Sunday, January 20, 2013

January happenings

I can't believe that I'll be leaving Wisconsin for the Gulf Shore in 10 days!  It's been so busy here that I've not had time to blog about what all I've been doing.  After I finished the Underground Railroad quilt and after our guest departed, I took out Don's great grandmother's quilt and finished the binding on it. Now that's ready to hang as soon as I get a quilt hanger for it. That will wait until we return in March.  I also took out 4 table runner tops I'd made this past year and got them pinned and ready to be quilted up. I plan to sew binding on them while we drive to Southern AL.  I also pinned a fish themed lap quilt I'd made at least a year ago and I'll take that with on the trip and get it quilted and finished while we vacation.

I'm taking my machine and quilting equipment with me so I'll be busy while Don's on the golf course.  I'm trying to get a couple of quilt tops cut and organized before we leave so I'll just have to sit down and sew them up.  If I'm lucky, I'll have 3 major projects to take with me. At least, I bought 3 12" plastic see-through scrapbookering boxes to carry the materials in.

This is the first time Don and I have gone south for this long, and I'm excited to see how it goes.  We found a nice looking place on the Internet so we'll see what that's like when we get there.  We have some friends who are flying down to spend some time with us during the month so we don't get all nasty with just having each other to look at all day.  :-)  The place we rented is adjacent to a nature reserve and a couple of blocks from the beach. We're taking our bikes so there should be plenty to do while we're there.

I've joined a fitness challenge at work.  Beginning January 28, we will track out weight loss, exercise and healthy diet. Some of my co-workers formed teams and the winning teams will get cash prizes. I joined as an individual and the top individual wins a Kindle Fire.  I have my sights on that little baby!  So after the initial weigh in last Monday, I began another juice fast and I must say, it's going very well.  I'd watched a documentary a few weeks ago, "Hungry for Change," and took notice of something said there:  Instead of "I want that but I can't have it" which is what most diets are, I began thinking, "I can have that but I don't want it."  That frame of mind is serving me very well.  Of course, something like a juice fast is a one-day-at-a-time venture, for me at least.  After one week, I've dropped nearly 10 pounds and I feel great, especially my arthritic fingers and knees.  I don't know how long I'll stay on the juicing--like I said, it's one day at a time.  So we'll see how it goes, but I really want that Kindle!

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Phenomenal Phinish!

Last October, I spent 3 days at my Guild's terrific retreat at Paradise Shores in Lake Holcomb, WI.  On the second day, I had lunch with a group of members that I don't know all that well. We got to talking about UFO's and I began whining about the Underground Rail Road quilt that I'd begun as a block of the month back in 2004. I'd gotten stuck at how to quilt the sashings and borders and I put the thing away at that point. For some reason, I couldn't bring myself to open up that quilt and get it done, even though I eventually had a good idea on how to finish the quilting.

At that lunch, Cindy challenged me to finish the quilt in 6 months. We even bet $5.00 on it (Whoo Hoo! We're real high rollers!  Watch out, Vegas!)  Well, this challenge has been on my mind since than and when I'd finished my Christmas sewing, I took it out and gave it a good examination.  I immediately liked how it looked on the guest bed and I also immediately got a new--and better--idea on how to finish the quilting. I sat down and in 3 days it was finished!

Right now,it's on my guest room bed and looks terrific!  I even have a guest here sleeping under it this week!

Why oh, why did I let that UFO drag me down all these years!  I love this quilt and, goodness knows, I can use an extra quilt in my house, so why did I procrastinate so long?  I think that the longer I think about these UFO's the more difficult they become, but only in my mind. 

I hope this is a lesson for me to go ahead and finish off those quilt tops I've got folded up on my shelf.  I think there are 3 bed sized tops and I know I have 2 lap throws--if not more!  

Anyway, here are some pix:

This is the design I quilted in the alternate blocks. I don't know why I used white thread on navy blue--apparently not thinking very clearly. If I was to do it today, I know I'd used a variety of colored threads for the quilting. I think when I started machine quilting, I didn't know one could use different colors on the same quilt--duh!!!  Anyway, I think it came out pretty well and I'll keep it as the thought of picking it all out is crushing!

This is a shot of my favorite block in the quilt. I've forgotten the name of it, (maybe Carpenter's Wheel?) but I remember liking it when I pieced the blocks and I still like it a lot.

