Friday, December 14, 2007

work in progress

Finally I get a chance to tell you about the fun stuff I've been doing on vacation! Handwork stuff, that is! Even though reading in the car makes me nauseous, I usually am able to knit unless the road is real winding. So I finished the sock on my needles and have started on its mate. It is a pretty tofutsies pastel yarn that I purchase in Maine or New Hampshire on my August vacation. It is a blend of several fibers, the unique one being chitin which is from shellfish and is a natural antibacterial so supposedly keeps your socks from getting stinky from sweaty feet! Haven't tested it personally. Also finished wool applique on a penny rug pattern by Buttermilk Basin--a SNOW design. Have gotten work done on a very large tablerunner, actually called a table rug, by Sue Spargo. It is called Winterberries and Nancy and I decided to do this last winter, using a combination of flannel and wool. It is really looking nice, I have the vine and most of the leaf applique done. We'll see what Nancy has achieved at a later date! Have not visited many shops, but did find a good place Tuesday on Hwy 395 between Mammoth Lakes and Carson City, it is called the Quilt House and was in one of the Top 10 magazines. There is a local shop that I went into, they have a wide variety of fashion and quilting fabrics. Called Fabrics Unlimited. And that is about all for now!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

So the saga continues! Now seated safely in the resort in South Lake Tahoe, NV, I am enjoying a day with my daughter, Brita. She drove here yesterday morning from San Francisco and her boyfriend, Ben, is coming tonight after he gets off work. It is about a 4 hour drive from the city. Our son, Dan, is living in Mammoth Lakes, CA, about 3 hours from here to the south. He works for the Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort, in fact, you can see video of him on their website as he gives the snow report. He is the one with the Minnesota accent! He is here with us for a couple days, so we are having an early Christmas celebration. Only one missing is Krista and we really wish she could have made it but she was so nice to send us cookies anyway! Bob and I drove from Tahoe to Mammoth on Monday to see where Dan lives and works, plus the guys went skiing and I got to ride the gondola up to the mountaintop for lunch with an amazing view! We also went to Tom's Place, a tiny town near there that was once our home for a short time. When we were college students, we went there to work for the summer at the resort owned by Bob's aunt and uncle. We were wondering what we would find after 31 years absence, but it has been very well preserved in much the same way as it was back then. We really loved our time there, and it was so fun to go back and talk with some of the locals about people we remembered. A trip down memory lane!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

On the Road Again

Are you ready for a l ittle travelogue? Or adventure tale? That's what our roadtrip from Minnesota to Lake Tahoe turned into! Bob and I do love a good vacation drive and haven't had the chance for quite awhile. So we have been looking forward to this trip for the drive itself, not just the fact that we would end up at a great destination that was new for us. And close to our kids (young adult kids, that is!). But cross-country travel in the winter is unpredictable at best, and this trip proved that! Thank goodness we have a good 4-wheel drive pickup and Bob is a trooper when it comes to driving. We left home last Thursday AM, made stops in Jackson and Lake Park to say hi to the folks. Good thing, too, since we were rewarded with cinnamon bread and lunch! Then heading towards Omaha we had only a little bit of slippery spot north of Sioux City. Got to Omaha just in time for evening traffic, which combined with darkness, slush, and road construction made for an interesting stretch. Stopped for the night in Grand Island for a good night's sleep and then up early to continue west on I-80. Some light snow, slush on the highway, and heavy clouds which obscured much of our view. Now I realize many of you think "What view?" because the drive across Nebraska has a bad rep. But I personally think that it is undeserved since I like the wide open spaces. Remember the Dixie Chicks song? Fits me perfectly! Things were going pretty well until we crossed into Wyoming. I have one bit of advice for the Wyoming DOT--GET SALT! The interstate turned into packed snow/ice so our speed slowed down considerably. The heavy load of semi trucks made it hard to pass and/or be passed without slipping around. At one point we saw a very serious accident that had closed down the eastbound lanes for quite awhile, resulting in a parking lot of vehicles on the highway. Our path was clear to keep on moving westward, until we got aways further and witnessed a scene that was hard to comprehend. There are 3 large mountain slopes east of Evanston called the Sisters, and there was so much ice, etc., that traffic came to a standstill in both directions. I have never seen so many semi trucks in one spot, and they just happened to be parked every which way on the interstate. Several jack-knifed or off the road. We were able to slowly manuever through the maze with a little convoy of 4WD vehicles, and make it to Evanston safely. Our hopes to make Salt Lake City for the night were dashed, but we were happy to call it a night.
All the time I have for now, I will continue the saga at a later time. With reports on knitting and sewing!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Returning to Normal?

