Monday, March 30, 2009

Bright Monday

Although I didn't have creative, cute projects like L (here), my weekend was fairly productive. Using my "t's" as a guide, here is what I did:

What ticks me off? Dust in my bedroom (dusted the dressers this morning while getting ready for work), leaves under the bush by the front porch (didn't do anything - we had rain Sat. and snow Sun.), unironed blouses and shirts hanging in the laundry room (ironed them all PLUS did some mending while talking to m-i-l on the phone - two good things done at once), crowded closet (reorganized all my shirts and sweaters and picked out a few for GWB - Goodwill box), unpolished shoes (didn't do anything about this one).

What makes me tick? A clean and neat living room (tidied up and got rid of newspapers yesterday), knowing what to wear for the next few days (organizing the closet helped with that and also resewing on buttons, ironing shirts and slacks), organized refrigerator with obvious meals in mind (shopping and meal planning done), all the bills paid (only one to pay - will do that tonight), clean clothes put away (got this done).

What tickles me? Flowers, running in the sun (the sun came out Sun. afternoon before I went running!), comfy shoes, talking to my daughters (talked to both of them on Sat.), learning something new (studied Nehemiah 1 to lead my Sun. school class and enjoyed getting reacquainted with the book and background history).

I grocery shopped Saturday morning and planned several meals on the back of my list, did laundry, washed and ironed fabric, made sausage with red beans and rice for supper, prepared the Sun. school lesson.

We woke up to snow Sun. morning, but it was all gone by noon, and sunny but cold and windy by later in the afternoon. I ran about 4.5 miles, part of it with two new runners on the run/walk plan.

Other meal plans for this week: meatloaf and mashed potatoes; crockpot pork chops with sauerkraut, onions and apples; tilapia with salad and veggies; turkey taco bake.

Today I'm supposed to get the long arm and frame - I'm getting pretty excited... woohoo!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Three T's for Today

When I first started my blog, I put in a post about the three t's, an attitude and action adjustment strategy. I got to thinking about it again, so decided to try it today. You're supposed to give 5 answers to each question, as of today:

What ticks me off? Dust in my bedroom, leaves under the bush by the front porch, unironed blouses and shirts hanging in the laundry room, crowded closet, unpolished shoes.

What makes me tick? A clean and neat living room, knowing what to wear for the next few days, organized refrigerator with obvious meals in mind, all the bills paid, clean clothes put away.

What tickles me? Flowers, running in the sun, comfy shoes, talking to my daughters, learning something new.

Well! Seems like this has given me quite a list and prioritized some chores for the weekend. The weather won't be the greatest - cold and rainy, I heard. And I am supposed to run with the running training group on Sunday, so I will probably go run 3 miles right before that, so I'll get in 5+. That means I won't have to go on Saturday in the cold rain. I think I'll stay busy all weekend. Shopping, cooking something for the church potluck (pizza bread? - easy and popular), and preparing some cards to mail will add to the above list of clearing out the "ticks", making me tick, and getting "tickled".

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Little News

Just a little news. My sewing room is being rearranged so I can fit... a long arm quilting machine and frame! It should be coming in to the store later in the week. I have a lot to do, including vacuuming around the edges well where dust has been collecting behind furniture for a long time, emptying an old dresser of notions and threads, and of course putting away a ton of material. Drh has already recruited help to move out the old hide-a-bed to empty that side of the room. I'll post pictures of the whole thing when I get it in and the room all neat and organized.

Other items of interest: we delivered the crib to A&M last Sunday. Here she is and a couple other pictures of their nursery all ready for the arrival of Grace.

I have been following Oh, Fransson's Quilt-Along and picked out some fabrics which I may use to make her pattern. I am so way far behind that I won't be able to even call it "along" - maybe "behind" is not even appropriate. But I've enjoyed seeing her tutorials and all the other beautiful versions being put together on the Flicker group.

Here are my picks. I have some items ordered and I'm hoping that one of my pieces will be better than the limey green on the top left side. It doesn't have enough pattern for this collection, I don't think.
I was kind of going for a vintage, semi-cheesy floral idea for the lights (left row), because I accidentally picked most of them out as fat quarters and saw that they all went together in mood and colors. Then I had to decide on how to match them up, and thought since they were pretty light, I'd go with some darks in the same greeny, rosy red tones. It might work. I have no clue what I'd use for sashing, backing and binding.

The weather was gorgeous yesterday and even though I had to work in the morning and do a couple errands, I ran 5 miles in the afternoon. It was sunny and 60 degrees with just a light breeze. Perfect! It felt good. My current arrangement of shoes and insoles is working well - no problems with my feet or shin splints lately.
Off to a few chores before bed and a new week.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

St. Louis Loot

We spent last weekend in St. Louis at the basketball tournament. It was a good time, due in part to how well our team did (not the champs, but second), the gorgeous weather - sunny and in the high 60's, getting together with friends, sleeping late, good food, etc.