Today, I'm not working but I'm cooking instead. We're going to Milwaukee and Lake Mills this weekend and I made some yellow split pea soup to take to son Dan's house for lunch tomorrow . . .

. . . and a double batch of pasta sauce for tonight's dinner and extra to jar up and take to Dan's as well. I wish I could capture the aroma of this sauce and send it to you via the Internet!  The whole house smells wonderful!

What are you cooking up for dinner tonight?  Do you have plans for the weekend as well? 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Weekend fun?

Sledding with Lily on Saturday--a quick stop at Target--watching the Vikings lose to the Packers in football.

Which of these things were not so much fun????

As a life long Vikings fan, I'm had an attitude adjustment over the years. Now, I hope they lose early in the playoffs instead of teasing us with a few wins and then blowing their chance for a Super Bowl ring. This saves me a lot of unnecessary stress!  :o)

Friday, January 4, 2013


Following the idea of Pioneer Woman here and Barbara at Cat Patches here, I'm making my own list of resolutions based on the word "RESOLUTION."

R--Read more books--for fun only!
E--Encourage others in their endeavors
S--Say YES more often
O--Only eat foods that are good for you--not just good tasting.  (Wish me luck on this one!)
L--Linger awhile every day
U--Use my skills and talents to my best ability
T--Try to complete one project before beginning another (I've got lots of UFOs in my closet!)
I--Invite other people into my life
O--Once a day say "I love you" to someone special
N--No more procrastinating by playing Spider Solitaire

What do you want to change in your life this year?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Holiday activites

Happy New Year to everyone!  Personally, I'm very glad the holidays are nearly finished. I had lots of fun with family and friends, but not without lots of work--cleaning, shopping, baking, and cooking. 

We started with Solstice Dinner on the Friday before Christmas.  I started celebrating the winter solstice the year I commuted 75 miles each way (in the depths of the North land's long dark winter) to work in Duluth and marked my progress by the Christmas lights of various homes along the way.  I no longer have that commute, thank goodness, but I still like to invite friends for a Solstice dinner.  We had 3 good friends over for a meal of Winter salad, squash and apple soup, Hungarian goulash (from the crock pot) over rotini pasta and finished with pound cake with blueberries. All washed down with several bottles of red wine. It was a great evening to begin the holidays.

Son Dan made it home from Milwaukee for a few days with the family and I really enjoyed his visit.  Of course, Lily and Tessa were in and out many times over the holidays.  Don and I celebrated our 41st  wedding anniversary on the 28th by going to a movie--Les Mis was fantastic!!!--and dinner at a Mexican restaurant, and the week before we helped our good friends celebrate their 41st anniversary at a different Mexican restaurant. 

New Years Eve was uneventful and today, Tessa is trying out several recipes from her new Indian cook book and the house smells wonderful!

In between all these activities, I managed to finish a few quilting projects.  I made myself another Christmas tree skirt and finished it a few days after the tree had been put up and decorated.  I still have no idea what happened to the skirt I made in 2008--Gremlins, I guess.

I also finished a little table runner I began last fall just using scraps of autumn colored fabrics to make flying geese.  That one stays here for my table next fall.

I made this top sometime ago and began quilting it when I was asked to donate something for the United Way auction fundraiser. The more I worked on it, the more I was impressed by my work and ultimately decided to keep this quilt and donate another item I had already finished. I rationalized my decision with "I just know I won't get this finished in time for the auction." And I didn't--I finished it last week. This is one that's staying here.

I used a couple of Charm packs I had of Civil War Homestead by Moda along with some coordinating fabrics I had in my stash. What I like about this quilt is the double lines I stitched in the ninepatch blocks and the feathered wreaths I stitched in the alternate blocks, two patterns I'd never done before.  This quilt is the perfect size for the guest bedroom which will be used next week when we have a friend coming for a few days.

And lastly, I took a picture of the cake pops Lily and her friend made yesterday. Lily's been staying here quite a bit over Christmas vacation, and she does get a bit bored with Nana and Papa after a few days so we invited a friend for lunch and the afternoon. The girls had a ball doing lots of things here and they used Lily's new Cake Pop Kit to make these unbelievable unique snowman pops.  By the time they were finished and the kitchen cleaned up, both girls were literally spinning around the house on their sugar highs!

How were your holidays?  Now we can all settle down for our long winter naps.  Yeah, right!