Monday, September 25, 2017

Mandala Monday

"I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: 
no good in bed, but fine up against a wall."

-Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Week in Review - September 17 - 23

Well, we did it. We achieved snow on Friday!

Not that it stayed on the ground, but there were flurries of snow all day on Friday. 

Which meant I curled up and started this...

It's a C2C, or Corner to Corner for non-crocheters. I have been wanting to do one for some time now and started this one as a gift for a friend out of scraps of yarn. And in the spirit of decluttering, took two grocery bags of bits and bobs and yarn I know I won't use to 'school' for crafts. 

Anyway, I am loving this afghan and don't know if I will be able to give it up. Talked a crocheting friend into trying this pattern out and she is making one for her son (I think that's who she's making it for) and also loves this pattern.  It's simple, with just enough complexity to not be boring.

I was chugging along nicely on the Joy quilt and got two sets of blocks figured out and finished. Then I got to Block 4, which is actually about 6 different blocks in one step. I got Block A figured out and then crashed and burned on Block B. So I decided I needed to step away from the quilt for a bit. But I didn't realize I had cut the light blue fabric so well to have the raccoons show up like they do, so that's a plus on a difficult step.

Made some fruit infused simple syrups after my class at Gulch Distillers on the 16th. Texter has fallen in love with Starbuck's Strawberry Infused Green Tea, so we created our own. The lemon and peach simple syrups are for me!

Found a new friend outside while letting the dogs do their thing. We have an apple tree in the back and I found him looking at me.

And speaking of apples, I made 5 dozen apple roses for the Jensen Jewelers Diamond Event on Saturday. Not difficult, but a bit fiddly. They were pretty though.

So when I wasn't throwing up my hands over quilting or sitting and crocheting, I made up this...

Yep, I created a move binder. I brainstormed on things which I knew needed to get done, purchased, purged, packed and tossed over the next few months. And luckily, since we thought I was going to have to drive a U-haul back to North Carolina while Texter drove the car, there is a company which services Helena that does a 'u-pack-it' service. And for about the same cost as renting a truck and driving myself (and a lot less headaches).

Please, no hate on the fish sticker. I LOVE Montana. I could stay here in a heartbeat. But I also happen to think this series of stickers is funny and have a few different ones. I want a couple of their t-shirts too!

Otherwise this past week...
  • Enjoyed several cold, rainy days
  • Rearranged my plant window
  • Finished 1 book
  • Nursed an aching wrist (too long at the computer with my wrist resting on the edge of the desk)

For the coming week...
  • Possible trip to Billings for a fiber festival (Saturday) which means a trip to the mall there too
  • Star Trek Discovery starts!
  • Couple of batches of brownies for a friend's birthday Monday (Texter's study buddy)
  • Babysitting while Texter does the NAMI walk. We would all be babysitting, but it's picture day at soccer, so I'm taking Lady K to soccer while mom is walking. 
  • Monthly 'what's new' at The Sewing Palace
  • Figure out Block B on Block #4 on the Joy quilt and move along
  • Watch the opening shows of several programs starting this week on TV while crocheting

But in the meantime, going for my next cup of coffee.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Week in Review - September 10 - 16

The week ended on my birthday. My 60th one!

And a great birthday is was!

I fixed a rum cake for myself and to take some of it to the Gulch Distiller's class on Infusions, which I attended with Savvy.

Her bright yellow drink was a turmeric-infused gin concoction and was really tasty.

Mindful of my 'advanced' years, I went for one with a lot of orange and lemon and RUM!

Savvy's take away on the class? She needs a bar centrifuge. 

She always loved making 'science experiments' growing up and I shudder to think what she would come up with. But this is the latest 'toy' at Gulch Distillers and super quiet. But they can do a rapid infusion and have a clear liquid in 15 minutes. 

I love the 'classes' here! But for now, I'll stick with mason jars and time for my infusions.

But before we went I pulled out all the plants and cleaned up the window seat, adding a layer of cardboard to protect more against spills. I had two containers of some pretty sorry looking, tiny succulents Texter had brought home from a wedding she attended over the summer and repotted them all into one container, pulling out the moss and adding some of the quartz rocks we picked up this summer.

I also pulled out my plant light I had used on my seedlings and put it in the window. Since the days are getting shorter, I figured they could use the extra light.

Texter had gifted me an early birthday present, signing me up for the "Fear No Fabric" two-day workshop in early October. I can't wait! I'll finally learn how to correctly sew on some of those 'weird' fabrics we use in costumes.

Savvy and CJ treated me to a wonderful birthday dinner at Lucca's in downtown Helena. 

I had the Shrimp Fra Diavolo and when they say 'spicy', they mean SPICY! So good it hurt!

Savvy had the lamb special...

