Thursday, July 31, 2008

Happy Anniversary May Britt

Head over to May's blog to enter her prize drawing for her second anniversary blogging.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I'll be back soon

We are heading up to Mt. Rainier this morning for a few days of camping. Can hardly wait - we didn't get to go up there last year because Shadow was too old and feeble to leave. The weather is supposed to be a bit iffy, but this morning it is beautiful. We plan to get in some hiking as well as relaxing. I'm taking Emma's Quilt, and hope to have the quilting almost finished by the time I return. I'm counting on it being my fourth finish by the end of the month.

1. Soft blue sky will a few thin white clouds
2. Fresh Royal Ann cherries
3. A cosy little home on wheels
4. New books to read

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thanks again Peg!

Wednesday report

Lots of great things to report today! First of all is another finish - the third for July. This is Winter Dazzle, the only Thimbleberries quilt I ever pieced even though I went to club for about three years. I like Thimbleberries fabrics, but I prefer to mix other fabrics with them for accents here and there. This will become part of my Christmas decorations. It's just good to have it done - it's been hanging around since 2002.

After taking Winter Dazzle off Gandalf's frame I loaded Jo Morton's "Emma's Quilt" long enough to baste it for hand quilting. I took it with me when I left to spend yesterday with Joseph. I got a great start on the hand quilting during naptime. I'm really enjoying hand quilting again - no pain at all in my hands - the copper rings seem to really work! I'll take this with me camping this weekend. As it's small I'm hoping I can finish the quilting in time to bind it before the end of the month.

This morning was my fourth Weight Watchers meeting. I'm totally sold on going to meetings - I leave recharged and motivated. We have a great leader -she's kept 43.5 pounds off for 27 years now. She is so full of energy and enthusiasm! I was thrilled to find myself down three pounds this week - that's 6.6 pounds since I started going on July 2nd. The new jeans I bought during our anniversary trip in June are getting really loose. I know I can do this!
I'm heading upstairs to test some new thread on Gandalf. If he likes it I'm ordering it in lots of different colors. Then I head to Primitive Thimble for my Golden Age Random Sampler class with Eileen Trestain. Busy day ahead of me - I'd better get moving!

1. A clear vision of my personal goals
2. The incredible beauty of the state in which I live
3. State and national parks
4. Comfortable beds in the tent trailer
5. Firewood split and ready to load for our camping trip

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What a great feeling!

I turned off the light in the sewing room tonight with a great feeling of accomplishment. The CC borders are attached and another UFT is completed. What a great feeling to cross this off the list! I love the way it turned out. This is my first "Bonnie Quilt" - the first of many I'm sure. I want to do this one again - this time big enough for our bed.

I also spent time cleaning the longarm room, and cleaning and oiling Gandalf himself. There is a Plexiglas cover over his workings on the front of the machine head, which gets a bit splattered with excess oil during use. I took it off and cleaned it, and replaced the felt pads around the bottom of the machine workings. They were saturated with oil, which tells me I'm probably oiling the machine too much. I figure better too much than too little! Then I gave him a good cleaning and oiling while all his innards were so easily accessible. His table got a good wipe down and his wheels got extra attention. I've been needing to do this for several months - I tend to put it off. Not sure why - it doesn't take all that long.

I've reloaded the quilt that is partially done - an old Thimbleberries Christmas quilt. I had to take it off to turn it - makes it much easier to do fancy borders - so I fit in the customer quilt while it was off. I should be able to finish quilting it tomorrow, and hope to have the binding machine stitched by this time tomorrow night.

The only true remaining UFO unfinished tops are the various collections of friendship blocks that I've accumulated over the years. I'm going to start attacking those next. Some will go together very easily. Others - the oldest - present one or more problems that must be dealt with. I'll start with the easier ones - that's four of the seven that are listed.

I'm also eager to get back to projects I've put aside for awhile - particularly Dear Jane and the Civil War Diaries quilts. Is anyone out in Blogland still working on their Civil War Diaries blocks? I've not seen any posted for quite awhile. I'll also be plugging away at long term projects - appliquéing Heirloom Stitches borders and making blocks for the various classes I'm taking with Eileen.

When I think back to those days when I worked it seems like another lifetime. I really loved my job at the credit union, and I really love retirement. I can't imagine ever wanting to go back to work. My life is certainly full just as it is.

1. Loving children and grandchildren
2. A loving husband
3. Good friends
4. Great books to read and projects to sew
5. A comfortable bed to sleep in each night

Making progress

I finished my customer quilt easily and quickly - love pantographs! - and then went back to Carolina Crossroads. Sure were a lot of little parts to those blocks! I finally got the blocks sewn together this morning - hooray! I love on-point settings but they sure take longer to sew. I'm taking a break to eat lunch and pin another quilt on the longarm while I watch the baseball game. I hope to have borders on this one by bed time tonight.

