Mother’s Day Reflections

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This beautiful bouquet arrived this morning, a gift from my eldest son and his family.

To my American readers– Happy Mother’s Day! And virtually the rest of the post has nothing to do with Mother’s Day…

Earlier in the week, a property came on the market that is an excellent candidate for the Net-Zero-Energy-Use Home conversion project. It is in an ideal location. It is a good shape and size for my project. It is distressed, so has a low asking price. I made an appointment to tour the property. And while I was waiting, I read a news story that unemployment in the United States is nearing 15%. While I was touring the property, my real estate agent got a text from the listing agent that she had already received multiple offers for the property over the asking price and that if I was interested, to submit my best offer by midnight.

I thought about how I had counselled all of you, just last week-that this is not the time to make big changes. I thought about how the housing market may change drastically in the next 12-18 months due to the large amount of unemployment. I thought about how eager I am to get started with this project……and then I let the property go.

I’m a little sad about it, but overall think it is the best decision for now.

Then, I went for a walk in the park to cheer me up.

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Japanese Purple Irises (foreground and right) are one of my favorite flowers.

More Small Things

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The ginger mustache mask modeled by a ginger!

It is almost a proverb that Thou Shalt Not Make Big Decisions During a Big Loss (or grieving a big loss.) The Covid-19 virus has placed all of us in a “big loss.” So, this is the time for staying home and taking in information about this huge change and only making small changes, if at all possible.

So, my efforts are local and my posts are about small changes. Here goes:

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Son Patrick donated a black T-shirt to the cause, as my elastic (I cringe to report–ordered from Amazon and shipped from China is still weeks away.)
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The black T-shirt is turned into ear loops.

And then into masks.

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Same brown linen as the throw pillow.
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Hand sewn fabric masks for family. Made from materials on hand.
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On the home front–I have started working on restoring another section of the floor.

In the past, I have worked on these larger projects while beloved son, Mike, was out of town working at his dad’s farm. But he has secured a local job at a local grocery and is home every evening. (Yay!!!) So this is my workaround to letting him know what floor space I am working on and that is “foots off.”

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Mama and ducklings at Forest Park.

And here are just a few random photos from my walks in Forest Park this past week.

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Can you see the purple Iris on the bank on the right?

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You might have to blow up the photo, but there are multiple turtles on the log sunning themselves.

Must remind you all–this is in the middle of a big city (think of Central Park in NY.)

So my beloved readers- Stay safe. Take care of your immediate physical needs. Begin to think about what we all will want in the new world that is evoling. Do Not make big changes just yet.

And if you have lost a person or something else that is precious to you: Rest. And grieve. And rest. What ever that means for you. Rest. And Grieve. And Rest.

 

Small Things

No big projects this week. But a few small joys to share!

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My new favorite recipe!

From the vegan blog  ConnoisseurVeg –on the blog, Alissa serves it with chips as a dipping sauce….but my friends, just think about all the things that you love that have cheese sauce…

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I like it over steamed broccoli.

I have made it with macaroni for my son. (Sorry, no photo, because it disappeared so fast!)

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Tulips in Forest Park near the golf course.

I have been going for a walk every day. Sometimes my walk is in Forest Park, which has so many lovely places. I’ve discovered some new trails. Some days I just walk to the post office to mail something. Some days I walk to one of the family-owned, local eateries in my neighborhood that I want to support during this challenging time.

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Mustache mask!

And when I am sheltering at home, sometimes I am working on fabric masks for myself and friends. Here is an example of one for a friend…who is a redhead and requested a ginger mustache.

And I am working on a couple of projects that might not have bloggable results for some time. So it goes.

Beloved readers-please share how you are spending your shelter at home time.

Organizing The Extra Closet

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For the past year I have been storing the “sprucing up the apartment” materials in this closet.

My son’s bedroom has two closets and he uses only one of them. This closet has become the place where I store the “bed in a box” and painting supplies and just random stuff I had not yet found a home for.

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Here is the other side.

The pool noodles and the lawn chairs (which we use for outdoor music concerts) may not get used this summer, but eventually we will be able to gather again. We will save them for that time.

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I sorted what is going to stay and what is going to go.

The stuff that I will donate to Habitat for Humanity and a charity shop have to go back in the closet for now. But at least it is organized.

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The wire hangers will go back to the dry cleaners when they open.
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The orange box is a memory box for my son’s stuff. The middle box holds a few of my books for sale. The blue bins hold supplies for making fabric masks and some home repair items like Goo Gone and paint brushes.

And here are a couple of bonus photos from our walk in the park this week.

 

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Redbud trees in bloom throughout the park are a native species.
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Tulips in front of Art Hill.

Be well, beloved readers.

Fabric Face Masks

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And old sheet and an old T-shirt.

As soon as the CDC recommended that everyone wear a face mask while out in public I started making them for myself and my family. By the time the CDC made their recommendation, the fabric shops had closed due to being non-essential businesses.

I did a bit of research online, and found a site where the efficacy of various types of cloth masks were compared with disposable ones. (I can’t find the link now, sorry.) Basically, it said that tightly woven fabric (think 180 percale sheets or finer) that was arranged with two layers was more effective that a paper mask. So that became the basis for my pattern.

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The first mask I made, I based the dimensions on a paper mask that I had at home. Subsequent masks dimensions were altered to improve fit.

I did not have any elastic for the ear loops, so I decided to use the T-shirt material there.

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The first ear loops were 7″ long, still following the pattern of the paper mask.

