"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, June 12, 2014

MONKEYING AROUND

It's delightfully peaceful on the lake, and the weather a bit cool.... This is all perfect to me. I have been able to get out and around the lake using my mahogany row boat with it's electric motor. During a recent trip out I found a pair of loons fishing for their evening dinner and sat a distance away observing their beauty and grace for a good long time. 

When I'm not in or on the lake there's lots of sewing and knitting to be done. This week I completed a sock monkey and bag as a birthday gift for someone special. I'd forgotten how fussy a job it is to make a sock monkey, it's been a while since I made one. I really went to town on this one with her pinafore and headband. 


Saturday, June 7, 2014

KNITTING

I have just started to read the book "Yarn Harlot" by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  In her Introduction I found a phrase that so perfectly matches my philosophy of knitting and needle crafts, I must share it: 

Knitting is magic.  Knitting is an act of creation and simple transformation each and every time.  Each gift holds hours of my life…… It is all those hours when I chose to spend time warming another person.  It's giving them my time--time that I could have spent on anything, or anyone, else.  Knitting is love, looped and warm.  

My latest finish is a Hitchhiker Scarf, made with fabulous hand dyed Wollmeise 100% Merino Super Wash sock yarn, glorious to work with.  

This is looped and warm and knitted with love, for dear daughter Anna.  

I had to invade Poppy's afternoon nap spot.  She is lying on a quilt made by my mother in law and
hand quilted by the Amish in the area of Pennsylvania where she lived.

Obviously Poppy didn't mind that I was using her space for my photos.  It wasn't easy to get the scarf
away from her once she planted her adorable self on it.  

KEDS ON THE LAKE

Summer at the lake means Keds on my feet, which are finally warm after the long winter.  Keds and no socks = summer and comfort to me.  

This morning's first boat ride of the summer looked this this:

And like this:
The Knee Project as it looks now.  Have to keep the scar covered with sunscreen stick, and although It takes a bit of getting used to the sight of it, it's a part of me now.  I really hate my new knee, although it's only be 7 months since it was installed and "they" urge patience for a year.  It hurts and is stiff and doesn't bend far enough for my taste.  Well, it is what it is and I'll get used to it.  I may have formed a Baker's Cyst behind my knee, and that may be a cause of some of this lingering pain.  Will figure that out at the end of June, when I get to see the surgeon again.  Until then, it's just carry on as is.  

SEWING AT THE LAKE

Here at the lake house I've struggled to find a way to set up my sewing world, trying to make it all work in our spare bedroom.  It never worked.  Today I decided to use the empty floor space in the great room, an area behind one of our couches, which is angled out into the room.  

It works and what a view to sew by!  This year I indulged in a Pfaff Expression 2.0 and a Gidget II table.  I love them both and I do believe that at home I will rid myself of the gigantic sewing table that takes up too much room and drag the Gidget II home with me at the end of lake season.  I am waiting for the custom sewing machine insert to the table to be delivered.  My cutting table here is an old drafting table bought at a thrift shop for $10.  Perfect!  

I am all set for rainy day sewing, and also hot day sewing.  With MS, I am adversely affected by anything over 80 degrees, and so am often forced to spend time in the air conditioning during these humid summers in New England.  So, I am darn lucky to have central a/c and the perfect sewing corner.  


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A BREAKFAST GUEST


Yesterday a Great Blue Heron chose our dock as his breakfast dining table. What a grand bird, so tall, such interesting poses and stature and postures. He is welcome here anytime. 



Sunday, June 1, 2014

LAKE LIFE

From our deck tonight.  The loons will call as the sun dips further below the horizon. I will go to bed absolutely sated by my first full beautiful day on the lake. The blessings are far too great to number. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE....

I let it shine, where ever I may be. It comes on at dusk and turns off at dawn. It shines so that those who were taken before me can find me if they want to. Here on the lake, I am sure this light has led my Dad and Mom to me, as well as the Reverend George H. Tooze, a great outdoorsman and blessing in my life for many years.

I hear their voices and remember their faces every time the loons call to me. I hear my Dad's soft "shhh, listen," I see my Mom's face turn to the lake, her eyes softly closed, and I hear George remark "of course there is a God somewhere, that is the only way to explain such beauty."



OPENING WEEKEND AT THE LAKE

Last weekend we ventured north and opened up the lake house.  We found nearly everything in good shape after this harsh winter, and fell back into lake life pretty easily.  

