Friday, December 30, 2011

2012, Here I come!

Where have I been and what have I been doing? Heck if I know!

This is my first holiday season totally retired and I dove in the deep end! It has been such fun to decorate the house, have company, make Christmas goodies for giveaway, and really, really, ENJOY the season.  My sewing machine sent me a "Miss You" card (I'm striving to touch base with her today!)

I know many people have given it up, but I still do resolutions/goals every year. I try (now) to be specific, finding that the generic goal of "be less cluttered" doesn't work for me.  I keep a clipboard by my "nest" (where I write my morning journal - EVERY day for more years that I remember) and have been adding 2012 goals for about a month. I'll finalize it over the weekend as we transition from 2011 to 2012.  There are some LOFTY goals for the upcoming year; I'm gonna be one busy lady!

Travel is on the horizon: 3 months in California (ok, technically one of those months will be spent on the road). A couple of weeks in Italy (or maybe France - we're still deciding). A trip to Houston for Quilt Market and Quilt Festival. The annual quilt retreats for my guild, and for the Camden (GA) guild. And of course West Palm Beach for the World Quilt Show.  There are a few more day trips in the plans as well. I figure I'll be home about half of 2012 ...

.... and still I have ridiculous resolutions/goals for myself. If I miss, I will still have accomplished a LOT! After all - isn't it the journey that is the most enjoyable?

2011 has been a good year. I have high hopes for 2012. One of my goals is to blog every day. That's one goal I really want to stay on top of. I enjoy being out here in the blogosphere. I hope to see more of you in 2012, and I hope you'll be along for the ride when I head out to California - again!

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Purple and Pounds

Gosh, I guess I should update the 13-weeks status. Funny how that has slacked off.  The idea of finishing a quilt each week kept me refreshed and eager to post something new, but I'm sure not putting much out here with the new goal of getting rid of stuff and finishing.  I'm definitely going to have to rethink this!  I AM still losing a pound a week, though (sometimes more), and I'm very happy about that. Still walking 6 miles most days - sometimes even in the rain (as long as it's really just a heavy mist and not a downpour!) So progress continues to be made.  The holiday season is here, though, and now it will be more challenging to resist those goodies that are everywhere at this time of year.

I have this much of "purple" done:

It's off to the quilters for now - sometimes that's just an intermediate step! - and then the rest of the "stuff " will be added.  I'm thinking I probably should have made the sashing bigger. The blocks are 6", the sashing is 1" ... I think a 2" sashing would've worked better, so I think I'll grab another basket of scraps and try it.  Soon.  As soon as I have an opening in the quilt schedule ....

Well, you just never know what life will REALLY bring, in spite of all your plans! That's what makes it so fun!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My life as a disorganized mess!

No, not really a mess. And really not all that disorganized, although sometimes things start to bug me.  I think the right way to phrase it is that blogging hasn't made it to the top of THE LIST until this moment. I've been too busy doing STUFF!

On Monday, a group of us took a Batik class with Wendy Tatter (of St. Augustine, FL).  Here's all our stuff, drying yet again (many drying cycles when batiking!).

Wendy holds classes at her house, which is charming in an indescribable way!! I think the most important lesson I learned that day was that it's ok that my priority is "There's art to be made!!!". I learned this by being so charmed with Wendy's "messily endearing" house. I'm sure some people need everything "just so" - but I rather enjoy the unexpected! The collection of Pez dispensers in the crazy kitchen was ever so fun! No more fretting for me - there's art to be made!

Gretchen and I were very early for the class, so we went to a Veteran's sculptural memorial for a quick visit.  I love this bird ...

...and this view

Ah, Florida! I sometimes wish we had cold weather, but .. not on this day. It was glorious!

Here are all the pics from that day - all with the Ipad. I kinda like what the bright lights did to the photos. It's funky! I'm a Flickr newbie (and certainly no photographer!!)  but hopefully you can see everything.

More to come this morning, but enough for this post.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gymnasts, Royalty, and other stuff

Tomorrow I head out to the World Quilt Show in West Palm Beach, FL. Ah, 3 days of gorgeous quilts and shopping. How can that be bad?  I thought I better hurry up and post before I leave since I am, once again, behind.

I'm still meeting my goal of losing a pound each week. This reasonable expectation really has made life easier. I eat pretty much anything, just not everything. And of course I feel better. I've become kinda hooked on exercise - even to the point of walking in the rain twice last week.  A mild rain ... kind of a heavy mist really ... but still, rain.  I listen to books when I walk and zone out the rest of the world.

