Saturday, March 17, 2018

Scrappy Flower Quilt Applique Block

I've been trying to tidy and organize while out recovering from surgery. Not easy to do without bending or lifting anything, so it isn't really going all that well. But I did find a bunch of fabric scraps all over the place, and put them all together. I've read quilting blogs that seem to consider a fat quarter, or even bigger pieces of fabric a 'scrap', but to me a scrap is a few inches at best. Something left over from another project, not big enough to do much with. 

I decided I should come up with something fun to do with some of the scraps. I thought, since I haven't done any applique in a long time, that would be fun. Poking around the internet, I found a free pattern for the above flower here:

It was cute, it was scrappy, and I could adapt it to a little block that I could make in a short amount of time. Winner! If you follow the link you will see there is also a bird pattern that I had intended to use, but the scraps I picked turned out not to have good contrast with each other or the background, so it didn't look good, and as you can see from my finished block, there really wouldn't have been room anyway. I still liked the musical notes, even without the bird to sing them, so I left them in anyway. I can do that because I'm a grown up.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A post for Febuary

I've been thinking about the blog for the past week or so. Thinking I need an idea for a post topic, and coming up empty. I'm in a mild depressions as I'm home from yet another abdominal surgery (hopefully, the universe will make this the last one). The current political mess is also depressing, and perhaps I'm reading too much news as there isn't much I'm allows to do at the moment. Although any news is probably too much right now with the just incredible volume of horribleness coming out of the current government.

I'm also feeling sorry for myself due to my surgery, and slow expected recovery. This, fortunately, is something I have to power to do something about. So I am. Part of that is getting myself back up (mentally if not yet physically) and into a productive routine. Over the past several days, I've made calls that I had previously ignored or procrastinated, my desk is very slowly becoming more tidy, and I got my novel draft transferred to a format I can work on editing both on my desktop or my phone, and edits have officially begun. I'd also like to return to regular blogging. And short story writing. And quilting. And I'd love to learn to use my new loom better. . . and my ukulele. . . and, well, maybe one thing at a time.

In closing, here is an update on my health, since that's something I've shared a lot here. I had a 'small re-occurrence' on the lower of my two big hernias. So that required another surgery, but it was complicated due to the previous repair and the mesh that was already there, etc. My surgeon got a little more aggressive this time since another repair will be next to impossible after this, and he is also very concerned with my activity level in the longer term for my recovery to avoid straining or damaging any part of the repair. That's what has me kinda bummed out. I don't like the thought of never being able to do much physical again. Coming to grips with my new reality. It's a journey.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Wonderful Weekend

We had beautiful weather here this past weekend. Neither I, nor my husband had to work, which is rare, so we enjoyed some family time. We went to a nearby park we enjoy that has a lot of pokestops, duck ponds, and a dog park. It's a fun place to walk. As we pulled into the parking lot, it was clear there was something more than normal going on, and it was our daughter who first caught made the deduction that there were an unusual number of people playing Pokemon Go, so there must be something special happening in the game.

She was right. There were large-ish groups of people standing together in areas we knew to be Pokemon Go gyms. Then we started spotting groups and families all wearing pokemon t-shirts, or hats, and even a kid dressed as pikachu. Maybe it's just the unusually beautiful January weather calling folks to get outside while they have the chance, I thought. My husband, however, Googled to find out what was happening, and sure enough there was some sort of special Pokemon Go event with special pokemon available to be caught only that day.

While we aren't the type to chat with strangers, it was still fun to be around so many other people playing while we walked and hunted pokemon. There were also slightly more folks out with there dogs then we usually see there - those ones probably really were just taking the opportunity to get out on a nice day. So we were surrounded with dog walkers and pokemon players. Our kind of people. It was a nice day.

As a side note - and a request for advice: my youngest has a fire tablet that we tethered to my phone via making my phone a wi-fi hotspot so that she could also play. Her tablet requires wi-fi to play Pokemon Go. But it didn't work very well. It kept either claiming no GPS signal, or placing her somewhere strange on the map that didn't look like anywhere we actually were. She got frustrated enough to give up playing. If anyone has tips on how to get that system to work better, I'd love suggestions. Thanks!

Monday, January 8, 2018

2018 Plans

I don't feel the need to make a list of grand resolutions this year, something I usually enjoy doing. While I do want to lose weight, procrastinate less, sleep better, exercise more, etc., etc., all those things everyone wants, I feel I'm moving forward, slow but steady on these fronts without resolutions, so I won't mess with progress.

More time devoted to writing is always something I want to work on. I think I did better this year, but maybe didn't have as much improvement as in other areas of my life. Striving to post here three times a week was a good goal, one I enjoyed, and will continue. I also tried to have a new short story to post every Friday. I missed that goal a lot, but not as much as I thought I might. I deciding how I want to proceed there.

I'm thinking I might like to start submitting some short stories to paying markets again. That process was slow and frustrating, and time consuming to research, so I needed the break I took last year. Now, though, I feel ready again. One new story a week was probably too much for me, especially if I want to continue to make progress on my novels as well, so maybe I'll have a goal on one month instead. Two a month? We'll see.

The revisions on my first complete novel are going better than I expected. I'm not sick of the story or the characters yet. That's impressive for me. I will hopefully have that ready for critique readers on a month or so.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

As Promised - the New Kitten

Panther the kitten. photo by Kara Hartz
Her name is Panther. She was about 4 - 4 1/2 months old when we adopted her from the pound. She is perfect and delightful. Playful, silly, yet well behaved and cuddly. I thought I've give her and Meeko 2 weeks to start getting along before I worried about them. They were playing and sleeping together on day 3, and I'm not sure day 2 even counted since she wasn't home all day. (She was with me at work getting her check up from the doctor).

She is everything I said I didn't want in a new kitten. She was bottle raised, and she's a girl, and still, I don't think we could have found a more perfect fit for our hose than this fun cutie.

Meeko and Panther. photo by Kara Hartz
On a personal note, I may not have been actually ready for a new cat so soon after Bob. I thought, since we had discussed and wanted a kitten for awhile now, we were just holding off since Bob wasn't doing well and we didn't want to add additional stress to his life, that it wasn't as though she were replacing him. We had plans for a kitten anyway, and Meeko seemed lonely. Only when I found myself constantly worrying about her, thinking something was wrong, or I should be doing more to care for her did I realize I was transferring all my unused worry and care taking time for Bob and placing it on poor little Panther, who didn't need it.

Kara and Panther selfie

I'm far from being done mourning Bob. I think I'm leaving denial, and maybe moving into guilt and/or depression, but I'm coping. I may not be ready to bond again, but she is cute to watch and play with, and I keep reminding myself she's fine. She doesn't need medicine or trips to the vet. She needs playtime and cuddles, and we'll both be okay eventually. The kids love her and she loves them. We are going to do all right here.