Monday, June 25, 2018

At the end of the rope!

Despite the fact that I'm running behind - I'm not sure how I managed to get so behind so quickly. I think it's called ignore the deadlines and then suffer the consequences. Anyway - I'm NOT at the end of my rope ---- yet!  But if I was, I'd just tie a knot at the end of the rope and hang on! (tight)

However, I'm happy to report that yesterday was a fairly productive day considering it was a sit n sew. I managed to get one project done that needs to be out of the house NOW. It was an experiment and I'm quite happy with it. I need to make more! Will share with you when I can.

After that was done, I puttered with a couple of table runners and some of the homework blocks for the Farm Girl Vintage. I hope to share those this week if I can get a few minutes to edit the photos. There's another sit n sew on Thursday and I have to do a major cleanup for that one. Yeah!

It rained all day so it wasn't a huge deal to be in the house and having company was even better. We were a small group but that didn't stop us from having a lot of laughs. It was a hoot.

But after they left, I had work to do. It was submission deadline day for one of the magazines. Which now that they and I have a system in how these submissions work, it goes fairly smooth. It still takes time to assemble all the details. Wait - before I assemble the details, I have to do a few things.

  1. Check the submission blurb for the theme. 
  2. Check the available fabric collections - keeping in mind delivery dates. 
  3. Download the fabric collection to EQ8. (Super easy process thanks to Northcott's way of doing it)
  4. Mess around with the files in EQ8 to see what designs I come up with. I usually try to do more than one design to broaden the possibilities that a design will get chosen. 
  5. Once the design(s) are created, I need to create a bunch of files - pictures of the entire quilt with and without fabric, as well as pictures of the block (s) also with and without fabric. 
  6. Compile the pictures into a document, providing all the measurements. 
  7. Fill out the submission form, providing inspiration and other information. 
  8. Create a .pdf of their document and my document 
  9. Send

NO guarantee that any of the designs will get chosen. I look at it as a learning and creativity exercise for those projects that don't get chosen. Three of my quilts are in current magazines. I'll try to post those this week as well. There's this massive time crunch right now. 

Anyway, it was into the wee hours of the morning, but I managed to get most of what I wanted to be submitted to them. 

That's not even writing the pattern!!!  I've thought of writing patterns for you to enjoy (and buy). I might try one or two, but pattern writing is a whole other ball game. Checking and rechecking to make sure there are no mistakes. It's quite the exercise and unless you sell a lot of patterns, I'm not sure it's worth my time.

One more quilt was accepted a week ago so there are two that need to be made in the next while. I'm waiting on fabric for both of them so I can't even start. I may be working on that at the upcoming retreat. I can't wait for the retreat!

What did the others work on at the sit n sew day? Sharon was still working on her Border Creek Mystery. She only works on it at the sit n sew days which is a good way to do a big project like that. You don't have to unpack and repack, you just grab that same bag and go. I think she's almost at the halfway point. We see progress each month and it's exciting to see that. I think she has a lot of cutting to do now. But soon she'll be getting to the stage where the blocks will actually start coming together.

France is the queen of rope bowl making. She brought more rope to make another bowl. She also brought the very first one that she had made.

First rope bowl
It's amazing how the type and size of rope can affect the shape of the bowl. And it's very interesting to see how you hold the bowl in the making process and how you pull the cord will affect the shape of the bowl. Then there are the embellishments and thread choices. All in all - I love rope bowls.

Sharon and I had a good laugh as France had to slip out for an errand and left her bowl like this at the sewing machine.

Rope bowl in progress

And this is the bowl that she made. Look at how smooth that one is shaped. I don't think you could get smoother sides than that. She's become quite proficient at these bowls.

Version one of the rope bow for yesterday
 And this is the second bowl that she made yesterday.

Completely differently shape for the second rope bowl

Don't forget that I do a class on the rope bowls at Oh Look Fabric if you're interested in learning more about them. There'll be one scheduled for July and August. Just need to provide a date for those classes.

Here's my second purchase for the Row by Row this year. I bought a kit from the Hobby Horse. It's pretty cute and I love the fabrics that they used.

Row by Row kit

There are TWO quilts that I have inspiration for from the rows. This fits in with one of the quilts. I'll be sharing the others as time goes on. I'm being selective in what I buy just because I have to.

On that note, I'm out of here. It's Monday sewing and I can't be late this morning.

And hopefully, that crate will arrive this week so everyone's curiosity can be satisfied.

Have a great day!!!!


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Throw away versus fix

I'm sure we're all aware of how much our society has become a throwaway society. Clothes and other items are so cheap these day (quality and price) that often a couple of uses and the item is literally falling apart. Apparently, the clothing industry is one of the worst for this and it drives me crazy every time I hear an ad on the radio - T-shirts - only $4, shorts $6. People just don't appreciate value anymore.

