Monday, January 31, 2011

A Whirlwind Weekend

It started Friday with a Tastefully Simple party at daughter Mary's.  It would have been much more simple (and enjoyable) had it not been for the demonstrator.  She had a slight case of laryngitis, and was certainly wanting all attention to be focused on her and not the products.  She let fly with a couple of stingers to daughter Mary (I'm trying to set up for your party and don't see that anything's been done.) Meanwhile, Mary had baked all the breads and cakes, made the dips and soups, all that were for sampling.  She gave dirty looks to the kids in the next room when she thought they were too loud.  And her method of demonstrating products was to read directly from the catalog. And although Mary had another party dated from hers, the demonstrator wasn't going to give Mary credit since she (the demonstrator) didn't want to travel that far (25 miles). Needless to say, she won't be doing any more shows for our family.

Then  on Sunday, Jake was baptized.  I was so proud of his suit, and received a lot of complements on it.  After the baptism, we all went to a local restaurant, where Kris and George had made arrangements for a buffet lunch. The food was great, the servers were quite attentive, and the company was enjoyable.  The baptism was at 10:45, and with the dinner and all, it was after 4 when we got home.  But, spending a day with family for such a special occasion is always rewarding.  And it made everyone, including Jake, smile.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Let the Fun Begin

Now that Jake's christening suit is finished, I can start on something new and fun.  I haven't made doll clothes for quite some time -- since Krissy was little.  But now she's into playing with her American Girl doll, and wanted some new clothes.  I'm always on the lookout for "quiet" things that Krissy and Izzy can do when they are here together, so I figured that 18" dolls would be perfect.  I've been getting catalogs from Home Sew and have been pleased with what I have ordered.  So, I ordered two of their 18" dolls at a cost of $20 each.  I ordered Abby for Izzy and Olivia for Krissy.  Krissy has a friend with red hair, and Olivia made me think of her.  Then I searched their catalog for some doll clothes patterns.  The Lord knows that, with my stash, finding fabrics to use wouldn't be a problem.  I chose two pattern sets.

I loved the patterns in this book.  Lots of cute dresses, pj's and shorts outfits.  But since it's so cold and snowy right now, I felt I needed something a little more suited to winter.

So I decided to purchase this pattern.  What little girl doesn't love jeans?  And I loved the backpack.  I have so many scraps of fleece that I can probably make a jacket and hat in nearly every color.   I also ordered Izzy a pair of pink crocs for her doll since she loves pink.  Krissy's crocs are yellow.

Aren't they just the cutest things?  I guess I'm a sucker for girls toys since I had four girls myself.

Then I got each of the girls a pair of boots -- Krissy's are hiking boots, and Izzy's are cowboy boots, oh no, not just plain but embroidered cowboy boots.

I swear that I had a pair just like this when I was in college.

Aren't these just the cat's pajamas?   Izzy was so excited when we opened the box this morning.  So, now  have to make a denim cowgirl outfit.

Needless to say, my days ahead will be filled with making doll clothes.  And for me, that's fun.

Keep sewing, Linda

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's Done

Yes, it's finally finished -- well almost.  I still have to sew the buttons on the back, and finish the bonnet.  But the stressful part is complete.  When I started this project, I truly believed that I had everything that I needed.  After doing crafts for 20 years, I would have thought that I had every size and color of ribbon that existed.  Boy was I wrong.  I searched high and low for 1/2" satin ribbon.  Oh I found 1/4", 1", but not the 1/2" that I needed.  However, in searching for the ribbon, I found this silver loopy braid.  I thought it looked pretty good, but would Kris and George approve??  They did, but then the white plastic heart shaped buttons looked cheap.  Back to the internet, and I found these silver buttons with glass centers that had the same loops as the braid.  I used my new machine for the buttonholes for the first time, and I've got to tell you that the more I use that machine, the more I love it.  This afternoon I'm hoping to get the buttons sewn on, and hope to finish the bonnet tomorrow morning.  I get the kids at 12:30, and sewing with them here isn't an option.  Sew, there it is, Jakes christening outfit for his christening on Sunday.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Be Attitudes Progress

Today I worked a little on the Be Attitudes quilt that I have in progress. (for a couple of years now)  When I started this quilt I was using a EuroPro machine, which I loved.  Since then, I got a very expensive Janome machine, and I'm still learning to use it.  Since I had already buttonhole stitched two of the blocks, I had to try and find a stitch that would come close to what I had used before.  So today, I "played" with the stitches on the machine, and found one that was pretty good.  In just a little over an hour, I had buttonhole stitched the "Be Kind" block.  It felt good to do something fun, something that wasn't for someone else, something quick that I wanted to do.  Now I have to locate the book so that I can work on piecing and tracing the applique for another block.  Stay warm.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Good News

This morning I had another egg mug.  This one was with a thin sausage patty, some sugar free syrup, egg beaters and cheese.  It was great.  I think I'm finally teaching myself to eat more healthy.  For dinner the other night, I chose sugar free applesauce instead of french fries.  And the next night, I chose a salad as my side dish.  I've had some sort of veggie each night.  And I'm feeling better.  But here's the best news.  When I weighed myself this morning, I am down 6-1/2 pounds from January 1.  It doesn't sound like much, but it's a major accomplishment for me, and I'm proud of myself.  It hasn't been easy, I've had to give up a lot of chocolate.  I now limit myself to one miniature per day (Dove chocolate, Hershey nugget, etc.).  That's a really big sacrifice  achievement for me -- I could live (or die) on chocolate.

