Thursday, April 30, 2015

Quilt Stories - Christmas Panels 2015

This one started with the fabric.

I loved the panels

But they are blocks... that repeat..   Not just a panel to figure out

But random blocks.

I think I had owned the fabric for more than a year before I even knew where to start.

I started by measuring the blocks and decided to border them.  I chose two colors - a deep purple for a thin border and a rich gold for a wider border.  And put borders on all the blocks and trimmed them to a uniform size.

Now what?  No clue.... so I put them away for a while to think about.

When I came back around to them, I sorted them into piles so I could see what I had - and this is what I did:

I had 9 different pictures - so I made a basic 9-patch into the quilt I am highlighting today.  I took the rest and ended up with 2- 3 block wall hangings;

1- 2 block wall hanging and 2 single blocks that will become hot pads.

The 9-patch came together quite easily and I quilted it myself.  I did have a spot or two that didn't quite meet (needing some kind of mending)

And I performed my signature "mending"  (also known as applique :-)

I crocheted a few gold stars and scattered them randomly over the top of the quilt.... some serving as patches to hide my trouble spots.... and some not :-)

The embellishments look great!  And I keep my mouth shut about the little imperfections I just highlighted :-)

Except for here - but you won't tell, will you?

29 Gifts - a book review and project

29 Gifts in 29 days

A prescription for healing

The book, 29 Gifts by Cami Walker, is a story and collection of essays.  Ill with a chronic and progressive disease, she was advised by a spiritual friend to give 29 gifts away in 29 days.

The story is about Cami herself.

The essays are the stories about the gifts and how her life was impacted in a positive way by the giving.

She learned many things about gifts... how to define them, what gifts she had to offer, how her giving impacted the world... and conversely how giving made her more able to receive.

For me, I am inspired.

I like to give.

But some of my giving is easy. 

Money and things - of course those count!

But there is so much more opportunity to give and I think I would like to become a more giving person.

I think approaching any given day with an attitude of finding a way to give will be a good way to find joy :-)

So - I will start May 1.... a gift a day... and see where that leads me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Quilt Stories - Happy Garden 2015

This is one of my earlier starts.... 

a Debbie Mumm quilt along from 2007 (when I started quilting and discovered the internet world of quilt alongs....)

I always did bite off way more than I could chew :-)  But I knew how to sew.... I understand graphics... I loved gardens and birds... and I decided to play with fabrics I already had.

So... started 2008... finished 2015 :-) [I DO like finishing - though starting and planning is much more fun!]

Most of this quilt was finished 2014... but there is a lot of echo quilting in it and it is embellished with several buttons!  Items always linger in my handwork basket longer than they should!

Monday, April 27, 2015

One Sentence Journal Apr 20 - Apr 26

Mon Apr 20....  library shift.... and a manicure and moustache wax.   Can't believe I really did it.  Too much hair on this old lady.... tackle the chin 2 weeks ago and the stache today.  Hooray for me!  Oh - AND.. the prettiest BLUE GREEN nail polish ever.... ... that is my joy for the day!

Tue Apr 21..  HOME day :-)  the best!  Finished up some scrap quilting... walked to town and back (4.5 mi) and putzed around the house cleaning at it.  Still not my gift but am excited about the decorating details I have let go so long.  The kitchen reno is just about done and I am thinking about things to hang on the walls...

Wed Apr 22..  Library shift and groceries and my wonderful cousins coming to visit before they head out for Europe.  My son and his girlfriend came over and we had a fun evening of food and wii...  Pretty sore from my extra-long walk yesterday

Thu Apr 23..  watched a couple of male hummingbirds fight over a feeder.... what a hoot!   I mean full-out wing span posturing and everything....  I LOVE it when I can spy a treasure like that and stand still and enjoy it!  I did miss seeing my favorite lady friends in my crafting group due to a bit of a headache and just plain exhaustion.  These library shifts are not hard but I am reminded how difficult it is when you have to change up your schedule!

Fri Apr 24  worked at home today  - office work mostly... and a shift at the library and dinner out - good times!

Sat Apr 25.... working again this morning and then seeing my cousins off this afternoon... sorry to see them go but thrilled for their upcoming adventure in Europe.

Sun Apr 26.....  A SEWING day at home!  Put together a lap quilt top and worked on a few other ongoing projects....

