Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Welsh Quilts

The other day I picked up an old Victoria magazine to read. I still have a few scattered around the house. They never, ever go out of style.
This particular issue was March, 1995. Over twenty years ago! I'm feeling a bit nostalgic.
This was when Nancy Lindemeyer was the magazine's editor. Remember her friendly but elegant style?
And before I launch into Welsh quilts, just look at this!!! Back in March of 1995, they invited readers to Bloomingdale's in NYC to meet Tasha Tudor, who would be there drawing and reading to them in the children's department. Can you imagine? Oh, I wish!! Now Tasha is gone. Nancy Lindemeyer is gone from Victoria. Time marches on and life changes, and sometimes it is not for the better.
Well, as I glanced at the magazine's cover, I noticed an article about Welsh quilts. My blogging friend Dasha is a quilter extraordinaire, and she derives such pleasure from quilting. I do not quilt. I wish I did.
I tried quilting once about 27 years ago. I know it was 27 years ago because my first nephew was a baby, and I wanted to make him a baby quilt. I did try. I cut fabric and sewed a few pieces together and made a stack of stars. Many years later I forced myself to finish the quilt, which was very ugly. I never gave it to him or any baby. It's around here somewhere, unused. I learned a valuable lesson about quilting: Do NOT use random pieces of fabric you have lying about the house to finish a quilt. They will match in neither color nor texture the lovely quilt stars you made so carefully a decade before.
On to Welsh quilts and why I think they may be my answer to quilting angst!
Apparently Welsh quilts are solid single pieces of fabric on both sides -- no cutting and piecing and making little two-inch seams. No worries about the fabrics looking good together. The secret to Welsh quilts is apparently the intricate stitching.
If you go to Google and type in "Welsh quilts" you'll see many lovely varieties of these solid quilts with so many lovely stitching rows, or perhaps a floral fabric, with that same stitching. I think I could enjoy this particular type of quilting. The idea of lots of curly stitching appeals to me. So maybe ... maybe ... I'll quilt again someday?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Stepping the Mast

Stepping the mast is one of the final stages of getting our newly-renovated sailboat back in the water. Adam removed the mast to work on her; today we put the mast back on the boat -- called "stepping."
The weather was lovely this morning -- cooler, less humidity! A high of only 86 degrees! I took an early bike ride to better appreciate this climate shift.
morning sun on the Neuse
 Later I drove Adam to the marina, where he motored the boat back to Oriental to the wildlife ramp near our house. We tied her up. He returned home with Peter to get the mast and walk it down the road on their shoulders.
 I stayed with the boat so it was not left unmanned at the ramp, which the authorities dislike.
I love just sitting in the boat, enjoying the gentle rock, just being in the boat.
 You don't have to do anything in a boat. If people see you sitting there in your boat, they assume you're up to something useful. You're boating. It doesn't matter if your boat hasn't moved out of its slip in three years.
Peter and Adam arrived with the mast and boom and all those lines and cables.
 They laid them out on the ground and sorted the situation.
 They walked everything out on the dock. Especially trying were the lazy jack lines, which were everywhere. I had to keep track of the two ends, which needed to be threaded through two pulleys on the mast top.
 Okay ... here comes the mast at last!
 The boys laid the mast along the boat.
 The mast rests solidly in the mast tabernacle -- that box on the deck that keeps it secured with pins. You can see it in the photo below, where the mast end is sitting.
 When the mast is upright, it's supported tightly in place by metal cables called shrouds and stays. The two stays secure the mast to the front and back of the boat. Four shrouds run from the upper- and mid-mast and attach to the sides of the boat deck.
 It was a three-person job, so I was relieved that Peter was there, and glad I could stay a bit to help. The mast is very heavy, especially when trying to lift it to an upright position while standing in the cockpit. Peter is wonderfully strong. It was windy and the water was choppy and unsteady for standing.
I had to leave before the job was finished, but they stepped the mast and attached the boom and tightened all the cables, and the boat got her mast back! A few jobs remain before we can sail. Adam need to finish attaching two winches. He needs to fill in lots of wooden screw holes with wood epoxy. He needs to reattach some registration/number plates on the boat. But today we got one step closer to having a SAILboat again :)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

When Love Fails

You can always tell when humans are behaving badly. You can tell because love fails.

