Sunday, December 31, 2017

Stash Report Time

This week I've been unpacking fabric. Some boxes are clearly marked "Fabric" so I found most of my stash. I think. Then there are the boxes marked "Canning Jars" which I needed this week. Lucky I did, because sandwiched between jars were folded fat quarters. I must have run out of packing material when I packed that box almost two years ago. So I could be coming across hidden bits of my stash for the next year.

Looking back at my last stash report in February 2015, my total was 348.5. Today it's 219. So there is a little over 100 yards somewhere, more actually since I've bought fabric in the last few months and it is added to the new total. Probably in the last place I'd think to look. Instead of taking up where I left off in March 2015, I am starting over, and will add in the old stash numbers as I come across it.

Linking to:
Sunday Stash at quiltpaintcreate.

Friday, December 29, 2017

When Buddy Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy, Err, Make That Warm

We spent some time in the attic this afternoon. I was looking for my quilting UFOs, and Hubby was doing whatever he does up there. It was cold. We had on our coats and I thought of putting on gloves, but I couldn't separate fabric scraps with gloves on. And of course, wherever we are, Buddy T. Cat follows. He was cold too, and went from one of us to the other complaining. Whenever one of us walked toward the stairs, he raced in front of us and was half-way down the stairs before he realized we weren't coming down. Finally, I noticed that Buddy wasn't underfoot complaining, and looked over where Hubby was working. Hubby had hooked up his Mr. Buddy heater and placed it in front of an impromptu cat bed (a cushion with an old towel over it) to keep Buddy warm and happy.

Linking to:
Feline Friday at Comedy Plus

Thursday, December 28, 2017

2018 in the Sewing Room

Yvonne, at Quilting JETgirl hosts a goal planning linky party every year. Most people go over last year's goals and then make new goals. Since we were living in a tiny duplex and all my quilting stuff was in storage, I didn't make any goals for 2017. I barely sewed anything in 2017! But that must change in 2018 even though I don't officially have a sewing room here yet.

2018 Planning Party

Since I don't have any 2017 goals, I'll go straight to the 2018.

1. Organize my sewing space. I cannot work in disorder, and proved it to myself this month when I tried to make a quilt in a short time. And failed. Even though this is my number one priority, it is also going to be the hardest, so will not likely be the first thing completed. I know I need to put together some shelves, possibly even build some. (See, there is a good reason to be both a woodworker and quilter!)

2. Find and list my UFOs. I have no idea how many UFOs I really have because they are tucked into spaces here and there, and of course, still packed away too. Once I find all them, I need a plan to finish them. Melissa, from Sew Bittersweet Designs used to host a monthly UFO finishing party, and that helped me a lot a couple of years ago. I need to find someone else hosting a UFO finishing party to make me work harder.

3. Pull out fabrics bought to make specific quilts and put them in boxes with the patterns, thread, and everything needed to complete the quilt. I hope that will eliminate all the last minute trips to town and gnashing of teeth when I want to work on them.

4. Organize scraps by color and participate in scraphappy's Rainbow Scrap Challenge. My scraps are totally out of control and I need to use enough to get the remainder in tubs that will fit on the shelves.

5. Participate in 2018 Monthly Color Challenge at Patterns by Jen.

6.  Start the cross-stitch quilt block project that first made me want to learn to quilt.

7. Take up Kate's unofficial 15 Minute Challenge. I find when I make myself put in fifteen minutes, it soon turns into thirty and my lagging enthusiam is back.

8. Limit my current projects to four. Any more than that going at one time and I get overwhelmed and scattered. Current month machine project, scraphappy'sRainbow Scrap Challenge forleaders and enders project, hand quilting project, Patterns By Jen for BOM.

9. Start Christmas projects in June.

10.  Go to guild meetings.

11. Last, and most challenging, is that I want to find a quilting machine. I've decided that a Sweet Sixteen fits my needs best.

Other sewing goals:

12.  Take a Craftsy fitting class.

13. Make a clothing project once a month.

Woodworking goals:

14.  Build something for the house every week until the cabinets and organizers are done.

15.  Take a scroll saw class.

Now for other goals:

16.  Exercise 15-30 minutes a day.

17.  Cut out sugar and find 15 good autoimmune recipes by the end of January

18.  Stick to an autoimmune diet in February and then re-evaluate for March.

19.  On days that are over 50 degrees, work on landscaping 15-30 minutes.

20.  Join a book club.

I would set goals for the house build, but since Hubby is doing the wiring right now at his pace, there is really nothing I can do to speed it up.  So for house building goals, I'll reserve the right to add my goals when that is finished.

