Finding my Sew Jo

Since I finished a small group of masks for 2021, I lost my sew jo. I can blame it on making the masks and not wanting to make masks for 2021 or I could admit this happens every year about this time.

Life seems to catch up to me in February and it just keeps me busy till mid April. This year I have a reason to be in my room and creating, but find other things to occupy my time. I have been asked by my community Lifestyle Manger to get our craft group moving. She would like to see classes offered in our community for crafting. As the craft leader, I have stepped up to teach the first class.

The first quilting class for Pecan Square Crafters will meet this Saturday. I have my outline ready to teach. I was hoping to have a few new samples ready that illustrated my use of my color studies, but alas I can’t find my sew jo.

The class is going to focus on the anatomy of a quilt, choosing colors, sewing a straight line, and tools. I hope by the end of class we can all decide on a pattern so that when we meet again we can begin our adventure into quilting.

The two patterns I am going to have them choose from are Magic 9 Patch by Beverly Ingram or the Missouri Star charm square/ layer cake pattern.

My Charm Square Sample
Magic 9 patch by Beverly Ingram

Both quilts are beginner friendly. The Magic 9 patch I have made so many times I can almost make it from memory. I was hoping to make a sample of the Magic 9 patch as well. Hopefully I will find time this week to make at least a top.

Reading my favorite blogs and seeing what they are creating helps get my mind and spirit moving in the right direction.

Finding Peace in Chaos

2020 Season 2

I am sorry I have been absent from my blogging world. I started 2021 with the intention of writing twice a week. Sadly life has thrown some curve balls.

My quilting retreat did not go as planned in February. I was able to connect with some friends so that was a positive.

After the great snowstorm most of us have fondly name SNOVID we resumed our mass vaccine site in Denton County. I find a weird and comforting calm at 6:45 AM being in the dark with my fellow volunteers, FEMA workers, National Guard, and various Denton County employees. Our volunteer coordinator gives us our briefing and pep talk for the day. We look to him and listen. The lanes are empty and the parking lot is silent except for his voice. The chaos shortly resumes as we open the gates and start sending people through. Each volunteer is taking on two jobs for the most part now as volunteers have reached fatigue from working on the pandemic since last year and less are reporting for duty.

Due to mass building, electric repairs, and plumbing repairs home improvement material costs have gone through the roof. Need a generator forget it. We still have people without running water because the damage was so extensive or the cost of repairs is so high no one can help them at this time.

Every night I try to make sure I get out and chase my sunsets. This allows my mind to decompress. I take a break from social media and listen to the sounds of my neighborhood. I wave hi to my neighbors and sometimes stop and chat. When I miss a sunset it shows in my day the next day. They are my “stop and smell the roses” moment.

I also resumed quilting this week. After sewing several masks for 2021, I found my sew jo was gone. Putting together a simple charm pack quilt helped pull me back into my quilting room. I will also be teaching my first quilting class for my community. I need samples for that class so we can decide on what pattern we want to start quilting with.

Every day I wake up and decide it’s going to be a good day. Not every day is, but I keep putting one foot in front of the other. Some days are easier than others. Either way it ends with a sunset.

Today Your Life was Celebrated

On February 6, 2021 you chose to leave this earth. Your burden had grown too big for you to carry. None of us knew how much you were hurting. Due to COVID not all of us could be there in person to celebrate, but all of us will truly miss you.

I pray

Your soul finds peace.
We your friends and family you left behind heal enough to carry on.
We never forget your smiling face.
We hear your laugh on the wind.
We remember the good times and the bad.
Those that trespassed against you find forgiveness and peace.
One day we all understand your choice.
I never lose another friend or loved one in this manner.
That anyone who is hurting as you were reaches out.
Our ears and hearts can help another who feels alone.

I promise

To listen to anyone who needs a friend or a shoulder to cry on.
To never forget to tread lightly when other’s feelings are involved.
To take notice of other people around me in hopes to understand how my actions affect them and how I may help them.
To reach out for a helping hand should I need one.

