Thursday, January 31, 2013

I hadn't really thought much about a garden this year until . . . . .
I found volunteer lettuce in one of the planter boxes.  Gotta go.  Time to get some dirt under my nails.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Rainy days are quilting days.  With rain in the forecast and a puppy dog gone to K-9 camp for the day, it seemed like the perfect day to hunker down for some quality time at my sewing machine.  After first getting some soup on the stove to simmer (and act as savory potpourri) I did just that.  Soon I had an excellent start on the quilt I am making for Hubby's heart surgeon.
I found the tutorial after a Google image search for 'heart quilts'.  You can check it out for yourself by going here.  Since the quilt is intended to be a gift from Hubby and I, I have saved some rows for Hubby to stitch onto the top.  Maybe he will allow me to document that with a photo or two  . . .  time will tell.
Now it's time to go pick up that tired little doggy. Today she not only got to play, but she got a bath and nails trimmed, too.  Monday she goes in to be spayed.  Surely the surgery and recovery will go much easier if she starts out clean and sweet smelling.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Direct from my design floor.
Proof that there has been actual-honest-to-goodness sewing going on around here.  And I must admit it has been FUN!  For far too long, I have felt as if I have just been going through the motions when it came to quilt projects - as evidenced by the abundance of unfinished projects and mounds of fabric strategically pulled and stacked up for a potential project in hopes of bringing on inspiration.
2013 is the year that I am going to reclaim myself, in a way that I will make time to do things - things that I have wanted to do but found it easier to find excuses not to.  I have signed up for some classes at the local community college.  Two on photography and a brush up of my high school Spanish.  If not now, when?  I am competitive by nature.  Once I determined that I would challenge myself to do this, the rest was easy.
Speaking of a challenge.  There was a 'savings plan' graphic floating around Facebook at the start of the year.  I thought it would be fun and then promptly forgot about it.  Last week Paula - The Quilter shared it again on her blog.
This morning Hubby and I each decided to take on the challenge and ponied up the first four weeks of savings.  In just 48 weeks, we will have a nice little stash that we can use for something fun.  During his recovery time, we developed quite a little Starbucks habit.  Just by cutting that out, we can make this challenge nearly pain-free.  And the fun of spending our bounty (in our minds) all year long will enhance the challenge even more.  Care to join in?

Monday, January 07, 2013

As quilters, we enjoy not only the fruit of our craft but also the sharing.  The making and giving of a quilt is not only a gift of the hand but a gift of the heart.  It matters not if the pattern and design are simple or difficult, if the fabrics are purchased from the latest designs at the quilt shop or culled from the recesses of your scrap bin.  Rather it's the investment of time that imbues that quilt with love for its intended recipients.
But gifts of the heart are not limited quilts.  They can come in many forms and sometimes from the most unexpected of sources.  On Christmas, I was the recipient of one of those very precious gifts of the heart.  A little background -
You will remember that I spent a good portion of 2012 working on (and keeping secret) a quilt for The Princess and her Intended as a wedding gift. (You can read the reveal post here.) When Son-in-Law (oh, how I MUST come up with a blog moniker for him) saw the photo of all the stabs to my quilting finger, he was appalled.  I tried to explain that getting that 'poke' on the finger let's me know that my needle had gone through all layers of the quilt, that it's all part of the process.  He wouldn't hear it!
 And so I Christmas Day, I became the lucky recipient of the first ever eThimble!  This thimble is to be worn on the under-the-quilt-hand with the power pack in your lap.  When your needle comes into contact with the thimble there is a little buzz to let you know you are successfully through all the quilt layers.  All while keeping your finger protected from the stabbing damage of that rocking stitch.
What a lucky girl I am to have such a thought-filled gift of the heart and such a Darling Yerno.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

 Happy New Year!
Only the second day of the new year and already so much is happening.  This morning Hubby returned to work.  It was really hard to say goodbye at the door. We are so thankful that his surgery and recovery went well and with relative easeWe slipped into a very nice daily routine of doing everything together - a sneak peek at our future retirement.  But work is necessary and so he had to go.
What will I fill my day with? 
Tonight is the first Quilt Pals get together of the 2013.  Our fearless leader has set us up for some fun.  Our assignment is to choose 32 fat quarters, cut them into specified strip sizes, place in labeled zip top bags and wait for further instruction.  Using these strips and the addition of other background fabrics, we are going to be making 7 different quilts - each unique and different.  A super-sized mystery for sure.
Yet I am already behind***.  I thought our return date was next week and have procrastinated cutting my strips.  This morning I ironed my chosen fat quarters.  This afternoon I will get those strips cut and add in the assigned background cuts for our first quilt.
In the meantime, I need make a dinner plan.  Ever since 2000, when I joined up with the Quilt Pals, Hubby and I have always opted for an 'every-man-for-himself' dinner plan which usually resulted in picking up fast-food of choice.  Now that that option is off the table, a little more planning is in order, with an eye toward something that holds up well to reheating.  Enter soup.
Speedy Chicken Posole to be exact.  We have enjoyed this recipe many times in the past.  Just a few simple adjustments bring it more into line with heart healthy eating - I baked the chicken pieces rather than saute them which eliminated all of the olive oil and I did not add any salt whatsoever.  It tastes just fine without either and the house smells *wonderful*
Each of these things has allowed me to have a little fun with my new toy.  Hubby presented me with an early birthday present last week.  I have been thinking about an SLR camera for some time.  The learning curve will be great to figure out all of the settings.  I'm planning to take a class, but that does not start until February.  In the meantime, I'll just twist and turn things and see what happens.  So far I am enjoying it very much.
Okay, back to work for me  . . . cutting quilt fabric waits for no woman.

***Update:  even before I could hit *publish* I received an email - Quilt Pals is next week after all.  What should I do?  Put the fabric away and cut another day or get the job done?  What to do? What to do?