Reflections on 2020

We made it!  2020 is gone.  Woohoo.  Everyone is glad to see it go.  And I am with them on that for the most part as far as the virus goes.  But I challenged myself to look back on this year and look for the positive.   And there were a number of good things to reflect back on.

With travel being eliminated, we had much more time to work in and enjoy our gardens.   We grew more veggies, herbs and flowers, many different than what we usually grew because of what was or was not available online.   We are actually getting our list ready now to get our order in early this year.

TV was even more of a vast wasteland than usual so I turned to books to occupy myself in the evenings and I must say that even though I have always enjoyed reading,  spending more time delving into the content on my bookshelves, kindle and downloads from the library renewed my love of the pastime.

I also did some exploring of podcasts to listen to and You Tube channels to check out and I came across one called The Last Homely House.  It is a lady named Kate in Northumberland  in the UK.   She has such a soft, calming way of speaking.  It is like my Mr. Rogers.  She shares about her life on her little plot of land with her cats, her hens, her sewing and crafting.   It’s quite a different lifestyle than mine is and I feel as if I have taken a little trip across the pond each time I watch one of her videos.   Take a little trip of your own and check it out here.

Grocery shopping was one of the biggest challenges at the beginning of this crazy time.  I am eternally grateful to family and friends who made sure that we were able to stay safely at home and not venture out to the grocery stores.    And after Instacart deliveries became a lot more accessible, there was still the challenge of not being able to get just want you would choose if you were doing the shopping.  That did make meal prep different but it led to us trying new recipes and using different ingredients in our regular menu items.   We discovered new ways of making old favorites and therefore expanding our meal choices.   And we did a lot more meal prep together and we both really enjoyed that.

When we had days of nice weather and once summer set in, we did a lot more walking around the neighborhood,  spent time walking on the boardwalk and on really warm days, just relaxing on the beach. We discovered some new, wonderful places where social distancing could be achieved that were perfect for taking nice walks.   I was very grateful that we were able to get out and about and get some exercise and fresh air.  I know it helped keep us in good health….. both physically and mentally. 

I spent a good deal of time in my sewing room.  Of course, a very large portion of that time was spent in making masks.  But while I wish that the situation didn’t make it necessary to wear these new fashion accessories,  I was very happy to have something helpful and useful to contribute.

Overall, this was a year of slowing down.   And, yes, it cannot be denied that it was a year of great pain and loss for so many.   While I would not want to live through this type of year again, I will go forward into 2021 taking the lessons I learned with me.   I urge you all to take time reflect back on this very unexpected year and pack up the positives that came out of it and take them with you as you journey into this new year.  And if you are so inclined, share one or two down in the comments.  There may be some things that you have packed in your bag of positives that I have overlooked that I can add to mine.

And so as we head into this next year, here is a toast to Health, Happiness and Peace for all of us.

Oh, one more thing before I go…….  Just a little reminder 

Just 358 days ’til Christmas

Be well.  Stay safe.  Bye for now.

Ginny

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A Holiday Season like no other

Below is a post that went up on my other site last week.  Thought I’d share it here too. 

Yes, I am still here but just haven’t posted.   Haven’t had too much to share but  with the holiday season here, I thought I would just check in.

Craft fair season didn’t happen here this year so I didn’t do too much as far as crafting/sewing new items.  Not that I didn’t spend time with my sewing machines.   Along with masks, masks, and more masks,  I had some orders for a few other things that kept me busy.   I did add two new items to my products though.  I just couldn’t resist making these two cuties.    

We decorated the outside and inside of the house right after Thanksgiving.  Some people aren’t doing much as far as decorating goes this year.  But we sort of felt that, like the song says, “We need a little Christmas, right this very minute”.   Things will be very different this year but the lights, decor and music have always been highlights of the season for me. I wasn’t about to let covid take that away from me too.

And since I am spending a good bit of time each day in my sewing room, I also have a little tree in there.  This year I decided to decorate it with some items I have had for years that were just sitting in a jar and a tin.

   The wooden beads are leftover from the 90’s for some wooden crafts that I was doing at that time and the tin had some spools of thread that have been around for as long as I can remember.   They are wooden spools and I believe they were from my grandmother.   Of course, it wasn’t usable thread at this point but I wanted to use them for something.   I got out some red and white baker’s twine that I had and set to work putting them together to make a strand of garland for my little tree.    

