Monday, February 28, 2011

Sam's Diet Update #8...

I figure it's about time for another update on Sam's diet.  It's been a month since I last reported on her progress.  I weighed her this morning and she's lost 0.7 lbs!  Unfortunately, it's the same 0.7 lbs she lost back in the beginning of January.  Between then and now she managed to gain it all back and we've been struggling to take it off again.

She's very, very sneaky and has managed to find food in unexpected places.  I can't let my guard down for an instant.  Mr. Quilting Bug isn't on to her tricks and whenever I'm out of town, she manages to pull a fast one over on him and get extra food.

Do you see the food in her bowl?  That's actually a full portion for her.  She gets the same amount 3 times a day.  How she's not as thin as a stick is beyond me.

However, she is getting around better now that a little of the weight has come off.  Her joints don't pop with every step she takes.  I've also been able to stop giving her one of her medicines.  Both positive side effects.

Of course, there are some negatives too.  She's obviously not happy with the whole diet thing and isn't remiss in letting me know.  She's cranky as all get up - except for those days she's on her happy medicine.  This medicine is supposed to help alleviate any pain or discomfort she's having, but I'll admit I give it to her sometimes to give me a break.  (Is that wrong of me?)

We started her diet on July 4th, 2010 and so far she's only lost 1.6 lbs.  She needs to lose at least another 2.  At this rate, it'll be next year before she makes it.  I wonder if I can hold out that long.  Please pray for us...

So as of today, Sam's new stats are...
  • Starting Weight - 17.9 lbs
  • Target Weight - less than 14 lbs
  • Last Weigh-in - 17 lbs
  • Current Weight - 16.3 lbs
  • Net loss - 0.7 lbs
  • Total Weight Lost - 1.6 lbs
Until later...

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.  
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Stash Report Week #8 (back in the red)...

February 19 - 25, 2011

So I managed to stay in the black for a total of one week. On the positive side, I caught a cold and had to skip going to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival yesterday.  I can only imagine what my totals would have been had I made it to the show (and vendors).

Yesterday I went to Quilts Like Crazy to see if they had any fabric I could use for the backing to my Mystery quilt.  Even though I bought one of the fabrics in the quilt from there, I had it stuck in my head that they didn't have very much of it left.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong.  (How often can you say that?)  I bought 6.5 yards of this black batik to use for the backing and binding.

As for what I've accomplished this week, that would be pretty much nothing.  I worked a little on my Winter Wonderland block (see last post), but have spent almost no time at all in my sewing room lately.  I've been very run down this past week and I'm finding it hard enough just to get done the things that have to get done.

Purchased-this-week: 6.5 yards
Used-this-week: 0 yards
Purchased-to-date: 42.5 yards
Used-to-date: 38 yards
Net used: -4.5  yards

I'm not even going to guess if I can make this up next week.  I still feel like crawling right back in bed and pulling the covers over my head.

This is a picture of my parent's cat Cricket from last weekend.  I love these kind of shots...

Until later...

Trust God all the time. Tell him all your problems, because God is our protection.”  
Psalm 62:8 (NCV)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Snowflakes up the wazoo...

Not the wet cold kind, but more the thread and needle type.

I've mentioned before that my mom and I are both working on making the quilt Winter Wonderland by Crabapple Hill.  (You'll have to click on the link to see a picture of the whole quilt.)  She's doing hers in blues and creams and I'm using neutral colored flannels and black floss for mine.

Our first step is to embroider the ten blocks that make up the center.  When I visited her last weekend, she was working on her very last one which also happens to be the biggest.

Mom's Winter Wonderland Block
 She only had a tiny bit left (which she's since finished) of one of the trees and a few snowflakes.

Didn't she do a great job with her embroidery stitches?  She used a deep blue DMC perle cotton for hers on Bone colored Kona cotton.

I'm actually working on the same block.  It's not my last one; I still have two more to go after I finish it.  But after hearing her talking about how hard this one was compared to the others, I thought I'd go ahead and get it out of the way.  I'm like that in most things.  I generally do the hard or unpleasant tasks first and save the more enjoyable things for last.  It gives me more to look forward to.  In any case, here's how far I had gotten on mine when we compared...

The start of my block
Hmmm.  Not very far at all.  Each block has a lot of snowflakes with millions of tiny circles.  (That's only a slight exaggerration.)