Gratitudes - back to the basics that we all to often take for granted
1. A comfortable home
2. Vehicles that run and enough money to buy gasoline
3. Enough tasty food to eat
4. Clothes to wear
5. Relatively good health

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thank you Lily!

I've been keeping up with my blog reading pretty well this week I'm happy to say. I hate reading everyone's news long after the fact. Imagine my surprise when I read the new post on block-a-day to learn that Lily had nominated me for two awards! If you've never visited Lily's blog I suggest you do. Lily is extremely creative, writes delightfully, and is an all-around sweetheart. I'm very honored that she thinks I deserve these awards.

The Arte y Pico award is given for creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributions to the blogging community, no matter what language. Here is the link to where this award originated Arte Y Pico.

I'm to post an acceptance speech worthy of the Academy Awards for receiving the Brillante Weblog Premio 2008 award. As far as I can see the rules don't say what the award is for - makes it a bit more challenging.

Well, here goes - "I'd like to thank my mother for teaching me to use a needle and thread when I was five, my first quilting teacher whose name I can't remember (the class was in 1975), all the pattern and fabric designers whose talent provides us with so many wonderful things for making quilts, and lastly - but most important - my husband, who gives me no grief at all about my huge stash and the fact that sometimes we have to eat out because I've been sewing all day. And I can't forget you blog readers - without you this most likely would be just one more failed attempt at keeping a journal. The interaction with quilters all over the world is especially important to me."

As always, I can't begin to narrow down my choices of blogs to receive these awards. I have 186 feeds listed in bloglines, and everyone one is a favorite for one reason or another. So if you'd like grab the award and consider it to be awarded to you by me.

1. An almost-finished customer quilt on Gandalf.
2. Another Mariners win - now that we have both a new GM and manager
3. Pretty toes and smooth heels thanks to a relaxing pedicure
4. 100 calorie packages of so many things - every time I go to the store there are more to choose from

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Here is my finished project. This is the little quilt top that was lost for several months. I started this project in a class with René Plains in 2004. The pattern was published in the April 2002 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. I wasn't all that thrilled with the top when I finished it - too few fabrics were used to suit my love of scrappy quilts. However, now that I'm finished with it I really like it. Amazing how quilting brings life to a flat quilt top! I quilted this with Cebelia, a heavy thread often used for crochet, using a stitch sized about half way between a regular quilting stitch and "big stitch" utility quilting. Because the quilt is small I thought regular "big stitch" would be a bit big proportionally. Peg's given me an award for this completion - thanks Peg! This leaves me three to go for the challenge.

Tonight I continued working on Carolina Crossroads. I'm so eager to cross this one off my unfinished tops list, as doing so will complete that list. There sure is a lot of sewing in this top! I chose the same colors as Bonnie did, because I had more red and blue in my strip drawers than any other colors. I like how it is turning out. This will probably become another quilt for the camper - we discovered last weekend that we need a second quilt for cold nights.

Tomorrow I must call a halt to my own projects long enough to quilt a customer quilt. She needs it back in time to get it ready to enter in the county fair - where in the world is July going? I can't believe it's past the middle of the month already!

I bought a new quilting tool a few days ago. I used to buy every new tool I saw - and so many of them were never used. I seldom buy them now, but this is one I just had to try. Sometimes the arthritis in my hands makes it very hard to hold the ruler steady when rotary cutting. I've also cut slices off the index finger of my left hand twice with the cutter - the first time requiring several stitches. So when I read raves reviews about the Gypsy Gripper I decided to try it. Here you see it locked onto my 6 1/2" x 24 1/2" ruler, which I used to cut binding strips for the little René Plains quilt. This gripper is marvelous! It was so easy to hold the ruler in place, and there was no way it was moving at all while I was cutting. I really recommend this tool if you ever have trouble holding your rulers. Now I can't wait to get the small size for my smaller rulers.

1. A wonderful day with Joseph
2. Cooler weather today
3. Another 1.6 pounds lost, for a total of 3.6
4. A nice dinner out with my DH


I've finished another UFO! Perennial Patchwork, a little quilt designed by René Plains is completed and hanging at the top of our stairway. I must leave now to take care of Joseph - I'll post a picture later.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I have a winner!

I should be in bed sleeping, but I can't seem to go to sleep. 5:30 am will seem very early tomorrow, but I must get up anyway because it's a Joseph day. So here I sit doing computer stuff and trying to get sleepy. I figured I might as well "draw" for the prize I promised.

