Monday, January 30, 2012

Simple Monday

Went to visit my friend today and hang out with her for a few hours.  My friends and I are enjoying the time we're having with her ... reminiscing about some of the crazy things we have done over the years.  We've known each other since our kids were 5 ... 13 years almost.  I'm glad that we can have this time with her to help her through this rough patch ... having friends and keeping your mind occupied is so important.  I know my own mind just races sometimes when I'm not feeling well and it's hard to turn your brain off.

What do you do when you need an escape?  I love to read ... it's something I loved as a child ... I remember hanging out in the library for hours ... it is still one of my favorite places!  You know what my daughter told me last week ... she said "mom,  no one goes to the library anymore."  What????  I hope that's not true ... the library is such a great resource, and it is free!  Not much anymore is free.  Between computers and bookstores, I guess most teenagers get what they need without borrowing it from the library.  So far this year I have read "The Happiness Project," which I told you about not too long ago, and that I loved!  I also am in the middle of reading something on my Nook called, "One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simple."  I also started reading "Price and Prejudice" . . . can you believe I've never read that book?  Where have I been?  I just finished a book I borrowed from the library ... it was really good ...
"The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane"  It was a great escape ... it's a book that takes place in the present time, but goes back to the Salem witch trials ... very suspenseful.

I did finish the quilt I had on my frame yesterday ... I am embarrassed to tell you that it is a friend's quilt that got pushed to the back of the pile last year.  I've probably had it since October ... she reminded me the other day that she would love to have it done as she has a place to hang it; I told her it was on my schedule and apologized profusely!  Of course I am not charging her for it ... I hope she likes the way it turned out ... she'll just probably be happy to have it back!  I have been fussing around with my bobbin tension and not real happy lately with it ... I don't know what is different, or what I'm doing different, but I just feel like I never get that perfect tension on the back.  I finally broke down and ordered a TOWA gauge ... it is a device that you use to test the tension on each bobbin you wind.  You do a little fidgeting with it and find where your machine likes the tension, and then when you find that number, it is an easy adjustment to the bobbin.  It came today so I am excited to play around with it tomorrow and find that magic number.  I had one when I had my Juki, and I loved it.

Way past my bedtime ... I'll try to snap a picture of my friend's quilt tomorrow ... maybe I should let her see it first before I let you all see it!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Just a Sunday

A beautiful Sunday today ... not a lot going on and I thought I would just keep it simple and show you a few pictures of my day ...
This stuffed rabbit keeps winding up thrown out of this suitcase; now I know why
A birdbath, a feeder, and a tree to hop around in ... the birds are content!

The view out my back door

You know who eyeing the park and trying to carry out their jobs!

Got a quilt on the frame today ... ready for quilting!
Enjoy your week!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Another perfect day

Wow, another beautiful day in San Diego ... can you believe it was in the 70's today?  I think it hit 80 on Thursday ... crazy!  We have had a little cold weather too (for us at least), but the birds were singing this morning, and I was up early.  I got a lot done ... read the paper, sorted some coupons, made a list and prepared to take my mom to the grocery store since I didn't get there with her yesterday.  I haven't talked about my couponing in a while ... well, remember that I bought a TON of baking products, etc. before Christmas in preparation for the holiday.  Also, that is the time of year when you can get really good deals.  Here is what my baking pantry looks like now  ...
What's that you say?  It still looks like it did in December?????  Well, believe it or not, I really did use stuff for my baking, but obviously I bought too much ... ha, ha, ha ... what a shocker!  Ask my husband, he will tell you that is my M.O. for everything!  But in my defense, let me tell you what I was able to do today without any thought at all ...

Bake cookies for our good friend who is celebrating her birthday today!  These peanut butter kiss cookies (that I only make at Christmas) are her very favorite.  She is not a baker, so she usually knows that I'm going to make her a batch!  I had everything ... in fact, I have enough Hershey's kisses in the freezer in our granny flat to get me through Valentine's day, St. Patricks' Day and probably Easter!  I stocked up on peanut butter through Amazon -- have you ever heard of their "subscribe and save" program?  You can sign up to have a certain item delivered on a regular basis.  By signing up for the program, you lock in at that "deal."  What they don't advertise is that you can cancel your subscribe and save status, thereby still getting you the "deal," and without obligating you to purchase more.  For people that don't live near stores, I bet the Amazon program is wonderful.  For me, it isn't something that I really can use; but, I will sign up to get the "deal," and then unsubscribe in a month and not lose anything.  I just got a deal yesterday on Amazon for a box of Luna chocolate-covered coconut protein bars ... with the subscribe and save discount, they only cost me 90c a piece (and that includes free shipping).  That's a deal that I rarely get at the stores, even with a coupon.

Here's how I did at Albertson's today:  $176.21 before coupons and preferred savings; $98.88 afterwards ... that's a total savings of $77.33, or 44%.  Not the 99% that they advertise on that crazy couponing show, but a great deal and one I'm happy with.  That total also includes four different packages of meat that will get us at least four if not five dinners.  I did have a coupon good on the sausages I bought for spaghetti, but I shopped a good sale price for the ground beef I bought, and the beef roast that we haven't had in a very long time.  I will put the meat in the freezer with the chicken I already have in there so that we have a variety during the week, not all beef.

Then it was so beautiful, that I got outside and mowed the lawn that has been waiting for one of our children to mow; well, our son couldn't do it as Christmastime because of his operation, and clearly our daughter is not interested enough in the $$$ we would pay her to mow, so I did it myself.  Looks great and we saved ourselves some $$ and I got a little exercise in the fresh air!

Gotta go wrap the cookies to drop off at our friend's on our way to dinner ... happy Sunday tomorrow!

