Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Life and En Provence

Hello!  It has been several months since I last posted on this blog. You might say Life has kept me busy.

First, we moved from Pennsylvania to South Carolina. Holy cow! Talk about a culture change, plus with the hassle of finding a house, packing our belongings, moving in and unpacking, it's no wonder I can even remember my name let alone my new address. At least I can enjoy 70+ degrees while my former neighbors shiver in 30 degree weather. Check out the view from my back deck.

Eventually I will meet all my new neighbors. One sweet lady brought over a box of cookies to welcome us to the 'hood.  Last month I met a couple teenagers from around the corner who brought over a box UPS mistakenly delivered to their house. Yesterday I met another neighbor and his dog. My husband and I joined a local aviation group and I'm already volunteering to help with social media communications and chili cook-off. It's hard to make friends in a new place unless you get involved in stuff like that.

Second, I have been working long hours. Luckily I am able to keep my current job for a few months and telecommute most of the time. One week a month I travel back to the northeast to work onsite. That allows me the opportunity to visit my daughter who elected to stay and try to live in her own apartment while making minimum wage. Hah! Doesn't quite make it, so frequently requires support from Mom and Dad. I am hoping that will be incentive for her to go back to college soon.

Third, hey it's the holidays.  Visits to family, shopping for gifts, sending out holiday cards, digging out the Christmas bins to decorate.

It has taken quite a bit of time to try to fit all our stuff into a smaller house.  It simply doesn't fit. We have TWO storage units and have made multiple trips to the dump and donation sites. We still have too much stuff.  But this is a necessary transition as we begin thinking about retirement. Time to simplify.  Right now my sewing room doubles as the office. There are still boxes to unpack, but at least I was able to set up my desk, cutting table and sewing machine. And FINALLY begin working on Bonnie Hunter's new mystery, En Provence.  Luckily I had plenty of scraps to handle all but the magenta which was purchased on a quick visit to my parents.

Okay, I have quite a bit more sewing to do. It feels good to get these creative juices flowing again.

On a higher note, in November I flew my airplane from PA to SC. Sounds simple, but it wasn't. The flight itself was supposed to be about five hours of flying, plus a refueling stop midway. The weather was perfect, only about 5 knots and sunny the whole way.  Well, about an hour into the flight, my engine began faltering. My heart began racing and I made a Mayday call to Air Traffic Control (ATC). I quickly tried all my tricks to troubleshoot the problem while heading to the nearest airport. When I pulled back the throttle a bit, the engine ran smoothly. So I elected to continue on and baby the engine while ATC kept an eye on me. My landing was less than perfect but I was safely on the ground.  I refueled and checked the engine and fuel carefully. A couple other pilots gathered and we talked it over. Must have been fuel problem, we surmised. My fuel tester showed no water and nothing else looked odd, so I took off again. And about 45 minutes later the engine did it again!  So I pulled back on the throttle and continued on to my final destination, just a little slower than I would have normally flown. My landing was great and my husband was waiting to drive me home.  We will have to check some of the engine components before flying on another trip. My airplane may be capable of landing in a field, but I would rather do so by choice not by force. Someone was watching over me that day!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hot Time in the City

Most of us bloggers tend to post less frequently in the summer because we are busy with so many other parts of our life. I am no exception. Six weeks have passed. Lots of cleaning, purging of old stuff, a bit of weight loss (yay), and planning for changes which will eventually show up on this blog.

My sewing projects continue to progress....

The red binding on "Allietare" - almost finished.

A couple of rows are assembled on "Colorado Sunshine".

"Marigold Field" is back from being longarmed and will soon be bound in orange.

I decided to remove blue triangles from "1860's Revival" and replace with large triangles spanning two blocks to cut down on thickness of seams converging. If that doesn't make sense, wait until the fall and I will post a picture.

Then I started a new project (gasp). Okay, it was simply an effort to use up some of the fabric scraps accumulating in a BIG box. And it was an easy, mindless activity. I have a nice pile of these string sections started. They will eventually build up into THIS quilt.

And life would not be complete without some FLYING. 

My husband and I flew in a historic Ford Tri-Motor. Very cool [and noisy]!

And we played around the air on cooler evenings, practicing takeoffs and landings as all pilots do.

