Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve!

Usually by this time, I have a list of resolutions and things I want to accomplish in the new year.

And I HAVE done a lot of thinking - as you know

But getting back from travelling is always disrupting and I had a granddaughter waiting for me when I got home who will be here until tomorrow.

So.. the lists, the new projects, the PLAN will have to wait... because I need to read books and cook and play with my girl.   

That said - it's not on a checklist but could be - Connections with People.....  Being present with my granddaughter is more important than making a list because I can do that any time!

I do have areas of improvement - everyone does..... and need to build more good habits to go with them

but I think this year - with a bit of a checklist - I will set up very small incremental easy changes in a positive direction.  Habit building.

I do that anyway - but keep thinking a little accountability and tracking might be good.

Certainly I have gotten pretty detailed with my crafting.... so maybe in other areas I need to be cognizant of improvement too.

2015 has been a good year.... my focus on personal JOY and ADVENTURE has led me in all kinds of directions and provided me with a good base of happiness and new experiences.  And I've made a TON of progress in both cultivating / appreciating relationships and determining personal boundaries.

My areas of improvement (I guess INTEREST might be a better term) though remain constant:
        PHYSICAL HEALTH - nutrition & movement  GOAL: keeping my body in as good shape as possible as I age
        MENTAL / EMOTIONAL HEALTH - Simply put, what makes me happy?  GOAL: to be happy, alert and interested in living until I die.
        RELATIONSHIPS - how to cultivate relationships with the different layers of people I am close to
       FINANCIAL HEALTH - How to have enough money.  Period.  Encompasses bringing it in and spending it out.... and gratitude / satisfaction with enough.

.. I will look back at previous years... I am sure there is more..

and there are concrete things that I am not sure where they go.... like focus on my craft / art.... like gradually building a little bit of a business with some of the things I do well (if not on demand!)....  like getting a better handle on decorating my house and entertaining...  like keeping my marriage in a happy place...

Anyway - lots to ponder on this day....

But for now

I'm off to do some food prep for tomorrow and help dress a doll :-) 

I can get a little more serious tomorrow! 

Happy New Year's Eve!











Saturday, December 26, 2015

No Direction

Conventional wisdom on blogging is.... have a direction and blog 2-3 times weekly.  Especially if you want it to be a business.

I have to say - at this renaissance time of my life- direction is definitely missing!   I mostly use this blog as a journaling tool of sorts.... and I have no clear idea of my readership... so I ask you (if you are reading).... to share your ideas of things you might like me to write about.

I am in the midst of discovering who I am... of delving into crafts and activities I want to learn... and deciding how I want to write this 3rd act of my life...  And in a sense - however meandering... that is what I think I am sharing.  My ideas.. my feelings.. my confusions and discoveries.. in this strange period.

Not so strange really.. I remember being 19-20 and under a lot of pressure to figure out what I want to be. 

And I am in the same space - without the pressure.  I already have a career or two behind me.  I also know I have a career or two ahead of me but I don't have the pressure to decide!  It is kind of fun to re-explore things I have always enjoyed to see if I can learn more or if I still enjoy them as much.

So there it is... A blog with some direction but not much.  I do have some things I plan to explore in 2016 ... 

Still quilting.  I plan to finish more of the projects I have started.  And I plan to spend more time on handwork... The hexie grandmother flower garden, the Hawaiian blocks and a new applique project that I will share later.  So you will see a lot more quilting in my WIP posts.

Still moving forward in my health journey with food and movement, so there will be posts like that

And I will continue my work on improving my clutter/ cleaning / organization. Because it is not my natural gift....

Still love the serendipity of adventure so there will be posts about taking opportunities and risk and failure

And the occasional opinion piece

I also keep at my other blogs - children's liturgy, sometimes spiritual reflections, and hometown celebrations (activity books I self-published once upon a time that feature local history).  I do have some plans to work on more group activity plans that incorporate things I am interested in - like children's books.    But time will tell on that one!

I guess the main point of this blog is to say...  Sorry!  I am not a focused person :-). I will share my journey in this third act of my life and keep exploring and sharing

Again... If you have a question or want me to research and share and opine on a topic, do speak up or email me because I do like to write and I have fun researching...

Enjoy the journey and lets see where it takes us!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

As I sit here in the early morning before anyone wakes, I like to savor Christmas.

Something about this day..... a sense of rightness with the world.

My Christmas looks different this year.... Christmas Eve afternoon was spent lounging by the pool... dinner was at a restaurant.

And all is quiet this morning and will remain so.

I have pictures in my mind of the boisterous joyful mornings in so many houses.... and also quiet mornings that look like any other day.

I appreciate the memories and the roads my imagination can take... thinking of all the different types of Christmas mornings.  My own children in their own homes with their moments of festivity.

We will have a dinner later with just a few of us....  but I am grateful

oh so grateful

not only for memories and good friends

but also the knowledge that people I love are fed and warm

and I have running water and new places to go and see

Life is abundant

Merry Christmas, world!  Enjoy your day whatever it looks like.  Be kind to yourself and enjoy the little things.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

WIP Wednesday - ok Friday :-) 12/18/15

It's been a busy one!

The major focus has been on finishing up the 4 grandquilts.  And I did it!  I am just about amazed at myself :-)  I can honestly say now that - while I'm no expert... I do have a bit of expertise in all phases of quilt-making... design, color choice, piecing, sandwiching, quilting and binding... I'm getting there!  And it's getting easier... and I still love it :-)

I'll post the photos with a future post on my finished quilts for the year.  I am pretty sure my family doesn't read my blog but I'll keep the Christmas surprise anyway - (at least the finished product!)

So.... 4 quilts

and then 4 pillowcases to go with them



and 2 cloth books I put together for the newest grand - and the one who will arrive in January!

A secondary focus was on using up the cotton yarn in the dishcloths I've been sharing with you.  I got photos of all of them except for 3 Christmas ones.  I took them to the quilt store to give as gifts - and a customer actually bought 10 of them!




I didn't even know what to say about a price because I truly was just using up the little balls and bits... but there you go.... One man's trash is another man's treasure :-)  I took the rest to my craft group's Christmas party today and came home with just two.  I still have some yarn and am still crocheting....  I will take some of them to the places I stay over Christmas as hostess gifts.



And then - again thinking about crafts to travel with... probably hexies and cotton yarn to finish.  I have a few partial cones so I can make several that match each other ... and I have some really small bits that I plan on making facial scrubbers for myself.  For washing and/or makeup application.....

And then planning for next year.  I think I really like this 'end of year' finish up time because not only do I get to share some finishes - I also have a fallow time where my brain really gets into planning for the next year.

There are so many projects I would like to do... but I lose steam in the middle.  It's good to have a time to pick them back up and either finish or re-evaluate.  I am thinking that next year I will make a point of working on moving at least one step monthly on an ongoing project (as well as working on new :-)  And then - September again - I will focus on the Christmas gifting and the FINISHing...

