Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!

It's finally here.  The end of 2017.  I thought I'd post a picture of me at the end of 2017 so here it is.

Hehehe.  Sorry, I couldn't resist.  That really IS a picture of me.  Underneath two afghan/blankets, a t-shirt, a sweatshirt and undies you'd find me.  That is also pretty indicative of what usually happens to me.  That is thread from unstitching....

Yep, that's right.  I sewed the blocks and rows together and took the picture and THEN realized that the green block on the top row was sewn wrong.  So tonight I unstitched it and will try to put it back together again tomorrow.   I would try it tonight but figured I'd just mess it up again.

Speaking of messing it up, I messed up my weight loss.  I did gain but overall I am down in weight.  I will post tomorrow exactly how much gained or lost.  Those types of things are best done in the light of day and a new year to boot.  I'm sure there will be lots of people going on diets or whatever they want to call them.  It will be the New Years Resolution for many.  I don't like the word Resolution though.  Every time I label something a "New Years Resolution" I fail to keep it.  So this year I will change the title to New Years Hopefuls.  I am hopeful, for instance, that I will eat better and lose some more weight.  I don't care how much.  Just as long as I end the year small than the start of the year.  If I take more time with my food presentations I'm sure I'd eat less because they would be too pretty to eat.  LOL.

This is an example of something that is too pretty to eat!

My other hopeful is to finish some half finished projects.  In order to do that, I will have to cut down on how many BOM or BOWs I sign up for.  I know that I want to do that Fat Cat Pattern one with the gnomes.  I think there might be two more that I plan on doing.  One is a redwork one from a past year.  I found all the blocks so I'll just do them this year.  Another one MIGHT be the Stars over Baltimore one.  I'm going to try to stop there.  I have UFOs that need to be finished so I will try to get some of them done plus my cross stitch projects need to be worked on too. 

So let me say that everybody will have a safe and joyous New Years all year long. 

Happy 2018 everybody!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

New Years Eve - Eve

Only a couple more days left for 2017.  I want to finish one more quilt top before 2017 leaves us or, more like before I have to return to work.    That would be the Illusion Quilt from MSQC.  I had one layout but decided it needed to be larger for my wall space at work.  I finally decided on 5 rows across and 4 rows down.  Great thinking!  Yeah, right.

As with a lot of great ideas, when put into effect they don't always work out as planned.  Now instead of having the 12 block layout,  which fit in oh so nicely with the 4 color scheme I had envisioned, I had 8 more blocks to fit in.  Not only 8 more blocks, but that also meant now I would have a repeat of each color.  I suppose that I could have introduced a new color and actually had 4 rectangles of two different colors already but somehow I didn't do that.  That would have been to easy.  So what did I do?

I printed up one of my layouts in color and cut up the blocks and then the thinking started.  It was good that I didn't start to think before the coffee.  After two cups of coffee, my little stack of paper blocks

turned into

I think that is my final layout for the wall hanging.  What do you think?  It would be very easy to keep elaborating on this and making it far larger than I have space for.  I could see using the theory of a bargello quilt but doing these instead.  Have half of the quilt layout mirror the other half, etc.  Oh dear, there I go again thinking.  I get into more trouble that way.

Have you seen the preview of the 2018 BOM from Fat Cat Patterns?  I will be doing this.  I love their patterns and it will be free if I catch it in the month it is offered.  Even if I have to buy the month pattern or the whole pattern , their prices are very reasonable.

Watch their website for updates and the pattern

I believe my friend Connie is going to be joining me on this journey to do this one.  I think she put it best.  It is a "clean" pattern.  It's not cluttered and therefore it will be fun to do.  Anybody else thinking of doing it?

That's it for now.  I finished another block for The Quilt Pattern Magazine which you'll eventually see.  Can't show it now but it is cute!   For now it's time to say good bye and get back to the weekend stuff and, of course, crafting.

Until next time....Pull up a chair and relax.  Have a cup of something with me.  :)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The year is winding down

Can you believe that 2017 is almost done with?  I can't.  I should though  since the cold weather is here and, of course, my car isn't working.  I swear that the car knows when I am getting short paychecks from work and/or the holiday season zaps my money.  So what is a girl to do?  When the girl is a crafter, she decides to stay home (even though she couldn't go anywhere if she wanted to) and craft.  Notice I said craft and NOT clean. 