I cut the T-shirt material into 1″ x 7″ strips and then folded them in fourths, tucking the raw edges in and finished them with a “X” stitch for maximum stretch ability.

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Here is the first prototype, modelled by my son, Mike. If you look carefully, you can see the sweet face of Gip, the Guinea pig on the extreme left of the photo.

My son, Patrick, wanted his customized with an embroidered mustache.

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The blue markings will launder away when the mask is washed.

The dimensions I am working with now are 9″ x 6.5″ for the mask with just 2 pleats. And the ear loops are 5″. That seems to fit us pretty well.

As these fabric masks should be laundered after each wearing, I will continue to make more, until we have a good supply. I have ordered some elastic, which is due to arrive in mid-June, which will speed up the process a bit.

How about you all? What are you using for face masks?

Closet Surprise

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Top three shelves before I started.

This weekend’s project was a reorganizing and painting of the linen closet. Due to the shape of the hallway, I can only photograph 3 shelves at a time.

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Bottom three shelves.

I’m not sure what is wrong with American interior designers that they can not use the word “color”  without using the phrase “pop of,” but we will have none of that here. The phrase, I mean. I did want to add a bit of color to this closet. And I also wanted to unify and clean up the shelves.

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Three had stained fabric, two had stained contact paper. The ones with fabric would not set level as the fabric made them too wide.

I removed the old fabric and contact paper and applied new white contact paper. It did not go on as smoothly as I would have liked, and in hind sight, I should have sanded and painted the shelves white. But that would have taken another weekend.

I reorganized the shelves by purpose of the objects.

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Top shelf: cleaning supplies. Second shelf: Personal care supplies. Third shelf: laundry supplies.
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Fourth shelf: towels.  Fifth shelf: holding area for items that are to be given away.

I’m quite pleased with the result.

Next week: homemade cloth face masks.

Floor Reflections

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The floor section that I made shiny this weekend.

Like most of you, I am sheltering in place, at home to reduce the rapid spread of the CONOVID 19 virus.

This gives me lots of time to work on home projects and restoring the floor is a meditative, time-consuming process. It gives me lots of time to reflect on things (other than how great the floor is going to look.)

One of the thoughts that I keep returning to is “How did I get here?” I retired at age 58 from a job that I had loved for decades until I felt overextended and burnt out. I’ve been a caregiver since I was 11 years old. I still am. When did it stop being a purpose and become a burden? I can’t identify the day that happened, but I can identify the decade that it did. It has taken me 2 years of active self-care to get to a point of feeling well enough to start a new project.

Next thought, “Where do I want to go from here?” And I am just beginning to feel my way into the answer.

So while I am sheltering at home, I will continue to clean and lean into what comes.

The Living Space

~ Dear readers, I hope that this post finds you and your loved ones well and safe. Please be careful and good citizens. Be courageous, which is feeling the fear and acting out of love.

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I found a rug that goes with my lichen photo!

We have been in the apartment a little over a year. I think I have the living space arranged to my liking for now.

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Here you can see my amethyst meditation candle holder, the most recent object acquired for the apartment.

This cabinet holds the wireless router, the laptop when it is not is use and a bamboo caddy with office supplies.

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This mirror came out of my mother’s basement. It had a 6″ x 1″ chip in a corner, which I had cut off before I framed it.
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A close up of His Royal Highness.
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There were four of these hideous brass boob lights in the apartment. (This one is in the building’s hallway.)
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I switch them out with LED models that are supposed to last 75 years! I gave the old brass ones to the building manager so he can reuse them.
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The lamp is from IKEA.

I have been holding onto these chairs and table since I downsized from my house in Springfield. My daughter wants them and sometime this summer she is moving to a larger place where she will finally have room for them. I’m sure I will be rearranging everything after they go.

More Floor Work

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This is my view while I drink my coffee in the morning.

Having a clean and orderly home makes me happy, and all it takes is a bit of effort.

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Here are my simple tools.

And a few of the before and after photos.

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Inside the hall closet.
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And after.
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Threshold to my bedroom.
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And after.

This morning as I drank my coffee, I admired the patina of the restored wood. Aaaaah.

Simple Pillow

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No, no, no. This is not the simple pillow.

A few months back, I was looking for green 100% linen fabric for an art project and could not find any in the local stores (second-hand and crafting.) I did find this beautiful brown linen for only $26 a yard and I bought it, with no clue what I was going to use it for.

I’ve been wanting a pillow for lumbar support when I sit in the living room chairs for a long time, like when I’m sewing. But of course, I want it to be beautiful when I am looking at it and not leaning into it!

Fabric and craft stores are for hobbyists and their prices reflect that this is perceived to be a creative, leisure activity and not something people do to save money. An 18″ pillow insert costs between $15-$50 USD, depending on if it is synthetic or filled with feathers and probably some other factors that I am not even aware of. An 18″ zipper is $3-4 USD. And a local tailor/alterations-place told me that the cost of sewing the zipper I have into the fabric I have would cost $44 USD.

So when I found the above holiday pillow marked down to $7.50 USD, I snatched it up.

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I gutted the buck…er…um…I removed the zipper.

I sewed the beautiful linen into an appropriate-sized square using a classic back stitch.

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Here is the harvested zipper about to be inserted.

And here is the finished product, nestled into one of the living room chairs.

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Simple and high-quality, just like QuakerStylist likes it.

Bonus: I have enough fabric to make another 18″ pillowcase when I find another sad pillow on sale.