Eyes and a recipe

THANK YOU for all your kind thoughts and prayers for me!  I’m grateful, and I’m always touched by the kindness tatters show to one another.

Here’s an update on what’s going on with my eyes.  I ended up going to a doctor who specializes in the retina, and he took some fancy pictures.  One is a cross section of the macula (the point on the retina where we see the center part of our vision), and there’s where he found the trouble.  Apparently, the goober (technical term…ha!) inside the eye often shrinks as we age, and sometimes it sticks to the retina.  When that happens, it can pull on the retina, and tear a hole in the macula.  And that’s what has happened with me.

He told me one of three things can happen.  It can get better on its own, it can stay the same, or it can get worse.  Surprise!  *sigh*

So, he’s not doing anything for now and I’ll go see him again in July.  He’ll take more fancy pictures, and we’ll see how it’s progressing.  If it’s getting worse, I may need surgery.

But what this means for now is that doing detailed work is not aggravating the problem.  I can do my daily stuff without fear of making it worse.  I asked him if there’s anything I can do to help, and he said no.  But my regular doctor gave me some supplements that support the eye, so maybe that will help in some way.

On another note, here’s a little recipe I whipped up the other day.

Usually, when I make pizza at home I use spaghetti sauce and add extra spices because canned sauce can be too bland.  I didn’t want to open a can of sauce just for one pizza last night, so I made up my own.  This recipe made enough for three 14-inch pizzas.  And to be honest, I’m guessing at the amounts of the spices.  I usually just pour the spices in my hand, crush them a bit, and add them to whatever it is I’m cooking.  It’s very likely that I actually added more spice than this recipe suggests, so you may want to taste the sauce and adjust the amounts.

Nancy’s pizza sauce (not Italian…her ancestry is English and Welsh)

1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried oregano
1-1/2 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like a little fire)
1/8 tsp black pepper

Stir all the ingredients together.  This makes a thick, tomato-y sauce that tasted great.  I may just use this very time from now on.

And… I’ve finished my nephew’s quilt!  I secured the areas of torn fabric with a tight zig-zag, and I added a new binding.  It looks considerably better.

Next–finish my step-daughter’s quilt, and I need to get hustling on it.

Best wishes,
Nancy

Eye troubles and deadlines

It  looks like it might be a while before I can tat.  I went to the eye doctor last week and we discovered that my left eye has a blind spot.  It makes it very difficult to focus.  I’m hoping it’s something temporary, but if not, it may be a while before my right eye learns to take up the slack.  I can still see well enough to do pretty much everything I’ve always done, but it’s definitely more difficult, and nothing is really in focus.  I’m going to give my eyes some rest until the doctors (both eye and regular) figure out what may be going on.

I’m sure I’ll know more in a few weeks, and maybe by then I can feel better about doing fine work again.

In the meantime, I have a few deadlines coming up.

The biggest deadline I have is finishing the quilt I’ve been making for my step-daughter.  I need to have it done before June 20.  It’s a king-size quilt, and the top is done.  I need to piece together a backing and get it on the machine.  Even though it’ll be on my longarm, it will still be a big project.  I have some complicated plans for it–well, complicated for me.  I’m still figuring out this machine.  I should be able to work on this just fine with my eye issues.  I hope!

Also high on the list is my nephew’s quilt.  My sister-in-law traded her composter with me if I would repair the quilt Mom gave to her son.  I thought it was a great deal, but it’s turning out to be a bigger project than I realized.  I really should remind myself that I need to double how much effort it appears to be when I’m looking at something like this.  That’s OK.  My nephew appreciates this, and saving $125 or more on a composter is definitely worth it to me.

Speaking of dirt, my garden is growing great right now!  I planted the onions, garlic, carrots, beets, peas, and lettuce in April, and they’re all up.  Yay!  Now that it’s a bit warmer, I’m going to plant the corn, squash, and cucumbers tomorrow.  Then I’m headed off to the Loveland Garden Club’s annual plant sale where I’ll pick up the tomatoes and peppers I want.  And maybe I’ll find something new and interesting.  It would be really awesome if I could find a Mexican Sour Gherkin cucumber.  They look like mini watermelons!

I also hope to have a truckload of wood chips delivered soon.  We have two trees and grass on the east side of the house, and we never use that space.  Mowing it has been a real pain, and I’ve pretty much had enough of it.  So, we’re going to lay down wet newspaper over the whole thing and then cover it with a few inches of wood chips.  I understand it’ll kill the grass but not harm the trees.  Then next year when that area has settled a bit, I’ll figure out something else to plant there.  I’d like to plant something that produces food, preferably berries, but it’s always in the shade.  That makes it very tricky.  Mint?  Alpine strawberries?  Blackberries?  Anybody know of a good shade berry for zone 5?

