I've moved ... physically AND my blog

Friday, September 17, 2021

Yes ... it's been over a year since I have posted 😳


And it has been quite a year. 


My last post was April 9, 2020—I had launched masks in the shop with the intent of raising money for my local food bank.  My goal was to raise $500 and donate 50 masks for food-bank clients.  I am thrilled to say that by the end of April, I had donated $3,000 to the tiny food bank in my small town. 


While masks consumed my days last spring, our evenings were consumed with consideration of what we wanted to do next.  No doubt, as this foreign phrase, "social distancing" was starting to enter the lexicon, our 10-acre, 40-miles-from-a-grocery-store accommodation was idyllic


But a wooden house, in the midst of 10-acres of woods is a lot to maintain and we had always known it would not be our forever home, but rather a fabulous place to enjoy early retirement and then escape from during the rainy months, in our tear-drop trailer, and head south.  We did that for 4 years, completing our epic coast-to-coast-to-coast trip in the early fall of 2019.  


We spent the spring of 2020 wondering what our next step would be and where we wanted to go.  Spoiler ...

UK Border at Heathrow Airport, London, England

My husband carries UK, Canadian and US (since we married 25-years ago) citizenship. From an option standpoint ... we had many.  But fundamentally, we had a few requirements:


1) We are both cancer survivors, so for us, affordable access to quality healthcare was a must. 

  • —Living in our small town, we knew that access to quality healthcare was closely aligned with larger metropolitan areas.  
  • —Further, the annual attacks on the ACA were wearing thin for someone with no other options.

2) It needed to be affordable. 

  • —As retirees with a fixed income, we knew what our financial limitations were, and we needed to be able to purchase our new home for what we could net from our existing home.
  • —We had sold houses in Oakland, CA and Seattle, WA over the previous 20 years and knew that we were priced out of those, and many other, markets. 
  • —Also recognizing that housing costs are aligned with proximity to metropolitan areas, which are aligned with health-care quality we struggled with this one.

 3) We were seeking a community that was aligned with our values and aspirations.

  • —It wasn't a judgement call on others, it was us, seeking an environment that worked for us.
  • —Ultimately, concluding that the UK and Canada were more closely aligned with those values.

So we applied for my spouse visa and when it was approved in October 2020, we sold the house, T@b trailer and cars.  Spent nearly 2 months trying to figure out how to fly a 7-month-old English Setter to the UK during a pandemic and all arrived in the UK in December 2020.

We knew we wanted to be in the southern part of the UK (weather) and likely the west (affordable). I wanted to be a 2 hour train ride to London (city girl at heart) and future proofing ourselves, in a community big enough to have a good hospital system and strong public transportation.  We spent the month of January 2021, in the midst of England's 3rd lock down, looking for which city/town met our needs. We were fortunate, being in the midst of the move, we were exempt from some of the lockdown restrictions pertaining to travel.  Ultimately, we decided on Worcester.  A beautiful town in the west Midlands, 40 miles south of Birmingham (2nd largest city in Englad), 40 miles east of Wales and 40 miles north of the bucolic Cotswold hills. The population is just over 100,000 and with 3 train stations, we have easy access to much of England, with central London (Paddington station) a mere 2 hours and 2 minutes by train. 

Worcester Bridge with Glover Tower & Worcester Cathedral in background

We arrived in March and are settling in.  Although it has clearly taken longer than I had anticipated to get the quilting going again.  I am currently in the midst of doing an abstract version of my Brushstrokes quilt pattern for foot of the bed in the guest room.  But what's really taking my time is the decorating of the guest room!  Fortunately, John is a big help on the labor side of things ;-).

Improv version of Brushstrokes Quilt

So stay tuned and I'll share what I am learning about England. As always, my IG account is Shinersview, but I also have a personal IG account where I share my experiences in England, you can find me at lara9209 for that one.  

Oh ... and the Brushstrokes quilt pattern is free and you can sign up for my newsletter and get your free copy here.  