Are you busy winding up crafts for gifts?


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Quilt Stories - Big City Construction 2015

It all began with a birthday party theme.   Big trucks and machines for my 3 year old grandson.

And then the discovery of a City Construction panel by Benartex which is still available on Amazon (here) as of this writing. 



I found it at a shop.... and purchased the panel and a yard each of the coordinating prints... tossed cars on white and tossed planes on the light blue background.

I knew there was a similar stripe at my local shop and then I bought 4 coordinating brights - green, yellow, blue and orange.  My plan at the time was simply to put a few borders on it and make a throw.

But then he moved from his toddler bed to a full-sized bed while I was deliberating.  Oops!  The price of procrastination!

What now?  I put on the striped border and waited for inspiration!

And found it!  Economy blocks that featured the additional prints.  So I found a great tutorial online and decided to start with a 4.5-inch center.  I cut the strips and made as many blocks as those squares made!  (16!)

I added side borders to the panel so that I could add the blocks to the top and bottom for length.  Then purchased RED for an additional border..... then borders of the strips and another small border after that to frame it out.


I found a cute polka dot and a vehicle fabric in the same colors.... to use on the back but it wasn't big enough.... so I used the 6 extra pieced blocks and added leftover squares and strips until it fit :-)


A scrappy binding and voila!

Then a quilting challenge for sure!  I quilted around the economy blocks in and out... I took my quilt lines through the stripes and colors from the panel outward.  Did as many straight lines through the panel as I could.....  outlined the vertical lines of the buildings, the arches and then went a little bit crazy around the planes.

I loved the creative process of this quilt - but didn't like the deadline (Christmas)  All in all though - what a lot of fun!

It is messy but does the job - and gave me a lot of experience.  I doubt anyone will be too critical of the quilting - and if they are - they can hand it back and I'll quilt some more on it!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Little Tricks... Comfort Food 5 of 5

I would be remiss in this series if I didn't share the websites that I LOVE

Do remember I am no expert - just a busy person trying to "health-ify" her diet and bring a family along with her.

These are my GO TO sources for ideas!  I've included website links and Amazon links where available.  I think I might get a little kickback if you order from the link but I'm not sure I did it right for that :-)  I just wanted to direct you to my resources!

For Juices & Green Smoothie Ideas

My Note:  Juices take out the pulp... and I'm kind of frugal so I need ideas how to use the pulp before I will do a juice.  I lean more to the green smoothies to get the fiber in a one stop shop kind of method!  But the flavors and ideas are pretty similar.

But I LOVE juices, especially carrot-apple-ginger (pulp is great in a muffin!)

Reboot with Joe   (juice)  Joe filmed a documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.... and has documented how juices have helped him regain health.  He has written several books and has a ton of recipes.  An awesome site and a lot of good info.  Here is his Amazon link with all his books.

Simple Green Smoothies  (I find this site to be the most user friendly - ie ingredients I can find & swap... and recipes I actually like right away :-)  These ladies actually have a book now  Simple Green Smoothies by Jen Hansard and Jadah Sellner     and do have a "green smoothies challenge 3-4 times a year with a month of new recipes!

Incredible Smoothies   This is the site I used when I began learning about green smoothies!  Lots of good stuff here..

QUICK Grab 'n Go ideas

The Yummy Life    My absolute FAVE site chock full of natural Grab n Go prepare ahead ideas that fit my lifestyle.  I have cultivated a habit of making up 2-3 days of various grab n go meals / snacks that travel since I go into town 3-4 days/week (45 miles one way!  Can't eat out that much)

All Around Good Ideas

Cook for Good   This is the blog site for a book I learned a TON from and still use as a reference.. Wildly Affordable Organic by Linda Watson.  Great info on basic basics... how to buy produce in season... cooking beans & rice... easy basic ideas that fit in a budget!

100 Days of Real Food    Another site / author who has a lot of practical ideas for a budget.  Lisa Leake is a mom who sends whole food lunches with her children - again many grab 'n go ideas that are whole real food!  And practical packaging ideas as well!  Lisa's book 100 Days of Real Food is an easy read and full of quick fixes that will help you move on your journey to whole food.  [also really FUN to read how her family reacted to her project!]



For fun!

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day  This is a book I have had a lot of fun with!  I learned to make bread - quickly and successfully....  and I enjoy it!  And it's true.  Make the dough one day.. make the bread the next... easy-peasy...  The blog is here.   Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francoise have written several books but this is the one I've actually used and if you search my blog you'll find I have posted about at least half the book... I didn't quit baking but got tired of posting.  One of the difficulties about continuing to post about things is that I don't even know if I have readers :-)  So maybe it's just me... and if that is true - I can quit posting when I want without disappointing anyone!


I'm sure there are more I can't remember at this moment - but this is a good start for you.  What are some of YOUR healthy food favorite resources?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

I tried!!

Dear God,
I tried.
I was so sick at heart yesterday that I tried to add church to today's activities
It's tough but I know you know that. It's not like there is a local Catholic church for me.  And, you know I'm open to a call but yesterday's visit freaked me out. Because that church IS local. And scary
So I found a Catholic church near where I am meeting my son for lunch
And I printed out directions
And I left on time
And messed up the directions

And drove around looking for it for an extra 45 minutes.
OK 20 of those minutes were parked messing with my map app
After I gave up getting to mass and decided I would at least locate the church for next time
But I did try
And I listened to two podcast homilies
And I will get lunch with my son
So I am satisfied that I tried
And I hope you love my effort
More than my success

Amen.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Quilt Stories - Cloudy Day 2015

I LOVE this quilt!

Usually I  love color.... and I do love scraps....  I saw this quilt at Kitchen Table Quilting 
and fell in love.  Scrappy but a muted range of colors.



I decided to make this for my selective daughter's son.  There was no pattern but it is clearly made of half-square triangles - so I chose a size and bought several yards of a background... and started rummaging through my stash.  And kept my eye out for grays and teals and dark blues....  and started making half-square triangles.

And then found out my girl preferred clear blues to aquas.....  so I went back on the prowl...  

I do tend to do well designing on the fly so I was having fun - and I like having input to draw from.  I would hate to put several months or years into a project and then find out it wasn't loved!   (and now I have lots of teal /aqua half-square triangles in my stash!  Maybe I will make one of these for me)

Once I had a good collection - I think 17 fabrics.. 2 each... and 40+ white squares cut.. I started building until I liked my layout.  I don't have a design wall... I have a bed.  And a floor.  And a dining room table :-)

The top assembled fairly quickly - and I decided it needed to be bigger so I cut more white squares and made a border around it.



Then - for the back - I decided to be scrappy again.  I used one gray (she particularly likes gray) and leftover 9-inch gray/white print squares around that. 



I quilted it in a grid following the block seams on the front.

