pandemic projects…day 40 of lockdown

No where to go & lots & lots of time on my hands.  UGH!  I haven’t been home this time a year for a long long time. I’ve been walking several times a week as the weather permits & it’s good for my brain & maybe my body but you wouldn’t know it by the large numbers on the scale!  I’ve also been reading & listening to some audio books, but decided I needed some projects.  

Some of these projects I already had on my radar, but planned to do them in the fall when I'm home from traveling…well, the virus killed those plans.  So, here’s what I did during my Covid-19 lockdown:

Project #1:  Felt Garland.  I wanted some string lights around my front window like I have at Christmas.  I don’t have any window coverings on this big window & don’t want any.  This is my morning seat of preference as I drink coffee & look out to the front pond. But, I didn’t want an ugly green string showing either.  I’d seen this on Pinterest & liked it.  I have a crazy huge quantity of felt, so I chose my darker colors & cut out it seemed like a million 1 1/2” by 3” pieces & stitched them together in 4’ lengths using embroidery floss.  It took me most of 1 1/2 days to get it done, but I  love it!  The evening photograph definitely wins the award for worst photo ever…but you get the idea.

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Project #2:  Masks.  This is one I hope I never have to do again, not because I minded making them, I just hope there’s never the need for them again.  The pattern was easy enough, but I didn’t have any elastic & had to make do with what fabric I had (most of it toddler-design).  So I made 4 ties for each mask, each with a pocket for some kind of filter if you want it. This first masks I made were for Sara, Kevin, Claire, Emma & the Nanny. Then I made some for me & Danny.

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Last, I sent some off to Luke, Peter & Leia along with dozens of cookies! 

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Not really a project, but a time sucker for sure:  Danny & I successfully completed a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle…actually it was 999 pieces…the last piece is AWOL.  And, we had some help from Sammy (she probably stole the missing piece just to play with us!)

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Project #3: Directional signs.  So, I have this pole next to  my driveway.  It serves no purpose (it used to have a basket ball goal attached) except to keep a long & ongoing argument going between me & Danny.  I want it gone.  He does not.  He wins.  Everytime.  I had this pole painted with weird & colorful designs for a long time, but it wore off & was looking uglier than just the normal ugly pole.  So, I made these signs pointing to the places I love the most.  It’s colorful. It gives the stupid pole a purpose.  It’s also a constant reminder of exactly how far away I am from those special places. But, it greets me whenever I drive into our driveway & still makes me smile.  PS:  Don’t even get me started on why it’s nice to have an ugly propane tank next your driveway either. (We actually had an old forsythia bush blooming in between the two eyesores, but it got ugly too.  So, Danny obliterated trimmed it.  We’ll probably be dead or hopefully moved! by the time it blooms again.)

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Project #4:  Springrolls.  One of the full time travel couples I know, have ceased their travels, at least for now, just like the rest of us.  Instead, they are making cooking videos & sharing recipes for those things they cook while on the road.  These looked so good when they were eating them.  It’s been in the back, the far recesses of my mind, to try & make these ever since I watched the video.  But, in the forefront of my mind, is the fact that I don’t like to cook.  I’ve been going back & forth & finally, decided I’d try them.  It was a mess!  So much cabbage & not a big enough pot to cook it all in.  Nothing was hard about it…chop, chop, chop, chop!  Once I got two done, I fried them (yes, I know it’s bad for your body…so is starting happy hour at noon, but we’re in the middle of a pandemic!  There are so many other rules to follow…) & they were yummy.  Then I proceeded to roll up the other 50 & placed them in plastic bags to freeze.  My next test to see if these were going to work (a little late now if not) was to thaw then fry a couple & see if they were just as good as fresh.  So, the next morning for breakfast, I thawed two for an hour, then fried them.  It was a success!!!  I changed the recipe just a bit for my own taste preferences, in case I get the crazy idea to ever make these again.  Of course, it will take awhile to eat all the 48 I have in my freezer.  PS:  I have no idea how the travel couple makes these in their little T@B trailer or where the heck they freeze them!

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Project #5:  Flat people.  I’m missing my grand girls so much!  I have no idea when the next time will be that I get to see them.  A friend gave me an idea the other day to make a Flat Grandpa & Flat Gkitaken from the old Flat Stanley.  The idea is send them to Claire & Emma & they would take us on adventures with themmaybe take a few photos or at least give us something else to talk about whenever we get to FaceTime.  I loved the idea & quickly made two paper dollswere not that cute, but its sent with so much love.  I hope the girls have fun with the idea!