See all those circles?  As another example of getting the hard part over with, I'm stitching all the snowflakes (and their circles) first.  I believe there are 22 of the devils in this one block.  However, since I took this picture, I've managed to finish all of them and have moved on to one of the trees.  Those are much easier and more enjoyable to stitch.

As I mentioned, this is block #8 for me and I have 2 smaller ones to complete after this one.  I'm eager to finish them so I can get back to some hand applique.  I'm on block 11 of this quilt and I hope to actually finish it in time for Halloween this year...

Baltimore Halloween by P3 Designs
Pearl P. Pereira designed this Baltimore Halloween quilt and I have to say that her patterns are a pleasure to work with.  There are several others I'd like to do and in fact, I'm getting her Baltimore Christmas one as a block of the month right now from Shabby Fabrics.

Until later...

Let us stop just saying that we love people. Let us really love them, and show it by our actions.”  
1 John 3:18 (LB)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Twisted Rope (Wrap Up!)...

As I mentioned in my stash report, this quilt is done!  In fact, I've already delivered it to it's new owner and she immediately put it on their bed. So this is my wrap up post on the quilt and after this, I shall cease to mention it.  Or maybe not.  I really like this quilt. 

When I last posted on it, I still had some quilting to do in the borders.  I added a feathered heart to the border on each side. I drew the hearts on the Golden Thread quilting paper, quilted over them and just tore the paper away...

After I removed the paper, I went back and added circles to the spine here and on the rest of the border.  Although not difficult to do, it was rather monotonous...

Here's a look at the border from the back.  The quilting shows up really nicely (in person) on the dark green backing.

She particularly liked the feathered wreaths in the open areas.  Donna Sontag quilted them for me using the HQ Pro-Stitcher.

 What's great about this quilt is there is no top or bottom.  It's square and can be oriented in any direction.  You could even use it with the backing side up if you wanted.  So here it is finished...

It's really hard to get a good overall picture of such a large quilt.  This is a picture of it before I finished the borders and put the binding on...

The stats for this quilt are:
  • Size: 113" square
  • Fabrics: Williamsburg Centennial Collection 1780-1880 (blue), Charleston 1850-1865 (green), Tidings by Nancy Halvorsen (cream), Summer's End by Kansas Troubles (backing)
  • Batting: Quilters Dream Cotton Batting Request Loft
  • Thread: Superior Threads So Fine 50 wt in various colors
  • Quilting: Custom (mostly feathers)
  • Started in April 2010, completed February 2011.
So that about does it.  It feels so great to have finished this quilt (my largest one ever), but it also make me want to make one for our bed.  But I think I need to finish a few smaller projects before starting another one this big.

Until later...

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance”  
1 Corinthians 13:7 (NLT)

Cats and boxes, bags and fabric...

If you have a cat, you know how much they love boxes, bags and fabric.  I thought I'd pay a little homage to these creatures and their obsessions... (Note: I took the first three pictures all within the last week.)

David on the freezer
Cricket in a basket
Moses in my duffel bag
David on the washer
Jack on my Christmas table runner
Moses in the laundry basket
David in my sewing box
Jack on my sewing box
David in a cardboard box
I've got lots more pictures, but I think I'll stop here.

Until later...

Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”  
Ephesians 4:2 (NLT)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stash Report Week #7...

February 12 - 18, 2011

This report is way overdue for a couple of reasons.  First, I was out of town visiting family over the weekend.  Second, when I returned home, I couldn't get on the internet.  You never know how much you depend on something until it's no longer there.  Our router died and we had to wait for the new one to be delivered and for my awesome and talented husband to install and configure it. 

I was rather eager to write this report because it will finally put me in the black!  For only the second week this year, I bought no fabric.  (This was supposed to be the norm rather than an anomaly...)

And this week, I managed to complete the largest quilt I have ever made to date - Twisted Rope.  I'm planning to do a wrap up post on this quilt soon so I'll spare you all the details other than to say it finished at 113" square.  I used 11.5 yards for the backing and binding.  I also had 2.25 yards left of one of the fabrics that I gave to the quilt's new owner.  So that was 13.75 yards for this one quilt - plus I can finally say it's done!

Twisted Rope
Early last week, I also worked on a couple of table toppers and a table runner.  I posted about it here.  I used 2.5 yards for all 3 items.

