Sunday, July 31, 2011

summer recap

It's back to school tomorrow, so for me, despite the coming months of hot weather, summer is over. The vacation part of the summer, that is. It was a good summer and I would like it to last longer. Even so, I'm not feeling anxious about work tomorrow, more... anticipation. As if this evening I'm biding my time until it's time to go. Part of that is all the things I got to do over the summer.

I read books. I read on my Kindle, and the more traditional kind. Raine and I went to the library almost every week. We both enjoyed the books we checked out. I even got through some non-fiction titles (almost unheard-of for me). I enjoyed Charlaine Harris, getting through a couple of her Grave Secrets series, as well as the latest Sookie. I started Yasmine Galenorn's psychic series. I just finished Tess Gerritson, Body Double. It has been a long time since I was able to read so much, and I have really enjoyed it.

I sewed. I made my first completed quilt, and since my mom had cut the pieces, it was kind of like I got to collaborate with her again and that was a pretty special feeling. It won't be the last quilt I ever make. While Roxanne and I didn't get to sew as often as we had wanted to and planned (life just happens) we enjoyed the time we had and got several things done. We both sorted through our sewing stashes and found things we didn't remember we had. Today we finished up a pair of denim pants that Roxanne found that we had forgotten all about. We worked on a knit jacket and pants for her, and a top for me. We are nearing the bottom of the basket of cut out stuff, and are discussing what we want to work on next!

I traveled. Not as much as I would have liked, but did get to hit the road a little bit. Carl, Raine and I went to Tucson, and while we were there we got to drive up to Lake Roosevelt and play in their boat. That was fun. I took Raine to T or C so she could stay with John and Shelbi for a bit. I got a decent visit of a couple hours with John and got to admire his garden. (garden envy) He sent home some yummy squash with me, too.

I got to the Farmer's Market. I even got to renew a friendship with someone who I'd lost track of for a while, thanks to the Market. She and her husband have a booth, and sell benches, tables, and other furniture they've refurbished/remade. I'm loving the produce I get there, too.

I even got to help Raine have a good summer. She traveled to Tucson, North Carolina, and now to T or C. She got to swim and swim and swim. She made it to White Sands a couple of times. She got to participate in music camp, and perform. Shelbi came and stayed for a week. Raine got to spend lots of time with her best friend, and even make new friends, too. Now she'll have a couple of quieter weeks (although Ezekiel will still be around) and be bored enough to be ready to start school, soon.

So, now I'm going to get back to those things one does on the last day of vacation: laundry, getting things ready to take tomorrow, heading for bed early, making sure the alarm is set correctly.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

stress dreams

Mine come in many shapes and sizes, and I've learned to expect them right before school starts. Many times, I can't find my classroom, and the school hallway stretches beyond the horizon. Often I've just stepped into the hallway for a moment, and then the classroom is lost. Other times, an administrator is waiting for me along with my students. The bells are ringing, and I just won't be there when I should be.

There are variations, though. Swarming ants was one of last night's. It's interesting because a version of swarming ants has been a recurring nightmare for me since I was a kid. This one was different, though, they weren't swarming over me in my bed. (Whew) One year, I dreamed that the school was having an assembly with the kids in the bleachers at the football field. All the teachers were given tranquilizer dart guns to use if a kid got unruly. I thought it was amazing. A kid misbehaves, and you put him/her to sleep. Then they miss stuff, which is kind of an ultimate torture for a kid. Of course you had to be a good shot, to be effective, but even if you got the wrong one, they just went to sleep, nothing permanent done.

That reminds me of the movie we watched last night, which was The Green Hornet (please don't confuse it with the Green Lantern!). The Hornet had a gas gun that would put the bad guys to sleep. Not darts... hmmm... Anyway, Seth Green helped write and produce it, and it was definitely a comedy. Silly in parts, but amusing.

Friday, July 29, 2011

one more trip

Earlier this summer, my niece, Shelbi, came to visit for a week. I posted about it. We had a great time. Mention was made about Raine going to stay with Shelbi for a while sometime this summer.

This morning, my brother John texted me. I texted back, and - after running a load of laundry - Raine and I packed her up and headed for Truth or Consequences. As soon as she got there, it was time to put on her bathing suit and head for the pool. (Raine's kind of activity!) I got to visit for a bit with John, and see his vegetable garden, which wasn't huge, but beats mine all to heck. Sometimes its hard for me to picture John even HAVING a vegetable garden...

