Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fabric Selection

I decided to reward myself for finishing the Quilts for Kids quilt top by making a doll quilt. Yes, I changed the thread. I will eventually have to change it back to finish the Quilt for Kids.

As I told you earlier, I am making a nine patch doll quilt that Kathleen Tracy submitted to the Fairfield site. I've given you a link already, and will give it to you again when I show the finished quilt. I grabbed a box of scraps, and added some additional scraps from the next box, and brought them downstairs where I sew. When I came downstairs, I made the decision that I should just use what I brought down, instead of going back upstairs for more scraps.

I really like the quirky combination of fabrics that make you think that someone dug deep down their scrap bin to find the fabrics to use in the quilt. Quirky is good, but of course, the wrong combination of fabrics can also ruin a quilt, so it was kinda scary. Of course, I had to weed out the ones that wouldn't work on the quilt. If my fabric combination is ugh and not quirky, please don't tell me. I don't want to know.

Anyway, I am done with the blocks, and have put the rows together. Just have to put the quilt together. I thought I would show you where some of the fabric came from.

All of the greens in the nine patch came from one quilt, but I can't remember which one! Okay, I remember. I made Orange Juice on the Patio quilt. I can't find a picture of it though.

The olive comes from the album quilt that is on the header.

The centers are from various places, including the Trip Around the World, and some fabric that was reserved, but hasn't been used yet, for the Jane quilt, and from these two quilts:

The yellows I used as a background are both from other people. One of them came in a box of scraps I received from a fellow quilter. The other yellow came from someone at work to make a prayer quilt. Both the yellows were used in the prayer quilt and this one.

The setting triangles were already triangles in my scrap box and they were just the right size! I think I may have rejected them because I cut them the wrong size for the project, or maybe they were the wrong color. I don't remember what project they were intended for, but they fit just right in this quilt.

I cut two squares for the center, but was really unhappy with them. The directional prints are facing the wrong direction. I cheated and searched my Jane quilt fabric (not called scraps until the quilt is done) to find
two pink squares that were actually used in the Delectable Mountains Quilt:

The brown border fabrics was used in a quilt for my mother, and the blue one has been in many blue quilts, including the star one shown above.

Eventually I will show you the finished doll quilt.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Grocery Shopping

I think I've told you before about the conflicting dietary restrictions in our family. Low fat, low salt, low carbs, vegan, no MSG, no BHT, no hydrogenated oils. Everything my daughter is willing to eat can be written down on one side of one piece of paper. I know, because that piece of paper is hanging on my refrigerator door.

But now I have freedom. I can eat anything I want!

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, my body decided that it wanted to come up with some dietary restrictions of its own. No tea, which is a hard one for me because I really like tea. I can drink the herbal stuff though. That one has been around for a while. The new one, and it is a big one, is wheat. I think that my body is rejecting wheat. I decided to make sure it was wheat by trial and error. I am going to cut it out of my diet completely and see if that makes me feel better. I also want to try to reduce the salt in my diet without increasing the fat.

I took my coupons to the store. There was one that gave you $7 of if you buy $70 worth of groceries. I worked around the store looking at labels to avoid wheat products. You know what? I eat a LOT of wheat. I was able to find very few things that I could actually buy. Even the frozen food that didn't have noodles had wheat of some kind. I couldn't use my $7 coupon because I couldn't find $70 worth of things to buy.

My bonus buy, one I wasn't expecting, Snickers was 2 for $1.00, and I had a 50 cent coupon that was doubled, so free chocolate! Today they have triple coupons. Snickers doesn't have any wheat.

Since I need frozen foods to pack for lunch, I decided to make my own. I did buy a big family pack of chicken breasts, and cooked them all yesterday, along with four cups of rice. I only made two things - Garlic Lime Chicken and Stir Fry - I figure that I can make large batches each time I make something, I will eventually get variety. I saved a batch of each to eat, and froze the rest. I made it all at the same time, so it didn't really take much more time than it would have to just make a smaller batch.

