Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye 2007

The last few days have brought with them a great deal of reflection. I suppose that is not unexpected at this time of year. Looking back, it was one of my more difficult years in quite a while. And I am not at all sad to put it behind me. I have learned a good deal, I have changed a bit, and I have dealt with some pretty big challenges this year. But I am ready to start fresh with the new year. Resolutions? NAH! I know from experience that I am not one to stick with them. I will simply strive to improve next year.

I spent a little time in my sewing room over the weekend and am making some progress on my latest quilt. I let Matt choose the background for the star, since it will be his quilt. I think he chose well.
Further progress waits until I have played on EQ6 some more. I just haven't found an addition that both speaks to me and works with the amounts of available fabric I have for this quilt. But, I am pretty sure a narrow border is going on next. Maybe in the deepest orange?

Sunday, December 30, 2007 and fabric...ugh

Reminder: I will be drawing a winner for the mini-quilt on January 1, 2008. Post a comment by midnight 12/31/07 for a chance to win it. :)

Late this past summer, I began an unplanned but much needed diet. Health issues forced this on me, and without them I probably would still be eating what ever I want whenever I wanted to. However, since I have been following my new diet, I have seen many changes, pretty much all positive, in my life.
This brought me to thinking about ways to further improve other aspects of my life. And one that came to mind almost immediately is my sewing/quilting habits. They are, quite honestly, as bad as my former eating habits. I quilt what I want, when I want to. Some things get finished right away, many more get tossed aside when something new sparks my interest. And I have a tendency to buy fabric without having any idea when/if I will use it. As a result, my sewing room is packed full of fabric and unfinished projects. It is always a mess!
So, I have decided that it is time to put myself on a fabric diet now too. I am going to attempt to finish up the majority of projects I have already begun within the coming year. And I will also try not to buy any new fabric unless I need it to complete a specific project. Am I looking forward to this? Heck no! I am breaking out in a sweat just thinking about it. But, I am hoping that this will lead to some positive outcomes, much like the food diet has. I have posted a reminder badge on my blog. Hanne made it and offered to share.
Care/dare to join me?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Well, I survived Christmas, but I have to say I feel a bit like this Santa looks. I would really like to hibernate for a while; I'm so tired! But it was a great Christmas, and as of yesterday all of my Christmas gatherings are done. I hope you were all as blessed with joyful gatherings and good fellowship on Christmas day. Now things can start falling into a normal rythm around here again.

I have started yet another quilt project. This one is an attempt to use up some leftover strips from my son's compass star quilt I made last year. I am not done with the design process, but have started stitching anyways. I thought it would help me judge if I have enough of any particilar fabric in the project. I am making another lone star type quilt. Here is a sketch of what I have so far. I have not chosen a background fabric yet. In fact, the blocks surrounding the star will likely be pieced. I'm still working all that out. But whatever I use will be from my scraps or existing stash, as that was the whole point of this quilt top. For now, I have all the diamond sections stitched.

I think this will need more borders added, as it is not going to finish large enough as it is. That is yet another design feature I need to concentrate on. My youngest child has expressed an interest in this one already, so it will likely be for his bed when finished.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Stocking joy, plus Happy Blogiversary to me!

Be sure to read all the way to the end of today's post where you will find information about my 100th post/one year blogiversary giveaway!

Yesterday was a little mini-Christmas for me. I was the lucky recipient of not one but two handmade stockings filled with quilty treats! :) The first stocking came from Laura, a member of my on-line MSN group. I hosted a Christmas stocking swap in the group, but there was an odd number of swappers, so I did not get a partner. Laura did not want me to be left out so she sent me a stocking as well as one to her swap partner. This was especially touching to me because last year when I hosted this swap for the group my partner never sent me a stocking. Here is a picture of what Laura sent. Thank you, Laura!

