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100 Day Challenge – my challenges

Well, to be honest this challenge has not gone as I had hoped or expected.  I haven’t given up and I’m continuing to give myself grace as the days pass.  I had not had a migraine in months and then over the weekend, I had a 2 day migraine that left me swooning with a sore brain on the 3rd day.  The day following that, I got out a yoga DVD and half way through had a sharp pain shoot through my leg into my groin so I stopped; then I did some simple yoga stretches about 1/2 hour later and did ok.  Then yesterday, I put off yoga until lunchtime and wouldn’t you know it?  Vertigo kicked in. I couldn’t move without the room spinning!!!!  Geez!  If you don”t know me, you’ll either think I’m in horrible health or that I’m making this stuff up!!!

Today my head is ok. My vertigo seems to be gone.  I’m looking forward to practicing yoga in a couple of hours (I woke up really hungry this morning so I ate first thing!)

On another note, in case you’re wondering, I’m continuing with my sugar free lifestyle.  I can’t believe it myself. I’m 4 days shy of being a whole 3 months without sugar!  I’m noticing lately that I’m craving sweets less and less. I still want something sweet on occasion, but it’s not every day or every meal or every snack like I did 3 months ago.  It’s been an interesting journey.  I think this journey is helping to ground me in the struggles I’m coping with trying to do yoga every day.

Haven’t weighed myself in a while so no weight loss to report. I did measure my waist and I’ve lost 2 inches since the last time I measured. That’s pretty cool. The jeans I bought in June are getting baggy so that’s cool too.  They’re not baggy enough to need to buy new ones. I’m just washing them more often and putting them in the dryer!

I’m knitting the coolest hat!  M11211_Sugar_300_medium

I’m making mine in a pretty green color.  The cables are challenging for me and I’m not sure why. Perhaps because the only needles I could find were metal so the yarn wants to slip off easily? I’m about halfway to shaping the crown!  It’s a KAL (knit along) with some women in my knitting group. Two have almost finished (working on the crown) and one is behind me.  We’re not doing very well with knitting at the same pace. I think I’m on pace, the other two are over-achievers and the one behind me is the owner of the shop and has too many interruptions to knit for any length of time!  The pattern is in the latest edition of Creative Knitting magazine.

I’m also working on my bed quilt.  I really need to upload those photos!!!

Creatively yours,



new studio and other odd stuff

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So….  one night a couple of weeks ago, Steve and I were talking and I told him I dreamed of having my studio in our large front room.  He asked why I didn’t go ahead and do it.  “well”, I said, “many reasons: it would be pretty selfish of me to put my stuff in the best room in the house; we’re supposed to have a dining room for when people come; my studio tends to get really messy and the front room is the first thing people see when they come to the front door”.  And that’s just to name a few reasons not to make our front room into my studio.  He looked me in the eye as I talked and when I was done, he asked again, “why not go ahead and make it into your studio?”  He said he would put a sign up on the front door that said “If you don’t like our mess, go away”.!!!! What did I ever do to deserve this man?

So…. a week later, we were playing furniture shuffle.  We moved the sewing room stuff into the dining room, then the toy room into the sewing room, then the studio up to the toy room and the dining room into the old studio.  Are you tired yet???  I am so excited I cannot express myself well.  The only new thing we had to purchase was one wire basket and a countertop that Steve built into my new sewing counter/table:

studio blog (640x480)   studio1 (640x480)

The picture on top is what used to be the dining room.  My sewing counter is the exact height I wanted and my sewing machine is dropped down to the perfect height – my husband is a genius!  The counter is 10 feet long so it’s plenty big to wrangle a large quilt while quilting it. It’s hard to take good pictures of the windows, but there are 3 large 4 foot windows across the front of this room and my sewing machine is centered under the middle one. The small table under the far window is my desk.

The  second picture is what used to be the toy rom.  There are still a couple of toys that are too large for any other space upstairs.  I’m pondering moving them downstairs, but Kiyah is only 3 and too young to play down there by herself.  The tall table is my cutting table!  It’s the perfect height for cutting!! The longer table under the window is an extra space for a friend to come play with me or for me to spread out when I have more than one project going at a time.

I am soooo thankful!  Now to finish organizing the last of the studio stuff and turning that room into a dining room. Everyone I know thinks I’ve lost my mind because the dining room is downstairs. Honestly, we’ve only had company come to dinner a couple of times over the past year.  I sew almost every day of my life.  We can walk our plates down the stairs a few times a year in exchange for me having this lovely place to play!

glass dish (640x480)

For my last birthday, I told the kids I wanted the gift of time. I want to spend time with them, that’s all.  I don’t need another “thing” and if I really do have a need, I usually go out and buy whatever it is.  This small glass bowl is my gift of time from Rachel.  She found a Living Social deal and bought us a class from Art in the Dairy.  We spent an evening playing with glass.  I took a long slender piece of glass made by someone at the Dairy and I cut it up into small pieces and tried to create a woven effect.  Then I took some odd pieces of red and yellow glass and made a flower in the center.  I really wanted it to be offset, but the glass kept shifting around and wouldn’t stay put so the flower is in the center.  We left our creations for about a week while they were fired in the kiln and then got to pick them up.  I love this small happy dish.  It’s only about 4 inches across, but it makes me happy and it reminds me of a lovely evening spent with Rachel!

