Sunday, February 23, 2014

Just an ordinary week

It has been a pretty quiet week here.  Yes, of course, we have had snow and Friday was a 'no school' day but that IS ordinary here this time of year.  
 I have been back working on a new quilt for our living room.  This is my latest creation.  It is not all together yet but I had to lay it out on the floor to arrange the pieces.  This one is a little tricky because I have to put it together on the diagonal. I love the colors.  Bud didn't think that he would like turquoise as an accent color in our gray living room but I think maybe I convinced him that it would look great.  He really liked this quilt and how it really 'pops'.  I am excited to see it finished.

I am also looking at making another quilt pretty soon.  I have chosen this pattern for that quilt.  I am making a twin size for the granddaughter of a friend and a queen size for a wedding this summer.  As you can see, the projects are starting to stack up so I need to get busy.  I will abandon the quilt for me if I don't get it done before selecting the other fabric for the other two quilts.   
 This past week Bud went in to a pain clinic to receive a nerve block shot for his shingles.  They are getting better, in fact the spots are almost totally gone, but he still has some nerve pain and would like to get off the medication for the pain.  This nerve block shot has worked quite well so he is on the way to a quicker recovery and relief of the pain.  He is just taking an afternoon nap here.  The late afternoon 'need to rest his eyes' moment took over.

While I was recovering and not able to sew, I was blessed with a wonderful selection of books that I read.  I thought I would share my latest list and some recommendations.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer,  It truly was an interesting book, kind of hard to summarize but it was a book I heard about on NPR and just had to try it out.  There are a group of young people that meet at a summer camp and the book is about their growing up.  I liked it quite a bit.

Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos, This book was a gift from the Tenn. Claradys.  I LOVED this book.  Very inspirational, funny, sad, wise, moving and engaging story.  (enough adjectives???) Thank You Claradys.  I strongly recommend this book to anyone.

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin,  Sara let me borrow this book that her friend Emily gave her.  I LOVED this on too but it was more sad and yet beautiful and haunting.  I loved the story, most of the characters and the way the author wrote.  Thank you Sara for sharing.

Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell, I bought this one myself.  It was a good story that took place in Michigan.  It was a bit too sad or maybe I just thought the characters made too many mistakes in their lives. Sometimes I just wanted to slap the main character but she was a VERY young girl trying to survive on her own.  I'm not sure I would recommend this one but it was interesting to read.

Astrid and Veronica, I don't know the author's name since this book was lent to me by my hand therapist. She watched me bring in books every week while they did my heat treatments and shared this WONDERFUL book with me.  It is a very touching story by a Swedish author about 2 women becoming friends and their relationship.  I strongly recommend this book too.  I am thankful that she shared this book with me.

The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag is my newest book. I just started it this last week and since I have been able to do some sewing, I am not getting through it as fast but so far it is quite good.

So there you have it, my book recommendations from the last few months. Maybe you will be inspired to share some of your favorite books with me.  I love finding new authors.

Monday, February 17, 2014

I am back to my quilting

This past weekend I took another class at my favorite quilting store. This one was a little 'out there' with a title of 'Crazy Village'.  The point of the class was to unlock your creative side make a village with crazy houses and trees on a hill.  
 There were just 4 people in the class and it was scheduled to be a 4 hour class.  Our instructor was a very nice man,  YES, I did say man.  He is a former elementary teacher from the area and he has branched out in his retirement to teaching quilting classes.  You can see that the creations were especially crazy.  I like the one above because she had a white background for he village and a unusual print for her hill.
 Here you can see a couple more pieces that were in progress that day.
 Our instructor worked on a piece of his own while teaching the class.
 This is his piece and was still a work in progress.
 I'm not too sure about my work but it was a fun class.
 I left after about 3 hours because I was kind of at a point that I needed to step back and look at my piece.  I now know I probably made a couple of mistakes and if I were to do it over I would have used a different background and maybe made my houses shorter.  I am not done yet, I will continue to add details and then do the quilting but I needed to 'give it a rest' before returning to fill in places where I think something is needed.