I Will

Grieve
Cry
Put one foot in front of the other until I don’t have to think to do it.
Be kind.
Toast my friends and family and celebrate their accomplishments.
Drink the tears in my beer to your memory.

Until we meet again.

Author Kyla Oberg in memory of Patrick Johnson

#suicideawareness

Day 5 Snowvid

We apparently have a consensus of what we are calling the disaster that is now hitting almost all of the United States and part of Mexico Snowvid 2021.

We still have people without power, but the number is getting less. The grid was definitely mismanaged. The finger pointing is insane. I really don’t want to get political so that is all I will say on the matter.

This post on FB was the best one again because our infrastructure Turkey failed us

SHARED!!!

WE ARE TEXAS PROUD!❤🤠❤
Pretty much a massive disaster hit TX and OK. Not going to lie, it wasnt easy for a lot of folks. Our infrastructure and government response was not as ready as it should have been. Our power grid had vulnerabilities, Windmills were frozen.

However, while fake news will make people believe that Texans were helpless…. this old Texan ( for 20 years now) saw a totally different narrative. I saw people helping one another, I saw generators, fuel, firewood being deployed by residents – not government. I saw people opening homes and businesses as shelters, pets and all. I saw an army of four wheel drive vehicles pulling folks out of ditches, delivering meals, etc. I could go on.

Criticize and laugh all you want, but never doubt the resolve, generosity, and the preparedness of the Texas people. We will overcome.

We are now dealing with the aftermath as things begin to thaw. Lots of burst pipes including our city lines. This is now causing water conservation orders and boil orders while trying to keep our pipes from freezing again.

The 18 wheelers are rolling in to restock warehouses, gas lines, and anything else we need. Parts of Texas are still getting snow so they are a day behind us in getting everything they need, but since most of the grid is repair med they can now go in and get those communities back on line.

I hope we are all back on track by Monday. I had to leave yesterday after I posted because my feet were so frozen. I drove to a critical area and bought some snacks and looked for items neighbors needed. I timed my arrival back home for an on cycle to find we didn’t lose power. I was relieved.

While I was returning home I saw our plows and was so happy. We can get down our main roads. It looks like the first 12 hours after a hard Chicago snow. It may take us longer but we will survive. Thank y’all for your support.

I have cold water. I just had to get my floor warm enough.

Day 4 Still Rolling

I don’t know about y’all, but I am over living historical events for awhile. I am not sure what the official name of what we we are going through here in the great state of Texas is, but I have seen #snowmageden on social media so I will go with that.

Some of you are maybe wondering how bad can it be and some of you who get snow every year may not understand why it’s a problem. Here is the best explanation I have seen and it is taken from a FB post by Cassandra Kara Abercrombie Schultz

Dear Midwesterners and Northerners,

Imagine your “regular “winter weather.

Now take away:

  • Snow Plows
  • Snow shovels
  • Snow appropriate clothing
  • Salt trucks
  • Snow tires/chains
  • Basements
  • Antifreeze rated below 15
  • All experience driving on snow and ice.

Now give yourself a total experience level of 200 days across a lifetime of sub-freezing temperatures.

We have homes to keep you cool. Big windows, reflective roofs, and drives. Our heaters are breaking down from overworking.

She goes on to ask these people to stop one upping us and just understand it is not normal for us and we are not prepared.

Back to what is happening here in my part of second biggest state of the United States. We are all scared. Some of us don’t know the extent of the damage to our homes because we have pipes frozen and we can’t get them to unfreeze in the short time we have power. I have friends and family that have had no power for days. They have no food left and some of their water pipes have burst.

We have cities with no running water or boil water orders because the water treatment plant equipment has failed due to the blackouts or due to the freezing temperatures take your pick.

To my knowledge the entire state has never been covered in snow and ice all at once. Galveston’s beaches had snow on them and I have never seen pictures of that in my life. it was also snowing in parts of Mexico yes Mexico.