Weekly Goals Week 34 start Apr 20

week 4.
    Detox breakfasts / green smoothie (Pam Peeke)
    Log processed food (sugar, white flour, etc)
    Ttapp basic or Walk Away Pounds dvd X 3 not done - AGAIN
    Morning mile X 5
   Daily one Sentence journal
       & "if I were to die tomorrow" exercise
   Business: update blog for next quarter     Done
                   prepare lesson plan file for sale   Done
                   solicit opinions about websites   AND DONE!

Okay so I ate well most mornings but was running off to work or somewhere so missed the green smoothie most days. 
No dvd but did walk to town one day - which added 4.5 miles to my daily mile.  I will do it again but am sore.  Obviously I need a midway goal between one mile and 5.5 miles :-)  Digging out my pedometer for next week will be a good move.

Also - this week was the last week that I worked so many shifts at the library.  I have had to give up my quilt shop shifts in this time frame - and think I will only add back 1 of the 2 days I was working there.  That will free up a little time and help me prioritize my Thursday craft group.  This is a group of ladies I truly enjoy meeting up with and I need to make sure I keep it in my life :-)

Oh my goodness.. I am bored.... I think I need a rotating set of goals!

The good news is - that I am beginning to notice (after YEARS of work) that I am 'naturally' making some better choices.

LIKE... at a mexican resto, I am choosing fajitas instead of the enchilada, taco, rice, beans combo.  A small change, yes - but significant in veggie consumption!  At a Chinese resto - my hubby chooses a chicken dish and I choose a mixed veggie and we share.  Meat is becoming more of a side ingredient rather than meal focus.

LIKE.... Breakfasts are good choices.... whole wheat tortilla and egg and fruit.... green smoothie... yogurt, fruit, oatmeal mixture.  Becoming a standard..

LIKE... walking a mile every morning and a half 2-3 times daily most days.

Changes are happening... perhaps that is why weight is at a halt.  Maintaining is good - but now I need to drop a few - and, more importantly - FEEL stronger!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Day 111 Apr 23

Somehow my goal posts are boring even me :-)

I need the accountability... I do need to swim around in the morass of my incessant TRYING to move forward in my life... WHILE enjoying my life.  Sometimes I think I am the only one with this constant struggle.  But I know better.

I do have to say that I am not one to need a lot of attention.  I really don't.  But I'm not afraid to put it out there.  I think more of us struggle than let on.  And I am not afraid to share my confusion... or my work

Depression haunts me.  The dual crises of kids leaving the nest and the inevitable marital crises has already cost me a couple of years... which is apparent by my confused blogging!  But it will not happen again!  I am determined.  I will obviously spend time confused and even dazed but I will not allow it to become days and weeks and months again.

So the things I share here... are my attempts.

to find peace

to pick up again and again every day and actively hunt for the joy

to show you that YOU are not alone... for I am convinced I am not

and to share the struggles to find joy... to find coping mechanisms that do not involve cheetos :-)....  to share the things I enjoy like flowers and reading and quilting... and to share my journey to live a full life.

My life 'on the edge' might not look like yours....  my little 'step out of the comfort zone' might be as simple as blue nail polish.... but it's mine and it's real... and it is good.

Life - real life - involves pruning.  Pruning is not comfortable... it involves change and change seems to get harder and harder.  But growth is magnificent at every age... so that is where I want to live.

A place where I am enough

A place where I can grow

This is my quest.

Weekly Goals counting down! Week 35 (start Apr 13)

start Apr13

week 3.
    Detox breakfasts (Pam Peeke) DONE
    Log processed food (sugar, white flour, etc)11
    Ttapp basic X 3  [still messing]
    Morning mile X 5 DONE
    Green smoothie challenge  
   Daily one Sentence journal  (DONE! in an additional post)
    & "if I were to die tomorrow" exercise

Tue: tortilla chips, mexi-meal from Schwan, diet coke
Wed: blueberry muffin, tortilla chips
Sat:   hot dogs for lunch, ate Chinese out... crunchies there, tortilla chips at home and ice cream

The blank days are NOT days I didn't eat processed - they are days I didn't get around to writing the processed stuff down.  I guess this is the week the wheels come off the wagon - which MEANS... this is the week I make a decision to CONTINUE.  Get serious again and redouble efforts!  I seem to go full steam for a while and then BOOM!

Somehow I need to marry the desire to reach a goal via changed behavior with the mindfulness to live and enjoy every day.

One thing I did this week that I forgot to write as a goal is get my annual physical.... of course, it's been so long since I did it that I had to register as a new patient with my primary care physician.  BUT the good news is that my blood pressure and cholesterol are still elevated BUT the troublesome number part of those is all in the good ranges.  Diet is making a difference in my overall health.