I really don’t have time for my full-time job…

At any rate, I’ll post pictures of my step-daughter’s quilt as I go along.

Best wishes,
Nancy

New free tatting pattern!

Hi all! I finally have a free pattern for you.  Remember my post about the lid?  Here’s the entire box along with the pattern.

Click here to go to the pattern for the Tatted Box

This is a free pattern.  However, many of the patterns I will post from here on out will be “premium” patterns and will be for sale for a small amount.  This helps defray the cost of having this site.

I still remember that I need to do the last row of the triangle doily I was working on before we closed the store.  I promise I’ll get that to you!  It will be a free pattern.

Hope you enjoy the tatted box!

Happy tatting
Nancy

Quilts for the doctor and receptionist

So you know, I’m still working on the tatted box!  It’s complete, I just need to draw out the pattern. I thought I’d show you a couple of my recent projects in the meantime.

I love to give people baby quilts.  My acupuncturist and her receptionist were both expecting babies and were due in January and February this year.  I’ve tried to have baby quilts done before a baby comes along, but I don’t always manage that.  This time I had one done and one that still needed to be quilted.

The receptionist was due first, so I gave her the one I had ready to go.  She’s having a girl.  I had such fun making this quilt!  I just could not resist the flamingo print.  The colors in this photograph aren’t quite right…the background on the flamingo print is beige.

I also use baby quilts as quilting practice.  They’re quick and hopefully will be used until they fall apart, so it’s not so imperative that they be “perfect”.  I’m very much a perfectionist, but I’m trying to overcome that.

I’ve made quilts before that I thought were pretty messy, but when I saw them later I was surprised they were so cute.  I think it’s because after some time I see the imperfections as interesting and fun instead of ugly.  I rather like the life it brings to the quilt.  I need to keep telling myself that.

Here’s a close-up of this quilt, although I’m not sure if you can see the quilting design.  I did this one with free motion on my regular machine and not the longarm.  Each square of the quilt had a similar motif stitched on it and the sashing had rows of hearts.

And this is the quilt I made for my acupuncturist.  The center was an uncolored muslin panel which I colored with crayons and heat set.  It was lots of fun to do and I was pleased with the result.  My mom gave me the squares years ago because she had no intention of putting them together into a quilt.  I think they worked out great here.

I really like the design of the quilt, but I wish I could say the same for the quilting.  I learned a lot.  I stitched a sunflower over each of the squares using the computer on the longarm.  Part of the way through the first design, I realized it was a mistake.  You could only see the circle center of the flower and parts of the petals–only what was on the red square.  Argh!  So I found a pinwheel design to stitch in the middle.  Lesson 1: consider the contrast between the fabrics when selecting a quilting design.

I did some freehand stitching in the middle panel, which was a great reminder of why I need to put a practice muslin on the machine before I stitch on a quilt.  It’s not my best work, but at least it improved as I went along.  Lesson 2: practice first!

Keep stitchin’!

Nancy

The first of Mom’s quilts

My mother loved to quilt.  A number of years ago, she decided it was time she got all her quilt tops done and invested in a longarm machine.  After she got comfortable with the machine, it seemed she was finishing a quilt every month!  I’m not sure if that’s truly the case, but her output was impressive.  I’m not sure where the photographs of all these quilts are, but I need to find them.  We believe she made well over 50 quilts in her lifetime.

What made this even more amazing to me is how she did all this while dealing with being very ill.  She quilted until two days before she passed last year, and she had completed all but seven of the quilt tops.  During those two days, I promised her I would finish them for her.

Now I have the machine, and I’m learning the ropes.  It’s a steep learning curve!  I haven’t had the nerve to put one of her quilts on the machine yet, but I hope to be ready to do it this year.

All of the quilts except the one pictured here need to be quilted; it just needed the binding.  A few weeks ago, I dug through my fabric stash (much of which had been hers), and found just enough of one of the fabrics in the quilt to bind it.  Yay!  So now I can say I’ve finally finished one of her quilts.  It’s really satisfying.

Isn’t this quilt just incredible?  It looks like it’s not square in this photo, but that’s because it was being held up by a couple of my co-workers.  It’s definitely square and the edges are straight.

Here’s a closer look.  Her points are perfect!

Here’s the back of it and a close-up of the back.

I’ve got a wall big enough to hang this on.  I just need to get the hardware and to put a UV coating on the window next to it.

By the way, if anybody knows the name of this quilt pattern and who designed it, I’d really appreciate it!  My local quilt shop is anxious to see if they can get a copy of it.  I believe it was a block-of-the-month design (actually border-of-the-month).