I have been pretty productive.  I finished up the cat wall hanging for my friend Janine.

I can't get to the post office to mail it but I did send her a picture of it and she said she loved it.

That wasn't the only thing that I finished.  I did finish up the test pattern for The Quilt Pattern Magazine but can't show it to you yet.  I also signed up for testing another pattern.  What can I say, I love that magazine and I love testing their patterns.  They stretch my quilting abilities but that's ok.  It's how we learn, right?

I did start another wall hanging yesterday.  Here is the picture of the tentative layout.  It's the Illusion quilt pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Company.  I totally LOVE their videos.  They help me grow also.

I am thinking that I will add another row or two to make it 4 across and probably five down.  We'll see.  I have enough left over that I might extend it out to 6 across and 5 down.  I'll have to see how it looks after adding another row down.  It will be the same colors that I've used here.  If I have any left over, I might do something with them to make a table runner.  This would hang up above my table in the office so a matching table runner would be nice.  It would brighten up the office.  This might be another pattern that I keep for a "go to" pattern. 

It's time to get back to sewing (or perhaps take a nap).  I hope everybody had a great holiday and will be looking forward to seeing 2018 arrive.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas - early for me

Christmas is almost here, for me, and it is snowing.  The snow is really coming down now, but this was taken through my window around 8 a.m.

I'm glad that I am staying home today.  Got my caffeine, got my cross stitch, got my PJs and slippers.  It's a good day to stay inside.

Yep, me and Rudolph are going to do some crafting and eat some stuff that isn't good for you but tasty anyway.

These were given to me from my sister in law.  The peppermint candy bark might make it's way into coffee or hot chocolate later.  I'm taking it easy today though.  I slept in a little bit (I could get used to that) so my breakfast turned into brunch. 

Some polenta topped with diced tomatoes, some wilted spinach topped with a little feta cheese, and an egg.  My goal in 2018 is to try intuitive eating.  That basically is sensible eating.  Appreciate what you eat, don't feel guilty about what you eat, but only eat when you are hungry.  Slow down eating so that you can taste your food and enjoy it.  Not to get confused with my old way of tasting my food and oh my!  did I enjoy it!!!!  But now I will try to be more aware of  it.  I did gain back some of my weight that I had lost but I am still 30 official pounds.  I say official pounds because for awhile my scale went bonkers.  Yes, it's official.  I broke my scale.  I saw a picture of myself when I graduated with my BS degree in 2010 and oh boy....did my face look fat!  I should keep that one handy so that I don't get that heavy again.  That was 50 pounds ago. 

Anyway, I finished another test pattern but I can't show you yet.  I can show you, however, the six blocks that I sent to a quilting friend in Canada.  These will be part of a group of blocks that one of my Facebook groups is doing.  A member's husband has cancer and we are sending blocks for her to put together for him to have a quilt.  These are some of my Pat Sloan's Solstice Challenge blocks that I already had done but never put together.  What better than to send them to the woman.  They are in the colors they wanted and in the right size.  I still have half of them for me to put together for a wall hanging.

I also finished one of my pot holders but ran out of Insulbrite.  Will have to get some more of that and finish up that Christmas present.  Yes, it will be for this Christmas but just not delivered on time.  LOL.  That is typical for me.  I also have my cat wall hanging to finish but I have to find it first.

I hope that everybody will have a great and safe holiday!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Tooting Horns and opening presents

It's time to toot my test pattern horn again.  In the next issue of The Quilt Pattern Magazine, there will be a pattern that I tested for them.  It's called Cascading Hearts.  I have permission now to share the pictures from one of the test patterns I did for The Quilt Pattern Magazine.

There is a story behind that. I've always loved hearts and so did my grandmother. I saw her stitching some hearts on to something one day and asked her why she sewed them on like that. This was her answer.

"Everybody needed a heart but they don't need a broken heart. That is why we stitch around it. So it keeps the heart safe and it won't break. Then we had to make sure that the little birds would take our hearts to people who needed them when their heart was broken."