It definitely brings a smile to my face.       

I hope all is well with you and yours and that your Thanksgiving Day was nice.  Even with all the nonsense going on this year,  I know that our family still has so much to be very thankful for.

Be well.  Stay safe.  See you soon.

Bye for now.

Ginny

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Just a quick note to say I’m moving

Well, no not physically moving.   I am just moving this blog over to WordPress.net   I have  actually been working on the site for a while.    I will be opening a shop there.   While I was doing the craft and holiday fairs, I figured I was busy enough with all of that.  But now that I will not be doing the fairs, I have a bit more time on my hands so I thought I would go down the e-commerce road.

There are craft fairs being scheduled here in the area but I am not so sure that when the time comes  they will actually happen.  And, even if they did, it really would not be prudent for hubby and I to be out in large crowds.   We have been taking precautions to keep ourselves healthy and flu season would probably not be the best time to start expanding our “bubble”.

I will miss the fun and excitement of the fairs and sharing our products in person.  Doing it online will certainly be a different experience and we will see how it goes.  I hope to be out there doing some spring and summer fairs  next year.

If you would like to keep up with what I’ve been up to in my sewing room, my gardens, what books I’ve been reading  and just generally what’s happening in my neck of the woods, just head on over to ginnyscraftbasket.net 

I have moved most of the blog posts from here over to the new site and there is a form on the site to get onto my e-mail list so you will get a notification when I put a new blog post up and, of course, when I open up the shop.

I hope you had a good summer despite everything.   Besides the pandemic, 2020 has definitely been beating us up.  Fires in the west, a derecho in the middle of the country, two storms at once bearing down on the Gulf and Isaias wreaking havoc as it made it’s way across the east.  Sheesh!   It certainly has been a memorable year….. or maybe we would like to not remember a lot of it.

Can you believe it is Labor Day weekend!  And lest you forget, my little snow friends would like to remind you .  We have less than 4 months ’til Christmas.

 

I’d better get into the workshop.

I hope you are all well.   See you soon.

Bye for now.

Ginny

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Rainy Friday

So what does one do when a tropical storm is coming for a short visit to bring a bunch of rain and wind?  Well, one does not go to the beach to see how high the waves are nor do you get to go out and play and enjoy your gardens.   So,  what was calling my name?   My sewing room.  No, not to sew but to clean up and rearrange things.   I have been reading the book Love Your Creative Space by Lilo Bowman and decided that I needed to love my space a little more.

Earlier in the week hubby helped me measure out the space in the room and  the furniture and storage pieces.   I used graph paper and figured out where things could be more efficiently located then checked the measurements of the space to see if things would work.

Here are some before pictures:

Yup, it was pretty messy and disorganized.  There had been a few different projects happening in the room and I didn’t quite keep up with tidying up after finishing.  So I set to work.   The large pieces like my sewing machines and the cutting table stayed where they were but small storage cubes, a bookcase  and bins and books were moved about…. or removed from the room completely.

And here we are after things were done:

One of the things I needed to set up was a small  pressing mat next to my Featherweight machine so that when I am sewing there I don’t have to get up and walk across the room to the iron that is set up close to my Pfaff.   I moved a small storage cabinet and put a pressing mat on top with my small travel iron.

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It will work perfectly!   I also moved my precuts into four storage cubes that are now right next to each other.   A much more logical and efficient idea.

By evening I was ready for some relaxing time with some hand sewing.   I had finished putting the flag wall  hanging together, the quilting was done and it was time to hand stitch the binding down.  This morning it got hung up on the kitchen fireplace wall.

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I will enjoy it there for the rest of the summer.  Now I need to figure out what I want to put up there for the fall months.   Time to look through my newly organized patterns and quilt books.

That’s what I have been busy with.  What have you been up to?   Are you venturing out more or still staying close to home?   We have been out and about a bit more but just to places that are open air (like the farm stand) or visiting with family, mostly staying outdoors.  And, of course, taking walks.  I hope we get to make a trip to the beach this coming week.   Masks are either on or with us to be used if necessary.

Be well.  Stay safe and healthy.

See you soon.  Bye for now.

Ginny

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Happy Independence Day!