I've finished the top half of Jake's christening outfit, and will post photos soon.  And much to Rod's delight, I've been doing something for dinner most nights.  There have been a lot of crock pot meals, but that's why we bought the crock pot trio.  Yesterday I tried my own version of two recipes.  Both were for apricot chicken, but had varied ingredients.  I put my chicken tenders in the crock pot.  Then I added one envelope of french onion soup mix on top of the chicken.  The next layer was 1/2 a jar of pineapple apricot preserves, with a final layer of Marzetti's honey mustard salad dressing.  It was delicious.  We had mashed potato patties, and the gravy was really good on them.  I think it would be equally yummy on pasta of some kind.

I guess I'm still flexible to change my ways.  See, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Let's Try This Again!

I thought I was eating healthier since the first of the year.  But something happened on Friday that made me rethink my choices.  I've always heard how good oatmeal was for you -- lowers your cholesterol and all that.  I buy the reduced sugar oatmeal, and truly felt it was a good thing.  Friday morning I decided to have a bowl of that oatmeal, as I hadn't had this for a few weeks.  A couple hours after eating breakfast, I was so sleepy that I couldn't stay awake.  I slept for over an hour -- alarmed when I woke up that that time had passed while two of the grandkids were in my charge.  I knew then that big changes had to be made.

I've been receiving the Hungry Girl  newsletter for a couple of years now, and have purchased three of her cookbooks, all with good intentions.  But to be honest, I haven't used them much.  Over the weekend, I remembered that she has several recipes for what she calls "egg mugs".  I found some of those recipes and decided it might be a good swap for my normal breakfast.  This morning, I diced up about 1 ounce of low fat ham and added to a large mug sprayed with non-stick spray.  I microwaved it for 30 seconds, and then added 1/2 cup of egg substitute.  I microwaved it for another 30 seconds, stirred it gently and microwaved for another 30 seconds.  Then I added one slice of fat-free american cheese and microwaved for 15 seconds.  I took the mug out, stirred it gently, and left it sit while I poured my diet cranberry juice.   After waiting for a minute or two, I dug in.  It was amazingly delicious -- and took almost no time at all.  I think I'm hooked.  There are so many variations.  Just think, add low fat (or meatless) sausage, some diced red pepper, and some cheese and you have a breadless breakfast burrito.  Now hopefully, I won't fall asleep today since I'm not loaded down with carbs.  More changes are on the way, stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BOM's for 2011

I love Blocks of the Month quilts.  Probably because each block is different, and I get bored making a bunch of blocks that are the same.  That's why I do so many sampler quilts. But as the saying goes, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.  Richt now in my forgotten projects  projects-in-progress drawers, I have a Pat Sloan Circle of Friends quilt from 2005 (not even started).  I have a Farmer's Market Quilt from Pat Sloan (blocks finished and put together waiting on borders).  I have a teapot BOM still in bags never started.

I have 6 blocks from this Be Attitudes quilt finished, I have all the fabrics (including the borders), but have never finished it.

I'm thinking that I should used 2011 as a BOM Catch Up.  If I did each quilt's block during the assigned month, think how many quilts I would have finished by the end of the year.  Hmmmm, what a neat idea.  Yes, I think it's a plan and I'll keep you posted on my progress.

So why, I ask myself, am I thinking of taking on another BOM??!!  Bunny Hill Designs has released the first block in a BOM entitled Henrietta Whiskers.  Henrietta is an adorable little squirrel, which is why I've decided to do this block.  My son-in-law calls Granddaughter Krissy "Squirrel".  She loves this little animal, and has some T-shirts with squirrels on them.  So, what better quilt to work on as a surprise for Krissy than this Henrietta Whiskers quilt.

They are talking about snowfall for the rest of this week, not a blizzard like the east coast is expecting, but a good enough reason to sew this weekend.  Stay warm and safe.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust

Solomon's Star
I've finished Solomon's Star, and have also finished cutting out Linda's Star.  I'm sorry that the photo quality isn't the best, but you get the idea.  I loved this block because there's a pinwheel, sort of a square in a square, and finally, it's a star.  So it's three great blocks rolled into one.

My project for today is to try and figure out why my Celtic Sunrise block is so whopper-jawed.  I was going to just throw it away, but I'm so tight  frugal that I just put it aside.  Now my "gumption" has decided that I can't let this block defeat me.  So I will do whatever it takes to put it together so that it's right.  Wish me luck!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

One Down!!

