08 March, 2018

Randomly In March Already

 Spring is here. Most of the east coast and midwest are buried in snow drifts. We in the Willamette valley of Oregon are just sitting back and enjoying our four month show of spring flowers. Maybe a few gray, overcast days to break up the monotonous beauty.

I am taking photos and only a few are even making it to Instagram. A fellow employee retired clear back in October and we have yet to get another body hired. Lots of 12 hour split shifts for me. I was pretty sick since December and I seemed to pick up three versions of something and it's been difficult trying to get on top of the crud with so many tiring work hours.

I took advantage of being tired and played Library Bingo where you could just read four category books and win a mug or you could play all 16 (blackout!) and be in the running to win a Kindle Fire. For some reason, this hit me at the right time of year and I was very inspired to read not just quick novels,  but some new to me books in categories I normally don't read and that seemed to fit my energy level quite well.

Anyway, I took a week off last week to go to SewExpo (sewexpo.com) and used the time well. My son and girlfriend visited and my sis from MN flew in to help do some family (interventions). So the week was busy but not over the top which so often happens when my sis visits.

I also had the opportunity to be one of the first reviewers of a friend's foray into writing children's books. She is a talented illustrator. I don't know if you're familiar with Jan Brett but this gal has a similar style of making the illustrations tell a story beyond the actual story.  She hasn't published yet but is very close.

 This book is a version of the 12 days of Christmas. "...My true love gave to me Six Warthogs Wading...", set in a fanciful zoo of animals.

 Until the princess is surrounded by all these wonderful animals and has to call mom on what to do now.

 This book features a boy who drinks a sip of coffee and turns into a fanciful animal. A very simple story but gorgeous illustrations that are fun to ponder and enjoy on their own.

So, here I am with new fabric for a new quilt. The post office keeps saying since they "delivered' it to a parcel locker, the claim for insurance is denied. The not giving out keys issue is totally ignored. If you're new to this story, I made a quilt for my son for christmas. he never got a key to the parcel locker. My sis in MN also sent him a package that arrived the same day and also, NO KEY. If you can read between the lines, a few choice swear words were inserted.

So quilt no.2 is all sandwiched now and I have started the hand stitching. After that, I can bind it and re-send it either to their new house or via UPS since USPS is ridiculous in their no communication.

I was in sort of a denial place. Partly because I didn't want to re-make this and partly because winter will be over before they get it. And it was made for Christmas Wintery Cold.

And of course the fabric store didn't have the same fabrics - they had also moved onto Spring. Now I think I should have made a spring gingham but I am committed. Possibly I should be committed.

 Here's a picture for Kyle of the snow that shut down Portland. Bare ground. Schools cancelled the day before it even snowed. Gone by afternoon snow.  Portland did get hit much harder than my banana belt community.

And finally.
My dd nailed this photo of the Northern Lights. She's still up in Alaska.
This is what 3am looks like on a cold wintry night.

07 February, 2018

Orange Confetti Clothesline Bowl


 My third Orange Confetti Clothesline Bowl. Much happier with my third attempt. Second one was my typical, too fast, trying to make it the same, fiasco (in my mind). This third one is also a tad smaller. About 8 inches across.

Anyway, even with the leather finish, this bowl still had to have a knot. A snake knot, to be precise.

I just love how organic the bowl comes together. Not overthinking the design, just letting it evolve how it wants to.

 Last Sunday, my only day off, was warm - over 60'f,  and sunny.  Yard work was calling. Specifically, this wild Nootka rose.

It had no redeeming qualities other than keeping the neighbors at bay. No excess of blooms, no excess winter rose hips, just excessive vicious thorns and the ability to jump over and under the aluminum flashing I put in to keep it contained.

Late in the summer I tried some Crossbow on it and I was happy to see some dieback.
It will take me two years or so to get rid of the vigorous runner roots but I am waging war.

I have a nice clumping bamboo to put there instead. Teresa gave me some of her clumping bamboo varieties for my birthday last year. They are in pots until I gain control of this spot in my flower bed.

 It's all chopped back, crossbow applied and some roots dug up.

My living fence is now opened up and the neighbors got a bit closer.
Gardening is a process. That's for sure.

