Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ninth Annual Girls' Weekend


This year we went to Sedona, Arizona. We flew into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and I think it was 109 degrees and felt like walking into a furnace. But Sedona is a two-hour drive into the mountains and it was cooler there. It was supposed to be in the low 90's while we were there, but it was in the high 90's. It might have been a dry heat but hot is hot, with or without humidity. The only bad thing was that those of us who are used to humidity suffered from dry noses (and that hurts) and eyes. One of the group even had her soft contact fall out of her eye since it was so dry.

We stayed in a cabin on the bank of Oak Creek near Slide Rock State Park with park-like landscaping.
It had been remodeled recently and had all windows across the back overlooking the spring-fed creek. The sound of rushing water was so peaceful. It covered up the sounds of the traffic and people at the state park across the creek. However, it didn't cover up the sounds of a small animal that ran across the roof one night. Only D and I heard it and we both sat bolt upright in our beds, listening, and trying to figure out if it was on the roof, in the walls, or in the room with us. We finally decided it was on the roof, but it took awhile to get back to sleep after that. Other than that and a couple of close encounters with spiders (they were really BIG spiders), it was a great retreat.

This is the view of the creek from our balcony, though it was much prettier than my camera could capture.


There was no air conditioning, but we were gone during the heat of the day and it dropped into the high 50's or 60's at night. It was wonderful waking up to the chill while snuggled into a soft comforter.


The first day we went to Sedona, visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross, the shops in town, and ate at terrific restaurants. The Chapel overlooked this fantastic house which was built by the Romanian guy who patented lasik. After seeing his yard, I told Hubby I wanted a pond like that. *giggle*

Then in the afternoon, the rest of my friends went on a pink jeep tour of the mountains while I went to a chiropractor. A tense plane ride and a soft bed apparently worked together to pinch my sciatic nerve and I wasn't comfortable standing, sitting, or walking. But after an adjustment and ice pack, I was good to go.

On Saturday, we drove up to the little town of Jerome built on the side of a mountain. The houses and a lot of the buildings were literally hanging off the side of the mountain, even the garages. It had been a big copper mining town, then a ghost town, and was revived by artists in the 1970's.

Not only are the evenings cool and pleasant there, but when the setting sun hits the mountains, it is spectacular.

We drove back to Phoenix on Sunday, and ran into a traffic jam on the highway. We were sweating bullets as we turned in our rental car and rushed to the airport to get the first of our group to her flight on time. Even after she got her boarding pass we weren't sure if she would make it to the terminal in time but she texted that she just made it. Whew! That was cutting it close.

It was nice to be home and sleep in my own bed, but it sure seemed hot the next morning.
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15 Minute Challenge, June 28th



I don't have much to share today. I worked hard on the bow tie quilt until the top was finished. Then I cut fabric for backing and binding and put it away until I know who I am giving it to and can make the label.

It was my Girls' Weekend, so I don't have much on my 15 Minute Challenge. I didn't even look at quilts on our trip.


Take a look at Kate's blog, Life in Pieces to see how others have taken up the challenge.

So, nothing on my design floor, nothing added to my stash, and only two yards used.


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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rain!

When I woke this morning, the deck was wet and there was a big puddle on the driveway. At first I thought Hubby had been running water and it actually took me a few seconds to realize it had rained. We got a half of an inch of lovely rain! A cool front came with the rain and our temperature dipped into the 70's. It didn't even hit 80 until after 10:00 this morning. And best of all, there was no wind early this morning. There is a gentle breeze outside now, but nothing like the howling wind we have had the last few weeks. It is wonderful and the cat and I have been sitting on the deck enjoying it.
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Monday, June 20, 2011

15 Minute Challenge, June 21

First a big happy birthday to Brownie. Love ya little girl. Mind you, she's creeping up on thirty, but she's still my little girl.

Even though I didn't manage to get in 15 minutes some days this week, I think I at least did something quilt related each day. I didn't keep track though and really can't remember.

Last Wednesday, I flipped on the tv when I woke up and the weatherman said the wind we had been having (for weeks on end it seems) was going to let up that day but come back for the next six days. I was so happy because I had things to do in the garden that needed a day without wind, but when I opened the back door, the wind was blowing as usual, ten to fifteen miles per hour. I thought the weatherman really missed it - until Thursday when the wind was howling. It didn't let up at night either, and wind continued to howl through the weekend, gusting up to forty-five miles per hour. Working outside was miserable, so I did the minimum amount of watering and weeding, and on Friday mowed just enough to clip off the top of the tall weeds.

