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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Taking Stock...

This time of year brings to mind the idea of pulling together the year's accomplishments and major thoughts. An easy way is to use a template, so I did.

Dec 21, 2014

Making : time to rest and regroup while the Little One is home with mama
Cooking : Pot Roast but dreaming of cake
Drinking : Cran-Cherry juice w Tang mixed in for flavor
Reading : Ohlone Indians-residents of the SF and Monterey Bay Areas 
Wanting : to be able to make my own sox out of wool…
Looking : at my sweet husband’s face and loving him more each year
Playing : Cribbage Pro w my Kindle-no real life players
Wasting : as little as possible
Sewing : nothing at this moment
Wishing : my brother would talk to me
Enjoying : time off
Waiting : for daughter to take next step 
Liking : the warmer weather
Wondering : if success is within reach
Loving :  my dear friend Teresa who just spent the night with us
Hoping : Teresa finds her way in the desert
Marveling : at how independent some women are
Needing : nothing at all
Smelling : fresh air from outside
Wearing : leggings and pullover shirt-double layers all the way !~!
Following : too many blogs to keep up-must prune
Noticing : my hip’s steroid shot has worn off already
Knowing : it’s too soon to get another shot
Thinking : about the future and where we fit into it
Feeling : nostalgic
Bookmarking : news sites
Opening : my eyes to the brutality of the police against people of color all around the world
Giggling : at very little these days

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Four Years Old IS New to Me

My eleven year old Mac mini finally gave up for the last time and was replaced by a newer model. Only four years old, the new OS is also my favorite national park: Yosemite.

Both are still atop my desk as I transfer over my Contacts. Unable to make the Migration Assistant work after numerous attempts, reading everything we could find and saying words I won't print here, I am gradually getting the addresses of my three hundred closest friends and businesses transferred over one at a time by hand. Primitive I know and yet... what's a gal to do. I pulled over my documents and photos but the address book is not compatible and so I take this opportunity to sort, update and purge my contacts.

Surrounded by screens, I work my way thru the process of bringing the new Mac Mini (visible at the very top of the pic to the left of the Volcano and between the two monitors) current with the info from the old Mini which is under the Volcano. My Chrome Book is on the tiny folding table so I can look up anything that happens during the transfer.

My Kindle Fire, tho not visible in this pic, is also close at hand; probably on the desk in front of the Volcano. See my "old" flip phone by the REI mug? I have had it for yeeeeears. Damn thing still works so I am loathe to replace it altho an Iphone must be somewhere in my near future if only for the camera.

It's been a month of learning new electronics: Yosemite and Fire have tasked my brain and I sometimes forget which keyboard works the front-most monitor, I'm having a good time and hoping to have it all done in a week or so. Maybe then I'll find the surface of my big wooden desk.

Drought Conditions Abate

We have water in our reservoirs and puddles in the yard. It's great. More to come too. The brown grasses all need to be mowed in their green gloriousness and the flowers are poking out despite the lateness of the year.

What's happening where you are ?~! Share with me...

Saturday, December 13, 2014

From Scuffed to Chuffed !~!


As a woman I am expected to love and want to own them in many colors and styles. Not the case... Years ago I had to ask Sharyn what the DSW gift certificate she had won would buy her and I just know despite her love for me, she thought it was "precious" that I didn't know about Designer Shoe Warehouse.

Still haven't been to their website and likely never will. I am however human and part gypsy by proxy. Fabric is one of my loves, as we know so when appeared on the scene couple or three years ago, I went cuckoo like Cocoa Puffs over their shoe line. High tops in the most wonderful South American fabrics.

For my birthday I wind up with not one or two, but Three.Pairs.Shoes. At one time. A heretofore unprecedented event. 

They're some big ole shoes, huh ?~!

Fast-forwarding to a few months back: Enter a new style from Inkkas: the Slip-on. I wanted a pair and yet I was pushing aside my shoe inventory of seven pairs trying to find a specific shoe every day already. More shoes, I asked myself ?~!

I have no justification to buy Another Pair of any kind of shoes, never mind slip-ons when I own a pair of scuffed, formerly white Quarks that weigh only a few ounces each and fit great.

So I painted 'em one day on a whim. 

You get to decide...

They are perfect !~! Colorful without being garish. Still plenty lightweight. Slip-ons with character !~!

Now I just have to arm-wrestle Elmo when I wanna wear 'em.

Sometimes I win.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Men at Work

Build a climbing structure from PVC pipe while teaching Young Lad to use tools: measuring tape, screwdriver, joining pieces in straight lines and in angles, tapping hammer.