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Funny Story

Sew ... I'm not getting very much sewing done around here!  Ha, ha ... went to visit my friend today ... my other friend and I took her lunch and hung around and visited for a while.  It was great to see her; the cancer is in her back, and she is going to the radiologist next week to start more radiation.  In the meantime, they have started her on a cancer drug (not chemo), combined with another drug which is supposed to really zap the bad stuff.  This drug combination is something that they didn't do a year or so ago.  The more time that passes, the more ways they find to successfully treat cancer.  I hope sometime soon we all see a cure.  If you pray, please pray for my friend, Helen.

When I came home, I just puttered around the house doing some gardening and work to keep my mind and hands busy.  I was sitting on the back patio and just watching the two crazy dogs that I live with!  We back up to a park, so there is always something going on out there ... people to see, dogs to see, dogs running off-leash that aren't supposed to be ... it really upsets my dogs.  Sophie, the little dog, is facing south towards the park; Charlie, the big dog, is facing west towards the neighbor's yard because there is a big black and white cat that sits on the far side of the yard and just stares the dogs down.  Now of course we have a cat in our household, Nala; Nala thinks she is a dog, and Sophie thinks she is a cat.  They wrestle every day, and it is hilarious .... first there will be a boxing session ... Nala coming at Sophie with her paws "swat" "swat", then Sophie pouncing forward and back like a boxer.  It doesn't matter that Charlie lives with a cat, one of his main missions in life is to seek out all cats and chase them.  The cat next door drives him crazy (and she knows she drives him crazy), and so he just barks and barks at her.  I walk the dogs every day, and about twice a week, Charlie goes after one of the two cats that live on the other side of us, almost pulling me off my feet!  This is my life ... sometimes it drives me crazy, but most of the time, they just make me laugh!  I love my animals ...
Charlie and Sophie staring into the park waiting for action
Nala and Sophie wrestling

Traveling Thursday

A very good and busy day at the Country Loft today.  We had a new class taught by Christine; she has three classes that run back to back all day.  She is teaching a sampler quilt, but what is unique and different about this class is that she is doing a lot of lecturing on applique and other techniques.  Today they worked on paper template piecing, but before that had a lengthy discussion on thread, needles, etc.  Fascinating to listen to while I'm working, and I'm going to learn so much throughout the year just listening to her!  While I was entertained throughout the day, I also put my second block of the month together.  I'm so excited!  I went to take a picture of the kit and the blocks, and my phone had died, so no pictures!  Hope to try that again next week so you can see how the kits look.  I am teaching a class once a month to give people a chance to get a little help with their blocks, or more importantly, keep yourself on track!  I think I have one opening left as it has been pretty popular ... how exciting!  I decided that if I had more than enough interest in the class, that I could always open an evening class too.

I had a couple thoughts for Traveling Thursday.  I have a friend, Darby, that I have mentioned before.  I met her when I took my classes on my Innova in July of last year.  We have exchanged emails and gotten to be good friends.  I have really enjoyed her blog,; what is fun about our hobby is although we all share a love of piecing and quilting, we have different styles.  When we were in classes, I was admiring her feathers; she didn't think they looked that wonderful ... I love looking at her blog as she always has wonderful pictures of her quilting.  Check it out!

The other thing I want to tell you about is a fairly new magazine called Primitive Quilts and Projects.  The retail cost is $9.95 and it is full of projects, and little advertising.  In the most recent issue, I just counted and there are 16 projects ... that is a good bang for your buck.  It can be found at some quilt stores, and here is their website

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Outside yourself

Hi friends -- I know I haven't been on here for a couple of days.  Honestly, I just really didn't have anything positive to say.  I was doing so great with my goals for this month, and then all of a sudden the last couple of days I have just fallen flat!  I think perhaps this is my normal kind of let down after the holidays.  I just didn't feel it until now because I have been so busy on the block of the month, and the open house for the store.  Now those things are finished, my son went back to school, my daugther has only a few months left here, and then she'll be going off to college ... then I'm an empty nester!  How did this happen???  My son will come home in May after graduating from college, and he'll live here, so technically we won't be "empty" nesters, but ... I have been a stay-at-home mom for 21 years.  Yes, I have a little part-time job and I dabble in longarm quilting, but my main focus in life has always been my family, my kids ... now that they're growing up, what do I do??  I really have been thinking a lot about stuff the last few days trying to diagnose where these blah feelings have been coming from.  I think this is part of it; I've had a couple of health things too -- no big deal, but combined with everything else, it's just been troubling me.

One of my friends has had cancer for a long time ... 8 years to be exact.  She was in remission for a couple of years, and now it is back ... while I'm whining about my change in life, she is hoping she gets a chance to see her kids finish college.  Today I decided I was going to go to the gym; I felt so much better after that ... my friend has been a little absent lately, and I have been thinking about her constantly, and finally called her today.  I felt so much better after talking to her; she is scared, she hasn't been feeling well, and we all hope that it is something else, not the cancer.  She is having some tests and I think she should know more by the end of the week.

It got me to thinking ... you can always find someone worse off than you are.  It's okay to be sad, and have bad days, but for me, I just have to push myself through sometimes.  I know that I'm a very strong person and if I just keep at it one day at a time, I can figure it all out ... with the help of my family and good friends! =:)  We all need to step outside of our comfort zones, or just our own problems, and reach out to other people.  It makes you appreciate all the blessings you do have in your life.  Hope I'm not too serious for you all, but sometimes life just can't be about quilting and cooking, etc.