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When I told another friend about it, she flipped the idea & had a poster of her nephew made & decided to take him around everywhere.  I stole that idea quickly, although I wouldn’t do the poster, but my own home made Flat Claire & Flat Emma.  So, I’m now taking them around with me, taking photos of them in trees, at the park, on a picnic, etc. so by the time they get Flat us in the mail, I can show them how much fun I’ve had with them. PS:  If this lockdown goes on for a lot longer,  I’ll probably be having conversations with these two Flats!

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Project #6: Fairy furniture.  Around Easter, Claire called me to show me her new fairy garden she was making in her back yard.  Her Dad suggested I "hook her up” with some fairy stuff.  I know I could go on Amazon (but not into a Hobby Lobby or Michaels—closed due to the Pandemic) & buy some really cute, durable, easy, expensive resin things for her garden.  BUT…that’s not how I do things like this.  I’m sort of cheap (we’re currently in the mode of no paycheck) but mostly it’s because….I think fairies like natural things. You read that right…I actually can think like a fairy!  (I hear you laughing but youre not surprised, right?)  Like sticks & moss & acorns (with a few exceptions).  So, I gathered some stuff from outside & a few things from a quick-masked run to Walmart & began to make a huge, gigantic mess 

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that led to burnt fingers (from the hot glue gun), sticky fingers (from the spray I used to weatherize the painted parts) but creativity on the good side & lots of time used up!  As I write this, it’s all packaged in a box & ready to ship.  I hope these sort of fragile pieces make it to Claire’s house still stuck together, if not I’ll call it a kit (each piece is individually bagged) & ask one of her parents to help her put it back together. (Theres a flower garden, two toadstool gardens, a swing, a set of table & chairs, a bed & nightstand, some stepping stones & a bell)

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And, I sent lights for night time fairy fun!  (love those twinkle lights!)

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Project #7:  Pillow.  I love the “state” pillows that are embroidered with tiny pictures of things & places throughout the state.  If I was rich, I do the not-minimalist thing & but two or three of them, but at $196 each, I’m not owning any.  A long time ago, I tried to copy this idea, only instead of a states name, I embroidered ‘friendship’ across the top & made it for a good friend of mine.  We’d traveled a lot together, gone to lunch a lot, & spent a bunch of time doing things together.  Those experiences are what I embroidered as little pictures on her pillow.  It makes me smile everytime I see it at her house.  

This project was a definite October one.  I had already purchased the fabric though & now am grateful I had the foresight to do that.  The other thing required is tons & tons of embroidery floss.  And one of the reasons, I embraced this long project was that I would be using floss from when Sara was about 12 & made friendship bracelets all the time.  She had so much floss!  All wrapped around little cardboard squares & filed neatly in a plastic box.  I have used this floss ever since she quit making those bracelets, & just like my felt, it never seems to decrease in quantity.  (I wish my bank account were the same way.)  

There are a couple of problems though with this project: 1.  You should be able to embroider well; & 2. Each little picture as well as any wording & lettering have to be designed & penciled onto the fabric, so you should be able to draw well.  I am not good at either.  But what I do have going for me is that I am not a perfectionist.  I know what I like & have my own standard for what is good enough (& it’s not a super high standard most of the time.)  So, I have been slowly but steadily, in between all the other projects, books & walking, working on my Crested Butte pillow.  

The wonderful thing about this project, is that while I’m doing the work, I’m not seeing the funny & odd drawings I’m attempting to replicate in thread, but I’m seeing the river, the campsite, the mountains, the animals, the flowers & the trails that I love so much & have spent so much time on.  It’s been the best kind of therapy so far.  

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And, I’m not sure when I’m going to get it finished.  So far, I’ve ‘killed’ a marmot I tried to embroider (interesting fact;  it takes the same amount of time to rip out something as it does to put it there) & as of this writing, I’ve ‘plucked’ the two Columbines (I bet you can’t guess that’s what they are) off the pillow too.  It might take me forever to finish the pillow if I keep ripping out what I’ve already done!

That’s the end of the projects for now.  I hope we get ‘unlocked’ soon, although I’m not sure if thats a good idea either.  For now, I’m just home (Danny is at his mom’s house)-- me, the cats & Flat Emma & Flat Claire!

Hugs to everyone…virtual ones, since the real ones aren’t allowed.  

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