New Normal

We've been home a week now, and it seems as if everything has settled into place. Of course, I'm hoping this won't be a permanent new normal, but it is what's normal for now. We've been staying home, going out only for essentials. I'll admit I like the staying home part.

Matthew has been living in our fifth wheel for the time being. He embarked on an experiment last year of living in his van. He's an engineer with a good-paying job, but he wanted to sock away rent money in the bank, and so he did a lot of work turning his van into a tiny home for himself. To that end, he built a bed for the back, installed solar panels and batteries so that he can run small electric appliances, and he even found a small electric refrigerator he can use. He's been cooking in his Instant Pot and using his gym membership to have access to bathrooms. Of course, the pandemic has made it more difficult. When his gym closed, he parked himself with us. We're only too happy to have him here, but at his age, staying at home is a hardship.

Yesterday I got out and picked a bucketful of weeds. It's a large, industrial-sized bucket, and so a bucketful is a good amount of work for a single day. My goal is to get out each day and do the same. Little by little, I'll get the yard clean-up accomplished. We were expecting rain by afternoon. When I came in the house around noon, the sky was looking a little threatening.

In addition to weeding, I put back some of the yard art brought in for the winter, including the sundial. It says, "The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here."

Then I walked around a took pictures of a few blooming things. This one below is a red flowering currant. It's an Oregon native, and we have some growing wild at the edge of our woods.

This next one is a daphne. Mae gave it to me for Christmas some years ago. It's getting quite large. Right now, it is covered with these tiny pink and very fragrant blossoms.

You might remember when we planted the dappled willow two years ago. I've been expecting it to make a spring showing of some brightly colored sprays coming from its top...almost like fireworks. It is behaving completely differently this year. For one thing, it lost all its leaves over the winter. It's first year in the ground, it kept its foliage over the winter, which was kind of surprising. Now it is putting on all new foliage. I'm curious to see what it will do next.

When I went back inside, I found Smitty ensconced in the folds of the quilt over Mike's lap.

Sadie decided it was a good opportunity to inhabit the top rung of the kitty pole...ordinarily Smitty's exclusive domain.

The squirrels outside are driving them crazy. They spend their days playing and tussling, and when they kitties are on their catio, the squirrels come right to the fence and bark at them. The utter gall. The nerve! Well. They may meet their comeuppance one of these days.

The snowflake was finished, and so I washed the Sticky Fabri-Solvy out and let it dry. Then I gave it a good pressing. Here's how it looks.

Here are all nine together.

So, now I'll put it into the regular rotation with my other hand embroidery projects. When that one finished, I traced out the next block for Appalachian Memories. This is the Spinning Star block. Usually, I only color in the quilt block, but I couldn't help coloring in the American flag. I thought it might look strange to leave it all white.

Now it's hooped up for stitching. I always start with the quilt block on these.

With that ready to go, I got back to sewing the blocks for my triple Irish chain. I first finished fixing the error I made on the first four patchwork blocks.

This quilt is set 7 blocks x 7 rows. I'm on the second row, and so I needed 3 patchwork blocks, and four blanks.

And although I'm working through this one row at a time, I laid them out in the triple Irish chain pattern to see how it was going to look. I worried about those bright colors, but I think it's going to be just fine. It's a great way to use up those tiny scraps.

Sadie helped me keep the colors random yesterday.

That took me to dinner time. I first added some more to the sourdough starter. Yesterday's addition was two tablespoons of whole wheat flour and two tablespoons of pineapple juice. After stirring it up, it started bubbling right away...a very good sign.

This morning I got up and made some Morning Glory Muffins. These are on the Cooking Light Diet.

The original recipe makes 18 muffins, which can be frozen, but that was still too many for us. I cut the recipe in half, using just the egg white for my half egg. Also, I only had oat bran to use in place of the wheat bran. I doubt it made any difference at all. I substituted golden raisins for the dates, but otherwise made them just the same as the recipe states. Oh yes, I didn't use the flax seeds over the top. We just say "no" to seeds here at the Three Cats Ranch. They weren't hard to make, and they were tasty. We'll freeze the leftovers, and I'll probably pass a couple of them over to Matthew.

Today I'll pick a bucket of weeds, and I'll get to work on the Appalachian Memories block. When I make my way into the sewing room, it will be to make two more blocks for the Charm Stars quilt. I have 16 blocks, and I need 4 more.

This was one of my projects for last year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I've been making two blocks for each color. Today I'll make the purples I was supposed to make at the end of the challenge last year. Also, I'm trying a new recipe for the air fryer Matthew gave me at Christmas time. It'll be my first time trying anything in the air fryer, so wish me luck.

8 comments from clever and witty friends:

Cathy Smith said...

Good morning! I thought of you instantly when I opened one of my emails earlier. Aurifil posted a QAL/SAL with Susan Ache on their newsletter this morning. I wouldn't want to miss an opportunity to contribute to your delinquency!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Guess Cathy wants you to work redwork, lol. I can certainly understand your son wanting to save rent $$. Your 5th wheel will be much more comfortable, that's for sure. Corey stayed in their before he took it to California. Nice to have them here, but not in our house 24/7. I sure like the little pieced blocks with the center whites. Last year when you talked about weeding a bucket a day so I tried that and it worked out very well. I was hoping not to have to weed this year. Shelter in Place has our move on hold.
Stay Well.
xx, Carol

piecefulwendy said...

I assume you use pineapple juice from a can? We have rain coming this weekend, so will try to get a walk in today while the sun is still shining. Love those snowflakes! I would've colored in the flag too, it just seems right. The kitties are looking grand. I think Wilbs needs a tower.

SJSM said...

Your day seems to be your normal routine except having Matthew home, er, not home but as a neighbor. I’m liking your Irish Chain. The "bucket a day" could be a catchy phrase for many who are sheltering in place. It would have neighborhoods across the world sprucing up as we wait out the virus. Do report on the air fryer. I have heard rave reviews from others. When I ask what they cook, it turns out it is reheating packaged and pre cooked items. None of them were cooks or cooked from scratch. I like the idea of little or no oil and crispy goodness. But not sure if this be an item taking up space once the novelty wears off. Also, there are so many brands, combinations and sizes I do not know how to evaluate for someone who actually prepares meals at home. Your input will be appreciated.

Keep on sewing.

If you don’t read Ikat Bag I loved her finally paragraph on stashes: IkatBag.com

"Interestingly, amidst to scarcity of so many other essentials, no one has reported a shortage of stash fabric. This is because - and it is a known fact - we all have surplus. Even I, who does not quilt and does not in general even like working with quilting cotton, somehow has an abundance of it. Well, for once in our lives, we are not ashamed, are we? And who knows if perhaps we hoarded precisely for such a time as this?"

Natureluvr57 said...

What's your address? I would love to pack up some "things" and send them to Sadie and Smitty (Just Kidding) The 9 squirrels that visit daily ate up all of Woody's suet-such pigs! Today they devoured 1/2 of the food in the hanging feeder with tray. They just sit on the tray and have at it.

Linda said...

Seeing the snowflakes in one photo I can see all the differences in threads and beads - very pretty! The Charm Stars blocks look great.

Kate said...

Love your Snow Flake blocks! Those are going to make a beautiful quilt. You are moving along with your scrappy projects, I love those stars. The college girl has been stuck at home as campus is closed for the semester, though all her classes moved to on line. We've been struggling to figure out how three of us work from home.

QuiltGranma said...

Well at least with Mathew there nether of you has to go to the store, just send him! Yes, it is good to have the kids near, just not underfoot! Oh, those kitties, so beautiful, and don't they know it!