Purchased-this-week: 0 yards
Used-this-week: 16.25 yards
Purchased-to-date: 36 yards
Used-to-date: 38 yards
Net used: 2 yards

Yippee!  I'm in the black!  Except I need to buy 6 yards for a backing next week, so unless I really get to sewing, this won't last long.

Until later...

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.  
John 13:35 (NLT)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In the meantime...

I'm almost done with the Twisted Rope quilt I've been working on.  I finished the quilting yesterday and I'm in the process of hand stitching the binding to the back.  It will be nice to put the last stitches in this one - probably this weekend.

In the meantime, I thought I would share some pictures of Jack I took a couple of days ago.  I've never met a cat that enjoys being petted and scratched more than her- as you can tell from some of the pictures...

I don't know that I'll blog much in the next week.  Besides finishing the binding on this quilt, I'm traveling this weekend and I'm super exhausted and need to catch up on some rest before then.  If I'm not back before next week, have a great weekend and enjoy the warm weather! (It's supposed to be in the upper 70's here.)

Until later...

Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest; then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine. 
Proverbs 3:9-10 (HCSB)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I have to give you some background first for this post to make any sense.  For years, I had this pain under my arms and to either side of my chest.  It didn't hurt to walk around or do everyday activities, but if pressure was ever exerted there, it hurt like the dickens.  As if you had a severe bruise or an open sore and someone was poking it. 

I probably wouldn't have noticed it much if it weren't for my furry companions, who think nothing of traipsing all over my body during the night.  Whenever they would step on one of these spots, I couldn't help but cry out and if I happened to be sleeping...  Well, let's just say I couldn't stay asleep.

Fast forward to last fall.  I noticed one day that for the first time in years, I no longer hurt there - even when I pressed on it.  But I didn't think much of it, other than to be grateful that the pain was gone.  And then several weeks ago, it suddenly reappeared.  Perhaps because it hadn't been my constant companion for a while, it felt that much worse.  I started sleeping with a pillow across my chest so that if one of the cats walked across there, I had a buffer to protect me.  I tried to think about what had changed.  Why had it hurt for so many years, suddenly disappeared only to reappear several months later.

After careful consideration, I realized that two things had changed during these times.  First, I was taking more acetaminophen again.  I had gotten down to maybe 2 pills a day, but when my fibro flared up, I started taking a lot more.  The second things that was different was my use of deodorant.  I used to use it every day, but somehow got out of the habit last fall.  The weather was nice and I didn't really need it.  I had recently starting back using it for no other reason than it was there and it smelled nice.

I did some research on the internet (which I should probably have done years ago) and discovered that my symptoms could be caused by a reaction to the aluminum in my anti-perspirant.  I had no idea that the chemicals in it can actually cause your lymph nodes under your arms to swell.  Everything I read said that the effects would subside after a couple of weeks of not using it.  It's been about a week and a half and the pain is gone again.  Better yet, I now know what was causing it and can avoid it in the future.  That's why I wanted to share this with you.  It's rather personal, but I hope if anyone else out there has the same symptoms, it might give you a direction to look in.  I was using Dove deodorant, but have tried lots of others in the past.  I believe that most of them contain aluminum but you can always look at the ingredients list to see.

For my friends - don't worry.  I plan to find a natural alternative before summer rolls around!

Until later...

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Ephesians 5:20 (NLT)

Monday, February 14, 2011

A little instant gratification...

I have several projects I should be working on right now - mainly quilting some tops.  But after my outing last week with the girls, I wanted to play with some of my new fabric.   So I spent some time over the weekend working on a table runner using this fabric...

Dominique II charm pack and yardage
First, I cut up the charm pack into pieces and started sewing them back together.  It took all of about 15 minutes to cut it and make these...

Another 10 minutes and I had 42 - 4.5" blocks that looked like this...

I laid them out on my cutting table to get an arrangement I liked.  That probably took the most time,but I tried not to be too fussy...

I sewed these blocks together (plus a couple of orphan blocks), added some sashing and borders and in no more than a couple of hours I had myself this cute little table runner...

It's the perfect size for my kitchen table once it's quilted.  However, not only did I have this table runner, I made a couple of other smaller pieces from the leftovers.  It took so little time, I was even able to quilt and bind one of them before going to bed.  Here's the front...

Table topper - 17" square
And here's the back where you can see how I quilted it...

I didn't know what I was going to do with it when it was done, but it just so happens to work perfectly on my coffee table...

Now after that brief break, I'm ready to get back to turning some tops into quilts.