NOW is definitely the time to begin pushing the exercise button

the detox breakfast options and the green smoothie challenge are competing with each other in the morning.. I need to combine or do both in a way that makes sense in my life.  I'm inclined to both but may need to simply use a Pam Peake meal and a smoothie or whatever to get them both in my day....

somehow I feel like I'm stagnating a bit again... time to ramp it up and start posting about the little joys.... maybe add them into the one sentence journal :-)

hmm...... time for tweaking!

One Sentence Journal Mon Apr 13- Sun Apr 19

Mon Apr 13..  library shift in the morning... errands with my husband in the afternoon... we are working on finishing up a kitchen reno and I am really excited about that...  On a more humorous (?) note.... a TURKEY collided with our truck and took off the side rear view mirror.  I know - not funny... it was really loud and a bit frightening when that thing hit... but kind of funny in retrospect [until the hubs starts combing junkyards for the replacement and has to fix it!]

Tue Apr 14..  Rainy day in fits and starts... did get a bit of cleaning out of the garden beds and planted 2 tomato plants.  It was a HOME day so I got laundry done and got to sew a LOT :-)  I was also an idiot... I carefully composed a really good birthday message for my son... and his birthday is TOMORROW.  Of COURSE I know when his birthday is - but I am indeed having trouble this week remembering what each given day is...

Wed Apr 15.. worked a couple of shifts at the Surry library today.  I really enjoy my co-workers and the work.  Learned some new things on the job.... a little sewing... housework... TAX day - what a mess we have had with a lot of eleventh hour gyrations.. but they have saved us a ton of $$ so it was worth it - but it hasn't helped with the hecticness of the week.

Thu Apr 16.... annual check-up (about 2 years late!)  BUT done :-)  Go me!  Blood pressure down from the gyn visit several weeks ago - still high but now within reason.... I'm on the right track with diet and am cleared for exercise...

Fri Apr 17...  Home for the morning, library shift in the evening.. and hubs picking up a grand girl for an overnight... good times!

Sat Apr 18...  Enjoyed my time with my lovely grand girl.... the weather was superb (pollen high though which makes breathing problematic) ....  nice drive to take her home and then dinner out with my hubby. 

Sun Apr 19.. headed to work at church today.... popped in and out and then off to run an errand or two.  Listened to Richard Rohr's podcast.. always gives me a spiritual lift!  AND found some fabric for curtains at Joann Fabric.  I am enjoying the decorating part of our getting ready to refinance :-)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

One Sentence Journal Apr 5-12, 2015

Sun Apr 5  Beautiful weather - lovely morning with the girls and grands courtesy of Sarah and Cam.... and a quiet afternoon in my swing with a good book!  It doesn't get much better than this!  (I must admit that I missed seeing my boys though... but I will make it a priority to make it happen soon!)

Mon Apr 6  A crazy day!  Off-kilter all day because I drove 45 mi and found out I didn't have my license!  Had to drive home and back again.... tried to set up a check-up with my doctor and found out I haven't been there in so long that I am a new patient again...  I have to go away and CALL to set things up....   So.. missed the quilt shop altogether.... BUT had a nice LONG commute (or 2) to chat it up with my youngest (serendipity!).  Back to the library for a shift there and then home for a quiet evening Dancing with the Stars..... I do enjoy that show!

Tue Apr 7
  So - an enquiry to Mr Wizard from a company in Germany wanting to know if he'd be in the area any time in the near future....  wow... planning a vacation to Hawaii and might have to (HAVE TO?) go to Stuttgart instead....  now THAT is a sentence I never thought I would write!  This is turning out to be an interesting year.

Wed Apr 8
 Worked at the Surry library and then off to play with 2 grands.....  I had a lot of quiet imagination time with one while the other napped and then some craziness with both.  I love those kids!

Thu Apr 9
  Another good day.  I got to hang out with my favorite group of ladies at my crafting group.... and then did a shift at the library in the afternoon.  AND dinner was waiting when I got home :-)

Fri Apr 10
  Gone most of the day adventuring.... I located my favorite hairdresser (who is on her own now) and got a cut.. I located the library branch in her town and I think I can reasonably add this branch to my sub list.   Then off to visit the quilt store for a few minutes (the owner wasn't there) and then got my nails done.  My nails are a fun indulgence I've been enjoying since last fall - and I finally decided to try a chin wax....  I think I'm going to have to begin treating myself to regular clean-ups.. I feel so much better.  Silly I guess - but I've never taken that kind of care of myself much and I think I like it!