Later he climbs all over it and learns to reach while steadying himself, getting up and down and in and out safely, how big his actual parts are as he squeezes through a space barely bigger than he.

Watching remote control trucks, trailers, fire engines, bulldozers and the men who build and operate them fascinates both these guys. They discuss how each piece of machinery works, what it's named and why, where it can be found... The chat goes on and on all the while sinking the seeds for an education that will last a lifetime.

Next week he turns two. Hard to believe it's been two years since this bobble head came into being.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Birthday Wheels for Baby Boy

Turning Two is Monumental

For such an auspicious occasion, I thought only new wheels would do. May I present...

Happy Birthday, young Lad. Lynda loves you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Nurses are the Chosen

Head Nurse: We need our own goddamned poster. Please read this and think about you and your family and what you need when the odds are stacked against thru no fault of your own: accident, illness, sudden change in challenges...

Reading it as I sipped my morning juice made me so sad and so mad. Our Kaiser nurses and PAs here in NorCal are striking for better ratios and ebola training and KP is shipping replacements in from all across the country I heard on last night's news.

Nurses keep us alive and safe 24-hours a day.

Some of my very best friends and sisters of other mothers are nurses or retired nurses. The pay for which you work sux and your responsibilities get more oppressive by the week. No wonder errors happen when the systems are rigged against YOU and certainly not helping us, the patients.

Qui bono ?~! Stockholders... not the people for whom the facilities are built nor those who serve so valiantly every day and night.

My favorite nurse of all time-Phyllis Looby in her intense-look pose. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November is Birthday Month

Five important birthdays happen this month: Ormond, Karen, Heather, Mark and the Baby Boy we love to call Burp. Anyone else out there want a Happy B-day shout out ?~!

For the youngest lad's second birthday he's getting a quilt. His mama told me this morning that he always takes the one I gave her last year and says, "Lyn-nah made it." He wraps up in it and leaves her sitting with a longing look. It's time he had one of his own !~!

So I took a pile of MY favorite fabrics, beings how he's too young to express a preference of his own he gets to love what I do, and began slicing and dicing !~! I sewed them together in varying ways and plan to sew the flimsy envelope style to a fleece blanket and make it a double sided piece. Hope to have it ready to be quilted by tomorrow. I will likely tie it.

What do you think of the variety of fabrics? I love them all !~! Hopefully he will too.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Cat-urday: November Arrives on Rain Clouds

The kitty decided that she would stay in last night for the first time in ages. Her usual MO is to come in for a midnight snack and then she's right back outside to patrol her perimeters. Last night it rained. Not a downpour but a gentle, soothing, ground-soaking moisture that has all the lawns in the neighborhood standing at attention and hoping for a bit of sunshine to encourage photosynthesis.

Sleepy kitty snoozes inside this Halloween night.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Infant Loss and Remembrance Month

October has been designated Infant Loss and Remembrance Month and I want to take this opportunity to remember those who have lost a baby before they had a chance to get to know the little one.

We lost our grandson two Springs ago at four months of gestation. It was one of the saddest events in our family's history.

Iris at Tilden Park in Berkeley
We'll not forget your young son.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

It's Around the World Blog Hop and I was nominated by Barbara at Cat Patches. I thank her for this chance to show a bit of what happens here in LyndaLand in the sewing department. 

For beginnings, my sewing space was donated by the One Who Cooks, Ormond, from his kitchen. Our one-bedroom apartment is quite small and there was not an entire room to devote to sewing so O carved a goodly chunk out of his kitchen and built me a lovely space in which to create my magic...

Here it is with only One Basket of supplies so far....
two years ago this month-interesting !~!

1. What am I currently working on in this space? 

Ormond's flimsy needs to be sandwiched and quilted or tied and bound.

A seven-by-five blocks doll quilt with the remaining blocks from the above flimsy needs to be sewn together and then quilted as well.

I'm crocheting a scarf that may turn into a cowl when it's finished. I'm using fingering weight yarn so the going is slow. I'm simply doing a half double stitch all the way thru so it can be picked up and worked no matter where my head is at any given moment. I think I may simply like the feel of the silk sliding thru my fingers and can get lost in the tactile experience. It matters not that the edges are so far out of line it's laughable; it feels luscious.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I've been unable to find a genre in which to plug my work. For a while I was embarrassed by my cut-off points and un-square shapes of finished items until Barb, the woman who tagged me for this post said to me one say, "Your quilt; Your rules." Suddenly I was freed up to do whatever struck my creative streak. I have done no quilt with anyone else's patterns, I have no patterns for my pieces. It's all improvisational as I go along. The quilts tend to make themselves-like characters starring in an in-progress novel. I never know what the end result will be when I begin and yet they turn out really cool most of the time.

