Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Bramble Bloom

 Usually I don't participate in QALs because I tend to fall behind or just not get started in the first place.  But I do love Audrey's style and when she offered to do a QAL I thought it a perfect opportunity to see how the inside of her head works. Her blog is Quilty Folk on my sidebar.  Take a look and wander through past posts.  She does have a plan but her style has a "huh, let's stick this in there for interest" look.  Of course there is MUCH planning involved but I love her quirky free style. 

 In fact, this quilt, which so many of you commented or emailed me about, is my take on one of hers.  I started with the flowers and went from there.  She might not even recognize it as a take on one of hers.

So, when she decided to do what she calls Bramble Bloom QAL I said yes.  

The idea was to go through the stash and pick our oldest fabrics and free form background from three fabrics and then cut some flowers.  Well, I went through my stash and found a combination of  both old and new.  And then I found a piece of old that had some flowers that I decided to try my hand at broderie perse (did I spell that right?)  And there was this perfect coordinate for the vase. I have to find the little pile of leaves I already have cut out and thought I knew where they were but obviously moved.  She doesn't have a vase for hers....yet.   Go check out Quilty Folk.  On her sidebar is a list of people also doing this project so check out some of them, too.  Everyone is different and that's what makes improvisation fun.

Saturday, November 25, 2023


 Jenny asked about our Thanksgiving Day.  If you live in the U.S. you can skip this post, but if you don't well, here's a run down on ours.

First of all, the day began to commemorate the survival of the Pilgrims who came here in 1621.  They survived the first year here with half of their company still alive but they survived with the help of the natives who showed them how to plant and fish and hunt.  The pilgrims were not farmers and had no idea how to.   The idea of giving thanks for survival was not new to the natives of any culture but the idea that there was bounty after a year of starvation was something for the pilgrims to be thankful for.

It took well over 200 years of scattered thanksgiving days here and there and one person, Sarah Hale, to bring the day into focus and fix a date.  Sarah Hale was quite the progressive woman and she had a formidable weapon.  Her pen.  She was born in 1788 and was the first female magazine editor in America and when she wanted people to pull together for a cause she picked up her pen and wrote. 

Well, she did the same thing for Thanksgiving.  People were ignoring Thanksgiving because it wasn't a cohesive event.  So she wrote letters to politicians asking that the day be a national holiday.  She convinced other women to write letters and eventually politicians listened but the day was still not declared a national holiday with a fixed date.   

Sarah went through years of letters to four presidents before she found a true listening ear with Abraham Lincoln. President Lincon saw the value in bringing the country together to give thanks.  It took Sarah 38 years of writing thousands of letters but she finally succeeded.  

Still, it wasn't until Franklin Roosevelt in 1941 that Congress agreed to set the date as the fourth Thursday in November and set the day in stone for good.  

So, while our kindergarteners learn that the Pilgrims 'invented' Thanksgiving and invited the natives to come eat and it's been that way ever since, well, that part is mostly myth with small kernels of truth. 

Today Thanksgiving has become the kickoff for Christmas, it's a day of football games, but mostly, it's supposed to be a day to be with people who matter to you, have a nice meal and just stop and take a breath and be grateful for what's in front of you. 

Ever since our daughter got married and she and new husband moved to South Carolina and PH and I went to spend the holiday with them, she has done the cooking.  When they moved back to Michigan she asked if she could continue to "have Thanksgiving." I had my years before that and was happy to do the dishes now.   

Thanksgiving is a day we use the good china, real table cloth, real napkins, food not from boxes or cans.  While we, in our family, don't dress up our bodies in fancy clothes, we do dress up the table. 
She works for days to fill the table with goodness.  Again, nothing from boxes or cans.  She has learned from me you cook "from scratch." And for this day in particular you go for the effort.  She and SIL do the day proud.  Notice way down at the end of the table by the window, that bowl in front of PH is full of noodles.  It seems to get placed in front of him every year!
                                                                   This says it all.
And this year, as we were sitting at the table laughing and talking it dawned on me we have 4 1/2 teenagers in the family and declared THEY can do the dishes.  Sweeties that they are, they didn't even object!  They split the duties, some cleared the table, two washed and dried, one put away, and I told them I would do the pots and pans.  

We all come home with enough leftovers for at least one meal so we all can take another bite and be grateful.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Noodle Day

 Yesterday was noodle day at daughter's house.  The girls are actually at the point they can do it all themselves while we sit nearby chatting.  But yesterday was different, all hands on deck because it's a big, long, messy job to make the quantity needed for Thanksgiving, Christmas, PH's stocking and enough for the girls to eat them raw - their once in a year treat. Ugh.   The problem yesterday was the pasta machine was breaking down bit by bit before our eyes.

