Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!



Here we are at the end of 2016.   I, for one, am not sorry to see it go.  Looking forward to 2017.  I have one resolution for the new year:  reduce the stress in my life.  And I've already made a major change that I think will help a lot!   Otherwise, I make the usual resolutions: lose weight or grow taller, quilt more, laugh more, travel some.  Gonna try again to make up menus and stick to them - I do better when I plan dinner ahead of time!

A friend and I went to a movie this afternoon.  If you get a chance, Fences is excellent.  I expect both Viola Davis and Denzel Washington to get Oscars -- it was that good. 
 Hope everyone has a happy, healthy new year.
Until next time....blessings.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Finished a top today.  This is one of our homeless quilts.  I used all Kansas Troubles Fabrics, which are my favorite and I enjoy working with them.  The pattern is very simple, because we need to make a lot of quilts and it's best to keep it simple.  Although, this year we're going to be making some different patterns because we're all bored with 5" squares!  I have cut some 2-1/2" strips, so we will do some rail fence,  And we've done a stretched star quilt this year too.
I will be quilting this one next week, hopefully.  I've been finishing up the pile I had leftover from the last giveaway -- about 5 big quilts like this, and 5 kids quilts, and still have 4 lap quilts to sandwich and quilt. 
The quilters meet again on the 30th, so hope to have them done by then, and I'll pass them on to Nancy, who does all the bindings on the machine.
Had to run to the store this morning for a couple of groceries and put together my potato salad for Sunday, and then went to the quilt studio!
So, just stopping by for a minute to wish everyone a very merry Christmas!
Until next time....blessings.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Woo Hoo An Update!

It's only been six months, but I decided to update the blog anyway!
I have very few finishes of my own quilts this year, but this is one of them.  I bought this as a kit from Quilters General Store in Rockford a few months ago.  Managed to put the top together and then set it aside while finishing all the homeless and kids quilts we gave away this year (131 altogether).  Anyway, finally quilted it the other day and now I have a finished quilt.  I'll put it on the table for Christmas day with the family.   
Most of my own stuff I've worked on this year is ufo's and all of them are applique.  I have 6 different ones in a queue that I work on and hopefully 2017 will see at least a couple of them finished.
I also bought myself a Christmas present this year:  a Go! Big fabric cutter, by Accuquilt.  I should have bought it two years ago, because we have a lot of donated fabric that we use for homeless quilts and I hate cutting squares and strips.  We have 3 beginners in our quilting group, so we need to have the fabric precut for them.  So, I've spent the past few days cutting fabric and also piecing backgrounds for homeless quilts.  The goal has been to use up the donated fabric -- which is not all good quality stuff.  I am excited to say that as of today -- I have pieced backgrounds or cut all the donated fabric for use in homeless quilts and from here on out, we'll be using stash fabrics -- which is good quality fabric, just very old!  I am now looking forward to cleaning out my fabric cupboard!
I bought a calendar book made by Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet, and one of her suggestions for handling stash is to cut all the stuff that's a fat quarter or less into usable pieces.  She does 1-1/2" strips, 2-1/2", 3-1/2", 5" and 7" squares and/or strips and separates them into baskets.  I only have the 5" square die and the 2-1/2" strip die right now, and that's what we use for homeless quilts; but I think I'll design a couple of easy quilts using different size dies and cut and sort my fabric accordingly.  So, the goal for next year is to get the fabric cabinet under control and lots of fabric cut into usable sizes!
I used to cut my scraps into different sizes like Bonnie Hunter does, but found I never used them, so having some patterns designed ahead of time that are quick and easy to put together and then cutting the pieces to those sizes seems like a good idea!
Until next time....blessings.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

June 11, 2016

Time sure gets away from me!
I have new neighbors -- they bought the house next to me, redid the inside and the outside and have it on the market to sell, but she is here at least 3 times or more a week, working on the yard, etc.  Her husband was off work this week, so she volunteered him to put my new flag pole in the ground!  They came out yesterday and today and did all the work!
I looked down the block on Memorial Day and no one was flying the flag,  The one I had didn't have a post or bracket for so I went out and bought the pole!  

Haven't been doing well on my diet at all -- been gaining weight even.  Hurt my knee so wasn't even walking, but I see my miles on the Appalachian Trial finally hit 100!  Only a few thousand to go!