What does it look like when love fails? You know -- well, you know what love looks like:

Love is patient

... kind

... thinks of others and not self

... brags about others, not self

... enjoys others' successes

... never dishonors other people

... is almost always gentle

... forgets and forgives all offenses

... is happy that truth will win

... can discern and reject evil

... is strong, trusting, optimistic, enduring

... is eternal.

It outlasts even other wonderful, miraculous, desirable things.

I've used this scripture as a litmus test this past year to evaluate myself and the interactions I see around me -- on social media or in person. Hold up LOVE, like a mirror, and see if you find yourself there. Usually I don't get past the first two criteria -- am I patient? am I kind? -- before realizing that I am not loving. I am hating. I'm not like Jesus; I'm like the devil. I need to change myself and stop worrying about anybody else changing.

It puts so much in perspective. It seems to me that there's not much in the Bible about bashing the world around us and forcing it to change. There's a lot in the Bible about beating my own heart into compliance and forcing it to soften. The only time I can think of  Jesus (my example, my mentor) exhibiting anger was in church. He didn't go to Rome and lose his temper, but he was upset when the His church was corrupt.

This post is not about any particular events happening now. It applies all the time. Followers of Jesus, we are called to love, and to be known as his followers because we love. Since love outlasts all other things, if we don't succeed with that assignment, nothing else much matters. I Cor. 13 makes that painfully clear. Let's ask ourselves honestly: "What is the loving thing to do, toward my neighbor?" And then, even if you have to change yourself, do it.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The V-Go Insulin Pump

At the farmers' market this morning I spoke with a customer who had something unusual on her bare arm. I asked her what it was. "A V-Go," she replied. "It's insulin."
I was immediately interested. My father is diabetic, as are many friends of mine. The V-Go is fairly new technology for administering insulin into the patient's body.
You can see it is a plastic rectangle stuck to her upper arm. She prefers it to the old pumps that were in the abdomen and were uncomfortable when sitting or bending over. The V-Go patch is removed, refilled, and reapplied each day. She switches it from arm to arm, adjusting the spots to give the skin a few days to recover.

The V-Go does not test your blood sugar levels for you; you still have to do a finger prick. But this lady has been diabetic for twenty years. She's only 57 now. She was giving herself insulin injections 4 to 5 times daily.

She's been using the V-Go for two years. She's very pleased. She knows how much insulin it injects (via a little needle on the underside, activated by a spring), and she can do the dosage as she wants. In order for the needle to inject, she has to push one button, and then push another button, so the chance of someone bumping your arm and accidentally injecting you with insulin is very slim, if not impossible. She did confess that it made her nervous the first month or so she used it. She's wearing enough insulin on her arm to kill her, with a needle in her skin. But she's never had any trouble with it, and is very pleased with its performance.

I wanted to share this info with anybody out there who hasn't seen this new device, or wanted to hear a report from a user. I'm so glad they're making advances in fighting diabetes!

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Day with the Girls

Yesterday I experienced a rare treat -- a blessing that some people never have.
I spent the day on the beach with my girlfriends.
I'm keenly aware that I'm a woman of privilege -- I have real girlfriends.
The kind you can cry with, be real with, let-your-hair-down-with friends.
I haven't always had a gaggle of girls like this.
I also discovered a forever-and-always secret to The Perfect Beach Day (for me) -- a good umbrella! See those legs in the shade -- ahhhhh! I discovered at last that I adore the ocean, the waves, the sand, the calm air and salt smell. But I just loathe the sun. I do not like to be burnt to a crisp like a strip of bacon.
Christine has this umbrella thing down to an art form -- see what she brought along? A five-gallon bucket. She used it to carry stuff (sandals, water, book) to the beach, and then filled it with sand to hold the umbrella securely. It never fell over, all day long. Genius. I'm getting a sturdy canvas umbrella before my next beach trip, and using it for the rest of my life.
Storm clouds threatened all afternoon but never carried through on their rumbly words.
Patti and Kip basked in the sun while I basked in the shade :)
I relaxed my soul with a little watercoloring. Painting shells prevents me from bringing more real shells into the house.
This interesting fellow brought his paddleboard and paddle to the beach. 
And he ... walked on the water, in a manner of speaking. He rode a few waves for a bit, but mostly he floated along on his board, standing tall, viewing the ocean. I'd never seen this done on the ocean before.
We stopped for breakfast at Waffle House before the beach. I hadn't been to a WH since high school, if then. My daddy took me once, I think, because I begged. I love waffles.
Those girlfriends can put away some breakfast food!
This is what it's all about -- sweet, sweet. Real friends, real love. They stick with you through good and bad, hug you when you cry, finish your jokes, tell you when you're being ridiculous. We are all so very different, but we get along like bread and butter.
And although we do have our beautiful moments, most of our moments are more like this ...
Just crazy.
Not every woman needs a pack of friends. I've lived years without it. They were serious, hard-working years. Adam says he likes me when I'm with my girlfriends -- I'm more relaxed, more my old, happy, silly self. I've had years of paying such close attention to the hard work of life, that I've usually forgotten how to do silly. It's good to know my silly button still works. Thanks, girls :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Feeling Loved from Afar