I spent all day Saturday and most of Sunday working on the Baby Bow Tie Quilt, and was making great progress until I picked up the remainder of the muslin to cut my inner border, and the last strip was a quarter of an inch shy of the 1-3/4 inch width needed. If I hadn't cut a strip for some practice blocks, I would have had enough. Argh! So off to the quilt store today in hopes they still carried the same muslin. They did. Whew! I'm not sure what I would have done if they didn't have it.

So here is my report as best I can remember.

Tuesday - Cut strips for bow tie blocks
Wednesday - Nothing
Thursday - Trimmed some HST's
Friday - Nothing
Saturday - Sewed bow tie blocks
Sunday - Sewed bow tie block together, cut 3 borders, and outer border strips
Monday - bought fabric

On the design floor is the Baby Bow Tie Quilt


After seeing the movie The Bucket List a few years ago, I thought of the few things I really wanted to get done before I kicked the bucket, and one of them was to make a baby quilt for each of my girls and for Hubby's niece and nephew and have them finished, boxed, and ready to gift so Hubby just had to get them out of the closet and give it to them. I got one made. So when I finished the top and backing for the Green and Yellow Baby Quilt last week, I decided to get in gear and get those four quilts done. This is number three. Brownie had picked out a specific pattern several years ago, so hers won't be made out of scraps.

I also bought quite a bit of fabric this week. Although most of it isn't for quilting, I still added it to the stash report and that hurt the bottom line. I want to learn to sew clothing for myself and bought some cheap fabric so I can practice on a couple of patterns before using good fabric. Over the next few weeks, I hope to have that fabric out of the stash, but for now, here are my new and not improved numbers.

Hope you all have a good week. Check out Kate's 15 Minute Challenge linky party at
Life in Pieces to see how others have taken up the challenge.
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Runaway Blog

For the last month or so, when I look over my blog, I'm not happy with it. I wouldn't say it's a runaway, but it definitely got off track. Part of it is because I've been too busy to give it the attention I used to. I think of something I want to write about, but by the afternoon when I can finally sit down and write, I've either forgotten or am just too tired to put that much effort into an article. Also, I haven't been feeling well lately and my doctors have not come up with either diagnosis or treatment. So far they have ruled out a UTI or uterine cancer, and in two weeks I will be screened for ovarian cancer, cysts, or uterine fibroids. I'm the world's worst worrier, especially after dark, and when I worry, I get irritable, and less inclined to write cheerful, entertaining, or informative posts. As many times as I've turned it over to the Lord, I've pulled it back to worry over when I'm awake and alone at night. So my apologies to my children, husband, and friends who have quit reading my blog. I don't blame you a bit.

But that isn't the only reason my blog has taken a turn in the wrong direction. I got caught up in blog reading and commenting. It started when someone, and I can't even remember who now, had a linky party - something craft related as I recall, and I posted a link to something I had just finished. I got a lot of responses to it and quite frankly, I was smitten with the flattery, which just goes to show how dull my little life is. I also felt I had to comment on the blogs of everyone who had commented to me, and to everyone who had posted to that linky party. Then the next week, I had to post and comment again, and since I'm not the most creative person in the world, it took me a good while to even think of something worth linking, and then by the following week, I couldn't think of anything to make that wasn't just a copy of someone else's craft. Two weeks and I had hit bottom. I told you I wasn't creative.

About that time too, we had work done on the house and I had to get down the ten plastic totes with all my fabric and half-finished quilts. Since I had taken apart my sewing room, all those totes were stacked in the den, in the way, and totally unorganized. That's about the time I stumbled across a blog with a weekly linky party to show progress on quilts and using fabrics. Just the inspiration I needed to get that stuff organized, start working on it, and get it out of the house. And once again I got caught up in the comments. But this time I found that I was spending a lot of time commenting on other blogs, and getting few comments in return; not even the blog owner ever returned my comments. After that started bothering me, I slapped myself on the forehead (figuratively of course, I didn't want to give myself a headache) and asked myself why I was wasting time commenting on blogs where I never got a return comment and didn't know the people anyway. I guess psychologically it was something to do instead of worrying, but it had actually turned into something that added stress instead. So I won't be doing that anymore. I found some great blogs through that blog's linky parties, so it wasn't all for naught.