I had little idea where each of these three quilts was going when I started. This first one was for a very tall young lady who will likely put on a few more inches before she's finished growing. The lighter fabrics came from her Oma in Holland last time she visited and I wanted to use them for Charlie so adding in the purple silkscreened ladies seemed a natural combination. The young lady was thrilled and so was her Grandmother with what I did with the fabrics she had brought to me.

Charlie's "OmaLynda"

When my father was dying earlier this year, I needed something to keep him in my thoughts without the tears that wouldn't stop falling. I cut strips of my favorite fabrics and this is what we have. He always loved bright colors and wore Hawaiian shirts for years in south Florida.

Red mostly, reused, repurposed, and recycled.
Every piece in here was something else.
Felted cashmere sweaters, fleece blankets, worn sweatshirts
 all became this extremely warm and cheerful blanket

3. Why do I write/create as I do?

Because I must. The urge is deep, strong and undeniable. I cannot ignore it as I can other urges like hunger and tired. When the need to make anew comes upon me I work steadily until I either drop into bed or the piece is far enough along that I can leave it for a few hours. This applies to writing and sewing, crocheting and collage work, puzzle solving and laying out future quilts... Despite being tired I cannot sleep if a piece is in process and still has uncertainties about it. Yet as soon as those questions are resolved the remainder becomes easy and I can sleep.

Lots of pieces I've made: pillows, balls, blankets...

A sampler with two inch squares; hand-tied and a bit of embroidery.

My first HST quilt with donated fabrics and a former sweatshirt.

4. How does my writing/creative process work?

Not sure really. I come up with what feels like a need to be cutting and sewing, so I start. Where it may end up no one knows at the outset, especially me. I have started a dozen quilts without knowing where they'll end up. Then once they get to a nearly finished state I want to write about them. Telling the story of how they began is always a fun part of the process for me.

Halloween treat bags for Ginger and Piper. Made in 2013.

Nautical Indigo made for Abby early in my quilting days.

I am still looking for a couple quilters to take the mantle for me and tell us a bit about their process. So far, no success at finding any takers. Perhaps most of the quilters I know are well-known and have already taken this challenge. I'll ask a few more if they'll play and edit this post if they agree.

Thank you, Barbara, for inviting me to show you a bit of what happens here in LyndaLand.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Half Square Triangles (HSTs) are Versatile

One of the basic units in quilting is called a Half Square Triangle-but you could tell that from the headline !~! There are a few different ways of making them that I  know of: two at a time, four at a time, just one as you need them....

The easiest I think is to make them four at a time by cutting two squares of different fabrics, pin them right sides together and sew them together a quarter of an inch in from the edge all the way around. Using a ruler and rotary cutter, cut into four pieces on the diagonals. Open the triangle, press the seam toward the darker fabric and trim the dog ears.

This is my first try at HSTs. I made this back in the very early days of quilt-making with fabric from clothing given to me by Myra (the yellow fleece), fabric from Karen (the border and backing) and a remnant from JoAnn's bargain bin (the white flowered fleece).

Sitting here in the dark, vaping for pain, ideas flit in and out: I want to make a piece with the Karen fabrics-the orange and yellow plaid-like linen (above border) that she sent me ages ago. I want to help Lucia finish the HST quilt we started some time back using those same fabrics; I should give Lu that other Singer I have. That could be a creative solution to a couple problems !~!

Ok, back on track here. Some of my other HST projects:

This grew up to be my mouse pad when I folded it in half
and sewed it into a smaller rectangle with no padding inside.

My favorite piece made with 2-1/2 inch squares a couple years ago.
Forty eight squares with a million choices of layout.

This ended up a doll blanket for my granddaughter, Madison in Oklahoma.The squares are over three inches.

This started with 3-inch squares and ended up perfect size for a pillow.

I have a stack of these squares left over; they're great learning tools as described below.

Mug rug for Phyllis in Canada.

The biggest project to date with this incredibly multi-faceted block is still in progress. I finished the flimsy and it sits, folded, next to my machine awaiting a place to spread itself out and be basted. The backing needs to be sewn together on the long axis and I think since that's a wide wale corduroy (nodding to Stephanie) there's no need to put batting between the layers. Likely I will tie it-too much for my bottom of the line Singer.

