Monday, September 30, 2013

I am a planner.  Our datebook is quickly filling up.  With our wedding anniversary this week, Hubby and I have that entire day blocked out and filled with fun things to do to celebrate.  Invitations have gone out and some rsvp's are already back for Thanksgiving dinner at our home in November this year.  We have had our New Year's Eve celebration booked for several weeks.  Today's mail brought an envelope from Ticketmaster with show tickets for our Valentine's 2014 date night.  And now you know what I'm going to say  . . . . it is never too early to start thinking about Christmas.
With that out in the open, let me tell you about a unique Etsy shop that you might just want to check out.  One of the Quilt Pals has been making these bird houses that she consigns and now also sells on Etsy with the proceeds going to an organization that rescues, fosters, and finds loving forever homes for animals in need.  From her bio:

About
I have been an animal lover for more years than I can count. My love is Golden Retrievers and assisting in finding homes for rescued animals. I volunteer for a rescue in Southern California and came up with this idea to donate much needed fund to assist with the loving care for the animals. Added to my love of the animals I believe in recycling and not throwing away things that can be re-used and re-purposed. I am always looking for things to re-make into items that serve a purpose. With these passions’ I am making these fun, recycled and very functional birdhouses. The Wrens in my area come back year after year to nest in the ones in my yard. 

She makes these one-of-a-kind bird houses using bits and bobs of things that most folks would consider trash.  Several of the Quilt Pals regularly bring her rusty crusty castoffs, knowing she will not only receive them with great delight but turn them into something fun and useful.  I keep (and really do need to turn over to her SOON) a box in the of scrap hardware in the garage. 
I know they are great because I am the proud owner of  one!
The best part in all of this is just how much *bang* you get for your buck - reducing what goes to landfills, helping with rescue animals, providing a home for birdies that visit your yard, and the warmth in your heart when you give a gift to a family member or friend that helps in so many ways.  The only way it could get better is if you bought two and kept one for yourself.
So go visit her shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/BirdHouses4theDogs?ref=search_shop_redirect
buy a little something and tell her Libby sent you!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

When I was about four years old, some friends of my parents invited me to join them at a local big time rodeo.  Just for the occasion, my mom took me shopping and outfitted me in the best red with white fringe cowgirl skirt and vest to be found in the county.  But the true object of my heart's desire was a pair of cowboy boots!  Mom was certain 'those pointy toed boots would somehow cause my young feet to grow deformed.'  This motherly concern left me to make due with some very unfashionable, yet sensible Buster Brown lace-up oxfords.
I don't remember much about my day at the rodeo, but I've never forgotten just how very badly I wanted those cowboy boots.  The good news is that my feet grew and grew.  They didn't stop until they reached a very healthy and non-deformed size 11 (which for most of my teens and 20's was a VERY difficult size to find).
Today my longing ended, at the ripe old age of 53, I am sporting my very first pair of cowboy boots.  Just so Mom wouldn't worry too much (or maybe she was guiding my purchase from heaven) I chose a style with a slightly rounded toe.  They are everything I have dreamed they would be!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Well, it looks like my hobby has become food!  Why not?  We all have to eat  . . .  every day  . . . . three times a day (plus snacks)  So why fight it, right?  Hubby and I continue to work diligently to follow a heart healthy, low fat, low sodium diet.  My job is to find good foods that fit that mold.  His job is to keep track of what we eat to make sure we stay within our guidelines.
Today I had an epic FAIL in preparing dinner.  My plan had been to make a mushroom barley risotto from the AHA cookbook.  I planned to use broccoli instead of asparagus because that's what I had on hand.  I've made the recipe before, with success.  Today that barley was just NOT absorbing the stock.  That's when I discovered I had used wheatberries instead of barley *ooops*  So I turned the whole thing into a wheatberry/mushroom/broccoli soup.  Please tell me this is how the great chefs come up with their recipes.
Also on hand I had some grapefruit gifted from a friend's tree.  Enter the Eat Clean Cookbook and a citrus salad recipe.
It will be a bright note against the wintry soup, but I think it would make a great addition to any breakfast table, too.  Why do I get in my head that 'salad' can only be a lunch or dinner dish?
Okay, enough of food  . . . I do still sew.  I have started working on Bittersweet Briar, an applique pattern by Kim Diehl.  I have not done any applique for a very long time.  I'm finding it fun and satisfying.  Hopefully there will be enough progress soon to share a photo.  Stay tuned, I just couldn't bear to ignore my blog until then.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A quilt!  I made a quilt!  I finished a quilt!  That's right - I feel the need to just *SHOUT* it to the mountain tops!  I FINISHED A QUILT!!!!!
I have been suffering from 'maybe-I-just-don't-feel-like-quilting-itis' for a very long time.  Earlier in the summer, I was cruising the Internet looking at quilt blocks trying to find something that might spark my interest.  While looking through Google Images at Carpenter's Star blocks, I stumbled up a bunch that made me think of fireworks.  I pulled out some fabrics and started cutting and sewing.  No pattern in hand, just referring back to photos online. I have since learned there is a pattern called 'Swoon' that is the source of many of the inspiration photos.  I have chosen to name my quilt 'Summer Nights'.  The finished size is 75" square and the blocks are 16".   It's going to look great on the dining room table.  But best of all, I feel like a quilter again.
More than anything, it has just been about finding a balance.  And in so doing, quilting got pushed way off to the side.  So what else have I been doing?  Well, last weekend we traveled back to Hubby's hometown for a high school reunion.  It was a reunion that included 20 years of graduating classes.  It was fun for us both and a great getaway.  We enjoyed some time in Morro Bay -
Here is our view of Morro Rock at dinner.  Didn't matter that it was foggy, we knew it was there.
We have also been enjoying 'Breakfast on the Bluff' on the weekends.  We pack up chairs, breakfast, thermos of coffee and head to the beach.  Then we set ourselves up at the edge of the bluff.
This morning we enjoyed watching surfers, kayakers, stand-up-paddle boarders, dolphins and the occasional bird.  It was a great way to start the day.  And then we were right there to go on a nice walk when breakfast was over.
And now in the keeping with that life balance thing, it's time to step away from the computer.  But just know that I am already pulling fabrics for the next quilt.  I'm so excited to get started. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Stitching down binding is my favorite part of quilting. If you need me after the last stitch is in place, you will find me waiting In the laundry....that moment a new quilt comes fresh from the dryer is just the best!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Don't you love when you have 'just enough'?

Monday, September 09, 2013

 On September 9, 1850, California became the 31st state in the union.  Happy Birthday, California!