Then I had a nasty bout of Lyme's from an infected tick bite. I have lived here nearly 20 years, working in my garden, hiking through the woods, trimming weeds around our country property and had never had anything like this happen. Luckily I saw a doctor right after the rash appeared. A few weeks of a heavy-duty antibiotic and I am as good as new. You can bet I spray on insect repellent every time I go outside. 



And life goes on.....

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

So Close

Do you know the thrill that comes when you have completed all the blocks for your quilting project?  You carefully cut and sewed the pieces, then counted the blocks and finally have everything ready to lay out before the final assembly. I am FINALLY at that point with "Colorado Sunshine" (aka Bonnie Hunter's Floribunda pattern).  Wanna see?

See that space on the left? I have the block, but.... something is not right. 

I can fix this. Just a bit more to do on the pieced border and it is Assembly Time. Yay!!!

How are your summer projects coming along?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Quilting and Living

To my 10 or so regular readers: thank you for hanging in there until I finally created a new post.  I have been living life and finding a few peaceful moments to continue quilting, just like normal.  But what *is* normal?  I found this blogpost here:

 I learned that there is no such thing normal.  Normal is an illusion.  It’s an idea we get in our heads about what our lives should look like influenced by society, the media, friends, family and a million other things.  Searching for normal is denial of and resistance to whatever is happening right here and now which results in struggle and pain.  Wherever I am in my life and whatever is happening IS normal whether it’s what I wanted or expected or not.

My daughter is home from college, but without the satisfaction of having completed her freshman year.  She has no plan at the moment other than to find a job so she can have the near instant gratification of money to spend.  We have also adopted another 19-year-old daughter, a good friend of my original daughter who needed a place to stay for a couple weeks.  Now for the summer.

We have some big decisions to make next week about our lives, our careers, our home. There are many factors to weigh.  I have a Pluses and Minuses chart to help me wrap my head around what is important to my happiness, my family's well-being and our eventual retirement.  Change can be so scary. But not changing may be even riskier and that is scary, too. You'd think a female pilot would be the bravest person who can face any challenge with a victorious fist pump. Hah. Not my reality.

So what is normal?  Sharing a bit of our dilemma with my daughter with friends and finding unexpected solace.  Finding pockets of time to express my creativity with quilting. Picking up socks and shoes scattered around the house. Petting my cats and spoiling them with their morning canned food treat. Harvesting lettuce and asparagus from my garden.  Hugging my husband and daughter(s). Volunteering at the airport. Finding a rare moment to fly above all those earthbound struggles.  Understanding that others are struggling with issues in their own lives.

Okay. Now that I got that out.... Here is what I have been sewing lately.  "Allietare" is back from being longarm quilted, waiting for my latest fabric order to arrive so I can bind it.  Orange Crush - now named "Marigold Field" is a flimsy waiting for backing to arrive in said fabric order.
 "Colorado Sunshine" is only 7 blocks and one pieced border away from becoming an 8x10 flimsy, and its backing will also arrive in the fabric order.

This is how I can feel a sense of accomplishment. I'm continuing to work on my goals of reducing my UFOs (unfinished projects). I am enjoying my job responsibilities and helping my team fulfill our company's objectives. I am leading a flight scholarship committee which helps young people fulfill their own dreams of learning to fly. I am thankful for all the opportunities I have in life. I know challenges are part of a *normal* life.

From the same blog mentioned above:
I have come to appreciate all of life’s ups and downs and swerves and curves.  It’s all part of it, and it’s all normal.  I used to wish for a calm life with no surprises, but now think of how numb and boring that would be.  To live a rich, full life, I have to be willing to embrace, yes embrace, whatever comes my way and find the joy and meaning in it.  Without any little part of it, life wouldn’t be the multi-textured, colorful tapestry it is.  I’ll take that over normal any day.

'Til next post.... live, love and learn!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Another One in Queue

Yes, I know it's been a few weeks since I last posted. After remodeling a bathroom and painting a kitchen, I was finally able to sew a bit.  Today Allietare became a flimsy and was dropped off at my local longarmer.  The picture is a bit blurry because I had a hard time holding still, as I was so excited to see it almost finished. Bonnie Hunter designs some really beautiful quilts.

Mother Earth's binding was finished last week and is ready for gifting.

Orange Crush blocks are done and ready to assemble.I even have the perfect border fabric. Just need to keep looking for the right backing.

