Friday, January 25, 2013

Brrrrrr.... Polar Bears!!

Brrrrrrr ... It's cold enough for a Polar Bear!! is the best way to describe the Artic Blast that we are experiencing here in Mid-Michigan.  The wind chills have temps dipping under 0*F.  Today around noon, the flakes have been drifting down in a continuous pattern unlike the last several days where a bit would fall and quit.

As the deep freeze seemingly settles in for a unknown amount of time, I choose to kick up the heat and sat down at my hoop as I was inspired by a quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes today.

"Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern--it will come out a rose by and by. Life is like stitch at a time, taken patiently."
                                                                                          - Oliver Wendell Holmes

So I took up my needle to work on my hand quilting. "Sunflowers & Crows"  was the project in which I am patiently plying my needle.  On the average, I can ply between 8 to 10 spi if I make a conscious effort - if not it then goes to 7-9 spi.  Tired eyes will render 6 to 8 spi.

Anyhow, I like to spend that time listening to books on Cd's as I stitch my time away. Today I managed to get through disk 2 & 3 on Tess Gerritsen's "The Bone Garden" read by Susan Denaker as Ms. Honey quietly napped on the back of the couch. She has most decidedly lets me know that she is "Mama's Kitty" and doesn't let me out of her sight any more than she has too.  Ms. Nosy Rosy has been in a bit of a snit since my son went home to his dad's house and when the Other Half was in the hospital for the week. I'm sure she will come back around to be snuggled again on her terms.

I'm making great progress on my Secret St. Valentine project as I have moved down to the third quadrant a couple of nights ago.  The flosses of red, white and pink dance oh so gently onto the background.  It starting to resemble the vision that I have in my head and yes once I've finished it and it has safely made it to the hands of the receiver, I'm sure pictures will be available for your veiwing pleasures. 

I have been bad and started a new machine project this month.  It's a TAW that I got as part of a Secret pal package in Dec. I have it all cut out and sewn into 4-patch sections. I am currently trimming and squareing them up. I've not done a TAW before so this is a new layout for me.  It is 58" x 67" -- so just short of twin size.  But I stopped myself from just putting into a box  to be forgotten.  This weekend, I start cutting a mystery quilt that is taking place on my homesteaders group. 

As you might see, I have pleanty to keep me busy during this cold & snowy weekend, I'm sure I might even finish a book or two this week also.  Right now I'm in a paranormal genre kick and currently reading a series by Cat Adams.

So there ya go -- my big exciting weekend.  Did I bore ya to tears yet? Well I'm off to go work on my St. Valentine project.  See ya next week.


Friday, January 18, 2013

"Baby It's Cold Outside..."

Winter has come back to Michigan as it snows today away.  I know that it will make some "snow bunnies" happy as they can take part in all the winter sports, festivals and other going-on's that Michigan offers.   I, on the other hand; look at it as a great opportunity to spend the day inside with my sewing machine where it's nice & cozy warm.  I have all that I need for snacks such as CHOCOLATE right here with Kitties trying to Velcro herself to me now that I'm off that weird contraption called a treadmill. 

The nice part is I'm up to walking an hour at 2 mph now. The nice thing is that I burn 222 calories during this, do a light sweat and cover 2 miles of "ground".   I have been really good at doing self-control portioning at meal times.  I'm hoping that this is the way to lose some of this weight that I gained when the doctors "fryed" my hyperactive thyroid a year or two ago.  I was recently place on a synthetic medicine to regulate it back into place again this month.  So I'm going to help "jump start" it by getting a bit healthier this year.  I know I have a huge goal looming at me,  but if I can even get some of the weight off & keep it off; it will so much better on other things like my joints, back and knees. 

It has a wonderful plan for the weekend.  I spent yesterday cutting out a "Trip Around the World" (TAW) kit that I received as a gift last month.   I so didn't want this kit to end like my other ones.   I'm trying so hard to break my old habits of putting things off, tossing things in a box with a vague promise to work on in the future, never to see the light of day again.  I know that I can't be the only one out there that does this. 