A GREAT NORTHERN LOON WELCOMING CASSY BACK TO THE LAKE.  I BELIEVE THE LOONS AND
THEIR CALLS ARE PROBABLY MY FAVORITE PART OF LIFE ON THE LAKE.  
THE LAKE HOUSE IS JUST AS GRAND AS ALWAYS.  


BELLA HAD DUG A HOLE IN THIS LOCATION LAST SUMMER.  DAVE HAD FILLED IT IN, AS HE
WAS AFRAID OF A WALL CAVE IN.  IT DID NOT TAKE LONG FOR BELLA TO DIG AN EVEN DEEPER HOLE
IN HER SPOT.  SHE IS A PIGPEN WHEN THE DAY IS DONE.  
IT WAS DELIGHTFULLY QUIET ON THE LAKE,  NOT THAT IT'S EVER THAT NOISY.
THIS IS THE VIEW FROM MY GLIDER SWING.    


THE VIEW FROM OUR DECK AT THE END OF THE DAY.  






Tuesday, May 13, 2014

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY

A bit late, but Happy Mother's Day to my blogging pals.  And, I always extend a Happy Mother's Day to every woman, whether or not she has given birth, as I believe that every one of us is a "Mom" many times over to people young and old that come into our lives.  Whether or not we gave birth to that person is irrelevant.  

We had a lovely day here, the weather was perfect, and Paul came for the day for a cookout and then a visit to family.  A call from Anna on the West Coast made the day complete.  I am blessed.  

On top of all of those gifts, I got these:  

Paul brought me a beautiful scarlet Hydrangea, and I will plant it at the lake this weekend.  It will be a great contrast to the white and the blue Hydrangeas we already have popping up in our gardens there.  I will think of him each time I tend to it, for many years to come.  It's such a wonderful lasting gift.  
I've not seen this color Hydrangea in many gardens.

In yesterday's mail a very artful package arrived from Anna, what fun it is to receive gifts from afar!
How sweet is this?  Made from one of the millions of
lovely beach pebbles in Ventura, a great medium for
Anna's art.  


Anna has finally gotten the time to embrace her artistic talents, locked away for far too long. Here she has perfectly captured our 5 critters at a sunset on the lake.
From left to right she got Reesie, Misty, Bella, Cassy and Poppy.
Somehow she captured their profiles and personalities perfectly, from
Misty's cuteness to Cassy's stance, more alert than Bella's, and
most importantly, the constant curl at the end of Poppy's tail.  

Sunday, May 4, 2014

LIFE WITH AN MS BRAIN

Life is an interesting activity.  We all have our challenges.  Somehow we all push on an adjust.  

In addition to the physical challenges of MS, I have what I call "MS Brain."  A lot of folks do not know that MS can make you really, really slow and stupid.  It can.  Significant cognitive loss is not part of everyone's MS, it is a part of "mine."  It has altered my life in many ways, but has not stopped me.  In the past year I've gotten a bit dumber, but that's just made me more creative in finding coping skills.  

I push on and I adjust.  Some of my adjustments are hysterical, but they work.  Everything in our house has to stay in the same spot, because if I go to a spot to retrieve an item and it is not there, I will not take the time or energy to find it, it's just too difficult.  There's some things in really weird places, but I know that they are there, and that works for me.  Rubber bands hang on the antenna of the kitchen wall phone, bread ties on the left of the kitchen window sill, my Swiss Army knife in the kitchen drawer closest to the stove, the can opener has to be in with the silverware.  That's a small sampling.  I'm sure Dave wants to move a thing or two around to places that are more logical to his mind, but he puts up with the arrangements I've got going on, because not to can put me into a rage.  I'll blame that on MS too.  

If you want to tell me a story about time place movement, you'd better have a pencil and paper in hand.  I can fully understand a sketch, I can not always understand the spoken word.  And, if you are telling me this story or drawing me this picture in a spot where there is background noise, never mind, because it will not get through to me a bit.  If the TV is on too long, my brain turns into scrambled eggs.  I do not drive more than about 1 mile, and for a couple of years didn't drive at all.  I had to reclaim some independence, though, and so am on the road only at certain times of the day and never drive in the afternoon or after dark.  And, I do not take left hand turns.  I can negotiate my entire circle of freedom by making only right hand turns.  I'm afraid to give you any more details of the things I do or don't do, because some of them are downright scary, even worse than the never taking left hand turns.  