The most fun thing about this quilt is that my husband really liked it.  He is usually complimentary but he really liked this one!  [so I really MAY need to make another!]



Thursday, December 10, 2015

Quilt Stories: Gabby and the Princess and the Pea 2015 (2)

or.... 2 quilts for 2 grandgirls...

A children's book came into the shop....

and I just had to get it for my two grandgirls....



and then I just had to make a quilt to go with it..... you can buy it here....  (and you should... it is adorable!)

this was in January & I wanted the two quilts done for Christmas.  The book comes with a simple pattern and my two tops were similar.  I had 2 thoughts in fabric choices: one was to use scraps from the dresses and tops I have made for them since they were born..... and the second was pink and blue.  Both girls love the scene in the Disney Sleeping Beauty movie where the fairies are arguing about the color of Aurora's dress... Make it Pink!  Make it Blue!  It's a little game of ours so one girl would get pink and one would get blue.

Tops were done in January and I thought I was rocking it!

But I also had the notion that I wanted to make quilts similar to this one:


There was a tutorial and I figured it all out but couldn't figure out how to quilt the negative space.... so never started it.

Then BOOM!  Reversible..... Gabby on the front in one color (bright) ... Princess & the Pea on the back in the other (pastel) and a book for each side.

A little ambitious, I know.... but there you go..  I changed it up before I thought it through.  I was worrying about the negative space so I centered the mattress strips.  (of course... NOW that I quilted from the Gabby side, it is a non-issue... but that is how you learn!)

the favorite Princess and the Pea book?  This one by Janet Stevens.  Old-fashioned story with lovely artwork

You can purchase it here if you like.

Anyway - I constructed the Princess side... and had to "grow" the Gabby side until I got them the same and close to a double bed size.

 The pastel pink Princess is backed by the bright blue Gabby

and the pastel blue Princess
 is backed with the bright pink Gabby


I used the Gabby side for my quilting... diagonal corner to corner through the 5-inch blocks using the corners as reference points.  It worked well in the center and is a little creative (you might say wonky!) at the edges - but it is fine.  Scrappy border and label... and Frozen (Else) pillowcases and ready for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

WIP Wednesday 12/9/15

Coming back from our Thanksgiving trip.... and jumping right into THE QUILTING of the grand quilts!

I know I bit off more than I can chew - but there ya go.... it's what I do :-)

So... first off, I can say that I am continuing to use up my cotton yarn in crocheted dishcloths....

Not terribly exciting, I know - but I am thinking.. since I have a  lot of them now.. I may roll each one up and tie it with ribbon and carry a basket of them around with me.  It IS Christmas and I don't want to own all these cloths!  Everyone can use a dish or bath cloth.

I did find a pattern for cosmetic sponges (wipes) that I will make with the last of the tiny balls.... since one of my new practices is makeup!  Or attempting it anyway - who says old dogs can't learn new tricks?  But those are for AFTER I make all the cloths I can...

The quilts....  I tackled the vehicle panel one first.. and it is a toughie.  I quilted enough to bind it....  I do love making a scrappy binding and seeing how it comes out....




That one is now half-quilted and bound.  I still need to do a little more stitching but need to think about where and how...

I set it aside to clip strings last night and Diva decided to help...



So I moved to the next boy quilt - my cloudy day with the blue triangles

I was totally shocked that it quilted up quickly.  I had a plan and things went smoothly!  Squared and bound... it just needs to be labelled!

Two more to go (and the vehicle one to finish!)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Little Tricks... Comfort Food.. Post 4 of 5

Okay -

so some quick good stuff I've discovered

Green smoothies:  Just so you know... Spinach has no flavor.... baby kale doesn't have much flavor either.  So if you like fruit... you can add a serving (2 cups) of greens like a bonus!   Don't like the color?  Get over it... it's a free helping of greens which can't be bad.

My faves:
Approx 1-2c fruit and the green of your choice!

Dreamsicle:  1-2 oranges, a bit of vanilla and coconut water (or almond milk)
Pina Colada: pineapple, coconut extract
Raspberry & vanilla

also can toss in chia seeds and oatmeal to add protein / grain.

I often add watermelon, apples or pears to increase my fruit servings - and grapes to sweeten.

1 daily green smoothie doubles my veggie/fruit intake!

Fast Breakfasts:
    Prepare 3-4 at a time to eat over the course of the week!  Individually wrap and store in the fridge
       Egg wrap:  Sliced hard-boiled egg, half slice cheddar in a whole wheat wrap
       Yogurt Bowl: frozen fruit, oatmeal, maple syrup, plain Greek yogurt

Roasted Broccoli:   Okay - don't laugh.... but my husband and I love this instead of popcorn... Really!

Spritz a cookie sheet with olive oil.  Arrange broccoli florets on it.  Spritz again and shake on garlic powder or salt.  Stick in 450 degree oven for 30 min or so...... the tips will be a little burnt and crispy.

It's awesome!

And on that note:

Roasted Vegetables:   Clean out your fridge - potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans..... add onions, garlic pepper.   Perhaps a bit of turkey polish sausage (sliced and quartered) for flavor.

Cover with foil - or not if no potatoes - 400 degrees for about 30 min... until fork tender.

Simply awesome and our new choice for comfort food.

Yum Bowls: I keep separate prepared food items in the fridge and freezer.  For a Yum Bowl, I use a whole grain or rice (barley, farro, wild rice, etc)
                  a protein - a bit of hamburger, TVP, chicken, egg - cooked with onion, celery, etc
                 beans
                 greens - sauteed kale, cabbage, bok choy

Basically - I create a bowl of yummy ingredients according to my mood.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Joy

Most of this morning, I thought about JOY.

MY JOY

I was in church today and kept thinking about how exciting it is to be a believer!  I mean, this particular season exemplifies the JOY in believing, doesn't it?

If you can strip away the usually self-induced anxiety, and remember how it was when you were a child.  This is a time of miracles around every corner.... and isn't life like that anyway?  You really never DO know how you will be blessed... and you WILL be blessed!

The key, I think, is to know this.  And to be ready.  And prepared.  To first of all - RECOGNIZE the blessing (because it may not SEEM like a blessing at first :-)
  *** What do I mean here?
      Well.. in cultural terms.... a fat man in red suit breaking into your house?  In Christian terms.... the chaos of the end times?  Or maybe in MY daily life... a car breaking down (which, in turn might mean a blessed day at home where I can get caught up instead of running around like a maniac OR feel guilty for not running around like a maniac)


And second of all... to ACCEPT the blessing.  (How many times do YOU back down from something that isn't 'normal' or 'usual'?)
  *** Like......
            Being grateful for the car breaking down?
            Saying thank you for a compliment instead of putting it off.... 'You look great today!... THANK YOU' not 'You look great today!.... Really?  I feel awful... I'm sniffling and my head hurts'  It feels GOOD to simply say THANK YOU and go on about your day remembering that you got a compliment - even helps with the headache sometimes
           Like fat man in a red suit breaking in to GIVE instead of TAKE AWAY
           Like chaos and turmoil signalling the advent of the second coming..

