Friday, September 25, 2015

Sisters, Sisters . . .

Sisters come in all shapes, sizes, personalities and relationships.  There are The Three Weird Sisters in Shakespeare's Macbeth:

Double, double toil and trouble -- fire burn and cauldron bubble . . .

There are the three Weird Sisters from the book by Eleanor Brown:
See, we love each other.  We just don't happen to like each other very much.
There are close sisters, like Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy in Little Women, and some who don't quite see eye to eye, like Cinderella and her Wicked Step Sisters.

There are even twin sisters who are separated at birth then meet, quite coincidentally, at summer camp ten years later, despite the fact that they live on separate continents.  At least that's what happens in The Parent Trap.

My favorite sisters in film are the Haynes Sisters from White Christmas, played by Vera Ellen and Rosemary Clooney:  

My sister, Teri, and I have a lot in common with all of these famous sisters - well, except for the magic spells and the separated at birth thing.  And the ability to sing and dance.  Well, really, nothing except the bond of sisterhood.

This past weekend was our 2nd Sisters Weekend.  Sisters weekends are  loosely organized 48-hour periods in which we share craft ideas, gifts, laughs, and some deeper moments.  Each sister provides a craft project (including supplies), an activity (such as jigsaw puzzle, coloring books, or a walk) and, if they choose, a Bible lesson or topic of discussion.  Throughout the day we take turns selecting the next item on the itinerary.  

Prior to Sister Weekend, Teri suggested we participate in Just One Word for 2016.  The idea is to select one word - just one - to be my focus for the new year.  It's harder than it sounds!  Teri shared a worksheet that uses thought provoking questions to guide you in narrowing the scope until you find just one word.  I'll share more on my chosen word in December or January.

We made these Scripture Rings - eleven verses framed with scrapbook paper and glued to shipping tags.  The verses all pertain to our "one word" and are meant as an easy visual aid to keep them fresh in our minds. 

While we were being introspective, we made an "Owl About Me" art project.  The basic outline was intended for grade-school children, and I think an 8-year-old would find it easier than I did to list "Things I'm good at" or "A dream of mine". 

We tried out the latest craze - adult coloring books; made bookmarks; and had a lesson on another new trend - Bible journaling. In between there was a lot of laughter,  chit-chat on topics we haven't had time to keep up with, and evenings of relaxation by the fire pit or in the hot tub - or both.  

If you are fortunate to have a sister, book your own Sister Weekend - even if it all you can spare are a couple hours. 
 A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost. ~Marion C. Garretty

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

All Wrapped Up In One . . .

Creativity isn't just about the finished project,. Crafting, painting or sewing can create moments of beauty during an ugly time; memories with a good friend; or cheer during moments of loneliness.  All of those things were created at my house over the past few weeks.

While Amanda was home for her grandpa's funeral, she made me this beautiful sunflower wreath.  She had made one for herself - a little reminder of her Kansas roots while she's living in the dessert - and I requested one for my door. 

And speaking of Amanda, when she is at home in the dessert, she works with abused children.  With some help from my mom and my sister, we are furnishing each girl (and boys, if they choose) a doll and doll blanket.  This week I ran across kits for a "self-binding receiving blanket".  I didn't want to pay the price for the kit, but I found the instructions on YouTube from Missouri Star Quilt Co.   They advertise it as a 10-minute project.  It's closer to 30 when I'm doing it, but it's still a quick, easy way to make a binding with mitered corners.  I used the technique to finish some doll-size quilt tops, then made one from this adorable penguin flannel.  A yard and a quarter of both the flannel and the coordinating fabric makes four doll blankets.  I also threw in a few "dolly diapers".  

You had to know there would be a bag of some sort in my crafting.  This basket is just the right size to hold pencils, sewing notions or the TV remote.  My sister requested two to use as Easter baskets.  I found the pattern on Riley Blake Designs via Pinterest.

I cleaned out and sorted my fabric stash according to size - then went in search of projects on my Pinterest boards to use up some of the small pieces.  Some were more successful than others.

