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

Sunday, November 16, 2014

ALWAYS SOMETHING GOING ON

Winter is slowly settling in here in New England, and we had a light coating of snow one morning this week.  

So, I spend more time indoors, and in my sewing room especially.  I love how the different seasons of New England bring with them different activities.  Easy season looks, feels and acts differently, and so do we humans who change with the seasons.  

In my sewing room, I continue to finish off Paul's Batik quilt.  I have one border on and am making 4 patches for the second border.  


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I recently totally blasted my sewing room, making better use of the space, and I am very happy with the results.  I think Misty is, too, as she can be on the bed and watch me sew, and I can watch her be her Misty self.  


On the bed is a quilt made for me by my sister, Christine.  


I had a BIG finish this week, completing "Paperchains," a x stitch design by Tams Creations.  My next project is on it's way, it will be Magic Carpet by Tams Creations.  I am anxious to get started on that.  




I have set aside my knitting of a chevron afghan for myself to knit a sweater for a doggy friend.  She's light coated and freezing.  This 100% Cascade Superwash sweater should help.  



And, of course, along with all these crafts comes the care, feeding, loving, training and joy of living with 4 dogs and 2 cats.  One of the 4 dogs is Anna's baby Lila, who accompanied her on her move from California to New England.  They are living with us until they land their career job and apartment.  Although I'm not nuts about puppies, I am nuts about Lila, and am enjoying helping to train her to be a dog with civilized house manners, without squashing her joy in the process.  She gives us a lot of laughs and is a great addition to the pack.  She and Bella especially love to wrestle and run together.  


Miss Lila, somewhere around 7 months old now.  She loves sticks,
can you tell?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A BATIK QUILT FOR PAUL, ON THE HOME STRETCH

I am heading into the home stretch on a quilt I am making for my son, Paul. The last time I shared a picture of the quilt it was at it appears in the first picture below. Now I am adding the borders. First I added a solid 2.5" border and next I will add a border of 4 patch blocks of the same design as in the quilt.  First, though, I had to line up and identify the 20 fabrics in this quilt (I've done this a million times with this quilt). These strips will become blocks before you know it. 

I loved seeing all of the fabrics lined up in this manner. When I choose a design and fabrics for a quilt, I try to match them to the person who will live with the quilt for many years to come. When I stood back and looked at these strips of fabric, I really felt that I'd captured Paul and what he's all about---all of the outdoors; peace; adventure; kindness; fairness; bravery; fascination; challenge; all with a good dose of wild thrown in.



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

HERE IS WHAT I AM DOING

Finished the center portion of a batik quilt I am making for Paul. Now to design and add borders to get it to be queen sized.  

Doing the hand stitching of the binding on the Green Paw. I put pencil marks on my thumb, a scant 1/4 inch apart, to guide my stitches. 
Knitting a super soft lap afghan. 
Making great progress on Paper Chains cross stitch. 



Make a xmas table runner for a fund raiser. Moda fabrics FaLaLa collection. 


Taking care of a pack of animals that just seems to keep growing--top photo is Misty, Reesie and Poppy enjoying the fresh fall breezes and then there's Dave with Lila (Anna's california puppy), Bella and Cassy, heading out for a walk. 
I'm just one puppy short of a nervous breakdown.  Lila loves our pond. How nice. Get wet and then run on the dirt path she has built between the day lilies and fence. Lovely. 
Most important is how much I am enjoying having Anna back on the east coast, pictured here with Dave and her cousin and road trip partner, Kevin. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

CATCH UP!

Wow, how did I allow so much time to pass between posts to my Blog?!  Summer on a lake will do it every time, lucky me!  Today I long for just one more trip around the lake in my mahogany boat, in search of the eagle, loons, and herons.  However, this now must wait for the next lake season.  

Back home for the Fall and winter, so it's time to catch up on so many things.  I did continue to stitch and knit and create over the summer months, but not at the rate I do over the winter, obviously.  In my next post, I will toss you some pictures of what I'm working on in my sewing room and on my needles.  For now, here's a bit of the summer:  



Time with not only our pack of Cassy, Bella, Misty and cats Poppy and Reesie….
But also with this lovely foster dog, Loki, as we started volunteering for Pet
Tails Rescue of Northwood, New Hampshire.  We have formed some
great friendships with the people of Pet Tails and are truly honored to
now be a part of this organization's mission.

Paul!  My favorite rock-climbing son.  When he visits
I send him up into the rafters on a spider-killing mission.  

Cousin Nicole, from Dave's Pennsylvania family,
was able to visit during the same time that Anna made
one of two visits from California.  

Me and My Guys.  
As always, one of my favorite activities on the lake is
nature watching the loons.  

A pair of loons nested the island on the lake, and
they did hatch two babies, shown in the next photo.
Unfortunately, those two babies did not survive, and
the photo I snapped below is likely the last one taken of them.
The eagles and nature take their course, as they should, although this
loss saddened me greatly.  (Note:  This photo was taken with a
strong telephoto lens.  Don't get any closer than 150 feet when
viewing a loon, especially one on a nest or with chicks.)

Two chicks with Mom or Dad at East end of Northwood Lake, 6/29/2014

Because there were so many unpaired loons on the lake this year,
we saw something you don't see often, groups of loons gathering.
Fabulous sunsets

Torrential Rains

Swamped Boats


Anna and her cousin Kevin, who is from Pennsylvania.  Anna made the decision
to return to life in New England, and moved home from California in mid-September.
It just so happened that cousin Kevin was riding his bike across the country this summer
and landed in California at just the right time to do a X country drive with his cousin Anna.
He came all the way to Massachusetts, and then rode his bike home from here, so it
was truly a coast to coast ride.  So, we have our dear daughter back in our fold, and
she brought something extra with her, the little doll baby pictured below,
Princess Lila from Ventura California, and now of Beverly, Massachusetts.  
Anna adopted Lila in mid summer and flew her here to us in early August,
as Anna was running all over getting ready to move back to New England.
It has been a loooong time since we've had a puppy in the house, and so
that's been an adjustment for Dave and me and the pack.  She is a good
dog, though, and is making it easier every day.  She is very goofy and
seems to have a great sense of humor.  I believe she is a mix of schnauzer
and corgi or wired hair daschund.  She's a cutie.
So, yes, we now have 4 dogs and 2 cats in our home.
And, we have Anna.  Life is good.

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.