If you are suffering your own winter doldrums, or just having a bad day, week, whatever ... step outside yourself and do something for someone else.  I think you'll find you feel a whole lot better! =:-)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday sewing

What a beautiful, crisp sunny Sunday it was here.  We have a huge fire roaring in the fireplace and I made myself turn the t.v. off hours ago, so it's nice and quiet.  You will recall that I've been trying to cook more at home in an effort to eat healthier, and it just makes me feel better.  My usual problem is that my husband loves to grab something out (we try to be healthy about it), and because I usually am unprepared, I agree.  So I thought about it last night before I went to bed; I've been trying to be aware of what I'm buying at the grocery store.  I knew I had some beef for stew in the freezer, and I had bought an onion, potatoes and carrots at the store last week.  I also bought some chicken broth thinking it would be good to have on hand.  Eureka ... I decided to make beef stew in my new crockpot.  Last week's chicken parmesan with sauce in the crockpot was such a huge hit (with me at least!), that I was anxious to use it again.  I just love it when things work out and I have all the ingredients I need.  I hate running to the store for one thing; I tried a new recipe out of a cookbook and it was delicious.  Success!

In between watching the football games -- ugh -- both of the teams I was rooting for lost -- I put together a block of the month I am doing through my store; Kathy Campbell's Heart & Home ... block 1.  Now we all know the idea ... you make a block a month and at the end of the year you have a whole quilt.  I have only followed through with this idea ONE time, and that was the very first BOM I ever did.  I have many that are unfinished, but this one is so lovely and I've never done anything like it.  It is wool and Daiwabo (spelling?) ...
Beautiful!  I even started some stitching on it.  That's enough for one day ... time to read a little and climb into bed!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Recharging and Friends

Yesterday was very scheduled for most of the day; my mom to a doctor's appointment that was a little stressful, and then grocery shopping.  By the time I got home, put away my groceries, took care of the housekeeping and paperwork, I decided I was feeling frazzled and it was time to destress.  What do you do when your feeling frazzled?  I am seldom alone in the house; my husband gets homes about 4, and my daughter at 2.  So the time before 2 I try to take for myself when I can.  That's when I know it's quiet and I can just enjoy the peace.  I grabbed a book I had just checked out at the library, curled up on the couch with a blanket, and my book, and read for an hour or so.  It was heavenly!  I have to laugh though ... we have a huge double slider in the living room and that view is of a park that we back up to.  Charlie (my big dog), lays on this dog bed looking into the park to see what's going on; Sophie (the little dog), lays on the couch above Charlie, looking in the park to see what's going on.  Even the cat, Nala, was sitting on the coffee table looking into the park ... it was hilarious!  What do dogs do all day that don't have a park to look into ... I think that Sophie and Charlie have a competition going ... who can bark at any dog or person ANYWHERE in the park first!  They spend all day barking to alert the other, and then running out another door to go protect their territory.  They are funny.

While at the store yesterday, I scored some more of these game tickets for the Albertson's giveaway that expires soon.
Since my son went back to college, it was up to me to open them all and check them against the game board.  Surely with a stack like this, we would have something we needed ... nope!  We did get a lot of points that count towards a $5 coupon, so we'll just have to be happy with that!

I worked today and was very excited, because my friend that I met in my Innova longarm class in July, was going to be visiting.  She lives in the Fresno area, but was down for the Road to California.  We've been emailing back and forth, supporting each other in our adventures into longarming.  It's been really fun getting to know her, and it was great to be able to see her and say hi!  She popped into the store, and we visited for a little while.  She does some beautiful custom work ... feathers, ruler work, etc.  It's nice to know someone that can take you out of your box, in whatever it is that you're doing.  When I see her work, it makes me want to try ruler work.  She says it's easy ... hmm ... the great thing is that we seen each others skills improve tremendously since we took our classes in July.  She has had her machine a little while longer than I've had mine, and we both had other systems before we got our Innovas.  Hi Darby!

It was a busy day and I didn't get a lot done at work; just helping customers and trying to get everyone what they need.  I sure hope I can kind of recharge tomorrow . . . I think maybe I need to start taking some vitamin B-12 ... I am just worn out!  My husband is one of those people that can put his head down on the pillow and 5 minutes later be fast asleep ... I sure wish I could do that!  It's hard for me to turn my brain off.  Looking forward to doing some sewing tomorrow to just kind of have a little fun!  Enjoy your Sunday, and I hope you find time to do something you love to recharge.  We have to remember to take care of ourselves, so that we are fresh and healthy to take care of others ... that's what women do!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Traveling Thursday

I almost did not post anything today ... I am just wiped out.  Two weeks of having a weird sleeping schedule is starting to catch up with me.  It's hard to be cheery when you're exhausted!  This hormonal swing thing is for the birds!  Here's hoping I swing out of this soon.

I know I have told you about this blog before ... ... but I cannot tell you how much I really enjoy this blog.  Every day she has deals that she posts, but she also has contributors that write articles ... the entire blog is ALWAYS uplifting.  There is nothing negative in it and it is just a refreshing place to land every day.  I really look forward to reading it.  She had an article in there today, and I thought it was great.  It is about goal setting, and talks you through some steps so you do not get overwhelmed ... like most of us do!  Here's the link:

I have also gleened so much information from her blog; the last few magazines I have ordered Fitness, Better Homes and Gardens, and Surfing ... I have not paid the full subscription prices.  She periodically has deals where you can get a year subscription for like $5.00.  There is a website she sends you too, and then she'll have discount codes to use.  At Christmas time, she told of a site; it has discounted name brand items.  For instance, I bought O'Neill sunglasses, regularly $60 for $20 ... awesome!  I just ordered from the same site a pair of athletic shoes ... New Balance, they retail for $90, and I got them for $49, plus free shipping.  Check it out ... I promise you will not be disappointed.  I learn something new there every day!

Just because you need something cute in your life ... how about a baby sloth?  Isn't it cute?????