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This year will be very different than years past for sure but I hope you have a safe and happy 4th of July.   I spent a little time working on this flag wallhanging that has been sitting in my “kits” bin for a few years.  wp-1593878617259.jpg   I talked about doing it in this post a few years ago and had it in my  to do basket but somehow it jumped back into the kits bin.   But now the fabric has been cut and two rows are done with seven more to go.  While it won’t be on the wall for today’s celebration, it will be up there later this week and will be there for the rest of the summer.

While I was sewing, hubby got the grill  going and the ribs are smoking. Most of the rest of the day will be spent enjoying the flowers in our garden while listening to music and the sounds coming from our neighbors yards as they are home celebrating too.

Whatever you are doing today,  make it the best day you can.    Happy 4th everyone.

Bye for now.   See you soon.

Ginny

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Summer has arrived!

And along with that, our first trip to the beach.

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We headed down there early and it was wonderful to sit there and listen to the sound of the waves breaking on the shore and breath in the scent of the salt water.  It was so peaceful.   I have been waiting so long to be able to enjoy “our” beach again.

There are other signs of summer too.  One of them being my petunias just exploding with color in their tub.  wp-1593035558279.jpg

They certainly  are loving the warmer days and the sunshine. Summer sun  The lightning bugs have arrived and they are putting  on a beautiful twinkling show for us in the evening after dinner as we are doing some porch sitting.   They are just too quick for me to get a picture of them.  I love when I first start seeing them appear.  Then I know that summer is really here.

Another thing that said “summertime” to me was hearing that there actually may be baseball played this year.   Hopefully next month.   I have missed watching the Yankees.  Let’s hope that all the talks and plans that are happening keep moving forward and we get to spend some time cheering on our teams and yelling at the umps…. and the managers too when they don’t make the moves we think would be the way to go.  Here’s hoping that soon I will be saying “Let’s Go Yankees!”  NY Yankees

As far as activity in my sewing room goes,  I have still been working on masks and think I will be for a while.   I can foresee the demand for them going back up as we get into fall and schools open.  I have also gotten back to work on the log cabin quilt and the borders have been added.  Just need to get the binding on now.

I also did get to a project I had been wanting to get to.   I got this quilt rack a couple years ago on one of our trips to Connecticut at an antique store.  Not sure how antique it actually is but it was what I needed.  However, it was not the nicest color.   It was sort of a mustardy brown.   Not anymore…….  wp-1593035521440.jpg  I like it so much more now that it is painted white.   The colors of whatever quilts I put on it will show up much better.  Right now it is holding a Double Irish Chain quilt that I made back in the 90’s.  I was pretty new at quilt making so I tied it.  I guess I did OK because it is still together and it has had quite a bit of use in its’ 20+ years.  The blue quilt is actually a signature quilt that was made for me by my fellow teachers, teachers aides and administrative staff when I left California.   Whenever I sit and snuggle under it,  so many great memories of my preschool teaching years run through my mind.   I was so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with so many great people there.    I also sit and wonder what all those little people that I had the privilege of having in my classes have done in their lives.   I treasure all those memories.

What has been keeping you all busy?   What keeps you from going stir crazy in the “stay at home” period of our lives.

I hope you are enjoying your summer.   And just in case you need a reminder……. my snowmen pals are telling me that we’ve got six months ’til Christmas. 

Be well.  Bye for now.  See you soon.

Ginny

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Is Summer Really Almost Here?

So here we are at Memorial Day weekend.  Does it feel like it to you?  With the rhythm of the weeks and months being so different this year, it is hard to believe we are at the end of May.    The weather here has not been consistently giving the signs of us coming up to the unofficial start of the summer that’s for sure.   But I was happy that over the last couple of weeks we have had some pretty nice days to tease us a bit.   This gave us the opportunity to spend some time outdoors working on weeding and getting our flowers and veggies planted.

We also had one of my favorite irises bloom as well as getting to enjoy the first rose of the season.

Last year we had a robin’s nest in a tall shrub outside our bedroom window.  It was visible from one of our windows and we enjoyed watching for those little blue eggs to hatch.  I wondered if there would be a nest again this year.  I had noticed a couple of robins spending a lot of time on the fence and on our air conditioner in that area.   Well, on Friday while working outside, I noticed a bit of straw-like material hanging down from the shrub and sure enough, there was the nest.         wp-1590272569888.jpg  We can’t see the eggs this year but we will be sure to be careful when we are in that area to not disturb the little family.