So with this TAW,  I have about half of the 4-patch blocks pinned together,  just waiting to be chain stitched together.  I think that for the backing,  I'm just going to do a simple muslin.  It doesn't come with it, but I'm sure to come up with it one I finally get to the quilting portion of the project.  I would rather it be a WIP than a NGD (Never Gets Done).

During TV Time,  I'm still working on that Oh-So-Secretive St. Valentine project for my friend in Canada.  I know that she is eagerly waiting to the day in which she gets to see it.  LOL.  I'm still not giving any sneak peeks.  Which isn't hard since I can't do pictures for my blog on this PC and my laptop is still down.  But I will keep trying.

This has been an interesting week.  I finally got my Other Half  home from a week in the hospital.  We have several follow up appointments to doctors yet to come.  Which is why I missed posting last week.  

The kitties have yet to forgive him for being gone but I'm sure they will warm back to him again.  Speaking of the Kitties, this past week;  I have caught them on a number of occasions chasing each other through the house, stalking each other from under the small braided rug, around corners, etc.  For the Holidays,  the girls got these little jingle balls that have this twine like thread wrapped around them with feathers on one end.   They have "killed" the feathers down to mere stubs.

Oh ... before I forget,  Debbieann was the only to leave me a comment on the last posting, she wins the little mitten ornament.  Congrats Debbieann!!!

Well it's time for me to get busy on some quilting work today. So 'til next time!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Here's to the New Year!!

Well Ladies & Gentlemen..... here it is our 1st get together for the new year and time for new beginnings. Time of reflection and anticipation all wrapped up in pretty paper. Something about the New Year has us thinking of those goals we would like to reach... rather they be to lose something, gain some insight, become more ..., try to do/not do... or whatever the case maybe. 

I know we are all busy making our resolutions with great gusto but the real challenge will begin when we get farther along in the year. I know I'm off to a great start as I started the New Year with a Needle in my hand as the ball dropped.  I did revisit mine own goals that I stated a few weeks ago. And after much reflection and realizing they was beyond a tad lofty I would like to revise them if y'all don't mind. 

My new goals are now to do 2 small projects each month. Now this could be a combination of any of UFO's. WIP's or New items.  That  would include any swaps that I might sign up for. If I finish those, I will pull another small project out of the box to finish and if I don't finish in that month I'll move it to the following month. I think two smalls could be a reachable  and reasonable goal to strive for in my humble opinion.  

This month I have a table runner for a swap that I need to finish & mail out on the 15th.  The hard part was done when I finished the last appliqued snowflake block. So now after my boy goes home on Sunday even, on Monday the sewing machine comes back out and the piecing should clip a long quickly.  For my second project, I'm doing my own "OOAK" piece for a St. Valentine's swap between me & my close friend that lives in Hagerville, Ontario, Canada.  This one I'm keeping under wraps until she receives it. So sorry there won't be any sneak peeks on this one folks. So there are my 2 small goals for this month.  The nice thing is I already know what the 2 are for February, making me ahead of the curve so to speak and that is always a good thing in my book. LOL.

And for my long term goal, I have decided that if I can get at least one of the large queen top done, I would most happy.... thrilled even. Why just a top you might ask as you consider what you just read. Well it could be kind of a cop out in a way but it's more like having a reality check and unfortunately my check has bounced!   With the 2 tops having lots (and I do mean LOTS) of hand appliqueing on them, I have to realize that I might be lucky to even get one of them done.

The other day, I was able to put some time in on "Sunflowers and Crows". I had added some echo quilting to the inside of the pinwheel triangles as I sat listening to the next 2 Cd's in the book that I'm listening to.  I broke down and decided that I would use an actual 1/4"-ish stitch in this area instead of those little 8 to 10 spi's.  They really look HUGE in comparison, but I'm making myself stretch a little to give another visual effect to this - my Frankenstein.