In the sewing room, the best invention for MS Brain is the sticky note.  I use them by the hundreds, especially in the sewing room.  

Right now I've got all the parts made for Paul's batik quilt.  Easy parts, 4 patches and 1/2 square triangles, but all composed from 20 different fabrics and I can't remember the name or number of a fabric while walking from one side of my sewing room to the other… about 5 feet.  So, first the parts are on my cutting table, with sticky notes attached, identifying the color numbers of that pile of parts.  I'm guessing we all do this, right?  
 When I went to start arranging the parts on my design wall, having to put the rows vertical since my wall is a bit narrow, that's when it all fell apart.  I could not pick the parts from the table and walk to the design wall and remember what the heck I had in my hands.  

So, as you see, on the left of the design wall is a sample of all 20 fabrics, with their numbers and names pinned to them on a sticky note.  In the middle is the design pattern, and to the right are the first two rows.  I take the pattern to the cutting table and pull the parts for the row.  I return to the wall and have no idea what I've got, so have to refer to the design chart as to what parts go in what order facing what way, and refer to the sample fabrics to identify the parts.  My system works.  
So, if you come across someone in your life who has MS, be understanding when they hand you a paper and pencil and say "draw me a picture."  Women are visual learners anyway, so maybe I'm just being a girl.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

SPRINGTIME IN NEW ENGLAND

Last weekend as I watched neighbors planting things and putting seeds in the ground and enjoying the lovely 70 degree weather, I was thinking "I was born and raised here, I don't plant a stinking thing until Memorial Day."  And this is why:

This morning's Landscape, and really, this is just the weather Gods being sarcastic at this point.  


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

CALIFORNIA


David, Paul and I recently travelled to Ventura, California, to visit with our dear Anna and her boyfriend Ryan.  Also, Ryan's parents came to town and we all had a wonderful time together.   We toured a bit, ate a lot, and laughed a whole lot.  It was a great time, and although I found it hard to fly away from Anna at the end of the trip, I am comforted by the knowledge that she is happy and loved and living in paradise.  

Ventura, north of LA, is so breathtakingly beautiful.  I had not been there before (Anna recently moved there from Orange County) and was completely taken by the colors and by the unexpected surprise of an actual fabulous down town, not a common feature in most California cities.  

We stayed at the Crowne Point hotel on the beach in Ventura.  It was so beautiful, and perfectly situated for me to have easy access to the outdoors and the Pacific Ocean.  
The view from our deck.  

The opposite view from our deck… Paul!
The grounds between the hotel and the beach were so perfect.

Anna and Ryan at a park adjacent to their apartment complex
Look at that view behind them!
4 Mourers in one place, it doesn't happen often enough.  
On Anna and Ryan's deck.  It was a bit foggy this day, but on clear days
the view is like the one pictured above at the park.  

Ryan is very talented on the acoustical guitar and treated us to some of his music.

I had to throw this photo in.  It's posted on pools throughout California.
I am still left wondering….. how do they check patrons of the pool
for evidence of recent intestinal events?

PAPERCHAINS CROSS STITCH

In addition to knitting and learning how to walk again (remember the knee project?  It's still underway) I have been finding time to do some cross stitch.  Also I am sewing a batik quilt for son Paul, but am not showing that off until it's all done.  I posted a sneak peek earlier in my blog.  

Anyhow, my current cross stitch project is a Tam's Creations design called Paperchains.  I tend to do LARGE cross stitch projects, and this is yet another.  I really enjoy Tam's Creations, and especially those done all in one color, in this case, a variegated floss.  




About 1/2 finished… I think.  


HITCHHIKER SCARF

I have been plodding along on my sewing and needle crafts, but certainly haven't posted anything for quite a while.  Sometimes life gets in the way of my hobbies.  

I knit and have worn this beautiful scarf, called "Hitchhiker."  The pattern is available on Ravelry.  


Oh my do I love this scarf!!  I knit it using a Wollmeise sock yarn, hand-dyed, difficult to find, expensive and I'd say worth every penny.  This yarn is fabulous to work with, it has just the right texture, stretch, and softness.  I loved this color way, as I rarely wear blue tones, but this had enough of "my" earth tones mixed in to make it work for me.  And, I didn't plan it, but like how my whimsical heart necklace peeks out from under the scarf.  