I didn't exactly finish anything last week ("finish" meaning the project is completely done - no more work to do on it): I got sidetracked by those red tumbler blocks I cut with the GoBaby a couple of months back. Here's how they started:

Here they are, a little further along, and borders being auditioned.

And here's the final product (I decided against any of the other auditioned borders ... too much red).  Soooo .... instead of getting something finished, I now have another top waiting to be quilted! I can't help myself - I enjoy it too much.  I named this one "Communist Gymnasts".  Ha!

Here's another group of little blocks that sort of fell out of my sewing machine this week (the "royalty").  You'll have to check back next week to see what they grow up to be!  Even I'm not sure yet!

And that was my non-eventful week. Check back over the next few days for pics from the quilt show.  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 4, 2011


Progress continues on the jacket. One of the sleeves is on so I'm just about done.

I've decided to take a leap a day for the rest of the year by trying something that I don't know how to do.  I tried a couple of journal pages - just adding color so they'll be ready for journaling ....

I have a lot to learn but at least I gave it a try! :)  I spritzed the pages after adding the color, but didn't get much movement/removal of the ink.  Ah, sooooo much to learn!!  (I DO enjoy the learning part!!)

I've started sewing together rows for a red tumbler quilt:

These are just tossed up on the design wall & will be getting shuffled a number of times, I'm sure.  Earlier this year I cut up all my red scraps using my GoBaby.  I was going to add another color, but decided to stay with just red (for the center) for an "all reds clash beautifully" sample.  The tumbler blocks finish at 3".  There will be lots of dups, but not next to each other in the final quilt.

This will be a small piece - just about 30" x 42" (or maybe just 36" or 39" if it gets too out-of-proportion) before borders. This is another thing I want to do ... work smaller.  These smaller pieces will be experiments, practice, sample pieces ... and at some point in their life, they'll be just the right size for wheelchair quilts.  So far I'm liking the red tumbles!!!!  I can't wait to see where this little piece goes.

And that's my day!  Thanks for stopping by!!

Monday, Monday

(HA! I wrote this on Monday & here it is Friday already!!)

Good progress! I got the binding sewn on one of the pink cancer-lady quilts; another one added to the handwork stack!

Cancer-ladies Quilt

There are only 3 in that stack, which shouldn't take me too long.  One of these days I'll attempt the "binding by machine" technique, but I admit that I do enjoy doing the handwork part so it may be awhile before that new venture.

I got a back made for the wonky circles quilt shown here:

Wonky Circle Quilt

Now it can go to the long-armer to be quilted.  I really like this quilt and will be happy to see it finished.

I got a good start on this jacket today:

I tried using folded accent strips (instead of raw-edge).  I like the look much better. The fold leaves a definite impression on the lining, but I think the neatness will be worth it.  One of the threads I used for the accent stitching has a lot more red than appears on the spool. I decided I like it anyway - it gives a funky pop of color.

I just love making these jackets!   I need to find just the right buttons for them, and that's half the fun!  I have enough buttons in my stash to use on these and digging through all the button boxes is always an adventure!

I closed up sewing-shop early to be ready for any trick-or-treaters. We usually don't get many, but actually had some this year. It's the most fun to see the wee ones! I wish the world hadn't gotten so scary.

That was my Monday - how was yours?

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 31, 2011

13 Weeks of Autumn - What's up, doc?

Happy Halloween to all my ghoulie & goblin pals! You'd think I could've done something Halloween-y this week, but I didn't.  Progress continues, though!

Another pesky pound has found it's way to some other equal-and-opposite-reaction place. An old "stereo" finally made it's way out of the house & will be Freecycled. And I finished this quilt:

Here's a closer shot, showing the cool bubble quilting:

Sometimes there are interesting things to talk about, but most of the time life is just day-to-day non-eventful (in a GOOD way). Still .... this is my place to keep track of things so here are some things.  I got this binding attached, so now it only needs the handwork: (I really like this quilt! It makes me happy to look at it. I will most likely keep this one for my own collection.)

And see all those threads on this batting?

Well, those are the thread snippets from de-quilting this little quilt: (which is showing only a corner ... it's not really that small!)