I did it!!!  I made it through the first week of watching Izzy and Jake.  On Wednesday, I had my doubts as to whether I could still do this, but as the week progressed, it got a little easier.  As a diabetic, I have to eat my meals -- no skipping.  Unfortunately, Jake's idea of Grammy's weight loss is to not let her eat.  Breakfast hasn't been a problem, since I eat before the kids get here.  Lunch was a different story.  On Wednesday, I made myself a smoked turkey sandwich with provolone cheese on an Arnold's Sandwich Thin, (if you haven't tried these, you don't know what you're missing).  Put it on a little plastic plate with some red seedless grapes, and fixed Izzy her lunch.  Jake must have sensed that I had left the living room, because he started to cry -- and I do mean cry!  I carried my lunch plate into the living room, set it down on the little table next to my chair and got Jake out of the swing.  I sat down in the chair and was trying to settle him down, when all of a sudden the plate slid off the table and my sandwich and all the grapes went flying.  Izzy laughed, but I wanted to cry.  I'm too old for this, I'm not physically up to this challenge, I told myself.  And the tears started to flow.  Izzy hugged me, told me not to cry, and promised to clean up my mess.  How can you be sad with such a great little helper??  I neglected to mention that the table is stacked with papers topped with my Kindle.  But I have to do this!! I wouldn't be content with someone else watching my grandkids.  So, I began to think, think, think.

I started by looking through my slow cooker books to find a few recipes that I could make, and began to plan menus for the week.  As I did the menus, I put what I needed on a grocery list.   Did you know that you can do baked potatoes in a crock pot??  Well, I didn't and I'm going to try it out.  With some decent planning and my "triple threat" crock pot, I should be able to put some easy, healthy meals on the table. How does "Peachy Pork Chops" or "Beefy Mushroom Steak" or "Apricot Chicken" sound?  Daughter Mary is a huge Rachel Ray fan, and is going to loan me one of her cookbooks.  Hopefully, I can find some 30-minute meals to add to my repertoire.

I've never prepared veggies in advance, but it sounds like it would work.  I'm thinking that if I chop the veggies for soups or stews the night before, I just have to throw it all in the crock pot the next morning.  And by using my new bread books, I can mix up bread dough on the weekend and bake it up through the week.  So, wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Brown Baggin' It

On Monday, my life changed again.  Daughter Kris went back to work, and so did I.  I watch the kids while she works.  It's a great job, but it's been three years since I took care of an infant and I forgot how much time a little one can take.  I had figured that I could cut blocks for my brown bag quilt in the early morning before the kids arrived, and sew during the day when I had time since I'm doing the blocks by hand.  But I didn't realize that Kris starts work now at 8:30 instead of 9:00.  Doesn't seem like that would make too much of a difference, but that half hour is a big thing for me.  I've completed all the blocks that I had cut out.  So either tonight or early tomorrow morning, I need to cut a few more.  Here's what's done so far:
Block #1  Castles in the Air
Block #2  Coxey's

Block #3  Hunter's Star

Block #4  Nativity Star

Block #5 Album
So, the first 5 blocks are finished.  I have downloaded the instructions for the next two that I want to do.  Again, I found these blocks at Quilter's Cache.  The first one that I want do do is Solomon's Star.  I really love the look of this block.  I just have to decided which fabrics to use for this one.

The second block that I want to do is called Linda's Star.  Can you guess why I chose this one???  No really, I really loved the star in a star.  I have never seen a block like this.  And again, I haven't picked which fabrics to use, yet.  

So, basically I've been babysitting and just brown baggin' it.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Word of the Year

Last year I chose "determination" as my word of the year.  Reading my post from December 31, 2009, I realized that as the year progressed, my determination was pushed aside.

I have chosen "Focus" as my word of 2011.  Merriam-Webster defines focus as "to concentrate attention or effort".  The key word for me is "concentrate".  As I walk through 2011, I need to concentrate on what I want out of life. I need to concentrate on what I need to do to achieve my various goals and dreams.  I need to focus on the main path and block out all the gobbledegook that takes me off that path and onto the side roads.

I guess that I should wear blinders like they used to put on horses.  That way I can only look forward and not be distracted by what's on the sides.  So today, I begin to focus.  Have you chosen a word of the year??

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

It's here.  The New Year 2011.  And I'm sure that we're all wondering what this year will bring.

I posted the other day about my decision to eat more healthy.  I had asked daughter Mary (a scrap booker) if she could come up with some way for me to keep track of my exchanges, and how what I ate affected my blood sugar.  Mary is just amazing with the internet, and can find things in some of the most unusual places.  You may notice a new button on my home page for Move More, Eat Less.  Mary found this website through her scrap booking, but Cathy Zielske  has created this wonderful weight loss/eat healthy journal and is offering it for digital download for a small fee.  It looks just perfect for what I was looking for.  Mary downloaded it and is currently personalizing it for my needs.  So, I'm joining Cathy's project.  If becoming more healthy in 2011 is your goal, too, why not jump on this train and ride along.