           Letting go of your emotions (FEAR) and remembering that you aren't in charge is accepting a blessing!

And, third....  being GRATEFUL for the blessing!
     This, I think is the hardest!  Not because we aren't grateful - but because we have the attention span of a gnat!  We take and process.... and are moving on to the next thing.
      To be truly grateful requires that we STOP.

    STOP to
         RECOGNIZE
         ACCEPT
            and
         THANK.

SO... instead of mulling over all the pains and heartaches and problems.... try to spend a little time today mulling over the GOOD STUFF
     the healthy parts of your life.... the precious time you have to give.... the smell of something baking.... the fresh cold air on your face....  maybe be a child today and remember the excitement you had!

What will you do today to feel the joy?




Saturday, December 5, 2015

Not the same Jesus

sick at heart...

got an accidental visit from somebody else's pastor.... a nice-seeming older gentleman.

Kind of a grandfatherly type who invited me to join the congregation sometime anyway.

A little more conversational stuff - polite niceties, you know

 and he made a remark about somebody who was a non-believer wanted to come sing in his church.

[my first hackles rising at the term "his church"]

And how he couldn't allow it.

Because he couldn't allow a non believer to to utter words of praise in his church.

Because that was hypocritical.

Ouch!  I wish I thought faster on my feet but I said that I thought the good Lord would love words of praise from anyone.

But no - the jaw set.
the teeth clenched.

Nope, words of praise from a nonbeliever was hypocrisy and an abomination in God's eyes.

The gentle little old grandfatherly type morphed into an angry self-righteous old man right before my eyes.


I wish I'd thought faster because he sounded like a Pharisee to me.
I wish I'd thought faster because I can't imagine Jesus would turn away anyone.

Because it's really God's house, isn't it?

I never did hear of God striking anyone dead for praising him in his house.

I can't imagine Jesus turning someone away or stopping them from praising the Father.

I guess it's okay that I didn't think faster.  Coming up with a one-liner wouldn't have gained me anything - and I'm not sure that poor angry man would be open to hearing what he didn't agree with.

I just know that my heart hurts with the mean-spirit.  I am struck with the self-righteousness for he clearly felt correct in his actions.

But I certainly won't visit "this man's church" because I would never be welcome.

Even though I profess to be a believer.

I don't think we believe in the same Jesus.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Wip Wednesday.. Dec 2, 2015

A traveling week which began before the LAST WIP post.... but I thought I'd just do the preparation bit last week..

and now.. traveling..


several dishcloths...







a hexie flower finished


and one of the Hawaiian applique pieces is ready to layer and quilt


And now back home to figure out where I am in the grand scheme of things!


Comments

You know I hate to think how long some of my comments live...especially ones that are truly irrelevant

This week I was a guest of some of my favorite people. And I found myself truly trying to conserve use of an item that I am usually careless about my use.

Because of a comment my host had once made about his not understanding why people use so much.

My host is a gentle non-judgmental soul.  Well, he has strong opinions but I have never seen him hold anything against anyone.  Nor have I seen him begrudge anyone what they think they need.

It was a statement delivered strongly.

But I am sure it has been 10 years since he said it

I am equally sure he has no memory of the statement though he is very logical and probably still feels the same way.

Though he would not care if I use more than he does and would willingly give me all I want.

My ego
My sensitivity
Makes a problem where there is none.
Because of a casual comment

What I use or don't use will have no impact here
But I dance around it like it matters.

His comment
My mind

Makes me think twice
Thrice
About my own comments

I apologize to the world because I cannot keep my mouth shut.
I too have strong opinions
I notice things and remark on them
That is how I am wired

But I truly don't judge (I think)
And I am generous

Don't let my negative words live in your head
They may only carry importance in one moment in time
And may have nothing to do with you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

December starts my year :-)

It's my birthday month so it's already a new year opportunity

And my thoughts and resolutions won't get lost in the New Year hype....

AND... it's a crazy busy time... which is exactly when I need to focus in and go for what "I" want in my life :-)

I have two themes for the year...

#1 - Top Priority is

"Get Physical!"

with 3 different physical areas:
   appearance (includes makeup, skin care, hair, wardrobe, etc.)
   health (includes exercise, nutrition, emotional well-being, etc.)
and
   personal connections (FACE to FACE instead of facebook to facebook :-)

#2 - to keep in mind always is

"Happily Ever After"

a reminder that each day is the 'happily ever after' I wanted as a child :-)  So I build on last year's "Finding Joy" and "YES to Adventure"... and keep building..

Since I'm just back from traveling, today is getting my laundry done, my food organized for the week - and prioritizing my exercise :-)

What are your goals for December?


Monday, November 30, 2015

Little Tricks... Comfort Food.. Post 3 of 5

Okay....  so.. we are trying to make better choices and still keep enjoy eating!

here are a few tricks I use.

Crunchy munchies.... okay so I confess.... cheeto diving used to be my premier sport.  I could eat thousands of calories of orange powdered crunch at a single sitting.

and it still can get to me

I spent a couple of years attempting the move from orange powder

to plain tortilla chips

with dip of course depending on the mood of the day

with an ultimate goal of salsa ... (tomato, right?  It's a vegetable)

Or refried beans.... (or rather mushed beans with lots of garlic, chili powder and cumin)

Better option!

But what else can you do?

FUEL FIRST.


Give yourself permission to eat your orange powder.

Seriously.

BUT

Find a produce/protein combo that works for you.
And eat that first.

Crunch works for me :-)

Celery.  Boring, I know.   But add almond butter ( or peanut butter)
And you have a snack that gives your body a veggie and a protein.  (Or substitute the celery with apples - another BORING option)

Still bored?


Eat the non-nutritive stuff you want.

Over time, you will eat less.  You will get stronger.  The veggie/protein combo will nourish your body.  You will be better able to a) withstand the orange powder temptation and/or b) eat less of it.

Until you don't eat it.

I'm convinced.

Though I'm not quite there.  [though I HAVE gotten to the point of recognizing how bad I feel after I eat too many cheetos.... and I HAVE... several times.... haunted the snack aisle wanting cheetos and settling for a better option [a low-calorie flavorful popcorn usually]    and I HAVE... ONCE.... been able NOT to buy them at all because I remembered how bad they make me feel.


Because a truth is that I eat them for my taste buds.   And I need to FEED MY BODY.

So I eat the whole bag, feel sick and guilty.... and THEN need to eat to fuel my body.

And it's a dumb idea

So fuel first. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

WIP Wednesday 11/25

This one is kind of split between... finish up and home and crafting on the road!


