Sewing Along

My sewing room is almost completely set up. I have been busy developing my new skills. Learning the lingo. Finding places to gather my supplies. Investigating websites and watching YouTube videos.

There is a lot to getting into a new hobby. I am lucky to have space to create. My little sewing room now has some art on the walls, and space for some new upcoming fiber art.

Created by my mother Alina. When she was traveling she brought this project along.
My mother-in-law gifted us many years ago.

My closet has shelves to store my fabrics that I have been gathering. I have a chest my mother bought when she lived in Hong Kong. It is getting filled with rulers, rotary cutters, clips, pins, threads, etc. The coupons from Joann’s comes in handy.

My first project was a wall hanging for my grandsons. Dinosaurs in bright colors. Except for the binding I hand quilted this one. I was so excited to gift it to them that I forgot to take a picture. Well I know where it is so on Monday I will be babysitting and I’ll grab a photo.

I started with a few small projects. I found a cute book of pot holders and began to learn how to appliqué.

My first project.

This pot holder was quickly followed by three more.

I made two of these for my cat people.

I then tackled a baby quilt for my grandson due in 2-3 weeks.

This is more of a soft quilt to lay on and not under. Babies do not use blankets until they are older so this will be useful for the little one.

Then I started to follow some quilting blogs, watching some tutorials and reading some pattern books. I decided to get some practice at cutting and stitching straight 1/4 inch seams. And I began my next project, a small pieced quilt. The last time I pieced a quilt was 40 years ago. My neighbor was a quilter and she helped me. I machine pieced and hand quilted a twin sized quilt for my four year old son. I don’t have a photograph of my work. I was pleased with the result. I had my daughter soon after and life continued on. My mother also quilted for the first time two twin quilts.

My sewing machine set up with a Sew Steady table.

My machine is currently sitting on a desk. I just got a new chair. My previous desk chair is quite old and the hydraulic lift was no longer working. I would sit at the desk and continue to slip lower and lower. A sinking feeling. New chair I can sit at a better angle. I still may end up looking for a better solution with better ergonomics.

I am practicing matching points. Some nights I sew a couple of squares, and then while watching tv I rip out about half of them. I am kind of a perfectionist when I look at my work closely. I know that once it is done the mistake will be happy little unique moments.

Quilt in progress. This is called a scrappy quilt design.

The color class I took at Cosumnes River College with Patty Felkner prepares me for my new endeavor. This quilt called for 4 dark and 4 light colors. Design was not my focus this time. Can you tell?

I am lucky that there are quite a few local quilt shops near my house. I visited 4 shops and found my new “home”. This shop has helpful people and nice fabrics. The shop is called Swifty Stitches after the Golden Retriever, Swifty the owner’s dog. This afternoon I met Swifty and his friend Lila, another Golden Retriever. Getting some puppy love is an added bonus. I signed up for a beginner class that starts in February. I hope that I will learn some new techniques.

Blockheads 3 starts this week. Designers from all over will provide patterns and the fb group will share the outcomes online. I thought I might be overwhelmed, but the group has encouraged me to jump in. I will experience new techniques and can find help if I need it. I bought some fabric (fat quarters) and so I will be busy.

Sew here I go! I will continue to blog, take photos, read about raising a puppy, pursue my genealogy and “dabble along”.

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020 – The world keeps spinning

My head has been so full of noise that I did not realize that I have been neglecting to write.

So what what has caused me to think that my brain is playing “Pong”. I think that my loss of focus has been due to my dog deprived life. I have changed my sleeping pattern to a staying up late (2 am). I have always been more of a night owl since I retired, but this is getting ridiculous. This week I am making a better effort to wake up before 8:00 am, get going, and not drift back to sleep.

So what else is going through my head. It bounces from one interest to another. From Genealogy to Photography to my newest interest in Quilting. Not that these interests can’t coincide in one person, but that each pulls me away from the other. My son called this “dabbling”. Maybe I just continue to find new and interesting things to learn.

Oh, probably the most disorienting part of my life is news and the media (ie Facebook). Need I say more?

This 2020 election is very important. Be sure you are registered to VOTE!

One moment I am all about connecting the dots on my Ancestry family tree. I just started writing down my own personal story as a child of two Holocaust survivors. My hope is that I will one day be able to articulate a coherant story to others. I am a participant of CVHEN (California Valley Holocaust Education Network) and Sacramento Second Generation Holocaust Survivor’s group (now renamed Holocaust Survivors and Descendants). Though I find that with all my reading on the subject I sometimes need to take a step back from this subject. It is at that moment I take up another interest.

Photography helps me get out. Sometimes I just need to force myself to get out of the house. And away from the television and the continued crazy news that surrounds me. I don’t want to bury my head in the sand, but I have some very serious questions as to where this country, and the world is headed. This very clearly harkens back to my family’s past “real” experiences. So with camera in hand, and a great group of friends we head out to explore local spots. So far the weather this fall/winter has been quite favorable to getting outside. In other words, Sacramento has not had very much rain.

Fountains in Roseville are mesmerizing.

The climate here in Sacramento has changed in the almost 40 years I have been here. I remember all the fog that enveloped Sacramento when we first moved here. Moving into my first house in 1980, there was so much fog that lasted throughout the day that I didn’t even know which window would receive sunshine for the first 3 months (December through February 1981). Then we had record rains. I remember driving from my house in Sacramento to Orangevale 10 miles away and not knowing if the visibility would allow me to make it to work on time. I never understood the mass pileups on the freeways when I was in New York. The fog just engulfs you from out of nowhere. It has been quite a while since I have seen that kind of fog. I just looked up Tule Fog, and discovered why scientists say there is less of this phenonomun. Cleaner air. Good for the driving public. Do you remember the Tule fog? Can you see that my focus drifts.