It's the same with service - consumers would rather go where they can buy things cheap (like books) but don't get the service or the atmosphere of buying those books in a physical location. People don't care about service as much as they used to, yet the quilting industry (especially the quilt shops) rely on providing customer service in order to survive. Think about it - if everyone bought online - guess what would happen? There would be NO quilt shops. No place to browse for fabrics, no place to pop in for advice, no place to chat with fellow customers and staff and certainly NO PLACE to physically take a lesson. I get it that stuff is online - I really do, but I hear over and over again how people are watching and watching hours of those online tutorials, but they don't get the spark to actually do something. That's hopefully what I give my students. That's like having a shelf of books and expect to learn just because you own them. I hate to say that you got to read them or practice!!!!  Our society is becoming so passive that we're happy to sit and watch someone do a great job on a project, but afraid to step out and do that for ourselves.

Well - that was sort of two topics combined there! But hopefully, you get my drift. We have to STOP being so dependent on throwing away and living such a passive life. We only have one life and if we don't get ourselves together, we're going to be on our death bed and have owned nothing of great value and have done nothing productive with our life!

All that to say that I repaired something the other day. DH has a sleep pillow for the plane. He had given it to me a while back and asked if I could fix the snap as it had broken. Of course, I can fix that. That's the part of me that I inherited from my Dad. However, I needed some tools to fix the snap and it took me a while to get myself in gear to actually buy the tools. But I did.

A couple of days ago when I went to fix the snap, I couldn't figure out how the tool worked and I left it sitting there. Then I watched a YouTube video, just like my Dad who is addicted to YouTube. He comes home from tinkering at the museum workshop where he builds parts for antique tractors and watches YouTube to learn little bits and pieces that he wasn't able to figure out on his own. I mean - can you do the math when you have to make a gear where the teeth measure something like .0075647849 or whatever the silly things are. I don't understand it. Then he goes back to the museum the next day to experiment with his new knowledge. That's what happened to me with my snap.

I watched part of one video and then realized that while I had the tool, I did NOT have the little fittings that were needed to press the snaps back into place. On one of my errands this past week, I managed to get the missing bits.

Then I had a good look at the broken snap. OH - I can't just add a new snap on the one side, I have to remove the other side as well as the new one wasn't the same size as the old one. But I managed to get rid of the old bits.

The old bits are removed
 How did I make that happen?? A handy dandy screwdriver and those bits were gone, but not before the screwdriver slipped and scrapped the length of my thumb. Ah well - it happens. No major damage was done. Thumb feels fine today.

Snap removing tool

So to replace that snap, I had to buy the tool, the little cap things, and the snaps. I probably could have purchased a new pillow for the price, but I had the satisfaction of fixing this. That satisfaction is a dying art!

Tools to fix the pillow
 Then I watched one more YouTube video to actually see the process at work. A few minutes in and I was good. I was downstairs and had that new snap in place in seconds. It was super easy.

Repaired snap

DH left yesterday morning and I thought he might like his pillow, but it wasn't a long enough flight for him to take the pillow and besides, he already had a ton of luggage that he wouldn't normally take including the crystal and the sewing machine for M. But the pillow is done and I can cross that off my list.

I'm going to be teaching a class on mending later on in the year. Just trying to set dates.

Speaking of classes, we had a couple of great classes yesterday. One on free motion quilting. I love teaching the quilting classes as I see the light bulbs going off for people and I see what they have (and CAN) accomplish in a very short period of time. Now the trick to that is to go home and practice. And I was chatting with another person the other day and I said that we should all have some ME time. She couldn't because there were 6 people in her house during the week and 8 on the weekends and she was busy with them. I would NEVER stand for that in my house. I'm selfish and I NEED some personal time - EVERY DAY!

On Friday evening, I taught the rope bowl class for the second time. We had a blast and I just love how everyone's bowl turns out so different. With practice, you could predict the shape of the bowl, but it's hard to explain that. So it's always fun to see how different all the bowls turn out.

Happy students with their rope bowls

If you're interested, get in touch with Oh Look Fabric as I think we have another class scheduled or your name can go on a wait list if you want. It's loads of fun and the bowl can be customized for anything.

When I got home last night, I madly wrote up that list of things to do as I didn't have time during the day. It was a crazy busy day. I slept much better and I see I wasn't the only one who had a sewing nightmare this week. Going to retreat without anything to sew - well that would be a nightmare for sure!!!

I'm collecting information on decluttering and hopefully this coming week, I'm going to share with you some tips on what to do with your china. It's HUGE. I see loads of people are starting to declutter or getting back to it. I'm so proud of us all for tackling this issue while we can and not leave it for someone else to deal with. We should all give ourselves a pat on the back.

