envelope; next time, I'll decorate 
the letter inside so it will show through :)

on back of Max's - another pun

On back of B.E.'s

I expanded on the embroidered mandala using the tart tins again and some small circles.  
I don't know if I'll continue to add to this piece or not, 
but I've enjoyed using the beautiful variegated pearl from Stef Francis. 
 The pearl cotton is so fine it is hardly bigger than sewing thread.

After knocking my good scissors off the counter, I decided to make a scissors keeper.  My first attempt, ended up with the addition of a mother-of-pearl button before being sent off as a gift.  I'm making another one for me.  I have a lot of scissors because I cut a lot of paper, but my good scissors are another thing entirely and deserve more care.

Sisters in Innovation: 20 Women Inventors You Should Know  

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Last Week in January

Today is dreary and overcast.  No rain in the forecast, but a gloomy sky.  A little breezy and the chimes are sounding, leaving that long, deep resonance in the air.  

Stitching.  Finished the third panel for 25 Million Stitches!  It will go in the mail this week, leaving me having to begin a new stitchery project to keep myself calm.  :)

 About 7,000 + stitches in this one.  I quit counting when I got close to 7,000, but kept adding more elements.  The stitches are fairly large and the pearl cotton is a craft variety, the kind that comes in packages with assorted colors and is very inexpensive.  I bought them when B.E. was interested in sewing, and they came in handy for this panel.

As soon as I finished the final panel, I had to begin a new piece so I could play with the beautiful, hand-dyed, fine pearl cotton from Stef Francis.  I've been buying her beautiful threads for about ten years.  Tiny stitches in this one.  Another hand stitching project with no goal or purpose other than to enjoy the process and use the beautiful very fine pearl cotton from Stef Francis.  Maybe at some point I will figure out what to do with it.

I rediscovered these mini tart molds when straightening up.  Bought at a flea market years ago for a baker doll I was making.  Since the muslin was already out, I traced the edge of the mold and outlined it in back stitch.  Moving on to a center with a circle of stem stitches and then, filling in with French knots and seed stitches.  Improvising as I continued with more circles.  


from Connie

2nd letter from Sherlock Holmes
Have to admit that these letters aren't as much fun as I'd hoped.
Fee, on the other hand, is delighted with his historical letters.

from Penne

Penne also included this magnet!
Of course, reading shapes dreams--
I love it!

Goals--another week of goals completed!  My "get out of the house" goal was to the recycling center.  Not much fun, but still satisfying.  Maybe this week, I'll get the GoodWill stuff delivered.

Books/Reading--Finished Nicholas Delbanco's Why Writing Matters.  Currently reading The Indomitable Florence Finch.  Both are fascinating for such different reasons.

Podcasts-- A Needle Pulling Thread is a series of excerpts from a wide assortment of folks who discuss the importance of stitching in their lives.  

January is almost over!  This month has flown by.  My pantry is neat and clean again, but I'm a bit tired of cleaning and organizing.  The cabinets await--they may be waiting for a good while.

Hope you are having a good week!