The houseplants are now in their “summer place”   wp-1590268629166.jpg   and I got my fairy garden set up   wp-1590268354710.jpg .

As far as what’s been happening in my sewing room,  well, as you might expect,  there are still masks in production.

There are some kiddie size ones,   some masks with extenders and some from my teal and purple day.    But there was also other sewing that happened too.

 

I made a couple of cell phone pillows and I have been working on my Christmas hexagons.  I’ve got 32 completed and ten more ready to go.   I think I will make a hexagon version of the zig zag tablerunner.  I am excited to see how it turns out in the end.

And yes, BFF, I have done a bit of work on the Farmer’s Wife blocks we picked a couple weeks ago.   No pressure.  🙂

And so, as I said, here we are at Memorial Day.  Today is a rainy day and I actually have been enjoying the sound of the rain outside.  I do enjoy a day with rain instead of just a day of grey drizzle.  It makes for a nice day to read.  The plans for the rest of this “long weekend” (it all feels the same to me) will be to be outside and enjoy the nice weather that is supposed to be here for a few days starting tomorrow.   We will watch the virtual Air Show tomorrow and  grill some burgers on Monday.   I will probably do a bit of summertime decorating inside.

There will be some creative time too of course.   I have been checking out things for Christmas.    After all, as my snowmen friends have reminded me ……20190605_180216.jpg …. only 7 months until Christmas.  🙂

Whatever is happening in your neck of the woods, I hope you have a good weekend.   Do something creative.   Stay safe.

Bye for now.  See  you soon.

Ginny

 

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Projects- Past and Present

Week what of Quarantine are we in?   I’m not sure.   And what season it?  Spring right? Well I think Mother Nature is a bit confused about what day/month it is too.  We had snow here today.  Now, you all know that I have said how much I love snow and  I was excited about it enough to startle my hubby when I saw the flakes and jumped up and yelled “Hon, look!”   But really, it is Mother’s Day weekend right?

So, what have I been keeping myself occupied with since the last time I was here?  I was very, very busy with the mask-making.     I have caught up with the orders and I’m now in the process of making masks just to keep stocked in case anyone else needs them.  Heaven knows I certainly have enough fabric to make a bunch more and  my order of elastic arrived so I am good to go.  I am now able to work on other projects again that sort of got pushed to the back burner when the mask need got so great.    I have also been continuing on with my purging/organizing of some closets.   I have come across some interesting things in my ventures into long-ago packed boxes.  Among them are these projects that were started many, many, many years ago.

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These six blocks are from the early 1990’s and were the start of a Christmas block of the month project that highlighted different block styles .  I am not sure what happened to rest of the blocks or even if I had the instruction sheets for them but I will use these blocks in a small lap quilt for this Christmas season.

I also came across this family of Gingerbread people just waiting for their eyes, noses and happy holiday smiles and their stuffing.  In with the Gingerbread people were quite a few long wedge shaped pieces of Christmas fabric that I am not sure just what I had in mind for them.  Were they really going to be a project or maybe they are scrap cuts from a project I finished long ago.   I will figure out something to do with them too.  Maybe they can somehow be incorporated into the same project as the blocks.

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I have been trying my hand at making some mask extenders on my embroidery machine and also some that are crocheted.wp-1588637214835.jpg

So many buttons to choose from!

And so here we are at Mother’s Day weekend.    I am happy to say that we did have the opportunity to work outside for a few days during a spell of nice weather and we have gotten our beds and flower pots ready for this year’s crops and flowers.    The onions and garlic that our grandson Max helped plant last fall are doing very well and I think we will have a good crop to pick this year.

We have our herbs started in pots inside the house and also in the outside pots and got our peas and carrot seeds planted as well as lettuce.    I am hoping for some nice weather to return this week so we can be outside enjoying our gardens.   We received the rest of the seeds from Burpee and will have to figure out how to get our veggie plants.  Mail order?  Curbside pickup?   Delivery from a local nursery?   We will need to make that decision this week.

I hope this post finds you all healthy.    What has been keeping you occupied?  Have you been reading?   I have been doing quite a bit of that at night.   Watching anything good on Netflix?  Re-watching some favorites?  I am doing a bit of that too.

