Saturday, January 31, 2009

My New Attitude

Many years of my life I have fought with myself to be thin.  I am not a thin person by nature.  Every New Year I vow to lose weight and diet until I could be happy with the way I look.  A few years ago I even decided to reward myself for a large weight loss with a trip to a place I have always wanted to visit.  It didn't happen.  Disappointment, Diet, Despair.  No more "D's"....Time to rethink.

I studied nutrition in college.  I know what to eat and what it takes to lose the weight.  As a side note all my nutrition teachers were morbidly obese save one.  We all know what to eat.  I do eat well most of the time.  I am addicted to sugar and chocolate and do not keep those items in the house.  I have maintained the same weight with in 5 pounds for the last 5 years.  So what do I need to do to change? 

I have been having trouble remembering things and have little or no energy for a while now.  Don't get me wrong, I am busy all the time, but I am just not myself.  This needs to change.

This New Year I decided not to diet.  I will eat sensibly when ever possible.  I did not set an unrealistic weight loss goal.  

This is my new attitude...  I now exercise 20 minutes in the morning on a stationary bike.  I started with 3 times a week and have worked up to 5 times per week, first thing in the morning, no excuses.  I have decided to look at my weight loss one pound at a time.  My goal is to lose one pound per week.   If I didn't make it, I add an extra workout in the evening until I make my goal. I also plan to add yoga when my weight loss stagnates. No huge life change, just a little something to make me a healthier person.

The results so far...  I have lost a pound each week.  My muscles are stronger and my waist is just a bit more shapely from the bike riding.  I have more energy during the day.  My memory and my concentration are improving and I sleep well at night for the first time in a very long while.  

This year I am rewarding myself with that trip as a birthday gift to myself.  I will join some of my girlfriends on their annual trek to the AQS Quilt show in Paducah, KY. Maybe I will see you there!  

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Sneak Peek

Here is a sneak peek at the crazy quilt block I just completed for the current president of the Friendship Quilt Guild. I was so pleased to have a chance to use my imagination. Each year we make a quilt for our current guild president as a thank you for their service. The theme is chosen by the president but she does not get to see the progress until May when the completed quilt is presented.

My apologies for the brief posts I've made lately. Something had to give way to make room for all the other things going on in my life. I have attended two weekend retreats this month. No, this in not normal for me but it sure was a great way to start the New Year.

I also taught a class about hand piecing quilt blocks at the Piecemakers Guild which meets at Patsy's Retreat once a month. This was the first time I taught the class so I had some work to do to get the samples in order for class.

Last weekend was our annual Sleep-In for the Friendship Quilt Guild. Our Art Quilt group met to share paints, markers and other messy embellishments. We also did a little color discharge from fabric. Lots of fun and a great chance to see which products worked well and which did not.

Here is another project we worked on at the overnight. Our group is sewing pillowcases for children with cancer. These pillowcases will go to the cancer ward at UW Hospital in Madison. We made 40 pillowcases on Saturday. I was able to finish 3 at the overnight and have 4 more to complete this weekend. Suzanne will continue to collect these into next month. See info on RC blog for details.

The biggest reason I have not been blogging as frequently is exercise. I used to read and write my blogs in the morning before work. I am now riding my exercise bike each morning. More about that soon.
I recently started using Google Reader to read posts and have sometimes waited so long that I have 200 posts to read before I can get caught up. Please know I am reading and enjoying what you write. I am not commenting as much as I used to because Google Reader does not have a option to comment (or am I missing something?). Also, please note I do not reply to comments on my own blog but will e-mail a reply to you if you enable the e-mail feature when you leave a comment. I welcome comments and e-mails.

Wishing you all lots of time to create and dream. - Chris

Monday, January 26, 2009

Road Less Traveled

I took a different route home the other day and stopped to take a picture of some of the limestone bluffs common to our area.  I thought I was capturing a herd of cows in the foreground. I had to do a double take.  There were about 30 ponies mixed into the herd.  I'll have to make it back this way some day when it is warmer so I can captures a better photo.