On Friday morning we walked around downtown. We were by Busch Stadium and drh decided to go on the tour. It wasn't my cup of tea, and I was so hot in my winter sweater, that I decided to spend my time at Macy's. I found a couple of springy tops in the right color (red), and also a pair of shoes (imagine that!). On my way back to the arena, I got a hamburger and icy soda from a street vendor, which really hit the spot. The rest of the day was spent at the games.

Saturday I convinced drh to go with me to a fabric store there - Jackman's on Lindbergh. He agreed because there was a woodworking store fairly close, but I would've just gone by myself if he hadn't wanted to go. The drive through St. Louis was very interesting to me, because I love to look at buildings and houses in neighborhoods of all types.

The fabric store was very much worth the trip. If you travel to St. Louis, I recommend you visit them. I only had an hour to look around, so I didn't even do more than peek at the garment and decorating fabrics. The store was beautifully kept with wonderful displays of products and finished projects from their fabrics and patterns. I did buy a few things, mostly off the half price table - a premier attraction in itself. Here is what I found there:

I had to buy the four yards left on a bolt of this wonderful toile-type print. It's hard to see, maybe, but the pictures are of antique aircraft and flying machines. It is what I would have loved to use for the border on drh's quilt, but now I might just have to make him something else.

On another subject, it has been fairly good weather and timing for running lately. I even managed to run 3 miles downtown St. Louis early Saturday morning. I'm helping lead the beginning runner's program on Wednesdays, and that was fun to start getting acquainted with new runners. Since it's light later now, and signs of spring are showing, being outside is even better. Today I went out to the lake and ran the 4.4 mile route. It was cold but invigorating. And I fixed a healthy dinner when I got home - salmon patties, snow peas and leftover crockpot roasted potatoes, followed by rhubarb pudding with ice cream. So much for healthy, huh?

We're having company this weekend, so watch for menu and recipe blogging here later!

Some Random Stuff

1. I started sewing when I was about 7 1/2 and the first real garment I remember making was a cotton pullover shirt for myself of a brown paisley pattern. I think I loved paisley even before that. I also either helped with or made a top for my baby sister of the same fabric.

2. One of my favorite childhood activities was reading - I rode my bike to the branch library near my house and checked out stacks of books. They had a reading program every summer and though I read plenty of books to fulfill the goals, I didn't want to do the "paperwork" of reporting on them. I especially remember reading Lois Lenski, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and a series of biographies which were illustrated with silhouettes. Stories of daily life in different settings were interesting to me.

3. I took German in school from 4th grade through college, but didn't go to Germany until I was 48 years old. I was surprised how much German I remembered and was able to speak a little while we were there.

4. My grandparents had a cottage in Michigan on a lake. They bought it in the 40's - it was rustic and had an oil heater, a well with a pump and an outhouse. We went there in the summers and learned to play euchre and water ski when teenagers. The last time I went was with my then-new husband in 1977. After that my grandma sold the cottage and moved to California. I still remember the warm, sandy, piney, watery smells - probably a little fishy, too!

5. A favorite dress I made myself in high school was orange double knit with a mandarin collar, short raglan sleeves and three big ball-shaped buttons on one of the raglan seams. It barely had a skirt. It was the early 70's.

6. I really like birds. I like to try to identify birds, look at pictures of birds, enjoy birds in art, fabrics, accessories, etc. But in reality, if a bird gets too close to me, it's kind of scary.

7. One of the most interesting days of my life was the day we spent in Berlin. We found bikes to rent on the street, and rode around all day to various landmarks. I was amazed at the time that we probably rode 15 miles. The nice part about it was being so close to everything, including the neighborhoods that we rode through. The weather was wonderful, the history of the city was so evident, the people were interesting, the buildings were beautiful and fascinating ... just thinking about it again is almost overwhelming.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Place for Grace

Here is the beautiful walnut crib that drh has finished for the new baby! I can't wait to see it all in the nursery, with a cute little baby girl in it, too!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Quilt Story

Here is the quilt for my expected granddaughter, from fabrics to finish. I started cutting on Feb. 14, so it took me only two weeks. It would've been more relaxing to have a little longer to work on it. The fabrics above are what I picked out at first. To the left is a paper with fabrics d#1 used for curtains and some other items she likes for the nursery.
I made all the nine-patches with blue centers. There were not enough fabrics in the first batch, but I added a couple I already had, and found the wonderful tree print and the numbers on green grass which I couldn't resist. I was afraid to cut the nine-patches but I knew this is not how I wanted it to look.
After splitting the nine-patches I tried out a couple different border plans, but settled on just the tree print. Then I sewed them by rows; had to unsew one row because I put it on backwards.