I spent the latter half of last week getting the grandquilts basted.  Each one takes several hours due to me crawling around on the floor!  I must find a better way :-)
My Kate was helping as much as she could get away with!


 I LOVE the way the Princess and the Pea turned out :-)


My lower back decided that getting 3 basted before vacation was enough!  I will be thrilled if I can get all four quilted by Christmas.. so I really don't NEED the fourth one basted for a while...

I used up a good bit of crochet thread scraps working on dishcloths....



and I had to spend some time figuring out what kind of craft stuff to bring along with me on the road.

Our trip will have at least 5 full travel days in it... so I need to keep my creative self occupied!

 A cone of crochet thread added to my scrap bits so that I can finish off cloths and start new if I make that many!

My Hawaiian applique blocks need to come so I can show my cousin - and do a little work along the way.

And my hexies.. I haven't worked on them for a while so it would be good to bring them along.



hmmm... I will need a few other choices, I am sure!  But that is good for now :-)

(I actually started traveling on Monday but will save the traveling post for next week!

Happy Thanksgiving in case I don't get back here!)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Little Tricks.... Comfort Food Post 2 of 5

Okay -

So step 2 from making your own comfort food....

is trying to 'health-i-fy' it.

A) By adding more veggies.... onions, celery, peppers count :-)

But ask yourself.....  can I toss a bean in there?  How about a carrot?

Perhaps a serving of broccoli will go nicely along with it?

More veggies = more fiber....

You know it's a good transition....  make it as painless as possible.

I save the leftover broth from veggies (even the water from rinsing out a can of tomato sauce) in a container in the freezer.   When I use the crockpot to make something.. that is the broth I use.  Makes phenomenal soups... though alas.. I cannot duplicate the seasonings :-)

Another trick I am using is to try more kinds of veggies.  Make a list of the veggies you don't choose but don't hate.  Any way you can add one of them in without too much inconvenience?

B) By reducing meat.   I am in no way a vegetarian.. though I do not care for many meats.  But I am trying to follow Thomas Jefferson in using meat as a condiment for my vegetables.

I am not arguing the virtues of protein... there are many articles on that and a lot of differing viewpoints.

However I can find little disagreement that most green vegetables are good for you.  In every way.  And in every amount.

So... more veggies..... less meat.

If you are a meat eater, the approach may be to increase veggies first - NOT decrease meat.  Get accustomed to a different ratio of meat to veggie.  Then it is easy.

C) Whole Wheat..... Just so you understand that whole grain is not the same as whole wheat.  Your end goal is 100% whole grain for bread, pasta, etc. - but any movement you can make in that direction is a good thing!

D) Make your own.
     So I am not a cook... I just don't like it.  BUT it is a fact that if you prepare it yourself, you know what is in it.  And it is easier and quicker than we think!  So it is important to learn.
   I can share more on that if you are interested! 

D)  Of course, there is always "Eat Less"
But for some of use, there are many easier challenges with food.  And if you are a comfort food eater.... "eat better" is do-able....  "eat less" is a lot tougher!

On the Road Again....

I do love traveling with my husband....

I think it's because when we are on the road.. we have to be focused together rather than at home wandering about doing our own tasks...

And the freedom of no ordinary household chores.


But I always have such mixed feelings at the point of leaving..

I spend the week before in preparation to go

When I come back, I will spend at least the same amount of time getting settled back in

And this time, I'll be turning around and doing it again for Christmas

It's a year for adventure.... not tradition

but I have to say

in spite of the emotional upheaval of family gatherings

I already miss my big brood of kids.

But again - I AM definitely looking forward to catching up with family I haven't seen in years

and the ROAD TRIP!!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ireland!

Oh my goodness!

It's official!

I am going to Ireland!

June 2016

How crazy is that?

So... here is serendipity.   If you are a regular reader, you might remember that my husband kidnapped me last Mothers Day and we ran off to Winchester, VA for the weekend.

Looking back I didn't really write much about it.  I noted it in a One Sentence Journal Post.... but I was in the middle of the 29 Days of Giving series so I didn't elaborate..

so I will do it here.

It was a surprise weekend and my husband had found a beer tasting at a plantation house in the Winchester, VA area.  (Since the kids have been gone, we have been slowly and tentatively trying to regain some ground as a couple.  It's a difficult time of life, I think.... not enough has been said about it - but it's real!  And we have accidentally discovered that we both enjoy alcohol tastings)

Anyway - I was pleased that he found something we both enjoy and planned this on his own :-)  And a side trip to Luray Caverns on the way home.... more new fun :-)

Pulling into the hotel on Friday night, there were several Model A cars.... and my husband is a true car guy... so some interest piqued..   One of the owners was standing by his car so we had to talk to him.... and there was a car show that weekend.  Serendipity for him!  [and now a personal joke about a surprise for me that turned out to be for him too :-)]

Long story short... Saturday morning was quilt store, car show and THEN the beer tasting.....    the quilt store was the Scrappy Apple... and it so happened that the owner leads trips to Ireland.  I picked up info and we left.  And that was that.

Little bits and pieces and talking about travel and our age and things like that.  Adventure and our work trip to Hawaii and an upcoming BIG anniversary in 2016..  and months... and a week ago, we were talking and Ireland came up again.  And his question to me?   Can husbands go?

Huh?  wow... this is serious from my quiet husband.

The answer is YES.... and while it is a quilting group, it is not a trip where we complete a project or anything like that.  We are touring Ireland.  Yes we will go to quilt shops.  Yes we will tour a weaver's shop.  And quilt museums.  But mostly basic sites and resort accommodations to enjoy.  And sight-seeing.  And the Blarney Stone.

And we drove back to Winchester this week to get more info and put down a deposit.

EEKKK!!

It's real!

And I have 7 months to dream and read and get ready! [which is at least 80% of MY personal FUN!]

I am not posting this until I have my passport in hand to complete the forms....  so I will be able to


EEEKKKKK!!!!!

again.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wip Wednesday 11/18/2015

Works-in-Progress!  And I have been busy!

One of the hardest things for me right now is my determination to use this time period for FINISHING!

I am finding more and more projects to START :-)  So I am lining them up for after the first of the year.  I will probably do a whole post on them later but this week's find is the Shenandoah Valley Botanical Quilt.  Mostly applique and lots of flowers, of course.  Kind of goes with my Hawaiian quilting (applique) and my Underground Railroad (mid-1800s period).  Not to mention how much I love flowers and history!  Here is the site if you want to play along with me.  I have no real time table but will share as I go along AFTER January 1!   Sales of the pattern also benefit the Virginia Quilt Museum.  Another bonus in my opinion!

Anyway - I keep going back and forth... My head is DOWN into the Advanced Virginia Sampler quilt class assignments and the 4 grandquilts (8 pieced tops).  The goal is to be caught up with the class... and have the quilts basted before we go out of town for Thanksgiving (Sunday deadline).  So when I get back..... I can quilt, quilt, quilt (and make matching pillowcases)!

