Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Weight loss journey - December report

When I last posted on August 5th, I'd just reached my Weight Watcher goal the week before. And I was really worried about what I'd weigh when I got back from the cruise. It actually wasn't bad - I gained less than 5 pounds and it came off the next week easily. Must have been the exercise, because I certainly ate well! I did try tomake a lot of good choices - but never turned down dessert.

I made Lifetime 6 weeks after I reached my goal. I wasn't at goal any more, but I was within the 2 pound allowance above goal. Lifetime meant I didn't have to pay as long as I stayed within that 2 pound leeway. I did fine until last week, when I went to .6 of a pound above goal. That was my official weigh-in for December (lifetime members need weigh in on the first meeting of each month unless they go over the 2 pounds above goal). So I had to pay. Today I paid also - not only am I struggling with food now that the holidays are here, but I dressed for the weather as I refused to be cold. When I got up this morning the temperture was at 2.3 degrees. That's the coldest weather I've ever experienced, and is WAY below normal for our area. So I must have had at least an extra 5 pounds of clothes on. I just couldn't wear my summer weight weigh-in clothes - if I had I would have frozen to death!

And this is the first update on my life LOL!

Happy December!

Are you ready for Christmas? It's only 16 days away according to the calendar on the wall here at the kids' house. I'm baby sitting Joseph at the moment and enjoying their tree as ours isn't up yet. The Christmas stuff is all over the living room and it makes me tired just looking at it. A conversation with a good friend last night brought me to the conclusion that it's time to pass on many of our Christmas decorations to someone else. I'm keeping what I love and what is special to us, but giving away the rest. Kids get first choice of course. Then the rest goes to Goodwill. I want to get that done this week so people shopping for this year will have a chance at them.

So how has everybody been? Not only have I been a very bad blogger - I've also been a bad reader of blogs. I've been knitting, camping, reading, playing games and probably wasting a lot of time (thanks to a close friend who got me started playing Facebook games). I've not been quilting, but the urge is coming back. Hopefully by January I'll be back in action quilty-wise.

Notice, I've changed the name of the blog. Felt a bit strange talking about knitting on a quilting blog. So now it's more a bit of everything - though it really was a bit like that before.

I do have pictures - 1400 of them! - from the August cruise. I've just not gone through them yet! I will one of these days, and then I'll post a few here. We did have a great time!

In case anyone is interested - here is a link to my notebook on Ravelry. There you will see that I'm building a yarn stash (no surprise there!). I also have pictures of projects: (I see things have changed here - I can't seem to turn a highlighted word into a link any more. I wonder why).

I'm going to try to get back to posting much for often. I really am!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My first finished sock!

It has a bunch of mistakes, but it's done. Unfortunately it is too big for me. I need to go down one size in this pattern. I thought I picked the best one for my foot measurement, but I guess not. Unless my gauge was way off. I knitted a gauge swatch, but it wasn't in the round. It's late, so I'll measure tomorrow. I do have too more skeins of this yarn - it was inexpensive and also on sale, so I bought an extra just in case. So I'll make the second sock a size smaller, then make a mate the size that fits me best. It'll be great practice. (Boy, does my calf look huge! Guess it was the camera angle. I guess I'll have to have someone else take the picture after this!

I'll try to post one more time before Sunday, but I may not manage to do so. We leave for a 7-day cruise to Alaska on Sunday - a celebration for our 40th year anniversary (which was on June 21st). I still have two baby quilts to do for a customer before then - that will be tomorrow. Plus I'll continue with my packing tomorrow. Friday I'm going to the Sock Summit across the river in Portland, Oregon. What a coincidence, but how marvelous, that this huge event - the first of it's kind - is happening in my own back yard right at the time I've started this new hobby!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hey - it's looking like a sock!

This is SO much fun. Just like quilting - one never knows what the finished project will look like until it's almost done. I can hardly wait to finish a pair.

Especially with the new shoes I bought this week that are open enough to show off my socks LOL!

Thanks everyone!