Also been working on one of Rogene's quilts (Rogene was a good friend and quilter and Kris and Ginny and I have been finishing some of her quilts for her kids).  The iris quilt was one she appliqued for her daughter's wedding, 10 years ago!  It was a running joke as to how many blocks she had left to do.  Anyway, we went with what she had done, Kris pieced them together and I just took it off the longarm last night.
I do custom quilting so seldom that I have to retrain myself every time to get the machine to do what I want it to!  In fact, I had to retrain myself from one day to the next on this one! lol  But I finally got it done.  The setting triangles and sashes have a leafy pattern in them.
It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I think Rogene's daughter will love it anyway.

Until next time....blessings.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

May 3 Again

Well, surprised myself and managed to get something done.  The driveway guys finally showed up about 1 pm, but it didn't take them long - probably why it only lasts 2 years! So, ran my errands and had lunch, then headed to the basement with the idea that I'd do whatever I felt like once I got there - even if it meant not quilting!  And, this quilt was already loaded, so didn't take long to set it up and start quilting it. And now another one is finished.  And yes, that is Christmas fabric on the back -- it was donated and not too bad to use, so that's what I put on there!

Then I loaded the next one, and it's all basted and ready to quilt ... tomorrow or Thursday!
And, while the top one was quilting (and I chose a pattern that took awhile to finish each pass so I didn't have to keep jumping up and down), I worked on my next ufo project.  This book is from Country Threads and was published in 1996!  I think it was at least 2005 when I started this quilt -- and I don't have much of it done at all.  The instructions call for all the applique blocks to be done before the pieced blocks are finished, so I'm working on the applique.  I've always liked Country Threads applique patterns -- kinda folk art and primitive.  Finished the Soap block today.
The next few blocks are already prepped, so put it away and took out the next ufo project:  Lucy Boston quilt.  I have a few of the blocks prepped, so just started sewing the first one together.  
Didn't get on the treadmill at all, so not many steps to add today... maybe tomorrow.
Until next time....blessings.

May 3


 This pic was taken a couple of weeks ago, when the daffodils were blooming all over themselves.  If our weather would ever be consistent, everything else will be blooming soon.
I'm anxious to see what the peonies look like and all the other flowers that were planted last year.  My landscape people did come out and do a spring cleanup a month ago and added more mulch to all the beds, so all I have to do is weed!  I can live with that!
I managed to get on the treadmill yesterday morning -- and ran errands, so my step count almost made it to 10,000 yesterday:  9877!  Today's will not be that good -- I'm waiting for the people to come and seal my driveway today -- and I have no idea what time they'll be here, so it's just hurry up and wait.  I didn't get to the basement to quilt yesterday either, but did manage to at least do the laundry!
Today will be spent doing some work on the computer and waiting for the driveway people.  I do need to run to the pharmacy and grocery store after they finish and hopefully will be able to do some quilting today too.

Until next time....blessings.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

May1

Hey, look at me - two posts on two consecutive days!
 I had a late start today, had to count money after church! But came home, changed clothes and even put on my walking shoes.  Ate some lunch, then came down and quilted this first quilt, which I had loaded yesterday afternoon.  It's one of our quilts for the homeless -- most of them are really scrappy and I just do an edge to edge pattern over them.  Quick and easy.
 So, then I loaded the next one - to be finished tomorrow or whatever day I get back to the basement!   It's basted as far as its going to get til I start rolling it, so just need to set up the Statler, put the side tensioners on and the magnets on the belly bar to hold the top.  Easy Peasy!
 While the quilt was stitching, I cut more fabrics -- I've been cutting leftover 2-1/2" strips into 6-1/2" lengths to make rail fence quilts - again for the homeless project.  There's 6 or 7 ladies that sew the tops together at church for me to quilt, but some are new quilters, so I try to have pieces cut for them to sew.  

So, also on my to-do list was make spaghetti sauce.  I tried a new recipe from an online friend:  when you're eating vegan, you just try to add veggies to everything you cook!  So that's what I did.  It was good and I have lots leftover already in containers on the counter waiting for them to cool enough to freeze.  I have one comment:  everytime I'm anywhere near spaghetti sauce, I wear it!  I never order spaghetti in a restaurant because I will for sure be wearing it before I leave!

The only thing that I didn't do on my list today was walk on the treadmill - and I'm way too tired to do it now, so no where near 1/2 of the 7000 steps I was aiming for.  
As Scarlet says,"Tomorrow is another day."

Until next time....blessings.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Another month has gone by

I seem to spend all my time catching up.  Sometimes feels like I'm running in place!  But, I did manage to finally finish the Americana quilt - sucked it up and appliqued a whole bunch of circles, and called it done!
Also managed to move a few of my ufo's (more applique projects) to the next step.  

