Monday, December 1, 2014

Project Progress and Finishes

I have been quite busy since my last blog post.  I finished my wolves cross stitch picture and framed it. It's in my youngest son's room on his messy dresser now. I think it turned out quite nice.

I purchased a new quilt book. This will be one of my winter projects after I finish the Gypsy Wife quilt. It has a lot of paper piecing which I have only done a little bit.

This and the blocks following are for the Gypsy Wife quilt. I am making steady progress.

I got a new sewing machine!! For whatever reason, the picture won't show up here but it is a fancy Janome 3160 QDC which means it is computerized. I LOVE IT!! It is so much better than my Hancock Fabrics low end Janome. It ties off and cuts the thread and threads the needle. 

First day I got the new machine, LilG was playing around with it and made a little pillow for our cat Fred. It is really easy to use.

On Thanksgiving, since I have been struggling with my mental health I took the day off and just spent the day cutting strips for the Gypsy Wife quilt. SIXTY strips!! It took me all day since they were two different widths.

I'm, as usual, working on a cross-stitch project. A cheesy farmer Santa. I've wanted to make this guy for years but haven't because I didn't have the dark blue fabric for the background. Plus, there are huge blocks of color like white and gray and blue which I are really boring to stitch but I'm sucking it up and doing it this year. It will look cute on my wall. I should have it done in the next week or so.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Rewriting Goals

I have been going through a rough patch lately with my mental health. I don't talk about it very often here but I have a pile of diagnoses. These are mostly contained with meds and non-stressful activity.

However, I battle within myself to constantly want to do more than what I am doing. Beyond doing a little work for my husband's business like make deposits and prepare taxes, I am otherwise unemployed. I struggle with this because I worked very hard for a graduate degree while raising three disabled kids at the same time. I have a lot of guilt about not using my education and the 10 years of management experience that goes along with it. Within the last three months I have had two disastrous attempts at getting a job. One I didn't even make it to the interview. The other I got the job and quit four days in after a complete meltdown.

But now that you know my resume, I'm going to tell you that I'm fine with probably never being able to work again.

I had an ECT yesterday. "ECT" stands for Electro Convulsive Therapy or shock treatment. Yes, they still do these and it is VERY effective when nothing else is. And believe me, I have tried every med, therapy, you name it. I go in for ECTs when I have a plan for suicide and I am pretty sure that I will follow through on it.

When I came out of this ECT, my head hurt really bad as usual. I couldn't bend over without my brain sloshing around in my skull. But I wasn't that tired. Usually, I sleep it off. Yesterday, I decided to cross-stitch and read blogs. That was when I came across Jenna at Cold Antler Farm:

"don’t focus on what you lack. Don’t start your day with other people’s accomplishments. Start your day knowing you are capable of making the life you desire. You need to see your own story as a pile of embers that just needs the work of kindling to explode into something wonderful. I live my life that way everyday. And when I am scared or anxious or worried about silly things - I remember the certainty in which fire comes from hope and force. And as long as I am able to hold the coals of that metaphor close to my heart and ignite my own life’s goals I can achieve anything. It requires being focused on the good of yourself, the good of others, and the bounty of this kind world. And it also means moving yourself out of a sense of victimhood and lacking and into one of power, a gift you can only give yourself. But once you start playing with fire, it’s hard not to feel like anything is possible."

That's what I've been doing! Focusing on what I lack! Instead I need to focus on the wonderful things I can do: cross-stitching, quilting, canning, gardening, cross country skiing, walking Charlie, reading, picking berries and flowers, cooking. These are the things I should be expanding upon! These are the things that bring my brain peace and make me and my family happy. If it weren't for the clarity and peace of the ECT and the words from Jenna, I don't know that I would have found this conclusion on my own.

Now when I set goals, I'm going to do them around the things I love and, who knows! maybe that will help me with my mental health too! For instance, once I get my garden established, I want to grow some grapes.  I could can some grape jelly which is my husband's favorite. This is such a better goal than "get a job" or "join a board" or "volunteer somewhere".

Mostly, I just want to be in the hospital less. Good goal.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wolves, snow and dogs

 This is the first of two half square triangle blocks for the Gypsy Wife quilt. My goal is to do a block a day but seeing as it's been two weeks since I've blogged and I've only made three blocks, you can do the math on how I've met that goal. This pattern, with how poorly it is written, my having the first iteration and still it is missing directions on how to cut blocks and just leaves me unmotivated. On the other hand, it is an absolutely beautiful finished product so that is why I am sticking with it and why I have come back to it.