I received lots of great links in comments and emails - thanks everybody! I have a new favorites folder called "Knitting". I drolled all over the keys when I looked at the beautiful yarn in all those online shops - but didn't buy a thing. I'm going to try not to go overboard on this hobby like I have with quilting. It's hard, because that's certainly the way my personality works LOL!

My friend Kim found a fabulous link showing how to do the Kitchener stitch - in case anyone is interested.

Gwen Marston's "Liberated Stars"

I've wanted to take a class from Gwen Marston for years. My Tangled Threads friend Kim has spent several days in Gwen's classes and said she was the best. So I was thrilled that Kim and I were able to take her "Liberated Stars" class in Sisters. Kim's right - what a down-to-earth, nice-as-can-be lady! She has a wonderful way of immediately making you feel like her close friend. I'd take another class from her in a minute - if you ever get the chance I highly recommend you do it. I'd love to attend her Michigan retreat sometime.

This was a very fun class - something I've wanted to try ever since I bought her "Liberated Quiltmaking" book years ago. I knew it would be a challenge as I've always been so anal about seams matching, points, etc. What I learned is one can go too far the other way. Instead of just putting down fabric and stitching, sometimes I tried too hard to liberate points. At least one is liberated way too much - notice the star point that is hardly there? That block will be relegated to the orphan drawer. When I make more I'm going to try to just let it happen instead of over thinking the process.

My friend Kim hard at work.

It was lots of fun to just sew without thinking a lot - the only thinking involved dividing by 3 to determine how to make different size blocks. Not necessarily an easy math problem when trying to figure out the size of a little star to fit into the middle of a big star!

I've pictures of Gwen's quilts in her books, but seeing them in person is always so much better. I love the one with the appliquéd border. Good news for those of you who don't have the Liberated Quilts book and can't afford the sky high price of second hand. Gwen has gotten her publisher to agree to a new edition. It'll be a new book, with much of the same info as the old book plus additions. The "Liberated Baskets" quilt I've pictured will be in that book.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sue Spargo class

I loved every minute of Sue Spargo's class in Sisters. I took a class years ago from Sue when she first started teaching. She has certainly learned a bunch of new tricks of the teaching trade! This is a new class for her - "Embellishment" - that she premiered in Australia and/or New Zealand last spring (I think that's when it was.) I learned so much, and of course had lots of fun shopping in her "classroom store".

We were sent a basic kit and pattern for a wool appliqué piece that was to be finished before class. All of them were alike. We were to bring threads, yarns, beads, buttons, appliqué fabric - anything we wanted to use to embellish our "artwork". As you can see the colors are very bright, and I just don't have those colors in my stash. So I bought a few fat quarters and little remnant "knots" of brights. I forgot my baby rickrack at home so bought a bit more. I borrowed a friend's collection of beads (which I never got around to use!) and figured I was set. The piece didn't excite me at all so far, but I was reserving final judgement until after the class.

I had no idea what this might evolve into until I saw Sue's piece "in progress". She had done much to it, but it still didn't tell her it was done. (Sometimes the piece must be declared done because her quilter has forbidden her to have more than 8 layers, including the backing, batting, and background.) Here you see hers - you can hardly tell it began with the same kit!

I didn't make much progress on mine, but I'm happy with what I've done so far. I tried braiding yarn and then couching it down for additional stems. Leaves have been pinned on, though I think I need more. A couple flowers have pieces ready to appliqué onto them. In a class like this I find it helpful to circulate around the class regularly to see what others are doing, which of course takes away from working time. It's easy to see who worked and who spent time visiting and chatting when you look at each project at the end of the class.
One of the things I really enjoyed was Sue telling us about her journals. She keeps a journal for every quilt, and each has a little bit of everything. She sketches ideas for things to put on the quilt. She adds clippings from magazines and newspapers. Poetry, photos, fabric swatches and more are included. Some journals are very different from others. She never knows what the final quilt will look like until she has it finished - she designs as she goes - and the journals help her do that. We were sent a journal to bring for our own quilt along with the pattern and fabric - wouldn't you know that I accidentally left mine at home!