Jeanne's fabric sale ended last weekend.  Much thanks goes all who shopped and helped reduce the incredible volume of her stash.  A very special thank you goes out to Linda (who put in 100's of hours) and all the volunteers that came to organize and help out on sale dates.  Linda plans to post a slide show this fall containing items made from Jeanne's fabric.  If you have pictures you would like to contribute you can find Linda at her website here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dreams, Hope, Prayers and Faith

All of my life I have dreamed that the world would unite and celebrate one another for the beauty within.  Today I celebrate and place my hopes in the hands of a new American President who speaks of my dreams.  

I pray for our nation and our world these things:

Acceptance of one's religion, no matter what faith or god or prophet. 
Compassion for those in need.
A celebration of the differences that make each of us so unique.
A universal race: humankind. 

I have faith we can achieve a better world if we open our hearts and love one another.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tucked in for the Week

I heard the weather report last Sunday and decided it was time for Christmas to be over. I came home from the retreat and took down our Christmas tree (sigh, it was so lovely with all it's twinkles and bright lights). You see, we store many of our decorations in an out building and the temperature was due to drop drastically. By Monday morning my husband had them stowed away before he left for town. Jack and I waited and watched for the high winds and blowing snow expected later that day.

The removal of the tree made room for the return of my sewing machine. We live in an old farm house with very low ceilings. The Christmas tree either fits in my studio or our bedroom. I had my sewing area set up again by Sunday night. I have been continuing work on my "Mod" quilt in the evenings after work. I hope to have it all pieced by the end of the weekend. I am using my Grandmother's sewing machine. It was purchased the year my mother was born. I love the quiet whirring sound the old motor makes as it sews.

At 9:00 am today the thermometer read -35 degrees Fahrenheit. The house is creaking and groaning with noises I have never heard before. The radio announcer said the pub down the road had a reading of minus 40 degrees which was as low as their thermometer will measure. This is certainly the coldest daytime weather I have experienced in years. Tomorrow I venture out. The weather is due to increase by 50 degrees to 20 above. I am working at Jeanne's fabric sale from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. I'm hoping the heatwave will bring lots of people out for the sale. I have a newer sewing machine table I am donating to cause which still needs to be loaded in the van today. I sure hope it warms up soon! Warm wishes from the Sunny Grove.

Tagged and an Award and a Treasury

There have been days when I wonder, does anyone enjoy reading what I write?

And then something like this happens....

I received this award recently from Cheryl at Cheryl's Chatelaine Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness. This award is fitting as you will see in a minute. Cheryl has been cleaning her closets lately and I have been enjoying her organization skills, which I strive for, but never quite achieve. I have been noticing the similarities in our stashes and our love of embellishments.

Here are the guidelines for this award:'This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes for self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!'These are some very wonderful gals to visit. They are thoughtful, friendly and have so many wonderful ideas.

I am supposed to pass this along.One of the best part of blogging is the people you get to know, and I would like to pass this award on to these people that I would not have had the opportunity to "meet" otherwise:

1. Pat at Bell Creek Quilts - Pat is prolific quilter that lends a lot of her sewing time to good causes.
2. Greenmare at The Mare's Nest - She is always leaving me kind words and her blog makes me laugh.
3. Lynn of Getting My Feet Wet - She and I have been sharing ideas about art quilts. Lynn makes beautiful memory quilts for loved ones.
4. The Calico Quilter of It's the Cat's House, I Just Live Here - Who helped me find the perfect gift for my husband, Three Stooges Christmas ornaments (Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk). By the way she has most of Bonnie's latest mystery quilt finished so if you don't want to see step 5 you may want to look at older posts only.
5. Gwen at Desideratum - I love reading her blog. It is full of beauty and light.

I owe Jackie of Jackie's Stitches a follow up for 8 random facts about myself. I plan write this post soon with a diet theme. My goal for the New Year is a healthier me and Jackie is a great example of what a good diet can do. More on that later.

I just heard from The Rainbow Girl that she had included my flying geese earrings in her recent ETSY treasury "Hand Dyed Heaven". It is an honor to be included with so many creative artists. Stop by and take a look and leave a comment. The treasury expires late Saturday.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sew Much Fun!!

Surrounded by creative women last weekend had my spirit soaring again. If only I could bottle and take it with me. On Saturday morning it was our turn to cook breakfast.Here I am with my mom and her good friend Diane. I treasure the time I get to spend with my mom. She is the best mom a girl could ask for. Diane joined us for a make-up retreat. The last sewing retreat mom and Diane attended together started with Diane taking a trip to the hospital and staying for a few days. I am happy to report that Diane is healed. It was wonderful getting to know her this weekend. We did lots of sewing...and laughing.