I once read an article about blog etiquette that made me realize that I was doing everything wrong on my blog. Since then, I've changed most of the things that other bloggers seem to find annoying, and I've thought of doing a post on blog etiquette, but I don't think I have anything to add to those that have already been written. Do a search and you'll get a lot of links. I'm sure there are still things in my blog that annoy a certain number of readers. One thing I'm working on is the load time. This entertaining article, Goldilocks and the Three Bloggers at Life...With Books links to the website Pingdom which tests the load time of a web page. Sometimes my blog loads at four seconds and sometimes over ten, and I can't figure out why the same link has such speed variation. I have wondered how quickly or slowly my blog loads for other people, but other than taking out some of the photos, I'm not sure how to speed it up.

Originally, this blog was just going to be a diary of my attempt to get healthy and renovate our home. Then my children left home and it became a way to let them keep up with our everyday lives. I let a few friends know about the blog and found new blog friends through other blog lists and before I knew it, my focus wasn't on our everyday life at all. After seeing other blogs that made money just by providing space to advertisers, I toyed with that idea. I didn't think about it long, less than an hour even, but making a little money is an intriguing idea when you are a stay at home mom. But other blogs seem to start with a few ads on the side and then progress to posts devoted to their advertisers; that is so annoying that those blogs aren't on my blog roll any more, so I dropped that idea.

Speaking of my blog roll, the blog etiquette rule makers have declared that the purpose of the blog roll is to let the blog's readers know of interesting blogs, and not posting any blogs that have linked to your blog causes hurt feelings. I didn't know that as I used the blog lists to see when new posts were added. But it does make sense that others could get their feelings hurt, I mean look at me with my hurt feelings over comments, so I moved my lists over to my test blog.

So, to conclude this commentary to anyone still reading, I'm going to start writing about our lives again, showing progress on the house and garden, and of course talking about the cat. I'll show you things we've made and explain how to make them, especially if it's something I may want know how to repeat sometime. And I'll limit my quilt progress reports since the kids seem to find them "real yawners" but I will combine them into one weekly post so I can continue linking to Kate's blog, because 1) it's good for me, and 2) I like her blog and the people who also link to it.

I have some long dry spells between posts; I don't want to spend every post whining about doctors, waiting rooms, and out of date magazines. But have you ever noticed that the longest waits are at doctor's offices with the worst magazines?

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

15 Minute Challenge, June 14th

Since it's unbelievably hot for the beginning of June, the weeds are also struggling to live, and that has made my morning gardening easier. Sure, I still have to drag the water hose all over the yard watering this spring's new plantings which are also struggling to live. My goal was to be out in the garden by 7 a.m. and in by 9 a.m. but I manage to putter around, pulling weeds here and there, moving rocks, setting pavestone, and I'm usually not in until at least 11 a.m. Still, I'm not as tired as I was and I've been able to get some sewing done in the afternoon and weekend.

So here is what I got done when I pushed myself to spend at least 15 minutes a day on my sewing.

Tuesday - Trimmed down white borders
Wednesday - Put on green side borders
Thursday - Finished green borders, top is done
Friday - Made back for the green & yellow quilt
Saturday - Trimmed HST blocks, cut strips for bow tie
Sunday - Sewed HST blocks & bow tie blocks
Monday - Trimmed HST blocks, washed new fabric

Hop on over to Kate's blog, Life in Pieces, to see how others are challenged to spend their 15 minutes a day.
We have almost all the onions in, and have gathered bush beans, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, and a few tomatoes. We battled squash bugs, and then the evil squash vine borer got one of my zucchini plants, and I gave up trying to grow squash organically and bought some Sevin spray just for them. The remaining squash plants are thriving, and the rest of the garden is still organic. I just hope the squash bugs don't move over to one of the organics next. If anyone knows how to grow squash organically, let me know. I do know now that radishes do not bother squash bugs in the slightest, even though they were recommended in my companion gardening book. I planted a circle of them around each squash plant, and still the squash bugs invaded. Hubby did surgery on a couple of the squash with borers and dug out the worms, but they kept coming. In years past we have drenched the soil with beneficial nematodes, but it's already too hot this year for that.

15 Minute Challenge, Pix

Monday, June 13, 2011

Design Floor Monday and Stash Buster Report

I have a lot to show, but there isn't actually that much on my design floor today. I made a pieced back to go with the green and yellow baby quilt. I had to put the pieced piano key border on it because I didn't have enough of the floral fabric to do the entire back. I also left out a section of the border on purpose. It is for the label as soon as I know the baby's name. Rather than call it a UFO, I'm calling it a CP (Completion Pending).