On that note, I'm out of here. We have sit n sew today. A small group, but that's OK because I have something that has to be done and I'm going to work on it today. No choice.

Have a great day and stay tuned - there'll be loads more stuff on decluttering and quilting as I get my life in order. If you could see my kitchen table, you'd think, I'm slacking off in the decluttering issue, but I literally haven't had time to put a few things away. And there's a new submission call for magazine quilts that I've sat on for a week and today is the deadline. I was madly designing quilts last night and this morning and now to pretty up the submissions and get them in!!!!


Saturday, June 23, 2018


I'm a wee bit pressed for time today. For whatever reason, I didn't sleep well last night. I think it's because I have a lot on my mind. Not bad stuff, just a list of things to do and not all the things are written on a list. I know - it's like clutter - it creeps up on me and then BAM - I have a sleepless night.

I've haven't got my homework sewn for today's class, but at least it's cut so I know where we're going with the homework. When I couldn't sleep, I even got up to sew one of the blocks together.

Then I went back to sleep only to wake up a few hours later after having a NIGHTMARE. I never remember my dreams and I haven't had a nightmare in a long time. Since it's sewing related, I'll share it with you.

In my dream, it was today. I was early for class and someone was telling us about a new applique technique. For some reason, a couple of us decided to go to this person's house so we could see this new technique. I went in my own car and I ended up in Port Credit, NOT Georgetown. For those of you not in the area, Port Credit is 1 ½ hours away from Georgetown. Why??? No idea. Once I realized, I sent them a text. I ended up chatting with a lot of people about quilts, but they weren't quilters. Then it was time to pack up my stuff because I had taken it all out of the bags to show these non-quilters. The nightmare was that I couldn't find my car. I couldn't remember where I parked it. Not on that side of the building so I checked the other. Found the car, but proceeded to put my stuff in a blue pickup like the one my dad used to have.  Then I found my car about 4 cars over. I woke up then.  It was disturbing, not so much for having so much on the brain, but for the memory loss. That's scary!!!  I hope it's not a preview of what's to come!!!

I have loads to tell you, but no time this morning because as I was cooking breakfast, DH asks if I can take him to the airport. Sure - and it's raining this morning so no dog park and a couple of girls are NOT happy at all.

I still have to throw the last of my stuff in a bag for today's three classes and it'll all be good.

I'm making headway on getting stuff out of the house. Yesterday it was that bag of batting, today it was the extra sewing machine (and DH - just kidding, but he's gone for a couple of days). Tomorrow?  Who knows.  But I'm collecting information on the decluttering thing and together we're going to tackle this problem.

I have a story from one or my readers about clearing clutter. She moved to a new house and decluttered completely before she moved. I never thought to ask how much clutter she removed from her sewing room. I must ask next time I see her. She used to have a job as such that she may have to travel at the last minute and kept a stash of cash of various currencies in her house. It was several months into the new house when she realized that her secret stash went in the giveaway boxes to charity. Someone must have been very happy when they found that!!  It's in the past - it's now a precious memory. So be careful with those stashes - if you're decluttering, don't forget to open things, check pockets, etc. You may find a treasure. I found $12. 63 when I was checking out a purse at the farm. We enjoyed a couple of runs to Tim's on my Mom!!!!

I had several errands to do yesterday and with the Friday traffic in the city, it was a disaster getting to any of them. Needless to say, the entire day was shot. No worries - it just puts me way behind. I've got my notebook with me so today when I have a few minutes between classes, I'm going to get that list together.

I had to visit a quilt shop to pick up something that had arrived for me.  Row by Row has started!!!!  I picked up the pattern for the shop's row and I picked up the license plate from last year. It appears that in Ontario, no one has gotten new plates this year. I guess they have run their course and how many license plates does one need anyway?

Row by row pattern and plate from 2017

I do believe that all the picture rows are up on the Facebook page or on the Row by Row page so check it out. I've got a trip planned around Row by Row and I can't wait. My cohorts are messaging back and forth this morning like mad as they plan. How many days?????  Better save up my pennies or should I say nickels.

Now I dare not be late this morning - oh - the applique technique - it was the interfacing technique which is NOT my favorite. What a nightmare - literally!!!!

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, June 22, 2018

Multi tasking - good or bad?

A huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. After I finished posting the blog yesterday, I hit the garage and soon my front step looked like this.

Donation stuff waiting to be picked up

When I removed all the stuff from the garage that was in the "donate" pile, I saw a few other things that have been hanging around. I packed those up and out they went as well. A couple of things from the basement and I was done for this round.

