Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A New Quilt Block!!!



I'm sure that you all have heard about the Human Genome Project...the project that's been going on since the late 1990's that is mapping all of the genes and chromosomes of the human body.
The Human Genome Project (HGP) is an international scientific research project with the goal of determining the sequence of chemical base pairs which make up human DNA, and of identifying and mapping all of the genes of the human genome from both a physical and functional standpoint.
What you may not realize is that they have found that there is a "decorating gene"...some people have it and some people don't.  When they saw the gene, they knew it was the "decorating gene" because it had a little tiny wreath hanging on it!  

BAZZINGA!!!

I can tell you right now that I am deficient in that gene!  That is why I troll Pinterest like my life depended on it!  Yesterday I came upon this article by an interior designer about decorating above cabinets, and it made me more comfortable about this open space above my kitchen cabinets.  I'd been contemplating if I should put something up there or not.  


The article was interesting because it talked about WHEN to put something above a cabinet or shelf.

Back track to last week when I was gifted a hand-made wooden quilt made by a very talented wood-worker...my friend and chiropractor, Dr. Leonette!  I "thought" I knew where I wanted to hang it in the entry way, but for some reason I couldn't pull the trigger to hang it in that spot.  

We have plaster walls, and you'd better be VERY SURE that you want something someplace before you go drilling into the plaster because it is NOT easily fixed like drywall is.  

Then today it hit me what the author said about extending the height of a short piece of furniture by decorating on top with large, non-cluttered items...and I knew just the place for the wooden quilt...


We have two hutches in the dining room...this being the shorter of the two...and that blank space above it always bothered me....it was 3-3.5' of blank space!!  The high ceilings in this house make this mid-century modern hutch look even shorter than it is!  

Instead of hanging this beautiful wooden quilt on the wall, I set it atop the hutch and leaned it against the wall...thus making the two look continuous and increasing the perceived height of the hutch!  Look at the size of that space above it that was just blank before!

I have a variety of woods in this room, so the fact that it is a different wood than the hutch just goes with eclectic feel of the room.  All of the artwork on the walls in this room are one-of-a-kind, hand-made pieces...and all are made by people we know!  I love that!!!  It makes each piece just that much more special to us.

I think it looks good from all angles! 




Yep...that'll do!!  Thanks, Doc, for the beautiful gift!  It will be loved and appreciated very much!

Loretta 

Monday, March 2, 2015

BACON!!!!



People who know me...really, really KNOW me...know that there are two things that are essential for life:  bacon and coffee!!

Coffee has not been a problem for me while doing Whole30...I just had to learn to drink it without any sweetener...using unsweetened coconut milk as "cream".  It took me about 3 days to adjust to drinking it that way.

Bacon has been a different story because I don't eat nitrates/nitrates.  Also, it is hard to find meat and pork that hasn't been given hormones or antibiotics...two other things I don't eat anymore.  

BUT, last week when I was grocery shopping I found some Appleton Farms "Never Any" uncured bacon with NO hormones, NO antibiotics, and NO nitrates/nitrites!!  It does contain a small amount of sugar...but it is the next to the last ingredient on the list.  (This is actually the FIRST food item I've eaten since Jan. 15 that has had ANY sugar in it!)


And guess where I found this bundle of happiness???

At Aldi's, of all places...so it was actually affordable!!!

I cooked the entire package off in the oven this evening so that I can enjoy some in the morning with breakfast!  (Andy & I both tried one piece tonight to see how it tasted.  Andy thought it wasn't as tasty as "regular" bacon, but I thought I had died and GONE TO HEAVEN!!!  Of course, Andy would complain if he were "hung with a new rope", as my dad used to say...but I've learned to not pay attention to his nay-saying!)

Since I'm still not interested in adding sugar as a staple back into to my diet, I will eat the bacon conservatively and just enjoy it occasionally, although, I don't think that the scant amount of sugar that is in this bacon is going to cause issues.  

Forecast for tomorrow's breakfast looks VERY good!!!

Loretta

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lousy Weather = Lots of Sewing...




The weather here has been COLD and SNOWY for the past several days.  What's a quilter to do when the weather takes a turn for the worse???  

Whadya think???  

I've been spending a lot of time in my sewing room the last several days...and not always by myself!  ;)  

Last Friday, a friend brought over her machine and we spent the whole day in the sewing room.  She was working on an international "Round Robin".  That's a group of quilters who make a center block or medallion for their quilt.  They send it to the next person in the group who adds the next "round"...whatever the second quilter thinks will go with the first quilter's center, using what she has in her own stash.  That person then sends it along to the 3rd person who adds a round based on what they think goes, and the quilt continues around to each of the quilters in the round-robin, till it finally returns to the original owner as a completed top!

In this case, Susan was the second quilter on this piece...the middle "New York Beauty" medallion was made by the original quilter.  Susan added a 6" "piano key" border to it.




The day before, I had gone to buy border and backing fabric for my vintage embroidered linen star quilt.  Unfortunately, there was only 2 2/3 yards of the wide 1930's backing fabric, so I spent Friday piecing the backing to make it big enough for the quilt...using up the leftover fabric from the front to make it big enough to back the quilt.  I also got the borders added to the top, but don't have a picture of that.  It is now ready to go to the long-arm quilter...as soon as I can locate one!


