My New England2

PG-1-2PG-2-2PG-3-2

Posted in New England, photography, travel | Leave a comment

My New England

Old Car-2

 

Ogunquit, ME

Coffin-2

The Tristam Coffin and Judith Greenleaf House, Newbury, MAUFPC (1 of 1)

UFPC, Quincy, MA

Newbury, MA; Quincy, MA; Gloucester, MA

 

sunset-2Just to show I am still here…a very mixed assortment of photographs for today’s post.

Posted in genealogy, New England, photography | 4 Comments

Just playing…

It came to my attention that still I haven’t been writing.  So many things, so little time!

Anyway, I’ve been playing with Millie (my longarm) with the quilt top that I previously mentioned.  Because this is for MY guest room and because I went with a light cheap batting instead of what I do for other people, it has run havoc with my tension.  I never have had much of a problem with tension, but this has challenged me, and I’m still not happy, but I will persist.  That’s what I get for being cheap because it is for me rather than what I do for others.

So here’s some of my play:

playing 1 (4 of 1)

I’ll never tire of the joy of seeing a quilt top on my longarm!

playing 1 (3 of 1)playing 1 (2 of 1)I don’t have any pattern or consistency of design in mind.  I’m just totally playing.  I’m moving however Millie feels like moving in the moment.

So that’s it for now.  Have a happy and generous day.  Be kind!

Posted in Longarm quilting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Business Decisions, Changes…

img_5938-2

So this is a simple design I developed to allow me to play with my long arm, Millie.  I feel like playing for a bit.

I’ve sewn a few strips, but have about 1/3 again to finish it.  It is for my guest bedroom, which has this as a backboard:

IMG_3711

So some play time while I think.  I really need to stop thinking so much…

Due to family illness in 2016 I did not spend a minute on my quilting business…other than still paying the taxes that is.  (That does’t seem fair to me, especially when major players don’t pay taxes, but that’s another story). I spent a bit of this year trying to decide if I wanted to continue the business.  There are so many fun things to spend my time on that I don’t want to have a structured business so, formally, in November I closed it down.  All I really want to be able to do is make quilts or help others finish their quilts.  I’m fortunate in that I do not need the income.  I also prefer to just do things for people I know or people they know, as there is little stress in that.  In other words, this activity is for fun and for working with fun and kind people.

In 2015 I gave many quilts to a refugee resettlement organization here in Massachusetts.  Since things are getting back to normal at home, health-wise (knock on wood), I’ve been wondering what to do with my quilting time.  I enjoy other people’s quilting projects and don’t want to give that up so I will do that, but not for income payment…but perhaps rather as a gift that will be turned back into quilt(s) for refugees.  If someone I know has a project, I will be happy to work on it.  If they want to gift towards materials for refugee quilts, that will be OK as well.   My cousin Margaret got me thinking about this more seriously as she wanted to help get quilts to refugees.  I still need to work this out a bit, but that’s what is muddling around in my brain.

In the meantime, I will attend marches and write/call legislators.  I am sad at the division in this country, but I am more horrified at the ignorance, beyond rudeness and unacceptable insults by many of the conservative populace.  People who insist on calling themselves “Christians” seem to be the least christian people that I know.  People in a democracy should make sure they educate themselves as to what the facts are and people in power should not lie.  I’m also shocked how selfish people are.  If something doesn’t affect their little world, they don’t care, but that doesn’t work as we are part of all the human beings on earth.  Unfortunately, I think I’ve given people more credit than I should have, and that makes me sad.  Thank goodness I live in New England, not that we would be safe from fascism any more than anyone else, but still it is my home and I have hope here.