First up was this fabric "lily plate" from Michelle Made Me.  This project turned out to be more complicated than I expected.  I am marginally happy with the results, but I will make some adjustments in the technique before I try again. 


Fabric Christmas trees were a bust. They looked so cute in the pin from this blog but not so at my house.  Part of the problem is that I chose fabrics that are too similar and thus the tiers have very little definition.  The majority of the problem is that I thought it would be cute to fussy cut the top tier and center Santa's face.  It's not.  My trees look like The Nightmare Before Christmas meets The Coneheads.  I'll try again - some day - in better fabric choices.

My favorite new pattern was for these simple potholders.  These are a great way to use up scraps - especially leftover 2" strips - and there are dozens of color/arrangement combinations to make them unique. Best of all - no binding! 

For the top potholder, I used 4 strips each of three different fabrics, plus a fourth fabric for the center hexi and backing.  For the bottom version, I used two strips each of six fabrics and lined them up so that like fabrics touched.  I intend to make more of these and will probably add a second layer of Insulbright batting.  One layer isn't enough heat protection if you have to hold the pan for more than a few seconds.

There was more crafting as part of a Sister Weekend, but that's a post for tomorrow.  

This post is linked to Needlework Tuesday (hosted by Heather at Books and Quilts), Inspiration on Monday (hosted by Trish @ Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity, and Fall Pin It/Do It, also hosted by Trish.  And all of them at least a day late!  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I'm Just Done!

I am plum tuckered out!  Dog tired! I've got one wheel down and an axle dragging!

Dave's step-father has been in the last stages of cancer for awhile now. Within the last month, he had progressed to the stage that he needed someone with him 24/7.  His sister and daughter covered the majority of the time, but I got called to fill in for a weekend. Nurse is high on the list of things I will never be.  Thank heaven for hospice nurses and aides that handle that area.  Preparing meals, doling out medications on schedule, and washing bedding are things I can do well, so I was happy to take my turn.  

During my visit, he experienced a time of increased pain that the medication wasn't handling so, to comfort him while we waited on the nurse, we read scripture, prayed and discussed his faith and his assurance of where he was going.  This is not a side of my father-in-law that I've seen a lot and I feel blessed that we had that time.

That bout with pain was the beginning of a downturn and a few days later, hospice suggested that time was short.  Our daughter who lives in New Mexico wanted to come for a visit and we had her on a plane within a few hours.  I spent the next week driving --- to the airport (90 minutes), to my father-in-law's home (4 hours), home, airport, home, father-in-law's, home, airport . . . He passed away on Wednesday the 2nd and the funeral was a couple days ago.  

Yesterday I returned Amanda to the airport.  On the way, she received a text that her flight was delayed 2.5 hours!  It used to be a joke that Amanda's planes were always delayed, but it's not that funny any more.  Albuquerque and Kansas City are both small airports and many of the flights in and out are "commuter" flights - small planes run by subsidiaries of United, US Airways and American Air.  Evidently they are all incapable of running on schedule, staffing reliable crews, and maintaining a fleet of planes.  Yesterday was the last straw.  I called United and asked for my money back - which they agreed to.  In fact, they even agreed to refund the "change fee" they had charged me because THEIR ineptitude meant Amanda would miss her connecting flight in Denver and had to be rescheduled.  And they saw nothing ironic or wrong with that!  From now on, this family flies Southwest exclusively.

Today I woke up with a mongo head cold and sore throat.  I am supposed to get back into my car for a trip to Omaha (90 miles) and a doctor appointment for a completely unrelated issue.  I debated rescheduling to avoid the drive and spreading my germs, but I finally decided to just get it done.  Armed with Day-Quill, Kleenex and hand sanitizer, I'm headed out shortly.  

I'm three days late getting started on the Re-Readathon hosted by Bex @ An Armchair by the Sea.  But when I get home, I plan to collapse on the couch with a comfort book and a cup of tea.  I'm starting with "Out to Canaan" by Jan Karon - the first of my favorites I'll be re-reading.