Monday, April 28, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Let the Mayhem Begin!

It's Menu Plan Monday and we're kicking off that magical time of year I like to refer to as "Mayhem." Honestly, I think May might be worse than December! No graduation this year (next year we have TWO!) but exams, concerts, Mother's Day, my dad's birthday and Deuce coming home for the month make it challenging to stay on top of everything.

My FitBit is back to work, although I've had a couple of days where I forgot to put it on and so my step counts are even worse than usual! Seeing Pam in person last Thursday really inspired me to get moving...right up until the point where someone sent a mass email on Friday to say that there was leftover cake in the accounting department break room. So that happened.

My user name on My Fitness Pal is QJ2013 if you want to be friends.

MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter
What's on your menu?

*just to see how many of you actually read what I'm cooking!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Got Drugs? A PSA Unrelated to Quilting

This is a public service announcement, totally unrelated to quilting. Today is the National Take-Back Initiative with the DEA. 

Stop quilting for a moment and go clean out your medicine cabinet. Find a collection location near you. Dispose of any expired or unused medications safely so they don't end up in our water supply or, God forbid, in the hands of a curious child.

You're welcome.

Back to quilting later.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

#TBT - Throwback Thursday - Works of Heart

Quiltin Jenny

It's Throwback Thursday here at Quiltin' Jenny, and I hope you'll link up and share your own creative adventures from your pre-blogging days.

I think I've told you about my volunteer work with SHARE Atlanta before. Back in the my earliest quilting days, I made a quilt to use on tables at in-services and other special events. This was truly primitive applique and very light hand quilting. I used the newly minted double heart logo and the phrase that always sums up this group for me: "the love stays...forever in our hearts."

A few years later, my BQF Pam and I decided we should do a group quilt that anyone could be a part of. We mailed muslin squares and instructions to anyone who asked. I really wish I had close up pictures of some of the blocks. There's cross stitch, fabric paint, buttons, applique - a little of everything. We also included some scanned and printed photos of a few special events.

Pam and I pieced this together and then she quilted it. Looking back, I can't believe we did this. Neither of us had ever machine quilted before, and we were terrified! But it turned out great, and now another SHARE Atlanta mom is working to create a new quilt.

This Saturday SHARE Atlanta members will participate in the March for Babies event. If you would like to donate to the team's fundraising efforts, you can visit their March of Dimes Team Page.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WiP Wednesday - Spider Webs and Butterflies

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I'm linking up with WiP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

I made some progress on my spider web blocks last week, although I didn't keep the pace I had hoped.  I'm down to 20 wedges - that's five days' worth for those of you keeping score at home - and I'm bound and determined to get them done before next week's WiP Wednesday.

The weekend was all about preparing for our Easter Sunrise breakfast, and evenings after work this week have been dedicated to updating a few bits of the program I'm giving tomorrow at the East Cobb Quilt Guild meeting . I'm a little nervous for a mixed up bunch of reasons - there will be a whole lot of strangers there, but also a few people I know. Does that make any sense?

It's interesting to see how much each social media platform has changed in less than a year. As I look through my screen shots and video clips from last June, I realize how often these sites move things around.
I've also changed. Twitter is still my personal favorite, but I'm using Facebook less and less, and have finally succumbed to the pull of Instagram

What channel are you using now that you weren't a year ago? Is there one you've mostly abandoned? And last, as a quilter, if you had to pick just one, which one would it be?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Happy Easter!

It's Menu Plan Monday and we are celebrating the Easter season. Lent is over, hopefully winter is over, and we are chasing all the sad away! Yesterday we attended sunrise service and had my parents and some friends over for a beautiful breakfast. The Tuscan Stratas from Lisa over at Garnish with Lemon are absolutely delicious!

It's a pretty calm week, which is great since I am presenting my Social Media for Quilters program on Thursday at the East Cobb Quilt Guild's evening meeting. This time it's for real! Keep your fingers crossed for me.

My new FitBit arrived in the mail (seriously awesome customer service!) on Saturday, and I was so thrilled to put it back on. Weird how much I've missed it. Still no scale, but that's on the list.

My user name on My Fitness Pal is QJ2013 if you want to be friends.

MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter
What's on your menu?

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Finish and a Whoop! Whoop!