img_5919-2

I went to the Women’s March in Boston.  It was wonderful.  I used this symbol from the seventies, which, unfortunately needed resurrecting.  It may have been the only quilted sign…LOL.  Or one of two, as I made two and ran into an 8 year old girl who wanted a sign.  Her father said it was OK to give her my extra one, and she wore it proudly.  I picture this sign hanging on her bedroom wall for years to come.  Activism is good at any age!  Anyway, the march was a collection of 175,000 people who supported women’s rights, LBGTQ, minorities, the environment, and much more .  It was a totally peaceful, encouraging and pleasant day.  I see people on social media, who did not attend a march, misrepresenting the march, signs, and behavior, but their premise is incorrect.  I see women, shame on them, who say it didn’t represent them.  Well, all women in the US have benefited from such marches and movements through history; for instance, the right to vote and the right to have one’s own credit to just name two.  This march was not specifically anti-Trump or prochoice, but these are what conservatives claim it was.  Pro-choice is not pro-abortion, btw, it is pro-choice, period.  All women will benefit when equal pay for equal work is attained, so shame on them.  Women should support women for, sure as heck, men in power do not!

I’m also not sure I’ll keep up this blog.  But I’m still going to hold off deciding for a bit.  Maybe I should just go back to writing books.  We will see if my posts disintegrate totally into political discourse…or maybe they need to do so!  I and so many of my friends/acquaintances are heartbroken to see this President and his cabinet tear down what our country stands for…oh, I’m doing it again.

On a happier note, in just a few weeks I’m off to Greece!  So I will likely be starting my usual discourse about packing very soon, as the suitcase has come out of the closet…

Have a light and happy day!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Conserved for a while…

So I finished my first official attempt at conserving with the Rocking Horse Quilt.  If you haven’t read my prior post, you might want to do that so you can see what this quilt looked like when I began.  This will always be a delicate quilt, but I have hopefully strengthened it enough to be treated nicely for quite a few more years to come.

I removed the ripped and worn binding and the first set of squares surrounding the horse.  I used the old backing to replace these squares.  Here’s the finished quilt top:

img_5891-2

I resewed some seams on the original segment of the quilt, but I also used stabilizer on weak or almost non-existent fabric.  I decided to quilt ‘blankie’ by stippling so I could target and, hopefully, strengthen areas that were particularly damaged.  So here were the thread options for the quilting:

img_5895-2

I chose the darker brown thread because, surprisingly, it was the least visible.  However, I think any of them would have worked OK.

img_5898-2

This doesn’t really show it, but I floated this top.  I don’t usually do that, but it worked out well.  I didn’t want to pull or tack this top any more than necessary.  The owner chose purple for the new backing.  She felt this symbolized its new life.  I think it worked out well and makes the quilt look fresh.

img_5908-2

So here’s the stipple.  I had to work around the mane and tail.  Also, sometimes I had to leave the stipple and concentrate on a particularly weak area.  Can you see it on the left side?

And the result:

img_5909-2

So that’s it for now.  Happy quilting.

Posted in quilt conservation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

To Conserve, Repair or Repurpose

A friend of my adult daughter has ask me to do something, anything with all or part of her old baby quilt.  It has traveled life with her, even going as far as Paris, and she’s not willing to let it go.  When she handed it to me, she said she’d love to use it, but it could also just be used as a throw on a guest bed or such.  She was even willing for me to take it apart and only use some of the material in a new quilt; however, she was obviously relieved when I said I intended to save the entire rocking horse.  At the bar where we met, it looked in better shape than when I got home and unfolded it on my cutting table.  I have walked in and out of my sewing room for days since and have pondered the best way to save this quilt.  Due to the worn and ripped nature of the quilt, I am thinking I want to conserve so it can be thrown as a display rather than for snuggling while reading or such, as this material will just disintegrate, IMO.  But, please tell me what you think.  So here are some pictures:

img_5846-8

We have a rocking horse with a yarn mane and tail.  The yarn is in good shape and secure. The following photographs show the wear and tear.  Even the good blocks have fabric that appears fragile to me.

img_5840-4img_5841-5img_5844-7img_5842-6

img_5837-2

You can see the last row of blocks and the binding are in horrendous shape all the way around the quilt.  My thought is that I will remove one row of blocks all the way around the quilt top.  I will cut the back into squares to replace the rows.  The back is the 6th photograph.  I just hope the old top does not rip further while I am sewing on the new squares.  I will have pre-washed, possibly bleached to fade the new fabric for the back and binding.  I will also use a light man-made batting.