I mean look at this. This is art. Jen Kingwell is an artist. She may need an editor for her patterns but she has got the designing part DOWN. I only hope mine turns out a fraction as beautiful as hers.

Here is my amazing garden. It is ready! My husband and son got it plowed just before snow fell. Look at that dirt! I am excited to stalk the heirloom seed sites and plan what I will plant. We will do one final year with our CSA farm since my husband is trading work for food with them anyway (unless he trades again) and then we will be on our own. That will give us a year to test what works and what doesn't. I want to grow more preserving type crops than our CSA farm does (we get tons of lettuce and spinach from them) and put up stuff that can keep us in food year round.

Ah, Fred. Fred is not a snuggly cat by any means. But he has been picking up that I am not well. My depression is back and it is digging in. When I cry, he jumps up and sits by me which he would never normally do. I had to document this since I think he is exceptional. I love this cat so much. Even though he is not snuggly he sleeps with me every night and says hello every time we pass.

I thought I'd catch a picture of the tiny bit of snow that was on the ground before the snowstorm hit us. Charlie was not impressed. Snow is his FAVORITE. This was not enough.

I was hoping that this was an action shot. Fred is quite a playful kitty. LilG has a sticky thing on a string and he was sticking it to Fred and Fred was playing with it delightfully. Right after that, which I unfortunately don't have a picture of, LilG took that afghan off the chair, Fred jumped on it, and LilG pulled Fred all over the house while Fred pounced and pounced at the afghan while riding it. It was adorable.

This was the beginning of the snowstorm...

Not too long after the beginning of the snowstorm, Charlie started barking and snapping at the sliding glass doors...and to my surprise I heard a whimpering answer! I looked out the glass and there was a giant black lab. I cracked the door with the intention of looking at the dog's tag and all 80 pounds of dog forced his way inside. Well, 30 pound Charlie was having none of that. He was snapping, growling, snarling and lunging at this enormous dog. The dog didn't care. He was just wagging his tail, trying to sniff me and Charlie. I had one arm on the lab and one arm on Charlie trying to keep the dogs separate. It was not easy. I managed to push the lab back outside. Then I put Charlie in my bedroom where he flipped out. Then I went back to check the lab's tag to see if I could find a number to call. I cracked the door open and I am not kidding when I tell you he pushed the glass open and came in my house. I straddled him with my phone in one hand and his tag in my other, walking around commanding "sit" and "stay" which he would do for a second then get up and move all over my house. I finally got the number into my phone and let go of him to make the call. The guy that answered asked if I could keep him for a few hours. Um, NO. I told him I'd bring him back to his house and drop him off. He said there was a garage I could put him in. The guy just normally lets the dog run loose all day. UGH. The dog had run a MILE away. So I loaded the dog in my car, snapped a picture of the big cutie that you see above, and brought him home. We've had problems with this guy in the past though it was years ago. He had another dog that he let run loose and it ended up at our house many times so we called animal control because it was out in subzero temps. Why even have a dog?

Later that day, once the snow came, Charlie and I had to go for another walk before the plow came. He was so happy. He snorted and rolled and dove and ran.

Charlie doesn't normally choose to walk very far (he's old and blind) but he walked and walked and walked up and down the road. 

I tried to capture how *much* snowfall we got. Eight inches. Plus how pretty. My phone camera doesn't do it justice.

This is the other Gypsy Wife block I did. Old Maid Puzzle I think it is called. I am supposed to do another one. I pulled the fabric but I haven't done it yet. 

I'm still working on the wolves. The drab gray colors are really boring me.

I decided the other night that it has been too long since I cross country skied so I got out my equipment.

That day, we hung the 100 block quilt on the living room wall. I don't know if I've mentioned it here, but I started this quilt on the day my grandma Bette died so this is Bette's quilt. 

Here I am, stoked to get out on the trail! A news alert on twitter that a trail I had never been on before was groomed had inspired me to go. I got all the way up there and discovered I had left my poles at home. The guy that ran the chalet kindly borrowed me some poles LOL. Turns out he knew my old neighbor growing up that I learned how to cross-country ski from. Small world.