Quilting Gail is also having a UFO completion challenge. Hers is called PHD in 2018 for Projects Half Done. Her challenge is a bit more, um, challenging as we have to completely finish the quilt, right through the label and binding.  I hesitated to tell her I wanted to do it, because I just don't have a machine that will quilt anything bigger than a twin. But since one of my goals for 2018 is to buy a machine that will quilt bigger quilts, I thought it was worth a try. Details for her challenge are here. The only thing that might derail me is if my eyes continue to deteriorate or if I have eye surgery.
I'm not sure if I signed up in time to participate in it though.  I'm not on the final list.

American Patchwork & Quilting also has a UFO challenge for twelve quilts. The details for that challenge are here.

Here are the UFOs I want to completely finish this year and the state they are in now:
1. Cars. The flimsy is done, backing bought and washed (it's flannel), and batting bought. I need binding and quilting thread.  DONE
2. Trailer Quilt. I have nine of about thirty blocks made and need border fabric, backing, binding, batting, and thread.
3. Second Saturday Sampler. Eleven of 12 blocks are made. I need border fabric, backing, binding, batting, and thread.
4. Christmas Among Friends. All blocks are made, border is made, and binding is done. I need backing and batting.
5. Antique Tile. All blocks are made. I need two or three borders, backing, binding, and batting.
6. Gairden Walk. The flimsy is done and the backing is pieced. I think the binding is done too. I need batting and thread.
6.  Replaced with: Orphan Glory Box.  I want to make this into a wall hanging.  I need to design borders, need backing, binding, batting, and quilting.  DONE
7. Depression Blocks. Twenty-five of the seventy-five blocks are made. I may have border pieced. I need backing, binding, and batting.
8. Baby Bow Tie. The flimsy is done. I need backing, binding, and batting.
9. Double Irish Chain. The top is a flimsy. I think. I know I need backing, binding, and batting. I may need borders too. DONE
10. Raggedy Hearts. Five of twelve blocks are done. I need borders, backing, batting, and binding.
11. Sweet Sixteen. I have twenty of fifty-two blocks done. I need borders, backing, binding, and batting.
12. Summer Crossroads. I have blocks made, and four rows together. I need borders, backing, binding, and batting.

Pictures for most of these are on the right sidebar. The challenge now is where to find all these UFOs.

Linking up to:
2018 Planning Party at Quilting JETgirl
Quilting Gail

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Wordless Wednesday at Fort Parker State Park

Linking to:
Wordless Wednesday
Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer
Wordless Wednesday at Comedy Plus
Wordless Wednesday at image-in-ing

Wildflower Wednesday Too

Like the song says, baby it's cold outside! At almost noon now, the temperature is up to 38, but the wind chill is 28.

And yet, there are bluebonnets blooming here and there in the hay field. These are spring flowers so they must know something Old Man Winter does not. I wonder if they will bloom again in the spring?

Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

Liatris usually blooms in fall, but this one decided to wait until winter. Maybe the last mowing altered its growing schedule.

Liatris punctata

This buckthorn was near our campsite at Caprock Canyons State Park in Briscoe County, Texas. I know, it's not a wildflower, or even a bloom. But I thought it was interesting. I wouldn't want it in my field, but it fits perfectly on the caprock.

Ziziphus obtusifolia

And last is another not quite bloom. I don't know what it is either. If you have any idea, let me know. It was also at Caprock Canyons State Park and I was intrigued. So delicate in a harsh environment.

Linking to:
Wildflower Wednesday Roundup at clay and limestone
Wordless Wednesday at image-in-ing

Monday, December 18, 2017

Design Board Monday - Cars' Roads is a Flimsy

Sorry for the lousy picture. It's a gray, foggy day and my phone doesn't like low light. Maybe I'll have a sunny day when it is finished and I can break out the good camera for a picture.