It's such a privilege to be able to afford such a luxury once in a while.  

Friday, March 21, 2014

QUILTS AND COLOR: THE PILGRIM/ROY COLLECTION AT THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS IN BOSTON

I love museums and I love quilts, so when the two join forces, my cup runneth over.  

The Pilgrim/Roy collection will be at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, from April 6 until July 27.  I cannot wait to spend a day at the Museum, absorbing all I can from this collection.  I love that the Museum isn't just slapping these quilts up on the wall and calling it a day, but instead is turning it into a lesson in color and design, and who cannot get enough of that?  I sure can't.  

Apparently this exhibition of 59 quilts is a tiny piece of a collection belonging to artist Gerald Roy and the late Paul Pilgrim, who over 5 decades gathered over 1200 quilts in their collection.  From the MFA site relating to this exhibition I especially appreciated this description of the collection:  Many were created by anonymous women from diverse communities stretching from 19th-century Massachusetts and Amish and Mennonite Pennsylvania to Depression-era Missouri. Quilting gave them a voice in a time when there were few opportunities for women to express themselves artistically.

How often do I forget that as I make my quilts, I am using my artistic voice?  I often have to remind myself that quilting isn't just sewing, it's talking.  

If you would like to learn a bit more about this exhibition, click on this link.  

I thought it would be great fun to gather as many New England Quilting Bloggers as we could to meet up at the Museum to share in the viewing of this fabulous collection, but I'm not very good at arranging such things.  In spite of that, if there's some Quilting Bloggers who would like to make a date to share a day at the museum, let's see what we can do to get that organized.  

One of the quilts in the Pilgrim/Roy Collection

Monday, February 17, 2014

WINTER AT THE LAKE

My dear brother-in-law Michael (husband of sister Christine), made a trip over to the lake on Sunday, for some cross-country skiing and to check on their camp and our house, 10 doors apart.  

The photos are stunning… and make me know that we will live there for part of winters, at some point.  Notice I said "part."

From the street side, it looks so desolate….. it is!

Stunning ain't it?  Great sledding hill down to the lake!  OK wait a minute, it was a
tobogganing accident that tore up my knee 40 years ago, initiating this year's
Knee Project.  I'll sit by the fire.
My lovely red row boat, upside down on the platform, and the frame to our glider.
I hope ice out is not too late this year.

From the road side--looks like we had the back up generator place just right, it's not under the snow bank.


THE KNEE PROJECT----PROGRESS!!!

Well, finally there's good news and pictures to show of what we now call "The Knee Project."

This was an atypical knee replacement story because I have MS that caused complications none of the top docs I went to anticipated.  Shame on them.  They made my life a living he#$ since the November 20 surgery.  I went to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, in case ya wanna know.  During both of my stays there, great attempts were made to kill me.  Huh,   fooled them, I got out alive.  If you are going for a joint replacement in Boston, go to New England Baptist.  

So, last week I achieved the set goal for "my bend," a disappointing 110 degrees (I always want more!) but there was too much damage and now too much metal to go much further.  I may with time get to 115.  No more curling up like a pretzel, which at 5 feet tall is what you have to do to sit on most couches, cuz they aren't built for shorties like me. 


Not pretty, but bending!  Here it is, crossed over my left leg, man that feels good. 

The bend!  From this angle it looks pretty good.  


I don't know whether to get a longer swim skirt or just show this baby off
while at the lake.  One thing I know for sure, it'll have a good layer
of zinc oxide for sun protection all summer.  When I look down
at my leg the incision doesn't look so wicked…
in pictures the real story
is told.  It's a big one.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

THE PAW, QUILTED

The Green Paw…. made using a picture of a quilt on the web, no pattern available.  My quilting teacher/mentor Rhonda Galpern built the pattern and guided me through the process.  I could NOT have done this without her guidance and encouragement.  
It is huge.  Really huge.  All I'm thinking of now is the machine sewing portion
of the binding strip.  I think I'll have to drag my sewing machine to the dining
table to have maneuvering space.  


Quilter Julie Crossland chose the design for the quilting.
It is perfect.  


Someone asked me if I had counted the number of points
I made for this quilt.  No, I did not.  I may be nuts, but I
am not that nuts…. yet.  

That's Cassy's foot in the upper right hand corner.  Sure, tromp on
my quilt the first time I spread it out on the bed.