This quilt, and another just like it, were my experiments when I first got my long-arm machine. Needless to say they are horrible, so I've been de-quilting them so I can re-quilt and donate them. (they're perfect for kids, and LOTS of kids are homeless or in temporary shelters with almost nothing).  The de-quilting is somehow relaxing. Probably because it's totally mind-numbing yet there's the satisfaction of seeing progress made. (Hmmm.... can you "make progress" as you "un" something? (de-quilting = un-sewing). Well....actually I guess you can.

And that is my progress from the week and from the day. Don't eat too much candy! Don't get "skeert" by any wee spookie ones tonight. And most of all thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

13 Weeks of Autumn - Update

Seriously. How does time fly by me so quickly?  Two weeks of updating to post!

OK I'm 3 weeks into the Autumn version of 13-Weeks, Reset version. I have indeed lost another 3 pounds. I have learned that the weight-loss effort is what's eating so much of my time. I walk 6 miles most days (I can't really say "every day" because some days it's not possible - or I'm just slugging!), and this takes me 2 hours.  Yea, I'm a slow walker, but still ahead of everybody on the couch! :-)  Also, since I'm not trained to be a healthy eater, this takes time as well.  The bottom line is - the getting-healthier issue eats up the largest percentage of my time and energy; this is OK with me!!!!

"Stuff" is getting out of my house. In the last two weeks I've gotten rid of stacks of books and more clothes.  I've also been sorting through and purging quilting projects.  Some projects that I start simply will not be finished by me, so I've prepared them for the Honeybee Retreat quilt-sale-room.

And I have completed projects. In week 2, I finished the Tennessee Puzzle quilt (see it here), and this week I did this jacket:

I want to make a bunch of jackets for my CA trip now that I know what kind of weather to expect.  This will be just enough!  I cut out a bunch of them during the Camden Retreat at Epworth By-The-Sea last weekend, so I'll be working on these for the next few weeks.

So .... 13 Weeks continues onward! I can deal with 13 weeks ... I'm still unsure of my ability to commit anything for a year, though! :)

Trivial stuff I want to keep track of:
What I'm reading: Fiction - To make a long story short, Jeffrey Archer. Classic - Uncle Tom's Cabin, Non-fiction - The Passion of the Western Mind, Richard Tarnas

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

13 Weeks - Update

What a lazy (non)blogger I've been lately!  But not lazy around here, believe me! After I pushed the reset button on October 1, I really got my move on.  Another pound gone, a finish ...

... and a b-u-n-c-h of stuff out of the house!

My bro' Rick was surprised to find some of my quilt herd on his doorstep :-).  It's soo fun to send quilts when people aren't expecting them!  Another box went to the Basics group in NYC, and the bags went to Goodwill.

The scarf above was made from some "yarn" I got at Quiltfest a couple of weeks ago.  I loved the samples, the process looked simple enough (heck, I'm a knitter!!), so I bought a whole bunch (never buy just one!) .... and I bet the scarf/boa above is the only one I'll make. Yeegads that stuff is awful to work with!!!!  No rave reviews here!

We got drenched by a 7-day nor'easter that finally ended yesterday; I didn't walk for 4 days in a row and my feet are sure feeling the pain after walking again today! I did get up to 6 miles but my poor tootsies feel like I did 60 today.  But it sure did feel good to be out moving again.

I've been up to lots of stuff this week, too.  More on that on Sunday.  Till then ...

....thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"13 Weeks" Pushes the Reset Button

Life is what happens while you're making plans. My life certainly got in the way of my plans over the last few weeks! Reflection tells me that one of the reasons is because of the vague focus for this set of 13 weeks - especially considering the zeroed-in focus of my first 13-week session! So ... today being the first day of a new month, with only 3 months left in 2011 (oh please! don't remind me!), I'm pushing the reset button and starting a new 13-weeks.

13 weeks. 13 (more) pounds. 13 finishes. 13 bags(or boxes)-o-stuff out of my house.

