Monday, September 28, 2009

Quilt Shop Visit -Sweet Home Quilt Co, Conyers, GA

Thursday I had the "privilege" of driving an SUV full of 7th graders over to Madison, GA for a retreat. On my two hour drive home alone, I decided to channel Allison from Within a Quarter Inch, google "quilt shop" on my phone, and indulge in a little quilt shop therapy (in lieu of the alcohol others suggested). What a great idea!

(I apologize in advance for the quality of these pictures. I am having camera trouble and took all of these with my phone!)

I found the Sweet Home Quilt Company in Conyers. This beautiful 109 year old house is gorgeous enough to walk through and enjoy, even if it weren't filled with fabric! It took me several trips through just to take it all in. I love that they had samples everywhere, kits and bundles and patterns and ideas as far as the eye could see. But what made it so special was the way the house still looks like a house...

The antique hoosier, just like one my mom used to have...

The (still working) footed bathtub. The previous owner lives nearby and claims to have taken many baths in this tub. In the tub are "all or nothing" bundles from the end of the bolt at $5/yard.

The kitchen where baskets and jars hold notions, patterns, and fat quarter bundles...

And the iron bed that belonged to the owner's grandfather when he was a boy.

There were little touches all over that caught my eye. This window treatment from grapevine and antique hankies is so cute I might have to duplicate it!

A tiny hallway where a line of fabric and some notions are tucked away...and apparently the cat has come in from the rain!

The hooks for a display of purses and totes along the banister...

And finally the parlor where you check out. I restrained myself and didn't do too much damage, but oh the temptation! When I left, I felt so much more relaxed and ready for the rest of the trip home.

Next time you find yourself on a long drive, try doing a search for a shop. You never know when you will stumble across a gem like this that turns your whole day around.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Houseworks Holiday Plan Week 5 - House Room Week

On to Week 5 of the Houseworks Holiday Plan!

It was another week that really needs two, so it's a good thing that this week is all about the Guest Room and hospitality. After so many years of doing this plan (and so few actual guests) this room needs very little of my attention. I keep a permanent hospitality basket in my guest bath, and the room itself stays pretty clean since it is on my main level.

That's good news, because the kids' rooms and toys could use more attention. I did have them all clean out their drawers and closets and do a pretty big clean, but it still needs Mother's eye to bring it up to par. Plus the toys in the basement really need a big sort out, and I just didn't get to that.

I did tuck away all of my patriotic quilts that I use as decoration from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and pulled out my fall decorations.

Is this helping at all? Is anyone else following along or even thinking about the holidays yet? Or am I just annoying you?

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

another better tUesday!

Apparently there is some weird cyclical thing going on with me. It's Week 5 with Jillian and MYM, and I am down another 5.1 lbs, for a total of 17.4 since mid-August!

My biggest challenge this week was going to my cousin's birthday party, catered by a yummy Mexican restaurant. Luckily it was set up as a buffet, so I made a plate with grilled onions and peppers, black beans, grilled chicken, fresh salsa, lettuce, tomato, and just the tiniest bits of cheese and sour cream. It was delicious. I totally skipped the chips and cheese dip, and since it wasn't on the tables I had no problems. I was also very proud of myself for passing on the homemade birthday cake that looked great.

My biggest smile - when the Wii said "that's overweight" instead of "that's obese" for the first time! Yes, my BMI is under 30. w00t!

The walking was tough this week, and only getting harder. In case you are living under a rock, Atlanta is drowning. We walked in the rain a lot last week, and got in 17 of our 20 planned miles, but so far this week we haven't made it yet due to the lovely addition of thunder and lightening, plus schools and roads being closed this morning. Little details like that.

Stay dry, my local friends, and have a better tUesday!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Houseworks Holiday Plan Week 4 - Close to Home Week

We're rolling into Week 4 of the Houseworks Holiday Plan, and it's finally starting to feel...well, not totally insane. The weather (at least here) is getting cooler and the leaves are starting to change. Now that it's officially fall, people won't look at you like you're crazy when you mention thinking about holiday plans.