As far as the diet is going -- not well!  Pretty much skated along all month - gained and lost the same 3 pounds, cheated on an ice cream binge, and hardly did any walking at all.

So, here we are at the end of the month, and new month starts tomorrow -- therefore new resolve also.  May is going to be a busy/not accomplishing much month.  I did make an appointment to have my driveway sealed on Tuesday, so that's a start.  Rest of the month I'll be having cataract surgery on the 9th and the 23rd, so I think I won't be getting much accomplished at all while I readjust to eyes that can actually see!  

We had another sew-in yesterday, and the ladies brought me more tops to quilt for the homeless, so hopefully I'll be able to at least do some quilting.  I've found that when I quilt one and then load the next one right after that I get a lot more finished.  It makes it so much easier to go down and start quilting as opposed to having to load the quilt first, which takes at least 30 minutes.

I did manage to clean the entire longarm machine including inside the controller and computer base.  Amazing how much dust/lint collects in there.  I should probably have someone out to do a thorough checkup on the machine soon, too.

New goals for May:  
Quilt 3 new homeless tops,
Quilt 12 kids quilts (I have the tops here)
Do the next step on 3 more projects and then start the round over.  I've been doing the next step on applique projects from wherever I left off - however many years ago - and then prepping the next block before I move to the next project. I have different projects in different stages, so some will actually get finished - but not this month!
Get back on the new lifestyle:  I've talked with my doctor and got my statin drug lowered to 10 mgs and we've established a goal to lose enough weight/exercise enough in the next 6 months to possibly get off the statin altogether and hopefully 1 or 2 other drugs I take. 
So, that means, more home cooking -- and definitely getting back on the exercise track.  Shooting for at least 7000 steps every day - and hopefully the weather will start to cooperate so I can do some of them outside.
I also built myself a standing garden this month, so will be planting it in a couple of weeks -- it's only 1' x 2', but it's on my deck and will hold a tomato or two, a pepper or two and some basil.  I had a patio tomato last year that really did not do well, and I only got a couple of tomatoes that didn't even taste that good, so hoping for something better this year.

This is what the standing garden looks like.  I ordered it from Gardener's Supply and put it together myself.  It's self-watering, so hopefully that will help!

Well, that's about it for today.
Until next time....blessings.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Tuesday Again!

Another errand day.  Managed to go to Michael's to buy a clock face for one of my crewel-embroidered clocks, went to Sam's - which cost me $200 this time -- I hate going to Sam's - it always costs me lots of money!  Printer ink, paper, toilet paper and coffee -- all expensive stuff!  Then Woodman's -- the grocery store that has everything -- and I swear I have to spend an hour in there just to find the stuff I need.  And I gotta say, this diet is not saving me a bit of money -- I'm spending more now than I ever did - and I'm not buying meat!  Then, come home, eat a quick lunch and head back to the blood bank.  I flunked the test at the blood bank, so couldn't donate today.  My hemoglobin was only 11.7 -- needs to be 12.0 minimum.  Maybe next week.  I'm on their schedule to donate platelets (apheresis) once a month, so they'll be calling me again!

So now its time to do some computer work.  I did get some quilting done yesterday, another homeless quilt done and one loaded on the frame.  And I prepped more circles for my applique project.  I pinned them to the quilt, but haven't started sewing the little ones on.  Although I did get the larger ones sewn on the other day.
I'm back to doing the power point for church on Sunday, so I better get busy with that.

Until next time.....blessings.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Saturday

Well, here it is Saturday all ready.  I've spent the past few days in the sewing room - quilting a homeless quilt, then loading another for the next day's quilting.  I'm finally making some progress on getting the quilts finished.  I've also spent my time piecing batting (I hate piecing batting - but it does save a lot of money!), and piecing backings for more quilts for the homeless.
And, I try to do something of my own also.  Today I finished block 9 of the Primitive Garden quilt and prepped block 10 of the same quilt.  Then I moved on to this quilt:
It's upside down in this picture -- even though I straightened it in Microsoft Office before I saved it -- what's up with that?
Anyway, this quilt is already quilted and bound.  I love needle-turn applique, but I hate appliqueing circles because mine always have at least one point in them!  So, I finished the quilt and decided to make yo-yo's in place of the circles.  Sewed a few of them on and didn't really like it.  Today I tried sewing buttons on in place of the yo-yo's -- didn't like that either.  So....I'm back to making circles and will applique them on carefully in the borders among the stars and vines.  I prepped 13 of the bigger circles and thought about the 56 small circles they expect you to add to this pattern!  I have a feeling I won't be doing 56, but I will attempt to do as many as I think I'll need.  So this is my next project to finish and I'll be working on this one til it is done and outta here - hopefully before summer when I'll be putting out my Americana quilts!