The one thing they don't mention on the saving money blog is that you have to have organized plasticware in order to do this project. I haven't organized my plasticware for a couple of years, and somehow the matches have all walked away. I worked it out, but I didn't want to leave the food out too long, so put it in the freezer as quickly as I could find a match and wash, fill, and label it.

A picture of chocolate is better than a picture of plastic anyway. And it matches my new blog colors!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Quilts For Kids

I haven't been able to add a weekly post to Amy's Sew and Tell, but finally this week, I can, and so I did!

I forgot to take a picture of my King Fu Panda quilt, but Mary has made one just like it, so look here. The only difference is that mine didn't have a binding.

I'm now making a quilt with the same colors, but with dogs. Since I'm using red thread, it is limiting what other things I can work on at the same time. You know, because it is so hard to change the thread.

There's snow on the grass today. Whatever happened to spring?

I changed my blog banner again. Yes, yet another UFO coming to haunt me. The blog now seems seems more fall like than spring like, but I can never keep up with seasons and holidays anyway.

Health Care Debate

Don't worry, I'm not going to be debating health care on the blog. The great health care debate has been going on among the politicians, and come to us as interpreted by the media.

Politically, I don't believe in the ideals of either of our parties. There are parts and pieces I like about each party. So I feel that they should be able to talk to each other and think through reasonable, reasoned, solutions.

Everyone I personally talk to about politics, for the most part, has the same opinion as I do. But a lot of my friends on my facebook account, many of them are strangers and befriended only for game playing purposes, have a different opinion. I really think that part of the reason we pick a particular side or another is because of the influences of the people around us. I think that's why everyone seems to think that everyone has the same opinion as they do.

This is such a hot topic, that I wanted to make sure I understood both sides of it clearly, from regular people, so I could come up with my own, reasoned opinion about this. I have an opinion, and I don't think it is going to change much, but I want to make sure it is properly thought through.

Yesterday at lunch, I broke taboo and asked my lunch mate about his opinion. As we were talking, another man walked up, and I asked him. Both of them were on different sides. Perfect, right? Now we can get to the bottom of this.

I understand why the the politicians can't come up with reasoned decisions. They were both civil, but both of them had higher blood pressure after the debate. They probably both went away thinking that the other one was selfish, viewing the topic only in terms of themselves and their loved ones, and whatever would work best for them.

I think I should just stick to talking about quilts. I might bore them to tears, but they'll be able to maintain their blood pressure. Who knows, it might even be able to lower their blood pressure.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Okay, I'm a copycat. Paula changed her blog, using blogger's new Blogger In Draft feature and I decided to do mine too. It's hard to let go of the old, but there are so many beautiful templates out there. I did it pretty quickly, and I'm not sure I'm completely happy with it, so be sure to let me know what I can do to improve it for you.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Beginnings

I've been putting things off lately, "this has to wait until after the gathering." We had a family gathering on Friday. Then "it has to wait until the plane leaves." The plane left yesterday, and my daughter is now in back to school mode. It didn't hit me until mid-afternoon that she is on the other side of the world.

The "until" is over. Which means all the to-do things can now be done. Except that I don't want to.

There are all those unfinished quilts that want to be finished, and a car that wants to be pampered, and paper that wants to be recycled, a body that wants a new diet and exercise plan, a house that wants spring cleaned. And that long list of quilts to make that resides only in my brain likes to come out from time to time to make sure none of them are forgotten.

I don't have a recent photo to show you so I pulled one out from a year ago. Sigh, another unfinished project that is taunting me.

I was reading Kathleen Tracy's blog, and she mentioned that she was offering a free doll quilt pattern on the Fairfield batting website. You have to click on the picture to get the pdf. I figured that a simple nine patch doll quilt would be just the right medicine. (Please don't ask about any unfinished doll quilts - they will get done eventually.) A small quick project I can fit into my big quick Quilts for Kids projects.

