Thursday, September 17, 2020

Really Random Thursday, 9/17/20

I haven't felt much like blogging lately. Our state is burning up, as is much of the West Coast. The Creek fire, which is quite close to us, has consumed over 246,000 acres, and nearly two weeks after it started, is only considered 18 percent contained. Many places near and dear to our hearts are gone. The town of Big Creek, which we drive through to get to Huntington Lake, sustained heavy damage. Lakeview Cottages, rental cabins we used to partly own, to our knowledge have survived. But  many people have been displaced and lost their homes. Many hikers were caught unawares and it was tricky getting them evacuated to safety. Military helicopters made many trips to get them all to a safe place.

Online school continues at our house two days a week. Mark had an old stop sign and safety vest, and decided it would be fun to pretend he was a school bus driver when we picked the kids up one morning. We were amused. I'm not sure they thought it was a funny as we did. Ella looks decidedly unimpressed.

Today, we tried something different for lunch. Mark has been rocking it as the "cafeteria supervisor." Monday has turned into "mac 'n cheese Monday" but on Thursdays, he steps it up. And we decided "cafeteria trays" would be fun. So we found some on Amazon that looked like they would work. This is today's lunch: cheeseburgers, frozen grapes, pluots and homemade applesauce. Yummy.

When we have free time in the afternoon, sometimes we do crafting projects. And by "we," I mean Gabe and I. He brought over his stuffed penguin a couple of weeks ago with very defined ideas of making a Harry Potter outfit for him. Fortunately, I have a big stack of felt. We made a cape (with a hood) and a crest on the front, glasses and a zigzag for the scar.

Ella brought her dog and wanted a rock star costume. So I made a blue jacket, a star-shaped eyepatch and what was supposed to look like a studded neck collar.
Gabe and I also began working on a zipper pouch with a vinyl window in the front. He sewed the patchwork panels for the front, sewed them to the vinyl and did a most excellent job of top stitching. It was tricky figuring out the rest of the pattern for some reason, so I ended up doing the finish work. But I was so proud of him and the good work that he did.
He also made a striped scarf for the Harry Potter penguin. That stack of felt that has sat neglected for a couple of years is getting a good workout and it's nice to have it handy for these projects.

A couple of months ago, when we were rearranging the office spaces in our house, we reluctantly needed to get rid of a beautiful handmade desk and storage unit that my father made for me when I was in eighth grade--out of solid maple. We gave it to our next door neighbor, and she sent this picture over today. One of her daughters now has her own room and the desk combo is perfect for her. It makes my heart so happy to see something in use that my father made for me about 55 years ago. 

This is a not-uncommon conversation at our house...
The "Gruber's Girls" had a Zoom sewing day last Saturday. I set my little laptop on the corner of my sewing table, and sewed away. Those sessions give me such a needed boost.

And that's about it for the last two weeks. I've been doing a lot of sewing, and one of these days I'll get around to sharing that too.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Really Random Thursday, 9/3/20

Is it crazy that our world has been consumed by COVID-19 for six months??! In some ways, it seems like those six months have zipped by in a blur. In other ways, rather than six months, it feels like six years. Mark and I both kind of feel like we are hitting a brick wall, and that it feels unending. At the same time, in a way it seemed far away in that we didn't personally know anyone who had had COVID. Now the wagons are circling closer. We know four people who have had it. Social distancing and face masks aren't going away any time soon...

When this first began in March, did you ever think that we would still be seeing no end in sight six months later? I sure didn't. I had to cancel a quilting retreat that was scheduled for the end of March. But I surely thought I would be going to my beloved Minnesota retreat in July! *sigh* We have promised our grandkids that on their 13th birthday we would spend three days in Disneyland. A year ago we had the best time with Charlotte. Levi's birthday is coming up in March, and honestly, considering that Disneyland has no opening date yet, we have told Levi that we will celebrate his 13th "half birthday" next September and hopefully things will be more back to normal. Who knows?

Speaking of birthdays, Mark had one the end of August. But the air quality was horrible due to all the fires, so we postponed it for a week. We celebrated last Saturday night. The weather was cooler and the air was quite a bit better. We had such a good time. Aaron had planned to make hamburgers, but since he received a Traeger (smoker) earlier in the summer, he decided to do pork belly instead.

They were SO good. Think candied bacon. We had baked beans, pasta salad, jello (Mark IS from Minnesota, after all, where no good celebration occurs without the addition of some kind of jello). Earlier in the week, Charlotte had asked what his favorite dessert was. He said carrot cake, with NO NUTS. Charlotte went all out, and even made fondant carrots. And what do you do with leftover fondant? Make a bunny butt, that's what!!

Mark has a reputation for wrapping gifts in, um...., unusual ways. One year he wrapped my gift in multiple layers of wire. Another year he cut tree branches in 3" lengths and encased my gift inside what was basically a tree branch "jail." It required a crowbar. He thinks he's so funny...

Jason, Ruby and Amelia got him back by using a roll of clear packing tape and what looked like two rope clotheslines. It took him forever to open. Don't feel sorry for him. He totally deserved it. :)

The grandkids are in their second week of school, all online at this point.  Christa has her own online class every Monday morning, and she works all day on Thursday. So Mark and I have volunteered to have school at our house on those days. They each have their own quiet space, and the first day seemed to work very well.

Charlotte was in the master bedroom, and when I peeked in on her, she was in P.E. class.
Levi used the desk in my office.
Gabe was in the dining room. He looks like he's sleeping but let's just assume that he is concentrating...
We set Ella up in the guest room. She requires a little more supervision to stay on task, so I stayed with her while she was in class, and did some hand sewing. It seemed to work out well.
Here is the update on my beautiful mystery dahlia. It's much larger than the first mystery dahlia. I'm hooked. We are planning an enlarged dahlia garden and I'm already trying to decide which tubers to purchase for next year.
This was the week for "happy mail." On Monday, I received the coolest package from my dear friend, Doris. The bag was so cool--it has a rigid frame so it stays open--perfect for retreats. And she enclosed so many fun goodies--including the latest issue of Quilt Sampler magazine, of which she is the editor.

Terri and I are both fans of pencils. I know, that may sound a bit funny, but if you too like pencils, I highly recommend @cwpencilenterprise. They have a quarterly box subscription. I have had it in and out of my shopping cart so many times, telling myself it is a nonessential purchase. But when Terri told me how much she enjoys it, I signed up. My first box arrived on Tuesday, and it did not disappoint. Some really cool double-ended pencils (metallic and neon), a pencil made in Vietnam, some stickers, a cool brass ruler in the shape of, what else, a pencil, and an envelope with a library card. Fun, fun, fun.
And today, totally out of the blue, a package arrived with cookies and biscotti, and some of my favorite fabric EVER, from sweet Brianne (@baker_brianne).
This is the only thing that captured my attention in the past week. With all the Zoom meetings going on, I venture to say a lot of people could make use of this little notebook.
I also took two virtual quilting classes, but they require their own post. So check back.

Stay healthy.