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Little Things

After being so busy for the last couple weeks, I am just enjoying slowing down.  It does feel a little weird, I keep wondering what it is I'm supposed to be doing!  I've done a little gardening, which is not one of my favorite chores, but I have a little garden on my back patio, and I've actually managed to keep it alive for the last 6 months -- a miracle!  I've always wanted roses, and I planted a little rosebush, fully expecting it to die.  We live in the San Diego area, but we're about 20 minutes inland; out here in the summertime it is like the desert ... well, not as hot, but our soil is terrible and you really have to buy drought tolerant and native plants.  It took me several hundreds of dollars, and about 15 years to figure that one out!  Ha, ha ... I was weeding in my garden the other day, and look what I snipped ...
My first roses ever!  I am so excited ... they've been on my windowsill now for almost a week, and still look great.  Maybe there is hope for me yet!

I am supposed to be designing a quilt that I'm teaching in March ... a sampler quilt.  I have it in my mind, but just haven't put it to fabric yet.  I'm procrastinating, can you tell?  I want to thank you all for the wonderful, sweet comments about my block of the month.  It really warms my heart!  We have two other blocks of the month in the store, a redwork/pieced quilt by JoAnn Mullaly, and a quilt by Heart in Hand called Heart to Home (I may have said this last week) ... I signed up for the Heart to Home quilt because it is wool and Daiwabo fabric and it is just beautiful.  I don't have a picture of it yet for you, but when we put it up on the store's blog, I'll let you know.  It is soft grey blues, greens, and even some plums ... I started on it today -- I'm very motivated (that's probably because I don't feel like designing that other quilt!).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Small world

I had an amazing thing happen at work today!  Usually Tina and our manager, Kathy work on Tuesdays.  I was working for Kathy today, and Mindy was working for Tina; a lady came in in the afternoon from New York.  She was a friend of a friend of Tina's, and was out here visiting her son.  Had been in the store before and loved it, but was hoping to say "hi" to Tina.  After we chatted for a few minutes, I realized, I know the friend of the friend ... Her name is Sylvia, and she is a friend of Tina's that lives in Atlanta.  She follows my blog, and I follow her's.  Last week or so she had some beautiful pictures of several quilts she had quilted for her friend, Pam ... this lady was Pam!!!  I said ... oh how neat ... I remember seeing those quilts and thinking Sylvia did a beautiful job quilting them, but the piecing is wonderful too.  So I came home and jumped over to Syliva's blog to see them again.  Here is Sylvia's blog:  When you go to her blog, if you look to the right, there is an area that says quilting gallery, or quilting pictures, something like that.  Click on it, and you will see several pictures that mention "Pam."  

Don't you love technology?  How cool is it that today in San Diego I got to meet a lady from New York that is a quilter, that is friends with a lady in Atlanta who just by coincidence, follows my blog and I follow her's!  That was a fun day!!! 

Monday, January 16, 2012


Today was a holiday for most, and all my family was home today.  I started the day off having coffee with my friends.  I know I've mentioned them several times before, but they need to be named . . . there is Penny, Tracy, Kassie and Bill.  We also added Azam to our group not too long ago.  Bill and Azam were gentlemen that we met at Starbuck's ... you can only imagine a group of women in there every day and how loud we were.  Of course we laugh and enjoy ourselves, and we drew Bill in ... he takes care of his mother who is 90 something, and so he stops in early in the morning for a quick chat.  Azam we met not too long ago; he is very interesting . . . he is originally from Afghanistan and left there in 1978 when the Russians came in ... the stories he tells are like nothing I can imagine life being like.  Our daily issues are so trivial when he talks about leaving his country because it didn't belong to them anymore, and the horrible atrocities that happened to the people that remained.  I know these stories we hear often on the news, but it is really different when you are talking to a friend.

It made me think about what is important to me.  I have freedom ... it is precious, isn't it?  My friends cheer me, and the little time we spend Monday through Friday together seems extravagant to some.  I have had many people say "every morning?"  Well, yes ... most every morning.  We laugh, we talk, we gossip (but remember my new goal ... I'm not doing it!  My friends think I'm crazy, but I am not participating!), but mostly (is that a word?) we support each other.  We know that we can be real with each other ... because we've spent so much time together (we have known each other for 12 years), we talk to each other like we are family.  Sometimes that isn't the best thing; sometimes we need to be a little kinder to each other.  And of course, we are stimulating the economy!

I ran some errands, and I am just BASKING in the happiness of having that quilt finished.  I have heard so many positive comments about it that it just makes me glow!  I am a perfectionist, and because I have that kind of personality, I always question whether whatever I'm doing is "good enough."  When you get so many compliments about one thing, you have to believe it is true.  I do believe -- in fact I know -- this is the best work I have ever done quilt-wise, and it is absolutely my favorite quilt!

I got to just hang out with my family today ... my son is going back to college on Wednesday, so today was the last day I had him to myself.  Tomorrow I have to work instead of Thursday this week, and then we're going to have a nice meal tomorrow night at a great barbecue place that we have been dying to try.  It was a cold, rainy day in San Diego, and we don't get that very often!  We stayed inside and goofed around with our crazy dogs, and just enjoyed being here.  My home is definitely my sanctuary, and it is one place that I absolutely love to be.  Sometimes all I have to do is just sit in my sewing room and fiddle with something at my desk ... that is enough to make me feel relaxed.  I don't even have to sew ... do you know what I mean?  If you are a quilter, I know you do!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Happy Exhaustion!

 Well, I had my blog post all composed in my head yesterday, along with pictures I was going to share with you.  I sat down to relax after a long day ... at 9:30 p.m., I just passed out on the couch!  I was so tired, so I apologize for leaving you hanging!  Yes, I finished the quilt, and I finished it just in time!  I got up super early on Friday morning, quilted a couple hours.  Had to take a break and grocery shop with my mom; then back to quilting to finish it up.  I was done and the quilt was trimmed by about 1:00 p.m.  I zipped over to the store where I got the appropriate "ooh's" and "aah's" that made me feel so great!!!  I gladly accepted them.  It looks so beautiful hung in the store.  One of the gals took a really good picture (her camera is so much sharper than mine), so as soon as I can grab that from her, I'll post a better picture.