Here is a quilt project I have been planning for a while.

And new friends with

Really great socks!!
Some of my favorite women were at Patsy's retreat this weekend. We shared our ideas and laughed so hard I cried at times. I am so lucky to know such wonderful women.
You can see more pictures of our weekend on Patsy's blog. Diane showed us how to make snowflakes by incorporating our names into the design. You can see a picture of my mom's weekend project there too.
I am working at Jeanne's fabric sale this weekend. If you are able to attend please stop and introduce yourself.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Runaway Blogger

I have run away from home again. About a week before Christmas my mom called and asked me if I wanted to join her and good friend Diane at Patsy's Homestead Cabin Retreat this weekend. I didn't hesitate. I said "I'm in!" She thought I might say no because I had just been there a few weeks prior (lol). My husband also enjoys it when I leave because he gets to eat his favorites like chicken pot pie and pizza.
Patsy has some really exciting news. The magazine "MaryJanes Farm" has a write up on her retreat in the issue that just hit the newstands! Patsy is famous!!! You can see the article here. We will be her first visitors to share her good news. A few more of my favorite quilting friends will be there too.
Unfortunately the porch swing is packed away waiting for a warmer day. I will sitting in front of the hearth enjoying the company of my mom and wonderful friends.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tagging and Some Random Facts

Here are the rules to play the game:

1. When you are tagged you are asked to list eight random facts about yourself and post them on your blog for visitors to enjoy.

2. Tag eight of your blogging friends and leave them a comment that they have been tagged and to join in the fun if they have the opportunity. (If not, that's okay. They can still enjoy the random facts everyone shares:) Be sure to list a link to your eight friends in your posting.

I'd like to leave this open to any reader that wants to play along. Let me know in the comment section that you are playing along and I will put a link to your blog here.

1. I have been married 20 years.

2. I have worked as a babysitter, cashier, restaurant manager, sales person for recycling services (one of my favorite jobs), accounting clerk and now sell commercial roofing products from my home office for the last seven years.

3. I have to create to keep my brain well balanced.

4. I wish I had been told at an early age that "The more you create, the more creative you become." Tell your children!

5. I dream of traveling the world and hope to do that one day. For now, I'll just read your blog posts and travel with you.

6. I want to learn to be a metal smith (whitesmith or blacksmith) someday, but I have so many other interests I'm afraid to have another all consuming habit.

7. This is our cat Cleo. She is 20 years old, deaf and blind. She likes to help me sell roofing products. She yells a lot now that she can't hear. Customers often ask if there is a baby crying in my office.

8. Here I am with my son outside his first apartment. I still haven't learned how to take a good self portrait with my camera...Lake Superior is just over the roof of the house behind us.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Mom Song

Have you seen this video? It made me laugh so hard that I just had share it.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Bubble and Baubbles

It is rare that I make enough of a new item that I keep any for myself. This fall I spent more time than usual putting together "winter items" for sale at craft fairs and on Etsy. I am pleased to say I have a few snowflakes and glass ornaments to call my own at the end of the holiday season.

Our tree looks so lovely this winter that I do not want to take it down. I went a bit overboard on the lights this year. I used 600 miniature lights, a string of LCD lights shaped like snowflakes and 4 strings of bubble lights (a favorite at our house). Trust me this eclectic tree would never make the
pages of "Better Homes and Gardens". All I can hear when I look at the tree is my inner 10 year old child saying "Ooh, the colors are so pretty".

I wanted to show you the etched glass window hanging that I received as a Christmas gift from my mother and stepfather many years ago. The glass panel is recycled from the church I attended when I was a child and where my husband and I married. When our church was remodeling to modernize the building, the window panels from the 1920's teaching wing were saved for reuse. The church's Studio
Workshop and UM Women's group etched, framed and sold these at their fall "Harvest of the Hands" craft show.

Did you notice my cartoon self in the right margin? I saw this idea on Jude's Blog and just had to add my own. Right now I'm a couch potato, but wait and watch...I am forever thinking that I will lose all those pounds that have been sneaking into my life over the years. I'm determined this year is going to be the year I make it work.

Wishing you peace today and everyday where ever you may live in this world.