But you know how I work... several projects at a time.. get up, walk around, do something else....come back and focus.  So it's been days of sewing this week.. and cleaning out scraps, and dreaming.

I meant to finish binding my jelly roll quilt but that didn't quite happen.

I doggedly worked on the blocks assigned from the Virginia Sampler class I have been taking.  And I am proud to say that I did it!  Kicked my tail.. but they are done.  Here are a couple of them - but I can say that I finished NINE.....  go me!  Three of them are killer stars - two of which are very puffy in the center... but I have sprayed and ironed and sprayed and ironed.. and flattened them a lot.

Here are two of the nine.....    now Boom!  Done til after Thanksgiving!


Lighthouse Block - also known as Aerial Beacon

All American Star (you don't want to know what I called it!)
Blocks and scraps and supplies put away!

Finished up several [25!] Roads blocks while piecing Virginia blocks and grandquilts


I do these along the way and am now up to 55, I think.....  60 for a full size quilt... less for play mats.... we'll see how this goes :-)  Am kind of thinking about making another set with blue instead of gray (river instead of road) since I will have FOUR grandboys in TWO families....

But that is beside the point right now in the deadline projects!

I am excited to say that I finished piecing the grand quilts!  I did not think I would have all of them finished as of this writing....  I really thought I had a little more border tweaking but I am good :-)  I will give full stories about the quilts later when they are completed BUT here they are at the moment

This one basted:
Front

Back
After Thanksgiving I will consult with my daughter as to color of quilting thread and binding....  either white or silver for the thread, I think... and it will depend on whether she wants the binding to be invisible or frame the quilt....  white gray or a navy blue would be cool.  What do you think?

 These are not basted yet:

LOVED the way this one turned out... it is a really cool panel that needed to grow into a full size (double bed) quilt.

Front - a busy vehicle panel plus extra blocks
back
I am not sure at all how I will quilt this one and would love suggestions!  Probably white thread though... I'm not sure want to change threads throughout the quilting though I might do that anyway.


And then these for the grandgirls:
They will each get one bright and one pastel - one pink and one blue.  At least that is the plan.  Each style goes with a book so they will have books to go with the quilts.  More details of course when the quilts are done.

I don't think my girls read this blog - but if they do, they may give me suggestions :-) 

   Backs that go with the Gabby book ... a lot of the scraps in these come from dresses I made them when they were little.. so they will have their own stories to go with them.




And Fronts that will go with Princess and the Pea



I LOVE how these turned out!  The girls will recognize some of these fabrics - but some come from deep within my stash and have been around longer than their moms :-)  I plan to quilt these on the bright brickwork pattern side using the different threads top and bottom matching the primary color (light or bright pink or blue) using a cross hatch pattern.

I am still learning about machine quilting and will use my walking foot - keeping the tension straight will be enough of a challenge!

Whew!!    Done!  Basting is next.... but it's a back breaker since I do it on the floor with needle and thread.... I really need to learn to pin baste!

And in the midst of all of it - I cleaned up my scrap boxes.... red and yellow... done!

And that, my friends is plenty enough WIP for one week :-)       {Of course, I am working on using up my cotton yarn scraps into dishcloths.. but I will share those next week as I make a little progress on them!)

So... what suggestions do you have for me?

And what have YOU been up to?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Grieved.. and a little bit proud

My heart has been aching since the news of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

I can't stop thinking.. 'what if it had been me?'

Or

'what if it had been my family?'

I have been increasingly disturbed by the number of people on my Facebook feed that are using this attack to beat the drums of their individual political agendas.  I recognize that I am singularly different than many of my peers.... and that is okay.  I live in a country where differing views are protected - though not well tolerated.

So I keep quiet.  I remove annoying types of posts.  And I recognize that most of my peers are afraid.  Of many things.

And when people are afraid, they usually either cower

Or attack.

Usually it is not worth the effort of sharing my own opinion.

But when I picked up my son today, he was clearly agitated.

He said.... "Mom, I am so mad about all the posts I am seeing where people are using this tragedy in Paris to spout their own feelings about gun control.... and immigration... and call the President names.   Don't they understand that we are talking about people who died??  People who are hurt!  People who lost loved ones!"

And therein lies exactly what has been bothering me.

This is not the moment to proclaim my feelings on either one side or the other.

That only focuses attention on me
and my feelings

It certainly isn't right to use

the death of someone's mother

son

husband

to shout my own opinions or satisfy my own need for attention.

It is time for some silence.

Some courtesy.

And maybe a little bit of motherly pride that my young man filled with all the vigor and strong opinions of youth recognized what we all seem to forget....

that we are talking about people.

People whose death and sorrow deserve dignity and respect.






Monday, November 16, 2015

Little Tricks...Comfort Food Post 1 of 5

I just wanted to share some tricks I have discovered over the last few years.

Maybe I already knew it - but if the light bulb went on for me....

Maybe it will help you!

I am a comfort food eater.....
nothing makes me happier than diving into a bowl of mashed potatoes
mac n cheese
lasagna

unless it's a bag of chips and dip

or some chili mac casserole thing

I'm not choosy

I like flavor and I like carbs

I like crunch and I like mush.

AND I'm lazy.  Quick is the key!

So I've been experimenting

First off was the experiment in speed.

Most of those things freeze.  Not much luck with potatoes....  but pasta & cheese combos freeze like champs.

So I can make up a batch of my own stuff with my own ingredients and freeze in 2-cup portions so we can have it whenever we want.

chili, chili mac, mac n cheese, pasta stuff like baked spaghetti or lasagna

Most soups without potatoes.... (soups WITH potatoes too if you are going to blend with milk later but that takes work and when I am searching for comfort food... I don't want to work :-)  Look at the freezer section of the grocery store.... if they can do it, you probably can too.

with your own food.

So you are not eating the best... but you DO KNOW what is in there...

so there you go!

Progress, not perfection.  It's the journey - so make sure you are traveling in the right direction!

Grab n go comfort food. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Maybe Focus on One Week

I keep working on getting healthier

stronger

more flexible

eating better

but I am having such a hard time STICKING to it

I have done a good job of trying to create
HABITS

But they don't stick yet either - for me... a habit takes a WHOLE lot longer than 21 days to form.... maybe 21 YEARS!

So... I have gotten all practical and clear about my expectations... do great for a few weeks... see some success... and slide again.

I seem to spend more time getting back up again
which in itself is a good thing

but it doesn't feel like progress.

I do know that it's the process that is important - not necessarily the achievement
BUT I also know
that if the achievement isn't happening

then the process needs work :-)

I have many times set up a 90 day.... 60 day..... 30 day.... expectation.  And I've still managed for a bit.. and then slide back.  And then re-evaluate.   And then start over.

I think

for now

a ONE WEEK expectation.  And then re-evaluate.