I am one of the fortunate with rolling power. This means I get rolled onto the power grid for a set number of minutes. Don’t ask me what the schedule is because only the power company knows and it changes. The shortest amount of time was 30 minutes and the longest period time was 90 minutes. How long do I get a blackout? That depends sometimes it is equal to the amount of time I was on the grid, sometimes less, occasionally more.

What this means is when my power comes back on I set a timer. I typically get at least 30 minutes so I start my 15 minute checklist.

  1. Turn on breaker for the fridge and the outlets in the kitchen. Leave off the 6 breakers I don’t need because I don’t have time or it’s too risky to use them (washing machine and dryer).
  2. Check all electronic equipment’s battery life including lights, phones, and tablets what needs to charge? get it charging and hope we don’t have a surge in the time we have power.
  3. Check all the working plumbing make sure it hasn’t frozen.
  4. Decide if I need to cook or shower. Can those wait? How much time do I have left.?

This is also a problem because if I can’t remain on the grid long enough for my heater to catch up or my fridge I could have more damage.

There is no time to sew and my machine and iron would put too much load on the grid causing me to get kicked before my time allotment is up.

My understanding of what is happening. We have a stable grid that must be maintained at all costs. This grid props up our infrastructure and gives critical emergency services. This part of the grid cannot fail. If this part of the grid fails it can have cascading effects that could lead to a total blackout for weeks.

Those of us rolling are placed on the stable grid as there is power available. By rolling us on and off we are putting less strain on the stable grid. If we lose power for too long the grid will still be okay. We will not cause the entire state to lose power.

Unfortunately, we have 4 million and counting who have no power. Their equipment has completely failed. They are not mission critical so their equipment is fixed when there is time.

Why is this happening?

The state was not prepared. The last time we had this happen was 1989. Some of the green energy is not cut out for this weather and froze. (I have nothing against green energy some of it just can’t operate in extreme conditions as of yet.) Some of the other types of energy sources froze because the equipment is not ready for below freezing temperatures. Give us 100 degrees and the equipment will run fine.

Our stores and gas stations within the stable grid have been able to remain open, but we are running low on gas and food. Trucks can’t get to critical areas because of the roads. Did you see the 135 car pile up we had the day before the storms hit. Stores and restaurants on the rolling grid can’t keep up, but if they are open it is cash only. UPS, FedEx, Amazon, and USPS cannot deliver either.

I took my husband to work yesterday. The roads were getting better, but still dangerous. As I type this we are getting hit again with freezing rain and snow. They say up to 5 inches till lunch. I am currently in the blackout phase of the roll. My house is keeping a steady temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit or above. I have food and water.

They are hoping to restore more power as we warm-up. Hopefully by Saturday everyone will be back home in the safety of their homes. To add to the further stress the rest of the Southern and Midwest states have been hit by a storm, too.

Our Community Pool with frozen running water.
The one day we had sun snow sunset

Putting One Foot in Front of the Other

It has been a long few weeks. Life happens and reality hits. Here in North Texas we have worked to get massive vaccine clinics up and running. These clinics not only require the Counties and healthcare workers to participate, but hundreds of volunteers. I was called to help with Denton County and was happy to answer the call.

I don’t care what your opinion is or isn’t about the vaccines it is a personal choice. You have to do your research and decide for yourself. As I suited up (it was a cooler day here) I honestly wasn’t sure if I would or wouldn’t get the vaccine. I stood at my post and scanned QR codes for the generations that came before me. I checked in smiling faces and people crying tears of joy. I had to turn away desperate faces that didn’t have appointments and assure them we would get to them as more doses become available.

Not a single person I worked with that day complained about standing for hours on end. When we finished for the day we all stood around waiting to hear how many we had vaccinated. Did we reach the goal for the day? Would this location become the standard for mass vaccination across our state?

The goal was 10,000 vaccines for the day. Thirty thousand for the week. We saw 9,100 people with 900 no shows. Average wait time from pulling into the parking lot to leaving was 25 minutes which included the 15 minute wait time. Not a single person left their car. The only “boots on the ground” were the volunteers, healthcare workers, and various county and city workers. We only had one person have to be taken to the hospital and my understanding is they were okay that afternoon.