So this weekend my plan is to continue with the St. Valentine project that I got started.  I divided the piece into 8 quadrants and have been plucking along.  I introduced the second color into it last night.  Tonight I'm most likely introduce the third & final color into this quad before I move onto the next quad. At the moment it appears that the brain & fingers are having a meeting of the common mind, meaning they are playing nice together as the vision is coming about. 

On Wednesday , I went to see the doc about the blood work I had done in Nov.  At that time, there was enough change in my TSH level that I'm now on a synthetic thyroid supplement.  The kicker is that I have to take it on an empty stomach and have to wait for a minimum half hour. EEWWWWW ... Wait ... NO Coffee ... ugh! the horror!!!!!!

Sooooo the long of the short of it is ... I'm going to put that time to use.  I'm jumped on the treadmill for the half hour.  It's been quite some time (like maybe 4 or 6 months.) I was on it. I started by 2 mph's for the first 25 minutes,then bumped it up that last 5 minutes to 2.5 mph's.  I didn't really break a sweat 'til I bumped it and surprisingly, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Afterwards, I took a gander at that horrible thing called a scale.  I didn't add any weight but on the other hand I didn't drop any either. So I guess I know what I going to lose. I am hoping that half an hour every morning will help.  I'm only suppose to walk - no running - not that I could but under the threat of dire straights of death. But 110 -ish calories got to count for something. Which reminds me - I need to track this stuff for the doctor. 

So I have a December finish to show ya.  I took part in the monthly doll quilt swap. My partner liked brights, and as we know;I wanted to do something a bit different so this is what I came up with.  Now keep in mind that this was during the last snowstorm when I lost power and had to think on the fly.  So I free formed this stocking  from a small pic in a coloring page somewhere. I love looking at free coloring sheets as we all   I blanket-stitched the whole thing by hand around the applique.  I place these small buttons (?) beads to the cuff points but ended up not doing much quilting on it at all.  
The little ornie I made from Crafter's felt, poly-fill and twine that had on hand.  I thought it made made for a cute surprise. What you think...would like one? Hummm maybe I need a giveaway again. Thinking here.... maybe an idea will bloom before the end of the post.  LOL.

I enjoyed the PIF's stories from last week and look forward to seeing more of them. So please keep them coming.  This year I would love to have my PIF project to be for the little girls that take part in the Visit with Santa our little village has a part of the Winter festival. I'm going to take some of my scraps and turn them into little blankets for their little dollies or stuff critters. Actually what I REALLY wanted to do is to include a dollie or stuffie with these little blankies, but I don't get the opportunity to go garage saleing - where I might find some nice gentle used "babies".  So I'll work with the blankies at least.

We had about 150 little girls this past Christmas. Which was just under 1/2 of the little kids that came to see "Santa". I guess that number didn't include the older kids. When I went to the library and talked to the Head Librarian about doing this, my 10 yr. old son heard us talking.  It appears that my son has shown some interest in helping me when he comes up for the summer. He has been attending Cub Scout meeting down there at dad's house and thinks this would be cool to do.  Hey ... I'm all for it and it's great to know he is thinking about others around him at this age.

Well on the Kitty front ... they have been settling in nicely as they have been caught playing and chasing each around the house.  I do have some pictures that I have to upload someday to show ya. They have minds of their own that's for sure!!  Appears they are quilty surveyors too as they are in, on or under whatever I might be working on at the moment. And I had to catch Ms. Honey a couple times as she trys to take off with my with flosses.  The little bugger!!  LOL.

Hummmm ... looks like I'm really have been rambling along for quite the while so now I have to think of something for that little Mittens Giveaway.  Okay ... how about you tell me about tell me about your New Year goals. I will pull a winner next weekend and announce in the posting at that time.  Good Luck Y'all.