Now I feel focused. I honestly did feel like I was wandering, with no direction, during the month of September.  Here's the recap of the month:
  • It was a good month for weight-loss; I lost 8.5 pounds in September.  Total since starting 13 weeks: 25.5. Awesome! I went shopping for new clothes yesterday - because, seriously, my clothes were way beyond "don't fit".  (Yes, I know the . should be within the ", but it makes more sense to me to do it the English way.)
  • Quiltfest Jacksonville. Great show that ate lots of my time!
  • Accomplishments? Well, I really don't feel like I accomplished anything - even though I did. Among other things I finished a few quilts (finished, to me, means the label is on. Sometimes the label is nothing more than sign/date using a Sharpie on the quilt back, but that makes it "a finish"!!)
  • Techniques? Didn't happen. Well, I made that book the first week, and started other things, but really - techniques did NOT get done.
September gets marked up to lessons learned: have a specific goal & don't be so vague. The continue weight loss is a success, however - and really does use a LOT of my time & energy! I am up to 5.5 miles per day (most days), going for 6 in the next week or two.  I'll maintain at 6 miles for awhile, though, I'm tellin' ya!

So .... reset with me! Away I go to some finishes, and getting stuff out of my house so my poor heirs won't have to do it when I'm gone!

Thanks for stopping by .... and hanging in there with me!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

13 Weeks of Autumn - Week 2

Hmm. I'm finding it very hard to start anything; I've been focused on "finishing" this week. Yes, that means I didn't try any new techniques - but I finished a lot of stuff!  I also had a lot of "accomplishments" (that vague word!) - mostly revolving around getting crap out of the garage.  Tomorrow is garbage day; I think the garbage dude is gonna hate me!  That's even after I freecycled a whole bunch of stuff (for the uninitiated - see

The pounds continue to come off - hooray! The goal of only 1 pound a week has made the journey seem attainable rather than a struggle; I'll keep on this way for awhile.  The walks are much easier now that it's a tad bit cooler in the mornings. Walk on!

Not much to say this week, but wanted to do the check-in.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

13 Weeks of Fall - Week 1 Check-In

Labor Day has passed; the weekend that I usually spend thinking about Christmas. It's like the official start of the holiday season for me.  So what did I plan?  NOTHING! But I sure did find a lot of fun things on Pinterest!! (If you're not familiar with Pinterest, there's a button over on the right - just click it.)

The first week of my personal challenge for Fall was great! I lost another pound, tried a new technique, but I have to say I'm having a little difficulty trying to decide just which thing is the "accomplishment" for the week. Well ... I knew it was going to be vague, but I'll grow into the definition over the next few weeks. At any rate - I made a book this week; something I've been wanting to try for a long time.  Here's my very first attempt at bookmaking: 

It's small - just 4 1/2" x 5 1/2".  It was a fun experience and man did I ever learn a lot!  I know, I know ... I was going to do ATCs. I got distracted - what can I say?  I didn't meet all my commitments for the week, but still - having them out for all to see is a great motivator.  I'll make my first attempt at updating that page this evening.

I also tried a new recipe this week - something decadent to take to my guild meeting: Saltine Toffee (I made it healthy by using multi-grain Saltines.)  (Soooo "NOT"!!!).  There's a link to the recipe on my "Food, Glorious Food" Pinterest board.  Click away.)  Wow that stuff is deeeee-lish!  I couldn't get it out of my house fast enough!  If I had made it any earlier there wouldn't have been enough left for the guild members.  

So that was my week.  Great, with room for improvement, which is probably a good place to land.  The cooler morning today sure did make for a delightful walk!  I'll be grateful when we have consistent cooler mornings. :-)

Thanks for stopping by! 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

13 Weeks; An end and a beginning

Soooo .... my first 13-week personal challenge has ended! 3 more check marks this week (all goals accomplished). Here's a (lousy) pic of this week's quilt: 

(It was taken quickly, and with the phone, after I nearly forgot!!)  It's all feedsack repro fabrics and is really quite fun.  Maybe a better pic later...

Anyway .... here are the statistics:
13 quilts got made. Some are actually FINISHED(!!!), most are quilted.
17 pounds left my body. Hooray for that! (I should've also counted the miles I've walked! 5 miles, almost every day)
13 new recipes got tried. Some were big successes, others were big failures. I tried one 3 times before I finally just gave up. I will go in search of a different recipe for beer bread!