Using a random number generator - much easier that printing all the 54 comments, cutting them apart, and putting them in a basket for drawing - I've determined that comment number 50 is the winner.

Congratulations Elaine Adair from Elaine Adair Pieces. Yours was the 50th comment on my blog post. Thanks for being a regular reader and commenter. Now I need to figure out what you would like so I can put together your prize and get it sent off in the mail.

Again - thank you to everyone for reading and commenting, and helping make blogging such a fun thing for me.

Not exactly what we expected

It was so nice to be back in the woods camping again. Last year we got away only once, which was very disappointing. I love being out in the open - cooking and eating outside, playing games at the picnic table, sitting around the campfire, walking around the campground, and doing all the other things we do when we are away. I was looking forward to this trip especially because of seeing everything through Joseph eyes.

Well, as the bumper sticker says, life is what happens when we are making other plans. The kids arrived at the campground late - a bit after 8:00 p.m. - and barely had time to set up camp before dark. Joseph was very tired but not able to sleep in a strange spot without Mom sitting there beside him to reassure him. By the time he got to sleep it was too late for us to play any games as Fred and I were needing to head to bed ourselves. So we said goodnight and retired to the camper.

About 2:00 a.m. I was awakened by Rebecca taking to me through the canvas around my camper bed. Here is the gist of the conversation:

"Mom. Mom. We need to go home. Now don't panic. We have mice in our trailer again. It wasn't even afraid when Rick shone the flashlight on it - it just ran under Joseph's bed. We aren't taking a chance on Joseph getting bitten."

"Can't you at least wait until morning?"

"No. We are already loaded and Joseph is already in the car. We're leaving the trailer, our chairs and the cooler. We'll be back tomorrow (Patti's note- really today) after we all get some sleep so we can spend a little time with you and take the rest of the stuff home."

"Are you sure there's no other choice?"

"Yes. We'll see you tomorrow."

A couple minutes later they were gone. By now both of us were awake, and had a bit of a problem going back to sleep. They didn't get back to camp until after 1:30 Saturday afternoon. I made everyone a late lunch and then we walked down to the river. We did have the fun of watching Joseph explore all the new sites. He sure loved playing in the dirt and splashing his hands in the water in the river. He was also fascinated by all the new plants and trees. Wouldn't you know it - I forgot to bring my camera along on this trip, so Rebecca send me a few pictures. They left a little after 4:00 as Joseph was getting tired and cranky and they wanted him to nap in the car.

As further explanation, I need to mention that their tent trailer is 40 years old this year. It originally belonged to Rick's grandparents and then Rick's parents. It is a tent on wheels - not much more than that. Three years ago they had a new canvas made. There has never been a way to shut it up completely, and this is the third or fourth time they've had problems with mice. They dealt with it before but having Joseph makes everything different. So they are now looking for a new trailer - probably one very much like ours. They had plans to go to Mount Rainier in two weeks - they always go there camping for their anniversary - but they didn't think they could get a new trailer in time. So we have inherited their reservations and thus will head up there sooner this year than expected. (This picture of ours is from a trip to Hurricane Ridge five years ago - the first trip with our trailer.)

Our weather was beautiful, and the two of us had a great time otherwise. I was able to continue watching what I ate as I planned our meals accordingly. No big bags of trail mix with nuts and M&M's on this trip! I'm so thankful for 100 calorie packs - seems like every time I go to the store more things are being packaged this way. I even found some chocolate covered pretzels! I lost 2 pounds last week, and hope for a repeat of that when I weigh in Wednesday morning.

Thanks so all of you who left comments on my last post - I plan to reply to each one of them individually. So if you don't receive a reply from me it's because you are set up for "no reply". The 250,000th visitor didn't leave a comment I'm sorry to say. Maya was the closest at 250,001. Maya, I'd like to send you a little something but you are "no reply" and your profile is private. Please email me your full name and address. I'll try to do the drawing in the next few days - certainly by the end of the week. I have no idea what the prize will be, but I promise I'll put together a package of something nice. First I'd like to see who wins, so I can make the prize fit the winner.

1. Safe trips back and forth to Paradise Creek for Rick, Rebecca, and Joseph
2. I finally beat Fred in 2-person Hand and Foot! And at Phase 10 Dice also!
3. Weight Watchers support and information
4. Beautiful campgrounds all over our fair state

Friday, July 11, 2008

I never imagined this would happen

250,000 visitors to my blog - I'm very close now to reaching that number. When I started this blog I never imagined that so many people would be interested in what I was doing and saying. I think it's time for a giveaway! I'd love to know who is the 250,000th visitor, so please check the count now that you are here reading, and if it's you please let me know. I'll have a little giftie for you. In the meantime, I think I'll have a drawing to celebrate this amazing occasion. Leave me a comment on this post, and if you feel so inclined let me know why you feel it's worth your time to visit my blog. I'm curious! We are heading up into the mountains camping today - I'll do the drawing when we return. I'd love to be heading to Sisters with so many of you - instead I'll be having so much fun watching Joseph experience camping for the first time.