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This is a small baby quilt I made years ago (maybe 15???) It was originally done with crayons in a workshop taught by a local gal.  She promised that the crayons would be permanent, but after I washed it the first time, all I had was the quilted outline of the various designs I had drawn.  I was so disappointed.  Well, in the process of moving my studio, I ran across my Pentel Arts Fabric Fun Pastel Dye sticks.  I sat down this afternoon and I colored in the designs and set them with my iron on high as per their instructions.  I’m excited to have the quilt colorful again.  It wasn’t made as an heirloom – it was made to put on the floor for babies to look at when on their tummies.  Here’s hoping Peter will like it when he comes next week!

And the last thing I wanted to tell you is about my food journey.  I have to confess, I got really lazy over the past week. I was getting bored with the recipes I had been making and didn’t have the inspiration to go looking for new ones.  I kept saying to myself, a little change here or there won’t make a difference…  You know, a little sour cream on my taco salad that was supposed to be low fat; or that lunch of banana and peanut butter (can you hear me groan??? I LOVE peanut butter!!!!); and maybe a bit more sugar free ice cream than I really should be eating.  ‘just because it’s sugar free doesn’t mean it’s calorie free’!!!

So after 10 days of playing loose and fast with how I was eating, I got on the scales and I gained 1/4 pound.  It’s not a lot and I’m not surprised, but it was my wake up call to be more diligent in being creative with my meals.  Let’s face it, creative meals take time. A LOT of time!  I have to sit down with the computer or the recipe books and actually find something that appeals to me, THEN I have to go through the groceries in the kitchen so I can make a list of what I need, THEN I have to get dressed and go to the store to get what I need, Then bring it home, put it away, pull it out and chop it and baste it and saute it….. And the dishes?!!  Geez!  I haven’t washed so many dishes since the kids were teenagers!  Everything is from scratch and everything takes time. And I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve made extra so I would have a ready made lunch the next day to discover that Steve ate an extra portion or took my lunch to work because it looked better than his!

So now that I’ve moaned and complained a bit, I’m here to tell you I’m back on track.  I’ve eaten what and how I’m supposed to eat today.  I almost did yesterday, but that tablespoon of peanut butter just jumped on my spoon and into my mouth before I could stop it!  🙂

I’m off to the kitchen to soften cream cheese, warm up eggs, and make a mess:  Taco pie is on the menu for supper tonight and I’ll be making Lemon-Blueberry muffins for this week’s breakfasts and snacks, and I’m making a cheesecake for after dinner deserts.

Want to know more about how I am eating?  Check it out here:  Trim Healthy Mama!

Creatively yours,

felting wool

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Yesterday’s blog post told you about my wool felted flower class with Vickie Clontz.  My flower was dry last night so I was able to finish it up.  I’m much happier with it, but it’s way too large to wear!!!  MY BAD!! Vickie gave us a pattern to follow, but mine just kept getting bigger and bigger, way outside the suggested lines Vickie gave me!  I think I’ll use put a long stem on it and put it in my studio.  I may even make a few more and make a bouquet (idea from Judy Whitehead – thanks, Judy!).

While the flower is pretty, and I’m glad I made it, my main purpose for taking the class was to learn how to wet-felt wool fibers. 

I have a project in mind using this technique. Before I start wet- felting a couple of pounds of wool fibers, I wanted to make a maquette.  Basically, a maquette is a rough draft.  I used a couple ounces of wool this morning to practice the technique and make a sample piece of wool felt. I actually stopped before the wool was felted. I made what is referred to as “pre-felt” (I learned SO MUCH from Vickie Clontz on Saturday!)

I won’t share the step-by-step process here because teaching the process is something Vickie does for a living and she really is quite good at it.

These are the bunches of roving I had stashed away

And here is how I separate the fibers

And here is the nest of fibers I made. The shiny stuff is angelina.

Here is the nest after I’ve started the wet felting process.

And here it is, rinsed and ready to dry flat.  At this point, I can either continue the felting process or I could try shaping this (I think it shapes better if it’s fully felted). I’m choosing to dry it flat because of the next step in the process of making my maquette.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

NC Quilt Symposium 2011

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This year’s Quilt Symposium will be held at Peace College in Raleigh, NC. Here is a list of the lectures on Friday and Saturday.