So that's the "end". The "beginning" is the start of the 13 Weeks of Autumn. Yes, I'm going to do another 13 week segment (because as I said in my very first 13-week post, I don't think I can commit to a year of anything!!) (OK I can commit, but would I follow through? Doubtful.)  Over the next 13 weeks/3 months I will try 13 new techniques, lose 13 more pounds, and accomplish 13 things.  Now I realize that's kinda vague ("accomplish"), but you know all those things on the to-do list (even if it's only a mental one) that never seem to get done? Well, I'm going to do one a week for the next 13 weeks.  Some may seem insignificant and small - and maybe some folks wouldn't even consider them an accomplishment .... but this is my personal challenge, and if I consider "it" an accomplishment, it is!! (insert your idea of a smiley face here)

I'm not giving up on quilting, though.  Oh, no indeed! (I have entirely too much stash for that!!)  What I  am going to do is work on some more complex quilts - the kind that can't be made in a week. I'm thinking one quilt a month, so I'm committing to 3 quilts during this Autumn "term".  I can even tell you that they will be my "premium aged" Tree of Life (that has been sitting around for YEARS), and two new ones - a "slashed" Christmas Tree quilt, and Midnight Garden (from the book Divide and Conquer).

Those are my commitments for the next 13 weeks. Who knows what else I may tackle during that time? I'd like to keep trying new recipes because I do enjoy cooking, especially now that I have time for it. I may make a few more simple quilts to keep adding to the donation pile, I'd like to blog more than once a week; maybe the "new technique" will spur me on toward that goal. I know this, though - the past 13 weeks have been fun, challenging, successful, and most importantly a huge learning experience for me!  I take all those lessons learned into this new 13-week challenge and hope these 13 will surpass the first.  I hope you'll stay with me, and I hope some of you will play along!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday Check-In - Week 12

I almost forgot!

Wow, only one week left in my 13-week challenge to myself!!  This week was a success - quilt, check - pound, check - recipe(s), check.  Here's the quilt:

This one was a UFO that finally got done! I took this pic at the quilters (with my phone) when I picked it up from being quilted.  It's nice to be getting some of these UFOs done, as well as some "new kids on the block".

Recipes this week: roasted vegies (zucchini, red & yellow peppers, purple onions) which were a side-dish with grilled chicken & couscous.  The next morning the vegies were the base of another new recipe - a brunch frittata. A double!!

I continue to debate what my goals for the next 13 week challenge will be.  I think I've settled on what I'll do, but will wait till next week before I reveal (because I'll probably change my mind another 30 times before then!!)

This has certainly been fun!! Tune in next week for the recap!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

13-Weeks check in - Week 11

Another week flies by. Another week of summer gone (a lot of us in Florida say "thank you!" to that!!). School is starting for so many already! (I'm sure we didn't start till after Labor Day).  And the 11th week of my 13-week challenge is complete.  Report card?  Straight A's!!  (OK I know the apostrophe doesn't belong, but "Straight As" looked weird.)  Another quilt, another pound, another recipe.

Here's the quilt - another from Lynn Provencher's pattern "Cheech and Chong":

(I don't do very straight lines using Photoshop's eraser!!)  I tweaked the pattern again this week, using more than 9 fabrics, sewing them randomly, and adding a "chopstick" to the white blocks because I didn't like the way they looked - like big blobs of square dough.  I used the "remains" of the strip sub-cuts as the chopstick inserts. Cool! Less scraps!

Speaking of scraps .... this little jewel found its way into my house this week:
The Go Baby is definitely Oh Baby! I used the tumbler die to make quick work of my red scraps. If you haven't seen one of these demo'd, search the blogs - there are plenty out there!  Here's just one: 

No affiliation with the product; just a happy customer!

Yes indeed another pound found it's way into droppage - woohoo! The recipe involved chicken, cream of chicken soup, ranch dressing, and panko bread crumbs.  It was quite good!

I'm narrowing down my options for my next 13 week challenge!  Stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

13-Weeks check in - Week 10

Wow, it's Wednesday already!  I've been running the streets today, melting my credit card. JoAnn's has the Go Baby cutter on sale and with all the blogging being done about that little gem, well .... of course I just HAD to have one! So now I do. And a bunch of dies to go with it.  Yeow! The cutter is cheap in comparison!  But what the heck - no one's goin' hungry because I bought this stuff!!

OK so what about the week?  It was great! Three check marks this week - quilt, pound, and recipe (roasted squash).  Here's the quilt:

It's the small version of the week 5 quilt.  This'll be another donor quilt - perfect for a wheelchair person. My sewing machine is at the Bernina home, waiting to get it's routine maintenance done.  They are backed up & it won't be ready for "a couple of weeks."!!!  Trusty Featherweight to the rescue! There are quilts to be made!!

I can't believe 10 weeks have gone by already. The summer months are almost over; hopefully that will mean a break in the weather from those of us sweltering in the heat.  It's hot here in Jacksonville, but my friends in (and near) Dallas have it even worse. What a brutal year for heat it's been!