The second stocking came from Dawne in Nova Scotia, Canada. When I realized I would not have a swap partner in my group, I joined the Christmas stocking swap at Quilts Your Way forums. Yesterday was the day that had been set as the day to open them during a chat session.
This is what I got from Dawne. Aren't those button topped pins the cutest? Thanks Dawne!

This blog was started one year ago today. Strange, but it doesn't seem like it has been a year already. I know I have a few regular visitors, and I thank you for your comments and support. I started this blog not really knowing if anyone besides me would ever read it. But I figured it was a good outlet for me and a way to keep track of my quilting progress.
My posting is pretty sporadic- I have not got a regular daily routine-yet. ;) However, I have managed over the past year to post 99 times. I am happy with that number, but I will try to improve upon that for this next year.

Of course, since this is my 99th post, that means my next post will be my 100th! That is two milestones almost simultaneously. (Maybe I should have paid closer attention so they would have both happened today.) Still, it seems like reason enough for a celebration to me. So I will be
having a giveaway. Just leave me a comment anytime between now and midnight(U.S. eastern time) December 31st for a chance to win this mini-quilt.
I will draw a winner on January 1st, 2008.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'm ready for Christmas, so it's back to the sewing room for me

All the cookies are baked, the decorations are out, the tree is up and the house is looking pretty good. I have only one gift left to purchase and then I will get everything wrapped. I think I'm pretty much ready for Christmas. Yes! :)

So when I got a call from my local quilt store letting me know that my tyme to water class would be resuming last night, I felt like I could spare the time to attend. It felt good to get back to some sewing and quilting related activities. This month was the last of the watering can blocks. Next month we will get the instructions for the setting blocks as well as the borders. I know I am going to like this quilt when it is finished.

I was inspired to get caught up on my buck a block quilt yesterday. I am not sure when I posted last about this one. There are still two more months left, so I don't have all the blocks yet, but I have some of my blocks assembled into a partial top. This is what I have so far.

And I will share another flimsy with you today, just because. I have quite a pile of tops needing to be quilted. I hope to get some of them finished after Christmas is over with. I have several new projects that I would like to start, but I really need to get some of the current ones completed first.

This top is made from swap blocks from a couple different internet swaps. It has alot more color than the picture shows. It is probably too busy. But this is the way it will stay.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

You guessed it

It may have occurred to you that my lack of new quilty posts is because I haven't done any quilting this week. Yup, you guessed that one right. I have been attempting to put out our Christmas decorations and do a little baking.
And it is wiping me out. It seems like I have done so little, but I am absolutely exhausted. And I still don't have the tree up or any of the outdoor decorations. Oh well. I have made good progress on the gift shopping, so I guess that's something.

In my travels through blogland, I found a post with a recipe for gingersnap cookies. I'm sorry I don't have a link to her blog, I tried to go back but just couldn't find it (airhead attack!). But, I did copy the recipe. So I put on my favorite (ok,only) Christmas apron and whipped up a batch. Yummy! They are fantastic!!! And I will share the recipe with you.

Grandma's Gingersnaps

3/4 cup butter (softened, not melted)

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

Mix together above ingredients until well blended, then add:

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. ground ginger

Beat all ingredients well. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator at least an hour. Then roll into small balls (large marble size). Dip balls into a bowl of white sugar, and place on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 preheated oven for 8 minutes (not a minute more, you want the cookies to be crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.)

I want to admit that I was impatient and did not allow my dough to chill. And you can see in the picture that my cookies came out quite flat. So I would recommend that you allow your dough to chill.

I also baked some gingerbread so that I could make this house. Usually I use alot more color on my gingerbread houses, but this year I decided to stick to just red,green, and white.

There is still so much to do before Christmas and I really don't know when I will get another chance to stitch anything. But I will try to post some pictures of some of my other projects soon.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I found this link and had a little fun with it. One is my hubby and the other is me.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Garden BOM top-what do I do now?

Today I finished up the last block of the Debbie Mumm 'Garden Favorites' block of the month. I changed the flowers in the block to make them easier to applique using a technique that does not use fusible webbing.