Until next time....blessings.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday

A Typical Tuesday for me.  Errands. Got them out of the way and spent a short time in the sewing room.  Gotta load a quilt and get busy down there tomorrow.  Today I just spent some time organizing my projects.  I brought the latest applique project and the threads and pieces upstairs after I prepped the last leaves for it this afternoon.  I hope to apply those leaves tonight and do all the embroidery too.
I've been working on Primitive Garden from Primitive Gatherings for years now!  It started as a block of the month mailed to me and I managed to get 8 blocks done and most of block 9 before it began languishing in the studio.  There are only 10 blocks, but there are four appliqued borders to do after the blocks are done!  So, hopefully, now that I can applique again, I will be able to finish some of these projects.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I'm walking the Appalachian trail too!  Found the app from http://blog.maryquilts.com/  and decided I needed some encouragement to get my steps in.  I still don't get 10k steps in, but I'm happy with 7500+ five days a week.

It was a beautiful day today -- high 50's, but we're getting ready for rain tomorrow and cooler temps on the weekend.  If spring ever decides to stick around, I hope to do some walking outside in addition to the treadmill.  I did go out and check my spring flowers and I have a daffodil with two blooms open on it.  Been watching the yellow daffodil with buds on it, but they haven't opened yet.

Well, time to hit the recliner and pick up the applique!
Until next time...blessings.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Catching UP

Wow, I sure lose track of time! Last post was almost 2 months ago, so have a lot to catch up on. I'm still working on the resolutions (goals) I set out for myself.  I have lost 15 pounds so far, but this past month has been a struggle.  I'm still losing weight, but very slowly and that's because I haven't been exercising as much as I should and I also fell back into my old habit of not eating enough!  Imagine that -- not eating enough -- but it's actually not eating enough of the good food, so I end up hungry and snacking. I need to fill up at each meal.  This vegan diet does not mean eating salads all the time -- salads don't fill you up.  So, almost every morning, it's oatmeal made with soy/almond milk and dried dates and cinnamon topped with a fruit - today was strawberries.  I just finished lunch which was a vegetable soup including beans, which is actually very good, a piece of whole wheat bread with organic and natural peanut butter and a banana. That should hold me over til dinner which tonight will be another bowl of soup and a salad.  (Today's my cleaning/laundry day -- I like to keep dinner simple!)

I'm also still cleaning out one drawer/bin/shelf a week.  Got behind during the 5 weeks of classes, but have caught back up.  I'm working on the shelves in the basement that hold decorations for each season and all the other stuff I should have thrown away when I moved!  I have 4 lamps that I will be either donating or selling at a garage sale, and various other "stuff"!

In the meantime, I've been quilting tons of kids quilts and homeless quilts for donation.  I still have a pile of probably 10-12 of each to do.  I took a break to quilt some quilts for a friend.  And we're also finishing some quilts of a good friend that died last fall.  She has two daughters, so her friends and I have been finishing her quilts for them.  These are two I quilted last week.  Rogene was an excellent needle-turn appliquer - I envied her talent.  She had some beautiful quilts that I loved!

This second one was a struggle for me -- took me 3 days to finish it.  I'm still learning the Statler stitcher, and in order to do the backgrounds behind the flowers, you need to use either fill or trim.  In this case, the pattern used was a trim pattern (you place the background pattern and then click all around the flower and "trim" it out so there is no stitching on the flowers themselves.  My machine did not like trimming!  In fact the second day it decided to quit on me and after calling Gammill, they walked me thru a couple of fixes and then we decided I just needed to uninstall the Creative Studio program and reinstall it!  That worked and I managed to finish the quilt the next day.
So, now hopefully, I'll be able to get back to doing homeless quilts again!  I've also been pulling out my unfinished projects -- mostly applique for now.  I finish whatever block I was working on before it got set aside -- in most cases, years ago - and then prep the next block.  I'm doing them in a rotation - so I have two that have moved to the next block and one that I'm working on right now.  I think I'll have a rotation of about 6 projects going, so it'll keep me from getting bored with one and eventually I'll have them all finished!  It took me til a couple of weeks ago before I actually tried to applique after my thumb surgery.  But I'm happy to say I have no pain and can applique with no pain whatsoever!  Really glad I had the surgery!