I’ll continue to share these quilts with you as I get them done.  And the quilts I’m learning on as well.

My next post (which I hope to get to you soon) will be about the tatted box I just finished.  It goes with the lid I made and posted about here.

Nancy

Tatting supplies and the transformation of Be-stitched

Hi all!

I forgot to mention in my previous post where you can now get tatting supplies.  Here’s a list for you!

Handy Hands
DS9 Designs
Shuttle by Design
Tatting Corner
Lacis

I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones I know of offhand.

Over the Christmas holiday, we had our son and his wife visiting from Utah, plus our daughter came up from Denver, and another other son lives nearby.  So among all the preparations for Christmas we had a party nearly every night with these guys!  I love it when the kids come to visit.

My daughter-in-law absolutely LOVES Christmas.  She will actually start counting the days until Christmas starting the day after.  LOL!  Because we had been so busy with the liquidation sale, I was way behind on my decorating by the time they arrived.  All I had out was the Christmas tree, and it wasn’t even decorated yet.  So when they arrived, she happily pitched in and helped me decorate.

I had lots of new stuff that had been my mother’s and my mother-in-law’s.  Decorating was so much fun this year because of that, and because of my DIL’s help.

At any rate, that was the beginning of the busy-ness of the week.  I cooked a lot, played games, stayed up late, and had a great time.  But by the time they left, I was exhausted!  I took a day, rested, and planned what I was going to do next.

The bedroom where we had the store was now emptied of all tatting supplies and needed to be set up for my sewing space.  So I planned out where to put my desk, the cutting table, the ironing board, and as many bookcases as I could cram in the room.  Then Bruce and I headed down to the basement and found a gallon of paint that was left over from painting the interior of the house earlier this year.

I had planned to get the painting done all in one day, but it was all I could do to get one coat done.  The first day, Bruce and I worked until just after dark.  I learned the next morning why it’s just not a good idea to paint after dark.  We missed a whole bunch of spots.

We gave it a second coat, then I took a few days to get everything in the room and set up the way I wanted. Better to take more time and start with everything organized than to throw it all in the room and deal with the mess.  I normally make a mess, so I figure at least for a while it’ll be organized.

The whole business confused my cats terribly.  This is a picture of Ansel cautiously looking around.  But now that it’s done, they’re loving all the vertical space they have access to.

So here’s how it looks now.  Yay!  And yes, that’s my version of a “clean” desk.  It seems there are always things that don’t have a place to be.  Sometimes they’re in a state if limbo, meaning I need to do something with them but I don’t know what yet.  Plus there’s no sense in finding a place to put them since they’d be going away once I’ve taken care of them.  These things always end up on my desk.

So now that everything is all tucked away, I’m ready to start creating again!  What to do first…?

Sorry, it’s just the lid

Each year, my craft group that meets once a month has a gift exchange.  I always like to take some tatting because they always seem to appreciate it.

I like to research ideas on Pinterest and found some cute tatted boxes, so I started working on one about a week ago.  And that just wasn’t enough time with everything else I had going on.  So I stiffened the lid and gift wrapped it.  When my friend opened it, I apologized and told her it was just the lid but I’d have the whole box ready for her next month.

I used the first row of my Sunshine Motif then added a row of simple rings and chains for the side of the lid.  The rest of the box will be really simple, too.  The thread is Lizbeth size 20 color 163 Blue Ice.

So this is my project for the next week or two.  At least I hope that’s all the time it takes!

Sorry about the bad photo.  I haven’t learned how to adjust my phone for nighttime photographs.

My new shuttle arrived today!

fullsizerenderShuttle by Design cat shuttle

I met Rita Richmond, owner of Shuttle By Design at Tat Days this year.  When I had some free time, I headed to her booth to see what she had.  She makes the most awesome shuttles!  They’re light and smooth, and they hold a ton of thread.  They’re absolutely perfect for designs with beads.  Just look how much room there is on it.  You can fit a whole lot of beads on there.

And best of all, she had a book of designs I could order from.

I’m a sucker for anything “cat”, and when I saw this design, I just had to have it.  Her original design had a gray and a brown one, I think.  I have a black and a gray cat, so I asked if it were possible to change colors.  She wasn’t sure just then how it would be done, so I told her not to worry about changing it.  I loved it just the way it was, too.

What I didn’t realize is that Bruce went over later and asked her to go ahead and change the colors of the cats.  So I was surprised when I got an email from Rita with a photograph of the shuttle (she likes to get your final approval before she ships it).  There were my black and gray cats!

Needless to say, I approved the design, and it arrived today.  I LOVE THIS SHUTTLE!  It feels delicious.

