Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Quilt Stories - Sea Star

It all started with a pattern I saw


I really think it is lovely.... but pondered for more than a year about buying fabric or not buying fabric.... about what kinds of fabric... did I want more of it to be the same?  Or each triangle different?

Also during this time period, during my 3X annual beach trips to North Carolina, I had picked up a half yard of this and a full yard of that until I had a pretty healthy collection of ocean-type prints in my stash.

And it occurred to me as I watched my stash grow... that I really need to DO something with that fabric.

When a lovely "sand" fabric with wavy dunes on it, came into my life..... there was a EUREKA! moment....  and I now had a purpose for those large ocean prints with orcas and porpoises and turtles....  a SEA Star!

This pattern was lovely for me because it is large.  It is easy.  It is quick.  And a small enough project to begin learning to quilt on my own machine.

So voila!

The sea star was born!

(Call me weird, but I particularly enjoyed taking this photo on a lawn covered with a rare March snow!)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Weekly Goals Week 37! **

** published after the fact!

March 29 is 37 weeks until I turn 60!  I am still not sure how I managed to live this long but I swear to you, I want to make it count!

The current plan is that I will turn 60 in Hawaii.... I was in Hawaii as a 4 year old.  I think I remember some things... but am not sure.  Maybe it was family stories.  My dad, an Army veteran, was stationed in Japan... and we stopped in Hawaii on the way back to the states.  I really don't know how long we were there.   [On another note, I remember turning 5 in Colorado - on the way back to Virginia]

The savings are there so money is okay right now. [This in itself is pretty cool because it is due to a lot of financial juggling and playing in the last few years]

We've decided that as we age now, we'd like to do a little traveling as financially possible.  [With luck, every 6 months or so, we can do a trip]

And some time ago, I did say I'd like to do the Honolulu marathon on my 60th birthday.  Not so sure about that right now BUT... serious training doesn't need to happen until the end of July - and I could opt for a 10K instead....

At a minimum, I'd like to feel confident in a bathing suit next December (or earlier?) so - hey... here I GO!

I will set goals weekly.... and report my compliance (or not).  All goals will be set intending to lead me to better habits for a longer healthier life ... (and maybe later to walk (I repeat WALK), a marathon!

start Mar30
week 1.
    Detox breakfasts (Pam Peeke) 11111 DONE!
    Log processed food (sugar, white flour, etc) 11111 DONE!
    Ttapp basic X 3   1
    Morning mile X 5 11111  DONE!
    Green smoothie challenge (start Wed) 1111  DONE!

Day 1: (Mon) subway roll, processed meat, tortilla chips, glass wine, diet soda
Day 2: (Tue) stuffing, diet soda, glass wine, ice cream,  tortilla chips
Day 3: (Wed) stuffing, fruit bar, glass wine,pasta alfredo, tortilla chips
Day 4: (Thu) yogurt whip,
Day 5: (Fri) hardee's chicken club, pizza, diet soda
Day 6: (Sat) fruit bar, goldfish
Day 7: (Sun) pasta salad, goldfish, pizza

A) Detox Breakfasts - it's a beginning!  My contention is that I am addicted to food!  I have made great strides over the last few years making my diet healthier but not enough.  I am still an emotional eater and closet binger.   It's time to deal with it :-)  And I am convinced that real food is the answer.

B)  Log processed food.  I want to live a life without counting calories.  I think that watching out for foods that are processed is my answer.  Keeping them within limits.  I am not saying a glass of wine is bad.  I am saying I am paying attention and that it is processed.

C) TTapp Basic X 3.  Tttapp is a specific type of exercise that helps with fluid flow and muscle activation.  It is relatively isometric and low to no impact.  While I feel I need something more, I can't refute the fact that when I did do ttapp every day for a week, my chronic long-term headaches disappeared.  At a minimum, this type of exercise will keep me toned and strong.  I plan to do the Basic routine 3 times weekly at a minimum.  I also really like Leslie Sansone's Walk Away the Pounds and will use that more and more, especially if I decide to go for the marathon!

D)  Morning mile..... this is fun!  A habit I chose to begin Jan 1, 2012.  I walk my dog down the street one mile.  Every morning.  Mostly.  She's a Pomeranian and needs to keep her weight in check - so I help :-)  6 months into my new habit, my husband started walking with me.  So now.... 3 years later, my husband and I walk a mile most mornings.  We also head out for a half mile around lunch and also dinner most days.  Go figure..... win-win for everybody on every level.