Saturday, another bad weather day, was spent in the sewing room, too.  However, instead of quilt-sewing, I hemmed up 5 pair of pants for Andy.  


Nothing says "I love you" on Valentine's Day like 5 new pair of hemmed up pants!  ;)

Loretta


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sewing Room Change-Up: Phase 2....

Quote for the Day:
"Things of this world are in so constant a flux, that nothing remains long in the same state."
~John Locke


I posted about a week ago that the way some things were set up in my sewing room just weren't working for me the way I wanted them to.  The first change-up involved moving another table into the sewing room to provide more space for my sewing machines.

I moved my sewing room into this particular bedroom 2 years ago and at the time I set it up the way I thought would be best.  However, after working in there for a while, there were some things that were not as convenient as I would have hoped and it involved the way I had 3 bookcases set up.  

I have these two bookcases just inside the door of the room that I lean my "design wall" boards against.


I keep my "scrap-saver's system" in the plastic containers on the tall bookshelf, but when the design wall boards are in front of it with quilt blocks on them, it is difficult to get to my scrap storage.  

Just to the right of these two bookshelves is another bookshelf that has rarely needed items on it...along with other stuff that has just been thrown on there instead of being put away where it belongs.  It ends up being a "catch-all" for things that I don't know what to do with or don't have time to put away properly.


Since this third bookcase is next to my cutting table, I thought it would be more convenient to move my scrap storage system to this bookcase and put the things that I don't need to get to as often on the bookcase behind the design wall boards.  While moving this stuff around, I took this opportunity to declutter, too.

This is the result...



This puts the most-used items (my scraps) at my fingertips next to the cutting table, and the lesser-used items behind the design wall!  I think this is going to work much better for me!   And I love that it is cleaner and neater, now!  I am less stressed and more creative in a clean and functional space!

Loretta

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Clean, Healthy Eating for 30 Days...

Quote(s) For the Day:

"Whether you think you can or you can't, you are right."

~Henry Ford

“The food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy. Those are your options.” 

~Melissa HartwigIt Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways


Today is Day 31 of my Whole30 way of eating.  I started on Jan 15 and am loving the results so far.  Some people are ready at this point to slowly re-introduce the foods that they have eliminated during the Whole30 to see how they effect them.  I, however, am not ready.  I plan to continue eating on this food plan...hopefully, until it becomes just "the way I eat".  

The "Before" and "After" pictures...I'm not sure that I can tell a difference in the pictures...which is very disappointing...but here they are...




The "hard" results:

Weight:  -10 pounds
Measurements:  -11" 
  • Bust -1/4"
  • Waist -2 1/4"
  • Hips - 2"
  • Thighs - 2 1/4" total
  • Calves - 1 1/2" total
  • Upper Arms - 2" total
  • Neck - 3/4"
The "soft" results:
  • I'm off of my medication for GERD (Gastro-esophageal reflux disorder)...something I have suffered with for 30+ years and have been on medication for 20+ years.  (I have found that it does return when I eat grapefruit, though, but that is easily taken care of by a few drops of Digestzen essential oil by doTerra.)
  • Blood pressure has dropped by 10 points, both diastolic and systolic!
  • Resting heart rate is in the 60's!!  (It has been in the 80's for the last several years.)
  • No more ankle swelling.
  • No intestinal gas or bloating.
  • My insomnia is GONE.
  • I wake up feeling refreshed and energized.
  • I have more energy throughout the day and get more things accomplished.
  • I've learned to cook some very tasty and healthy recipes and have eaten some new foods for the first time ever!  
  • Food has FLAVOR without adding any sugar.
  • YES, I CAN drink my coffee with just unsweetened coconut milk added...no sweetener of any kind....and still enjoy it!  (Who knew???)
  • My sugar cravings have decreased by probably 80-90%.
  • My desire to eat out my frustrations or emotions has also decreased by 80-90%.
  • No afternoon brain-fog or sluggishness.
  • Improved/upbeat mood.
  • I've joined a fitness center and work-out a couple times a week...something I haven't been able to do since 2008!
I had my usual 6 month check-up with my cardiologist this week and he is quite pleased with the changes.  He wants to recheck my cholesterol after a few more weeks of eating this way and, if possible, he will make changes in both my cholesterol medication and my blood pressure medication.  In the meantime, I'm going to keep track of my blood pressure because if it drops any lower, it will be too low!  

What I have found to be IRONIC, is that EVERYONE agrees that the current American diet is very unhealthy.  However, in the next breath those very same people give me grief about "why did you stop eating 'fill-in-the-blank' "...the very foods that make up the contemporary American diet.  It seems that most people think you should continue to eat the contemporary American diet...just eat "less" of it.  Is "less poison" not just as bad for you as "poison"???

Loretta

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sewing Room Change-up: Phase 1



I broached the subject with my husband about changing some things in my sewing room.  He was amenable to the changes I want to make except for the hanging of wire shelves on the wall above the cutting table.  For the record, though, I know I'll get my way...I do 99% of the time!   