I got to drive through some rain on the way home and enjoy looking at the clouds moving from northeast to southwest. At home, a quiet evening by myself, catching up on blogs and listening to Blackmore's Night. Not a bad way to end the week before the start of school.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

cuff 'em

I finished three shirts this evening. By finish, I mean that mostly I put on the button holes, and then sewed on the buttons. One of the shirts, however needed the cuffs and a hem. Hem was easy peasy, but the cuffs.... well they were easy, too.

First, let me say that the cuffs are purely decorative. Turned up and no buttons or anything, but they still had to "finish" the ends of the sleeves. I hate putting on cuffs, with the slit and all. Not my best work. I feel almost like I cheated on these cuffs. See, I used bias tape. Once around on one side to hook everything together, fold it over, sew on the other fold and hide all the raw edges inside. Done!

Now, if I could just figure out how to do that with collars!
(pictures coming tomorrow!) Pictures here now! The first is the cuff on the outside. The next is the inside of the cuff, showing the bias tape. The third is - of course - Raine, modelling her new white (dress code for school) shirt.

Monday, July 25, 2011

eyes up

I went and got my eyes checked and ordered new glasses last week. I'm sure no one needs a blow by blow telling of the process, and even telling you that my prescription has changed but a little, and everything looked fine is probably more information than you need, although it makes me happy.

What I really want to recommend is for my friends who have glasses or need glasses - and particularly those with diabetes, like me - to find an optometrist who has a retinal camera. The shop I went to this time, new for me since our insurance provider has changed since my last pair of glasses, had one. Instead of dilating your eyes, a process which isn't painful in and of itself, but takes time to achieve, and then recover from, you get a picture taken of the back of your eye. Look at the little red dot. Flash. Now on the other side, flash. Oh look on the screen there, everything looks normal. How easy is that? Nothing to put INTO your eye. Over in a moment. AND you get to see what the back of your eye looks like too! OK, I couldn't interpret those pictures either, but they can. I just think they are COOL!

Retinal camera. Find an optometrist that uses one.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

sookie revisited

The other day, Carl and I listened to an interview with Charlaine Harris, the author of the Sookie Stackhouse series of books, which was made into the HBO series, True Blood. I've read the books, and watched some - although not all - of the television series. I've questioned how she might feel about the changes that were made to her stories for the television adaptations.

These very questions were in the interview, and I really admired and appreciated Ms. Harris' responses. She appreciated the lucrative nature of the relationship between the two franchises. Each helps the other become more popular, and therefor profitable. Still the changes that were made were substantial, and very possibly upsetting to an author. Harris, however is evidently able to separate the two. She recognizes the development of the TV series as separate from the development of her books, and each has a creative vision belonging to the developer.

I know I probably don't explain it well, but I was impressed by her, and her attitude about a situation that would have the potential to drive some of us over the edge. If you are interested in the interview, I'm sorry that I won't be very helpful in finding it, except that the interview was on a show on CBC (Canada's version of public radio).

Friday, July 22, 2011

meet Raine at the plane

Tomorrow, Raine returns from North Carolina. By all reports, she's had a great time, and I'm glad. She swam, and ate, and saw the ocean, and found some seashells, and spent time with her grandparents, and her aunt.

I'm so happy that she is coming back tomorrow, though. I've missed her. Imagine that...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

some progress

Well, I really made some progress on my craft room today. I took all the tubs off of one of the shelving units, and moved it and swept under and around it. Then - as if that wasn't enough - I took the tubs, and went through them, and sorted out the fabric. No, I didn't wash and iron and fold this time. Too much! too much! But I did sort out all the flannels, and all the linen types, and denim/twills into separate tubs. Then, I put them back on the shelves. End result? Yeah, it doesn't really look much different at this point, except the floor looks cleaner. But, on the inside of the tubs? MUCH better, lol.

I pulled out some old aprons that I don't remember seeing before. I'll try finding homes for those. And I did actually make a pile to wash. I'll be cutting some quilt squares out of those pieces. And I started on organizing my doll clothes making stuff. I hope to have it back on the shelves by tomorrow, and get a little sewing done, now that I've made some space for it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

fabric stashes

I've been working on organizing my fabric stash this summer. I've already been working on one project - the quilt - inspired by, and to distract me from that job. (and isn't it nice of Ginger the cat to help me with that project?) I think I've washed about 5 loads of these pieces. To be fair, some are not really scraps, but a yard or more of fabric. The lint from them though, was amazing. I've ironed and folded neatly, and almost got everything into tubs so I can put them away. It's a good job of condensing into fewer containers. I spritzed and ironed enough hours over the course of the week to make the arthritis in my hands complain at me. I've stopped short of the point where I complain about what they are saying to me, though. Fortunately.