Sat Apr 11
   HOME!  I've been having fun this week working on my quilting projects - and getting the house ready for spring.  Spotted the first hummingbird this morning and got the feeders out right away!

Sun Apr 12..
   Off to work at church today.  I do like the people there but I will be glad when my commitment is finished and I can go occasionally because I want to.  I have a worshipful soul - but have not yet found a community that I am part of in my every day life.  I don't think I like having a worship community that isn't part of my life.
   Anyway - did my job and came home... the day is sunny and I am happy.  Oh - AND I spotted a robin building her nest... and got a few photos

Weekly Goals Week 36! Start Apr 5

start Apr 5

week 2.
    Detox breakfasts (Pam Peeke)
    Log processed food (sugar, white flour, etc)
    Ttapp basic X 3  [still messing]
    Morning mile X 5 
    Green smoothie challenge  
   Daily one Sentence journal  (DONE! in an additional post)
    & "if I were to die tomorrow" exercise

Analysis from last week:  yikes on the processed food!  The better news is that I am not buying it any more.  I did find myself going into the recesses of the pantry hunting for stuff last week - and, at some point, there will be no more.  Unless the hubs puts it on the list - but unless he does - or I go nuts in the grocery store - it's not coming home with me - and my indulgences should wane.

" Daily one Sentence journal" - from Gretchen Rubin.... BRILLIANT!  How many times have I started a journal?  [only a million bazillion times!]   One sentence [ISH] to talk about my day.  I can do that.
 coupled with:
     & "if I were to die tomorrow" exercise.  Sounds morbid, but it really isn't.  It is kind of a mindfulness exercise.

The end of the sentence is -

if I were to die tomorrow, is this the way I would want to have spent today? 

It's a good question.  And one that will lead to a bit more life enjoyment.

I won't answer that question on a daily basis - but ASKING MYSELF that question will give me a little more to share in my One Sentence Journal - AND help me move away from some time wasters in my life.

Sun: pasta salad, goldfish
Mon: potato chips, fruit bar
Tue; pasta salad
Wed: purchased corn bread, diet soda
Thu: morningstar burgers, pizza
Fri: cheetos, pizza (yep, went nuts in the store - bought the cheeto bag and downed it on the way home!  can you say sabotage?}
Sun: not bad until my beloved took me out to dinner - Mexican
             the PLUS is that I ordered fajitas (a habit that has somehow developed without my knowledge)
            the MINUS is the 1.5 margaritas
  had a great time tho and THAT is another PLUA!

**Adventures.... hunted down a hairdresser I like and found her new shop in a nearby town... also am accepting library-sub positions in another location (and found a third location the same-ish distance from my home where I can work)... AND tried a new waxing technique at the nail salon.... [doesn't much sound like an adventure - but let's just say I've only been having my nails done regularly for about 6 months.... and waxing is something I've only tried a couple of times on my eyebrows]

Friday, April 10, 2015

February was Pink Scraps

I am really having fun going through my fabrics color by color.  This is manageable - for me right now..... so on I go!

So I pulled PINK... and Valentine-specific.

The little bin in the upper left is my pink 1-inch logs...... I also have one for blues.  It is from a storage container I picked at Target with 3 stackable bins that clip onto each other.  The top bin has a plastic insert for supplies.

... pieces of the 9-patch stars...

...I am working on 2 mini-log cabin projects... one is a flag for the 4th of July (see I pulled in some red!).. and one is for Easter - though I really like one of the Valentines projects as well...   I am just about to a point where I am going to have to stop or deliberately cut some 1-inch strips.  In honesty, I know I will have plenty of 1-inch strips of the colors I need if I am patient.  As I go through the year with this plan, my collection of tiny pieces will grow.

So.... on I go....  5-inch charm squares of Valentine print and red & whites
..and a free pattern I found here on Little Lady Patchwork

...gave me a new holiday table runner!  

Simply squares.... with hearts fused on.... with scraps of insul-brite quilted in the middle...

Saturday, April 4, 2015

One Sentence Journal 3/29/15 - 4/4/15

Sun Mar 29   Had a great lunch with Bren and Virginia today

Mon Mar 30  An amazing sunny day with surprises around every corner.  Got to connect with both my boys, worked at the quilt store, received a mega-surprise phone call (Note to self SCHEDULE a LUNCH DATE in APril), ran into someone I haven't seen in FOREVER at the grocery store (another lunch date to schedule).. and got to chat with a friend at martial arts..... and THEN an open house for a friend retiring from the library.  BAM!  Perfect day

Tue Mar 31  I love my days at home!  I got a bit of straightening / decluttering handled in several rooms, did my ttapp dvd, and got some of the cutting done for the grandbaby & lighthouse quilts. Also some work on blog posts.  I got the salad plot planted but my chest hurt so much - allergic asthma, I think - that I had to spend the afternoon napping (I know - boo-hoo)  It was a good day.