Sewing weekends are coming up! Can't wait for the retreat at Camp Blanding next weekend!  Meanwhile - Friday night at Cinnamon's! Will I see any of you at either place?????

Happy stitching, or whatever your joy may be! Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

13 Weeks Check-in - Week 9

I am amazed at how fast the time has flown by! I'm noodling on ideas for my next 13-weeks, which I've already decided I will do. (Anybody else wanna play?) Maybe not a quilt a week again - those bindings are weighing heavy on my brain!  

Speaking of weighing ......... yes, another pound is gone. Yes another quilt is made. No I did not try a new recipe this week, although 1 tweaked 2 old ones - does that count? One was the beer bread recipe which was, again, a failure.  That recipe is just not quite right and has been tossed.

 Here's the weekly quilt:

(Whoops - forgot to crop.)  OK I learned a lesson from this quilt - I learned that I don't like the drastic contrast of the sashings to the coins. Doesn't it kinda look like the fabrics are in jail?  This quilt will most likely be donated to a senior's home since it's lap size.  Great for those that are wheelchair bound and tend to get cold.  Or maybe to a kid's place - it's a good size for a kid, too.  Any suggestions? My stack of quilts to donate is growing!!

When I headed out for my walk this morning, it was totally overcast which made me consider leaving the sunglasses at home.  Thankfully I did not! By the time I was on the second half of the walk the sun was bearing down & had burned off most of the overcast-ness.  There sure were a lot of people walking this morning! Twice as many as I usually see on my walks.

Well those bindings are yelling at me so I guess I better go tend to them.  Thanks for stopping by!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Strips and Scraps and Bindings, Oh My!

Over the weekend, I got a wild hair to sort my scraps - into colors, no less! Here's what I ended up with. There are fabrics in there that I recall, but don't recall the quilt they're in. That's disturbing!

There's also this stack of long strips left over from trimming quilted quilts. I was using a few recent strips to add width to a backing. I think that's what prompted the urge to sort.  Holy mackerel - there are enough strips here to sew together & back another 10 quilts! What am I .... NUTS????  (Don't answer that.)

And now that I'm making a quilt a week, you know what comes after the trimming ....... BINDINGS!!! Yeee-ikes that's a bunch o' strips! Well ... let me get started.

OK ... here we are all sewn together & pressed in half.  Now to start sewing to the quilts .......

This is the stack done so far ....

Three down, 5 (6??) to go.  Hmmm..... maybe I should have thought about exactly what a quilt a week would mean!!!!  TOO LATE! :-)

And now I shall go stitch.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday Check-In - Week 8

That was the week that was. (Some of you will "get" that!!)

OK so how did the week go? Swell, thanks!  Another quilt done, 2 more pounds gone (catching me up!!), and some more things off the do-list.  No new recipe this week.  In fact, I didn't cook much at all! I let Fresh Market do all the heavy lifting this week.

Here is the quilt, with a close-up:

I didn't start from "zero" on this quilt. I had pieces of it already done.  This came from a quilt-sale-room purchase a couple of years ago at the Honeybee Retreat (thanks, Debbie Puckett!). It finally aged enough to become a quilt :-).  

I still didn't get the sweater parts put together, but many other things gone done during the week. All in all it was a great week, full of successes.  Now if only I could beat KT at Words!!!!  She's definitely been kicking my butt lately!!

All this stuff made it's way into my house this week:

Dots and stripes and yellows play significant roles in my stash! The b&ws will be some of the backgrounds for our Christmas tree block swap.  Heaven forbid I should use only what's in the stash!! I also gorged on books and magazines yesterday. Gosh I do love books!!!!

I'm not making any extra commitments this week - I've still got the sweater lurking....waiting...hoping to become complete.  But let's face it - it's tough to get sweater-motivated when it's 97 degrees out!

Soooooo .... how's your summer going?

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday Check-In - Week 7

I'm playing with the set-up of the blog. More changes coming shortly, but so far I like it.

Wow! My 13 week challenge is more than half-over!

Status for the week: Quilt? Yep. Recipe? Yep. Pound? Sad trombone sound (dang!!) But I did finish the sweater I mentioned in last week's post.  Now wouldn't you think all of that walking and sweating last week would've helped me lose that pound? Oh well ... I'll catch up!