I was extra careful when loading the quilt because even with the borders on, there were so many bias edges in the quilt that I just didn't want anything to shift while quilting.
A close up of the quilting design I decided on.  I didn't like it at first, but then I got into a groove, and I just love it!

My last row ... finished!

 Okay ... I am off to pass out again!!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Traveling Thursday

Happy Thursday ... I had a great day today at work!  For the first time in months, I was not sewing!  That sounds weird, I know ... how could I be happy not sewing?  It is hard to concentrate and sew when people are coming in and out talking to you ... I can't just ignore what is going on around me.  I am happy to be done with the piecing of the quilt and today I got to cut the 5 blocks for the first month of the kit.  They are so pretty when you put all the fabrics together.  I've never done a block of the month before for the store, so it is also exciting to be involved in a more hands on manner.  We got a lot done today, and are very much looking forward to our open house on Sat.  If you live in the San Diego area, come to the Country Loft at 4685 Date Avenue., La Mesa, 619-466-5411.  We are open from 10 to 5 Mon. throught Sat. and this Sat. is our big open house where we debut our three new blocks of the month for the year.  My pieced quilt, an embroiderery quilt by our own JoAnn Mullaly (JAM), and a wool and Daiwabo (spelling?) quilt by Heart to Hand.

Okay, here is a blog that I want you to see.  I met Angie through a yahoo group that deals with "homequilting" systems.  She heads the group and it is quite a task!  I found her blog and read it regularly.  She has a Prodigy machine which is really similar to the Innova ... she also has the Circle Lord system which I love and is on my "want" list.  If you don't know what they are, they are boards that lay across the back of your table frame.  You use a stylus in grooves and your tracing a design, and that design is being quilted on your quilt.  Every quilt that I have seen on her blog where she used the boards are amazing ... the patterns are very versatile.  Here's her link ...

Happy almost Friday!  By the way, no quilting today on the quilt.  I'll be up extra early tomorrow to get it finished.  It has to get to the store tomorrow to be hung for Saturday!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Oh, I just have to laugh over something that happened today ... I am trying really hard to be organized and keep my day scheduled and straight.  I have a calendar that I'm great about writing in, I've been reading a couple books about organizing and list making, etc.  So today I made a list of the things I needed to do ... I was so proud of myself; it was sitting on the kitchen counter and as I went through my day, I was checking things off.  I had my quilt on the frame, had quilted a little on it, was about to call my mom to take her to the grocery store in the late afternoon.  Then I hear the bell at the gate and my husband says "isn't today the day the people are coming about the vacuum cleaner?"  What???  I didn't know what he was talking about and then BAM it hit me ... we had an appt. at 4:30 p.m. with our neighbor's sister.  As a favor to her would we make an appt. and sit through this sales call ... blah, blah, blah.  I've had it down, looked at the planner yesterday and saw the appt., even got a reminder call yesterday from the woman.  When I saw her at the gate, it was like I had no idea she was coming!  I just burst out laughing and explained to her and the guy that was with her how it had totally slipped my mind.  They thought it was funny too because I was laughing so hard ... what are you gonna do?  I never made it to the store with my mom, but we'll do that on Friday morning. 

My new motto is I'm not worrying about things ... they'll get done when they get done and it just doesn't do any good to fret.  I'm doing better at this than I had thought I would, let's see how I do through the rest of this week.  There is a lot going on, and time is flying.  As I mentioned, I did get the quilt on the frame ...
This is the finished top that I was trying to post yesterday ... I love the intricacy of all these little blocks.

See it's on the frame, and I got about the top 7" done ... I decided to do a small all over design that is fairly tight.  I really have a hard time with a small stipple; I just can't seem to make myself go that small.  So I decided to do a looping design.  I think the texture is going to be really good, but it is taking forever because it is so small.
I wish I could do the design a little flatter, and not so round, but I really have a hard time with that.  I tend to overthink the whole process anyway (can you tell??????) ... it's going to be beautiful!  Can't wait until it is done.  Gotta get myself in bed so I can get an early start tomorrow ... hoping to do a little quilting before I have to leave for work.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I got back on track today ... had my hair done, and that always helps lift me up!  Several years ago I decided that I was going to pay the $$ to get my hair done every 6 weeks.  It's a splurge, but I love my hairdresser (well, she was my friend first) but I decided it was worth the money.  My hair looks good and it makes me feel great.  Years ago I tried to color my own hair; when I look back on those pictures ... ugh!  My hair color was just awful.  Life is too short to not love your hair!  I enjoy the whole process; we chat, then I bring a book and read under the hairdryer.  It's nice and quiet and I love the hum of the hairdryer ... very soothing.   Then after the color is done, she washes and cuts and we chat some more.  Then of course my hair looks wonderful (a design that I could never hope to recreate on my own!), and I just feel good for the rest of the day.

I stopped by the store to get some fabric to make the backing for my B.O.M. quilt.  I was able to visit with several of my friends that work there, and we talked about our friend's daughter who just passed away.  We all agreed that we can learn a lot from how she lived her life; she was upbeat, positive and lived every day with such vigor and excitement.  One of my goals for this year was to slow myself down and stop putting so much pressure on myself to do x, y, z ... especially when it comes to my work for the store, or my quilting business.  This just reinforces the direction I was heading; this work is enjoyable and my hobby is fun.  If I run myself into the ground with "must get it done by," it ceases being fun and then really becomes a chore, and I don't enjoy it.  So ... I'm working on being a lot more flexible.  My original plan was to have the back for the quilt made today, get the quilt on the frame and quilted tomorrow so I could bring it to work with me on Thursday.  Well, it is 8:30 p.m., the back is not going to get made tonight.  Tomorrow I have to take my mom to the grocery store, go to the gym, make the back.  I can see the quilt getting loaded and quilted a little, but I don't see it being finished tomorrow.  Then of course I'm working on Thursday; I'll be at the store on Friday to help out, and hopefully I'll have it ready on Friday morning so Kathy can figure out where to hang it.  I'm pretty sure she knows where it's going to go, but getting it hung at least before the last minute.

