Wednesday, March 4, 2015

In Memory of My Mom

Barbara Ann Byers
My mom went on The Long Walk Home on February 15, 2015.  It came on rather unexpectedly, but then again...when do we ever expect it?  I was there for her.
I'm glad I quit my job and had the time to spend with her in the last month and a half.  I had a feeling somewhere deep inside that I needed to be home for my family.  She told me the week before she passed away that she was glad I was home and could spend time with her.  She said she was beginning to feel like a "red headed step child" while I was at that job.  No time for anyone or anything.  I'm glad I got to make her feel loved and welcome again.  I have decided that from now on, family comes first.  When I go back to work, it will be for someone that understands that.
I've had a lot of feelings the past two weeks.  I've had to step up and contact family.  I've had to handle her affairs.  I've never had to deal with this before.  And for the first time, I don't have her here to help me.  Even to just call and have her listen to my silly fears and concerns. To have her say "Let's go buy some thread."
I kept her sewing machines and gadgets.  I kept the yarn that she was gathering for an crocheted project she was going to do for me (yes, I do that too.) I did request that my brother donate her stash of fabric to the Veteran's Auxiliary.  She loved the quilts that she received while in the hospital at the VA and I couldn't think of something more meaningful to pass on her passion to.  I thought about keeping it for myself, but would probably spend too  much time crying over quilting.  They will have hundreds of comfort quilts out of her stash to bring smiles to Veterans for a long time coming.  That's good stuff.
I miss her.
But I am working on being okay with letting her go.
Happy Journey's to All.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Working on the UFO pile

I'm still working on getting out of the "square" rut, but I have some tops that need to become quilts.  I put this one together a few years back.  Had this random pile of pieces and parts of various fabrics...denim, flannel, shirting, etc.  I paid no mind to lining anything up.  I think it was an exercise in just accepting whatever happened with it.
I pulled it out of the pile of UFO's last week.  I think it would be a great fishing quilt.  Something to throw down on the banks of a lake and relax on.  Have a picnic.  And not worry about ruining something.  Toss it in the wash, and then head out with it the next time. 
This is going to be the other side of the quilt.  I had originally purchased this fun fabric to make my husband a pair of boxer shorts.  Never got around to it.  Found it again and decided to use it with the fishing quilt.  The blue is denim.  I don't usually combine different fabric weights, but I am just keeping with the original plot of this one.  I think I have some more flannel somewhere I can use to make it bigger.  I figure it will be big enough for both of us to sit on.
I've been home now from the job for just over a month.  I haven't started looking for work.  Still working on getting myself back together physically and spiritually.  I've been writing, canning, blogging, gardening.  Spending some very good quality time with my husband and helping my mother out.  I've been able to talk with friends and family.  I didn't realize just how much I was giving to this last job.  But then again, maybe I did realize it and that's why I quit.
On that note, It's Friday and Payday:)  I think I will pull out a couple of steaks from the freezer for dinner.  Maybe do some fishing this weekend.
Happy Quilting to All!!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

So...I've started a new blog that I wanted to share with everyone here.  It is devoted to all my ventures in canning, harvesting, recipes, outdoor adventures related to clamming, etc.   It is still in the development stages (only has 4 or 5 posts....who can remember back when we started our blogs??), but I am pretty excited about it.  Come take a look and let me know what you think.

In the meantime, I haven't gotten anymore quilting done since that finish I posted this past week.  I've been reacquainting myself with my pressure canner.
I started canning over 20 years ago.  I taught my Old Man several years later.  Memory fades over time if you don't use it.  When I was teaching him, I was going off my personal teaching experience ( I taught myself the canning arts).  Back then we didn't have videos on the internet on how to do things.  I had to go off my interpretation of what I read.  After evacuating the kitchen while the pressure canner was going full tilt, I developed a fear of my canner.  That thing was just out of control.  Volatile to say the least.

The Old Man got to spend this past summer at home.  We had already planted a garden and the fields of farmers were coming into fruition.  I had to go back to work full time.  I wasn't about to let these things get in the way of filling my pantry with things I can eat. (I am highly sensitive to A LOT of additives you find in everyday pre-made foods on the supermarket shelf.)  So....he, being the inquisitive sort, did a bunch of research on the internet in between tending the garden and keeping up on housework. 

On point to the subject, he did some research on how a pressure canner should be properly run.  He experimented while I was at work.  I would come home at the end of a 16 hour shift to canned Marina Sauce, Beef Stew, Split Pea Soup, Baked Beans.  It sparked an interest to re-learn my pressure canner.

After some very patient and understanding direction, I have produced 10 quarts of Split Pea Soup this weekend.  Ingredients:  Split Peas, Water, Carrots, Onions, Ham, Allspice, Bay order of ratio to volume.  I like that.  A Lot.