Have a great weekend everyone! And I'd love you to put a note in your blog about my giveaway in your own blog.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Where does the time go?

I just can't believe it's been a whole week since I last posted. Where did this last week go? What did I get done? I'm not even sure. So I'm digging back through my memory starting with last Tuesday, to see what I can find.

Tuesday . . . Hmmm . . . I know I babysat Joseph and went to quilt group. I finished a very small amount of appliqué on one of the Heirloom Stitches border. I did some reading. A pretty uneventful day, wouldn't you say?

Wednesday morning I did something that was a first for me. I attended a Weight Watchers meeting. After trying on clothes and looking in the mirror for two hours in Lincoln City the first day of our beach trip I decided I had to do something. No more kidding myself that I was just a wee bit overweight. What a shocking, eye opening experience. I tried WW online the last 2-3 years, as it worked for me once before, but I just couldn't stick with it this time. I just couldn't find the proper motivation. So I went to the website, found a meeting, and went for the first time. I found it very motivating, I learned several new food and recipe tricks, I met some great people, and saw many success stories all around me. At the end of an hour I left with a new mind set and a determination to succeed. I really enjoyed the meeting, and loved all the resources they provided. Since then I've been shopping for food - our cupboards were bare anyway - and brought home many things I've not bought before. I bought the monthly pass so I have access to the online tools also, and haven't missed a day tracking points. I'm feeling great and feeling like this is going to work. I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Thursday was another great day with Joseph. It was also a great day because I got to meet Lucy from Quilting With the Past. Lucy and her family have rented an RV and are spending three weeks seeing the sights in Washington and Oregon. She's going to meet up with Bonnie at towards the end of this week so they can attend the Sisters Quilt Show together. We've been emailing back and forth for a couple weeks - Lucy with questions and me with suggestions as to what they should see. Of course I told them they should spend July 4th here in Vancouver - Fort Vancouver has the largest fireworks show west of the Mississippi. That's exactly what they did, camping in an RV park just five minutes from my house! How fun to meet her and spend some time together! She brought me some beautiful Dutch fabric and delicious Dutch cookies - Yum!

Friday we spent July 4th with Jeremy, Chelsea and Sophie. Sophie's new little sister now has a name - Lily Abigail - what a pretty name! Jeremy and Chelsea have picked out her baby quilt, so now I must get sewing on that. Mid-October will be here in no time at all!

Saturday and Sunday was spent shopping, cooking, reading, ironing and sewing. I tried some new WW recipes that we really liked. The refrigerator is absolutely stuffed with fresh fruits and vegetables, including sliced fresh strawberries that I've been enjoying twice a day. I finished some exchange blocks so I could send them off today. I also took advantage of the cooler weather to prewash and iron my fabric purchases from the last several months. Each time I do this I realize all over again how much fabric I have and now much I need to stop shopping. There is no room on my shelves for what I have now. Couldn't believe it - when I finished the ironing and counted up the yards the total was 100!!!! I took the fabric diet badge off my sidebar - who am I kidding? I need to find the equivalent of WW for fabric addicts!

Today I got out another machine sewing UFO - Bonnie's Carolina Crossroads. I finished step 4 and am close to being done with step 5. Hopefully that will be a finished top by the end of the week. Almost all of it came from my strip drawers, though they don't seem any emptier!

Tomorrow will be a fun day with Joseph. On Friday he suddenly decided that he could walk on his own - something he's been threatening to do for several months. Rebecca said he just stood up, let go of the chair and started walking across the room. I've not really had a chance to see him demonstrate his new skill, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Oh, I almost forgot! The missing has been found. You may remember when I mentioned losing a quilt top? It was a small one I wanted to hand quilt. I looked everywhere I could think of, but it was just nowhere to be found. Today I was pulling strips out of the 1 1/2" drawer and there it was. How it got tucked into that drawer I will never know. Now I just need to spray baste it together and I'll have a hand quilting project for quilt group tomorrow.

I think I'm now up to date with everything. I do know I've been spending very little time on the computer, so once again I'm behind on blog reading - though not nearly as far behind as I was. When the choice is sew or sit at the computer, I've been choosing sewing every time.

1. A safe holiday with no accidents for everyone.
2. Fresh strawberries with fat free half and half
3. The lost has been found
4. Cooler weather with showers the last few days
5. My new determination to lose weight