E) Green smoothie challenge:   I've been working on green smoothies for a few years... but most sites got weird on me and called for ingredients I can't find in my rural life... where Food Lion is my grocery option.  BUT last year about this time, I found a site called www.simplegreensmoothies.com.  These folks have it right!   They do a challenge every few months or so... and they offer 30 days of recipes.  Recipes that use ingredients I can find.... simple.... frozen fruit and kale or spinach.  While they encourage trying new things, it's a reality that some of us are limited to basics!  Anyway - great stuff - and I've learned a lot.  And I freeze a lot.  Even the spinach that won't last 2 more days.

My rationale for utilizing green smoothies is that it doubles my fruit / veggie intake for a day.... or at a minimum, guarantees that I get 3-4 servings daily.  When I toss in 1/4 cup oatmeal and a spoonful of chia seeds.... I have added the grain and protein necessary for a complete breakfast.

If you haven't tried a green smoothie, I encourage you to do so.  Make the smoothie and add ONE leaf of spinach.  Just ONE... . and the next time, add TWO.  Soon you will discover [as I did]... there is NO CHANGE in flavor.  My tongue had to convince my brain. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Day 99 Mar 22.....

Something has definitely shifted in my life

Last October when I came to enjoy our beach week... I noticed an adventure park.  Basically it is an aerial obstacle course.  Over a swamp.

It makes my stomach turn

But it also gives me a thrill

And I

By myself


I bought a one-day pass to see what I could do.

I did the two lowest levels.

At my speed

In my time.


And thrilled!


[turns out, they have an off-season weekend pass that is good for a year... and I will be back in May and October... so I upgraded.  I will go at least one level farther next time.  The plan was to go back on Friday but it was pouring rain so it will have to wait til May and I can go 1-3 times then]

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Day 98 I did it!

No fear today....   I am driving to our beach week myself.  I have often done it but the last couple of years, I've been fraught with fear every time.

The last day of the Outer Banks quilt show is today... and it is over on Manteo.

Only 10 more miles.

But this is the first time I made it.

3 hours to drive down here

Check in, unload and go back out again.

And I did it.


And I went for a drive after that.

to anyone who has struggled with me the last few years - both with my changing eyesight (astigmatism plus age-related floaters and basic changes).... and with depression - you know how HUGE this is for me.


I did it.

AND I enjoyed it with not ONE trace of fear.

Year 59

I am on the road to a magnificent 60+

Fabric Scrap Management Phase 2!

Phase TWO happened when the scrap bin filled up...

.....and I caught myself looking for another one!

(for the Phase ONE post, click here )

[at this time, I still had older scrap pieces still folded up with like fabric in the color bins.  My scrap bin was ONLY scraps from recent projects]

I started searching for ideas.... and decided to use a small plastic 3 drawer chest I already had for specific sized small scraps.

Something I read called for saving 2.5" strips.....
and I had seen several patterns for 2" pieces.....
and then of my scraps I had some that were ALMOST 2 inches..... 

so I ended up with 3 drawers: 1.5", 2", and 2.5"

and then small tubs for 3 inch pieces and for "over 3".... (and of course, my original scrap bin!)  Each time I cut on a project, I put the scraps away appropriately and pulled a handful of scraps from the original bin to trim up and put away.

So... I then had
one 3-drawer chest for 3 different size pieces of fabric
one small shoebox-sized bin for "3-inches and over" pieces
and the original scrap bin

So KEY to begin.....

choose SOME way to sort and start.

Don't worry about finishing or getting it right - just begin to organize in a way that makes sense to you.

Your own system will evolve if you keep a it..

I have a few more posts in this series...... so....  how did I move to phase 3?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Fabric Scrap Management Phase One

So - as some of you know, I am really getting into scraps this year.... and have asked the question - how do you manage them?

And I can honestly say that I started long ago... and have worked into a bit of a system..

But the key is


I've been sewing for much of my life off and on and quilting for about 7 years now.  But only seriously - like FINISH seriously for about 2 years :-)

So first - over a year ago.. I split all my fabric up into color.  And with my brain, that worked with most of the fabric - though not all!  I still can't figure out what to do with a white background and multi-floral pattern on it!  So I have one container with the "I don't know" and the special characters.. like Disney princesses or superheroes...

Everything else went by predominant color - and the test is this:  When you look at it, what color jumps out?  So a white with red dots gets put with the red because - to me - it seems more "red" than "white".  But it's your system, so see what works for you!

At that time, I didn't want to go nuts with it [I wanted to SEW], so I simply folded up scraps in the like fabric and sorted by color.  If I only had a small scrap - (less than a fat quarter), I tossed it in a tote for scraps.

This was stage ONE.  And I made sure as I worked that year, that my scraps went where they belonged.

****Stage One****  
Sort fabric by color and have a bin for anything (any color) smaller than a fat quarter.  

Day 90... a good change

One of the things I decided to do for Lent was give up Facebook games.

