Friday, October 30, 2020

Halloween 2020

Since I last wrote, dear blogger, much has changed around here. The weather has changed abruptly from highs being in the 100s to the 80s and sometimes in the 70s. Nights are pleasant. Activities have ramped up despite the threat of COVID hanging over our heads. Like the rest of the country, new cases are increasing so we are being very cautious. 

Bob and I have been pretty busy with projects. I’ve sewn up several purses.

I spent a couple of days stitching out all the stitches on my Bernina sewing machine, which was a lot more interesting than I expected it to be. It was a very worthwhile project. Here are just a few of the pages. There are seventeen of them!

I recovered the kitchen chairs (again) and I’m much happier with them now. I put clear vinyl on them as well, to protect them from the dust we get here. I also made a matching kitchen curtain.

The pinwheel scarf is done.

I have sewn a new Advent calendar to replace the old family one that I made years ago, using fabric I found on eBay. This one is on its way to my daughter, Emily.

I knitted up a little Witchy Friend, designed by Esther Braithwaite.

A new little tape loom kit arrived from Great Britain and I assembled and painted it. It’s the size of a teacup—too cute!

Here’s the first band I wove on it.

The bathroom has been renovated and now is fresh and bright, with a new shower that replaces out old tub. We had someone do the shower for us but Bob replaced the vanity, toilet, and door to the wall cabinet. He replaced the light fixture and installed vinyl flooring and I painted the walls and trim. Bob has also been busy adding shelving to cabinets and replacing light fixtures. 

On top of all this, the Fiber Arts group is now meeting weekly, outside and socially distanced with masks. We may have to suspend meetings when it gets cold out, but for now we are fine.

Today the park held its annual Halloween Pet Parade. Auggie won “Scariest Costume” with his shark outfit and enjoyed all the attention. Here we are heading back with all of our prizes.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, September 21, 2020

September in AZ

 It’s been awhile since I posted here, I know, and I do apologize, dear blog reader. The days just seem to flow one into another, and all of a sudden I blink and another month has gone by. We’ve enjoyed the quiet of the park, and now that people are starting to return Auggie must adjust to people walking by without barking. There aren’t many early returnees yet, but within a month this place will be hopping again. Except for the Canadians, of course, whose health insurance won’t cover Covid-19 if they are in the US. Hopefully they’ll be able to return soon; a lot of our friends are from Canada.

We had a strong storm move through the area last month and I got a nice shot of the post-storm skies. There have only been a few thunderstorms this summer.

We have also kept watch over fires in Arizona. There have been some in Tonto National Forest, a couple of hours north of us, and some that were near Apache Junction to our east but none that came close enough to really worry us, thankfully. Our hearts go out to all those affected by the fires on the west coast.

We continue to stay busy. Since Bob’s woodturning skills have steadily improved he was able to make me some beams for my home-designed T-Loom. Ratchets and pawls from Kromski finished it all off, and I’m very happy with the loom’s upgraded tensioning.

Bob has finished his table for the living room and we both love it. It’s such a practical design for us and I love the walnut inlay in the top.

Months ago I started a games night with the grandchildren on Portal and Messenger which has continued every Monday. We play Bananagrams, Yahtzee, Card Bingo, and Uno and it has been a lot of fun. Sometimes Tim joins us as well. Recently I started a one-on-one daily session after dinner with Jillian. She has never been a very good eater at mealtimes and her diet was extremely limited, so this became a way to reinforce her sitting down with her family and eating. It’s been a huge success and she now eats a much more varied diet. And of course it’s a lot of fun for both of us! Here she’s reading me a story.

Jillian’s brother Alex recently had a birthday so I crocheted him a Mugman doll. It’s apparently a thing, but you will have to Google it to find out more. 😆

I have also been doing some quilting, and recently finished a geometric quilt in the Inner City pattern. I love quilts that look three dimensional.

One project that’s been hanging over my head since March is my cradle loom on which I planned to paint rosemaling. Last week I finally pulled out my paints and did a little. How I wish I had done it when my rosemaling class was fresh in my mind! I’m going to stop at this point for a bit. Perhaps I’ll be able to take another class and will be able to do it justice but right now I’m not able to. I know I can do better with a little help.

That’s it for now! Stay safe and pray for our nation.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Sixth Blogiversary

It’s hard to imagine I’ve been writing this blog for six years. And even more surprising how many changes we’ve gone through in that amount of time.