The more I think about my stuff, the more I realize how few things I need on a daily basis. And I'm so much a seasonal person (decorations) any more.  So - there'll be another pickup scheduled for July. Once you start this process, it's easy to let go. What if you realize you gave something away that you need? Well, you could always replace it or borrow it from someone? I know that the stuff I'm giving away is stuff that I haven't touched in years - I doubt that I'm going to want it or need it.

What if you accidentally give away something that was a precious memory? Well - it's just that now. A precious memory. You must ask yourself this question - what are the consequences in five minutes, five months and five years of that item being given away. If nothing serious is going to happen, you probably don't need that item.

What if the item is sentimental, yet you don't know what to do with it, but you don't want it? Take a picture. Put it in a folder on your computer marked MEMORIES and toss the item. Seriously - why are you keeping things that you don't need or want just because Aunt Sue gave it to you? Let it go!!

I'm reading a book right now on decluttering. While I like some of what this person is saying, she really has some whack job ideas. Keep toilet papers rolls because you can use them to keep cords tidy and other ideas. Seriously???  Put those toilet paper rolls in the recycling and use an elastic or one of those velcro cord keepers. I get it that she wants to recycle, but that's ridiculous. The other thing she says is to organize your books by color on the shelf so they look pretty. Yeah - pretty useless to organize by color when I won't read them by color. I want my stuff to be organized the way that I would shop for it (and hence "shop" for the next book when I'm going to read it). I don't want my house set up to be pretty - I want it to be practical. The eclectic look is just fine! I'll finish reading the book, but I could write a much better book (but I'm not going to).

I'm going to have some more tips for you in another post.

Yesterday was a heads-down intense day of working. I didn't go to the gym, and I didn't go for a walk, but I did well over 10,000 steps yesterday. And I didn't leave the studio. Why?  I had two machines going yesterday - The Designer EPIC was embroidering its merry little heart out............. (gosh I love that machine!)

Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC in embroidery mode
 AND the long arm was fired up and it was working its magic on the other side of the studio.

Long arm working away
 Let's just say that until I got a rhythm going with the two machines, it was a wee bit of a challenge to keep up with both of them. I even toyed with the idea of firing up another machine to do some piecing, but that wasn't going to happen.

Between bobbin changes, babysitting where babysitting was required and fixing stupid human errors, I was super busy. Do not worry - no quilts were harmed in the process of yesterday's work. But when you know the bobbin is going to run out soon and you walk to the other machine and then get wrapped in what it's doing and then you have to wait for the long arm to trace back almost an entire row - well that slows the process down.

And let's not forget that I did not optimize the quilting pattern on the long arm for one row. Hmm - why did that machine stop? Oh, shoot - that will make an ugly join in the row. So I had to fix that. But here's the best part. I know how to fix stupid human mistakes like that. I'm getting pretty handy with the pattern repair function on the long arm.

What got done in all that running around?  Here's the first quilt. This one is mine.

My quilt - DONE
 Now if you've got a good memory, this quilt was in a magazine last year. Obviously, it's not the same quilt. I didn't like the lack of contrast in the borders on this one, so I had to remake the top and that's the one that went into the magazine.

Here's the second quilt. It's in McCall's Quick Quilts - December/January 2018. The fabric collection was from Northcott - Silent Night. You can see the pattern in the border in the second quilt is much more pronounced than in the original one. Either way, the panel/fabric is gorgeous!!!!

Second quilt made for the magazine

Might as well finish up the original one - it's not bad. So that's now in the "to be bound" stack that hasn't gotten any smaller since the last time I talked about it.

And I got a customer quilt done as well.

Customer quilt - DONE

This one has to be trimmed and the binding put on (yes - the binding is in the bag this time!) before Saturday's class. That shouldn't take long, but I've got a lot of stuff going on and I have two errands today that will require some time to get done.

The next quilt is loaded on the long arm and I might get to it today. If not, tomorrow evening. The quilts for next week are already in the "on deck" area and waiting for next week to come.

I wonder how many people were running around yesterday getting their rows/blocks for the 2018 Row by Row Experience?  I didn't have time. But I've seen some beautiful rows and can't wait to pick up a couple.

When I was out west, I picked up two quilts to be quilted (I'll return them when I go back later this year). And LOOK - there was a little gift attached to the quilts.  Thanks to my aunt for that.

A Row by Row license plate from 2017

It's amazing what I can get done if I don't have my nose in a book! I did finish a non-fiction book yesterday and I started another one. But since these non-fiction books are not page turners, they're easy to put down.

That's it for today. Oh - can't share what's on the embroidery machine, but you'll see it as some point. I've been up since very early this morning finishing off the embroidery - even with that fast DEsigner EPIC, it still took a lot of time to get done what I was doing. It's very cute and now to finish the items off. Since the embroidery unit is set up, I think I might try to work on the sashings for that Halloween quilt that's been on my design wall forever. Wouldn't it be nice to have that to hang up for Halloween???