I keep finding fabric though. For instance I opened a box that had trims in it. Oh yeah, that's where that went. The next box over... full of solids. WHAT?!? I haven't been brave enough to open the tub marked "bottom weights" to remind myself how full it is. The good news is that the quilt won't be the only project inspired by my efforts. More good news is that my craft room will be that much more organized (I think it may never be more than a work in progress, though, sigh). Still, stuff has left my house. There are empty containers as a result.

I just wish the sewing table was more clear because I sure would like to use it tomorrow. OK, everything, shift stage left...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

long day

I got Raine to the plane on time. She made it to Atlanta, where her grandparents met her, and I'm sure she is - well - sleeping now, but ready for lots of fun this week. We sent her with a digital camera, to record her adventures, and she told me over the phone that she's taken "lots of pictures of Jody" already. (Jody is her stuffed dog)

I got to nap a little when I got home, but then I've had a late night, gaming. Zombies must be done away with, even if that zombie apocalypse happens in the fantasy past. We survived a Demon Zombie, and an explosion before, after and during killing zombie after zombie. Our catch phrases from this adventure seem to be, "OK, NOW you can set that on fire." and "Not the face, not the face!"

Tomorrow, Roxanne's coming over, and we'll plan our sewing for the next few weeks and cut some things out to go into our project basket. I'll probably work on my fabric scraps organization project that has been cluttering up the living room, and has caused hours of ironing to occur. I've almost got that worked through, although I am almost afraid to look in any more boxes, as I keep finding MORE SCRAPS! I've gotten several sets of squares cut out for our quilt project though.

You may be asking yourself why I'm sitting here writing this, if I'm so tired and have been up so long... and it IS a good question, really. In fact, I think I will put it - and me - to bed.

Friday, July 15, 2011

off to visit her grandparents

Tomorrow is coming early. Like before 4 AM early. I'm taking Raine to the airport and putting her on a plane so she can visit her grandparents for a week. I'll miss her terribly, I always do. She'll probably miss us, too, when she's not too busy having a blast and being spoiled.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

july and rain

Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, we had some pretty spectacular storms. Lightening and thunder - and power outages - along with some much needed rain. Yay.

Evidently, a rainy evening with the chance for power outages calls for a camp-out. So, we set up a shelter, where Raine could utilize the comfyness of her taun-taun (yeah, I know, I'm not much of a geek if I can't spell it) sleeping bag, and the reassurance of her battery powered lantern. I learned the lesson to take the picture, even if she's sleeping, and the flash didn't bother her a bit. It does light everything up, though (hmmm think it's supposed to do that?) which gives the impression of a brighter room than it actually is.

Monday, July 11, 2011

adding to my summer reading list

I got to go to a meeting of the Yarn Fanatics this morning. I read about them in the My Las Cruces supplement that I found in one of those free paper racks. They were very nice ladies, and all were knitting while I crocheted (working on a basic granny square afghan or lap blanket or something). They meet in the Barnes & Nobel at the mall.

A bookstore, you say? How convenient. Why, yes, yes it was. The new Gail Carriger novel is out, in her Parasol Protectorate series, Heartless. I had checked on line to see if I could have them hold one for me, but they were out of stock. Evidently the delivery was TODAY, so they will call me when they get it unpacked. Yay! Along with that, I had seen a book called Sense & Sensibility and Sea Monsters. While we were checking to see if that was on the shelves, I ran across Dawn of the Dreadfuls, by the same author, Steve Hockensmith. It is a prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which I enjoyed very much. The will hold the Sea Monsters book for me, as it is evidently in today's shipment as well. Yesterday, I found a book called, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs quite by accident. I bought it after watching a video of the making of the book trailer (it had some footage of some awesome abandoned places around Europe).