While daughter and PH made two trips to the hardware store for clamps Adelaide mixed the dough while Elizabeth and I kept itkneaded and rested and tried to make the machine work without clamps.  Not.
We were all channeling our inner Pasta Granny as we took turns rolling, turning, rolling, turning

                                                   Until the pasta sheet looked like this. 
There was flour everywhere, on our noses, clothes, the floor, everywhere.  It IS a messy and big job.
This is all done for two reasons.  This was something the mother and aunts in PH's family did as a matter of course.  Don't show up at any gathering without a pot of noodles, and all three pots were different.  So, the torch has been passed, in this family, down to the girls. We have a photo of six month old baby Elizabeth in her high chair watching and fingering a pile of flour on her tray, and look at her now!   But yesterday we took PH from his football game to take a turn at it.  It is, after all, his family's tradition we are passing down. This all happens to remember a tradition in his family.
Even now there is someone in each cousin's family that makes the noodles as a descendant of one of the three aunts and there is ALWAYS a pot of noodles at any gathering and they all taste different.  
Finally, the machine gasped it's last, we couldn't convert the kneading fixture to the noodle cutting fixture because it was running quite literally on one gear notch so turning the crank handle was a trial.  So while daughter worked that, I took a pizza cutter and sliced the noodles.  These noodles will truly be homemade looking!  The pizza wheel wobbled and that may be ok for pizza, it makes a wonky looking noodle. Elizabeth said I was cutting them too wide and daughter said I was cutting them too narrow.  We tried a noodle cutting gadget given by a friend but while those were uniform they were much to narrow.  So, wonky they are.

Talk about soldiering on!  While daughter churned out those dough balls into pasta sheets, Elizabeth and I cut and Adelaide hung them on the drying racks.  We were running on fumes but we had to get it done because no one wanted to get a new machine and drag out this mess any longer.  It was a one day, once a year job.

New machine ordered and arriving today.

We were running behind schedule and were all hungry because the day was to end with son-in-law's birthday dinner.  And cake.  And yes, he is older than four. 

Sunday, November 19, 2023

November flowers

 A new finish!  This one makes me smile.  I am sorry the photo shoot wasn't artistic, but we took the clothesline down, all the porch furniture is put away so here it is!  It's a stash quilt. All fabrics I've been unwilling to use because I like them.  I love the batik green polka dot fabric with the shading that batik does for us.  The little flowers are all scraps and bits, their pink flowered background is a piece I bought when the girls were toddlers (they are now teenagers) and I thought would make a cute sun dress - that never happened!  The black stripe border is a VERY old Mary Englebreit fabric that I love, love, love and of course the gingham border.  I love gingham.  

The backing  is a piece I bought so long ago I can't remember when.  A long time, but I thought it keeps the cheerfulness going that is on the front.  I fussy cut that pink stripe to use on the border.
And this.  This is the last rose of summer, picked in the middle of November.  You can see by the leaves she is hanging on for dear life so she now sits on the windowsill in the kitchen where her feet can be warmer than outside.  Our November has been quite mild.  Not unheard of but not usual for some November days to be this nice but this much sunshine in November is quite unusual.   This weekend last year we had a snowstorm so yes, when November gives us sunshine and blue skies and sweater temperatures we will take it with a smile. 

Friday, November 3, 2023

Spare parts

 Well, I thought I would be out of commission for a lot longer than two days!  Exactly a week ago today I had a hip replaced.  Absolutely everyone who has had one, my surgeon, my primary doctor, everyone said it would be a piece of cake and especially so for me because I have had two knees replaced - and knees are the worst.   But still, it IS a bit of a 'major' surgery to take a bone out of a body and replace it with a piece of metal. 

Well.  The first shocker was that I was home the same day. No overnight hospital stay.  I had the use of a walker from a friend but the doctor said I would need it for two days and a friend said "you need the walker for your head, not your hip." And he was right.  By Sunday night it was parked in a corner.  PH has been hovering but I keep shooing him away to go do what he wants or needs to do but I certainly don't need nursing. Mostly the first couple of days I just needed him to put one sock on my foot. 

No pain, no opiods, no walker, no cane, no compression socks, no restrictions on my activities especially since I don't need narcotics for pain - because there is no pain.  The area just feels like a bad bruise but certainly not pain. I could take the stairs with alternating legs by day 3.  I am astounded at how easy this has been. I was even vacuuming on day 3!!! 

So, I guess there are no excuses?  There are weight restrictions on how much to lift, I did have a bone replaced after all. And if I were not retired I couldn't go back to work for 3 months.  But movement? Do what I can handle, that's what they say.

 The ONLY thing that is different and that I forgot about and is maybe a biproduct of anesthesia is the lack of appetite. All of the body's energy is centered on healing the incision and bone and I'm going to let it, so good long naps are the order of the day.  I DO get very tired.

If any of you are ever recommended for a new hip?  Don't run away, run toward having it done.  It could be FAR worse, like living with the pain of needing it, and it's not your knee. 

While on our long car trip the first of September I worked on Sashiko for the first time. I must say it's the perfect car project. I did two larger pieces that became pillows, I showed those in the retreat post, and I did these four ornaments.  The piece of fabric for these was extremely fine, like a finely done linen.  They were together as part of a bigger piece and I couldn't imagine them getting the wear and tear a pillow might so I cut them into four and turned them into Christmas ornaments for the two kids' families.