Then I laid it out and pinned and started quilting. I used a fleece batting instead of the low-loft as on drh's quilt. It was awful. The quilting didn't look like I expected and the backing sort of stuck and stretched or something icky, and it was heavy! I tried the next row and it got worse. So then I spent about 3 hours picking out stitches, relaid out on different batting and pinned again! That pinning was hard as the pins are so stiff, and gave me a sore wrist for a few days.

Since the first quilting plan of a back and forth curving line didn't work, I decided to stitch blocks in the ditch and then do spirals - it worked on the previous quilt and I liked it, so why not stick with a successful method? While I was quilting, I enjoyed the fabrics so much and really fell in love with the green with tiny butterflies that you see in the lower left corner above.
This is the back and some quilting on the border at the corner. I quilted the border with a looping line, some larger and some smaller loops. The looping turned out very well - much better than stippling which I haven't practiced much. The only thing I wish turned out better is the tension on the back. It was rather lumpy looking but my sis suggested ironing it after I was done with the binding, so I did. YAY. It was wonderful! I was so happy to give it to d#1 for her baby shower. I liked it and now I miss it, but I'm sure I'll see it again.

Sunday Satisfaction

This week has gone by SO fast. Since my last post, much has happened. Monday night I made smoked sausage, potatoes and spinach with sugar, vinegar, mustard dressing. I forgot it called for bacon, but it was okay and I just threw in a sprinkle of bacon bits. It tastes a lot like hot German potato salad. Quilting was the main event of the evening, but I also cut up extra potatoes and made an egg casserole to take to work on Tuesday morning, since Tuesday was an election day. I got to work about 6 that morning. The day was calm and all went smoothly. The results were in and we all left for home by 9:30 at night!

Wednesday was a very nice day - almost 60 deg. The beginning runners program started that night, in a different location with different parking arrangements than we'd had in the past. By the end of the day, I was so tired that it was an emotional strain to get to the proper parking garage - the garage is "new" and I frankly forgot it was there, causing a major search operation. Then it was a .4 mile jaunt from the garage to the auditorium. It was SO nice out, though. I'm glad it was warm because since I was running late, I neglected to take gloves, cap, etc. The program should go well this year because there are great leaders. Then we walked/ran around the quad about 3 times, and then had to go back to the garage, and figure out how to get out of there. It was different than the garage I park in every day at work. You have to pay at a kiosk or get your ticket marked even if it's after 5 and free time! Of course no one knew this and the traffic was pretty jammed. I didn't get out of there and home on time to attend Ash Wednesday service. So I just ate, quilted awhile and went to bed early.

Thursday we had rain all day and thunderstorms when I left work, so I did not go running. Instead I stopped at the grocery store on the way home. I made leftover ribs, glazed carrots and applesauce for dinner. It was yummy. Then I quilted for 3 hours.

Friday morning I got my hair cut - looks short and spiky right now. That evening we were taken out to dinner by friends whom drh had helped with their computer. An early night, which I needed. So I finished quilting the border and put the binding on the quilt and started hand sewing the binding on the back. I thought I would have to work Saturday, but the plan was changed by my boss, thank goodness! - she decided we wouldn't be open after all.

The house was a wreck, but I cleaned and tidied and vacuumed and dusted and stripped beds and did dishes and cleaned bathrooms and hung clothes and swept the kitchen and wiped the counters, etc. from 8 til noon on Saturday morning. As much as you can enjoy housecleaning, I was liking it - things were looking good. Jumped in the shower and got out and ready just as my sis and b-i-l arrived. We cooked some chili for lunch. Then sis and I took off for town and a short visit to the fullest fabric store in the world. I'm sure there are places with more fabric, but nowhere is there more fabric per cubic foot of retail space. Always an adventure. We picked out a few things, then went to Joann's for some machine needles and hand sewing needles.

For supper I made oven roasted potato cubes, fruit salad and oven turkey/provolone/tomato/black olive sandwiches, with gingerbread and lemon pudding for dessert. After dinner my sis and I sewed on bindings - she had a couple little wall hangings from her quilt guild service projects to work on.

Today we ate fried eggs thanks to drh, read the paper, drank coffee, read quilt books my sis brought, gift wrapped the quilt and other small presents, started fixing lunch for my d#2 and s-i-l, d#1 (who was honored at the baby shower today!), a friend of hers, and my m&f-i-l, who all arrived before noon. Quite the party! We ladies left for the shower and the guys stayed home and ate leftover gingerbread. We missed d#1's hubby, but he had some other plans and didn't come.

Thanks to all the activities of the weekend, I didn't get to run, but the housework gave me a little exercise. I am ready for a normal schedule, as I always say.