A summer of reading and crafting? What could be better.

a good sunday

It has been several weeks since I got to sew with Roxanne, but we got to, today! we were both excited to get the time together to create.We had a pile of sewing to do, too. We finished a skirt for her mom, and a tunic top for me. We got a t-shirt about 3/4 of the way done, and a button down top started. Pretty good for about 4 hours. We get to get together again on Tuesday for some extra time, and we'll probably be cutting, cutting, cutting. (probably some planning in there, too).

As if that wasn't enough to make it a good day, we had an almost last minute invite to White Sands. Since Raine loves going there, after a little thought on my part, I figured why not. I let her invite her friend, since she'd been over at his house to play for a lot of the week, and that would give his mom a little quiet time. Yeah, it also gave Raine someone to play with, too, and that worked out well.

Can you believe, I even got some photos? Yeah, me neither. I think its time for a haircut for that girl!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

ironing, that's what

When you sew, you get left-over fabric. You just do. (Better to over-estimate fabric needed than under-estimate - just sayin'.) Of course that means I have quite a collection.

What got me started? Finding the makings for that little quilt was part of it. Wanting to clean up the craft room was another. The top of one of the bins had gotten brittle, and was breaking to bits. So, I went through them. I've washed them, and now I'm in the process of sorting the second sort. What is this piece good for? What about that one? I've saved a lot of them for quilting that was to come, and is starting, it would seem. I also enjoy sewing up the odd Barbie outfit. (are they disappearing?) Bits and pieces of fabric. Bigger odds and ends as well, some big enough to actually make something of.

Needless to say, projects are coming to mind. This is a good thing, and might even give me a good reason to actually finish the task I've started, even though the "fun part" is done.

So now I have a tub of these odds and ends, and the sorting is kind of slow. I mentioned ironing, right? If they are to be folded neatly, for future finding and use, or cutting into quilt squares then mangled by wrinkles just won't do. So, I've done too much ironing today (admittedly an easy threshold to reach). I've done a little bit of square cutting. Tomorrow, though, I want to sew. That basket is calling out to me, jealous of the attention being squandered on the others.

I got the little quilt quilted. I did it on my machine (no surprise there, I'm sure) and it was - as the rest has been - a learning experience. All that is left for it is the binding.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

soo sookie

First of all, I know, right? Another entry so soon? Woah, watch out for vacation energation (yeah, I just made that word up...)

I just this morning finished the latest installment of the Sookie Stackhouse series, by Charlaine Harris. Yes, I really enjoyed it, although I'm wondering what Sookie will get up to next time, since it seems like Eric Northman, the vampire is moving on. It was actually one of the more forthright of the series. Maybe not the best book of the series, but, I really enjoyed it, finishing it in about three days (hey, I was driving yesterday - and I don't read and drive, thank you very much). Ready for the next installment, though.

While we were in Tucson, we caught an episode of True Blood, you know the HBO series based on the Harris books. Carl and I sat through it, throwing up our hands, and asking "What?!?!" and "Why?!?!?" almost all the way through. At this point, although the characters have recognizable names, the story line is... basically unrecognizable. Sigh. We had worked our way through season 3, thanks to Netflix, but season 4? I tend to not think so. The things that we enjoyed about the books, were the things that we looked for in the series. Those also happen to be the very things missing from it. Probably had enough of this one.

It is a question that I would ask Ms. Harris if I could. Do you like/care what they have done with your characters? With your creation? I'm sure it is money and fame, but is the cost worth it? And I ask these questions sincerely, not rhetorically. I really would like to know how she feels about it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

the tucson trip

We had a very nice time in Tucson, visiting Pete, Steph, Sedona, and Anasazi. Raine played with Ana almost nonstop, and both girls enjoyed themselves. Raine got to swim every day, I think, and even got to go horseback riding. We went to Roosevelt lake for a day and had a blast swimming, pulling and or riding a tube, and a couple of people even tried skiing. On the Fourth of July, we were invited to a nice party, with swimming, great food, and fun conversation. We even got to sit through a rainstorm, which cooled everything down nicely for the patio fun.

There were things that I missed out on, like Steph and I had wanted to sew together, but we didn't get to it. The last couple of months at her house have not been pretty, with one thing and another, and while things are calming down - thank goodness - she was definitely in a "take it easy" mode. One which we all seemed happy to adopt, really. So, while every moment wasn't full & exciting (like I care) the time flew by anyway.

Ron made a very cool coat while I was away, and I think I may take a photo or two of it tomorrow. And then get some sewing of my own under way.