And CJ had the Cavatappi...

It was wonderful to (1) have some great food in a (2) leisurely atmosphere waited on by (3) a fantastic staff and (4) not feel like I had to bolt it down to make room for someone else. Expensive, but well worth the money.

The only downside to the day was Lady K was feeling very well. We went from periods of running around like a goose to throwing up and fever. Hopefully, it's only a 24-hour bug and she'll soon be just a goose again.

Otherwise this week...


As in two full days of drizzly, cold rain with snow in the mountains just a bit higher in elevation. Such a welcome relief and hopefully will help the fire fighting efforts all over Montana. 

  • Finished two sets of blocks on the Joy quilt
  • Started a 'secret' knitting project. Not sure I am happy with the results as of yet.
  • Big batch of soup and chili for the cool days
  • Taught a planner/stress reduction class at Carroll College
  • Finished 3 books
  • Wrote 4 posts
  • Did a brain dump on all the things to do before, during and after the move 

And the other BIG thing...the kids signed off on the sale of the lot. So now it's waiting until closer to time to move and look for houses. One big hurdle off our plate.

Due to Lady K's illness, I didn't make it down to the Orchid Show this weekend. The only real bummer of the week.

For the coming week...

  • Finish up at least one more set of blocks for the Joy quilt
  • Work on my secret knitting
  • Prepare for the 24th when the new Star Trek series will start!
  • Watch a football game on Monday night (if Lady K is better)
  • Soccer today for Lady K - tummy permitting

But for now, the air conditioners are out of the windows and the heat has been activated. Winter has arrived. I think somehow fall missed the memo!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Block by Block

Slowly I am making my way through the blocks of the Joy quilt. When I first looked at this block, I didn't really 'get it' and worried about how to create it since I had missed the class.

Then I realized I needed to 'break it down' into it's parts and then it was pretty simple!

The only change I made to the block was the orange with the grey triangle. The orange is suppose to be on long strip on either side of the triangle. But if I do the 'quick and easy' flying geese construction I can't do the long pieces. But chopping that strip up doesn't bother me in the least.

I have one more block similar to this, just fabrics in different places and then comes my really big 'problem' square which I will sit down when everyone is at school next week and puzzle out.

Hopefully, I will be sewing the whole top together in the next few days/weeks. Then another top crossed off my list!

In the meantime, with the cold, rainy weather we have had for the past couple of days, I just HAD to start a new knitting project which will hopefully turn out to be gifts for some friends. Will have to see how it goes. New shows are starting on TV the end of the month, so hopefully a lot of prime knitting time coming up. (I record them and watch during the day when everyone is gone and my attention isn't needed elsewhere.)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Blooming Update!

As the temperatures here in Helena start to cool down some (can Fall be far behind?), taking a look at some of my orchids in the bay window. And my Fall may be even more colorful than usual.

My Cattleya has a spike growing and should produce a flower spike sometime in the near future. Excited! I haven't had a cattleya before, much less one in bloom.

My Brassavola has two flower spikes on it. This is another orchid I haven't had in the past and can't wait to see the flowers.

And finally, my Epidendrums Max Valley , another orchid I have never owned before, has what I believe is a flower spike starting. It doesn't look like the roots which also sprout out between the leaves.

It is also the first 'red' orchid I will have.

I am so excited my system of 'benign neglect' is working out so well (so far!). 

In other plant news...

This is a piece of an orchid being discarded from our February repotting meeting. No viable roots, but the canes were still plump. I have 'babied' it and was rewarded with this. So one day it may actually be blooming for me.

And the avocado...

(A bit blurry, sorry)

I had cut off the growing tip to try and force it to branch out some. And finally, a tiny nub starting. 

All in all, I am pretty excited about fall/winter in my bay window!

But in the meantime, the Great Divide Orchid Society has their annual show and sale this weekend. There may be a couple of new additions to my 'garden'!


Monday, September 11, 2017

Mandala Monday

"The fox has many tricks.
 The hedgehog has but one. 
But that is the best of all."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Week in Review - September 3 - 9

It's that time of the year! Pumpkin Spice has hit Starbucks, so in the next few months everything will be "Pumpkin Spice this - Pumpkin Spice that"!

While Texter is not a fan of Pumpkin Spice (I like it because the Salted Carmel has also arrived!), she is a fan of these cuties. I went in to get Lady K a cookie for after school and had to get two, one for her and one for her mother.

And speaking of Lady K, with Labor Day out of the way, we can now get back to a schedule where she is occupied all day long, learning and playing with friends. After all, watching your iPod in this position is exhausting (for all of us)!

On my part, aside from trying to figure out the whole new school routine for the semester, I have dragged out a project from 2013 to restart and hopefully at least get it to the finished top stage.