Now, seriously, I don't play many.  And I only play ONE on my phone (and not on the pc).   And I was careful - the games I play - one helps with eye hand coordination, and one is quick thinking... one is word play.. and the other is just fun with an opportunity to meet people...  and that's it....  So I chose carefully

And, for me, it's often a transitional occupation. 
       You know - like when you finish doing one thing and need to think what to do next?  I'm a person who needs a few minutes to choose my path - but I'm also a person who is always moving.  People like me use some mindless activities for this transitional - or thinking - purpose.
     mindless activities like eating, smoking, drinking, playing games - punching buttons - fidgeting, etc. 

  A transitional activity COULD be a good thing.... or it can lead to unhealthy results

So anyway - I feel fairly justified in my games....

BUT I also feel that the games were sucking up valuable time.
     Time I could be doing something else
             Even used for transition, they led into wasting more time than I like
      Time I could be focusing on a person I love
      Time that could be used more intentionally...

So I quit playing during the week.   Sundays were free for me to waste if I choose.  And I really enjoy them on Sunday afternoon!

Lent is only halfway finished.... but I have to say this is a success!

I am finding new transitional activities that accomplish so much more:
      cutting my fabric scraps into usable pieces...
      cleaning out corners
        and even standing STILL asking myself.. What next?

And I am finding that I enjoy the games so much more..   I still am way too attached to them but the limited nature makes it a little more of a treat.

Not playing them on my phone is a good choice....  and I will continue with this.    I think I will continue after Lent - for the most part - only playing on weekends or specific times....

  I am amazed at the little things I am getting accomplished....  one of which is a list of easy chores I can do in a transitional moment... things I can do while I choose my next project...

How about you?

Do you play online games?  Does it work for you or against  you?  [I mean FOR your greater purpose and desires or AGAINST?]

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Day 85... or a little more than 1/4 through my Year 59....

March 8

So I have determined that I am not a good blogger.  My blog flounders and flops like fish out of water.

I can't decide which direction it should go in.

Is it a personal diary?
   I admit to spending an inordinate amount of time in my own head but I am assured that others do also.  But I wonder at my intense feeling of need to be a role model - an example.  To share the not-so-peculiar aspects of my journey to find relevance.   I have spent most of my life feeling like I need to be role model - but sometimes lately I wonder how necessary my sharing really it.   Maybe I should spend more time living and less time sharing?

    Or perhaps, I need to change up my time frame a little.  Some of my best lessons are not from recording TODAY for you... but when re-hashing YESTERDAY to extract the lesson!

Is it a crafting blog?
    Maybe - I confess to a great desire to share the strides I've made in my crochet and quilt journey.  Through constant practice, I have really come up with some good ideas and products this year that I have primarily shared on Facebook.

One of my personality traits is an inability - no, a DIFFICULTY - settling onto a path.  I am a person who sees many, many paths to a given result - and it is difficult to choose.

This is a year of adventure and decision for me.  It is definitely more difficult than I anticipated - but it is moving along.

It is a year where I will intentionally move toward living the life I choose.  I HAVE found joy in each day - from a clean sink to an eagle buzzing me overhead.  I have taken the time to notice - even some photographing.... though I admit to not getting it all out here.

I have taken opportunities that have come my way... I am stepping out in faith in areas where I have struggled before... and I am working hard clearing physical clutter and re-designing my home space to reflect the person I am becoming.  Once you realize that you are no longer 24/7 mom.... my entire adult career / function, if you will...  there is an opportunity to discover WHO you really are.  I get to choose what kind of life partner I wish to be.  I am sifting through responsibilities and long-held beliefs and picking and choosing what works for me - and what makes no sense :-)  I am learning to honor my own gut - even when (OFTEN!) - it completely is contrary to societal norm.

I have spent enough years on the planet to accept who I am deep down inside.   I am choosing who I want to be - and watching phrases that come out of my mouth so that I can be whom I choose.... (eg "I'm too old to do that" is not something I WANT coming out of my mouth!  Certainly I don't want it to be part of my belief system)

This is a year of coming alive..... I look forward to turning 60 with this work in process.  Living life on an active journey is a gift!

I suppose even this blog is up for re-consideration this year.  Determining what it is to me.... deciding IF I even have readers and what my responsibility is....

I will continue writing - probably fairly randomly - for me.. Especially if I don't hear from a reader what they would like to hear!  So there is the question.... ARE you a reader who checks to see what I'm up to?  If that is the case... what would you like to see?  Is there something I have to share that would serve you?  If not, no worries... I will keep on keepin' on... until I don't :-)

Smile today... it sets the tone of your life!