Somehow I missed my goal of a weekly gratitude post last week. All of a sudden the week was over and I didn’t get it posted. Ah well…. let’s make up for that.
Thoughtful gestures, not huge but those times when you know that there was true kindness behind the gesture. This is what I am grateful for this week. I have two examples for you. Both gestures were bestowed upon me by my hubby, a very thoughtful kind of guy.
The first one requires a backstory. I am hypoglycemic which I wrote about about here. Because of this, I rarely eat sugary or processed foods. Anyway, I had been buying these little sugarless, fruity candies at Caroline’s, a local shop in town. I love them – chewy like a “tootsie roll” and very tart. Just after Christmas, I went to the shop to buy a few and was so disappointed to find out they no longer carried them. C’mon… my big indulgence was gone! A week ago, I lamented whined to Ray how much I missed my little bits of chewy goodness. That night he was all over Amazon and a few days later a box arrived on our porch.
What a guy, right? He found them and ordered a ton. I will not soon run out!
Second story: Earlier this week I was looking for updated software drivers for my DSLR camera. I went to the site and started the download. As soon as I clicked run on the executable file I knew I was in big trouble. (I have a Windows laptop.) Ahhh!! All sorts of windows started popping up in the background. I was so angry. Clearly the site was a fake and I didn’t catch it. Jeez, it was a mess. I am pretty knowledgeable technically. Before working in HR, I worked in the I/T department for a decent sized company. I was both a technical writer and a corporate trainer for some large software installations. I KNOW BETTER. I should have paid better attention to the site I was using but jeez, these creepy people make these sites look so legit. I tried to clean up the mess. I couldn’t. Feeling very frustrated, I shut down the computer. The next day, Ray tried uninstalling everything. He then ran the virus scan, which ran for hours and finally found the mess and (supposedly) uninstalled it. Come the following day, there it was; Binkiland was back on my computer and I couldn’t use Chrome (my usual browser). Ugh. I was so irritated. I told Ray and he did some research on this. Luckily this mess was more of an annoyance than a danger. It is an insipiad browser that forces it way into the computer and takes over so it can collect data on your internet usage. That night he came home from work with a pile of pages of instruction and scrubbed the laptop. I know this wasn’t fun for him. He has a stressful job and sits at his computer at work for a good part of the day. He doesn’t usually come home hoping to sit at another computer for an hour cleaning up yet another mess! But he did and my laptop is back to normal. I am grateful — he is very thoughtful.
Always good to pay it forward right? Time to go extend the gesture to someone else. Recognizing these little gestures and appreciating them make my day that much richer.
This week has been moving along slowly for me. I have hypoglycemia and every once in a while my blood sugar tanks. When it does I am wiped out for a few days. For the most part if I do eat the right foods and don’t eat the wrong foods and my levels stay copacetic (a word my father loves to use!) Ok, last weekend I was not so careful. A couple of m&m’s, a 1/2 of a cookie here or there. white rice instead of brown and I am paying the price for these transgressions! The problem is that 3 out of 4 times, such a small stray from my “healthy” diet doesn’t cause any problems, which makes temptation hard to resist. Every once in a while it throws everything out of balance. Anyway, this makes for a ‘low and slow’ week, as my husband and I have come to call it. No energy to do much of anything. No ability to focus or concentrate.
Just to illustrate my point, here is a picture of the tub of butter that I personally selected at the grocery store this afternoon. Please note that there is butter smeared on the outside, the little plastic seal is loose and protruding from the lid. This is exactly how my husband found it in the fridge tonight. He asked me if I had used this yet, or was it new? “New”, I replied. “Just bought it earlier this afternoon”. He just smiled. No need to comment further. He knows me too well. This is how the tub was when I bought it and how it was when I put it away. Never did I even notice this mess. Yep, low and slow.
Of course, it doesn’t take much energy to sit at a sewing machine between naps and reading my book on the couch. Surprisingly I got a number of things accomplished. Not with any great efficiency and certainly not without error. I made great use of my seam ripper over the past few days. Remember, low blood sugar = low brain function (at least for me anyways!!) I was working on the sashing, corner and setting triangles for the Christmas Lattice Quilt that I blogged about here. I just could not believe how many times I sewed the triangles in upside down. Really? Upside down? Then I would have to look at it for a minute or two to determine exactly what I had done wrong. Jeez! The fabric I am using for the sashing is a white on white holiday print. Again, upside down, or wrong side facing out. I was covered in tiny threads, picking out one seam after another. Finally I set that aside. It was making me more than a little crazy.
I needed a new project to work on (well, ‘needed’ might be a bit strong.) Never having made a disappearing nine patch, I decided to give that a try. If you are unfamiliar with this block, there are a million tutorials out there for it. Basically you just create a nine patch block (3 rows of 3 squares each.) Then I cut the block down the center and across the center, creating four equal pieces. These smaller blocks are rearranged in whatever layout is pleasing to the eye and sewn back together. I was shopping a week or so ago and came across some cute retro looking holiday fabric in Jo-Ann’s. Without any plan in mind, I cut my squares, fussy cutting the Santa fabric and the candy cane fabric as much as possible so I could use those as a focal point. I used a deeper red fabric for each of the center squares as I wanted to have smaller squares with a darker value than the rest of the squares. Here is the resulting 36 x 36″ quilt top.
Now that this little guy is sewn together, I have absolutely no plan as to what I will do with it! It is too large for a table topper and too small for a quilt. I didn’t really take into account what I wanted to do with this project when I was cutting up the squares. (Remember, I was operating with significantly lower than normal brain function!) The size of Santa determined the size of that block and the rest of it just sort of happened. Any ideas?? I am thinking of adding a fairly large red border (maybe five inches wide all the way around?) and then just backing it with the same red. Then sewing the back to the front, envelope style – no binding needed. I could use it as a small table cloth if I don’t use any batting in the center. Maybe that would be fun?
Another project that I worked on was a small art quilt. My inspiration for this project came from a piece that I saw on Pinterest (of course, where else?) I followed the link back to the original site, www.onthetrailcreations.com. The artist at this site designs and sells patterns and kits for quilted cards that are really pretty. I wanted to make a small (7 x 9 inch) art quilt. It was really the first time that I sketched something out and just cut little pieces to applique. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. I did an autumn theme with a bird that is reminiscent of the nuthatches that frequent my feeders in the winter months.
Here is my version:
For the most part I used raw edge applique. For the gold strip running through the center I used a decorative, blanket stitch. The branch that the little guy is sitting on was sketched with thread. (I have been practicing a bit of thread sketching lately and really enjoy it.) The leaves were cut from a scrap of fabric I found with leaves printed on it. I bound the quilt with the same fabric. You will notice the lower right corner of the binding looks all saggy and weird. What can I say? Not my best work right there. 😉
I am really happy with the bird and the branch he is resting on though. Such a cute little guy. I used a french knot for his eye. I applied fusible stabilizer on the back of the base fabric before doing any of the stitching or fusing the applique pieces on. The stabilizer makes a world of difference. Without it the fabric will often pull and bunch when densely stitching something (like the branch).
All in all, a fun week in the sewing room. My friend and I are going to a quilting retreat sponsored by a neighboring quilt guild in the town of Downieville this weekend. I have been stacking up everything I need to bring. I have fabric ready for two different projects and most of the supplies gathered. Hoping for better energy and a higher level of functioning by then!!
Linking to my usual sites: Freemotion by the River, WIP Wednesday, Lorna at Let’s Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday, TGIFF, and of course, Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts!! Take a minute to check out some of these sites. I have links to all of them at the top of my page under Link Ups.