Here's this week's quilt:

No pics of the sweater yet. I'll get one posted later.  I'm not really happy with the results, but at least it graduated from UFO to FO!!  One more thing off "the list".  

Recipes this week: beer bread, which tasted yummy but something in the recipe is not quite right.  Not enough liquid, I think. I'll try it again, though, tweaking it a bit because it was really good!  I also made grilled chicken and vegies (yellow squash, red pepper, purple onions) with chimichurri sauce.  I'll definitely be making that again!!  Remember last week's fennel trial? Well I grilled a steak on the George (Forman grill), then tossed a handful of the fennel/onion on said grill after I cooked the steak.  Wow, that was yummy!!

So I'm caught up on recipes, still even on quilts, but need to make up the pound!  This week's "extra credit" project is to sew the seams on another sweater (that I started when I was in CA) so I can add the edgings and collar.  We'll see if I get there!

I'm off to see the final Harry Potter movie!!!!  I'm happy about seeing the movie, but so sad to see it end. It's been so fun!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 15, 2011

I love fabric

Oh duh, what a surprise.

No really. This morning I woke up thinking about fabric. I DO love it. I love collecting it, looking at it, cutting it up & sewing it back together again with some other fabric pals (although it can be terrifying to cut up some fabrics!!) (<--- quilty friends "get' this!!).

I have massive amounts of fabric! I collect it. I love it! Many times I would be shopping for fabric and was asked "what are you going to do with that?" Do? DO? You mean I can't just have it? I mean - what does one DO with a collection of, say ... Matchbook lures...chintz china? Can't I just HAVE my fabric? I finally developed my standard answer to the frequently asked "what are you going to make with that": I'd reply "a stack of fabric - and I'm almost done!!"

When I was still working, every time I bought fabric I would say that I was saving for my retirement (my stash is known as my 401Quilt). How true this has turned out to be! Now that the price of cotton is skyrocketing, it turns out that my fabric buying was quite the good investment! Now that I'm not working, I can play with my fabric. And I certainly have been playing!

I love complex, involved quilts but I also love simple quilts that are fast to make yet show off a wonderful fabric line or group of fabrics. My "13 weeks" project is the perfect setting for making such quilts. How fun it has been to pull from my stash and make a quick quilt where it's the fabric (not the design) that's the star of the show!!

I've been known to binge on cutting fabric, as well. At my annual beach vacation this year, I cut fabric for 10 quilts. For the last two days I've been happily cutting fabrics for 4 quilts. I put these in their own project bag, label them with what they're going to be when they grow up, and plunk them into a project box. Then when I want to sew but not think, I can just grab a bag out of the bin and I'm ready to go.

I'm always sad when I read articles on "how to trim down your stash" that never even mention actually using the stuff! I mean - we bought it because we liked it, right?? (And even though my tastes have certainly changed, I still love all the stuff in my stash.) There are a zillion patterns out there - many of them free - that would be the perfect opportunity to actually use your stash. How about whipping up a few quilts for donation? Even if you just make the top, I bet your guild has some kind of charity/donation project. Not in a guild? Contact one of the locals & donate your tops to them. You'll thin out your stash (allowing room for more!!), hone your sewing skills, and make someone happy in the process. How awesome is that?

What do I do with my simple quilts that I don't donate? A couple of years ago (on Christmas), I put a bunch (I mean a BUNCH) of them in my car and when I arrived at our Christmas gathering, I had everyone go take the one they wanted. Everybody was happy! I thinned out my quilt cabinet and everyone got to take a quilt home.

Quilts don't have to have a purpose to be made. Just make them! They'll find their place in the universe. And you'll use up some of your stash in the process.

I love fabric!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

13 Weeks Wednesday Check-in - Week 6

The week was good to me! Another quilt done, another pound gone, and two new recipes (now I'm only one recipe behind!)

I made the twin to week-2's quilt. Both of these will be leaving to go to their respective cancer-survivor recipients. I'd had this fabric in my stash for quite a long time. It's the Lorelei cancer-ladies fabric. I kind of hoped I'd never have to use it but now two of my friends are living with breast cancer. One of the ladies is SOOOOO "not pink" but I think she will still appreciate the humor of the fabrics. Hopefully I will not "have" to make any more pink quilts. Wouldn't it be nice to beat breast cancer for good?