I thought I was going to be able to start quilting on this yesterday and finish it tomorrow. But the fates have conspired against me and it looks like it won't get done until after Christmas. That means I can't take it to my daughter, Brownie, over Christmas week. The little one's birthday is the first week of January though, so I will have to get to it right after Christmas.

Linking up to
Moving it Forward at Em's Scrapbag
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Return of the Ripper

It was a dark and foggy night...

Actually, it was a bright, sunny day, but that just doesn't have the same ring to it. But the dreaded ripper returned nevertheless.

What happened is I that dug out a quilting box so I could make a quick quilt for a little boy who loves the Pixar Cars movies. I found out about his birthday Friday and rushed out to buy some Cars fabric and then began work Saturday morning. It was a frustrating project in the beginning, mainly because I only found two rulers (and I don't like one of them) and I am sewing in the attic. Yes, the attic. Low light, sewing machine and iron plugged into an extension cord, and no heat. Or there wasn't heat until I brought up a space heater. THEN, I had to unplug the iron to use it. Not ideal sewing conditions, but I thought I could stand it long enough to get this quilt put together and then wait until a room was finished down below before sewing again.

By Saturday evening, I had also brought up a light bar, reworked my plan twice, and had the center four Cars blocks sewn together with a border of black and white checkerboard. But the checkerboard didn't line up at the corners and looked pretty bad. So Sunday afternoon necessitated the return of the ripper. I replaced the corners with the same red fabric I used between the four cars. After replacing the corners, I pieced on the "road" border around the center and between the side background pieces. And then I had to find Mr. Ripper again to take the red pieces off so add a white strip.

This is where the Electric Quilt software would have really come in handy. Instead of drawing a pattern on a notepad,

I could have had it to scale and with the seam measurements included. But since I forgot to add a half inch when I cut the reds, I had to improvise and add a white stripe to the side of the road.  I actually like it better this way.

Now here is where I have a problem. I hadn't intended to use that red as the background and am now short one 9x11 piece. So a trip to JoAnn's on on the schedule today. The red I had intended to use was a Cars fabric and looked fine under the fluorescent lights at the store, but looked decidedly reddish orange in natural light. Next to it is a fabric with a collage of cars. I was going to use a strip of that at top and bottom of the quilt, but now I am rethinking that also.

Now that I have the quilt center together, I think the style of the collage clashes with it. What do you think?

While at JoAnn's, I think I'll look for some other fabrics to complete the end borders. I have enough scraps from all the fabric I've used so far to piece in something too. Or I could make a strip and applique his name on it.  Or I could find something else that fits the bill.  A trip to the fabric store is always an adventure.

Linking up to:
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Main Crush Monday at Cooking up Quilts

Friday, December 8, 2017

Small Town Autoimmune Paleo, Is it Possible?

I love living in this small town, I really do. I have never lived anywhere with such friendly people, especially a small town. But shopping in a small town can be limited, especially a specialized diet like Paleo. I spent October getting off caffeine, and worked on collecting recipes in November. I would say I collected Everyday or Practical Paleo recipes, but I have looked through those recipes and they aren't quite practical enough or everyday enough for me. Maybe I should write a book called Small Town Paleo. lol The problem is that most paleo recipes try, in some way, to replicate favorite known recipes using hard to find and fairly expensive ingredients.

This is my local grocery store. Produce and meat on the right, dairy at the back.

And this is the rest of the store, all eight aisles of it.

There is no almond flour, no coconut flour (not that I would use it), no coconut aminos, no soup bones or bones with marrow of any kind, no organic anything, very limited vegetables, and, well, you get the picture. They do have natural almond milk, and coconut milk. I buy the almond milk but I still can't stand the smell of coconut, much less the taste. I don't know if that is something one can get over or not but I'm going to try. I can't drive into the city to get to a Whole Foods even if I could afford to shop there. I can go to neighboring towns, all about twenty miles away, but their selection isn't a whole lot better. And I certainly can't drive to one of those towns for a spur of the moment grocery run. I need to have shelf stable staples on hand, and cook with ordinary food, more along the line of foods that early man really did eat.

I also take exception to the term paleo, and think of it more as the Noah diet. But I won't go into that. Someone named it Paleo and the name stuck. So that's that.