So phase one of said changes was to get an additional sewing surface. This is a picture of the sewing table with...count them...FOUR sewing machines on it.  Well...three sewing machines and one serger.


My two main sewing machines are in the front...my Viking and my Juki.  Although I like to piece with the Viking and do my machine quilting on the Juki, because there was no room for the extension table for the Viking, I've been doing my piecing on the Juiki, lately.  I really miss being able to use my Viking, especially when I need it to do mending or sewing on knits.

So I said to my husband, "Husband, (because he's my husband, ya know) I need a small desk or table to place my Viking sewing machine on so that I don't have to rearrange my sewing machines every time I want to use it." 

After measuring how much space we had, he replied, "let me go out and see what I have."

For those of you who don't know us personally, let me explain something. Andy has a "hobby".  He likes to wheel and deal in antiques.  Our 32' X 24', two-car garage is basically an unofficial antique store.  Three to four times during the spring, summer and early fall, he has a "garage sale", but he only carries antiques and occasionally some furniture...so it's not your usual "garage sale".   In fact, there are several antique dealers that come to his sales to find things to sell in their stores!  He has become known around town as having very reasonably priced antiques, so people sometimes stop by the house when they are looking for something!

Lo and behold, he had this vintage 4' formica-topped kitchen table among his items!!!  The perks of having a hubby with such an unusual hobby!!!  


 It is just deep enough to fit the Viking's extension table!!!


I now have TEN FEET of sewing surface!!!  


I will keep the Viking embroidery machine and the serger towards the end of the big table for now.  When I need one, I can easily pull it towards the front, use it, and then push it back out of the way.


I'm so glad that this first phase went so painlessly...and cheaply!  LOL

Now onto one other thing that is new today...

For those of you who have a Singer Featherweight or 301, you know how worthless the standard bulbs are that go in them.  They are so dim that they are basically useless.  And HOT!  Don't accidentally hit your knuckle on it or you'll be nursing a burn!

I was perusing a blog on Monday when I came across this post by the woman's husband about some LED bulbs that he sold for vintage sewing machines.  I placed an order for three bulbs...one for each of my two Featherweights and one for my 301.  I ordered them on Monday and they arrived today!

Here is what the standard bulb looks like when it is on.  You can barely see any light output at all!


The new LED bulb is on the left and the standard bulb is on the right...


And here's what the new LED bulb looks like in the machine!!!  WOW!!! What a difference!


Because of the price, I was hesitant to buy one for each of my vintage machines, especially since I'm thinking of selling at least one of my Featherweights.  But because of the huge difference it makes in the lighting, I'm glad I went ahead and purchased 3 bulbs!  I think it will be a selling point when/if I go to sell!

Loretta

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Ready For Borders...



I recently finished piecing the top for my vintage embroidery quilt...BTW, I need to come up with a snappy name for the quilt, so if you have any ideas, please post them!   I still need to add a border, but I need to go shopping because I don't have enough of any one 1930's reproduction fabric to make the border.  

The 25 pieced blocks sewn together measure 88" X 88" and I plan to add a 6" border all the way around to make it 100" X 100".  I've tossed around the idea of quilting this one "by checkbook"...which is where you send it out to be quilted by someone else, either longarm-quilted or hand quilted...in this case longarm quilted, because I don't feel like hand quilting this one and didn't feel that I could "do it justice" with my machine quilting.   If I did send this one out to be longarm-quilted, it would be the first ever that I haven't quilted myself, either by hand or by machine.  

I am still thinking it over, but am pretty sure that I am going to go ahead and machine quilt this one on my Juki TL 2000Qi.  After all, that is why I bought the machine last summer...to make machine quilting my quilts a little easier.  Sending them out to be quilted isn't cheap and I'm such a tightwad!  And my mediocre maching quilting skills will just have to suffice.  "Done is better than perfection" as the saying goes.

Here is the top draped over the pole on my hand-quilting frame.  Sorry that you can only see 2 of the 5 rows...but you get the idea.


The pinwheel cornerstone blocks were made from the leftovers that were cut off when making the star points, so no scraps were wasted!


My goal this year is to work on some of the UFO's and projects that I've started previously and keep my new starts to a minimum.  ("Yeah, right", said all the quilters out there!!)

About 2 years ago, I started making some strip blocks from scraps to be used in "Tulip Fields", a pattern by Bonnie Hunter in her book "String Fling".  You can see a picture of her completed quilt by clicking here.  

I pulled the string blocks out that I had started and started adding the "tulips" to them ...


I've had a lot of fun making these so far, so until I have the fabric for the border on the embroidery quilt, I'm going to continue to toodle around with them and bust some more scraps while making them!  

After being in my new sewing room for 22 months, I've found that there are a couple of things that aren't working for me just the way I'd like.  I've been doing some thinking and planning on what I want to do to make the room more functional for me.  Since I'm going to need Andy's help with hanging the shelves, etc., that I want to do, I'll need to share my plans/ideas with him at some point...preferably at a time when he won't roll his eyes and shake his head at me!  

Loretta