The little birds are the black thread in the middle of each heart. That is why when I tested this pattern I tied it with the little birds instead of doing another type of quilting on it. So all my cascading hearts are flying to people who have broken hearts and these can, perhaps, replace or help heal them.

I have always loved that story. While Grandmother or mother is no longer physically with me, I think of them each time I do crafts.

Of course doing crafts at this time of year calls for caffeine and so I opened up a new Christmas present to myself. All my Mr. Coffee type coffee makers had quit so I bought a new coffee maker. This time I bought a Hamilton Beach Flexibrew one. It's one of the individual cup brewers that can brew a K-cup type or I can use my own grounds, etc.

I't also a coincidence that my good friend Connie gave me a new coffee cup for Christmas. I LOVE cups and this one will hold a special place (yes I've already used it).

I wish I had a cup like that for every one of you who have watched my progress via my blog and in person. You have kept me going on those days when I didn't want to. Thank you one and all.

Are you ready for Christmas? I'm not. Well I am but I'm not. I want to make a couple of quick pot holders yet but that's about it. I have some projects all lined up on what I want to learn to do next year too. I won't call them resolutions because then I'll NEVER do them. I am getting excited for Christmas because I will be by myself and I can do whatever I want.

No doubt I will be talking to friends via the telephone while they drive or after they get home. No doubt I will go to McDonald's to get some caffeine. My friend Janine and I went last year and we were given Santa hats which have the McDonald's arch on them. I will probably wear that. it's good clean fun and a good way to start the day.

I won't be going to my sister in laws for the holiday even though I was invited, but I did get there today. Of course I took pictures and then I filled up on some of her cookies. Enjoy the pictures while I wake up from taking a nap after the sugar rush. LOL. It was worth it.

These are only the cookies that she didn't put nuts in.  She made 6 more types of cookies besides these.  I also ate some divinity before I took the picture.  LOL.

I started out the day, however, with a yummy brunch. It was zucchini, onions, and tomatoes with some spices, surrounded by some wilted spinach and topped with a couple of eggs and JUST a smidgen of cheese.

Now here are the pictures from Bobbie's place.

One of her 45 Snowmen

That's it for now. Everybody have a great day/evening.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Surprise Box!

I had fun mail today.  I received a Christmas card from somebody in England.  I'm in a couple of Christmas card swaps that is being done on Swap-Bot and the first one came today.  I forgot to take a picture of it but I will take a picture when I have some more cards from the swap.  I also received some other Christmas cards and, gasp, sent out the first batch of my own Christmas cards.  While I was at the Post Office, I snapped a couple of picture of the lights in the area.  The first one is Rosita's Restaurant and I liked how they decorated their outside patio.

This next one is how the light poles by the Post Office were decorated.  DeKalb has some trees that line the streets down town and they had the small lights on them.  It really does make it look so festive.

But wait, as the announcer would say, there's more!  I received a box full of goodies.  Look at everything that was in it!  Somewhere buried under the fabric is a magazine called create and decorate.  It looks very interesting.  I haven't seen that before so it will be fun to look through it.

That painted rock says "love" on it too.  isn't it so cute?!


Since it is the weekend, I've also done some cooking and worked on presents/not presents for work.  First of all my cooking.  I made a slow cooker potato, hamburger (although I used ground turkey), cheesy layered dish today.  Didn't take a picture of it since I dished it up for lunch before thinking on it and then the cheesy in it made it sort of slide and not stand up well.  It was good though.  I also made 5 minute sunshine sauce from Pinch of Yum.

It is hard to describe but has olive oil, various spices, a touch of sugar and either white vinegar or lemon juice.  I used lemon juice.  It is very smooth and, dare I say it?, almost velvety.  I added more sugar since it was a bit salty.  Don't know why I thought sugar would counter the salt but it did help a bit.  I would cut back on the salt next time.  It can be used on almost anything.  I actually used it on my eggs.  I'm looking for different ways to have fried eggs.  This was good.  I'll have it on something else during the week.  Perhaps a salad or over potatoes or just meat.  Not sure what I have around.