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a super day -stay WARM. I had to put long pants on yesterday and a big sweatshirt and I'm still freezing.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

How to get rid of clutter FAST

A sad note to start the day. My Uncle Bob passed away yesterday. For the lifestyle he lived, he lived a long life - he was in his 80s. He is now at peace. While we did get a chance to visit him when I was home, he was pretty drugged up. He did wake up and acknowledge that there were people in his room, but I'm not sure he recognized us. I'm glad I got to see him one last time.

That makes uncle number two on my Mom's side of the family that has died of cancer. They were the brothers in law, so that's the silver lining in this story.

I had to pick something up yesterday (no worries - it's just a loan for a month or two), but it was my first visit to a storage locker facility.

Inside a storage locker

This is how you get rid of clutter FAST. You rent a unit and then buy a lot of boxes and shove all your stuff in the boxes and move them to the storage facility. This is NOT a good thing to do. Have you noticed how many storage units there are around? A LOT. I know there's a show on TV about storage lockers. I think if you need to store stuff in a storage locker, then you have TOO much stuff.

Unless, you're really downsizing and it makes sense to store stuff in the locker. I guess you could set up your sewing machine in the locker space and sew all day and then go back to your mini apartment? I wonder if those units have electricity? I will have to downsize one day, but it's not today.

Anyway, I have no intention of renting a storage locker. I'm trying to get rid of as much as I can. I have a scheduled pick-up for stuff today. I need to get my butt in gear and get it all on the front step before 8 AM. There's more stuff that I want to pack up, I'll see how I make out for time. I can always schedule another pick-up. There's a LOT going out the door this morning. And now that there'll be a bit more room in the garage, I can start a new stack for the next pickup.

Since I have the computer for the long arm, I no longer have a need for all the paper patterns that I've bought over the years. What to do with them? AHA - a friend just bought herself a long arm and needs patterns. They are now spoken for and I deliver!!!

Two bags of paper patterns - GONE (or they will be in a couple of weeks)

M wants a sewing machine. She bought an inexpensive one, but I told her that I have a couple of extras so she is getting one of them and she returned the one she bought. It's going out this weekend. I need to find all the bits and pieces which are mostly in the machine's accessory box, but I'm not sure where the darn manual is. Well - the thing is online if I can't find the real thing. The machine needs to be packed in a box and ready to go on a plane this weekend. One more thing - GONE!!!!

However, she also has a rolling cabinet filled with stuff that she was going to work on before she left home. I had to rearrange the studio a wee bit to get to the cabinet.

Moving stuff to get to the cabinet
I found a ripped pair of stretch jeans. Garbage. I found some clothes that she had purchased at the thrift shop that she was going to modify. They're in the give away pile this morning. I found her sewing basket - I'm going to empty the tools and pack them with the sewing machine. There's no room to pack the toolbox on this trip. 

M's sewing stuff
 There's some fabric in the drawers. Clothing fabrics. I might have a look for myself as I've got a hankering to make some clothes for myself. I know - call me silly, but seriously, there's a strong revival in making clothes and I want to be in there with the rest. And I could use some new clothes!!!

I learned something about tea presses yesterday. Recently I purchased a travel size tea press. The lady explained how it worked and it even came with directions, but for some reason, I missed the word HOT for what temperature of water to add.

The other day on my errands, I was back at the mall, to get a large tea press so I wouldn't have to keep making small batches. A different person walked me through the instructions and I read them when I got home. OH - you should be adding HOT water to the tea press to let the tea steep. Hmm - I wonder if that will make a difference to the strength of the tea?

Tea steeping in the tea press

I let it steep for a wee bit longer as was recommended on the directions.

Iced tea ready to go

This is what I learned once I actually thought about the tea making process.  The tea is very fruity flavored and it's nice. It's not very strong but it's probably about the same strength as if you had made a "cold" fruit drink. Then it hit me - there's NO sugar in the iced tea (oops - there's ONE gram of sugar in a serving) and that's probably what I was missing. I just checked the cold fruit drinks at Tim's - A raspberry frozen lemonade has 26 GRAMS of sugar.  I think that's the difference that I was missing. Well, now that I understand the process and I understand why the taste is "weak", I'm good to go. I just thought I was doing something wrong.

And I learned that hot or cold, the water temperature didn't seem to change the taste of the iced tea. But I'll use hot in the future. I LOVE that tea press and there's always iced tea ready to go in the fridge.

And now onto the quilting stuff.

Despite spending the entire morning on the computer, and I was running an errand on the other side of the city, I got a quilt quilted. This is the second of this customer's quilts and it's DONE.

Customer quilt - DONE
 In case, you think I was cheating and showed you the same quilt twice - here are the backs. They are different!  Both quilts are trimmed and I"ll be sending a note to the owner this morning for pickup.