Many RVers with whom we’ve spoken have chosen to head to higher (and cooler) ground for the summer. Bob and I have discussed doing that but have decided to stay put here in the park for several reasons. First off, campgrounds at higher elevations have filled up because more people are RVing. And we are trying to avoid crowds. Second, Bob and I want to avoid a situation where, if we DID contract Covid-19, we would not be near a good hospital. There are excellent medical facilities in and around Phoenix. And third, we both have projects going that keep us busy and interested and that are not portable. And so we have stayed! Right now I am waiting to hear back from Texas DPS (their Motor Vehicle department) to see if my application to renew my drivers license by mail will be accepted. If I can’t renew by mail we will have to travel to Texas. We should know soon if that’s going to happen.

I’ve been having so much fun with my new sewing machine and have it all set up in my studio. When my ironing board started to break I asked Bob to raise up the wooden board I covered with batting and a sheet and attach it to the wall. The other end rests on a drawer unit. At 36” high, the board is much more comfortable to stand and iron, and provides a surface to cut out small projects, too. Perfect!
I also made a small pressing table from a little folding table, that sits to the left of the sewing table. On it, I can turn and press a seam without getting up.

My towels are off the loom and I am hand-hemming them. I’m very pleased! Photos will follow when I’m finished, but here is a pic of the last towel on the loom, with trees woven into it.
Speaking of trees, the park is trimming all the palm trees here. This is what the street looked like yesterday right after trimming was finished.
For some reason, more activity rooms are being opened here. Right now the billiards room, sewing room, library, and computer lab are open. This in addition to the pool and the ballroom for movie showing. I have a bad feeling about these openings. Once people return to the park I suspect virus cases will start to spike if people start attending indoor activities. We shall see. For a while, or until there’s a vaccine, I’ll be staying outdoors.

Friday, July 31, 2020

High Summer in Arizona

We have always feared summer in the greater Phoenix area, so it has been surprising that we truly are not miserable here. Yes, we’ve had high temperatures...
...but since July is the hottest month and we are ready to step into August, it looks like we’ll survive it. Bob still spends some time outside with his power tools yet as long as he can duck inside to cool down every so often, he says it’s fine. And I’m happy as long as I have my hobbies! We still swim once or twice a week in the park’s pool. The water is like bath water and at about 5:00 pm we have the place to ourselves. It’s divine!

Bob has been building on his wood turning skills and this month he made me a beautiful rolling pin.
This is bloodwood and maple, with a little purpleheart for the inlay swirls. He made the holder, too, so the pin could be displayed. Isn’t it gorgeous?
He also made this candleholder from a piece of the bloodwood using maple inlay.

I’ve been working on my freehand quilting skills this month and have finished this panel quilt as a practice piece.
It will come with us in the motorhome when we travel. I like having maps around.

I’ve been knitting lots, too. I made this family set of dolls for Jillian...
...and this Cinderella set for Quinn and Eve...
...while Silas got this dinosaur to play with.
I also appliquéd a little onesie for a soon-to-be-born great nephew.
Plus I’m still working on weaving dish towels on my Macomber loom and lots of masks continue to go out!

We have another month until people start to make their way back to the park here. Most seasonal folks return around October but the season officially starts in September so things will start to change. For one thing, we won’t be the only ones on our block anymore! Half of the park is typically made up of Canadians but it does not look like they’ll be back for a while because of Covid-19. The heat will start to dissipate but activities probably won’t resume for a while. No one knows what fall will be like here. We’ll take it as it comes.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