I think the pioneer days ladies had it easy. They could look into their scrap baskets and look at the size of the pieces and use whatever they had. Now, we have to weed out our scraps that don't fit the mood or scheme we are using. Is this too bright? Too modern? Too whatever. I have to say that all of the fabric I chose is too wrinkled.

It's in the ironing pile.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Spring

The last batch of pictures I uploaded to my computer were snow pictures. That seems like a lifetime ago. I thought I should take some nicer pictures. Lots of promise.

I received another four kits from Quilts for Kids. I was thinking I was going to share them, knowing there was a possibility that I would be making them all myself. My mother's sewing machine is broken, so I think I am on my own. I already want to make something for myself, so I'm pretty sure my quilting pace will be picked up, so I can fit it all in. It's going to be a busy spring, so don't hold your breath waiting for a finished quilt!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Review: Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go

The book Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go is written by Lucille O'Neal, mother of Shaquille O'Neal. It has a forward by Shaquille. It is an easy-to-read, inspiring autobiography of Lucille, from her childhood on. It describes in rich detail her life with her father and grandparents, her unwed pregnancy, her marriage, her mother's illness, her divorce, and renewal, including finding God and going back to school. I'm not a big sports fan, so I wasn't sure I would like this book much, but really enjoyed reading the history and Lucille's wonderful insights. From Mental Welfare to Mental Health is a great tagline, and one that anyone could aspire to.

The second half of the book becomes very religious, and seems kinda preachy to me. I think that if someone had worked their way out of adversity, and then said "trust God" I would probably get it. But coming from someone who had wealth handed to her, the "trust God" doesn't seem very realistic option.

I got the book free from Thomas Nelson in exchange for this review.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy Dance

Have you heard about the genealogical happy dance? It is when you are surprised with pleasant information. It's what you do when you finally found the information you needed to break down the brick wall about a particularly secretive ancestor. Generally this happens at a library or courthouse where you have to keep your dance tame and subdued.

I haven't heard about a quilting happy dance, but I would probably do a quilting happy dance after a particular successful and productive day when things went really well, or when I finally finish a pesky UFO.

I definitely haven't heard of a couponing dance, and generally don't have those. When I was living by myself, a few times I only bought the things that were really good deals, and I managed to get $50 worth of groceries for about $5, or some such extreme savings, I was happy. But now I buy the stuff that we generally buy (if it is on sale) on top of the big savings items, so the savings doesn't look as extreme. Besides, generally I know before going to the store what kind of savings I am going to have, so it doesn't seem that surprising when I get to the store.

But this weekend I had a couponing happy dance. I had just read a blog that encourages you to look at the clearance stuff. And my brother-in-law had found some gel pens - you know the frosting you use to write on cakes, they normally come in tubes, but he showed me some that were in pens, and there was a box that had several different colors in it. I've been on the look out for that. I couldn't find that, but what they did have was this Automatic Toilet Bowl cleaner, regular price $23.99, marked down to $11.99. Now normally, I wouldn't even think of it, because, after all, I don't really find it all that hard to clean the toilet bowl. Washing my hands afterwards takes longer than swiping a brush around the small space. And a dollar or two off $11.99 is still expensive for something I don't need.

But, something told me to look for a coupon anyway. And I found one, it was for $10.00! It was a surprise, and I did have to suppress a couponing happy dance.

When I went to the cash register, the cashier even remarked at the $11.99 price. She said, get this, "You can't beat that price," to which I had to say "Oh yes I can." I bought a $23.99 item for $1.99 plus tax. I would have paid that much for the cleaning solution alone, so it isn't an extraneous purchase.