Tuesday, June 7, 2011

15 Minute Challenge, June 7th

I did pretty well this week, in that most days I did something that related to sewing, though I actually only turned on the sewing machine on one day. I took yesterday off as it was our anniversary and we celebrated by entertaining one of Hubby's customers.


Tues Trimmed HST blocks
Wed Buy, wash & iron fabric. After all that, didn't like the fabric with the quilt.
Thu Buy more fabric
Fri Wash fabric, iron, cut borders, sew on borders
Sat Cut out binding strips
Sun Cut out new border strips

Mon Take me out to the Ballgame!

To see what everyone else has done with their fifteen minutes, visit Kate at Life in Pieces.

And since every post looks better with a picture, I'll end this with a dragonfly that followed me around the garden this morning.


Marti

15 Minute Challenge, Pix

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Design Floor Monday and Stash Buster Report 23


Not much progress on the design floor. After several trips to the store for border fabric, I finally decided to make the border white. But once the fabric was washed, dried, ironed, cut into 4.5 inch strips, and attached to the quilt - I didn't like it. I had already begun cutting the last of the green into 2 inch strips for the binding, and laid it alongside the white to see how it looked. I decided I would like the white if it weren't so wide and if the green was used as an outer border. I cut the rest of the green into 3 inch strips and barely have enough green to do the outer border. Now it's bigger than the average baby quilt, but so be it. Maybe the larger size will be a bonus somehow.

All that indecision resulted in 4 yards purchased, and only 1/4 yard used. Word to the wise, the pink fabric with the white stars bled like crazy.



Marti

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Quilt Borders, the Bane of my Quilting World

I don't know why, but I struggle with borders more than anything. Last night I pulled out a UFO or WIP if you prefer, and then started trying out fabric from my stash for the border. I didn't like anything I had, and Hubby agreed that it needed a pink, a dusty pink to be exact.

So off to Walm*rt I went this morning after I finished my garden chores. I took a 4x4 square of the floral fabric with me so I could match the pink, and found the perfect match. At least it looked perfect in the store. Now that I have it home, I'm not that thrilled, and I pulled one of my pinks out again to have a comparison.

After yesterday when I stole someone's cart there, I wasn't sure I wanted to show my face at Walm*rt. Well, I didn't steal it on purpose! There was a lady and her cart in front of the tomatoes and I parked my cart beside her waiting for her to move. Then I noticed there were no plastic bags anywhere near the tomatoes, so I left the cart there & walked over to the far side of the produce section to get a bag, and I picked my tomatoes, put them in my cart, and left, with the lady still looking for the perfect tomato. I was halfway across the store when I heard "Ma'am?" "Ma'am?" and I turned around to see her following me. I had put my tomatoes in her cart instead of mine, never noticing that the contents were a bit different. I still don't know if she switched out our tomatoes before she gave my cart back. I may have bought her carefully selected tomatoes while she was stuck with my quickly grabbed ones.


Marti

My ordinary life

Weigh in Wednesday, and Thoughts About the Diet

Two more pounds lost, making it a total of 11 pounds. While that sounds pretty good, Hubby has lost 15 pounds and all he cut out were his daily sodas and sugary treats. Another unexpected benefit is the acne I have had on my chest for years has completely cleared up.

I've been on the diet for three weeks now, and while I am losing weight, the main reason I was doing it was to feel better, to have more energy, but if anything, I have even less energy than before. I feel ok in the morning, but by afternoon I am beat, whether I have worked out in the garden, or have done nothing at all. My legs feel trembly, weak, and heavy, and even a short walk to the mailbox at the end of the driveway feels like walking through quicksand. I think it's the diet though I do have another health issue going. I will get the results of that biopsy tomorrow.

Even though I have another week to go on the 30 days of Level One, I am going to stop it at three weeks and start the two week interval where complex carbohydrates are allowed. There's no use sticking to a diet that leaves me completely fatigued every day. I never really understood why vegetables like white potatoes and corn were not allowed. I do understand the concept behind not allowing grains, but again, I don't understand why NO grains instead of just less grains.

If the next two weeks show an improvement in energy while still losing weight, I'll reconsider going on to Level Two. But for today, it's time for a treat! I just can't decide what that will be.

Marti

Diet, My ordinary life