I was working frantically on a birthday gift quilt this week (can't wait to show you!), so I didn't do all of my chores; but, the major dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning out under the bed in my room feels so good! I turned the mattress, washed everything on the bed (including dust ruffle, mattress cover, pillows - everything!) and cleaned the fan. Sweaty, dirty work but heavenly when you go to sleep at night.

Week Four is Close to Home Week. Brutal. The deep clean this week is the kids' rooms. I don't know about you, but that alone just might kill me. Luckily the boys are old enough to do a lot of it themselves. Gracie just gets overwhelmed and needs me there by her side to help her decide what to do about a lot of things. Then, just when you feel the need for medical intervention, you're supposed to declutter the toys. Yippee. But won't it feel nice when it's done? Yeah, let's focus on that.

There's much much more at the link, as usual, but this is my focus. I don't even know if I can stick with a day to day list this week - I may just have to wade in there and call for reinforcements if it gets too bad. If I don't post by next Sunday, please send the Marines! LOL!

There are less than 100 days until Christmas. Can you believe it?

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

not my best tUesday...

On to week four with Jillian and MYM, and it wasn't my best week.

Although I only missed one day of walking in the craziness, and I didn't eat anything I shouldn't have, there was something amiss. I gained 1.5 lbs. My DH lost 1 lb.

Looking back, I think there were multiple factors:
  • I got a little cocky about meals, portion sizes and timing. Instead of eating off Jillian's menu, I started thinking "this looks about right." And instead of eating every four hours by the clock, there were at least two days where I completely missed a meal. Several days I varied my eating wildly due to the unusual schedule.
  • It wasn't as hot, so I wasn't drinking nearly as much water as usual.
  • Cyclical weight gain - although the timing doesn't seem right, four weeks ago is when I gained 2.6 lbs after a great week. 5 weeks before that I was up 3.5 lbs. These are the only times I have gained, and all three times I thought I was gearing up for a great weigh in. I'm not sure this is the culprit, but it's an interesting pattern to watch. At least the numbers are getting smaller!
I am going back to the basic menu, and writing down my water consumption. Obviously I can't help if my body goes nuts, but I can try to compensate with diet and exercise.

My biggest challenge this week was working the concession stand at our school's family picnic. I was selling (our) pizza for over three hours, and it smelled delicious. But I never had a bite! It looked great, but I had no NEED for it.

The fun thing that happened this week was that I fit into a pair of shorts that I haven't worn in four years!

My friend with the flu is gradually getting better. She has been walking part way with me the last two days and trying to rebuild her stamina. She lost almost 10 lbs in a week with H1N1 and a week in bed, but I think I'll pass on that method! Hopefully this week will be back in the routine and back to negative numbers!

I hope you have a better tUesday!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Houseworks Holiday Plan Week 3 - Me and Mine Week

Week 2 of Houseworks Holiday Plan was a little tricky. Between the kids having both Monday and Tuesday off school, and Gracie being home sick Thursday and Friday, I don't feel like I got a lot accomplished.

One thing I did check off the list, which feels great, is cleaning out the kids art supplies cabinet. It is really just three shelves of my pantry, but had been crammed with partially used paper, dried out markers, and the stray can of beans that wouldn't fit on one of the higher shelves. I pulled it all out, pitched an entire trash bag worth of junk, and organized it into one big bin and one shelf for paper, books, and kits.

Week Three is Me and Mine Week. It is a huge week with lots of important tasks too important to skip. The big clean is the Master Bedroom. I don't know if you're like me, but that's always the last room to get any attention. I love this week because my room finally looks loved, but it is a huge amount of work!