Well, I'd love to show you the picture of the quilt, but Blogger is not letting me upload a picture, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see it!  I'm just going to quilt it very simply ... an all-over small, tight design.  I hope I remember how to quilt; I haven't been at my frame since the beginning of December ... ha, ha!

Monday, January 9, 2012

A little sewing ... a little sadness

I found out last night that our friend's daughter that has been battling cancer passed away last evening.  It was such a shock and we are all so saddened.  I am glad our friend got to spend so much time with her daughter, helping her out during her illness the past year and a half.  I never met her, but you could see her spirit in the journal that she kept to keep everyone up-to-date on her progress.  I gave my daughter a huge hug when I got up this morning.  Life is unpredictable ... love your family . . .

I made myself run a couple errands this morning and then go to the gym.  It took my mind off of the sad news.  I put one more border on the quilt; all I have left is the outside border, but I just didn't have it in me today to finish it.  Tomorrow is another day, and it will be a better day.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cleaning up

Finally the remnants of Christmas are gone.  My husband took the outside lights down and I put the last couple of boxes away in the attic tonight.  We carted the Christmas tree out ... why does it smell better than it did when the ornaments were on it?  Hmm ...  Sat and watched the football games today with my son; he'll only be here for another week or so before he goes back to school, so I have to get all my bonding time in with him!  That Pittsburgh/Denver game was exciting!  I don't like Pittsburgh (maybe because they always win and my brother has liked them forever and I'm just jealous because the Chargers are never in that position!) ... I don't really like Denver either, but it really was a fun game to watch!  No sewing today ... I'll get back onto that tomorrow.

In keeping with my new goal of eating healthier and more at home, I cooked dinner tonight.  I was really excited to use my green peppers out of my garden.

Aren't they cute? They were a little bitter because they've been on the plant for a few weeks.  I think they didn't bloom when they were supposed to, and I kept waiting for them to get bigger.  Even though they didn't taste as good as the ones in the store, it was fun to use something out of my garden!   I sent my son to the store to get a couple more things for the recipe.  It was a philly cheesesteak (healthy version) that I found in the most recent Better Homes & Garden magazine.  It was really good!  Now remember that I said we had been playing the Albertson's game and not won anything yet?  They are giving out triple rewards now because they're trying to get rid of all their tickets (the promotion ends in February) ... we have earned several $5.00 rewards.   I sent my son to the store with one of the $5.00 off coupons.  He came home with my receipt ... there was no charge.  The total was $16.84, and we had enough in points that it was all free!  Now that was a cheap dinner and I am patting myself on the back for that one.  All the dinner cost me was the meat I bought the other day and it totalled about $8.  I just love a great deal!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New toys; organizing; borders

The day was mine because my family left this morning to see a hockey game in Los Angeles.  It is rare that I have a weekend day alone, so I was pretty excited about the possibility of all the things I could get done!  There are a few boxes left in my living room that I didn't put away in the Christmas stuff.  A few years ago (at least 6), I bought these stacking boxes at Costco.  They were a great deal .. maybe about $12.00.
Every year I use them to wrap the presents that stay in our family.  Then I empty the boxes, put them back together, and reshelf them in my closet.  My bedroom closet has a huge shelf and by December 24, it is usually full of wrapped gifts.  When I put the boxes back today, this is what the shelf looks like ...

Ready for next Christmas!  The small pile on the right are some folders that I am going to be giving my students that take the block of the month class that starts in February. 

A couple of weeks ago I made a big pot of navy bean soup to take to work and share for lunch.  Luckily the morning I was supposed to bring it in I was sick, and didn't go to work because the soup was awful!  The beans hadn't fully cooked, and I thought I had a bad batch of beans.  My friends would have thought I was a terrible cook!  A couple weeks ago I tried again, and discovered it wasn't the beans, but my crockpot.  That crockpot I had before I got married, so it was at least 25 years old.  I think I got my money's worth out of it.  Guess what came in the mail yesterday ...

My new crockpot ... it's pretty big; I haven't taken it out of the box yet, but I'm very excited to use it!  What did we do before Amazon, do you remember?  I don't!  I love jumping on the internet, looking up an item, looking at the reviews, and then the ease of buying it.  Most times I get free shipping ... you just have to pay attention.  This cost me right under $30 ... I know if I would have gone to Target, it would have been at least that and they certainly wouldn't have had a huge variety.  Think of all the time I saved myself ... time to spend ... you guessed it ... sewing!

Finished assembling the rows today ... I was so excited to get the last two rows on the top ...

I cut the first border, it is red, just like the setting triangles.  I'll be darned if I didn't cut one of them the wrong size ... I have this strip cutter ruler that I love, but almost every time I use it, I miscut something ... ugh!  I made a quick call to the store and had Mindy cut me another 3" strip.  Ran over there right about the time they were locking up and picked it up and sewed the rest of the first border on.  I love that I only live 10 minutes from the store!