I need to secure the ripped or previously mended seams.  One thought was to use a light stabilizer to keep them in place.  However, one conservator indicated to baste the area with a piece of cloth behind the week point.  The basting stitches will be obvious, but the material added to the back will help to keep the new stitches from causing the material to rip in a new area.  I’m also thinking that I might add a full size piece of muslin to lay behind the quilt top to alleviate some pull by the rest of the quilt against this fragile top.

Initially, I thought quilting the quilt might help secure the squares in the top.  However, the original top was not quilted so I’m questioning the thought of adding quilting through the three layers.

Should I use stabilizer or fabric for supporting the deteriorating seams?  Would you quilt the three pieces together?  Would you use muslin behind the old top for support and strength?  What else should I think about?  What else should I know?  I would love any and all opinions or advise that you can give me.

(Please forgive some of my white balance in the photographs…obviously, my eyes are not consistent when editing the photographs.  I’ll work on that as well!)

Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

Posted in quilted projects | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Surfacing

As you might recall, I stopped posting in February due to B’s illness.  I think it is now time I surfaced after our family adventure.  During this last year, once things stabilized, my daughter took me to a restorative yoga class to distract me.  The yoga teacher, in her meditative rambling, said ‘all experiences, good or bad, are growth experiences’ so I’ve tried to look at this experience as a growth experience or adventure.  And the yoga teacher is right, I’ve always believed it, but it helped to hear it at a time when I was relaxed.

So B became ill in the early hours of New Years Day, 2016.  Initial recovery was good, and then all hell broke loose a couple of weeks later.  I will not give too many details, but in March he was essentially dead,  but as a result of emergency surgery and an amazing surgeon (amazing in more ways than just her surgical skills), he survived.  Subsequently, he had medically expected ups and downs, some resulting in additional surgeries; we were told this is the second worse medical problem from which to recover and it would be a hard six months. All told he spent 131 days in the hospital and/or MACU.  The painful weeks before surgery and the ones immediately following were difficult.  However, with in two weeks of the initial surgery we were told he would fully recover in the end, so we had that.  People don’t wake up like in the movies,  but we both clearly remember the minute he did ‘wake up’ even though prior to that he was talking.  I would say it was six and one half months from the March surgery when I could say he was fully back, early October.  He’s gone from not being able to move any part of his body to hiking.  He’s still working on his strength, but he did climb to the top of Blue Hill last week on the steepest, most rocky path so he’s doing well. And that is all I’ll say about B’s illness and recovery because it is his business and personal.

What are some of the things I learned: 1. I learned what ‘bone tired’ means. 2. It is difficult making life and death decisions for another person, but even worse while you wait to see if you made the right decision.  3. Nice people come out of the woodwork when you least expect it…was it a look on my face?  So when we ask what happened to the nice people, they are out there…they found me when I needed them. 4. Our family response primary care unit worked great together, were supportive of each other, and bonded.  5. We found humor in the absurd involved with medical care and/or humans, for example; said all in one breath: “It’s tenuous.  He could die any moment. How do  you feel?”  We called her Dr. Death.   6. We are visual people; draw us a graph and we’re good.  7. Sometimes it was just nice to have some one drive me to the hospital, which I never would have understood before this.  8.  The ICU nurses were beyond wonderful (one of which is in line as a future family name along with our hero surgeon).  9. And, out of ICU, sometimes the smallest nurse does the most for a person…and gets him on the rehab road when others do the easy thing.  10. As one of my friends clarified for me when I was upset by a family member, there is always one person in the family who does not follow the requests of the primary family unit and feel they know best without knowing anything.  11.  Everyone in the hospital needs an advocate, awake or not.  12. People expect you to follow their mode of communication when they want to be kept up to date, even if it is not the easiest or most logical for the caregiver.  (Let it be said, I did what was easiest for me as they didn’t understand they weren’t the focus, and caregiver’s focus is on the patient.  All my strength, particularly in the beginning, went there.)  13. Released from the hospital and/or rehab, can be as tiring because suddenly the caregiver has no daily source for information while managing complex wounds, etc.  Be in control.  The caregiver and patient often know more than the visiting nurse about the patient’s condition, so speak up and make demands.  Visiting nurses can be great but they are often generalists and you know more than they do about the patient, especially when his medical record reads like a Russian novel.  14. Thank goodness for audio books.