[I do have to say that today is Friday.  I would never have the chutzpah to set this out on a Monday :-)]

So....  I will go for my usual game plan (which does work!)

10K+ steps daily
Log food and water into my Fitbit app
1+ dvds this week
green smoothies most days
Log weight over the weekend (I do like to take the best weight out of 2-3 days... it's my game and I'm consistent with it so it truly is irrelevant in the larger picture!)

ONE WEEK .... and

we will talk again next Friday :-)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

WIP Wednesday. 11/10/15

Okay - so I think I am cool :-)

I wrote some of this post on my tablet :-)  Yesterday my husband and I did a surprise quick little escape road trip..... and I played around enough to figure out how to write up some posts.   I needed to edit at home with pictures - but the writing part can happen on the road - hooray for me!  

I still don't know how to edit my photos as I go and am hesitant to learn since my eyes aren't that good anyway BUT - another day's issue!  I have a larger monitor attached to my laptop to make vision easier but I keep telling myself I should learn a few more "on-the-go" photo tools anyway... just because.

Okay - well anyway - works-in-progress....   as you know I am working hard to finish up things.... which can get a little boring for me!  So.. in between things, as I hit the cutting table, I have been going through my generic scrap basket and the different color scrap boxes and neatening up.  I want to be able to get back to a few scrap projects by the first of the year and I will be happier if my bits and pieces are usable sizes....

I had some of the blocks prepared for the Roads quilts - the block to the right - in process for next year - and to the left, you can see the odd-shaped bits that are leftovers.  I got some 1-inch and 1.5-inch strips from each of those pieces....  the "too small" scraps are at the top and got tossed into my 'pet bed' collection.   At any rate.... I have straightened up my boxes of blue, green, white/cream and am working on purple now.  When I am ready to piece blocks with scraps, I will take the strips of different sizes and cut the length I will need!

We are heading out of town for Thanksgiving so I really REALLY need to make some headway in certain areas.

 The Virginia sampler class.   I need to keep up with it!  It is an advanced quilting class and taking a little more brain space than I want to give it right now!  I'm determined to do each block she gives me and it is a lot harder than I anticipated. 

What a challenge!  [I mean that in both a good and bad way!]  Mostly because I am not working in class but taking in info and going home to work.  I am present because I am working there :-). And I do get my questions answered.  And am actually keeping up pretty well.   





I do love my colors though and will enjoy the final product when it is complete.


I think -for my own purposes though -  I probably won't do another sampler class for a while.  I like to keep up and a semester isn't enough time - for me.  I don't like ending a class with a quilt half done... because then you lose the impetus to finish.  (I have TWO incomplete class tops in my possession that need me to get back to them! Which is not to mention the completed tops that are in my "to be quilted" collection!)

I like to be able to work at my pace. And that pace is several projects at a time!!

Right now I am stressing about the design of the 4 grandquilts.  

I am working on figuring out the backings for the two boy quilts.  Somehow in the time that passes between the fabric purchase and the construction of the backing I forget what I decided to do!   So I forge ahead and then the measurements don't work...  So its back to purchase and rethink..  <Sigh>

That said, this week I finished the backing for one of them.  And started the re-figuring on the second boy one.

And the girl quilts...  I had finished one side. But they aren't full size quilts so u need to grow them a bit.   I have a bunch of scrappy blocks leftover so am working with those to increase the dimensions.

 I call the first side the "Gabby" side because that is the name of the book I have to go with it :-)

And the second side (Princess and the Pea) I had run out of the background fabric... And found more of it when I went to the beach a couple of weeks ago. 



So I am moving ahead with the strips until I run out. And then I will figure out what to do to make the two sides the same size!


But I do feel good that I have made progress on these. I would really like to have all 4 sandwiched and ready to quilt before we take off for thanksgiving.  So the deadline is Sunday Nov 22 to have fronts and backs completed and quilts sandwiched together.

So that is sampler, grandquilts, and Roads quilt in the piecing line-up this week!

On the handwork front - I finished  the hand stitching for a Christmas wall hanging.

And started the process of using up cotton yarn scraps in dishcloths!  I will probably need to purchase a cone of plain off-white to whip up some dishcloths for hostess gifts... but have a healthy collection of small balls to use in various combinations that might work also.  Or I will use them for donations.  Or something.

Ok so that is plenty for one WIP week. Don't you think?

Next week, I need to dig into the handwork basket a bit more and also decide which projects will travel across country with me... because it won't be my machine this time!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Eating Fresh.....

The last farmers market of the season

I am sad

I have spent $20-30/week buying fresh veggies and learning how to prepare and preserve them.

And now another challenge....

Greens.

I like salad - IF I have more than just lettuce in it.

And I like other greens in small doses - IN the salad.  (I shared earlier this year about learning to add beet greens and radish greens in my salads)

but more greens?  My local farmer has tons of beautiful greens....

I did try mustard greens - I like the flavor and spice but so far only to add to a sandwich or a bit in a salad.

but greens.   Cooked greens.

Conjure up two childhood memories.

My brother's favorite birthday meal... (which I don't remember - hot dogs, I think) and.... spinach.  Canned spinach.  a Nasty mouthful of ICK.

And something my grandmother made.  Greens.  Boiled within an inch of their lives.  with something greasy and pork-flavored.  another Nasty mouthful of ICK

I really do prefer vegetables a little more under-than-overcooked.... and I must say these memories have kept me far far away from greens.

But the lovely produce in my farmer friend's fields... well

I need to learn.

So I bought some of everything - because half measures are not my style :-)

And this week....  I froze smoothie size bags of 2 kinds of kale and spinach....  I added a bit of each to tossed salads (and liked it).... and I tried a dish - kale with carrots.   I think it would be good if you like kale :-)  But I am still learning.  As a side, I did not care for it - but I also did not HATE it :-)

I had also made green beans braised in soy sauce that night - and did enjoy a combo bowl of leftovers - brown rice, green beans and the kale dish.   So I know now I can enjoy the greens if there is more than greens.

I will keep plugging away... eating local and seasonal is still a healthier, more cost effective option in the grand scheme of life and definitely is the direction I need to move in.

By the way - the website I used for the kale recipe is  www.cookforgood.com.   I found it years ago when I started experimenting with a book - Wildly Affordable Organic by Linda Watson.  

This is one of the best books out there that can help you learn to cook and eat organic on a strict budget (She used the food stamp budget and managed)

so - how do you manage to eat fresher and healthier in your life?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

WIP Wednesday Nov 4, 2015

I know - it's really Friday - not Wednesday....

But it's been a busy week!  And an aggravating one!  One of those weeks when you set out to do some tasks and they go nuts on you....

Like....