The other big job is to inventory the gift closet and wrapping supplies. If you send holiday cards, you have a lot to do this week as well. I will have to discuss whether we want to stick to our resolution from last year not to send them to anyone with an email address, or if we are going to cave to peer pressure and mail them again. The waste of paper kills me, but I do love getting pictures of my friends' kids. Decisions decisions!
  • Monday - Declutter MBR drawers, cabinets, and shelves.
  • Tuesday - Begin holiday email list and letter. Put pictures to include in one folder.
  • Wednesday - Deep declutter and clean of MBR Closet
  • Thursday - Inventory gift closet; add any possibilities to the Master Gift List.
  • Friday - Dust and vacuum MBR, moving furniture and cleaning under bed, etc.
  • Saturday - Update framed photos, decor, etc.
What is your bedroom like? A haven for rest or the dumping ground for the rest of the house? This week, take some time to make it into a place you love to be, your own little island of serenity.

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance

Never Forget...

Make today a day of service and remembrance, in honor of all who lost their lives and those who were left behind to grieve.

Need ideas? Visit

To all of the survivors out there, my prayers; and to the members of our armed services and the families who support them, you have my gratitude for your sacrifice and prayers for a safe return home.

God bless America.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

WannaBees Field Trip - Intown Quilters

The WannaBees went on a field trip today to Intown Quilters. We were in search of the perfect focus fabric for our first ever challenge/group quilt. I was very excited, since I've never made it to IQ before, and have heard the rave reviews. It did not disappoint!

Lynn was my cooperative model, showing off some of the fabrics she chose to go in her block. Don't you want to just run your hands down that wall behind her? I didn't even know where to begin.

They have a selection of batiks to die for, and a bright, well-organized shop that is a delight to roam. I loved the wide selection of books and patterns and fabrics, and the staff was so helpful - even when we pulled out a bunch of bolts and lingered awhile.

This is the half-price room in the basement, next door to the huge room where they teach classes. I could have done some serious damage here if I hadn't been on a strict plan to buy for my block and stay focused on the 9,246 UFOs I have waiting for me at home.

This is what I finally chose. The blue and the little Kaffe Fassett fat quarter (the picture doesn't do it justice) on top will be in everyone's block. The coral-y looking one just called out to me. All in all, I thought I did pretty well on my resolution since I was the only one who didn't leave with a shopping bag! Of course we finished off our day with lunch so we could chat some more.

If you're ever in Atlanta, be sure to stop by Intown Quilters. It's definitely worth the trip. Thanks for coming with us, if only via blog.

Monday, September 7, 2009

tUesdays just keep getting better!

Week three update with Jillian and MYM.

They say doing something for 21 days makes it a habit, and I can see it happening with this food plan. I don't even think anymore about what in the world I'm going to eat for breakfast, snacks, or lunch. Dinner is still the only meal where I have to do much planning, mostly due to the ever-changing schedules for sports and carpooling.

My biggest challenge this week was that it was my turn to work concessions at the varsity football game. I was surrounded by all kinds of yummy greasy junk food, candy, popcorn, soft pretzels, Cokes, and chocolate for hours. I brought my water bottle and had a salad, and never ate another thing. I am still amazed that it is not more tempting.

My biggest smile for the week was that someone who doesn't know I'm trying noticed I have lost weight. That feels awesome!

AND...I have lost 4 more pounds (13 lbs in 3 weeks)!

This week will be tricky with the walking. I went alone yesterday, and will probably have fly solo all week since my buddy's son is sick with the flu. Hopefully he will recover quickly and won't share it - it sounds pretty terrible! We have another friend who walks with us sometimes, so hopefully I can get together with her since it is much easier to get motivated with someone else.

I hope you have a better tUesday too!

Quilters Beware - Ann Champion's Cautionary Tale

Click to read Ann's story about "winning" a contest at Quiltmaker Magazine. It's a sad lesson on the importance of getting contracts in writing, even when you are dealing with normally honest and upright people like other quilters.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Houseworks Holiday Plan Week 2 - Calendar and Creativity Week

The first week of Houseworks Holiday Plan went pretty well. I have purged and shredded and freecycled and pitched like crazy. I didn't get my French memo board made, but the office is clean. My Master Gift List is made (and trimmed significantly). I have a few ideas and will add more as time goes on.