I'm linking up today with lots of awesome bloggers, including Finish It Up Friday with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts, Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday and, for the pure fun of it, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

I am whoop whooping it up today because my big boy will be home in less than two weeks. It's a good news/bad news situation, because he will only be home a few weeks before he goes back to school. He has a job in Tuscaloosa over the summer - a paying job! - which is awesome. Except I'm going to miss him like crazy. Who knew I wouldn't have at least one more summer with him home? Can you say emotional roller coaster?

I'm also excited that I finally have a finish to show. Not anything as exciting as a quilt, but I did finish these new throw pillows for my couch in time for our friends to come over on Sunday after sunrise service.

JoAnn has all of their Waverly home dec fabrics on sale (through tomorrow), and I thought this one looked bright and springy. I did a simple envelope cover so I can swap them out through the year as my mood changes.

What is making you go Whoop! Whoop! today?  

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    #TBT - Throwback Thursday - A Week at the Beach

    Quiltin Jenny

    It's Throwback Thursday here at Quiltin' Jenny, and I hope you'll link up and share your own creative adventures from your pre-blogging days.

    Today's quilt is one I dreamed about for a long time before I made it, and then had the top done for years before I had the nerve to machine quilt it. I believe it was finished around 1999-2000 while I was pregnant with Grace. During this time, I was quilting a lot and feeling very contemplative about this one last subsequent pregnancy.

    I have always loved blue and white fabrics and log cabin blocks. When I first started quilting, I had trouble picking more than about three fabrics for a quilt. I couldn't envision how lots of different prints could play nicely together. This quilt was my very first attempt at a "scrappy" look. I had so many blues in my stash already, and took a chance since I loved how they looked on the shelf together.

    The quilt was inspired by the lighthouse print that I also used for the back, and the yellow is from my first lesson on hand dyed fabrics.

    I knew I wanted to quilt this with an all over pattern, but had very little experience and no confidence in FMQing. Finally, after quilting the Mother-In-Law Quilt, I used the same roll of Quilting Made Easy to do a clamshell design.

    I called the quilt A Week at the Beach, and wrote the poem below about how being pregnant after a loss reminded me of our visits to the ocean. It was a true example of how quilting is therapy for me.

    Subsequent pregnancy is like a week at the beach...

    My love and desire for you are blinding,
    like the flash of the sun off sea and sand
    so overwhelming 
    that to bask in the warmth of its glow
    is to risk being burned.

    Off I go, full of hope and fantasies,
    imagining a perfect experience - just like in books!
    Every moment of joy has a mirror image
    when I feel I am accomplishing nothing, 
    that this will change nothing.

    Time is warped and strange.
    One moment I look up to find the trip is halfway over;
    later I realize that what feels like hours
    has been mere minutes.

    I catch myself both dreading 
    and anticipating the ending,
    "what if"-ing myself to death,
    wondering and dreaming.

    And when the end finally comes
    I am exhausted but fulfilled,
    flooded with memories,
    even thinking about how the next time will be even better

    At the same time I vow not to go again.
    I stagger home, finally,
    grateful to be in my own bed once more.

    And then, of course, sometimes it rains.
     - Jennifer Greer

    Join up so we can see one of your classic creative projects!

    Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    WiP Wednesday - Stitch by Stitch

    WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

    I'm linking up with WiP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

    I haven't had much in progress to post about in awhile, but I'm really trying to sew at least a few seams a day. Just like with cooking, cleaning, or exercising (or not, as the case may be), the more I sew the more I sew, if you know what I mean.

    Quite frankly, I'm getting sick of this spider web quilt hanging around. It doesn't seem like it should be taking this long to finish, especially since both Jodi and Lynn finished theirs ages ago. The whole quilt is eighty wedges, which make twenty blocks. And even though it feels like I've done about a million of them, I've actually made forty wedges, or enough for ten blocks. I'm only halfway finished.

    My plan is to make four wedges a day, which takes less than an hour. If I can do that, I'll be done with the wedges in ten days and can then start laying it out. I'm sure I'll do some agonizing about the arrangement and possibility of borders, but that should keep me on track to finish this quarter.

    This week has been good. I made four wedges Monday and four more yesterday, and that's on top of the new throw pillows I am working on for the couch. I'm hoping to show you those by Friday.

    What's in progress at your place this Wednesday?

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    Going to Guild - Mary Stori

    How cool is this jacket?
    Last week was our April guild meeting, and our speaker was Mary Stori. I knew her name, but wasn't entirely familiar with her work before this program.