The backs of the customer's quilts

Two down for this week and four more to go. Not doing very well in that department, but I should be able to get two done today. The next one is already loaded. I cheated and put one of my own on the machine. Then a customer one will go on later today.

I'm going to be in trouble with my Mom. I searched high and low for that missing pattern yesterday. I put it in a safe place so I could make it for her and now I can't find the darn thing! GRRRR!  Will not admit defeat in that department yet. I know it's there. I saw it recently - it's just a question of where did I see it????

Lot's of paperwork to get done again today. It just never ends. All this teaching and designing requires a LOT of administration, but everything is almost under control for the moment. OK - who am I kidding - it's never under control. I wish it was as then I'd have some time to attack the paperwork in this office.

I was chatting with a friend yesterday and we were talking about clearing out stuff. While I know it would be great to set aside time and tackle the clutter problem once and for all, I don't work that way. I'm the slow and steady kind of person. I'm making inroads, just not super fast. But it's all getting looked at.

I've heard some stories from some of you and that's exciting that you're also making progress. The neater/cleaner/tidier our houses are, I find that our brains don't have to work as hard and has time to learn new things. I've managed to tidy up the kitchen (from a food perspective) and that has worked wonders. I deal with a few unprocessed foods and I don't worry about the rest. That's what my life seems to be about - removing all the unnecessary variables. I sure wish I did that when M was small, but kids seem to nag you until you give in or you do what is easy. Well, my new system is easy!!!!

On that note, I'd better get all that stuff moved to the front step and I still have to dig out a few things.

Have a super day!!!!!


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Food snob

Just wait - I do have quilting things to tell you about, but first I have to tell you my oatmeal story. I've become hooked on the Steel Cut Oats by Quaker - the one that you can cook in the microwave. I've perfected the technique and I was even able to cook it at my brother's house when I was away with no disasters in the microwave. A bit of almond milk and a banana and I'm a happy camper.

I didn't take a picture of the nutrition label, but there are 170 calories in a serving, 3 g of fat, no cholesterol, no sodium, 31 g of carbs, 6 g of protein and ZERO g of sugar.

I have a partial box of this instant oatmeal (also by Quaker) still in the cupboard and I thought I would try and use it up.

As a comparison, there are 110 calories in a serving, 1.5 g of fat, no cholesterol, but there are 140 MG of sodium, 23 g of carbs, 3 G of protein and 6 g of sugar.

Now if you were calorie counting or carb counting, you might want to pick the second one. But boy or boy - you need to taste them. The instant one is well - not worth eating in my opinion, especially after you have eaten the steel cut version. The steel cut version has a better texture, crunchier, the instant is like mush. Despite the fact that the instant is flavored and has sugar in it, it tastes flat. If this is your version of oatmeal and you don't like it, no wonder. Try the steel cut version - way superior product in taste and nutritional value.

I'm good with the extra calories - I need to find things to eat so I consume enough calories in a day and the taste is so much better. Thank you to Quaker for coming up with that. It's awesome. If you haven't tried it  - you should. Just remember that you need to cook it at a less than full power. Depends on the microwave, you may need to experiment. My microwave works at a power level of 5, my brother's (smaller microwave, a 6 or 7 worked better).

I know my kid is out there saying "I TOLD YOU TO READ the label".  Yes, food labels are important. It's not the calories or the carbs or the sugars of one product, it's the TOTAL intake of those products that you consume in one day. I'm still struggling to eat enough calories in a day and I'm not eating enough protein. My calories in the past were made up of the wrong foods. Once I got those wrong foods out of my system, the weight just fell off. And I'm keeping it off - that's the good news. I use My FitnessPal (phone app) to track my food and it's been an absolute MUST in order to make this weight go away and stay away. I still use it.

If you decide to use it, I would suggest that you start tracking your daily food BEFORE you start to change your diet. I think you'd be shocked at what you consume. The first couple of days are a bit of a hassle as you get the information in there, but once it's there - it's easy to log. I do the logging at the end of the day now as I have a pretty good idea of what I eat. Yes - I tend to eat the same kind of things every day. So what? And don't forget that you can add a food by scanning the label of the food so you get all the nutritional information. Super EASY!!!! Most restaurant food is also available to download (through the app) or I use something similar. It's not an exact science, but it gives you an idea of what you're eating and what's in what you're eating.

I have three pouches of that instant oatmeal left. Anyone want a taste test?? I'd be happy to serve you up a wee bit of eat so you can see the difference.

And now onto quilting stuff. If my phone would stop ringing! Oh god - I just got a duct cleaning call on my cell phone. ACK!!!!   And I've got a ton of e-mail that needs to be answered. Let's not panic!!!