 I did do a bit of sewing. This was all cut out on my sewing table and was finished. This little professional pouch with leather accents measures about 5 1/2" by 4 inches tall.
Nice small pouch.

For coins, stuff, timbers memorabilia.
---our local soccer team.

While the rest of the nation is enjoying the winter months, our spring has started here in the Willamette Valley. My Christmas Cheer Rhodies are starting as well as my early daffodils.

Warmer weather is expected through next week and I might even see my mini-iris's pop open.
We can still expect frosts until April but this winter has been mild - our usual state of affairs here. Last year was snowy and icy - which happens every ten years or so. Good to be back to 'normal'.

04 February, 2018

Library Bingo

 I'm busy playing Library Bingo.
You can win a mug by reading four across/down/diagonal.
But if you do blackout - all 16 categories - you're in the running for a new Kindle Fire.

 Categories include Biography, Book translated into English, Book made into a movie, Travel, Nonfiction History, Humorous Book, Fantasy Novel, Book from Childhood, Bestseller, Poetry, Classic Novel, Mystery, Library Staff Selection, "Lucky Day" book, Graphic Novel, and Book by Oregon Author.

I need suggestions on Book translated into English, A Humorous Book, and a Fantasy Novel.

Creative Girl is providing me with a (short) graphic novel from her daughters extensive collection.

She also found me my Poetry Book. I like poetry but I don't love it enough to read a book full of poems. She found me a vintage single poem, "Sweet By and By". Complete with etched plates and illustrations. And the music score.

This is a typical time of the year for me to read more. I feel quite energized by this Library bingo game. I have until March 15 to finish, which I think I will.

Last Sunday was nice, so I had to play out in the yard (next post) instead of sewing and reading. This sunday is warmish but the wind is blowing and there's the occasional drop of rain. I was able to sew and read and do my laundry on this Sunday.

 Another acquaintance in town started her own book store. She's ordered this bag from me before (twice), so I made her another to use or to sell in her shop. I plan to make her two to help get her sales going so she can stay in business - we'll see.

This is my own tote bag pattern which I am still perfecting. But I made these corners. I'm pretty pleased with myself.

 Inside is this great slip pocket featuring a scrap of books.

 The Lilac Girls is my bestseller. It's about WWII and three women. One is a society gal who helps french citizens from the USA and sends care packages to french orphans. The second is Polish, studying medicine, when she and her sister, mom, and boyfriend are picked up and sent to a concentration camp. The third is german, also studying medicine, who turns into the only woman doctor tried for war crimes by lethal injections/operations performed upon concentration victims.

I highly recommend this book .

First of all, the similarity between my work environment and the concentration camp really played in my subconscious. I dreamt about this book. The decisions I made to get out in a year and a half are  more right than ever. I see more and more workplaces becoming authoritative, hostile - well- work is a four-letter word.

Secondly, I was really sick with the bronchial flu in December and still feel exhausted from the christmas work hours and continuing overtime. These women, underfed, forced to do hard physical labor, with less sleep than I get, were able to persevere, create bonds to survive and do more - in spite of their exhaustion. Very inspiring kick in the butt.

UPDATE on missing package: Well - we have been officially denied insurance coverage because tracking says the package was delivered. We are appealing that decision because no one bothered to give out keys to the parcel lockers. No one is addressing this issue. It's sucky.

Why did I make the book bag and some other things? While I have bought new fabric to make the replacement quilt for my son, I am procrastinating on cutting it out and sewing up the quilt top. Big sigh. Maybe after I write two blog posts. (cuz I'm NOT watching super bowl).

21 January, 2018

Missing Package And No Communication

The Post Office officially sucks at communication.

They ignored my case.
They ignored my sister's case.
They ignored my son - the recipient of two christmas packages that were placed into parcel lockers at his apartment complex.
They won't even address the issue of no keys to the parcel lockers.

Other than geo-tracking them to the parcel lockers, there's been no word.

I filed my priority claim today - one month after the package disappeared.

I went to Fabric Depot today and re-bought all the fabrics. Of course that's impossible. I bought the first fabrics for the quilt in October. The store is sold out of the original fabrics.

Moving on. Pencil Girl was unable to come today, so we did about a thousand messages back and forth.