Friday, June 3rd
9:00 am Rayna Gillman Pushing Creativity with What If?
10:30 am Jan Krentz The Great Star Review
2:00 pm Frieda Anderson Frieda’s Fun Fast Fusing
3:30 pm Pepper Cory The Art of Real Scrap Quilting
7:15 pm Margaret Miller Looking Ahead with Margaret Miller
7:15 pm   Participants’ Fashion Show
Saturday, June 4th
9:00 am Joyce Becker Landscape Quilts
10:30 am Sharon Schamber My Quilting Journey
2:00 pm Lyric Kinard The Elements of Art for Quilters
3:30 pm Mary Ellen Kranz The Top Ten Ways Quiltmakers Can Use Computers
7:15 pm Leslie Riley Making Time for Making Quilts
7:15 pm Patti Cline and Cindy Page Shesa B. Quilter meets Emma C. Fortune

Grab a friend and come to Raleigh!  Browse the Quilt show, Shop with the vendors, and listen to a lecture.  This promises to be a great opportunity for a memorable road trip.

Busy week

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The past 7 days have been busy!

Rachel and I drove up to see my Mom last Tuesday (has it really only been 7 days??). Here is my mom holding miss Kiyah at her home in Burnsville, NC. We ate lunch in downtown Burnsville and did a little shopping before heading home to have dinner at Ted and Lauren’s house that night in Matthews, NC (I put over 400 miles on my car last Tuesday!)

Then on Saturday, I took a Felted Wool Flower class with Vickie Clontz. Vickie is very talented with wool and I wanted to learn the art of wet felting. Here is my merino wool fibers laid carefully on a piece of bubble wrap ready to start the felting process:

And here are the flowers we made in class:

Mine is one on the top right. When I got it home, I didn’t like the way it dried so I re-wet it, fulled it some more and shaped it and let it dry. It’s now ready to assemble. I plan on doing that tonight. I promised Vickie I would wear it at Symposium this weekend.

Which leads to the final “busy-ness” of the week. Getting ready for classes at Symposium.  North Carolina has had a Quilt Symposium every year for 32 years in a row. A State-wide Board of 21 members work to make this a continuing endeavor.  I have been serving as President of the NCQSI for the past year. I have one more year to serve.  The Symposium is being held this coming Thursday through Sunday at Peace College in Raleigh, NC.  I’ve signed up to take 2 classes with Leslie Riley. I’m very excited about the classes, but have had some preparing to do and some of that has required me to learn new things. Most of you know I am not techno-savvy and tend to hate gadgets and computers unless they are extremely user friendly. I am proud to say I’ve managed to learn to upload, download, mirror-image….. to print these wonderful images onto TAP paper.  The TAP Paper will allow me to transfer the images to cloth, polymer clay, glass, among other things.  I will be using the images to create collage this weekend.

Aren’t the images wonderful????? I got them from a great site: The Graphics Fairy.  The Graphics Fairy is a blogspot hosted by Karen. It contains over 2,000 copyright free images!  I love it!!!

So a very busy 7 days behind me with an even busier tonight and tomorrow as I finish up my felted flower and finish getting packed for Thursday morning. I’m hoing to take my computer with me to Symposium and blog each day.

Off to the studio where I need to find all those tidbits of stuff that will make my collages sing!

trip to Mary Jo’s

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Yesterday I put a post on my Facebook Wall that if I could finish my errands in time, I would go to Mary Jo’s. I had a request for pictures of what I bought. I wish I had taken my camera (I really do need to get in the habit of always having my camera with me!). Sadly, I did not have my camera so have no pictures of Mary Jo’s. 

For those of you who do not live locally, Mary Jo’s is a fabric store in Gastonia. It has been around for over 50 years and boasts 32,000 square feet of fabric and notions. People come here from miles around; occasionally there is a tour bus full of quilters who have made a 2 day trip to shop here. I live about 45 minutes away so consider myself extremely fortunate.

Yesterday’s trip had 2 purposes. I was looking for dupioni silk for a small quilt that I sketched over the weekend.  Here’s what I bought:

My second purpose for going was to see if I could find some lightweight cotton fabric to make pantaloons. I’m dancing on Saturday and the expected temperature is 86 degrees.  My costume consists of several layers of clothing and I’m thinking a lighter weight pant might help make me a bit cooler. Here’s the fabric I found:

I’m signing off now to go cut out and make the pantaloons.  I’ll post a picture when they are done.

An hour has passed and here are my pantaloons!  I’m excited to be able to wear them on Saturday.

Good news

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 I’ve been quiet on the blog front lately, but I’ve been very busy in my life – remember the old saying about the duck sitting calmly on the water, but her feet are going a mile a minute?? That would me of late.

Remember my post about being brave? One exhibit rejected my quilt for their show. I got a very nice note from one of the curators telling me how much she liked my quilt and that she was sorry it was not going to be in the exhibit. I thought that was really thoughtful.  Here’s a picture of that quilt:

The National Quilting Association has accepted my quilt “Cold Foot Contest” into their 2011 show. I’m very excited about it. The show will be June 16-18 in Columbus, Ohio. I wish I could be there to see it hang, but unfortunately I have other plans that weekend.

Finally, my last bit of good news is that I’ve been invited to join a group of fiber artists known as Fiber Art Options.  I went to my first meeting as a member yesterday and it was so inspirational to be in the company of these talented artists. I will be posting about upcoming events as they get closer. I believe being a part of this group will be a huge motivation to begin new work. All those sketches and ideas will need to be dusted off and brought into existence!