Please check out her awesome stuff.  It’s all hand-painted by Rita, and she even makes the shuttles herself, too.  I think I may go back and get a plastic one for when I’m tatting with beads.  I’m pretty rough on my shuttles and I’d feel better using a workhorse instead of such a piece of art.

Her web site: http://shuttlebydesign.com/
Her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/shuttlebydesign

Happy tatting!
Nancy

Butterfly edging doily is done!

When we went to Idaho this summer for a funeral, we stayed at some friends of Bruce’s sister.  They were so generous to have us there!  And I made a new friend–we really enjoyed getting acquainted.

So as a thank you I designed this edging and put it around a 4″ doily.  It took five repeats of the pattern.  Edgings always take me longer than I anticipate, so I’m rather late getting this to her.  I hope she enjoys it!

 

Tat Days 2016

Bruce and I were honored to be the key vendor at Tat Days this year.  We got back about a week ago, and we’re still worn out, but we had a great time!  It was SO much fun to meet everybody there.

Tat Days is sponsored by the Palmetto’s Tatter’s Guild and takes place at the Georgia Baptist Conference Center in Toccoa, Georgia.  If you get the opportunity to go there, it’s really worth it.

We initially thought we’d drive there, but considering it would take 24 hours of driving each way, and we found a screaming deal on plane tickets, we flew instead.  We picked up our rental car and headed on out!  But we didn’t make it far.  We’d heard about Atlanta’s legendary traffic, and we found it.  It was bad, but not that much worse than a bad day in Denver.  I took this picture while we were sitting in traffic and sent it to my kids.  My daughter responded with “ugh”, and my son responded with “Nice car!”  LOL  Like they said, at least we had something to look at while we sat there.

traffic

So between the traffic, finding dinner, and running an errand, we didn’t get to the conference center until after 9:00 that night.  Having dragged ourselves out of bed at 5:30 that morning, we were tired!  But we did find time to go see the vending room, and the ladies in charge took good care of us.

The next day was set-up, and that turned out to be a huge job.  We had some great help, and only had one hitch with our set-up.  Yay!  Still, by the time we were done, it was 7:00 and time to open for business.  We closed at 9:00 for the night.  Both Bruce and I were so bone tired we could hardly move.  I literally hurt from my shoulders to my toes.  The bed felt so good.

This photo shows the view from where I sat when I had a chance to sit.  These tables were all full of Lizbeth thread.  The shuttles and other things were on three tables against the left wall.  We learned two very important things with this trip.  Bring BOOKS, and lots of them, and take less of everything else than we took this time.  We had 11 boxes of stuff initially and shipped back seven.  I think things went really well overall, but we didn’t bring nearly enough books.

store

The rest of the weekend was a lot of fun.  So many people there were folks I’d met online, and it was wonderful to put a name with a face.  It was also so much fun to meet everybody new to us, too.  We learned all about southern hospitality–it’s real!

I can’t thank the ladies from the guild and their husbands enough for all the great help they were to us in so many ways!

Afterwards, Bruce and I had set aside a couple of days to see what’s in that corner of the world.  I’m glad we did.  What a beautiful place!  We hiked into the Tallulah Gorge, checked out the Foxfire Museum, and toured at the Consolidated Gold Mine.  Check out Bruce’s blogs on Foxfire and the gold mine.  He hasn’t blogged about Tallulah Gorge yet, so I’ll say a little about it.

Bruce had decided to photograph Hurricane Falls at the bottom of the gorge.  We both thought he’d get a good shot from the footbridge, but you couldn’t even see it from there, so we ended up going all the way down… all 531 steps!  Every step I took, I was well aware that I’d have to hike back up.  And by the time I got to the bottom, my thighs were tired.  But it was absolutely beautiful!

tallulah-down

And the falls are gorgeous, too.  This is just my photo–Bruce’s is so much better, but again, he hasn’t posted it yet.

falls

And then there was the trip back up.  We knew we’d have to take it slowly, so we decided to go up only a flight or two at a time.  At first it was easy, but it sure got hard later on!  We met a few people who regularly go up and down these stairs for their work-out, which in my mind is a great way to do it (See the lady waaay up there? She’s one of them.)

tallulah-up

We decided to time ourselves.  I was sure it would be dark before we got out of there, but we managed it in an hour and 10 minutes–and the sun was still shining.  Not bad!  But wow, were we covered in sweat.  Ew…

I’d wanted to hike to see the dam, but by the time we got to the top, all we could think of was the car, air conditioning, dinner, and a shower.  We’ll see the dam another time.

Here are a couple other photos from our trip.

I LOVED this sign!

sign

And I really loved the roads.  I learned to drive while we were living in Virginia, and I’ve missed the windy, tree-lined roads there.  This part was fun for me!

road