It's time to get back to the quilting machine. I've got SIX quilts on the slate for this week. It's going to be tight, but two of them are mine so they can slide if need be. I got this one done yesterday.

Customer quilt - DONE
 I have one more exactly the same to do - that's a job for this afternoon.

I promised to show you those two small wall hangings that I had given to my Mom. The label on the back tells me that they were made in 2001. I know - only a crazy new quilter would make something like this. If my memory is correct, there are 76 pieces in that snowflake alone!!! Now how can I remember a detail like that when I can't remember where the extra fabric is for my Farmer's Wife quilt?

Winter Wallhanging

Spring Wallhanging

My Mom wasn't the best at taking care of quilts. I don't think she ever hung up the spring wall hanging. She put up the winter one and it hung FOREVER in the kitchen in DIRECT sunlight. Can you guess what happened to it? I happen to have some of the original fabric (OK - I have a HUGE chunk of that blue). Look at the difference.

What the sun will do to your fabric

I had told her to take it down and she did, but the damage had been done. And then the two of them got packed in a box, never to see the light of day until I unearthed them.

I'm going to make the other two. I might even remake this one because it drives me crazy to look at it. But then, I'm going to fix the hangers and buy a hanger and physically put it on their door so the quilts can be enjoyed.

I know that when you give a quilt away, that it's no longer yours. We can't sweat the fact that they may use it for the dog to sleep on, or you may find it like this. Can you find the quilt in the picture below??

Where's the quilt?

Yes - it's on top of the bottom box right beside that white box. That's a queen sized quilt all folded up and compressed under a whole bunch of other stuff. I rescued the quilt. Took off the label. My SIL washed the quilt (twice) and it's now at a new home.

There was one other quilt that I had made for my Dad and I found it (after they had moved out of the house on the farm). It was folded up and under a cover on a chair. That one was also donated last year. You see why I'm leery about those little ones?  Well - we'll see what happens.

At least they do have two quilts and they are using them on their recliner chairs, but the quilt tops are facing inward so you can't see the nice design on the front. Oh well. At least those ones are being used.

I guess that sums up today. So much more, but no more time. I've got a trip to make today. A short one, but it'll still take a couple of hours and in the car. Not like my errand trip yesterday where I walked to the bank, then the grocery store, Indigo (and Starbucks where I bought a blueberry square as a reward for my walk and I still have money on a Starbucks card that I'm trying to use up), then the mall (where they have set up a place in the center for people to walk the World Soccer) and the final stop was the library where I bought TWO books for the price of $1.00.  It was a gloriou day and just right for a walk.

On that note, I'm out of here to try and get a few more e-mails done.

Have a super day!!!!


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Motivational Monday - making due

I've been lax in keeping up with posts for the Motivational Monday. But I'm here today to chat about what I've been working on.

And what's with the weather? Yesterday, we're sweltering in the heat, today -you need a sweater. I guess just be prepared for anything and you're good - dress in layers.

No, I did NOT start reading a novel, but now I'm reading two non-fiction books. They are not page turners so it's easy to put them down. I got all ambitious last night to start listening to an audiobook and do some embroidery. I listened to the first chapter of the book, but I think I'll need to start over. I'm not sure how much I caught before I dozed off.

And I've found a home for the Anne Perry books and the big bag of batting. Everything is good!

Yesterday it was back to Monday sewing - my favorite day of the week. I got quite a bit accomplished but I'm going to run into some problems. Let's peek at what I'm working on now.

I started off by working on another series of 6-inch blocks. This time from the book called Farmer's Wife by Laurie Aaron Hird.

There are 111 blocks in the book. My goal is to get 6 blocks sewn a week. So in total that would be 19 weeks. But the good news is that 45 (if my count is correct) are done!!!! That means there are 11 weeks to finish this project and then I can pick another one to work on.

The fabrics are quite different from anything that I've been working on lately, but still very nice. I'm using Kansas Troubles.

Just looked it up - we did this as a class in 2012. Well, no time like the present to get it done. I must say that setting these weekly goals has been a godsend in getting projects like this completed. Don't worry, I won't be running out anytime soon.

Here are the five blocks that I finished yesterday. Gosh, you can barely see the contrast in that bottom right block. Oh well, live and learn.

Five blocks are done!
 The nice thing about this project is that almost all the blocks are cut out and ready to sew. They were cut using templates (Marti Michell) so there's no need to make half square triangles. That's a treat after the 150 Canadian Women project.

However, I do have one wee bit of a problem. I was working one more block and wasn't able to finish because some of the pieces were missing. Obviously, counting is not my strong point - the same thing happened with the 150 Canadian Women project.