My recipes this week were both from Cooking Light magazine. Pan-seared scallops in orange sauce with fennel and red onion, and pan "fried" halibut with cornichon tartar sauce. The scallops were good. Interesting served with oranges - so very "Florida"! (As a kid, I would dive for scallops when we visited cousins on Escambia Bay, and of course nothing says "FLORIDA" like oranges!!) I'd never had fennel before and find I still wonder what it tastes like. There was a LOT of it (two bulbs!) so you'd think I would've noticed a flavor but I did not. I can put the temporary blame on my malfunctioning taster. The med I'm on right now (hopefully for only one more month - woohoo!) has screwed up my taste buds so I'm not really sure I can give up on fennel just yet.

The halibut ... it was superb! Man-o-man it was good! Simply done. Flour, fresh lemon rind, thyme, a little pepper. Dredge the filets, pan "fry" using cooking spray (I used regular ol' olive oil - just a smidge is needed). Both recipes were fast-fast-fast! Less than 30 minutes from getting the stuff out of the fridge to on my plate. (I confess I am not nuts about the tarter sauce, though. But isn't that why we try recipes? Some win, some lose. The halibut was too good to cover with sauce anyway.)

Extras this week: I finished the bee sox - yay! They've been sitting around just waiting for the last few rows for longer than I care to admit.

(HAHA! This camera angle makes them look the feet are giant and the ankles are small! They are really "normal" proportioned socks!)

I also finished this knitted felted bag. All it needed was to attach the "strap". Now it's a completed project. Woo hoo!

Working through projects in various stages of UFOness is (at the moment) very satisfying to me. This week I'm going to finally put together the pieces of a sweater that has (have?) been knitted for I'm-not-admitting-how-long so it can exit UFO land as well.

Have you noticed a rather odd trend - sox, scarves, sweaters?? Where do I live? Oh yes ... FLORIDA!!! Yes these knitted items will be useful here. I'll just pile them all on my body on our one cold day next winter. HA! Who cares? It's fun!

The morning walks are brutal now (and still I knit!!). Despite the fact that I get out around 7:15, it's still so very hot and humid that I think "oh I won't walk 5 miles today". But usually I can endure. I get home with (literally) sweat dripping from the rim of my terry-covered visor. I never knew the tops of my hands could sweat. Lordy it's hot and sticky out there! I listen to audio books or podcasts while I walk. Currently I'm listening to Prey (Michael Crichton) and The Confession (John Grisham). Both are good walking/sewing books.

Well ... off to start week 7 (can you believe it already??). Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

13 Weeks - check-in for (really) week 5

It was a good week. The quilt got done, the pound got lost, the scarf got finished .... but nothing new got cooked (ah well - I'll catch up before the end!!) I suppose if something gets kicked aside while doing other things, cooking isn't a bad one to loose. Although I love puttering around in the kitchen, I confess that I'd rather be playing with fibers.

Here are the pics from this week.

The quilt. This is the same pattern as last week's quilt. That top border piece has black polka dots - you just can't see them in the pic. I'm always amazed at how different things look through the camera lens!
The scarves (they don't show well laying flat but you get the general idea). These scarves are from hand-painted yarns with hand-painted silk scarves as the drawstring. They can be worn loosely hanging, or scrunched up in all kinds of interesting ways. Of course this is Florida, so the chance that they'll both get worn in one winter is slim, at best! (But another trip to CA is in the confirmed-and-planning stage!!)
See more on drawstring scarves on Melody Johnson's blog Fibermania.

And the tray I finally finished! This is a fiber collage; I'm going to make some ATCs with the remains. I found a blog for ATC trades where you only have to send one ATC. THAT I can handle! (If you're interested in ATCs, see Lisa Liza Lou's blog here.)

I've mentioned this before, but working within a deadline is really working for me. Even more than that, though, is being accountable here on the blog. I think we push ourselves a little more - have more discipline - if we've told the Universe we're going to do something. Also, succeeding where you said you would is a big brain boost! It makes me want to do even more. Success feeds upon itself, I guess. (I definitely need to start doing some bindings, though! They're piling up!)

Although I will have to live to be 960 to explore all I want to explore, I am enjoying the extra hours that retirement provides. I don't think I'll ever get bored.

Oh by the way, Susan Brubaker Knapp has a great blog post today - full of photography tips. Find her here. (Photography is definitely not my strong suit - but I'm going to learn!!)

This week I think I'll also finish those Bee socks I've been working on ......

All comments welcome! I love getting comments! Thanks for stopping by.