Until later...

If one falls down,his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 
Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NIV)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Stash Report Week #6...

 February 5 - 11, 2011

It's that time again.  Time to fess up to my purchases.  I've already mentioned in the last post that my quilt bee went on a field trip this week.  Now it's time to come clean about what I bought.  (At least I restrained myself from buying the bundle of 53 civil war fat quarters.  That would have been a huge bump to my totals!)

As luck would have it, I had to pee as soon as I got to one of the quilt stores.  To get to the bathrooms, you have to walk through their back storage area.  On my way out, I noticed they had just gotten in some Pom Pom de Paris charm packs.  They were so new, they weren't even on the shelves yet.  But when I asked, they were glad to quickly add them to their inventory system so I could buy a couple.  How's that for customer service?

2 Charm Packs of Pom Pom de Paris = 1.5 yards
I think I've loved every line that French General has come out with!  I also found this cute cat print.  It looks like a newspaper where all the stories are about cats.  I bought a yard of it to make a tote bag.

Kitty Newsprint = 1 yard
I also bought a couple of fat quarters in a pretty shade of pink.  I don't have anything in mind for them, but I just really liked the color.

2 Pink Fat Quarters = .5 yards
I also bought enough fabric to make 2 table runners.  I already had the patterns at home and knew each one took a single charm pack and a small amount of yardage.  First up was a charm pack of Dominique II, half a yard of the Primitive Muslin and a yard of the brown floral for the border.

Table Topper #1 = 2.25 yards
For the second table runner, I started with a Collection for a Cause - Hope charm pack and added another half yard of Primitive Muslin and a yard of dark brown for borders and binding.

Table Runner #2 = 2.25 yards
That's a grand total of 7.5 yards in.  And I'm glad to say that I used more than that this week.  Although you'll have to take my word for it.  I finished a quilt top that used 9.5 yards of fabric, but I can't share it with you just yet.  I've taken plenty of pictures though and will show you just as soon as I get the OK.

Purchased-this-week: 7.5 yards
Used-this-week: 9.5 yards
Purchased-to-date: 36 yards
Used-to-date: 21.75 yards
Net used: -14.25 yards

There's a chance, a very slight chance, that I might be able to break even next week.  We'll just have to see how the week progresses.

Until later...

Because of your faith, it will happen.” 
Matthew 9:29 (NLT)

Road trip...

Every so often my quilt bee gets together and plans a road trip.  This week was just such an occasion.  One of our favorite quilt stores recently moved and we were eager to check out the new location.  Whistle Stop Quilt Shop moved from Selma to Cary, NC and Connie has done a wonderful job setting up the new store.  With her permission, I managed to get a few good pictures of the space...

First up is a quilt she had hanging in the old store.  What a great way to personalize a quilt!

This section of the store is primarily civil war and reproduction fabrics.

Can you see that bundle of fabric on the right hand side, middle shelf?  Here's a closeup...

I really, really liked this bundle of civil war fat quarters - especially all the pinks in it.  I would love to own it, but talked myself out of buying it.  If it's still there when I go next time, I'll know it's meant to be and snap it up.

This store has more room than the old shop and she's gotten in several new lines of fabric including Dominique II, Sunkissed and Buttercup.  She also carries Primitive Muslin.  The link takes you to the page at Fat Quarter Shop where you can get a good look at the colors.  I wouldn't mind having a bolt of each of them in my stash.  (I'd have to win the lottery first though.  And I expect I'd have to buy a ticket before that could happen either.)

She carries quite a number of charm packs too.  And as you may or may not know, I have a bit of a thing for charm packs.

All in all, we were very happy with the new store and wish her all the best with it.

Considering there's another quilt store about 5 minutes away from Whistle Stop, we had to stop by there as well.  It's called Elegant Stitches and isn't only a quilt store, but also carries smocking and heirloom sewing supplies.  I have a good friend who enjoys smocking and buys all her supplies from this store.

They had some adorable clothing samples for kids, like this little dress and pant set...

And I fell in love with this little dress.  It made me wish I knew of a little one I could make it for.

The store carries such a wide variety of items that it's easy to spend a lot of time looking around - and we did.

While we were out, I managed to make a few purchases here and there.  (The operative words are here AND there.)  But I'll wait until I do my stash report to share them.  This post is long enough.  I hope you enjoyed the tour and if you're in the area, you really should stop by both of them.

Until later...

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. 
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)