And speaking of surgery, I'm scheduled for cataract surgery in May.  I'm paying a lot out of pocket to get the Restor lenses put in -- they have the capability of letting you see close up, midrange, and far away with out glasses!  I've worn contacts for 50 years, and my friend that has them did too, so I think that gives us a little edge on getting used to them.

I guess I need to keep up with the blog -- maybe not write a book each time!
Until next time....blessings.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

End of January

Last day of the month and time to revisit the goals I set for myself for 2016.

 First goal was to lose 5 pounds a month.  As of this morning, I have lost 7.6 pounds this month!  Yay me.

I set a goal to clean something out every week.  So far, I've cleaned the bathroom drawers and cabinet, the 9 bin organizer in my closet, the linen closet, the dry sink, and this past week, I cleaned out my food cabinet.




And my goal to work on and finish ufo's:  I finally got my Merry, Merry Snowman quilt quilted and the binding is on, and in the process of being sewn down.

For my diet:  I joined the Chip program (Complete Health Improvement Plan) thru the Y in collaboration with a local hospital.  This diet is totally vegan:  No meat, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no processed food, no caffeine, no snacking.
You eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and only whole grains.  We meet 3 nights a week and this past week was our first meetings.  It is very intense, lots to learn, lots of evidence of what a vegan lifestyle will do for you -- not can, will! They did blood tests and weigh-ins last week and we got the initial results on Thursday.  Many people have been able to go off their meds for blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides on this program.  All of my numbers are high, so of course my goal is to drop my blood sugar to normal, and lower the other numbers -- maybe even to go off my meds.  My doctor has been informed I'm doing the program, so she can monitor my meds.

I had set a goal for myself to lose at least 30 pounds this year -- well, my sheet recommended I lose 43!  Shocking when someone else says it!  So, my new goal is at least 40!
 
We also got a cookbook, a workbook, and a textbook for the class and a pedometer -- 10,000 steps a day.  So far, I've managed 7033 one day and 6196 yesterday.  Guess I'm going to have to work a little harder on the exercise, so my goal of exercising 3 days a week has now been expanded to at least 5 days a week!
I'll keep you posted on my progress with this program. (It's actually easier than I thought it would be - even though I thought it was vegetarian, not totally vegan!)

Until next time.....blessings.

 
 


 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Keeping up with my goals

I am working on the goals I set for this year and keeping up with most of them.
One goal was to pick a spot each week to clean up or clear clutter from.  Last week's goal was my linen closet and I managed to do that.  Week before was cleaning out the 9 bin organizer in my closet and that, too is done.  This week's goal:  Clean off the top of the Dry Sink, which is in my office and a surface that manages to collect things - mostly candles and decor I remove to change out seasonal stuff.  So, I cleaned it off this morning:
I also managed to walk on the treadmill this morning -- this goal is harder to maintain, so I have to force myself to do it until it hopefully will become a habit. 

I have my Merry, Merry Snowman top (Bunny Hill Designs) on the longarm and am slowly custom quilting it.  It's not a great job, but I am learning so much stuff -- finally!  I need to finish it this week and get back to quilting homeless quilts again.

Until next time....blessings.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Making some progress

I've been working a little bit with the donated fabric and the new cube organizer.  The top row of cubes has scraps and strips and squares that I've cut.  I got a little overwhelmed with all of that, so they aren't in any order, just basically thrown together.

 The two bins on top of the organizer are full of cut squares for the group at church to piece quilts together -- one has 3-1/2" squares for kids quilts and the other has 5" squares for homeless quilts.

Have you ever cut up your leftovers into squares and strips and saved them ala Bonnie Hunter style?  I used to, and over the years gave away everything I had saved because I didn't use them after I did all that organizing.  So, when we started prepping to make quilts at church -- there's a few quilters and about 10 non-quilters, so we had to teach the non-quilters what to do -  I started cutting squares and strips again.  Well, that's all well and good, but again, I wasn't using the 2-1/2" squares or anything else.  So the cubes are full of scraps and cut squares and strips.  
 I pulled a stack of 2-1/2" squares and started making 2-patches.  They will become 4 patches and maybe eventually, I'll add them to the 16-patch blocks I've had in the stash for years now and may become a quilt eventually!
I'm going to work with one cube at a time now to deal with leftovers and scraps as I go, and hopefully it'll all be organized eventually and all become quilts for the homeless.
Until next time....blessings.