So my advise: Never give up, follow your gut, and hope for the best.  Don’t let your mind go to the worst scenario, pull it back and visualize the positive.  And sometimes you just need a good Margarita to get to another day! 🙂

I did not sew/quilt for nine months.  I’m only now easing back in.  I don’t need a business, so I am thinking of letting the formal busier business go and just have fun with quilting.  So, as I need to add a picture to this blog, here is most of the Don’t Bore Your Baby Quilt I made in October:

super-moon-1

Sometime I’ll figure out the watermark system…

I also had thought of not blogging anymore, but it might just be a place I am temporarily in so I’ll wait and see.  And, I have a project I have been thinking about as it lies on my sewing table, which I think I need words of wisdom on, so I will blog about that shortly,  seeking advise.  So until then, Happy Quilting or whatever!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Life gets in the way…

A quick update: B. has had some health issues since the New Year, and has been in and out of the hospital.  My full attention has been on his healing.  I’ll get back to posting when he is feeling better and things quiet down.

Ansel Simpson-3

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Wednesday’s Word

This week’s Daily Press’ photography word is alphabet.  My general use of the alphabet in photography is less colorful and more methodical than others who took this challenge.  Here’s my sample:

cot-5In photography, I most often use the alphabet to explain to me or remind me of what or where a photograph was taken.  The South Sami camp explains this photograph:

Sammi House

“…inhabited until 2009”.  Interesting.

However, I do often see the alphabet in graffiti, which I often photograph, but sometimes I have no idea what the letters mean…

So that’s that for the alphabet today.  Happy communicating!

Posted in photography, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Solo Travel Sweden, Part 1

Due to B’s recovery period, I have been much more domestic than usual.  May I say that the worst of this domesticity is grocery shopping, which is not usually my activity.  Meanwhile in the back of my mind, I’m working on my next quilting project, there is nothing visual yet.  So basically, there’s been domesticity, audiobooks (where the heck did I put my glasses?), quilt ideas, and pondering.  Happily, it is January so I have my budget for 2016 travel.   Some of the pondering has been about our travel plans in 2016, and dare I say, early 2017.  This lead me back to my 2015 solo journey to Sweden, which was an incredible adventure.  I did a couple of general blog posts about the trip; ie, the general reason and route, and what I learned.  I’m not a travel blogger, but I like reading about other people’s adventures, and I know some people have been looking for a detailed report, so while things are quiet around here, I’ll see if I can be more detailed about the adventure in case it helps someone else to plan and do some solo travel.

Sweden-4I’ll preface this by saying I have traveled alone in the USA.  When going abroad, I might fly over alone, but I met up with people when there.  Usually, B and I went together.  I was/am the tour guide so I am comfortable with planning the travel, but I never traveled completely alone internationally.  This trip I would know no one for over two weeks.  For this trip, I used some of my usual systems; such as, using Kayak.com and cheaptickets.com for a general sense of prices.  I pick the airlines/flights/routes that I like best and watch the price.  When the price I can live with comes up, I buy directly from the airline.   For hotels, I study hotels.com, booking.com and trip advisor for prices and reviews.  I also looked at Airbrb at apartments for one location for this trip.  I read as many reviews as possible before making reservations.  I did not pay for any hotel rooms in advance, but rather chose the cancellation/pay at hotel charge.