It has been 2 long weeks since my last post. Long weeks because my mom has been seriously ill and required surgery to straighten things out. And it was not an easy operation, but she had only minor post-op complications. Her age of 77 is very misleading, her MD says she's more like 62! So today I got to bring her and my dad back home, which is a big relief. Still a lot of healing to do, I know she is perplexed by how easily she fatigues. But she is making progress and that's wonderful. We sat down to eat together at the table tonight, even though she doesn't eat much yet it still was a nice feeling of normalcy. So I will be here until Wednesday, doing some cooking and helping out wherever needed.
While spending hours in hospital rooms and waiting rooms, I got some knitting done! Finished up a little baby cap that is saved for the next new baby to come along. Worked on knitting the back of a little girl's sweater in 2 colors that I started about 26 years ago for Brita! I have a friend who is going to help me make sense of what needs to be done to finish it. Started a new pattern for fingerless gloves made of self-striping sock yarn, got one done and about half of the second so far. It helped to pass the time and the anxious moments.
Was on a quilt retreat last weekend, actually business-related for Stitchin' Trips and Bear Patch. It was a success for the guests and I even got some blocks assembled for my Carrie Nation quilt. It is coming together nicely.
Very little time on the longarm for 2 weeks, but will re-focus on that now. I have the honor of having 2 quilts to do for friends, and I want to get those done in a timely fashion. I received part of my thread order so only have limited colors. I look forward to some time at home to get back into sync with my machine.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

On the Road Again

I'm repacking my bags and set to go to see my parents in Iowa. It's an unexpected trip due to the fact that my mom is ill and I would like to be there for a bit. Being "a medical person" I can hopefully be of some help. Plus I had just last week thought that I needed to get a couple days to go there anyway, since it is so nice to be able to visit them aside from holidays or events. So the kind folks that I work with at the store are very accomodating to allow me to leave on short notice without any hassle, covering my work there.
I did have a very good time on our quilt retreat, doing some good work for the store and actually had more time for my own sewing than I had anticipated, so that was a plus. I've started work on a quilt to be used for a class in early 2008, it has many little pieces but is turning out beautifully. It's sort of an Irish Chain-ish block, and I have most of the small 4-patch units pieced together so now it's a matter of combining them all correctly to achieve the 36 blocks needed (I have 3 done--yeah!). But that is set aside for a few days while I am gone, instead I have a couple knitting projects in my travel bag. Will tell you more about that later!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Home Time

We (Bob and I) are having a very domesticated Saturday. Bob is mostly outside doing those things that need to be done before winter: fertilizing lawn, playing chimney sweep, getting the woodbox inside and filled, putting away outdoor furniture, and the list goes on. But I know he likes it. I have been doing the indoor things: folding laundry, doing dishes, sewing, sorting out summer clothes and clothes to give away, packing up my things to go away for 3 days on quilt retreat at Camp Lebanon, catching up on odds and ends like blogging, and next I will get to go do my longarm machine and finish up the small quilt I have on it. I should have time to start on my next practice project today, too. I really need to continually do the practice, even though it is sometimes pretty frustrating. The machine works great, but the operator needs a lot of help! It really boils down to the fact that I am impatient with myself, I see so many examples of beautiful quilting and when my own attempts don't turn out to be quite so stellar, I get a bit discouraged. Talking with my friend, Sarah, who has been a longarm quilter for almost 4 years, helped me because she remembers what it is like at the beginning. And she has developed quite a talent with her machine in that time. She was very encouraging and I thank her for that. Bob has also been very encouraging and helpful. A couple days ago something was off kilter with the balance on the machine making it less smooth to move, but he came and helped make some adjustments to bring it back to where it should be. He's even letting me keep a couple of his wrenches in my drawer! Is that true love or what?!
Heard from son, Dan, Thursday after his first day of work at his new job at Mammoth Mountain in Mammoth Lakes, CA. He is working for the marketing/PR dept. and is thrilled to get the chance to combine his love for skiing with the career direction he wants. I so hope that this works out well for him. That would make it worth having him so far away from home. So far, he said he was getting settled in at his desk and computer and moved what belongings were packed in his pickup into an employee housing unit. He was just returning from a trip to the grocery store when he called.
Also talked with daughter, Brita, living in San Francisco. We were discussing the dates and plans for our trip to Tahoe in about a month. Bob and I are staying there and hosting the kids (Brita, Ben, Dan, Krista) if they can make the trip, too. This will have to serve as our Christmas celebration, since they can't make the trip back to MN this year. Dan, forever the big kid, was worried that we wouldn't be able to carry and pack all his presents on the plane, but we plan to make a road trip instead. Bob and I used to really enjoy going on long trips for vacations, and we have been missing that lately.
Spent yesterday at the quilt shop readying for the trip to Camp Lebanon with Nancy and Laurel. We are taking a lot of merchandise to set up shop there for 3 days, and we are each teaching some classes during that time. We have a small trailer, thank goodness, to make the job a little easier. And we will get some time to sew our own projects, too, although limited. I'll take along knitting in case I find myself with time on my hands while minding the store. We also encounter a lot of familiar faces there, after several years attending. Especially Lisa, the person I most look forward to seeing again. She is one of those people that is just the epitome of kind and thoughtful, and I can't help feeling that some of it rubs off on me each time I am there!
So that's the events for now--

