Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Moveable Feast

"A Moveable Feast" is the title of a literary work composed of Hemingway's memoirs of Paris.  That's not what this post is about.  I'm using the phrase more literally--this year our Thanksgiving feast is traveling with us up to the Wild Child's home in Humboldt.  We did this last year, although I don't think we hauled as much "stuff" with us last year.  Another difference was that we had our Thanksgiving feast ON Thanksgiving.  That's not the case this year; we'll have our family Thanksgiving meal on Saturday because the Wild Child has to work today.

Soccer Son and his Lovely Wife, their dog Izzy, Hubby and I, and my sister-in-law are heading north in two vehicles, taking with us a Weber (to barbecue the turkey), folding chairs, a folding table, luggage, and various items of food.  Thanksgiving at the Wild Child's little apartment is a bit of an adventure since she doesn't have an oven or a stove top; hence, the Weber.  She does, though, have a microwave, a toaster oven, and an electric burner or two.  So dinner takes a little planning, but it's very "do-able."  Besides hauling all that, though, we also have a big box and a second bag filled with this stuff--and more:

It's become our family tradition to make gingerbread houses every year, and we've done it on or near Thanksgiving for the past couple of years.  So after we've eaten turkey and all the other dishes that accompany it, we'll settle down to be as creative as our full bellies will allow.  Why, you might wonder, are we hauling all of the gingerbread house stuff with us instead of buying it once we get there?  Well, last year the Wild Child and I went shopping for gingerbread house kits in Eureka and absolutely could not find any pre-assembled houses.  And if you've ever messed around with a gingerbread kit, you probably know that trying to construct the walls and roof and getting the pieces to stick in a short period of time is incredibly frustrating.  So this year, when I found a variety of pre-assembled house kits, I bought them.  Besides the four you see here, I have one more PLUS one kit of smaller houses that--yes--do need to be "glued" together, but they're extra in case anyone else shows up or if couples won't collaborate on a shared house.

Today, on Thanksgiving, I'm making the dressing to take with us; Hubby's baking a pie or two and some homemade honey wheat rolls.  And we're treating ourselves to a Thanksgiving meal in a restaurant we love, Seasons 52.

Seasons 52 uses fresh and organic ingredients and each of their dishes is 475 calories or less--the perfect choice for those of us struggling to shed a few pounds during the holiday season.

So it will be a fairly relaxing and quiet day for us, but that's just as well since we'll be up early in the morning, attempting to shoe-horn everything we need to take into our two cars.  I hope you and your family are enjoying the holiday together.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

That's Just Wrong

Back in the dark ages when offices had nearly as many "dedicated word processors" as they had "personal computers" and networks were a new concept, the internet was born. And you all know that about two minutes later, Bonnie Hunter started Quiltville, right? And Yahoo started "groups." And quilting circles grew much larger as we reached out across the virtual universe and made contact with one another. To do that, of course, we all needed internet access and email accounts. And life was good.

Like every other quilter, about ten minutes after the internet was invented, I opened an email account. And I wanted my email address to reflect my interests--to tell everyone who the "real me" was and what I was into. I knew, of course, there were already tons and tons of email addresses with the word "quilter" in them, but I also knew applique--which I loved--was dreaded by many and referred to in quilting circles as the "A word." Reason told me there would be fewer email addresses that referenced applique--so that's what I decided use in my email address. Perfect!

Before long, everyone in the world jumped aboard the internet train and "social media" was born. The days of home gaming on Nintendo (remember ATARI?!) morphed into "apps" that were available on every hand-held, laptop, or desktop device.

That first email account I opened is the one I still use when asked for an email address. Spam just can't be avoided, so I give out that email address knowing businesses share email information, and I'm likely to get even more spam in that account. Oh, well, that's life in the modern world. At least that way, I can keep spam in my other email account--the one associated with this blog and less public in some ways--to a minimum.

But you know what? Recently it came to my attention that the vast majority of people I give that first email address to have absolutely no idea about quilting and applique. And so to most of the population, I'm not recognized as an appliquer anymore. Nope. Now my email address is read as "app liquer." Seriously? I don't even own a cell phone to run apps on!

I wonder if anyone wants to pay me big bucks to buy my old email address? Probably not. Definitely not anyone who would be reading THIS blog anyway! Ah, well.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


What have I been doing since we last "talked"?  Well, the same old thing mostly--spending time exercising and eating foods with few calories.  I went to see my doctor last week and he officially sanctioned the discontinuation of my blood pressure medicine.  It was kind of funny because I told the nurse that one of the things I wanted to talk with the doctor about was my blood pressure; then, when she took my blood pressure, she said, "well, it's perfect!" and looked at me like she didn't know why I'd want to talk with the doctor about it.  Little did she know I'd already stopped taking the medication (although I was monitoring my blood pressure daily, just in case).