Incomplete block due to missing pieces

Hmm - now where would the rest of that fabric be? I've no recollection what kind of a container it went into. And it wasn't on the shelf where these ongoing projects are stored. Well - as many as will fit on the shelf and that's where the bag of blocks was stored.

I had to dig deep into the stash room to find the basket of Kansas Troubles fabrics. Literally, it was on the bottom shelf deep into the corner. No, there are no leftovers from this project. It's all yardage. Drat - now I have to put that basket away and it's going to be a challenge to get back in there. Let's just say that maneuvering around some of these baskets and boxes of fabric - well I had visions of being found under stacks of it last night - unable to get up!!!

Kansas Troubles basket of fabric
 Actually, there's a couple of huge pieces of yardage as well, but those are still in the stash room. I had to lift those pieces out of the basket as I couldn't lift it with them in it. I was going to take a picture because, well - let's just say that this basket is buried DEEP.

When I was looking for the remainder of the fabrics, I came across another project (on that same shelf) also made with Kansas Troubles, but the bits weren't in this basket either.

Another Kansas Troubles project, but NOT the right one

Shoot - I can't remember where those scraps could be. No idea what kind of storage box they were in and no idea even how much was left. Zip, zilch, zero! I remember NOTHING about this project other than the bag of cut blocks.

So I had a little dig through some of the other stuff in that room and in another storage room and I still came up with nothing. I'm going to leave that block for the moment and hope it's the only one that I've got issues with. I'm missing four little squares which would be easy to substitute with some of the other stuff that I found. Just annoying that I can't remember a thing about the leftovers.

I did dig out and put on the work tables, a couple of things that I would like to work on. Now to find the time to do that!!!

I found the pattern for the little wall hangings that my Mom wants me to make. The "treasured" ones that were buried in a box. I'll take a picture of the two wall hangings that I had made as I brought them home with me. I'm going to change the hanger on the back so they'll all be the same and easy to hang on a hook on their door - which I'll do when I'm there later this year.

However, the bad news is that I found the pattern that I've already made. Now I need to find the one that I haven't made. I know it's around as I had seen it not that long ago. I've probably put it out to work on and now where the heck is it???

I need to find the Summer/Fall pattern - DRAT!!!

Amazing how quickly something gets lost and then how I find other things that I didn't even know were lost. Well, if I'm not needing them, I guess they aren't lost????

After my five (and a half) blocks were sewn yesterday, I was back to working on my squirrel project from Sew Fresh Quilting. Had five squirrels to sew and I almost got all the components sewn together. It shouldn't take long to finish that up next week. OK - who am I kidding?  I hope to get the top finished next week. If I don't, I'll be very close. Again, everything is cut for that project and the extra fabric is even in the project bag (just in case).

Squirrel block progress

You'll see it next week.

I was working on my ender and leader project. It's a scrap quilt, except that the little red squares are all the same fabric. I realized yesterday that I was going to run out of red fabric. Shoot!!!! I checked the project box when I got home and there is NO MORE red fabric. So off to dig through the fabric boxes to find a match. I think this will work just fine.

Best match for the red fabric

Can't complain about that match. But seriously???  I had better start doing a better job of keeping fabric set aside or labeled or something. I didn't cut the red fabric but put it in the bag so when I need to cut, it's handy.

Then I decided that I had better get to work and get some of that cutting table tidied up. There are a few of the table runners from the table runner class that needed to be worked on. Time to get those completed. I finished the top for one as well as the binding and the backing. I'm not going to show you until later as I want the group to see it first. It's super cute and I love the fabric choice.

I've been making some of the table runners from a box of batik samples that I had acquired a while back. That means very limited fabric to work with and only pieces that measure about 12" by 18". I had the top finished for one, but nothing for the backing or the binding. I had a quick peek at my stash, but the color is a bit weird. I was going to set it aside and try to find something new on a future shopping trip, but when I was at my sewing machine this morning (near the box of batiks), I saw some pieces in there that would work. So I had to join 7 small strips to make the binding and four pieces to make the backing, but that's done!!!!  Two projects ready to be quilted.

I started to work on the third one. I was missing four squares of white and a border to finish the project. Back to the boxes of fabric this time to find something to go with that. AHA - the squares are cut and ready to be sewn on. I dug out several greens for the border and will find the best one and cut that. I'll share all this with you later this week or early next week. Needless to say, it's time to get this stuff tidied up.

And once these smaller projects are in the "to be quilted" pile, it's time to move onto a couple of big projects that are sitting there waiting to be finished. I have a sit n sew this Sunday and we're a small group. It'll be a perfect time to work on some of these bigger projects as there'll be more room.

Now I do have a couple of urgent projects that need to be worked on so I must get my act together, but we're off on an adventure this morning. But I'll be sewing this afternoon - it just means, no paperwork today. Yeah - OH - I mean that's sad.

Have a great day!!!!