Layout Choices Abound

One can find innumerable pictures of layouts online using Google Image Search. The most impressive, in my opinion is this one by an unknown programmer that shows seventy-three different  symmetrical configurations. There may be millions of permutations when you add in the non-symmetrical layouts. So much fun, I have two stacks of HSTs that I love to play with and move about trying for esthetically pleasing, or not, layouts. Excellent for the podlings and kidlets learning pattern recognition with soft, colorful tools.

Perhaps you'll make some HST's and join the fun and versatility of them. Using contrasting colors increases the visual factor a lot. Monochromatic color schemes are also very pretty with many shades and tints being used in one piece. Have fun; share your pictures as you go...

Thanks for coming by, I know you're all busy and having you for a minute or two makes me happy.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Quick Study-My Girl Is

Last week I had the distinct pleasure of teaching Lucia to crochet. We spent about an hour learning the basic easy stitches and she seemed to enjoy it.

Imagine my surprise when I went back Tuesday evening to find her curled up in a chair with a foot and half of four to five inch wide SCARF that she has been working on in every spare moment !~! Her mom said, "She takes it in the car for the seven-minute ride to school!" I couldn't be prouder !~!

Isn't she something, my Lukie ?~!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fingerless Gloves for Lulu-Bells

Over the last twelve years I have had the pleasure of being involved with a lovely family of two daughters, a mom and a dad. The girls were six and a couple months when I met them and they are growing up fast. The younger one is very quick with her hands and has learned many fine motor skills over the years.

Early scissors user, model builder, inventor of all kinds of games and hobbies. Last week she asked me to teach her to knit. I am a better crocheter so after a couple of knitting mishaps, I brought out my trusty hooks and taught her to crochet.

As a tangible example of how quickly crochet works up, I made her a pair of fingerless gloves last night and this afternoon. I used DMC Ecru Laine Colbert Pour Tapisserie for the main color and an Anchor Tapisserie in a darker beige for the trim. Took less than four hours total.

They came out two different sizes--as is always the case when I have to make two of anything !~! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Depression Wins Again, the Bastard

The phone rang at about 9:30 tonight; the caller id said Florida calling. But it's past midnight there and Sharv works so she's not usually initiating calls this late...

"It's Nige. He lost to the depression today" in a hotel on the beach in Queensland Australia where he'd traveled just over a month ago to find his new love and life.

Pain grips and grabs and flays. Breath catches; tears fall hot and furious. This was to be his new beginning.

Words won't come. Sorrow pushes them out of reach.

Good night, my friend, I love you and will miss you more than you will ever know.

Robot Love

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Roosevelts

This past week public television ran a seven-part series by Ken Burns chronicling the lives of three of the Roosevelts: Teddy, Eleanor and Franklin. I have learned more about American history in a week than I was ever taught in what passes for public school in this country. My sincere hope is that most everyone watched it and engaged with the programming. Ken Burns is a master at film-making. We are so lucky to have him in our generation.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Wearing Weaving, Why Not ?~!

My First Attempts at Floor Loom Weaving

The Richmond Art Center offers floor loom weaving classes at a fairly reasonable rate. I wanted to learn how these amazing machines operate and so took their Tuesday night class for two consecutive terms.

The first term I learned how different treadling patterns look and what happens when you use cloth strips and driftwood. OK, that's cool.

The first steps in getting the warp threads onto the loom.

Driftwood from Yosemite and fabric strips add interest.

The treadles raise and lower the warp threads.

Second Term and Another Idea

Last Autumn (2013) I took my second term of loom weaving.
By then I wanted to use more tactile portion of my senses, and so purchased bamboo and silk yarn in a 70% bamboo, 30% silk mixture. Unbelievably satiny; I'm sure there are softer yarns in the world, I just haven't met them yet. The silken feel is as yet unmatched in my limited experience. I made a wall hanging ten inches wide and about five feet long with a very loose weave.

The loosely woven piece before I squashed it down.

The two pieces I made at Richmond Art Center during 2013.

The yarn wanted me to wear it, not just look at it !~! Or so it seemed to say as it hung on the wall next to the first term's piece beside the head of my bed. So, I began to tighten up the weft by sliding the threads down toward the bottom of the hanging. It took a couple weeks to get it all down to a close weave with a great long fringe on the one end. I have worn it numerous times; right now it's so hot and muggy that I am wearing a sleeveless shirt-nearly unheard of here, but the scarf feels so good. It is heavier than any other scarf I have bought or made over the years and I am finding that as I get older I like the feel of weightiness in my blankets and my clothes.

It worked out better than I could have anticipated.
I am so pleased with the colors and the feel of the yarn I may have to do something similar
with the larger of my two lap looms; it could be the loom's maiden project.