And Now its July

It’s July already. I can’t believe I let a whole month pass without a new blog post. Bob and I are fine here in Arizona, despite the alarming reports on the skyrocketing number of Covid-19 cases here. We are staying away from people and wearing masks whenever we go anywhere, which is a rare occasion. We still have some friends in the park, too. Last week we ran into Becky and her dog, Ace.
Since we don’t feel safe getting our hair cut, we’ve had to become creative. I got tired of feeling so shaggy so I asked Bob to trim my hair. He did a really good job, too! I’ve been cutting his hair for years, off and on, but this is the first time he has given me a trim.
Speaking of “trim,” Bob has been painting the trim on the house and the silver looks much better than the dated brown we had. Here’s the before and after. What do you think?
I have finished a few sewing projects, one being a new slipcover for the porch glider using some heavy denim I purchased last year in Tucson.
A while back I bought some cones of cottolin yarn and I decided it was high time I tackled my dish towel project. So I set up my loom and started weaving. Haha, I just made that sound so easy, didn’t I? It actually took me quite a few days to measure out the 6 yard warp, wind the yarn onto the warp beam, thread all 451 threads into their own individual heddles, pull each thread through a particular slot in the reed, tie onto the front of the loom, make the tie ups under the loom, check everything for mistakes, and then finally start to weave. I took my time because it’s been a while since I’ve put a warp on this loom. And I only had a couple of easy-to-fix errors! I must say, the WeaveIt app with threading and treadle tracking is a pretty inexpensive way to prevent errors when you are weaving with more than two harnesses! I love it. And here is the start of my first towel (there will be five towels from this warp and all will be different.)
Bob has been staying busy, too. He has finished the fourth salad bowl and it’s beautiful (#4 is the bottom one.)
Now he is on to rolling pins and is enjoying figuring out the Celtic Knot pattern. I’ll post a step by step of that process next time because it’s pretty interesting.

Friday, May 29, 2020

End of May, 2020

Do your days seem to run into each other now? Life moves on and we are coping just fine, staying busy sometimes (well, Bob is ALWAYS busy) and other times just reading. We aren’t big daytime TV watchers; both of us are products of our childhood when our parents limited television to after-dinner hours.

Our park has opened the pool and Bob and I have started swimming each evening after dinner. Well, floating, to be honest. We float on a pool noodle and talk with friends or make new friends...there are rarely more than a half dozen people in the pool at a time. We maintain social distancing, wear masks when entering or leaving the patio area, and enjoy a warm dip as the sun starts to set. It’s a lovely way to end a hot day.

Other than that, we have started to spruce up the place on the outside. Bob has been painting over the brown stripe that dates this house so much with a light gray. A big improvement. I’ll post a photo when it’s all finished. Plus, we have purchased some desert-hardy plants for the “front yard,” a 6 x 11’ gravel area in front of the house. We have a new little burro as a lawn decoration, and Bob built a miniature fence section over which the burro can hang his head.
I’ve done a little weaving and have just finished this inkle band. The gray really tones down the Pepto Bismal pink, doesn’t it?

Bob has finished salad bowl #2 out of what will be a 4-bowl series. A lot of people have been amazed  at his bowl making and have asked how this is done, so here are the steps.
First Bob chooses his woods.
Next the wood is cut into segments, 12 per ring.
This bowl will have three rings in graduated sizes, plus a base. They are glued together and clamped for drying.
The rings are ready to be sanded, using Bob’s handy-dandy ring-holder.

The HDRH holds the rings flat against the lathe’s orbital sander, also made by Bob.
The rings are glued together, then are turned on the lathe.
The finished bowl.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Early Summer Temperatures

It’s only April and temperatures this week have been in the triple digits, as high as 105 degrees. On the good side, though, because we replaced our AC system last year we are nice and cool inside. Bob has also been working outside, though, and I’ve been getting use out of our little “pool,” while I keep him company. It’s heated only by the air temperature and so far the water gets up to about 85 degrees.
Bob spent a few days insulating the ceiling of his workshop and is using a swamp cooler to manage the temperature in it. While not as good as an air conditioner, the cooler does make working in the workshop bearable. Especially when Bob sits directly in front of the blower.

A lot of his work is outside, though, and this is what he just finished.
It’s a yarn bowl! Isn’t it gorgeous? Bob had been wanting to turn a bowl on his lathe for a while now so this is his “practice piece.” Made of clear pine with a band of cherry, this bowl is so pretty and practical, too. He’s already started designing a set of individual salad bowls to try out some different patterns. Here he is working on the yarn bowl.
We had planned to visit Idaho and see our daughter Emily and her family this fall. Those plans are now on hold (as, of course, are the plans to visit Kristen, Catherine, and Tim and their families in NJ) but I had promised to make little amigurumi figures for Em’s children. Well, I finished crocheting the figures and sent them off with some masks to keep the whole family safe.

The mask project continues and so far I’ve made over seventy masks, donated to friends, family, and to the park’s mask project.

I also knitted some birds to brighten up our home.
So as you can see, we are staying busy and healthy, and are enjoying our days. We look forward, of course, to the world getting back to some semblance of normal but understand that it will most likely be a long time before that happens. We’re prepared to wait it out.