I am going to spend the rest of December compiling recipes until I have a few breakfast recipes, a few quick lunch options, some premade single meals, and at least 14 dinner meal recipes. Because I know myself, and if I don't have an easy option when I walk in the door at 5:30, I'll revert back to my old habits and eat a sandwich or open a can of soup. Both of those are easily available at the local market, along with an entire aisle of soda and chips.

Healthy is hard, and Christmas is harder, but getting used to the recipes now and cutting back on my sugar will make it easier in January than just going cold turkey on bread, dairy and sweets plus trying to come up with an edible recipe every day.

If you have a favorite paleo recipe, that is also accepted on the autoimmune protocol, please share it with me. Did I mention that Hubby, who is going to continue eating anything he wants, will also need to like these recipes?

My favorites so far are:
Chicken and Apple Sausage - Guest post at Paleomg. I shred the apples and don't precook them. Also, beware, there are a lot of popups at this website.
Turkey Hash - This was a suggestion from a friend. Cooked and crumbled ground turkey with a little seasoning. Because that is a little dry, after frying the turkey, I deglaze the pan with chicken broth, and then thicken with arrowroot powder and a little almond milk.

Roast Chicken in the instant pot using salt, pepper, garlic salt, dried oregano, and basil.
One Pan Balsamic Chicken Veggie Bake from The Real Food Dietitians
Everyday Paleo Salisbury Steak from Sarah Fragoso - Everyday Paleo

Monday, December 4, 2017

Even in a Small Town

When I pulled into the parking lot at the local grocery store, I saw this little car. Only it wasn't a car, it was a bicycle. I walked over to the man driving it and he told me he had just gotten it and was driving from Dallas to Austin. He had stopped over it to charge it and get some sleep. It's an ELF from Organic Transit. It's really cute, but pricey. I never thought I'd see one in our little town.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Organizing the New Garage

After months of working on the house end of the barndominium with our tools in boxes, the workbench, and *gasp* on the floor, I began organizing the garage side. I first had to have Hubby's help hanging plywood on the walls. In our metal building, the vertical posts are fifteen feet apart, and the horizontal girders are four feet apart. So we needed something to hang stuff on. We put two rows of plywood bolted to the iron, and bolted a 2x4 to the girder eight feet off the floor. Just the right height for a two foot platform that can hold several hundred pounds, and three shelves above that for lighter items.

I have begun building the lower cabinets as we decide where we want things.  So far, a regular height cabinet and a lower one for the miter saw/scroll saw.  Above those cabinets, I hung a cleat across the wall.  That gives us the flexibility to move things around until we have them in the most convenient place.  Point of use is my mantra in this workshop.  Hopefully, that will save some steps when it is finished.

If you haven't seen a cleat system used for tools, it is simply a board cut in two with a 45° angle.  One half of the board is nailed to the wall and the other half is used on tool caddies.  The two wedged pieces fit together snugly but it is still easy to remove the tool caddy when needed.  If it's a long board, the other half can be used on quite a few caddies.  I made some of the cleats out of hardwood and some out of plywood.  I made all the cleats and caddies out of scrap wood.

I made clamp holders, ear protection muff holders, measuring tape holders, jig holders, and more.  One thing I saw on pinterest that I thought looked pretty neat was a tape roll dispenser, so I made a few.   I even made slots on each side to make it easier to lift them off the cleat.

They look nice, but weren't very practical.  A full roll of tape fills the dispenser nicely, but a roll that is close to the end sits low in the dispense and the tape has be pulled upward which sometimes made it pop out of the dispenser even though I curved the dowel slot to try to prevent that.  They take up extra space on the wall, they are a little fiddly to make, and sometimes we just want to grab a roll and not mess with a dispenser.  But more than anything, when they are on the cleat, it's hard to see which roll of tape is in the dispenser.  So after working on them over the course of several hours, I marked them a fail.

What worked better for us was to make a box that would hold all sizes of tape and have them visible no matter what size they are.

After staring at the underside of the platform one day, I decided to make use of that space too.  In this one I put caulk guns and caulking.  That odd stuff that doesn't sit well on shelves and tangles in drawers works well in a drop down drawer.  I put hinges on the back and some simple wood pieces that turn to let the drawer down.

The next thing I want to do is put a rail on the front of the platform and attach a ladder to it that will tuck in when not in use.