Anyway, I did want to address a concern of several of my readers. It is highly unlikely your package will go astray. If you package it well, secure the label (inside the box and outside). Utilizing a good condition new box (for stability), wrapping in plastic (in case it gets wet).

In my 40 plus years of shipping packages, I have only had a handful go stray and I send a lot of packages.

I just drew the lottery on an emotionally charged christmas package to my son who moved out of state.

Fabrics all washed and doing their drying thing. I'll cut them out next weekend.

Oh - the photo above is of the beach south of me, down by Coos Bay, Oregon, taken by my cousin. The moon and the waves conspired to provide the BIG wave.
Very exciting winter surf on the Oregon coast.

My new favorite song heard on the radio this morning.
You  have to listen to that piano. mmmm..mmmmm One of the better re-makes of a classic Bob Dylan song: Don't think twice, it's all right.

17 January, 2018

Pencil Girls Christmas Gift To Me

longer sleeves. I vote for yes.

Pencil Girl made me this Kimono Jacket. She's been a friend since college and we both worked at the same fabric store - so we've sewn our whole lives together.

Anyway - last fall, she and I went to a Sip (wine in a fabric store!) and Sew at Fabric Depot to meet MimiG (look her up) and Deb  Kreiling. We'd met Deb for the first time at Sew Expo last Spring. She pretty much runs Simplicity Patterns.

Deb is shockingly short (my apologies, but she's shorter than me) and was wearing this beautiful kimono style jacket. I ran and grabbed the pattern, as did Pencil Girl. FYI: Simplicity 1108.

The jacket was so simple and so flattering.

straight from work with sweaty tshirt

 Pencil Girl even egged me on to buy this georgette - a fine flowy fabric on one of our recent Fabric Depot trips. I declined  - mostly because I was just starting the holiday season at work. I don't need more fabric waiting for me to find time.

Was I ever surprised to see this in my mailbox the other day. She does exquisite finishing too. And this is a muslin - made quickly to finesse the fit.

It fits!

Deb from Simplicity added some sleeve bands - lengthening the sleeve at the same time. Pencil Girl even made up some longer sleeve bands for me to try out.

Right now - I'm too lazy to change anything. And for the first time in months, I dreamed about sewing during my nap the other day. I may have the perfect fabric to make another in my stash.

I'm still a bit amazed that she sewed a wearable garment for me, and it fits, that I am showing you totally unedited photos. Don't get used to it.

***Update on missing package - see previous posts if you're nosy:
Today - wednesday - I received an email from USPS inviting me to fill out a survey regarding our recent missing package case. I was not flattering as no one has resolved anything nor have they followed up. Hello - here's my email.............

Tonight - ds found a note from the apartment complex manager that he had a package in the office. **** Could it be the missing one suddenly visible again? Is there two?

Stay tuned. It's almost been a month. Well - longer than three weeks. I mailed it on the 20th of December?

15 January, 2018

More Bowls And A Piper J5

 I made a second Orange Clothesline Bowl.
Only differentiated by the amount of Satsumas left in the house!

 These two - the stripey one with handles and the solid orange were destined to my mail carrier as she goes above and beyond to accurately and kindly deliver our mail. I needed a gift for her and I may have gone overboard. Her favorite color is orange. I think this set was my best ever in the clothesline obsession.

I meant to make two bowls in graduated sizes but my organic way of designing had other ideas. Once the rope is under my presser foot, anything can happen.

 I came up with a new finish -  little confetti dots for a design detail.
By the second one, it looked more like confetti.

I also tried out a leather accent piece, to hide the end joins. Riveting, yes? lol

If you're interested, the second bowl is now listed in my etsy store: RunningWithHandmade.

Here's the Piper J5. It will have it's maiden voyage in about a month. Still fiddling with weird small stuff. The engine cowling is rubbing behind the propeller housing, for instance.

We had a 60' sunny break from all our drizzle so it seemed like a great day to run up the engine. A trip up and down the runway to get some oil into the cylinders and flash the neighbors.

It doesn't sound as good as the Stearman big round engine but it was a fine sound on Saturday.

***Update on pkg debacle. Well - it's MLK day and a holiday. Maybe some news on Tuesday....or at least more excuses.