I will probably copy and paste this post to my new blog, but thought I would share another one of my passions with you.  Quilting keeps you warm.  Canning keeps you fed.

Happy things to both!!

My new blog spot...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Yay!!! I have a Finish!!

Good Morning!!
Finally got this finished with the help of my quilting buddy, Oscar.  As soon as I go into my sewing room, he's right there with me.  It's nice:)
I have been having the hardest time getting pictures to load in the right position, but am sharing anyway.  If anyone out there has a tip on how to fix this, please let me know.

It's about "couch" size, aka lap quilt size.  Not sure if I am going to keep it or sell it.
I would normally have chosen a different, more defining binding fabric, but my budget said work with what you have.
Not sure what I am going to work on next.  I need to make some curtains for the kitchen.  And I need to do some yard work.  And some canning...still have green tomatoes in the freezer from this past summer.
Happy Quilting!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Finally decided to get on with some quilting.  Yay!!!
I'm not going to fiddle with these pictures anymore.  For some reason they loaded sideways.  Figure I will just go with it and get this post done before I lose focus again:)

(Sorry for the sideways views.)
I got the inspiration for this quilt while laying under the trees staring up at the sky on a picnic last year with the Old Man.  I know that green and blue aren't supposed to go together in a quilt, but I don't care much for color rules:) 
I went geometric with it even though the inspiration was organic because looking up I could see the patterns randomness created.
It took me almost a full season to finally find a proper backing for it.   I was originally piecing the back out of left over strips from the front, but it just wasn't working.  I wondered over to Joann's and happened upon a sale.  I spotted the fabric and knew it was perfect.  Took what was on the bolt (5 yards + a remnant).  Very happy with my choice.  It modernizes the front...I've been collecting this fabric for years.  I see all the "modern" quilt fabrics and think to myself...."There's no way I can give up my stash (too much $$ invested), but how to I bring my quilts up to the times?"  Backings!!
Any who....winding down here:)  I really hope to do this more often (quilt + blog).  It's been ages since I've been consistent with any of my creative stuff.
Happy Quilting!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I'm glad to see that this forum and my quilty friends are still here and active.  It's been almost a year since I sat down to write.  I don't know how many times I sat down, turned the computer on, logged into the site, and walked away.  Just too much in life going on.  It happens.

My mom made it to the beach again.  It was only once, and may be the last time she gets to walk unassisted to the edge of the continent.  She had her heart surgery last November and was doing well for a short time.  She is currently in the hospital again.  I know she won't live forever.  I hope she knows how much I looked to her as inspiration for being tough, strong, and independent.  At times she made me mad because I thought she was giving up, but as I look and understand, that really is her prerogative to say "I'm done for now."

Through all this I have had some time to think about my own life.  I've set my priorities for now.  I think that's why I chose to live in the present instead of stopping to write.  But writing is part of me.  I can't neglect that.  It's one of the only ways to leave an impression once you leave this place.  Somewhere, someone, someday, will read what you write.  It may make no sense to them.  But it may hit a spot for someone.  And once is all it takes to live forever.

As for my personal existence, a lot has gone on.  I've changed career paths again.  I am currently working with people with disabilities.  It's an intense job.  It's also fantabulous.  I don't spend my day bent over a bench worrying if my numbers are going to measure up to a made up expectation that I can never satisfy.  I do spend my day assisting people make their personal life goals.  You just can't measure that.  It's a good thing.

In my personal time, I have been exploring Oregon with passion.  Harvest season has come and gone...and our pantry shows all the hard work we put into gathering the fruits of the Great Northwest.

I think I have been working on this post since strawberry season started.  I've been faced with the choice of writing or living the moment.  So much happened when the camera wasn't ready, but I said to "Hell" with it and kept going.  I don't regret anything.

I will stop and say thank you to my Husband for picking up where I had to leave off.  He lost his job early in the season.  I picked up full time work, and he picked up the canning.  And housekeeping.


It's been an eventful year.  We've had Halloween, and closed up shop in the kitchen for now.  There is still a freezer full of tomatoes to be processed.  And an ocean full of seafood to be harvested in the Winter months.  But for now, we can stop.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hello.  It's been forever.  And it feels like forever.

The Summer, not to mention, Fall, went by without a blink.

I've taken on the Manager position at my apartment complex.

I got put in charge of "Halloween" at work.

My mom got news that she needed heart surgery.

She went through open heart surgery on Wednesday.

She is recovering.

I've lost 35 pounds.

I'm tired.

I haven't done any quilting since before vacation.

Things, on the grander scale, are okay.

Life has had it's grander points in the midst of all this chaos.

Katie and Beth have that seen that via FB. 

At some point, normality will start. 

Not sure when.

I'm here.

But not.