Of course I had to have my picture taken with Sue, and bought a couple of her newer books for her to sign, as I'd forgotten to bring her books that I had here at home.
Here are some pictures of the class, including my friend Alana from North Star quilters, as well as pictures of other student work.

Blogs requested!

If you read one or more blogs that include knitting socks can you please send me those links also?

Thanks so much, everyone!

What I'm up to these days

I've not been doing personal quilting for several weeks now. I thought that taking classes at Sisters would turn me back on to quilting. It did - for a few days anyway. However, something else jumped in to take my attention away.

Some of you may remember that I posted a list of my "goals for retirement" the day after my last day of work. One of those goals was "learning to knit socks". It's taken me a little over 18 months to begin, but now I'm loving every moment. While in Sisters we went into Bend on a shopping trip, and happened to go into a yarn store as Trudy - our "driver" - needed to get some yarn. While I was standing there taking in all the luscious colors and textures of the yarn - more fiber eye candy! - I decided to ask the clerk what book she recommended for teaching myself to knit socks. I left that store with 2 books and yarn for two pair. Well, you know me - when I find something new my tendency is to go overboard. Knitting socks is no exception.

By the time I left Sisters I'd been to the yarn shop there two or three times, and been shopping twice in the "Wild Hare" part of the quilt shop as they have a great yarn selection. I came home with 8 books and yarn for 32 pairs of socks. Since I've gotten home it's just gotten worse LOL! All I want to do is knit.

Any knitters out there? If so, please send me links to great online yarn shopping sites, as well as any other great knitting sites. I have registered on, though I've not done much else there except look around.

The first two pictures show my new yarn stash - all for socks. Good thing I love to wear fun socks!

These are the books I've purchased.
My "class" sock - had to go to the yarn shop to learn how to pick up stitches. Thought I could finish it last night, but alas - I've tried to do the kitchener stitch three times to end the toe - each time following the book diagrams exactly - and each time it's been a messy failure. Guess I'll need to attend "social knitting" this Thursday also so I can have another mini lesson.

My first full-size sock. After about a dozen false starts I finally progressed this far without major disasters. There are a few booboos, but I you can't see them unless you look really closely (I seem to have a problem remembering to switch the yarn from one side to the other when switching between knitting and purling - thus I have extra yarn overs on the needle to deal with.) I'm now in the process of knitting the gusset.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sisters was great - and lots more to chat about also

I need to focus on posting - I think I have material for at least half a dozen posts if not more. And lots has happened since then too!

First I must share my big news - I reached goal at Weight Watchers this morning! Goal was 164, and I weighed in at 162.8. Now I just need to hold that for 6 weeks to become a lifetime member - meaning I don't have to pay any more. I'm absolutely thrilled! One catch however - I'm not at my ultimate goal yet. That goal was set when I still thought I was 5'8". Now that I've shrunk to 5' 6" I need to get to 155 for a healthy BMI. WW knows that, but leader René said she'd stick with the first one as far as reaching lifetime. I'm not all that far from 155, so I hope to have reached that in the six weeks before reaching lifetime.

We went camping with our kids weekend before last and had a fabulous time. Here are two pictures my daughter sent. (Can't do a post without pictures, of course! It was so much fun to watch Sophie and Joseph, as they were both too young to appreciate it last summer. They sure loved the dirt - and the creek! Joseph waded in shoes, clothes and all before his parents could stop him. The water was only about 2-3 inches deep - and they were right there - but the bottoms of his pants legs were soaked, and then he sat down in it before they could stop him!

Lots more tomorrow. I need to get some sleep. I need to get up early as I'm heading down I-205 to Clackamas, OR to get my mammo at 8:30. We'll see how it goes - it's been SO hot here. 106 yesterday with 40% humidity, and 107 today. We have no air - it's still about 85 downstairs - it was up to 102 in the family room and longarm room during the day! No longarming for me as long as his heat keeps up!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Here for a minute

I see once again it's been almost a month since I posted. My post will be short, as I'm heading out the door this morning on my way to Sisters Oregon for classes and quilt shows. I'll give you a full report when I get back.