The flying geese (top picture) will form an "X" in the middle of the quilt with the long strip going up the side. I have the second one ready to be joined into a strip.

Problem with this project is since I missed the classes (family upheaval at the time), some of the blocks don't make sense to me. So the lovely ladies at The Sewing Palace are going into their archives to pull out their notebook and help me out. 

But in the meantime I have discovered something...I'M LEARNING!

For example, the blocks in the strips have triangles holding them together (so to speak). There was really nothing about the triangles in the directions other than the amount to cut. But I figured it out all by myself!

And realized, in looking at the other blocks in the quilt, I am starting to see how quilts are actually constructed rather than just following the directions. Once I finish patting myself on the back, I'll try another one of the blocks I don't have full directions on to see if I can figure out how it's put together.

Another problem with this quilt....

Savvy has seen the blocks coming together and is eyeing it for her bed. Silly child!

Otherwise this week...

  • Slipped back into playing World of Warcraft with Texter
  • Finished up 1.5 blocks for the Joy quilt (see above pictures)
  • Went to the gym twice (need to double that next week)
  • Make a ton of banana bread for Texter to take to school (and get rid of ripe bananas)
  • Finished four books
  • Did a tiny bit of knitting (more on tap since soccer is starting)

For next week...

  • Attend a "Back to School" session at the quilt store
  • Update information for a stress reduction planner class for college students
  • Orchid Show all next weekend - helping to set up 
  • MY BIRTHDAY!!!! (60 this year!)
  • Dinner out with Savvy and CJ at Lucca's
  • Texter has already presented me with my birthday present - a sewing workshop in October!
  • Another 'class' at Gulch Distillers with Savvy
  • Soccer with Lady K starts 

So for now, looking forward to the massive drop in temperatures for the coming week and a slight chance of rain. 

Can snow be far behind?


Thursday, September 07, 2017

'Noteworthy' Updates

I feel like a giant smoked turkey these days. Montana is having record breaking wild fires and my morning routine now has checking the air quality for the day. It's sad. Especially when so many other areas are under water and/or expecting a lot of rainfall (thank you, Irma).

The smoke in the air is affecting Lady K in a couple of ways. First, 'school' doesn't take them outside when the air quality hits a certain point. Which is most days recently. Secondly, she has been having 'fire' dreams and has come back to sleeping with me most nights. I feel for her.

But a bright spot is our new friend, Alvin...

Alvin appeared in our yard last week and we have been supplying him with goodies...apparently chipmunks also eat fruit, so the berries we have been putting out are disappearing too. The ice cube tray...water. We couldn't find anything else!

Another bright spot was I received my giveaway winnings from Notebook Stories!

Sorry, Savvy, but if I could have a prize from a jewelry store or an office supply store...

Well, I do love my pens and paper!

I received two small field size notebooks. I love to throw them in my purse to carry around for notes and lists.

I love the story behind the "Hitlist" notebook. 

Then I received three A5 size notebooks...

The black ones I'll use for notes and lists, but the "A New Leaf" notebook will probably become a journal in some way.

Each page as a different color and leaf on it.

Texter and I also love Dollar Tree for stickers and such. I picked up a pack of 3 small notebooks last week.

One is already in use recording data I need for a job I'm doing. But aren't they cute at 3/$1!

But I haven't forgotten the fabric scene.

I spent one afternoon cutting out 20 hexagons for my Noodle Box Quilt. Only to read the directions and realize I cut them without adding the 1/4 inch to the pattern (all the other pattern pieces had the 1/4 inch added!)

I'm going to have to do some adjusting on the pieces around the center. It can be done, but I need to get rid of this 'smoke' headache before I give it a whirl. (Actually, I have already experimented a couple of different ways and have a third option to try.)


I pulled out my Joy quilt from 2013! The one interrupted by a bit of upheaval in our lives. One good thing about being at least semi-organized was it was all together in one bin and I could pick back up on it. The bad part about it is several of the blocks had 'tricks' associated with them and I had to go back to The Sewing Palace for some help on the size of blocks. They will be getting back with me when they pull out their notebook from 4 years ago!

In the meantime, I am working on blocks where the instructions don't have any surprises, like the 72 flying geese I had to make for these strips. It will form a big 'X' across the quilt top. I can't wait to see it all together.

But now, off to get Lady K dressed and off to school!

Monday, September 04, 2017

Non-Mandala Monday

First off,

Happy Labor Day  to all those workers out there! Hopefully, the ones who actually have to work will be making holiday pay.


Yes, it's that time of year!

Gearing up for another year of NaNoWriMo and this year my writing will be entitled Montana Memories

Already planning it out and my first step is to go through four years of photos to decide what stories I want to write about. 

I think this will be considered 'creative nonfiction'!