Wed Apr 1  One shift at the library... planned to go to the quilt shop but they don't need me today.... chest hurting from allergies.

Thu Apr 2  So so sick today.... chest, nausea, etc.... had to skip knit-wits but did a shift at the library.  Don picked me up and brought a pizza for dinner!  Yay!

Fri Apr 3  Still a bit under the weather.  Road trip to town with Don... I need rolls for Easter Sunday and to pick up my sewing machine from the shop.... Bless him, Don has the truck and trailer - he has a DYI agenda....  

Sat Apr 4  This chest pain is so much like when I had pneumonia.... Today my neck and ears hurt too.  I do not appear to be congested - just breathing trouble.  I wonder if I am contagious.  I worry about exposing the kids tomorrow.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Fabric Scrap Management Phase 3 & BLUE Scraps

Okay - Phase 3 of fabric management.....

[Link for Phase 2 click here... ]

So I am saving scraps and accumulating quite a few,

What am I going to MAKE with them?

Stage 3 happened the way the other two happened... when my 3 drawer chest and bins began to fill!  Rather than buy another bin....

I decided it was time to USE...

I knew that it would be smart to use typical pre-cut sizes - 2.5-in and 5-in. squares and strips.  And I started searching for patchwork patterns that I wanted to make!

And I found a TON!  And then had to choose what to work with..

* (1-inch)   I found a book with mini-log cabin patterns for the different seasons (that I liked) that uses 1-in strips.  The name of it is Holiday Happenings and it is available from Amazon (so please search using my link - thank you!)  So there is where I can use tiny  1-inch pieces..

* (2-inch) I found a pattern online that made potholders from a 5X5 block of 2-in squares.  ( I kind of thought I could make the blocks and on one ambitious day... turn them into gift potholders for Christmas - with the added bonus of using up the Insulbrite scraps left over from making table runners)

* (3-inch & 1.5-inch) I found a picture of a 4X4 square block with a star in the middle.  It isn't a pattern so I made up my version using 3-in squares and 1.5-inch squares for star points.

and a friend turned me on to   What fun!!  She hosts a rainbow-themed block of the month.  So - I thought - COOL!  I will handle colors of scraps one at a time!  And January was blue - all shades of blue to aqua...  so I pulled everything from my stash that was a fat quarter on down.   Lots of the pieces were from sewing so I had to trim them down (I will do another post on that)

She is doing 12.5 inch star blocks with 6-inch scrap sampler center blocks. 

In honesty, I didn't understand the method for the center - but decided I had 2 choices..... spend the time to figure it out - or get busy.  I already knew how to do the star - just not the center.  BUT I COULD do a 9-patch using 2.5 in squares as a 6-inch block.... so that is what I did so I didn't have to slow down!

This block uses 2.5-in squares for the center - and 4-inch squares for the star points. 

Here are my blue potholder tops (2-in squares in a 5 X 5 block): 
Here are my 3-in scrappy star blocks (using 3-in blue squares, a 3-in white square and 1.5-in white squares to make uneven star points):
..and some of my tiny log cabin blocks:
The light blue are destined for an Easter wall hanging and the dark blue for 4th of July.... which will, of course, take a year at least to finish!

and I still had a ton of 2.5" squares so I did an 8X8 block for fun:

I don't have set plans for these blocks but they are fun - and will make nice rainbow-flavored quilts later on!  Kind of like having more fabric.....  I like possibilities - and it doesn't bother me to create without a specific end in sight :-)   Next year, I will look at all I have created and design quilts out of them.

the finished blocks have a bin of their own.... and, as you can see... I have some different size possibilities.

I started small clear boxes by color with plastic baggies of different sized strips: 1-in, 1.5-in, 2 & 2.5-in, 3 & 3.5, 4, 5, 6 and up.

I have since found a mug rug pattern for 2X6-in strips.... and a couple of other ideas as I move through the colors....

So - back to MANAGEMENT!   Small box of BLUE scraps sorted into plastic baggies by size with larger rectangles folded neatly on the bottom.

As I do other projects, I am sorting the scraps by size in baggies in another bin until I specifically do that color.

and when January ended..... I went through my big pink fabric bin and pulled these so I can keep moving!