I was supposed to return this week for two more shifts, but Texas weather has other plans for us. I hope to be back soon. It was definitely worth my time. It has also helped me put one foot in front of the other as things didn’t go as planned in other parts of my life these past two weeks.

Ready to work the clinic
Typical Texas weather sweat shirt in the morning t-shirt in the afternoon.
And the sunsetting on a beautiful day

January 2021 Projects

How is your 2021 project list going so far? I finally finished the two bags my friend requested. I also finished 16 new masks since those don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. I am headed back to quilt retreat at the beginning of February. I plan on getting a head start on those Christmas presents and completing the quilt top I designed for the fabric that I was having trouble with.

I know for a lot of us 2020 ended without a lot of fan fair. Here in the US 2021 started rocky as well. Hopefully for the world things start to calm down and the vaccines continue to roll out. Here at Sleepy Beagle I will continue to try and focus on those lingering projects I mentioned in a previous post.

I will also continue focusing on my photography skills.

Failures can have Silver Linings

In my post Color Classes I mentioned working with a challenge fabric and completing two bags for a friend. I used the challenge fabric for the interior of my bags as was suggested by my blogger friend Catherine at https://cedar51.wordpress.com/ suggested.

Unfortunately, when I bought supplies my local quilt store was running low on one of the foams I use to help the bags sit upright. Since I plan on making several different bags this year I ordered a different stabilizer that was recommended by other crafters online.

While the bag turned out beautiful I can’t send it to my friend as I can’t finish the bag properly. The new stabilizer doesn’t bend as well. It will work great with bags that you finish using a binding technique. This pattern however, has you turn the bag inside out and the flip everything right side out. It creates more of a French seam. This type of folding does not work well with the stiffer stabilizer.

I will be able to use the stiffer stabilizer on future bags. The lesson was frustrating to learn. On the plus side I have a new bag.

Holiday Burn Out

I always think I will get more done during the holiday season. I figured this year with no travel plans in sight I would get even more done. Truth be told I find the holidays exhausting.

I have a bag request from a friend. I cut out the pieces before the holidays. This week I was able to return to my quilting room and begin working on the bags. They are in my favorite colors so I have enjoyed putting the pattern together.

I rarely make resolutions, but I do set goals. I set my goals in categories:

  • What I wish to finish
  • What project I wish to complete to challenge and learn
  • What gifts I need to complete for the year
  • What I wish to learn

What I wish to finish

I have 32 unfinished projects. This year’s goal is the same as last years: Finish my unfinished projects. I started with over 200 several years ago and have brought them down to the 32 remaining.

Challenge

Learn more about bag making. Make a zip enclosed bag.

Gifts

No additional wedding invitations. I do have some baby gifts I need to decide what I want to make for the babies. Also I want to make some nice pencil or makeup bags for friends for Christmas 2021.

Learn

Continue learning about photography and lighting to improve my photography skills.

Color Classes

I have been quilting for years and never thought much about color choices. Typically I pick one fabric and then pull colors I think will look good for the pattern or the one fabric I chose. For the most part this has worked well for me. Occasionally I have looked at a finished quilt and wondered what I did wrong.

I recently took a class called Lemon + Aid by Shannon Gilman Orr. She teaches you how to avoid making a quilt that is a lemon due to poor color choices. In her course she challenges you to find a fabric in your stash that makes you uncomfortable to work with.

The fabric that makes me uncomfortable

The funny thing is this fabric choice led to the 4 fabrics chosen for my Glowing Quilt by Quilty Love. However, I didn’t use the fabric that made me uncomfortable 😂. The quilt I made from the inspiration colors turned out beautiful. I also did design an entirely different quilt with the original choice fabric. I am currently working on that quilt and hope to have it done early next year.

The fabrics it inspired

As 2020 comes to an end I am blessed to have y’all as my followers and hope that I can inspire you into the new year whatever your endeavors maybe.

The finished Quilt