This is me near the end of my journey. Utterly lost. Fallen down on the trail, not from skiing. I didn't fall once skiing. Oh no. I fell from stopping at one of many intersections trying to figure out where the hell I was, twisting around looking at the trails leading here and there. I ended up calling the chalet and a guy on a snowmobile came out to rescue me. The trails were great though! And I was skating like a pro when I've tried skating all my life and totally sucked at it. It was a nice day. But next time I ski those trails I will bring someone with me who has a sense of direction.

After I skied, I couldn't pass up the opportunity that I was near a town that had cross-stitch fabric. It worked out really well because right after I bought the fabric, my doctor's office called and said they had some samples for me to pick up to help with my depression. I would ordinarily have to drive 45 minutes to get them. Score.

This is the pattern for my next project. I just wanted to lay it out to give you an idea how large the pattern is. These are my legs and those are full pieces of paper. I managed to find a pattern that looks just like Charlie. 

And here's the wolves again. Getting closer to done. Ugh, I just want them to be done. I already bought the frame. So much snow is left. BORING.

In other news, I started volunteering at the animal shelter a few weeks ago. I'm their new webmaster so I do the majority of it at home which is nice. I go in once a week to discuss things and pet the animals.

I should probably blog more so these posts aren't so long, eh?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fall Into Quilting and Stitching

It's been a lovely, though very fast, fall. Our road was beautiful.

Though it is not pressed yet, I completed this very Seussical cross-stitch project. I think I will make it into a long pillow for the couch. Someday. I'm good at stitching, not all that good at what to do with the finished piece.

Fred was so cute I couldn't resist taking his picture.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Very Crafty Autumn

Surprise! I canned more carrots! I have a fridge drawer full more of carrots that I may or may not can this Saturday. I haven't decided.

This little sugar pumpkin, I forget its official name, made an amazing pan of pumpkin brownies.

LilG is the only one who can pet Fred like this.

LilG and I are pretending we are having fun working on his homework. Believe us?

A year after we got him, Charlie suddenly decided he was interested in squeaky toys after some gentle prodding from LilG. My son is an animal whisperer.

Here Charlie is fresh from the groomers.

This is my latest finished cross-stitch project. It took me several months to complete and I am so happy with how vibrant it is.

Ta da! Here is the 100 block City Sampler quilt in all her finished glory! I started it in February and pieced all 100 blocks in April. I'm not good at finishing things right away and I don't really know how to quilt much beyond stitch-in-the ditch so I had it professionally quilted in August. Then I finally hand-binded it last week. It is at a quilt show this weekend.

I think it's 68"x68" if I remember correctly. Every block has at least one piece of Tula Pink fabric in it which was part of the challenge from my Local Quilt Shop. They gave me four pieces of fabric to work with. I wasn't a fan of the four pieces which made it extra challenging but I think I did a fine job blending them in.

And finally I am starting on a new cross-stitch project. This one will go fast. It is very Seussical. A pattern I found on Etsy. I love the colors.

Monday, September 29, 2014

I should be canning carrots right now...

I should be canning carrots right now but I just remembered that I forgot to blog last week so I thought I would get caught up. 

The animal shelter asked for a foster home for kittens that needed someone to feed them every four hours. I jokingly asked my husband if we could be that home knowing he would say "NO!" Here is our text conversation which I found hilarious. He didn't.

I love putting together dinners from the vegetables that we get from our farmshare boxes. Here is an example of a before:

and was delicious.

Sometimes I have a difficult time with people on Facebook gushing over their babies. We tried for a few years to get pregnant to no avail and then I got cancer in my uterus before we could try anything fancy. So when a Facebook college friend recently was proclaiming that her baby was "THE CUTEST" I posted a picture of Fred as "THE CUTEST" in the comments. Silly. Silly.

My future garden is coming along! The gate is working! All that is left is tilling and reinforcing the bottom to keep out the bunnies. Soon we will be ready for next year. I have big plans. Big plans.

We went to the Renaissance Festival the other weekend. LilG LOVED it. Jousting, flame jugglers, musical acts, lots of foods, dressed up people, fun shops. We had a great time

 Don't mess with me when I'm wearing my medieval hat!

And finally, my cross-stitch project is coming right along. I am over half done. I absolutely love it. It is so colorful and fun to work on. No quilting is going to get done until I am finished with it. I even got The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt book!!! But that will have to be a winter project.

I am off to can more carrots. This is definitely the year of the carrot. And the potato. Uff da!