I decided to update this page and show the quilt in its final form.  I added some flowers and the blue border around the piece.  It is ready to give away.

However, I am still more comfortable with traditional landscape quilts.  I made one very similar to this one earlier and put it in the quilt show a couple of weeks ago.  It sold to a friend to put in her granddaughters nursery.  My Occupational Therapist that I am seeing for my had told me that she liked it a lot and had considered buying it too.  I thought that would give me an opportunity to make another one since I like making them.  The last one had a swing hanging from one of the branches but this time I decided that a nice bench would look great.  I am going to call this one 'Sky Blue Pink Sunrise'.  The phrase 'sky blue pink' comes from my Dad. When we would ask him a question, especially a question that involved a color such as "what color the new baby kittens were this year", he would frequently respond with 'sky blue pink' which was his way of telling you to wait and see.  I do like this one as much as the one with the swing.  However, looking at the picture, I do notice that the tree may be " a little off " with the main part being too fat but I an amateur so it is a 'trial and error' type of process.  I do really like the bench though.  

On another note, we have been catching up on our movies lately and went to see The Monuments Men on Saturday.  It was a good movie and I would recommend it.  

I am running out of thought and will resist going to my weather report.  Remember that summer will be coming soon and the worm weather will feel wonderful.  However, I can't resist the information that was in the TIME magazine this week,  78.7% of the Great Lakes are frozen, the largest portion since 1996.  For the last 40 years the lakes have averaged just 51% covered so it has been cold here.  (I guess I didn't avoid the weather report after all.)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Life is good

This past week I drove down to Coleman again to go with Leo to a doctor's appointment.  The doctors are following up on his 6 month appointments.  He had a GREAT report from all of them. He had a CAT scan and an MRI and they didn't find any cancer cells.  He will continue to have these scans every 6 months for about 5 years.  That wears on him, but we both loved the good news.   

I arrived Monday evening after leaving from Kingsley where I volunteered for the afternoon.  Leo has become quite a cook in his new house and had some leftover pork roast and some homemade bread for me.  I think he enjoys cooking much more in his own home and he really likes have a gas stove instead of the electric one he had at the apartment.  He has even cooked for friends a couple times, hosting a Super Bowl party for Braden and Denise and then making spaghetti for Braden this past week.  I am glad that he is back in the community with family around him.  

After dinner we settled down to watch an episode of Jeopardy but didn't make it to Final Jeopardy because we lost power.  We sat around a little while with his one candle burning but I finally decided I might just as well go to bed.  Even with the power out it was beautiful outside.  When you live in town you forget how much moonlight and the snow light the night sky.  The power went on a couple of hours later but I was fast asleep.  
 In the morning the local wildlife greeted me when I woke up.  These deer were right in the front yard, not paying much attention to us at all.  He has quite a herd that come by on a regular basis.  The often bed down in the pine trees around his house.  It is a very peaceful place.
 This one was getting a little suspicious but not bothered enough to run away.  They just strolled around trying to find some food.
 After the deer, the turkeys came by for a visit.  This was quite a group of turkeys.  I really don't know what you call a group of turkeys but the too strolled through the front yard and off in to the woods.