If any of you are there and happen to see me please be sure to say hello!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This and that

Today I got back to quilting. It felt really good to be in the sewing room. After Jo's Little Women's Club I did some quilting on the customer quilt currently stretched onto Gandalf's table. Then I finished prepping April's and May's blocks for Jan Patek's 2009 mystery quilt. The flower arrangement is for April and the bee skep for May. I finished the appliqué on the February and March triangles, so they will be sewn to the center tomorrow.

My patio garden is growing very, very well. I've already used some of the herbs in cooking - Italian parsley and cilantro. What fun to step outside to pick them fresh for immediate use! We've had four ripe strawberries, with lots more to come. The birds got the first one, but Fred and I shared the other three. The tomato plant was blown over in the short, violent storm we had about 10 days ago, but it doesn't seem to have minded. I need to pick up some stakes so I can tie it upright again - in the meantime it's leaning against the support for the patio cover.

I've started walking to Starbucks again - this time going the longer way so it's close to a 4-mile round trip. Today our neighbor tuned up my bicycle, so tomorrow I'm meeting my friend Kim about three blocks away, and we'll ride to Starbucks together. I need to add the exercise to help me get into shape while I lose weight.

Speaking of losing weight - I'm now 3 pounds from my WW goal of 164 pounds. I've lost a total of 39.2 pounds - feels great! A couple weeks ago I spent the day shopping - buying new clothes for the summer and also for our August cruise to Alaska. I'm feeling so good about the way I look. I plan to attend the WW meetings indefinitely - this time I'm determined not to put the weight back on again!

So what have I been cooking? Well, today was tilapia fillets roasted on the grill in foil packets. In addition to the fish the packets contained orange segments and tomato wedges flavored with salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes, and olive oil. Tilapia is pretty flavorless, so the sauce really helped. The cold salad was orzo, shrimp and broccoli florets tossed in a sauce made from pesto, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. A glass of white wine rounded out a dinner that totalled 10 points - not bad at all! And very filling. The recipes are from two different WW cookbooks and are copyrighted, so I can't pass them along.

Yes, I've been a bad blogger

Looks like the last time I posted was my birthday. Once again I've been involved elsewhere, with very little time spent on the computer these last weeks. I've been doing next to no quilting - just cooking, reading cookbooks, reading other books, gardening a bit, and running around a lot. Everything is fine. Our daughter is doing well. I'm back to watching Joseph two days a week, with more now and then when his other grandma and family need time off. I've taken Joseph to visit Sophie and Lily, spending the morning at the park. I really have no excuse for not blogging!

Thanks so much to those of you who wrote asking me whether or not everything is OK. Right now I'm headed north to Jo's Little Women's Club at my favorite quilt shop - Momma Made it in Longview, WA. I've taken some pictures, and I'll write a better post this afternoon or evening.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Birthday surprise!

Beautiful red roses from my sweetheart for my birthday today. Thank you Fred - I love you!

Hooray! I'm not eligible to collect Social Security! 62 years young!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

One thing leads to another

We had a Weber kettle years ago. Loved that barbecue! I even did a few Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys in it. When it wore out we replaced it with a gas grill. We bought a $199 "special" that I thought would be so much better than the Weber.

It wasn't. It cooked hot dogs and hamburgers OK, but I gave up on anything else. Cooking with indirect heat was a joke - things too close to the fire burned and things too far away weren't cooked. I gave up. We didn't use it at all the last two summers.

I missed cooking outside and eating wonderful barbecue. I told Fred last fall that I wanted a new grill this spring when our income tax refund arrived. We got a HUGE surprise when we learned that a considerably bigger refund was coming than we expected (hence the new things in the kitchen too).