P.S. If you are interested in finding about money saving ideas, deals in your area, coupons, free samples, free ebooks, etc., I've found a couple of websites that I really like. Money Saving Mom is a blog that posts several posts a day about deals she has found. You have to sign up for Coupon Mom, but she has has listings by store, which makes it convenient, and tells you the percentage of savings off the regular price, so you can tell if something is just on sale, or if it is a really really good deal. Besides showing you lots of coupons online, both tell you the date of the paper to get the coupons from, so you don't have to clip the coupons until you are ready to use them. Simply put the date on the coupon packet and file it until you need it. I clip all the coupons and take them all to the store with me.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Week in Review

It's been a wonderful week. My daughter and I were both off from work for several days, and we spent some time together watching movies, DVDs (17 Again) and television (Good Wife, Numbers) and going shopping for a big trip. Got a fortune cookie that said "You will travel to many exotic places." Hmm, wonder which one of us gets that fortune? Hopefully both of us, although for her, the travel is more imminent. She will be staying in a home instead of a dormitory, which makes her very happy. Some errand running also took place - I mailed off the Quilts for Kids. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it before sending it off.

The weather is warmer, she will be leaving soon, and I will be heading back to work, and all these things combined is making me feel like needing to do a million things at once. It is all very exciting, and I look forward to spring.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Book Review: Everyone Communicates Few Connect

One of the panelists we had at the Momentum 2010 conference was really engaging, and I had the feeling that I would really like to get to know her better. I didn't remember her name, but when we had our breakout sessions, my sister remembered her, and recommended that we choose her talk. Audra was wonderful, and really connected with the audience. One of the stories she told was about being on a plane, and giving her a goal of really connecting with someone else on the plane. Her intent was to have the other person want to continue the connection by asking for her business card before they went their separate ways.

While this is a good idea, there were other good lessons in her speech, and I pretty much pooh-poohed the idea. I'm not an extrovert, and I'm not sure that connecting with everybody is something that I want to put on my list of things to do. I've got other things to do, and it just seems manipulative, to try to connect with people so you can get what you want. I'm not sure I like the idea of having a hidden agenda when I talk with people.

Then I started reading the book I got to review by John Maxwell. It's called Everyone Communicates; Few Connect; What the Most Effective People Do Differently. It starts off wonderfully by telling you the importance of connection. Sure we all know that we should connect, but I really needed this introduction to kick me into making the effort. It reminded me of the times I was working hard while watching other people around me get promoted, the times when my boyfriend and I were saying the same thing, yet were arguing about it, and many other times. I am now ready to acknowledge that even though I can communicate fine - people understand me, I can generally communicate my thoughts both orally and in writing, and listen pretty well - a very important source of problems in my life is my failure to connect.

It's not that I never connect with people, it's just that I need to learn how to connect so that things can go more smoothly.

The book offers Five Connecting Principles and the Five Connecting Practices to help you learn how to make these connections. The book is easy to read and very helpful. I think I just might try some of these principles and practices, and see if it helps. It certainly can't hurt!

I review for BookSneeze

I haven't been paid for this review, but I did get the book for free from Booksneeze.com in exchange for the review. "If you have a blog, and enjoy reviewing books, you can receive free books from BookSneeze, a Thomas Nelson company. Simply fill out the application here and once you are approved, you can choose a book from their selection here. In exchange, you are asked to post a review on your blog and a consumer website of 200 words or more. Once you provide BookSneeze with the link to your review, you can log in and request another book.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


There isn't a lot to report, but I figured I should stop by and say hi, and give an update.

The new keyboard has been installed, and the water glass is being kept far away.

The weather is warming up, and our alien snow soldiers have been melted. Just tiny remnants remain. The sun is out and there is a new hope and better attitudes.

Yesterday was International Women's Day, and my sister and I went to Momentum 2010, a symposium to commemorate the day. It was very interesting. We heard a panel speak on health care, got some holistic therapy, heard motivational speeches, and got information about a lot of organizations and groups that help connect women of different interests.

The census people have a lot of money to burn - at almost every event I go to, they are there, giving away lots of stuff - mugs and bags and pens, etc. Archeologists looking at my house years from now are going to think I must have worked there to acquire so much stuff.

