Thursday, March 31, 2011

Personal reflections on my happiness project

I have been working on formulating a few little personal guidelines to remind myself of what makes me happy. I found the Happiness Project blog earlier this year. I am now reading the book and loving the first 4 chapters so far. I relate to the authors ideas and her experiences. My project started in January informally, more formally in February.

First on the list is to be continually pursuing my faith and relationship with God. That includes a daily time of study and prayer. I need to reflect on all the good things that have been provided.

Next, is to spend time talking to those I have relationships with daily. It could be telephone, email , text. Even just to share a quick experience or funny counts.

I need to not force myself to be someone else. Yep, be myself. I sometimes feel  that isn't enough, being myself,  to keep relationships going or hold the interest of other people. I have many areas of interest that many don't understand or find interesting-history, football, traditional Celtic music, plays, museums, reading light kids books and antiques to name a few- but I do. I can pursue them without feeling that they are a waste of time. The old trying to shove a square peg into the round hole problem.

I need to be doing something creative every day. Quilt, play a musical instrument, design a pattern for a project, crochet, or write. It isn't a waste of time or money. It is what I have fun at and it makes me happy.

Keep the clutter around me under control so I can keep my mind clear. Ugh, not fun but so necessary because the clutter isn't adding to the peace and happiness. Get rid of it, use it, put it away or donate it.

Exercise, rest, eat right and don't deviate from the plan. I feel poorly otherwise. Not too much sugar or caffeine, please.

I am continuing to work on my project. The kitchen clutter isn't gone. I had a goal of presenting the clean kitchen photos by April 1. We had a set back with a stopped up sink. No water to clean the dishes or wash walls.  I had a limit on how much garbage I could generate so some of the cupboards still need organizing, half are done.

However, due to my husband's determination, skill and a lack of $1,000 to pay the plumber, the sink is working better than ever. I did get to clean the back landing and that was going to be tackled later this spring. It is now off the list. Kitchen progress will be next week, I have a vacation day to devote to it. That will really make me happy-cleaning, relaxing and prepping for a few days with the family. Spring Break!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Desing Wall Monday

Here is a finished table runner. I practiced with a different stitch in each star. I liked it and think I have enough material to make another one. I am going to give this one to a coworker, just for fun. I will share that on this quilt, I made a huge mistake. I found near the end of quilting it that I was 6 inches short on the backing. So off the frame, added more fabric, back on the frame to finish the last row. I laughed so hard and my poor measuring skill!!

More Civil War Diary quilt blocks. This one was easy and cute,

a rail fence was a little treat,

this one has over 60 pieces in it but is so pretty,

love the fabric collection in this one,

classic pinwheel and the points are pretty good,

and the tiny squares went fast. I have 30 blocks left to go.

This has been a week of challenges. We had no working plumbing in the kitchen. The plumber that came couldn't fix it without re plumbing it for $1200 that we didn't have. So my husband did it. I was thrilled. For $50 and a Saturday, now it works better than ever. DS was the assistant and learned about plumbing. I have a clean kitchen and house now! Ah, the challenges of living in a 100 year old house.

To celebrate our little victory, DH and I went and saw Fiddler on The Roof at the Old Town Playhouse. OK, we had tickets purchased prior to the kitchen problems. It was the best play I had ever! I love this story but the acting and singing was great! A wonderful date night.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Design Wall Monday

Four blocks this week. Several have tons of pieces and the last pic is a simple block that was welcome in the midst of the fussy ones.
This block is for the Just one Star program. It is a great charity for veterans and if you haven't heard of it check it out. I am hoping so many stars show up that many quilts can be made.

The last two quilts I have long armed are pictured at Finished Stitches.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Design Wall Monday and results of my Stay at Home retreat

The Civil War Diary quilt blocks are some of my favorite ones made so far. And I haven't said that about many of them, really!! These little 6 inch blocks can pack some graphic impact and tons of little pieces. I have been sorting through my scraps and snippets of fabrics in the color palette I chose. I have 40, of 121, blocks left to do.

I also quilted half of a queen sized quilt. It is a quilt top that our church made for a charity several years ago and it was never finished. The groups disbanded and it sat. Since the long arm has came into my life, this quilt came up and I wanted to finish it. It will go to a shelter that our church conference sponsors. Oops, picture will post later.

I wanted to make the weekend special as I was going to be alone because the boys were going to camp. Poor DS he was very ill with a 103 temp and bronchitis. No camp for him but DH had to go chaperon. I had a very special weekend. I made bread, we ate frozen pizza and brownies. Stuff diets don't recommend much of!! I worked on all the things I wanted to.

The spring cleaning and organizing is coming along. I am going through the kitchen right now. I have until the end of the month and I think I will make it!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

More blocks and laundry soap recipe

Love three of the blocks and one not so much. I needed to pick a higher contrast fabrics for the second block. I have only 46 blocks left to do in this quilt!

I am trying this laundry recipe that I received in my hot process soap making class. I really like it. It is very inexpensive to make. I have $6 invested in the ingredients and it will make 6 or more gallons of laundry soap. It doesn't suds as much and leaves less residue in the discharge water. I love it. Here it is, just in case I lose my paper then it is easy to find here on my blog:

1/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap (5.5 oz bar just like grandma used to get grass stains off my brothers baseball pants!)
1/2 cup of borax powder
1/2 cup of WASHING soda (NOT Baking soda big difference!)
1 tablespoon of essential oil (optional- I did 't use)
2 one gallon jugs (white vinegar jugs or old detergent jugs)

Grate the soap and put it in a large saucepan with 6 cups of water over medium heat. Heat the mixture until the soap melts.

Add the washing soda, borax, essential oil if desired
Stir constantly until all has dissolved. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

Using a funnel put half of the mixture in each one gallon jug. Fill each jug halfway with hot water and shake well. Continue to fill the jug to the top with hot water. Shake again, then put aside for 24 hours. This gels up and looks like egg whites.

Use 1/2 to 2/3 cup per load.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Design Wall Monday

Three more Civil War Diary Quilts blocks. So cute,
but for a change from working with small 6 inch blocks, I made this table runner. It is from a turnover set. Large pieces, wow, it went together so fast!! I want to practice quilting  with this and then it is going to a friend.

This is the week to get restarted on the old routine:
diet, exercise, cleaning and planning for my at home retreat next weekend.

The guys are going on a retreat with the youth group. I am going to a Women's retreat the next weekend. I need to get tons of stuff done to be ready!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Before and After

Here is my before and after this month. The bathroom and linen closet was my goal. As you can see, I did edit out many items. The baskets were unified, papers thrown out and overall tidied up.

I also washed all the walls in the bathroom. I used a weak borax solution. I scrubbed all the fixtures. The room sparkles now!!

The linen closet is not photo worthy. It is a 4 foot DEEP closet that had all kinds of things in there. My daughter said to be careful when cleaning in there because I may find Jimmy Hoffa. Ha, but I did throw out three bags of trash and organized it. It feels so good!!

This started out as the year to organize my house. Last year was the year to get going on diet and exercise. I continue to do both. This has turned out to be part of my happiness project (see side bar link) and I feel great! It is amazing how easy it is to keep up. I am working on each room about 20 minutes or so several times a week. That's it. Next is the kitchen.