I then started to work on some presents/not presents for the office.  I have two co-workers who I gave mug rugs to last year.  Not a technical Christmas present but just a little something.  This year Dana and Debbie are going to get this.

I have another version that I will give to my student helper Noah.

Noah's bowl is microwavable safe (but not the lid) and the decals on it were put on with Elmer's Washable School Glue so they can be taken off and washed clean.  I used the same glue on Dana's and Debbie's jar so it can too can be washed and reused.

Employee Wellness, years ago, gave us all M&Ms when we had a lot of stress in the office saying that it would us de-stress us because everybody loves to eat M&Ms and if you look at the M is can look like a smile (we won't go that it can also look like a frown).  We all need to have a stress relieve and who doesn't like to eat M&Ms?  Even if they don't like it, there are enough people at work that will help eat them if they leave it out and then they can reuse the container for whatever they wish.

That's about it for me tonight.  I'm going to sign off of the computer and go and sit in a comfy chair and do some crocheting.  Tomorrow is working on the test pattern since it has to be turned in soon.  But that is tomorrow and not tonight.  

I wish everybody a great day.

Friday, December 1, 2017

December 1, 2017

Welcome to December!  Can you believe it?  Christmas is almost here (I'll wash my mouth out later with soap for saying that) and so is the new year.  I have finally decorated my office with what little decorations I put up and thought to share them with you.

My perpetual Calendar

This one always makes me smile.  The snowflakes are little rhinestones.  It's put up on my file cabinet.

I didn't make the tree but it's the right size for putting it on the typing stand/table.  The outside little ornaments light up too!

My latest creation which is now hanging on the door to my office.  It's called Anybody Home (found in The Quilt Pattern Magazine December issue) and I thought it appropriate considering where it is hanging.

Just a variety of mini wall hangings.  The "how good do I have to be" will be going to the office of an ex graduate assistant so she has something to hang up.

I like this one because I can keep it up even after Christmas.  
That's it for this post.  Just wanted to show that I do decorate around the office but don't at home.  Oh, did you notice George?  That's him sitting on the corner of my desk looking at the BIG snowflake.  He guards by desk for me.

Have a great day everybody and remember to smile and give somebody a hug.  They might need it but they might not tell anybody they do.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Quick update on Mini Owl Cross Stitch

I was able to work a bit more on the Mini Owl Cross Stitch from HAED.  It helped me not get any more patterns during Cyber Monday. 

Here is what I have done.

That is 1150 stitches on it.  I think it's coming along nicely.  I recently redid my storage containers and now have the mini owl in one side of my double storage container.  There is another cross stitch pattern and floss on the other side.

It's working out pretty good.  I'll update more later.  Thanks for reading and for all your encouragement. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Wow! November is almost over!

News Alert - I survived Thanksgiving!   Perhaps I should say that I survived the leftovers also.  So what did I have?

I made:

Slow Cooker turkey breast with gravy
sweet potatoes
Delicata Squash
fresh cranberry sauce which I took some of and mixed in with cream cheese for a cracker spread
Lil' Smokies

So here are the pictures.  Nothing super great looking but the taste....yummmm.

3 lb. turkey breast
Gravy that was cooked with the turkey breast and then strained.  It's cooking down further on the stove.

Delicata Squash with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves

What do you do with leftovers?  Make some refried rice.   Peas, rice, Lil' Smokies, spices.

Of course with such a full stomach, I sat down and picked up my yarn to work on my crocheting.  I managed to finish up the first skein of variegated green, or green tones as it was called, and am now working on the solid green.

I think I posted this picture before but it is the order of the colors I want.

You will notice that the skeins are different sizes.  The variegated colored ones will give me about 5" when worked up.  I will crochet the solids to about that size also.  I get bored with crocheting so then I put it aside and pick up the cross stitch again.

Here is my current progress picture for the Mini Owl.  This is a little over 800 stitches.

Of course I also had to pick up another cross stitch since it is a Christmas one.  It's on the floor stand which, to tell the truth, I took the picture of from across the room.  Yes, I was being lazy.  I think you can still see a little bit of the picture which is a snowman on a sled.

It's back to work tomorrow so I'm going to quit here and get back to crafting.  :)

Everybody be safe and have a great day.