 Friday night was then night of our Quilt Show here in town.  I made cookies to take as refreshments.  That was fun because I have been avoiding baking for almost a year since cookies are NOT on our diet.  We had a very good turnout to the opening reception.  The red and black piece the second from the right is one of my pieces.
 In this display the tree is my other piece.  They are for sale but I am not optimistic about making any money on them.  It was just fun and good for my ego to have something in a show.  I was among some very good professionals in this show. Some of the quilts were Art Quilts and some of them were more traditional quilts.  I like doing both kinds but am loving the new Art Quilts which allow for more creativity.
 This whimsical piece was one of my favorite Art Quilts.  This coming Saturday I am taking a class at a local quilt shop that will help me create some pieces that are more whimsical and am looking forward to learning some tips on how to put colors and shapes together.
 Sunday I went to the Traverse City Indoor Folk Festival to listen to my friend MaryAnne and her daughter sing.  Both the quilt show and the Folk Festival were held at what we locals call the Old State Hospital buildings.  A developer has taken some old building and turned them into shops and offices,.  It is an interesting place to visit.
MaryAnne has been my friend for many years.  She was a music teacher in Kingsley and we have been great friends for many years.

Bud is getting better.  I think he had a very light case of Shingles and he caught it early.  That 'self diagnosis' was important to getting treatment early.  He was able to go to work all last week and the medication he is taking for the pain is working.

We have been trying to work our way (a little late) through the Oscar nominated movies.  When the nominations came out I don't think we had seen any of them.  Several weeks ago we saw Philomena  which was very good.  This past weekend we saw two movies that were in town, Nebraska which was interesting and touching; and American Hustle which was equally interesting but not at all touching.  Now that they have 10 movies nominated we have a long way to go to catch all of them.  From the previews of some of them I think we will skip at least The Wolf of Wall Street.

I am done!!  I've got no more.  But as you see, life IS good here.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Not much new

It seems thast not ;much was 'picture worth' this past week so I think it will be a short post but I never know for sure when I sit down to the computer.  
 My friend Maryanne stopped over with her husband Gordon this past week.  They were delivering a bench that Gordon made for our entrance.  When we cut down a large oak tree to build our garage, Gordon took the longer pieces of the oak and made some boards.  He offered to make something for us out of that oak. He is a wonderful wood worker and has just recently retired as an engineer and owner of a company here in T.C.  This wonderful bench was built to fit exactly in our entrance.  Bud will need to finish the bench and that will probably wait until spring when the weather is warmer and he can work in his garage.

Speaking of Bud, he is recovering slowly from his episode of Shingles.  Some days are better than others.  The rash on his skin is looking less 'angry' but he continues to have nerve pain.  He did go back to work the end of this past week.  He stayed home Monday and Tuesday and did a few meetings on Wednesday and Thursday.  I think he put in a whole day on Friday and Saturday.  He is resting a lot in the evening when he comes home but he seems to be recovering.  I understand it is a slow recovery.

I continue to receive therapy on my wrist.  It too is getting better and I am able to use the computer and many other things without too much difficulty.  It is still stiff but it is getting more flexible every week.  The therapy is very helpful.
 I drove down to Coleman this past week to go to the oncologist with Leo.  The appointment went well.  We have one more meeting with him this coming week and a couple more tests to get results from.  I don't think he is getting too tired of me yet.  This week he cooked for me again.  He had a great Pot Roast all ready for me when I arrived on Wednesday evening.  It was delicious. I don't know what he is cooking this next week but I am sure it will be great.  I have been very lucky with weather and driving.  It seems that the storms have avoided the days that I am traveling.  This last Thursday I arrived home just in time to miss a 'squall' that passed through the area in the evening.  I have been very thankful for good roads and missing the storms while traveling.
The cold weather here in N. Michigan has finally managed to freeze the bay.  This is a picture out our living room window using the telephoto lens through the treetops.  All that white is ice.  I heard it has officially froze which means that the bay is frozen clear to Ford Island.  There are conflicting stories about how far out the ice goes but we haven't seen temps above freezing for so long that when it gets in the 20s we think that it is warming up.

Well, I managed to fill in quite a bit for this entry so I think with that weather report I will close.  (Weather information in N. Michigan can always fill in LOTS of space.)  As we say up here, " Stay warm and stay out of the ditches."

Happy Groundhog's Day  I am sure we are going to have 6 more weeks of winter here.  We are hoping it will be JUST 6 more weeks not 3 more months.