Week Two is Calendar and Creativity Week. The highlights for me will be a major clean and purge of my crafting area, an endless task. This includes taking an inventory of UFOs (GULP!) and if there are more than four (IF! HA!) then promising not to take on any new tasks. This is also the week to make a list of "gifts to make" and collect the patterns and materials required. I believe the only thing on that list will be the same as every year for the past umpteen years, which is to finish my mom's quilt. This year I hope to cross it off my list!

The other big job is to organize the calendar. We don't travel out of town for any holidays, but I do use this week to schedule service for the furnace, piano tuning, exterminator, and carpet cleaning.
  • Monday - Pull out fabric, dust shelves and bins, and refold/stack.
  • Tuesday - Schedule appointments and organize calendar through December.
  • Wednesday - Empty, clean, declutter, and organize kids' art cabinet.
  • Thursday - Organize books and notions; make a stack to give away on blog or at guild.
  • Friday - Go through UFOs and make a list. Decide if any could become PIGs.
  • Saturday - Decide on gifts to make and bundle supplies and patterns together.
What is your creative space like? Neat as a pin and ready for your next adventure? Or always creatively messy? Do your homemade gifts get done in time or are you searching for a substitute on Christmas Eve? Looking forward to comments.

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Going Green - Organic Cotton Tampons

Throughout September, join Seventh Generation to help save women's lives. For every person that registers, $1 will be donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (up to $22,000).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

a better tUesday with Jillian Michaels

It's been another week with Jillian and MYM.

In the book, she claims that after two weeks of eating this way, you'd never go back. I laughed at that two weeks ago, but am starting to wonder if she's right.

I am still not hungry. I am still walking Daisy like crazy (20 miles last week!). I'm starting to be able to go to the grocery store without having the book in my hand. The more energy thing must be finally kicking in because, while I'm still falling into bed at night, now it's because I come home from my walk and clean and get stuff done all day. Just last week I was coming home from walking and collapsing into a heap until I could muster the energy to shower!

Our biggest challenge this week was the third grade social. They have these mixers at the start of every school year so that the parents can get to know one another. Everyone brings an appetizer, and the alcohol flows liberally. Although drinking tempts me not at all, a table of spinach dip and mini quiches has been known to waylay me.

Our plan to get through it was for my walking buddy and her family to come over early so we could enjoy a healthy meal together. We made the most filling and satisfying one we've found (yep, those pepperjack burgers!) so we wouldn't feel like we were missing anything. Then we brushed our teeth and set off for the party. I set my appetizer down (homemade hummus - who knew it was so easy?) and left the room where the food was. I got a cup of water and made the rounds, visiting with all of our friends. By the end of the night, my friend and I had only had water and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

And my most fun moment of the week? I went shopping with my walking buddy. I had to return a birthday gift to Talbots. For my birthday party, I had bought my outfit there. The skirt I originally tried on and loved was just a little too casual for the party, so I reluctantly left it in the store. But on Friday it was 25% off and I had a credit! Joy! They didn't have my size. I decided to try the next size down, just for grins. I couldn't have been more excited when it fit, easily! w00t! My friend tried on a sweater that swam on her, and ended up going down two sizes before finding the one that looked right!

So I guess you want numbers:
My friend has lost another pound, for a three week total of 16.5 lbs.
My husband has lost 1.5 more pounds - and I have to note that he did not go to the social and only drink ice water. Ahem. (9.5 lbs in 2 weeks).
I have lost 3 more pounds ( 9 lbs in 2 weeks)!

I also measured my waist. It is tricky to measure on yourself, and last week I wasn't sure, but now there's no denying that I have lost at least an inch!

No doubt about it now, something is working. It's like a snowball rolling down the hill, too, because the more I lose the more motivated I am. We missed our walk on Friday due to pouring rain, but went out Saturday afternoon in the heat of the day to make up for it, something we've never done. I truly missed it.

I hope you have a better tUesday too!
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