Sunday, March 29, 2020

The One Where Rebecca Performs an Emergency Rhinoplasty on a Stuffed Unicorn

Keeping Me Sane: My Husband (Bernie) and My Puppy (Sam)
Greetings, y'all.  Happy Sunday.  I wish I had something fabulous to share with you today, but I am not one of those people who is productive and thriving under the current circumstances.  I have not deep-cleaned my home, reorganized my closets, or remodeled any bathrooms.  I have not been sewing masks or other PPE for medical personnel.  I am not creating gourmet meals from scratch, nor is my family enjoying idyllic, Rockwellesque "family time" together as we play board games, engage in craft projects, or worship together online.  (Tried that last one this morning -- my husband refused to participate, and my sons were cracking jokes and talking and generally making fun of the whole idea of online worship to the extent that I could not even hear the prayers).  Both of my sons are supposed to be doing "online learning," one for his college courses and the other for his high school classes, so I'm stressed out about how all of that is going and how it will impact them academically, yet they are too old for me to really be "in the loop" and know what's going on, let alone for me to be creating schedules (that no one would follow anyway) or attempting to "home school" them.  In short, I am NOT the Martha Stewart of COVID-19.

I Am Not an Instagram Mom (photo from lindsaycz via Instagram)

From what I see on social media, it looks as though a lot of people are using the unexpected extra time on their hands to tackle home improvement projects or to be productive in their sewing rooms.  I'm personally feeling a lot of stress and anxiety that has sapped my motivation, making me feel like showering and putting on clean clothes is a huge accomplishment.  

Channeling My Inner Roseanne Barr Through the Coronavirus Pandemic

I've got nothing against those Instagram supermoms; it's just way more than I can muster right now.  And I know that everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, is experiencing stress, uncertainty  and disruptions in their lives right now, and I do appreciate that many people are going through much worse than what we're experiencing.  We don't have job loss, no one in my family is sick, and we have plenty of food and toilet paper.  Our biggest stressors are probably too much TV news and too much "together time."  Nevertheless, when I dragged my sorry self into my studio yesterday to mend a stuffed unicorn toy for my dog, it felt like a major victory against ennui and inertia.

Emergency Unicorn Rhinoplasty in Progress
This is one of Sam's favorite plush squeaky toys.  He likes to grab it, shake it, tug with it (when I'm holding the other end of it) and chase it around the kitchen when I toss it just out of his reach.  He had chewed the toy open at the front of its face and was pulling stuffing out through the nose when I took it away from him -- eating that stuffing is dangerous and could result in emergency veterinary surgery.

What the Unicorn's Face Looked Like Before He Met My Puppy
By the way, this particular unicorn is one of those toys that are advertised as being "virtually indestructible," and invariably there is a picture of a Rottweiler on the packaging to make shoppers think that this is a toy that a Rottweiler won't destroy.  

False Advertising!!!

Hahahaha...  Maybe that's why they call it the "Mighty Liar" Unicorn!

I considered sewing up the unicorn's face with the sewing machine, which would be a stronger seam than a hand stitched repair, but I decided against that because machine sewing would create a seam allowance ridge protruding on the outside of the unicorn like a scar.  I'm pretty sure that my dog would be attracted to that ridge and would deliberately chew the new line of stitching, so that's why I opted to hand sew the hole shut instead.  I used some heavy duty polyester upholstery thread and sewed the hole shut as tight as possible, with all of the loose fabric tucked inside of the plushie for a smooth seam on the outside of the toy.

Unicorn After Receiving Major Nose Job Surgery

So the unicorn looks pretty disfigured now, but puppy Sam was very happy to have him back again:
First Sam Batts the Unicorn With His Paw...

...and then, CHOMP!!!
Methinks the unicorn be not long for this world.

How are all of YOU coping with this pandemic situation that we all find ourselves living with?    Have you found something that helps to keep you sane or that helps you hold on to a little bit of normalcy in these bizarre times?  Anyone else, like me, feeling like their feet are stuck in cement and they just can't seem to put a plan into action lately?  I have GOT to get away from the news but my husband keeps checking the TV multiple times throughout the day, and even if I leave the room to get away from it, he has to report to me about how it's all getting WORSE AND WORSE by the minute...  This just feeds my anxiety because there is absolutely nothing I can do about it!

So I take a deep breath, and play with my dog.  My big sewing goal for this afternoon will be to cut the backing fabric for Spirit Song and seam the lengths together, maybe even get the backing loaded on the longarm.  Wish me luck!

-- Hey, by the way -- today is the 10th anniversary of my blog!  If you're interested, you can read that very first blog post, "Gardens of Deceipt," right here.

I'm linking up with
·       Slow Sunday Stitching at  
·       Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Path to Hell is Paved With My Tuesday Intentions... In Which I Am Inspired By Coronavirus, and Make a Plethora of Excuses

Was yesterday Tuesday again?  I'm not entirely sure -- the days are just melting into one another, now that my schedule is wiped clean and there's nothing to distinguish a Monday from a Sunday from a Saturday anymore.  Supposing that it IS/WAS Tuesday, it's time to revisit the goals I set for myself last week and to consider what I hope to accomplish in the coming week.