Be well and stay safe.  Bye for now.  See you soon.

Ginny

 

 

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Day #150 of Stay at Home

OK, so it isn’t 150 days but it sure does seem like it.   And our governor has extended our PAUSE, as it is called here in NY, to May 15.   And, not unexpectedly, the Air Show scheduled for Memorial Day weekend has officially been cancelled.

What, you may ask, have I been up to these last umpteen days?   We did get out to deliver the Easter baskets to the grandkids.   We were properly socially distanced, of course.  Here they are four of them, all lined up and ready to go. wp-1587175673302.jpg  The two California Easter bunnies were sent on their way the week before just to be sure they got there on time. wp-1587176039423.jpg

Other than Easter Bunnies,  I have been making masks, masks, masks and more masks for family and friends.  We now  need to have a face covering when out in public and in a place where the 6 foot socially distanced safe space may not be able to be achieved.

 

Some with ties but most of them with elastic.   I am getting faster at making them.  Tomorrow I will be finishing up a few more pleated masks and then I am going to try a new pattern that is made on my embroidery machine.  We’ll see how that turns out.

The weather hasn’t been exactly ideal to really get into some of the projects we would have liked to be able to tackle.   But I’m sure nice yardworking days are coming.  Right?  They’ll be here won’t they?

Looking ahead to the next 4 weeks at least (ugh) of “stay at home” time,  there are a number of projects on the “to do” list.     There are quilts to finish, actually some to start too.   Garden beds to get ready for their new residents.   Closets to go through and get organized.  And, of course, books to read.   I am on Book #7.

Since we are only in Phase 1 of  opening up our state and, being of a certain age group and in that vulnerable population they keep talking about,  I know that we will not be heading out the door to some sort of normalcy for quite some time yet.

In the meantime I will try to keep myself busy and sane and just take it one day at a time.  How are you dealing with this crazy, insane, unbelievable time?  Have you joined the army of mask making  sewists?  If so, do you have a favorite style/pattern?  Wherever you are, I hope you and yours are all well.

Stay safe and healthy.  Bye for now.  See you soon.

Ginny

 

 

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What day is it today?

I find myself asking that question each morning.   Everyday seems a lot like the day before, and the day before,  on and on.    Sigh.   How are you all dealing with the sameness?

When it is nice outside, we try to get outside for walks or a bit of yardwork.  We are really enjoying all the spring blooming that’s happening.  This forsythia makes me smile every morning when I see it.    wp-1586210392181.jpg

Inside we keep ourselves busy with chores,  small projects and coming up with some twists on dinner to try to change things up a bit.   How many ways are there to make chicken?  Apparently,  quite a few.   Did a bit of decorating for Easter.

The sewing room has been getting a bit of use too.  Not everyday.  I must admit it is sometimes difficult to get my motivation in gear.  But I have gotten some things done.

There is a thing going on about putting teddy bears in your windows or somewhere prominent for kids to see when they are out taking a walk with their parents.  It’s like they are going on a Bear Hunt.   So, I put one of my teddy bears in an upstairs window waving to any little hunters that may be passing by.wp-1586210436035.jpg

And I made a little teddy bear on my embroidery machine to sit in my kitchen window.

I am working on some bunnies for Easter baskets.  The hardest part is getting the ears pinned onto the hoop in just the right place.  The stitching only takes about 3-5 minutes.    Since I couldn’t get out to do shopping for bunnies, I just went with bunnies I had left from last year’s Easter orders.  Luckily I had enough for all 6 grandkids.

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This one was made for the newest addition.  Shhhh!  Don’t tell Aviendha she is getting a yellow bunny for her first Easter.

 

There have also been some masks being made.  Some with ties and some with elastic. I have a bunch more cut now and I’ll get to sewing on them over the next couple of days . wp-1586211571149.jpg

At night I have been making progress on the hand sewn hexis.  I’ve got 24 done, with 18 more waiting to be stitched.

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I work on them while watching tv at night.   I got a few more done last night while watching two really great Country music shows.   I enjoyed that night of music so much.

That’s what I’ve been up to the last couple weeks.  What have you been doing during this time of quarantine, sheltering in place, staying home… whatever the words are that you want to use to describe it?

I hope all is well in your neck of the woods.  Take care.  Stay home.  Stay safe.

Bye for now.  See you soon.

Ginny

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