The picture looks tipped because I took it with the quilt laying horizontally, and then I flipped it on the computer, which is why it looks like it's shot on an angle.  One day I'll figure out this darn camera ... after I read the instructions!!  Two more borders to go ... wahoo!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Frantic Friday

Here it is almost 11:30 at night.  I'm a little frazzled ... started my day off with coffee with a couple friends, and then I went to the gym.  I worked out hard ... cardio and weights (yay for me!) ... then I came home and started putting Christmas away.  Why does that take so long?  Shouldn't it take less time to put it away than it did to set it all up?  Most everything is packed up, except for the outside lights.  The tree is still standing in the living room, undecorated, but I can't drag it out by myself.  How does the division of work go in your house when it comes to all the Christmas stuff?  I do it all.  My husband did help put up the outside lights, but he didn't offer to take them down.  I hate having to ask; I want him to see that it needs to be done and volunteer to do it ... hmmm .. we've been married for 23 years, and so far, that doesn't seem to work very well!  My daughter was at school all day, and my son is recovering from shoulder surgery, so no help there!  I worked on all of it until about 6:30 at night.  I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, and annoyed, and I think it's time to do something for myself.  I take care of my family; my mom doesn't live with us, but I take care of my mom too.  I call her every day to find out how she's doing, what she's eaten for the day; I take her grocery shopping once a week.  We got her a cell phone, she lost it; now she needs a replacement.  She doesn't drive, so I need to take one of our old ones to the cell phone store and get them to put a new SIM card in it.  I got no sewing done today, but I didn't think I would.  Tomorrow I'll sew more on the B.O.M. because that must be done and quilted by next Friday.  The open house at the store is Saturday, and it needs to be hung before the open house.  I'm supposed to be making a couple of samples for classes as well, but there is no way they will get done before next week.

Alright here ... time to step back and rebalance.  I'm working on my happiness project, remember?  One of my goals, and I've decided that I will break them up into months and work on them month by month.  So January's goal is cheerfulness ... to choose to be happy.  I think I mentioned that I was finding it easy and enjoying being cheerful, but when I'm tired it's hard to be cheerful.  When I'm overworked it's hard to be cheerful.  But that's the whole point of all of this, right?  It's not easy to develop new habits, they take work.  After the gym this morning I was feeling really up and grateful for all that I have.  Now by this evening, that all disappeared!  Sounds like I need a good night's sleep!!  What do you do for yourself to recharge?  Do you exercise, sew, read, sleep?  I have been struggling lately to get a good night's sleep.  I'm at that age where my hormones are really up and down, and my sleep cycle is affected.  I saw something interesting today, and now I have heard this twice in the last couple of months:  Wearing an eye mask to bed to keep out all the light.  Even a small amount of light can disturb your sleep.  I have wondered about that for a while now; we use an alarm clock/radio that has a light, and it's on my side of the bed.  It is pretty bright even when I turn it away from me.  I am going to invest in a sleep mask, and the one I saw today that was suggested to use, has cooling pads where the eyes are; the theory is that you sleep better when it's chilly.  I'll let you know if it works!  Now I'm off to get a good night's sleep, and help recharge my batteries! 

P.S.  My husband did offer to walk the dogs when he came home tonight because he saw that I was frazzled after I bit his head off!  Hmm ... I may have a long way to go on this cheerfulness thing!  Ha, ha ...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Twelfth Day of Christmas; B.O.M.; Traveling Thursday!

I'm sitting in my living room looking at my Christmas tree and all the ornaments, on this, the last day of Christmas.  I love opening and hanging my ornaments every year.  I can remember where I bought the ornament, or who gave me a particular ornament.  Some of them are really special ... the ones from both of my children's first Christmas' for example.  I started a tradition when my husband and I got married that I get an ornament for us every year; if the date is not on the ornament, I write it on in permanent marker.  When each of the kids was born, the tradition continued for them.  I love unwrapping their ornaments every year and remembering the ornaments I bought (or made) for them, and how old they were at the time.  One of my friends gave me a great idea -- she said that she wraps each of her children's ornaments in their own box and then when it comes time to decorate, she has them unwrap their ornaments and then they sit and reminisce.  I am going to put them away in separate boxes this year.  We'll see if I can corral them both next year when I'm decorating to get them to unwrap all their own ornaments!

I took the B.O.M. with me to work today and really got a lot done.  I put the next (and last) two rows together, and started assembling the entire thing ... can you believe it?  I am so excited!  The directions do not tell you to trim the rows, but after looking at them when I started to pin them together, I knew they needed to be trimmed up.  Trimming blocks that are on point you always have to remember to extend 1/4" past your point.  If you trim to your point, you'll lose the point in the seam when you put it together.
This picture does not do it justice.  It is just stunning when you see it in person!
I am really loving the way this looks, and the boss is really happy too!  When we saw this quilt at spring market last year in May, we loved it, but didn't particularly like the line of fabric that it was made with.  The fabric is beautiful, Cotton Club -- browns and reds, but it was just too much brown and red.  So we decided it would really look better, and suit our store more, if it was done scrappy.  Sometimes when you think you have a great idea, it doesn't always work out that way.  So we are all really excited that it is everything we hoped it would be ... and more!