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday Monday

Since I am up before the alarm, I have a few minutes to add a note. Yesterday proved to be a test, yet again. I have been a nurse for many years, in a variety of settings. I started out in 1977 taking care of patients and that is what I migrated back to after some experiences in education and management. For the past ~10 years I have been in a Trauma/Neuro ICU. I have shifted from full-time to part-time and now 'casual part time' which means I am not regularly scheduled but can choose from open shifts of which there are always plenty. This has been working pretty well, since I was at the point of needing a change but didn't really want to change to another unit. I was resenting the every-other-weekend imposition on my life. Now I do still work mostly on weekends, since that is when the most open daytime shifts occur, but I only have to work twice a month minimum. I can schedule my other job and committments around it.
So yesterday I walked into a situation that had my nerves on edge for 8 hours. Now you see, we routinely deal with tragic situations, so that is expected. But some are worse than others from the perspective of the nurse. To the patient and loved ones, there probably is little distinction. Tragic is tragic when you are in the midst of it. Without breaking any patient confidentiality rules, of which there are many, I can describe the situation as end-of-life-decision-making for a young person as a result of someone's irresponsible and illegal behavior. Managing the care of the patient is my bread-and-butter, what interests me and keeps me coming back. Interacting with the family and friends is the challenge. While not being trained in crisis intervention nor greif counseling, my on-the-job-training has taught me a lot. Still, there are times of feeling very inadequate, and yesterday was an example of that. I was physically and emotionally drained after just 8 hours, and took full advantage of the recliner when I got home finally! After that, I was able to refocus and find some positive things to do for the rest of the day.
Cooked up a big pot of chili, cast on a mitten, and finished a purse project that involves clothesline, fabric, and zigzag! Once the handles get on I will see about posting a picture.
Now it really is time to sign off, I can hear my alarm in the other room. Have a good day!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A day of accomplishments!

I hadn't really planned it this way, but it has turned out to be a day of finishing. Finished quilting a small quilt for Nancy, finished knitting mittens, stocking cap, and lacey scarf. I do love the feeling of finishing! I need to do more of it. I do get behind in my projects and have been trying really hard lately to not take on anything new. This has worked pretty good, with only a couple minor exceptions. I especially want to finish off anything I have started knitting because I have come to the conclusion that I need to put aside the knitting to free up that time for working on my longarm. Except for socks, that is. I would like to continue with that aspect of my knitting, because it is small and makes appreciated gifts for others. As far as better descriptions of what I worked on today: the stocking cap is a bulky merino wool in variegated sherbert colors, purchased on my vacation in August in Maine; the mittens are a secret; and the scarf was an experiment in learning a new technique using some soft silky pastel yarn. My quilting was fairly successful, an improvement but still not on par with the quilting that I admire. I did get to experience the problems associated with a broken needle, but no great damage. And the mounting and process of quilting went much better this time than previously. There is a lot to remember about what gets pinned to where, what is done next, what needs to be double-checked, etc. Need to get some bulk batting and threads, I have been putting off getting that ordered. Tomorrow is working at the hospital, but only an 8 hour shift rather than the usual 12, so should be a breeze! Working in the Trauma/Neuro ICU is never a breeze!

Friday, October 19, 2007


A new beginning! Something new to try here and see what happens. My purpose with this blog site is not written in stone, but I'm thinking that it will be a good way to be in touch with interested people. My new business, Emmaline Design, has 2 elements. One aspect is designing patterns for quilts and related items. The other aspect is the development of my longarm quilting services. Both of these are in the starting stages, and one of my biggest challenges so far is just finding the time! I have many things on my plate, but I am sure that this is the direction that I want to move, so I know things will change to make room. People ask me how I am going to have time for a new business, but I honestly am not deeply concerned about it because I am confident that I can be successful. I know it can happen. One can make time for the things that are important.
So today I didn't get any quilting done yet, but did spend some time designing a new pattern for a bag to be shared at an upcoming retreat. I have a share in another business, Stitchin' Trips, that organizes and hosts quilt retreats. One of the things we do at our retreats is distribute something special to the participants, so that is what this pattern is for. I hope it is a hit! Have to go sew in the zipper now, it is done except for that and I had to make a run to JoAnn's to find the right color and length.
All for now--