Back to photography. Since my camera group changed the format from Camera Toutin’ Tuesdays to Camera Toutin’ Days our busy schedules get in the way. Doctor and dentist appointments, haircuts and massages, grandkids, and life may get in the way, but a steady group of 6-8 shows up. I am lucky to have found a good group of friends to share my joy in photography. I know that I can always find peace with my photography.

Here are some of my images from the year 2019. Not my most productive year. I did have that spinal surgery that kept me out of the loop for a while.

Taken with my new Macro lens.
Long Beach at sunset.

Looking back through my images I found some inspiration.

Plan to pop the champagne cork tonight at midnight.
My first date with my husband occured on New Years Eve 1966. No drinking and driving.

The year 2020 starts tomorrow. Bigger and better plans for the coming year. Around February 8 a new grandchild is set to arrive. That makes #7. My daughter is having a boy to add to her 4 boys and 1 girl. Busy family.

Ginger and Ace are expecting puppies in February. I am hoping to to bring one of the pups to my house in March.

Here is Ginger and Ace!
This handsome Henry was shopping with his human. I so can’t wait to have a dog friend of my own. This is a mulligan Australian Labradoodle standard size. I await a smaller version.
Plan to watch out! Be aware of your surroundings!

Heading to New York “The Big Apple” in March before our puppy joins our household. Planning to play tourist. See a show, visit relatives, and gather genealogical info. Also NYC is great for street photography and of course eating.

I plan to continue to spend less time in malls unless they are outside like the Fountains. Well I will see how this works out.

And I hope that everyone around me can follow this saying. There is entirely too much animosity circulating now.

Happy New Year to all my friends and followers. Here’s hoping for a bright 2020!

Simple breakfast interrupted

Each morning I wake up to my dear husband bringing me fresh squeezed orange juice. Right now we are just picking the last of the oranges off of our tree.

This morning I awoke to the sound of my grass being mowed. Thought, since I’m not sleeping in I may as well make French toast for me and my husband. I haven’t made breakfast in forever. Usually French toast using rye bread is something I reserve for my grandchildren.

I have patiently taught all my grandchildren how to make French toast.

Eli making French Toast


But it hasn’t occurred to me to just make it for us grownups. But this time I just felt like starting the day off in grand style. Table set, coffee made, orange from our tree sliced, real maple syrup poured, and French toast cooked.

And just as I was ready to drink my coffee and read the paper I glanced down at my Libby Love and noticed a large red gash on her foot. OMG.

Libby Love

Called the vet, and had 15 minutes (for a 25 minute drive) to get her to the doctor. Once there, the doctor took one look and said, “This is bad!” The toe will need to be amputated. There is nothing left to stitch up. I did not expect this outcome.

We left her there, and waited at home to hear that she was out of surgery. In a few minutes we will be picking up my darling dog. Libby has been through so much since November. What we thought was a blown out knee turned into either a bone infection, or tumor. Now I suspect that it is a tumor that is increasingly pressing on her nerve. My guess is that she doesn’t understand why her foot feel wrong.

My dear little, very expensive cone head, Libby

I know what that means, because I am just 4 weeks from my spinal surgery. No such surgery available for my poor dog. Now we have recovery time and hope that she doesn’t do this again.

Computer Time Genealogy

After working on my travelogue for a couple of days, I quickly decided I needed to actually take some of my photography from Kauai and create a photo book. Spent all of Thursday working out the details, and sent it off to Shutterfly. I haven’t been disappointed with my book produced by this company. If you haven’t tried them, send me your email and a free 8×8 hardcover book is yours. Full disclosure. I will also get one too. Shipping is not included, though. Just got an email saying my book has shipped. Fast service. Sent it in on Thursday 1/31 and it is on its way 2/4. Excited!

While at the computer, I caught up with some of my family genealogy. I have a world subscription to Ancestry.com and Family Tree Maker software on my iMac. After much worry, and much reading, I decided to sync both trees. My next goal will be to bring this tree to life. I would like to put a face or information other than vital statistics (birth, marriage, death) to names of my direct descendents. I check the hints that appear, and that usually draws me away from this goal. And it is so easy to do. Follow one hint, find another. I am getting better at keeping track of my research by using a notebook, and adding notes to my online trees.

My father and his two brothers (Doctor Rubinstein) are part of the story cited in
Schindler’s List

Another distraction is my DNA test matches. I find a match, and I try and figure out how this can be. Recently connected with a second cousin online with a DNA match. I think of this person as a little kid, who I understand is a recently retired physician. Talk about where did the time go.

Before I went to college most of my relatives lived in the New York metropolitan area. And every couple of years there would be a large family gathering. I knew the names and faces of most of the 100+ people, but I could not see how I was related. I never had grandparents, so anyone over 25 was called uncle, and under 25 cousin. A family tree would have cleared a lot of this mystery up. A suggestion for large family reunions would be a family tree.

I remember thinking that it would be nice to have a Grandma.

I’m thinking of trying to connect with my living relatives online since we are now spread around the country, and beyond. I plan to gather as many email addresses from extended family so that we can send out event notices and keep connected. I may set up a private family page where we can share. Kind of like Facebook’s original intent to connect people. I haven’t decided if Facebook is the way to go, or should I create some other venue. I belong to two private pages, and they have worked. But maybe there is another way to connect. I’m looking for suggestions. How does your family stay connected?

I now possess all my parent’s photo albums, and I have a cousin (1st cousin 1x removed) who researched one branch of my family since 1985. All his research was done without benefit of computer. It is remarkable that his research checks my online hints. He is no longer working on this, and will be passing along more of his research to me. Problem is that I live on the west coast, trunk full of stuff on the east coast. So either I make a trip back east or have another family member ship it here. Will figure this out soon.