Last Week's To-Do List for March 17-24
  1. Add borders to Spirit Song to complete quilt top.
  2. Piece Spirit Song backing
  3. Make Spirit Song binding and set aside
  4. Paper piece next block for Anders' Beware the Ishmaelites sampler quilt
  5. Load SOMETHING on my frame -- either a practice piece, a charity top, or the Spirit Song quilt -- and START QUILTING!
As you can see, I only accomplished one of the 5 goals I set last Tuesday. In my defense, when I set those goals I had no recollection of the 16 Y-seams awaiting me in that vintage Nancy Cabot block for Anders' sampler quilt.  I think I worked on that over three or four days, and I wrote up a Y-seam tutorial here on my blog so I can refresh my memory next time I tackle one of these challenging vintage blocks.  Also the news has been distracting and worrisome, having both boys at home and starting "online learning" experiments has been distracting and worrisome (and expensive -- just had to buy a new laptop for Son the Elder because his previous laptop had a design flaw that caused it to continually disconnect from the Internet while he was trying to participate in an online class).  And of course Samwise, a.k.a. Mister Puppy-Pants, demands lots of time and attention while providing an exquisitely appreciated distraction from the worries of the day...

Samwise PuppyPants (Great Aunt Lulu in the Background)
The microscopic images of the novel coronavirus are fascinating to me.  How can something so beautiful be so deadly?  Some of the images popping up on the news look like batik fabrics or digital prints.  I can just imagine the wildly recolored version that would be "COVID-19 in Chartreuse by Kaffe Fassett Collective", can't you?

Doesn't This Look Like Quilt Backing Fabric?  COVID-19
Doesn't this one look like one of those green styrofoam balls sold at craft stores that you can cover with beaded and sequined stick pins to create Christmas ornaments?  Or like some kind of anemone in someone's saltwater fish tank.  Where's the clown fish in all of this?  As the song from A Little Night Music goes, "Send in the clowns..."

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Under a Microscope
Just last night, a 21-day Stay-at-Home Order was announced for the entire Mecklenburg County where I live, encompassing all of the Charlotte metropolitan area.  Although I'm not aware of anyone I know personally in my community who has tested positive for Covid-19, it was distressing to see that our zip code 28277 (the South Charlotte suburban and mixed use "Live-Work-Play" community of Ballantyne) is among those with the highest number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in the county.  

Bubble Tip Anemone, Doppelganger to COVID-19 virus
I know a lot of you are sewing face masks right now.  I'm not, but I've donated 150+ yards of quarter inch elastic that I had stashed away to some friends who are making masks for local hospitals.  I'm not good at fast-and-furious sewing projects, and I know they are putting that elastic to much better use than I could.   Those who have been following along with my projects here know that I sew at the speed of glaciers (about 25 cm per day) -- by the time I finished making a few masks, the pandemic would probably be over anyway.  Which is why I had all that elastic in the first place, by the way -- grand intentions of sewing all of my own bras and underwear that never materialized, or maybe I bought that roll when I was pregnant with Lars in 2000 and deluded myself that I was going to sew all of his baby clothes?  I don't remember exactly why I bought the elastic, but it has been mocking me from the shelf in my studio for decades.  I was glad to see it depart from my house and be put to good use.

And so, when I'm not traveling from grocery store to grocery store (one of the only places we're allowed to go under the Stay-at-Home Order) in search of meat and toilet paper, and when I'm not busy with the puppy or with laundry or disinfecting surfaces or obsessively checking in with news updates, what do I hope to be sewing this week?

My Spirit Song Quilt Top, Patiently Awaiting Borders

This Week's To-Do List for March 25-31

  1. Procure batting for my Spirit Song quilt
  2. Add borders to Spirit Song to complete quilt top.
  3. Piece Spirit Song backing
  4. Make Spirit Song binding and set aside
  5. Load SOMETHING on my frame -- either a practice piece, a charity top, or the Spirit Song quilt -- and START QUILTING!
It's especially poignant to be working on my Spirit Song quilt right now, which I named after my church's contemporary music group due to its color palette -- the pink/orange/coral with khaki that is almost always our dress code for Easter Sunday.  We moved to online worship only on March 15th, and that was my last opportunity to sing with the choir for a live-streamed service with no one sitting in the pews.  Now that the mandatory Stay-at-Home order is in place -- through April 16th! -- who knows when I'll be singing with Spirit Song again?

Rather than dwell on all of the things we're giving up right now and cannot do, I need to focus on the things I enjoy that are still available to me.  I enjoy creating; I enjoy learning; I enjoy a good challenge -- so the overarching Goal of All Goals is #5 on that list: getting a quilt on my frame and firing up my longarm for some quilting time!  I have an added incentive to get to the quilting sooner rather than later, because I want to have something to link up for Karin's Ruler Work linky party next Tuesday at The Quilt Yarn!

What's keeping YOU busy during these days of disconnection and social distancing?  Is your community under mandatory restrictions, and if not, are folks following the guidelines requested by the CDC?

I'm linking up today's post with:
·       Colour and Inspiration Tuesday at Clever Chameleon
·       To-Do Tuesday at Home Sewn By Us
·       Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication

·       Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter

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