This evening I stitched the blocks together into a top.

But now I have a problem. The pattern calls for a couple borders. When I made the blocks for this quilt, I pulled all of the fabrics from my stash, using mostly fat quarters. So I don't have enough of any fabric for my borders that is already in the quilt top. So now I don't know what to do for the borders. What would you do?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Another flimsy finish

I am still not sleeping well, but that is not really all that unusual for me at this time of year. At least I'm not to the point where I need the industrial strength under-eye concealer yet. But the dark circles are likely in the near future. Still, I am getting some stitching done in the wee hours of the morning, so I guess it isn't all bad. This morning I finished another flimsy. The pile of completed tops is growing at a rapid rate. I will need to spend a good deal of time actually quilting this winter. In fact, even though I have the supplies for my next several new quilts to start, I think I will need to take a "finish a few before I start anything new" mentality. There are so many ufo's in my sewing room it is getting embarrassing.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Can't Sleep

Maybe it has something to do with my renewal of coffee drinking, I'm not sure. All I know is that

I am having a terrible time getting a decent night's sleep. And I am soooooo tired. But at least I am putting all that awake time to good use. Today's early morning yielded this set of blocks set together. I still have a couple outer borders to add, but they will be something special and will require a good deal of forethought.

Sorry it is not the best picture. I probably should have waited for daylight. But I think you can see it well enough to get the effect. Have a great day!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Back to business

In case you were thinking my last couple of posts were an indication that I have been slacking on the quilting, let me assure you, that is not the case. Indeed, I have been busy stitching away. Today I got the top completed for one of my BOMs. It may be destined for son #2's bed. It fits- I checked ;). Not 100% sure yet if he really wants it or would simply be settling. Regardless, here is a look at the completed top.

The perfect ending to a great day

It only took seven years, but it finally happened. Last night my husband and I went to a concert in town. The group has been coming every December for seven years, and this year I finally was able to attend the Trans Siberian Orchestra concert.
Usually my husband is gone on his annual hunting trip when they come to town, but not this year. So when he mentioned he heard this might be a good concert to see, I did not hesitate to purchase tickets. It was our anniversary gift to each other.
Can you believe that in 22 years of marriage, this is the first concert we have attended? I foresee many more in the future. Maybe I can score some of the VanHalen ticket that go on sale Saturday! ;)

Anyways, the concert was everything I had expected and then some. I have been a fan of TSO for a long time. And they did not disappoint. If you ever have an opportunity to see them, I highly recommend it.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

It's a good day

For those who are interested only in quilting, today's post is not for you. I will be blogging on a little bit more personal level today. I have hit a personal milestone, and feel the need to indulge myself by blogging about it.

At the end of August, I was diagnosed with type two diabetes. Oddly enough, a trip to the emergency room for a severe kidney stone attack is what alerted me to my elevated blood glucose numbers. Anyways, I had a series of tests done that verified I am a type 2 diabetic. And more tests to find the cause of recurring kidney stones.

I was sent to diabetes classes to learn how to manage my glucose levels and given an eating plan. I was just nicely getting accustomed to this new eating plan when I got the results of the kidney stone lab tests. Turns out many of the diabetes friendly foods were not friendly to my kidneys. So, I went for a visit with a dietitian, who helped me develop another new eating plan.

I have been following this plan fairly faithfully since the end of September. It has not always been easy, but I can feel a difference in how I am feeling. And I have lost 38 pounds. This is a significant amount of weight, but only a fraction of what I still need to lose. I had tried weight watchers a few years ago, and lost nearly this same amount of weight before I hit a plateau, lost focus and eventually dropped out of the program. Only to regain all of the weight within a couple years.

That is why today I was overjoyed when I stepped on the scale and realized that I am now below the weight I had gotten down to on the weight watcher plan. And my "skinny jeans" I was into then are now too big! And this disease that I was not too thrilled to be labeled with a few short months ago has turned out to have some positive effects on me. God works in some pretty marvelous ways. :)