When life gets hard and your soul is just weary, how refreshing it is to receive friends from far away! Tom and Judy are dear friends from Ridgehaven in the N.C. mountains. They visited us Sunday evening and the next morning. They spent years in Christian ministry, and I felt so encouraged just being with them.
And they came bearing gifts! Another very dear friend at Ridgehaven was clearing out some of her lovely tea party things and wanted to send a some items to me, so Tom and Judy carried the box on their vacation and put it into my arms :) Squeeeeal! Look what is now in my home!
I adore this exquisite English chintz teapot. (((SIGH))) Can it really belong to me now? I'm on a cloud!
I've kept some of these tea things on the table for a couple of days just so I can look at them. I think there's great value in looking at beauty. The older I get, the more I think this is true.
Little purple flowers are the best.
I've needed a large Brown Betty teapot for a long time. This will be so useful, over and over.
A chintz cup and saucer too :) I had some Darjeeling in this today.

This lovely blue pattern is just a joy -- there's a teapot, cups/saucers, plates. I may use this for a few years and one of the girls in the family might enjoy having it too ....

Alright, that was so uplifting, and made me feel so very loved (at just the right time). Then, I came home Monday afternoon to find a box from the post office for me!!, in the living room! Yippeeeeee!
First I must tell you that this bag, a Nantucket Diddy Bag, was inside. I'd never heard of such an animal before. It looked interesting.
This amazing package came from a very dear friend and kindred spirit who lives in Massachusetts. She sent me ... wait for it ... YARN. :) :) :)
Wool, acrylic, blends, ribbon yarn, sock yarn. Oh joy!! My knitting needles are giggling with glee as I type.
And this cool needle organizer was included too. I'm looking forward to loading it up with all my various knitting needles, which are currently living in a dresser drawer, poor things. Isn't this cool? It attaches with velcro to a clothes hanger and goes in your closet.

This neat yarn is a wool blend, and there's lots of it. I can't wait to ruminate on what I want it to become. It's very soft and has a crinkly texture. Beautiful!

If you're not tired of my happy presents yet, I want to show you the innards of this marvelous diddy bag -- it's ingenious! The inventor lives on Nantucket and sells the bags only there. You can see about it on a video here, and see the fellow himself.
The bag unzips all the way 'round and can be turned inside out and rezipped. It converts to a backpack, or can be a shoulder bag.
It's made of sturdy canvas fabric. One side has many pockets in all sizes -- it's designed for small tools, but is great for sewers or knitters/crocheters.  It holds a lots of stuff. And do you see the bottom down there? Well ...
It has a velcro-closing pocket that you could put a freezer pack in. So you could store a sandwich or cold drink in the bag's bottom. I may take this to the beach on Thursday; I want to tote along a tuna fish sandwich for lunch.
To my two precious friends who sent me such generous gifts from afar, all I can say is THANK YOU, and GOD KNEW THAT I NEEDED TO FEEL THE LOVE FROM AFAR. Rough waters right now. And there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- better than knowing that you have friends who love you.

Speaking of loving friends, last night I enjoyed an evening of Mexican Train Dominoes with my buddies here in Oriental. We had a little celebration of my birthday (earlier this month) and wrapped our welcoming lips around Kip's espresso cheesecake.
I tell you the truth: This is the best cheesecake on the planet. There is none better. It's baked perfectly, delectably creamy throughout the inside with deep coffee flavor that makes you shiver. Wonderful.

I fee so richly blessed in my friends - thank you, ALL!!