I went to sandwich my Japanese lady quilt top....  I laid down the backing, used the spray baste on it.... laid down the batting...... spray baste...... and then carefully laid down the top.   Well - I made a mistake in measuring and the top was larger than both the backing and batting.... ARRGGHHHH......   What that means for me is that now I have a backing and batting that are too small for the top AND tacky with spray glue :-(   Can I recover from this?
Of course!  But I was so aggravated at the time, that I knew I needed to STOP
put my stuff away
and move on....

 (I had a few others to sandwich but decided to move on completely since this didn't go well... I will revisit the sandwich day another time!)

So...... I decided to look for the leftovers from my jelly roll quilt so I could make the binding.  I knew I had put it in a safe place - and you know what that means.   Yep - took me THREE days to locate it!

In the meantime, I busted through my white / off white scraps, cleaning up the collection into sizes I could use.  (when I can't figure out what to do with myself project-wise, I neaten up my scraps).  Weird week... went through my blue scraps again too.

And I had offered to make treat bags for my granddaughter's birthday party with the specialty fabric I found on vacation






I'm not sharing the tutorial for the reversible bag because I found it cumbersome and hard to manage.  And I'm not thrilled with the way they turned out.   That said, they are treat bags for a birthday party and they are in the correct theme so it's all good.  8 reversible (snowman / princess) and 6 unlined snowman.  Not particularly thrilled with the construction of any of them..... which does make me want to try again MY way and see how that goes....  ah... the challenge!  Another day..

The week was a little hectic.  I work as a substitute librarian sometimes and a coworker has been ill and in the hospital - so I've been called in to work a few shifts.  Added to my regular week makes things a little nuts - not bad nuts :-)  But change is always uncomfortable!

Meanwhile, I found the leftovers!








which I will have to rip out the seams and stitch together


and then press into a binding

I do love the way the crazy pile of strips turns into a neat roll of binding :-)  I machine stitched it onto the quilt and now all I need to do is hand stitch it down, put on a label and assess for finishing details.   My handwork basket is growing again!

I finished the last 2 lovies..... which I FORGOT to take a picture of.... more impressive was the overstuffed kitchen trash bag FULL of the 31.  I delivered them to my daughter and she promised to give me a pic of them as she fills the bags for the pediatric patients

And finally, for this week, the birthday gift!  A mermaid tale snuggle.... There are about a million patterns out there now - but when I started this one - this link is what I used.   I do think my granddaughter will love it EXCEPT that it is in fact a blanket - NOT a dress up item.   We might have to finagle some fastenings at the waist to make it more fun....  we shall see



Fortunately all I had to do to finish was the tail....  I have one in progress for my other granddaughter but it is about 2/3 finished.  I put them away when the summer got too hot to work on them - they are heavy and warm!  I was fussing the other day and all I had to do was sew on the tail!

So that's it for this week....  what's in YOUR craft basket?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

60 Days Until 2016 Nov 1

Yikes!

Where did the last 10 days go?

Oh yeah - I was at the beach

I walked a lot - but didn't pay too much attention to food... water.... and gained back 4 flipping pounds!  Poo


and got nothing done on the list

well - not true

I spent a little time with my husband
I spent time at the beach - always good for the spirit
I made myself go places by myself
I bought lots of fabric - which makes me happy but doesn't help finances much!
I did finish up several craft projects
And, of course, end of month bills and paperwork

and I have a bit of a plan for now that I am home.
'
BUT I hit the ground running - work, house, life..... and need to STOP

take a breath


and actually write out a plan or checklist or something

or this time will slip away

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Things I Learned in Year 59 #2 Emotional Hygiene

"Emotional Hygiene"

A term I have never heard

but SHOULD HAVE!

Part of taking care of myself

is taking care of

my spirit.

Taking care of my spirit
My attitude
The ways I choose to think

Is essential to a happy life.

So this year I learned to watch out for things that drain my spirit.
Even if they are true :-)

I have fought hard to learn to see truth.
Now I need to fight to create new truth.

Yes, I struggle with depression.
But I also WIN.

So I am strong and I need to remember that.


Just like I learned to brush my teeth every day so I can keep them.

I need to bolster myself up every day,
I need to be my own best advocate
I need to believe in me
I need to remind myself that I am strong and vibrant and happy.

So I can stay that way.

Because I choose it.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Gossip :-(


When I learned through the newspaper of a controversy involving someone I know,  I sent an email note of support and condolence to her adult child (I didn't know her email)  And corresponded back and forth a little.

Truly, it's not my business but she is my friend.  And that is enough.  I can be her friend regardless of the truth of the allegation.  And I can grieve with her family for the pain they are all going through.


In a separate incident, I met with some friends yesterday.  And the newspaper article came up.  And was fodder for jokes and comments.

I kept quiet.

No one there knew that I knew either party.

And some of them knew both - apparently well.

But I am bothered that I kept quiet while the gossip rolled over me.  I usually do.  Keep quiet that is.... when it's gossip.  I did make some non-committal comment about nobody being perfect.... and try to change the topic.

and that is the truth.  No one is perfect.

I mean... who has walked in another's shoes?

Who's to say that I could not have been embroiled in the same situation?  Who's to say that I might have made bad choices?  Or been crucified by public opinion - if I had put myself in the public eye.

But I am sad for the families.  I am sad for the pain.

I am sad for the people who think that another's pain is funny.

And I am still conflicted about how I should have behaved.  Somehow I feel by my very presence that I am tainted.

What do YOU do when gossip rolls around you?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

How I Cut Up My Fabric Scraps....

Starting with a very odd shaped piece of BLUE.....

I have no idea what was made from this piece of fabric.... I think it was given to me....  but my first action was to press it very flat.

I looked at it with an eye to my end product..... squared off pieces with no irregular edges.  I want to end up with squares and rectangles I can use in scrap quilt projects.


I started by cutting off the tiny strips..  which might be trash...


.. or, once measured, might yield


an inch-sized rectangle for my collection... so there is ONE piece for me.  Set aside in a "Blue one-inch" sandwich bag.

Next....   still working to get that one big rectangle to the left...  I trimmed off the bottom piece...


Once I trimmed the selvedge edge (which some people don't :-), I had a 2.5-inch strip.  Assuming I have no specific project in mind.... I would put it into a "Blue 2.5-inch" bag.   If I DO have a specific project that uses 2.5-inch squares, I would go ahead and trim that up and allocate the remaining scraps to bags or trash...


..And then one more piece to cut off the bottom to square up the larger piece...




This one is 4-inches - again, I would either put the strip in a "Blue 4-inch bag" or,

as in this case, I had a project, so I cut it up into 4-inch squares.  Either way works and gets put in the bag (or with the project)


Oops!  One more little piece to trim off...


..which yielded another one-inch piece...


..and there  you have it!  That large irregularly shaped piece of fabric is now in usable shapes and sizes for the projects I chose in a prior post...


I put each sorted size in a zip-top sandwich bag and then into a designated container for BLUE.    As time goes on, I will have quite a collection of the various sizes.