It's good to be back ... stay tuned!



Face Masks for Food ...

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Like most of you ... I've been making masks for the past week. 

I made a few to donate to a Seattle-area medical system.  When they said they had enough, I made them for family and dear friends. 

And when the CDC said that face masks were recommended, I started making them to sell in my store. 

But that didn't feel right ... I felt like I was taking advantage of a tragedy ... which just felt icky. 

But then I hit on it.  I am now selling them in my Etsy shop.  I am donating 25% of the purchase price (or $3.75 per mask) to the local food bank in my small community in western Washington.  Further, I am also making masks to donate to the food bank for their clients who can't afford to purchase a face mask.

This Friday I will be selling them for a week, and my goal is to donate $500 and 50 masks.  Currently, I have raised just over $400 and have 23 of the 50 masks made to donate!  So I am on track!

When I called the Director of the food bank last week to tell her what I was doing and ask if she would be able to take the donated masks if I put each of them in a zip-lock bag, she was so overwhelmed that we were both in tears by the time I got off the phone.

A friend of mine volunteered at a Seattle food bank today ... this was her post on Facebook tonight:

Today's dose of perspective brought to you by my shift at the Ballard Food Bank. They've had to switch to drive through and delivery only, meaning clients can no longer "shop" for what they need. A household of 1 - 2 people gets one bag of non-perishable and one bag of fresh food/produce to last a week. My job today was to fill the non-perishable bags. This is what each contained:
  • bottle of coconut water
  • can of fruit
  • can of salmon
  • can of beans
  • can of crushed tomatoes
  • bag of rice
  • bag of lentils
  • bag of oats
  • bag of pitted prunes
  • one "extra" from the miscellaneous stockpile...this could be a bottle of ketchup, a can of sweetened condensed milk, a box of gelatin...most often it looked like all the stuff leftover from people's holiday baking and not particularly practical.
If you are a couple and eat 3 meals a day, that's 42 meals that need to be covered, at least in part, by this bag. I can be honest and say in my very privileged house this wouldn't last that long.

Full transparency, we have long been intermittent supporters of our local food banks.  Giving each year, but periodically, not habitually. 

Watching the news over the past several days, hearing that local food banks have provided 2 to 3X the amount of food in the past 4 weeks as they usually do in an ENTIRE YEAR, it is clear that the need in our communities right now is inprecedented.

Sure, I would love you to purchase a mask from my shop to support my food bank ... but what I would really prefer is that those of you who are able, contact your local food bank and find out how you can help.

I leave you with a smile with a photo of my adorable cousin and her husband.

Stay safe out there!


Christmas Quilt

Monday, December 16, 2019

If you're like me—you've got a stack of holiday fabrics left over from Christmas' past.  Where there's not enough fabric left of an individual pattern to do much with and, oh yeah, the ones that in your scrap bin are from multiple years, so the prints don't exactly coordinate that well together either.

Sound familiar?

Quilt from christmas fabrics sitting in laundry basket on a dining room table

Well, this year I decided to do something about it and created the Christmas Ladders Quilt Pattern which you can download here for FREE.

This quilt does an excellent job using up scraps.  All you need to be able to do is piece together a 2.5" x 62" strip of a single fabric pattern.

photo of multi-colored quilt from christmas fabrics laying on wooden table
Add caption

This version uses 26 different fabrics.  But you can certainly repeat some fabrics if you have a larger stash of some.

The best part of this pattern is that it encourages you to use fabrics that you wouldn't normally use together, by creating groupings of more cohesive fabrics.  Adding scraps from solids is also a great way to build it out.

multicolored christmas quilt spread on a brown couch

This is a simple, fast, and—did I mention—FREE pattern for you to use this holiday season, next year or to attack some of your non-holiday scrap stash during the winter doldrums ...

Happy Holidays!

Powered by Blogger.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan

Your copyright

Your own copyright