I was also concerned that the recent blood work the doctor ordered didn't include a test for diabetes--I know it's kind of funny to suddenly become concerned about diabetes now that I'm actually doing something to prevent it, but I had read an article recently that suggested many of the symptoms of diabetes are easily explained by other things, so sometimes it's not diagnosed right away.  Fortunately the lab still had some of my blood and were able to test it and confirm I do not have diabetes.  Woo-hoo!  So all in all, a clean bill of health and a whole lot of encouragement by my doctor to keep doing what I've been doing.

Of course, as I've mentioned, my new routine leaves me little time on weeknights for anything fun like quilting so I had to wait until this weekend before I did a little more quilting on the Comfort and Joy quilt.  Yes, it's very slow going with maybe about a quarter of the center section quilted now.  But I'll keep plugging away at it.  I can't help but think that if I can just squeeze in a half hour a night on weeknights, that would get me SO much further along, wouldn't it?  Well, I'll try.

So what else have I been doing?  Do you remember I said I wanted to see if I could get some Christmas decorating done before Thanksgiving?  Well, I've done some of that . . . sort of.  Some of you were also going to start decorating early while others said you just don't feel right decorating early.  And as it turns out, I'm straddling both sides of the fence!  While I haven't actually unpacked any boxes of decorations, I HAVE prepared the living room and kitchen for decorating--and the master bedroom, too, to some extent.  I've made sure everything unnecessary is cleared away from shelves and surfaces to make room for the decorations.  I've moved furniture around.  I've cleaned all the nooks and crannies.  Where there are things I switch out for Christmas--like using red chair pads on the kitchen chairs instead of beige, for instance--I've done that.  Many of my Christmas quilts are up.  And Hubby put our artificial tree together, but it's not lighted or decorated yet.

I'll continue on in this fashion probably until after Thanksgiving, and then I hope the rest of the actual "decorating" will go quickly.  It seems like a good compromise.  Christmas isn't beating us over the head, but the house is looking cozy and inviting.

One thing I haven't done lately is scrap piecing--I just keep looking at the Pie in the Sky blocks up on the design wall thinking I'll get back to them one of these days.  But for those of you who are continuing with Scrap Basket Sunday, here's Mister Linky:

Please add your link so we can visit your blog to see what you've been working on. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hello Out There!

I went to the local quilt show yesterday and ran into some of my quilting acquaintances and friends who I haven't seen recently.  As I mentioned to many of them, I'm looking forward to a time when I have reached whatever weight I'm happy with, so I can cut back a little bit on the exercise routine and have a little more time for quilting.  If I had to pick one thing I miss most since embarking on this little journey of mine, I think it would have to be the time for sewing.

Otherwise, though, I'm doing pretty well.  I can't tell you how many pounds I've lost because I don't weigh myself--although the next time I visit my doctor's office, I'll be able to compare.  However, I've lost a few pant sizes.  And that's another thing!  I feel like I'm spending an awful lot of time shopping for things to wear.  Of course, it's not just the fun stuff either--it's stuff like PJs and bras and all those things that are necessary but too utilitarian to be exciting, especially since I know I'll likely be buying the same things again in a couple months. And since I don't plan to be wearing any of the things I've been buying for very long, I have to be smart about spending money, so I've spent time scouring a few thrift stores for tops and dresses and department stores for sales on the things I don't want to buy used.

Ironically, at my office, the staff haven't really had a place to hang our coats since they turned the coat closet into a medical library years ago.  After some off-and-on lobbying for a place to hang our coats, they've finally made room for us in a utility closet.  Unfortunately, though, I don't have a coat to hang in there because the one I had is too large now!  So I can see another shopping trip to the thrift stores is in my future because I really don't want to pay close to $100 for a coat that I hope won't fit next year.

Besides missing sewing, I also miss chatting with you, although until I have more fun things to show and talk about, I suppose I'll continue to be fairly silent.  My best guess at this point is that the diet and exercise routine will last a few more months before I get to a point I'm happy with.

I can tell you, though, that I feel a lot better.  Cleaning house and doing anything else physically active is a breeze.  Decorating the house for fall was simple as pie--which I can't eat.  And I hope decorating for Christmas will be equally painless and quicker than normal.  Maybe best of all, it looks like I've brought my blood pressure down; I purchased a blood pressure monitor to keep an eye on it, but it's well below the "worry" level and I've been able to discontinue the blood pressure medication I've been taking for the past few years.

I hope to spend a little time in the Sweat Shop today and if I get anything accomplished, I'll show you later.  In the meantime, for those of you who are playing around with scrappy projects, here's Mister Linky--please link up and show us what you're working on.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Done and Done!