    Mary did a great combination of slides and actual quilts that made for a wonderful mix of information and eye candy. I am in awe of the detail and work she puts into the beading on her quilts. It was incredible! It is worth clicking on these pictures to see them more closely, and to notice the little details she includes. Check out the beaded border on the one above and the beaded binding on this one below.

    Mary also uses some larger stones and gems on her quilts, like this one below. That little "pyramid" beading on the binding just kills me! 

    I can't get over this amethyst. You can even buy this quilt! 

    I was also excited to pass along the first of the WannaBee round robin blocks that I've worked on. Only six more to go.

    Monday, April 14, 2014

    FAL Q2 Goals - Let's Try This Again

    Finish Along 2014

    It's time to announce those second quarter goals for the FAL 2014. Hopefully this quarter will see an actual finish. Any finish will do!

    Obviously I will still be working on the WannaBees Round Robin Challenge, which won't translate to any actual finishes by June.

    What do I think I might get done this quarter?

    1. New throw pillows for the couch. (This one is a little of a cheat, because they are already almost finished, but I want them done by next Sunday when we are having some company over for Easter.)
    2. Do I dare put my spider web quilt on the list? I would love to get it done. I think if I commit to sewing at least a few seams every day I'd make it. Even if I only get the top finished this quarter, I will count that as a success.
    3. I should also get back to quilting my Star Surround. I abandoned this to finish Batman's quilt and never went back to it.

    That's not the most ambitious list, but it seems possible for now. 

    Have you linked up yet? Today is the last day!

    Menu Plan Monday - Recovery Mode

    It's Menu Plan Monday and last week's attempt at clean eating was a total bust. It was a combination of too many activities and not exactly loving the recipes on the plan we were trying to follow.  This week I decided to go back to what was working for us (translation: Skinnytaste) and choose recipes from Gina's clean eating tag. My exception is Wednesday, when Gracie has an orthodontist appointment that we've been warned will be long and painful, so she got to pick whatever soup she wanted. Poor bunny!

    I have also contacted FitBit and hope to be getting a replacement soon. The scale still has not been replaced, so I have no idea how I'm doing; I figure this is a good week to be in denial!

    My user name on My Fitness Pal is QJ2013 if you want to be friends.

    MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter
    What's on your menu?

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

    #TBT - Throwback Thursday - Happy Birthday Keira and Alli

    Quiltin Jenny

    It's Throwback Thursday here at Quiltin' Jenny, and I hope you'll link up and share your own creative adventures from your pre-blogging days.  Today I'm sharing a pair of quilts made for my cousin's twin girls back in 2005.

     When we found out there were not one but TWO precious girls on the way, Mom and I got together to decide what quilts to make. We didn't want to make two exactly the same, but we wanted them to be connected. I decided to use a favorite for baby girl quilts, the Baby Tears quilt from PS I Love You Baby Collection by Lynda Milligan and Nancy Smith. I first made this quilt back in 1998 for my goddaughter, and I just love the pattern.

    We found this beautiful line of sweet, girly fabric in two colorways, as well as a faint white on white check for the background. I pieced both tops and gave them to mom for hand quilting. I love the finished quilts, and the girls love them too. I have received several pictures over the years of them, and am so excited that their family recently moved a little closer.

    I can't believe these girls are nine years old this week. Happy birthday, Twinkies!

    Now I want to see your blast from the past.  Link up and let us all see!

    Monday, April 7, 2014

    Menu Plan Monday - Spring Break!

    It's Menu Plan Monday and the younger kids are on spring break this week. That means Grace gets to go with me tonight to quilt guild, and we've planned a couple of college visits as well. Both sets of grandparents have come home from long trips and want to see us the kids.Translation: I barely have to cook at all!

    We're still pulling recipes from the Eating Clean Plan by Melissa of Bless This Mess. So far it hasn't been too bad (mostly because it isn't that strict), but I have a feeling that this week will be a bit of a challenge with so much eating out/away from home.

    I told you my FitBit is missing, but now the scale has decided it is also on strike. It's not the batteries, because it still lights up and goes through all of its paces. When you step on, though, it stays at zero. So not only can I not track my steps, now I can't track my weight until we buy a new scale. And then, who knows how that scale compares to the old scale? I know, I know, first world problems. But when it comes to being healthier, the obstacles don't have to be that high.

    My user name on My Fitness Pal is QJ2013 if you want to be friends.

    MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter
    What's on your menu?

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