Now for my traveling Thursday post ... I don't know that I have ever sent you to one of my friend's (who also happens to be a co-worker) blog.  Her name is JoAnn Mullaly and she is also JAM ... she has loads of doll patterns, and stitchery patterns, but the last few years she has done a quilt called Wool Crazy, and she has published two different books.  Her work is beautiful, and I am always in awe of her ideas and talent.  Please check out her blog,

Thanks to you for checking my blog!  Knowing that all of you are out there drives me to keep to my schedule!  I so appreciate each and every one of you ... happy almost-Friday!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On the eleventh day of Christmas

Where is this year going?  Tomorrow is the twelfth day of Christmas, and everything will come down on Friday.  This year has gotten off to a great start, and I am looking forward to 2012 and all the changes and challenges it will bring.  In my sewing room the last couple of days, I've been watching the food channel as I sew.  I'm not someone who loves to cook; I love to bake, but my family is really picky, and so I have not enjoyed cooking for them over the years.  My husband loves to eat out, and so we do eat out several times a week.  We generally try and make healthy choices, and we don't dine at McDonald's or Jack in the Box.  However, I realize that even when you are eating healthier choices in restaurants, you still don't know what they are putting in to the food.  The only way you have that control is if you cook yourself.  Tonight I made homemade chicken noodle soup; I usually just use chicken broth and veggies, spices, and steam some chicken and add it, then cook it for a while.  Today I took a whole chicken, threw it in the pot with water and all the extras and let it cook/simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Then I took the chicken out and pulled the breast meat off, saving the rest of the meat for treats for the dogs when we train.  I boiled up some pasta and kept it separate from the soup; I hate it when the noodles get too soft and soak up too much juice.  The soup was so much more flavorable than it normally is, and the chicken was so tender.  I will never make it any other way!  It took a long time, but it really wasn't that much work.  My husband tried to talk me out of it and talk me into Subway sandwiches, but I said "no!"  Ha, ha .... he hates the cleaning up part!

A few more hours of sewing today, and another row done!  This row is actually row five.  The two inner rows have less pieces (I believe).
Once I get all five rows put together, there are a few borders (I think three), and that's it!  Yahoo!!  Now to quilt it ... hmm ... it is going to be a really busy quilt, and at the moment I have no idea what to do to it?  Any suggestions?  I would welcome them!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

On the tenth day of Christmas

I noticed when I was out driving around today that most people have taken their Christmas stuff down.  You know because I told you, that our Christmas does not come down until January 6.  It is a religious thing to me, but to my husband, it is just the tradition that his family always followed.  It's funny but it seems to me that people used to keep their Christmas stuff up longer, now the tradition seems to be to put it up really early and take it down right after Christmas.  I love having it linger into the new year because it is still the holiday season.

I worked very hard today on my second row of blocks.  I just have to say that these blocks are going together quite well.  I was a little concerned about it because the blocks are fairly small, and they are all on point.  That means lots of bias seams, and lots of occasion for fabric to stretch out of shape.  I starched all my half square triangle pieces before I cut them just to help stabilize them.  I also pinned a lot (I wholely believe in pinning everything ... it just makes intersections join better, and keeps your 1/4" more accurate); I use my walking foot when I'm piecing, and it is especially wonderful on a project like this.  When the blocks are small and you have a lot of seams, going over the seams can be a little wonky.  The walking foot just helps ease those layers through.  I've been doing this for a couple years now, and I would say my walking foot is on my Bernina about 90% of the time.

I finished another row today; the one on the left is the first row, and the one I did today is actually the third row...

Looking forward to finishing another row tomorrow!

Monday, January 2, 2012

On the ninth day of Christmas

First of all, someone posted a comment that asked me what kind of cutting table I have in my sewing room ... it is the one from Joann's.  I bought it at least 8 years ago and I usually just leave one side up and the other down because I find it easier to cut, and I think the table is sturdier that way.  I think that table has not had the best reviews, but for the money (used a 40% off coupon), it can't be beat.  Plus it rolls, and if I really need more space, I can temporarily fold the other side down too when not cutting.

How was your New Year's ... are you like many people that make resolutions?  I decided I didn't like that word, so I was using the word goal.  I refuse to make the same goal I make every year; go to the gym more, eat better; lose a few pounds ... blah, blah, blah!  I had to laugh though when I went to the gym this morning it was packed!!!!  That is a very popular goal, and because today was a holiday, everyone was starting the year off right.  Good for all of us!  I have decided like I mentioned the other day, to kind of do my own happiness project.  To start I decided what things are the most important to me:  (1) God; (2) Family; (3) Me; (4) Friends.  This is a work in progress list and I decided that I should have the right to change it and fine tune it as I go.  Here are just a couple things I want to work on this year:

1.  Finish every load of laundry that I start.  Fold and put away -- it only takes 5 minutes.  I have gotten into a really bad habit of leaving the laundry in the dryer, or dumping it in the chair in my bedroom since the washer/dryer is right next to our bedroom.  I have been finishing every load for a week now, and it feels so much better to walk into my room and not see a pile of laundry sitting there.

2.  Go to a different museum every month.  We live in San Diego and there are wonderful museums, but I have only been to a handful.  I'm looking forward to exploring them all!

3.  To take better care of my feet!  They are the foundation of our bodies and get beat up daily!  I gave myself a pedicure the other day, and it felt so great.  I have been remembering to slather lotion on at least once a day to keep them from getting too dry.

4.  To have more fun; don't be so serious and smile more!

Okay, that's enough for one day ... I have lots more.  Yesterday and today I worked on the block of the month and I have an entire row put together ... there are five rows.

I just LOVE how it is coming out.  This picture is from my cell phone, so it doesn't show the colors too great.  I have been taking pictures and will have some good tutorials on how to do half square triangles, and other tips on this quilt, that can actually help with quilting in general.  Every month at the store, I'll be having a class to help you put those blocks for that month together, so when we are working on that particular month, then I'll post those tips here.  I don't want to get ahead of the class.  This is going together rather quickly, and I am just delighted at how nice everything is laying. 

Telling everyone on my blog what my goals are will really cement them in my mind. That is the idea!  It's like when I went to Weight Watchers years ago; you go every week and weigh in, so you are accountable to someone.  Every week I'll give you an update and let you know how I'm doing.  Thanks for being here to keep me on track!  What are your plans for the new year???????

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

As I was looking through my old calendar that I took down, I found this appropriate quote at the end from Karen H. Good:

Hello friends,
Welcome to the New Year.
May yours be filled with
plenty of good laughs,
nice people and
lots of pretty posies.
... Happy Dreams ...