I signed up to receive free books. I figure I can read them and then give them to the local library, since they aren't buying very many books any more. I have to review them on my blog. I hope that you find the reviews interesting, and if not, that you will simply ignore them and keep coming back to the occasional quilt picture.

I have put together the Quilts for Kids quilt top, and put the layers together - I birthed it. I hope to get it quilted, so I can get it in the mail soon. I'll get you a picture, maybe outside, before I mail it off.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I tend to keep a glass of water with me that I sip on throughout the day. I had just filled a large glass and was settling into some computer time when I spilled the whole glass all over the keyboard. Splash.

Water is good for people, not so good for keyboards. The keyboard does look a lot cleaner, but the number keys at the top of the letters don't work, and the control key. And the batch of keys in the center - the home key, the delete key. And the exclamation mark. Amazing how often I use them.

I'm just glad that the system is designed to allow me more than one way to do the same thing. The thing I miss the most is the at sign, I haven't figured out how to do it, and now I have to copy and paste it from one of my emails. I'm just glad it didn't damage anything else.

I did buy another keyboard - the box says it is spill resistant. I've just have been too lazy to do the switch.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Medals Ceremony

2010 Quilting Games

The Olympics are suddenly over. I am not a sports fan, but I did enjoy the figure skating and ice dancing. I also watched several other competitions, but as the days went on, I watched less and less, and was looking forward to a time that I could see something else on television. All the other stations played reruns or things I did not want to watch.

But it's all good, because it gave me more time to work on my own Quilting Games.
I told you earlier that I have started the competition for the 2010 Quilting Games. I entered the competition late, so I didn't get as much done as I would have liked. I competed in all of the categories:
  • Go back and Label a Quilt - no medal here, I didn't even see if I had any that needed labeling.

  • Work on a UFO - I'll take an honorable mention here, because I did continue to work on ripping out the border for the Moldy Crackers quilt. Even though it technically never became a UFO, I am working hard to make sure it doesn't become one. I also cut out some applique shapes for a UFO, but haven't attached them.
  • Organize your Sewing Space - A Bronze Medal for this one. I did spend some time clearing out the tables and the floor in the Sewing Space. Some of the stuff was just dumped in my bedroom, so I can't get a higher medal.

  • Expand your Knowledge - I'll take a Gold Medal here. I've read many blogs, and gotten lots of great ideas. Maybe too many ideas. I also read a couple of books and watched a video or two.

  • Try a New Technique - A Bronze Medal in this category. I have started fusible applique, which I technically haven't done in a quilt, although I did do some for the holiday gifts. Also hand quilting. But I haven't finished either project yet, so
  • Reach Out and Perform An Act of Quilty Kindness. I'll take an early Platinum Medal in this category. Besides making an effort to make more comments on blogs, I also received a kit for Quilts for Kids, as I showed you earlier. The top is pieced, and I'm hoping to finish it this week and mail it back to them.
2010 GeneaBloggers Game

I have started competing in the Winter 2010 GeneaBloggers Games.

I will be competing in all of the competition categories:
  • Go Back and Cite Your Sources - I didn't do this at all.

  • Back Up Your Data - a Gold Medal here. I backed up all my stuff, not just the genealogical stuff.

  • Organize Your Research - I didn't do this at all. I had taxes and FAFSa paperwork to do, and trying to organize / trash the paper I had with regular day to day stuff was enough. This is an area I definitely need to work on though.

  • Expand Your Knowledge - A Platinum Medal here. I watched several videos on the internet from Roots TV, which is now being discontinued. I also watched several shows on PBS for Black History Month. There were also histories on Ohio and some wars. I also did a little bit more research, getting about 10 obituaries. One of them raised a lot of new questions - this person had a lot of foster children who were included in her obit, as well as step or half siblings I had not known.

  • Write, Write, Write - I wrote on this blog, which means I am providing new history, so I'll give myself a small Bronze here, but otherwise I didn't write any history this year.

  • Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness - I'll take a Platinum Medal here. I indexed several batches of census records for www.familysearch.org.