I did my research at the library, online and at quite a few different stores. I was determined to get a good barbecue this time. And this is the result. I especially love the color! I'm very eager to give it a

One thing leads to another I guess. I borrowed the neighbor's power washer to clean the concrete slab out back that was supposed to be a patio. What a difference! The slippery moss that loves to grow on the covered north side of the house in our wet climate is gone. Once that was done the grill moved into place.

I decided to try growing herbs in pots this summer as I've started using fresh herbs a lot in my cooking. Figured I'd add strawberries and tomatoes while I was at it. The pots look so pretty all lined up in a row - tarragon, marjoram, flat leaf parsley, thyme, dill, rosemary, sage, mint and chives. I still need to get one more pot for mint - can't forget mint for summer drinks! The bigger pot in the corner holds a grape tomato plant, and the strawberries are in a hanging basket. I can hardly wait to start harvesting!

When I stood in the door and surveyed my handiwork I figured something was missing. We've never had room for a patio set, but I figured I could fit in a bistro table and chairs. So back to the stores I went - looking and looking for something that would work that didn't cost a fortune. I'm thrilled with the result. It's going to be so nice sitting out here for brunch or a casual dinner.

I have hanging baskets of shade loving fuchsias and impatiens. Since I don't do ladders they are waiting for Fred to hang this weekend. Now we are all set for summer!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Oh dear! Long time no post!

It's been WAY too long since I've written a post. Time has been flying by, and I've been as busy as one can possibly be, but I've done no quilting for almost a couple weeks. And when I'm not quilting I'm not thinking about blogging.

I started writing a post, which immediately became lengthy and wordy - you know me, when I tell a story it seems like it takes me forever. I figured no one would take the time to read it all, so I erased it. I'll just let a few words and lots of pictures tell the story.

I've refound my love of cooking, thanks to being on Weight Watchers and actually reading their cookbooks. So I reorganized my kitchen. It was organized fairly well before, but now it's still way better than it used to be.

The first picture shows a car full of stuff to take to Goodwill. There are still more things in the back seat. Clearing out things I've not used in years, things that are worn out, things no longer needed, and things that I'm replacing because they are flimsy and of poor quality.

I also took two large boxes of cookbooks I cleared off my shelves to the library for the book sale.

Staples for baking in the first cupboard to the left of the refrigerator.

More baking staples, plus plastic storage boxes for various cookie cutters, tart pans, and more. A Cuisinart Griddler is on the right of the bottom turntable - replaces and electric grill and an electric griddle.

Baking pans, bowls and liquid measuring cups to the left of the staple cupboard. Gone are all the duplicate pie, bread and cake pans. New little pans - 6" cake pans, pie plates and mini bunt pans are ready for me to start "baking for two".

Now I actually have counter space in this area to work on.

The cupboards for dishes and glassware have also been reorganized. Now that I've shrunk a couple inches it's much harder for me to reach that top shelf.

I can actually reach my pitchers and iced drink glasses now without a step stool! (Gotta love that Crystal Lite in so many different flavors!) I don't show them in a picture, but suffice it to say they are no longer above the refrigerator.

The other turntable - just below the dish cupboards, now holds cereal - much better than on the other side of the room where they were.

The bottom shelf has bins for potatoes, root vegetables and more. Cleaning out the pantry allowed me to move all the pasta from here into the pantry. Much better!

I've not shown pictures of everything, but you get the idea. It's much more pleasant to work here now. I can't wait to bake something! I think the first thing will be cookies for Fred - something that I won't find too tempting to resist!
Since this burst of organizing energy I've been spending a lot of time reading cookbooks, marking recipes for trial (what did we do before Post-Its?), and watching Barefoot Contessa and America's Test Kitchens/Cooks Country. And after years of being bored out of my mind when cooking I'm enjoying it again.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More pictures and plans for the rest of the week

Some of these are water spotted from the rain or a bit past their time - I wanted to include them anyway.

I had a cortisone injection in each knee this morning, so I'm extremely limited in the standing and walking I can do for the next three days. Sounds like a great time to settle into a comfortable chair and appliqué while I watch the Mariners win (I hope!) or listed to my IPOD.