Back a few months ago, I'd probably have finished several projects over the course of a three-day weekend but not so much these days.  My stitchery friends gathered on Saturday, so I managed to get three more blocks appliqued for the Pumpkin Pie quilt by Bunny Hill.

Of course, now I have most of another year to finish this one!

On Sunday, when I thought I'd pin the Comfort and Joy quilt, I found that most of my quilting time was consumed in piecing a backing.  By the time I was done with that, I knew it was too late to haul my tables out to the patio, spread out the layers, and start pinning.  So I did that on Monday instead.

Now I have it ready to start the quilting, but I'm not sure how soon that might happen.  Wednesday night is my monthly Thimbleberries gathering and I have a couple things to do between now and then, so I doubt I'll begin until after that time.  And I'm getting together with a couple of my stitchery friends on Friday night to work on Postcard Cuties, so I'll also need to do a little prep for that.  It's always something!  Maybe I can start quilting next weekend.

For our Thanksgiving this year, Hubby and I are going up to Humboldt to spend the holiday with the Wild Child.  Soccer Son, his Lovely Wife, and my sister-in-law will also be attending this year, so it will be a festive gathering.  We'll actually be celebrating on Saturday; Hubby and I have dinner reservations at my favorite local restaurant on Thanksgiving day itself--they have a special Thanksgiving menu I'm looking forward to trying.  And since we won't be hosting anyone for Thanksgiving, I've decided I want to try to get the Christmas decorations up a little early this year.  In fact, I was thinking it would be awfully nice to come home from Thanksgiving in Humboldt to a decorated house!  That might be wishful thinking, but I got a start on that idea today when I tossed out all the pumpkins and gathered up the fall quilts.  I think if I do a little bit at a time, we might be fairly well along on the process by the time the holiday season truly begins.

Oddly enough, I've talked to several friends who all have the same idea about decorating a little early this year--probably because Thanksgiving falls so close to the end of November.  How about you?  Will you wait until after Thanksgiving or do you plan to get started a little sooner this year?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Weekend Quilting

Here in the U.S., Monday is Veteran's Day, so many of us have a three-day weekend.  If you, like me, have Monday off work, are you trying to fit some sewing time into the weekend?  I hope to have a little time to get back to piecing my Pie in the Sky project (see prior post), but my primary focus today is to prepare a backing and sandwich/pin the Comfort and Joy quilt top I completed last spring.

I have chicken chili simmering away in the crockpot, so I can spend the rest of my Sunday working in the Sweat Shop.  I realized a few days ago that Christmas will be here before we know it, and I plan to start my decorating early this year.  How about you?  Have you started any Christmas projects yet?

Here's Mister Linky so those of you working on a scrappy project can sign up and show us what you've been working on.  Happy sewing!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Did Someone Say PIE?

It seemed like all day today people were having conversations, at least within my hearing if not specifically involving me, that revolved around chocolate, candy, ice cream, or any number of other food items I've been trying to avoid since I've been dieting, and now here I am, talking about the same thing!

I thought I'd mention that although I may have had a very lazy Saturday, Sunday was a little more productive.  I finally got at least some of the Pie in the Sky blocks and sashing up on the design wall.

In fact, there are a couple of rows here that are sewn together, although there are a few more that are just stuck onto the wall.  I was only able to fit five rows across by seven rows down; I'd planned on making this eight by eight and I made 64 blocks.  So I figured I'd sew what I could together and then take this part down off the wall and put up a smaller section that's two rows by seven rows.  Later, once I attach the two sections, I'd at least have one that's seven by seven and maybe that will be big enough.

This is going to be so bright and cheerful, it will be perfect for spring and summer, won't it?  And maybe by that time, I'll be able to EAT a piece of REAL pie!  Cherry--yum!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Lazy Day

Oh my goodness I've had a lazy Saturday!  I thought I'd get around to putting the Pie in the Sky blocks and sashing up on the design wall since I finally got Mr. Jack Twister OFF it, but no . . . I sat around and read a book all day instead.

However, I DID visit A Quilting Life and Pink Pincushion blogs to check out the parade of Schnibbles--nice job everyone!  I sure wish I'd done this one, but I just haven't had much time.  Of course, I COULD have sewn something today, but I think we all need a little down time now and then.  I even snuck in a nice little nap--now that the weather's getting chillier, lazy afternoon naps under a warm quilt are incredibly delicious, aren't they?  Besides, I have an extra hour to stay awake tonight as we turn our clocks back and end Daylight Savings Time.  Maybe I WILL make it into the Sweat Shop tonight at some point after all.  Or not.  I have the pattern for the next Schnibbles quilt and I took a little break from reading today to play around with potential fabric choices, so you never know . . . .

For those of you who ARE spending some time working on scrappy projects, I'm posting Mister Linky below so you can sign up to show us the scrappy project you've been working on.  And if I do get a little motivated, perhaps I'll have something to share also.