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

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.   


A BEACHY QUILT FOR ANNA

Today I got a couple of quilts back from "my" quilter, Julie Crossland, and I could not be happier!  

First, a quilt I made for Anna, using toss away men's striped shirts, ones that a local thrift shop had found not good enough for the racks.  They would have gone into a bin that the shop sells to a rag company.  Instead, I donated a bit for each, and here's what came of that:


The binding will be of the blue/white striped shirt fabric.  

I had Julie do a nice simple Chevron all over,
and got exactly the look I wanted.  

Cassy declared it dog worthy.  

I name most of my quilts, usually after songs
that fit the person and the quilt.  

And this is what my labels look like.
I have them quilted on, so that they
can never be switched out, just in case I'm
famous someday.  :)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

THE KNEE PROJECT

One of my dear curious blogging friends asked, "Well, what's the knee look like NOW?"  I was chronicling it in all it's ugly glory early on, before the complications started.  

So, here you go, here's what it looks like now, I don't know how many weeks post-surgery.  It's been through an awful lot and the oversized scar is my badge of something (bravery? stupidity?)  It is not a typical total knee replacement scar because I already had some pretty large scars on my knee from surgery 40 years ago, and they had to jog over to the side to incorporate one of those into this one, so as to not pull on the old scar tissue.  A plastic surgeon was in the OR to close up after the surgery was done.  I think he did the very best he could with what the orthopedic surgeon gave him, the work done was pretty extensive.  Also, I had told the surgeon that I really, honestly, didn't care what the outside looked like afterwards, just get the inside parts right.  My modeling days are long gone anyway.  
LOL in the picture it is beastly looking!!  I guess it is a pretty big one.  I have had large scars on my knee since I was 17, so I've gotten pretty used to that and this one will not bother me any more than those others did.  It's just another sign that I'm doing it all up quite well, using the parts that God gave me to their fullest extent.  

Monday, February 3, 2014

A SNEAK PEEK

I have been working some in the sewing room, it feels so good to be getting back to things bit by bit.  

My last finish was the Green Paw, pictured earlier.  I made that quilt without a pattern, and with the help of my quilting teacher/mentor, Rhonda.  We worked off a picture of a quilt I had come across on the web.  No pattern or hints of any kind.  It was quite a task.  

Now I've started a batik quilt for our son Paul, and it has a clear, concise pattern and the fabrics were already chosen by the author of the pattern.  I'm loving this process, that someone else did all the brain work, I just have to do the cutting and sewing.  

I've got the first section on the wall, and can see this is going to be a fun quilt to work on and will be fabulous when completed.  




ONE LUCKY CAT

We are having ourselves one cold and snowy New England winter, which is exactly how it should be.  I love winter!  

To warm our great room, we have a pellet stove, and it sure does the trick.  Right now it's about 1000 degrees in here, the pellet stove is cranking.  I could go over and shut it down, but there's someone who would be disappointed by that.  
Miss Poppy, rescued from the streets of Orange County California when she was around 4 weeks old, fostered by our daughter, and flown here by us.  She will lay in front of that stove in a heat coma, happy as can be, so very content.  I'll sit here and get into my own drowsy state before turning the stove off, I just can't bear to deprive Poppy of her favorite thing.  I am a lunatic when it comes to the comforts of these creatures of ours.  

A LOVELY GIFT

Back in November I got a lovely gift from my friend Sue.  She crocheted for me a lovely burgundy shawl, to wrap myself in as I faced my knee replacement and the cold New England winter.  

Sue is a phenomenal crochet and quilt queen, hop over to her blog to see her lovely work.  

I have wrapped myself in this shawl hundreds of times over the last few months, it has kept me warm and comforted.  Tonight as I went to get a picture of this shawl, I found it where I had left it on the couch, after using it to keep myself cozy while icing my knee (icing one's knee on a snowy New England day just seems all wrong).  When ever I leave this lovely shawl on the couch, there's another lady in the house who seems to think it is hers.  It is not, it is MINE!  And, lucky me:

Misty on the shawl that Sue made for ME

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I'M STILL HERE

Haven't been here to update for so long.  The rehabilitation of my knee following Total Knee Replacement, along with a few minor complications, have taken up all of my brain power.  I have kept myself so focused on getting well that I've just had to push many things to the side, and my blog has been one of those things.  

But, life and handiwork have gone on in spite of that and here's a pictorial of what's been going on here: (I tried to put things in chronological order but gave up on that idea as the "insert picture" button seemed to have a mind of its own).  

CHRISTMAS!
Anna, home from California for a few days.
We had a joyful visit and she loved her Xmas runner.  

The family, each holding a critter.  Since we have more
critters than family members, Reesie was left out.
And, you can't hold her for more than  second anyway
so that worked out okay.  

So wonderful to have Paul here for a few days,
and he also loved his Christmas runner.  
Ryan, Anna's boyfriend, came from California for a few days.
It was great fun to have him join us, and he loved his Christmas runner.  
  
I absolutely love spending time with these dear ones.  All three are so bright and engaging and fun loving.
They all lifted my spirits greatly.  

So happy to all be under one roof.  We are so very proud of Paul and Anna.  

A long-standing tradition for our family, our gingerbread house.  

A hat for Paul!

A baby blanket for some lucky baby someday.  Knit with two strands of yarn
at once, it makes a bouncy and warm blankie.  

My leg in the CPM machine, where I spend hours and hours.
I can knit while in it, thank goodness!

The critters often join in on the CPM time.  Here
Reesie decided that cleaning her arse
on top of my head was a great idea.  I didn't really agree,
but am glad for company of any variety at this point.  

Dear Cassy felt a bit humiliated when her groomer decorated her noggin' with a bow.  

The green paw is at the quilter's!  And, this shows the quilting design.
The quilter told me this quilt is a masterpiece, such an amazing compliment  

Back in the sewing room finally!  Have started a batik quilt for Paul.  

Knitting a scarf and hat for Ryan.  I placed a bet with him on the
San Francisco vs. Green Bay game, and he won himself hand knit goodies in that bet.
And, I won another project to keep these hands busy while on the CPM.  

With Misty's help, I knit myself a scarf and a matching beret

You can buy these tea towels for every state and for National Parks. 
And they make lovely pillows covers!  These were made by son Paul.
I had the joy of teaching him to sew,
as he wanted to give sister Anna a memorable home made gift for Xmas.  

And that about sums up what's been going on here, in addition to physical therapy, exercise, rest, and often pain and frustration.  I think I'm on the road that will lead to completion of this knee project.  It's been a long one, the original surgery was November 20.  On January 11 I had a manipulation of the knee, where they knocked me out and the surgeon bent the knee in every possible direction to break up scar tissue that was preventing PT progress.  I was in the hospital for 3 days for that project.  

Dear Dave has somehow kept this household running like a well-oiled machine, working full time all the while.  There have been some rough times for the both of us, but somehow he has handled it all with his usual grace and dignity, with occasional spells of bashing his head against a wall.  I have handled it with not much grace and very little dignity, with occasional spells of bashing my head against his.