My system of organization is having copies of my reservations and directions, boarding passes, and tickets in a clear plastic envelope for easy access in my personal item.  I also had copies on my ipod.   The ipod also worked as my contact with home via facetime, email, instagram, FB, whichever.  I was required to post at least something, somewhere, each day so if I disappeared they’d have an idea where to start looking for me…LOL.  I pondered having a travel phone, but ruled it out before I left for Sweden.  Facetime would have to do.  On facetime, if I have wifi I can call anyone with an iphone or an apple device.   I will say that I didn’t look at some hotels in Sweden because your key and reservation is all on your smart phone.  They had no reception desks, and as I didn’t have a smart phone, I skipped these hotels.

My other system was an old fashion 8″ X 5″ notebook.  I usually travel with a little notebook to keep track of things, etc.  However, this time I actually completed the journal!  I usually lose interest partially through the trip due to busy-ness/exhaustion.  On this trip I would write in my journal at the restaurant while I sipped on a drink and waited for my meal to be served.  In the front of the journal, I had a double page for each day where I would put details:  1. for travel days I would include all reservation numbers, and possible transportation options with directions and cost for each,  2. For non-travel days, I would list the places from which I might want to chose to see that day, labeling what was a ‘must see’ for me.  3. I also would keep track on this page of what I spent daily as I want to know when I’m under my daily goal in case I want to splurge or vice versa.  4. so I wouldn’t have to remember things, I even went as far as making a note when to shift things; ie, in my first travel 24 hours, when I knew I’d have no sleep, these reminders were to keep me organized, secure, and not confused, such as when to put moneybelt on, when to put boarding pass for Stockholm flight in purse, when to move charge card for Arlanda Express, etc.  I assumed I would be brainless from not sleeping and listed items accordingly.  Yes, I can be overly organized, but it is organization to keep me sane if I need it.  This is what my Stockholm arrival day page looked like: Sweden-3

I’ve previously discussed my luggage, so I will not cover that here.  This first flight could possibly be the last time I will ever carryon, as it is a pain.  Pack light, but check your bag is my new mantra.  As a reminder, here’s my luggage: image

So on Day 1, B. dropped me at the curb at Logan, so we said our goodbyes there.  We thought I’d want to get right in line to get through security, so he went home.  As it turned out, even though I was on BA, they sent me into the TSA Precheck line so I was through security in 3 minutes…oh, how I love TSA Precheck!  So because security was so fast and I was going off for many days alone, I thought, this particular period in the airport was lonely.  I have to add here, that was the last time I was lonely!  However, next time, I’ll have B. come in (if I’m flying out at night, which is doubtful) and we’ll eat at the little restaurant next to security, like we usually do when we send people off.  This restaurant’s receipt lets you skip the line and go into the first class line so it is easy peasy.

I had an uneventful flight to Europe.  Fortunately, there was no one in the middle seat next to me so it was quite comfortable, even if no sleep was involved.  They serve dinner at midnight and then breakfast before landing…doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.  Who eats dinner at midnight?  I skipped dinner and had just a little of the breakfast.  For the first time I reserved my seat ahead of time on this BA flight, so it was in the very front of the economy section.  I’ll continue to do this as I didn’t have to wait for most of the plane to deal with their excessive carryons before deplaning.  I’m not yet willing to pay to upgrade my seat, but I’ve discussed my new system elsewhere…no more overnight flights if I can help it.