Next I will have to decide whether to tackle assembly of 1860's Revival or Blueberry Hill. Maybe a bit of both.  Then I can finish up the blocks for Colorado Sunshine.  Too bad Colorado isn't experiencing much sunshine today. They got 22 inches of snow last night and today. IN APRIL!  Thank goodness I am on the east coast where it is sunny and in the 60-70s.

In between work and house projects, I am watching the weather to see when I can fly again. Tomorrow is the next sweet spot. I'm looking forward to slipping the bonds of earth.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Miles of Binding

It's been a while since I last posted. I've been busy starting early this year. New job. Drama teen. House projects. Quilting.  Unfortunately, no flying though.

In the quilting arena, I have been busy binding THREE quilts, working on a fourth.  Strawberry Fields and Sweet Dreams and the humongous, gargantuan king-sized Celtic Solstice are DONE!  Mother Earth is ready for binding next. My sister has dibs on that one. It's only fair, as she is the last family member who doesn't have a quilt yet.

With stitching all the endless bindings, the following song came to mind. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Starting Well for 2016

This was a good weekend because I spent time flying Nine Zero Bravo.  My morning flight was with an instructor for my biennial flight review. The FAA require private pilots to have a flight review every two years if they want to carry passengers.  My review was a bit overdue, so my hubby had to be pilot in command.  That hurt the control freak inside me.  So I finally got signed off, then promptly took a couple friends up for some sightseeing. Not that there is much to see, being in such a rural area. It's amazing how just a bit of flying can make my mood soar - literally, I guess.

My inner child is like the girl in this video:

On the quilting front, today I picked up Sweet Dreams from Cindy Carrey of North Star Longarm Quilting. Now I have to remember where I put the binding. After all, it's been waiting for several years.  I dropped off Mother Earth (green pinwheel / 16-patch) and Strawberry Fields.  All three quilts will be in my 2016 Finishes count!

I made steady progress on Allietare, Bonnie Hunter's 2015 mystery quilt pattern. I'm still too chicken to venture out in my own color palette but have enjoyed seeing pictures of alternate colorways posted by other quilters. After sewing one of the setting triangles wrong, I had to take a break for supper. Have you done this?

Anyway, all 20 Echoes of Pisa blocks (ones with the red centers) are done and 9 of the Allietare stars. Here is a quick view of my blocks. There will be a thin gold inner border, then I plan to use up my black polka dot for the outer border. Can you believe some quilters are already done???  Not me. I am savoring the experience (lol).  I am linking to Bonnie's linky page on Monday HERE.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Word for 2016

Happy New Year!  Many people have chosen a "word of the year" to represent their goals for the coming year.  My theme word for 2016 is "Determined", as in determined to finish more UFOs, determined to exercise more, determined to eat healthier, determined to clear the clutter. I almost chose "Driven" which some of my friends would say describes me very well, but I prefer the positive aspects of "Determined."

According to Google dictionary, determined means:
   * having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it
   * processing or displaying resolve

My first goal is to finish more UFOs.  Below is a list of the UFOs I intend to finish this year:

1. Binding on Sweet Dreams and Celtic Solstice.  DONE

2. Mother Earth -delivered to longarmer 1/3/2016  DONE

3. Strawberry Fields - delivered to longarmer 1/3/2016   DONE

4. Sly as a Fox - Quiltmaker pattern sewn in June 2014) - ready for me to quilt

5. Red Cross (sewn in 2013;  inspiration http://www.okcmqg.com/2013/01/win-red-cross-charity-quilt.html Just a few more blocks to FMQ; already bound

6. 1860s Revival (goose & goslings block with retro zigzag setting; started in 2013) 

7. Colorado Sunshine (Bonnie Hunter's Floribunda pattern, began in 2012) needs 7 more blocks plus borders  June update: needs 1 block fix and a bit more of the pieced border

8. Orange Blossoms (based on Bonnie Hunter's Orange Crush pattern) - began October 2015. June update: now a flimsy awaiting backing so it can be sent to be longarmed

The above quilts are ones I am determined to finish in 2016. Hopefully I will also find time to finish these other UFOs:

10. Blueberry Hill (Bonnie Hunter's Jamestown Landing) began in 2013. Just a few more blocks to go, then work on the strip border

11. Rainbow Scrap Quilt 2015 (from superscrappy.blogspot.com)

12. Grand Illusion in progress - changing the checkerboard sashing to a lighter green.