Heathrow.  BA, British Air, is my international carrier of choice.  They use terminal 5, which is a nice terminal.  Consequently, as my flight from London to Stockholm was also BA, I could remain in this terminal.  But as I’m paranoid, I had almost a 3 hour layover, 2 of which were waiting.   Immigration took place in Heathrow and then security again.  Here is where I have to say that some businessmen can be really arrogant people.  After I went through security, which always means I’m pulled out of line, wanded (word?), patted down, checked for explosives, and shoes sent through Xray.  All very politely mind you so I have no problem.  In fact, I feel I should lecture these young women next time as they are so polite I think they miss being brave enough to search the reason why I’m pulled out of line, IMO.  If you think a particular part of the body might be hiding explosives well, you better verify.  Let’s just say, Dolly Parton and I have at least one thing in common, and it’s not our voices.  Anyway, I stepped out of the way to gather all my discombobulated items around me, put my shoes on, etc.  I happen to be next to the security survey box: happy face button if you are happy, unhappy face button if you are unhappy.  The business men apparently take offense if the security people wanted to look in their bags or hold them up in any way and they belt that unhappy button in a fury.  Their mothers, if they are still around, need to remind them they are not special, in fact, to the contrary!  All work is important, all workers are equal.  Anyway, each time they slammed that unhappy button, I countered twice with the happy button!

Heathrow had to be 90 degrees this time!  Probably because it was unseasonably hot that day in London.  Here is where my difficulties began.  I have since determined I am lactose intolerant, but it has been several years of illnesses to figure this out, as we don’t use much dairy at home (already used lactaid at home, duh!)  Anyway, after I drank a Starbuck’s coffee with cream (as that is all that was there) I started to feel ill, and the heat didn’t help at all.  However, I got the flight to Stockholm, had a pleasant chat with my young seatmate who was half Swedish and half Australian on her way to visit her grandmother.  She’d been in flight for HOURS so I stopped complaining to myself!

Arlanda International Airport is quite a change from Logan and Heathrow, as it is tiny in comparison.  I easily found Arlanda Express on which I planned to travel to central Stockholm.  I had purchased the ticket on-line, but no paper was involved.  The site said to bring the credit card used, and the conductor puts the card in his machine, and he will see my ticket.  Well, I wasn’t confident about this, but hey, this is hi-tech Sweden that I was going to see.  Indeed, the conductor ran my credit card, and, lo and behold, he saw my ticket.  I never saw anything!  This is the first of my ‘I love Swedish technology’ experiences.

Once at Stockholm Central, I needed to pass through Gamla Stan to Södermalm, the island on which I was staying.  Apparently, Swedish cabs have no pricing regulations so I needed to be careful which taxi company I chose.  The information I had read indicated  not to go to the first taxi stand one sees when first off the train, but head farther along in the station.  I had noted the directions to this stand and stuck with Stockholm Taxi , which has a good honesty rating, during my stay.  I obtained an agreed figure range with the driver before taking the cab.

I had made my reservation with Hotel Hornsgatan. I used google earth to see where this hotel was and what was around it.  By checking out the neighborhood ahead of time, I know what the area looks like, what the subway looks like, and what the facade looks like, which makes it easier to find regardless of what mode of transportation to the hotel I finally decide to use.  This hotel does not have a 24 hour reception desk coverage, so I obtained ahead of time the codes and instructions describing how to enter the hotel and find my reservation, so I didn’t have to worry.  I arrived on time, but the receptionist had stepped out to help some people from the subway to the hotel with their (excessive) luggage.  Happily, I just used the codes given, entered the building and the hotel with these two codes, and waited comfortably in the lobby for a few minutes.  Phew, I made it all the way to Stockholm with no glitches!  However, the timing was good because it is about 7:00 PM Stockholm time, and as I sit in the lobby, I begin to really not feel well.  I felt like Meg Ryan in French Kiss…”lactose intolerant”!

OK. I made it, but the “I’m in Sweden!!!” hasn’t hit me yet.   I’ve landed, if a little shakily:

Sweden-1Part II to follow shortly.  Happy adventures!

 

 

 

 

Posted in travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments